Cultivate a Healthy Heart…


guard-heart

Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow all the issues of your life. (Proverbs 4:23) Your heart, your innermost being, that great citadel of your life is formed by the thoughts you hold onto and persist with day by day. People rarely make the connection between the thoughts they entertain and the things that come to pass in their lives. Instead people think or conclude that life is random with some folks being lucky and others not so much. Sadly, they have never been taught that their heart, the things they believe deep down in their hearts, end up manifesting as the life they live upon the earth whether they be good or bad. The only thing that we human beings can control in our lives is the thoughts we choose to hold onto, to rehearse, to cleave to in our minds. Thoughts left unchecked and uncontrolled sooner or later result in misery as our minds are constantly being challenged with negatives and potentially bad outcomes. Show me a person that lives a happy and successful life and I will show you a person that has learned how to control their thinking. You owe it to yourself and your experience of life to learn how to control your thinking which always leads, just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, to a happy life. Cultivate a healthy heart!

Typically when I bring up this crazy notion backed by God’s Word, people think I’m talking about their perception of life and the things that happen to them. They falsely conclude that by controlling their thoughts I mean trying to remain positive about everything that happens to them. And, while that is partially true, what I mean in actuality is that the things you believe in your heart are the things you will end up experiencing in your life, not simply your perception of them. If down in your heart you have learned expectations of poverty and the inability to have your physical needs met, you will always have trouble getting your physical needs met until you get that wrong belief out of your heart. The wrong belief didn’t begin in your heart. You put it there by your continual thinking and considering things that are not true. You put it there, not God, not your family and not the devil. You, like all of us I imagine, were taught things that simply are not true. Welcome to being a human. I used to teach a course and in the course I told people the amount of money they earned at this very moment in time was exactly what they expected to earn, no more and no less. This usually incensed them. You see, it is much easier to blame our lack of whatever it is we need on someone or something else. But, at the end of the day, it is the beliefs we have in our hearts that set the limits of our existence. You can apply this principle to every category of life. People who play the victim and are always being wronged by someone in some way have some beliefs in their hearts that need to be repaired. I’m certainly not proposing that life is fair, instead I am proposing that God gave us control over something that impacts our lives in an incredible way. Cultivate a healthy heart!

The way in which you can change the things that are in your heart that you no longer wish to experience in your life, is by learning to think correctly. Every wrong thing that ever got into your heart, got there by wrong thinking patterns. The devil and all of his evil associates work very hard to get your thinking going in the wrong direction. If they can get you good and scared of some negative health outcome, in that you worry about it and fear it day by day, watch out brother because it is on the way! And while that is certainly not the cause of all health issues, it is a powerful way to speed up your decline. The people who live in fear of diseases get them. Your heart won’t necessarily help ward off every thing that assaults a person, but it sure can help you believe God for a solution when you need it. You and I have a duty to control our thoughts. This may surprise you but Jesus controlled his thoughts at all times. I’m sure he experienced those wild ‘randos’ like we all do at times, but he never let them take root and establish a foothold in his heart. He simply refused to entertain anything that was contrary to God’s Word and God’s heart for people. If you want to change some things that are in your heart, which you can clearly discern by repeat negative things that seem to keep happening to you, you have to learn how to change your thinking. You have to confront those negative things that confront your mind. When you hear yourself think something foul about yourself or about your future, grab ahold of it and challenge it. Find some promise of God that contradicts it and say that instead. Soon you will discover that you can actually control your thoughts if you want to. Ever heard someone say they cannot turn off their thoughts? Well, actually they can control them instead of trying to shut them off completely. You can literally tell your mind, we are not going to think about that right now because it is bed time and we can get back to it tomorrow. (smile) Your mind doesn’t control you, you control your mind. If it goes bananas on you it is because you have gotten used to letting it go bananas. Grab those bananas one by one and get it back under your control. It takes some work; it takes some discipline and it takes some perseverance, but you can control it or else God would not have asked us to control it. Controlling your thoughts is the only way to cultivate a healthy heart. Cultivate a healthy heart.

