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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Jordan Peterson: "12 Rules for Life" book Review/ Rule 1 synopsis

  Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a clinical psychologist and professor from the University of Toronto has become an academic celebrity since 2016 when he refused to follow Canada’s gender pronoun law. The law is essentially a dictum that promotes compelled gender subjectivity with the use of compelled LGBTQ pronouns, which seeks to widen the gap with more politically correct lingo that aims at promoting subversive agendas like homosexualism, which is- I think- a moniker for a more subversive tactic- attack on person-hood and existential confusion.

There are countless videos of Peterson debating with various professors, social justice warriors, and media pundits regarding this issue as well as other thought-provoking opinions, mainly discussing the various psychological aspects of being.

He cites the authorial wisdom of Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, Dostoevsky, Jung as well as harnessing personal and clinical wisdom he has acquired throughout the years, and others in his books, debates, conversations, and video chats.  

He knows his mind. He is articulate and thoughtful. He is logical and ordered. He is patient. He is intensely familiar with suffering and the need to rise above it. His wisdom is profound, real, relate-able and compassionate. He is a teacher. He is genuine.

His newest book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” is a careful, detailed analysis on the psychological (and perhaps spiritual) insight to being. He details the 12 ways we can have or strive towards a more perfected being.

I will attempt to describe each rule, what it means, and how it applies to us.

Rule 1: Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back.

This is a comical chapter. We were nagged as children and young adults to stand up straight with our shoulders back. Having proper posture is important for physical health and lobsters are healthy animals.  
Peterson delves into the nature of lobsters. Animals have hierarchies of their own. Lobsters are very hierarchical. 
They are preoccupied with “status and position” as most animals and humans are. Animals, each species, genus, family, etc… claim power in their own way, suitable to their makeup, but the end game is the same- to come out on top and maintain the top-dog position. 
 “People, like lobsters, size each other up, partly in consequence of stance. If you present yourself defeated, then people will react to you as if you are losing. If you start to straighten up, then people will look at and treat you differently.”

This in turn controls personal chaos and promotes personal order. The Yin and Yang symbol- the two serpents externally juxtaposed and interchangeable, are balanced. Chaos and order needs balancing. When chaos rears its ugly head, thwart it and tame it with order. Order is knowing, where as chaos is not knowing the knowable. Order is the calm, collected, confident shadow of Being itself. Chaos is the monster which rages like a ferocious and unpredictable animal of the underworld, devoid of Being. 

How does this apply to lobsters and people? There is a natural tug-of-war between order and chaos in daily living, extending from lobsters to people. The play of hierarchical being is as ancient as time itself. One can thwart and shield themselves from chaos by being more capable, knowledgeable, responsible, and courageous with living.

The financial guru, Dave Ramsey, maintains that if you want to be a millionaire, do what millionaires do. If you want to be the top-dog, act like one. If you want to be respected, become a person people can regard and look up to. What a person thinks can affect their body, positively or negatively. 

One needs to control their thoughts as they have a tendency to drag one down in the muck and mire of the dark recesses of the cerebral cortex.

Think positive, uplifting thoughts which tend towards a goal. Like the hiker sojourning on the trail, taking each step in a careful and thoughtful manner, which ends at the summit of the mountain. Have responsibility for oneself, don’t ‘pass the buck’ or make excuses- own life.

M. Scott Peck, author of “The Road Less Traveled”, wrote that once people realize that life is difficult, they surpass the existential attribute, and the fact that life is difficult, no longer matters to them. When one accepts suffering and hardship, living becomes a little easier to contend with.

To stand upright with your shoulders back is to accept the responsibility of living with the full knowledge that it encompasses the battle of order over chaos, with the burden of accepting the terribleness of the world, yet finding delight in life.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

While You Were Out: Avengers: Infinity War; New Beginnings; Jordan Peterson

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Hello, happy summer vacation, break, or R/R. I hope my readers are well and productive. As one could see, I am trying to be more active on here and submit interesting material. 

One of which would be a little review on the recent Avengers: Infinity War movie I saw a month or so ago. All I can say is, “Wow!”. The movie is filled with lots of action-packed sequences of your favorite Marvel characters doing their thing. My personal favorites are Guardians of the Galaxy, Vision, and Iron Man.

