Just Write Something Damnit! — Day 12

Just Write Something Damnit! — Day 12

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Just Write Something Damnit!

Author’s Note: If you have not read the first post in this series then all the rest will make no sense at all. Please click here to take a quick look at Just Write Something Damnit! — Day 1

Remington Standard Typewriter on desk with blank page

I wish I could write a love story, or a drama, or something that made people laugh. My failure to do so is not from lack of trying. I’ve begun the process on several occasions, only to find the story turning to the dark side shortly after beginning.

Darkness is all I see when I look into my mind for a story to tell. When I have a point that I am trying to make it is always easiest to filter it through a terrible lens. I suppose its the same thing with comedians.

I have tried, so very hard, to give up the terrible tales that I tell. I even wrote a post about it called From Horror To Hope. I was being honest then, and I’m being honest now — I was a fool to think I could give it up and, even more importantly, that I SHOULD give it up.

The point of giving up horror was to write for God. The narrative that’s been constructed for us is that there is a certain and particular way to go about that. That narrative is wrong. A thing does not need to have the words ‘God’ or ‘spiritual’ scrawled upon it to be of a Godly or spiritual nature. It is the intent of the thing decides its place in the universe, not the thing itself.

Everything I write — even the darkest of tales — is an attempt at finding the light in the darkness. Sometimes it is so faint you can barely see it, but trust me, it’s there.

Just Write Something Damnit! — Day 12

Just Write Something Damnit — Day 3

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series Just Write Something Damnit!

Author’s Note: If you have not read the first post in this series then all the rest will make no sense at all. Please click here to take a quick look at Just Write Something Damnit! — Day 1

Remington Standard Typewriter on desk with blank page

 

Spirituality Is…

 

Spirituality, at it’s purest, is actively working towards being a better person. I see people getting this wrong all the time. Some are smug, self-righteous little people that would rather tear someone else down than building ANYTHING up. Others are angry at God and disdain anything and everything that looks like it might make them think beyond their material existence. Still, others are just sad and confused; weighted down by the burdens they carry and too tired to lift themselves.

 

The Path Less Traveled

 

Everyone walks their own, individual, spiritual path. This is true whether we acknowledge it or not. We can stomp our feet, wring our hands, and scream to the high heavens that it’s not true, but it is. And even though every individual must walk their path, every path eventually presents the same set of guidelines that must be followed in order to walk any further; they are that we must flick all those chips from our shoulder, kill the materialistic programming that we’ve accumulated (since birth), annihilate our prejudice’s, and get to fucking work.

 

Work, Work and More Work

That’s right — work. Work (and by extension the works we do) are the key to it all. You can WANT to be a better person, THINK about ways to be a better person, HOPE for a chance to be a better person — all of that equals exactly jack shit if you do not actively, emphatically, consistently, and constantly WORK towards becoming a better person.

 

Ask And Ye Shall Receive

Here’s the good news; ask and ye shall receive! Believe me when I tell you that is absolutely the truth. If you take a moment and ask God (the universe, the All, the sun; however you internally identify with existence as a whole) to show you ways to be better you will be presented with more opportunities than you can handle before you lay your head down that evening. The simple trick is learning to recognize, accept, and then act.

The Fear Of God

The Fear Of God

The Fear Of God — With The Eyes Of A Child

 

One of the harder concepts for me to come to grips with has always been the ‘fear of God’. The arrogance of my youth created anger and rejection in my heart whenever I was told that I should do so. I suppose it’s a natural reaction as a young person to believe (or to want to believe) that there is nothing to fear from your creator. It is a confusing message as well when an adult tells you that God loves you, but you should fear him.

Whether intentional or not there is a lack of clarification on these two, seemingly, opposite attributes of God. How and why would the entity that created us and loves us expect us to fear it?

Wrong Kind Of Fear?

 

From birth, we are conditioned to believe that fear is a negative emotion. We are taught to fear things that are bad for us. First, we fear the boogyman and the hot stove. Then we fear the bully in the schoolyard and the stranger on the street. When we are grown we fear the IRS and the next election. It is no wonder that someone saying that we should fear God illicit’s a negative response? That is all we know and there is rarely any further explanation.

When there is clarification it is usually structured as a form of control—fear the punishment for doing the wrong thing. This lack of clarification and abuse of messaging leads to the wrong kind of fear.

Right Kind Of Fear?

 

So what is the right kind of fear?

Imagine you are standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Now take a moment to think about what really lies before you—A true wonder of the world we live in. Think about the sheer size of the space, and the fact that the same space was once filled with the dense earth you are currently standing on. Think about the forces that joined together to create the wonder you are looking at—erosion, pressure, wind, water—and the time it took to make it all happen.

Now step right up to the edge and look down. That feeling you have as you gaze into the abyss—that it could swallow you whole and no one would ever know—is the right kind of fear. It is self-preservation, awareness of scale, and awe of immensity all wrapped up in one breathtaking moment. You do not fear it because it means you harm. You fear it because you could be harmed by it if you are not mindful of each step you take. There are a million ways to die inside of it because the physical danger is everywhere. There are also a million ways to live because the spiritual pleasures are just as plentiful.