God looks on the heart. In fact, when God is at work in your life, guess where He is at work? He is at work in your heart. He knows that your heart basically controls your life and He tenderly works with you to remove those wrong things out of your heart. He sees the things in your heart that have long since been hidden from your view. He knows what you need more than anything else. It has been my experience that God is always very gentle with me and never runs roughshod across my heart. He just sort of clues me in to life’s realities and then suddenly I become aware of a wrong belief, some of which I have been harboring for many years. But when I know, I know and am always immeasurably grateful. You can have this same experience. God will show you if you want Him to show you. He will get you to the real causes which generally are hiding out down there in your heart. You can learn to think differently. You can begin to control your thinking. You can become aware of the madness that just slithered across your brain waves and snatch it up and kick it the hell out. The end result is a healthy heart filled with positive abundant beliefs and as such you’ll end up experiencing a truly abundant life. The time is now to guard your heart no matter where you have been because God always provides a way out. Cultivate a healthy heart. You won’t believe how good your life can become…

Just some good thoughts…

Change Your Mind!


two-split-minds-heads-0618211Nothing changes until you change. The changes you really want and beg for and wish for and complain about and lament concerning, are not going to come about on their own. The circumstances of your life, be they what they are, are ultimately a production of your own mind and heart, played out in infinite variations within your own existence. When you find yourself bogged down and mired in negativity, nothing is going to counter that negativity until you finally decide to change your mind. And, while you wait and endure and long for a positive end, you will be waiting a lifetime unless you get determined to confront the source, your own thinking and subsequently your own expectations. As a great man once remarked, “You cannot travel within and stand still without.” As your thoughts go, you will continue to go. Where your thoughts remain, there you will remain. If you are serious about wanting something to change, you have to become serious about changing your thoughts. Change your mind!

It is common for man to think that his thoughts are simply a reaction to his circumstances. He fancies that he is merely a reactive force in the world. Where the world goes, he must go. Instead of commanding control of his mind, he waits for something outside of him to alter something that exists within him. He waits in vain for his ship to come in; his luck to turn around; some grand, cosmic intervention to occur thereby setting him free from his misery and pain. In not knowing, he fails to cooperate with the reality of things. He foolishly waits for God to do something that he must do and exhausts himself trying to do what God alone can do. In his ignorance, he rebels against his own self. He desperately pleads for circumstances to change, while encouraging those same circumstances with the thoughts he continues to think. He persists and they persist. He cleaves to the wrong and the wrong cleaves to him. He continues to walk in darkness then curses the darkness for plaguing his life. As another great man once remarked, “Dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light.” Complaining, whining, bitching, rehashing, playing the victim, rehearsing wrongs done, replaying the evil, remaining in the darkness can only lead to more and more darkness. Endeavoring to command God’s light into circumstances of darkness while remaining in the darkness and refusing to depart from the darkness, is a fool’s game, which many a suffering soul has lived in and for a long, long time. In order for anything good to come, you have to be willing to change your mind. You have to change your mind!

People bring their troubles to God, as He would have them to do, and then refuse to change their thinking. They stay focused on their problems; talk only about their problems; and live firmly within the confines of their problems. They refuse to let things go. In doing so, they remain in the darkness. God is not found in the darkness, He is found in the light, for He is light and in Him is no darkness at all. To earnestly pray for God’s deliverance from some negative circumstance, while persisting in the negativity and embracing it instead of moving to the light, is a recipe for an unanswered prayer. It’s never that God is unwilling to answer the prayer, but more so that the person praying is unwilling to do their part and change their mind. Changing your mind to some thought that is based on the light of God’s Word is the antidote to darkness. Then, once you find the light, you must be determined to stay there. You will find yourself tempted to return to the darkness, the negativity, the defeat, but in order to prevail you have to stay in the light. It might surprise you to know that the reason your circumstances are negative, if they are, is because you have thought it so and continue to think it so. You have knowingly and unknowingly persisted in your negativity. You stuck with it. You stayed in it. You set up shop within it. You failed to take charge of your own mind and your own thoughts and have received the fruit of your negativity. That is not God’s fault, that is your fault. Do your part. Change your mind.

