Enthusiastic Living!


enthusiasmLife requires energy to live it and your level of energy is connected directly to your thoughts. Children seem to have an almost unlimited amount of enthusiasm, but children also don’t waste too much time thinking about the wrong stuff. Adults do that. There is a competition that rages daily and that contest is for the allegiances of your mind. You spend or reserve your energy by the thoughts you are choosing to entertain. Positive thoughts, happy thoughts, hopeful thoughts, anticipating thoughts and indeed all “just some good thoughts” lead to the energy to do, which life is requiring. Negative thoughts, fearful thoughts, anxious thoughts of the future and anxious thoughts of the past serve only to deplete your energy culminating in you not having the energy you need to do you; to live your life successfully. Have you found yourself lately not having the energy or the enthusiasm that your life requires? Have you been running on empty, as the saying goes. Have you lost some or all of your enthusiasm for living? Does your life sometimes feel pointless? Well, not to worry my friends as there is always a solution if you are willing to hear it.

One of the things I enjoy best about my relationship with God is that He faithfully provides me with little insights and clues about how to live my life. He does not condemn me, nor does He judge me. Instead, He answers my questions and makes my cloudy spaces clear. Energy and enthusiastic living happens to be one of those private lessons. At one point in my life, I recognized that I just felt like I didn’t care about anything anymore. Nothing excited me and honestly it felt like I didn’t have anything to look forward to in my life. I had more resources than I had ever had before and also had all of the things you would expect to make up an excellent existence. But, I wasn’t blessed and I knew I needed some answers. Don’t get me wrong, the answers I needed didn’t show up overnight, like many things in our lives, as typically it has taken some time to bury us in our dilemmas. But, one thing was immediately clear to me. Something or someone was interfering with my day by day happiness and in doing so was robbing me of the blessings God wanted me to have. The first and usually most insidious blocker of happiness is fear. Fear sucks the life right out of you. Fear, which is almost always future based, paints unpleasant pictures of loss and defeat. Fear tells you that perhaps you will never get the thing you so desperately need. Fear proclaims that the pain you are experiencing will last forever and that you must resign yourself to some chronic, severely limiting condition. Fear threatens you and accuses you and just sort of sits there mocking your life, stealing from you and ultimately blocking your forward progress. If you have a profound lack of energy and enthusiasm for living, the odds are that you are harboring some fear in your life.  Oh trust me, it’s there. You simply have to take the time, be honest with yourself and recognize what it is that has you so afraid. Banishing and eliminating fear is step one! Fear, as crazy as it seems, is a choice you are making. You are giving it space, mind time (lots and lots of mind time) and you are refusing in some capacity to let it go. Trust me I have been there. But, I have to say this, nothing is going to change until you finally let that shit go. People live today chock full of anxiety trying all sorts of things to mitigate the feelings without ever getting to the bottom of it. Anxiety is fear also and it is blocking your enthusiasm for living.

Next on the learning train, you have to get back to living one day at a time. Deal with all of today’s assaults while it is still today. Take it on today. Don’t skip past it, move ahead, ignore it or let it go. If you think about it, you aren’t afraid and anxious about today. You are afraid of tomorrow and the things you cannot see yet. Failure to take it on today leads, just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, to deeper and deeper problems inside your head. Wrong thinking carves a groove in your thought processes and like any good rut, will drag you back in as soon as you endeavor to venture out. A general sense of malaise and depressed, tired thinking is the direct result of not taking on the things regarding your life that you needed to address. But, hey, who hasn’t been there? Your job, my job is get back to living in the day and only in that day. You cannot live in your future and you cannot live any longer in your past. One hasn’t arrived and the other is long since gone from earth, existing only in your memory. You can take on the requirements of today. You can go for a drive or go for a walk and get things straight. Take whatever time you need to get things straight. Think about whatever is bothering you and get it cleared up, resolved. It is an epidemic in good old America for people to let things go in favor of the next thing to distract us. Get things straight. If you find yourself unhappy about how you are acting or what you are choosing to do, make some adjustments in the day you are in. Save your long self improvement lists for another lifetime and master the day you are in. I get up and write my, “Morning Pages” every morning where God and I take time to get things straight. I unpack, He whispers clues. Enthusiasm follows those answers!

Finally, there is another little secret for enduring happiness and enthusiasm that you may have not considered. You have to choose to be enthusiastic in your mind. You have to treat other people with enthusiasm and a happy perspective. Think of those times in your life when you were so absolutely blessed and excited about living your life. It may have been circumstances that spurred it on, but even then you chose the enthusiasm. Can’t you see it? You chose the enthusiasm based on your perception of what was going on. In the same way, you can choose enthusiasm no matter what is going on. Once you have settled on your enthusiastic mindset, notice what little things come up to steal away your new decision. Pay attention to your mind’s reasons why you cannot be enthusiastic. There, right there is your fight. The opponent’s lies never center on today, but always on some pending future doom or difficulty to talk you out of today. People are defeated one day at a time as well. I hope you really, really think through what I am telling you. You can choose enthusiasm for living as you refute those things trying to take it away. And the best part, God is right there in your enthusiasm and right there rewarding your excited anticipation. Once you finally let the negatives go, not in naivety, but because they are usually future based and temporal, you walk right into the light where God has always wanted you to live your life. In that place, your enthusiasm will know no limits and all of your paths will be peace.

