What I Know for Sure… (Birthday Blog)


As I reflect on another trip around the sun, there are, in the words of Oprah, some things I know for sure. For one, life is short. One day you are 30, then suddenly you’re 50 and before you know it, you’re 80. You live the day and the days keep on moving forward. Days turn into months, months turn into years and years become a lifetime. Early on you’re figuring out children and finances, struggling to find your place in the world. Then, your kids are grown and you are no longer so focused on your money or your place. Now you are someone’s grandpa and the grey haired manager at work. You’ve got more money and more time and you find yourself contented with less. Words like retirement start popping up and although you aren’t as old as your dad was at the same age, you have to give it some thought. Curiously, you find yourself considering your legacy; what you would want your children or other people thinking about when they remembered you. Did you ever answer the question of who you were?

With the passing of time comes wisdom. You’ve lived long enough and screwed it up often enough to finally consider your ways. Yet, you recognize all that time you spent judging yourself was wasted time. You see things for what they are and understand that life always has choices and though you chose wrong a thousand times, you can always choose right. And, it dawns on you that you also chose right a thousand times and maybe didn’t recognize it at all. Instead of measuring and evaluating yourself by your mistakes, you can put those mistakes in perspective and see how little a part they played in the grand scheme of your life. Once you finally stop judging yourself, you find you stop judging other people as well. You understand that they, like you, are also learning and developing and you are viewing them at only one place along their journey.

Instead of seeing life as a whole, you see it in all of its parts. There are good parts and bad parts, exciting parts and boring parts. There are times of rejoicing and there are times of sorrow. You succeed and you fail. You fall down and you get back up. You get your ass kicked for a time, then you kick some ass yourself. You long to live your life in perpetual comfort, but learn that much of life is uncomfortable, at least for a little while. You wish for life without challenges, but acknowledge that the challenges help you grow. You know you have an opponent in life and obstacles, but you figure out how to make sure the enemy isn’t you. Simple things become the best things. Complexity belongs to error. You can finally admit you have some weak spots and in so knowing can finally build yourself up. It also dawns on you that you have some gloriously strong parts and you can figure out how to tap into them as often as possible. Don’t discount the value of being able to make someone smile or lift them up and out of their misery. You see the power of your words and how you wield them, and thus use them to bring light and not darkness. You can appreciate the pain you have endured, not for having it, but for how it forced you to find the way out of it.

Life is full of change and nothing stays the same, except for God. No matter how low you have descended, or how far down the rabbit hole you may have ventured, He will give you the same love when you return. One thing is faithful and it is Him. He loves you when you do not love yourself. He provides help when you aren’t asking for help. He is the one great constant in life. He doesn’t change His nature. He does not do people harm. He is the polar opposite of the world’s portrayal of Him. He is not following you around pointing out your moral deficiencies. He is not judging you. You experience those things at the hands of His opponent, who is ever portraying himself as something he is not. God doesn’t make you feel bad ever. He makes you feel good. He is the goodness you have always dreamed of and He always will be. My life today would not be the life it is without Him. The times He has answered me, rescued me and picked me up out of life’s gutters, I cannot count. The insights, the inklings, the tips and clues are without number. He loved me into loving myself and did it again and again and again. One thing I know for sure is that God is only good always…

Life, this life always has the promise of good things. Pretty soon you find yourself more clear on how to access those good things. You discern your own cooperation with the madness and stop cooperating. You at last see the part you play and make better plays. Sure, you still fumble at times, but you don’t let your head stay there. You stay clear on all of your touchdowns and let the missteps go. In short, you love yourself and continue to love yourself, bulges, sore knees and all. You become adamant not to be against yourself any longer. You know God loves you and you walk out with that love. And, you get busy healing and helping and lifting and loving. You see humanity surging with pain and grief, disappointment and loss, and you get in there and offer them something different; something wonderful instead. This, my friends, is a life well lived.

I’m not done yet of course and have a lot left to learn and to do. No regrets at all… Looking forward to another trip around the sun and more time to love and to bless.

Life is good.

Just some good thoughts…

Desperately Seeking Happiness…


I don’t know about you, but there are more opinions on finding happiness than there are stars in the sky. Some suggest that you turn your focus to yourself, prioritize yourself and choose yourself first. Others promote gratitude as the answer. A majority report it comes from doing the things you love. Many say that happiness is not a destination you reach, but rather something that occurs along the journey. Some offer that happiness is found in favorable circumstances. Indeed there are a multitude of theories and ideas, but do they really work? Can you find the happiness you so desperately seek?

