Here are my August 2012 posts from my defunct Empower Network blog.
Common sense vs. feelings: a short blurb
by The Rambler | on August 7, 2012
Anyone interested in strumming the heart strings with me today? For today the battle between my common sense and my feelings has reached its climax, and the exhaustion it has caused has knocked me on my back.
My dance with life is an elusive romance. My dreams run from me like a mythical white stag. Chasing them have left me utterly exhausted and disheartened.
But it is all part of a drama that I love, and because of that I always return. Part of me says the drama of the relationships in my life are ruining me, and the other part says it’s making me stronger.
All I can conclude is that every person in my life brings both joy and pain, simply because we are all human and imperfect.
Pursue your dreams practically
by The Rambler | on August 8, 2012
Dreams vs. reality
Just keep going. That’s good advice for anything you do in life.
I don’t like my jobs. Freelance writing underpays and so does my other odd job, which is too sporadic for me to even describe. The business is mainly plumbing and heating, but I haven’t worked on a single plumber or heater yet. I’ve been tearing up roofs, painting rooms and renovating apartments.
Now I’m waiting for our next job to get the right contract for us to continue, so this week I’ve been trying to get as much work as I can through my freelance writing job. I don’t like either, but it’s work. That’s life. You can’t be picky. You do what you can to get money, and with the time and energy you have left over you pursue your dreams, and take some of the hard-earned money you made to invest in your dreams.
If Empower Network starts to bring in substantial income for me, I will then have a dream job. Not only would I then have an active blog that encourages me to write everyday (which I love to do), but if the work becomes minimal, it will free me up to write books and magazine articles, which is much better than working in the summer heat all day and chasing stories all around central NJ for a mere $40 a pop.
Call me a dreamer. That doesn’t automatically disqualify me from being able to live my dream in the future. But if I don’t even dream, and if I live my life thinking everything I want in life is not practical to get, then my dreams are even less likely to come true.The secret is to pursue your dreams practically. Just keep at it no matter what people try to say to discourage you. They’re just people. They don’t understand. It’s your vision, it’s your life. Truly live it.
Doubt God’s love no more (Entries from old journals)
by The Rambler | on August 9, 2012
Clouded as our vision is in this human state, there is not much we can say about the living and all-seeing God. Yet, ironically enough, it is not his intention to hide himself from us. We understand him only as children understand the things that their parents teach them; but that little bit is not enough to satisfy our curiosity. Everyone always has questions about God and for God. And there is always doubt about who he is and what he has supposedly done.
Hardly ever do we ask, “God, who are you?” But should we desire to know him more, he would be more excited than we would be to reveal the mysteries about himself to us. On the other hand, we can learn nothing about God by doubting him. I’ve learned very little about God, but I do know that he diffuses his love for us in three different ways: through his creation, through the love of his son Jesus, and through the holy Spirit.
Each of these expressions of his love can be marveled at for a lifetime, even for all eternity. Some people spend their lives unlocking the mysteries of nature — like the complexities of life or the order of any given physical science. Some spend their lives searching for the true source of talent or creativity, or the source of the uncontainable fire of inspiration, or the gifts of virtue. These all come from the holy Spirit, I believe.
But the diffusion of his son’s love is perhaps the most distinct yet most difficult to trace. He expresses his love for us through creation and the creative spirit he has put within each of us, but through Christ he expresses love itself in the flesh. This Christian belief is what makes Christianity different from all religions. Only in Christianity does God come down to us. He has done this not only out of love but also great wisdom, because in our doubt we can build our own channeled stairway to heaven in attempt to reach God. But if God has already come down to us all we need to do is open our eyes.
Struggles, reckless abandonment and the care-free state
by The Rambler | on August 10, 2012
Something happens inside you when your bank account runs dry, when you notice you have nothing to lose, and when you’re sick and tired of playing it safe. You just go all out. You ask yourself, "Heck, how can life get any worse?" It’s actually a quite liberating feeling. And when it applies to not only the money in your life, but the people in your life as well, it’s even better. Because then you’re like, "Who cares what they all think about my decisions?" Apparently trying get their approval in everything I do hasn’t gotten me anywhere anyway.
