Do Something!


march-forth-and-do-something-day-fun1When you take the time to consider how life works best, I think you will agree that life involves activity. Living things are not stagnant and if they become stagnant, generally, something has gone wrong. The beauty and the value of life is found in activity, not mindless movements and empty tasks, but meaningful activity that accomplishes some end. Human beings were meant to do something, not sit idly in a state of inertia doing nothing. Activity is the anecdote to restlessness and anxiety. There is always something to do and having nothing to do leads to fretting and focus on things that have no purpose or usefulness. Often the troubles we imagine were born in those times when we had nothing planned and thought it beneficial to “veg out” confusing it with relaxation and repose. Relaxation has its purpose; vacations have their purpose and periods of not feeling compelled to perform behaviors or tasks have their purpose. But nothingness and killing time and wasting away serves rather to damage us than to heal us. If you want to be immeasurably happier, you have to do something.

All of us have experienced the joy that follows a busy day; a day where we put our entire focus into what we were doing and nothing else. We are all familiar with the satisfaction that accompanies the completion of some needed project or necessary repair of a thing that was broken. Similarly, we all know the misery associated with doing nothing for too long or letting things go that call aloud for remedy. We were made to do things and we were made to engage with life. That is not to say that we should work ourselves to the bone or submit ourselves to endless “to do lists” or requirements. Life has a balance and a flow to it and we typically know when we are pushing too hard. Fun times and play time are usually enjoyed after the work is done and not before. We often wish we had more leisure time, but leisure time lost in inactivity seems to generate more stress than relaxation. We function best when we have some work to do and a complete withdrawal from all work tends to work against our own best interests. Retirement does not mean we go from doing much to doing nothing. It simply involves a shift of focus from required tasks to tasks we choose to require. Whether it be tending a garden or writing in a journal or rearranging the furniture or cleaning out the garage, we still need something to do if want to be okay. Choosing to do nothing or to do less and less doesn’t lead to better feelings, it leads to boredom and unrest and opportunities to seek out what is wrong with life and what appears to be wrong with us. Busy people have no time for such trifles as they have remained engaged in the activity of life. You have to do something!

This life we all are blessed to live has an infinite amount of things to be interested in. You aren’t miserable because you have run out of life to experience. You are miserable because you have stopped experiencing life. You have bought into the myth that life is better when you have nothing to do. As a human being, there is never a time when you have nothing to do. It doesn’t fit with God’s plan for life. Chances are there are many things you need to do but have stopped doing them or many things you could do but have chosen to disengage from them. All of us need to recharge at times. All of us need a break or an extended break. But, even when we are taking a break, life still requires us to do something with our time. I understand what happens to us. We get overtaxed and overburdened at times. We spend too much energy. We buy into the logic that our best times are when we have nothing to do. But, there is a vast difference between not working your job and choosing to do nothing. Doing nothing makes a vacation suck. Time spent ignoring things needing to be done sucks. Deferring things requiring completion for later sucks. Sitting around disengaging from life and the people in our lives sucks. In short, God intended for our lives to be filled with meaningful activity or meaningful inactivity, the point being we always need to do something!

Being unproductive works at cross purposes with the flow of life. Our job when we feel bored or feel things have become pointless or find ourselves trapped in painful, dull routines is to reengage with life. Life hasn’t changed. We have. We put in limitations where there is no limitation. We draw finite lines around our existence, never really considering that our Source of life is infinite. We simply stop doing life and over the years find ourselves entangled in a large bowl of nothingness. We live for the weekend while completely discounting Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday. We anxiously await the warmer weather when life still exists when it’s cold. We have succumbed to a fixed mindset where the options are few and our opportunities even less. We cannot go to dinner on a “school night.” We have to wait until the weekend to work on the flower beds. We cannot engage ourselves in things that interest us because we have already foolishly concluded there’s little that interests us. What an insult to Infinite Variety and the life He envisioned for us. You want to break out of your rut? Stop thinking so much and do something.

Human beings, life and happiness have their roots in activity. Meaningful activities or activities that have meaning to you are part of the human experience and cannot be excluded or reduced. Children are happier when they have something to do, even if they complain about doing it. Schedules and labor and obligations fuel the good times we enjoy. Good, old fashioned hard work does wonders for your soul. Think about your life and what you do and see if there aren’t things you have stopped doing or reduced or neglected and get back out there and do stuff. Don’t medicate inactivity with alcohol or television or sleep. Instead do, summon the energy to do and be and engage with your life. You just might find some stuff that has been waiting for you to do.

Just some good thoughts…

Trust Thyself…


0DC96196-7988-42E6-8455-28A57F00DEC8One of the great hallmarks of a confident person is their ability to trust themselves. In order to be successful at anything, you have to learn to trust yourself; your judgments; your feelings and to maintain that trust in the face of opposition and the naysayers. Prosperous businessmen and women are so because they had an idea and also had the holy boldness to see it through to a positive, profitable end. Good parents are those that know and understand their children and also know what is and isn’t good for the child, regardless of what anyone else seems to be doing. In our world of endless information and advice, people have relied less and less on what they think and have instead defaulted to what everyone else thinks. People have stopped thinking for themselves and severely limited themselves in the process. It would seem to make the most sense that you, living in your own body, experiencing your own life, knowing what turns you on and what turns you off, having your own unique and personal background, would serve as the expert of things pertaining to your own soul. Do you trust yourself?

