Mental Health Musings…


mental_health_jpg-10Mental health has become a popular topic nowadays. People are becoming more and more aware of the importance of their mental health and how it positively or negatively affects their lives. It might surprise you to know that as long as there have been human beings, mankind has endured mental health problems. As thinking beings and the only thinking beings as we know it, man is forever impacted by the thoughts he chooses and the thoughts he entertains. To separate the mental health issues that plague mankind and his thoughts serves only to make man a victim and not someone that has control over his thoughts and thus his mental health. A healthy mind must be fed healthy thoughts and the thoughts that contradict health always lead to sickness, first in the mind and later in the body. Have mental health issues got you down? If so, listen to my mental health musings and see what you think.

As free-will beings with complete free agency over what we choose to think about, I think you would agree that most folks’ thinking is downright awful. It’s not negative here and there, it’s awful, if not cruel. We berate ourselves, judge ourselves, analyze our every move and generally pick ourselves apart. We are often our own worst enemy. We focus on everything that might be wrong with us. We chastise ourselves for not being thin or attractive enough or sexy or handsome or pretty. We level unfair and unjust criticism regarding anything and everything. Instead of embracing who we are and who God made us to be, we look for flaws and imperfections. And that encompasses our flesh only. We focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves or at minimum the things we have foolishly decided we don’t like about ourselves. It never dawned on us that all of the negativity we have assigned to ourselves did not come from us first, but originated elsewhere. No man or woman naturally dislikes themselves. Instead, they have been talked into those thoughts by forces seeking only to steal and to kill and to destroy. This kind of thinking is sick and only serves to further the sickness. We wonder why we have so many mental health issues yet never consider the cruelty we level upon ourselves day by day. No one forces us to think the way we do, but instead we are choosing what and how we think. We cooperate with it and often without a fight. If you are not for you, how can you expect anything else? How could you ever win in a world that opposes you if you do not support your own self. Yet onward you march clinging to falsehoods and lies because someone told you so. Are you really that bad? Or is it something you have been persuaded of either by public opinion, or social media or those people closest to you?

If you want to have a healthy body, you have to choose the things that promote good health. You cannot carry around loads of excess weight, nor can you feed your body poisons or substances that make you sick. To get your body healthy you have to take the steps that promote good health. If you don’t do anything, nothing will happen. That doesn’t make you a victim, it means you decided not to exert the effort required. Similarly, your mental health requires the same level of attention. It does matter what you think about. Carrying around the thousandfold baggage of yesterday impedes your progress. Feeding on angry thoughts, frustrated thoughts, critical or condemnatory thoughts doesn’t make you better, it makes you ill. You have to change what it is you have been feeding on. What are you watching on TV? What information have you been digesting into your soul? What you read, what you see, what you look at does matter. That’s not to say that all of TV is bad or everything you see online is evil. But, you still have to pay attention. Most of the deception that occurs happens day by day during mindless and empty thinking. If you aren’t willing to direct your thinking, something else will. Change what it is you are thinking. Stop opposing yourself. Stop cooperating in opposing yourself by drawing terrible conclusions and thinking the worst about yourself. You are the only you, you have and to constantly participate in opposing yourself is crazy and makes you crazy.

As I muse on the importance of mental health, as someone with a similar mind and similar tendencies, I can’t help but to lament on how easily you and I have been led to to the wrong assumptions concerning ourselves. Not everyone cares about what is right and in doing right, so how insane is it for us to find ourselves unworthy as members of the group that cares? Surely something else is involved, something that seeks that which is wrong over that which is right. How slow we have been to realize what is behind that persuasion. You and I are in a fight and we can only win when we make the effort to think as God says to think. Contrary thoughts and contrary feelings are no guarantee for what is true. We are all imperfect creatures and God does not require perfection from us. Instead He requires that we control the one thing we can control and that is our thoughts. Think healthy thoughts. Allow yourself to be a human and as such experience your humanity. When you are wrong it is always apparent. Learn from it and let it go; for goodness sakes, let it go. Every wrong thing you and I ever did we did because of the influence of evil and we would not have done so otherwise. To allow evil, the source of our errors, to accuse of the evil it engendered is the ultimate deception. Likewise, to persist in thoughts that serve only to oppose us, coming from us and directed to us is insane. They are your thoughts and they are my thoughts. We can control them and we must control them if we want to protect our mental health.

It really does not matter where you have been or what you have done in the past. It doesn’t even matter what you did yesterday. What matters is what you choose to do with your mind in the moments called now. If you want to have a healthy mind you have to feed it healthy thoughts. Quit dragging around in the misty flats and get up on the high road. Stop feeling sorry for yourself or lamenting your life choices up to this point. God functions in the now and can help you in the now. Take control of that unruly mind of yours and see how quickly things turn around for the better. It is your mind and it is your life. These are mental health musings worth thinking about. Live who God made you to be.

Just some good thoughts…

Advertisement

Win the Day!


FBHave you ever felt worn down like maybe you have run out of energy? Or maybe you are having a good day and something comes up apparently out of nowhere that seems to zap away your strength? Perhaps you just feel bored with life and can’t seem to find anything that turns you on. These sorts of things are common to human beings and we usually dismiss them as a product of certain circumstances such as not getting enough sleep or maybe being a little dehydrated. And while these types of things may be a factor in how you feel, what if there is more to it than that? We are all in a competition in life between good and evil and because of that truth, certain things are working behind the scenes to shape our existence and convince us of things that are not actually true. These forces work in the circumstances of life to discourage us and steal away our happiness. This competition takes place in our minds. When given access to us, in particular our thoughts, we begin to lose in the competition. For this reason, we need to win the day!

