My Life on a Perpetual Diet…


dietingAs I reflect back on my life over the past 20 years, I realize that I have been on a perpetual diet for that same 20 years. And incredulously, as my goal of being 15 pounds lighter continues to linger on the horizon, I also recognize the insanity of trying to lose the same 15 pounds for 20 straight years. It would seem that with some discipline and force of will it shouldn’t take 20 years to lose 15 pounds. In fact, the task should likely take two to three months maximum. But, here I sit lamenting on the reality that I haven’t yet been able to figure it out. So, I had to ask myself why? Why would my body seek to regulate itself 15 pounds above that which I would desire. Is there something I am doing in my life that serves to thwart my purpose? Is a life of perpetual restriction the solution? Or, does a life of perpetual restriction work at cross purposes from the end I have in mind? And, assuming I’m not a swim suit model, does it really even matter? Is it really about dieting and obsessing and trying hard with no results or is there something else at play I might not yet have contemplated? I think it is fair to say that any issue that may have troubled you for the past twenty years begs for further inspection, whether it be feeling unhappy about your weight or not feeling good about any aspect of your life. Whatever it is that has served as a distraction in your life; that limits you from being your best; that functions as a source of constant angst and dissatisfaction, is worth digging into and finding a way to overcome. Have your past twenty years seen you trapped on a perpetual diet, in endless restriction and constraints, in modifying your behavior, in trying to get something and never actually being able to get it? If so, this blog is for us…

I guess the starting point in understanding is first being able to recognize the utter futility of trying to do something for twenty years but not actually arriving or seeing any lasting result. That alone should arrest our attention. Yes, it takes some time and some discipline to make needed changes in our lives, but for something to continue on for that many years is a clue that competing interests must be interfering with our goal. The straight line of effort should produce a result. No results or minimal results indicate the straight line of effort cannot be straight. Faithful persistence is the key. It doesn’t matter how hard you work at something, if you don’t do it faithfully, chances are you are not going to get there. By the time your effort to achieve hits the 20 year mark and you are still no closer to your goal, you have to look at yourself and ask the question why? Do you have some aspect of your life that when indulged works at cross purposes with your goal? Is there something you like more than the thing you say you want? Or, as time has passed, have you been convinced that you cannot reach your goal no matter what you do? Time, especially significant amounts of time, has an unusual way of encroaching on your belief system and limiting you that much further in your quest, as small failures add up and produce the larger failure; the ultimate failure being referred to as giving up. Often what feels like futility is really repeating the same circumstances over and over and expecting a different result. Nothing changes because you haven’t changed something or at least not long enough to form new habit patterns. The temporary nature of the diet promises that a short term sacrifice will suffice and then it is back to business as usual, adding in excesses to fill the gaps formed in deprivation. Short term fixes don’t fix anything and lead to 20 year fixes that don’t fix anything either. Before you can takes the steps to enjoy any success, you first have to get real honest with yourself about what you want and what you don’t want. Your reason why has to be bigger than all of the assailants that will come to thwart your goal. 

I have learned rather painfully that endless restriction turns you into a sort of crazy person. Although you haven’t stuck to your plans for any significant length of time in reality, your mind gets stuck there in an endless loop secretly upset with the endless deprivation. Low carb diets make you crazy about rice and bread. Extreme diets such as HcG require you to starve for 3 weeks and then eat like a crazy person for the next six. Fasting promises a fast fix, yet whoa unto the crazy eater when the fast is over. There is nothing wrong with time limited restriction and control as long as you stay the course and arrive at your destination. But sadly, the course also includes the weekends! Yet, deeper than dieting or any time driven period of greater control, is what is going on inside your head. You don’t feel like you can adequately control yourself for 3 months, yet end up spending 20 years rehearsing the same mantra. You have to get your mind involved and keep it involved. You have to decide what you are going to do and then keep deciding until you arrive. If you are like me, you may have taken on some habits over the years that don’t work so well with your goals. Chances are you have certain likes and enjoyments that you might like a little too much. All added enjoyments in life appear to have an end point or a place where the enjoyment ends. Yet on we press looking for more enjoyment when the enjoyment has run its course. Nothing tastes as good as the first bite, as the saying goes and nothing produces better effect than the sparkle of the first glass of wine. All unhealthy restrictions cannot help but lead to excess in some other place. The answer isn’t more and more restriction, the answer is in getting focused and staying there. 

To take things a step further, the real issue is found in your why. Why are you doing or not doing the things you want? What are you really after? Are you doing something you earnestly want to do or do you have another hidden motive in mind? Is the thing you are trying so hard to get to the real answer or is it masking something else you want to get to? It is so easy to get caught up into things in life and end up forgetting why you were doing them in the first place. I think often when it comes to the various life suckers, our reasoning behind doing what we do gets cloudy and vague to the point where we can no longer see something that we desperately need to see. We miss the real problem or else dismiss it as something unimportant when it obviously is. It is not normal to suffer defeat in a category of life for a significant length of time without opposing forces getting in there somewhere and causing the defeat. This applies of course to many, many aspects of life beyond a silly diet. All of us have beliefs and habits that at one time served us, but no longer serve us now. We have pictures of ourselves that we have long since outgrown. We are all on our own journey with lessons we must eventually learn. Yet God graciously continues to work with us right where we are. I think inside we know the changes we need to make, but are loathe to make them for fear of losing something we enjoy; something that supposedly defines us; something we may have always liked about ourselves. Yet, all growing and evolving creatures must learn to change as the situations and circumstances of life dictate. However, those changes are not always all or nothing, but rather adjustments we make along the way. Small adjustments, small modifications can go a long way in making needed changes. 

