I Hope You Dance…


I came across these beautiful lyrics today and was tenderly reminded that no matter where your life may be heading with its twists and turns there is always hope for a wonderful future. And, much of what has happened to you in the past exists now only in your memory and even that is often undistinguished and unreliable. Certain setbacks and hardships color your past experiences with unfair brushstrokes overly shaded on the difficulties. While childhood wishes and dreams were formed in the heart of a child and not within the ripened experience of an adult. So, no matter where you are today and whatever you are going through, I hope you find your life and your happiness again. I hope you dance…

“I Hope You Dance”

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance, I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

Dance, I hope you dance…
                                                               ~ By Lee Ann Womack

All of us begin our lives in the same way. In front of us lies an enormous ocean of possibilities, we have only to find them and live them. Our hearts, not yet distracted by the worries and concerns of life, are unshackled and free to experience. Our focus is singular and clear, unashamed and in harmony with our highest good. We seek in earnest the things that make us happy and shun those things which do not. We believe unreservedly for the good in life unaware of the alternatives. In childhood, life is simple and full of wonder. Yet something happens to people as the years go by and what was once simple and free is no longer free nor simple. The challenges of life when combined over a lifetime can take away your zest for living and dim your gleaming shine. You can lose sight of the very essence of life and become encumbered in what might have been or what you could have done. The world is often a cruel teacher leading you to forget life’s sweetest lessons and instead instruct your failures in the hopes of their continuance. But, the wonder of life, the passion, the opportunity, the promise hasn’t gone away, it has just been obstructed from your view. What you felt once you can feel again when you become clear that life hasn’t changed, you have. I hope you dance.

Of all of the frightful things that could happen to a man or a woman, nothing is more destructive and painful as giving up on life. Living your life a shadow of your former self, banished to the sidelines, without God and without hope is the most miserable way to live. Yet, people live this way day in and day out. They have sacrificed the joy of life for a paycheck or for approval or to make someone else’s life a pleasure. They willingly cash in their hopes and dreams for someone else’s dream. They think they cannot so they do not. They become so accustomed to disappointment that they expect it and in expecting, live it. They rely on other people’s judgments and no longer trust their own. Seeing a good thing that they love, that they could do, they refuse waiting for permission. And in so doing, they cease living. Your life is your’s alone and what makes its appeal to you, to you alone it appeals. You’ve lost your energy for life because you no longer seek what energizes you, but trade it in for another’s life force. Finding your way back depends not so much on locating the path, but finding your path again. There is a way that exists only for you. To think yourself a part of the masses and conforming with those masses spells the end of you, the you, you seek to rediscover. No matter what complexities have enveloped your life, you will find yourself with simplicity in those things most appealing to you. Pursue them with vigor! I hope you dance…

Every day you have a choice in how you are going to live. To say you have no choice is never true. Life is full of new things to learn; things that take your breath away; things that bring tears to your eyes. The wonder of life cannot be over-worked or completed. There is infinitely more life to live than you have the capacity to experience. All of this God created for you. It remains there waiting for you to once again discover it. Walk away from all of your disappointments and hurts. Let go of all the fears and insecurities. Take a chance that your life is worth the living. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Your memories, be they sublime or distressing, are just memories and do not hold the power to write your future. You do. And when you choose I hope you dance!

Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance. And in doing so, I know you will dance. I hope you dance…

Just some good thoughts…

When the Thrill of Living is Gone…


If you’ve walked around on terra-firma long enough you know that life isn’t always a thrill ride packed with exciting adventures and challenge. In fact, it seems the older you become, the more routine and mundane it can get. Life by its very definition would seem to belie that notion. So, why does life end for some people long before they are dead?