If you give this stuff more than a cursory glance, it will become apparent that you have a part to play in this equation. You can literally think anything you want to think. You can picture yourself successful, delivered, blessed, just as easily as you can picture yourself defeated. The problem is that you (and I) have been schooled by the world to dwell on the darkness. The slightest circumstance; a sore throat, a cough, a twinge in our back, a sudden lack of energy, a market dip, all send our minds reeling towards some frightful, pending, negative outcome. It feels hard to do because it goes against the grain of thinking we have been taught. We already know that worrying serves no good purpose, nor does it lead to any good outcome, yet we insist on running some dark variable through our minds, hoping that somehow, in some indescribable, mysterious way, we are going to stumble upon some light, some answer of peace, something! But, we won’t find the light there. The light comes when we let the thought go, when we refuse its continuance; when we calm down, get peaceful and remember how much God loves us and cares for us. In that space, our answers appear and in no other space. Agitation, unrest, anxiety are not addresses where God lives. Change your mind and walk in the light. 

The only way to get the change you are seeking is to change your mind. Think thoughts of positivity and light. Stop waiting for circumstances to change and change your mind first. You change it. You grab control of your thoughts and think only of things you want and not on things you don’t want. It is your mind, which is the gateway to the great citadel of your heart, from whence your life proceeds. Be positive and expectant not only when it looks good, but when it looks awful. Even in the midst of hell, God is still here and He will help you (and me). Don’t spend another day a victim of your own wrong thinking. Stop allowing the darkness to hold sway over your life. Get to the light and dwell in the light. Light dispels darkness and it’s never the other way around. Change your mind!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Just some good thoughts…

 

You Have to Do You…


In a world that values conformity, you owe it to yourself to be an individual. Much of the struggle you face centers around this nagging compulsion to fit in and be, as much as is possible, just like everyone else. People have become afraid of their own thoughts and their own ideas. We doubt ourselves and close ourselves off to opportunities. We dismiss our good ideas as foolish and inconsequential. We know we have something powerful and impacting to offer the world, but instead of offering it, we try to find ways to squeeze it into so called accepted norms and approved practices. We live forever bound under the thumbs of other people’s expectations for us. You lament over your lack of personal fulfillment, yet very little of what you do is based on what you really want to do. In this, people spend a lifetime working jobs they do not like, following activities they do not enjoy and opting for things promising the most safety and socially endorsed stamp of approval. In this we fail to live; to really live life in its full effulgence and infinite variety. In this we ultimately fail ourselves. You have to do you!

If you think about it, we have all been schooled to not make waves and align ourselves with the status quo. It is often clear to us that the world has lost its collective mind, yet we painfully endeavor to assimilate its concepts into our own being, accepting and promoting what the world says to promote. We never dare ask ourselves what we think or worse have the confidence to trust in our own assertions. Even common sense conclusions are discarded in favor of a little research into what it is we actually ought to think. The world has desensitized us towards the things that truly matter and instead replaced those things with an unfathomable load of things that do not matter. We live (or exist) blown from pillar to post, minds crammed full of nothingness and pointlessness. On those rare occasions when we seize upon the boldness to say what we actually like or insist on something we want for our lives, then suddenly we become the crazy ones. Playing a role as someone else exhausting. Pretending to be someone we are not is damn hard work. Living our lives according to someone else’s dictates and rules is misery; pure misery. If you want to be happy, you have to do you.