At the end of the day, you and I can achieve anything we want to achieve. The only limit is ourselves. We have to learn to approach the things of our life without fear and dare to chart a new course. We aren’t after a quick fix, we are after long term solutions. Some aspects of life we simply need to overcome or at minimum overcome their grip on our lives. “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any…” Figure out what it is you are really after in your life and then go and get it. Sure you are going to fail and falter along the way, but that doesn’t matter as long as you get where you want to get. Whether you have been trying to lose the same amount of weight for two decades or you are trying to rid yourself of any negative aspect of life, you can get there no matter how long it has gone on if you will just get honest with yourself and change what you already know you need to change. Whatever has succeeded in getting a grip over your life has an opposite side that will give you everything you ever wanted instead. Life is way too short to live without the things that are important to you. Don’t pray for more discipline, pray for understanding. God has an uncanny way of making things crystal clear. Having you been living your life on a perpetual diet? Have you not thus far been able to realize your dreams? Is there some aspect of life that has been defeating you? Get quiet, get honest and get God involved. Life is to be enjoyed in every aspect! Freedom awaits you.

Just some good thoughts…

Relieving a Vast Load of Care


depositphotos_128641282-stock-photo-businessman-carrying-rock-at-hill

If you spent any amount of time on Terra Firma, you know that life can get on top of you in a hurry. You’re plugging along doing your thing when suddenly the troubles seem to mount up with wings and you find yourself distressed and agitated, stuck in a vortex of worry and doubt. Oh my friends, these things need not be. Any trouble you might face is common to man and is similar to the experiences we all must endure at times. But, with every trouble you may encounter, there is a solution that is yours to find. You must but ask and in asking you will find, if you will persist. God will relieve your vast load of care.

In order to fully appreciate the dilemma all men and women find themselves in, you must first understand the nature of the spiritual competition. Your apparent difficulties and complexities are not the result of happenstance and bad fortune, but rather the effects of cunningly devised plans, designed to point your thoughts in a certain direction and then keep them there for as long as you will permit. The great power your opponent uses against you is one of deception. He seeks to paint a picture whereby all of your options are limited and without apparent remedy. He and his spiritual henchmen work to define the narrative; to outline craftily what is going on in your circumstances and why; to offer reasons that are not reasons and answers that are not answers at all. It is the, “Well, it could be worse logic.” It is trading in really shitty for only crappy. It is defeated logic from an already defeated foe. Much, if not all, of the troubles you face exist in your mind, the battleground, and what you choose in response to those lies from the father of lies, determines where you will end up. Mark Twain once remarked, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Indeed, most troubles do not come to pass because they were never troubles to begin with. Yet, a man can lose a significant amount of time for living by entertaining those false ideas.

In order for worries to take hold of you, you must become a cooperator with them. All of us are subject to their threats, yet not all of us persist in cooperating with them. You cooperate with them by refusing to let them go. You think and think and think, yet find no solution. You find no solution because there is no solution as they were never true to begin with. The appeal is to your ego; to your insistence that you, by your human logic, can put them to rest. But, the very thing you are doing in an effort to resolve them, is the thing that guarantees their continuance. (Please read that sentence again) The least you can do when confronted with reasons to be afraid is to refuse to think them any further. The best thing you can do when confronted with them is to replace them with some truth from God’s Word that opposes them. ‘Fear not’ is the number one admonition in the Bible for a reason. Again, your temptation to be afraid, to worry, is common to man. But God will always provide a way out.

It is normal for you to conclude that your difficulties and troubles are a direct result of something you did in the past, are doing now, or have thought about doing in the future. But, can you be so sure? Your personal enemy knows no bounds nor does he fight fair. In a perfect world, we all would have exactly what we deserved, good and bad. But, in the spiritual competition, many get far worse than they deserve and many get far more than they earned. Life and chance happen to them all. In other words, in the competition, you get not what you deserve or have earned, but rather what you have believed. The man that believes to be successful, will be successful no matter where he began or the amount of effort he supplied. The man that unknowingly expected to fail, listening to and acting on his fears, consumed with worry about the future, will fail just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow. It is a law, God’s law and you may cooperate with it or suffer as a result of it. But. my friends, you need not suffer any longer. Your task is not to try and figure out the vast world of the unknown, but instead determine what you will and will not think about. The woman that exclaims, “I knew it!” when calamity strikes is right, yet not because she was destined for calamity, but rather because she ignorantly persisted in those devilish thoughts until disaster stuck. We make life harder than it actually is. Our duty is to control our thinking and in doing so, cooperate with God who always has our best interests at heart. Your thoughts are always your thoughts!

Beliefs that come as a result of thoughts persisted in, tap you into power, power for good and power for evil. If you persist steadfast in right thought, you cannot help but obtain good results. However, if you stubbornly continue in wrong thought; thoughts of worry and fear; thoughts of impending defeat and loss, you will find yourself a victim of an enemy you neither perceived, nor stood against. You don’t resist evil by consuming yourself with thoughts of sin, condemnation and pleasing God, you resist evil by controlling your thinking and standing vehemently against the lies and the deceptions. You please God by changing your thinking to line up with His abundant promises, so that He can do for you what He promised. Focus on self, another crafty deception, always ends in defeat. You and I will never deserve God’s kindness to us, but by the grace of God we are what we are. By God’s grace we at least have a fighting chance and by God’s grace we can achieve at levels we have never before imagined. Oh my friends, let God carry all of your cares, all of your worries, all of your fears and see how quickly your life will transform!

