The Never Ending Diet Metaphor for Life…


btn-self-mastery-trainingI just gawked at one of those celebrity articles featuring how “hot” certain actors were back in the day and then ‘look at them now.’ As I peered curiously at visions of youth lost and it’s companion weight gain, I felt sort of sad. Not sad because I now face both of those intruders, but rather in light of our (1st world) societal expectations about how we ought to look. I suppose it’s a cruelty that comes with getting older as youth requires little to no discipline at all. But the more pervasive cruelty is found in how we begin to view ourselves. And because of the pressure we feel to “look” a certain way, we either partake in the endless diet or succumb to the weight making us less and less recognizable as the years roll by. This, my friends, is a metaphor for life.

I think if we’re honest, we want to lose weight because we want to look good. We want to feel good. We want things to work like they used to work. In short, we want to be young again. But was the time of our youth really that fantastic? We were either awkward or nervous or shy. We were besieged with self-doubt. When we actually dared to give it thought, we wondered what we would do for a living and when we had to “settle down.” We lived for the day when we had it all and could do whatever we wanted. Sure we always looked good in a bathing suit, but inside it wasn’t all that swell .

Fast forward 30 years and many of those questions have all been answered for us. We may still be awkward, but we’re too tired to give a shit. We’re more sure than we ever were before. But, are we so sure? Do we know what we think we know or have we just succumbed to the game? Then, after our surrender we started getting fat; not only in our bathing suits but more importantly in our minds. We started just letting stuff go. We figured that if we couldn’t have it all like we dreamed in times past, the least we could do was eat some tasty foods, drink some wine and veg out on the couch. We now have the resources to gorge ourselves night and day and the damn, quick fix, unhealthy foods seem to taste the best!

In our youth we had a cosmic pass. We didn’t have responsibilities because we weren’t yet capable of responsibilities. Mom and Dad took care of that. Our job was just to communicate our needs and find the fun. Someone else took care of the hard parts. But, the grand design of things was that as we learned and grew we were supposed to transfer that responsibility on to God. The cycle was supposed to continue. God promised to meet our every need and we were supposed to find the fun. Sure we had work to do but it was no different from the requirement to mow the lawn. But, because we didn’t know that we took it all upon ourselves and life started to be a real drag. We just got so tired. And to add insult to injury we started gaining weight while simultaneously watching our bodies start to droop. Our selfies sucked because we always forgot to wake up our tired faces. (smile)

One day it dawned us that we look nothing like we used to look. The ever angular face from our younger years suddenly became rounded and our chin began to double itself. We grew bellies and man boobs. We peered into the mirror and saw deep wrinkles from years of scowling and frowning. But somewhere in there hiding is that kid, full of youthful beauty and plans and dreams and hope. We recognize that we’ve done it to ourselves. Our complacency and fatigue have led to a lack of control. We just let things go. And beyond that we failed to let go of the things we needed to let go of which explains that look on our faces.

Momentarily awakened, we get back on the endless diet. We decide to take charge of ourselves once again. We begin to think about what we are thinking about and reign ourselves in. And it feels good. Controlling ourselves feels damn good and the side benefit is that we start to lose weight. But, life marches on and we start to succumb to the same bad habits that put us there in the first place and so we either begin a new diet or get back on track with our existing diet. That frustrating yet simple, oft-repeated process, is a metaphor for life. We adults are supposed to control ourselves. Mom and Dad aren’t around to deny us the 4th cookie. In fact, they aren’t around to stop us from doing anything that brings us harm. We’re supposed to do it ourselves with God’s help.

So how can this age-old yo-yo process represent life? Those inner urgings; that persistent inkling that we’ve let something go; the dissatisfaction we feel inside is there because we haven’t yet learned the lesson. Life isn’t about looking good in a bikini, it’s about gaining mastery over our biggest opponent, ourselves! It’s not something we do for a short period of time to reach a destination. It’s someone we become from faithful effort to get up, show up and win. We’ve all surrendered and given in at times, sometimes for years… We’ve all succumbed to the lure of the quick fix and instant success. But neither of those ends of the spectrum represent real life. Real, satisfied, fulfilled life comes from gaining mastery over ourselves. Success is found in a million little choices adding up to a blessed life. Instead of being frustrated with ourselves and being critical of ourselves we need to uncover that happy kid inside and make the daily decision to better ourselves, be patient with ourselves and finally recover ourselves. Instead of dismissing our private thoughts as foolish or simple, we must listen to what they’re telling us and take the necessary action. Oh, how grand we feel when we finally take some action!

