Friday, October 10

The sounds of silence…

Have you ever paid attention to what comes out of your mouth? We oftentimes seem to become obsessed with what goes into our mouths, but it seems we seldom care what comes out of them.

Oh, we count calories, watch protein content, monitor cholesterol intakes, and make sure we’ve got plenty of the “good” fats. We plan out and organize and itemize everything that goes into us. We have tests and doctors to tell us all the right things to take in, but who tells us what the good things are that should be coming out?

Well…that’s where we get put into a quandary. There are really SO many people trying to tell you what should be coming out of your mouth, that it’s almost a thunderous noise.

Be polite…mind your manners…don’t swear…no bad language…

That’s a good one. No “bad” language. Tell me, CAN language be bad? Or is it rather the associations that WE attach to it that causes us to experience a “negative” reaction? Language isn’t BAD folks. There are NO bad words. Fuck is just a word. Four letters arranged in a certain order to produce a certain sound. It’s the idea that WE associate with the sound, usually dictated by the circumstances in which the sounds are made, that some people find offensive. Other people consider it an invitation. :-)

So, if I’m not talking about words…what the hell am I talking about then?

Let me show you, instead of tell you.

The next time you are with someone or a group of someones, be quiet. Don’t speak unless you are providing substance to the conversation or speaking a relevant truth…SHUT UP! Don’t provide filler talk. Don’t waste your words either. Be succinct. In fact…try to moderate your tone and volume. Don’t use exaggerated gestures.

Think you can do it?

I’m betting that you can’t. Not very many people can. We seem to LIKE to talk, even if we are talking about and saying nothing.

As my friend likes to say…”You’re wasting my oxygen!”

I think that our words should be used carefully and mostly to uplift, support, and encourage others. All too often we seem to fall into the pattern of complaining, critiquing, and discouraging everyone around us. It’s almost as if WE don’t feel good, so we want EVERYONE else to not feel good with us.

That my friends…is wasting oxygen.

Simple words can cut deeper than any surgeon’s scalpel and can completely destroy the life foundations that we try to build. It only takes a few words to wreak terrible damage to another person.

Very seldom do we seem to realize the damage that we cause with a careless word or hurtful comment. My challenge to you then…watch your words, guard what comes out of your mouth as closely as you guard what goes into your body.

A toast! To silence…

“Speak less…Do more.” – Zen Proverb

Thursday, October 9

Done with mirrors…

Have full is your head? Take some time…like 5 minutes, right now to listen to your own thoughts. What do you hear? If you’re like most people, it’s like listening to the crowd at a stadium. TONS of voices and snippets of thoughts running full steam through your mind. Odds are it’s mostly negative talk too.

If you spend a week, or a day, or even a couple hours, just listening to your self talk, you just might be surprised by what you hear. See, your inner monologue GREATLY affects you. It affects your moods, your emotions, your self esteem, just about everything.

Funny thing is…most people are complete slaves to this, and don’t even know it.

For example…

Let’s say that you’ve got an outside party planned. Everyone is there and everything is set. Then…it rains. Now, if you react like most people do, you’ll be angry, upset, mad that your party is “ruined” and probably even embarrassed that this happened with all your guests there.

My question for you is…are your emotions and feeling justified? Or are they rather a result of the immediate whirlwind of thoughts going through your head?

It’s not like you can blame or be upset with the weather? That’s a little bit out of your control, even on a good day. :-)

The funny thing is, rather than simply accepting reality and what is completely beyond your control, you react and allow your head to dictate your response. You lose perspective on what is important and instead focus on the fact that YOU are not getting what YOU want.

This leads you to a feeling of stress, maybe even depression depending on the situation, and certainly an emotional imbalance that mess with your peace and your soul. So tell me…is that the way you want to live?

I’m hoping that your answer was “Hell no!”

If that is the case, then there are a couple things that you really need to ponder and think about.

This place that we’re living in…is all illusion. It’s not real. Life is built first in your mind as a conglomeration of how you and your mind interpret the things that happen to you. You have spent years building this reality that you live in. And I’m wanting you to tear it all down. :-)

Tell me what you’d think if we were both in the same situation as above and while you got angry and upset, I simply sat in the rain and laughed? Would you be even more upset that I’m able to enjoy myself, even if the rain is “ruining” your party? Guess what…you probably would.

Another thought I want you to consider is simply this. YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS. You are separate from the thoughts that race through your mind. The negative, list making, busy, nonstop thoughts do NOT define who you are, nor are they any sort of representation of you. You are you…when your mind is still and quiet and peaceful.

So, I want you to take this week and just listen to your inner monologue. Get a notebook and keep track of what runs across your mind. You just might be surprised at what you find. And then, next week, work, and it will be work, to get your mind to a still place and keep it there for as long as you can. Let go of every thought that comes and every stray bit of nonsense that tries to take root in your head. Do this, acknowledge the thought or whatever and then let it go on its merry way. If you keep on at this, you will find a peaceful and calm mind that is better able to deal with anything that happens. You will be able to see clearly reality, the REALLY real reality, and respond accordingly in a way that benefits you, instead of simply reacting based on the inner monologue and emotions.

