Annoyingly Annoyed, Agitated and Angry!


Have you ever found yourself just completely and unapologetically annoyed with people? Have you ever spent the day angry about everything? What is it that happens to us on certain days or maybe even for certain weeks when we have literally no patience left for circumstances and situations? What burr got under our saddle? Who are those thorns in the flesh? What has gotten us so pissed off? And, from whence does that agitation originate? Indeed, how did we end up so annoyingly annoyed, agitated and angry?

If you are anything like me, you know that sometimes people and situations just bug the living shit out of you! Oh try as you might to return to your positive status quo, you just can’t seem to locate it. Something happened to you. Something somewhere somehow got to you. Are you just grumpy or hungry or sleepy, or is there another variable involved? Your emotions, as varied and complex as they are, are still fed by the thoughts and feelings you are accepting or confronting. Your mind does not function in a vacuum. Words and opinions and experiences all work to take you somewhere be it good or bad. Words carry with them tremendous power to shape your mindset and encourage or discourage you. Opinions, though always personal in nature, work with you when you share them and work against you when you disagree. Experiences must be interpreted and they are done so in the light of what you are thinking at the time. Some days we want to write off as bad days, close up shop and start fresh tomorrow. Other days we feel we have energy unlimited and can do anything we desire. Just what exactly is going on?

Every single thing you put into your mind has some kind of effect on you. Every. Single. Thing. There are no such things as benign thoughts. Every Facebook post, every Instagram meme, every so called news report or article, every conversation, every skillfully crafted advertisement, every text string, every email, every LinkedIn posting, every single asinine campaign ad, every reality television program makes some type of impact on your mind. You see it, you read it, you rehearse it, you contemplate it, ending in some type of effect on how you are going to feel. If you are not careful, soon you find yourself swept away and annoyed. For me, it’s not differences in opinions that bother me, it’s the general absence of any fathomable logic or common sense. It’s group think. It’s all or nothing processing where all choices are centered in either A or B. How absurd? There is good and evil and a whole world of choices in between. Americans in particular seem to have been lulled into non-thinking largely based on the cheap effects of social media. Empty words, empty ideas, completely illogical concepts and gross generalizations based on some bullshit someone else came up with. Reading it and considering it absolutely fries my soul! But, as has been the case since time began, the problem isn’t all the outside influences trying to captivate and capture our minds, the real problem is in our consideration of those irrational concepts and lies. Lies, lies, lies all craftily designed to dull and diminish our God-given capability to think for ourselves.

The solution to our dilemma is not to fuss and fume and fret ourselves over the latest line of insanity to assault our minds, but instead refuse it. This precarious notion that being an adult means having to patiently sift through the garbage bin, politely agreeing to disagree, trying to find logic in illogic or acting as if everything is true just a different kind of true, is abject delusion and nonsense! It was the consideration of evil that led to the first man’s demise and it will, without doubt, lead to yours as well. Your job, my job is to separate ourselves from it. Stop listening to it. Get away from the people that promote it. Well, you can scroll past it they say. Yes, I can but I’m worse off for having done so. Every small piece of poop you leave on your shoe is part of a collective larger piece of poop on your shoe, you will be left with in your mind. Stop arguing with them! Quit trying to interject something logical into something that isn’t logical to begin with. Nuts is nuts is nuts is nuts! Walk away from it. The reason you are feeling so agitated is that you keep giving the source of agitation access to you and isn’t your former friend that is behind it! Clean up your friends list! Better, stay off the feed for awhile. Figure out what it is that is upsetting you and remove its access to you.

Finally, recognize what it is you are saying to yourself or worse, what you are saying about yourself. No one in their right mind is opposed to their own selves. By the time you are angry with yourself and no longer like that person staring back at you from the mirror, something has already worked you over. Something has succeeded in diminishing your worth to the point where you remain perpetually angry with your very own self! You are a human being and like all humans will find yourself unknowingly participating in some absurdity from time to time. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to blow it, miss the mark, fail in your efforts and generally fall short of the person God called you to be. The nature of error preexists in your bloodline. Instead of being angry with yourself, figure out what it is that you are telling yourself about yourself. If it is causing you unrest it is probably not true. God, like any good parent, doesn’t make you better by pointing out your flaws but rather by pointing out all that is right about you. He graciously provided the ultimate solution in the life of His son. God isn’t mad at you, you are mad at you! After you clean up your friends list, take some time to clean up your own mind as well. Purge your thoughts of every accusation, every consideration of something being wrong with you.