The troubles we face are common to man. We are all in the competition whether we choose to compete or not. Your responsibility isn’t to figure out evil and its deceptions. Your job is to learn how to fight back! You fight back by controlling your thinking and having the humility and willingness to let things go. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” When you cast your cares upon God and leave them there, you will begin to see the deceptions more clearly and more quickly. Oh sure, you are going to be real tempted at times, but hang in there and see it through. Don’t let worries and cares rob you from the life that now is and from the life that is yet to come. Life is quite a beautiful reality once the fear and worry are gone. Find relief from a vast load of cares by learning to obey in your thought life. God is here…

Just some good thoughts…

The Ultimate Rap Battle


artworks-000283353062-uhjnbx-t500x500Did you know that there is a battle going on every day inside your head? Your mind is the arena and your thoughts determine both your success and your failure. If you have learned not to pay much attention to your thoughts, you’ll find yourself troubled, anxious and not at rest. You won’t know why it is occurring but you will feel the effects thereof. Conversely, if you take on the challenge and learn to control your thoughts, blessedness will follow like the sunset after a lovely day. The battle goes on every single day and continues to happen whether you or I like it or not. Will you learn how to win the ultimate rap battle inside or will you continue to be blown around from pillar to post, up one day and down the next? The decision rests squarely with you…

You cannot begin to learn how to control your thoughts until you first become willing to pay attention to your thoughts. Thoughts encompass so much more than you may have imagined. Ultimately, those things you run through your mind and continue to run through your mind form the basis of who you are, what you will believe and how you will behave in life’s situations. They are the precursor to both the good and the bad things that happen in your life. Your thoughts are that important! Yet, you may have noticed how infrequently anyone has even discussed this with you, let alone suggested why you should learn how to control your thoughts. For most folks, thoughts are a part of being a human being, but have no impact beyond that in relation to their lives. They feel sad and unhappy, unfulfilled and restless, afraid and powerless, yet fail to connect those feelings with the thoughts they knowingly or unknowingly entertain. In our current age, people are literally besieged with perpetual anxiety about everything and everyone, yet cannot discern the endless stream of negativity they listen to and then cleave onto in their minds. They run the dreadful possibilities and concerns of life through their minds over and over and over again, then balk at feelings of anxiety and unrest. They have failed to connect the dots between the thoughts they are considering and the feelings they are experiencing. In this they are losing the battle in their minds. They pray to God for help and guidance, yet refuse to change their thoughts. In ignorance, they allow evil access to their minds and reap the results thereof.

Thoughts produce feelings and long held thoughts turn into beliefs. Beliefs have a profound impact in producing a blessed life and a miserable life, with every varying shade in between. When you let your mind go or just run wild, the result isn’t neutral, it is negative. It is not functioning within a vacuum without influences from outside sources. The adversary of mankind works tirelessly to get you involved in erroneous or wrong lines of thought. He assaults your mind through any means accessible in order to bring you to a predictable end result and he has been honing his craft for thousands of years. Doubts turn into worries and worries turn into fears. Fear, when allowed regular access, brings man to ruin. There is a reason “fear not” is the number one admonition in the Bible. Fear, like all wrong thought, must be rigorously excluded. You eradicate it by your abject refusal of it. No-one has ever overcome fear by continuing to grapple with it in their mind. The wrestling involved is the object of the game; deftly designed ahead of time to defeat you. All erroneous thoughts must be defeated in this manner. Whether you be plagued with guilt or unworthiness or condemnation, you won’t get past it by rehearsing it in your mind. The object of the contest is to get you to rehearse it. Then, if you really want to bring people down to a life of defeat, get them so trained and so accustomed to think negatively that they continue the process on their own from the depths of their own hearts. That is how you lose in the ultimate rap battle.

In order to win at the game of life, you have to first win in your thoughts. You have to learn what and how to think. You have to be able to pay attention to what you are saying to yourself and when necessary, change it. You have to begin detecting those subtle jabs being launched in your direction and consciously change them; the sooner the better. The thoughts that run through your mind concerning your inadequacies, your shortcomings, your past mistakes and blunders, do not originate with God, no matter what some nice fellow may have told you. Even human parents know that you cannot make a child do better by constantly pointing out what is wrong with him or her. Doing so only serves to break the child. Instead successful parents know they have to look past the rough spots and build upon the strong parts in order to help the child succeed. You can be assured those critical, nasty thoughts have not come to you from God! They come from an opponent that is hell bent on breaking you. They originate with the accuser of mankind. Once you understand what thoughts come from God and what thoughts come from your opponent, you can do a better job at deciding what you will and will not think about.

Controlling your thoughts is no harder than thinking a thought. It is not a question of your mental prowess or discipline of will. It rests simply with your own personal decisions about what you will accept and what you will reject. It is certainly not represented by some type of mysterious dream state where you walk around all day thinking about rainbows and unicorns, afraid of any negative that may come up. Instead, it is a willingness to take on any mental negatives that may come up and being willing to fight them until they depart! At some point, like your daddy taught you, you have to fight back! You have to challenge wrong thoughts, critical thoughts, long held wrong beliefs (where do you think those beliefs started?). You have to say to yourself, that is not who I am! You have to stop thinking of yourself as less than others, not deserving of good things, fraudulent or whatever other garbage the enemy throws at you! Those limiting wrong beliefs concerning yourself have been stealing away your life for years and years. Something doesn’t become true because you thought it a thousand times. It only becomes true when you believe it.