“A peaceful mind leads to a peaceful heart leads to a peaceful life.” – Me

Now, let’s go play in the rain. :-)

Wednesday, October 8

I think I’m alone now…

Current estimates put the world’s population at somewhere around 6.8 Billion. Yup…that’s with a “B” That’s a LOT of people. And yet…there are still SO many people that think they are alone in the world. I would guess at a fair estimate of more than 50% of people, and probably closer to 75%, live with the feeling of being alone.

My goodness…with ALL those people cluttering up the world…these people feel ALONE?

So, if your logic is as amazed as my logic...then why do some people feel alone in a world FULL of people?

Let’s think about it for a moment. When our parents were kids, I will bet you that their parents knew most all their neighbors and probably a few people down the street. They could name off people that they saw each week in church and probably even tell you a bit about what was going on in their lives. They would be able to call to their neighbors by name as they went down the street and wouldn’t miss a beat if one of them asked for a bit of help.

Now YOU tell me…can YOU do that?

If you’re like most people today, then the honest answer is no…you don’t know all your neighbors or anything about their lives. We have each become a little island of isolationism that we guard rather fiercely.

But I think that this problem is about more than just whether or not you seclude yourself from the world. It’s about a deeper feeling of loneliness that truly isolates us from life. Through the experiences that we have and the feelings and thoughts we internalize, we pull away from the world and everyone in it. It’s better and easier to lock yourself in than to risk and hurt and find yourself vulnerable.

One thing that I’ve learned about all people is that we were made to be social creatures. We don’t do well in isolation. That’s why it’s such a punishment in prisons to be put in isolation. We need interaction with other people. Even if it is just a smile and hello from the shop cashier. There’s something inside us that responds to that. In fact…it’s something that our hearts and souls NEED.

We do have a tendency to pull away from the things that hurt us. It’s probably part of that self preservation instinct that helped keep the species alive for so many centuries. However, now, it seems that that instinct doesn’t serve us in the best capacity anymore. It’s now often an impediment to a successful and happy life.

Just in the same way that our fight or flight instinct hasn’t evolved into something that better serves us in this time, our self preservation instinct hasn’t evolved either. It now causes us stress and can become a lead in to depression and isolation.

So how do we deal with this? Well, understanding what’s going on is ALWAYS the first step. Now that we know what’s happening, we can start to deal with it.

So what are YOU going to do to start to fix this?

I think that the best way to deal with feeling lonely and isolated from life and people, is simply to put yourself out and say hi to everyone that you meet. If you see someone at work…anyone…just smile and say hi. 99% of the time, you’ll get a smile and a hi back. Do this everywhere. TALK to people. If you’re in a line somewhere, say hi! Greet the people serving you at a restaurant, at the store, and the gas station…everywhere.

What you’ll find is that there are other people out there, and some of them just might be feeling the same way. You never know…you just might help someone feeling just as lonely as you.

Call up a friend, or family, or pay a visit to your neighbors. You need to understand that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You’ve just pulled yourself away from the people that are around you. And, sadly, there aren’t many people that are going to reach out to you. We’ve all become used to the idea of family isolationism.

This is something that you’re going to have to help yourself deal with. It won’t cost you anything, just a smile and a hi. You might find a great conversation with someone you never knew was around you. I know that I have. Some of the best and most entertaining conversations I’ve had have been standing in line at Wal-Mart. :-)

Get out there and don’t let your fears control you anymore.

As Fox Molder always says…”We are not alone.” :-)

Tuesday, October 7

What it takes…

Let’s say that you decide to try a new hobby…or learn a new skill…or, how about start exercising…now, be honest with me, how long are you going to last? :-)

I will honestly say that I’ve probably given up on more things than I’ve stuck it out on. Why? Oh…I’ve got a great list of excuses right at hand! :-) And I bet you do too.

We live in a world where instant gratification is the name of the game. Where, as my 12 year old son put it, “30 seconds is TOO LONG to cook my food!”

We have instant messaging, text messaging, cell phones, On Demand TV, instant food, readymade snacks, 24 hour convenience, and pizza in 30 minutes or less. We have become a people attempting to move at the speed of light and if you can’t keep up…you get left behind.

What happened to the attitude of working on something until you were the best, no matter how long or how hard? Is that just too difficult to manage now?

I was just reading that the Phelps-fish started swimming and racing at age 7 and by age 10 was setting records. Today, at age 23, he’s the most winning Olympian in history. Think he had commitment to the long road?

I KNOW that everyone has had this experience. You get excited about doing or learning something and when you start, it’s all great and fun. Then, as you get a little bit further into it, you realize that it’s going to actually take work to succeed at this. And right at that moment is your crucial junction.

You either take the blue pill and find the appropriate excuse to just walk away and not try, or you take the red pill and suck it up, motivate yourself in any way you can, and do what it takes to succeed.

Are you a blue pill kinda person or a red pill?

Really…what I’m asking you is do you have the heart and courage to overcome whatever is placed in your way to get something that you want? Are you a fighter or a flee-er?

