I Hope You Dance…


I came across these beautiful lyrics today and was tenderly reminded that no matter where your life may be heading with its twists and turns there is always hope for a wonderful future. And, much of what has happened to you in the past exists now only in your memory and even that is often undistinguished and unreliable. Certain setbacks and hardships color your past experiences with unfair brushstrokes overly shaded on the difficulties. While childhood wishes and dreams were formed in the heart of a child and not within the ripened experience of an adult. So, no matter where you are today and whatever you are going through, I hope you find your life and your happiness again. I hope you dance…

“I Hope You Dance”

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance, I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

Dance, I hope you dance…
                                                               ~ By Lee Ann Womack

All of us begin our lives in the same way. In front of us lies an enormous ocean of possibilities, we have only to find them and live them. Our hearts, not yet distracted by the worries and concerns of life, are unshackled and free to experience. Our focus is singular and clear, unashamed and in harmony with our highest good. We seek in earnest the things that make us happy and shun those things which do not. We believe unreservedly for the good in life unaware of the alternatives. In childhood, life is simple and full of wonder. Yet something happens to people as the years go by and what was once simple and free is no longer free nor simple. The challenges of life when combined over a lifetime can take away your zest for living and dim your gleaming shine. You can lose sight of the very essence of life and become encumbered in what might have been or what you could have done. The world is often a cruel teacher leading you to forget life’s sweetest lessons and instead instruct your failures in the hopes of their continuance. But, the wonder of life, the passion, the opportunity, the promise hasn’t gone away, it has just been obstructed from your view. What you felt once you can feel again when you become clear that life hasn’t changed, you have. I hope you dance.

Of all of the frightful things that could happen to a man or a woman, nothing is more destructive and painful as giving up on life. Living your life a shadow of your former self, banished to the sidelines, without God and without hope is the most miserable way to live. Yet, people live this way day in and day out. They have sacrificed the joy of life for a paycheck or for approval or to make someone else’s life a pleasure. They willingly cash in their hopes and dreams for someone else’s dream. They think they cannot so they do not. They become so accustomed to disappointment that they expect it and in expecting, live it. They rely on other people’s judgments and no longer trust their own. Seeing a good thing that they love, that they could do, they refuse waiting for permission. And in so doing, they cease living. Your life is your’s alone and what makes its appeal to you, to you alone it appeals. You’ve lost your energy for life because you no longer seek what energizes you, but trade it in for another’s life force. Finding your way back depends not so much on locating the path, but finding your path again. There is a way that exists only for you. To think yourself a part of the masses and conforming with those masses spells the end of you, the you, you seek to rediscover. No matter what complexities have enveloped your life, you will find yourself with simplicity in those things most appealing to you. Pursue them with vigor! I hope you dance…

Every day you have a choice in how you are going to live. To say you have no choice is never true. Life is full of new things to learn; things that take your breath away; things that bring tears to your eyes. The wonder of life cannot be over-worked or completed. There is infinitely more life to live than you have the capacity to experience. All of this God created for you. It remains there waiting for you to once again discover it. Walk away from all of your disappointments and hurts. Let go of all the fears and insecurities. Take a chance that your life is worth the living. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Your memories, be they sublime or distressing, are just memories and do not hold the power to write your future. You do. And when you choose I hope you dance!

Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance. And in doing so, I know you will dance. I hope you dance…

Just some good thoughts…

What Do You Think?


It’s interesting during these times of increased uncertainty and fear that there would also be an increase in depression. Depression by its very nature refers to the act of lowering something or pressing something down. You don’t start with despondency, you arrive there. If you have ever been depressed, you know how terrible it is robbing your life of all enthusiasm and energy. And despite where you end up, chemical imbalance acknowledged, much of what happened to you happened because of what you were thinking. What do you think?