So what does it mean to do you? It means to stop living as an imposter and start living as your own authentic self. What do you like to do? What turns you on? What makes your heart beat a little faster? Those things are the things you must do. You don’t have to live amongst the never ending judgments of the world. Honestly, you don’t even need one person’s approval. Sadly, this is man’s day of judgment and that judgment runs roughshod over people’s hearts, especially those daring to pursue their own uniqueness and individuality. We are besieged with judgment concerning every choice we make. Yet what is our life if we are no longer free to make our own choices? We don’t buy the house or the car we like, we buy the house or the car we ought to like, the one that communicates our status or success. That’s not to say that we can’t have nice things, but rather what is behind the choices we are making. Would I make that same purchase in a world with no other people? That’s the acid test. We get on that wheel of things and it is damn hard to get off of it. We devote ourselves to making money at all costs, but don’t devote ourselves to using the money for things that benefit us and other people. We don’t take the time we need to enjoy ourselves or our families, but instead grind toward some future day when we can finally do everything we ever wanted to do, but perhaps no longer have the energy to pursue it. Having the courage to do you means being willing to do your life exactly how you want to do it. It means taking the vacation now. It means writing your book now. It means pursuing your great business idea now. It means taking the time again to invest in your important relationships and stop letting everything else come ahead of them in importance. None of the cool stuff you were able to purchase is going to matter when the end of your life draws near, only the people you have been privileged to love and receive love from. Doing you means doing those things that matter the most to you and stop doing the stuff that doesn’t matter. Honor your own heart. Honor the people you love. Honor the things you hold most dear. You have to do you.

The risk involved with being bold enough to do you is nothing compared to the risk you face of living a life not lived well, well as defined by you and you alone. You are smart enough to recognize the things that bring you pain and cease from doing those things. You are wise enough to discern your own unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. You know in your heart when something isn’t good for you no matter how many people might say otherwise. Trust that. Honor that. Believe that. It seems people think that God is always behind the things you don’t want to do trying to force you to do them. I believe that God is behind the things that turn you on; those things meant for you and you only. Where do you think those exquisite dreams came from? Could it be the thing that most excites your heart to do is exactly what it is God wants you to do? Every man has value. Every woman has something unique to offer to the world. We all have a part in this thing together and every thing we do in accordance with our hearts, will be that which is best supplied by us. In the end, you have to do you. Won’t you do it to help us all?

Just some good thoughts…

The Dating Game…


the dating gameI know what you are thinking. How is a guy who has been married for almost 38 years going to give you some advice on dating? Great question. So, instead of thinking of this as advice, refer to it rather as the inner musings of a guy who likes to write and to think and to question things as they exist and consider their veracity. I mean, are you sure you have this dating thing figured out? Can dating be figured out? Are you carrying around unrealistic expectations for that perfect someone, whom I imagine if they exist, have lots of competition for their interest? Or are you just a guy trying to get a girl to love him and the converse, of course.  If you find yourself playing the dating game, are you winning? Is dating even a game you want to win? It’s time to further investigate the dating game together.

When I think back to those early years when I was involved in the universal game of girl chasing, I wasn’t old enough or mature enough or maybe even smart enough to have really thought any of it through, at least not to any great extent. I didn’t have a list of things I wanted in a woman. I hadn’t considered whether or not the person I was looking for had common interests with me. I didn’t entertain a bunch of physical must haves other than wanting to be with someone that I thought was attractive; attractive in the sense of attracting me. And sadly, or maybe happily, that was about it. As a poor college student, I didn’t really have enough dough to plan extravagant dates that would impress my would be future companion. Instead, I found myself looking for someone that seemed like they might be looking for me. Chalk it up to naivety or youth or probably both, but that was about the extent of it. Now, as I reflect back, so many years later, I think I was blessed with not knowing enough or maybe not doubting enough to complicate the whole process. Dating shouldn’t be so damn complicated, should it? At the end of the day, I like you and you like me seems to encompass most important questions.

I believe the problem with dating today is all of the complexity people have added to it. The world and social media and reality shows have succeeded in portraying an image of romantic relationships that are not based in reality. There are so many expectations both obvious and implied that serve only to severely limit the options for the would be ‘dater’ or ‘datee.’ Dating, if your end game is marriage or a lifelong partner, is not trying to find the perfect compliment to yourself, but rather the person who seems to offer the most potential to be that person. People, like anything that has free agency and unlimited capacity for change, are always to be observed in light of their potential. When I got married, long before the internet was invented, my wife married me for my pure potential. I didn’t have it together by any stretch. I didn’t have any money. I chose fun above all responsibility, a trait that persists to this day, though to a much lesser degree. I didn’t have a 5 year plan or 10 year plan or honestly any plans at all. I was a science project in pure potential. Yet somehow, incredulously, she saw something in me that was good and fought for it until something good appeared. Do you see what I’m trying to say? Here we are some 37+ years later, still loving each other; still committed to one another. Early on we made some decisions, trusted God and went for it. That’s not to say we didn’t have any struggles or obstacles, on the contrary. We had lots of things to navigate and still do at times, but the bet we made is still paying off in each new season of life. We are not done growing yet and throughout it all we are growing together.

