// My Masonic Journal rss

"From Darkness to Light" 2016 Fall / Winter Collection

by John Paul Gomez | November 23, 2016 | 0 Comments

Note: Content below is an excerpt from our latest newsletter

2016 Fall / Winter Collection
"From Darkness to Light"
Limited Edition Black & White Masonic Paisley

--Pre-order now and enjoy Free Shipping to USA / Canada-- 



It took us about two years to perfect the Masonic Paisley design and the resulting Jacquard woven silk fabric. It took us a while to get to its final form but it turned out to be one of our best designed, softest, densest, and shiniest necktie that we have ever produced. It makes handsome knots with beautiful drapes- with or without dimples. The choice is yours.

For a limited time only, the FraternalTies®  Exclusive Masonic Paisley fabric will be available for pre-order in an all-black and all-white necktie versions.

We personally design the pattern with love right here at our home, and we also personally hand-pick the silk material that goes in our neckties. We strive to give our neck ties the perfect weave, the right density, and an interesting ombre effect that is pleasing to the eyes.

Putting those 3 characteristics in a fabric is not an easy task, but like anything in life- achievable by going through and learning from trial and error. Like its predecessors, the Black and White Masonic Paisley neckties perfectly embodies all 3 desirable traits that we want in a fabric. Check out the photos and videos below to see the fabric shift "From Darkness to Light".

Our neckties literally shifts from Darkness to Light.

 
The black "Darkness" Masonic Paisley goes from from a subtle textured black appearance to alternating shades of grey as the light hit it from different angles.

 

A video posted by FraternalTies (@fraternalties) on

 

Click Here to Pre-order the Black Masonic Paisley

 

The white "Light" Masonic Paisley goes from from a subtle textured white appearance to metallic shades of silver and pure white as the light hits it from different angles.

 

A video posted by FraternalTies (@fraternalties) on


 

Click Here to Pre-order the White Masonic Paisley

 

 

Is it too late to get in shape? I'm a 35yr old father-of-four diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and PTSD and here is my journey.

by John Paul Gomez | November 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

I write this article for the benefit of those who live a depressed and sedentary lifestyle like what I used to have. I honestly thought that it was too late for me to change my lifestyle from a sick, overweight, and depressed dad of four to someone who seem to have just entered his prime.   

I was a physically and mentally abused child. I have a certain naive demeanor that made me a constant target of bullies (and robbers). I didn't know how to label it back then but I've been afraid of gatherings of people for as long as I can remember. This condition gave me a natural aversion to team sports. Though I prefer reading and drawing as my main activities, I also enjoyed certain physical activities that DO NOT involve being with a lot of people such as long walks alone and mountain climbing in my teens. 

Facing Agoraphobia

Fast forward to college. I was a naive and impressionable 16yrs old and on my own for the very first time in the big city and away from family. I lived in a small apartment cramped with college kids right next to the University. When I say small apartment, I mean 3rd world small (this happened in the Philippines).

Breaking Bad: Meth addiction almost ruined my life

We have a big drug problem in the Philippines and that led to the rise of the current president whose name became entwined with extra judicial killings of users and pushers back home. With that said, more than half of the students in my apartment were meth users. I tried it one time and I was instantly hooked. It made me feel less anxious and depressed. I felt happier when I was on it. I didn't know it then but I was practically self medicating. I kept the habit for 3 years until I began using my college funds for it and I got kicked out of school. I felt extreme shame for my family because I was an honor student before college, and being the last male in the clan to hold the family name, I felt that they have high aspirations for me.

Deaths in the family

Fast forward to 2013. My kids number 3 and 4 (twins) were born a day after my mother-in-law lost her battle to breast cancer. 3rd major death in the family within 4 years- first my father-in-law due to sepsis, and then my dad also due to sepsis which led to multiple organ failure. The following year my grandma who I'm really close with passed away too. My marriage was deteriorating at a very rapid rate at this point in time.