All thoughts are not equal. Some thoughts bring life and joy and peace. While other thoughts work to shatter your entire nervous system. What you think does matter! Certain trains of thought, if persisted in, will bring about great detriment to your life. Entertaining thoughts of fear and worry work to steal away your life force. They literally suck the life right out of you. If you continue in them and do not thwart them, they will bring you down into the great valleys of life. And, once you find yourself down there, it is damn hard to find your way back! Fear thoughts make you sick. Fear thoughts fill your mind and body with anxiety. Fear thoughts are the ultimate destruction and they have no logical end point. Fear thoughts are always a lie threatening some future day. And since you cannot live in the future, they will continue to work you over until you fold! Fear thoughts are not overcome with logic and more and more understanding. While it is true that ignorance leads to fear, at the end of the day, fear thoughts must be starved out. Each day spent in fear is a day lost. What you think and what you refuse to think does matter. It matters more than almost anything you can do in this life. 

That thought would have such a powerful and lasting effect in people’s lives, yet remain so misunderstood is one of the great mysteries of life. Your life, my life, literally hinges upon the thoughts we allow and encourage and those we refuse and reject. Your thoughts are one of the few things you can control in this life. And, aside from some rather vague generalities concerning being positive, we have been largely uninstructed in this regard. It is a common belief that people live their lives while thinking along the way, rather than what people think actually forms the basis of their lives. Good thoughts, right thoughts, true thoughts bring abounding peace to their possessor. Right thought introduces energy into your existence. Proper thinking leads to warm and sunny circumstances. Good thoughts open your heart to the goodness that is in the world and allows you to see it. True thoughts bring clarity and genuine understanding, shining a bright light on all that is false and harmful. Thoughts of guilt and condemnation, while appearing noble, actually rob your life of all vigor and grace. Hateful, judgmental thoughts bring harshness and cruelty to yourself first then to all others you come into contact with. While thoughts of love and kindness serve to soften and warm, bringing healing and every good possible. All of the various and unlimited, possible outcomes are wrapped up in the thoughts you entertain most frequently. 

The time to focus on and correct your thinking is today. You are only responsible for the thoughts you think right now. What are you thinking about? What thoughts race across your mind? What thoughts seem to settle in the background like dark specters, offering all the reasons why you cannot be happy or why you cannot finally relax? We all want to be happy, but we don’t all think the thoughts that are happy. Instead we sort of let our minds run like a motorboat, then act surprised when we end up at destinations we neither chose nor encouraged. We seem to wish that life would just work out no matter what we thought. We think failure, fear failure, expect failure, then get pissed off that we failed. How could we not? If you live your life being deathly afraid of some negative variable, get ready to face that variable! God didn’t do it to you, you did it to you! You have a solemn responsibility to control your thinking. You decide what you are going to think about or at minimum what you are going to keep thinking about. When you find yourself struck by some sudden negative element in your thinking or for that matter in your life, you have a decision to make. What are you going to think about? Are you going to cooperate with evil by spending your days contemplating some awful variable or are you going to think something else? They’re your thoughts! They have always been your thoughts…

It is never too late to turn your life around. You change your trajectory by changing your thinking. You don’t have to control and manage every thought, just your next thought. You decide. If you are feeling depressed, lacking energy and vitality, chances are you have been thinking about the wrong stuff, a lot! If you feel miserable and defeated, you are not thinking soundly. Your emotions follow your thoughts and not the other way around. If you feel agitated and distressed, fearful and anxious, ask yourself what you have been feeding your mind. What are you thinking? Believe it or not, you are responsible for the things you put into your mind. Oh sure, sometimes weird stuff pops in, but you don’t have to let it stay. I’m not talking about drowning yourself in positivity, despite whatever is going on. I’m talking about stop drowning yourself in negativity. Stop encouraging those thoughts. Stop feeding them. Stop giving them space in your mind. You aren’t just being human, you are squandering your resources. Every happy person you have ever met has had the same mental challenges you are having, they just refused to let them win! What do you think? 

Just some good thoughts…

Ummm, How’s Your Energy Lately?


When you boil it all down (pun intended), life is all about energy. Life functions or does not function based on energy. Everything gives off something. Some things in life serve to increase your energy, while other things tend to deplete that energy. You can feel energized and excited about life or you can feel tired, bored and distinctly lacking in energy! So the question is, how’s your energy lately?