Maybe you aren’t 21 years old anymore. Maybe you figured out many things you didn’t know when you were so young. Maybe you already have a career and increased expectations for yourself and for your future. That’s wonderful for sure, but don’t let that trick you into adding complexity where no complexity exists. The conundrum of choosing the wrong person and subsequent unhappiness exists for every potential relationship. But, by the same token, sublime happiness and fulfillment are also a possibility. There’s just no guarantee as the variable will always be yourself and that other person. You don’t need someone who is perfect in every way as the measure isn’t where you start, but where you end up. If you are going to pick someone, pick them based on their commitment to you and their willingness to fight through the challenges of life with you. No matter how much like a fairytale your beginning is, the honeymoon will eventually end and you will find yourself with this person who has annoying traits similar to your own annoying traits. You are going to see them both at their best and at their worst. No matter who you choose and how much you vet them out, they are going to be a person, a human being, with all that goes along with that. Relationships aren’t about finding the perfect match, but finding the person willing to adjust and adapt and change themselves, by their own free will,  to better enable a perfect match because they love you.

As I travel back in time, I can honestly say that in the early days, I did not give one iota of thought regarding whether or not my parents or my siblings would like the person I chose. I wasn’t marrying for them, I was marrying for myself. Oh sure, she was super pretty (smile) and still is, but I always figured that the person I loved, they would love also for my sake, if for nothing else. Once, when we were feuding, my mom said she didn’t think my wife was the one for me. Once, (or twice) her mom said the same. Yet, it wasn’t their choice to make, it was ours. Save yourself some difficulty by trusting your own heart, not someone else’s. When it comes to relationships, there will always be something you don’t like. Don’t let that influence your ultimate decision. Doing so adds pressure and presumes something that isn’t a real indicator of anything of substance. I think sometimes people treat dating like a job interview where you try to get a sense of the person’s character, but all you really get is a sense of how well they have learned to present themselves to get something they want. Most job interviews are over minutes after they begin as your energy greets their energy and decisions are made. Dating is like that. It isn’t really how polished they are or whether you can relate to everything they say. It’s more the uncomplicated, I like you, do you like me?

My advice or musings if you prefer, is to get yourself out there and meet people. Have fun, have experiences, go and do the things you like to do. The person you are looking for is looking for you as well. You are trying to find them and they are trying to find you. The reason you haven’t met yet or maybe met and haven’t recognized it yet, is because one of you or both of you are assigning too much analysis to the process. You are overthinking it. You are seeking to apply your rational thought to matters of the heart. You are afraid of it not working out for you which is delaying it from working out for you. I know it seems like a lot is at stake, but really what is at stake is your happiness in the moments called now. And above all, share your love and goodness with people. Love the people you encounter in a day. Open your heart to them when it’s right and extend your kindness to whomever you meet. Be the best version of yourself, not with worldly standards and expectations, but with the love you have inside that you are willing to share with other people. Nothing is as attractive to people as love is and the more you are willing to share it, the more you will receive it in turn. Don’t thwart love with too many expectations, but instead love without condition and see who amazingly shows up. My wife obviously took a chance on me, bless her heart. Why don’t you take a chance as well? You don’t win the dating game, instead you find love to share with someone else. There is nothing sweeter than that… Nothing.

Just some good thoughts…

Hurt Hearts Hurt Humans… Healed Hearts Heal Humans!


broken_heart_8220916All us good folk living our lives the best we can have one thing in common. We’re all carrying around some bullshit we need to get rid of! We have all been hurt. We have all been mistreated. We have all made mistakes; lots and lots of them (multiplied by our current age). We were brought up by parents who made mistakes. They were raised by people who made mistakes. Our teachers taught us things that weren’t true. Employers may have used us. Others abused us. And, while we may not be psychopaths, we are all damaged goods in some capacity. We are imperfect creatures in an imperfect world living among other imperfect creatures. And sadly, knowing the futility and insanity of our own thoughts at times, we insist on demanding from others that which we don’t even get from ourselves. Hurt hearts can only hurt other people.