What does it mean to win the day? God designed life to be lived in day-tight compartments. In particular He said, you will have enough trouble with the difficulties of today that you don’t need to start rashly adding on the cares of tomorrow. The troubles that accompany today are the competition. Winning the day means taking the time to focus on the day at hand and not allowing yourself to be taken down the wrong paths in that day, ending in defeat. In other words, take the time and make the time to get things straight. When you feel good and suddenly find yourself agitated, something happened to you. Don’t dismiss it. When you feel as if life has lost its purpose and you are just going along to get along, something has gotten into your thinking (usually fear) and is calling aloud for remedy. These mental assaults which can be incredibly subtle, are endeavoring to work you over. Like thieves that creep in unawares, these thought bandits are hell bent on interfering with your experience of life. People waste days and months and even years wrapped up in some lying notion always predicting something dreadful in their future. But, they are lies from the author and originator of lies. These forces have been so successful in robbing people of life because most people don’t take the time and effort necessary to take them on. Unfortunately, most people aren’t even aware of where their thoughts are going and as such, live according to the dictates of another. Winning the day means first hearing the foul thoughts, then countering them with something that is true. You can do this and you must do this in order to win the day. It doesn’t so much matter where you have been, but instead where you want to go. When you find yourself miserable and defeated, chances are you have been losing and it is incumbent upon you to take a pause and set things in order. Win the moment, win the day.

It seems that people as a whole have been sort of tricked into looking inward when things go south on them instead of looking outward. Thinking you are the sole cause for every negative you encounter is a fool’s game. There is nothing wrong with you, despite your endless considerations. What is really wrong are the forces of evil working behind the scenes to bring you down. You are in a fight man. You are in a contest woman. It is neither neutral or benign. And it is certainly not just a matter of your perceptions which serves to remove the absolutes of good and evil and replace with them some kind of moving target no one can accurately identify. If you think it through a bit, thinking there is something wrong with you every time you feel down or lost or confused, negates the existence of spiritual forces that have surreptitiously led you to that conclusion. How can you be on top of the world yesterday and dazed and confused today? Indeed, something happened to you right between your ears and you didn’t catch it or address it. But, lest you lose all hope, there is something you can do about it. Win the day!

Sometimes I think we all need to slow down and get back in touch with our thoughts. Step off the treadmill where the rats are racing and slow yourself down. You owe it to yourself. When you are feeling off, give it some thought time and track down the culprit. Figure out what is assailing your thought life. I guarantee you behind the obvious there is something nagging at you, threatening you, accusing you and leading your mind away from the goodness of God to some other alternative. Take your mind and your thoughts back! Quit just accepting every ‘nutso’ thing that runs across your brainwaves. In the end, I think you will quickly discover some fear threat, some outlandish accusation about who you are, some rationale attempting to justify why you deserve whatever negative things are going on in your life. The claims of your personal adversary and mine are never true. You know, if there were no such thing as evil, something to look forward to in the future, your days would move along delightfully and with ease. You would feel good, do good and be full of joy and peace. But, today evil still exists and our duty in the competition is to fight back. God will help you my friend. Win the day!

If you want to live a good life you have to learn how to win in the competition. You win as you control your thinking and when you find it has gone south, you reign it back in again to where the blessings are. There is no sin in getting yanked off course, the sin is found when we refuse to fight back. Fight back and win. First win the moment you are in, then the next moments and eventually the day. Don’t add in the cares of tomorrow and for goodness sakes don’t waste time looking back. At the return of Christ, I wonder how much time God will spend showing us what was really behind our bad days and our good days. Slow down a bit and grab that unruly mind of yours and reign it back in. Find the promises of God that refute the lies and think those things instead. Your life, your happiness depends upon it. Win the day!

Relieving a Vast Load of Care


depositphotos_128641282-stock-photo-businessman-carrying-rock-at-hill

If you spent any amount of time on Terra Firma, you know that life can get on top of you in a hurry. You’re plugging along doing your thing when suddenly the troubles seem to mount up with wings and you find yourself distressed and agitated, stuck in a vortex of worry and doubt. Oh my friends, these things need not be. Any trouble you might face is common to man and is similar to the experiences we all must endure at times. But, with every trouble you may encounter, there is a solution that is yours to find. You must but ask and in asking you will find, if you will persist. God will relieve your vast load of care.

In order to fully appreciate the dilemma all men and women find themselves in, you must first understand the nature of the spiritual competition. Your apparent difficulties and complexities are not the result of happenstance and bad fortune, but rather the effects of cunningly devised plans, designed to point your thoughts in a certain direction and then keep them there for as long as you will permit. The great power your opponent uses against you is one of deception. He seeks to paint a picture whereby all of your options are limited and without apparent remedy. He and his spiritual henchmen work to define the narrative; to outline craftily what is going on in your circumstances and why; to offer reasons that are not reasons and answers that are not answers at all. It is the, “Well, it could be worse logic.” It is trading in really shitty for only crappy. It is defeated logic from an already defeated foe. Much, if not all, of the troubles you face exist in your mind, the battleground, and what you choose in response to those lies from the father of lies, determines where you will end up. Mark Twain once remarked, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Indeed, most troubles do not come to pass because they were never troubles to begin with. Yet, a man can lose a significant amount of time for living by entertaining those false ideas.

In order for worries to take hold of you, you must become a cooperator with them. All of us are subject to their threats, yet not all of us persist in cooperating with them. You cooperate with them by refusing to let them go. You think and think and think, yet find no solution. You find no solution because there is no solution as they were never true to begin with. The appeal is to your ego; to your insistence that you, by your human logic, can put them to rest. But, the very thing you are doing in an effort to resolve them, is the thing that guarantees their continuance. (Please read that sentence again) The least you can do when confronted with reasons to be afraid is to refuse to think them any further. The best thing you can do when confronted with them is to replace them with some truth from God’s Word that opposes them. ‘Fear not’ is the number one admonition in the Bible for a reason. Again, your temptation to be afraid, to worry, is common to man. But God will always provide a way out.