There are few things you can directly control in life. Circumstances change, people change, events ebb and flow. Some days you are on top of the world, other days nothing seems right. At times you feel totally in control and other times completely out of control. Try as you might, control as much as you can, take no risks, choose maximum safety and still things go wrong; sometimes disastrously wrong. It doesn’t seem to matter if you are a good person or a bad person, though we like to assume that bad people have it coming. Yet, bad things happen to good people as well. So, what is it? What are you supposed to do?

The only thing you can have total control of is your mind. Often the missing key lies in what you choose to do with your mind. I don’t mean you should try to be happy when things are going bad for you. No, that’s not realistic or reasonable. I’m talking more about your mindset. What is your default mindset? What do you think about when no-one is watching? What thoughts, ideas and expectations are you rehearsing in your head? Do you even know? Or have you bought into the crazy idea that your mind thinks and concludes with or without your permission? It’s sort of like when people say they can’t shut their minds off in order to go to sleep. I’m here to testify that you can turn your mind off or better quiet it down, once you begin to learn how to control your mind. Happiness is a result of consistently controlling your mind.

Think about the times in your life when you felt happy and blessed. Maybe it was a family vacation or on your wedding day or when you graduated from college. Was it really the vacation in the tropics that made you happy or was it your anticipation and expectation? I would suggest it is the latter. There are many folks living in the tropics that aren’t working and are free to play who are miserable still! Why? Because of their negative expectation. How many people do you know who are always waiting for their happiness as if it is on a train and they are awaiting its arrival? They are waiting to be happy. They feel that once such and such happens they will finally be happy. Maybe when they get the money or the job or the perfect spouse, maybe then the happiness will follow. In the interim, they remain suspended, waiting and waiting for some circumstance to finally line up or for their lucky break to at last arrive. You see, there are 260 workdays in a year, but only 52 Saturdays if you get my drift. That’s a lot of waiting…

There is a far better strategy than waiting! The best plan of action, yes action, is found in choosing to be happy right now, no matter what your circumstances are promoting as reality. Being enthusiastic and optimistic, indeed expecting good things is a function of your mind. The action is to control your thinking. Stop being run about from pillar to post being blown about with every wind of doctrine. Stop basing your happiness on what things look like! Stop waiting and hoping and wishing and just decide to be happy. You might not have recognized it before but it is the same thing you did the last time you felt happy, only you assigned your happiness to the pleasant circumstances. You don’t need pleasant circumstances to feel happy. All you need is to control what you are thinking and when your thinking goes south, as it necessarily must, you have to change your mind. Your feelings, those great natural barometers, are simply responding to your thoughts. It’s not magic or predestination, good luck or bad luck. It’s not some mysterious force outside of you picking you for one or the other. It’s you, my friend, and what you are doing with your mind…

Allowing your thoughts to default to your experience and taking life as it comes is a recipe for misery. The world we live in is fraught with negativity. Letting your thoughts run where they wish will lead you down the rabbit hole of mental defeat. Instead your solution, God’s solution for you, is for you to take charge of that unruly mind and line it up with the things you actually want. You line it up! You control it! You make it get in line with the life you so desperately seek and then experience the joy of seeing it coming to pass. Do you know why life works so well for some people? Because they expect it to and you don’t have to look any deeper than that. Do you know how to get blessed by God? Become blessed first and then the blessings will follow. Stop waiting on God. God is waiting on you!

The ability to control your mind is one of the greatest things God ever did for you. It is His solution in a world that seems chaotic and out of control. There’s no need to beg God to change your life around. You change your life around by changing your thoughts around, not later on when it looks favorable, but now in the midst of whatever! When the negative thoughts come, recognize them and change them. And, if you really want to excel, if you want to tap into the abundant life, instead of the ordinary life, then find some positive promise of God that counters your negativity and change your mind to that! Say that, rehearse that, announce that, claim that! Soon you’ll find your happiness increasing exponentially…

Are you desperately seeking happiness in your life? Have you already tried all the theories? Learn to focus and control your thinking. Decide first you are going to be blessed and enthusiastic and happy. Decide it right now today in this moment and keep deciding it though all hell should try to drag you back down. Don’t spend another second waiting… Your feelings follow your thoughts and you are in charge of your thoughts! Be happy…

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…

 

 

 

How to Be Unhappy…


There are many things you can do to make yourself perennially unhappy. Unhappiness isn’t something for amateurs to mess around with as it takes a serious daily commitment. So, if you really want to win at the game of losing, then this blog is for you!

If I wanted to be unhappy, I would start my day out past the time I wanted to get up, laying in the bed thinking about all of the things I did wrong yesterday. I would mentally rehearse where and how I went astray. I would berate myself for how fat I had gotten and question whether or not my hair was thinning. Then I would hop out of bed with barely enough time to get ready for work. Because I didn’t give myself enough time, lots of things would go wrong and end up making me late. Where’s my damn blue tie???

