Slow Down and Pay Attention…


how-to-slow-down-time-1_0ce709aLogic would seem to dictate that the faster you go, the further you would travel. However, life doesn’t really function that way. It seems we have all gotten it into our heads that speed equals progress. We fly through our responsibilities in an incessant effort to get more things done. We but half recognize what is going on as we add more and more to our “to-do” lists. We don’t enjoy the present moment because we are always looking down the road for the next set of requirements. In the end, we pay a price for our lack of focus, no longer able to detect important details. We miss life; our only life and trade away the beauty of the moment for some future day when we will finally be able to relax. In this, we need to slow down and pay attention.

Often when we get in a hurry at work, we miss important details; things we would see if we weren’t moving too quickly. We botch the project of the week by trying to get it done too fast. At home, we skip through important responsibilities or necessary tasks in favor of doing something else. We fail to see what the situation requires of us and barge ahead oblivious. All of these missed items take a toll on us and before we know it, we find ourselves worn out and dissatisfied. It never quite dawns on us that everything we let go, presumably from an absence of enough time, remains behind nagging at us and taking away our peace of mind. All of us have enough time to do what we really need to do, but we allow our time to be stolen away by frivolity and endless distractions. It is no wonder the people of today are so full of anxiety and distress. Their minds are a literal battlefield of unfinished business, so much so that they don’t know where to start to set it aright.

Life was never intended to be lived so fast. Living too fast and adding in too much extraneous activity leaves our minds threadbare and exhausted. This usually leads us to more distractions and attempts at medicating ourselves through a variety of means. Eventually our minds, overloaded and confused, feel the weight and begin to skew our emotions rendering us agitated and upset, easily provoked and manipulated. We have trouble problem solving and even the simplest of requirements overwhelm us. The solution isn’t to work harder and drive ourselves further. The solution is to take the time to slow down and handle the things we have, in ignorance, let go. We have to give ourselves an opportunity to relax and recover. We must take time to rest. It’s not noble to work so frenetically that we have little time left for ourselves. Otherwise, the obvious consequence will be found in the distress we are feeling. Internal distress informs us of the need to slow down and recognize what is actually going on. We need some time to think about what we have been thinking about. Bashing forward like a bull in a china shop does nothing but leave us damaged and in a worse state. When things are bugging you, you don’t overcome them by charging ahead no matter the cost. Instead, you have to give yourself some quiet time to begin discerning what is actually going on. As you endeavor to look back at where you have been, you will find clarity and begin to understand what you let go; what you failed to handle; where you brushed past something important and will be able to secure the remedy so much more easily.

We live our lives through our minds. No matter the reality of a circumstance, you live that circumstance through your mind. Life becomes miserable or enjoyable by what you put through your mind. Negative thoughts, fearful thoughts burden your mind down adding weight artificially. Self condemning thoughts convince you, you are something you are not and as a result, hamper your ability to process things properly. Everything you let go, that needed to be properly addressed, stacks on top of itself rendering you confused and distraught. It’s not one problem or difficulty that is defeating you, it is compound difficulties, multiple agitations, numerous unresolved slights banding together to overwhelm and overtax you. You wouldn’t feel so confused if you were only dealing with one marauder. And, the only reason this happens to us is because we have failed to take the time we needed when we needed it, to get things straight. To be your best self, you need to keep things straight. That voice in your head that never has anything good to say about you is only silenced one good thought at a time. Letting it speak unchecked and unchallenged is why you feel unhappy and why you are not at peace. You have to slow down and pay attention.

There is something marvelous about doing things properly and in the right way. We don’t have to be perfect, but we do have to apply our full hearts and our full focus. And focus only comes as we eliminate the distractions, one by one until they are gone. We owe that to ourselves. Some folks spend their whole lives entertaining negative thoughts about themselves that were never true to begin with, yet they persist year after year living in a prison of their own making; living amidst a refusal to challenge the thoughts; a distracted, unfocused, perpetual continuance in error. My friends, this does not need to be.

