Keep it Moving…


The peculiar thing about life is that it only moves in one direction. All living things are in a constant state of flux. Nothing stagnates and survives. Like time, life can only be played forward and the key to your success is to keep moving ahead. Failure comes not so much from making mistakes as you move, but your failure to move altogether! Keep it moving!

You were designed by your Creator to live and move and have your being! (Acts 17:28) You have your days that you might live them, be done with them and enjoy the prospects of the new ones. As the sun travels across the sky ever moving, you travel through your life ever moving also. How many times in your life have you been exhorted to “move ahead” or to “move on?” The essence of that sage advice is that you cannot afford to sit still or to dwell in some long since past event that you can neither effect, live, nor change in any way. Cleaving to the former days; to your former enlightenment; to the former good days when life was “simple” is always a deception. It’s a deception because it is based on a perception you no longer entertain. Back then you were who you were back then. Today you are who you are today. Sure you may have enjoyed a certain innocence, but you also suffered many bruises as you gained perspective and learned your lessons. There’s nothing more sad than to see a person desperately trying to cleave to a period long past. Doing so concludes that today no longer holds the promise that yesterday held. Instead you must move ahead embracing your special memories, recognizing the influence they had on the person you are today. You have to keep it moving!

Moving forward keeps the barnacles from adhering to your deck! Things that have stopped moving corrupt and rust. Similarly, when you stop moving forward, for whatever reason, you also begin to decay. A stagnant pool is so because it has no influx of new water. Soon it begins to stink and becomes a breeding ground for disease. What has stopped you from moving in your life? Was it some catastrophic event? Was it some epic loss that rendered you forever incapable of experiencing life again? When the patriarch David’s son died, despite his enduring grief and emptiness of soul, he knew he had to wash his face and move ahead. It didn’t serve to minimize the tragedy of his loss, but instead afforded him a chance to continue to live. No matter what has happened to you, painful as it was and is, you have to find a way to move ahead.

The great enemy of life lives amidst a perpetual scheme to stop you from moving forward. He probes and plots to produce the conditions that cause you to stagger and stop. The lion roars to freeze his prey! The adversary, through fear, roars to stop you in your tracks. As long as you move ahead, he cannot pounce. But, fear will impede your forward movement. In reacting to and considering the devilish proposition, your forward momentum begins to slow. As you slow down, you begin to recognize more and more from which to be afraid! Now, sitting there frozen in fear, life becomes a living hell. The only reasonable solution is to move forward. Do something! Take action on the thing that is making you so fearful. Go to the doctor. Take the test. Have the conversation. Do something. Have you ever noticed that often in the midst of great stress and anxiety, moving your mind forward in some other activity often helps you to gain perspective? Go help someone. Move your thoughts in a different direction. Let whatever it is go for a minute and focus your attention elsewhere. Fear is a human conundrum from which it can be very difficult to escape. When you are afraid life slows to a standstill! How long the night lasts wrapped up in some worried, anxious concern. Instead of participating in an endless game from which you cannot escape, give the situation to God and move ahead! Make your mind move ahead!

In order to live the best life, in order to gain the most from your days, you have to determine yourself to keep moving ahead. You find yourself distracted for three months concerning some dread and suddenly for whatever reason are able to let it go, only to find that the thing you so ardently dreaded never happened anyway! But, you sacrificed three months in the process. Although you found a way to win, you still lost precious time along the way. You have to learn to live the day fully and not carry it into the new day. Move ahead. Let the past go and be now done with it. Keep it moving. Quit looking back and look ahead. As you move, God moves with you. In the new day you are free to be whomever you want to be. Why continue carrying around that dead carcass of the past? Today you have fresh new perspectives. Today you have opportunities unlimited. Move, move, move ahead!

We are all in the same boat together folks! What has scared you has scared me also. You have your scars and I have my scars as well. Those scars may remind you of a painful time, but they don’t have to hurt anymore. Often things heal the most rapidly when we at last loosen our grip on them and let them go. How quickly things resolve when we decide to move ahead! Yet how long things seem to endure when we stop our forward progress focusing only on what may not be right about our lives. Whatever it is that is troubling you, whatever it is that has impeded your forward progress, whatever it is that has caused your life to slow to a standstill, know this – you can resolve it once and for all when you finally decide to move ahead!

