Enthusiastic Living!


enthusiasmLife requires energy to live it and your level of energy is connected directly to your thoughts. Children seem to have an almost unlimited amount of enthusiasm, but children also don’t waste too much time thinking about the wrong stuff. Adults do that. There is a competition that rages daily and that contest is for the allegiances of your mind. You spend or reserve your energy by the thoughts you are choosing to entertain. Positive thoughts, happy thoughts, hopeful thoughts, anticipating thoughts and indeed all “just some good thoughts” lead to the energy to do, which life is requiring. Negative thoughts, fearful thoughts, anxious thoughts of the future and anxious thoughts of the past serve only to deplete your energy culminating in you not having the energy you need to do you; to live your life successfully. Have you found yourself lately not having the energy or the enthusiasm that your life requires? Have you been running on empty, as the saying goes. Have you lost some or all of your enthusiasm for living? Does your life sometimes feel pointless? Well, not to worry my friends as there is always a solution if you are willing to hear it.

One of the things I enjoy best about my relationship with God is that He faithfully provides me with little insights and clues about how to live my life. He does not condemn me, nor does He judge me. Instead, He answers my questions and makes my cloudy spaces clear. Energy and enthusiastic living happens to be one of those private lessons. At one point in my life, I recognized that I just felt like I didn’t care about anything anymore. Nothing excited me and honestly it felt like I didn’t have anything to look forward to in my life. I had more resources than I had ever had before and also had all of the things you would expect to make up an excellent existence. But, I wasn’t blessed and I knew I needed some answers. Don’t get me wrong, the answers I needed didn’t show up overnight, like many things in our lives, as typically it has taken some time to bury us in our dilemmas. But, one thing was immediately clear to me. Something or someone was interfering with my day by day happiness and in doing so was robbing me of the blessings God wanted me to have. The first and usually most insidious blocker of happiness is fear. Fear sucks the life right out of you. Fear, which is almost always future based, paints unpleasant pictures of loss and defeat. Fear tells you that perhaps you will never get the thing you so desperately need. Fear proclaims that the pain you are experiencing will last forever and that you must resign yourself to some chronic, severely limiting condition. Fear threatens you and accuses you and just sort of sits there mocking your life, stealing from you and ultimately blocking your forward progress. If you have a profound lack of energy and enthusiasm for living, the odds are that you are harboring some fear in your life.  Oh trust me, it’s there. You simply have to take the time, be honest with yourself and recognize what it is that has you so afraid. Banishing and eliminating fear is step one! Fear, as crazy as it seems, is a choice you are making. You are giving it space, mind time (lots and lots of mind time) and you are refusing in some capacity to let it go. Trust me I have been there. But, I have to say this, nothing is going to change until you finally let that shit go. People live today chock full of anxiety trying all sorts of things to mitigate the feelings without ever getting to the bottom of it. Anxiety is fear also and it is blocking your enthusiasm for living.

Next on the learning train, you have to get back to living one day at a time. Deal with all of today’s assaults while it is still today. Take it on today. Don’t skip past it, move ahead, ignore it or let it go. If you think about it, you aren’t afraid and anxious about today. You are afraid of tomorrow and the things you cannot see yet. Failure to take it on today leads, just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, to deeper and deeper problems inside your head. Wrong thinking carves a groove in your thought processes and like any good rut, will drag you back in as soon as you endeavor to venture out. A general sense of malaise and depressed, tired thinking is the direct result of not taking on the things regarding your life that you needed to address. But, hey, who hasn’t been there? Your job, my job is get back to living in the day and only in that day. You cannot live in your future and you cannot live any longer in your past. One hasn’t arrived and the other is long since gone from earth, existing only in your memory. You can take on the requirements of today. You can go for a drive or go for a walk and get things straight. Take whatever time you need to get things straight. Think about whatever is bothering you and get it cleared up, resolved. It is an epidemic in good old America for people to let things go in favor of the next thing to distract us. Get things straight. If you find yourself unhappy about how you are acting or what you are choosing to do, make some adjustments in the day you are in. Save your long self improvement lists for another lifetime and master the day you are in. I get up and write my, “Morning Pages” every morning where God and I take time to get things straight. I unpack, He whispers clues. Enthusiasm follows those answers!

Finally, there is another little secret for enduring happiness and enthusiasm that you may have not considered. You have to choose to be enthusiastic in your mind. You have to treat other people with enthusiasm and a happy perspective. Think of those times in your life when you were so absolutely blessed and excited about living your life. It may have been circumstances that spurred it on, but even then you chose the enthusiasm. Can’t you see it? You chose the enthusiasm based on your perception of what was going on. In the same way, you can choose enthusiasm no matter what is going on. Once you have settled on your enthusiastic mindset, notice what little things come up to steal away your new decision. Pay attention to your mind’s reasons why you cannot be enthusiastic. There, right there is your fight. The opponent’s lies never center on today, but always on some pending future doom or difficulty to talk you out of today. People are defeated one day at a time as well. I hope you really, really think through what I am telling you. You can choose enthusiasm for living as you refute those things trying to take it away. And the best part, God is right there in your enthusiasm and right there rewarding your excited anticipation. Once you finally let the negatives go, not in naivety, but because they are usually future based and temporal, you walk right into the light where God has always wanted you to live your life. In that place, your enthusiasm will know no limits and all of your paths will be peace.

