THE BLISS THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE!

Woman in Blue Shirt Sightseeing
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Joseph Campbell opened my eyes in saying that following my bliss puts me on a life track that has been laid out and waiting for me. The type of life I ought to be living becomes the one I am living. Living a blissful life becomes the journey.

A blissful person lives a magnified emotional state of fulfillment and happiness. I believe this comes from the all of the smaller collected moments of life as they continue to happen.

Helping your neighbour shovel his driveway.

Donating to charity so that a village can dig a well.

Giving that time and attention to an elder that is lonely.

Listening, really listening to someone in pain.

Delivering those food and clothing hampers to those in need.

If we help others, then we move towards becoming the people we always hoped we would be.

There is nothing outside of yourself that calls to you (except your mother, and you should call her back). Otherwise, if you believe you are a blank slate to begin with, then everything you sense builds upon each new sensory experience.

At some point in time, you will project beyond yourself and perceive this as a calling. It might be life, a profession or a moral epiphany. But all of this comes from within. This means that you have to do a bit of work to discover this calling. It might come to you as any wild animal might, but otherwise any experience worth having requires effort.

If you answer this call to yourself, then you are also following your bliss. Therein lies the happiness you are seeking.

Taxed into a State of Liberty

Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither.

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I used to love this quote from Benjamin Franklin. This was up to the time when I learned he actually didn’t say that. He did say the following on behalf of the Pennsylvania Assembly in its Reply to the Governor in 1755.

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Apparently he was actually writing about a tax dispute between the assembly and the Penns family, the proprietary family of the colony who ruled from afar. The assembly was trying to tax the Penn family lands to pay for frontier defense during one of the many wars. The Penn family wanted the governor to veto the tax. The Penn family was trying to give a lump sum of money in exchange for the Assembly to acknowledge it did not have the authority to tax it.  So it seems Franklin was actually being pro-taxation and pro-defense spending. Essentially he defends the authority of the legislature to govern in the interests of collective security. He was basically talking about money. Trying to explain a quote like this tends to be like buying catfish in the store. Gutted and filleted, you can’t recognize it for what it actually was before, but you prefer the way it looks now regardless. Packaged and tidy.

The use of the pithier quote really picked up in the 2000s. The shorter modified form works quite well when talking about government surveillance and the like. I should have included a spoiler alert. Hopefully the saying isn’t spoiled for too many of you and I will likely go back to spouting the older, incorrect but far pithier version. At least verbally. Using an incorrect quote on the internet never seems to work out well for those that try it.

We move forward a few years and we can see that Jefferson makes an even more popular use of the term Liberty in the Declaration.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

This is likely the most well-known sentence in the US. There may be a few lines of poetry that are more well know, but we all know what people think about poetry. A major point here is that Jefferson claims that everyone already has the right to Liberty. No one has to give it to you, but someone can certainly keep you from exercising it properly. It took quite a bit of needless suffering before these rights were recognized for all people in the United States. A couple of visits to The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis opened my eyes to the struggles people had to make things right.

 Jefferson went on to describe Liberty as “unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” Back then the founding generation wanted no restraints and accepted that any failures would be theirs to bare. This other part of liberty about limits drawn around us seems to get lost a bit in all of the shouting back and forth.

Once again, the modern day concept seems to have drifted somewhat away from what they meant back then. Today we think more of the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.  Or at least that’s what I thought once I looked it up since I actually hadn’t thought about it much. The entire concept of liberty is somewhat different from freedom which some people see as being able to do whatever the hell they want unaffected by laws. This group tends to confuse political laws with natural laws. The natural law of gravity always exists, on earth anyway. The winners of the Darwin awards always seem to reinforce the existence of the law of gravity and how rapid deceleration after a fall always has a negative effect.

I rarely exercised my right to liberty by voting unfortunately. I did think that I was exercising my liberty by deciding to not stand in-line in a school gym to mark a piece of paper. Apparently I wasn’t being so much exercising my right not to vote as simply being a lazy jerk instead.

I liked to think of myself as an anarchist. And not the type in a cloak that always seems to be carrying around one of those small round bombs with the fuse. I will have you know that when I was 12 I stopped experimenting with gunpowder the moment my mom refused to buy me any more ingredients.