On my commute I would feel agitated and distressed. I would pretend like the highway was mine and speed along cursing other drivers having the audacity to get into my lane and not go at the speed I dictated. Up ahead there is a car in the fast lane going less than the speed limit, so I get as close to their bumper as I can without actually hitting them and cuss them out in their rear view mirror! They flip me off in response to my behavior and I fly into a blinding rage. Just as I calm down, I notice someone was trying to merge next to me, so I speed up and tailgate the car in front of me, to make sure the bastards couldn’t get in, no matter what.

Once I got to work late, I would head into the office with a sour, foul attitude. Mentally, I would point out which staff were ugly; which ones were fat and which were ones were just plain stupid! When one of my co-workers came into my office, I would spend almost half an hour discussing how incompetent the leadership were followed by some juicy gossip about one of the employees. Later in the morning at the staff meeting, I would sit quietly at the table mentally comparing myself to the other leaders. I would lament on why I couldn’t speak as intelligently as Bill and get angry over why everyone always laughs at Steve’s silly jokes. I would literally grit my teeth anytime someone said something complimentary to the boss, effin, brown-nosers!

After lunch, I would dedicate myself to screwing around until the ‘already too long’ day was over. I would Facebook and Instagram, followed by a healthy dose of Amazon shopping. Hey, the stupid work can wait until tomorrow! Someone would call over to check on something I promised to get done, but I would explain in a highly frustrated tone why I didn’t have enough time to accomplish things!

After another long commute, filled with slow traffic and my usual railings and flip-outs, I would get home and immediately dump a load of mental garbage on my family. I would corner my wife’s ear and complain and fuss until dinner time. At dinner I would be sure to point out anything that wasn’t quite cooked correctly. (I mean she needs to know if the chicken is dry, right?) Then, after having a few drinks to unwind, I would pick a fight with her and begin to extol how I unhappy I am with my life. I wouldn’t take any responsibility for any of this because none of it is my own fault. If she didn’t treat me the way she did, I could have been somebody! In fact, I never seem to catch a break like other people. I don’t have enough money to do what I need to do and I’m ten times smarter than the wealthy people I know. And, that’s not my damn fault either. The cards have been stacked against me.

I wake up on the couch several hours later angry with myself for my behavior earlier. I pour myself into bed ready to begin the cycle anew tomorrow. I cannot wait for the weekend, when I can finally do what I want to do. But until then, everything sucks, everyone sucks and I guess deep down, I suck!

As I lay in bed trying to fall back asleep, I begin to question all of the decisions and choices I’ve made in my life. I fantasize about how things might have been if I married this person and moved to this state. I don’t consider any of the good things I have accomplished because it doesn’t matter as I could have done so much more! I know I’m deeply frustrated but it just doesn’t seem like there is anything I can do about it! I remember the other day when some guy tried to talk with me about God, but I don’t need that religion bullshit! I mean what could God do to help me with my crappy life? Doesn’t He have big things to deal with like world peace and the starving people? I begin to drift off to sleep, exhausted and sad…

This ladies and gentleman is how you make a career of being unhappy. Don’t take any responsibility for anything and for goodness sakes don’t change what you have been thinking and doing. And if by chance, there comes a point in your life when you want to choose happiness, then simply choose the opposite of this! 😉

It’s your life…

Just some good thoughts…eventually.

Just Another Blog on Finding Happiness…


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Of late it has become more and more apparent that many of our notions of finding happiness don’t really lead to happiness at all. Happiness isn’t some target destination you can reach or some feeling you can acquire by your determination to think about being happy. In fact, the consideration and contemplation of happiness seems to cancel out its positive effect. And while happiness is greatly influenced by your thinking it generally comes more from doing than from thinking at all…

There is, I’m sad to report, such a thing as too much thinking. This modern-day notion we have learned from the self-help, motivation and positivity age is that we somehow have to closely monitor our thoughts and then quickly change every thought over into a positive one. On the surface, this all sounds fine and dandy. However, when you stop your thinking and subsequent doing in order to evaluate and monitor, you sort of cease being and switch over to evaluating or judging. Now you, as yourself, are looking at yourself and making a determination about yourself. And, how often are those self-focused, interior judgments good? Constantly checking in on yourself to see if you are okay is counterproductive to being okay.

Have you ever been completely absorbed in something like work and noticed how good you felt afterwards? Generally, it seems, the more focused you are in the present moment and what it is you are doing in the present moment, the better you feel. In these moments of ecstasy and bliss you don’t have to turn on your mental oven monitor to check if your happiness is ready. It just is and you have the pleasure of enjoying it. How many times have you been worried about some scenario and just couldn’t get it out of your head? That is until you decide to mow the lawn and voila, just like that you feel better! Sure these are simple examples, but they do point to an awareness that the best use of our minds is to accompany the activity we are engaged in, in the moment called now.

