Where are You Going?


elephantHave you ever taken the time in the activity and hectic pace of life to think about where you are going? It seems counterintuitive to even pose the question. I mean we are all heading in some direction, but have we given any reflective thought to where? You may find yourself engaged in certain activities you perform habitually and even dutifully, and after a while you are not even sure why you do it anymore. Maybe at one point in time it served you well. Maybe once there was something or somewhere you were trying to get to and that is why you did what you did. Quite possibly you behaved in a specific way to get a specific result and now find yourself, like the drug addict, searching endlessly for that initial high; that early experience that hooked you in the first place. Whatever the reasons, whatever your present circumstances, the question remains. Do you know where you are going?

A funny thing happens to you after you have been living for some time on earth. You can have the tendency to forget your way. Instead of seeking or striving towards some worthy goal, you sort of settle into the routines of life. There is really nothing you are after or trying to accomplish, but instead days of living with no real purpose, nothing that gets you up in the morning. You still do the same stuff, but there is no longer anything behind the stuff. The habits you have developed over the years become your existence and on you trudge day after day, mired in bad habits and things that no longer serve you. And like the crazy person who continues doing the exact same thing without any good result, you persist on a fruitless path ever wishing, hoping something will change. However, nothing can change if you don’t change. Instead of wishing your life was different in some way, you owe it to yourself to give some thought to which direction you are heading. If what you do, day in and day out, is not producing any result (any good result), you have to at least begin to change what it is that you do. At some future point, you aren’t going to have any days left. 

Self introspection and evaluation is not your aim. As imperfect creatures, we will all succeed in finding things that aren’t so good. Instead your end game is to honestly and  lovingly look at your life; how you have been living and see if your tendencies lean towards good things or if your tendencies lean towards bad things; bad things defined by the results they engender in your life. Some things we do, and you know this, serve no other purpose than to wear us out. Oh we persist, by God, but in the final analysis it’s the same bad habits leading to the same bad results over a lifetime. If you do stuff and continue to do stuff that causes you not to feel good about yourself, that is your first clue. Good things, true things, productive things have no downside. That is not to say you always have to produce something, but if you are producing bad things, you are heading in the wrong direction. Look if you are doing things you enjoy and feel good about and they leave you feeling happy, keep on keeping on. But, if you have to rationalize their existence, make excuses and lie to yourself, you’ve got to come clean at some juncture. All things in moderation are acceptable lest you be too severe with yourself!

Sometimes the issue isn’t so much what you are doing as it is what you aren’t doing. Every day has contained within it demands that must be accomplished. Ignoring those demands, in favor of some fun or other distraction, doesn’t leave you the better for it, but rather the worse. Do the important things however seemingly small. Every brick you leave unstacked gathers power over you. Soon you find yourself buried under a weight you can no longer discern. Doing nothing of value day after day, shirking your responsibilities, forsaking any discernible goals or plans, halts your forward progress and thus guarantees you will not reach any desirable destination. How could you? Maybe your life has become such a drag not because of your circumstances, but because you stopped moving forward. You stopped setting things to aim at or pursue. There’s nothing about getting older that suggests you should no longer have things you want to accomplish nor stop making plans to improve and increase and to grow. If you don’t have anything to aim at you’re going to spend a lot of time wandering in futility. And perhaps we have all been there at one time or another, faded out and lacking motivation. But, it is never too late to change and it is never too late to start moving forward again. 

So, where are you going? Do you know? Is there something specific you are aiming at and want to achieve? Is your life getting better and better? Is your life getting worse? Or maybe worst of all, has your life become an endless episode of ground hog day offering no promise, no hope, no blessings, no goodness, nothing? Whatever your life is with every conceivable combination therein, you owe yourself some reflection concerning where you are and where you would like to be. It’s okay to be stuck as long as you know you are and are seeking the way out of it. There is nothing as good for the soul as some sincere realizations followed by a vigorous desire to change. You can always change directions. You can always learning something new. You can always get to where you want to get as long as you know where you are going!

