Castles made of sand fall into the sea eventually

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4/17/2015

Castles made of sand fall into the sea eventually

There are no shortcuts to soul rectification. The law of cause and effect is in full effect.

You might not see the effect immediately but you will meet up with it eventually – this spiritual law is not limited to time and space but a physical cause will meet its physical effect in time. Good intent and good deed contribute to future happiness while bad intent and bad deed contribute to future suffering.

Any apparent physical success achieved through shortcuts – through violating a spiritual law – will melt into the sea eventually. Only truth stands at the end.

“One who speaks falsehood shall not stand before my eyes”

(Psalms 101:7)

When you see this play out over and over and over again, you eventually “get it”, and just don’t have the strength or interest to build another castle, just to see it melt away again.

The simplest compass here is to not do to others what you don’t want done to yourself. Ask yourself this question before every decision – and the answer is clear if you’re courageous enough to follow it.

The whole Torah stands on this principal.

Man designs schemes and God melts castles into the sea eventually.

There is, however, an escape hatch from the affects of past actions which can override karmic consequences – and this comes in the form of Divine Providence, which means that we can reach beyond the system of cause and effect. We can plead with the Creator of the system through teshuvah (repairing and returning to our true nature) which retroactively alters and repairs our past actions.

But without active daily meditative contemplation and reflection good luck identifying and breaking old habits and negative behavioral patterns. What we can control is taking the time to get our head straight and reconcile our trajectory. To weigh our actions and come clean so that we can set back out with a pure heart and clean hands.

The alternative is to bump into the same wall over and over and over again – and it only gets harder and more frustrating over time. Hitbodidut (authentic one on one all out legit dialogue with the Source) is going back stage and hanging with the Director of your reality. It’s time when the star of the show can sit and look over the clips of the past day and take direction from the Director. The Director has His name on the line just like you and is fully aligned to make the best show ever – that brings Him glory.

“What profit is there in my blood if I go down to the pit? Will the dust give you praise? Can it proclaim Your truth?”

(Psalms 30:9)

“If your desire is very strong, you will certainly be able to accomplish what you want and bring it from potential to actual. For the main purpose of the obstacle is to strengthen the desire. When the strength of your desire matches the strength of the obstacle, the obstacle becomes surmountable.”

(L’M I # 66)

Shab Shal

Blessings,

Etan

Castles made of sand fall into the sea eventually

Adventures in Hitbodidut | Divine negotiation at midnight

4/13/2015

Adventures in Hitbodidut | Divine negotiation at midnight

I know that Your laws of teshuva (returning to my true nature) allow for quantum leaps because I know that sincere teshuva on my deathbed can rectify all past disconnection.

Just like the enslavement from my past and anxieties about my future can hijack the now, so too can being in the moment free me from the past and future.

And I know that You created the Angels and I know that You empowered the Angels with control over the stars and I know that the stars and my name influence my life and I know that You created the orb of time and space from the Ein Sof (no ending-ness) and I know that You created the 10 Sefirot and I know that You uttered the 10 Utterances and commanded the 10 Commandments and unleashed the 10 plagues and I know that You are supervising over me 24/7 and I know that You love when I talk with You and pour out my truth and I know that You remind me to look at my good points because You love me and I know that every challenge and obstacle I am encountering comes from Your mercy and provides me with the opportunity to grow. So thank You for that because I know that one day  I’ll be looking back on this and seeing clearly all of Your goodness and I know that I feel free just saying this and I know that being intertwined with Your Will is the highest joy because I know what it feels like to be dis-aligned with You and I know how You call me back to You.

So, “Communicate Your innermost wisdom to me again in loving closeness, for Your friendship is dearer than all earthly delights”

-Song of Songs

I’m asking for a quantum leap my Master. I’m one of the few who dreams of complete teshuva but my bones are fragile from past dis-alignment. So I’m begging You for mercy. Lead my way with Your light and make my journey pleasing to my loved ones.

Hashem only You know what is best for me and what path is for me. At least let me remember this every moment to sweeten the judgements of life. Let me remember that You are concealed in every one of my experiences – giving me the perfect opportunity to rectify my past disconnection.