The polar opposite of simply being and doing is thinking and thinking and thinking. No-one’s life ever got better from over-thinking and analyzing and judging. Yet, we engage in it as if it is a responsible way to behave. The result of it is always “to do” lists for self-improvement and/or decisions to get up earlier, read more, drink less and the like. Hidden behind those noble efforts of goal setting and life betterment lies a subtle message that you are not okay just as you are. In the same way that religion questions your worthiness before God to control you and get your money, the self-help industry offers to improve you and make you okay as long as you buy the book, attend the seminar and buy another book! How can anyone ever simply “be happy” if they live perpetually in a state of “I’m not okay?”

In truth, it’s not the analysis that is the issue, it’s the judgment. It seems a person is the happiest when they can choose for themselves what they will and will not do. How many people really do what they want to do? Things are always modified and changed to fit in, be accepted, please him and satisfy her. We spend our days in anxiety ever trying to live up to some rules that someone else set-up for us to live. We don’t trust ourselves and our judgment and thereby severely curtail our own happiness. Our minds become chock full of things we should do, shouldn’t do and must do! It might be okay if we determined what those things are, but most often we are still living out someone else’s rules for acceptability. Don’t you just love and admire the people who do what they want to do and are not ashamed of it? Happy is the man who doesn’t condemn himself for the things he enjoys! Indeed, happy is the man…

The essence of finding happiness is not in looking for happiness at all. Rather it is choosing to live in the moment, enjoying your choice of activities, accepting yourself just as you are and doing your own life! It’s in making plans and pursuing dreams. It’s in being fully present with the people you love. It’s in flexibility, spontaneity and whim! It’s in getting out of your own head while refusing to judge yourself, analyze yourself or berate yourself. It’s in finally choosing to live your life rather than choosing only to think about it and judge it.

Happiness isn’t elusive or hiding from you. Rather it is waiting for you to let go of all of your controls and ideas and simply let yourself be. It’s all around you waiting for you to notice its presence. It’s at your job, in your home, in the yard and at the store. It’s in each moment of life spent doing and being and living. It’s hoping you will set aside all of your judgments and comparisons and analysis long enough to notice, “I’m here” and “How happy I feel!”

Just another blog on finding happiness…

 

A Hard Heart is a Hard Life…


image11Every problem you’ve ever had has a root cause. The root cause is the number one contributor to the effects you are experiencing. Yet, so often the negative things we are trying to escape come from a cause we have yet to discover. We don’t find the true cause because it’s hidden from view and for that reason continues to control our lives. So we need to become serious about locating the cause to live the happy life we have imagined.

Your heart, the innermost part of your mind, is where your beliefs reside. Your beliefs, positive or negative, produce the circumstances and effects in your life. This is why God’s Word says, “Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it come the issues of your life!” Your issues are your results. And if you’re like most people, you’ve got issues (smile)! Your heart, contrary to public opinion, is simply made up of your most predominant thoughts. Change your thoughts, change your heart, change your life. Can you see the futility involved with waiting for circumstance to change before you change your thoughts? You are producing an effect internally then waiting for an external event to change it.

Your heart, in addition to being the innermost part of your mind, is very sensitive. It can be damaged quite easily. When it gets damaged, the human reaction is to build a wall around it. You build a wall because you are trying to protect yourself. You have pain and you want the pain to stop. I get it. But, ironically, building a wall around it produces just the opposite effect to what you are seeking. That sensitivity is where true life is found. A sensitive heart is not a weak thing, it is a great treasure. A sensitive heart is able to feel even the most minute change and is thus able to accurately discern truth from error. A sensitive heart is God’s domain and where His abounding love can be found.

When you get caught up in error and wrong it has a deleterious effect on your heart. The most grand illusion ever played on mankind is the secret, surreptitious effect that wrong has on your heart. The adversary knows this very well and as such seeks to get you and I over into left field where the hidden damage can occur! Sometimes things that feel good can end up not feeling so good, if you know what I mean. Error, at its base, hardens your heart. You don’t feel it like you don’t know a thief has robbed you until it is too late. And to add insult to injury, in your hardened state you have less and less opportunity to recognize that something has gone wrong. You can tell that your heart has been hardened by how you feel about life. You’ll have less happiness, less fulfillment in the joy of living. Things won’t seem to matter anymore and your existence will become increasingly cloudy. How many people do you know that live this way? Maybe you have been living this way! You just cannot seem to find any love, any joy anymore. That is the tell-tale sign of a hardened heart. You didn’t start that way and you sure as hell don’t have to stay that way!

