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…

Living Your Reflection…


reflection_28Here’s some food for thought… The life you are presently living is a direct reflection of your most dominant and habitual thinking. Read that again! Up to this point you may not have made this connection. Most folks don’t. Instead people think that life is happening to them and they are simply reacting to whatever life does next. People that live in a perpetual struggle falsely conclude that circumstances are working against them and probably even long for the time when the struggle will end. But, they remain unaware that their habitual thought forms the basis of their expectations and as such they are living in a world of their own making.

Habits are, in themselves, useful. On the positive side they free your mind of the unnecessary thought required to complete mundane tasks. However, habits also have a dark side. Negative patterns of thought, rehearsed over and over again lead to negative expectations, which manifest themselves in negative circumstances. And, to make matters worse, the habits become invisible to you because of their habituation. And, once darkness has become invisible to you, it is allowed to perpetuate within you to bring about those struggles you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.

I’m sure you’ve heard people complain to God about why life is so hard and why there is so much struggling going on. And, let’s be honest, there is some heavy-duty struggling happening. But, what you may not know is that God has given you control over those struggles once you know how to go about turning things around. God hasn’t left us without a remedy and surely doesn’t condone pain and hardship. But, until you finally learn that your life is “your” life and that you can exercise control, things will go on as they’ve always gone on since the beginning of time.

Just so you don’t think this is “crazy” talk, let me ask you some questions. At this very moment in time, what do think about life? Do think it is a struggle? Do you think it is hard and random and filled with the unexpected? Do you think that is always hard for you to get money and that it always will be? Do you think that disease just happens and that you are powerless against it? Your honest answer to those questions is the life you are presently living. Your expectation; your belief is precisely what you are experiencing and will continue to experience as long as you keep thinking the way you are thinking. Life won’t turn around for you and your ship won’t come in. It cannot because it is a direct reflection of your inmost thoughts. Change your thoughts; change your expectations; change your beliefs and your life will change.

In order to right the ship, you have to become keenly aware of what was formerly invisible; namely your thoughts. You have to start recognizing your negative thought habit patterns. You have to see where you have become your own worst enemy. You must clearly discern that negative chatter, ever providing reasons why you cannot succeed; why you cannot get ahead; why you cannot win. And once you finally hear it, you have to start forcefully challenging those false assumptions. Those assumptions are not “just life” but instead are lies you have been worn down into accepting. There’s no shame in being led astray because the whole world has been led astray, on purpose, by the evil that lies deep behind it, hidden. The real shame comes when you see a glimpse of the light and refuse to heed the lesson.

Have you ever noticed how people set goals for themselves? They set goals with tiny incremental increases as if one can only progress with baby steps. They don’t realize that the larger the goal; the larger the expectations, the larger the result. It is like that with your thoughts. Once you have begun to see and challenge a series of thoughts, your responsibility is to change your thoughts and expectations to something you actually want. It takes the exact same amount of effort to think something good as it takes to think something bad. But make no mistake, you are choosing by what you “choose” to think and hold onto.

I should add, because I know what you’re thinking, that sometimes you “find” yourselves in a challenging situation that you didn’t necessarily bring upon yourself. Sometimes people are under attack; in bad environments and feel that they are being tested. Well, they are being tested but never by God. The test is in how you respond to the challenge. Will you accept what it “seems” like or will you remain stedfast in your beliefs and overcome? You would be surprised how quickly things turn around when you make your mind up! But, if you succumb to what “appears” to be real, you end up down the same blind alleys you traveled before.

As living, breathing, thinking human beings, we always have a say in how things are going to turn out. Always! The key lies in refusing to accept the information that comes to your mind via your five senses, and trusting instead what God says is true! Obviously you can ridicule this notion and demand that what it seems like, is true, but with that you can resign yourself to your usual, perpetual struggle.

Your life, my life is a reflection of those things we think about the most. Change your thoughts and your life will change. It isn’t about being naively positive, it’s about choosing what you will and will not accept in your life. You have more control than you ever thought. God would have it no other way! Really!