And then I heard from You tonight: “That’s the fine wine of freedom.”

That’s divine consciousness and that takes work to maintain and that comes in flashes of lightning. And this is one of them. But like Ben Franklin we can go out to the fields in the storms and fly our kites in the wind with a key attached and conduct lightning. And this is hitbodidut – lightning connection in the storm of reality and the healing waves of divine wind come flowing in proportion to the breath that flows from our mouths to the Creator.

My goal, my Master? To run the command center for Moshiach and support distributors of liberating light and truth, like Rav Dror and Rav Baruch. To bring Rav Chanan’s family in and liberate souls one by one starting with my own and then my family and friends and surrounding community of souls. I want my boys as personal agents of the Melech haMoshiach. And I want to sit at his table with my family in joy.

I’m asking You for a promotion. Can we call the past the past? I will if You will. And can I get a few wishes please?

Gevurah she’be Gevurah (Discipline of discipline)

Blessings,

Etan

Adventures in Hitbodidut | Divine negotiation at midnight

Exodus

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4/2/2015

Exodus

When you gotta go, you gotta go – and when you wanna leave Egypt, you gotta make a run for it – there is no time to lose. According to the sages, Egypt is the archetype of limitation – and each one of us is bound by both internal and cosmic constraints.

We enter this world with a soul-makeup that profoundly influences our spiritual, intellectual and emotional inclinations – predisposing us to be a person of expansiveness or constraint, a walker or a talker, a doer or a watcher, an actor or a reactor.

Our head space is influenced by our home town environment, cultural assumptions and biases – and our surrounding family and bio-chemical makeup further imprints our process of being in the world. All of these factors subconsciously guide the choices we make on a daily basis and the way we interact with others.

Being mostly unconscious of this underlying structure, we live a reactive life rather than proactively creating the world we live in.

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“The Exodus from Egypt” means becoming consciously aware and freeing ourselves of these limitations so that we can live the infinite life we are capable of and intended to experience.

The Passover Seder is the structural blue print and escape plans from the prison of constriction – our way out.

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And since leaving Egypt is a state of mind we strive to manifest each moment of our lives, we must continuously re-enact it – not only on Passover night at the Seder, but each day we are graced with the privilege and blessing to be here on earth.

There is a verse that relates how we were instructed by the Source to partake of the Seder – it sets out a three-step program for freedom.

“You must eat the Passover Sacrifice with your hips girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand.” (Exodus, Bo 12:11)

Hips Girded: If we really want to leave Egypt today we need to “gird our loins” – this first phase involves summoning up our inner resources in preparation for action – preparing ourselves with the proper headspace of what’s about to go down when we make a run for it.

Shoes on your feet: The next phase of attaining freedom has to do with how the different aspects of ourselves interact, and the establishment of a working relationship between our higher (spiritual) and lower (animalistic) self – and this process corresponds to wearing shoes on our feet.

The crafting of shoes involves the utilization of animal skin assembled in order to adorn our feet – but there is deeper metaphysical correlation to shoes.

The purpose of the higher soul is to refine the animal so as to make it a vessel for truth and Godliness – enabling us to achieve the heightened state of loving and serving the Creator in joy with both inclinations – our physical and spiritual selves.

We are looking to work the animal within in such a way that it becomes a garment for who we really are – to harness it’s imagination and direct its passions in the direction of the Source of life.

Staff in your hand: The final step involves honest internal dialogue and engaging the mind in contemplative meditation. Like a stick to a dog, the “staff in hand” is a tool which is sometimes required to tame or guide the wild animal within.

We have the ability to lower ourselves into animalistic desires and tendencies to the point where our animal soul no longer has a connection to the intellect – and the only way to deal with this part of ourselves is to tame, guide and even “strike” the animal soul with a staff.

This is not a physical act. The metaphysical strike refers to the power of speech. We see this when Moses saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite to death and stepped in to save his brother’s life. When the Egyptian refused to stop, Moses “struck” the Egyptian – and Rashi teaches that this means that Moses struck and killed him through enunciating God’s name.

