A Skald’s Life – Business Virtues – Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Happy Woden’s (Odin) Day

Journal Entry:

I was told a couple of days ago at work that I looked like I was tired all the time.  That same coworker who knows I work, go to school and am working on my marriage (my life trifecta) said she was worried because she thought I was burning the candle at both ends.  Like Hitchens I have found in such times, life gives off such a wonderful glow.  It’s too bad that what is burning is your soul.

I have to admit I am probably more tired than usual and my sleep schedule is light most of the time.  I mean 5-6 hours at night with an hour nap thrown in somewhere, maybe if I have time, is not exactly a great amount of sleep but I can pull it off fairly regularly.  That said a day off and I am probably not setting the alarm.

I find this feeling on the one hand just numbing but on the other hand I like pressure as it brings out the best work in me.  I have experienced this many times and know it is both true and creates some of my best creative work.  That’s burning the candle at both ends, and it does lead to more light and heat. I hope I survive it. 🙂

Self-Reliance:

“Self Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved not only for the individual, but also for the family, clan, tribe and nation.”

Principle: Work to be self-reliant in all things.

If there is any challenge to self-reliance it is that in order to live in modern western society you ‘need’ to have vehicles and insurance.  These things often mean you actually sacrifice on your actual needs.  The nice thing is that school is coming to an end, I am dusting off my resume and will probably start the job hunt beginning of December.  If I can make more money and gain some benefits that will go a long way to following the path to self-reliance.

Industriousness:

“Industriousness is the willingness to work hard, always striving for efficiency, as a joyous activity in itself”

Principle: Work with enjoyment of work itself.

I like the people  I work with.  I like my team leader.  It is more a matter of the fact that despite I am strong and in good shape that physical labor is still putting on mileage I would rather not feel.  I enjoy working.  What I want to find is work that I enjoy.  Work that doesn’t beat me down physically as much.

Hospitality:

“Hospitality is the willingness to share what one has with one’s fellows, especially when they are far from home.”

Principle: Be ready to be hospitable to those who truly need it.

Prosperity still needed for more hospitality.  But we do have room for one more mouth at most meals.  I think one day that will be put into actual practice.  The goal is still to achieve prosperity that leads to hospitality.

 Daily Routine:

  1. Communication / Cuddle Time
  2. Blogging
  3. Reading – 1 hour per day.
  4. Study / Homework – 1 hour per day or until all necessary work is completed.
  5. Empty In Box
  6. Financial Transaction Input

Been tough this week with The Grey being a little stronger, but following the routine every day keeps things moving forward. I am enjoying the routine at times as it keeps my information of where I am very current so I am being very informed in the everyday decisions.  I am not running blind and in part that is due to the routine.

Goals: 

  1. Be transparent with my wife to improve communication
  2. Graduate with Political Science Degree in December 2018.
  3. Find a new, better paying job by the end of January 2019 or before.
  4. In 2019 have  a clear budget and financial plan working by the end of the year.
  5. Maintain a daily blog streak of one post per day for an entire year (365 days).
  6. Keep gym membership going somewhere and lift weights minimum of four times per week and walk minimum four times per week through end of 2019
  7. Follow Paleo Diet completely and use intermittent fasting until the end of 2019
  8. Cross one thing off bucket list every six months (Deadlines July 1st, and December 31st of 2019)
  9. Be in the best shape I can be by March 18th, 2019 (50th birthday), take pictures.

#2 and #3 are very much in sight and I am thinking that is a very good thing.  Both are the culmination of a dream that started about five years ago of a second and different career.  My old career didn’t end like I expected, but I am now very much in position to start a new one.

Budgeting: 

  1. Basic Emergency Fund – $1000
  2. Debt Snowball
  3. Fully funded Emergency fund
  4. Invest 15% of income into retirement
  5. Pay off Home Early
  6. Build Wealth and Give

Had a lot of knocks to the budget and the plan this week. Mostly in the form of vehicle repairs.  That said we are still floating.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer (Part 3) – Confessions

 

Happy Tyr’s Day

Introduction:

I just don’t have time this week to do a proper Of Wolves and Ravens.  School is starting to have the potential to kick my ass and I am having to bear down a bit.  It’s OK though, because it gives me a chance to do an update on my constant battle with depression aka The Grey.  I could just write and say things are cool, but that would be a lie.  I would assess myself as functional but struggling.

I never realized how much betrayal would be a depression trigger.  The pain of loss of friendship I think does it. We all objectify people from time to time.  It’s the main philosophical problem of our age brought to life.  We no longer see people as people like ourselves but rather as problems to be moved aside or dealt with.  I work hard every day to see people as people.  Even more so since I failed at that with my wife in particular. But my greater motivation is now I very much know what it feels like to be treated as an object as well.  Once you have been treated that way, you never forget it and you either work hard not to make others feel that way in return or….you fade into The Grey.

As a warning here at this point. What follows is a discussion of the three things I would be talking to my counselor about if I could afford one.  Some of these are sensitive in the sense they can invoke strong feelings.  Particularly, if you are family in some sense or another either through blood, long association as my friend or even through my church ties some way, this warning is for you to stop reading at this point, unless you feel you can take the sensitive emotions of the issues presented. I am going to try to be as transparent as possible without being hurtful, but I don’t know how people will react all the time, so the warning is for you.

On a practical note, the reason I am doing this is these issues are making it difficult to concentrate on work or school because they are the closure issues I have been mentioning.  It should be noted that on all of these, other people have different views of the events and have called me cowardly and a lair for my viewpoint.  I can only present things from my perspective and based on my own conversations with others.  The problem still remains that others are telling my story and I want to tell it myself to set a more complete account.  I don’t care if you believe me.  This is me getting things off my heart and mind for my sake.

Old Flame:

I want to say that even with all the strength and love I have gained from restoring my relationship with my wife, I still have residual pain over loving another and the breakup that followed.  I don’t think that should be surprising or shocking as you can’t emotionally invest in someone and not have that happen.  What I find hard is not walking away from this relationship as any romantic love I had for her is gone, but mostly how it came apart and the reason why it came about.  This is one I think I am just going to have to learn to live with and pretty much learn to do it on my own.  I have had a hard time hating people for hurting me like this, but I know I can’t trust them and that makes me sad.  Mostly I get mad at both of us for taking this relationship too far.  Oddly enough, I still miss the friendship and I learned a valuable lesson on boundaries being important.

I think though this is one of those wounds that will get better with time.  I also think it will never heal completely. Mostly I have found healing here in turning my attention to my relationship with my wife and building that.

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‘Friendship’ Lost: 

The second issue is I had a long time friend with my last church.  We did a lot of things together and sat next to each other for well over nine years.  We were in a small group together for the same length of time.  We knew each other very well.  Or I thought I did. The one thing I felt I could do with this person was trust them with something important and in this case my resignation.