An anarchist advocates stateless societies based on voluntary associations. So there is no system of government or central rule. This is sort of like being married where no one is really in charge. Although every husband I know recognizes that there is always a first among equals. Happy life you know.

I slowly realized that I like the concept of roads, schools, and the proper co-ordination of aviation. I like my traffic controllers and aviation engineers to be governmentally regulated almost to death. Only the survivors get to carry on with their thankless job. And for this, we continue to not thank them.

And hospitals. I think hospitals are going to be big in my future someday. They must be regulated to death since that’s where a lot of that happens.

Getting back to liberty instead of death, which would also make a good slogan, I made a poor impression upon all of my children who eventually became more and more engaged in the political process. Two of my kids got involved with the campaigns of various politicians. I didn’t know who the politicians were, or what they stood for, but damn it I was going to support the kids. Even though they were out of school, this became like a very expensive school project.

They were making pamphlets, arranging fundraisers and going door to door to speak to people. They were doing all these things I had never gotten involved with before. I had this mixture of admiration for them and embarrassment for myself. I’m not sure where this political involvement gene came from, but it may have been from their grandparents. Or board and video games. My kids spent a lot of time playing Risk, the world domination game. I am not sure if this was much better than the video games advocating violence but on a smaller scale.

So, I started contributing towards the various campaigns. I even purchased a table at one the major functions and managed to get my name on the placeholder. Another politician from the adjacent province who was attending our gala came over and shook my hand and noticed that I had purchased the table for everyone. This made me feel like one of the real big shots that work in this ethereal atmosphere of political movers and shakers. He didn’t ask me any political policy questions fortunately since I had no positions on anything. I did grab one of my kids and place him in front of this guy. Let them do the networking.

I did find that a number of people working the campaign and going door to door would not be the type of person I would normally open the door to if they knocked. They seemed to be very passionate about things that somehow were not deserving of passion. Perhaps their passion seemed forced, contrived, or just a bit off. They could easily get worked up about some point of view which I could not even really tell the difference between the two positions being argued. I could easily back away from such situations and they would continue in my absence.

In one instance my adult daughter and I were talking to an elder statesman at the gala. I am not sure how, but suddenly I noticed a dollar coin at my feet. Apparently the elder fellow dropped it. My daughter, much younger and faster leaned over to pick it up and handed it back to the fellow. He flashed me the largest shit-eating grin and promptly dropped it on the floor again. It flashed through my mind that I should drop him on the floor as opposed to having my daughter bend over and pick it up again.

I think he was eventually kicked out of the party. Or he died. Or maybe he was just dead to me after that. No matter.

John Mill describes political liberty as not being under legal restraint except those passed by their own constituted law making power according to the trust put into it.

Interestingly, there appears to be some implied cultural prerequisites to all of this. Madison said that ‘to suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea.” Apparently he is saying that similar to the rides at fair ground ‘you have to be this virtuously tall’ before being allowed to play in and with the rights outlined in the Declaration. This gets us back to the previously described life of virtue being the happy life.

This virtue precondition of Madison is an intriguing idea that may explain a lot about the increasing size of government which may have to step in and legislate and regulate the areas that people need a little encouraging reminder as what virtue may require. Just look at the tax code. If you like having schools, roads and civil aviation that works a very high percentage of the time, then just pay your damn taxes. If you want tax equality, then you will have to ring that liberty bell a little harder.

(Happiness/Sadness) + Meaning = Well Being

The equation looks simple, but getting the numbers right is the hard part. Fortunately, well being does not include calculus.

Happiness and Meaning provide two powerful motivations in life. Scientific American provided some research on the difference between the two and that happiness and meaning are essential elements of well-being. There appears to be a synergistic effect where one can increase the other but they remain different. One can be happy playing video games even though you would be better off learning something new or completing that homework assignment.

The one thing that increases meaning in life but likely causes unhappiness would be having children of course. Having children seems meaningful when you are finally playing with the grandchildren that go home at the end of the day as opposed to the times when you are up at 3 am with a colicky baby.

Other studies have found that feeling heathy or having wealth contributed to happiness while wisdom contributed to meaning but detracted from happiness. So happiness relates more to having your needs met while meaning relates to helping others met their needs.

Meaning possesses two major parts, a cogitative processing component which makes sense of and integrates experiences and a purpose component which includes motivation and long-term goals. This demonstrates the potential negative impact of attempting to be happy all the time and not experiencing the full range of negative emotions needed for personal development. While connotative processing strongly relates to a passion and perseverance to long-term goals. Which is quite a long-winded way of saying Grit.

