On the Right Track…


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I was on Legacy Parkway the other day when I noticed the Front Runner train approaching parallel to me in the distance. As he got closer, I heard him whisper, “Do you want to go?” I replied out loud, “Ahh yeah, let’s do this!” I got to about 70 mph when I remembered the speed limit on the parkway was 55. I let him go because I already got him. As he whistled off into the distance, bright red and blue on a pristine carriage of sparkling white, I thought, that train is a powerful beast as long as he stays on his track!

If you’ve taken time to notice, everything in the natural realm has a right environment in which to function. As long as it stays in its rightful lane, it does what it was designed to do and does it effortlessly. When it gets out of it’s lane, it ends up as roadkill. Birds fly and no obstacle is too tall for them to fly over. Fish swim but flounder on the bank. Snakes slither in the underbrush and are damn hard to corner. However, humans are a little different. Their domain is all domains because they’ve been blessed with the ability to think. And because they can think and rely less on any natural programming, they have a responsibility to keep themselves on track; the right track.

How can you determine if you are on track? Well, how do you feel? So simple, yet profoundly true. My dogs sometimes poop on the unfinished basement floor because it feels like the outside. But you’re not a dog and know where you are. All people know where they are. They may not like it and they may not want to stay there, but they always know where they are. Unhappiness, discontent, distress and worry serve to show you that you are off track. When it doesn’t feel right it usually aint right and no amount of liquor is going to change it. When you are about to make a bad move you know it’s a bad move because your central nervous system makes you nervous! Having sex with your wife has no down side. But notice how you feel after sex with that woman you just met last night!

The right track has no downside either. It feels good because it is good. The choices you make while at peace will never lead you astray. But, make a decision based on fear and you’ll soon recognize your error. And even if you’ve gotten used to feeling numb, the sting of the wrong track will always make its presence felt. The trouble is we have gotten so used to ignoring our feelings and succumbing to this person and that collective idea, that we fail to operate our greatest weapon, our thought. What is true for you is true and those subtle urgings that command your greatest attention are your way to go; your only way to go. Not to worry, the system is flawless, replete with checks and balances. If, in your immaturity, you choose badly, you will learn it. If your motive was bad, that won’t escape you either. You know; you always know because of how you feel.

Life is lived best in its subtlety. It’s not found in grand decisions like where you’ll live or what profession you will choose. It’s found in a thousand seemingly insignificant choices that surround you every day. Just as a small departure from the tracks spells disaster for a speeding train, subtle compromises from good add together to ruin a life. It’s not the 85% you get right day by day that troubles you. It’s the 15% you are getting wrong. It’s the bad habits, the distractions, the time thieves, the hours spent in worrisome thoughts, the fears, the compromises, the apathy, the letting go. It’s wrong motives and selfish desires that strong-arm away your happiness. It’s not saying “no” when you know the answer should be no! We feel sublime on a diet not from immediate weight loss but from finally exercising self-control!

The right track is you feeling how God always intended for you to feel. There’s a reason we call delightful things – heaven! It’s the contented, peaceful, joyful you, minus all the bullshit. It’s you making the right choices in a 24 hour period and then having the opportunity to start all over again tomorrow! Looking forward on outstretched tip toes is as deleterious as craning your neck back to rehearse afresh the past. Life is to be lived on the right track today while letting tomorrow bring what it may. How much precious life have we wasted struggling to get to some place that has been struggling to get to us? How many mistakes that occurred in a microsecond of time live on and on, imprisoned in our memories today?

Your hopes, your dreams and every good thing you have ever envisioned is still there for you. To find it you must only get yourself on the right track. There is no requirement to be any smarter than you already are. The only requirement is to keep yourself in that place called “good” and cleave to it as if your life depended upon it. You don’t need laws and commandments and rules to do it. All you need is a willingness to listen to your own heart and even more willingness to make the necessary changes to stay the course. The fool will continue in reckless abandon and defy the bad feelings to his own demise. The wise soul will find sooner or later that all he needs to do is obey.

Don’t spend another moment of your life in endless prayers and questioning. Cease searching for some mysterious intruder wreaking havoc on your life. Instead slow your roll and pay attention to what’s happening all around you. Take note of how you feel and trace it back to some thought, some decision, some thing you just did and garner for yourself its lesson. Don’t beat yourself into religious submission to rules and dogmas that make no sense to you. The right choice always feels right and no so-called expert can dispute it. The converse holds true as well, though the whole nation calls it right!