If you will really think it through, none of us want to do things that are wrong or hurtful. None of us. But our pain, our unresolved issues really aren’t centered on others, they are centered on ourselves. Our frailties, our weaknesses, our issues pave the way for the foolish things we do. We say horrible things to people not with intent to hurt them, but to salve our own wounds. We gash and tear and bash other people because we are gashed and torn and bashed ourselves. Couples fight, inflicting verbal wounds on one another’s hearts in a misguided attempt to protect their own hearts. Wounded hearts wound other’s hearts.

Oh how compassionate we would become if we ever got past our own bullshit long enough to see and feel the other person. But, we cannot see past the bleeding wounds of our own souls. A compassionate heart is one that is completely and thoroughly in touch with its own absurdity and as such is willing to easily look past the absurdity in another. A person with a compassionate heart forgives freely because they remember how and for what God has forgiven them. People often compliment me personally on how non-judgmental I am, never considering the heavy judgments I cast on myself. A compassionate heart helps people heal.

In order for people to actually get past their baggage and their bondage and their bullshit, they have to be made whole. But, they can’t be made whole without God. All the counseling and positive thinking and affirmations in the world can’t repair the breach because the real source of the breach is always spiritual; a spiritual enemy, ever veiled from view, yet ultimately behind both the suffering we experience and the suffering we inflict. All healing is first spiritual as all pain is first spiritual.

There but for the grace and mostly mercy of God, go I. We are all the same. We all have hopes and aspirations and dreams. We all endure fears and pain and suffering. We all need love, compassion and understanding. We’ve all hurt and damaged and messed others up. We’re in this boat together and though it appears others are awful and we are saints, wrong is still wrong is still wrong. The damage caused by the jaded heart is the same as the hurt caused by the gentle heart. Our life’s work is not to exhaust ourselves in improving ourselves but rather to expend ourselves getting to know and understand the One that heals us.

How does God heal our hearts? If anyone has the right and authority to judge us, it would certainly be Him. But, as One not subjected to the deception of evil, He heals not by pointing out our absurdities and faults; not by seeking to punish our foolishness and frailty, but by knowing who we really are and remaining faithful to treat us in that light. He sees behind the smoke screens and facades and clearly discerns what got us; why it got us; and how the heck He can get us out of it. With Him we can only succeed and without Him we can only fail. Life is too big; too tricky; too perilous to figure out this thing on our own. God heals hearts and healed hearts help others heal.

Once God heals our situations spiritually and trust me, He does, it’s still up to us to put it on in our minds. And though our earthly minds will never reach His perfection, we can still get so repaired of a lifetime of bullshit that we can actually heal. We can become so blessed, so forgiven and encouraged that we become a source of valuable help to others. We have no difficulty looking past the so-called egregious errors of other people because we finally understand why. And once you know why, you never have trouble with the things people have done. Sure some things are worse than others, but underneath it all lies a human just like you. Healed people forgive others.

Simple logic tells you that a broken machine doesn’t work like it should. When it finally blows up and breaks stuff, you get why it damaged things and instead of blaming and accusing and assaulting it, you seek to get it repaired. Humans are no different. We may have free-will and minds and thoughts and decision-making ability, but when we break down we tear stuff up. The solution is therefore to help it (them) get repaired. A child, guilt ridden for the wrong he did doesn’t need a lecture, he needs forgiveness and an approving, unconditional loving response. That’s what God gives you. That’s what you give to others. A healed heart sets people free!

We find ourselves all lined up in the same boat on a similar journey. Don’t allow the wrongs you have suffered to make you a cause in the suffering of others. Instead accept and love yourself for all the foolishness that you are and be grateful for your perfect God that saves you and saves us all! Healed hearts love the unlovable until they become lovable too.