It is often said that children have endless energy. They flick about from place to place, happy as a lark, purely in the moment. They don’t waste their energy in pointless worry, but rather focus their energy on the things that give them joy. They seldom feel badly about themselves and if they do, they seek to resolve it immediately. They don’t give a second thought to whether or not their needs will be met as they wholeheartedly trust their parents. And if they do find themselves with unmet needs, they continue to expect those needs to be met regardless. In short, they are wonderful, little positivity machines spreading good feelings to weary adults. Many a tired parent has been uplifted by their children.

By the time we get a little older we forget the lessons of our childhood. Instead of focusing on the good in life, we get all caught up in everything that isn’t right. We churn and burn in our thoughts, painfully considering all that could go wrong. We dismiss childrens’ delightful attitudes as naivety and assume instead ‘grown-folks’ thinking. We worry our needs won’t be met and we worry when things are going well. We cleave to all perceived wrongs done to us and remain vigilant for any new ones. We live in the past and in the future, rarely stopping in the present to have a look around. We not only feel bad about ourselves for wrongs done, we refuse to give those things a time limit. Some people are giving all their energy away to some relatively brief, bad event that happened over thirty years ago. And we wonder why we feel so tired. We wonder why we drag about like corpses with barely enough energy to fight for our own existence.

People aren’t worn out today because of how much they have to do. They’re worn out because of what they have been doing with their minds. They are giving away their finite energy to things they cannot affect. They are focused on the wrong stuff. They are distracted, confused and bewildered. People are so accustomed to worrying that they think not worrying is irresponsible. They distress over possible, though not likely, unreasonable, terrible outcomes. And they do it habitually, perpetually, day after day and night after night. And in so doing, they squander away their precious energy. All they have to show for it is a life not truly lived. Instead of courageously reaching forward, trying new things, endeavoring and taking risks, they settle into a worn-out mediocrity, full of fear and uneasiness.

Since all people have an energy they produce, you can be greatly affected by the people you are around. Some people add life to your soul and although you cannot put it into words, you know you are the better because of them. Others serve simply to drain away your life force. They bring distress and unrest and aren’t fulfilled until you are brought down to their level. Add to that an environment steeped in negatives, fears and predictions of doom, you are left defeated and without hope for the future. You become a victim trapped in a world that offers you nothing good, lasting or worthy of your pursuit. In that mental turmoil you find yourself unhappy and depressed, your depression being a lowering of your vitality and energy. Again it is no wonder the whole place lives on antidepressants or wine or anything that promises an escape, if only temporary.

God is the source of all energy. He is the force behind all life. His love, His goodness, His light is the energy you need to live a life that is abundant, yes more than abundant! It is always there available for you if you want it. It has no downside, no bad exchange, no cause for distress. He offers you life and energy and enthusiasm, not in exchange for something but in spite of everything. In order to access His life, you have to do something different. You have to take charge of that mind of yours and bring it under control. He will never overstep your freedom of will, no matter what the preacher may have told you! You have to do it yourself (with His help of course). You have to stop giving your energy to negatives. You have to put an end to the futile worrying. You must learn to stop considering and discussing and reasoning with your fears. Fear brings life to a standstill. You already know that no-one gets out of fear by continuing to embrace the fear. Instead fear is resolved by depriving it of your precious energy! It fades away only when you deny it your power, your energy, your life. In order for fear, which is always a lie, to live it needs life from someone as it has no life in itself. All it has is illusion, tempting away unknowing humans into its lair.

Once you learn to obey God in your thinking, or at least start trying to do it, you will find new energy to pursue your endeavors. You will find enthusiasm (en-theos) and energy and love. You will find that life takes on meaning again. The blurry will become clear and you will have the clarity you need to make moves successfully. Oh you may get sucked in again from time to time, but know this – deciding what you will and will not think about and refusing the darkness will lead ever to the life you really want! Is your energy at an all time low, my friends? Start controlling your thoughts and see if God will not energize you afresh!