The mistrust of yourself and your own ability to make proper judgments isn’t a new phenomenon, but rather came as a result of the overload of information available to all of us today, literally at our fingertips. Information, Google, WebMD, YouTube videos can be a tremendous blessing if we take them for what they are, information. As humans, our job is to gather information and then make informed choices. But, not all of our choices are purely fact based or, for that matter, in accordance with what “experts” think. We bring so much more to the table than a capacity to research information. We have complicated feelings, intuition, gut feelings, our own experiences and background all available to aid us in making the right choices, and by right I mean the right choices for ourselves. Taking a certain job in a certain place may appear to be the most logical thing in the world and still not be the best choice for us. Something may look right, feel right, be logically right, yet something inside says it’s wrong. I often think that God working in us is much more individual than we may have considered. How God works in me with all of my personal attributes and weaknesses may vary vastly from how He works in you. Certain things communicate both immediately and clearly to me that would be completely lost on you and vice versa. Trusting thyself is learning how God works in you always for your good and also learning how other things try to work in you to get you to doubt yourself and your ability to choose.  For example, people erroneously conclude that the nagging voice inside finding fault with everything they might enjoy comes from God, yet fail to consider that the constant criticism comes from another place; one hell bent on keeping them unsure. Trusting yourself means that you believe in yourself and your capacity to know what you need to know when you need to know it. Trust thyself.

The artists and painters and poets and writers are successful only by trusting that voice inside more than the voices that surround them. Emerson aptly penned, “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.” That is not to say that every thought in our heart is truth, but rather the belief in ourselves and what we can offer to the world when applied with conviction, that is genius. Doubt is the great enemy to be vanquished. Doubting and hesitating and second guessing ourselves is a disease that carries with it all future failures and defeat. How often did we already know the right course of action, yet failed to heed it? And, every time it occurs we are reminded that indeed we already knew it. How could we ever consider that other influences would better know the best course for us never actually having been us? When we live in constant doubt of ourselves and our own decisions, we work against our own best interests and diminish ourselves in our own estimation. We make ourselves less than what we are and subjugate ourselves to the opinions of another. Then, when we are unhappy and afraid and lost, we finally get honest with ourselves and seek again according to who we are and not according to who everyone else appears to be. And, at last, we find access to the happiness and blessedness that already existed for us, working within us when we begin to trust ourselves. Indeed, trust thyself.

In the same way that we can trust ourselves and our decisions, we can also trust ourselves when we know we are making the wrong choices. Typically, we recognize when our wants and our desires are leading us down the wrong paths masquerading as fun and as pleasure. We know, if we are honest, when there is such a thing as too much and as such know how to begin to regulate ourselves without unnecessary criticism and judgment. Life is rarely all or nothing, but instead a series of necessary adjustments like the tacks of a ship sailing in the right direction. Choices are neither all or nothing, but instead modifications required to keep us in the center. All things in moderation is our safe place. To live in constant denial of things is to be a prisoner awaiting escape and finally having escaped, gone mad. Similarly, the allowance of all things without restraint or control is also a prison; one being subjected to mastery by another. Sometimes the best option is a modification that takes into account both extremes. Life is such a fluid and dynamically changing enterprise and as such requires constant adjustments which we can trust ourselves to accomplish. The notion that someone we love is heading down a spurious path without any knowledge of it is always wrong. In reality, the person suffering always knows they are suffering but has not yet come upon a solution for it. In such cases, our advice serves only as confirmation of a reality the sufferer is already experiencing. We serve our fellow man more by helping to reestablish his trust himself than in offering endless ways in which he might finally escape from his plight. In the end, it’s not until a person’s trust in their own capacity to make good choices is restored, will they be finally able to recover themselves from the snare. Relearn to trust thyself.

There is no stopping the man or the woman that finally begins to trust themselves and their assertions. Such a creature is a magnificent spectacle, confidently striding through life assured and clear and focused. Such a creature is the epitome of God’s creation, created by God to live with God and for God, assured of God’s working in his or her own soul in every situation and circumstance. Everyone admires a resolute man, even if he is wrong. There is no profit in skulking through life terrified of making a wrong choice; afraid of your own feelings; doubting your every inclination and idea. Instead, stand up and be counted. Take your place in the world on equal footing with all around you. Make your own decisions and make your own choices. Choose what you know, the best you know, when you know and stick with it. If you are wrong, you will also know. But, along that path you will have done resolutely and courageously and with that garnered the spoils of victory and success. “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” (RWE) Trust thyself!

Just some good thoughts…

Where are You Going?


elephantHave you ever taken the time in the activity and hectic pace of life to think about where you are going? It seems counterintuitive to even pose the question. I mean we are all heading in some direction, but have we given any reflective thought to where? You may find yourself engaged in certain activities you perform habitually and even dutifully, and after a while you are not even sure why you do it anymore. Maybe at one point in time it served you well. Maybe once there was something or somewhere you were trying to get to and that is why you did what you did. Quite possibly you behaved in a specific way to get a specific result and now find yourself, like the drug addict, searching endlessly for that initial high; that early experience that hooked you in the first place. Whatever the reasons, whatever your present circumstances, the question remains. Do you know where you are going?

A funny thing happens to you after you have been living for some time on earth. You can have the tendency to forget your way. Instead of seeking or striving towards some worthy goal, you sort of settle into the routines of life. There is really nothing you are after or trying to accomplish, but instead days of living with no real purpose, nothing that gets you up in the morning. You still do the same stuff, but there is no longer anything behind the stuff. The habits you have developed over the years become your existence and on you trudge day after day, mired in bad habits and things that no longer serve you. And like the crazy person who continues doing the exact same thing without any good result, you persist on a fruitless path ever wishing, hoping something will change. However, nothing can change if you don’t change. Instead of wishing your life was different in some way, you owe it to yourself to give some thought to which direction you are heading. If what you do, day in and day out, is not producing any result (any good result), you have to at least begin to change what it is that you do. At some future point, you aren’t going to have any days left. 