Just some good reflections…

 

…Yeah, but why?


NewYearsResolutionsIt’s almost that time of the year when you are going to make your New Year’s resolutions. But, before you write that fanciful wish list, give this a little thought… Notice how many “goals” on your list are the exact same things you had on there last year and the year before and the year before. So logically, if you are writing the same things over and over again, something must be wrong!

When it comes to getting your needs met, and I’m assuming your dream-sheet is about getting your needs met, the first thing you have to ask yourself is, “What do I really need?” I’m not talking that minimalist logic that claims all you really need is food and water. If all you needed was food and water you would be a dog, not a human! Instead you, like the rest of us, have many needs; some simple and some complex. And in order to get those needs met, you must discover exactly what they are. It’s so easy to write, “lose weight.” But, before you are going to really lose that weight, something has to happen. No, no, no I don’t mean make up your mind to eat healthy, or to exercise more or to get more disciplined! You think that’s what it is and that’s why you write that fantasy memo every year. If that’s all there was to it, we would have all become slim and sexy by now. But that’s not all there is to it. In order to finally start delving deeper, you have to ask yourself, “Yeah, but why?”

Why do you want to lose weight (make more money, get healthier, exercise more, quit smoking/liquor/wild women and drugs)? Is that even what you really want? Really… Do you really want more money? How much? Is it the money you want or some specific items? Are there hundreds of things or maybe just two things. Right? Yeah, but why? Maybe you have become very clear on what you want and why. Very, very clear. So “why” don’t you manage to achieve it? As my good friend Mark recently taught, often there is something deeper going on that is shaping your behavior. There may be deep-seated habits and unmet needs that are sabotaging your efforts. Maybe you aint eating so much because you’re hungry, ya know? Substitute drinking, spending, etc.

Recently I did a little experiment. For about the past 15 or so years I have been trying to lose about 10-15 pounds. Not 30, 40 or 50 pounds mind you; 15 pounds. And, as you might expect, I was on a diet for about that same time period. Imagine a diet lasting 15 years with 10 or 15 pounds at stake. Imagine… I did Weight Watchers (paid the money), Fit for Life (bought the book), Low Carb, No Carb, and HCG (more money). And, I lost weight. On HCG I got down to 199 once. Yay, but about two days later I was back up 2 pounds. I weighed myself almost every day, for years! I starved, then binged. Saved points for wine (WW). Criticized myself every time I ate something fattening or sweet or a cookie or fast food or for even having breakfast. Again, imagine… After admitting to myself that I was living the definition of insanity, I decided enough was enough. Enter the experiment! I simply stopped. Stopped weighing, stopped obsessing, stopped denying myself anything potentially fattening. Stopped it! Did I lose a bunch of weight? No! But I learned that basically no matter what I ate, (eating normally, not going ham) my weight stayed at exactly 209-210 pounds. And even better, it finally dawned on me, “why” do I need to drop that 10 pounds? Do I really care that much? Or am I trying to fit into a cultural mindset that associates slim with disciplined/sexy/good/youth…ahhh youth-now we are getting somewhere! Would it be better for me if I weighed 10-15 pounds less? Of course. But the “why” of losing the weight, showed me “why” I haven’t been successful so far (unsuccessful in losing the weight, not in being happier!).

In order to really reach your goals, or even get your needs met, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Maybe you don’t even want those things you write every year. Maybe. Maybe you have some deeper needs you have been pushing to the side. Maybe it’s time to look yourself in the eye and figure out what you really want as opposed to what you are “supposed” to want. Maybe all you need is an uncommitted $10,000 in the bank as opposed to becoming rich! Again, maybe…

The things in life we are serious about getting, we get! The things we aren’t serious about, we don’t get. Instead of just writing that crazy list, swearing off everything you enjoy in life, take yourself a step deeper and ask yourself, why? It is your one life, right? What is very important to you? Get those things and not to sound cheesy, but those things aren’t always money!

The New Year is a great time to reset your course in life. But don’t reset things that are already working well. Strive for more; do more; be more; love more! Just be sure your more is “your” more!

