19 November, 2015

NSNK Indeed.

If I had to rely on a New Year's Resolution to get a book done, it'd take me more than twenty plus years to get it done.  Hence why I taken the steps to advocate the concept of taking a daily resolution practice.

Years ago, I was mentored by someone who was an openly unapologetic advocate of the 12 steps program of recovery.  (What they were recovering from is irrelevant and their business only)  One of his greatest gift he passed along to me was the concept of "Just for Today."

This mentor was able to stay free from his addiction for over a span of 27 years when I met him, so I asked him what exactly did he do and how was he able to get where he was up to that point.  I even questioned whether or not he actually had the addiction in the first place.  He shared with me his lowest point and situation his addiction led him to and his journey for the 30 years since.  (He had about 2-3 years of "finding his way through" so to speak) What he said to me was profound.

"I just decided that JUST FOR TODAY I will not cave into my desire.  Then the next day I made that same decision, and then the next day.  Now it's been twenty seven years."  

So I asked him what if he decided to give into his desire.

"Tomorrow is a new day that I can decide THAT DAY to not give in.  But TODAY, I decided that I will not ___________"

That conversation took place in the mid 90s.  Actually it took place during the Holiday Season of 1998-99.  So he continued to go off on a semi-tangent about New Years Resolutions.

"You know, before I decided to take this One Day at a Time, I used to make New Year's resolutions all the time that I would handle my situation.  I'd say, 'this year, I'll handle it.' That'd only last for a week, two weeks, one year it was a whole month.  Then I'd give in and thought oh well, I'll just try again next year.  That was stupid.  I didn't know that my gift of today was all I had for that moment. New Years Resolutions? Stupid, don't work for me.  Now daily resolution, if I fail, I can wake up the next day and start over again."

Basically using the elephant analogy, it does something like this: If it was a new year or a time period transition (like a birthday or something) I can resolve to eat an entire elephant.  But what my mentor was doing was that for that day and that day only, he was going to eat a certain amount of the elephant.  The next day, he decided to eat another portion of the elephant, and so on and so on.  Finally at some point many days later, the elephant was completely consumed.

Then he decided to move on to another elephant or another animal per se.

So throughout the years, I decided to write a book on what I was passionate about.  I thought of the title, the bylines, the subheader, some of the wittiest lines to include.  Then I open my computer and draw total blanks.

 If only I decided to keep it simple and just focus on one line at a time, which would lead to one paragraph at a time, which eventually would lead to one page at a time, then one chapter (or section) at a time.

Back in 2009, I was at 189 pounds.  Now for someone like myself at 5 feet, 9 inches, that was a little too much.  I had enrolled in a 90 Day Goal program which assigned me 4 goals to set and meet at the end of 90 days.  One goal was career and/or money oriented, one goal was relationship oriented, one goal was on physical, and the last goal was spiritually oriented.  My physical goal was to get to 167 pounds by the end of that 90 days.

On day 90 of  that 90 day goal program, I hit a weight of 174.  I was seven pounds short of my goal. (Target weight of 167 pounds)

That haunted me throughout the summer of 2009.  At the fall of that year (like September) I re-weighed myself (yes, I stop weighing myself after that last weigh-in back in May) and noticed I was up to 178.  So I got construction paper out, drew with crayons a photo of a scale with feet on them (and I wrote "MY FEET" with arrows pointed at the haphazardly drawn pair of feet) with the scale saying "167"  Next to that, I wrote "December 31, 2009 NSNK"  "NSNK" means "no sh*t, no kidding."  It was sort of a mantra during that 90 day period when my coach would issue an ultimatum.

I had book a trip to Asia leaving the states on December 6, and returning January 10, 2010.  Yes I was going to spend an entire month in Asia.  I had plans to keep my eating to a minimum and actually sign up for a single month membership at one of the gyms in Singapore where I was scheduled to stay for the 2.5 weeks of the month there.  That was curtailed when my back went out on the first morning in Hong Kong.  I was supposed to meet my friend in Hong Kong for dim sum that first day I arrived, but my back went out on me that day.  I was taken to a local Dit Dat specialist. (Traditional Chinese Medicine Orthopedics) who placed me to bedrest the next 48 hours.  Sadly, I missed the meeting and had the doctor explained to her on the phone why I was unable to meet her at the bus station.  Luckily my back recovered somewhat to be able to make the flight to Singapore.  After a couple of days, I booked a trip to Davao City, Philippines in anticipation of spending Christmas with my girlfriend and her family.  When she inquired where was I going to stay accommodation wise, I realized the Christmas plans were not going to happen, so I rescheduled the whole trip and cut it short.  I only scheduled 4 days there instead of the initially planned 10.  On the evening of the first day in Davao, I ended up with food poisoning.  The following day my entire food intake was a bottle of Sprite.  The following day was my flight out.  Upon returning to Singapore, I was stopped by the health ministry because my body scan indicated a fever and I was coming out of the budget terminal.  It was "recommended" that I remain at my hotel for another 72 hours, which included Christmas, so that cancelled out the option 2 Christmas plans.  Finally I was able to take a bus tour of Malaysia two days after Christmas, to return to Singapore on the 30th.  Luckily there was nothing out of the ordinary there and I was able to enjoy the local cuisine.  On New Years Eve, I met my friends for a NYE dinner and decided to head to our favorite dessert place to kick off the New Year.  It was closed.  The only spot opened was a nearby Mc Donalds.  Knowing that I was on a 12 year streak of not eating McDonalds food, my friends only ordered a Coke for me and did not allow me to eat any of their food.  Upon returning to the hotel, I asked for a scale and was given a digital scale in the metric system.  It read "74.5"  I then went online to convert the weight.  It was 164.24 pounds. (2 1/2 ahead of my "NSNK" goal)

Be careful what is declared because it'll happen sooner or later, and in this case it happened in such a way that was not the most comfortable nor pleasant way.