Self introspection and evaluation is not your aim. As imperfect creatures, we will all succeed in finding things that aren’t so good. Instead your end game is to honestly and  lovingly look at your life; how you have been living and see if your tendencies lean towards good things or if your tendencies lean towards bad things; bad things defined by the results they engender in your life. Some things we do, and you know this, serve no other purpose than to wear us out. Oh we persist, by God, but in the final analysis it’s the same bad habits leading to the same bad results over a lifetime. If you do stuff and continue to do stuff that causes you not to feel good about yourself, that is your first clue. Good things, true things, productive things have no downside. That is not to say you always have to produce something, but if you are producing bad things, you are heading in the wrong direction. Look if you are doing things you enjoy and feel good about and they leave you feeling happy, keep on keeping on. But, if you have to rationalize their existence, make excuses and lie to yourself, you’ve got to come clean at some juncture. All things in moderation are acceptable lest you be too severe with yourself!

Sometimes the issue isn’t so much what you are doing as it is what you aren’t doing. Every day has contained within it demands that must be accomplished. Ignoring those demands, in favor of some fun or other distraction, doesn’t leave you the better for it, but rather the worse. Do the important things however seemingly small. Every brick you leave unstacked gathers power over you. Soon you find yourself buried under a weight you can no longer discern. Doing nothing of value day after day, shirking your responsibilities, forsaking any discernible goals or plans, halts your forward progress and thus guarantees you will not reach any desirable destination. How could you? Maybe your life has become such a drag not because of your circumstances, but because you stopped moving forward. You stopped setting things to aim at or pursue. There’s nothing about getting older that suggests you should no longer have things you want to accomplish nor stop making plans to improve and increase and to grow. If you don’t have anything to aim at you’re going to spend a lot of time wandering in futility. And perhaps we have all been there at one time or another, faded out and lacking motivation. But, it is never too late to change and it is never too late to start moving forward again. 

So, where are you going? Do you know? Is there something specific you are aiming at and want to achieve? Is your life getting better and better? Is your life getting worse? Or maybe worst of all, has your life become an endless episode of ground hog day offering no promise, no hope, no blessings, no goodness, nothing? Whatever your life is with every conceivable combination therein, you owe yourself some reflection concerning where you are and where you would like to be. It’s okay to be stuck as long as you know you are and are seeking the way out of it. There is nothing as good for the soul as some sincere realizations followed by a vigorous desire to change. You can always change directions. You can always learning something new. You can always get to where you want to get as long as you know where you are going!

Just some good thoughts…

Life on Restriction…


unnamedLong live the days when you didn’t have to live your life on restriction. Nowadays, it seems, everyone else knows better how you should live your life than you do. Someone is always lurking, willing to inform of you of the perils of your choices, the risks of your ideas and the consequences of your behaviors. Limit this, don’t try that, watch out, be careful, not too many now, be safe and on and on it goes. And while this is not an ode to throwing caution to the wind, it is about being determined to make your own choices in life, not based on fear-filled group think, but getting out of life what you want from it. At the end of the day and at the end of every day, it is your life you are living. You are completely unique despite all of your similarities and what makes your heart beat accelerate belongs to you and to you alone. It’s high time to get off restriction!

Some days I muse that the difference between being a fanciful youth and being a mature adult is measured most by the amount of shit of which you are afraid. Sure the world is filled with sad situations whereby a person has been completely overcome by some negative aspect of life and lives a miserable existence as a result. But, that appears to be far, far from the norm. On the other side of the conundrum is a vast collection of people living an overly cautious and wary existence. This old world and the despot behind its systems has done a fine job of overloading our minds with information and the pitfalls associated with it to the point of paralyzing people and stealing away their freedoms. You can have wine, but you can’t have too much wine. But, if you do have wine it should be red wine, but only one or two glasses depending upon your size. You can get around the rule (said in jest) by distributing to yourself a very healthy pour. Yet, the fact that you are working around a rule is very telling. The more the rule controls you, the more wine you want to drink. Of course, I say this as a devoted red wine imbiber, but you can apply this logic to any situation. Americans bristle against any attempt at gun control for fear the Government will take away their guns, never entertaining the thought of achieving a happy medium. Being a democrat (in theory) is somehow classified as being a liberal which is somehow classified as being the antichrist. As if life consists of two extremes and you must place yourself firmly on one side or the other. Behind it all sits that secret imposter fear, quietly directing behaviors from behind the scenes. Gone, it appears, are the days of healthy discussions and attempts at understanding in favor of firm stands based on hate, more deeply rooted in fear. Cops tend to shoot black people more than white people based on fear of black people. Not sure how black skin makes a person tougher as there are plenty of white folks from Philly that would gladly pulverize you given the chance, but I digress. My point, lest it should be lost in an endless political debate, is that fear always limits, always impedes, always restricts your life in some capacity.

In America, we value freedom perhaps more than any other thing. And while you can always make a case that our liberties are being eroded, as you would expect when your life’s direction is handed over to a government, the erosion of our liberties is founded more in what might happen than in what actually happens. There’s plenty of good people in America who are still willing to stand up for what is right on both sides of the aisle. However, the media craftily constructs a narrative that says otherwise even to the point that a group would storm the capitol in an attempt to protect those freedoms. Consider for a moment the logic in play that would consider it sound reason to storm the capitol with a relatively small group or armed citizens in a confused frenzy aimed at protecting our freedoms as citizens or the person promising to protect those freedoms. The issue, not discussed and even less reasoned out, is that fear has taken ahold of people to the point they no longer trust their own judgments or their own observations about what is actually going on and instead look for sound bites and internet snippets that further corroborate their already confused beliefs. Instead of being appalled at how African Americans are being disproportionately gunned down by police, the battle cry remains, “Obey the law!” – as if it was that simple. Today, while driving to work, I saw large black SUV with an even larger flag planted on the back that said in bold letters, “Fuck Biden” and in smaller print, “and fuck everyone that voted for him!” IMG_1740Yes this is America, but why? What aim could possibly be accomplished behind such an act? Behind that truck owner, behind the “I have a gun with me” rounded ball cap and wrap around sharpshooter sunglasses was a man living in fear; a man living on restriction. More and more the good old USA is being subverted into extremism, extremism based unsoundly on fear.