When I look at myself in the mirror, I see my furrowed brow, my thinning hair and that belly bulge. I see how much that guy has changed over the years. But, I also see, deeply carved in the sides of my eyes, etched lines that came from a hundred thousand smiles. I see eyes that have dimmed somewhat over time, but still carry all of the love, compassion and care that can only come from a lifetime of experiences. No-one is going to put me on a magazine cover anymore, but they will listen to what I have to say! Only time and experience can get you to that place, and this life exists for you to gain mastery in the journey.

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Yoke’s on You…


slavery-tmFear is the silent epidemic that thwarts all hopes and dreams. Fear is the great hold-back and reason you procrastinate. Fear is the imposing wall between you and everything you ever wanted. Fear rules the entire world and few escape its grasp. Fear is your worst and most pervasive enemy. Fear is a yoke of slavery and the yoke is on you!

Nothing in life retards your progress like fear does. Fear stops you dead in your tracks. Fear will make you turn back when you need to move ahead. It works to silence the voice that is truly yours and ever seeks to make you into someone you are not. And although all these things are probably very obvious, folks just march on frustrated and working hard, pretending and faking; trying and trying; hoping and wishing, with little or no results.

You would think that the hardest thing in the world was actually getting what you want given the amount of energy you have spent trying to arrive. Now, I don’t mean getting some needs met here and there. I’m talking about being and doing everything you ever wanted to do. I’m referring to that “more than abundant” life God promised His children. I’m getting at the A+ life! That dream life, however it looks to you, is waiting around for you; not to figure everything out but to get rid of the obstacle, the blocker, the real effin’ problem…fear! Funny (peculiar) everyone denies its existence and everyone lives under its yoke. Again the yoke is on you!

It’s time to get honest folks. It’s high time to recognize the real issue. It’s not the economy, racism; where you live; your upbringing, the police; your education level, climate change, the terrorists, politics, money or lack thereof; your IQ, EQ or Ps and Qs, it’s you! Just let that sink in for a minute… Everything you really, really want but don’t have is because of your fear.  Obliterate the anxiety ridden doubt. Cast off the heavy burden, worry. Kill off every semblance of fear and you will find every good thing you desire. You’ll find it because it is already there, well hidden by the obscuring, deadening clouds of fear.

If you really want to live the A+ life and find the contentment and fulfillment you know deep down you desperately need, invest yourself in eliminating fear. Nothing good can come from bad no matter the disguise. Bad begets bad and fear is bad. If your motive is fear, for anything you do, the result can only be more fear. If you work hard out of fear, you won’t succeed. If you give to others based on fear, you won’t enjoy a harvest. Fear is an illusion. Fear is an expectation of defeat. Fear, through deception, brings negative results into your life. Fear is always about you. And, the only lasting solution to fear is love.

Love is the light that illuminates your path. Love isn’t blind, it’s just willing to see less. Love nurtures and encourages and builds. Love is never discouraged or impatient or frustrated. Love heals and revitalizes. Love warms and softens. Love removes every yoke. Love knows that what it seeks always comes to pass and there’s no power on earth greater than it. Love never fails. God is love.

The only possible way you can finally escape from the yoke of fear is by making the decision to love. So simple, yet so profoundly difficult. Real love isn’t all about you, it’s all about everyone else. Love doesn’t have time to sulk and brood and feel sorry for itself. Love doesn’t take what it already has for granted. Love doesn’t judge and criticize and condemn. Love seeks to relieve the suffering in others. Love wants to lend a helping hand. Love gives and gives and gives expecting nothing in return. Love speaks lavish words of kindness. Love forgives everything and everyone, knowing the true source of the wrong done. Love is tender-hearted and not afraid of revealing itself, for there is nothing wrong in itself. Love is the only enduring answer.

When you head out into the world tomorrow, instead of bracing yourself to be bold and brave and courageous; taking on fear wherever it shows up, do something different instead. Stop making it about you and make it about someone else. Quit pursuing your life’s dreams and help make someone else’s dream a reality. Love those people around you that you take for granted everyday. Love those people all around you. Just love them. Speak words of kindness and encouragement. Let your real heart out without fear of someone hurting it. Give your goodness to those folks at work. Have compassion on them and forgive them. Look deeply into their eyes and honestly seek their good. Heal them, help them, love them. Perfect love casts out fear.