Striking evil with speech means waging war against our ego and delusions. The message we are looking to impart to our animal soul is the truth that the entire world is not running on its own. The Source may be hidden, but is embedded within the atoms directing everything we experience and beyond – that one day this will all become manifest, and the animal soul will be able to see it with physical eyes – the veil of illusion shall be lifted – the glory of the Source will be revealed, and all flesh on earth will together see that “the mouth of God has spoken”.

According to the Kabbalah, “the mouth of God has spoken” refers to the first commandment – “I am God your God who took you out of Egypt.”

The Hebrew word for the first “God” in the verse is Havaye, which is connected to the words haya (was), hoveh (is) and yi’heye (will be)

This name of the Creator alludes to God as He transcends time, space and all other limitations of the world.

Our work here is to harness this infinite expansiveness and internalize it.

This consciousness, that we are not bound in any way by the limitations of the world, becomes our strength and vitality – transforming our reality and effecting a personal exodus from Egypt.

And there is literally no better time than tomorrow night (Friday April 3rd), at the Passover Seder to transform our reality and break free from all forms of enslavement. Might be a good idea to list them out as a cheat sheet.

There is a certain power, a once a year opportunity hovering above us tomorrow night – and we don’t want to miss it. On Passover eve, the night that freedom was born, we experience freedom by following a sequence of 15 ordered steps called the “Pessach Seder” (Passover Order).

The 15 steps are:

1. Sanctify
2. Cleanse
3. Appetizer
4. Break
5. Tell
6. Wash
7. Bread
8. Matzah
9. Bitter
10. Wrap
11. Set the table
12. Hidden
13. Bless
14. Praise
15. Accepted

The first step, “Kadesh” (Sanctify) corresponds to our transcending of the mundane world – and once we’ve set ourselves free from material slaveries, we can then return and sanctify them. That is when true spiritual freedom begins – when we introduce a higher purpose into every physical act we do.

And the final step, “Nirtza” (Accepted) corresponds to us doing nothing – it’s time for the Source to take over. We are not designed to be perfect. Once we’ve done what we can do, it’s time to focus on the good and strengthen our faith even more.

For over 3,300 years we have been making freedom runs from Egypt – doing our jobs of transforming the darkness of this world into light – and now it’s the Creator’s turn to lift us up out from slavery and banish the darkness once and for all – bringing perfect illumination to our path for eternity.

Chag Kasher v’Sameach (Wishing you a happy and kosher holiday)

Blessings,

Etan

Exodus

Shrouds and Shovels

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3/27/2015

Shrouds and Shovels

Don’t cap your upside, transform your downside.

Fear and lack of self worth manifest a breeding ground for a dis-aligned relationship with success.

We need to welcome with royal treatment the experience of deep joy and gratitude when “good” things happen – and work on lessening the emotional turbulence of “bad” things as they are experienced- transforming “bad” experiences through perceiving the hidden “good” in the ‘bad”.

The Alter Rebbe revealed how seeing “good” in “bad”, through piercing the veil of the illusion of “bad”, merits the unveiling of higher perceptions of the Source in the World To Come – and we know that the World To Come is a state of mind we can achieve right now. We are, after all, in the Ein Sof (the eternal realm of no limit)- we are in God, not just God in us. Not only cap your downside, lift it higher than your upside. It’s all upside.

Spin how we look at things to best work for us – as Rebbe Nachman revealed – we need joy to best serve the Source – so why cap it? – especially since it comes from the Source as a sweet gift?

Reading stories of how some of the holiest sages shunned money – and how wealth and piety can rarely co exist – is always something that haunted me – because I had it set up that shunning abundance is on the most pious level. Now, however, I prefer to focus my mind on how through transforming themselves into dust, the holiest sages attracted all the abundance in the world. That’s a winning system.

A faulty relationship with abundance creates dis-alignment within ourselves, and is the adversary’s technique to set us up for inner conflict and failure – a repellant for light and abundance.

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Most people get mad when they are late, but don’t jump up and down and throw parties if they are on time. Why cap the upside and let the downside roll? It’s punishment and self sabotage – and dangerous – and, according to the law of attraction, it just welcomes in more negativity like a magnet to metal dust.