The remedy, it seems, is for people to stop blindly following and thinking on the surface in favor of thinking for themselves. Surely you have enough good judgment to think for yourself. What has happened to you that you cannot make even the smallest decisions without having to have the support and backing of everyone you know? What, you no longer know when you are overindulging or going out of control? What or who made you incapable of governing yourself? You don’t need an infomercial to tell you to stop smoking, that smoker’s hack in the morning accomplishes that. You can only shirk your responsibilities for so long before that grim reaper called responsibility rears up and demands you make a change. Why not trust that instead? It’s your life and it doesn’t take much before you start to recognize it is going off course. Yet, that is not the way of this day and time. People rely far too much on what other people think. They have lost the ability to trust in themselves; in their own judgments and fail to even consider that they may have been subverted. No, we don’t have all the answers as people, but God does and it seems reasonable to believe He might be working in us to not be deceived. And if we are deceived we learn and from that we grow. The danger isn’t in making mistakes; the danger is in thinking we are right when we are dead wrong and in being unwilling to even consider an alternative.

It is high time we stopped being so afraid! Yes information is good, knowledge is good, wisdom is good. But, all bets are off when we let fear enter into the picture. Chances are the reason you are not happy is not because America or the world is going to hell, but rather because the fear of it going to hell has gotten to you. Your God-given right to free will means you always have the right to choose, unless you forfeit that right! Make decisions according to who you are, not according to who everyone else says you should be! Like what you like and don’t like what you don’t like. You cannot be true to yourself playing every day in someone else’s arena. Play yourself as yourself in the lead role of your own life. You cannot keep living as someone else and live the life you desire. Unlike when you were a kid and restriction ended when your parents got sick of looking at your mopey face, you get off restriction as an adult when you decide to do so. Most of what you have been so afraid of hasn’t happened yet has it? Maybe that is a clue to let that crap go. Life without fear is the only real life and you owe it to yourself to get there. You are not on restriction if you choose not to be…

Just some good thoughts…

Walking in the Mud…


Cog Railway

“Some days you’re the bug and some days you’re the windshield.” “Some days you’re the dog and some days you’re the hydrant.” “Some days you’re the hammer and some days you’re the nail.” I’m sure we have all felt like that at times. Some days for some inexplicable reason everything feels hard and laborious compared to days when everything feels effortless and easy. Just what exactly is going on when we feel hindered and pressured and annoyed? Is there some cause we are unaware of? Is something conspiring against us? Is it all in our minds? What makes us feel, at times, like we are walking in the mud?

Our minds, leading to the great citadel of our souls, serve as information registering machines. Whether we can appreciate it or not, whether we are conscious of it or not, our minds are not only thinking thoughts (which we will address later), but are also reading and analyzing cues in our environment and seeking to make sense of them. Our mind picks up every audible word said or sung even if we aren’t aware it is happening. Behind everything we watch and observe are messages to be interpreted and understood. All day long, you and I are being fed a steady stream of opinions and ideas about life and about how the world works. The mediums that man controls are chock full of man’s concepts and notions and things that have an appeal and things that are distasteful to man. Some things are good and useful, while others are subtle, evil and hurtful. Conversely, the mediums that God employs (think nature) contain messages that calm us and set our minds at ease. Even the colors God has chosen elicit a certain response. You cannot stare at a flower for very long without feeling a sense of wonder about how it came to be; how so much intricacy could be contained in something so small and so temporary. Years ago, our sources for information were far less complex and limited in scope. We still had access to bad news, but it wasn’t all around us. Today, through the marvels of modern technology, we are consumed with a perpetual stream of things to peruse and read and to consider. Many of the messages we receive seem to escape our reasoning altogether, yet their effect is felt in our hearts. There are images concerning what we should look like, where we should live and the kind of fun we should be having. There are more philosophies than there are stars in the sky, happy to inform us of some supposed truth concerning our existence. In this, we find ourselves bogged down without apparent cause. Due to the speed and variety involved, we missed the message, the one that served to assault our happiness and led us astray. Sometimes you find yourself walking in the mud because of the codes you were not able to crack; the ones that escaped your reasoning mind. There’s a reason people feel the need to take a break from social media!

Much of what mires us in the muck comes from the thoughts we are knowingly or unknowingly entertaining. We think so many thoughts in a day, the prospect of controlling them all feels impossible. Yet those thoughts we fail to control; to accept or reject, often lead us to a dark space. Thoughts of sickness and disease are so subtle, so slippery, so hard to perceive, that we miss them altogether. It’s not that we weren’t conscious of the thought, but rather that we let the thought go without feeling the need to challenge it. A funny feeling in your stomach here, an odd pain in your side there and before you know it you are feeling glum and despondent. It’s not that you’ve stumbled upon the precursor to a disease, but rather the fear of its potential existence has entered your awareness. Maybe it isn’t something to do with your health, but rather your finances. Maybe it’s some pending trouble or difficulty reportedly on the horizon. Whatever it is, however it gained access, it is still a thought, not a reality, and what you choose to do with it leads to how you will begin to feel. If your habit is to let things go, those things you let go will mount up and gather momentum. You likely don’t realize it (yet) but something or someone has stolen away your peace of mind and feelings of assurance and safety. With all of that going on in the background of your thinking, it is no wonder you feel tired and despondent. Behind all of the trouble, just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, will be some fear, small or great, seeking to take away the happiness that is and replace it with the threat of what might be. It isn’t that bad things are preparing for you, but instead your interpretation that bad things are preparing for you. Some poor folks have only ever lived this way. You find yourself walking in the mud by your failure to pay attention to and to challenge your thoughts; those thoughts that predict or promise loss for you in some capacity. You have to hear it in order to do something about it. That’s what controlling your thinking is all about!