The funny (peculiar) thing about love is that when you do it with all of your heart, all that you ever wanted for yourself comes to you without effort and striving and trying so hard. The door will open without you knocking. The opportunity will arise from the place you least expected. Your place, your purpose will find you because you finally found it, by deciding to love. So “funny” that getting everything you ever wanted was never based on pursuing everything you ever wanted, but rather by changing your focus to someone else.

The yoke’s on them, so why not help remove it?

Just some good thoughts…

Hurt Hearts Hurt Humans… Healed Hearts Heal Humans!


broken_heart_8220916All us good folk living our lives the best we can have one thing in common. We’re all carrying around some bullshit we need to get rid of! We have all been hurt. We have all been mistreated. We have all made mistakes; lots and lots of them (multiplied by our current age). We were brought up by parents who made mistakes. They were raised by people who made mistakes. Our teachers taught us things that weren’t true. Employers may have used us. Others abused us. And, while we may not be psychopaths, we are all damaged goods in some capacity. We are imperfect creatures in an imperfect world living among other imperfect creatures. And sadly, knowing the futility and insanity of our own thoughts at times, we insist on demanding from others that which we don’t even get from ourselves. Hurt hearts can only hurt other people.

If you will really think it through, none of us want to do things that are wrong or hurtful. None of us. But our pain, our unresolved issues really aren’t centered on others, they are centered on ourselves. Our frailties, our weaknesses, our issues pave the way for the foolish things we do. We say horrible things to people not with intent to hurt them, but to salve our own wounds. We gash and tear and bash other people because we are gashed and torn and bashed ourselves. Couples fight, inflicting verbal wounds on one another’s hearts in a misguided attempt to protect their own hearts. Wounded hearts wound other’s hearts.

Oh how compassionate we would become if we ever got past our own bullshit long enough to see and feel the other person. But, we cannot see past the bleeding wounds of our own souls. A compassionate heart is one that is completely and thoroughly in touch with its own absurdity and as such is willing to easily look past the absurdity in another. A person with a compassionate heart forgives freely because they remember how and for what God has forgiven them. People often compliment me personally on how non-judgmental I am, never considering the heavy judgments I cast on myself. A compassionate heart helps people heal.

In order for people to actually get past their baggage and their bondage and their bullshit, they have to be made whole. But, they can’t be made whole without God. All the counseling and positive thinking and affirmations in the world can’t repair the breach because the real source of the breach is always spiritual; a spiritual enemy, ever veiled from view, yet ultimately behind both the suffering we experience and the suffering we inflict. All healing is first spiritual as all pain is first spiritual.

There but for the grace and mostly mercy of God, go I. We are all the same. We all have hopes and aspirations and dreams. We all endure fears and pain and suffering. We all need love, compassion and understanding. We’ve all hurt and damaged and messed others up. We’re in this boat together and though it appears others are awful and we are saints, wrong is still wrong is still wrong. The damage caused by the jaded heart is the same as the hurt caused by the gentle heart. Our life’s work is not to exhaust ourselves in improving ourselves but rather to expend ourselves getting to know and understand the One that heals us.

How does God heal our hearts? If anyone has the right and authority to judge us, it would certainly be Him. But, as One not subjected to the deception of evil, He heals not by pointing out our absurdities and faults; not by seeking to punish our foolishness and frailty, but by knowing who we really are and remaining faithful to treat us in that light. He sees behind the smoke screens and facades and clearly discerns what got us; why it got us; and how the heck He can get us out of it. With Him we can only succeed and without Him we can only fail. Life is too big; too tricky; too perilous to figure out this thing on our own. God heals hearts and healed hearts help others heal.

Once God heals our situations spiritually and trust me, He does, it’s still up to us to put it on in our minds. And though our earthly minds will never reach His perfection, we can still get so repaired of a lifetime of bullshit that we can actually heal. We can become so blessed, so forgiven and encouraged that we become a source of valuable help to others. We have no difficulty looking past the so-called egregious errors of other people because we finally understand why. And once you know why, you never have trouble with the things people have done. Sure some things are worse than others, but underneath it all lies a human just like you. Healed people forgive others.

Simple logic tells you that a broken machine doesn’t work like it should. When it finally blows up and breaks stuff, you get why it damaged things and instead of blaming and accusing and assaulting it, you seek to get it repaired. Humans are no different. We may have free-will and minds and thoughts and decision-making ability, but when we break down we tear stuff up. The solution is therefore to help it (them) get repaired. A child, guilt ridden for the wrong he did doesn’t need a lecture, he needs forgiveness and an approving, unconditional loving response. That’s what God gives you. That’s what you give to others. A healed heart sets people free!