Now, instead of going through with all that, I could've broken things down to a daily resolution.  Today I'll eat this and do this XYZ workout.  Then the next day I'll eat that, then do the ABC workout.  The following day, I'll splurge and enjoy this dessert.  The following day, 2 meals with just veggies, and dinner with chicken and goto yoga.  At some point, I'll get to that 167 range and most likely feel good physically about myself too.

Just one moment at a time.

06 November, 2015

Sh*tty Conclusion for "C*ty" Harvest Church

People were approaching me about my reaction to the scandal that rocked City Harvest Church in Singapore because of my deep love and appreciation of Singapore, my spiritual background, and the fact that if you were Christian, visited or lived in Singapore, you were expected to have attended at least one service there.  Attending a City Harvest Church service was sort of like a "bucket list" item for Singaporean Christians.

Honestly, I have no reaction.  Like I stated on the previous post, church scandals will come and go.  People place some sort of artificial meaning to the church.  It is an enterprise that's no different from a government agency, a business, a school, or any other organization that has people in it.  Yes, it is SUPPOSED TO BE the responsibility and function of a church to create an optimal environment for it's attenders to connect with Spirit, Divine, God, ect, but they don't always create such an environment and/or different people have differing needs.  I have stated indirectly on almost all my blogs on spirituality that the function of any religious or spiritual institution boils down to 2 functions/purposes:

1) Enable the follower to connect with Spirit
2) Enable the follower to optimize their life experience through the teachings and application of spiritual principles.  (See #1)

Hence why I left the mainstream Christian church and embraced New Thought Christianity.  It's a lot more challenging to learn and apply in life, but at least the negative dogma of us versus everyone else is out the door.

Let me re-visit my only experience at City Harvest Church to offer a background into my borderline reaction of indifference and jubilation:

In November of 2008, actually Thanksgiving week of 2008, I trekked to Singapore as I've done twice annually from 2005-2010.  At that point, I confessed my interest in a young lady whom I've attempted to court from 2006-08 only to find out her interest in me was merely as a shopping tool.  (She had a taste for Coach bags)  Anyhow, she began to attend church service at City Harvest and invited me to attend service with her one Sunday morning.  In the slight possibility of any sliver of hope that our relationship would somehow blossom, I accepted her invitation.

Upon entering the Singapore Expo Centre (where Sunday services were held at that time for both City Harvest aka Sh*tty Harvest Church and Faith Community Baptist Church, aka Fake Community Baptist Church) our seats were covered by an envelope.  During the service, the senior pastor Kong introduced a guest speaker from Texas who proceeded to explain the meaning of the envelope.  For those who will pledge in the envelope a minimum of at least $1500 SGD, God will prosper them and anyone who doesn't place anything in the envelope and turn in the envelope was going to receive the wrath of God through a devastating financial curse. (The "curse" applied to those who turned in nothing and/or any significant lesser amount)  I found that quite disturbing and confused because he was addressing the members of CHC.  He didn't leave any explanation on how to apply this to the visitor or guest which was the category I fell into.

At the conclusion of service, I did what I always done when I visited a church for the first time: Introduce myself to the pastor.  At that point, I was "handled" by the pastors' bodyguards.  Apparently since I did not make an appointment to talk with the pastor, I was forbidden to go near him.  I was then continued to be "handled" by the bodyguards (shoved back) It was a shock for me personally to the point that for the remaining part of the trip, I skipped church on Sundays, and upon returning to the States, I was also MIA at my regular church for about a month.

That's my 1st (ONLY) impression of CHC

It is my personal opinion and observation that both megachurches in Singapore (CHC and FCBC) is more showmanship and speak in pseudo-Christianese/Sin-glish rhetoric than actual Christian teaching even for the "standard brand" mainstream Christian "holy-roller" dogma.  I personally question the sincerity and integrity of the leadership for both organizations.  So in light of the guilty verdicts in Singapore against Kong and the CHC leaders, I simply shrug.  As a New Thought practitioner,I don't have issues with how much a minister decides to pay him or herself.

I even predict a much more bigger scandal to emerge out of the FCBC camp, simply because of the "he doth protest too much," rhetoric coming from the pastor.  Normally the "s/he doth protest much" rhetoric tends to proceed a scandal of irony and hypocrisy.

If there's ever a true spiritual harvest to emerge out of Singapore, it's a ripe moment to plant seeds of New Thought there.  That has been a vision of mine since I finished reading Eric Butterworth's Discover the Power Within You back in 2011.  Like I stated, what's categorized as The Prosperity Gospel "heavily borrowed" from New Thought, and The Prosperity Gospel is the dominant Christian ideology/paradigm in Singapore, plus New Thought does have a respect for other faiths including the Hindu, Buddhist, and various local spiritual traditions whereas most other Christians do not.

And yes, I am looking for an excuse to be over there again.  I miss my kaya toast, duck rice, teh tarik, and chicken rice!