Looking back, I can see how I imposed a level of grit into my life approach. My life moto turned out to be you only fail once you stop trying. I certainly had to apply this throughout all my years of university. I was incapable of giving something up once I started it. Unfortunately, I have not included house cleaning as part of those tasks that I am not prepared to give up. I recognize a Sisyphus boulder pushing task from the get go.

Processing and purpose fuse together to provide meaning in life. Examining your life brings to mind Aristotle’s teaching that the unexamined life is not worth living. A more positive way of saying this would be that processing your life makes living more worthwhile. Although behavioral economics has already taught us that that people feel losses twice as much as they feel gains, so Aristotle may have had it right the first time. People are more encourage to act in order to avoid a loss.

Life examination does not appear to be one time thing, but rather an all-time thing. You can’t just examine your life once and forget about it. Each step seems to require its own examination to see how it all fits together.

Speaking of great philosophers, Vince Lombardi said something similar. “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while. You don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately so is losing.” This can be applied in numerous situations as we constantly examine our lives and continue to live our life with purpose. The final part, about the meaning of life needs can now be phrased as to how to live with long term goals and perseverance. 

So when it comes to goal setting, what would Vince, or Jefferson do in a similar situation? Jefferson spent a great deal of his youth studying. He laid out in great detail how one should study and for how long. From 8 o’clock in the morning till dusk he would study all areas of science, law and agriculture. From dark till bedtime he devoted his time to poetry, drama and literary criticism with an emphasis on Cicero’s speeches. At night, he ran past the city limits and back again. After Jefferson, all other presidents stood on the shoulders of this giant.

Taking Jefferson as a role model, we can see the benefits of the setting long-term goals for the mind, body and spirit. Had he lived another ten year, it’s unlikely that he would have allowed his work to have been interrupted by checking the telegraph machine every few minutes.

HAH! Black Tower makes a comeback!

The Toronto Sun calls Black Tower a retro wine. The sort of wine that kids drank before they knew better. The type of wine that can be described by a single word. BEWARE!

Should you consume anything that costs less than $10 bottle? I would say yes. Even if its for the memory trip back to high school, or whenever, that you used to drink this demi-goddess wine.

Even the bottle has lost half of its darkness. It sort of looks like a person dressed in evening clothes but then dropped their drawers. This is apparently to show potential consumers that the wine is actually white inside.

I’m so going to go back their soon. And get out that high school year book.

We don’t carry THAT kind of wine sir.

Have you ever confidently asked for a particular bottle of wine. One that you thought for sure would impress that important someone opposite you? And I don’t mean your significant other. I mean the waiter standing beside you.

In this fancy restaurant in Banff Canada I ordered this nice white wine that came in a classic bottle. I mean who couldn’t be taken away by the logo and the overall branding and make of the bottle itself. The contents must surely be ambrosia.

Apparently, the German White Wine “Black Tower” is not held in high regard by all. The reprimand by the waiter still stands out in my mind today. Like a branded tattoo. But I have come so far since then.

This wine tastes like I will be posting.

Had to run up to the cottage to fix the heat. Have to stay overnight to get another part in the morning. And a bottle of wine seemed like a good thing. At the time.

So, if one is not texting anyone in particular, but rather posting to the world at large, and they aren’t listening, do the posts resonate?

I would have to say yes. And usually at the most inappropriate times.

How to set those Long Term Virtues

 

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Setting long-term goals can be tough. All this delayed gratification does not fit in with our present life-style. Can you imagine any sort of video game where it actually took you 30-40 years before you reached that final level? Sales of the game would be non-existent. Well, that’s what life looks like.

If we what we are looking for in life is a combination of happiness and purpose to total well-being, then how do we get from here to there? If you don’t know where you’re going, then any path will do. But if you don’t even know you have to go somewhere, then that’s a bit more inertia to get over. Remember, the longest journey over a cliff begins with the first misstep. But we are talking about living a full life, so it’s worth the risk.

A lot of us become involved in setting long term objectives in business.  One might think that using a business model to one’s own life simply allows the problem to take control over a larger portion of your existence. And we all know that vampires, and lawyers, need to be invited in to your life. So keep an oaken stake around just in case. I’m not sure what works on vampires. Sunlight perhaps.