It is normal for you to conclude that your difficulties and troubles are a direct result of something you did in the past, are doing now, or have thought about doing in the future. But, can you be so sure? Your personal enemy knows no bounds nor does he fight fair. In a perfect world, we all would have exactly what we deserved, good and bad. But, in the spiritual competition, many get far worse than they deserve and many get far more than they earned. Life and chance happen to them all. In other words, in the competition, you get not what you deserve or have earned, but rather what you have believed. The man that believes to be successful, will be successful no matter where he began or the amount of effort he supplied. The man that unknowingly expected to fail, listening to and acting on his fears, consumed with worry about the future, will fail just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow. It is a law, God’s law and you may cooperate with it or suffer as a result of it. But. my friends, you need not suffer any longer. Your task is not to try and figure out the vast world of the unknown, but instead determine what you will and will not think about. The woman that exclaims, “I knew it!” when calamity strikes is right, yet not because she was destined for calamity, but rather because she ignorantly persisted in those devilish thoughts until disaster stuck. We make life harder than it actually is. Our duty is to control our thinking and in doing so, cooperate with God who always has our best interests at heart. Your thoughts are always your thoughts!

Beliefs that come as a result of thoughts persisted in, tap you into power, power for good and power for evil. If you persist steadfast in right thought, you cannot help but obtain good results. However, if you stubbornly continue in wrong thought; thoughts of worry and fear; thoughts of impending defeat and loss, you will find yourself a victim of an enemy you neither perceived, nor stood against. You don’t resist evil by consuming yourself with thoughts of sin, condemnation and pleasing God, you resist evil by controlling your thinking and standing vehemently against the lies and the deceptions. You please God by changing your thinking to line up with His abundant promises, so that He can do for you what He promised. Focus on self, another crafty deception, always ends in defeat. You and I will never deserve God’s kindness to us, but by the grace of God we are what we are. By God’s grace we at least have a fighting chance and by God’s grace we can achieve at levels we have never before imagined. Oh my friends, let God carry all of your cares, all of your worries, all of your fears and see how quickly your life will transform!

The troubles we face are common to man. We are all in the competition whether we choose to compete or not. Your responsibility isn’t to figure out evil and its deceptions. Your job is to learn how to fight back! You fight back by controlling your thinking and having the humility and willingness to let things go. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” When you cast your cares upon God and leave them there, you will begin to see the deceptions more clearly and more quickly. Oh sure, you are going to be real tempted at times, but hang in there and see it through. Don’t let worries and cares rob you from the life that now is and from the life that is yet to come. Life is quite a beautiful reality once the fear and worry are gone. Find relief from a vast load of cares by learning to obey in your thought life. God is here…

Just some good thoughts…

Dealing With Your Feelings


feelingsIt is peculiar to me that something that affects our life as much as our emotions do, would be the subject of greater education and study. It’s like we all grew up with this menagerie of feelings, yet seldom have we learned to understand what those myriad feelings are communicating to us. Most people, it seems choose rather to try and escape certain emotions while encouraging the existence of others. But, what if our feelings are communicating important messages to us? What if we took the time to evaluate our emotions; why they occur; when they occur and used them to help us move in a more beneficial direction with the promise of a better future. Do you know what your feelings are saying to you? Are you aware of what is behind your emotions and where they originate? Are you dealing with your feelings?

We humanoid units are incredibly sensitive creatures and by sensitive I mean have the capacity to experience a wide range of emotions. Some folks whole existence is based upon their emotions, while others seldom give their emotions much thought. It would seem that both scenarios are lacking. Our emotions are easily manipulated, if you haven’t noticed already, and to place your sole trust in them as the citadel for decision making would be foolish. Conversely, excluding all emotions as pointless or frivolous would serve only to rob your life of its richness and blessings. The wiser option would be to seek understanding regarding what your emotions are communicating to you. We have all had that experience whereby suddenly we feel a sense of dread or become agitated in place of the peace we had a few moments ago. Usually a little thought regarding what you were just thinking about reveals the thief; usually some vague fear or concern about a thought you just processed. The point of your emotions was to alert you to some change inside your head that needs to be addressed. All anxious or nervous feelings point to the same reality. Ignoring those thoughts with their subsequent feelings; medicating those thoughts; distracting yourself away from those thoughts leads only to more of those feelings. Your job in that instance was to deal with the intruder! By the time you are experiencing anxiety, it is a sure sign that you have been letting something go and now suffer from misplaced fears labeled as anxiety. Anxiety is only a common phenomenon today because people have stopped paying attention to their thoughts and to their feelings. We have become a nation of letting stuff go. We move too fast; try to do too much; endeavor to live up to impossible and unrealistic standards. We are quite literally led about by our noses staring at images and words and opinions lacking in any conceivable substance or help with our lives. We compare ourselves, measure ourselves, recognize our so-called deficits and lack and from there try to carve out a peaceful and happy existence. We are told when we should be married, when we should make our first million, what we should already have by now, where we should live and on it goes. It’s no wonder our feelings are trying to tell us something. They are telling us something isn’t true! 