Fear is perhaps the number one source of error that causes your heart to become callous. Fear is painful and as such again, you want your pain to go away. So, you opt for numb over pain much like taking a percocet. In your numb haze you don’t feel any pain, but you don’t feel anything else either. And a life minus feelings is not a life. Hurt people tend to hurt other people and so the cycle continues. We need to get back to a sensitive heart, like the one we had when we were children. No wonder Jesus taught to believe with the heart of a child!

In order to successfully get back to a sensitive heart, you’re going to need God’s help. God looks on your heart and knows your heart. God sees what you and I cannot see! God knows exactly what ‘loony tunes’ thoughts you have been entertaining and how to repair the damage. There are things that God exhorts us not to do, not because He seeks to control our lives, but because He understands the negative effects on our hearts and lives. In love, He tells us to get rid of anger; to eliminate fear; to not allow bitterness to take root in our lives. He instructs us to be kind, loving and tender-hearted. Kindness, love and tenderheartedness start first in our thought lives before they are played out in our reality. So, in order to find your healing, you need to open your heart. Open your heart to God in complete, unabashed honesty. I can assure you that God isn’t freaked out by the insane things you’ve done because He sees through your sin and error for what it really is; a heart that’s been misguided and damaged and hurt. He will help you and heal you, with the only requirement being a willingness on your part. Open your heart!

You know deep down in your heart that you want to share your love and goodness with other people. You long to show them the real you without reservation or fear. You know there is a way you want to live and have been aching to live that way for many years. So make the decision to live that way! Get rid of your fear of rejection and ridicule and let your true heart out. Be sensitive and warm. Be honest with yourself and with others. Love in your words and in your deeds. Love even the unloveable knowing that the unloveable are only so because their hearts have been hardened. Be a beacon of light in a dark world full of many, many broken hearts.

The root cause of your misery is your hardened heart. Make the decision to have a tender heart for from it proceeds all of the issues of your life. A tender heart can only issue in happiness for which the whole world seeks ardently. You want your life to change? Soften your heart and see for yourself if this life is not worth the living!

Feel again the goodness for it is literally all around you…

Just some good thoughts…

 

It’s All About Me?


Organ-Donation1-1024x392If you’ve spent any time on Earth, you’ve probably realized that life seems to have its ups and downs. There are high times when you feel on top of the world and everything is working out well for you. Then, there are the low times when nothing seems to work and you drag your tired butt around all day looking for an answer. Well, recently I learned a valuable lesson and it wasn’t all about me.

Life is chock full of paradoxes! It’s better to give than to receive, is one such example. If you were a betting person, the safe money would seem to center on receiving. I mean, the more you receive, the more you have, right? But, noooooo… The more you give out of the goodness of your heart, without obligation or restraint, the more you receive back in a cycle that never ceases. Conversely, the more you hoard and cling to what you have, the less you actually have. Just the opposite of what you expected! Who would have thought it?

Ever since people came into being with the unique ability to think and choose, they have been on a quest for happiness and fulfillment. However, unlike your pet dog or cat, you actually know if you are happy or unhappy. When you are feeling good, you naturally get out of yourself and the time just flies by. But, when you feel down or depressed, your focus turns inward. And, the greater your perceived need, the more likely you are to dwell on that need because it isn’t met. Then, sadly, the days just drag on and on offering little promise for the future. You seek, you think, you analyze but nothing seems to work. Why? Because again, you have entered into one of life’s little paradoxes!

Although in our day and time focus on one’s self is lauded to the heavens, it’s actually the wrong way to think. I know, I know, you only have one life to live. If you don’t focus on yourself, then who will? Your needs come first. You need lots of “me” time. You first, others second, if you have opportunity! Enter a life paradox and now you are barking up the wrong tree. As long as life is all about you, the life you are seeking will elude you. Hey, don’t get mad at me! Someone smarter than me created this thing called life! I’m just trying to convey the rules of the game.

The reason we humans get so stuck on certain problems in life is because the real solution escapes us. Things have to fall in line with our logic and the older we get, the worse “it” gets. We promote selfishness because it seems entirely logical from a “caring for yourself” standpoint. Obviously you have to take care of yourself, but that, like many things, has an end point! All of us have certain needs at times, but try as we might, there are some needs we simply cannot solve on our own. Some things require something bigger than yourself. Enter the Creator of life that built-in the clever paradoxes! In His unsurpassed wisdom, He ordered life to not always be about you (or me). I suppose that would be something you’d expect from Someone concerned about all life!

