Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a very interesting year for me.  My mom passed away, I was laid off from my job, moved back to Los Angeles, short sold my first home, went back to work for Cedars Sinai(which I vowed to never do), and even reconnected with my ex. But, I’m still smiling!  Had it not been for my  friends and my yoga practice, I’m not sure how I would have turned out. I truly believe if one thinks positively and tries to find the good in everything, they will be successful in their life. Despite all the crap I had to go through, things just kept getting better and better. The way I like to look at the past year was this: My mom is no longer bed ridden, getting laid off got me out of Las Vegas(Thank god), I sold a home filled with bad memories and my job is great. My friends ARE my family and I couldn’t have done it without them. There are a lot of shitty people Los Angeles, and I do mean a LOT. But, this is my second time ’round with this city and I feel like I can see through all its crap . It’s not about what you’re wearing, how much money you have, where you work or how many times you go to the gym. For me, it’s about the relationships I have with others.

Next year will be filled with fun, good intentions, abundance and LOTS of handstands! I’m the happiest that I have been in a LONG time, and I don’t plan on that changing.  Thanks to everyone who was there for me when I needed you. You know who you are. I love you!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

J

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Email: JustinsJourney1@gmail.com

 

Vatican’s Exorcist: ‘Yoga is Satanic’…..SERIOUSLY??

 

 

The only word that doesn’t belong in that sentence is the word, Yoga. I know this article is a little dated, by a month or so. However, I just wanted to touch on it anyway. According to this priest, the practice of yoga leads to a belief in Hinduism, and “all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation.” And, the Harry Potter books are evil because he believes they “promote black magic, curses, spells”.  I’m sure he and I would be BFF’s for sure. Ya know, considering I am a gay man who practices yoga 3-4 times a week, and have all the Harry Potter films sitting on my shelves right now. He probably likes yoga about as much as I like going to church. :-) After reading the article, it made me realize how happy I am NOT being associated with any religion.

I was actually raised Catholic. I went to CCD classes (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) from elementary school throughout high school. Once a week, every week. I was an altar boy for god sake! So, I’m quite familiar with the Catholic Church’s practices: Sit. Stand. Kneel. Sing. Pass the collection plate. Discriminate.  Well, this is my experience with this particular religion. It was nice that my family got to do something together every week, but I wasn’t sure WHY I was there. Well, I was mainly there because my family made me go. But, after all the years of going to church on Sundays, retreats, church camps and praying to someone I wasn’t sure would ever answer…religion, specifically the Catholic religion, never resonated with me. “May God be with you” would be a phrase I would hear on a regular basis. But, what I felt like they were really saying was, “May God be with you. Now, don’t fuck up or you’ll go straight to hell.” Always with a smile on their faces, of course. You see, church never made any sense to me to due to the hypocrisy of it all. The priest would stand up there and read his homilies from “The good book”, about do onto others, etc…only to have the parishioners leave these teachings at the door on the way out. Church goers using words like “Nigger”, “Faggot”, and “Beaner”, just didn’t add up to me. Anyone else see a problem with this??  People can believe whatever they want to believe…talking snakes and all. Just as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, that’s all that matters to me.

When I stumbled across my yoga practice, I found the sense of community I was desperately trying to find in the Catholic church. It was so organic and natural. It was almost too easy. I was just me, and therefore, I was accepted. So, naturally, I was irritated when I read this article. How dare he say such things about something that has enriched my life in such a positive way?? He’s trying to convince people that the ONE thing I know for sure is good…is evil?!? People tend to be negative or apprehensive about things they don’t really know anything about.

Father, the Hindu religion may believe in reincarnation. You believe in taking ribs from women and having 2 of every animal on a huge boat. Who cares about who believes what? If it’s not hurting anyone…why should it matter?

I’d be interested in hearing your views on this article. Feel free to leave comments, LIKE my fb page, or email me @ JustinsJourney1@gmail.com

 

I think I’ll stay in tonight and watch a movie. “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows” anyone?

 

For an awesome read, check out my friend’s blog. It’s following him and his family’s path from Christianity to Atheism. Amazing blog, Jason!

I love you.

It’s been one year ago today

…that my mom passed away.  People keep asking me, “How are you feeling about it?”, or “Are you going to be okay?” In all honesty, I’m completely fine. It’s because I’m happy with every decision I’ve made over the past year or so. I also have a genuine group of friends out here on the west coast that I can confide in, and who support me. When my mom died, everything seemed to change. The way I look at life, my relationship with others shifted, I was able to see people as they truly were; all of these things happened very quickly after my mom passed.

When my mother was alive, my family consisted of my dad, sister, 2 aunts, 1 uncle, grandmother and 1 cousin; this are my immediate relatives. The people who I call “family” after my mother died, are my dad and my sister. My mother was diagnosed with MS in 1998, and had been confined to a bed for the last 6yrs of her life. So, her death was a surprise at the time, but we knew the path she was on. I was extremely sad, but at the same time, happy that she wasn’t in the bed anymore.  Allow me to explain.