Things got you down in this life? Are you struggling to find your joy? Do you wish you were the man or the woman you used to be? If so, take the time to learn the lessons. Eliminate all fear. Live today and today only. It is your thinking, your mind where the arena of competition is waged. Win the fight, not by cursing the darkness, but by cutting it off instead. Get your brain over to the light and stay there. Refuse the illusions and decide what or who you are going to be. Enthusiastic and excited living is God’s will for your life. Prove it to yourself.

Just some good thoughts…

Slow Down and Pay Attention…


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

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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts…

Unpack Your Bags…


When you return home from a vacation, you know one of the first things you need to do is unpack. Oh you can leave the bags sitting there with plans to fish out the toiletries in the morning, but you won’t be very comfortable until you supply the effort necessary to unpack. Leaving your stuff in the suitcases leads to feeling unsettled and becomes exacerbated with every passing day. The dirty clothes start to smell and you become aware of things you are missing, at least for a little while. Your mind, your thoughts about things, your conclusions formed also need to be unpacked at times in order to get back to happy living. You have to take some time to unpack.

Have you ever taken the time to contemplate how many things enter into your thinking in a day? One solitary thought leads to another thought and before you know it you are starting to form some conclusions about certain situations. Some thoughts seem centered upon your inadequacies while others pick at your capabilities or areas where you struggle. Mistakes you may have made are somehow compounded and joined with other mistakes leading to unsavory opinions of yourself and your motives. Before you know it, outside of your awareness, you have unknowingly arrived at a destination concerning yourself that is neither true nor substantiated. And, similar to the lazy traveler, you have to give yourself time to unpack it all and get back to what is right.

Failure to take the time you need to digest life’s experiences and your thoughts concerning the same lead to packing around baggage you likely need to unload. Unbeknownst to you perhaps are hundreds if not thousands of microscopic bits of unguarded and unwatched thoughts littering their debris on your mind and heart. That which you fail to control seeks to control you. At first blush, you clearly recognize the errant thought and its effect upon your tranquil state. But, those thoughts not dealt with and confronted lead to more thoughts stacking and adding and conglomerating until at last you find yourself distressed. Many, if not all, of our agitations in life come from these deftly planted ideas and notions that have been left to themselves to blossom and to grow. They grow and multiply because they have been ignored or glossed over and never challenged for the lies they actually represent. When you find yourself troubled, as you necessarily must, your task isn’t to simply move on and let it go, but rather to give yourself time to unpack it all until you get back to the equanimity that is your birthright.

Human beings as a whole have failed to take seriously the importance of right thought and as such get blown about with every wind of doctrine, afraid of this new threat, terrified of some unknown possibility, batted around to thing to thing to thing. In the helter-skelter of confused and disparate thinking, anxious, divided and distressed, they run and stagger and halt and keel never actually taking the time required to sort out the mess and settle upon some real conclusion. It never dawned on them the importance of taking back control of their organ for thinking by allotting the necessary time to unpack it all and get it straight. They must needs pull out the stinky garments one by one until all are gone, the threat dismissed, the situation resolved, the peace returned. Unpacking is required for all that would seek to live in peace.

In order to unpack you must first recognize that which you have packed. You thought the thoughts and you entertained the possibilities. No matter what may be going around you, you are the one thinking the thoughts. It is your mind and it is the one thing you have complete control over. Oh, you may not be the author of every wild beast that flashes across your awareness, but you are the gatekeeper who determines if it is allowed to remain. The competition for your happiness, for your peace of mind, for your overall well being, takes place within the confines of your own mind. We are all assaulted, we are all attacked, we are all subject to seemingly endless accusations and annoyances, but we don’t have to lose the fight. We lose not because we have been harangued but because we supplied no effort to fight back. We fight back by taking the time we need to get things straight. It is not a matter of how much time it takes, but instead have we taken the time we need. Enough time is defined as the rest returning to your soul. Unpacking leads to the promised rest.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of prayer is the opportunity to unpack all of our nonsense and foolishness with Someone far greater than us in terms of insight, understanding and ability. As such, we lay it all out there with great honesty of soul. We tell of our hurts and our troubles, our pains and our dysfunctions. We elucidate our vexations and sources of discomfort with an expectation of answers of peace that help our souls return to the reverie we need so dearly. We talk things over. We get things straight. We sort it out. We clean it up. We start fresh. We get back up. We resolve ourselves to win next time. We learn what we can learn and are that much better off in the next fight. We don’t pretend something is what it is not, but instead we say exactly what it is believing it does not have to remain that way! We lay it all at the feet of our Master and in so doing relieve ourselves of a whole world of burdens and pain.

Do you find yourself troubled about many things? Do you feel confused and divided inside, knocked about from pillar to post? Are you suffocating in the effects of wrong thought and wrong believing? Do you find yourself underwater and barely able to breathe? Start today by making the time to unpack your baggage and get to the clean, fresh air where you can breathe in new life with all of its limitless possibilities… They’re your bags, after all. Unpack them!

Just some good thoughts…