Your life is what you make it. Why? Because it is your life!

Just some good thoughts…

If You Care About Answered Prayers…


man in praiseI thought long and hard about how to say what I’m about to say. This happens to be a very touchy subject. It’s touchy because people have many beliefs and ideas about prayer and it is not my intention to thwart or set back anyone that prays. Instead, my hope is to answer the question of answered prayers in a way that is simple and easy to fit into your heart. After all, it’s your heart that is the key to answered prayers and unanswered ones also for that matter.

Most folks believe that God is the wild card when it comes to answered prayers. They have concluded that there’s a system involved with God and that it is based on good behavior. If you are good enough, He comes through and if you aren’t, He doesn’t. Others think that God decides in advance what you can and cannot have and unanswered prayers simply means what you wanted/needed/requested just wasn’t in the cards or necessary for you. Understandably, many of you have become quite pissed off at God, though you don’t like to say it out loud. If the aforementioned was true, I would be right by your side in the angry department, believe me!

How many people do you know that needed God’s help; loved God, but somehow didn’t get it? How many wonderful, kind-hearted people do you know that suffered, while praying to God, and never got the result they so earnestly sought? How many? On the surface it’s clear there’s something we don’t quite understand and God wants us to understand! How much must it hurt God’s heart to hear your prayers yet remain unable to help you, despite His own passionate desire to do so? How much?

So you might think, “If God wants to help me and there’s no-one that can stop God from doing something, then why doesn’t He help me?” Well, incredibly there is one thing that can stop Him from helping you and that is you. In order to receive anything from God, you have to believe that He both can and will. Believing means being fully persuaded of God’s promise over and beyond what it looks like in the senses realm. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how good or “bad” you are. Read that again, because that little “mind-eff” has been stopping people from believing to receive from God for thousands of years! The requirement to receive from God or to actually get your prayers answered is to believe Him and have NO doubt. Here’s a simple test. Ask yourself what you think is going to happen concerning the situation you find yourself in and you will have the answer to what you believe. Not what you hope or wish, but what do you actually expect?

Now take heart my friends because what you currently think is not your final answer! Rather it just shows you where you are today and where you need to go tomorrow. The real work of believing is in persuading that little ol’ mind of yours to believe what God said over and above what you think based on what it looks like today. The Bible is laced with this message. Sarah had a child when she was past child-bearing age. Daniel overcame lions. People were raised from the dead, healed of incurable diseases, were born blind but somehow could now see, were lame but now could walk. All of the aforementioned, and that was a tiny sample, did the impossible. It was not possible according to their senses minds, but with God NOTHING is impossible. The key? They believed. You can too!

What God is able to do He is willing to do. It’s never a question of God’s willingness, so get that out of your noggin forever! God requires one thing to answer your prayers and that is believing. Believing in specifics, not generalized believing in Him. You know what you need, so believe for exactly what you need. What if it doesn’t work simply means it won’t work. Believing is full persuasion. God in His perfection and with His perfect justice, will not overstep your freedom of will. He simply cannot do it. In order for God to answer your prayer without your believing, would mean He was overstepping your freedom of will and He just cannot do that. Trust me, I’ve tried that one myself!

All of us humans struggle at times and some of us face very dire and scary situations. The solution is to somehow get your mind off what it looks like and what seems so true and instead take God at His Word for what is really true. You have to persuade yourself. If you can do that you will find that God is right there for you, passionately desiring to take away your pain and misery and restore you whole in every way!

My heart breaks for people who have needs and don’t get those needs met. God has answers for everything that ever plagued you. He is all-knowing and knows what to do to help you, if you can only somehow believe Him.

I care about answered prayers and believe that you do as well. Why even have an Almighty God if nothing can be done when faced with life’s serious problems? Well something can be done and a little bit of believing goes a long, long way. Stop listening to the world and their rationalizations! Stop limiting God by what seems possible and impossible. With God all things are possible!

Man, it’s right there if you want to take it!