My plan was to have my resignation read the one Sunday and then come in the next when I wasn’t feeling so emotional distraught and explain things. That never got to happen.  This person set me up.

a) They convinced me to remove all references to the reasons I was resigning – I had been involved in an inappropriate relationship.  The reasons for removal given to me were not wanting to start gossip in the church and not dragging the girl into all this. I felt the reasons he gave were solid, so I removed the references to the affair, figuring I could go in the church the next week and deal with that issue.

b) I now know the very day that I gave my ‘friend’ my revised resignation, with all references to the affair removed, he called the woman I had been involved with up and asked her permission in using her name for him to tell the story to the church.  He did that after reading my resignation.  This made it very much look like I was hiding something, and he was being the noble guy telling everyone the truth.

c) On the Monday that followed the story of what happened came to me though my mother and several others who called me. There was even a plan in place already of how the vote would take place in a few weeks to decide things. None of this was ever shared with me during the months that followed in any official capacity.  If it hadn’t been for a few members of my flock who disagreed with how things were being handled and kept me informed, I would never have known anything.

d) I texted this person and asked very simply what was going on.  That was June 5th, 2018.  I still have the text I sent.  It has never been responded to.  This person has made no effort to contact me since.  Ever.

The sad thing is that I would not have handled things this way had the roles been reversed. I would have given him two things he obviously didn’t give me.

Love – I would have given him the benefit of the doubt and certainly would have allowed him to tell his own side of things and not take it upon myself to do that.  The story that followed that I heard had definitely been blown up far bigger than it was and had obvious falsehoods. I would have made sure only established facts were told and crushed any rumors that couldn’t be verified.

Time – I would have given him time to think over things. In retrospect what I should have done is taken a week off to think things over and then resigned the following week myself in person.  That’s the time factor I am speaking of. I would have given him these two things because that’s what friends do.

I am not sure what bothers me the most, but one thing I wrestle with is whether this truly is a friendship lost or did I really have a friend there to begin with? I am beginning to think I was nothing more to this guy than an object, that when no longer usable to him and his agenda, I was discarded.  That pisses me off.  The problem is no matter how many times I pay over the scenario, I keep running into the later conclusion.  I know forgiveness is a powerful tool in recovery from things like this, but this one I haven’t forgiven yet. At least fully.

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I want to make it clear, I am not looking for vengeance and I would never hurt him physically.  That is just not me.  What is me is being patient and waiting for the wheel of time to keep turning.  If someday I get to balance the scales of justice thanks to fate, providence or karma, I will take it without hesitation. The difference will be I will stab him in the chest while looking him in the eye. Metaphorically speaking, not literally – I hope the man lives a long but miserable life.

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Now before everyone lectures me about Christian forgiveness, I will remind people I am not longer religious or a Christian.  One thing I do feel is that justice should be served.  I may be a former adulterer, but I at least tried to confess it to my flock and would have if not for this man’s interference. I know he is a two-faced, backstabbing liar and that is enough for me.  I doubt he will ever admit it, so he continues to lie to cover things up.  Maybe he lies to himself more than anyone else.

On thing I do think is such a thing should come to an end as he has no honor or sense of fidelity.  I just hope I am around to see it; so I can smile as the fall takes place.  There is an old proverb – “Meditate on the bank of the river long enough, and you will see the body of your enemy floating by.”  Hopefully it is true. If you hear the sound of clapping when it happens, it will be me applauding as the body floats by.

Perhaps you are also saying I am going back on my treating people was people with this one.  I would say I am simply following Christianity here seeing he is a Christian.  I am treating him like he treated me.  That’s apparently how he wants to be treated, because that how he treated me.  As a pagan with a pagan sense of justice, I just want to see the scale balanced.

‘Few’ Goodbyes:

Oddly enough this is not the toughest thing.  It’s the lack of the ability to say goodbye to my flock that hurts the most sometimes.  Despite my struggles with faith and the affair, I still loved and cared for them like a shepherd.  Because of how this was handled by my ‘friend’, I knew there would be a lynch mob waiting for me after that if I went back.  I have been left with people contacting me and that has been few in number.  Each time it has happened though, I have had a measure of healing come into my life.

I don’t really blame them.  I know they were misinformed and tricked by someone they trust. It’s why I was fired and denied severance as well.  I let a lot of that go and because they were my sheep I loved very much; I forgive them.  The treacherous ram in the middle of them?  Well, he just showed his true colors. I never should have turned my back to him. Live and learn.

Maybe in a year or so I can go back and say goodbye to those who are still there.  By then perhaps people will have different thoughts on the whole thing.  I don’t know.  My daughter has always joked with me that she was going to throw an over the hill party when I turned 50. I guess the invite list could have a few select people from the church on it if she does. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing some of them again.  They are good people and I miss many of them.

Conclusion:

I don’t know if this has done anything but help me get through the fog a little and see clearly my path.  You don’t get very far glancing over shoulder or looking back.  My whole thing is to identify what is weighing me down and find a way to deal with it.  Either to cast it off, change it so it isn’t so heavy or learn how to cope with it. I think writing this out and having it out there has been good for my soul.  I need that right now and this has definitely helped as I have written it.  It’s good to know your enemy and even better when part of that enemy is yourself.

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Once again, my purpose here is not to stir up feelings.  If I have, I do apologize.  But I have been struggling with this for a little while now.  I have talked with my wife about it and that has helped but I needed to clear my head.   One thing that has always helped has blogging about stuff.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

A Skald’s Life – Foundational Virtues – End of the Semester Surge

Happy Moon’s Day

Journal Entry:

As Thanksgiving approaches for those of us who are students, the end of the semester surge is upon us where we have too many papers, too many pages of reading left, too many exams to study for and too many projects.  It’s time for the end of the semester surge where we put every waking moment into getting things done. My 49-year-old super senior ass is no exception.

This one is a little different.  It’s my last one of undergrad work for this my third degree. Probably my last ever undergrad semester and to be honest, it makes me a little sad.  I have enjoyed every moment of going back to school even the hard semesters. I have discovered there is a better person here than was there three and a half years ago.  Someone who can face the tests of education in his older age and come out smiling. But most of all it has been my privileged to get to know a younger generation class after class and started me thinking very highly of them.

Most older people decry the younger generation.  The Millennials certainly seem to be a favorite punching bag of those retired and working for a living as an example of entitlement and privilege.  Lazy and naive about real life.  Unable to get out of their glass bubble and face the real world.  I have not found this to be so.  Instead I have found much my like my own generation when we were young; a group of people with diverse points view, dreams and hopes for the future. They work hard in a lot of ways and understand things that I have difficulty grasping.  Mostly I have found  group of people who care deeply about others and the world around them.  They may be different but they are no better or worse than any other generation before them.  The have the same fears and joys. they just express them differently in a different world. I have come to love and respect them,

I am also happy to be done.  I love learning but there is a time to move on and the time is now.  I don’t know completely what the future holds but I am happy for the experience of going to school again and learning.  When I walk across the platform December 15th, I know I will be the happiest I have been in a long time.  I need this achievement because it means I can still do things I want to do.  I can still set goals and achieve them.  No matter what others say, I have this confidence in myself.

Honor:

Honor is the feeling of inner value and worth from which one knows that one is noble of being, and the desire to show respect for this quality when it is found in the world”

Principle – Be positive about my future

I was meditating the other day and a thought came to me about my closure issues. Sometimes you don’t choose when a door gets shut, but that doesn’t mean you have to walk through it again. When it comes to the past I guess this is something to take to heart. I can’t let the past’s open doors be a hindrance to finding new doors to open. Closure will come in its own good time. Honor does not depend on closure, it depends on being positive about my future.