So, the solution you weren’t expecting? Cease your fanatical obsession with yourself and reach out to help someone else! Some of the most joyful, happiest times of my life have been the times when everything wasn’t about “my” life. In stark contrast, some of my most distressing and depressing times came as a result of getting tricked into focusing on myself; my lack of abilities and my unsolvable problems! I say tricked because, if you are honest, whenever your focus is solely on yourself it is because of fear. The reason you are so laser focused on what you don’t have (yet) is because you are afraid you won’t ever get it. The true reason you only think about yourself isn’t because you are inherently a bad person, but rather because you are afraid you won’t get something you need! Fear always torments, always hurts you, always ends in defeat.

Love, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Love knows it will always be taken care of and sees no fear. Love doesn’t seek its own. Love extends itself to others; forgives others; bears the burden of others. Love is kind and patient. Love speaks words that build and encourage. Love gives and gives and gives. Love never fails. That’s why the way out of your “unhappy, unfulfilled” dilemma is to stop making it all about you! Stop dwelling on yourself; your unhappiness; your lack and reach out to someone else. Not to get something, but to get out of something!

It’s funny (peculiar) how the world so easily deceives us into not doing what we should do to get the things we want. We need more money, so we cling to what we have. We desperately want to be happy, so we cling to ourselves in order to find the happiness within us. Yet, all the time, the true riches of life exist on the other side of the paradox! The great Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Good ol’ Zig knew who buttered his bread!

Like all paradoxes in life, the outcome doesn’t appear to match the required activity. Well, do it anyway! Get outside of yourself. Be present with people and listen for what they need. Deeply invest in others with your love and encouragement and do it from your heart. Then, watch and see what happens inside you. You’ll be so full of love and joy that you’ll have to tell God to cool it! 🙂 Your needs will be met before you can even bring them up. Your life will just flow and glow and effervesce!

Is your life all about you? No, my friends, it’s all about someone else! Won’t you join the “life party” with me? I know you will…

Just some good thoughts…

Wine Anyone?


p18ncdfgb21l9m1tb8lpq1bm81igp8I’m the ultimate red wine lover, but recently, due to the old 500 calorie diet I’m on, have not been able to partake of my favorite gladness provider. Yeah, yeah, nothing tastes as good as fit feels! Haha. So, being all spiritual and what not, I decided to write a little blog about wine. But, it may not be what you think (mysterious music playing in the background…).

Jesus Christ did a multitude of miracles in his short time of service on earth, but do you know what his first one was? Imagine God’s only begotten, filled with the power of God to heal people and set them free, doing his first remarkable act. What did he do, you ask? He turned water into wine! And don’t you go telling me that it was grape juice because when was the last time you were bummed out that they ran out of grape juice at a party? More Welch’s please…

So here’s the story. Jesus and his Mom were invited to a big wedding, when suddenly the head guy announced they were out of wine. Mary, who must have already realized that Jesus was pretty special, tells Jesus to do something about it. After giving her a little correction for ordering him to do a miracle, he does something spectacular. He tells the servants to go and grab 6 large stone jugs holding 20-30 gallons of water apiece. Then he says take one to the head dude. The servants obey dutifully and take one of the jugs over. The head of the ceremony then makes a startling statement. He said normally people give out the good wine at first, but when the guests are sufficiently plied, they break out the cheaper stuff because, well you know, the guests are already toasty. But he exclaimed, you saved the best stuff for last!

What just happened, you enquire? Jesus just turned six 20-30 gallons each jugs into fine wine. So by my conservative estimate, he just made 120-180 gallons of water into fine wine. Cabernet I’m guessing; expensive Cabernet! I’ll bet the wedding guests were stoked! 150 gallons of expensive Cabernet on the spot, free of charge. Let’s assume the liquor store was closed. But, not when Jesus shows up. Haha.

So, why share this little diddy with you? Because this was Jesus’ first miraculous act! Of all of the things God could do to announce the entrance of His wonderful son, He chose something with no other purpose than to make people happy. Would the guests have suffered without the fine wine? Probably not (unless they were on “the diet.”) Did anyone have to have the wine to live? Of course not! Was it for their healing? I doubt it, though red wine has been proven to have some healthy effect if drunk in moderation (pun intended). The only reasonable purpose one could assign to the miracle was to keep the party rolling!

Naturally, if you are of the religious ilk, you have a problem with this. How could our Holy God choose this for a first miracle? You see, it had to be grape juice or as one commentary dutifully noted, “Jesus knew how many guests were present and therefore only made enough for everyone to have just enough to not be drunken!” LOL How absurd? Religion ever seeks to legislate fun by deciding just how much fun one can have! It’s like corralling all the liquor into the liquor store in the hopes that maybe making it harder to get, will cut down on the drinking. Ha – all that really happens is that the drinkers have to plan ahead, unless Jesus is in town :-). Trying to legislate what people can and cannot have only makes people more likely to do the opposite.

