What Came First, Your Thoughts or Your Results?


maxresdefaultRecently, I found myself embroiled in a Twitter battle with someone I don’t know and many others I don’t know over the topic of depression. A guy posted a little ditty about being depressed along the lines of, “if you’re depressed and you know it, clap your hands.” So I replied, tongue in cheek, with a similar ditty about changing your thoughts. Some recognized the levity, but quite a few others insisted on teaching me about depression and how it wasn’t that simple and show me some evidence that changing your thoughts can change brain chemistry and so on. Essentially the group argument consisted of well-intentioned people defending the chemical nature of depression and apparently the fact that your thoughts have nothing to do with it and even more incredulously, that there’s nothing you can do about it. So depression or any other mental malady, what came first, your thoughts or your results?

First let’s clarify one important reality. Yes depression, particularly clinical depression can be tracked to chemical changes in your brain. But, and hear me out on this one, to conclude that the depression you are experiencing has nothing to do with what you are thinking, is categorically nuts! If that was the case all of us would be potential victims to any mental malady that came our way and would be powerless against it. You’re living your life happy and blessed then boom, you spiral down into depression or anxiety or anything else that chooses you! Life does not work that way. However, if you are paying attention, you will recognize that the world will always have an excuse for you to stay trapped in your personal conundrum.  It will always have you draw some conclusion where you basically agree there is nothing you can do about what you are experiencing. The result? You end up actually defending your problem’s right to have power over you and have lots of science or other man-made intelligence supporting your beliefs. Your thoughts came first!

Depression begins with depressed thoughts. Anxiety begins with anxious thoughts. All known phobias began with fearful thoughts about something. Now stop right there. If what I just said pissed you off in some capacity, you have to ask yourself what it is you are defending. To think that your thoughts didn’t precede you present reality takes away your responsibility for your life and hands it over to someone or something else. The world is chock full of victims with well-rehearsed stories about how they don’t have a choice when actually they always have a choice. The choice with mental maladies, and by the way I’ve been there, is to control your thinking in the here and now. Is it really that simple? No, it’s not simple at all, especially if you have gotten yourself into some deeply grooved ruts! But, it is the only way out! You have to decide to think something else or stop thinking certain things, before you can even begin to see the way out. Wallowing in the chemical nature of your problem is simply resignation to defeat. Your thoughts came first!

In contrast to mental maladies and anything that pains or hinders our lives, let’s consider happy people or people who remain positive and hopeful about their lives. What do they do that maybe you don’t do? Are they really predetermined for success? Are they just the result of good fortune heaped on them randomly with no discernible reason why? The same world that spends considerable time with increasing evidence to convince you there is nothing you can do about your problems, also maligns and disparages being positive and reduces it to foolishness by implying positive people simply spout positive bullshit in contrast to their worsening issues. Really? Is that all that positive people do? In reality, positive, happy people experience the same garbage and conflict in life that you experience. The difference is that they fight back with their thoughts and refuse to surrender to science or anything else that chips away at their well-being. They can acknowledge that today was a freaking horrible day, but don’t expect tomorrow to be the same. When someone lays a rap on them that implies there is nothing they can do about something, they beg to differ over and over and over again. Your thoughts came first.

Part of controlling your thinking, and for the love of God it is something you can do or God wouldn’t ask you to do it, is to be cautious about what you take ownership of… Is it a disease or is it your disease? Is it depression or is it your depression? Just because a doctor gave it to you doesn’t mean you have to own it. I know, there I go again with my Pollyanna bullshit! I mean, the perfectly reasonable, logical thing to do is to accept your fate and get in line with the rest of the sheep following and cascading over the cliff to their own demise! Being realistic depends wholly on what you consider to be real. Science isn’t in opposition to God it’s of God (you smarties…). The opposition shows up when science, so-called, refutes what God says and makes it appeal to the ego of man who always knows more than he actually knows! If you and your scientific realities know the answer, then fix your issue and let’s get back to living. Alas, your thoughts came first!

One thing you can and should own is your own life! You certainly don’t need to own the negative assaults upon you day by day, but you can and should own your results. Own it! Accept where you are. Accept responsibility for the things that haven’t worked out. Taking ownership is always the starting point for any life revisions you may need. As you  put your hands firmly back on the wheel, you will discover that God has given you control if you are willing to take it! Say what you may my friends, your thoughts came first!