Courage:

“Courage is the bravery to do what is right always.”

Principle – Act with Courage at the right time.

The end of school is fast approaching so the act of bravery that I am contemplating is dusting off my resume and sending it out at month’s end.  I haven’t looked for a new career in a long time.  Note I said career and not job.  I am not sure what occupation I want to be yet.  In that respects I am still a typical college student.  I want to find something that is a career I can enjoy and that leads to better and better things for me and my wife.

Truth:

“Truth is the willingness to be honest and to say what one knows to be true and right. It is often better to not say anything at all if one cannot be honest.”

Principle – Pursue knowledge, wisdom and truth at all times.

If there is anything that bothers me from time to time it’s when people tell me what they were told that I did and it is far from the truth. This still bothers me, but the rumor mill is what it is.  My question I constantly ask myself is if it is worth it to respond.  My answer is most often ‘No.’  Mostly becasue any person who is just rumor mongering about me isn’t worth the time.

Morning Routine:

  1. Review Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) and Principles
  2. Review Goals
  3. Review Bucket List
  4. Full Body Stretch
  5. Meditate on One of the Virtues
  6. Breakfast
  7. Supplements and Medicines
  8. Shower and Personal Hygiene
  9. Get Dressed for the Day

Very solid and the meditation time is more formal. I have it take my phone and it’s stopwatch for it.  Three minutes is usually enough. Once school is done, there might be some changes to it as far as additions but perhaps I would be better served with an evening routine. I have just never had a lot of success with those.

Bucket List:

  1. Go Back to Budapest, Hungary for a vacation.
  2. Get My Tattoos.
  3. Actually Get Drunk.
  4. Smoke a Joint.
  5. Hike the Northern Lakeshore Trail along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
  6. Write My Novel.
  7. Learn Latin.
  8. Learn Hungarian.
  9. Weightlifting – Bench 225 lbs, Squat 315 lbs, and Deadlift 405 lbs.
  10. Start my own business

The more I look at things on this Bucket List, I am thinking my tattoos might be the first thing or at least get the first couple.  Getting drunk and smoking a joint I might keep for a special occasion of some sort.  Writing my Novel will probably start as soon as school is over and I am thinking spend an hour on it minimum as part of the daily routine will replace my study time. Many of the other ones are going to require prosperity.  My wife wants to go on a cruise, I would like it to be a European river cruise that stops in Budapest.

Weightlifting:

The gym question remains.  Much is unknown so I need a gym that will go month to month, but I also have little reason once school is over to drive into the town when my current gym is. It might mean switching to a gym where I currently work and then waiting and seeing what happens to the job situation. For that purpose I have fund a smaller gym in the city I work and that might do very well for me.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

The Pagan Pulpit – Stan Lee – Being a Writer

Happy Sun’s Day:

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods and goddesses, or whatever powers that be either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves, and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not giving to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never see a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

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Seems like every time I turn around here some great icon I love has died and this week its a man who probably inspired my imagination more than any other during his life. Mostly because he has been around from the beginning.  Spider-Man was to be my favorite comic character for his human struggles, snappy sarcastic wit and he was just plain cool.  But I also found myself reading Stan’s editorial comments in his comic books and discovered a man who was inspiring in his imagination and advice to writers and aspiring comic book artists.  This session of the Pagan Pulpit salutes Marvel Comics’ heart and soul – Stan Lee (1922-2018) – RIP.

Opening Song: Spider Man Theme Song 1960s

A song from my childhood and one that celebrates probably the best comic character of all time. It may be a cheesy song from the 1960s but that was normal back then.  In any case, my Saturday morning cartoons were dotted with comic book super heroes and Spidey was one of them.  Stan’s ultimate genius was a character that was real as a person but super as a hero.

Poem:

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This poem went viral when Stan wrote it. He released it about two years ago.  It speaks for itself.  Stan was a pretty standard poet.  His words however were anything but normal or standard.

Meditation:

See the source image

Song of Preparation: X-Men Opening Theme

More cartoon stuff but from my teen age to early twenties (yes, I read comics and watched super hero cartoons well into adulthood).  The X-Men were favorites of mine with the underlying tone of them being a call against racism. Stan Lee had a way of letting his characters not only be real, but also they addressed tough issues and the X-Men and its mutants were one of those groups that addressed a hard social issue. Particularly what society does with those that are perceived to be monsters or outcasts.

Text:

“The only advice anyone can give is, if you want to be a writer. keep writing.  And read all you can, read everything.”

Sermon:

Writing is one of my passions of course.  People who talk about writing get my attention.  In truth one of my early instructors was Stan Lee.  Not just through reading his comics but he would have an editorial at the beginning of every comic I read specifically to that group or character.  I loved every moment of reading those.  I mean my friends would read comics but I think I was the only one in my group of friends reading the editorial notes and thinking about how the comics were produced.  The one message that came through is that everything started with a great story.

This is still true.  We have digitized just about everything, but the imagination that casts the original story is still in the writer. It wasn’t the super powers that caught my attention, it was the characters and the story they were in and Stan Lee recognized this.  That’s why his characters and stories survived while many other comics died and disappeared. No matter how cool your graphics, if the story sucks or the people can’t relate to the characters, people will not read it.

You have to be real when you write.  Stan had this thing for the real.  His most famous quote about this is that when it came to comic books he felt they were like boobs. They might look great on a computer, but he would rather have them in his hand.  I concur with this observation and I still feel the same way bout books and other things I read.  I like to sit in a chair and read them and I feel they should sit in my hand as real objects that books, comic books or magazines.  I also feel the same about boobs as well.  Some things have more reality than others.  The more senses you use the more real things seem.

The advice Stan gives to writers is two-fold – 1) Never stop writing.  Keep doing it.  2) Read everything you can.  Not unique perhaps but when you hear enough successful writers say this you begin to realize it is probably true.   As I am now considering writing as a career path, the advice seems more applicable.   It’s advice I will take to heart for the rest of my life.

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Closing Song: Avengers – Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – Theme Song:

If the X-Men took on racism, just about every issue along with that one, the Avengers addressed.  One of my favorite groups because the cast of characters was constantly revolving and changing,  It introduced me to a lot of characters and character development and as a writer I love that.

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Stan Lee, you cannot know how many of us loved your work.  You were more than a comic book artist or entertainer.  You were a person who inspired many of us to believe that a better humanity was possible.  That no matter how dark the evil might be, heroes would rise up from the human race and fight it. It was this notion that kept many of us from going off the deep end.  Your work inspired my imagination and for that I will always be grateful.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

The Grey Wayfarer (Fantasy Serial) -Chapter 4 – Three Gifts (Odin)

Happy Saturn’s Day

Odin frowned.  The whole situation was an odd one.  The man called Beorn Erickson was certainly a brave man.  Magic that can cross the boundaries of world is no small matter and to take on the risk of death was worthy of Valhalla.  The man had courage, if he died in battle the Valkyrie would certainly take him.  Freya would probably do it herself.  Beorn was an old name but Odin had already started to call him his title – The Grey Wayfarer.  It was easier to think of him that way as the man who might bring about Ragnarök.