Have you ever tried an experiment where you simply allow your emotions to be what they are and not try to escape them? How about when you are feeling bored? What are those dreaded boredom feelings trying to say? Is it really just a lack of activity? Or, have you entertained a series of thoughts that succeeded in taking the wind out of your sails? Boredom says you have nothing to look forward to, but is that really true. If you simply stopped running from those feelings with endless activity you might find that you don’t need more activity, but maybe need to reframe your thinking. Perhaps you need to stop trying to live in your future and embrace what is happening right now. Whenever you travel back in time or attempt to future travel, your emotions won’t cooperate and will bring you something you need to deal with today. In this way, your feelings are these fantastic barometers for your soul. They are ever pointing you to something, somewhere in the million details of your existence. Unpleasant emotions call for immediate action. Pleasant, joyful emotions encourage your continuance. In this is the only time that “if it feels good do it” was ever true. Trusting your feelings only falsely presumes everything you ever feel is an indicator of truth; that something is actually true. Then you spend your entire life waiting to feel good about something that may not feel good now, but has a huge payout in the future. The point is to pay attention to your feelings! Don’t cut yourself off from their messages, but instead investigate them without fear and follow their subtle promptings. Those experiences you have that bring joy to your heart are to be welcomed and repeated often.  Helping others, being kind, having great compassion, loving and forgiving others lead to immeasurable bliss. Don’t forsake them.

The next time you are feeling out of sorts, unhappy or down in the dumps, think about what you have been thinking about. Have you perhaps been focusing on what you don’t have or where you fall short? Have you been spending too much time thinking about life instead of actually living it? Or, have you fallen into perpetual self focus which leads only to more and more recognition of what isn’t right or needs repair. If you want to know, you can know as they are your emotions given to you by God’s wisdom to help you live your life that much better. Don’t ignore your feelings or write them off as foolish, but instead pay attention to the message and if needed take the necessary action. Sometimes our emotions are simply trying to get us to take some action we know we need to take, which as soon as we do it, opens the windows to a flood of positive feelings. The message, “handle your business!”

It is always your choice whether or not you take the time to deal with your feelings. But, you owe it to yourself to do so. You’ll know when you’ve got it right by the peace you experience inside. Feelings of peace and contentment are the ultimate measure of right thought. Peace is the end of the fight when you, at last, prevail. Deal with your feelings. You won’t be truly happy until you do. 

Just some good thoughts…

Your Thoughts to Energy Ratio


2d illustration Human Male Muscle BodyThoughts, like anything living and real, have energy behind them. They carry within them an inherent vigor and vitality or a pervasive lethargy and drag. One philosopher put it this way, positive thoughts and emotions emit a higher frequency while negative thoughts and emotions produce a lower and slower frequency. One manner of thinking adds liveliness and the capacity to do while the other thought form adds weariness and stagnation. People nowadays are so tired and worn out yet never equate their energy levels with their own thoughts, but instead blame lack of sleep and an inferior diet. While the former may be contributing factors, the true culprit may be more easily found in the thoughts we are choosing to think. The question then begs, what is your thought to energy ratio? 

If you find yourself struggling with a lack of energy or perpetually medicating yourself in order to get your work done or just to make it through the day, you have to ask yourself what it is you have been thinking about. The time you spend worrying about some future thing, be it what it may, not only is futile in terms of changing the outcome of the thing you are afraid of, but actually works against your best interests by using up your energy store thereby eliminating your energy to do something, the real remedy to your worries. Only action cures fear. Worry and fear serve only to steal away that precious energy. Surely you have noticed these effects in your own life. At one moment you are happily plugging along and in the next moment you feel exhausted and weary. What happened to you? Chances are you started considering some negative possibility and with it lost something along the way. You can trace this negative effect in every aspect of your life. All negative thinking, be it worries and fears or critical self judgment or rehearsing the mistakes from your past or anxiety about the future, leads quickly and easily to a lack of energy to do. Stress, the silent killer, functions along these same lines. Stress, an epidemic in the USA, is just another name for fear; fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of some negative outcome. These are in fact the reasons you feel so tired, indeed so worn out. 

Positive thinking, by contrast, produces an opposite effect. Positive thinking does not mean you try to turn bad things into good things. Positive thinking isn’t a pollyanna approach to life whereby you refuse to acknowledge challenges and trials. Positive thinking simply refuses to allow fear to define the narrative. We are always confronted with a choice in terms of what we are going to consider given a certain scenario, but positivity suggests we don’t have to consider the potential negative outcome. It is the consideration of evil that allows it entree into our lives and we greatly limit that entree by what we decide we will think about. Once evil, that which is always back of all worry and fear, is entertained, it steals away our valuable life source and enthusiasm for living. It closes our minds off to opportunities and possibilities and instead falsely predicts our hurt and loss. Being positive is often more about what we don’t do than it is about what we do, do. Positive thinking expects good things to happen and actively seeks out those good things. Positive thinking doesn’t dismiss good things as anomalies and as such doesn’t resort back to negative expectations. Man, what a job the enemy of God’s people has done on the collective group think of society. Negativity is running the place. Wrong thinking and thus wrong belief are the reason good things aren’t happening, not the wheels of fate or God or any similar superstition based more on guessing than sound reason. If you find yourself just sort of trudging along, it’s not because that’s how life is, but instead because of where you have allowed your thinking to go. You must learn how to think positively and continue to think positively to turn this thing around. Your energy for living, your enthusiasm, that pep in your step will all return once you stop the energy drain that goes on day by day by your refusal to give negatives anymore space. Your thoughts equal your energy ratio. 