As unpleasant as it is to consider, there is evil working behind the systems of the world to bring you hardship and pain. All of us find ourselves confronted with this reality. Man has brought this evil upon himself by the choices he has made. Yet, God has not left us without remedy. In the same way that a loving parent warns their child of impending danger, God warns us concerning what is at stake in our day by day existence. The reason He asks us to control our thinking is because our minds are the battleground of the great competition. The way that evil gets involved in our lives is by the thoughts we consider and then unknowingly hold on to.  The more you cleave to and consider some great fear, the more the likelihood of “its” appearance in your life. Conversely, the more quickly you recognize and refute the fear, typically by refusing to consider it any further, the less likely it is to have any impact in your life. That is the fight we all find ourselves in. To think that God has already assigned us some dreadful fate or for that matter some great benefit, is to take away our sovereign free will and our ability to choose. For God’s goodness to be fully realized in our lives it must first be held on to then deeply considered until it enters our heart (that great citadel) from whence our lives flow forth. In order for some catastrophic fear to play out in our lives, it also must be held onto and deeply considered until it enters our heart. Choosing properly what you will and will not think is the crux of the contest, the great competition in and for our minds. Sometimes, you find yourself walking in the mud because you are under attack by things you cannot see, but if you hold fast to what is true, not what might seem true, you’ll find yourself moving out of it.

Do you feel like you have been walking in the mud? Are you stressed and annoyed and agitated? Has the spring gone from your step and the things you used to enjoy become hidden from your view? Don’t despair for another moment. Take some time and get yourself quiet on the inside and think about what you have been thinking about. What is going on back there, looming on the horizon of your thoughts? What fearful considerations have you knowingly or unknowingly entertained? What have you been feeding your mind? What are you watching and staring at and observing so intently? And, if it still remains completely buried from your view, ask God to show you what it is. God is faithful and all clarity of heart and soul comes from Him.

We all find ourselves walking in the mud at times, but we don’t have to stay there.

Just some good thoughts…

New Year Wishes…


Welcome to that time of the year when all around you are making New Year’s resolutions, presumably designed to improve or fix the things that are wrong with themselves. Maybe you are doing the same. But, as you already know, change is difficult and most heartfelt resolutions have already broken down within 30 days of making the solemn vow and of the remaining 25% still holding fast to their promises, only 8% actually succeed. Pretty pitiful, wouldn’t you agree? How can you succeed with such poor odds? Are you really broken and in need of repair? Are the plans you’ve made really resolutions or are they just wishes; New Year’s wishes?

Most of us, because of the world we live in, are beseiged with thoughts concerning what is wrong with us. We’re consumed with images of tremendously fit, sexy human beings and the thousandfold ways they got there, all available to us for just $19.99. We are all abundantly clear regarding our excesses and observe with painful recognition things we need to better control. We watch reality shows of people who are very wealthy, working very little yet enjoying lavish vacations and spur of the moment trips across the globe. And all of these things, multiplied out indefinitely, serve to sort of beat us into submission concerning our own lives, leaving us frustrated and anxious to secure all of the things we lack, whether it be a flat belly and skinny jeans or disciplined control of ourselves and our decisions or untold financial resources promising us freedom from all that ails us. In short, somebody has gotten our number and discovered a method to keep us forever bound.

The first part of actually making a change is to determine your true starting point or maybe better, to be honest about the things you truly want in your life as opposed to the things you don’t want. Do you really want to look like that sultry, slim celebrity or do you just want to stop wearing jeans that cut off your circulation? Are you swearing off wine forever or do you just need to find a way to consume less than a bottle a night or three a night every Friday and Saturday? Do you truly need millions of dollars and yachts and cars and houses or do you just need enough to be able to say yes much more often than you say no? (I have often thought if most people had $50,000 in their checking account for discretionary purposes, they would actually feel rich). I digress… The most important benefit of being honest is to determine what is driving your decisions. What is it that you are really after? You think that millions of dollars will totally fix your life, but it wouldn’t. Instead it would fix the things that involve money, but do nothing for your poor health, your crappy relationships, your lack of purpose and fulfillment. Being super slim and fit would greatly help your health and longevity, but would not guarantee your happiness. Even controlling yourself, one of the greatest things you could learn to master, would not last long without a compelling “why…” Begin your plans with what is most important to you personally for all of your own reasons, not those forced upon you by the world!

In order to change something you have to do something. Quitting smoking is easy as long as it’s not today. Writing a book maybe exciting and rewarding, but you have to take the time to actually write it. Losing weight has tremendous benefits both in terms of your health and how you feel about yourself, but you have to be prepared to do the actual work for a considerable amount of time until you reach your goal. The reason most people’s New Year’s resolutions don’t work is because they are really wishes. Wishes, like daydreaming, are pleasant and make us feel good. They offer us a promise of a better tomorrow, but they are always tomorrow. They are thoughts without actions. They are plans without effort. They are guaranteed to result in failure because they are not accompanied by any work. Anything worth having has some element of work involved with it. However, we defeat ourselves by envisioning all of the work on the front end and get discouraged before we even begin. We want a quick fix; a winning lottery ticket, a medication that makes us control ourselves and our minds, a dieting technique that if followed guarantees our success with very little determination of our own. We just do not want to do the work! We fail to consider that the only time we must supply the necessary effort towards our goals is today! Gather and focus all of your energy upon today. There is sufficient time to do all that you “need” to do today.

One of the most common tripping points for human beings is to think anything can move without action. You pray and pray and pray for more money, but do nothing to find out how to get it, then get it. You wish and wish and wish to be slim and healthy, but cave-in every time someone brings in something that tastes good, promising to start again tomorrow. You hope and hope and hope for a better future; a better year, yet fail to do something about it today to change something that made this year suck! You see, your life is under your control, even amidst many twists and turns. You can get anywhere you want to get if you are willing to put forth some effort. Wishing for a better life; a better experience, while being unwilling to do anything or change anything is the definition of futility. Change is not found in grand life-changing experiences, new calendar years, in sudden stunning moments of clarity and inspiration. Change is not secured by sticking to your plans perfectly with tremendous, newfound energy and discipline. Change is at last discovered in daily faithfulness; by you sticking to whatever you have determined for yourself day in and day out. Sure you are going to eat a whole pizza, polish off an entire box of wine, go down the exact same stupid paths you swore you would never tread down again! Absolutely you are going to trip and stumble and sometimes fall. But, you get your ass back up and get back after your plan! Anything you do faithfully, though you screw it up a hundred times, is going to result in change for you. It has to because you have supplied the effort and continue to supply it.