Odin sat in his chair in front of the fire, pondering.  Frigg was busy getting some gifts ready for The Wayfarer.  Gifts that had been prepared long ago but now needed to be presented.  Foresight was a terrible thing to live with.  The Grey Wayfarer was a man whose death would bring the end, if all the visions Frigg and himself had seen were true.  That last vision of Fenrir’s jaws closing about him had haunted his dreams.

Beorn completely recovered in a couple of days  He was walking about and stretching his limbs.  Odin gave him some small-clothes as well a tunic to wear around the cabin. He certainly had a good appetite and the wolves and ravens had taken a liking to him.  Probably mostly due to the fact that like Odin, the Wayfarer gave them meat as treats.  The two of them would converse and Odin had learned a great deal.

Beorn had acquired the amulet from a wizard of sorts.  He had begun to only suspect its power and then he finally did try to use it a couple of times.  One test had resulted in a great deal of pain.  The time it actually did work, it was extremely painful.  There was a price in pain to be paid to change worlds.  Odin nodded and approved.  He himself had paid the price for knowledge a couple of times.  His missing eye reminded him sometimes sacrifices had to be made.

Finally the day came where the Wayfarer would receive his gifts.  Odin would then set him on the path.

“Beorn, tomorrow you will set out on a journey.  Frigg and I always will offer you hospitality, but there are greater forces at work and your arrival will not be unobserved by those who know magic.”

“I understand.  I too am anxious to begin.  I have felt this wandering in my feet for a long time.  It’s why I came here.  I am looking for something and I don’t know what it is.”

“Destiny is not fate.  Your choices are your own and they will show you the path. I can show you the way, but not your ultimate destination.  I also would not send you on this path without aid.  It is perilous and you can still die.  There is no fate here, just emotion that says certain ends will take place.  We see your end but not the journey.  That journey could be short or long. That is up to you.”

“I must All-Father, thank you and Frigg for your hospitality.  I thank you for your advice and the information you provided me,  I suspect my journey will be long and interesting.”

“You are welcome.  This is only one of my dwellings.  Valhalla is another.  Asgard is still the realm of the gods.  You walk now in Midgard but all the nine realms are represented here.  Remember that and those that dwell in each place.  It may very well be that your path will touch all of them. But now, there are three gifts we wish to give you.”

The first gift was a set of traveling clothes.  It was pants, tunic, boots of leather, a belt of leather.  There was a cape to go over the shoulders that had a hood that could be pulled over the head. The cloth was made of an unknown fabric. Beorn couldn’t place it.  It was a medium grey color.  The whole thing from head to toe. It was comfortable and fit him like a glove.

“The fabric is unique, one of Frigg’s inventions.  It will keep you somewhat warm from the cold but also breathes very well in the heat.  It will keep you from getting wet.  Of course if you fall in a river it will need to dry off but it is resistant to dampness and the elements.  It won’t mold or rot. Is it comfortable?”

“Yeah, like it was tailored for me.”

Frigg was standing behind Odin and she smiled.

“Good. Now I would not set you out on a journey without a way to protect yourself.  So I give you this.”

Odin stood and crossed the room and retrieved a staff of ash wood that had been leaning on the side of the fireplace.

“Like my spear, this staff is made from the ash wood of the world tree. It has other powers but I cannot tell you exactly what they are.  You must discover them as you go on your journey.  For now it is a strong staff and a thus a good weapon to fend off those that would try to rob you or the beasts that would try to eat you.”

Odin handed the staff to Beorn, who when he touched it swore he saw runes appear along it briefly.  The shimmered in a glowing white and then were gone. He looked at Odin.

“Like I said, it has powers, you must discover them.”

Odin sat back down.  Frigg left the room, when she returned she was holding a satchel like handbag. It was made of grey leather.

“I had Frigg make this for you.  Take off your cape and drape it across your shoulder.  Yes, like that.  This satchel is much larger on the inside than it appears outside.  It also reduces the weight of what is inside it significantly.  You can carry a lot in it and it won’t encumber you much.  If you ever get a sword or axe, you can wear them to the appropriate side with the satchel on the other.

“All-Father and Lady Frigg, thank you.  I do not know how to repay your kindness to me or why you are giving it.”

“We have our reasons, but we cannot say what they are.  I can only say these things will make your journey easier in some ways.  Other things we have foreseen will be painful no matter what gift we give.  I suspect the other gods will either help or hinder your journey as they see fit. I trust I do not have to warn you that all of them are here in this place.  Be mindful of who you are dealing with.  The legends you may know may contain some truth but also may contain some falsehoods.”

“I understand All-Father.”

Odin looked at Frigg, seem to hesitate and then he spoke again.

“One last thing.  That amulet is more powerful than you know. It does much more than you have discovered. It is a key that opens doors and allows you, as you have already discovered, to cross boundaries.  Do not take this power lightly and know that many will try to take it from you.  Guard it well.  My advice would be to never take it off.”

Beorn nodded.

That night Frigg laid out a fine meal.  A feast really for the three of them. Odin of course only drank the mead as he never eats.  But Frigg and The Grey Wayfarer ate and all three of them had pleasant conversation.  They agreed that at morning light Beorn would set out on his journey.

After Beorn went to bed.  Odin sat in his chair pondering.  The flames of the fire danced in his eye.  Frigg found her way to his side and placed his hand on his shoulder.  He looked at her and smiled. He put his arm around her waist and pulled her to his lap where she sat wrapping her arms around his neck.  They kissed each other.  After a moment of holding one another Frigg stood up and headed to their bedchamber.

Odin smiled as he watched her walk away.  After all these years, her moving curves still pleased him.  He thought to himself that no greater wife could a man find.  He downed the last of the mead in his cup.  He stroked the ears of his wolves for a minute. Then he stood himself and followed Frigg to the bedchamber. Both the ravens followed him with their eyes.  They cawed softly.  He looked back at them and nodded.  The Grey Wayfarer would begin his journey on the morrow and everything would change.  He entered the bedchamber, the curtain falling behind him.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

Rogue Wizard: The Fire of Fury – Part 1 – Past Reflections

Happy Saturn’s Day 

Rogue Wizard’s Journal – January 1st, 2019

2018 was one bad year.  I mean I did finishing my degree at school, I am now looking for a new job in earnest and I have an internship to complete.  But there was also losing my faith, my ministry as a pastor, almost losing my marriage and all the crap of the rest of it.  Honestly, I am glad 2018 behind me and hope that 2019 is better.  I guess why I am starting this journal thing is I want to see what happens and chronicle it for a lot of reasons.  It should be noted that each entry could be my last.

That is one reason I am doing this journal.  The Council made me do this thing where I chronicled my past from the time I got my magical abilities until I set them aside in my late teens.  I guess I got used to writing the chronicles of my life and now that I have once again taken up the mantle of ‘wizard’, I think it might be helpful for posterity sake. Particularly if something happens to me, that I can leave a record of my battle against the tyranny that is the Council.  I may have had to leave my family behind at some point and go underground to protect them.  I hope this journal will explain things to them if it finds itself in their hands.  Seeing it can only be seen and touched by someone who shares my lineage, it might remain hidden from the Council and find its way to them.