 The moment where- ok, no spoilers this time. :) The movie is such a cliff hanger, and I can’t wait to see the sequel and find out what happens to all the Avengers and if there is a new addition to the team.

 My mom introduced me to a YouTube sensation- Jordan Peterson. I absolutely love him!! He is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto as well as a clinical psychologist. He quickly grew notoriety when he openly voiced opposition to Canada’s gender-pronoun law. 
 One can see him on YouTube in many different videos which has him conversing and at times sparring with various media pundits, social justice warriors and other people mainly about the pronoun law and social justice warrior-type topics, but he also teaches people about the fundamental psyche facets of a person through his class presentations.
His mindset is not one of a Republican, Don’t Tread on Me, or even a conservative approach, but rather is found in his perceptive psychologist mindset that would seem on the surface to most as an implied approach to a conservative/religious ideology that the political and cultural “left” despise. 
He is a logical, articulate and well read debater who’s drive is to defend his psychological points of view. He is my real life hero and I hope that someday I can shake hands with him and tell him “Thank you” for his efforts. We need more people like him in the world, who is unabashedly unafraid to speak the truth. 

I am currently reading a book written by him, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”, which is an excellent read on the psychological points of view about staving off chaos in one’s life through the practical applications of making oneself better in their daily living. A thorough review will be submitted once I finish it.

The school year has ended and I find myself moving, actually moving to another Minnesotan school and town to teach. Three years have traveled in their own way with some easy moments and hard moments in the rearview mirror of life.
 St. Robert Bellarmine Academy has been a wonderful place for me to be on so many levels and I am eternally grateful to Divine Providence leading me here and guiding my unsure and stubborn steps along this journey. We don’t always acknowledge or are aware of the footprints of Jesus on our lives until distantly down the path, do we stop and see His near our own and the things He has done for us. 

With this new path laid before me, I accept and embrace it, and I hope I can travel it well through God’s blessings and His care and also through Our Blessed Lady who has helped me so much in her loving way.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Love is the Way- A study on "Silence" and "Paul, Apostle of Christ"

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Silence and Paul, Apostle of Christ are both religious films portraying courage, suffering, persecution, love, sacrifice, reflection, perseverance, and death. Both of these films depict these elements in similar and in also radically differing ways.
The movie Silence is based off the book by the same name authored by Shusaku Endo. 
The two lead characters in Silence are two Jesuit missionaries- Fr. Rodgrigues and Fr. Garupe. 
Their desires are to serve the poor persecuted peasants in 17th century Japan and locate their Jesuit brother and mentor-Fr. Ferreira, who had gone missing in the country. 
In Paul, Apostle of Christ, there are also two main characters, Paul of Tarsus and his devoted follower, Luke the Physician. Their mission is similar to Fr. Garupe and Fr. Rodgrigues, in so far that they were missionaries taking care of their faithful amidst rampant persecution.

 Fr. Rodgrigues and Fr. Garupe had great courage and sacrifice to leave their native lands to travel to Japan and preach the Gospel. The same can be said for Paul of Tarsus and for his follower, Luke. Both were men of God too, like Fr. Garupe and Fr. Rodgrigues- missionaries in their own right. 

This similar courage and sacrifice to leave their own homes in order to enter the service of the Lord, served their persecuted followers in Rome and elsewhere, strongly echoed the example ofFr. Rodgrigues and Fr. Garupe.  
The courage and sacrifice of these 4 men in their desire to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in lands where the penalty for believing is death, exemplified a great love for God and for others. 
Despite terrible persecutions, they sought to spread the Gospel to all nations and cultures.

Fr. Rodgrigues and Fr. Garupe tolerated many sufferings. They suffered with the natural elements of the country, dealt with the stress of serving their flock whilst hiding from their persecutors and witnessed the martyrdom of their most earnest believers.

Paul of Tarsus and Luke experienced similar sufferings. Paul suffered the weariness of imprisonment and imminent death. Luke suffered the daily witnesses of the Christian persecutions and risked his own well-being by visiting Paul in prison, so he could make an account of Paul’s conversion to Christianity. 
The sufferings endured by these 4 men would make any contemporary shudder, but these men were valiant in their approach to be all and to do all for Christ.