Really? Not saying thank you for the gifts? – or worse, repelling them in the name of “piety”, and then sobbing and praying when they aren’t manifesting? Not a winning system.

Other people are relying on your miracles, and it’s not fair to them to inflict your repellant views on their portion. At least take a democratic vote from your dependents, partners and charities before you crawl into a hole and attract shrouds and shovels.

There is a well know yiddish saying that translates to “Man plans, God laughs”. True, huh?

Well, you know what’s also true with an aligned relationship to the “ups” and “downs” in life, where we tap into gratitude for the “good” in the “bad” – and ultimately reach a level of higher perception and joy which allows for the celebration of both?

“God plans, man laughs”.

And, we get to serve the Source in joy – through the ups and downs, ins and outs and “goods” and bads”. That’s a winning system.

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Blessings,

Etan

Shrouds and Shovels

Clarity & Humility

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3/25/2015

Clarity & Humility

There is an art to helping others who are experiencing challenge.

Telling someone who is experiencing great distress that “it’s all from a higher mercy” can actually be a cruel and polarizing act, as true as it is.

Sometimes the most effective way to help others is not to tell them what we perceive as the “ultimate truth”, but to empathize with them. That’s what Chesed (kindness) is really about – and that’s what makes spiritual guides shine. Engaging another person at their level of experience is a highly effective way to assist them.

We see this play out in relationships between masculine and feminine energies. Sometimes the feminine is not looking for the “solution” that the masculine is attempting to deliver. The masculine may think that the “ultimate truth” is what their partner needs, but their partner is really looking for understanding, connection, compassion and empathy.

When we are approached with another person’s life challenges, we are in the spiritual position of the giver, the masculine – and the person with the challenge is in the spiritual position of the receiver, the feminine. If the challenge is a life threatening disease, the receiver may not be looking for the giver’s opinion of ultimate truth imposed upon their circumstance – they are likely looking for empathy and connection at that moment. The “ultimate truth” we are looking to communicate to others silently radiates through our constitution – our foundation, expressed through our mannerisms and actions. That speaks louder, and can be a lot more effective than a declaration of ultimate truth.

I’ve seen this quality in some of the greatest sages I’ve met. They have shed their own ego to the point of being able to serve as a conduit of compassion and empathy to those in need.

The impulse to bombard the recipient with solutions can come from our own lack of faith and maturity. We do not own the patent to ultimate truth, nor are we peddlers of it – as excited as we may be about sharing it.

I have learned that the highest form of giving to those experiencing challenge is through empathy and compassion – and sometimes, our rush to provide a solution is a reflection of our own limited understanding of what kindness is.

We can see this in our relationship with the Source. The Source “comes down” to our level to communicate with us – not all at once with “ultimate truth”. That would burn us, as we don’t have the vessel to receive it all at once.

I have learned that life’s challenges are just gifts in disguise – every one of them. Many times it only appears this way looking back at them. The ability to apply this wisdom in real time and to effectively transmit this consciousness to those in need is something to strive for.

What the receiver is really looking for is light. And the giver is most effective in sharing light through transforming themselves into a clear conduit of Divine light. And to be a clear conduit of Divine light we need two primary characteristics:

Clarity & Humility

We need a clear mind and a humble spirit.

Clarity involves the disassociation with all negative thoughts, actions and substances which can cloud our minds – the realization that the Source wants all of our vessel to work through, and we want all of our vessel filled with pure light from the Source.

Clarity is a prerequisite to wisdom and involves obtaining optimal energy. Anything draining or wearing can suck time and energy – the two most valuable resources to us. So anything that’s compromising our precious time and energy, like toxic thoughts, substances, or actions of any kind, are best swiftly dropped and avoided like the plague.

Humility involves the shedding of all forms of arrogance. The Baal Shem Tov often said, “Even after all of my achievements in the spiritual realm, I would give them all up just to be able to serve God with the plain, simple, straight-forward faith of a child.” Nevertheless, it is recorded that while on his death bed, the last words that left the pure and holy lips of the Baal Shem Tov were: “Let not the foot of arrogance overtake me” (Psalms 36:12).