If you find yourself agitated and confused, distracted and distraught, take the time you need to get things straight. Slow yourself down and begin to think. Cut off, at least for while, the endless stream of distractions and give yourself time to think. And, for goodness sakes, stop letting things go. Be in the moment and live in the moment. Look around you and really see. Notice the people you have been blessed to interact with and look for the needs you can help supply. Pay attention to the people you love most with open eyes, listening ears and open hearts. Stop fretting over next month or next year or when you plan to retire and instead live right now. Live the day you are in and only the day you are in. That will be enough to handle on its own. The recipe for future happiness, peace of mind and a blessed life is to slow down and pay attention…

Just some good thoughts…

Be Patient…


We live today in the culture of hurry. We want our food fast, our internet fast, our weight loss programs fast, our test results fast. We tend to seek out the quick fix, the shortcut. We don’t want to invest the time, just get it done, the sooner the better. Microwave beats stove top and temporary repairs are preferred over lasting solutions. We just don’t have the time to invest in doing things properly or the right way because we have to get to the next thing. Can’t we just pay a guy or order it on Amazon and get it done already? And while technological advances have certainly made life easier, we seem to have lost our ability to exercise a little patience. The best things in life always seem to take a little time. Do we even know anymore what it means to be patient?

If you have ever watched a craftsman at work, it becomes apparent rather quickly that there is always an element of time involved. The craftsman isn’t just trying to get the job done, but instead is seeking to get the job done where the result is perfect and beautiful and pleasing. People are willing to pay more for that person because the quality of the work speaks for itself. And as much as our frenetic world says otherwise, quality always makes the lasting impression. It’s quality, not quantity that we are after. The lowest bidder’s work generally reflects a lower quality because of the time and effort they are willing to exert on the task. If you pay less, you generally get less. The cheap clothing doesn’t last and for every dollar you save in your purchase, you pay for in terms of its longevity. It is better that you spend more on the front end than count on the bargain to stand the test of time.

In life, the best things take time. Relationships take time. Raising children takes time. Perfecting a skill takes time. Success takes time. Learning to live life the best way takes time. There are no shortcuts. Shortcuts always promise a faster result but fail to deliver, though they appear to do so at first. Whatever is easy generally isn’t worth it. That’s not to say that everything good is hard, but rather that good things require an investment on your part. Expecting good things without investing your own personal time and energy into those good things cannot fail but to produce loss. You may be able to count on the conveniences of technology to make things happen faster, but the real things in life; the most important things, require time and with time, patience.

Patience is a lost virtue in the helter-skelter of life today. We have been seduced by technology into thinking that there is always a way to obtain a result more quickly. We carry that mindset into our important life activities and expect a similar result. We seek to get the degree quickly in order to advance, but leave off the learning. We pursue important changes in our lives by employing the method that seems to get us there the fastest. We are all hat and no cowboy. We look good not by patient training and self control, but by the cosmetic surgeon’s scalpel. We want the diet plan that offers to burn the calories via a pill that requires neither exercise nor portion control. We want to have our cake and eat it too. In terms of our mental health, we don’t want to invest the time in discovering where our thinking patterns have gone astray, but instead seek for a diagnosis with its subsequent promised medication fix. And while medication is a beautiful addition to life, the goal was always that we arrived at the good place naturally, even if it took a little time. Modern advances certainly succeed in making life easier, but sometimes the ease and the convenience are not what we really need. It’s the pricks and the obstacles and the difficulties of life that really put us on our toes and awaken us to life’s more important lessons, as Emerson masterfully noted. Give a man a serious challenge to contend with and note how quickly he engages himself fully until a solution is at last found.

The reason we do not exhibit patience in life is that we have bought into the illusion that we have no time. We fail to recognize how forcefully we are being pushed and pulled towards activities that have little impact in helping us to live our best lives. We feel as if we don’t have time to think things through, much less the time required to actually solve our problems and make strides towards a brighter future. We are loathe to engage in something uncomfortable or new even if that new thing might serve to completely revolutionize our lives. Instead we go to work expending our best efforts for someone else and leave ourselves and our happiness undone. When we try something new or endeavor to move in a different direction, we feel that we don’t have the time or the energy to make the necessary changes though we only gave it a minimal try at best. Living this way, we soon find ourselves at the end of this brief life, full of regrets regarding the man or woman we always knew we could be. And all along all we had need of was a little patience. All we needed to do was step off the hamster wheel and take ourselves to account. We only needed to slow down a little and give our lives a little more consideration.

It’s never too late to begin practicing patience. Patience isn’t as concerned in getting the job done as it is in getting the job done properly. Patience knows that all good things take time and allots its time accordingly. Patience is required to live a successful life and to allow yourself the love and the space to get it right! Be patient with yourself and extend that same patience to everyone and every thing that you love. Be patient.

 

Check Back In…


image001Many people living today aren’t quite living anymore. They’re sort of half in and half out. You can see it in their eyes, the revelation of their souls. Something has happened to damage their heart, not fatally, but enough to dim their glow and diminish their passion for being. They only half participate with life and have long since settled for the mundane over the excitement of fulfillment and satisfaction. Sadly, they have checked out of life and need badly to check back in.