You have to keep it moving!

Just some good thoughts…

Happiness and What You Might Be Doing to Eff’ It Up…


Ahhh happiness, the most talked about feeling in the whole world! Yet, for all that is inked regarding the subject, there is one thing that leads to its discovery and that one thing is you. Is happiness eluding you? Are your happy moments few and far between? Are you only truly happy when the circumstances line up perfectly? Can you even remember the last time you were happy? The answer to the questions is found within your own mind and within your own mind alone… Are you effing up your own happiness?

Happiness, substitute the word blessed if you’re a believer, is such a simple concept and its attainment is always found within your grasp. Life doesn’t make you happy, you make you happy. Favorable circumstances don’t make you happy, you have already decided which circumstances make you happy. Material riches don’t lead to happiness unless you have decided that they do. Happiness is not a mental state to be sought after, but a decision you are making every moment of every day. Even our great God cannot make you happy without your full consent! When you are unhappy, chances are you are doing something in your mind to eff it up.

Why, if happiness is so vitally important to us, would we consciously screw it up? Well, it’s not so much a conscious decision as it is learned behaviors; learned ways of thinking we have unconsciously been programmed to adopt. Something somewhere is ever at work to steal away your happiness. Someone, unscrupulously scheming, behind the scenes, has been tirelessly chipping away at you day after day and night after night. He seeks to define your narratives. He, with help from the world’s media machine, adeptly puts a spin on your perspective. He (or it) falsely outlines which conditions produce happiness and then makes sure you cannot meet those conditions. (You can never meet the conditions because the conditions are always a lie; a false portrayal.) You are not alone in your conundrum because what you are facing is the human condition, absent the truth. You are on a universal journey where how you vote determines the election. If you don’t choose, the choice will be made for you. You eff up your happiness by allowing something or someone else to dictate the conditions!

Happiness is always very personal in nature. What leads to your happiness won’t necessarily lead to my happiness, though the mechanics of being happy are the same. The world; the systems of the world will always lead you down the rabbit hole. You end up chasing not what makes you happy, but what someone else says will make you happy. The amount of money you need to be happy will always be a little more than what you have. Instead of finding happiness in your relationship, there will always be something missing; something you wish you had; some trait you find less than perfect; something that informs you that you don’t get to be happy yet. You can apply this formula in finding happiness to every aspect of your life. Notice carefully how there will always be some condition that isn’t quite fulfilled; some destination to get to; some missing piece, which craftily informs your mind that you are not allowed to be happy yet! Please read that sentence again! You are waiting to be happy. You are waiting for conditions to line up. You are waiting for something that finally gives you permission to be happy. But, the only one impeding your happiness is you…waiting. You’re effing up your own happiness by waiting for something else to produce it for you.

When it comes to happiness, it is something you must decide for yourself. Decide to be happy now, not just on the weekend. Decide to be happy at work. Decide to be happy in your relationship and behave as someone who is happy. Stop waiting for the future when conditions are right and you have everything you ever wanted. Look, you may one day have everything you ever wanted, but a lot of living will have transpired in the interim while you were waiting. Happiness in life is found in the journey, not the destination. Happiness is found not absent any challenges, but in overcoming the challenges. Happiness comes from controlling your thinking and refusing everything that confronts or challenges that happiness. Stop measuring yourself against impossible standards and enjoy your life. You are what you are today, the good and the bad, so you may as well make peace with yourself and live. Each day time slips away and your opportunities for happiness diminish as your time on Earth diminishes. Cherish what you have and where you are today. Hug your children. Spoil your grandkids. Kiss your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend. Love the unlovable and help the folks who need the most help. Give your life your all with no holdbacks! Life is a treasure with happiness infused in the creation, if you are willing to see it! You may just be effing up your happiness by what you are refusing to see…

God, the source of all possible love and goodness, created human life with one grand intention, that His children would be happy. (If you’re a parent, you know how that feels!) So let Him show you what life and happiness is all about. You were not designed to figure everything out on your own! You were not built to pack around a world of worries and cares. It was never intended that you try to do life by your own human logic. Instead you were made to live with Him as your Daddy, casting all your problems on to Him. Then, after having done that, relax and enjoy your life! Allow yourself to be happy today and just trust Him to take care of everything in between. Allow yourself to be happy, today, right effin now!