But then, of course, reality sinks in again. You notice that you literally don’t have the money to “Get all in” and you don’t know anyone who has the money either, because we’re all stuck in the same rut. And, oh yeah, that’s the whole reason I started with EN in the first place, because I wanted to be different and get out of the rut.
But I love reality with all of its hardships and everything. I’m not going to back down, because I learn something from every struggle, and that’s how I get to the next milestone. The distance between each milestone in life is measured in struggles.
Don’t worry. You’re not the problem. Or maybe you are. But even if so, don’t worry.
by The Rambler | on August 14, 2012
Oh, relationships. When none of your friends call back, when none of them seem to pull through, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t always have something to do with you. Even if they’re truly not calling back because they’re upset with you, there’s no reason for it to affect your day. You need to know what’s right and what’s wrong, and base things on your own judgment. If you know you did something wrong, and that’s why a friend is upset with you, then that’s something you should try and fix. Even in those cases though, there is always redemption, and in those situations the one who has the courage to apologize conveys more self-respect than the one who doesn’t apologize; because he knows true repentance does not damage his self-dignity but in fact restores it.
The elusive mystery of seeking God
by The Rambler | on August 16, 2012
I don’t understand why when I run so far from God and then run back he feels so close, but when I try to do his will I feel so far away from him.
When I try to do his will that’s when a dozen different obstacles are thrown in my path. That is when I think of a million different reasons for why it’s all foolishness to do his will. That’s when hundreds of different demons come and assault me and say that it’s just not worth it. They give me thousands of reasons to just let it all go and give in.
Then I do. And all of the promises they made, like the promises of perpetual bliss, a care-free life, and a life of just pursuing my own superficial desires, do not satisfy. And then I come back to God and I feel closer to him than I ever did.
The cycle of sin
And I’m tired of this cycle because it’s wasting so much time. I’m just lying here trying to fall asleep contemplating these strange things.
Why do I put myself through this cycle over and over again? I don’t know. I’m told it’s what it means to be human. And I’m tired of it. "It’s natural". That’s what I was taught in public school. It’s natural to give in to these human desires, these "natural, instinctive desires" that are gnawing on my head.
But that is not the Christian calling. We have a supernatural calling. As Christians we are born again, we’re a new creation. We’re not just mere animals, like public school teaches you that you are. We’re made for heaven. We’re made for eternity, for things beyond even our imagination, great things.
God’s persistent love through it all
So I guess that’s the whole point. I guess that’s what God is trying to show us in his pure, persistent love. No matter how many times we fall, as long as we come back truly repentant, his love and mercy will seem as tender and as pure as ever. And through his witness of pure, perfect love, he is giving us a glimpse of the world we were truly made for. The closer we get to him the more he teaches us about this true home of ours, and that is what gives you true, lasting inner joy.
But what I still don’t understand is why I can’t get closer to him while I’m continuously striving to do so. I’m told to wait upon the Lord, and my strength will rise. But it doesn’t. The more I wait the more difficult it becomes. And when it gets too difficult that’s when I slip. My frustration becomes just too much.
The importance of prayer
I have to be honest in saying I don’t know what it’s like to push past those toughest moments, when I’m at my wits’ end. Yes, I feel God working in me in some way every day, but there’s always some demon that knows just what buttons of mine to push and right when to push them. This is what it really means to be human: that we’re all constantly at battle with the world, the flesh and the devil. And one of our greatest weapons in those battles is prayer. Even though I’m told time and time again that I need to pray in those moments of temptation, I don’t pray.
So I’ll tell myself what I’ve told myself a thousand times before. Pray more. When the moment of temptation comes, pray. There’s really nothing more to say, except that prayer doesn’t have to be any more than a cry for help. The most honest prayer is 99 percent listening to God.
A little post about a big life lesson
by The Rambler | on August 18, 2012
Dreams are for those who are sleeping. Practical pursuits are better, especially when they give you step by step ways to get to where you want to go. But in just about everything you do, you have to believe it’s going to work in order for it to work.