Assuming you aren’t so far gone as to conclude that “life’s a bitch and then you die,” what the hell has happened to people to reduce their fiery flame into a flicker? What catastrophic event or events took place to so harden and numb people’s hearts to the point of accepting mere existence? People are lost and without hope in a world created for their greatest fulfillment and blessing. No-one began their life this way, so something must have become involved along the way that worked to steal life and to reduce life and to suffocate life and worst of all to convince people that it was normal. What happened?

Every living person has a heart beating inside forcing life-giving blood into every part of the body. Likewise, every person living has a figurative heart, deep inside their mind, from which their life proceeds. As such, the heart of your mind, like your physical heart must be cared for properly if you are going to survive. But, unlike the physical heart, the heart of your mind was intended for much, much more than mere survival. Your heart was made to experience love and joy and wonder. Your heart was planned to be the fountain from which your life flowed forth. All that you could ever hope to be and to experience would begin in your heart, eventually manifesting outwardly into your life. Your heart by design is very tender and sensitive to feeling (like it’s Creator) with the capacity to respond to even the slightest sensation and with that react immediately to any attacks or assaults on itself with great displeasure and a determination to get back to its highest, purest most peaceful self. Thus God commanded man to guard his heart above everything that could be guarded in his life. When you find yourself but only half living, half experiencing, filling your days with pointless activities and routines to pass the time, it is safe to say that you have somewhere failed to guard your heart, a practice of which all men are guilty, with the degree of misery corresponding directly, thought for thought with the associated failure to guard your heart.

Living life on earth with an evil despot ruling the kingdoms of the world, not in accordance with God’s will, but rather as a result of guile and treachery, things are going to happen to you that will directly assault your heart. Parents, in their own conundrums, will fail you and speak damage into your being. Friends and experiences and relationships and any or all interactions will take shots at that vital part of you and work to steal away your life force and reduce your life to a glass of wine, a television and a couch! And sadly today more than ever before in history, there’s an electronic world artfully attached to your soul seducing you with a thousand messages assailing who you are by comparison and who you ought to be. Add to that life’s catastrophes that shake your very core or violence or the abject pain of broken hearts (aptly named) and broken dreams. The result of which is an entire mass of people with dimness in their eyes with little to no energy left to fight back and to recover. Then enters the greatest cruelty of all named religion bent on, by guilt, unworthiness and shame, wiping out any remaining hope for the future replacing it with fear of a punishment later on. Indeed it is a sad state of affairs of which only God can repair.

On the way back to your true heart, I think you will find compensations you have added to your life such as numbing elements or busy activities or anything that seeks to take your mind and thoughts away from the moment you are in. Step one is to be in the moment and notice what you are thinking or what pain you are avoiding or maybe just how uncomfortable it is to risk being with your own thoughts undistracted for a time. In order to change what is in your heart, if you don’t like what you are experiencing or how you feel, you have to start changing your thoughts. You have to be present to recognize what you are thinking and then start challenging those thoughts. Just like working to lose the weight that affects your physical heart takes time, ridding yourself of wrong thoughts and wrong beliefs takes time and consistent, persistent effort.

Naturally, if you are going to recover from the “life sucks” syndrome, you are going to have to do some things you haven’t been doing. Some of which might include getting out of your shell and going back out there where the people and your life are and stop incubating in your unhappiness. (Broken hearts incubate inward while healthy hearts extend outward…) Don’t even think you have any hope at deliverance and escape if you aren’t willing to be supremely humble. You got got man! You got taken woman! You and your “I already know” thinking aren’t going to help you here. (This is why you need God’s help to recover!) You have to honestly humble yourself and be just as willing to unlearn as you have been to learn. You have to start questioning the “wheel” of things and dismiss the notion of acceptance for that which is less than the best. It is not just how life is and it’s certainly not God’s will for your life!

Check back in folks! I know why you checked out (been there and done that) but I also know it isn’t the best use of your one go round around the sun. You can get that glimmer back in your eyes. You can put your heart back into life fully rather than half guarded and calloused in anticipation of further pain. You can once again risk by giving love and being kind to people and sharing your tender heart. Waiting for you on the other side of your damaged and broken heart is life in all of its manifestations and variations, exciting, fulfilling and joyful just as God designed it to be…

Check back in, it’s so, so worth it.

Just some good thoughts…