Birthday Blog #57


31577004_10216052592129486_1231818185523593216_oAs I reflect back on another trip around the sun, I cannot help but be filled with great thankfulness and joy for the sweetness that surrounds me in this life. As a youngster in college, a generous and loving man reached out to me and introduced me to God. I should say more formally introduced me, as God and I had many conversations in the past, but back then I only hoped He was all that I thought He should be. Since that immortal day, my life has never been the same.

Back then I, like you, was full fear and trepidation about life. And although I had all the vim and vigor that surrounds youth, I was still pretty shaky about how it would all turn out. I mean let’s face it, life can be pretty scary with loads of potential pitfalls. In college, I had some run-ins with a couple of religious groups and I knew I didn’t want that! I didn’t want anything that seemed designed solely to make me feel bad about myself! Shoot, I didn’t even know I was looking for something, but apparently I was.

Then I took this class called PFAL (Power for Abundant Living) and learned the Bible for myself. Holy shit, I found the holy grail. I found a congruous whole that didn’t cause me to sneeze, cough or sputter! I found out that God was not only all I had hoped He would be, but He was even better than that. I learned that He is only good and never changes in His views towards me. My life took off like gangbusters as I began to shed fears like old skin. I was living on the high road and the sky literally was the limit. (Cliche junction)

Some years later as my children got older and my purpose became less clear, I, like you, sort of lost my way a little bit. I forgot about how good God was to me and began to see Him in a different light. Oh, He didn’t change, I did! I learned from certain folks that the Way I knew and loved so much, wasn’t really as easy and free as I thought. I was taught rules and regulations and requirements that accompany maturity – so-called. And, apparently all those days I was living the high life were really just a figment of my youth and real life, life with God was damn arduous and fraught with the danger of “blowing it” or worse. Welcome to the life suck club.

I found out the hard way, that once you get captured by religion, the way back is difficult. That stuff attaches to your brain like oil and you can’t just wash it out overnight. In fact, it likely will claim years of your life. However obnoxious it begins, it seems less impactful as I imagine you get used to its claims. All you know is that you now have fear where you used to have love. In your desperation, you try to do good works hoping the Lord will start to like you again like He did before. The harder you work, the less He seems to care and you start morphing into those people you hate; the ones filled with self-righteousness, but miserable as f*ck! You’re struggling, but God is still bigger than your malarky!

Then, not suddenly but surely, something or someone gets you back to God’s Word; the Word that saved you and changed you and blessed you. And in your private quest, you, like me, begin to discover who God is again. You read what it says and you study what it says and you begin to relish what it says and just like that it dawns on you! The light at first flickers then glows into full flame. All this bullshit you have been thinking and regretting and worrying about God is not true and it was never true. You were taught incorrectly. You were led off course. You got sucked down a rabbit hole and lived there for way too long!

As you shake off the last vestiges of error, your heart wakes up. Your sleepy, numbed, slightly wilted heart wakes back up. You understand the profound significance of keeping your head in God’s Word and putting nothing ahead of the truth of God’s Word! You see, glory heallelujah, that it’s not famous charasmatic men that saved you, but God in the sublime accomplishments of His son, carefully outlined in His Word. You catch glimpses of not only who you are, but who you have the potential to be! You feel like you got some power going on inside and you need to let it out to help set others free; the free you cherish so dearly!

You may now be thinking this a sad story or a warning for how you live your life.  It’s not. What this is – is an ever-growing thankfulness and joy and blessed love between a son and his Heavenly Father. It is a deep, heartfelt, inexpressible gratefulness for having a God that never gives up on you even when you sort of give up on Him. It’s indescribable joy that comes from the pure truth minus the religious admixture. It is 57 glorious years of life on earth with God as my backbone, my rock and my fortress. It is, “Life – you don’t frikkin scare me anymore!” It’s just the greatest ride ever and I wouldn’t change one piece of it!

You, like me, should learn about God and not allow the promoters of religious sacrifice to rob you of one of the greatest experiences you could ever have, not just now, but throughout all eternity! God is not too good to be true, He is so good He is true! He is your first love that makes all your other loves that much sweeter… Choose God! Choose love!

I am one blessed individual…

Just some good thoughts.