There is one part of life, however, that doesn’t work that way. There’s one thing that you can’t win with just commitment and faith. You can’t win a person’s heart unless they choose to give it to you, and why they choose to give it to you could make absolutely no sense. And the reasons they don’t give it to you will probably make no sense too.
“The heart has reasons that reason knows not,” said the enlightenment philosopher Blaise Pascal. It’s too bad the human heart doesn’t work like everything else in life.
by The Rambler | on August 19, 2012
Who are the religious nuts? Are they the ones who wait until marriage and don’t use contraceptives? Are they those who stand firm in what they believe and don’t compromise with popular trends? Are they the ones who go to prayer or perform rituals to get peace of mind, while others watch TV or drink to get the same thing?
Are they the ones who take God and morality seriously and pay less attention to the things that matter less, while the rest of us scrupulously worry about and criticize every little thing that doesn’t follow the commandments we made up on our own to follow?
If such people are religious nuts, then sign me up, because despite their bad reputation, they’re still the most persistent people I can think of. A person can become famous by practicing and becoming good at anything else. But when he becomes good at practicing his religion he’s called a religious nut.
Making my own way
by The Rambler | on August 21, 2012
I’m convinced that there’s really nothing out there for me. So, I’ll make something for myself all by myself. Arrogant, selfish, false confidence, you say I have? Would you prefer that I expect the world to give me what I want?
I hate complacency. It’s time to live on purpose. Working two jobs, plus doing Empower Network, plus all the other struggles in life — it ain’t easy. But that’s what everyone goes through. And I hear of people having breakthroughs. To me, it seems like a more gradual process.
Gradually, you learn all of the techniques needed to succeed. This is true for anything you do in life. So now I’m juggling. I want to succeed in EN, but I also need to do well in my other two jobs to keep them. In fact, I need to get up really early tomorrow so I can’t write anymore. This is just a real guy trying to make it in life, using whatever means he can think of.
You don’t understand
by The Rambler | on August 23, 2012
You don’t understand, so stop trying to think you do. Stop thinking that saying you understand is going to help. Admit that you don’t understand my pain, then I’ll think about trying to explain it to you.
Admit that my circumstances are different, that my personality is different. Generally speaking, yes, you may understand what I’m going through, but no…. not really.
And I’m speaking for everyone here. Parents think they understand their children, and that’s why they can’t relate to them. Boyfriends and girlfriends think they understand one another, and that’s usually what leads to the relationship ending over bad communication.
Listen. You don’t understand yet. What makes you think that the experiences and hardships that you want kudos for are anything like the situations other people are going through? Maybe they do have similar traits, but you have to listen. You can’t really help someone until you see how unique their situation is.
Ask questions. Stop filling in the blank with assumptions. And for goodness sake, stop labeling people. Good judgment is helpful in many cases, but it’s a skill not meant to be used on people.
Actually, stop talking so much, everyone. Because you only think you know what you’re talking about. Listen. Read more books, better books. Yes, I’m cynical, but aren’t you sick and tired of this superficial life anyway? There is so much more to it. That’s why we feel so empty and even ashamed when we live for money and pleasure. We’re meant for more.
Listen, and you’ll see what I mean. Listen, and the uniqueness of the people around you and their life situations will amaze you.
A journal entry from 2008
by The Rambler | on August 25, 2012
Journal entry written 1/11/2008
These are the easiest and worst days of my life.
I have no car, no money, no job, no responsibilities.
If this is what Christ meant by losing my life so that I may find it, then I guess I had other things in mind.
But now at least I know that if anything fortunate ever comes to me, it will not be by my own merit. Maybe this is just what I needed to make me see more clearly. How many people my age are given a chance to straighten things out a little bit more before starting a new life?
I’ve been looking at my situation as a disgrace, but it’s actually a grace period. If I didn’t lose everything I once thought I gained by my own merit, then there would have been no room for God’s grace.