But what if there were a way to try and apply what you have already learned to living a better life? Most people are involved in business in some fashion or another in order to earn income. Would applying those business skills somehow be of help to strategically lay out your own life to achieve your own personal vision and mission statement?

 Doing what you know and do best applies to most things. Certainly this would also apply to life, and using those honed business skills would make your life one of the top organizations for years to come. A Fortune 500 CEO of your own existence. And not one of those sociopath CEOs, but rather a kind and benevolent CEO. Unless you are into that, and of course no judgments here.

Business ethics sounds like a contradiction of terms, but the majority of organizations incorporate value statements into their own mission statements. These general guidelines fall within corporate responsibility. The difficulty in defining a proper code of conduct comes from the broad range of perspectives. Ethical behavioural viewed from your perspective may not have the same quality when viewed from your neighbour’s perspective. But, we seem to know right conduct from wrong conduct. After you finished some questionable hi-jinks the day before, just think what the social media feed would look like in the morning.

Owners and managers realize the impact their business have within the greater realm of the community. Good business practices suggest conducting one’s operation with integrity.  Your brand comprises of everything you do and say, and everything you don’t do and say. And we are all capable of doing more than a simple chemical infused brown carbonated liquid can do in changing the world. 

A close analogy could be drawn between the normal corporation and the nature of men and women.  The essentially soulless corporation depends upon the values of those that run the organization in order to determine its own values.  Accordingly, one would think that the values of Corporation have been aligned with the individual’s direction.  Perhaps the true happiness of an individual may be somewhat analogous to the happiness of the organization. Actually, thinking that a corporation would be capable of smiling and not feeling anything would cause most people to flee the area.

What connection exists between how a corporation runs and how an individual can run their own life? Corporations have always used objectives such as profits, return on investment and dividends paid amongst other criteria.  Can this somehow predicate the happiness of the Corporation or do we have a similar kind of dichotomy between humankind and business? Does the satisfaction of these corporate criteria also refer only to contentment?  The satisfaction of these various corporate objectives does lead to the payment of dividends, wages and bonuses, which can lead to the contentment of individuals in the short term. Not getting wages and bonuses can lead to long-term pissed-off dissatisfaction.

If indeed the Corporation’s soul is made up of the individuals that run the organization, then we could have an argument that a similar dichotomy exists between contentment and true happiness within a corporation.  This would suggest that a corporation having the values of the individual would also seek to maximize its happiness by leading a highly moral life. However, a corporation full of jerks would remain a jerky corporation.

If a corporation could somehow be happy in the satisfaction of its mission and vision statement, then it stands to reason that a similar achievement of a personal mission and vision statement would lead to the well-being of an individual. Here we assume that happiness of the individual remains an important component from the individuation or actualization of the individual.  An individual would still want to become fully actualized through the accumulation of skills and wisdom and perhaps wealth.  If an individual wishes to become actualized through work, this is somehow consistent with leading a highly moral life.  One should be able to lead a highly moral life and still become actualized.  Actualization may have to do more with the contentment of the individual and the resolution of various desires of that particular individual. You may already be happy and not know it! No doubt some would find that they have already realized their goal as being depressing.

There are numerous books on getting an MBA in various business areas already. There are also several books on developing a balance between work and life. However, how does one apply business skills to organize one’s own life? Developing a personal vision and mission statement are sometimes mentioned, but they are not mentioned in the way of an entire life strategic plan. If you believe in this approach, then a good life simply does not happen. You have to figure out what that means to yourself and how you are going to achieve it. If you don’t have a passion for work, then perhaps use your work skills to develop a passion for your own life.

What would Henry Thoreau do to create a Personal Vision Statement?

Maple Leaves on Water
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What if Thoreau decided to go to his strategic retreat at Walden Pond and create a personal vision statement.

A personal vision statement asks the most important question about you. A vision statement for a corporation would establish how the company views itself. A personal vision statement asks a similar question about how you see yourself. For thousands of years, men and women have been asking themselves what is the meaning of life. However, for a vision statement, you should ask yourself what it means to be truly alive.

So you have to ask yourself, how do you feel about your own life? If you read your own obituary, how would you feel or think about those really great spreadsheets or those pithy business plans? If you did a word search, it’s unlikely that these items would come up in anyone’s life description. Ever. Would you simply carry on and read about the more interesting person in the column beside you? If the answer is yes, then perhaps you should re-address your priorities.