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…

Slow Down to the Speed of Life…


All of this social distancing and requirements to stay home have inadvertently provided us with some important clues about how we have been living our lives. Most of us are moving too damn fast. We have so many things to do, much of which are self-inflicted, too many obligations, too many commitments. We have been literally running for our lives from thing to thing, activity to activity, trying to get it all done and by all I mean everything we have read we should be doing. In between all of our “must-dos,” we fill the remaining moments with our televisions, binge watching Netflix series coupled with our incessant need to check Instagram and Facebook and whatever else pops us to use our every remaining moment. Like an addict, we have been convinced we need something else like non-stop activity to be okay. God forbid we should have nothing to do! The things we do, we don’t do properly or give our full attention. We ram and cram and make do ever trying to get to the next moment, the next fun time, the next vacation. And while we are being completely preoccupied, we have stopped thinking and dreaming and planning desireable future moments. We no longer have time to get the bottom of our issues. We don’t have time to think or so we think. Someone convinced us we have to figure everything out for ourselves and work harder and do more etc. We are driving ourselves crazy. We need to slow down and return to the speed of life.

There was a time when we didn’t have the Internet or for that matter TV (or TV consisted of 3 channels and they all went off around midnight). We didn’t know what everyone was doing at all times and it was good for us. The news we did get was very limited, reserved for the big things that threatened our happiness. Today we devour the bad news, filling our minds with it in excess under the guise we are keeping ourselves informed. How much more do you want to know about the virus?  How much more is there to know? It’s not education, it is fear being fueled and fed by more fear. It’s no wonder the world runs on anxiety. The world can appear to be a scary place, but how much more so when your mind is constantly being filled with all of the things that can get you? That’s maybe why we are so dang busy. If we take time to slow down, we might actually have to deal with it all. But, dealing with it is exactly what you need to do. You have to take time to do something with your mind about the things that are bothering you. You HAVE to deal with them. I know you would rather not. Me neither. But, like any obstacle impeding your happiness, you have to take them on and move the roadblocks from your path. They aren’t going to move themselves no matter how busy you make your life. Slow down, breathe and take the time you need to get things straight. Get things clear. Take the time. You cannot get to the next place until you learn to overcome the challenges in your current place. Slow down people and learn to live again.

Life was never designed to be this frenetic experience where you run from thing to thing, from pillar to post, hoping you end up somewhere good. Life is full of variables and things that need your attention, many of which aren’t monumental. Sometimes I think that God is more pleased that you took the time to fold your sweater than He is with all of your super accomplishments; that you took the time to organize that harassing evil called your sock drawer, over all the money you donated. Don’t you see it? Your only requirement is what the day demands of you and whatever that is, that you invest your whole heart fully into its accomplishment.   Call your mother. Clean out the closet. Write the poem. Tell someone who has been on your heart how much they mean to you. Buy someone a gift instead of the gift card. Think! Make time for yourself to think and consider. What has been eating at you lately? What, like a splinter, is under your skin? You can either get it out or wait for the infection. But, either way, it has got to come out. The unseen problem with the frenetic life is that you don’t have time to handle you! You haven’t given yourself an opportunity to get you straight. But, trust me on this one, you gotta be straight before you can get anything else straight. Murky and confused isn’t going to get the job done. Clarity and clear perception gets the job done. Slow down and get things straight.

Slowing down to the speed of life is about getting back on God’s wavelength. God is not in a hurry. God doesn’t miss anything, ever. He isn’t running you around like a squirrel, herky-jerky, flitting around, full of anxiety and care. He is calm and relaxed and sure of everything. He wants you to feel the same way. He doesn’t require that you know all the answers, but rather acknowledge that He does and in so knowing, lay it all on Him. Everything that ever bothered you, bothers Him when it isn’t resolved in your life. Like any good parent, He wants you to be happy. He already knows what has been screwing you up and exactly what you need to know and do to make it stop. But, in order for you to know, you have to give Him a little time. You have to slow down in your quest for self and trust someone outside of yourself. You need time to think. You need time to pray. God is bigger than any virus!

Stop running man. Stop dashing lady. Stop letting fear dominate and rule your existence. There’s an infinitely better way and you can find it (Him) by slowing down to the speed of life…

Just some good thoughts…