See the source imageThe Japanese and Roman persecutions weren’t that different in approach, but their methods may be different. Regardless, the persecutors from both cultures sought to demoralize the Christian followers. They hunted, tortured, and dispatched them. 
The Christian persecutions by the Romans and the Japanese were an attempt to wipe out Christians and ultimately Christianity in those areas. 
Fr. Rodgrigues and Fr. Garupe loved the people they served and helped. The two Jesuit priests loved each other with a tender brother-like love. They counseled, argued, traveled and helped together. Their ardent desire to be missionaries in Japan consumed them and believed it was the Lord’s will. They were erudite in their knowledge of the Faith whilst the peasants they helped had only an elementary knowledge, yet these peasants maintained a deep love for God despite not having sacraments. 
The peasants, perhaps had a stronger faith and love than the Jesuits did. Fr. Rodgrigues and Fr. Garupe were arrogant and ambitious in their mission. They both thought that they could, on their own, convert the country and bring back their lost mentor, Fr. Ferriera. 

With this pride, they thought they were doing God’s work, but they neglected to have the humility of heart and simplicity to realize that without God’s grace and help they are nothing. Frequently, Fr. Rodgrigues bemoaned the fact that he felt he wasn’t doing enough in his missionary work.
He was already doing enough as it is, why must he torture himself with disparaging thoughts like this? It seemed like he was being tempted. There were curious moments in his reflections where he showed a lack of patience, self-heroism and occasionally doubt in Divine Providence.
As time passed, Fr. Rodgrigues, above all wished and prayed that the peasants would stop being tortured and killed, but to what end? He went so far as to counsel some Japanese peasants to renounce Jesus. 
The film isn’t clear on how long the two Jesuit missionaries were in Japan, but eventually the Japanese authorities heard about the two and they earnestly sought them out.  
After Fr. Garupe was captured, he died trying to save a Christian from being martyred- they both died.  
When Fr. Rodgrigues’ was captured, he met Fr. Ferriera and learned that he apostatized and had been assimilated into the Japanese society. 

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Fr. Ferriera was used by the Japanese as an aid to make Fr. Rodgrigues apostatize. He endured many different tortures over a period of time.  
Over time, it seemed like Fr. Rodgrigues was becoming more confused and maybe a little crazy too. The sufferings seemed to be taking a toll on him. His last torture was to witness the torment of his fellow Christians. To save them if he was really Christ-like in charity- as tempted by the Japanese- he would apostatize.
 During this particular torture, inwardly, he “heard” a “voice” basically suggesting him to apostatize because it was essentially all right to do so- he obeyed. After this, Fr. Rodgrigues was freed and he adopted a new name, assimilated into Japanese society and even obtained a wife and family. At the end of the film, a religious medal was placed into his hand during his burial. (This symbolism is left up to you for your discernment.)
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Fr. Garupe
How can any martyr prove their love to God by apostatizing? God let His Son be tortured and crucified for our salvation- the highest form of love. God would never ask anyone to apostatize. (John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…..”) 

 Fr. Rodgrigues did not persevere, nor was he loving in long suffering. Fr. Rodgrigues and Fr. Garupe weren’t afraid of dying themselves, but they couldn’t stand seeing people, whom they came to love, suffer and die in front of them.

Paul and Luke loved God and the people they were serving too. They were also humble. Paul wasn’t always named Paul, before this name, his name was Saul. He was a great persecutor of Christians until he was knocked off his horse and spoken to by Our Lord Jesus Christ, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?….I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” 
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Fr. Ferriera

Saul had been a zealous Jew doing everything a fervent Jew ought to do, he really thought he was doing God’s work by persecuting these “Christians”, but he understood and became a most ardent follower of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 
 He replaced Saul with the Greek name, Paul.
His “thorn” of Christian persecution, forever reminded him of the goodness of God’s grace and the capability that all men, despite their pasts can find hope and renewal in the efficacy of God’s grace and mercy. 
All throughout his life Paul knew he was nothing, yet through it all, maintained a steady faith and trust in God. He knew he deserved harsher treatments for his misdeeds. His “thorn” kept him humble, yet hopeful. He didn’t bemoan or bewail or tempt himself with selfish, disparaging thoughts, he persevered and kept calm because he knew and believed that this is what God wanted and he was hopeful. Paul was beheaded, he died honorably for God. The teacher is quiet during a test.

