Do you believe in good fortune? Do you know people who always seem to luck out? You know the type; they get in a car wreck, but--fortunately--they only sustain minor injuries and, on top of that, the insurance company is paying them big time.
One of my neighbors recently sprained his back and got a brand new truck out of the deal. Personally, any injury would be too much of a sacrifice for me, but I always wonder about people who manage to luck out of what would have been an otherwise disastrous situation.
Some folks say it isn't about luck at all, but about faith. But aren't we talking about the same thing? I mean, no one can prove that anything exists beyond our mundane lives. Yet people all over the world stake everything they know on a belief that their brand of paradise exists just on the other side of their demise.
Personally, I'm more into metaphysics than religion, but it's interesting to note that neither belief system can be 100% guaranteed. My background is in Astrology, and I earned a degree from a school that Dr. Walter Coleman founded in Puerto Rico and New York. In the early 1990's, I read Astrology charts on a radio show, and I once belonged to the prestigious NCGR (National Council for Geocosmic Research). Although I discover a lot of accurate information when reading people's natal charts, I can't make predictions that are absolute and infallible. I don't believe anyone can.
Growing up, my parents each had her/his own beliefs. Like most Japanese people of her time, my mother practiced a mix of Shinto and Buddhism. Besides putting photos of her diseased parents inside her gohonzon, she often fed wild birds and exhibited great empathy towards those less fortunate than herself. But she never formally practiced any particular religion, and she'd admonish my sister and me about the existence of a higher power. In her broken English, she would chide, "God not say nothing. Only people say."
My father, on the other hand, came from a typical Southern Baptist black family. So, Sunday church attendance was mandatory for him, my sister and me. That is, until she and I got old enough to rebel. Luckily for us, my father was stationed away from home for long periods of time--up to two years, sometimes--and my sister and I took full advantage of it. With a foreign mother who didn't quite get all the customs of America, we had it pretty easy when it came to forging our own activities. But whenever my dad was around, my sister and I had to endure the scratch of starchy dresses, Jergen's lotion rubbed into our "rusty knees" and, along with embroidered handkerchiefs knotted around our coin offerings, we'd be taken to church.
Somehow, time has changed nothing. Today, my mother's married to an atheist. She still gathers table scraps to feed the wild birds hanging out in her front yard, and she still tears up whenever she watches the news. As for my dad, he still attends a Baptist church, still says grace at meal times, and still believes that you go to "heaven" after you die.
Then, there's Yours Truly (or Your Hip Hapa, I should say) who still reads Astrology charts and Tarot cards, and is absolutely riveted by Crop Circles and any sign of extraterrestrial life. For decades, I've believed that a higher consciousness is awakening in humankind, and that the portal to greater knowledge will open according to the Mayan calendar in the Age of Aquarius in 2012. I can't prove any of it, and I could be wrong, but it's just what I've always felt.
How about you? I'm really curious about mixed-race people and their personal beliefs. Most people adopt the religion of their parents. But what happens if you have parents of different races? Or, for that matter, parents who have different beliefs? Back in the day, there were issues whenever Catholics married Protestants, and vice versa. Drop me a line and let me know about how being biracial helped shape your belief system.
Meanwhile, here's a reminder that our producers have begun casting for principals for Watermelon Sushi. If you'd like to see a copy of the Open Casting Call, please drop me a line. If you're on Facebook, navigate to the Hip Hapa Homeez group page and read it there.
In keeping with my theme, above are some photos of the gods. The golden Buddha is my mom's favorite while the one next to it was snapped at a tea shop in Los Angeles. The Buddhas on the wall were taken at a fusion restaurant on Oahu. I've forgotten the names of the two ceramic Japanese gods sitting on my mom's table, but maybe you know. And, finally, there's Zoltar, the psychic who dispenses fortunes on Santa Monica's Pier.
Good Luck, ya'll!
Your Hip Hapa,