Cleaning Out Your Closet…


messyclosetYou know how it feels when you finally invest the time to clean up a room or the garage or organize your closet? You usually don’t feel like doing it and unless you’re my wife, you typically wait too long to do it. But after you get the job done, no matter how much internal bitching you did in the process, you feel sublime… And, like any place you store things, that thought storage shed, called your mind, needs some regular cleaning out as well.

People, as a whole, drag around a lot of crap in their minds. They remember and retain every wrong word and deed they ever did. They hold onto their hurts like honor badges. Yet, they cast away accolades and approbation like used tissues. They cleave to what harsh thing daddy said when they were eleven, and tune out the good words from every other adult since that day! People walk through life in a perpetual state of discontent. Through their minds flash important things to handle, that are left unsaid. They clearly see the decisions to make, yet fail to make them. They post themselves in long-term limbo neither going backwards, nor moving ahead. Their mental closet is chock full, unable to appropriately address the most important issues of that precious time called today. Why, oh why?

The infamous “why” is obviously complicated, but no more complicated than understanding mankind’s obsession with what’s wrong over and above what is right. Add to the confusion a lack of willingness to actually solve the issues and you have a recipe for long-term limbo and perpetual discontent. Or in other words, a closet full of garbage and like any apparently huge, foreboding  project, you don’t take on the task, though you desperately need to, because the job appears too hard. It’s sort of funny because if you were to measure the amount of energy you spent tripping over your mental clutter, it would vastly exceed the energy needed to figure a couple of things out. I say a couple of things because generally you have one large issue to resolve which secretly influences all of the smaller decisions.

So, where do you begin? Easy…what is on your mind the most? What difficulty; what issue; what dilemma hits your mind every day? That background thought that haunts you is the problem! You have to take it on! Brushing it aside might work for the day, but there it is still, like an infected sore poisoning all that follows after. Solve that; deal with that; work on that!

Recently I cleaned out my walk-in closet. As I toiled though the racks, I found item after item that no longer had any relevance in my life. There were suits that were 100% wool, but no longer in style or relevant. Old shoes that were still new looking, but never worn. There were dress shirts and Polos that I haven’t touched for years, but held because they still looked good though they never made it to my body. How many things in your life are now outdated? What things are you cleaving to that once held significance but no longer do? Life, like a wardrobe, changes. In order to be successful, you have to change. It’s not optional or a luxury, it’s a requirement. How many of you are stubbornly clinging to life as it once was? Like you, I have fond, oh so fond memories of sweet past times, but you can’t go back. You can certainly dream for and enjoy something better in the future, but you cannot go back. Longing and pining for a sweeter, former time in your life is an exercise in futility as it goes against all of the laws of life. Time marches on and you have too as well…

Can’t you see that your issues are generally centered around some event that happened in the past? Or, you are harboring some dreaded potential event that might happen in the future. Past, future, both acting as mental clutter that serves no real purpose other than to fill your mental closet. Your mind, as incredible as it seems, was designed to handle the issues of today. Imagine what your life would be like without all of that dredge from the past. Think of life absent a multitude of groundless fears of the future.

The reason you stay stuck, mummified in the past, is because you choose to do it. You choose to hold onto the memory. The event, no matter what it was or how dreadful it was, exists only in your memory. The future terror you rehearse day after day exists only in your mind and will cease the moment you choose to make it cease! Clean your closet; make room in your closet; free up your closet to store the things of today.

In order to be successful in this mind cleansing business, you have to be honest with yourself. There’s no shame in being a human. The shame lies in forfeiting your precious life that you are living right now for a life founded upon the past or the future. Live today, do today, overcome today!

As odd as it sounds, you have a right to be happy today. You have a right to live a full life today. You have a right to breathe free air, no longer shackled by the past nor afraid of the future. You’ve got one shot at this thing and the time is so short. Make up your mind to free yourself from the mental clutter the world is drowning in and live free now!

The demands of living successfully today are great and require the use of your entire closet. Empty that thing out and live. You deserve that, don’t you think?