I, like you, have some definite plans for this New Year, not so artfully disguised in some earlier paragraphs. But, this year, by God, I’m going to supply some effort and stop kidding myself with empty wishes. Whether I do it perfectly or not; whether I have some low energy days or not; whether I lose track for a few days or not; whether I completely fall off the wagon or not, I plan to get there and I plan to do it by being faithful. The beautiful in life, the accomplishment, the fulfillment comes not from having it all figured out, but by staying faithful to the One that does. Day by day, do what you need to do! Discover for yourself the joy that follows control; control of your own life and actions and results.

So, my dear friends, whether you be fluffy or thin, prosperous or struggling, bored or enthusiastic, make a plan you can take action on every day. If you blow it start again. If you did nothing yesterday, do something today. If the journey feels too long or impossible, move ahead knowing this, God will reward your efforts with results as you remain faithful to what you know is His best for your life! Where do you think those good ideas come from anyway? You got this!

Just some good thoughts for 2020…

Getting Rid of the Hurt and Dirt in Your Life!


You know, if you’ve lived long enough, there are things in life that serve no other purpose than to hold you back! No matter how hard you work to be successful and happy, these things are guaranteed to severely retard your progress. We don’t hold on to these things on purpose, but somehow they manage to stick around and thwart our every move. It behooves us all to figure out how to get the hurt and dirt out of our lives.

All of us have been hurt by someone or something in some capacity. Maybe you were raised as part of a beloved organization that really let you down in your later years. Maybe someone you cherished left you for someone else. Perhaps you gave your all for some important job only to discover that your value was fleeting and transitory. Perhaps you suffered some tragedy involving your loved ones that you are still scratching your head to try and figure out. No matter what has happened to you, and some things are frightfully dreadful and incredibly painful, you have to find a way to move ahead.

Holding on to wrongs done and the multiplicity of injustices you’ve experienced does nothing more than to stymy and squash your current enjoyment of life. Your heart, in response to the hurts you are holding onto, has no choice but to resort to hardness to protect itself. And, once your heart gets hard and calloused, you no longer have the capacity to feel the things you are supposed to feel. The whole world suffers from this malady… People wander aimlessly their whole lives through searching and tirelessly pursuing that heart they remember with great fondness. Yet, they fail to realize that they themselves are doing the very thing that keeps their own heart hard! You absolutely must do whatever it takes to move ahead and let those things go. You have to move past the hurts in your life.

In similar fashion, we all have those parts of our lives we wish we didn’t have. We are all human beings and as such are often easy to beat. We like things and then we like them too much! We cleave on to the very things that make our lives miserable. We know our excesses and propensity for more than enough, yet on we go traveling down the same roads over and over and over again! Certain behaviors, certain activities always turn out bad, no matter how they seem in the moment. Yet so goes humanity swirling and boiling in its passions leading wherever it gets led, never really taking the time to consider and thus choose.

If we really want to soar; if we really want to travel the high roads in life, we need to get rid of our dirt. We need to rid ourselves of those things both subtle and obvious that always return us woe. Why stagger we between two opinions? We know those choices that bring us peace and we also know those choices that cause unrest. It behooves us to simply recognize what is going on and change it. All humanity wrestles with this same conundrum. We want our cake and to eat it too! We seek to travel the roads of high endeavor with pockets full of sand, rocks and debris. We think we can somehow fool the system; straddle the fence; commingle truth and error. But, we cannot. We have to make a choice. We have to finally rid ourselves of our dirt!

In order to live life; to really experience all that God intended for you, you have to rid yourself of the hurt and all the dirt. Both, though very cleverly disguised, are thorns in your flesh, oil in your water, sand in your machinery. They are distractions and they are lies. Often your solution isn’t to do something, but to stop doing something! Life can be more about the things you choose not to do rather than the things you should do. Holding onto hurts and wrongs done chokes and suffocates your life. Insisting on doing things you know always turn out wrong buries your heart in bad feelings and remorse. Both are crucially important and both are matters of the heart.

In order to win at the game of life, you have to protect your heart. You have to make choices that encourage tenderness of heart. A tender heart; a heart that feels and loves and gives, is the heart of God. Once you rid yourself of the poisons your heart begins to recover. Remove the cause and the body heals!

Decide now to get rid of the hurt and dirt in your life. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to do your part… You deserve to fly!

Just some good thoughts…

 

How to Be Unhappy…


There are many things you can do to make yourself perennially unhappy. Unhappiness isn’t something for amateurs to mess around with as it takes a serious daily commitment. So, if you really want to win at the game of losing, then this blog is for you!

If I wanted to be unhappy, I would start my day out past the time I wanted to get up, laying in the bed thinking about all of the things I did wrong yesterday. I would mentally rehearse where and how I went astray. I would berate myself for how fat I had gotten and question whether or not my hair was thinning. Then I would hop out of bed with barely enough time to get ready for work. Because I didn’t give myself enough time, lots of things would go wrong and end up making me late. Where’s my damn blue tie???

On my commute I would feel agitated and distressed. I would pretend like the highway was mine and speed along cursing other drivers having the audacity to get into my lane and not go at the speed I dictated. Up ahead there is a car in the fast lane going less than the speed limit, so I get as close to their bumper as I can without actually hitting them and cuss them out in their rear view mirror! They flip me off in response to my behavior and I fly into a blinding rage. Just as I calm down, I notice someone was trying to merge next to me, so I speed up and tailgate the car in front of me, to make sure the bastards couldn’t get in, no matter what.