We find ourselves all lined up in the same boat on a similar journey. Don’t allow the wrongs you have suffered to make you a cause in the suffering of others. Instead accept and love yourself for all the foolishness that you are and be grateful for your perfect God that saves you and saves us all! Healed hearts love the unlovable until they become lovable too.

Just some good, healing thoughts…

The Saga of the “Inflated” Facebook Status…


161859632Facebook-LikesOn more than a few occasions recently, my attention has been drawn to a bit of upset in one form or another regarding potentially “inflated” Facebook statuses. I know it’s an odd topic and what I’m about to write certainly isn’t an indictment against anyone (and I mean that). I just started thinking about it and well, here comes a blog.

When we go out in public, we normally put on nicer clothes; fix our hair and generally do our best to make a nice appearance. No-one thinks we are being fake or takes issue with our best presentation, but rather typically applaud our efforts. At work, we may be having a terrible day or having marital issues at home and we still try our best to put on a brave face and at least appear to be happy.

So, if you really think about it, Facebook is a public place. Folks really don’t want to know how such and such did you wrong or any inference to you somehow being a victim. In fact, most folks will encourage you but still add a precaution that the public space of Facebook isn’t really the format for your delicate personal issues. Really, when you get right down to it, Facebook isn’t a safe place to share your most intimate feelings as there are people on your friend’s list that aren’t necessarily your friends and have been lying in wait to stab your tender underbelly! Haha you know it’s true. The problem is that we often forget that and soon find ourselves embroiled in other people’s judgments, despite them having only a fraction of insight into who we really are. Live and learn I guess…

So, here’s the thing. If someone paints a picture of their life that maybe isn’t 100% true, do we really care? If it’s not true, don’t the people involved already know it? And, if they know it and their life isn’t so great, aren’t they the ones living that life? Further, who wants to promote their problems; their difficulties and their weaknesses? Who even wants to read that? It seems that if someone feels a need to glorify their life, let them glorify it. Maybe it’s fantasy? Maybe it’s the life they have imagined? Maybe it’s an empty wish? Well, good Lord, join the grant a wish foundation and let them say it! Right? People are suffering. People are hurting inside. People struggle. If she is putting on her lipstick and smiling anyway, let her smile. If he just added two zeroes to his paycheck, let him add it on. Hey, maybe if he keeps saying it enough it might actually happen.

I guess what I’m really talking about is compassion. Compassion is sort of like seeing through the story and pretending like you believe it’s true, not for honesty’s sake, but for the other person’s sake. And you do it with the hopes that one day they will trust you enough to let you see the real them. Why do folks inflate their Facebook status? They’re afraid to let you see the real them… A good friend once taught me that at first people are afraid to show you their heart. Picture clasped hands opening very briefly to let you see inside. Then, when trust is established, the hands open a little more and finally they stay open. An open heart is hands that stay open. Until that moment, you don’t get to see the real person. But, funnily enough, they would find that the real version of them is wonderful and really doesn’t need revision.

Some people aren’t really inflating their status, but choosing rather to only share the good bits! If I’m selling you a car, I don’t start with everything that is wrong with it. I tell you all its virtues, then maybe throw in a few needed repairs. On Facebook, because we are all people after all, we are selling people our hearts. Sure, everything in our life isn’t perfect, but for the good Lord’s sake, why would we tell everyone about that? LOL Personally, I don’t mind speaking of my challenges and mistakes because I know deep down you are just like me and I’m okay with that.

I think if you are really honest with yourself, feeling upset about the possibility that someone’s life isn’t as great as they say it is, is really more about you than it is about them. Otherwise, why even care? There are enough blessings and good things in life for all of us to have a healthy share! If I’m enjoying God’s abundant blessings in my life, I want you to have them as well. If you make 5 times more money than I do, God bless you and good for you! We have all felt a twinge of envy on occasion, but really, feeling that way points more to our feeling inferior than having genuine love. It also reveals that we may feel a need to be above others rather than stand shoulder to shoulder with them. I’m proud of my accomplishments in life, though I feel sometimes like I’ve earned 7 stars but am capable of 10 (smile). But, even in my accomplishments, I don’t want to be above you!

Since these are just some good thoughts, I hope I didn’t make you mad. Instead I say, live and let live. If I don’t approve of your life and think you are headed for trouble, then if true the trouble will come. But, with God everybody has a chance to turn anything around and if God did it for me, He will do it for you as well. Life is too short to demand an accurate portrayal of everyone’s life. I just ironed my jeans, you know what i mean?

Just some compassionate good thoughts…