Just some good, healing 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…

Real Relationships Require Real Talk…


395526520_640  As my wife and I approach our 30 year anniversary (Lord, am I that old?), I started thinking about how two people who got married so young, could have made it this far.  Now that’s not to say we didn’t fight like “it was our job” early on or that it has been a fairytale ride without any issues, no not at all!  But I can say one thing with complete honesty (hmm there’s a concept we will get back to later), after all these years, I really would rather not be with anyone else in the world.

So, what did we do that helped us get through those hard times?  What did we figure out, albeit by trial and error, that saved us time and time again?  What did we learn to do when the pressure was on and it seemed like maybe we wouldn’t make it after all?  The short answer?  We talked.  Real talk…

Now, when I say we talked I don’t mean that superficial stuff.  “How was your day?” – something you might say to the grocery checker at Target.  I mean we talked about things that mattered.  Side note – don’t you love it when you find someone who you can talk with about things that matter?  The best conversation is a real one!  Real talk means having the courage to say what you really think about something.  If your partner does something that makes you feel anger (which, by the way, is a secondary emotion that indicates something needs to be resolved) then who in God’s name could you possibly be helping by deciding not to bring it up?  And while I’m on this rant, how could you ever allow yourself to be afraid of your partner to the extent that you decide not to say the things that need to be said?  If you’re honest, you know that the worst that could happen is that your partner would decide to leave you!  Okay, so follow my logic here for a minute.  If your relationship is so precarious that one heated argument could lead to an immediate break-up or divorce, what kind of relationship did you have to begin with?  Thankfully, my wife and I started out with the end in mind.  We decided day one that marriage was forever and that no matter what happened we would work it out.  Did stuff happen?  Of course it did.  Did we work it out?  Yes!

Arguing does not mean that your relationship is in trouble, in fact it’s just the opposite.  People that argue still care enough about themselves and each other to fight for what they think is right.  The trouble comes when that dreaded silence comes. Once you reach the place where you just roll your eyes and say “whatever” on the inside, that’s when you are in trouble.  And even then it’s not too late to say what you really think (which brings me to the most important part of “real talk.”)

You may be thinking at this point, well what exactly should I say?  Another simple answer – exactly what you are thinking!  That’s honest.  Now I don’t mean that hurtful kind of so called – honest.  “Honey you are getting fat!”  That’s not honest, that’s hurtful.  I mean honesty from your heart about how you are feeling in this moment of time.  What if she or he doesn’t like what you have to say?  What if they get mad at you?  What if they go silent on you for the next three days?  Again, follow my logic here, so what?  Don’t you matter as much as your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend matters?  Don’t your feelings count?  Is not your heart as important as their heart?  So, quit being so afraid and work it out.  I could never wrap my mind around those couples that were so afraid of their partner that they felt they could not speak up about something!  That’s not a relationship, that’s a dictatorship…  Naturally these conversations occur in private not in public. but make no mistake they must take place.  If your spouse says something that hurts your feelings or makes you feel stupid, bring it up!  That’s honest.  How can the other person ever modify their behavior if you don’t ever bring it up?  And refusal to modify a behavior that needs to be changed is going to result in a break-up anyway (now or later).  So SPEAK UP!

At the end of the day, you are not going to be happy if you aren’t true to yourself.  Oh you can play the game, assume the role, but like any actor you will soon tire of the role and need to get back to who you really are.  Don’t you want your spouse to know who you really are anyway?  Again I’m very blessed in that my wife knows who I am and I can be myself with her.  I can tell her where I’m weak without dreading that she might somehow know I have some weaknesses (as if she didn’t know anyway..LOL)  She can tell me likewise.  Really if you could look inside other people’s heads you would find that we humans are all very similar.  We have similar fears, similar concerns and similar needs.  Trust that.  Know that and speak up!

My prayer for all of you that read this is that you will have the courage to say the things you have been thinking for days, months and years and repair those breeches between yourself and the people who you love.  A healthy dose of love from your heart will solve a multitude of problems.

Wishing you 30 years of committed marriage and beyond…

(I love you honey)

Just some good thoughts…