All of these physical dangers and spiritual pleasures exist together in this space with no intent (either for good or for ill) towards you. They just are. It is up to you to guard yourself against what could hurt you and seek out what could help.

In other words, the right kind of fear is a positive force to guide you. It protects you from the pitfalls and the predators. It steadies your step. It keeps you safely on the path in an environment that is beyond your human capacity to either understand or control.

The Fear Of God — Understanding & Acceptance

 

Understanding this concept (in this way) was the key to freeing my heart. It allowed me to let go of my anger at the notion itself. My fear of God guides me daily. It strengthens my resolve whenever life starts to beat me down. I fear nothing but God. Everything else is either a negative to be avoided or a positive to be embraced.

Ditching The Dogma – Asking God Into My Life

Ditching The Dogma – Asking God Into My Life

One Way - Another - Way

Lost & Found

 

I was lost for a long time before I made the decision to ask God into my life. I always believed in God, but never knew how to connect to God’s light. I have a somewhat complicated relationship with the church and organized religion in general. I allowed these complications to become obstacles in my relationship with God. One day I ditched the dogma and simply asked wholeheartedly for God’s help.

Of course, there is more to the story than simply asking God into my life. There was so much (good and bad) happening around me when I finally broke down. There are two things in retrospect that are important to know about my decision. They are relevant to you if you are considering doing the same.

 

 

Thing #1 – The Decision

 

There is a huge difference between going through the motions that have been programmed into you since the day you were born (church, communion, meditation, confession, etc.) and making a conscious decision to open your heart and invite God into your life. The former is reactive and the latter is proactive. That distinction makes all the difference.

As you begin to study different systems of thought and make your way along your spiritual path you will find that intent is the key to every form of progress. Your intent interacts with the world around you to facilitate all the tools and situations you will need for growth along the way.

Like most people, I had asked God for help countless times in my life up until that point. The problem was that it was always in the moment and born of a desire for self-preservation. There was no intent behind the request(s)—just knee-jerk reactiveness to whatever situation was confronting me at the moment.

This time was different though. It was deliberate and full of intent. I took a moment to clear all other thoughts from my mind, closed my eyes, and asked God to come into my life.

Thing #2 – The Consequences

 

God is always there. It does not matter who you are, what your beliefs are, or where the world places you on its sliding scale of good and evil. Saints, sinners, priests, and pedophiles—God is there for them all.

The funny thing is that the previous statement is anathema to both atheists and secular believers alike. The atheist scoffs at the idea of God. The secular believer scoffs at the idea of God being there for anyone who does not share their secular belief. It does not matter—God is there for both the scoffer and the scoffed.

But there is an important difference between being ‘there for’ and being ‘with’. The moment you make the decision—and go through with—asking God into your life ‘there for’ becomes ‘with’ and everything changes! If you have honestly and wholeheartedly asked the question the answer is immediate, definite, and unalterable—God is now with you and leading the way!

The consequence—and the blessing—is that you will never be alone again. You will now begin to understand yourself as a part of the whole and that can be a scary (or downright undesirable) notion for a self-involved human being. There will be no more hiding from yourself. The little white lies that used to get you through the day will now point out the unlimited amount of things you’ve been doing wrong all this time. Please do not misunderstand—I am not trying to dissuade you from making this decision. I just want you to understand that there is no going back.

Moving Forward

 

Faith is what comes next. Relax, breath, and let God be your guide. Tools and situations will be provided to guide you along the path. You will begin to notice ‘spiritual waypoints’. They might come in the form of life events, harsh words from a friend, kind words from an enemy, or even stumbling upon a website like this. The further you travel, the more it will makes sense—good luck and God Bless!

Dave

 

Writing For God – From Horror to Hope

Writing For God – From Horror to Hope

Writing For God

I have not written anything of substance in quite some time. Now I begin again with this statement: I am writing for God.

It is a simple declaration with a not-so-simple backstory. The people that know me will, most likely, be confused by it—those who have read anything I have ever written before, even more so. The following essay is intended to explain that decision and the path that led up to it. It is also my attempt to pull it all together in my own mind so that I can move forward, and accomplish what I intend to with this website.

The early years

I have been writing since I was about ten years old. No matter what has been going in my life I always found my way back to writing. It felt like a calling of sorts—like something I couldn’t, and shouldn’t, live without.

What I wrote was always dark. Hell, I don’t even think ‘dark’ covers it. Twisted. Masochistic. Misogynistic. Those are probably better adjectives to describe the stories I was telling. This was all intentional of course. I loved horror and that is what I wrote.

For some reason, it always seemed to me that the best way to find the truth about a person or a situation was to torture it until it screamed its soul out. Fear and destruction were the only lenses through which I could see anything. I could be walking into a church and see a simple—even beautiful—situation that my mind would immediately twist into the most terrible story possible. For example; I was driving down the street one winter day and happened to pass a home with a large picture window out front. I glanced as I drove by and saw a mother and daughter happily decorating their Christmas tree. Instead of appreciating the beauty of the moment my mind immediately asked the question ‘what if the husband/father was being murdered right outside that very window? What if his throat was slit and his blood washed upon the window that framed that perfect scene?’.