Won’t you join me in learning how to win that rap battle in your mind? Your life will get better and better in direct proportion to how serious you become about controlling your thoughts. Oh, you are going to fail and lose track and need to be reminded often, but once you get it, you get it, if you know what I mean? Begin by simply paying attention to what you are telling yourself or what conclusions you are drawing about your life. When you feel agitated and distressed, which is ALWAYS a sign that error is afoot, think about what you have been thinking about. What are you holding onto inside? What fears are you consciously entertaining or grappling with? What guilt or error awareness is claiming the top spot in your thinking? What criticisms are you not refuting? You are not evil, your opponent is!

I hope you win that great rap battle in your own mind and while you are winning, help someone else.

Just some good thoughts…

Over-controlling Your Life…


When you remove all of the trappings, as you work through all of the layers, when you clear out all of the obstacles, as you sift through all of the useless and unimportant, when you get right down to the bare essence of life, there is only so much that you can actually control. All human beings fall prey to the illusion that they can control every aspect of their lives and do so rigorously and ardently trying to wrap their arms around something too large to grasp, too varied to capture, too unwieldy to be wielded. As such, they tend to over control and stake their efforts in works that were doomed to fail from the onset. Life is too big, too complex, too elaborate to try and control it all. Instead control must remain focused on the elements that can be controlled with the rest relinquished to the power of another.

All human beings have free will and with that a solemn and sacred right to make their own choices, both good and bad. God will never overstep a person’s free will. He will not make your son or your daughter or your husband or your wife do something they do not want to do. Praying as such is always a waste of time. He can certainly work with people’s hearts to arrive at a better decision, but He will not and cannot violate freedom of will. The ability to choose and decide is the hallmark of humanity. Similarly, any attempts you might make in controlling other people is destined for failure. People always do what they want to do in one way or another. Behind every troubling situation you are seeking to control is a person deciding against what you have in mind to supposedly make their lives better. People resist being controlled at all costs even to their own detriment. You can certainly appear to exert control over a child when they are young, but in the end they will still act in accordance with their own will. All you can hope to do is teach them the good behind good choices and wait for them to learn and experience the rest. If you want to influence people’s behavior towards better choices, you must find ways to reward the good and overlook the bad. Focusing on what’s wrong with other people is not only egotistical, presuming you alone have all the answers, but also works to attract more of the undesirable behaviors you are seeking to extinguish. Seeking to control other people is actually over control and will never lead to the outcome you desire. Instead it will lead to bitterness and resentment in your own heart. Tell a man what he needs to do and he will most assuredly not do it! Would you?

Life is so varied and involves so much complexity that it is the height of insanity and ego to consider that you alone with your finite human brain can think through enough things to make life work out properly. For everything you think you know, there are a million things you do not know and cannot know! How much time do we spend trying to solve problems we did not initiate, never considering that something else did. Hopeless, we apply solutions other men devised while they still suffer from the same problems. We read the self-help books, the blogs, watch the Ted Talks, always hoping to gain some element of control over things we do not control. By the time you get on the airplane it is no longer upon you to will it into staying in the air, try as you might during a fit of turbulence. The diseases that afflict mankind seem to come whether a man makes healthy choices or not. Good people die and evil people prosper. There are downturns in the economy and unprecedented growth spurts. You do not control these things. Thinking you can control them by your strict adherence to certain practices fails to acknowledge that there is more to life than simply what you think and may have learned already. It is so much bigger than that. In the end, you drive yourself frantic seeking to control that which you do not control. Your hours of worry and consideration and night sweats over the possibility of acquiring some affliction, some disease, some tragedy, some catastrophe all serve simply to steal away your present moment in exchange for false assurance over some future moment, an assurance that will never arrive as long as you entertain the notion that it is something you control! You do not control all the variables of life, but God can as the need arises. He already knows the future. Your job in humility is to finally let it go and turn it over into the hands of another.

Man with all of his sophistication and smarts has been sold a bill of goods. He has been tricked and deceived into investing his efforts in things he cannot control. He spends his days consumed with thoughts of self-preservation. He considers and evaluates without seeing all the cards. He cannot discern that the circumstances have been preloaded to bring him to the wrong destination. In short, he wastes his time and his life on things that matter but things he does not control. To compensate he over controls much to the misery of both himself and with those in which he comes into contact. Life was never designed to be that difficult, no matter what the lousy world teaches to the contrary!

In contrast to the complexity and perplexity of error, the truth is always simple and very clear. The only thing you really have any control over is yourself. You do not control anything else. You control what decisions you make, what you believe, and what will you do with your life. The rest of it, all of the rest of it belongs to God who knows all and sees all. Your job, my job is to hand all the rest of it over to Him. Just hand it over to Him. It’s okay not to know what to do. Get some help. It’s okay not to know the answer. Get some help. It’s okay to feel worried about a situation. Get some help. Turn it over. Let it go. Relinquish your tight (fearful) grip! Trusting God means to give your worries and fears over to Him and then leaving them there. Stop trying to control stuff you do not control! You don’t need me to tell you this as you have already learned it in your own life experience. You already know your efforts to control do not work! Over-controlling does not work! Give God back His place and see if things don’t suddenly start working out for the better absent the thwarting impact of fear! Relax (at last) and let God be God while you do you…

Just some good thoughts…

Inside Out…


Did you know that the outer conditions of your life are an exact reflection of what goes on inside your head? What you are on the inside that no-one else can see forms the basis for the circumstances you encounter most frequently. Your life is lived from the inside out. You cannot be successful in the outside world without first being successful in your mind and you cannot fail in the outside world without first failing in your mind! Your mind; your heart is the starting point and from it the issues of your life pour forth! Life is truly lived inside out…