Surprisingly perhaps, God is most interested in blessing people; all people regardless of their goodness or badness! Maybe read that again. The True God is always for you. He doesn’t seek to punish you or teach you a lesson. He’s better than that! He just loves you into loving and all by the freedom of your will! If you are being pressured or coerced, don’t think it’s coming from God. It’s just not His style. Will you still bump your head at times? Certainly! But God can not only heal your head, but would rather you never bumped it in the first place!

So you see, the first miracle ever performed by God’s son was on purpose for a purpose. He wanted you and me to know that He is a loving God and wants us to be sublimely happy! And, if it’s wine that does the trick, so be it. If you get drunk as a skunk, that’s on you. God doesn’t need to punish you, tomorrow will take care of that on its own! Haha

If everyone knew who God really is, everyone would love Him! How could they not? And, the good news is that He is right there with you as you read this and is maybe even having a chuckle or two! Get out of that fear based mindset that always has God chasing you around seeking to punish you. Someone may have taught you that, but I guarantee it wasn’t God! Instead seek after your One and only true source of goodness and see how much wine you get to enjoy.

Go ahead, go to the wedding and bring your mother.

Just some good thoughts…

You Owe Yourself…Yourself!


voltaren-01Do you remember that version of you that did what you wanted to do? Remember when you didn’t hide your aversions or your interests? Can you recall the time when what you thought, meant something and you weighed others opinions instead of simply adopting them? It seems that for so many people the days of independent thought have been overtaken by the great “media machine” ever working to coral people into predictable chutes leading eventually to their own demise. How did this happen to us? What the heck happened to our own minds?

Each one of us has a built-in litmus test called our own heart. Sure, we’re not always right about things. Sure, we are often deceived by what appears versus what really is, but we still have the capacity to know when something isn’t right. That subtle inkling; that uneasiness or feeling in your gut all work together to help you see what remains yet unseen. You know exactly what I’m talking about, right? Someone proposes an idea or a concept and on the inside you think, “Oh hell no,” but once your friends start weighing in and social media begins to prompt you and the news people offer their opinions (yeah, when did news shows start having opinions?) you find yourself agreeing with things you don’t agree with. Before you even recognize what is going on you have been shuffled into the majority deck where your card no longer matters. Ugh…

How did this happen to you? When did you start ignoring yourself? If you think about how people live today, you’ll notice a low-level to high level anxiety that folks have just learned to live with. We walk around feeling anxious and uneasy and accept it as normal. Have you noticed? Anxiety is at an all-time high! Everywhere, everyone, scared to death. Why? Because we are being fed a non-stop diet of fear in the form of “the public has a right to know” and we have gotten to the point where we don’t even question it. Fear, fear, fear night and day and we just keep on digesting it and wonder why we aren’t okay.

It might surprise you to hear this, but you weren’t designed to live in fear. Hey call it anxiety, call it worry, but whatever you call it, it is fear and it isn’t the norm, it’s an aberration. You have unwillingly accepted it by not taking the time (we are all so busy…) to listen to your heart and settle those vague notions that are eating you alive. You feel nervous or upset and just forge ahead hoping it will go away. Well, it won’t go away because you haven’t resolved it yet. It’s your heart and you owe it to yourself to resolve it. You resolve it by taking the time to figure out what is bothering you and then to seek out a solution or an idea or some truth that will overcome it. Fear is always wrong and there’s no learning to live with it. It’s gonna get you. Your life is certainly worth settling the matter once and for all. It’s not “just life,” it’s death working by small imperceptible steps.  It may not actually kill you today, but it will kill off your enthusiasm, your excitement, your joy! And, with those things missing, you aren’t really living anyway.

Of course there’s more to it than just having a miserable life. Absent your own thoughts or worse no longer trusting your own thoughts, leads to slavery. Control of a people or a nation relies on making the inhabitants slaves; dependent upon other people to tell you how you feel; what you think and what is okay and what isn’t. Now that’s scary! People no longer willing to trust themselves and make their own choices are people becoming slaves. What the world needs right now is you; the real you! It needs you to say, “No, I don’t want that!” It needs you to stand up for what you believe and quit being afraid that what you really think won’t get many “likes.” Every great, meaningful movement in recorded history began with someone not afraid to think for themselves. It started with some bold person, while recognizing some injustice or some wrong being done,  willing to step out into the light of day and speak up. Is that you? Well, on the inside it is…

It is often reported that it’s not about you the individual, it’s about the society as a whole. Well, I’m here to tell you that society is about you. A healthy society is dependent upon the free-thinkers, the dreamers, the malcontents. Yeah, we live here in this great country because someone rebelled! Many don’t like where our world is headed but even more are willing to be silent about it. And worse, the multitudes have chosen not to think at all and instead settle for the pre-digested opinions of some media personality whose motive isn’t to inform you, but instead to satisfy his own thirst.