These days we live in feel like the pinnacle of annoyance, agitation and anger, but they don’t have to be. There’s a better place to live. Calm yourself down a little bit and figure out what you have been feeding your mind that has you so pissed off! Anger and agitation do nothing but diminish your soul! Get above it on the high road where God lives. I don’t know about you, but I feel better already!

Just some good thoughts…

Finding Your Missing Peace…


Life can be a topsy turvy affair. You are definitely going to experience your share of ups and downs, highs and lows, good times and bad times. Sometimes things work out for you and other times they may not. Some circumstances are going to challenge you down to the very core of your being. Chances are you will experience pressures, stress, negativity and downright agitation. But, did you know that the turbulance, the unrest, the feeling unsettled, the churning inside is all an indicator that something is not right and needs to be changed; to be remedied; to be fixed. It’s not something you must learn to accept or live with, nor is it a necessary part of being a human being. In its basic essence it is the absence of peace. You need to find your missing peace…

Children do not live with agitation in their hearts. When something is bothering them, they instinctively know they need help to get it cleared up. They don’t put up with it for very long. It’s only adults that try to acclimatize themselves to the unrest or worse find things that cover up the distress. When people are suffering inside, it’s only reasonable to seek the source of those feelings. But instead, people just sort of move on or ignore it. They wait for a new day or for some length of time to pass hoping something will change and bring their peace back. They think that peace is something you need to attain, rather than a natural state that has been tampered with and manipulated. They never consider that there is something they are doing or choosing, knowingly or unknowingly, that invites in the agitation. Wrong thinking and wrong behaviors steal away your precious peace. They promise something good, but fail to deliver on the promise. Error in all forms cannot produce good, no matter the adornment or appeal. Darkness wears many disguises, but regardless of the costume still brings in darkness. In order to find your peace, you have to learn what is wrong, what is error, what is darkness. You cannot go by what people say or the masses or the so-called experts. You’ve got to go by what God’s Word says…

There is a verse in the Bible that states, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts…” The Greek word for “rule” is brabeuó which literally means “to umpire.” It (the peace) let’s you know if you are safe or if you are out. Things you think about that cause you agitation are out! Thinking fearful, worried thoughts cause you to churn inside. The churning, the unrest, is the umpire telling you, you are out! If you continue to stay your mind on those wrong thoughts your peace will not return until you stop thinking those wrong thoughts. Some behaviors you engage in cause you to feel good about yourself. Other behaviors cause distress. Behaviors that cause distress are the wrong behaviors or you have some wrong teaching concerning those behaviors. If someone taught you years ago that dancing is a sin, then every time you dance you will feel agitation. However, the error is not in the dancing, it is in your thinking. You are believing something that is not true based on wrong teaching. The world is chock full of wrong teaching and it has been tying God’s people up for centuries. It’s hard to find someone who feels worse about themselves than the average Christian. Yet, it’s not their sin that is defeating them, it is holding on to wrong thoughts about themselves, condemning themselves, focusing on themselves, that’s killing them. You can multiply this scenario out indefinitely. Yet, for all this, you already have the solution within yourself. Does what you are thinking about cause you to be at rest or unrest? Do you have some behaviors you engage in that always leave you feeling bad? The peace inside is your umpire and that umpire never misses a call.

If you are unpeaceful as hell, you have to ask yourself what have you been feeding your mind? What are you dwelling on and focusing on and concentrating on? Where does your mind naturally go? All of that fear and worry you have been dutifully entertaining has never, ever led you to anything good. It’s not good information that helps you feel better. Has it ever helped you feel better? Does contemplating your or your loved ones demise help you to live? You see, you have to get it out of your mind that fear has any useful purpose! Fear thoughts, worry thoughts, anxious thoughts, doubtful thoughts are all error and will take away your peace faster than a speeding bullet! The key to overcoming fear is found in your refusal to consider the thoughts. Oh I know, you think you can figure it out if you just invest enough churning. But, you aint going to figure it out! Instead, you will just become a big mess inside, drinking liquor and taking pills to make it stop. Your mind is feeding on something and you are the one responsible for what you feed it. The crippling negatives of the world are everywhere and have been ever since the first man went astray. But, just because they surround you doesn’t mean you have to perpetually contemplate them. Don’t let them in…

Do you want that wonderful peace inside that assures you everything is right and nothing is in need of repair? Do you want that inner calmness that makes life sweet and beautiful and tender? Do you want to find that long lost feeling of repose and know that you are safe and protected on every front? Then, you have got to do something different with your mind. You have got to change how you have been thinking. You have got to alter what you have been feeding your heart. Life will still be full of ups and downs, but you won’t be. You will still have to face pressures and stressors and threats, but you don’t have to remain agitated by them. There will still be hard times and hard days and hard circumstances, but inside you can remain at peace because you know who ultimately has your back. I hope you find your missing peace…

Just some good thoughts…

Doing It Right!