Don’t eff it up! (smile) I love you…

Just some good thoughts…

Anxious for Nothing…


There’s a thing going around in the world today called anxiety and almost everybody has it in one capacity or another. The question isn’t whether or not anxiety exists, but rather can you do anything about it. Feeling anxious and troubled is not just a normal part of life, but instead is a learned behavior. You may never find yourself completely free from anxiety’s assaults, but you can learn how to overcome it and its effects over your life. Be anxious for nothing!

It likely seems incredulous to you that you could live today without any anxiety about anything. Imagine getting to a place where feeling anxious was the exception rather than the rule. Anxiety in its lowest common denominator is fear. However, it’s not an overt fear that is in your face threatening you with some negative outcome. Instead it is a hidden, veiled fear. It is fear misplaced. It’s a foreboding feeling of doom based on nothing you can put your finger on. It is feeling unsettled or uncomfortable with something, somewhere, somehow. At best it is unpleasant and people do all kinds of things to minimize its effects. Anxiety leads to avoidance and procrastination. Anxiety, the child of fear, promotes inaction! Anxiety suggests it is better to do nothing about something that is troubling you rather than to take it on. Anxiety presumes defeat or hardship in advance and proclaims loss before the contest starts. Anxiety is not the negative result, it is the threat of a negative result. And sadly, for many it is debilitating.  Feeling anxious is “just” a feeling. It’s not a reality, it is a feeling. It is internal dread about something that has been cleverly designed to frighten you. But, like any feeling, it can be overcome similar to boredom, discouragement or any other feeling that we wish to avoid at all costs.

If you were to carefully and thoughtfully trace back your thoughts that led to anxiety, working though the layers and the subtle promptings; the pieced together misinformation; the false connections and associations, you would see it for what it really is – a lie. It doesn’t seem untrue because of how you feel when you experience it. It can be very, very convincing. But, it isn’t pointing to some pending reality heading your direction. It is highlighting something you have let go. Anxious feelings are always an indicator of something you have let go. The first step in overcoming anxiety isn’t to dig through the confused spaghetti bowl of feelings and sensations. It is to confront the negative possibility the first time it shows up! By the time you are experiencing anxiety, the seeds have long since been planted. It happened long before you started feeling anxious! In the midst of anxiety, you have to ride it out; changing your thinking with perseverance until your feelings catch up. We are so schooled to revere our feelings that we accept them as truth rather than as indicators. Anxious feelings communicate that you have let something go.

The cure for anxiety is action. Take action on whatever it is you are letting go! What’s the point of all of that thinking and analysis if you aren’t going to do anything about it? You can think yourself into a full on panic attack! What things in your life are you ignoring? What do you need to handle that you have been putting off? And, why the hell are you putting it off? It will not go away on its own… Take it on! Solve it. Try to solve it. Bring it up. Handle it. Be honest with yourself! Be honest with other people. Take the time to get “it” fixed. Resolve it in your own mind. Answer the damn question once and for all. Quit drifting. Stop putting up with it. Cease waiting around for something that isn’t going to happen. Put an end to endless prayers that have no action on your part involved. Get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Have the conversation you have been avoiding. Make a move. Pay the bill. Look for the job. Go to the doctor. Do something! Otherwise, you will find yourself living in a riddle that will never be solved on its own. You don’t have to know what to do already. But, you do have to do something!

It is not God’s will for you to be anxious all the time or for that matter anytime… God, His Word, His love is the only real lasting solution to your anxiety. Look, life is big and chock full of scary shit! There are a multitude of things that could go wrong. You and your human mind are no match for what you are really up against. You are not smart enough or strong enough to measure up to the fight! You will not be able to reason or logic your way out of the potential downfalls. You won’t be able to do it. As long as you think your victory is all on you, you are guaranteed to lose. God did not design life that way. You can’t pull up enough bootstraps to get the job done! The solution, the best solution for anxiety is to stop trying so hard to figure it all out and give all of that crap to God to figure out. Just hand it over. Tell him about your situation (that He already knows about) and leave it with him to solve. Then, get busy living and doing and taking actions. 90% of your defeat lies within your persistent consideration of the dreadful outcome. Read that sentence again! Your problem isn’t what is going to happen, your problem is what you think (fear) is going to happen! Hand it over and make some moves. What is the worst that could happen? Have you ever met anyone that worried themselves out of their problems? Be anxious for nothing (no thing), but in everything (every thing) let your requests be made known unto Him (God) and enjoy the wonderful peace that follows!

