Random (or not) stuff

I did it. I voted. And I'm moving on with life. I will know the results of primaries later on tonight, after I get back from my meeting. But one thing is bothering me--as a Baha'i, I do not participate in partisan politics, so I check "decline to state" as my political affiliation. Usually, this is not a problem. But for reasons that I fail to comprehend, my lack of political affiliation was an issue when I got to my polling place.

I still don't know what happened, but from what I can make out, the Republican party didn't want my independent vote. I would have to be a Republican to vote for any of their candidates. (Ahem. Angela, restrain thyself. You are a Baha'i.) Democrats would accept my vote. They apparently don't care--Dem, independent, Green, Purple, Libertarian, Peace and Freedom, PETA, Bathe, Communist...well, maybe not Communist. Or Bathe. Whatever. The Dems will take anyone's vote as long as they darken the circle or punch that hanging chad marked "Democrat". But the free wheelin' folks who didn't want to vote for the Donkey party were given a very plain ballot with a list of the state propositions to vote for. This has never happened before, and I don't know if this is something that is only happening here in California or nation-wide. I have been refusing to watch election coverage, so I'm without a clue. But I know one thing--if this is another way of engineering the election to favor a certain candidate, I am going to be very, very P.O. ed (that is an abbreviation for a rather indelicate phrase that means "angry", for my readers who are confused by the way Americans butcher the English language). I don't care if that certain candidate is a Democrat or Republican. I don't like being a pawn in someone's machinations for power. Believe me, I will do an Allen Ginsburg and "Howl". Ask anyone who has been at Bosch Baha'i School with me; my "Howl" is at sonic boom level. I'm not playin' with y'all. Watch me.

And for those of you who read this blog, I am so humbled that you come here and view my ramblings. It is even more overwhelming to me that I have more readers from outside the U.S. than in. How do I know? Well, every once and a while, I check. I don't receive any personal information (like names, addresses, phone numbers, web addresses), but I get a count of how many people visit this blog, and the tabulation is updated every ten minutes. At least that's what the web site says. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I'm guessing it's accurate. But this is what is so awesome and brings tears to my eyes--60% of the people reading this blog are from places outside of the United States! That is incredible, especially since I often lapse into that incomprehensibly idiomatic form of English known as "American". And I sometimes use West Coast African American dialect forms (and words that sometimes date back to the 1970s), which must be even more confusing. But now that I know this, I will try to explain some of those nonsensical terms. More than that, I want to thank all of you, from the very depths of my soul. I can't describe how wonderful it feels to know that people come here from places like Bahrain, the Russian Federation, Iceland, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Fiji, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Australia, Sweden, Canada and the UK. Wow! God bless all of you!

And finally, some reflections that I had when I read another blog:
I do not wish to deal with certain things right now because they are problems that only lead to the same eternally present situation, and it would drive me impatiently crazy to continue on in such a fashion.
There are present situations, that's certain. But they aren't eternally present. Nothing in this world lasts forever, not a moment, a slice of pizza, a television program or a favorite song. I'm explaining the obvious. But maybe it isn't so obvious. Are you the same person you were yesterday? Part of you is. And the rest of you has learned from whatever happened the day before. It's that tricky in-between stuff, the part that keeps evolving even when we don't realize it. Six months ago, I couldn't pull the pants I'm wearing now over my hips. Now, not only do they fit, but I can bend over and pick something up from the floor without ripping the seams. (All right, ladies, don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about!) But that isn't the point. The larger issue is the enormous amount of spiritual and emotional CHANGE it took to get these pants over my hips.

To say that there is an eternally present situation is, in my opinion, saying life is hell. And it is sometimes. I've spent a lot of time in hell very recently, and I'm sure there will be more. The important idea is that life isn't ALWAYS hell. I'm learning that I can crawl through that vast wasteland that I've created in my life, and come out on the other side different, but still me. To my surprise, I've discovered that's what it's all about--changing, that dizzying, oft-times overwhelming evolution that goes on whether I like it or not. I don't agree with that old cliche', "the more things change, the more they remain the same". I used to believe that. Now I see that the more life changes, the more I need to change to fit into life. That doesn't mean that I lose what is essentially Angela. It just means that I recognize that I didn't make this world, therefore, I don't control anything about it except my own actions and reactions. (And I don't always do that very well.) I have to learn how to effectively live in this world while growing stronger as a spiritual being.

The physical/emotional/mental stuff of life is always changing as life evolves on this planet, but the realm of the Holy Spirit will remain as it was, as it is now, and as it will always be. That is what I am learning to depend upon, to draw the energy I need to make it through 24 hours. I'm going to quote someone I adore, Abdu'l Baha', from talks he gave in the early 20th century. But to me, these quotes give a much better explanation of that tricky in-between a lot better than I can.

The change in conditions, alterations and transformations are necessities of the essence of beings, and essential necessities cannot be separated from the reality of things. So it is absolutely impossible to separate heat from fire, humidity from water, or light from the sun, for they are essential necessities. As the change and alteration of conditions are necessities for beings, so laws also are changed and altered in accordance with the changes and alterations of the times. For example, in the time of Moses, His Law was conformed and adapted to the conditions of the time; but in the days of Christ these conditions had changed and altered to such an extent that the Mosaic Law was no longer suited and adapted to the needs of mankind; and it was, therefore, abrogated. Thus it was that Christ broke the Sabbath and forbade divorce. After Christ four disciples, among whom were Peter and Paul, permitted the use of animal food forbidden by the Bible, except the eating of those animals which had been strangled, or which were sacrificed to idols, and of blood. They also forbade fornication. They maintained these four commandments. Afterward, Paul permitted even the eating of strangled animals, those sacrificed to idols, and blood, and only maintained the prohibition of fornication. 94 So in chapter 14, verse 14 of his Epistle to the Romans, Paul writes: "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean."
[1 Acts 15:20.]

(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 92)

And this is a response to the following question:

In the Bible it is said that God breathed the spirit into the body of man. What is the meaning of this verse?
Answer. -- Know that proceeding is of two kinds: the proceeding and appearance through emanation, and the proceeding and appearance through manifestation. The proceeding through emanation is like the coming forth of the action from the actor, of the writing from the writer. Now the writing emanates from the writer, and the discourse emanates from the speaker, and in the same way the human spirit emanates from God. It is not that it manifests God -- that is to say, no part has been detached from the Divine Reality to enter the body of man. No, as the discourse emanates from the speaker, the spirit appears in the body of man.

But the proceeding through manifestation is the manifestation of the reality of a thing in other forms, like the coming forth of this tree from the seed of the tree, or the coming forth of the flower from the seed of the flower, for it is the seed itself which appears in the form of the branches, leaves and flowers. This is called the proceeding through manifestation. The spirits of men, with reference to God, have dependence through emanation, just as the discourse proceeds from the speaker and the writing from the writer -- that is to say, the speaker himself does not become the discourse, nor does the writer himself become the writing; no, rather they have the proceeding of emanation. The speaker has perfect ability and power, and the discourse emanates from him, as the action does from the actor. The Real Speaker, the Essence of Unity, has always been in one condition, which neither changes nor alters, has neither transformation nor vicissitude. He is the Eternal, the Immortal. Therefore, the proceeding of the human spirits from God is through emanation. When it is said in the Bible that God breathed His spirit into man, this spirit is that which, like the discourse, emanates from the Real Speaker, taking effect in the reality of man.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 204)

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