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.

 

 

The Spin Cycle of Error


spin_cycleHave you ever found yourself caught up in a negative spin cycle of error that ever picks you up and drops you off at the same place repeatedly, eventually draining all the life right out of you? Have you ever found yourself plagued by the same issues year after year? Have you ever decided to make a journal entry and as you read some of your former entries from ten years ago realize you are writing about the exact same crap? If so, you might be trapped in the spin cycle of error…

It goes without much thought to recognize that error is always complicated. At its base it is simply a lie you’ve been talked into believing and subsequently experiencing day after day. However, its simplicity is masked and befuddled with extraneous data like the Tax Code rendering its victims unaware of what is going on or how to ever change it. The only way that error can gain a foothold in your life is by getting you to cooperate by repeating and rehearsing certain thoughts, words and behaviors.

As a person thinks in their heart, they are, whether their thoughts are good, constructive and useful, or wrong, defeated and debilitating. Wrong thoughts or thoughts containing error hide alongside many other thoughts. In the milieu of thought, it is very difficult to discern what is going wrong or to isolate rogue thoughts that bring negative results. However, if you find yourself experiencing negative results i.e. all mashed together in a damp heap, spinning and spinning amidst an ocean of the same crap, you have got some error going in your thinking that you must repair.

You can almost always tell what thoughts you are harboring in your mind by the stuff that spews out of your mouth. What negative views of yourself can your friends predict you will say? What line of self-deprecating humor is your go to laugh line? Are you disappointed with yourself or the person you have turned out to be and as a result say bad things about yourself to yourself? Those harsh views, jokes and negative self-image all point to some errors you have been holding onto inside.

Although always preceded by thoughts, certain behaviors serve only to thwart you and retard your progress. Certain pleasures conceal the poison contained within them which is only discovered once the poison has taken effect. Some activities promise you fulfillment in one area only to pay a heavy tax in another. Behaviors the run at cross purposes with the Laws of Love always demand payment in pain and suffering.

In order to stop the murderous spin cycle of error, you must attach yourself to something that doesn’t move around day by day. You must affix your purpose to something that is true and immovable. You finally find the hidden error by focusing on the truth. Focusing on the error; the why didn’t I see this coming of the error; the how did this happen to me of the error; leads only to, and trust me on this one, countless journal pages dedicated to and salaaming error, inadvertently and unknowingly worshipping the evil one! You are not going to see your way out playing that game. The treachery isn’t in presenting you with wrong choices and getting you to choose them. The deception is in what you’ve been talked into focusing on! If you’ve lived a little you already know that stepping aside or missing a step is easy. Everyone you have ever met has come up short in some capacity. The test for success is in getting back up, dusting yourself off and walking in a new direction leaving all of the past behind you.

Error holds sway by wearing you out on the inside. In order to wear you down and eventually out, it must have access to your head and heart. It doesn’t flourish by mistakes you have made here and there, even the egregious ones. It flourishes and tightens its grip   by getting you to shift and keep your focus in the wrong place. Maybe you made a heinous mistake twenty years ago that ended up defining the life you live right now. How can something that happened twenty years ago define your present existence? It does so because you have held onto the damn thing like a cherished guest for twenty frikkin years. The fact that you did something wrong twenty years ago and still insist on bringing it to mind is the larger error.

God’s way out of these mental prisons that thwart and defeat you is by you making the decision to no longer hold onto and cleave to the error! If your life isn’t what you want it to be today, get busy changing it into something you like. Lamenting on what’s wrong with it is just getting suckered into more of the same! If you’ve made some bad mistakes, you have beaten yourself up enough already. Jesus Christ paid for the sins, not your insistence on suffering and self-condemnation! (Do you really believe God wants you to suffer?) If you have some gnarly thoughts concerning your self-image, it’s up to you to change those concepts and start seeing yourself like God sees you.