My recent magical troubles started with the death of a person who I shared a protective link with; which meant the protection that link gave me from discovery vanished.  My innate magical abilities could be detected and I was indeed captured by the Council because I was unaware this had happened.  I wasn’t really captured, so much as constantly being watched and warned not to try to run.  House arrest you might say.

During this time I was asked, not too politely to chronicle the story of how I discovered my powers, what people influenced my magical abilities and why I set them aside. I did this and it was of immense interest to them but the joke was on them.  I put a spell in the ink that very few know.  It basically sets itself on fire once the spell’s trigger is cast.  All those journal entries, up in smoke as soon as the last entry was written and read.  Lost forever.

I also pretty much gave the middle finger to the Council with my final entry. “Come get me bitches.”  Probably not the wisest thing to do. Well they did, but they miss fired and hit my wife instead.

“Sorry, sir.  Your wife is dead and we are damned if we can find a cause.”

Terrible words to hear, seeing my wife and I had just reconciled after almost getting a divorce. But I knew the cause, magic.  I could practically smell it and at the funeral when I was finally left alone with her body, a quick magic spell told me I was right – some sort of death spell.  I also at that moment knew that neither I nor my family was safe. I could mourn my wife to the point of being vulnerable or turn the love I had for her into motivation to act.  I chose the latter.

To my family who may find this – I love you, but I am sure that the Council would kill every single one of you to get to me.  I may have to leave to protect you because I love you. I can’t say anything because the less you know about where I might go and where I might be the better.

The fact my wife died on November 1st is probably fitting as it is All Saints’ Day. I am not much of a Christian anymore, but my wife is probably the best example of Christian forgiveness I know.  It has only been a short time but a lot has happened.

I used her life insurance to pay all our debts and finish off our apartment lease.  I was in constant fear most of this time that the Council would try again but I have remained calm. Done what need to be done and now that school is over, I have little to do except continue to look for a job.  I have enough life insurance left to hold me over for six months with everything paid off, so there is no immediate rush. I have an internship to do in the spring term, so I am going to do that.

The real puzzle I am having in my head is why the Council has not tried again?  I can’t figure it, as I was sure they would try right after their misfires.  That death spell is necromancy of the first order and that means the Death Angels – The Council’s number one hit squad.  I mean they could have attacked and had it out with me by now but in truth I haven’t even detected any magical presence nearby.  It is a puzzle.

I am not afraid of that final confrontation one way or the other.  I have discovered my abilities have not really suffered that much in the interim.  I mean I need to practice a little to get my skills back up, but my raw naked magical ability is still up there.  This is particularly true in schools of magic known as evocation and abjuration.  For the layperson, that means I am really good and burning, electrifying and freezing shit and protecting myself with shields that nullify from the same, as well as protect me from other forces.  I am good and Divination but not great, so I can discern and detect things with magic.  Illusion is weak, like feeble weak.  I suck at conjuration, enchantment and transmutation, so only the most basic spells in those schools I can do. I have never even tried necromancy – not even a single spell.

I am actually quite unusual in this regard that I can do two schools with a great deal of power and skill.  Most mages have one and maybe a secondary.  I really have two, and a secondary along with other small abilities in the rest except Necromancy. I refuse to go Necromancy, so I don’t really know there.  Hey, I may be rogue wizard but a trip to the dark side is not in the cards – yet.

My battle abilities ready, they have yet to be recently tested.  So, I break out my books of magic and study.  I set my wards to block detection and my security runes using evocation.  My office room in the apartment now looks more like a wizards lab.  Thankfully the landlady doesn’t have reason to even talk to me seeing I paid my rent to the end of summer.  At least the rest of the place is clean. It’s the one thing I am OCD about.

The real problem is all my former contacts in the magical world are either dead, far away, estranged from me or I have no idea where they might be. I am really blind when it comes to intelligence and I am pretty much friendless in the magical world.  Well not completely without friends in the magical world – there is Nevermore.

Nevermore is my familiar – He is a Raven.  Just today I pulled him out of his pocket dimension and he looked at me with the most quizzical expression.  Then I remembered it had been thirty years to me, but to Nevermore time had not passed.  He knew it was me because of our bond, but he was probably wondering why his young friend looked so old.  I told him the story and apologized to him for waiting so long to revive him.  He cawed softly.  I stroked his head.  At least I wasn’t completely alone.

I could look for allies,  I mean the Grove is just of couple miles away; I still live in Redberg.  That said, I know I was banned for life from the Grove. All I would get would be spears and swords, if I went there. Yeah, no hope in that direction. The entity that rules that place shut me out a long time ago and quite frankly seeing her again would be very painful to me. So what does that leave?  Not much.  Perhaps I can journey to one of the cities and find the underground magic community.  Who knows?  Right now, I would give anything if Mr and Mrs. W were still alive. But they are gone and so is my father and my wife.

If I have learned anything about magic though, it is that people who practice it get drawn together.  It is like a magnet. I know for instance now that I am using my power more it will draw people like the faerie to it like moths to flame.  The word will get out that I am back which causes other problems. As much as I have few friends left in the magical world, I really don’t know the state of my enemies.

Let’s See.  I killed the Mane of House Mars when I was in eight grade/freshman. I am fairly certain that they were trying to kill me for that right up until I dropped off the radar.  House Venus asked me to do something that I refused to do which in their world is a breach of trust.  I had promised them I would honor them for their silence about my existence by doing what they asked from time to time.  I was under the impression I had some choice about what I would do; they disagreed.  There is a reason The Council knows I am here and it is House Venus. There is also the assorted faerie from the Grove who might hostile.  Several mages and creatures I have beaten in battle. Yeah, the list of enemies is long.

This is a real problem as get back into this dangerous game. Allies can be the difference between life and death and I have far too few of them. On the flip side, my enemies list could get really long in a quick hurry. Hell, it’s already too long. I need to do some prodding and poking to see what shakes loose. I need most of all to know why the entirety of the Council’s Death Angels haven’t come down on my head already.

Hopefully by my next entry, I will have some answers.  The clock just struck midnight so – Happy New Year.

Author’s Notes: As I start this project, I am sure people are wondering the rationale behind killing my wife off.  Well, it is certainly not because I wish it to happen. I would say the most devastating thing that could happen to me right now would be my wife dying. She has been my rock in my life of late.  She has most definitely brought healing to me and her love is my motivation.

No.  The Rationale is that it would be the one thing that would probably motivate me to vengeance if someone killed her.  I wouldn’t take that lying down; someone would pay for it. Characters need motivation and the character of the Rogue Wizard, that persona, needs motivation that is very personal.

November 1st is also where the time lines between my real life and the time line of this fictional story split. This story is completely divergent in its time line.  I can do everything differently that it in reality pans out. In the real-time line my wife is alive and well and I hope she stays that way for decades to come.

The issue of past characters I brought up last time in the introduction.  There is one that will never appear and I think in this chapter I have addressed who they are and why they will never appear. That’s not to say they won’t influence the story because they were a large part of the backdrop canon known as The Hedge.  But that is all it will be influence and backdrop. I knew people would be asking questions about it, so I hope I have headed things off.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

A Skald’s Life – Self Virtues – Holiday Nutrition

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day

Journal Entry:

My friend recently posted the above meme and generated a very interesting discussion between his wife, himself and the few other friends he tagged.