Just some good thoughts…

 

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Be…….. Present.


todayIt seems of all the futilities possible in this life, there is one futility that tops the list. It is the futility of trying to live in a moment that isn’t now. Think about that for a moment. (No, really think about it…) The only moment you and I can live is the moment called, ‘now.’ But, we don’t do that, do we? We spend all of our ‘precious now’ living either in the past or in the future.

The past exists only in your mind. Those moments, good or bad, are gone forever. Sure, you have memories, but in reality that time is gone forever. And, whatever happened that lives on so vividly in your mind is no longer anything but a memory. Humans are a very peculiar bunch. You may have spent years doing good things, yet you foolishly cleave to those fragmented times when you didn’t do so well. It seems if you played the odds, you would give yourself a little credit. But, you don’t. And, to make matters worse, you rehearse those fragments and feel the hurt and pain all over again. Those annoying ghosts serve no purpose but to make your present life miserable and distracted. Instead of rejoicing in the possibility of today, you exercise your demons again and again and wonder why you aren’t happy or why your life feels unfulfilled.

The flip side of the equation is trying to live in the future. How many times have you discarded five days while waiting for two? Or pushed to make it through several months while waiting for that dream two-week vacation in the summer? And how about the “put-off” epidemic? Once I get done with college… Or, when I get that dream job… Or, when I find that special person… And that doesn’t even account for those times you feel afraid! You are so sure that such and such a bad thing is going to happen, that you waste days on end only to find out it either didn’t happen, or when it did happen you could actually handle it?

The ultimate problem with not living in the moment is that you miss your life that is happening now. Life is pregnant with possibilities waiting to be born, but you will never see them until you slow that monkey mind down and learn to live in this moment. Otherwise, you won’t see it. Here’s a thought. How many of you feel restless and anxious? Now ask yourself, is your restlessness or anxiety based on now or is it based on your past or on your future? Again, we humans are a peculiar bunch! We are so worried about the long gone past and not yet arrived future, that we can’t even relax and enjoy right now. What if I’m not successful? What if my life goes to hell and I spend my latter days in misery? Really? Really? Call me crazy but it seems that my success in life depends on what I do right now! Misery, like happiness doesn’t just show up unexpected. It shows up based on what preceded it. And, what precedes it is the moment called, ‘now.’

Life really isn’t as complex as we have imagined. You’re worried about your relationship because things have been bad lately (the past…). You think that things may be going to hell in a hand basket (the future…). But, in truth, you have 100% control over yourself in this very moment. You want happiness. You want love. You want warmth. You want harmony. So… Do happiness now. Do love now. Do warmth now. Do harmony now! Yeah, but what about the hurts of the past? (Memory) What if things don’t work out? (Imagination of the future)

This may come as a surprise to you, but God really designed you to live in the present moment. His instruction book clearly tells you to forget the past and quit worrying about the future. And, because He knows all about how your mind works, He tells you that He has forgiven your past (and paid for it – take that karma!) and promises you a wonderful future. But neither promise can be fulfilled while you persist in that dastardly past and future focus.

Children are the best example of being in the moment. When my grandchildren come over, Braylon sits on the couch next to me and plays with my iPad. (He said I’m the Grandpa that likes to sit down – smile)  Wherever I move to, he follows. He doesn’t say much. He doesn’t need much. He just wants to sit next to his grandpa, feeling the love, in the moment.

In microcosm form, that is what life is really about. It’s about people being fully present in the moment and sharing love with one another.  Don’t you see it?  We are all the same.  We all want the same stuff.  It’s not about chasing this and avoiding that; running from this and trying to hold on to that. It’s about being present; living fully in the present moment. And when you finally get it, you are going to find that everything you ever wanted is going to show up, right at the perfect moment; not a minute too soon or a minute too late. The reason it hasn’t happened so far is that you aren’t here yet.