 

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Getting Your Peace of the π…


il_300x300.1478352631_i5dd“There’s a peace in this world that the world never gave; a peace it cannot take away. Though the trials of life may surround like a cloud, I’ve a peace that has come here to stay…” The peace that passes all understanding is absolutely not dependent upon the circumstances of life. It is not something to be sought and found on the outside but instead something to discover from within. It is perhaps the most beautiful experience of life and makes everything it touches radiate with love. It is time you got your peace of the π (the infinite)!

In a world ruled by what you can see and what you can hear; by how things feel and how they smell; by each good taste and every bad taste, peace is damn hard to come by! In fact, often the success we so ardently seek is pursued in the hopes that we may find that elusive peace of mind, that hard-fought financial stability or some other similar guarantee that we can finally relax and be okay. We find ourselves agitated and pushed around each day. The demands of life nag at us and require that we bend, modify and cajole ourselves (and others) in order to escape the grasp of the next threat, the looming trouble, the disaster waiting just beyond the horizon. We run and we run from an enemy we cannot clearly discern though we cannot deny the effects of his presence. We cannot find our peace because we look in all of the wrong places for it. We keep waiting for the stars to align; for our ship to come in; for some grand circumstance to occur that spells the end of all worry and concern.

Peace is properly defined as the end of the strife. It is the back side of the conflict. It is the quiet after the clamor and the silence that follows the struggle. It’s the calm air above the turbulence. It’s the water in the sand after the roaring tide goes out. It is not something to be won by fighting but something to be embraced when the fighting is done. The reason it tends to escape the minds of men is because it is not something to be earned or garnered by toil and trouble, but something to be enjoyed simply by being and accepting. Peace presents itself to you when you finally disengage yourself from the threats; from the incessant demands to do something and trust in something bigger than yourself to continue on the fight! It is letting go and letting God! It’s a decision to no longer be party of the first part, party of the second part and party of the third part. It’s to gently entreat and convince that gargantuan monster of an ego to give up its coveted first place in line. It is a resolved decision to stop relying entirely on seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting as the only means from which to draw conclusions and to trust the wisdom of Someone infinitely larger and smarter and wiser than you can ever hope to be…

Outside of God and His goodness; His unparalleled ability to do, there is no peace; no genuine lasting peace. Instead there will be a fleeting, counterfeit peace that follows promising circumstances or the sun shining or a new job or more money or a larger house, or whatever it is that you can see and experience that points clearly to better days preparing ahead. And though enjoyable, it’s fleeting because sometimes the sun doesn’t shine and sometimes your current jobs sucks and something took your money and then you had to move out of your larger house! And in your circumstance dominated existence you will never be happy because you are always waiting on something outside of yourself to make you happy! Genuine peace, rare in its discovery, rests upon a foundation more sure than favorable circumstances! It rests upon the truth, perfect and without cracks where no error can seep in and agitate. It is a guarantee from the only true Guarantor!

This life with all of its twists and turns; its bumpy roads; its endless list of things to be worried about, will wear you out before your days are complete. It will eat your soul, age you before your time and suck the life force right out of you breath by breath until you are done! You cannot gather up enough riches and banks and fortresses and armies and followers and knowledge to do this thing alone armed with the limitations of your solo brain power or collective brain power for that matter.

Your peace will greet you when you have finally punched out from the rat race and let all that stuff go that used to haunt your mind. Quit trying to figure it all out and see the end at the beginning. Stop allowing the circumstances of a day to falsely predict your future! Cease from all of your works and feeble attempts to make yourself deserving of God’s goodness and instead expect the goodness He gives you not because you deserve it, but because you don’t! Trust His accomplishments for you above your own. Take what He gave you and quit trying to pay more for it! Be done…

The peace that passes all understanding transcends your humanity and reaches deep into the spiritual world from whence it has its beginnings. Have you ever experienced what it feels like to be completely and absolutely at peace, unafraid and secure in every respect? Have you ever felt the sublime excellence of a complete and utter lack of agitation and tumult? If not, it is there for you, waiting for you to let go of self and human perseverance and reach into the infinite. Get your peace of the π!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Challenge Your Assumptions…


warningCan you imagine waking up one day only to find out that many things you thought were true were actually false? What if your tried and sure method of ’cause and effect’ had effects based on unknown causes? Could it be that the images sitting right before your eyes have been manipulated to lead you and your human reasoning astray? Are all of the elements in your chain of logic, real elements? What if you challenged your assumptions? Would it change your life?