You’re no Front Runner train my friend, and your choices are almost unlimited. The right track has a million destinations but there is always only one way to get there. Choose good! Choose the right track!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

The Man You Used to Be…


red-sneakered-feet-walking-towards-phdRecently we had some old college friends over for a barbecue. Thank goodness I’m not as old as them! 😉 When I casually told one of them I was the clinical Director for my organization, he couldn’t believe that the guy he knew in college was the director of anything! I could see his point as my only objectives in life back then were to chase women, play basketball and find different methods to anesthetize myself! (smile) But, that was a lifetime ago… Afterwards, I couldn’t help but think how sad it would be to be the same person you were 35 years ago. None of us are the same person we were back then, nor should we be. This life is all about growth and finding out the obstacles that stunt our growth. So are you ready to find out some things that may have been stunting your growth?

By far, the number one culprit for impeding your progress in life, as Emerson aptly stated, is “carrying about that corpse of a memory.” What you did at any given point in time reflects how you thought at that point in time. It means nothing else. To assign your future course in life to a hodge-podge of foolish past decisions is the height of insanity. In fact, you are completely free to be today whomever it is you choose to be. Your past served only as the preparation ground to grow the person you are today. You needed your mistakes as much as you needed your successes. The difficulties you are experiencing right now are remnants of a course you have yet to complete. Figure it out so you can take the exam and move on.

Dwelling on the past, even yesterday, is a fool’s game. Learn whatever you can learn from it and immediately move forward. Spending your days incubating some failure serves only to guarantee future failure like a runner looking back in the race. The hotshot swimmer in the Olympics was so preoccupied with his opponent that he failed to even medal. Staying your mind on your past is being preoccupied with your opponent. No matter your inherent goodness or practiced virtue, you are going to fall prey to that spurious other power at times and for that you owe God nothing but a commitment to move ahead. How many good-hearted folks do you know who are locked into some past event, imprisoned in the decisions of yesterday? Let it go and move ahead!

Another impediment to future growth is the overuse and abuse of those squirrley little vices that promise you transport to another time and place. Do you remember the commercial where the 30-year-old is extolling the virtues of smoking marijuana when his acquiescence is suddenly interrupted by his mother’s voice in her home, in whice he still lives? Drugs and overindulgence in alcohol press a perpetual pause button on your life, stymying future growth while waiting for you to move out of that phase. Fun and games are all fun and games while your life is fun and games, but every man’s life has a day when he has to forgo fun and games for the work he must do. Indulge if you must, but find a way to balance your fun with the stuff you have to do! Go to work!

Of all the opinions that matter in life, the most important one is the opinion you carry of yourself. Enter your circle of friends and family that work together in unison to define just exactly who you are and where you fit. And again, in the words of Emerson, you are loathe to disappoint them! If you were “always” the joker you must continue to be the joker. If you were ditsy and scatterbrained, that moniker must stay with you for life. People in their estimation of you allow no room for growth or change. Of necessity they cannot because of their compulsion to fit your present life into their past estimation of you. But, growth demands the change and your responsibility is nothing more than to allow your present life to speak for itself! The fact that you were “never” the smart one is only a limitation in their minds, not your own. My dad still thinks I’m not mechanical though I’ve repaired my fair share of broken stuff. Once I configured an OshKosh B’gosh buckle into a door latch, but now I’m just bragging!  The point is, your only limitation is within yourself. Answering to public opinion; to your friend’s judgments; to your family background is like blaming your unmowed grass on the sunshine and water. Mow your own grass and no defense is required!

People’s opinions are in reality a judgment on their own lives. If they are callous and unforgiving, you must be also. Their suspicions of you are a testimony to their own motives. No man can possibly know another’s motive and until that person has lived in your shoes they have no opinion that matters at all. We don’t fault the poor mother who steals so her children can eat, nor can we fault another man for his hidden poverty we cannot readily discern. Underneath it all, people are basically good and kind and seek a means to express their goodness though a thousand voices scream to the contrary! Be your own self doing your own stuff that you know you must do. The value of your choice is determined by you and you alone… Other people cannot stunt your growth unless you allow it. Refuse it and grow!

Your life has a specific design in a specific place at a specific time. Your job is not to find out what the world wants, but rather to find out who you are and what you can best offer to the world. If you can do that, your life will grow in unparalleled dimensions.