Just some true thoughts…

WTF? (Fear)


WTFDid you know that your number one enemy in life is fear? Fear is the killer of all your hopes and dreams. Fear takes away all opportunities for success. Fear steals your happiness and anything else that is important to you. Fear destroys your life! WTF? And, although the number one admonition in the Bible is to “fear not,” fear continues to work its hardship on all of us everyday. Why? Why and how does fear access our minds so easily? Fear gains easy entrée because we don’t see it for what it really is – False Evidence Appearing Real!

Fear and its companions are much more subtle than you may have imagined. In fact, most folks would tell you that they aren’t afraid. But, when they speak of fear, they’re usually referring to its obvious side. The kind they feel when a snarling Pit Bull is running in their direction or what they experience while teetering on the edge of a cliff. Yet fear is involved in many other facets of life. The stress you feel at work is fear. The overwhelm you experience because you have a lot to do is fear. Worrying about not having enough money is fear. Choosing to do things you know you shouldn’t do is fear. Every addiction, everything that holds you captive is fear. Agitation, restlessness and boredom is fear. Chronic indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome…fear. The massive industry of pharmaceuticals comes from fear. Health issues, mental issues, exhaustion, all fear. Fear, fear, fear rules the world.

The peace of mind you so desperately seek is not found in money, or the right job or the perfect partner. It’s found right inside your own head when all the fear is finally gone. Some folks live their whole lives and rarely get to experience it. Maybe you found it during that family vacation or during a particularly happy time in your life. In reality it wasn’t the vacation or the pleasant circumstances, it was found because you momentarily let go of the fear. Fear is epidemic, my friends, and it’s after you everyday! If it’s not a deadly disease, (Ebola) it’s an Earth that’s getting too hot. It’s a struggling economy or the loss of your job. It’s every disease and every sickness. It’s the news and the media and your friends and your family. It literally surrounds you and it’s all a damn lie! A lie that rules the world!

In order for fear to get a foothold in your life it needs a willing host. Fearful suggestions don’t hurt you. But, when you accept those fearful suggestions, that’s when the trouble starts. Fear rules your life because you cooperate with it everyday. Instead of dismissing those fretful ideas you take them on with the false hope that you can figure it all out. Well, you can’t figure it out. They’re an invitation for disaster. They (those fears and their source) are counting on you and your ego to take the bait. How much life have you already wasted on some unreasonable proposition? How many hours have you dedicated to worrying about that job of yours? What if you fail? What if they fire you? What if the business goes under. What if you fail to get a project done on time? What if you aren’t a success? What if don’t have what you need and you are reduced to suffering and shame? What if? Feel free to apply that scenario to every aspect of your life. What if? What if is FEAR!

This is why I can’t understand how people live their lives without God. If I didn’t have a relationship with God, I would be a miserable wreck! This life has just too many scary variables to take them all on with my little ol’ mind. The only way to defeat fear is to learn about God; His omnipotence and His power. There’s nothing God can’t fix and that is the end of all fear. God’s love is the antithesis of fear and the knowledge of God is the only way you’ll understand that fear is always a lie. I took a class in 1982 called, “Power For Abundant Living” and for the first time in my adult life experienced the complete absence of fear…peace. How sweet it is!

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done in the past, God is there for you. With Him you can only succeed and without Him you can only fail. Fear is the most destructive force in the universe and it’s not easy to overcome. You’re not going to beat it with your human logic and rationality and smarts. Fear is spiritual at its roots and requires spiritual insight to defeat. As darkness is simply the absence of light, fear is simply the absence of love, God’s love.

This life is just too precious and way too short to spend your days living in fear, in all of its subtle forms. How much would it be worth to you to finally stop all of your striving and your worrying and your fretting? What price tag can you put on uninterrupted peace? Once the fear is finally gone your life can take off how God originally planned it to do. Without fear you’ll find that everything you have been seeking has really been seeking you. Yet, you don’t find it by pressing harder, you find it by letting go! FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL…

WTF? The only way to rid yourself of WTF is by getting serious about getting rid of fear, once and for all. Talk to God; get to God; find God. God and His Word will expose every form of fear to you and in that marvelous light, everything else that has ever bothered you as well. You owe it to yourself, don’t you think?