At the end of the day, just know and understand that you are doing it to yourself. Sure, there is an evil one and yes, life can be very challenging at times, but you are only responsible to live this life one day at a time, forgetting all that is past and refusing to be afraid of the future. Change your life by changing your subject of focus! Get out of the spin cycle and move on over to the warm dryer where life is oh so good…

Just some good thoughts,…

 

 

 

15 to Life…


Courtroom Scene.jpgI found myself seeking to lose that same 15 pounds I’ve been working on for about 15 years. I lost all of it once and some of it many, many times. Yet, it always seems to creep back on. Funny thing is it’s only 15 pounds. That got me thinking, why is it that my body would regulate itself just slightly higher than I would want? In fact, why do we seem to get certain things in our lives, yet often feel like we need a little bit more? The house is nice, but I wish it didn’t have bricks. The Ford Explorer works, but that Escalade is bangin’! If you receive in life exactly what you have believed to receive, then why would our believing stop just short of what we really want? Or maybe, are we stopping short of what we really want or always wanting more and more? These are worthy questions for those serving 15 to life.

It was 1982 when I first took a class called, “Power for Abundant Living” where I learned that what a person believes in their heart is what they will manifest into their lives. I’m not referring to the reported “magic” outlined in “The Secret.” Life wasn’t designed for things to just appear out of nowhere, but instead the results we are pursuing show up naturally in direct accordance with our firm expectations! The Bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” And, “Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows forth the issues of your life!” Thus your life, whether you like it or not, is a direct reflection of what you believe deep down in your heart. Similarly, the image that you carry of yourself is what you are. How have you been picturing yourself for the last year, five years, ten years? The image that you carry of yourself with clearness and concern is what you are. And the kicker? This law of believing works for positive and negative thinking alike!

A good friend complimented me yesterday on the back-splash I put up in the kitchen. I responded with thank you, then quickly pointed out that there were some flaws in the job and that I made some mistakes. Do you see where I’m going? Instead of just enjoying the positives, I felt the need to add in a “yes, but.” Often, we limit ourselves in this life with our “yes, buts!” Somebody tricked us into believing that we have to take the good with the bad. Someone convinced us that we can’t have it all. Something weaseled its way into our thinking and talked us into considering that we have to give darkness its place. Doubts, worries, fears, stressors and anxieties are the “yes, buts” in our lives.  They represent a form of believing in the negative with just as powerful and specific results.

If you want to learn how to believe rightly; how to get positive results in your life, or how to get rid of the life sucking negatives, the question to ask yourself involves your subject of focus. What is your subject of focus? What do you see most consistently? Does your good always have some “bad” in it? Would your friends describe you as positive or negative? Those thoughts you rehearse most consistently eventually find their way into your heart, determining how your life proceeds. You don’t live how you want to live because you don’t believe that you can! You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you are on the inside. In order to change the outside you have to change the inside. You can change every circumstance of your life if you are willing to invest a little time in changing your thinking. Develop and build a crystal clear image of something you need or someone you want to be, and hold fast to that image. Don’t let anyone or anything change it! Keep your subject of focus.

At this point you may be wondering, “How does anyone know what is in their heart?” The answer is simple, what do you talk about the most? Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. What does your communication consist of? Are you quick to notice and point out the negatives? Are you critical of other people? Do you use words that associate themselves with lack and struggle? Is your favorite topic the things that aren’t right in your body? (If so, I’m guessing you have lots and lots of things not right in your body) Or is your conversation pleasant, expectant, looking for the good in life? What you have been saying is what you have been believing and is exactly how you have been living! Good or bad, positive or negative, joyous or disastrous, are all your choice and within the realm of something you can control!

When it’s all said and done, the reason I’m serving 15 to life is because my focus, the picture I carry of myself with clearness and concern, my expectation and believing has been completely centered on something I don’t want rather than on something I do want. When I see myself in the mirror, I hone in on what isn’t right rather than focusing in on everything that is right! And, you cannot do something for 15 years without being pretty damn consistent! The first place to make a change isn’t addressed on the outside, but on the inside instead.