If there is one spot where us humanoids get tripped up, it’s in the assumptions we make about life. We have been so schooled to revere the information presented by “what it looks like” that we take hook, line and sinker the conclusion that has been presented for us in advance. If we live amidst a surface world alone we could confidently take things at their face value. But, what if we don’t? What if there is a whole spiritual world working behind the scenes all part of the grand drama of life? What if we are all participants in a contest, whether we know it or not, and are making decisions and drawing conclusions that will ultimately determine our outcomes? Finally, what if we had the ability to shape and form our reality instead of being victims of it?

The spiritual competition that rages day by day is a competition for the allegiance of your mind; your thoughts. What you think about, what you hold in your mind greatly influences the reality you experience. There are right thoughts and there are wrong thoughts. Some thoughts lead to good results, while other thoughts lead you down the rabbit hole of error. All right thoughts come from goodness (God) who is seeking your allegiance. He needs your cooperation to do all the good for you that He has planned. All wrong thoughts ultimately come from evil (the devil); are always cleverly disguised as logical, reasonable or realistic, and when held onto produce all manner of difficulty and defeat. The source of wrong and error also seeks your allegiance and he gains it by getting you to think and act in opposition to goodness.

People today know relatively little about the impact their thoughts have on their life. For instance, people feel there is no need for any checks and balances in their thought life. They simply think whatever, whenever, however. They aren’t able to discern a need to control their thinking and even falsely conclude that thinking cannot be controlled. You hear it with phrases such as, “My mind just won’t shut off!” The responsibility to stop thinking certain thoughts or to decide when to think certain thoughts rests entirely with you, the owner of your mind. Your mind working at cross purposes with you is in reality your failure to take the helm and draw-in the reigns when necessary.

I read the other day where a Life Coach stated that worry was beneficial because it helped you to resolve your problems. Well, here’s a newsflash, if worrying actually helped resolve problems then it would have a logical end point! But, it doesn’t have an end point because the solution lies outside of your senses driven mind, hence why it continues on and on and on. The only way to defeat worry it to stop scratching that itch! Resist the temptation to try to figure it out, you aren’t going to be successful. Worry is part of a deceptive trigger that begins with doubt, is established with worry and culminates in fear which brings the hammer of destruction to you! Worrying, like being afraid is wrong thinking coming from the wrong source seeking to bring you a wrong result! Refusing to entertain fearful thoughts is not being fanciful or unrealistic (lies) it is thinking properly and leading towards a sound mind. God doesn’t need fear to keep you vigilant or safe. Instead God needs your cooperation in thinking properly.

Though fear certainly holds the number one spot in beating people, there are other thoughts that serve only to drag you down to defeat and loss. Those thoughts are thoughts that take you out of the moment of time you are living in and either drag you back to your past or foolishly anticipate forward the potential difficulties of tomorrow. Whatever you did in the past, bad enough and terrible enough to demand space in your mind today, occurred in the past and lives on no longer except in your memories. In terms of redemption and forgiveness, Jesus Christ paid the price for every stupid or insane thing you or I ever got caught up in. Good thinking says the error is over with and should be forgotten. Wrong thinking, whether clothed in religious piety or required to pay the so-called debt, does not lead to resolution or recompense, but rather drags the owner to a slow and painful death. Guilt has no other purpose than to break down its host to further decay. In similar fashion, worries over the future complete with grand, detailed pictures of future suffering serve only to alarm the mind and from its shaken up state, lead to further miscalculations and conclusions. God can fix or repair anything! That is a good thought worth holding onto…

The optimum way to be a successful human being is to control your thinking. Think thoughts God says to think and reject thoughts that are in opposition to those thoughts. It doesn’t matter what well-rehearsed reasons you have developed for holding on to your error. What matters is if you will obey goodness and get a good result. What I’m suggesting may go against all you have ever thought and concluded. Well, good!!! Maybe it’s time some of those assumptions you have been doggedly clutching to should be given their exit! Maybe you need to rethink what it means to be realistic or practical or whatever other word you are using to justify the continuance of error!