It seems the simplest, most profound example is found in our children. Sure, you could make the argument that children live on the left side of life with so many experiences still ahead of them. But, I don’t think that answers the question to our total satisfaction. To simplify the math and lessen the boggle, if life had 100 possible experiences and children only occupied 10 of those experiences, then life would have 90 experiences left for the child which would presumably run short at some point. But, life’s expression is unlimited and humans don’t live long enough to exhaust its supply. So, there must be another answer…

Let’s assume because of the vastness of the creation and the endless variable combinations for happiness, the real issue lies not in the experience of life but in the experience of the end-user. Or better maybe, the thrill of life isn’t found in the experience, it’s found in the expectation and mindset of the experiencer! Children in stark contrast to adults are completely wide open to learning new things. Their expectation for life is fully alive and thriving. Instead of wrongly concluding they can already see, they are still looking for something. They instinctively know there is more to learn, more to see, more to experience. Their joy is found in their expectation. They are blessed because of their humble hearts! Their excitement is discovered in what they don’t know. They are all of us minus the life experience and wrong teaching. They aren’t a young version of us, they are a pure version of us…

Children have another distinct advantage over us, not by intention, but by virtue of how they live. Children, the budding prototypes, live only in the moment. Taking them back in time to review some wrong done takes effort. They are eager to move on from there and once you are satisfied, move on again. They don’t carry wrongs around like some weighted anchor, allowing them to color and experience their present. Instead they choose to live now and experience now. That is natural. That is human design. Rehearsing wrongs done; reviewing all that isn’t good with life now; dwelling on everything that isn’t how it “should” be or how you “want” it to be is a sickness that people have learned. It’s a sickness because none of those aspects, though very common, aid in getting you to the life you might enjoy. They serve only to color your experience and help you conclude, “the thrill of living is gone.”

You see, the problem with adulthood isn’t your age, it’s all the stupid, wrong stuff you started toting around to no benefit. You learned some cool stuff also and then wrongly concluded that you knew all stuff. You formed a skeleton sketch of learning then attempted to hang every new concept somewhere on that skeleton. You thought you already knew and in knowing closed yourself off to life; real life! Now no-one can tell you anything. All of your cause and effects have already been caused and effected. You cannot find an answer to your suffering because you already know why you are suffering, but you also somehow know it cannot be remedied. You are smart and by God, you know stuff! And in your knowing, you know that an unfulfilled life or an unhappy life is to be expected and you should just be happy that you woke up today! So I ask, is being awake as opposed to being asleep enough or do you need someone or something to really wake you up?

Have you ever had someone die that you love or suffered some other catastrophic event that sort of snapped you back into reality? Did the negative event truly bring you back around or did the negative event cause you to reconsider or even rethink what you thought you already knew? I think it is the latter… But, I also think we don’t need tragedy or negativity to wake us up. It seems we need to find that humility and coach-ability we had when we didn’t know so much. Perhaps we need to view life through a different lens. One that isn’t so quick to conclude and categorize and judge. Maybe, just maybe all the things we think we know so well, we really don’t understand at all. Perhaps we are doing something in our own hearts that sours and tires our own experience? Maybe we have grown so accustomed to the boredom; to the lack of vitality that we consider it to be normal. Possibly someone has sold us all a lie…

So, how can you get your thrill back? You have to check back in with life. You’ve got to drop like a hot rock your endless presumptions and assumptions, predictions and analysis. You’ve got to come clean with life and quit pretending you know when you don’t know. You must return to asking questions; lots and lots of questions. Inquire about things you previously thought you knew about. Break out of your routines that no longer serve you. Break out of anything that no longer works for you. And above all else, like a child, return to your unchastened, unrestricted honesty. Get honest about how things are and how you feel and quit pretending because everyone else is pretending! Refuse to assume it is just the way life is as life by definition is everything but that!