If you think about it, the reason people struggle so much is because they are trying to do this thing alone. They have access to all the data, Google and a whole world of other people offering good sound advice about how life works. Yet, for all their good intentions, the world and its so called solutions are not going to get the job done. God never intended that people would have to figure out life on their own. Instead, God planned that people would learn how to rely on Him like a child relies on its parents. Children rarely worry and when they do it’s usually because a parent is failing to do their job. God never fails to do His job. The reason you can choose to keep your thoughts in a good place is because you can hand over all of the unknowns to God. Woe unto the man or woman carrying around all of the unknowns alone! You have gotten worn out by life by your reliance on self over reliance on God. The reason the fearful consideration has so much power of you is because you are trying to take it on alone. Your opponent, my friend, is much too wily and powerful for you to take him on alone. Absent God, you are no match for your enemy. He uses tactics that have worked on human beings for thousands of years and continue to work. With God you are assured success. His Word tells you how to think and what to believe and what not to believe. There is no need for guesswork or a Google search. He is the source of life and energy and enthusiasm for living. You want your life and energy back? Do you want to get off the treadmill of endless defeats and the subsequent exhaustion that follows? Do you want your energy to thought ratio raised to never before experienced levels? Then, get God involved with your life. 

It’s no criticism to you that you have been suffering in silence all these years. You have been worn out by “life” so called and have suffered the same deceptions and lies we have all experienced in one form or another. We compete with a common opponent. We are all subject to his bullshit at times and we have all suffered loss. How you used to live and what you used to do are not the matter here. What matters here is that you begin to recognize that there is another option available to you. That option does not guarantee you won’t still get defeated at times or find yourself trudging along aimlessly with the rest of the deceived world. What the other blessed option offers you is a relationship with the one true God who knows all, sees all and is powerful over all. No-one can answer your heart questions like God can and He withholds no good thing from His children. He will show you exactly where your enthusiasm has gone, why and how to get it back. He will show you what life can be with all of the blessings that go along with it. You have nothing to lose and literally everything to gain. 

You want to improve your thought to energy ratio? Get God involved…

Just some good thoughts… 

What Came First, Your Thoughts or Your Results?


maxresdefaultRecently, I found myself embroiled in a Twitter battle with someone I don’t know and many others I don’t know over the topic of depression. A guy posted a little ditty about being depressed along the lines of, “if you’re depressed and you know it, clap your hands.” So I replied, tongue in cheek, with a similar ditty about changing your thoughts. Some recognized the levity, but quite a few others insisted on teaching me about depression and how it wasn’t that simple and show me some evidence that changing your thoughts can change brain chemistry and so on. Essentially the group argument consisted of well-intentioned people defending the chemical nature of depression and apparently the fact that your thoughts have nothing to do with it and even more incredulously, that there’s nothing you can do about it. So depression or any other mental malady, what came first, your thoughts or your results?

First let’s clarify one important reality. Yes depression, particularly clinical depression can be tracked to chemical changes in your brain. But, and hear me out on this one, to conclude that the depression you are experiencing has nothing to do with what you are thinking, is categorically nuts! If that was the case all of us would be potential victims to any mental malady that came our way and would be powerless against it. You’re living your life happy and blessed then boom, you spiral down into depression or anxiety or anything else that chooses you! Life does not work that way. However, if you are paying attention, you will recognize that the world will always have an excuse for you to stay trapped in your personal conundrum.  It will always have you draw some conclusion where you basically agree there is nothing you can do about what you are experiencing. The result? You end up actually defending your problem’s right to have power over you and have lots of science or other man-made intelligence supporting your beliefs. Your thoughts came first!

Depression begins with depressed thoughts. Anxiety begins with anxious thoughts. All known phobias began with fearful thoughts about something. Now stop right there. If what I just said pissed you off in some capacity, you have to ask yourself what it is you are defending. To think that your thoughts didn’t precede you present reality takes away your responsibility for your life and hands it over to someone or something else. The world is chock full of victims with well-rehearsed stories about how they don’t have a choice when actually they always have a choice. The choice with mental maladies, and by the way I’ve been there, is to control your thinking in the here and now. Is it really that simple? No, it’s not simple at all, especially if you have gotten yourself into some deeply grooved ruts! But, it is the only way out! You have to decide to think something else or stop thinking certain things, before you can even begin to see the way out. Wallowing in the chemical nature of your problem is simply resignation to defeat. Your thoughts came first!

In contrast to mental maladies and anything that pains or hinders our lives, let’s consider happy people or people who remain positive and hopeful about their lives. What do they do that maybe you don’t do? Are they really predetermined for success? Are they just the result of good fortune heaped on them randomly with no discernible reason why? The same world that spends considerable time with increasing evidence to convince you there is nothing you can do about your problems, also maligns and disparages being positive and reduces it to foolishness by implying positive people simply spout positive bullshit in contrast to their worsening issues. Really? Is that all that positive people do? In reality, positive, happy people experience the same garbage and conflict in life that you experience. The difference is that they fight back with their thoughts and refuse to surrender to science or anything else that chips away at their well-being. They can acknowledge that today was a freaking horrible day, but don’t expect tomorrow to be the same. When someone lays a rap on them that implies there is nothing they can do about something, they beg to differ over and over and over again. Your thoughts came first.

Part of controlling your thinking, and for the love of God it is something you can do or God wouldn’t ask you to do it, is to be cautious about what you take ownership of… Is it a disease or is it your disease? Is it depression or is it your depression? Just because a doctor gave it to you doesn’t mean you have to own it. I know, there I go again with my Pollyanna bullshit! I mean, the perfectly reasonable, logical thing to do is to accept your fate and get in line with the rest of the sheep following and cascading over the cliff to their own demise! Being realistic depends wholly on what you consider to be real. Science isn’t in opposition to God it’s of God (you smarties…). The opposition shows up when science, so-called, refutes what God says and makes it appeal to the ego of man who always knows more than he actually knows! If you and your scientific realities know the answer, then fix your issue and let’s get back to living. Alas, your thoughts came first!