The evening my mom died, I was in Las Vegas and everyone else was in Beaumont, Tx. I called my dad sobbing and asked him if he and my sister were able to hold off the funeral for a week. I was going out of the country for the first time and my mother was so happy that I was going. He said, “Yes, of course. It’s okay with me and your sister. We’ll have the funeral when you get back and you can fly down.” Perfect!   The next morning after I got out of yoga class, I have numerous texts/phone calls from my aunts and my sister. I called Jesika (my sister) and she told me, “Maw maw just called me and said, ‘If you hold us hostage with this funeral, we’re never speaking to you again and you’re out of the family’” I can’t BEGIN to tell you how angry I became. I then called my aunt Jeanette and spoke to her because the other two women wouldn’t answer their phones. She began to lecture me on how this was not my decision; who am I to tell them, who am I to say, etc….

Okay, it had been less than 24hrs since my mom died. MAYBE it was a little insensitive of me to have everyone waiting; I wasn’t thinking clearly. So, I told her, “Have your funeral, do what you need to do. Because, I’m not going to see my mother in some box.” Even after I told her this, she kept trying to pester me about how wrong I was and that I should be showing more support to them, etc.  So I told her, “Jeanette, Shut UP! Shut the FUCK up! This is not about you!”.  She then quickly hung up on me. That was the last time I spoke to either aunt.

My grandmother told me how disappointed in me they all were and they weren’t sure if they could forgive me for such an outrageous comment. They all tried to make me feel bad that I wasn’t sobbing my eyes out nonstop like they were. They didn’t understand that I had already made peace with everything, and that it wasn’t out of disrespect. They didn’t get it. I don’t regret cursing at my aunt because I did nothing wrong. I had strong emotions, and I expressed them. It was weird how they made my mother’s death about them. They never once asked how my sister and I were doing. Not once. After the funeral, apparently they had their own gathering at my grandmother’s house and left my dad, the widower, at his home with 3 other people. But, I was the disrespectful one.

Death can bring out the worst in people sometimes, and people will show their true colors. Just you wait! I can honestly say that I am no longer angry with these women anymore. I haven’t spoken to them for a year now. I still wish them well, but no longer call them my family. Relatives or not, I made a decision a long time ago to not surround myself with negative/bad people. And you shouldn’t either! They’ll only bring you down.

Family doesn’t just have to be blood relatives. I have friends who know the real me more than my relatives ever did. And, for that, I am grateful.

I love you mom, dad and Jes. And the rest of you….You know who you are!

 

Xoxo

 

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“Love is life, and life is free”

I saw one of my favorite recording artists at The Wiltern last night . Erykah Badu is one of those artists who has it all. Her voice is stunning, a very attractive woman, funny, and has positive messages in her music. You can just tell she has a lot of fun perfoming. She shines very bright. I’ve seen her once before in Maryland, back in 2008. Some of my friends were kind of shocked that I was a fan of hers. It’s funny that they would think that, but I understand why they thought that. I mean, just by looking at me, would you think I was a big Erykah Badu fan? Uh…NO. I was introduced to her by some friends when I lived in Houston from 2001-2004. I had heard of her, but never really “heard” her. So, there are a lot of good memories attached to her music for me. I’d say 80% of my friends are either black or hispanic. I can’t tell you how many do-rags have been left in my car by accident (thank you, Fred). I guess the idea of a skinny white guy, rollin’ into the club parking lot while listening to “Tyrone” and “Bag Lady”  could be…comical? But, that’s just how it was. Growing up, my sister and I literally went to six different schools around town, from Preschool until 12th grade. More than half of them were predominately in the hood due to the zoning of the schools. So for us, we really didn’t see “color”. Everyone looked the same, as they should. Living in a town like that has its fill of racism and bigotry; I’m so glad we were exposed to everyone and everything. I believe it made us better people. My sister and I could be dropped in the middle of anywhere and walk away with friends, no matter the race.  So, yes, I love all music. I’ve seen Marilyn Manson, Reba McEntire, Empire of the Sun, Tori Amos, Smashing Pumpkins and yes…Ms Soul Sistah, Erykah Badu…just to name a few.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 5hrs of standing(3 for the opening bands, and 2 for her performance) was NOT cute. And the fact that I shoved two girls and yelled at them because they were trying to push their way closer to the stage was interesting.  But, I wasn’t about to give up my spot to two girl that were stoned out of their minds and being totally annoying and rude.  Erykah sang a variety of new and old goodies.  ”Fight the government”, “Take care of yourself”, “Love each other”, and “Peace” are messages that are all in her music.     One of my favorite songs she played was “Didn’t Cha know”.  To me, it’s a song about the ups and downs of life. About decisions, good and bad. Sometimes you may get distracted and lose your path. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find your way back and make it better.

Her stage presence is amazing and I will be seeing her again.

And as Erykah says, “Love is life, and life is free. Take a ride of life with me. Free your mind and find your way. There will be a brighter day.”

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