Finally, come back to life’s Author and Creator, who can make known to you the path of life, in whom’s presence there is fullness of joy and at whose right hand there are pleasures forever more… That, my friends, is a thrilling, exciting and adventuresome life!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Closed Doors and Fear of the Future…


door-closed-w-little-boy1There are so many people living today who aren’t really living anymore. Sure, they wake up in the morning just like we do. They shower, get dressed, eat breakfast and go to work. When you see them at work they look just like everyone else. They pause at lunchtime for a sandwich and nothing seems amiss. After work they make their commute home and once at home they change clothes, eat a little dinner and hit the couch for a night of mindless television. It’s just a typical day in the midst of a typical life. Nothing is particularly wrong but nothing is particularly right either. The fire on the inside still burns, but hasn’t been ablaze for years. The lights are on, someone is home, but there’s precious few reasons to open the door. Something went wrong, but not anything you could put your finger on. Slowly, imperceptibly something closed all of the doors and now it seems there’s no way out.

Here’s a thought. When was the last time you woke up excited for the day and what it might bring? Can you remember when you last had solid objectives; not vague, ill-defined goals, but a real plan for your future? How about when you last felt the energy of your convictions and looked forward to making a difference in the world? If those things have become strangers in your house, you’ve been stolen from and I bet you don’t even know it. No-one knows it because if they did they would be on the look-out. The trouble never just shows up one day, it happens over time; lots of time and finally reveals itself in lost hopes and broken dreams.

I’d be the first to promote living in the moment and not wasting time in the past or the future, but have you ever thought how both rob the life you live right now? Despite your lingering bad feelings, the past is already passed, but fear of the future stops your movement today. Fear pulls down the shades one window at a time until the whole house is dark. Once it gets dark enough, it starts locking all the doors. Your options narrow, your energy slows, your pace grinds to a standstill. Your interests dwindle, your motivation wanes, your desire fades. You wonder what’s the matter with you. You can’t pinpoint the cause because it happened long ago. All you know is that you don’t feel like doing anything but settling in for a long dull ride.

Fear is at the root and eliminating it is your only option. You have to figure out what you are so afraid of. It shows itself in a million disguises but it only has one purpose; to stop you and your life in its tracks. Life is fluid and full of movement and activity and change and growth! You can spy fear out when you become settled and stationary, static and the same, day after day after day. You’ve stopped progressing and instead of staying the same, you are digressing, albeit very slowly. The things you used to do when your future was free no longer make sense because your future is no longer free. It’s like traveling down the freeway of life and noticing way up in the distance that the road is closed. There’s just no point in driving then. Have you stopped driving?

So, I ask you again. What are you so afraid of? Is it that you won’t be successful? Is it not having enough money? Is it not making a difference in the world? Is it mediocrity? Is it some looming disease or sickness that will cut your life short? Is it being found out as a charlatan? Is it in not reaching your dreams? Is it too late for you? Is it the loss of a good job or maybe not getting a good job? Are you not smart enough, strong enough, liked enough? Are you too fat, too thin, not pretty enough? Are you too old, too young, too inexperienced? You see, all those stupid things are fear; fear talking you into to being something less than what you really are; less than you know you can be! And every one of those fears takes you away from the things you really want. At best they serve simply to stifle your movement, guaranteeing you won’t actually get anywhere. To get anything in life you have to move towards it. I’ll say it again! To get anything you want in life you have to move towards it! Fear has got you on the couch…

It’s time for you to start living again! It’s time for you to wake excited for the day because the day is filled with unlimited possibilities if you’re looking for them. It’s time to make real plans, extravagant plans to be someone incredible, not just successful. It’s time to stop making excuses and procrastinating and get out there and make something happen. It’s time to give the TV a break for a minute and make productive use of your time. It’s time to look your fear in the eye and do something about it! You didn’t start life with that fear and you don’t have to live with it now!

Once you figure out how to get rid of your fear, you’ll see all of your doors opening again; swinging wide open with latent possibility!

Just some good thoughts…

Be Good to Yourself…


imagesHave you ever had the experience where you think you are doing something the right way only to find out later that you’re not? We humans get so caught up in our systems about how things work and it seems to get worse as we get older. We already know, ya know? It’s like we stumble into a methodology that worked a couple of times and start replicating it out over a thousand situations. That’s all gravy if you got it right, but if you didn’t…life gets crappy in a hurry.