One day my left eye began producing tears as if I was crying on just one side of my face. It went on for 7 days until I made a decision to speak to my doctor about it. I was referred to an eye specialist who found my condition peculiar but otherwise nothing was wrong with me physically. After some interviews and test that followed, my doctor concluded that I was having physical manifestations of a mental ailment. I think this was the point where I opened up and spoke about the things that happened in my life. I was referred to a psychiatrist and I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I was prescribed medication which made me feel suicidal so I eventually ditched the meds and that's when I began my quest for more natural means of defeating my mental ailment.

Family, Freemasonry, and Muay Thai

I joined Krudar K2 around October last year, a local gym here in Toronto which is just about 20 minutes jog from where we live. My kids joined first, and then me and my wife followed. I have never played any sports in my life before except for Taekwondo back in gradeschool (I never went pass white belt). I was over 200 lbs smoker when I joined and I was supposed to sleep with a CPAP machine to help me breathe at night.

Immersing myself in Freemasonry and training Muay Thai with my family transformed my life at a point when I thought personal change was too late. Here's my journey in videos.

---My Transformation---

BEFORE
The following 2 videos shows me back in November 2015 when I was new to Muay Thai. I was over 200lbs when I joined.

 

 

A video posted by FraternalTies (@fraternalties) on

 

AFTER
I lost about 30lbs since I joined and I no longer suffer from sleep apnea that used to plague me. I don't have a need for anti-depressants anymore.

 

 

A video posted by FraternalTies (@fraternalties) on

 

 

 

A video posted by FraternalTies (@fraternalties) on

 

My efforts gave me a tremendous boost in confidence. The feeling that I will be able to physically defend myself and my family is a priceless sensation. With that said, I continue to fight my battle with anxiety, and my business and personal dealings continue to get affected by it every once in a while but now my eyes are opened and have a good view of the right path. 

-JPG

In case you're interested in reading more about my personal journey - depression, drug addiction, salvation via Muay Thai- check out my post on /r/fitness from March- https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/4bau2q/is_it_too_late_to_get_in_shape_i_thought_so_but/

Dealing with Anxiety and PTSD

by John Paul Gomez | April 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

Last month I talked about my mission to fight anxiety, depression, and PTSD with love (family), philosophy (Freemasonry), and intense physical activities (Muay Thai). This is an update.  

I am no longer depressed for the most part but dealing with anxiety and PTSD still at times feels like an overwhelming struggle for me. Although I am a lot stronger now physically and mentally, certain fears, if I'm not careful, still manage to find their way to the surface and stop me dead in my tracks. My purpose for writing this is two-fold: (1) for my own sake- I write so I can watch my thoughts without judgment and to record and keep track of my progress; (2) and to share a life experience and some tips so that others may learn from it.

A quick recap for those new here. If you know my story, you may skip to the next paragraph: I am a 35 year old father of four. I lived a troubled childhood, spent my college years self-medicating with meth and hanging out with bad company. I made a lot of poor choices- I smoked, I was overweight from eating all the wrong stuff, and I never exercised. A few years ago following a series of deaths within my immediate family, I was diagnosed with social anxiety, depression, and PTSD. The meds worked at first until I experienced too many adverse reactions. Since then, I made it my mission to fight and defeat my mental illness by harnessing the power of the body and the mind instead of relying too much on prescriptions and the opinion of others. My game plan revolves on 3 things- Family (Love), Freemasonry (Philosophy), Muay Thai (intense physical activities). 

Stop you dead you say? How debilitating is Anxiety and PTSD?

To paint a picture, let me share with you my personal experience. I have lost too many important once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in the past because I was so mentally paralyzed and confused with anxiety that I would actively avoid most interactions for fear that I might just end up humiliating myself in some way and everything will end up in an spectacular display of failure. I watched too many favorable circumstances come by and slip away because I let myself get overwhelmed by things that I perhaps should not even worry about. 

