Slow Down and Pay Attention…


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

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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts…

Living Always Now…


being-present-1024x433Feel, savor, enjoy, embrace the moment that is now

Take on, overcome, fight, challenge the time that is now

Find God, your answers, your help, your deliverance, now

Live always your life now…

It is remarkable how much energy we squander reliving past moments and future times. When our recall is pleasant or our anticipation sweet, our time travel enhances our journey. But when with squinted eye we lament the past or rashly dread an imaginary future, we sully and tarnish our journey and cut ourselves off from the experience of life that is now.

Just as your mind was designed to think one thought at a time, no matter the speed, and always in succession, your experience of life was intended to occupy all the space of right now. The incredible sensory beauty of nature is to be both perceived and received now. The love of people and your relationship to them is to be performed and reformed now. The solution to your trouble, your difficulty, your toil can only be discovered and then rediscovered now. Your life is now. Your feelings are now. Your understanding is now. Your experience is now. Your decision is now. Your God (and mine) is now.

Our senses have become so easily distracted, so anesthetized, so diluted that we fail to register what we need to detect. We miss it. We look asconce. We harden our hearts. We blow past it recklessly and without thought. We never impressed on our minds what “it” is and why we need to address its beckoning. Instead we dart beyond it, nervously anticipating or retreating from its threatening, all the while never slowing enough to see it for what it is. Feelings of boredom or lethargy frighten us and in escape from them we fill the air around us with media or music or talking or booze or anything that will succeed in removing the threat. However, the specter is not removed just postponed. Then each postponed moment adds, multiplies and carries over until the life of the person is eventually lost.

A bad marriage isn’t one thing it’s a compilation of things. It’s a hundred unsaid sentences; a thousand unspoken thoughts, a million feelings unaddressed. The job you loathe became so by your own diminished effort, your silent acquiescence, your failure to shine and effervesce and move upward and onward. Your lack of money or respect or fulfillment came not because someone wrestled it from you, but because you gave it up in thought or in practice, or better said in failure to think and then act. You arrived at where you arrived at not by a sudden bolt or surge or happenstance, not by commission, but by omission. All that futile dragging about and wallowing in some long dead past moment or anxiously rehearsing some ghastly, dreadful, or shame producing future time succeeded in removing your precious perception from the thing you needed to take care of while it was still called “today!”

Our present time has become perilously occupied and as addicts we crave more and more of both quantity and frequency. We can scarce handle a break in entertaining media. In our compulsion our time diminishes leaving us exhausted and busy and tired. Instead of running, running, running we should stop and have the courage to take on the moment that is now. Don’t busy yourself with trifles. Don’t log on or search or shop. Don’t turn on anything but your beautiful mind. Allow yourself to feel again. Let pleasant and unpleasant emotions just be. Look at those thoughts that dog you and grab them by their leash. Consider whether they’re real or imagined. Push through the veil and see who has been driving your bus. Who or what has been moving you against your will from what’s most important to you in life and convincing you to settle for less than that? What wrong ideas or untested theories are hiding in the darkness and acting as chains to bind you where there are no limitations? The answers to these questions; to anything that ever plagued you are all right here, obvious and clear in the moment called now, in the sweet reverie between you and your Creator.

The message has been playing all around you since time was first initiated. It’s in the still small voice. It’s in quiet meditation. It’s in the honesty of prayer. It’s in yoga and in sitting still. It is found in every sunrise and sunset. It’s blended in the green of the tree leaves and grass and the bluish hue of the sky. It’s the ocean, the sand and the gentle breeze. It’s unplugged, outside and in every woods. It is your cherished life right now, and now, and now.  It is your distinctive, wonderful experience of life both right now and in every incredible, future, unique now.

Don’t grieve God’s heart by passing time and finding things to get you from one moment to the next. Don’t occupy yourself for occupation’s sakes. Don’t waste time in mindless distraction or in things not worthy of your experience. Instead harvest the bountiful crop to be savored in every precious moment of life. Honor your own heart and your own feelings. Trust yourself and move confidently toward those things that warm you and ask your heart to speed up. Open your eyes and finally see the incredible attention to detail; the unfailing love; the miracle that is this life all wrapped up in the wonder of time right now…

How cloudy, how faded, how dim our true recollection of times gone past

How blurry, how hidden, how hazy our view of some future day

Yet how clear, how true, how faithful the record of our lives ever in the moment called now