About a week after that entry I began my job with The Monitor, the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton. I don’t know if it was my more positive attitude, God working in my life, or a combination of both. But I now see, a quick four and a half years later, that getting anywhere in life actually requires a combination of will power, self-confidence, and humility to ask God for help.
by The Rambler | on August 28, 2012
We got it all mixed up. The things that do matter, like truth goodness and beauty, we say are relative. And the things that don’t matter, like accomplishments and reputation, we follow wherever they lead us.
What a dilemma we create when we claim to know what someone deserves or earns. I hesitate to say that I’ve ever truly earned anything. In fact, I’ll come right out and say the opposite. I have earned nothing in life except death and hell. Everything else is a gift. Thank God I’ve been spared from what I deserve.
Yet, strangely enough, I still expect people to expect the best from me, and I don’t like it when they say I impress them. I like it better when they say, "That’s how good we expect you to be." Because what is also strange is the fact that even though I deserve hell I am still intrinsically a good person, as we all are. That’s a paradox worth a life time exploring.
Making tough decisions
I’m known to make distinct decisions in my life. Sometimes people think I’m harsh for doing it, but I don’t let things drag on. I don’t live in complacency. I make very sharp turns, 180s sometimes, because I live a life of a Christian. It’s an ongoing conversion. Just about every day I find myself changing big things about how I live. It’s constant and it’s going to continue to happen for the rest of my life if I continue to strive for holiness.
So, people may think I’m being harsh when I say "We can’t be friends anymore." The truth is the truth. When I notice that something is not conducive to where I’m going in life I have to say "Okay, I’m taking this turn here. You may keep going in that direction, but I’m turning here." And that’s really all I mean when I say we’re not friends anymore. A friend is someone who walks side by side with you on the road of life, and if you’re on the right road it will be narrow so you won’t have many friends.
I need to be one among many who stands out and stands up for what’s right, and right now I don’t know how else to do that. I’ve tried every other way. I don’t know what else to do except stop being friends with them. It’s a very practical decision. It’s very thought out. It’s not out of anger.
We fought all of the time, and there have been too many times when I said I was going home, but hesitated, thinking, "Is this big enough to leave for?" I made it clear enough times that they’re pushing me to the edge, giving me no other option. No more putting up with those who put me down.
I thank Jesus and Mary for showing me my fault. All these years, they’ve been saying all along, "Why are you keeping these people in your life? You need to love yourself more, treat yourself better. Get yourself better friends." I lost a lot of good friends from college, scattered all around the country. It’s hard to keep in touch. I should reach out more.
Believe in yourself more
Note to self: You have to make decisions in life. You have to leave some things behind. You can’t stay complacent and stagnant. You got to move and stop letting things drag you down. Do whatever it takes. Believe in yourself more. What are all the things you want to do? Do them.
This Empower Network blog, heck, take it more seriously. Stop being lazy. Stop believing the people who make you think it’s a scam. You know why you got into it. It’s more than just some Internet marketing community with pretentious dream seekers. It’s an economic philosophy. It’s like the philosophy of distributism promulgated by Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton.
You own your own web page, they give you your own commissions. This is something that’s not just done out of desperation for money. Believe in your own judgment. Don’t go by what other people are saying only. You got to believe that in your own heart you saw good in this network. You were not deceived. There was something there. There was something that really rang true for you, okay? And that is why you joined. People are going to really bash you. But keep going.
I did my research. The marketers in EN are so clever that they know people looking into EN are going to Google “Empower Network scam”. So when they do, what comes up? A bunch of EN affiliates saying it’s not a scam. Yes, it’s difficult to do, and that’s why some people think it’s a scam, but it’s not.
The only reason EN isn’t working the way I’d like it to work for me is because I haven’t been spending enough time with it. I’ve been writing a blog entry maybe every other day, and they haven’t been very long, and I haven’t put in many links or keywords or videos. I haven’t been doing much marketing at all. I haven’t been following the eight steps, so it’s no wonder it’s not working so well for me.
So I’m ending on a bit of a sour note, but let that be a reason for me to change so that I don’t end on sour notes any more. I want people to get the real, true scoop when they read my blog. So here it is: all of the pain, struggle, and, hopefully soon, success.