You can live in peace with feelings of love and joy and happiness if you will learn to think how God says to think. Don’t fight any longer for error, fight for the truth instead. It feels better…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

What Do You Expect?


imagesAfter going through a particularly rough patch at work recently, I began musing what if anything I might be doing to contribute to my difficulties. The more I thought about it, the more I asked myself, “What exactly was I expecting at my job day by day?” Were my expectations positive and beneficial to my experience or were my expectations negative or fearful, leading to predictable trouble? The answer to those questions are the answers to your own life questions. What do you expect?

Similar to the old riddle, the chicken and the egg, comes a new riddle. Do your expectations and beliefs produce the reality you are experiencing or does the reality you are experiencing produce your expectations and beliefs? And although they would be reticent to admit it,  I think most folks believe the latter. In other words, if things are going badly for them or if they’re experiencing difficulty and trouble, how would they be able to not expect more of the same? If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck… Or, is it? What if your present reality is based upon your most recent, predominant, expectations? What if you are contributing to your own misery by the power of your own negative expectations? I’m guessing no-one would expect negative results if they realized the impact it had on their reality? Well, what do you expect?

It is infinitely easier to think that our lives are playing out in some grand drama whereby things are hurled at us unannounced and without rhyme or reason. However, on the surface alone this should show itself untrue. Does it really seem plausible that God is in the heavens passing out blessings and cursings at random to test and try or bless and benefit His creation? Would it be logical to assume that some people are highly favored and others are despised; some enjoy good things while others live in misery, all by chance or happenstance? Nay my friend, you know that isn’t true! What you think and believe forms the basis of what you expect and you get what you expect. Negativity, like positivity, is a persuasion coming from conclusions formed within yourself. The circumstances, good or bad, don’t decide your ultimate conclusions, you do!  When you live in negativity, always expecting things to go wrong or for difficulties to get worse, you have been persuaded thus and will continue along the same lines as long as you continue along the same lines! What do you expect?

All of us think we are mostly positive and would swear by it. But, the acid test is revealed by what you say out loud. Do you want to know what kind of things you are expecting to happen in your life? Well, just listen to the things you say to other people. When people ask how you are doing, what do you answer? Or, do you even give it any thought before you belt out the well rehearsed, “fine.” What things do you say to people over and over again about your life? Those things, said in jest or not, are what you expect for your life. What are you excited about happening in your life? If the answer is nothing, call me crazy, but I would say your expectation is negative! If you now, since reading that, are trying to confabulate some mundane realities into something more exciting, your expectation is probably negative. Do you expect negative results?

It may surprise you to know that expecting good things takes no more energy than expecting bad things. However, because we live in such a dreadfully negative world, we have become accustomed to getting negative results. When things are going well for us we engage in silly superstitions like knocking on wood to keep the good continuing. Or, we have been conditioned that as soon as we announce something positive is happening, watch out, evil is preparing to get us (Don’t jinx it, right?)! Our job therefore is to escape the madness and focus on the good instead! We have to learn how to refute the negativity we are bombarded with and see, by our own determination, good results before we see good results. We have to make ourselves picture a good result. God, how weird, right? Profound thought ~ if you cannot even see a picture of the things you want in your life, the chances of you getting those results are minute if not highly improbable! Please go back and read that sentence again! Because it is what you will expect!

I’m completely aware that not everyone living is dwelling amidst some grand disaster needing immediate rescue. I would guess most people aren’t. Yet, I would submit that most people are living a life less than the life they would like to live. We may fantasize about living by the ocean when we are by the ocean, but when the vacation is over we shuffle back to our routine. It’s like we are always waiting for the circumstances to reveal what we desire is coming pass, so that we can get onboard with it happening, when in reality the circumstances will only come to pass after we have gotten onboard with it happening. Truly a world of riddles! Humans have dreams even if they are only flashes into something sublime they would like for themselves. Pursue the flashes. Explore the revelation. Dare to see something different for yourself completely not based on your current experience or reality. I know it’s unclear! I know it’s only hazy and vague! That’s why you aren’t living it now! Sharpen the image. God has already promised to bless you. However, He needs your cooperation. Start looking for God’s blessings like you’d look for a missing piece of jewelry! (Like it’s already there – get it?) You’ll find what you expect to find.

By now you might say, what if I expect good things and nothing good happens? Well, you can always get back to expecting the worst and keep on navigating through the storms of life until you finally have had enough. Let today be the day you have had enough! All the good there is, is here waiting for you. Will you expect it?