One such system, well rehearsed and approved as right, is the universally accepted notion that one can improve on his weaknesses and faults by analyzing himself. While ‘thinking’ is always encouraged (another forgotten aspect – smile), I’m talking about that dreadful analysis that only leads to one thing…the conclusion that you are not okay!

To understand this better, you need to understand certain realities. Everything that man does and is, is flawed. Not by design, but by some things you can read about in your Bible sometime. The more closely you inspect man’s accomplishments, even masterpieces, the more imperfection you will discover. In stark contrast, everything that God does is perfect. You can put it under the highest power microscope on Earth and the intricacy and perfection just multiplies. But, I don’t have to tell you that, right? It is literally (and beautifully) all around you!

So, how does this have anything to do with you and what you are doing to yourself? Well, almost everything really. In life you cannot really progress beyond what you think about yourself. If your opinion of yourself is poor, your results in life will be poor. Conversely, if you think highly of yourself and respect yourself, your results will be off the charts. So, what is one of the chief components that faithfully and regularly holds people back? Not being good to one’s self!

You are by your very nature an imperfect being. You were born into this world with imperfection in your blood. You get it? You started out that way! You didn’t start out all rosy and brilliant only later to botch it up with all of your misdeeds. No! You began imperfect and you will remain imperfect until some future day when God sets it all back in order again. This is so vitally important for you to understand. The great Apostle Paul said (by revelation) that he knew that in himself (his physical nature or his body and mind) dwelled no good thing. Nothing, nada, zip! So let me ask you another question. When you dwell on yourself and analyze yourself and deeply probe yourself to learn why you behave the way you do, what are you going to find? No good thing! You are only going to discover your imperfection again and again and again! The old familiar end will be that you are going to conclude that you are not so good; not deserving of good things and basically woe is you. You cannot reach any other conclusion. That old trick has been whooping mankind’s behind since the beginning of time. But, and get this my friends, it is always a trick!

The only way out of your messes is to stop dwelling on your messes! You want to teach a child how to be successful? You cannot persist in his mistakes, but instead capitalize on his accomplishments. Seek out what he does well and laud it to the heavens. Build him up, build him up, build him up until he finally starts to believe he is worth something. Once that’s in him, he is off to the races for success in life. If that works with children, (and believe me it does) then how about with adults? How about using that principle when you are dealing with you? Does that harsh taskmaster referred to as yourself, ever lead you anywhere good? You know it doesn’t! It just makes you feel like sh*t and then you are ripe for the next set of errors.

Getting you to deeply analyze your faults and your failings is the oldest trick in the book. It’s a rabbit hole with no rabbits inside. It’s a black hole of epic proportions that leads surreptitiously to more and more darkness. And, dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light, as I love to say again and again! Now, lest you get all righteous on me here, of course doing “bad” things is wrong. There’s no free pass for hurting and damaging things. But logically, unless you’re planning on doing some evil, I’m assuming your failings are in the past tense. They done already been done and done already got did! So, to stay in that dark place is categorically insane if you’re trying to get to the light.

God’s simple solution to help you out of your “no good thing” state is by giving you an opportunity to get His “every good thing” spirit on the inside. You don’t have to work for it or change for it or become “good” for it. You simply believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10) and you get it. Probably one of the greatest things God ever did! So profoundly simple, yet missed a lifetime by people. Once you get His spirit on the inside, He makes you every good thing. He does it! His son paid the price for every ‘effed’ up thing you ever did and ever will do. It’s over, you win, you will live forever!

Make up your mind not to spend another millisecond analyzing your imperfections because as long as you have a body, your imperfections will always be right there. Instead, focus on what is the best about you. Focus on who God says you are and not what your old worn out mind says you are! There’s a new road for you to travel on if you decide you want it.