One thing you can and should own is your own life! You certainly don’t need to own the negative assaults upon you day by day, but you can and should own your results. Own it! Accept where you are. Accept responsibility for the things that haven’t worked out. Taking ownership is always the starting point for any life revisions you may need. As you  put your hands firmly back on the wheel, you will discover that God has given you control if you are willing to take it! Say what you may my friends, your thoughts came first!

Just some good thoughts…

 

You Already Know…


YAKWTD-lead-portraitlookingtooceanWe are all living our lives here on this planet sharing a similar quest for happiness and fulfillment. As a first world nation, we have both the resources and time to carefully consider our plight in an attempt to craft our existence into something we want. We can study books, watch specials, listen to podcasts, you name it. The information is literally all around us. But, what if we already know what to do?

I believe in many cases, if you’re honest with yourself, you already know what to do about the problems that are plaguing you. You know why things are the way they are and you know the actions you need to take to resolve them. Yet, you don’t take the action! It’s like there is this sacred lynchpin sitting between knowing what to do and actually doing it. Human beings with all of their capacity for thinking are loathe to move those thoughts into heartfelt action. The question then becomes, “why?”

Have you noticed how good you feel when you finally take some required action that you knew you should have taken long ago? Or, when you finally decide to take back control some aspect of your life that you weren’t controlling? How fantastic it was when you cleaned out that back room, or put mulch in those flowerbeds, or finally got yourself extricated from that one-sided relationship! It’s as if our feelings are looking to reward us for not only making the right move, but to encourage us to keep making right moves.

Inaction, like inactivity is unnatural for us. Letting things go or pile up and multiply serves only to weigh us down, like the pounds we’ve allowed to load up on our bodies when we saw them coming on long ago. Each day carries with it an expectation. The expectation is that your requirements for the day be completed. Honestly living each day handling your own responsibilities will produce happiness for you. You already know what you need to do in the day, so just do those things.

Often we have developed a good grip on our lives in most areas except for that one area or those few annoying aspects. You may not realize it, but those seemingly insignificant parts of your life may be sucking away or leaking out your precious life force. More and more, happiness seems to follow control; knowing what you can control and controlling those things. Freely experiencing and enjoying life is necessary, but equally required is the need to reign in and limit on occasion. In the converse, sometimes people need to let the reigns out or break a rule or two. In the end, life is about balance. What part of your life may be out of balance? Or said another way, what aspect of your existence seems most connected to the difficulties and hardships you experience? Where there is smoke, there is fire. If every time you partake of A, you have to suffer with B, maybe it’s time to get rid of A. Maybe you’ve known for a long time that you need to stop fooling with A! Remove the lynch pin and say goodbye to A! Or just decide to control A better. You already know! Do what you already know to do!

Distraction is the opposite of focus. When you are distracted, you know what to do, but you never quite make the move you know you need to make. Distraction comes from being lured out of the present moment into other inviting moments. Maybe you’re living for the weekend, but it’s shame to waste those other four and a half days leading up to it. Imagine what great moves you could have made towards your goals while still ending up with ample time to pursue your Sunday Fun Day! Focus does its best to remain in the moment called ‘now.’ Focus knows exactly what needs to be done next. Focus brings your feelings up and asks you why you are feeling the way you are feeling with suggestions on something you could do next. Why trouble yourself with the expectations of yesterday and tomorrow, when the day at hand has enough to be done, today?

Don’t confuse handling the expectations of a day with the incessant nagging of anxiety or whatever else it is that drives us around against our will. There are many things that don’t need to be done today. The same applies to work expectations. Everything isn’t an emergency and everything isn’t right now! What we’re after are the good feelings that accompany handling our stuff. In contrast, some folks find themselves driven from thing to thing. Some cannot sit down without some sound, some activity, some requirement to do and do and do. Actually refusing to do in the midst of some boredom feeling or otherwise unpleasant mood, leads us to the real driver; generally fear acting upon us in non-specific or vague ways. Maybe all of the added attractions to our environments are really an attempt at not dealing with certain thoughts or unreasonable feelings.

It seems we have the capacity to untangle our lives immeasurably by making the simple decision to accomplish what the day demands! Don’t spend too much time in endless analysis and introspection. When you take action on the things that need to be done, including your mental state, the things you need to do next seem to come right into focus. When it comes to knowing what to do, it isn’t about finding new solutions as it is about acting on what you already know! Take the action you’ve been putting off for the past five years and just see how you feel. It works because you already know what to do!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

Unfulfilled? My Little Pretties…


Heavy-Duty-Warehouse-Trucks-in-MiamiMany people nowadays are suffering from feeling unfulfilled. In other words, you feel as if your life isn’t going in the right direction or is lacking in one or more categories. You aren’t sure what exactly the remedy is but you do know that you’re stuck. So, the question of the day is, “What causes us to ‘feel’ unfulfilled?” Is it something that happens to us, like life? Or, is it something we are doing to ourselves? Is there a problem with our expectations or our perceptions? Is it permanent and terminal? Or is there something we can do about it? Hopefully I can answer these and many more questions if you will just stick with me ~ my little pretties…

Picture that your mind is a like a large warehouse. It’s your own private storage place for your thoughts. There’s temporary storage for certain thoughts; longer range storage for important thoughts and beliefs, and permanent storage for things that you never want to lose. It is truly a marvelous thing ~ your mind. I mean think about it, how many thoughts do you think in a day? A conservative estimate is 50,000 thoughts a day, 350,000 a week, 18,200,000 a year. And if you are 54 like me, oh Lord, don’t even do the math!