Whenever I have lost weight I always get the comment: “Holidays are coming, what you going to do then?” Well, for one I am not going to annoy people about my dietary accomplishments.  It undercuts the whole spirit of celebration that is supposed to be around the holidays.

Secondly, I am going to live with the understanding that one day here and there off diet is not going to destroy my plans.  I can participate with my family in whatever they are eating.  If its meat laden I will probably grab more of it along with veggies and fruit where available. I will have things I am not supposed to eat with my diet.  It will be a scheduled cheat day and I will cheat because it is good for the soul to just enjoy life and all the food that is available.

Finally, the rest of the time during the holidays, I will be very strictly Paleo with my intermittent fasting every other week.  This will be at least 6 out of seven days and will more than make up for the one day here and there that is bad. More details do follow.

As for the rest of this journal entry, I am feeling better although this week has been very frustrating as my car has been out of commission, so my wife and I have had to juggle things and borrow.  Our other car has had two flat tires this week.  Yeah, not feeling really friendly toward cars these days.

Discipline:

“Discipline is the willingness to be hard on oneself first and then if needed help with the development with others, so that greater purposes may be achieved.”

Principle: Apply discipline to every aspect of life that it can be applied.

My discipline is being stretched right now as the end of the semester is upon me for the last time ( for this degree anyway).  I am really struggling to get things done but it is not as bad as it was.  I am now in the mode where I realize each day a lot of writing needs to get done.  This blog becomes my break from all that academic writing, so I look forward to it every morning.  I am starting to get hard on myself though with the studies. It will pay off.

Perseverance:

“Perseverance is the ability to stand up and return from defeat and failure”

Principle: Keep getting up after every defeat or failure.

I haven’t been defeated yet, I haven’t failed in a while.  That said, I prepare myself for the inevitable reality of it.  This is why I spend time meditating and trying to find ways to heal up a little better.  I also prepare my mind for this reality. I know I will fail to get defeated at some point, the preparation is so I get up quickly and get going again as fast as possible.

Fidelity: 

“Fidelity is the will to be loyal to one’s Gods and Goddesses, to one’s Folk, to one’s self, and loyalty to one’s friends was as valued as highly as loyalty to one’s family.”

Principle: Be loyal to those who have been loyal to me.

The issue of thanksgiving comes up as a loyalty concern to God for some.  I am not sure that is what this holiday is about.  It’s probably more about being thankful that there is a good meal on the table, family, friends and football.  If there is a family holiday it is this one.  I will write a little more on this in next weeks Odin’s Eye, but for now I can say my feelings about this holiday are still the same, but I find that perhaps it was always more about family than faith.

The subject of friendship comes up a lot.  I have lost quite a few and I have cut off more than my share.  I tend to be very loyal to my friends.  Almost to a fault. At the same time my circle is small because I don’t trust at that level with just anyone.  Recent events have made me even more cautious about who I say is my friend.  I am already introverted so most of my friends are extroverts who adopted me or long time friends who are more like family.  I probably could use a few more close friends but because I give much, I expect much in return.

I guess having been so disappointed recently in many of my ‘friends’, I am a little gun-shy about friendship in general. Seems like people only want your friendship because they gain something out of it and the moment you become a problem for them, they dump you. I don’t think I could take that right now, my heart is bruised enough already.

Weekly Routine: 

  1. Weightlifting – 4 days per week.
  2. Cleaning – 3 days a week.
  3. Walking – 4 days a week

Solid this week, I only missed a day of walking because a class was cancelled. It still brings up the fact I need to find some alternative when I don’t have school and that will be very soon.

Nutrition:

OK.  The details of this nutritional plan are all about my 50th birthday which is Monday, March 18th, 2019.  MY goal here is to be in the best shape I have been in a long time in terms of fat loss, my muscles lean and strong and the whole thing flexible.  I want to look really good.  My main struggle for years was nutrition, but I think I have found a formula that works for me as evidenced by recent gains.

It’s just not as tight as it could be. I am not strictly Paleo as carbs do find their way into my diet probably every day and I want to handle that.  Mostly it is bread because sandwiches are cheap.  I also would have to say cereal is like that too. I need a bread substitute and something like cereal with the same affordability and quickness of preparation.  Something to research this week.

I haven’t always been strict of have a pattern about the intermittent fasting either.  I want to do this every week. I eat breakfast so I can take my pills and after that I should go on a no food lock down until 2 pm.  My eating window should be breakfast and from 2 pm to 8 pm.  If I get a different job that is more normal than the 4 am to 1 pm I usually work then this would probably shift to noon to 8 pm and I would take my pills at noon. I actually would probably like that a lot.

I am going to run this diet from November 23rd (Day after Thanksgiving) until my birthday and probably to the end of March.  Cheat meals will be the holiday gatherings and birthdays.  I will also give myself three cheats a week during this time which I might add as a part of the weekly routine to count it. In the meantime I need to do some research for Paleo alternatives to certain things.

Weekly Recap:

Foundational – I don’t know about things here still.  I feel good about some of it and feel other parts of it still need work.  I have discovered that not giving a shit what people think can lead to sense of self value and thus honor.  That said, honor is still a struggle. Courage is much better and so is Truth.  If anything Truth has been off the chain for me lately and I have to exercise a lot more tongue biting than normal.

Business – The basic struggle here is still the same.  My wife and I need to get to a place of financial security that has enough extra prosperity to start working our plans.  Right now things are tight because we need to really increase our income.  Once that happens, Self-reliance and Hospitality will be much easier.  Both of us are definitely hard-working so that’s not a problem.

Self – The friendship fidelity questions remain but the Discipline and Perseverance questions are less and less each week.  I am starting to feel a little more relaxed about things because of those two.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

Odin’s Eye – Objections to Christianity – Part 2 – Sin: An Imaginary Man-Made Problem

Happy Thor’s Day

Introduction:

My loss of faith really started here.  I can actually go back to a message I was preaching on sin and salvation through Christ and the fact this quote from Dan Barker from Losing Faith in Faith ( a book I still want to read) was rolling around in my head.  I was trying to think of something that would make his assertion wrong.  I got up preached the message and sat down.  I can site this moment as the time my crisis of faith began. I realized he was right.

I realized there is no proof that sin rationally exists.  I only believed that because that was what I was told by a preacher and read it in the Bible.  Unless the Bible was truly inspired, then I had no natural or logical proof that there was this thing called sin, a sinful nature or my actions were righteous or sinful. God Himself had never come down and told me I was a sinner, that was men either in the form of preachers or the men who wrote the Bible.  Over time, I began to realize that sin has the same problem as the inspiration of the Bible – the Bible asserts it but never proves it.

Going back to my pulpit moment, I sat there thinking and my faith started to unravel.  I sat there thinking: “I make a living by telling people they are sinners so they will feel guilty, then they accept the ‘gospel’ and feel better.  Out of gratitude they throw money in the basket and pay me. WTF.”  It was a bad moment for me and one that led to my eventual downfall over two years later.

Faith:

If you are a believer you take the existence of sin as purely a matter of faith.  Basically, if you believe that sin exists, you do it for the same reasons you believe the Bible is inspired.  You have faith it is true – you hope and believe it is true, but you do not have a proof or a rational argument to say it is true.  The Bible writers assume sin is real and a problem.  They never prove it, and the believer is left to take that sin exists as a reality and that God has solved it.  You believe all that without rational evidence.  It is purely a matter of faith.