Just some good thoughts…

Peace.

Just Who Exactly Do You Think You Are!


who-do-you-think-you-areThat little title says more about your life than any other thing I can think of! Who you think you are is exactly who you are in stunning detail and ultimately determines every success, every failure; your results or lack thereof. If you think of yourself as a victim, you will be victimized on every turn. If you think you are always the one that comes up short, then you will always come up short. If you think the “good life” is reserved for others, then don’t be surprised that your life ain’t so good.

To this point you may have underestimated the result  “what you think of yourself” has on you, but it is perhaps the largest cause for the effects you experience. But, it happens with such subtlety that most folks miss it for a lifetime. Despite what you may have heard, no-one’s life is predetermined or destined. The idea of being born with a certain destiny absolves you of responsibility for your life. And trust me, whether in ignorance or just plain laziness, you are responsible. The Good Lord gave you something that can make your life whatever you wish it to be. That thing is the ability to think and subsequently believe. Believing knows no boundaries and overcomes all difficulty, no matter the severity. But always before believing comes thinking…

Have you ever tried to track down the things you are saying to yourself throughout a day? Once you start actually paying attention, you may be horrified at the result. You are going to hear yourself criticizing yourself. You are going to recognize your own negative expectation. And you will find your internal chatter has something to say about every situation you find yourself in. Most of the time it’s negative. It’s not negative because that’s how life is, it’s negative because that’s how you have become in response to life. The test? You didn’t think that way as a child!

Like anything that breaks from the status quo, at first it’s hard to get a handle on. You may even feel like you are lying to yourself. But in reality, up to this point, that’s all you have been doing – lying to yourself. Things don’t always have to turn out badly. Symptoms and indicators don’t always lead to negative results. What it looks like and what it ‘seems’ like are not the end result. The end result is what you accept as the end result before the end result shows up. (Read that again…) In order to get your unruly mind under control you have to first challenge those offending thoughts. Have you ever had an anxiety attack? Anxiety attacks are result of many unchallenged thoughts, now misplaced and coming back in a generalized form. You have to slow down and pay attention to your thoughts. Just because you thought something doesn’t make it true. Wait, hear that one again with volume. JUST BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT SOMETHING DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE! You see, web as a society have become so trained that we falsely conclude that everything we think is true. (And everything we read for that matter).

Once you have gathered the energy necessary to pay attention to your thoughts, next you must challenge the negatives. You do this by telling yourself, “that’s not true” and then saying what is true. “Well, that doesn’t feel right!” So what! Neither did riding a bike the first time you did it. Once you develop this new habit, you will be successfully modifying your thoughts, which modifies your believing; which leads to the change you desire.

Believe it or not, your mind is neutral. You give things the meanings they have for you. Take, for example, the circumstances you find yourself in. Those circumstances are not your destiny. They are simply an accurate reflection of what you have already been thinking/expecting. Thus your circumstances are no indicator of what you can be, but rather a reflector of what you used to be. As James Allen once said, “Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.”

As someone who has practiced these principles for a very long time, I can tell you that it is not easy to see your life differently than it is today. But to make any real change you must! And the easiest way to do it is by starting today. In fact, start right now. Watch your thoughts and begin the process right now. Thankfully God had so ordered life that we only have to concern ourselves with the present day. So begin today. Deeply reflect on what I’m sharing with you and begin to make the change. Rid your mind of negatives and defeat. Put behind you all of your judgments and condemnations. Lay aside that thinking that drives you bonkers and choose life. Harboring and dwelling on negative ideas doesn’t prepare you for things to some, it only serves to keep open the possibility that those things may come! Deny the possibility!

Just who exactly do you think you are? It should be everything you ever dreamed and hoped it would be. It is YOUR life and you have only one short life my friends, to learn this lesson. Learn it and apply it today!

Just some good thoughts…