Now, of those 50K you are working on today, of how many are you even aware? My guess is very few. And to take it one step further, if you are not even remotely aware of them, can you tell how many are entering into your warehouse? Sure, it would be all peaches and roses if they just went away, but they don’t just go away. They enter the shelves (unmarked of course) and seek to work their way into the more glamorous and important longer range storage. From there they can take up residency as your beliefs and slowly but imperceptibly start controlling your life. Then you get all down and dissatisfied with the warehouse you control. You blame God and life and your spouse, your lack of opportunities, yet remain ignorant to the reality that the warehouse still belongs to you!

Day by day you think, “What am I doing with my life? What’s the point of this? Why even bother? I’m never going to be anything or do anything!” Then, you think that over and over and over again. The more you entertain it, the more evidence you start to compile that seems to confirm it. Your friend Bill is doing so well. In fact, everyone is doing so well, except for Sally. I’m at least better than Sally (smile). Your storage unit is alive with a multitude of new clients. But, you didn’t know they were coming, much less invite them. But, there they are, seeking advancement. You see, you’ve almost unknowingly thought that stupid stuff for so long that you are starting to believe it. And to add insult to injury, while you are simmering and brooding, you aint doing a damn thing to change the situation! After all, what’s the point?? So, I’m wagering that very often it isn’t your life that is so unfulfilling, but rather your thoughts toward it…

Fulfilled is defined as to be happy or satisfied due to fully developing one’s ability or character. That’s worth thinking about a little deeper (50,001, 50,002, 50,003). Who the hell is ever satisfied these days? Your life is something your ancestors would have died for (and many did), yet you need more, more, more. It seems that another potential cause for feeling unfulfilled is never being satisfied about what you already enjoy. I know, I know, our American culture sort of did that to you! But good grief, stop pursuing every once in awhile and take time to enjoy for a bit.

However, you may not be caught up in the more, more, more club. (More, more, more, how do you like it, how do you like it?) You may just recognize that you have so much more ability to develop. Now track with me here. If you know that to be true, it seems your focus should be on further developing your abilities! Storing up a multitude of bad thoughts of frustration and dissatisfaction serve only to halt your progress. Where should you start? What are you good at now? Start there and get busy developing. Did you catch that? The definition refers to you fully developing, as in a process that doesn’t just happen tomorrow. Work on it now. You may be a good distance from your goal but you are working on it and thus can feel fulfilled. What is crazier than whining about not feeling fulfilled and yet doing nothing to become fulfilled? It’s your warehouse, by God!

I think you will find out quite quickly that the nagging in your soul is an urge to start doing something now! Don’t worry about how it is going to end. Instead focus on enjoying the journey. You will always be develop-ing so you may as well enjoy it. I’m sure when you are 85 you won’t be angry with yourself for not reaching master perfection status, but you will regret never even having tried.

Feelings of frustration, discontent and not being fulfilled come from the 8 million little bits of data you didn’t notice or resist. Don’t allow the mindless ways of today rob you from accomplishing all you could accomplish. You may not be able to control every thought, but you can dang sure confront the little liars and set them straight! Imagine what your warehouse might look like if most of its storage was thoughts that actually helped and encouraged you.

Feeling unfulfilled is not a terminal condition. It can and will change as soon as you decide it will, because my little pretties, it is your warehouse…

Just some good thoughts (50,004, 50,005, 50,006)…

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends Upon It (Because it really does…)


istock_loveyourselfIn the words of Jen Sincero, “Love yourself like your life depends upon it, because it really does!” In our media-driven world, self-hate and self loathing seemed to have reached epidemic proportions. No one likes themselves anymore. If it isn’t obsession with being skinny it’s a compulsion with your hair or your skin. You are angry with yourself for doing this and not having done that. You think you aren’t successful enough, smart enough or the deadliest of all, good enough. In the end you are just real hateful of that person staring back from the mirror!

As an individual living your one shot at life, imagine how devious and dastardly it is to not love yourself; you being the only self you’ve got! It’s not natural as even an animal knows to care for itself instinctively. Yet somehow in some way, humans can be talked into actually hating themselves. If you’re honest, something must have gotten to you! I’m sure when you were 8 years old you didn’t think that way, despite perhaps receiving perpetual correction from the people who loved you. Yet here you are today contemplating mean and hurtful things about yourself without even giving it a second thought. If you spoke to others like you spoke to yourself you wouldn’t have any friends. But, because you are speaking to yourself it is somehow okay.

A nation divided against itself cannot stand and neither can individual for that matter. The divided, beat up you is not the real you. It is a shadow of your real essence. But, that essence cannot be seen by the world because you have already long since lost the fight in your own mind! Maybe if you knew you were in a fight you would have fought back and that is the reason for this blog.

Life is spiritual my friend and contrary to popular belief there is a spiritual force ever at work to defeat you. The battleground is your mind. The weapons are your thoughts. Ironically, you are always in control of your own thoughts. So, somewhere along the line that force got you to say and confess those horrible things about yourself directly to yourself in the solemn chambers of your own mind. “I can’t help it!” you say… “It’s just how I am!” you report. But nay my man, my woman it is not how you are and you certainly can help it!

Real love is much more than an emotion, it is a decision. You decide to love and that love must include yourself. Jay-Z said, “I cannot help the poor if I’m one of them. Well, you cannot really love anyone until you first love yourself. All of that constant chastisement you level upon yourself doesn’t make you a better person. There’s nothing humble about loathing yourself. All it does is weaken you and make you part of the problem instead of part of the solution. You walk around criticizing (in your mind) everyone you see and everything they do, never once stopping to realize that you are projecting out onto others the way you feel about yourself! You don’t love them or forgive them because you don’t love or forgive yourself! That’s just how it works and there aint no getting around it…

What if God made you wonderful just the way you are? What if all of those imperfections you’re obsessing over are actually a natural part of the human experience? I often muse that if you could get inside someone else’s head you would find all the same insanity you find inside your own head. At least then you would take solace in knowing you’re just like everyone else! But this ol’ world has done a number on you. Instead of being left to your own devices (and thoughts) there’s a giant media machine that is glad to share with you exactly how you “should” look and how successful you “should” be and precisely how bad you really are for thinking and doing the things you do. Just stop buying it because it’s a lie.

