Past Lives: Who Were You Before?

This post could be the one that pushes me into either crazy territory or a relatable one.  I’m supposed to be truthful and share who I am in this blog, so I’ll get on with it.

Do you believe in past lives? Whether your religion abides by this belief or not, it might have crossed your mind.

I wasn’t raised to believe that we were reborn but there is something in me that leads me to believe that maybe I’ve been here on earth before. I don’t know who I was or where I was born. I don’t even know when I was here or how many times. I know that there are things I’ve been drawn to since I was a child, and these feelings drew me despite the fact that my family never led me there.

I grew up Irish/German Catholic, in America and in the 80’s. I have had a subconscious fear of someone stealing my shoes since I was a child and I’ve been drawn to 30’s and 40’s music even before my peers went through a rap and bad pop phase. I have however, since the time I began school, had a fascination with the Holocaust.  I’m not going to sit here and say this means anything, nor will I claim any actual connection to this time, but it’s a very odd feeling. I longed for Continue reading

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

Clonmacnoise: Founded 545-548 AD

The buildings and monuments shown however, appear to range from the 10th-17th centuries, with most falling earlier in this time period.

This day was bitter cold, but it was impossible to leave and refrain from taking shots through surviving stone towers, churches and crosses, either into other structures or through to the River Shannon, in Ireland.  These were taken with a simple camera and frozen fingers, I hope you can still mentally capture the beauty of a place that holds so much history.  It is the sight of worship and battle.

Generations of Inconsistency

Studying ancestry is one of the things I’m truly passionate about.  I spent the day yesterday at an Ancestry Day workshop in Philadelphia, sponsored by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and Ancestry.com.

Yeah, I know, I’m a dork.  I spent the day with hundreds, actually, I’d say at least over a thousand old people.  I mean ancestry enthusiasts.  And I say they were old, only to add to my point that I’m an old soul, because honestly, I got along with them swimmingly.  We laughed, we joked and discussed how young people just don’t get it.  They must see me as old too; I’m only 28 mind you.  It was a swell day.

(“Swell” by the way, is a fine word to use but apparently even though I’ve tried to revive its popularity, even Microsoft Word is unsure of how I’m using it.  I’m not letting them stop me or change it to “swelling”.  That just doesn’t make sense.)

The main point of this post however, is that I’ve realized the inconsistency of my ancestors and maybe that’s why I’ve lived such with such colorful stories so far myself.  When I look around though, I have friends who have done the same thing, gone to the same church, same school, same, same, same as their parents and their parents before.  I don’t mock this, because I honestly admire tradition and all it represents.  Instead, I come from people who never really seemed to know who they were or what they wanted.  Even if they did, what they relayed the family about themselves was untrue anyway.  Despite that, I’ve found so many pieces to our family’s ancestral puzzle, but they were not the type to play along and do as you’re supposed to.

The numerous speakers gave ideas on how to further genealogical research; where to search and what kind of odd records could be of assistance.  I realized how neither side of my family had ever consistently practiced religion, stayed in the same place and joined organizations for any extended period of time.   They really didn’t leave a paper trail of any kind unless it was required for the government every ten years in a census.  Even then, like most families, the data is screwy.  The most consistent thing about my family, as found through records, is that they were inconsistent.  I realize the times were different long ago, but for research sake, sometimes I do admire the people who had boring families.  But then again, when I find a truly fascinating puzzle piece, man am I glad the people in my past were interesting.  I wonder if they were inconsistent out of choice or out of circumstance.  Still, I hope one day I leave generations sifting through my records saying, “Wow, that Shannon was a swell character”.

That’s right; I’m bringing the word “swell” back.  One day, it’ll be “cool” again.

It’s Ash Wednesday, So I’m Catholic

Today is Ash Wednesday, so I feel guilty.  No, I feel guilty because I’m Catholic.  Well, yes, but technically, I feel guilty because I’m Catholic, it’s Ash Wednesday and the last time I went to Church was…yeah, I’m not sure.  Can this count as confession? Well, because I haven’t done that in a few years either.

I actually consider myself a religious person because I do pray outside of traditional places of worship.  I do have faith.  I also have a Bible in my nightstand drawer.  I know what you’re thinking; so do cheap motels.  This is true; I forgot to tell you I live in one of those too.  I’m kidding, but now I feel guilty for lying to you too.  Will this day never end?!

I do pray though and I’m also attempting to refrain from adding the “God” part to the beginning of “Damn it!”.  I feel like the phrase hurls itself from my lips each time I try to attempt moving anything with my hands, as my klutzy nature presents itself quite often.  In regards to faith though, I think I have spirituality, but I also don’t live by a lot of the Church rules.  I’m not sure if that is supposed to negate my Catholicism but I don’t mean anything personal to God or the Catholic religion as a whole.  I’d like to think that since forgiveness is a key element in religion, the Pope would give me 10 Hail Mary’s for my lack of physical attendance to Church and not send me H-E-double hockey sticks.

We live in a predominantly Catholic region and there are several Churches in our area.  I googled them and picked one to get my Ashes this evening.  I grew up fairly close, but I don’t have a connection to the Churches I’ve attended as a child, as many things have changed over time.  But as a typical Catholic, I picked one with a full mass so it counts as my “dues” for the week too.  Although I’m a bit rebellious and I don’t like being told what to do, I went because I felt like I wanted to tonight.  I also felt refreshed that the Priest did not give a spiel about how the congregation was full of people who only partake in religion on Holy Days.  Instead, he spoke about the meaning of Lent and admitted some personal faults of his own, and how he has decided to take Lent as an opportunity to better himself and treat others as a Christian should.  He spoke as one of the people, relatable.

Even better, I also got to finally workout tonight; lunge (aka genuflect), sit, stand, kneel, stand, shake, kneel, take a lap, kneel, stand, etc.

In all honestly though, I would be interested in incorporating religious activity into my life, even if it isn’t based on my Catholic background, but just as long as there is some sort of genuine connection felt.   Whether I actually attended the mass or not, I am glad that I took a moment to reflect on the start of Lent and I’m taking good things from this moving forward.  I won’t attempt to promise I’ll attend regularly, because I don’t know that I will, even if my intentions are good; but I will continue to be the best person I can be and that’s definitely something I won’t feel guilty about.

Picture courtesy of tipakan.com