Most people think that life happens to them and that they are powerless to change it. They feed their minds with negatives all day and night. They speak negatives, read negatives, harbor negatives, look for negatives, expect negatives and spread negatives. They rehearse situations in which they are always being done wrong in some capacity. When opportunity presents itself they discount it immediately. They are suspicious and wary ever waiting for the axe to fall, the apparent good to prove itself untrue, the catch that’s lurking just out of view. They become convinced their scenario is going to turn out badly and when it does (as it necessarily must) they say, “See there? I told you so!” They never consider the important role they play in the outcome but instead attribute it to luck or fate or worse as being somehow a part of God’s will. Thus, and forgive my bluntness, if your life sucks, it’s because you suck, at least as far as your thinking is concerned! You cannot keep planting weeds and wonder when your flowers are going to show up! You cannot continue to dwell in darkness while searching for the light. You cannot think one way then expect to live another way. Your life is lived from the inside out…

Your life, be it wonderful or miserable, follows the patterns you have established. Where you see yourself is where you live. If you don’t expect much, you don’t get much. If you think you must struggle, struggle you will. If you believe that life is something you must endeavor to survive, survival will be the height of your achievements. If you believe you will always be poor, (for whatever reason you have manufactured) you will always be poor. If you fear sickness, dwell on sickness, think incessantly about sickness, you will most assuredly be sick. Conversely, if you expect good things to happen for you, good things will happen for you. If you believe you will prosper, you will prosper. If you are convinced that every obstacle you face can be overcome, you will find a way to overcome no matter how much the circumstances may appear to disagree. Assigning your fate to God or to life or to the world without taking any responsibility for your thinking is not taking responsibility for your own life. We all know instinctively that life works like this but discount it when it comes to what we think. If you are going to catch fish, you have to use the right bait. If you are going to hunt elk, you have to go to where the elk live. If you are going to make a lot of money, you have to go to work. You cannot fish with the wrong bait then get mad at God because you aren’t catching any fish. You cannot hunt for elk where elk do not live then curse the heavens for your bad fortune. You cannot refuse to work or offer your employer your absolute minimum effort, then blame the world for your poverty. Likewise, you cannot possibly expect to have a good life while all the time convincing yourself (through negative considerations) that your life will turn out badly. Your life is lived inside out…

What you think matters. Where you go in your mind in life’s situations matters. The things you feed your mind everyday matter. The outcomes you rehearse for yourself over and over and over matter. What you say about yourself and your life matters. And ultimately, what you believe in the depths of your heart matters. If you want a different outcome, you have to think in a different way. Wherever you are today, your thinking has led you there. Life is not unfair. Circumstances are unfair. Certain challenges you may face are unfair. People can be unfair, but life is not unfair. God has given you a way to overcome whatever you are up against, but it all starts with your thinking. Pay attention to your thinking.  Control your thinking.  Change your thinking. Stop allowing the world to dictate what you think about the most. Stop allowing circumstances to determine what it is you will believe. Put an end to any influence that leads your thinking away from God’s best for your life. Your life is lived from the inside out…

Your life is a direct reflection of your own expectations. Change your expectations. You change them! Quit dwelling on “what is” and dwell on what you want. See yourself successful. Expect things to work out. When you find yourself challenged, (and you surely will) look for the solution. With God there is always a solution. Separate yourself from the thoughtless herd ever plunging headlong into the abyss. Step out of line. Stop going with the flow, the majority, the world! Form your own opinions. The reason you think the way you think is because that is how you have been taught to think. You have been led astray. You’re a victim in a vicious cycle in which you are doing the spinning. Spin the damn thing in the opposite direction! You have already suffered enough hurt, enough disappointment, enough lack to know something isn’t right! It isn’t life, it is you. It isn’t God, it is you. It isn’t just the way life is, it’s the way you think (believe) life is. Sooner or later you have to realize life is lived inside out. MAKE YOUR INSIDE RIGHT!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Do What Feels Good…


Before you get started down the wrong path, this isn’t some appeal to your hedonistic tendencies, wish as you may. Nor is this some modern day philosophy that promises you pleasure in spite of future pain. Instead this about honoring your feelings for their true purpose, to lead you to something better. This about de-numbing yourself from the grips of societal pressures and expectations. It’s about recognizing when you feel good and wholeheartedly pursuing it rather than falling back to the circumstances that cause you to feel bad. If you have become weary of the see-saw; of the ups then the downs; of the heights then the valleys , this post is for you!

Carefully constructed and intertwined with your mind are your feelings. God has designed for certain necessities to feel good to encourage their continuance and certain behaviors to cause pain demanding their termination. And as simple as it may seem, the world works feverishly to get you embroiled in certain patterns guaranteed to defeat you. Then, in the final analysis, there you sit like the alcoholic or drug abuser, buried and consumed by the very things that promised you liberty. You had many chances to escape, but in your callousness, brought about by your error, you failed to be sensitive to your feelings any longer.

Life for humankind has one basic essence and that foundational essence is control. Learning to control yourself is a class you cannot skip. Oh you can spend a lot of time floundering around in the misty flats, but life will instruct you otherwise if you are still willing to hear. Everything you fail to control will eventually control you. Every “one too many” carries with it a penalty from which it is hard to escape. That which you refuse to control causes you to feel bad just as everything you can control and do control causes you to feel good. A successful life isn’t found in large batches, but is found in the multitude of little handfuls. It’s not the critical decisions requiring your utmost concentration and effort that make or break you, but is instead the seemingly minor decisions that confront you every day!