As we prepare ourselves to be lifted out from slavery by “the strong hand and outstretched arm” of the Source Himself, the time is now to search within and remove all traces of toxicity and arrogance – all our chametz – so that we can most effectively fulfill our purpose of serving as conduits of Divine light to those around us in constriction.

Blessings,

Etan

Clarity & Humility

Figure 1

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3/22/2015

Figure 1

Rebbe Nachman once laughed and said, “If they would allow one dead soul to visit an assembly of philosophers, that would be the end of all their teachings.”

But for those of us who haven’t yet merited, or recognized a visit from a dead soul, here is a bite sized map of how to perceive reality.

Last night while learning Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Formation) – I ran out of those clear sticky things with the yellow tops used to mark pages that blow your mind away – and I ran out quickly – and I started off with a bunch. So I’m sharing something now while it’s fresh and beating through my 32 paths to understanding.

Familiarize yourself with the above “Figure 1”.

Ok, so Keter (crown), on top, represents the system of holiness that crowns our reality. The “Source” is not on this picture – can’t be understood or limited to a word or realm. This is merely a glimpse of the structure the Source chose to give us to allow for us to seek to understand that which He wanted for us to seek to understand about His (and our) attributes. But going into this we need to understand that, like a carrot to it’s farmer, it is not possible to “understand” the Source. Keter crowns everything, every system – from microscopic DNA to the ever expansive universe.

The crown is what we can relate to. The “King” wears the crown – the royalty – the highest – that which we seek to uplift – what we are really living for, and would die for.

Keter is the pinnacle of the system of life. Unique to every situation and stage in life exists the “crown” as the highest and most sacred purpose – that which we ascribe greatness and meaning to. What we stand for. The Keter is where we wanna be leading our friends and family to – always seeking, and reflecting upon the Keter in every experience.

The Source “radiates” His “light” and “systematic majesty” to the crown which is always a level above our comprehension and understanding. It’s the fuel for knowledge. It’s a few steps away from our ability to grasp – so we talk and write about it in allegory and poem – and those on my very limited level tend to use a lot of words to describe it. The crown on the King – the King’s glory – and we get to lift the crown up on top of our “Figure 1″ individually and collectively – in every encounter in life and with every thought, action and intention – it’s our guide point – always seeking to raise the crown higher in a system with no ceiling.

And then there’s Chochma (wisdom). Wisdom alone is too bright to comprehend. Wisdom is singular and resides in the brain – and there are 32 paths to understand wisdom. Numerically, 32 corresponds to Lev, which is the Hebrew word for heart – and it’s in the heart where understanding rests.

Understanding requires limits and boundaries in order to contain pure wisdom – just like the inner space of a circle needs that ring around it to be a circle. We need limits to define and contain unbridled wisdom. Chochma is masculine unbridled energy, and Bina (understanding) is the feminine – the womb-like receiving energy which births unique understanding.

Not included in this figure is a realm called Daas (synthesized knowledge). In Daas, all sephirot exist in their perfected state of infinite sharing – it’s when you “know” something so deeply that it becomes etched in your bones and embedded deep in your soul so much that your kids look you in the eyes and feel it clearly without you saying a word. It is taught that Daas is what we “take with us” beyond this lifetime.

And that about does it for our head and brain, and what’s above that – and above the above.

Now back to the right Sephira of Chesed (kindness), which is balanced by Gevurah (strength). Unbridled “kindness” to one’s stomache can lead to terrible disease – to one’s pleasure sensors can lead to aweful addiction and destructive relationships – kindness must be tempered and grounded, and actually takes its true meaning only though partnership with strength and boundary.

And when they are in harmony, you have Tiferet (beauty) – a beautiful life – a beautiful heart – a thing of beauty. Tiferet marks the chest. This is where Bina heart energy comes to reside, joining the upper triangle to the middle. It also forms the site of the lungs – the organ that allows us to exchange energy with the world around us.

To the south we have Netzach (victory) on the right and its partner Hod (splendor) to the left – as we engage the world we need to fight for and defend a life of splendor.