869722f0785de9af467bcc8720d2d668Doing things right may bring a lot of things to your mind, most of which probably involve drudgery and compulsive adherence to rules, laws and religious dogma. Since me and rules are fairly incompatible, you can relax because this aint that! This is really about doing your life fully, completely, thoroughly; doing it all the best according to what is needed next. It’s about satisfying the just demands of the moment.

I recently watched the movie, “The Intern.” An interesting movie for sure, but the appeal to me wasn’t the clever story line. It was Robert De Niro’s character, Ben Whittaker. However, it wasn’t Ben’s desire to get a job or be relevant or even his patience in working with a pack of young folks. It was the orderly way he lived his life. It was his care for the little things. It was Ben’s full attention to the moment he was in and the demands of that moment. It was his attention to detail. It was his lack of hurry in favor of what should be next. It was beautiful and clean and crisp in a way I can’t yet put into words, but I’ll try.

The modern day laissezfaire notion of life implies that any desire to keep things clean and maintained is obsessive. Demanding to have things put in the proper place is categorically over the top. Organizing desks, closets or anything presently in a chaotic state stifles your ability to live and breathe.” Just let it go man!” “Why are you so OCD?” All this talk about instituting order is taking away my freedom to “just be.” And, like so many things in this life, you sort of end up with the exact opposite of what you were after. Instead of feeling relaxed and unrestrained you feel anxious, hurried and stressed. Well, there’s a reason…

The One who invented life is supremely organized and orderly. His attention to detail is breathtaking. Everything matters and there is nothing made that does not have an intended purpose or use. The reason that nature has such an appeal to you is because there is a fantastic intricacy behind it. There’s no rigidity or straight lines (because that obviously aint it-get it?), but there is an unparalleled order; a beauty; an exquisite symmetry.  How about your human body? No matter how it looks outwardly, there’s no sloppiness back of it. In fact, it’s so well done you can abuse it for a long time before it starts to break down.

Order not chaos is the dominating principle of the universe. And, the more you put your life in order, the better you will live. Fighting against and resisting order may feel good in the moment, but, as all illusions do, will never last. What you gain in momentary expediency, you’ll lose in sustained happiness. Your relaxing won’t be relaxed and your letting go won’t let anything go. Everything you walked past remains fixed, perpetually occupying your mind as undone. The coat slung on the banister requests action every time you see it and in ignoring it, it beckons the louder. The candy wrapper in the driveway calls out each time you park. The light in the bathroom whispers to be shut off. Your junk drawer in the kitchen serves as an harassing evil, assaulting your thoughts when brought to light. Order is seeking you, not for itself but for you.

Being a Bible fan, I often think of the account when Jesus was raised from the dead. After the incredible miracle of being raised from the dead, there’s another point of interest you may have missed. In the custom of his culture, Jesus was wrapped from head to toe in grave clothes, sort of like a mummy. When they came to see if he was risen, they noted that he wasn’t there and that the the mummified grave clothes were still there untouched with the napkin that covered his face neatly folded on top. Who do you think folded it? Well, Jesus did of course. Compared to the magnanimity of the event apparently folding a napkin mattered as well. Jesus was and is a perfect man. So, you put that together…

There was a time when people sat down together for dinner, with carefully planned place settings and matching dishes. There was a time when people put their work items away carefully in their custom briefcase. They hung up their suits after the office toil or put their boots in the mudroom for later. People took time to make matches in the sock drawer. They dressed with care and nothing was wrinkled or too worn. Dress shoes shined and grooming was impeccable. There was a time when the details mattered and folks took the time to do things right.

The frenetic pace of today has thwarted man’s ability to take care of business; his business. Distractions exist all over and steal away our time. We have so much to do that we don’t have time to do things right. But, I’d guess you have the same time today that the Ben Whittakers of the world had back then, only minus all of the distractions. You might be surprised to learn in the great by and by, that God will reward you just as much for washing your car as He would for recognizing your service and love to your fellow man. Doing things right extends to every category of life and like any behavior that mimics your Father in heaven, has its own blessings that you can enjoy today.