Be good to yourself. Love yourself. Accept yourself. Respect yourself. Focus on all that’s good in you knowing that in your flesh or anyone else’s flesh for that matter, dwells no good thing! Life is too short and fraught with too many dangers for your own mind to be your personal enemy. Become real good to yourself because it is the only way…

Just some “good” thoughts…

The Beauty of a New Day…


The right path to a new dayThere was time when I was so mired in my own bullsh*t I couldn’t hear a solution to my problems if it was injected into my eardrums with a syringe. I complained, I whined, I did a lot of stupid stuff all in an attempt to get out of the mental prison in which I found myself. Being a praying man, I prayed and prayed and prayed. But, no matter how much I prayed, I could not help but feel as if heaven was brass as the saying goes. And honestly, I spent more time in that state than I care to admit. But one day; one beautiful new day, I escaped. So, this is all about how…

If you are like me, you assume that when you involve God, He is supposed to do something. You figure, you have a problem, you need help, and you are asking Him to help you. So why sometimes does absolutely nothing happen? Before you foolishly say something like, “it wasn’t the right time” or “maybe there is something I’m supposed to learn from this” or “sometimes God doesn’t answer your prayers because His ways are often mysterious,” let me offer another explanation, but not until I first explain why I called you foolish… 😉

When us humans don’t know what’s going on, we tend to make guesses. We just hate not understanding. So maybe my illustration will be a little more clear if we think in terms of a parent/child relationship. Imagine your kid is suffering and you have a way to end the suffering. So you explain the time just isn’t right… Or, in the midst of their agony you think, this is a good time to teach you something??? Or worst of all, continue in your torture as long as it takes, because I have a purpose; a deep purpose you don’t get!!! Doesn’t make sense to you does it? Well, it doesn’t make sense to anyone else either, especially the Source of all goodness!

Maybe something else is going on of which you are not yet aware. (Why can’t sentences end in prepositions again? I digress…) I discovered, albeit the hard way, that God dwells in the light. In order to tap into His greatness and His power, I too have to find a way to get myself to the light. As my favorite teacher used to say, “dwelling on the darkness won’t being forth the light.” Being all negative and despondent, hopeless and distraught is the darkness and it’s just not where God abides. In order to get out of a mental prison, you first have to change your mind. Can you see it? God is always, always, always willing to show you the solution to your dilemma. But, and this is a helluva big BUT, you have to change your mind! You have to let go of your own egotistical idea that you can somehow figure it out, as if wandering in darkness can actually get you somewhere and change your thinking. You have to think the good. You have to think there actually IS a solution that you just haven’t gotten to yet! You must decide to become positive, expectant, joyful and exuberant.

Have you ever been mired in some scenario; feeling exasperated and then had a change of heart? It’s like suddenly it dawns on you that what you have been doing isn’t getting you anywhere. You start to consider that before you can even hope for a change you have to at least entertain the thought that it can happen. So you purposefully add some happiness; some expectation that things are going to finally change. A new day has dawned in your heart and it’s a beautiful new day!

People get all upset with God because they expect Him to work things out, with or without their own consent. But, it just does not work that way. You have a part and God has a part. Before you can ever expect God to do His part, you have to do your part! God does not possess. He does not overtake your free will. His spiritual hands are tied until you change your mind to line up with what He says over and above what the circumstance looks like. He doesn’t come down to the level of “ever-afraid” man, He informs that you must come up to where He is, in the light! When you can finally get to the place where you are willing to think what God says about your situation, then you are finally on the right track! And once you reach that place things happen in a hurry!

At least a portion of the pain you are experiencing, I too have felt. I’ve been there, hated it, and done that. I’ve whined, bitched, got angry, blamed God and all the other stuff normal people do. But, just as you can’t get grapes from potatoes or figs from peach trees, you cannot get light from darkness. You have to initiate the change by first wanting it, then, then, then going where the solution resides, not in the darkness, but in the light.

A wonderful thing happens to you when you get to the light. You discover that every day is not just a new day, but a beautiful new day!

Oh my friends, God exists…

Just some good thoughts…