Be anxious for nothing. That is living your best life…

Just some good thoughts…

Just Walk Away…


You’ve probably been a part of a situation where someone wanted to draw you into their drama or to get you to fight about something. Then, because of the advice of a trusted friend or maybe through your own thought processes, you decide it’s not worth it and maybe you should just walk away. Many situations in life draw far more than their fair share of our attention and our focus when perhaps the best option might just have been to walk away. And sometimes even considering a situation or someone’s words or words bouncing around in your own head becomes your problem when you should have just walked away from those thoughts. Just walk away…

It has oft been repeated that where you place your attention, your life moves. And life, if you haven’t noticed by now, is chock full of little life suckers that appear like mosquitos nibbling away at your flesh, one irritation at a time. They don’t represent life threatening scenarios or circumstances demanding your full, focused attention. Instead they are most often represented in annoyances, aggravations and frustrations carefully placed to rob you of minutes and hours, then days and years. They surreptitiously steal your energy, your vitality, your life force. They are raindrops at your picnic, the blowing wind while you are fishing, the clouds at the beach. They move with such subtlety that you rarely see them coming, only to recognize them after their work is done, leaving you depleted and lacking your original enthusiasm. They contradict life by occupying it and busying it until there is no joy left in it. They are not worthy of your attention or your time and are best dealt with by refusal or simply your decision to walk away.

While life demands at times that we must fight, not every fight is worth fighting for. Some fights serve only to draw you into the mud also where both parties have to get dirty. Some fights don’t represent your cause, but another’s cause. Some fights are grounded in frivolity, not engendering sufficient reason. There is a fight worth your effort, unless that is, your energy has already been squandered on things that do not matter. How much time do we invest into things that do not matter? We allow words and opinions and judgments to push us off center, desperately defending ourselves against an idea or a concept that didn’t accurately represent us to begin with. Yet there we remain, rolling around on the pavement getting scuffed and bruised, wrestling with someone or something that didn’t really matter at all. Negative opinions and their associated judgment have never helped one person get better and never will. The only fight worth your time and effort is the fight between good and evil, whereby you do your part to choose the light and love and goodness in oppostion to a whole world full of darkness. The rest exists only to waste your precious time. Just walk away.

The great competition of life takes place in your mind. The great fight is fought between your ears. You win and lose by the thoughts you choose to entertain. Wrong thoughts, negative thoughts, contrary thoughts, fearful thoughts, condemnatory thoughts, self deprecating thoughts, accusatory thoughts, guilty thoughts, threatening thoughts, all carry within them seeds of failure, that in order to grow must be held onto and cultivated. Your consideration is the cultivation. They appear as reasonable in an appeal to your reason. They display themselves as truth but only have a kernel of truth in them. And no matter their appearance, their poison remains within. The more you sip, the more poisoned you become. And if you drink enough of them, they will kill you. These thought enemies appear harmless and beg for further inspection, consideration. And like the cat that curiosity killed, they clamor for your attention. They itch and ask you to scratch them. They tempt you and seduce you for the opportunity to remain, to exist, to have a place. Once you have given them a place they spread out and occupy, fixing little strongholds, seeking stronger attachments until eventually they bring down the entire edifice. And all along while you fight and struggle and reason and worry, desperately trying to figure it out, their hold is strengthened and permitted and allowed. It never dawned on you that your solution was simply just to walk away. Let them go. Stop your consideration of their potential reality and just walk away.