It seems that MOST people in our world today fall into the category of flee-er. Oh sure, there’s LOTS that we’d love to do or learn or achieve, but as soon as we start to think about it all this negativism comes rushing at us and our brain starts generating the excuses we need to slide by that negativism. It keeps us balanced and safe inside our little comfort zone. We don’t have to risk, we don’t have to fail, or even try.

Does that sound like a GOOD thing to you? Me either.

So, let’s do something fun. Find something that you want to do or learn. Anything. Think about doing it and pay attention to all the self talk and chatter that you start to get. List it all out on a piece of paper (or several if you’re like me). Stop when you’ve got most of it down. Now reread your list and “solve” every one of the items on your list.

No time? Make a schedule and stick to it so that you can MAKE time.
No teachers? Find some help on the Internet or in your local community. SOMEONE is around that can help.
No money? Figure out a way to do what you want with a smaller (or free) price tag. There are LOTS of ways to do this.
Too hard? Slap yourself a couple times…just to get rid of that feeling. :-) It’s only too hard if you LET it be. Remember this is going to be a process and a journey.

Now is YOUR crucial junction time. Are you going to stand up and take the red pill? Or are you going to set this one aside again and choke down that blue pill?

I hope that now, after you’ve taken care of your own excuses and your list of “why this can’t be done” that you’re able to reach out and actually start working for what you want. All you need to do is reach out, and KEEP reaching until you get it!

This is NOT a time for just a little attempt. Take the bull by those horns and hold on until you get what you want. Put some faith in yourself, steel up the ol backbone, and COMMIT to the long haul. The success that you gain will be worth ANYTHING you might have to go through.

By the way…I’m going to learn a new language. I’m thinking Spanish…hey; it’s the second language here in the states…especially Florida. :-) I’ve got my list taken care of and I’m taking the red pill.

Wanna join me? :-)

Monday, October 6

Another grey Monday…

Grey…rainy…cloudy…in short…BLAH! :-)

At least, that’s how it is outside right now. But how often could those very words describe our insides? If you’re like most people…probably very often.

Depression is higher in our time than ever before. Maybe we’re just getting better at seeing it and diagnosing it…but somehow I don’t think that’s it. I think that we live in a time where SO much is available and SO much is expected that our coping skills just can’t handle it. LOL…coping skills??!! I think that the FEW people that actually have them might be better able to handle the deluge, but for most of us…coping skills is an unheard of phrase.

Very few people seem to have adequate coping skills. It doesn’t seem to be something that is taught by anyone anymore. Now it seems that we simply rely on the next new drug to take care of all our emotional problems.

Some people sleep, some eat, some work more, some cry more, some drink, some shoot up…but it seems that no one EVER wants to deal with it. As a species we seem to be great avoiders. We have learned to avoid conflict, arguments, responsibility, bill collectors, our parents, our spouses, and DEFINITELY our problems.

Unfortunately, that only contributes to the problem. We take all those feelings and experiences that we SHOULD deal with, learn from, and let go, and instead, we push them down, sidestep them, and press on waiting for the bucket to become full enough to over flow. Then…we go see our friendly doctor and get a prescription for FUKITOL. Or, we up the dose. :-)

We miss the benefits of going through the hard stuff and dealing with the emotions and the consequences. We deny ourselves the opportunity to grow into a better person. Instead, we lock it all away and actually shrink a little each time.

Don’t get me wrong…there are LOTS of things that seem impossible to deal with. Death, rape, abuse, just to name a few. But we have the wrong impression of ourselves. We believe that there is NO way to get through this, to deal with it, to be normal and healthy again. Guess what…there is NOTHING that you can’t deal with. There is NOTHING that you can’t get through. That’s just the plain truth of it.

Now, it might take finding someone that can help you walk through everything that is a result of your experiences. That’s OK. Sometimes it’s as easy as having someone that will just listen to you talk and knowing that you are accepted by that person, no matter what. I’ve heard that good counseling is 75% listening. That should tell you something.

But the truth is, you don’t need to pay $175/hour to get good therapy. All you really need is a good friend. One that isn’t going to try to fix you, or bombard you with their advise. Someone that will sit with you as the tears fall and support you when you’re crawling right along the bottom. THOSE kinds of friends are rare. I am blessed myself in that I have 3 of them. Sorry for hoarding…but I’ve needed them a lot. :-)

Those kinds of friends help you through whatever it is that’s cloudying up your life and greying up your heart. They can give you comfort as you talk (or in my case babble sometimes) and get out what you’ve held deep inside. Because, I’ve learned, you can’t get through something that you hold onto. You HAVE to be willing to let it go. You HAVE to be willing to move on and go through the hurt in order for your heart and soul to heal.

Oh, you’ll still have the scars. No one makes it through life without any scars. :-) But you’ll be able to look at them, run a finger over them, and smile because you can know that you made it through and are really a better person because of it. I know…because sometimes I take the time to look over my scars. And I know that they help to make me who I am.

Don’t be afraid…sit down and let’s start healing. I’m right here with you.