Once I got to work late, I would head into the office with a sour, foul attitude. Mentally, I would point out which staff were ugly; which ones were fat and which were ones were just plain stupid! When one of my co-workers came into my office, I would spend almost half an hour discussing how incompetent the leadership were followed by some juicy gossip about one of the employees. Later in the morning at the staff meeting, I would sit quietly at the table mentally comparing myself to the other leaders. I would lament on why I couldn’t speak as intelligently as Bill and get angry over why everyone always laughs at Steve’s silly jokes. I would literally grit my teeth anytime someone said something complimentary to the boss, effin, brown-nosers!

After lunch, I would dedicate myself to screwing around until the ‘already too long’ day was over. I would Facebook and Instagram, followed by a healthy dose of Amazon shopping. Hey, the stupid work can wait until tomorrow! Someone would call over to check on something I promised to get done, but I would explain in a highly frustrated tone why I didn’t have enough time to accomplish things!

After another long commute, filled with slow traffic and my usual railings and flip-outs, I would get home and immediately dump a load of mental garbage on my family. I would corner my wife’s ear and complain and fuss until dinner time. At dinner I would be sure to point out anything that wasn’t quite cooked correctly. (I mean she needs to know if the chicken is dry, right?) Then, after having a few drinks to unwind, I would pick a fight with her and begin to extol how I unhappy I am with my life. I wouldn’t take any responsibility for any of this because none of it is my own fault. If she didn’t treat me the way she did, I could have been somebody! In fact, I never seem to catch a break like other people. I don’t have enough money to do what I need to do and I’m ten times smarter than the wealthy people I know. And, that’s not my damn fault either. The cards have been stacked against me.

I wake up on the couch several hours later angry with myself for my behavior earlier. I pour myself into bed ready to begin the cycle anew tomorrow. I cannot wait for the weekend, when I can finally do what I want to do. But until then, everything sucks, everyone sucks and I guess deep down, I suck!

As I lay in bed trying to fall back asleep, I begin to question all of the decisions and choices I’ve made in my life. I fantasize about how things might have been if I married this person and moved to this state. I don’t consider any of the good things I have accomplished because it doesn’t matter as I could have done so much more! I know I’m deeply frustrated but it just doesn’t seem like there is anything I can do about it! I remember the other day when some guy tried to talk with me about God, but I don’t need that religion bullshit! I mean what could God do to help me with my crappy life? Doesn’t He have big things to deal with like world peace and the starving people? I begin to drift off to sleep, exhausted and sad…

This ladies and gentleman is how you make a career of being unhappy. Don’t take any responsibility for anything and for goodness sakes don’t change what you have been thinking and doing. And if by chance, there comes a point in your life when you want to choose happiness, then simply choose the opposite of this! 😉

It’s your life…

Just some good thoughts…eventually.

The Indecision Trap…


aaeaaqaaaaaaaabfaaaajduzmdzhotc1lwexztutndhjmy05nwvjltfkytdmmwjhnzfinqHave you ever had that nagging feeling that there is something else you need to do? I’m not talking about the time you left the iron on or forgot to close the garage door. I’m talking about the larger decisions you make; the ones that define your life and your contribution to the world. All of us have that special something that we alone can give and that won’t come into evidence unless we give it. Well, that feeling has besieged me lately and seemed worthy of further exploration…

None of us climb the hill to success without first making a decision. Before anything worthwhile can take place in your life; before any real overcoming; before any victory over the things that formerly held you down, of necessity comes a heartfelt, fully persuaded decision. Absent a decision, your life will continue to flounder around somewhere between distraction and mediocrity. Sure, you’ll be very busy and have little time for extra activities, but you will end up missing the mark; the only mark that ever truly mattered. So, with all that is at stake, why don’t we make the decision?

One slippery tentacle in the indecision trap is the old familiar “waiting for a feeling!” It seems in America, the land of feelings, we’ve all been mesmerized by the promise of strong passionate feelings clearly marking the way that we should go; some grand purpose that causes our eyes to well with tears. Some folks call it inspiration and while we all need to be inspired, we might be surprised to learn that feelings follow our decisions and not the other way around. The stronger your decision, the more powerful your emotions that accompany it. While you are so patiently waiting for your ship to come in, your ship is out at sea waiting for you to decide! Decisions don’t need to be accompanied by feelings, they just need to be adamantly decided!

Often indecision appears not because we cannot see the value of making a decision, but because we are stuck with too many different choices. We would like this and we would like that. This would make us happy and shoot, so would that! Remember when you were looking for a new job? Chances are you broadened your options to sort of increase your chances for success. You started enumerating things that “could work.” At its core, this also is a trap, albeit a subtle one. The odds are hugely in favor of you getting what you want the VERY most! Otherwise, you scatter your forces on a giant dartboard hoping to stick somewhere with something that could work… And because you aren’t God and don’t know the future possibilities contained in different circumstances, you certainly make application broadly, but in your heart you hold fast to what would be the best for you. Minus all of the fear and doubt, you know what is the best, because you know you, don’t you?

Now, there is one area in decision-making that encompasses all of the rest of the tentacles and maybe the mouth full of sharp teeth as well. At its root, indecision is always based on fear. Let’s say you know you have something special just waiting to be capitalized. You know when it comes to such and such, you got it going on! Yet, you don’t take action. You vacillate on making the decision. You rationalize with, maybe I won’t be successful and it is far easier to just keep quasi-planning and dreaming and scheming without ever really making a choice. If you don’t make a wholehearted decision, you can delay and delay and delay. Put it off. Maybe next year. Perhaps when I get this other thing worked out first. After I’ve finished such and such. One day when I have enough… (money, free time, energy, lack of stress, warm weather, ideal settings etc., etc.). This is the definition of indecision. It feels (there’s that word again) so much more safe. It’s like having one foot on the bridge and one foot in the water. It’s hedging your bets. It is doubt, hesitation, wavering and vacillating. It feels painless but it guarantees you one thing and one thing only. You aint going to get what you really want to get! It’s not going to happen! It aint in the cards! In order to win in your life, in your way, with your own results, you have to either get all the way in the water or all the way on the damn bridge. Don’t you see it?