15 pounds doesn’t rank very highly on the life importance scale, that’s for sure. But 15 years certainly does. Any time spent living life stuck in a cycle of something not being right is too long, especially since you have the ability, by your belief, to change it. Don’t settle for life’s potluck or justifying your negatives by comparing them to other people’s negatives. Choose the life you want to live leaving no caveat for negatives, evil or wrong. You deserve that much because God gave you the much! Believe rightly! Choose life!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Do With Your Mind When No-One is Watching?


self-confidenceI’m sure you’ve heard older people say, “I may be older, but inside my mind is still the same!” Well, I can attest to this in terms of feeling young inside, but I can assure you, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Your current mind is a beautiful, jumbled composite of a million thoughts, feelings, experiences and ideas. Your mind, in all of its magnificent glory, is just that…your mind. And from your private, mental sanctuary proceeds your life, happy or sad; vital or depressed; inspired or glum; blessed or cursed. So, the million dollar question is, what do you do with your mind when no-one is watching?

If you think about it, when it comes to your mind, no-one is ever watching, well, except you that is… You are watching, listening, initiating, processing, discussing and even arguing. The experience of your life, the manifestation of it is in direct proportion to your thoughts. If your thoughts suck, you suck. If your thoughts thrive, you thrive. Your life isn’t a mess and then you have to think about it. Your life is a mess because of what you think about. The converse is just as true.

You do realize that the starting point for change is always an acknowledgment of the part you play in your life drama. As long as the responsibility for change rests with something (anything) else, your life will never change. As long as you allow your thoughts to stink is as long as your life will stink. It’s that big. It’s that important. If you are willing to at least consider that, then please keep reading.

Hmmm… Okay, here’s a thought. What kind of things do you say to yourself? What do you tell yourself about yourself? What do you say? Are you critical? Do you spend your days pining away condemning yourself, immersed in self-evaluation? Really? Does anyone who engages in that type of self-evaluation ever come up with a favorable outcome? When you look in the mirror, do you like the image that you see? Or, are you ugly? My brief experience on earth has taught me that pretty really is an inside job and when the inside is sweet, the exterior finds a way to follow suit. Do you doubt yourself? Do you entertain thoughts of inferiority? Are you not smart, sexy, funny? Are you boring, lackluster or lacking energy? You pick the negative, the oddity, the flaw. The point is, you chose the thought or at least to entertain it. You allowed it to live. You did. It is no more true than any other thought is true. But, for you it is true.

You may have never seen it before, but those thoughts you allow; that you live your life by are all the difference between heaven and hell. The world and all of its wonderful inhabitants are all living or not living in accordance with the same rule. No-one is exempt. School didn’t teach you this. Your parents probably didn’t know it. It’s a jewel of inestimable value. Within it lives the life you have always imagined, but not yet realized. Knowing it and thus cooperating with it will give you all you ever need; to be everything you ever wanted to be. It’s not fate or a decision God made without your consent. It isn’t your upbringing or environment or socioeconomic status. It’s not your college degree or lack thereof. It’s you and what you choose to think about. Oh you can hide it from the world. You can buck up and put on a smile. You can hide it, mask it and cover it, but you can never escape it, for it is you and what you’ve chosen to believe about yourself.

You talk about riddles… You determine how your life turns out by what you think about and your life turns out without you even thinking about it. Well, you do think, but what you think isn’t what you want.

I know I sound like a broken record, but you have to figure this out. Life isn’t happening to you, you are happening to life. You’re choosing the result! Stop waiting and watching and hoping and wishing. The life you want so bad will not show up without your consent. Your consent follows your thoughts and beliefs, not your wishes. You are not going to win the lottery. No ship is coming in. The opportunity, the life changing event, happens not by chance but in accordance with your expectations rehearsed in your mind, faithfully over time.

Nothing about your life (and mine) is unchangeable, unless you think otherwise. No obstacle cannot be overcome, unless you already made up your mind. No goal is unattainable, unless of course, you know better.

The thoughts you have grown so accustomed to and accept as your reality may just be the fly in your ointment. What you worked so hard to convince yourself of as true, may not be true after all. Your estimation of who you are and where you fit, may be woefully misguided. If it’s true that your life follows your thoughts, then the least you could do is think thoughts that actually help you rather than hinder you. How sad that you could go through life and not even be on your own side, when you only have your own one life. How very sad…

Stop berating yourself and condemning yourself and devaluing yourself. Stop lowering yourself to second and third class citizen status. In God’s sight, your life matters just as much as every other person’s life matters. And, if you want to make Him smile, start seeing yourself as He does. There’s a whole world waiting for you on the other side of the self-doubt and when you find it, you’ll be thankful for a lifetime…

Just some good thoughts…