Just some good thoughts

 

How Did I End Up Here?


bus-lane2_636250051617305266Have you ever, in a sudden flash of insight, wondered how in the hell did I end up here? All of us had our youthful fantasies where we were playing professional baseball or were the star actor in a hit movie. However choppy or obscure, all of us entertained some vague notions of how life would be for us in the future. Then, the future got here and it wasn’t exactly what we expected. For many folks it turned into a nightmare from which they are now seeking an escape. How did it happen? How did we end up here?

The short answer is, you were the one driving the bus! The longer answer is a little more tricky. The life that you are living today is a composite sketch you first outlined and then refined through days, months and years of thinking certain thoughts. Yes, my friend, you were driving the bus. Oh, I know it didn’t seem like you were always driving the bus. If anything it seemed like you were sometimes navigating the bus through difficult and confusing circumstances. Many days perhaps you were anxiously driving the bus with a death grip on the wheel, fearful of how things were going to turn out. At other times, for a myriad of reasons, you let someone else drive your bus trusting them to get you to a good destination. For years maybe you were not even aware that you are supposed to drive your own bus and just hoped with the rest of the world that God would somehow drive your bus for you if you were good to people and weren’t too much of a dick or something… But no matter the reasons, even the compelling good reasons, you are responsible to drive your own bus and choose your own destinations!

I believe that we all, on occasions, find ourselves scratching our heads at how we turned out to be exactly like our fathers or suffer from the same issues as our mothers, though we swore we never would. We didn’t realize that the same crap that got to them would eventually get to us as well. In our youthful wisdom, we didn’t see it coming, just like they didn’t see it coming. In reality it wasn’t our propensity to fall for the same mistakes that defeated us or even inherited weaknesses in the gene pool that got us. What got us; what defeated us; what we failed to see was “it,” manipulating behind the scenes and causing us to drive our buses in the wrong damn direction! All that precious time we spent focusing on things we didn’t want, left us driving on a road we didn’t choose, leading to a destination we do not like. You want to know how you got here? This is how you got here! The sooner you decide to take your keys back the better.

Aside from the incessant and persistent manipulation and every other force that drives us away from our best lives, there is another far more subtle power at work, also based on fear but far less obvious. This perennial  flat tire to our happiness is the overworked and overused, insane, dishonest, “I have to please everyone else” mentality that seems noble but in reality is a cruelty afflicting both who you are and who you could ever hope to be! This slippery wrench in the works convinces you to make choices that aren’t really your choices in favor of playing it safe or protecting your family or whatever other bullshit you have been confessing to yourself to rationalize bad decisions and miserable circumstances. Your age, your income, your bad knees, your upbringing, your momma, your spouse all have nothing to do with your capacity; even your necessity to change your thoughts and slowly but surely change your life. You are no more stuck than the energy it takes to say so. None of us are ever truly mired in life’s circumstances, no matter how they present themselves. What we become stuck in is a wrong belief playing itself out over a thousand iterations. Change the flat tire!

How your life has played out thus far is a product of your own making and once you are finally able to own that, you can climb confidently back into the driver’s seat and chart a new course; one that you sought after on purpose. Refusing to own your part in this grand drama leaves you as the victim, pitifully wasting away your one short go-round, waiting for someone or something to change your scenario; change your course for you. No matter how bad things may have gotten for you, you still know what you enjoy, right? You still know what good looks and feels like, right? It may surprise you to know that God Himself, with all of His limitless power and ability, can only take you as far as you are willing to go. His job isn’t to drive you to your future destination. He made you the bus driver. Instead He can only encourage you through crazy blog-writers who have the audacity to repeat what His Word says, hopefully in ways that you can understand!

You think countless thoughts within the space of a day. Why not take a breath and find out what some of those thoughts are and then challenge them if they don’t fit the image of what you want for your life. Just because you thought a thought doesn’t make it true. Good bus drivers have to wrestle all of those unruly thoughts into submission and in doing so take over the wheel of their own ride.

However you got here to this moment in time only proves your history thus far. Your future is something you are planning for today by the thoughts you entertain the most. Recognize how big of a deal those little thoughts really are and work with the system people!

By the way, I’m glad you got here… 😉

Just some good thoughts.