Where I was

That is where I was—Living that kind of life, with that kind of internal monologue. In retrospect, I realize that I had subconsciously trained my conscious mind to find the horror in every situation. I am sure there are some people who can handle that. To be honest, it was an empowering feeling to have the type of imagination that could write stories that would make people feel all types of ways—none of them good! Stephen King, Clive Barker—They were my heroes and I wanted to be them.

The Problem

The problem was that I could not. Even though I loved writing those terrible stories there was always a battle going on in my subconscious mind—I felt guilty for putting such negativity into the world. I would have an idea and table it for months. Part of me just wanted it to go away. Another part of me had this insatiable desire to write—no matter what the cost. I tortured and destroyed myself over and over just like the characters and situations in my stories. Eventually—or maybe always—it all started to spill over into my personal life. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, divorce, custody battles, breakups—every single thing in my life went to shit.

The In-Between

So there I was in my early 40’s—twisted, broken, filled with self-loathing, and self-pity. Sounds like a great time to make a major life decision right?

Instead of clearing the negativity from my mind I doubled down on it! I decided that I was going to self-publish some of my earlier work and start working on a novel that I had been thinking about for years. It was a terrible decision that, in hindsight, produced a miraculous result.

Two things

Two things needed to happen in order for me to move forward. First, I needed to re-read all of my previous work in order to prepare it for publication. Next, I had to sit down and actually outline the novel that had been a mere buzz in the back of my head up until that point. Both of those tasks combined to form the seed of the person that is writing this essay right now. It is so very easy to see it in hindsight, but at the moment there was nothing but darkness.

Editing the past and outlining (what I then considered to be) the future showed me something I never expected to see. There was a spirituality to everything I had written. It was well hidden to be sure—drenched in the blood and excrement of words I had chosen to tell my tales of terror—but it was there. I had always considered myself a ‘spiritual’ person but, for some reason, had never connected that spirituality (and God) with my actual life, or the words I was writing. It sounds ridiculous to say. I suppose the only thing I can chalk it up to is that sometimes the hardest thing to see is that which is right in front of you.

Realization and the wrong tales

What I finally realized was that I was telling the wrong tales. My heart and soul wanted to be writing for God, spirituality, and the connectivity of everything under the sun. My mind—covered in the thick dross of accumulated experience—only wanted to write stories that tortured the characters within.

That day had started out absolutely terrible. It was as if all of the negativity that I had put out into the world was crashing down on my head all at once. I felt beaten—full of self-loathing, self-pity, hopelessness, and completely out of control. It was in that moment that I decided to give up writing horror forever.

Decision & sacrifice

That decision (to give up something I had loved for the majority of my life) was terrifying but was the exact sacrifice needed to bring me back to God and change my life forever. It was my ‘come to Jesus’ moment, and it changed every single aspect of my life in a split second. I wiped the tears from my eyes, took a deep breath, relaxed, and felt at peace for the first time in a very long time. I said the words ‘Please guide me Lord’ out loud, and moved on with my day.

Divine inspiration

Moments later—amidst all the chaos of the surrounding me—I had a sudden desire to read. It seemed inappropriate considering the things I needed to deal with, but my mind would not let me rest until I did. I had started two books on my Kindle already, but neither of them seemed to be the right ones to read at that moment. I logged into Amazon and looked at my ‘suggested reading’ list. I saw a book there that I had glanced at on numerous occasions, but had never purchased. I bought it immediately, and my world changed!

A Book full of breadcrumbs

The book I bought was Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike. It was a laborious read and I almost stopped after the first chapter. Something inside me pushed me on though, and I finished it over the next couple of weeks. I plan on chronicling the ways in which it changed me in a later post, but for now, it is enough to say that it put everything that I had experienced in my life thus far into perspective. Suddenly the decision to sacrifice the thing I loved to do most (writing horror) was rewarded with the idea of what to do next—write for God!

The Dilemma with writing for God

Now here was the big dilemma: how does a person that doesn’t go to church, and doesn’t identify with any particular faith, begin to write about God? The more troubling question, perhaps: does that person even have a right to? These questions and fears stemmed mainly from my memories of—and questioning mentality with regards to—the church (any church) and organized religion in general.

Where I Am Now

Over a year has passed since I made that decision, and bought that book. I have come to realize it was just one, of many, waypoints in my spiritual journey—like breadcrumbs on a wooded path leading me home.

As I said, in the beginning, I have not written anything in a long time. I struggled with the questions above and let them hold me back. I held onto, and trusted, that moment I had asked for guidance the whole time though. In doing so waypoints (obvious ones) began to show themselves more and more along the way. It was not easy (our spiritual path never is), but it was always filled with joy, appreciation, and a way forward.

The answer to the dilemma above? Have faith and move forward with the complete certainty God will show you the way. That is it. That is what brought me to write this essay. That is what stirred my soul to create this website with the hope that someday it might be a spiritual waypoint for someone that was lost—just like me.

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