Luke loved God and was humble. He was a Greek physician and a good medical man too! He converted to Christianity and became Paul’s longtime follower. 
He left his family and native land to spread the Gospel. Luke came often to see Paul in prison and he still learned from Paul. He helped in the writing of Paul’s letters. Luke shared Paul’s testimony with other believers, yet never wanted any notoriety for them. 

Even when arrested and threatened with death because he was found with these documents, he encouraged others in the prison to remain calm and have faith. 
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The magistrate of the prison had a daughter who was suffering from a sickness and he wanted Luke to heal her and so he was released. After he healed her and after Paul’s death, Luke eventually traveled to other lands teaching and preaching, until he, in old age, was also martyred.

Between the lives of these 4 men, they resembled each other on the surface in suffering, sacrifice, courage, and persecution. Fr. Rodgrigues and Fr. Garupe were vastly different to Paul and Luke’s examples of personal reflection, love, death, and humility. 

Men are sure of their belief and love. Men die for things they don’t doubt in.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Dear Readers

 Dear Readers,

It’s been a while since I wrote a meaningful post. There have been some things which have been making life challenging and difficult, but the adage, “that is life”, seems appropriate to quote right now. It’s funny how slight inconveniences that wouldn't have bothered me in the past are bothering me now. 
I suppose one can say that I am little edgy, but that is too something I need to dull down a little- an unfortunate effect to being worn down on both sides.

During my pilgrimage of a lifetime in France (Chartres Pilgrimage), I was fortunate and blessed enough to experience many things, much of which were analogous for events and circumstances to be gleaned for self-reflection at a later date. 
The most prominent analogy is where during the late afternoon on day 2 of the Pilgrimage I felt worthless and frankly, weak all around. Everything was aching, my spirits were low and I felt impatient and fed up with trudging though grassy muck. 
I had a little girl pout and promptly sat myself down on the ground. At this point, I didn't care if I couldn't keep up with my group especially after being separated from them for much of that day. 
I tried to maintain that brisk pace since early morning. 

I wanted to quit and ride the shuttle the rest of the way to camp until a French person informed me in their broken English that the camp was a merely 2-minute walk away. 
With this joyful news, I got back up on those wobbly legs and finished the road for that day.

 Honestly, my road right now seems like Day 2 of the Pilgrimage. I am at that point where I feel I want to quit and take the easy way out, but I know I have to push myself to keep walking despite the personal blisters that have formed and the aches I feel because who knows when that “camp” is only a 2-minute walk away. 

Keep on keeping on, wherever you may be in life. :) 

Friday, March 23, 2018

2017- Year in Review.

Hiking at Fort Rock, Oregon, during Easter Break

Dear readers,

I have taken an inadvertent hiatus from writing and I wish to get back into that habit. I feel most myself when I write. I think after photography, writing is part of my expression and perhaps, health.
I guess you can say "life happened", which explains the exceptionally long hiatus, but that is particularly my fault for not making it a priority.
I've gotten in the habit of watching movies, playing on my phone, and any other method of activity which doesn't take much thought to do.
Shocking! Unfortunately, I am a bi-product of modern society, but I do try to curb my laziness and improve upon the lack of motivation.

Twenty Seventeen, Two Thousand and Seventeen or merely 2017- it happened. Here are some pictures captivating the moments of that year.

Hiked a round trip of 10 miles to reach the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park

Hiking through St. John's Arboretum
Minnesota- I forgot where

The traveling statue of Our Lady of Fatima visited the school in October.
2017 Solar Eclipse
Phoenix, AZ
First sawdust art I have ever done for feast of Christ the King
After St. Robert Bellarmine Academy graduations last year
Inside of Mall of America
Sand art at Benton County Fair
Tractor Pull at Benton County Fair
Inside of a guitar exhibit at MIM (Musical Instrument Museum), Phoenix, AZ
At In-N-Out Burger, Phoenix, AZ
At Marie's wedding!

View of  Our Lady of Sorrows church in Phoenix, AZ while on Retreat in August.