The extent of my social anxiety and the effects of PTSD goes beyond actual inter-personal interactions, at times it also takes over my life online. I know it's shocking considering that I conduct my business on the Internet. Last New Year I suffered a severe panic attack and was sent to the emergency in an ambulance due to heart attack symptoms. It was triggered when I went to my rarely-accessed personal Facebook profile. It doesn't end there, I have representatives from some of the more popular Masonic Grand Lodges from all over the world eager to have me design their neckties but later on give up on me because of the amount of time it would take me to get back to them. Oftentimes I would find myself completely overwhelmed with my personal responsibilities as a family man, and when I get overwhelmed, I tend to push my business responsibilities out of the way while I attempt to iron things out. I would hope for less stress but the inconvenient truth is that I will definitely have more stress in the future if I continue to push business aside- how am I going to pay my bills if I'm not making money? I had to figure out a way to balance things out fast. 

Problems like what I have continue to plague those suffering from anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I am quite lucky to have kids who never cease to put a smile on my face, and an online audience who would listen to my stories. A lot of those who don't have the same privileges that I have suffer in total silence and may have given up hope for a better tomorrow. If you're one of those suffering souls, please read on.

Interesting problem you have. How do you plan to defeat it?

I am certainly not an expert and I can only speak from my own meandering experience. Talking to your doctor about it would be a good first step. My doctor is fully aware of my decision to go with the natural route as opposed to taking pills. With that said, here are 3 simple things that seem to work for me and help me with my quest to defeat mental illness the most natural way possible. 

  1. Be compassionate. Give plenty of love and show plenty of care.

    There are two important things to remember when dealing with anxiety and PTSD. First, coping happens inside you. Second, positive thinking is one of the best tools you could ever have. By being gentle, loving, and compassionate with those around you, your heart will be filled with joy and all the positive energies that can only be derived from simply being nice to others will be yours. If coping with anxiety happens on the inside, and your inside (aka your heart and being) is armed with the positive thoughts and experiences that you get from meaningful interactions with those around you, negative thinking will have a tougher chance of creeping in. Be nice to others and others will be nice to you and you will feel better about yourself and the world.

  2. Learn Philosophy

    Philosophy is defined as the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc. The word "philosophy" comes from two Greek words, meaning "love of wisdom". No matter who you are no matter what status you have achieved, life will throw a curve ball at you and it will catch you off guard. You're lucky if you can get guidance from someone close to your heart like perhaps your parents who might have experienced something similar in their lifetime. 

    But what if, like in my case, your parents are no longer around? Knowing a little bit of Philosophy will help illuminate your path in case you get lost along your way and you have no one but yourself to help you figure out the right path. One beautiful thing about Philosophy is you don't really need to go to school to know about it. All you need is a sincere desire to improve yourself, a passion for learning, and Internet connection (or library access). Ancient Greek Philosophy is a good start. If that is not your cup of tea, listening to reputable motivational speakers such as Anthony Robbins or the late Dr. Wayne Dyer can be a good primer as well. If you can handle the commitment, joining reputable organizations such as Freemasonry and the likes will help open up your mind. 

  3. Get enough sleep (if you can), proper nourishment, and plenty of exercise.

    As a creative guy and a father of four, getting enough sleep is as common as seeing a unicorn cross the street. If you can't have the benefit of a complete rest, do your very best to fill your stomach with the right portions of the right food- not too much, not too little. Remember, you are what you eat so select your food wisely. Eating well is good but it is not enough- you must supplement it with plenty of regular exercise. A good amount of physical activity will feed every cell in your body with oxygen so your body and mind can operate at their full potential. You get what you put in it. 

In conclusion, a gentle heart, a strong body, and a sound mind can work wonders that is beyond your imagination. Find the time to nurture and develop these 3 aspects of your being. Doing so will make coping with the stresses of ups and downs of life come natural. 

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