Religion:

I now think that sin is a man-made concept.  It probably originally. like so many things might have had a good intention.  To keep people from making bad decisions given the cultural context.  I mean sex without birth control and modern medicine can lead to deadly diseases and unwanted pregnancies. So you tell people not to have sex except with people they are committed to and get married to so the child will be legitimate. The practical side of this is the lessened risk of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. It is a wise course of action.

When just showing the wisdom of this to others doesn’t work, you throw in the wrath of God to bring about a more forceful form of persuasion – tell them it’s a sin against God and He will bring down his wrath on the one who sins.  This is where you make up the concept that sexual sin is an affront to God and he will send you to hell if you don’t repent of it and stop doing it.  It is ultimately a fear tactic that uses guilt to prevent certain behaviors.

The dark side of this gets worse though as people genuinely think they’re taking the side of God when the punish sinners.  The real problem with sin is that some people think they have risen above the concept of it.  They feel qualified to judge others using their religious beliefs. It gets worse because the said concept can be held by people in power who wish to impose their views on people to create a ‘righteous society’.  To force others to follow your moral code of some behaviors being sin and thus outlawed. The problem is the difficulty using reason to prove something is a sin.  It’s not self-evident.

Theology:

I don’t believe in sin as a theological concept anymore. I think in large part it is a bad one because all it does is produce guilt and then in a guilt-ridden state people can be manipulated.  I haven’t looked at this fully but I have a theory a large part of religious people have a poor self-concept and that is because they have a large amount of guilt associated with their ‘sins’.  This leads them to think they are bad or even evil people and the cycle of self-destruction begins.  You spend a lot of time putting on masks at that point to protect yourself from the social wrath of being a sinner while at the same time being wracked with guilt because you can’t seem to escape your sin. If it sounds like I have been there – yep.  I would say a lot of my initial causes of depression came from this struggle.

My theology about mankind has certainly changed since I discarded man as a sinner.  I don’t think of myself as a sinner but simply a human being. I am not all-powerful, all-knowing or all-present; so I am going to make mistakes and there is really nothing I can do about it. I have needs that are normal.  Wants that are normal.  I have my reason and wisdom to guide me. I am not perfect and I make mistakes and have errors in judgment, but that doesn’t mean I am a sinner, just human. To me, life is no longer about overcoming sin and removing it from my life.  Rather, it is about discovering the virtue in me and causing it to grow. And there is a virtue in who I am as a human being if I look for it and develop it.  It about growing into the best human being I can be.

Spirituality:

This is why spiritually speaking I spend more time meditating on the Nine Noble Virtues as a way to learn where I need to grow. I am not trying to get rid of sin out of my life, praying that God is gracious, etc. I have come to see some things as normal and human, not sinful.  My goal now is to build character, not remove sin because I think sin is a made up imaginary concept.  I meditate on the good things, not the bad things.  I grow the good in me, rather than trying to deny my humanity by calling it sinful. I find it makes me much happier and far more at ease in this world.

Conclusion:

After concluding that the Bible is a human book with no proof of inspiration and the sin is a concept made up by the writers of the Bible.  There are only two things left on my four objections to Christianity.  The first is the other imaginary thing the Bible creates which is the solution to sin being Salvation in Christ and finally, the god of the Bible seems to have very suspect standards of justice.

You will have to hang on a while though as next week I will talk about how I can as a Deist, Humanist Pagan celebrate Thanksgiving.  The week after that I will talk about Why I am a Humanist.  Then I will get to my third theological objection to Christianity on the first Thursday of December. The remaining schedule for Odin’s Eye for the year looks like this:

November 22 – Why I Celebrate Thanksgiving (as a Deist, Humanist Pagan).

November 29 – Why I Am a Humanist

December 6 – Objections to Christianity – Part 3 – Salvation through Christ – An Imaginary Man Made Solution.

December 13 – Why I Am A Pagan

December 21 – Yule

December 28 – Objections to Christianity – Part 4 – The Justice of the God (Hell)

Then it will be on to the New Year.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

A Skald’s Life – Business Virtues – Am I Happy?

Happy Woden’s (Odin) Day

Journal Entry:

I have heard a lot of comments this week from people who perhaps haven’t seen me in a while.  Mostly, I get the comment about how much weight I have lost.  I am guessing, because I haven’t stepped on a scale in a while, probably over 50 lbs.  The other thing I hear is “you look like you’re happier.”

I have spent a lot of time thinking about that statement.  The main reason I did what I did this spring and summer was I was tired of being unhappy and wanted that to change.  I identified what I thought was making me unhappy and began to shuck it off and found a few things I thought would make me happy and embraced them.  This was a very trying time for me in many ways, but I also discovered that there was a lot of relief. I think lies drain your happiness and when you stop lying to yourself and others, the strain of maintaining them gives a relief.

In the end, I discarded a lot of draining things.  In would warn other introverts who want to go into ministry that people drain you and unless you have a true way to recharge yourself, you will get to the point you are no longer happy.  I would say a bad marriage drains you.  I would say trying to maintain a faith you no longer possess drains you.  I was experiencing all those things and now I am not.  I am no longer in the ministry so I keep my happiness instead of giving it to others.  My marriage I much better and has shifted from being a drain on my happiness to a creator of happiness.  It is work, but that is something I am happy to see.  I am honest about my lack of faith in Christianity, but I find this actually makes me happier.  One axiom from Christianity that I still embrace is ‘the truth will set you free.”

There are still things that I struggle with.  I don’t like losing friends but that has happened. One ‘friend’ I now consider a two-faced, backstabbing traitor and that bothers me immensely at times. I personally feel this is going to make me trusting people at that level again very difficult.  I feel guilty about some actions in the past.  As I said last week, sometimes the wounds and bruises on my heart make me sad at times.  There is also the ever-present Grey.

That said I feel I am at a turning point.  I am being honest with myself to the point where the wounds of the past both on my self and those I caused cannot be cured by anything but time.  Some of them will never fully heal and I can accept that. Time doesn’t heal all wounds.  Sorry, I can’t base my happiness on being fully healed someday.  I can just hope that my soul will be as healthy as it can be at the time.  Perhaps that is where my happiness will truly find me. One can only hope.

Self-Reliance:

“Self Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved not only for the individual, but also for the family, clan, tribe and nation.”

Principle: Work to be self-reliant in all things.

This weekend, I think I really began to see why for me working for someone will eventually be no longer be satisfying.  Mostly, I never feel self-sufficient in that situation.  The bucket list goal of owning my own business is the ultimate goal in this regard. I want something that will make me self-reliant completely and allows me the freedom to do the things I want to do.

Industriousness:

“Industriousness is the willingness to work hard, always striving for efficiency, as a joyous activity in itself”

Principle: Work with enjoyment of work itself.

I do enjoy working for work sake.  I never thought I would get there but there is something about work that makes a person feel better like they are actually productive. I think I have found that in my job and I am starting to feel it coming when it comes to school work. With only five weeks left in the semester, it’s about time.