So how does one create a personal vision statement? This does not necessarily have to relate to yourself, but could also relate to the environment around you. Martin Luther King did not have a vision for himself, he had a dream on how the world should be, and he worked towards that. However, most people would find it easier to deal with one’s self as opposed to an entire society.

A personal vision statement should capture in a single sentence what you would want other people to think and say to others about you. Needless to say, everyone should want to become all that they possibly could be. The Army Strong brand does resonate along with be all that you can be.  You could make this into a craft by suggesting vibrant colors and play around with different fonts!

You may be thinking about becoming a truly actualized individual, where all of your internal resources are fully put to the test. Jung conceptualized this as being individualized. Striving to be the best possible person in all aspects seems like an overly daunting task. But you do not have to force yourself to be the best possible person you can be by tomorrow. Take some time. Perhaps even the rest of your life, since the struggle is the most important thing. Or use the term “pursuit” if prefer.

You could strive to be the renaissance man or woman. Consider what the world would be like if we all strived to be like Leonardo. No, not that one. The other one. No one will ever be like Leonardo since that persona has already been done, and he was the best Leonardo that will ever happen, since there could only be one. Instead, be the best person you can be considering what you already have to work with and what else you could develop with the time allotted to you. Ask yourself, would Leonardo really be spending his time watching this rerun of a game show, or would he be doing something more constructive with his time, like creating the next level of mathematics.

If we look at the life of Leonardo we see that he was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, inventor, and scientist. He likely epitomized the renaissance person. He easily bridged the two main planes of thought including science and art. Little has been written about any of his physical exploits. And nothing about his reality drama watching habits.

Creating ‘the vision thing’[1] took me several years. Ok, several decades, and I’m still working on it. Trying to create a personal vision in simple, clear and effective ways can be tough. Taking years kind of tough. If no vision comes to mind, then some of the collected works of the great essayists might provide you enough background to pick a particular way to create one. This might even include some of the greater poets (most aspire to reading poetry but I admittedly haven’t gotten the hang of it).

However, from a collected works perspective one of the greatest visionary writers would be Thoreau. By visionary, I suggest that the writer eloquently promotes an enthralling way of life clearly and simply. When Thoreau wrote that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation he suggested that they had no real goals or visions, just a continuous state of anxiety and drudgery. He wrote that living was so dear that he did not want to live anything that was not life. Although his time at Walden Pond was somewhat short, he only lived there for two years, he wrote a wealth of inspirational prose based on these experiences. He provides a classic explanation of his rationale. 

Here Thoreau paints a tremendous vision of what life should be all about, living deliberately. As a true leader, he does not necessarily flesh this out in any detail as to what his really means. However, he has set out a noble objective and he has left his readers with enough flexibility to determine how they might achieve such an objective. We can look at a later passage to see that living deliberately could mean any number of things. 

“I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.” 

Here we see that life can run the full gamut of a life mean, solitary, brutish and short[2] to a type of ecstasy only achievable by being part of it. To him, nothing is more important than life itself and having all of the money or beauty in the world will not make up for a life wasted, or even shortened. He does provide certain guideposts to determine what living deliberately would require, and this would be to “simplify, simplify, simplify”. It would be difficult to achieve one’s goal if one is surrounded by reams of trivia. Other non-life things would have to be put to rout in order to get to the core of the matter. This also includes cutting close in order to carve away what gets in the way and defining life as a type of art. The essence of any great art would be to do away with anything that gets in the way of the thing itself that is being represented.

Perhaps the other attributes of leadership are not quite there, such as facilitating the change required to make such a change. Simplifying life in order to get at the art of life may be more difficult than most of us would like to acknowledge. This again does not suggest that taking time to get the kids to soccer interferes with your living deliberately, since interacting with your children on any level could be the sublime part that Thoreau mentions.  

We can look to see if there are any particular ways you might use and free up some more of that precious, and most often limiting factor called time. The amount of time per day is already fixed, so we can only look at getting some more time available to set out other objectives you might want to accomplish. Do not expect time travel any time soon. Besides, if someone had already created it, you would think that they would have visited our time line already to try to find out what were we thinking when we did whatever it is that we did in the past.