If you play it correctly, you soon learn there is a rhythm and a flow to life. The secret isn’t to fight and argue in your rebellion, but to acquiesce and adapt. It all falls subservient to one important question. What is it that you need to do next? What activity or behavior does the present situation demand? What thing should you do that will make you feel good about yourself? Do you need to clean the place up? Is there some nagging, aggravating, broken thing you know you need to fix? Is there some unresolved situation or conversation you know you need to have that you have been avoiding? Have you let yourself go in terms of your health or your finances or your creativity or your happiness? Have you settled in to a life of mediocrity? Whatever it is, there it sits like a gigantic boulder impending your path and there you sit choosing to avoid it. The answer to the question of what you need to do next is painfully obvious to you and you my friend, already know what it is!

The search to feel good is the supreme factor in finally becoming happy. Happiness doesn’t come or for that matter last until you begin to make the right choices. When you stumble upon a behavior or activity that leaves you feeling good about yourself, that is an action to pursue. If the sight of yourself in the mirror causes you to flinch, there is something you can do about it. Like my barber said recently, “I control what I eat so I can like myself naked!” (smile) You can substitute that phrase with anything that helps you like yourself! Self-esteem is only found when you do things that lead to self respect. Self-loathing or self-hate come about only by a multiplicity of skipped or prolonged good choices. Take control of anything you can control and see for yourself how wonderful it feels.

Moderation in your life sees to it that you don’t get too high and that you don’t go too low, but there’s lots of space in-between. There is a whole world of joy in-between. Sure you will have times when you chased too much of a good thing. But not to worry, as that will always be very evident to you. Consequently, you will have periods of life where you foolishly sought after the wrong things, and they too will not fail to reveal themselves to you. The same moderation you employ in your behaviors is also required in the way that you think about yourself. Give yourself a break and embrace your new days. It is just as morally wrong for you to beat yourself for some past bad behavior as it was to perform the wrong behavior in the first place. Moderation is the key!

Don’t complicate things unnecessarily! As my Peloton inspiration often says, “It’s not that deep!” Your requirement isn’t to live your whole life in the next moment, but to live your “right now” life in the next moment. Do what in your heart you know you need to do now, next. Stop avoiding your life or waiting for some magical circumstance to make it all nice again like when you were a kid. That ship has already sailed. But like that kid you so dearly miss did, live your life in the moment called now! Do the next thing whatever it is.

I often marvel that the highroad with God isn’t found in complexity and complication, but is found in simplicity; in the many todays that eventually make up our best tomorrows. Grab your life by the balls and control it. Get back on top of whatever you are no longer on top of… You won’t master it by tomorrow, but you will be on the right track, feeling good and doing good. My brothers and sisters, do what feels good!

Just some good thoughts…

The Great Balancing Act


live-unbalanced-1080x670There is such a thing as having too much of a good thing. Every want and every desire carries within itself the potential to turn into an obsession. The discipline that checks can devolve into cruelty. Adherence to rules and standards can lead to peace but also to the bondage of servitude. In order to live successfully and enjoy the ride, you have to learn to find the balance.

It seems God rewards common sense. Intuitively we know when we are out of harmony with ourselves. We know that what starts good doesn’t always end well. We can exercise the muscle and damage the joint. As we traverse through the thrilling peaks of life, we know we cannot sustain them and soon fall headlong into the valleys. What blesses us most is the level ground, the flattened hills, the filled in depressions, the balance. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Yet excitement and enjoyment only, like the delusion of drugs, leads ever to some future collapse. Exhilaration must be followed by some settling or else your heart blows up. But if nothing ever spikes your heart you may as well be dead. You have to occupy the middle territory.

It seems God made the world a metaphor for proper thought. All around us nature teaches us balance as abundant foliage in the summer drops off in the fall to make way for the spring.  Holes soon fill in and high spots eventually get smoothed out. The tide rolls out and rolls back in again. The enjoyments of life follow the struggles and without the struggles there is no satisfaction. Every weekend is preceded by its weekdays. Waking and sleeping, working and playing, accepting and rejecting, all choosing, all deciding part of one and part of another resulting in a balance. And life, it appears, offers itself to the one willing to seek until eventually located, only to be required again later on.

It seems God has designed our bodies and our minds to require a balance and if not indulged, though working out of balance for extended periods, eventually breaks down and wears out forcing its owner to stop until the balance returns. If you have too much going on and you are working too long and too hard, at some juncture the machinery fails and a short bout with illness or some other malady forces you to reconsider. You can drive yourself to extremes in acquiring great wealth yet have no-one left to enjoy it with because the journey drove them all away. You can have so many resources that you can live in perpetual play, until your play turns into a drug addiction or obsession or any unhealthy overindulgence in something fun. Your vessel was designed for equilibrium.