Hospitality:

“Hospitality is the willingness to share what one has with one’s fellows, especially when they are far from home.”

Principle: Be ready to be hospitable to those who truly need it.

Hospitality requires a measure of prosperity.  One thing that kind of stands out but speaks to the state of our prosperity is our living room.  I kind of envision a place where I can have my friends over to talk, drink and perhaps even have a support group.  A sectional couch to seat a dozen or so and a bar.  A reading chair as part of that. Television for me is not part of the equation but my wife would want one and then of course end tables and lamps.  Yeah, we have three folding chairs and a television that is small on a broken down stand.  I feel we will have started to have some prosperity when our living room reflects it.

 Daily Routine:

  1. Communication / Cuddle Time
  2. Blogging
  3. Reading – 1 hour per day.
  4. Study / Homework – 1 hour per day or until all necessary work is completed.
  5. Empty In Box
  6. Financial Transaction Input

Solid here and I am working on making sure things get done each day.  At the end of the week, how many times I skip something is reported and I eventually want zero there for everything.  As it is I am 85% consistent.

Goals: 

  1. Be transparent with my wife to improve communication
  2. Graduate with Political Science Degree in December 2018.
  3. Find a new, better paying job by the end of January 2019 or before.
  4. In 2019 have  a clear budget and financial plan working by the end of the year.
  5. Maintain a daily blog streak of one post per day for an entire year (365 days).
  6. Keep gym membership going somewhere and lift weights minimum of four times per week and walk minimum four times per week through end of 2019
  7. Follow Paleo Diet completely and use intermittent fasting until the end of 2019
  8. Cross one thing off bucket list every six months (Deadlines July 1st, and December 31st of 2019)
  9. Be in the best shape I can be by March 18th, 2019 (50th birthday), take pictures.

Now that my goals have a little more specifics, I feel better about them.  I can see something measurable and I have deadlines.  #1 is more important to me than anything and so I am thinking on how to do that better.  We have improved  a lot but there is still a lot of ways to go. The deadline on my Bucket List is pivotal and a game changer.  Hopefully #2 and #3 will resolve themselves in a few months.

Budgeting: 

  1. Basic Emergency Fund – $1000
  2. Debt Snowball
  3. Fully funded Emergency fund
  4. Invest 15% of income into retirement
  5. Pay off Home Early
  6. Build Wealth and Give

It all comes down to one thing really – making more money.  Hopefully that will be the case in the next few months.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

Of Wolves and Ravens – Religion and Leadership

Happy Tyr’s Day

Introduction:

If there has been one thing I have learned in the last few month’s it is that people for some reason trust a person who is more religious than one who is not.  I am not sure what the congregation reacted the strongest to when I left my last church, the fact that I had an emotional affair, or that I left the faith.  I think if had been just the first I might have gotten off with lesser consequences from them but the notion that I, a pastor, had a crisis of faith seemed to bother them more than the affair.  At least for some.

There is a prevailing notion that a religious leader is more honest and truthful than one who is not. We see it in politics every year as one candidate or another with come out and declare their faith, quote from the Bible or declare how their faith in God has made them a better candidate than the other one.

I know for myself I have noted a change in how people perceive what I say.  I even had one guy say my opinion was now more invalid because I no longer had faith.  So much for basing assessment of validity on reason and the rules of logic.  The truth is while we may gravitate to religious leaders, they my be even more damning as far as leadership direction and motivation than their non-religious counterparts.

Does being religious make a person a better leader or just a more devious one? One that uses the politics of religion to get votes and support.  To the wolves and ravens:

Needs (Geri):

Does a good leader need to be religious?  I am not sure high ethics and morality are found in being religious. I mean even in Christianity, the ethics of Christians can get inconsistent and even diabolical.  The Calvinist doctrine of election is most certainly something that led to the American notion of manifest destiny that probably single-handed was the most responsible philosophy that lead to the western expansion of the United States and the wiping out of the ‘non-elect’ Native Americans.  Not exactly a positive high ethical moment when you use faith to justify genocide and theft. I don’t think there is any need for a leader to be religious at all because their religion being a force for good or bad really can depend on the religion and its worldview.

Wants (Freki):

Do we then still want a leader to be religious? I guess that would depend on who you are.  Christians want Christian leaders; Muslims want Islamic leader, etc.  Why? Because then those groups know their values have a better chance of being respected.  The problem is this same issue becomes a way of excluding other faiths and systems of understanding the world. It should also be noted that religion more often than not causes people to believe things about reality that are not true and for that to affect public policy is dangerous.  People want religious leaders because they want to push that particular faith’s agenda, not because being religious makes a leader a better or more sound one.

Reason (Huginn):

My problem with bringing reason into this discussion is that leadership and following one often has much more to do emotion.  Very few honestly assess a leader for their leadership qualities.  Reason actually tells us that people are stupid and follow people because those people share the same associations with them. Even of that person’s character is suspect, they will still follow them because they are ‘one of us’.

 

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Donald Trump and evangelical Christians are a classic case in point. During the primaries Ben Carson supporters were basing Trump as immoral due to his past associations with Democrats and the fact he was divorced a remarried several times.  There was also the fact that he had affairs while he was married.  As an example of Christian moral character, Donald Trump was and is not the best, Yet, the moment it was clear he was the candidate of choice, they flipped and started saying what a godly Christian man he was.  Yeah, evangelicals being hypocrites once again is not new, but this was the most blatant flip-flop I had ever seen and I was still a minister at the time.

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From a reason standpoint being religious is the reasonable thing to do if you want religious people to blindly follow you, so Trump immediately made a show of getting prayed for and quoting the Bible.  He was elected with a majority of Evangelical support.  So it gets you elected but it’s obvious that being religious also gets people to leave their ethical standards to vote for you.

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Wisdom (Muninn):

Wisdom when it looks at history cannot support the notion that a leader being a zealous religious devotee is a good idea. Religion has been used to justify more wars, genocides, rapes and other things no rational caring person would consider good.  It takes religion to make otherwise good people do evil things.  Give such a person power and you have magnified the evil that he can make good people do. Power in the wrong hands is already dangerous, religious zealots in leadership magnify this a hundred fold.

Conclusion:

I want to make it clear  here, I am not really saying you can’t be in leadership and be religious.  I am saying that probably given that we don’t need a leader to be religious to be effective, nor is it always wanted. Reason and wisdom say that it actually might not be  good idea for a leader to be a zealot religiously in order to be fair to people of all faiths or those who lack faith at all.

I want to make it also clear Trump’s morality is not the issue here with me.  I really don’t care as long as a leader is effective what his bedroom habits are.  This issue for me is the danger of those who are religious who follow him, like the Evangelicals in how simply because a man quotes the Bible and bows his head in prayer, he must be godly. Therefore those same Evangelicals will follow him to damnation with the country and liberty as collateral damage.  It might actually be more damning to freedom and liberty for a leader to be religious in truth.

Personally, I have found it interesting that people challenge the truth of what I say these days far more.  Now if this was purely about lies told in the past, i could understand it to an extent.  But it seems to be more than that.  I am not ‘one of us’ with a lot of people anymore and so the tribalism of life comes in more fully. The real funny part is I have actually gotten more honest in the last few months than I have been in a long time.  So much so, some people don’t like it.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!