Your time on Earth is limited. Your opportunities for an impact are finite. You have one and only one shot at this thing. You have got one life and not for very long. You owe it to yourself to maximize your existence. Your life demands that you learn where to place your efforts and when to walk away. There are a million worthy causes, but for you only one worthy cause. At the end of your days, you won’t remember all of the petty aggravations and frustrations. You won’t think of all the time you spent in useless worry and consideration over some awful thing that never appeared. You won’t wish you had fought more and challenged more and set people straight. Instead you will reflect on all the good things you enjoyed and the time you spent rightfully on the things that really mattered. You will remember the people you loved and the people that loved you. You will rejoice over those times you got it right and helped people and lifted them up; your time spent on worthy efforts and the time you invested that impacted lives. You will hoped to have left a legacy of love and kindness and goodness that no-one will forget. And finally, you’ll be so eternally grateful for the times you had the good sense to just walk away and no longer squander your precious life on the things not worthy of your time and effort. Thank God you had the good sense to just walk away!

Just some good thoughts…

Getting Rid of the Hurt and Dirt in Your Life!


You know, if you’ve lived long enough, there are things in life that serve no other purpose than to hold you back! No matter how hard you work to be successful and happy, these things are guaranteed to severely retard your progress. We don’t hold on to these things on purpose, but somehow they manage to stick around and thwart our every move. It behooves us all to figure out how to get the hurt and dirt out of our lives.

All of us have been hurt by someone or something in some capacity. Maybe you were raised as part of a beloved organization that really let you down in your later years. Maybe someone you cherished left you for someone else. Perhaps you gave your all for some important job only to discover that your value was fleeting and transitory. Perhaps you suffered some tragedy involving your loved ones that you are still scratching your head to try and figure out. No matter what has happened to you, and some things are frightfully dreadful and incredibly painful, you have to find a way to move ahead.

Holding on to wrongs done and the multiplicity of injustices you’ve experienced does nothing more than to stymy and squash your current enjoyment of life. Your heart, in response to the hurts you are holding onto, has no choice but to resort to hardness to protect itself. And, once your heart gets hard and calloused, you no longer have the capacity to feel the things you are supposed to feel. The whole world suffers from this malady… People wander aimlessly their whole lives through searching and tirelessly pursuing that heart they remember with great fondness. Yet, they fail to realize that they themselves are doing the very thing that keeps their own heart hard! You absolutely must do whatever it takes to move ahead and let those things go. You have to move past the hurts in your life.

In similar fashion, we all have those parts of our lives we wish we didn’t have. We are all human beings and as such are often easy to beat. We like things and then we like them too much! We cleave on to the very things that make our lives miserable. We know our excesses and propensity for more than enough, yet on we go traveling down the same roads over and over and over again! Certain behaviors, certain activities always turn out bad, no matter how they seem in the moment. Yet so goes humanity swirling and boiling in its passions leading wherever it gets led, never really taking the time to consider and thus choose.

If we really want to soar; if we really want to travel the high roads in life, we need to get rid of our dirt. We need to rid ourselves of those things both subtle and obvious that always return us woe. Why stagger we between two opinions? We know those choices that bring us peace and we also know those choices that cause unrest. It behooves us to simply recognize what is going on and change it. All humanity wrestles with this same conundrum. We want our cake and to eat it too! We seek to travel the roads of high endeavor with pockets full of sand, rocks and debris. We think we can somehow fool the system; straddle the fence; commingle truth and error. But, we cannot. We have to make a choice. We have to finally rid ourselves of our dirt!

In order to live life; to really experience all that God intended for you, you have to rid yourself of the hurt and all the dirt. Both, though very cleverly disguised, are thorns in your flesh, oil in your water, sand in your machinery. They are distractions and they are lies. Often your solution isn’t to do something, but to stop doing something! Life can be more about the things you choose not to do rather than the things you should do. Holding onto hurts and wrongs done chokes and suffocates your life. Insisting on doing things you know always turn out wrong buries your heart in bad feelings and remorse. Both are crucially important and both are matters of the heart.

In order to win at the game of life, you have to protect your heart. You have to make choices that encourage tenderness of heart. A tender heart; a heart that feels and loves and gives, is the heart of God. Once you rid yourself of the poisons your heart begins to recover. Remove the cause and the body heals!