It seems God endorses moderation. The developed world is consumed with the symbols of youth, with the top of the chart being physical fitness disguised as leanness, code for being thin! The trouble being that generally the thin ones are also the youngsters. The older you get, the heavier you get, the less desirable you become. It is the “thin culture.” Enter a vast population of people virtually starving themselves to achieve some artificial level of fitness reserved for people whose full-time job is fitness. That’s not to say there is something wrong with fitness, but when the fitness exceeds logic and good sense or is so extreme that it requires a fourth of your waking hours, it is functioning as a compensation for something else. Every diet craze is solved by the watchword – moderation. Perpetual dieting, the bane of rational activity, always requires a period of deprivation followed by a period of bingeing on everything forbidden during the deprivation phase. The question isn’t how thin you are, the question is what are you really after with your thinness? You can enjoy all things in moderation, which is more of a mindset than a restriction. Level your mindsets…

The great balancing act of life is more about you being in control than any other factor in a life of a million variables. You, being the boss of your own butt, decide just how much time and energy you will give to a thing. If the effort required overwhelms you, it is likely too much. If the effort required is barely noticeable, it is probably too little. Continuing to work at your job long after you have left for the evening may get lots of work done, but it will work you over in the process. Your enthusiasm and commitment may be rewarded until you slip a little and find out rather harshly that you are in fact replaceable if the need so requires it. Working hard certainly isn’t the issue but rather why you are doing what you are doing and whether you are controlling it or “it” is controlling you. The balance of life is found in control.

In the profound humanity of our existence, we all find ourselves pushed and pulled to one extreme or the other. We all traverse mountains and then fall into our self-made valleys. We all like our likes too much and discover ourselves controlled by something we used to control and enjoy. It is part of our human condition and all of the emotions and joy and disappointment and sadness that goes along with it. Yet, our humanity is one of the best things about us. We feel and thus we act. And in our honest feelings we make fine tuned decisions and subtle adjustments ever seeking that which makes us feel the best about ourselves. The built-in balance mechanism a gift from God.

The question to ask yourself is, “How do I feel?” If you feel out of balance, rushed and harried, you are, so honor your feelings and make the change. This isn’t a decision other people make for you, it is a decision you make for yourself. It’s your life my friend, so pursue the balance only you can demand for yourself and enjoy your ride. It’s not being egotistical. It’s being responsible.

Just some good thoughts…

 

21 to Nothing…


453127445I’m not sure how this kind of thing happens or what’s behind those sudden decisions we make in life, though I have some strong suspicions, but for whatever reason you suddenly find yourself consumed with the idea of putting yourself to the test in some capacity for some important reason. This is exactly what happened to me. I was about to return from a conference where I happily ate, drank and was merry. As the conference closing drew near, I finalized the idea that when I got home I was going to put myself on a drastic calorie reduced diet. My reasoning basically consisted of the idea that I had allowed myself to get fat and was getting to the point where I could barely tolerate that guy in the mirror. I knew this diet was the only plan that had worked for me in the past, so I put the naysayers behind me and began the 21 day quest. Naturally, my reduced calorie diet included an abstinence from alcohol for the next 21 days as well. I’m not the kind of guy that needs a drink to function, but I cannot recall the last time I hadn’t even had a glass of wine for 3 weeks. So the test and the learning commenced…

Much to my surprise, my first lesson made clear to me how important it is to make decisions, specifically the stronger your decision, the easier it is going to be to carry out your plan. When, by God, you decide how it is going to be, then, by God that is exactly how it is! Day after day I lost a pound as promised; did not cause my body to think I was starving; had vegetables and protein daily; did not suffer the litany of other ailments I would surely undergo from losing weight too quickly. My only pair of jeans that still fit soon took on the baggy look. I found a whole wardrobe of suits and shirts that magically worked again. Shoot, I could even wear a t-shirt to the gym without the all too familiar belly bulge! Victory!

Uber discipline in place for calorie reduction, my most pleasant surprise came by shaking up my familiar routines involving alcohol. Not having a glass of wine during the week was relatively simple, but not having any wine on the weekend days, that’s a whole other story! You may not realize this but Friday nights were made for wine. Choosing no wine on wine night is quite a slap in a habit’s face! Abstain I did, as I had already decided, and I was left with myself facing myself. You know what I found? Years of unresolved childhood issues and hurts left unattended? Painful realizations of what my life really consisted of? Ummm, no! What I found was that absent the anesthetic, I was damn productive. Suddenly I had a lot of shit to do! After I did it, I assumed my usual veg position on the couch minus the fatty chips and a glass of wine. When in doubt, do thinking… I think you’ll enjoy it.

My next realization and perhaps best lesson learned involved how I felt about myself. I’m not trying to tell you that abstinence is best or that you should live without many of the things that you enjoy. What I am telling you is that controlling yourself feels damn fantastic! Control yourself! Learn to say no! Resist! Take charge of the organism. Your desires, your wants, your enjoyments, your habits aren’t in control, you are! And when that day comes, for whatever reason, prompted by whatever logic, do it, feel it, overcome it. Controlling your own self is like crack cocaine to your self-esteem. You become the “effin” champion! It’s the most unusual, yet most profound thing in the world. Controlling yourself, not just for a rough 21 day test, but throughout your life, clearly is the best thing to do. I mean, if a small piece of cheese makes a mouse return to the same spot, the feelings you get from controlling yourself, alone, are worth any hardship you might face. It’s like God is telling you, “See, control isn’t bad, it’s everything good!” Try it…

At the risk of sounding preachy or, God forbid, religious, your brain really doesn’t need the substance to be okay. Your unaltered mental state can actually be very sweet and even more resilient than you have given it credit to be. The trick is to avoid rapid medication over just allowing yourself to be with yourself as yourself. Some jokes aren’t that funny. Some experiences are hysterical. In short, you start to figure out things that need to be done and things you want to get done. Have I sworn off wine forever? Of course not! But, I did put myself to the test and not only won, but more importantly learned some valuable things about myself.

My seemingly insignificant little experiment taught me so many things, the greatest of which is that control is not something to be feared, but rather something to be embraced and honored. Cliche’ aside, life is too damn short to be under anything’s control! Prove it to yourself!