Things got you down in this life? Are you struggling to find your joy? Do you wish you were the man or the woman you used to be? If so, take the time to learn the lessons. Eliminate all fear. Live today and today only. It is your thinking, your mind where the arena of competition is waged. Win the fight, not by cursing the darkness, but by cutting it off instead. Get your brain over to the light and stay there. Refuse the illusions and decide what or who you are going to be. Enthusiastic and excited living is God’s will for your life. Prove it to yourself.

Just some good thoughts…

The Wonder Filled Present…


8-article-hr-rm-gettyimages-83591401I learned through trial and error that you can give your growing vegetables too much water.  You’d think that more water meant a more abundant crop, wouldn’t you? Veggies need some water and some time to dig their roots down into the soil in search of water. If you make it too easy for them, they don’t dig down and they don’t grow. If you make it too hard by neglecting them, they wither and die. As humans, our joy is found in discovering how the system works already and cooperating with it. We were never asked to invent the process, but rather work within the frameworks previously established for us. Sure we can spend many years bucking against the system, trying and erring, trying and erring, but it’s always a wonder filled day when finally we learn how it works and work with it!

Your mind and more specifically your thoughts are also a system. The system was designed to produce something for you. It is neither random nor whimsical. It’s not happenstance, nor is it something outside your control. You can neglect the system and it will begin to wither and fail. You can overload the system and it will start to break down. It, like all of the systems that exist in this world, is always a delicate balance that requires an effort on man’s part to learn and master. You begin to neglect the system when you stop thinking and deeply considering in favor of habit and rote behaviors. It happens when you think you already know and have the audacity to conclude there’s nothing new for you to learn. The system becomes frightfully overloaded when you burden it down with worries and cares. One central theme of worry will overshadow all of your thinking and suffocate the life right out of you. Thoughts of your past failures and anticipating the doom of some future state, short-circuit the whole operation and reduce your vitality immeasurably.

Thought processes, though highly debated, have been estimated to number between 50,000 and 70,000 per day. Clearly the system was designed with a large capacity in mind.  However, the Wisdom behind the massive system planned for the thought processes to be managed one day at a time. The reason we miss the “wonder filled present” is because our minds are all over the damn place! Our minds have been schooled to flick around like dragonflies, changing directions frenetically, running from thing to thing to thing! We can barely tolerate the present moment without some additional source of information streaming into our consciousness from devices we must recharge every hour. In interactions with other humans we half participate at best. We nod and reply with 20% agreement having only partially registered what was said. With reverted eye we drift in and out of the moment, scanning backwards and forwards like radar, yet missing the target in the center. And as we faithfully miss the mark, our personal fulfillment suffers a mortal blow.

The precious moment called “now” is not found only in moments of quiet repose in a shaded wood or glimmering off the surface of the ocean. It’s not location dependent nor reserved for sunrises or sunsets. It’s not something saved as a celebration for the hard-won fight or worthy goal accomplished. It is life happening right now in the midst of the 50,000+ with the whole sum participating each one by one by one. It is your next idea, your next activity, your very next move. It is you waking, preparing, eating, walking, driving, parking, entering and working. It is the work to be done next in priority. It’s your opportunity to do good for your co-worker and his co-worker and hers. It’s in noticing her furrowed brow and asking if everything is okay. It is looking at the faces in the meeting and seeing them all one by one. It is pausing to think whether those words should be said out loud and choosing silence instead. It is observing the whole drive home then arriving with a determination to bring light and happiness to those with whom you interact the most, despite your familiarity with them and every imagined insult. It is your glorious opportunity to win the moment, the hour, the day and in so doing honor the God that made you!

Alive in the moment, you’ll find your mind relieved of a vast load of cares with the only threat to your existence being that which you can discern now and not that which has been deeply amplified within your fearful thoughts. The fretful pushing and driving to make something of yourself will be replaced by your recognition of a well-lit path that has been carefully marked out for you already, with your only requirement being to find it and keep yourself on it! Living your life one day at a time allows your soul to slow to the pace for which it was designed to run; a pace designed for the whole race. And like an athlete well skilled in how much energy to expend on a thing, you will finally sit atop the perch and with grace decide just how much of you the thing requires and whether you are willing to give it.

