Apr ’02 – entry 2

Escape From Witch Mountain

The letters continue to arrive in my inbox from various priests and priestesses out there, only the tone has begun to change a little. I still received emails of support from my friends and loved ones, but now suddenly I am receiving emails from folks who have been rather quiet in their support up until now. First off, let me thank each and every one of you for writing me. It has helped me to see that all of my actions leading up to now, including what seemed like the worst of my decisions, have all been the perfect thing for me to do at any given time. The emails now are filled with messages of older priests in the religion writing me, asking me to stick it out, to finish my year dressed in white. They are telling me how hard it was for them and how it was all worth it in the end, yet within the same breath they also mention about all of the shit they still have to deal with day to day. So my question for them is, “Where is your peace? Where is the benefit? Where is the reward for all of the struggle, if you have not yet seen it?” To all of them, I thank them for their words of concern. Certainly it lets me know that there really are people out there who sincerely care about another’s well-being, even a distant cyber-stranger on the other side of the country. Thank you very much, you all warm my heart tremendously. But I cannot deny the very visceral examples of how RIGHT my decisions have been thus far: first in dropping my restrictions, second in dressing in whatever colors please me, and third in my latest step which I will discuss in this posting. By the way, I wore a beautiful dark blue Hawaiian shirt, shorts and my blue/gray tennis shoes the other day to teach class. I felt great, and once again, completely like me.

So here we are at the next great installation of this incredible journey. Never would I have imagined that my life would have soared to such incredible heights after reaching such depths of depression. The soul truly is an incredible creation of God, no, it is God – his most immediate an influential part of us that we carry inside of us. I have been listening carefully to every feeling I have been receiving since my revelation in March, and they continue to lead me in the right direction. I was just relaxing the other day on my drive home – I use my car as a decompression chamber to get rid of any tension before I get home (I refuse to drag work home – much to my benefit!) I was pondering how I would let my godfather know about my decision to not partake in the religion any longer, in fact, to leave it for once and all. I had decided previously, and privately, that I would tell him after his “Ocha Birthday” – the celebration of the anniversary of his initiation in the religion. I know that he was stressing about having to get the money together to hold a celebration to honor Yemayá on his birthday, and I didn’t want to add to that considering that he is a person with health problems and not a lot of support. But I began to think about it as I drove along the coast on my commute home. The sunset was beautiful. As the sun sunk into the sea at the horizon, the water turned a beautiful purple color and the clouds picked up hints of magenta and orange. I thought about how lucky I was to witness this amazingly divine experience, and how so many people are just driving home and oblivious to it. Then it struck me. Keeping all of this hidden from my godfather has just been a constant yet minor tension in my life since my own personal spiritual leap. I decided that I would tell him before his birthday – in fact, that I would tell him that night.

I called my godfather, and chatted with him for a while to see how he was doing. I wanted to make sure that he was doing ok. Then I let the bomb drop as gently as I could, “Padrino, I have been thinking about a lot of things since what happened on your last trip out here in February, and I have come to the realization that I was behaving the way I was because I was unhappy. I was reacting in the same manner I was when I was an adolescent and I realize that this year has placed me in the same circumstances as when I was in my teens. I am awkward, uncomfortable, an outcast, and most of all there is no joy in my life. So I have decided after almost two months of thinking about it, to leave the religion.” There was a lot of silence on his behalf. He did ask me what I was going to do with my orishas. I told him that I would not throw them out – I have nothing against Shangó, I love him very much, it is just the religion I want nothing to do with any longer. He then began to accuse me, albeit in a civilized manner, of being unable to hold to rules in a religion. Anyone who knows me personally from working in a religious setting with me know that this is the farthest thing from the truth. I can be a rule Nazi at times. So I explained to him that his conclusion was wrong and inappropriate and that I was actually holding very firm to rules, the first and most important of God’s desires which is for each of us to be happy. I also told him that regardless of what these practices were supposed to do for me, if they made me unhappy, tense, uncomfortable, how in the hell are they supposed to make me spiritually grow? I even told him that it was he who taught me that they greatest example of whether something is right for you or not is how your life had changed as a result. Well, mine went in the toilet, I gained weight, I was depressed, isolated, lonely, unfulfilled and unprosperous. That was my proof. Not to mention that I had my reasons with my Grandmother coming to me in my dreams. But I did not want to share that with him – that was something special for me in my life. I had no need to share it with him. He also asked me if I was going to remove my white clothes. I said yes, although I had already gone about three weeks without wearing any!

He said that the decision hurt him but that I had the right to make whatever choice I wanted to, since I was an adult – note this was the first time he ever acknowledged I was an adult. In the past he treated me like a child because I was the youngest of the godchildren he has in California, although he failed to recognize that I had far more spiritual training than the whole lot. That training saved me, thank God. I thanked him for having done the ceremonies correctly for me and for having helped me in the past and I let him know that he could contact me if he needed help. He said that he wouldn’t be a bother. We each formally closed the conversation. I hung up the phone and the weight was lifted.

So I have left my spiritual house, left the religion and I am slowly removing the vestiges of the religion from my home. Shrines are being broken down little by little. Most of my orishas I will box up and keep in my closet out of sight. There is no reason to have them out in the open. I might keep Shangó out, but who knows. I will let my feelings guide me. I am breaking down my bóveda (ancestor altar) tonight.

And, as predicted, life, no … God, has shown me that I made the right decision. The very next day, I was driving home, looking at that beautiful sunset again along the coast, only this time I was dozing off. I got the feeling that I should go to a local coffee house called the “Library” and get some coffee (which I haven’t drunk in ages.) I also got the sensation to go and see if they had a used copy of “Conversations with God” that I could get for my ex-godbrother who really needs to read it. As I was walking into the coffee house, I noticed a handsome gentleman sitting outside reading a Harry Potter book. He reminded me of a friend I have, so I did a double-take, and smiled at him and went inside. Once inside, I ordered my iced mocha and a slice of coconut white-out cake (YUM!) and sat down to read and journal some thoughts. Well, the gentleman from outside came inside, pretended to go to the bathroom and when he came out, I had gotten up to get some sugar and I ran into him. He said, “Hi.” and I invited him to join me at my table. We introduced ourselves and began to talk.

Well, as it turned out, he was waiting for a friend for dinner and I was just there to chill out after work. We hit it off, talked for about an hour – awkwardly as all brand new meetings do – and we ended up trading phone numbers and arranging to get together in the future. He is local, in his early 30s, handsome face, goateed (like me,) but what really struck me was that he was not the slightest bit shy, had a charming smile and beautiful eyes. That gets me every time. Oh, and for those of you who didn’t know it yet, I am gay – duh!

I find it absolutely poetic that one of the primary reasons why I was fed up with all of my restrictions and my participation in the religion was because I felt that I could never meet anyone nor have a real, normal, functioning relationship. Well, along comes God, as always, and supports exactly what I desire to be. I desired to be a free individual, living my life independently, realizing that I had it all in life and that God was always with me, and here he sends me the very thing that I used to be worried about. 🙂 See, all of creation works in a really interesting way. The moment you say that you need something, you are admitting, nay, owning that you do not have that very thing in your life. And your physical life is nothing more than a reflection of your thoughts. So when you think “I need a relationship,” or “I can never have a relationship” your world reflects that mental truth into physical truth. You are left alone without any hope of a relationship. The moment I realized that I needed nothing because God would always provide for me, my world gave me everything. Now, for the first time in a long time, I have money saved up in an account, I am happy in my personal life, I have friends around me, hopes for romance and joy. Finally joy.

Next Chapter>>> Venom


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