Now, what’s next? What should you do? Well, if you don’t mind, find that thing that you cannot live without; find that part of life you’ve convinced yourself you have to have and go without it. Cut it off for a minute. Give it up. Just say no! It can be as simple as Dunkin Donuts coffee or as serious as a drug addiction. Point is – you don’t need anything outside of yourself to be happy and you can discipline yourself to give up almost anything (except what you need to live). But, don’t do it because I said so, do it when you also experience that urge; that calling; that determination to put yourself to the test and win.

Life under control is awesome people… Try it for yourself!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

Taming Your Wild and Crazy Mind…


your-thoughtsI suppose it wouldn’t matter much what you thought about if your thoughts had no effect on your life. If your life wasn’t governed by what you believe and what you believe wasn’t determined by what you think about the most, there would be no point in trying to get that unruly beast (your mind) under control. But alas, your thoughts do form the basis of what you believe and what you believe deep in your heart is the wellspring from which your entire life flows out (or lack thereof).

Of all of the things in life you can control, nothing is more important or potentially life-giving than controlling your thoughts. It’s almost amusing to most folks, this insane notion that you can control your thoughts. In these frenetic times of visual, electronic images, overloaded and multiplied indefinitely, available in front of you, on your side and in your hand; calm, singular and controlled thought is highly discouraged or even considered boorish. Well, don’t you believe that for a second!

Many people today just sort of limp through life. They drag along day by day filled with anxiety, stress, depression, boredom and a general lack of zest for living. And sadly, they’ve done it for so long that they think that’s just the way life is. They fail, disastrously, to make the connection between what appears in their life and what they think about the most. Subsequently, your life may be summed up in one simple question. “What do you believe is going to happen in your life?” If life for you is one continuous stream of things going wrong, negative events occurring, and disasters looming over the horizon, you have to ask yourself what kind of thoughts have you been incubating in your mind. Fear and anxiety are not a natural part of life, they are aberrations that come about by entertaining and focusing on the wrong things. Then when the catastrophe strikes, you exclaim, “I knew it!” Well, you did know it because you cooperated with “it” by allowing it to remain in your thinking. Disaster, catastrophe, hardship, difficulty and pain are not random at all, though they appear to be. They are pointed and specific and come about by man’s cooperation with evil by failing to control what he will and will not think about or failure to properly believe what is true. Man absent the truth is an anxiety machine ever churning out products to his own suffering.

Life in its simplest form boils down to two distinct realities; light and darkness, love and fear, good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error; all an alternate way to say the same thing.  As you live your own life, you are making decisions and choices everyday. You don’t get what you want, you get what you choose. If you choose to persist in something you know is wrong, no matter how rebellious, apathetic or careless you feel about it, you will continue to get the wrong results in your life. Oh you can cling to it; get real damn angry about it, justify it infinitely, but it will still continue to bring to you what, at its core it is, whether you like it or not. Many times that inner turmoil you are experiencing doesn’t need to be resolved by medication, it needs to be resolved by your decision to stop doing that thing (or maybe do that thing less)! You decide what that thing is… This isn’t some religious call to dissect and pick apart your life. That sort of thinking is just as bad (as you probably have already experienced). This is a sober reality check, pointing out that only good can come from good and only bad can come from bad. It doesn’t matter what the world says, it matters what the truth is!

Worldly, so-called spiritual leaders always seem to shame and malign material prosperity, as if having an abundance is somehow not spiritual. Well, here’s a quick newsflash for you. Life is a helluva lot easier with some resources than it is without them. Don’t you kid yourself. If you car breaks down and costs $2,000 dollars to fix it, it’s hardly a flinch in your thought life if you’ve got plenty of money to fix it. If you don’t, it’s an emergency. Accordingly, God’s will for you is abundance! So, back to the core issue, namely what do you think about material prosperity? Does it elude you like a gazelle escaping clutches of a lion? If so, that is a choice you are making in your thoughts. It doesn’t matter that every previous generation in your family had very little. What matters is what do you think or believe will happen in your life. Can you see it? The limit, the dividing line isn’t the world, it’s you.

Nowadays disease is at an epidemic level. Almost everyone seems to have something. Sickness and disease are not God’s will. Our imperfect bodies (not intended by God) sometimes fall prey to sickness. Fearful, worried, anxious thinking weakens our immune system and opens the door for illness. You may wonder why you are always so sick, but fail to consider that your thoughts are sick. Your mind and your body engage in a delicate dance with one responding to the other. Often your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong with your thoughts. Occasionally your body forces you to escape the frenetic pace you’ve engaged in and lays you up for a few days. Naturally some diseases carry a larger price tag. The “C” word for most threatens pending doom. Yet, even in the midst of life threatening cancer, you still have a choice. For God, healing you of cancer is no different from healing you of a common cold. So even in that arduous, fear inducing condition, you can choose to believe what God says and control your thoughts to keep the invader out. It doesn’t matter how you feel. What matters is what is true.

You can control that unruly beast called your mind. You can also let it go, wherever it is being led. But beware, and know, that if you aren’t leading it, something else is and that “something” does not wish you well. Instead, learn what to think and what is true. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You can turn your entire life around. You can change any aspect or part. You can acquire material abundance and be healed from everything that ever went wrong. You can, my friends, and you will if you’ll only learn one thing – how to control your thinking, for your thoughts form the basis of your heart; the wellspring from which your entire life flows out! Make a good choice..

Just some good thoughts…

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…