You owe it to yourself to be true to yourself. You owe yourself a peaceful, quiet heart. You owe yourself control of yourself and vow never to give control to another person. You owe yourself the opportunity to make full unabashed use of who you are and offer what no one else can give! You owe yourself…yourself!

Peaceful waters can discern even the slightest agitation. Turbulent, troubled waters cannot.

Live in peace my friends. You owe yourself that!

Just some good thoughts…

Living Your Reflection…


reflection_28Here’s some food for thought… The life you are presently living is a direct reflection of your most dominant and habitual thinking. Read that again! Up to this point you may not have made this connection. Most folks don’t. Instead people think that life is happening to them and they are simply reacting to whatever life does next. People that live in a perpetual struggle falsely conclude that circumstances are working against them and probably even long for the time when the struggle will end. But, they remain unaware that their habitual thought forms the basis of their expectations and as such they are living in a world of their own making.

Habits are, in themselves, useful. On the positive side they free your mind of the unnecessary thought required to complete mundane tasks. However, habits also have a dark side. Negative patterns of thought, rehearsed over and over again lead to negative expectations, which manifest themselves in negative circumstances. And, to make matters worse, the habits become invisible to you because of their habituation. And, once darkness has become invisible to you, it is allowed to perpetuate within you to bring about those struggles you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.

I’m sure you’ve heard people complain to God about why life is so hard and why there is so much struggling going on. And, let’s be honest, there is some heavy-duty struggling happening. But, what you may not know is that God has given you control over those struggles once you know how to go about turning things around. God hasn’t left us without a remedy and surely doesn’t condone pain and hardship. But, until you finally learn that your life is “your” life and that you can exercise control, things will go on as they’ve always gone on since the beginning of time.

Just so you don’t think this is “crazy” talk, let me ask you some questions. At this very moment in time, what do think about life? Do think it is a struggle? Do you think it is hard and random and filled with the unexpected? Do you think that is always hard for you to get money and that it always will be? Do you think that disease just happens and that you are powerless against it? Your honest answer to those questions is the life you are presently living. Your expectation; your belief is precisely what you are experiencing and will continue to experience as long as you keep thinking the way you are thinking. Life won’t turn around for you and your ship won’t come in. It cannot because it is a direct reflection of your inmost thoughts. Change your thoughts; change your expectations; change your beliefs and your life will change.

In order to right the ship, you have to become keenly aware of what was formerly invisible; namely your thoughts. You have to start recognizing your negative thought habit patterns. You have to see where you have become your own worst enemy. You must clearly discern that negative chatter, ever providing reasons why you cannot succeed; why you cannot get ahead; why you cannot win. And once you finally hear it, you have to start forcefully challenging those false assumptions. Those assumptions are not “just life” but instead are lies you have been worn down into accepting. There’s no shame in being led astray because the whole world has been led astray, on purpose, by the evil that lies deep behind it, hidden. The real shame comes when you see a glimpse of the light and refuse to heed the lesson.

Have you ever noticed how people set goals for themselves? They set goals with tiny incremental increases as if one can only progress with baby steps. They don’t realize that the larger the goal; the larger the expectations, the larger the result. It is like that with your thoughts. Once you have begun to see and challenge a series of thoughts, your responsibility is to change your thoughts and expectations to something you actually want. It takes the exact same amount of effort to think something good as it takes to think something bad. But make no mistake, you are choosing by what you “choose” to think and hold onto.

I should add, because I know what you’re thinking, that sometimes you “find” yourselves in a challenging situation that you didn’t necessarily bring upon yourself. Sometimes people are under attack; in bad environments and feel that they are being tested. Well, they are being tested but never by God. The test is in how you respond to the challenge. Will you accept what it “seems” like or will you remain stedfast in your beliefs and overcome? You would be surprised how quickly things turn around when you make your mind up! But, if you succumb to what “appears” to be real, you end up down the same blind alleys you traveled before.

As living, breathing, thinking human beings, we always have a say in how things are going to turn out. Always! The key lies in refusing to accept the information that comes to your mind via your five senses, and trusting instead what God says is true! Obviously you can ridicule this notion and demand that what it seems like, is true, but with that you can resign yourself to your usual, perpetual struggle.

Your life, my life is a reflection of those things we think about the most. Change your thoughts and your life will change. It isn’t about being naively positive, it’s about choosing what you will and will not accept in your life. You have more control than you ever thought. God would have it no other way! Really!

Just some good reflections…