And then there’s Yesod (foundation) – and like Magna Tiles on sand, building anything above this realm is frustrating, maddening, and just plain irresponsible without a strong and solid foundation.

Yesod corresponds to our reproductive organ and it’s the gate from Malchut (kingdom) – the sefirah below it – to the realms above. It is taught that illuminating the realm of Yesod is this generations greatest challenge, and opportunity for evolution. Yesod represents our foundation – our constitution – and only though transforming the desire to receive for our self alone into desire to receive for the purpose of sharing with others can we master this realm which serves as a syphon for the blessings above down to the kingdom below.

True mercy from above is not revealed through material accumulation laid upon a shaky foundation. Yesod is illuminated through the purification of what we say, see, hear, smell, think, and do. The rectification of Yesod  widens our bandwidth – transforming us from a vessel to a cable – from a recipient into a partner of Divine blessing delivered to the realm of Malchut. The highest form of joy comes through giving, because through giving we emulate the attribute of our Creator – the giver of life. We become “like God” as we fulfill our highest purpose of illuminating the world with Divine light. We become “like God” when we free ourselves from material identification and expose the no-thing-ness of our eternal soul.

And Malchut is where we are – this world in front of us when we walk through that door.

Blessings,

Etan

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The Atheist’s Out

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3/20/2015

The Atheist’s Out

You don’t have to believe in “God” or the “Source” or any of this – but I think that all of us, as we move along through life start to comprehend cause and effect.

Even on the most basic level – we put our hand on a flame and get burned so we learn to not put our hand in fire to avoid pain – or if we help another person and we feel great, we become more inclined to help again – to satisfy our base or intellectual desire to experience a euphoric rush of endorphins in our cranium. tms_eeg Tight rope walkers need to do more than walk straight. They need to believe they can make it across. An eruption of doubt midstream can cost them their lives. Faith is similar. Faith activates an internal steadiness through our journey. And when it becomes shaky, we are subject to a collapse in our foundation.

The more we fortify our faith the steadier we traverse through our experiences. Once we see how faith works and we practice it for some time, the physical manifestations of it become as real as the energy we get from eating a bowl of Wheaties for breakfast. The physical cause and effect becomes established and apparent.

We leave behind our past levels of “blind faith” as we concretize our new found understanding of how faith evolves to a very real reality – very much like getting a good night sleep gives a child energy, and eating a healthy diet with exercise helps us feel better. It moves from faith into plain old understanding.

And “faith” becomes our passage to the next level up – we take the “blind” out of “blind faith” and realize the only thing blinding about faith is the closed eyes of those who lack it and the blinding illumination of those who are blessed with it. In fact, faith opens the eyes of the “blind”. Faith contributes to healing – faith contributes to joy – faith brings meaning.

Even starting off on a pure psychological level without the whole spirituality thing, and keeping things simple to accommodate the access point of those lurking amongst the masses, it’s a winning way to live with a life of faith. Do you have faith that you will receive your next fresh breath of air? Why? Because you received millions of prior breaths? Because you’re used to it, or the 9% of your brain that scientists say you can use “understands” it?

Faith is the key to unlock the deeper storyline of our lives. Faith is the bridge from here to the higher levels of understanding – and when we get to those higher levels, its faith again that’s the bridge to take us higher.

It’s the passage to higher perception – and when we exercise it we see physical results – so to those with faith, they really don’t look at it as “faith” like they did before they had faith. It evolves to more of a knowing or confidence – and the concept of faith ascends to lead us to the next level of understanding.

That’s why people blessed with faith just can’t seem to stop talking about it – and thank God for that altruistic, yet hedonistic mentality – as faith unlocks a higher level of pleasure to those who indulge in it.

I can understand why people think of faith as a strategy for people who can’t think for themselves. “The fool believes everything,” King Solomon writes, “the wise man understands.” Emunah (the faith I’m taking about), however, is an innate conviction, a perception of truth that transcends, rather than evades, reason. Quite the contrary – wisdom, understanding and knowledge can further enhance true emunah.

Shabbat Shalom & Chodesh Tov, New-Year-New-Moon

Blessings, Etan

The Atheist’s Out