Finally, you need the wherewithal to make available any resources that might be required to facilitate what you are setting out to accomplish. In a corporation, this might look like accessing the necessary training and people to accomplish a particular objective. Personally, this means something slightly different. Having the necessary resources could be as simple, or as complicated, as making the necessary time available to accomplish what you are setting out to do. This of course, can be really dependent upon your own personal situation. It can be hard to find the necessary time when you have to run the children to their hockey lessons across town, or if you are running double shifts just to put enough food on the table. Your time has already been set out to accomplish as much as you can in the time allotted. These various constraints will straighten themselves out in their own time lines, and this might not be the same as yours.

Our lives appear so busy that we find it necessary to carve time out for ourselves. But if time is a river, how do you carve water out of a flowing stream? Once you have removed the water from a river, it truly is no longer a river, just a cup of murky water. I believe you have to put yourself into the flow of the river instead and do the things that must be done to become human. Carving time becomes a travesty.

Thoreau suggests that the oversupply of resources might be what gets in the way of living a deliberate life. When he suggests that we should simplify our lives, we should be simplifying our purchasing at the same time. This runs counter to the majority of contemporary thinking that the objective of life would be to gather as many things as you can put your name on before you die. If acquiring stuff is not your sole objective, then it appears to be a major indicator that you ran your life well. A proud moment in any couple’s life is when they finally get their first house. Considering the life span of a mortgage, Thoreau suggests that the couple did not get their house, but rather, the house got them.

When my mother passed away, my brother and I went through her one bedroom suite. With her moving from her place to independent living, she shed most of her belongings. She kept the things that evoked memories instead. A reminder from each place or beach she ever visited.

A Thoreau personal vision suits a slimmed down less stressful lifestyle which allows you to follow-up on the more important things in life. For me, the triskelion, my brand if you wish, really represents what I what to accomplish. Mind, body and spirit working towards a greater wholeness.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately… and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived.” 


[1] Bush dismissed ‘the vision thing’ when someone suggested he should think of one for the country.

[2] Hobbes had earlier referred to man’s early life as mean, solitary, brutish and short.

Why do Sinners make the best Saints?

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The most interesting Saints cover a broad spectrum. They transition from the generally bad state to sainthood state. Everyone likes the come from behind kid.

St. Augustine may have had the most sinful past. He fathered an illegitimate child. He eventually abandoned the child and the mother in the prospects of marrying a heiress. His mother, like almost all mothers, persisted that he repent. Eventually he did and turned to the priesthood. As a nod to his party past, he remains the patron saint of brewers. He apparently prayed for chastity, but not just not yet.

Ancient Rome subcontracted out tax collection to locals. These people were generally hated by all. Tax collectors notoriously extorted additional fees on top of the taxes. Even if they didn’t, they were seen as Roman collaborators.

Likely the most famous was St Matthew. Followers harangued Jesus for including roman collaborators.  Eventually St. Matt moved out the money collection business and into Sainthood. I think it is telling that ever since tax collection in the US started, no one working there has been raised to sainthood.

St. Mary of Egypt lived in Alexandria in the fourth century. She was a ‘seductress’. Some research suggests she was a prostitute. Other studies suggest that St Mary never charged for her services. She seemingly liked the challenge.

Fortunately, she joined a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. She did this apparently to either drum up more business or join what would have been the closest thing to the mile high club. Either way she managed to seduce everyone along the way. When she finally got to the holy site, she saw a statute of the Virgin Mary and repented. What must be the greatest turnaround in ancient history, she is now the Patron Saint against sexual temptation.

St. Angela spent most of her life seeking wealth, material possessions and pleasure. As an aside, I really didn’t like where this one was heading. She had several children but was still more interested in gathering possessions.

At 40 she realized the emptiness of her life. Unfortunately, her mother, children and husband died three years later. She sold everything and joined an order and became the patron saint of widows. Part of her tagline includes adulteress. I am not sure what they did for SEOs back then.

The Blessed Bartolo Longo started off as a devout catholic. He may have been looking for more immediate gratification and became a Satanic Priest instead. He joined the Dominican tertiary and helped college students learn about the avoiding the evils of the occult. We can only be thankful that there was no cool aid back then.
All of these people focused on the long game. This means there is hope for all of us.

<a href=”http://Saintly“>saintly sinners