Decide now to get rid of the hurt and dirt in your life. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to do your part… You deserve to fly!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Getting Out of Your Own Head…


Have you ever had a scenario play out where the answer to your dilemma was something totally unexpected or not at all what you had envisioned? At times in life, in your personal distress and commitment to solving a problem, you conclude that the more time you spend in resolution activities; the more you expend yourself in searching for a solution; the more you refuse to let it go, the more likely you are to come across the answer. But, what if it doesn’t work that way at all? What if the answer isn’t to keep seeking, but rather to simply move ahead. What if the peace you are after comes not from holding onto but rather from releasing? Maybe you just need to get out of your own head.

Have you ever had the experience whereby the harder you try to remember something the more elusive it becomes, but when you finally let it go, it comes to you perfectly and without any strain. Life wasn’t intended to be brought about by strain. Nature doesn’t strain. Love doesn’t strain. The best things in life come about as naturally as breathing or sleeping. But, if you obsess over your breathing or falling asleep both become impossible and labored. That alone should prove to you that life was not designed to spring forth from strain, but instead the absence of it. That which you do with stress; with ardent pressing; with over-effort fails to deliver the things you need the most.

Your human condition; your ego; your insistence on solving your problems yourself lead only to frustration. Stress and worry promise that if you put in enough time; enough focus; enough persistence you will eventually find the solution. But, has it ever been successful? Have you ever, in the midst of your frenetic worry, been able to get to anything useful or helpful? If you are honest you know that only after you have conceded or in your futility and misery decided to let it go, have you been able to see something you weren’t able to see before. In the absence of troubling worry your answer comes; it always comes as it necessarily must. Anxiety and worry serve no other purpose than to drive you inward and keep you there. In churning and debating and distressing you begin to work against yourself. You cease from helping and instead hinder.

Getting out of your own head is about recognizing just how much time to give a thing. It’s determining quickly whether this issue; this false threat to your existence;  this foreboding series of thoughts deserve your valuable time and attention. Perhaps you have been feeling like maybe something is wrong with your body. In the final analysis if something is wrong it will come forth whether you like it or not. It will reveal itself. No amount of consideration on your part will alter that reality. And, God forbid, you would have to take on and deal with that reality. Your hours spent in dutiful consideration would have no impact on that reality. Instead they would serve only to rob you of the moment that is right now. Day after day, night after night absorbed in worry and fear would do nothing to change  that reality, but instead encourage it. In short, all that time spent in your own head will profit you nothing! Also, I should add, most of the time that dreaded  reality was not a reality at all, but rather a skillfully executed drain on your existence.

Getting out of your own head is based upon understanding just what it is you do and do not control! What part has been assigned to you to manage and what part are you not supposed to try to manage? Trying to manage affairs out of your control is a prescription for heartache and pain. No human that has ever lived has successfully thought their way out of things over which they have no control! Good thinking; excellent problem solving skills; exceptional capacities to discern difficulties are all powerless against things in which they have no power. Dwelling on and living in those variables does nothing more than to keep you captured, a prisoner in your own thinking.

Hidden behind your insistence in solving all your problems with your thoughts is fear. You are afraid! You are terrified that something is going to get you. And you know of yourself that there is really nothing you can do to protect yourself. All of your time spent sincerely seeking a solution to things that threaten you are wasted time, failing to recognize where true protection and guidance come from. Your preservation from the awful things in life come only from God. He alone can preserve you and watch over you. You alone won’t get the job done. Thus, time spent challenging that assertion is wasted time; pointless activity.

Getting out of your own head means to leave your problems; your issues; your dilemmas with God and to move the hell on!  Let it go. Let them go! Get outside your own head. Walk away. Drop it all off. Pitch them all into God’s bucket and if you accidentally take them back, pitch them all in again. Refuse the temptation to solve fear because you aint going to solve it! Fear, always an illusion, cannot be solved by consideration, but only by refusal of consideration. Fear and worry must be starved out. Thinking and stressing and worrying act as food strengthening and encouraging fear towards more and more damage. Thank God for taking care of you and give it ALL to Him! Walk away my friend, walk away…

Your life, though you may not yet be convinced, was not supposed to be focused on everything that could go wrong. You are not equipped to take on the prospect of every bad thing that might assault you. Instead you were intended to give it all to something, Someone much bigger and smarter than yourself! In doing so, you are finally able to relax; to trust; to rely on Someone else to care for you. That is real, blessed life. That is getting out of your own head!

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…