To escape this dilemma you have to first become willing to admit that you’re doing it to yourself, then take yourself by your thoughts and start loving that person again. Accept your limitations and weaknesses for being just what they are; limitations and weaknesses. How absurd to think you should be above weaknesses! Instead change your focus to all that is glorious about you. If my gift to the world was being the greatest quarterback of all time, how nuts would you think I was if all I talked about was my lack of skill at soccer? Well, the same holds true for your gift to the world. Just do you man, the good and the bad. Focus on what’s awesome about you and stay there. No-one overcomes weakness by focusing on it, but only by focusing on strength. Focus on your strengths!

Perhaps the worst in the sliding scale of bad thoughts is to think you aren’t good enough. Newsflash! None of us are good enough, we came from the factory that way. Our great God has never loved anyone because they are good enough. He loves people because He is good enough. Most, if not all, self-loathing comes from the vague idea of not being good enough. And you got those ideas from some whackadoo parked outside an abortion clinic pretending to speak for God. God is love only and that should settle every argument to the contrary!

When I listened to that statement that is the title of this blog, I actually shed tears. You know why? Because I, just like you, need to love myself. You are no different from me and I’m no different from you. We’re all on this trip together and we may as well learn to love that dude or gal we see staring back at us from the mirror every morning! It just doesn’t make any sense to do otherwise!

Love yourself like you life depends upon it, because it really does!

Just some good, loving thoughts…

Stuck in Your Story?


134170985_istockphoto_thinkstockYou are presently starring in a melodrama whereby you are the leading actor. You own all creative rights to the story because you are the playwright. You are also the director demanding that every infinitesimal part of your story be portrayed in detailed accuracy. So the grand question is, does your story suck or is it awesome?

Whether we ever realize it or not, all of us are living out our lives in a story of our own making. That bears repeating! The life we presently live is the out-working of the story we have told ourselves with enough regularity that it has become real. Life isn’t something that happens to us, life is something we make happen. If your current life really sucks or is not what you expected or is not fulfilling or is not successful or has even become a hideous torture chamber, maybe you have gotten stuck in a bad story; a story you wrote, nonetheless.

Everyone has a story. Your story is the one that you tell yourself. It is your badge of identity. No matter what happens in your life, it all funnels back to your story; who you “think” you are. If you were fortunate enough to have developed a marvelous story, God bless you. But, I’m guessing, many people if not most people have a story that aint so good. For clarity’s sake, let’s say your story is one of a victim. I’ll use this example because it’s a story I used to tell myself. In the victim story you always hold the position of a saint. You do the best you can; you work hard; you’re kind and considerate; you give to others unreservedly, but somehow others don’t appreciate it and take advantage of you. No matter how hard you try to do the right thing, it goes unnoticed and those in positions of authority try to take from you all the good you have earned! It’s just not fair to you because you deserve those things you do not get. So, life story firmly in hand, you trod through life waiting for people to take away the good things you have coming. Oh you may eventually win in the end, but you have to fight damn hard for what is rightfully yours.

Surprisingly, in the victim story, you have failed to acknowledge something significant. Namely, that you only get exactly what you expect to get in life with breathtaking accuracy and a precision that rivals even the finest Swiss watchmaker. But, you are loathe to recognize that unsteady linchpin because to do so would force you to admit a portion of the blame. You are a saint after all. Alas, but tis all true my friend. The reason you have held on to the story for so long is because you get something from it; most likely freedom from responsibility for your own life. And so it goes with every story you told that ever held you back.

Stories like this are often developed in childhood or following some traumatic event and for a while probably served to protect you from some difficult situation. But, there comes a time when that story no longer fits the adult version of you and therefore needs to be discarded. You may well have been a victim when you were younger or even in adulthood, but that story does not define who you are. It simply defines something that happened to you.

The stories you tell yourself, though long accepted by you as true, are not true at all. They were never true if they characterized you as lacking in some capacity. You just got lulled into accepting them and allowing them to run your show from that point forward. And like any good melodrama, the more you rehearsed those stories, the better you got at acting out the part. Then everything around you began to mold to fit that story, further convincing you of its veracity. The trouble is that you forgot it is your story that you are acting in and at any moment, you as the director you could change the direction of the scenes.

A simple way to recognize your story is to think what it is you tell people as the reason you don’t get something that you desperately need or want. What is that grand limiting factor that you were apparently “born” with that gives you an unfair disadvantage in life. Is it that “nice” guys finish last? Or that money is “hard” to come by? Or is it that all the “good” guys are taken? Or is life “unfair?” If you are honest with yourself, you must know deep down that those things aren’t true; they are just an excuse for failure in a play that you are writing. Owning all rights to the story means you can simply take out your pen and write a new script! Stop rehearsing that nonsense and for goodness sakes take responsibility.

“The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors, which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.” ~ James Allen

Your limited number of days on terra firm ought to be sufficient evidence to realize you only have so much time to accomplish your hopes and dreams. Don’t waste another moment wrapped up in some old, tired story you have been telling yourself, but instead make use of your thoughts to live in a world you have heretofore only imagined. Your life can only be as good as the story you are telling yourself, so make your story amazing!

Just some good thoughts…