Just be… present and see if things don’t appear out of nowhere, because they have been there all along…

Life is soooo good my friends, in the present moment…

The Simple Joy of Living Today…


living-in-the-present   Think back to the last time you were on vacation.  Whether it was lounging on a sandy beach or taking in the gorgeous views during a mountain hike or languishing in your hotel room in a beautiful city or the smell of bacon frying in the morning while camping by the side of the lake; what makes your vacation time so much better than the rest of your time?  You may argue that it is so sublime because you don’t have to go to work.  But many folks exert as much energy playing as they do at work and sometimes more energy.  You may conclude that it is the change of environment; the sand, the trail, the room, the water etc.  Certainly there are many factors involved with vacations that cause us to feel joyful, but there is one common theme that is the subject of today’s blog.  On a vacation intended for relaxation we shift our focus from the past and the future to the wonderful present.  We purposefully don’t think about the bills that “will” be due or the work we need to finish later or what the boss said to us in anger last week.  No, we make some loose plans and then get busying enjoying the wonder and beauty that is today.  It is as if we free ourselves from all the illusory burdens of time and focus ourselves on “right now!”  And since right now is all we can experience, we decide to thoroughly enjoy it.

There is a way to live your life that escapes the thinking of the masses.  There’s a way to make the most of your experiences.  There is a simplicity to life that is so simple we have missed it all our lives.  The culture of our world is ever seeking ways for us to move faster, get more done, accomplish more and maximize our time.  We laud multi-tasking and efficiency and “to get err done…”  Just do it and do it and do it again is the mindset of today.  And for all of our inventions and efficiencies and time savers, where has it gotten us?  Are we happier?  Are we joyful?  Do we feel blessed and content?  I would say no.  Yet it’s not the speed at which we move that bogs us down.  It’s where we have learned to put the focus of our minds.  Humans are designed to live in one time period and one time period only – right now!  The only time we have available to us is this present moment.  Yet how much time do we spend focused on the present moment?  While we are at work today we focus on getting home.  During the week we focus on the upcoming weekend.  During the work year we  focus on the coming vacation.  While we are at school we are thinking about being done with school.  While cleaning the house we are thinking about how great it will be to sit down and relax after the house is clean.  But the real joy of living is found in 100% commitment to the present moment.  It is persisting in a state of experiencing and enjoying right now.  If the duties of right now call for some house cleaning, so be it.  If it’s time to go to work, go to work and be 100% involved in your work while you are there.  Don’t spend one idle moment wishing you were off work as that shift of focus will make your work a misery.  What is the best way to experience school?  Don’t mentally leave the classroom before you physically leave the classroom.  In fact, don’t mentally leave any moment you are still in, as departing from the present moment takes the enjoyment out of it.

Interestingly, the vast majority of our concerns and our anxieties and our fears are found where?  In the future!  Unless a large tiger is currently gnawing on your calf muscle, you probably don’t have anything to be afraid of right at this moment, correct?  So do this moment and refuse to do the future moments.  Can’t you see how huge and life changing this is?  Uh huh, but what about the future?  Am I supposed to just let everything go now and make no plans for the future?  Well of course not, silly!  Make the most grand and glorious plans that you can, then do today, today!  Maybe in your future you see yourself as an author?  Then take some time to write today (smile)…

And what about the past?  How do we handle all of those times we zigged when we should have zagged?  Or that one big thing?  Well, the past is ummm past…  We can’t go back to those moments, can we?  Shoot we can’t even go back to fifteen minutes ago when we were eating those three donuts, to not eat them, right?  LOL  In reality, the past no longer exists.  It’s gone man!  Over.. In the books!  Thus imagine the sheer FUTILITY (yelling now) of spending any of your present moments regretting your past moments.  Sure, encourage your sweet memories; your times of love and success and appreciation, remember the people you cherished, but do it while you are wholeheartedly choosing to live today.

I realize the simplicity of this is almost too much to take.  But if you have ever believed anything I have ever said, believe this; living 100% in the present moments will cause your “joy” and “appreciation” levels to go off the chart!  And while you are seriously giving this a try, take a look at your children or your grandchildren.  Notice the joy they experience by living in the moment?  Oh they don’t have to pay bills?  LOL  Maybe not, but neither do you at this present moment!  (You are reading, right?)

So how can you thoroughly enjoy the simplicity of living life today?  Get your vacation mind-set working for you!  Decide to be fully alive and observant and mindful of these very moments you find yourself in.  Don’t go back in time and don’t go too far ahead in time.  Do, be, live, love and enjoy today, as tomorrow will have it’s own issues for you to deal with “tomorrow…”

Mmmm is that the smell of bacon by the campfire?  No, it’s the smell of many minds that just came back to life!

Today…