 

 

Living Always Now…


being-present-1024x433Feel, savor, enjoy, embrace the moment that is now

Take on, overcome, fight, challenge the time that is now

Find God, your answers, your help, your deliverance, now

Live always your life now…

It is remarkable how much energy we squander reliving past moments and future times. When our recall is pleasant or our anticipation sweet, our time travel enhances our journey. But when with squinted eye we lament the past or rashly dread an imaginary future, we sully and tarnish our journey and cut ourselves off from the experience of life that is now.

Just as your mind was designed to think one thought at a time, no matter the speed, and always in succession, your experience of life was intended to occupy all the space of right now. The incredible sensory beauty of nature is to be both perceived and received now. The love of people and your relationship to them is to be performed and reformed now. The solution to your trouble, your difficulty, your toil can only be discovered and then rediscovered now. Your life is now. Your feelings are now. Your understanding is now. Your experience is now. Your decision is now. Your God (and mine) is now.

Our senses have become so easily distracted, so anesthetized, so diluted that we fail to register what we need to detect. We miss it. We look asconce. We harden our hearts. We blow past it recklessly and without thought. We never impressed on our minds what “it” is and why we need to address its beckoning. Instead we dart beyond it, nervously anticipating or retreating from its threatening, all the while never slowing enough to see it for what it is. Feelings of boredom or lethargy frighten us and in escape from them we fill the air around us with media or music or talking or booze or anything that will succeed in removing the threat. However, the specter is not removed just postponed. Then each postponed moment adds, multiplies and carries over until the life of the person is eventually lost.

A bad marriage isn’t one thing it’s a compilation of things. It’s a hundred unsaid sentences; a thousand unspoken thoughts, a million feelings unaddressed. The job you loathe became so by your own diminished effort, your silent acquiescence, your failure to shine and effervesce and move upward and onward. Your lack of money or respect or fulfillment came not because someone wrestled it from you, but because you gave it up in thought or in practice, or better said in failure to think and then act. You arrived at where you arrived at not by a sudden bolt or surge or happenstance, not by commission, but by omission. All that futile dragging about and wallowing in some long dead past moment or anxiously rehearsing some ghastly, dreadful, or shame producing future time succeeded in removing your precious perception from the thing you needed to take care of while it was still called “today!”

Our present time has become perilously occupied and as addicts we crave more and more of both quantity and frequency. We can scarce handle a break in entertaining media. In our compulsion our time diminishes leaving us exhausted and busy and tired. Instead of running, running, running we should stop and have the courage to take on the moment that is now. Don’t busy yourself with trifles. Don’t log on or search or shop. Don’t turn on anything but your beautiful mind. Allow yourself to feel again. Let pleasant and unpleasant emotions just be. Look at those thoughts that dog you and grab them by their leash. Consider whether they’re real or imagined. Push through the veil and see who has been driving your bus. Who or what has been moving you against your will from what’s most important to you in life and convincing you to settle for less than that? What wrong ideas or untested theories are hiding in the darkness and acting as chains to bind you where there are no limitations? The answers to these questions; to anything that ever plagued you are all right here, obvious and clear in the moment called now, in the sweet reverie between you and your Creator.

The message has been playing all around you since time was first initiated. It’s in the still small voice. It’s in quiet meditation. It’s in the honesty of prayer. It’s in yoga and in sitting still. It is found in every sunrise and sunset. It’s blended in the green of the tree leaves and grass and the bluish hue of the sky. It’s the ocean, the sand and the gentle breeze. It’s unplugged, outside and in every woods. It is your cherished life right now, and now, and now.  It is your distinctive, wonderful experience of life both right now and in every incredible, future, unique now.

Don’t grieve God’s heart by passing time and finding things to get you from one moment to the next. Don’t occupy yourself for occupation’s sakes. Don’t waste time in mindless distraction or in things not worthy of your experience. Instead harvest the bountiful crop to be savored in every precious moment of life. Honor your own heart and your own feelings. Trust yourself and move confidently toward those things that warm you and ask your heart to speed up. Open your eyes and finally see the incredible attention to detail; the unfailing love; the miracle that is this life all wrapped up in the wonder of time right now…

How cloudy, how faded, how dim our true recollection of times gone past

How blurry, how hidden, how hazy our view of some future day

Yet how clear, how true, how faithful the record of our lives ever in the moment called now

Live always your life now…

Just some good thoughts…

 