Doing what you know to do; that which is required in the moment, the clarion call to order, will bring you a peace and a satisfaction that is unequaled in this world. The time it takes to do so will multiply back to you in ways you have not yet imagined. There’s no pain in doing things right. The pain ensues from letting things go. Do it right!

God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Calm Down!


8431429265_f779ef2065_bI remember a time when my wife and I were talking to some friends and she said something that sparked my happy meter and forever etched itself in my mind. She remarked, “Tony isn’t like me, he has a calm mind…” What a nice thing to say! And I have to admit my mind is generally very calm, despite the occasional times I’m like a duck on the water, appearing serene, but paddling like hell underneath. (smile) So, as you may have already guessed, this blog is about cultivating a calm mind.

Before I highlight some key principles, I think it’s important to understand why. Your mind is the center of your life. It’s not just part of your experience, it is your experience. It’s the largest determining factor in how your life progresses. And, as the central hub from which your life proceeds, it has to be in order. Imagine trying to run a business with a thousand random papers and files all over your desk. Picture your warehouse operation functioning properly with no system in place. Instead of success you would experience chaos which may be an apt description of many people’s lives.  Good things, great ideas, quiet, gentle guidance, self control, and the ability to problem solve all come from a calm mind.

An agitated, upset mind is like your mouth when you leave the dentist’s chair. You’re drooling and biting through your tongue; your face is sagging and you are completely unaware of it. Or said another way, all kinds of crap is happening to you; affecting you; harassing you, but you are too distracted to see what’s going on. It’s similar to trying to find your ring at the bottom of the pool while the water is agitated. You’ve got to wait until the agua settles down before you can see. Ya get it?

You’re not alone in your anxiety because the whole world is in turmoil. People suffer in silence because they think it’s normal. Some have never experienced peace. But, you should know that you were not designed to live that way. You were specifically designed with a mind so that you could direct your life. You’re not an animal with built-in instinctual behavior. You’re a human being who needs a calm mind. Interestingly, letting everything go; being perpetually distracted and overwhelmed, actually reduces your life to the level of the common beast. You sort of sniff around seeking to get your basic needs met with no thought about what you could really accomplish or experience if you got your base of operations in order.

Stop for a moment to consider how many thoughts go through your mind in a day. How many of them are negative, critical or fear inducing? If you are inexperienced in controlling your thinking (and yes you can control your thinking), I would wager many, if not most of your thoughts fall into this category. “You’re an idiot for forgetting that meeting.” “Look how fat you’ve gotten you big slob!” “Why don’t things ever work out for me?” “No-one gives a damn about me.” “My stomach hurts. I hope it’s not cancer.” You can multiply these thoughts out indefinitely. What runs through your mind isn’t the biggest issue. The crucible that separates calm from chaotic is what you do or don’t do about those thoughts. You can’t crap on yourself all day long then wonder why you feel anxious. And trust me, it is occurring even if you don’t recognize it. You don’t recognize it because you are distracted and if you add up enough distraction, you feel overwhelmed! Simplistic? Maybe. True? Likely.

In order to find your way to tranquility, you have to do some work with your mind. The peace is already there for you, but you aren’t experiencing it because of those rogue thoughts you are letting go. Your primary job is to fight back. Challenge that assertion! For God’s sake, don’t just let it go. You may be a pacifist. You might be the most non-confrontational person on Earth. But, if someone keeps punching you in the nose everyday, at some point you’d have to punch back. Not fighting back parallels the distress affecting your nose region. You’ve heard of the calm before the storm right? Well, there’s also a calm after the storm is over. Peace comes at the end of the fight. You can gauge your success rate by how you feel. But make no mistake, like it or not, you have to take it on. It’s like quitting smoking. It feels impossible at first, but day by day it get’s easier. At some point you even forget you ever smoked.

Once you begin to win that battle in your mind each day, your calm returns like that ferrel cat you’ve been feeding. In that space of calmness; of tranquility; at peace, you can finally see. Not the cat silly (smile), the trouble when it shows up. You’re at last in a position to handle the issues on the front end. As you cultivate this habit, you get more and more accustomed to the peace. In your peaceful state you can sort out the issues; recognize your triggers; think through your problems objectively and best of all, hear that still small voice ever able and willing to give you a solution. You’re no longer distracted by the hundred-fold fears that assault your mind. You cannot be overwhelmed because you’ve been handling your business in the only time period you can affect – now!

Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this, in the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep: wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”   ~ James Allen

Just some good thoughts…