The wonder filled present has the antidote to life’s deepest problems because it works away at the bricks in the fortress without rashly seeking to rip out the whole edifice all at once. Obesity and poor health are tackled by the next decision and the next, until working in concert they produce a cumulative, dramatic effect. The root of financial problems are at last found out in today’s earning and spending without relying hopelessly on some false windfall of the future. Indeed all that plagues you, wrapped up and mystified in distracted backward looking and forward seeking thoughts, will suddenly come into laser clear focus begging to be addressed and remedied at last!

The wonder filled present is God’s solution, His gift for a weary, overburdened people, offering the promise that is found in today and only found in today. Life, as you well know, is far too short to miss it or waste it bamboozled and distracted by a world hell-bent on depleting your resources and squandering away your precious existence! Love your one life by making the decision to live it fully, comprehensively, completely, starting with today!

You owe yourself this gift!

Just some good thoughts…

The Impossibility of the Cumulative Life…


cumulative-poisson-distribution-formulaI think if you are honest with yourself, and honesty is important in learning how to successfully navigate life, most of your difficulties come from your thoughts. You drag around this massive corpse of a memory of things long past. Since the past no longer exists in anything but your mind, it shouldn’t have such an impact on the person you are today. Now, I’m not referring to pleasant memories or past learning. I’m talking about the bad things or the weaknesses or issues you doggedly assign to yourself in the present. Maybe you did have trouble standing up for yourself when you were 12, but to stubbornly cling to that worn out notion at age 40 makes no sense. The reason this mountainous weight of a stone clings to your psyche is because you keep it alive in your mind by trying to live a cumulative life.

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or exercise more and then failed miserably shortly thereafter? Say what you want about discipline, losing weight and exercising more, though producing a cumulative effect, cannot be successfully undertaken with a cumulative mindset. In other words, you have to decide to eat less or healthier or exercise right now, today. The fact that you did what you said for the past three days guarantees nothing. The fact that you didn’t do what you said you were going to do for the past three days means nothing either. What matters is right now. What can you do right now? If you can get real good at doing “right now,” soon you will experience a cumulative effect!

For some reason, people have the hardest time living in the present. Assuming we all have weaknesses and areas we don’t do so well in, how could we ever possibly expect to change anything living entangled in a spaghetti bowl of multiplied yesterdays? Add to that trying to live in some future day and now you are just a sloppy Joe (poured over spaghetti)!

God, if I may speak for Him, designed life to be lived right now in succinct 24 hour periods (The evening and the morning were the first day). Imagine the idea of having a bad day if the day lasted forever. But, that’s exactly how people live; one perpetually long day. Instead each day is cleverly separated by night (sleep) and in the morning a new day begins. “Well, tomorrow is new day!” Every new day is an opportunity for you to begin anew, fresh. What you did wrong yesterday generally has little bearing on your life, that is of course unless you allow it to. You allow it to by granting it “airplay.” Yes, sure you need to learn from whatever, but you aren’t playing that track for any learning. You are re-playing it because you feel bad and are punishing yourself. But now listen closely for a moment here. Does any amount of self-flagellation make you a better person? Does your incessant focus on yesterday or a year ago or ten years ago or your childhood or “that one thing” do anything to change it? It only exists in your mind. Your cumulative negative past doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with your life right now! So, my friend, just let it go. Stop persisting in your perpetual bad day and start fresh.

When you decide to live right now, in the new day, you give yourself permission to begin again. Remember the first time you played a certain sport? You probably sucked right? If you held the thought of how bad you sucked and never tried again, you’d still suck, I’m guessing. But, if you had the courage to start again and again and again, at some point you got pretty good. Your life is like that. Those negative images; those frightful memories do not serve the person you are today. They do just the opposite. They hold you back. God does not want you to be held back! Every day; every single day, He is giving you another fresh start. Shoot, He even sent His son to pay the price for everything you could ever do wrong! Everything! You aren’t doing God any favors by living in your past. Instead you are stubbornly refusing His gift to you; a new beginning!

Life was not designed to be lived cumulatively. You are not the sum of everything you have ever done and not done. Instead, you are who you are right now, in this moment. Right now you can be a tremendous source of love, compassion and kindness. Oh, you weren’t that yesterday? So what! Be it today. Well, up to now you haven’t had much success? So what! Decide to be a success right now! What if I forget tomorrow? You never have to deal with tomorrow, only right now! If you live to be 80 years old, that means you have 29,219.4 days to live. How many days have you already wasted, caught up thinking about something that happened on day 10,957.3?

If you believe what I’m telling you and I sure hope you do, you will begin to understand that life is to be lived one day at a time. Imagine how much weight will be lifted off your shoulders when you agree with God and focus your energy on today. Imagine how sweet your life can become by making this day the best ever and refusing to let yesterday creep in. Imagine…huh?

The cumulative life is an impossible life!

You are who you are today. Don’t let anyone (even yourself) tell you otherwise…

Just some good thoughts…