21 to Nothing…


453127445I’m not sure how this kind of thing happens or what’s behind those sudden decisions we make in life, though I have some strong suspicions, but for whatever reason you suddenly find yourself consumed with the idea of putting yourself to the test in some capacity for some important reason. This is exactly what happened to me. I was about to return from a conference where I happily ate, drank and was merry. As the conference closing drew near, I finalized the idea that when I got home I was going to put myself on a drastic calorie reduced diet. My reasoning basically consisted of the idea that I had allowed myself to get fat and was getting to the point where I could barely tolerate that guy in the mirror. I knew this diet was the only plan that had worked for me in the past, so I put the naysayers behind me and began the 21 day quest. Naturally, my reduced calorie diet included an abstinence from alcohol for the next 21 days as well. I’m not the kind of guy that needs a drink to function, but I cannot recall the last time I hadn’t even had a glass of wine for 3 weeks. So the test and the learning commenced…

Much to my surprise, my first lesson made clear to me how important it is to make decisions, specifically the stronger your decision, the easier it is going to be to carry out your plan. When, by God, you decide how it is going to be, then, by God that is exactly how it is! Day after day I lost a pound as promised; did not cause my body to think I was starving; had vegetables and protein daily; did not suffer the litany of other ailments I would surely undergo from losing weight too quickly. My only pair of jeans that still fit soon took on the baggy look. I found a whole wardrobe of suits and shirts that magically worked again. Shoot, I could even wear a t-shirt to the gym without the all too familiar belly bulge! Victory!

Uber discipline in place for calorie reduction, my most pleasant surprise came by shaking up my familiar routines involving alcohol. Not having a glass of wine during the week was relatively simple, but not having any wine on the weekend days, that’s a whole other story! You may not realize this but Friday nights were made for wine. Choosing no wine on wine night is quite a slap in a habit’s face! Abstain I did, as I had already decided, and I was left with myself facing myself. You know what I found? Years of unresolved childhood issues and hurts left unattended? Painful realizations of what my life really consisted of? Ummm, no! What I found was that absent the anesthetic, I was damn productive. Suddenly I had a lot of shit to do! After I did it, I assumed my usual veg position on the couch minus the fatty chips and a glass of wine. When in doubt, do thinking… I think you’ll enjoy it.

My next realization and perhaps best lesson learned involved how I felt about myself. I’m not trying to tell you that abstinence is best or that you should live without many of the things that you enjoy. What I am telling you is that controlling yourself feels damn fantastic! Control yourself! Learn to say no! Resist! Take charge of the organism. Your desires, your wants, your enjoyments, your habits aren’t in control, you are! And when that day comes, for whatever reason, prompted by whatever logic, do it, feel it, overcome it. Controlling your own self is like crack cocaine to your self-esteem. You become the “effin” champion! It’s the most unusual, yet most profound thing in the world. Controlling yourself, not just for a rough 21 day test, but throughout your life, clearly is the best thing to do. I mean, if a small piece of cheese makes a mouse return to the same spot, the feelings you get from controlling yourself, alone, are worth any hardship you might face. It’s like God is telling you, “See, control isn’t bad, it’s everything good!” Try it…

At the risk of sounding preachy or, God forbid, religious, your brain really doesn’t need the substance to be okay. Your unaltered mental state can actually be very sweet and even more resilient than you have given it credit to be. The trick is to avoid rapid medication over just allowing yourself to be with yourself as yourself. Some jokes aren’t that funny. Some experiences are hysterical. In short, you start to figure out things that need to be done and things you want to get done. Have I sworn off wine forever? Of course not! But, I did put myself to the test and not only won, but more importantly learned some valuable things about myself.

My seemingly insignificant little experiment taught me so many things, the greatest of which is that control is not something to be feared, but rather something to be embraced and honored. Cliche’ aside, life is too damn short to be under anything’s control! Prove it to yourself!

Now, what’s next? What should you do? Well, if you don’t mind, find that thing that you cannot live without; find that part of life you’ve convinced yourself you have to have and go without it. Cut it off for a minute. Give it up. Just say no! It can be as simple as Dunkin Donuts coffee or as serious as a drug addiction. Point is – you don’t need anything outside of yourself to be happy and you can discipline yourself to give up almost anything (except what you need to live). But, don’t do it because I said so, do it when you also experience that urge; that calling; that determination to put yourself to the test and win.

Life under control is awesome people… Try it for yourself!

Just some good thoughts…