When it comes to this decision-making process, there is a great possibility of you making the wrong choice. Well, so what! Indecision is also a choice and unlike a wrong choice it won’t provide you with the learning you need to make the right choice! Just imagine how great your life could be if you made a habit of deciding what you want and by God, sticking to that choice! Picture your life being lived on your terms, with you being the leading actor! Have you ever watched some movie star or famous athlete that seems to have it all and secretly thought, I wish that was my life. Well, I submit the only difference between your life and their’s is that somewhere along the line they made some choices that you, heretofore, haven’t yet made…

The good life isn’t reserved for the lucky or the fortunate or the blessed. The good life is waiting for the people who make decisions and there’s no limit on the choices you can make. Don’t spend another day lost in indecision and fear of the future. Get busy designing your ideal life, then make some decisions about how it is going to turn out. Don’t wait and see. Don’t wait on God, God is waiting on you! Decide!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

The Death Spiral of the Negative Mind…


shutterstock_80347894A great man once said, “Negatives are like mosquitos on a blood hunt!” The world in which you and I live is ruled by negativity. The media is negative. Facebook is negative. The news is negative. Living in the world, we almost cannot help but become negative. So you have to ask yourself, is all this negativity the natural way to be? Does being negative simply mean you are being realistic? Is it better to be negative and thus avoid getting your expectations dashed? Does negativity actually motivate you to become something good? Have you, my friend, become negative yourself?

What does it even mean to be negative? In math terms a negative is a number less than zero. To answer in the negative means to say no! A negative attitude is characterized as disagreeable. It closely ties to criticism and refusal. In photography it means to have the light and the darkness inverted. Now just stop right there for a moment. Deciding to be negative means less than nothing. You choose to say no rather than yes. You tend towards being disagreeable rather than promoting harmony. (Facebook anyone) It enjoys criticism and refuses rather than accepts. It means you’ve got your light and darkness mixed up. Indeed, your light and darkness are mixed up.

Remember when you were a youngster? How long did your negativity last? 10 minutes, when Mom said no? Then you got back to your pursuit of happiness as quickly as you could. You somehow chose, with your innocent processor, to let disagreeable stuff go and change your focus back to the good. Then the world starting mixing you up. It convinced you that you were less than zero. It taught you to say no to everything and be suspicious of anything good that showed up. People tried to tell you but you disagreed because you knew better. You got real critical of everything and everyone and mostly with yourself. Finally, you started to confuse the darkness with the light and even preferred it. You refused the goodness as fanciful and believed the darkness is what is real. Thus you entered the death spiral of negativity with no hope on the horizon. Is this not true? How many people just expect things not to work out? How many folks are afraid of good things happening because they won’t last or something is going to take them away? How many good people spend their lives looking over their shoulder and waiting for the other shoe to drop? How many kind hearts live in perpetual fear of what might happen, hasn’t happened yet, but is surely going to happen one day? The Death Spiral…

Once you allow yourself to become negative, your focus shifts to the negative. You start looking for the negatives. You’re just looking for trouble and almost always find it. Then, one negative event leads to another negative event and the cycle is in full effect. The problem isn’t life and the reality that bad things happen. The problem is that you got talked into shifting away your focus from what you want to what you don’t want! Your dreams and your prayers went from, “I want” and “I need” to “Please don’t let” and “Please take this away from me.” Instead of being thankful; so extremely thankful, you dwelled on what you don’t have and why you don’t have it. Negative…less than zero, can you see it? Here’s a newsflash that you might find unsettling. Your life will continue on the death spiral until YOU decide to change your thoughts. YOU have to get YOUR head out of the garbage can and look up. Look to where you want to go and go there! Stop looking back and rehearsing the hurts of the past. Stop dwelling on the things that didn’t go right. Stop blaming, criticizing, refusing and ruminating, and just move your mind to a positive place. Until you do, this old world will just eat you alive….every day…until you die.

The opposite of negativity is being positive. Now, because people have their light and dark messed up, they want to chastise you for being positive. You stick out like a healed thumb! You’re not being realistic. You’re not thinking maturely. You’re being all Pollyanna and foolish. LOL! As if expecting the worst of everything makes any sense. As if the reality of life is suffering and never blessings. As if grown ups are supposed to be miserable. As if being lighthearted and jolly is worse than feeling melancholy and depressed. As if…

People that say those things don’t yet understand life. Life isn’t some predestined ride ending in a destination you don’t get to choose. God does not have the dice loaded against you. If anything is loaded against you it is your misunderstanding of the control you have in your life. It is you, not clearly recognizing that your tendency toward negativity actually produces bad results as your tendency toward positivity actually produces good results. It is YOUR life and YOU are producing something. Seems only reasonable that you would want to produce something good.

Why not separate yourself from the herd and start expecting good things? Look, do the math! If you expect something good 75% of the time and the good only happens 50% of the time, I’d say that beats the hell out of below zero! I’ll bet many of you would pay good money for something positive happening 10% of the time. And, while you are separating yourself from the herd, start separating yourself from the negativity. Stop watching the stupid news. Stop getting caught up in racial, political and economical debates on Facebook. Stop letting people and friends and relatives convince you of things that aren’t true.  Choose the light. Choose the things that encourage you and help you. Choose to believe that there is another way; God’s way and He is the one who dreamed this whole thing up…

Once you start smacking at the mosquitos they start to overwhelm you. Just go inside, it’s easier…

Just some good thoughts…