Live always your life now…

Just some good thoughts…

 

The Man You Used to Be…


red-sneakered-feet-walking-towards-phdRecently we had some old college friends over for a barbecue. Thank goodness I’m not as old as them! 😉 When I casually told one of them I was the clinical Director for my organization, he couldn’t believe that the guy he knew in college was the director of anything! I could see his point as my only objectives in life back then were to chase women, play basketball and find different methods to anesthetize myself! (smile) But, that was a lifetime ago… Afterwards, I couldn’t help but think how sad it would be to be the same person you were 35 years ago. None of us are the same person we were back then, nor should we be. This life is all about growth and finding out the obstacles that stunt our growth. So are you ready to find out some things that may have been stunting your growth?

By far, the number one culprit for impeding your progress in life, as Emerson aptly stated, is “carrying about that corpse of a memory.” What you did at any given point in time reflects how you thought at that point in time. It means nothing else. To assign your future course in life to a hodge-podge of foolish past decisions is the height of insanity. In fact, you are completely free to be today whomever it is you choose to be. Your past served only as the preparation ground to grow the person you are today. You needed your mistakes as much as you needed your successes. The difficulties you are experiencing right now are remnants of a course you have yet to complete. Figure it out so you can take the exam and move on.

Dwelling on the past, even yesterday, is a fool’s game. Learn whatever you can learn from it and immediately move forward. Spending your days incubating some failure serves only to guarantee future failure like a runner looking back in the race. The hotshot swimmer in the Olympics was so preoccupied with his opponent that he failed to even medal. Staying your mind on your past is being preoccupied with your opponent. No matter your inherent goodness or practiced virtue, you are going to fall prey to that spurious other power at times and for that you owe God nothing but a commitment to move ahead. How many good-hearted folks do you know who are locked into some past event, imprisoned in the decisions of yesterday? Let it go and move ahead!

Another impediment to future growth is the overuse and abuse of those squirrley little vices that promise you transport to another time and place. Do you remember the commercial where the 30-year-old is extolling the virtues of smoking marijuana when his acquiescence is suddenly interrupted by his mother’s voice in her home, in whice he still lives? Drugs and overindulgence in alcohol press a perpetual pause button on your life, stymying future growth while waiting for you to move out of that phase. Fun and games are all fun and games while your life is fun and games, but every man’s life has a day when he has to forgo fun and games for the work he must do. Indulge if you must, but find a way to balance your fun with the stuff you have to do! Go to work!

Of all the opinions that matter in life, the most important one is the opinion you carry of yourself. Enter your circle of friends and family that work together in unison to define just exactly who you are and where you fit. And again, in the words of Emerson, you are loathe to disappoint them! If you were “always” the joker you must continue to be the joker. If you were ditsy and scatterbrained, that moniker must stay with you for life. People in their estimation of you allow no room for growth or change. Of necessity they cannot because of their compulsion to fit your present life into their past estimation of you. But, growth demands the change and your responsibility is nothing more than to allow your present life to speak for itself! The fact that you were “never” the smart one is only a limitation in their minds, not your own. My dad still thinks I’m not mechanical though I’ve repaired my fair share of broken stuff. Once I configured an OshKosh B’gosh buckle into a door latch, but now I’m just bragging!  The point is, your only limitation is within yourself. Answering to public opinion; to your friend’s judgments; to your family background is like blaming your unmowed grass on the sunshine and water. Mow your own grass and no defense is required!

People’s opinions are in reality a judgment on their own lives. If they are callous and unforgiving, you must be also. Their suspicions of you are a testimony to their own motives. No man can possibly know another’s motive and until that person has lived in your shoes they have no opinion that matters at all. We don’t fault the poor mother who steals so her children can eat, nor can we fault another man for his hidden poverty we cannot readily discern. Underneath it all, people are basically good and kind and seek a means to express their goodness though a thousand voices scream to the contrary! Be your own self doing your own stuff that you know you must do. The value of your choice is determined by you and you alone… Other people cannot stunt your growth unless you allow it. Refuse it and grow!

Your life has a specific design in a specific place at a specific time. Your job is not to find out what the world wants, but rather to find out who you are and what you can best offer to the world. If you can do that, your life will grow in unparalleled dimensions.

You are not the man or woman you used to be, thank God. Instead you are the sum total of all the lessons you have mastered thus far. I say, get your PhD…

Just some good thoughts…