You are not the man or woman you used to be, thank God. Instead you are the sum total of all the lessons you have mastered thus far. I say, get your PhD…

Just some good thoughts…

The Measure of a Man…


k23725167This is a story about your life. You know, the one you are living right now. It’s about where you’re at today. It’s about your successes and your failures. It’s about how much money you make and where you work. It touches on your relationships, your togetherness and your loneliness. It reaches into every facet of your life and there’s no part of your existence that it doesn’t explain. It’s not about how you measure up, but rather how you measure yourself.

I got into a discussion the other day about the term “realistic.” I’ll spare you the details but suffice it to say that most people who utter those words, use them for limitation and not for endless possibility. My key point centered around the question, what is realistic? You see, the world but half expresses itself. The things you see are not made up of what is really back of them. But, on we go wrestling on the outside with a world defined by our inside. The circumstances you encounter scream for supremacy as the first cause, but in truth are in reality a result. They align themselves perfectly with your expectations. If they are pervasive and miserable it is no-one’s fault but your own. Likewise, if they are glorious, spontaneous and grand, for that you make take credit as well.

The question that concerns you most is not what hand the world has dealt you. The question of utmost importance is, what do you think of yourself? What do you expect for your life? What things do you think you can have in this life? What is the measure of yourself? The answer to those questions is played out amongst a million, precise variations in the life you are living right now. Look around you. The environment you are in, you chose. The proof is in the pudding. Whining about not having enough money is foolish because you make exactly what you think you can make. No more, no less. The only way a man raises himself from mental poverty is in finally convincing himself of his own value. I say finally, because a man is knowingly or unknowingly in a contest day by day; a contest between what apparently “is” versus what may actually be. How he votes determines the election. The more highly he values himself, the more he expects for and from himself. As a man seeks to improve himself and does, he begins to grow out of whatever confining conditions have seemed to hold him back. He cannot help but succeed the more because he is more. In this his life solemnly testifies to the man he has become.

The most ironic, yet heartbreakingly sad “reality” is that man is free to decide upon his own estimation of himself. His self-esteem, his self-value is decided by himself. It’s not for no good reason a man aims so low. He aims low because he lives in a world  constantly whipping himself out of himself. His behavior is bad; his desires are bad; his decisions are bad. But are they? Those in advantage methodically make plans to ensure the so-called lesser man remains lesser. Is he lesser? God has made from one blood all nations of men that dwell upon the earth. A man, in order to be a real man, must raise his estimation of himself. He must consider and take to heart whom God says he is. God’s men cannot settle for second best.

The people of the world exhaust themselves in the endless pursuit of success; success measured by boats and houses and leisure time. The Kardashians are not real people. Yet, you have to commend them in that they have made themselves indispensable. The estimation they make of themselves being clearly evident. So whether your success is measured in boats and houses and leisure time or by love, relationships and legacy, the measure will always be found in yourself. The way to success is found in the value you place on yourself. You must find the way to do what you alone can do and in that which you have no rival. Instead of investing pointless energy in comparison, you must spend your energy in your estimation of yourself. It can never be called selfish to think highly of yourself because those who love themselves love others and for that the world will always be in need.

No matter what you have gone through; the mistakes you have made; the blunders you have done, each day offers the bright and shining hope of a new day. And as the sun ebbs the horizon offering light to all the inhabitants thereof, you awaken offering your light in your way, to the world. Start where you are, as you must, but know the limitations you have imagined are your own and hold no sway in a world created by infinite possibility. You wish to be a man of courage and boldness, be that man. You desire to be a man of magnanimous wealth and supply, be that man. You dream of earning the respect of all around you, respect yourself. No circumstance, no condition, no predetermined fate can stop a man who knows who he is and values it.

God has graciously granted man the chance to be whomever he wants to be and has done it without limit or check. Check yourself and see what measure you have placed on yourself. Throw off the chains of genealogy and circumstance and be exactly who you always knew you could be! The world is waiting for you to be who you were already supposed to be. Your past has no bearing unless you make it so. Your background, your education, your job, your track record is nothing more than an account of the man you used to be. Be whomever you want to be today and see if the great God does not honor your desires at every step. See if He will not back your every effort and toil with a handsome reward; the reward that follows every man who believes.