Just some good thoughts…

Complacency is Not Your Friend…


ComplacentMy wife and I were privileged to spend the weekend with our good friends Bob and La Detra White at their beautiful home in North Decatur, Georgia. We were there to celebrate Bob’s 50th birthday milestone and what a celebration it was! We socialized at the hotel; enjoyed a catered Georgia brunch; were entertained by a fantastic singer with accompaniment in their home; traveled in the deluxe party coach to do some wine tasting and enjoyed a delicious dinner gathering in a private room. And that doesn’t even include the special times we enjoyed with their family and friends who were successful in their own rights.  I remember walking around their incredible home with Bob as he explained the various wood choices they made and the details they chose for the ceilings and walls. Then there was time we spent with La Detra as she explained her consulting business and how she learned to compete and demand the best for herself and her family. And in the midst of all this, I couldn’t help but think to myself, wow – these folks got it going on!

Successful people seem to have one common trait amidst a hundred competing ideals. They refuse to settle for what life begrudgingly offers and choose rather to seek out the best. It’s as if they have learned to discern the dividing lines and limitations people put upon themselves and consciously seek after things beyond those illusionary boundaries. They told La Detra she could never go Harvard and now that same Harvard grad is living the life; a life she chose and not one that was chosen for her! Did it take hard work? Absolutely! Were there hard times? Of course, as anything worth having has a payment required to achieve it. But one thing her success didn’t include was complacency…

You might not have seen it clearly enough yet, but complacency is not your friend. Complacency is marked by words like, “good enough” which in themselves aren’t bad but will never get you to your full potential. I mean have you ever wondered what you might accomplish if you pushed past those imaginary lines and went beyond those self-defined limitations you have put on yourself? What could you really do in this life? Curtis Bunn, published author, and my riding buddy on the party bus told me that it took him seven years to write his first book. Yet he rose above whatever held him back and wrote that first book! Now with a number of books on the market and a publishing contract for more books in hand, he enjoys his own success by refusing complacency and pressing toward things that matter; for his own life that he has chosen for himself.

We all start out in life with a hidden treasure of skills, aptitudes and abilities in our hearts; waiting, asking, begging for expression. And when we were young we heard those urgings distinctly and sought to pursue them. Then, something got in the way of those ideals and we started to hear those promptings less and less. We found out that we could get to “pretty good” quite easily and settled… I mean, after all, we are doing pretty well compared to some people, right? We have our basic needs met, don’t we? Why should we supply more effort if 60-70% got us this far? Why??? Because if 70% got you this far, imagine where you could go if you bumped that effort up to 90%. Imagine what you might bring to the world if you decided to go all in instead of saving something for later? Imagine what you might be able to do if you stopped being afraid to try?

Complacency is, therefore, the great killer of hopes, dreams, ideals. It moves in with stealth like a burglar and takes away your confidence; your passion; your enthusiasm, and does so without you even being aware of it. It convinces you day by day that how you are living is okay. It gets you to rationalize away your God-given talents. I mean who are you to seek so much? What have you done to deserve that life you’ve always imagined? And what does “little-ol” you have to offer? I’m guessing far more than you have even contemplated to this point!

Most folks are waiting for some inspiration. But here’s the funny thing about inspiration; inspiration is waiting on you! Inspiration isn’t something that comes to you by fate when the stars align or when good luck finally turns in your direction. Inspiration arrives when you are ready to receive it; when you have finally decided to do what you know you are capable of doing. And in that moment; that blessed moment, it floods in like a torrent and suddenly the day has no end.

This life is far too short to waste away your days on the couch wondering what you could have been. Why not push yourself out of your comfort zone and see what you can do? Your age isn’t a factor, nor can it be when you have unrealized dreams in your heart. Instead you owe it to yourself and our Great God that gave you those talents to reach beyond yourself and accomplish. Go all in, heart, soul, mind and strength! You can do it; you must do it!

Complacency is not your friend, but success is and she is waiting for you on the other side…

Go get it my friends, it’s waiting for you!