What is reality? Reality is exactly what you expect it to be!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Advice to a Young Brother…


13087680_10209327672770705_3701642277193729662_nLife is not easily mastered and happy is the man who is able to discern its clues. Thus the responsibility of the older is to pass along that which he knows to the younger. This advice, inspired by Emerson in his essay, “Compensation,” seeks to impart that which may be known but not yet experienced; to those who have lived but have not really lived yet. Resist any argument to the contrary knowing that I too was once a young brother…

Success ~ Everything one may gain has a price and one must be willing to pay it in order to get it. Trying to obtain without payment is a futile endeavor. You may be sitting at your job dreaming of better things, but better things will elude you while you yet dream. Promotion only comes with excellence and marginal work is reserved for those in the margins. Honesty reveals that your job is crappy because you are yet still crappy. The successful man didn’t become a success because of who he knew, but rather when the chance encounter matched his already mastered skills. There is no value in overcoming your weaknesses until you have first exploited your strengths. The musician performing to sold-out arenas first sold himself to his craft. The respected business mogul began with a lemonade stand. The athlete earning millions to play his game learned early the discipline required.

Pitfalls ~ No man ever fell into a pit that he could see. Instead the trap was hidden, concealed in a promise of never-ending pleasure. Every man has his vice, but until his vice is cornered it will soon defeat him. Wine brings forth gladness in moderation but uncontrolled brings dimness of wit and a thousand foolish decisions. Every crime exacts its punishment, but its effect is often far removed from its cause. There is no “getting over!” Getting over at work if persisted in, ends in termination though maybe for different reasons. Shirking and slothfulness require less effort but are nothing compared to the cost of recovery. Each man recovers himself as he recognizes the greater laws and finally submits himself to them. The world is founded on justice and though oft hidden, still prevails.

Women ~ A young man, clothed with genetic disadvantage is programmed to spread his seed. He is crazed over urges that perpetually prompt him and seldom has the discipline to say no. But, as each part is connected to another, when he hurts another he hurts himself in the process. A woman used as an object for sexual gratification, though willing, defies the laws of nature, as both must benefit in the process. In so taking, he wounds other souls which carries its own penalty in suffering and discontent. There is no play in being a player as the sting of deception does not discriminate its participants. The beasts of the field don’t discriminate their partners but there’s a reason we call them beasts. Proper sexual expression always has love in it for which there is no downside. Anything you must hide in the cover of secrecy and darkness will always find its way to the light whether in actuality or inside your own heart. Goodness stands upright in the light of day. Happy is the young man who carefully chooses the one as the one is all that he needed.

Associations ~  A man does not choose his companions as his companions choose him. He attracts that which he is though it be only for the moment. A true friend is one in whom you may bear your soul and not him for which you must play a role to be accepted. Bad associations with bad ideas must be avoided. A friend is one who tells you the truth and seeks your ultimate happiness over the fleeting. A right association is willing to be both teacher and student. A man should choose his friends as carefully as he watches over his bank account as he will never rise beyond the level of those with whom he associates the most.

Play ~ Play and fun are vital components of the human experience. Life without fun is not life. But fun always follows the work and never precedes it. A vacation is enjoyed only after a period of work. The unemployed does not enjoy his time off as his mind is worried about his future. Only when his future appears secured does he revel in his free time. Persisting in play at the expense of work is reserved for the children. In order to be happy a man must work, but his choice of work is always his own. All work is honorable that offers no penalty to those it effects. Engaging in illegal activities for gain, though never caught, reveals itself in negative, impoverished circumstances. Justice will always win out over illicit rewards and there is no satisfaction that parallels gain obtained by honesty and industry.

God ~ For a man to become a man he must admit that life is bigger than himself. He has but to look around him at the perfection within the creation; the breathtaking order and unparalleled intelligence behind it. He has to step down off the pedestal of self-knowledge and youthful ego and see what is literally surrounding him. Yet, it’s not until he has been severely pricked and awakened from his lethargy that he begins to contemplate the spiritual world behind things. It’s not until he finally concedes there is no way that he considers “The Way” that has been waiting for him all along. A man becomes a man when he becomes body, soul AND spirit and not until then. It’s not until he finally realizes his abilities, his gifts, were given to him in advance for him to maximize to his own and everyone else’s benefit.

You young brothers hold the future in your hands. You will knowingly or unknowingly shape the world your children will live within. By your choices and decisions you will lay the foundation for a thousand generations. Choose wisely young brothers and listen to your elders…

Just some good thoughts for young brothers…