qa_boredIt’s time for some interesting self-reflection. Are you ready for it? If you answered yes to the question, even secretly, then you are in the right place. If you answered no, that’s cool, but you are reading this for a reason and, it might not be what you think…

I’d guess that most people equate boredom with a lack of activity. You know like, you’ve got nothing to do, so you’re bored. Yet, have you ever been on a beach vacation? Beach vacays are full of nothing to do; serious lounging and maybe a choice, generally smuggled in, beverage. (Why in the hell are beaches and pools alcohol prohibited when 90% of the attendees smuggle it in? – I digress)

Before I wax philosophical on you, I decided to look up “bored” in the dictionary. Yes, it certainly includes a lack of activity or tedious events, but it has a component that deserves further inspection. It closely ties in with feelings of fatigue, weariness and a lack of enthusiasm. Who knew, right? (Well, you knew…)

There’s an interesting phenomenon that’s taking place in your mind, day by day. The phenomenon is called thinking. You are always thinking about stuff, even when you’re meditating because then you are thinking about meditating (smile). Your mind is engaged in almost non-stop chatter, from you to you! No, it’s not the Universal “I AM” communicating with you, that’s called revelation and the topic of another blog. It’s you telling you stuff about what is going on with you right now. Often it’s you instructing you on how you oughta be and chastising you for not being who you said you should be. Weird huh? Frequently it’s you warning you about some potentially pending danger coming your way, usually referred to as worrying. That’s not to mention the incessant analysis and evaluation that besieges you, because, well, you know, you, the adult, knows stuff! There’s the critical you, thinking critical thoughts about others who are not you and even though they are not you and you don’t really know them, you know they are not you and therefore cannot be okay. You, you, you and damn it, it’s exhausting to say the least! Now, go back to that definition…

Some would argue that you feel bored because you’re lacking enthusiasm for life. I would say that you feel bored because you are just plain ol’ worn out. You’ve entertained so much stupid stuff by the end of the day that you’ve got nothing left. Your energy bank is on “E.” Dale Carnegie used to say that hard work doesn’t wear a man out, but fear and worry are what fatigues him. In these frenetic times of media overload and wrestling with well planned and distracting issues (i.e. which bathroom people should use or political absurdities or Caitlyn) our minds are taking a hit. Everywhere you look and everything you read is pregnant with loaded messages, causing that chatter machine to take off. It’s all run, run, run, get it done, work harder, be rich by age 30, get the house, the car, the model, write a book, run. Educate your kids, pay for private school, get them in dance and sports and gymnastics and soccer. Make them the best, the fastest, the strongest, the most socially acceptable. Go, go, go, win, win, win, be the best, excel, dominate! And, while you chase it all, take your blood pressure meds, your anxiety meds, get your fiber, your vitamins, eat less red meat and for God’s sake wear your helmet!  Then, sadly, at the end of the day, fatigue, weariness and exhaustion! Who told you that is life? The messages did via your own thoughts!

Can you imagine how you might feel if you had some battery acid for breakfast, kerosene for lunch and Limeaway for dinner? I’m guessing you would be thinking you needed to eat better. Yet, when it comes to your thoughts and what you are feeding your mind, it goes unnoticed. Takeaway: You have to start noticing!

Boredom might be the polar opposite of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is chock full of energy and excitement. It’s not something based solely on the external environment, but more based on what you choose to think. I’m not talking about that overworked phrase, “be positive” which people usually associate with foolishness such as saying your leg isn’t broken when it is. Enthusiasm’s word origin is “en-theos” and naturally God is involved. But taking it a step further, I’m talking about choosing to think and consider what God says is true versus the deluge of messages you get throughout a day. Whoever said you couldn’t get what you want and need in life? You did, albeit influenced, but alas, still you telling you. Who told you there was no point in __________? You did. Who convinced you that your life was so bad? You did. Who persists in chastising you and criticizing you and shaming you? You do, that’s who. All of the aforementioned stand in absolute contradiction to God’s Word. Did you know that?

The problem with feeling bored about life is that by the time it happens, it has already happened. You got worked over and over and over and your fruit got stale. If you weed-whack the bark of that fruit tree long enough, it’s going to stop putting out! You can tell if this is you if you stopped putting out (doing stuff you dirty minds-smile). When did you give up on the pursuit of your personal happiness? How did your definition of the good life become an electronic illusion you saw in HD?

The solution to boredom is simple, but not quick or easy. You have to take charge of you, namely by making your mind your friend and then making it think what you want it to think. This isn’t delusion. Delusion is spending time thinking how gross Caitlyn is going to look naked in that magazine! (LOL) Instead, this is called controlling your thinking. You can do it if you really want to and indeed you must, if you want to be enthusiastic and happy and blessed. God is never going to take away your boredom, but if you cooperate with Him, He will show you exactly where your thinking went (and goes)south. He will help you learn what is really true, remind you of it and love you back into loving yourself again…

Life is way too precious and way to short to live it bored out of your gourd! Grab and tame that unwieldy beast called your mind and see how quickly that dreaded boredom and lack of energy become a thing of the past! Oh and unplug for a minute, for God’s sake, to catch your breath.

Just some good, good thoughts…

 


13087680_10209327672770705_3701642277193729662_nWell, I completed another trip around the sun and came out relatively unscathed. Along the way, as always, I learned a few things about this game of life. I guess I shouldn’t say “game” as the outcomes can sometimes be disastrous. Maybe I’ll say “contest” because to win you have to compete and be serious about it. However, you can’t get too serious and really that’s what this blog is all about…

If I’ve learned anything this past year it’s that life is all about balance. Finding that balance is the sweet spot you’ve been pursuing. The balance I’m talking about isn’t an equality of events like equal time working and equal time playing. It’s more like seeking to get better while appreciating how far you have come. It’s control but not with too tight a grip. It’s following the rules, questioning the rules and sometimes not following the rules. It has ups and downs; times for striving and times for letting things be. It’s a sweet, delicate balance that you can and should figure out. Figure it out!

Whenever and wherever you are engaged in an activity that falls into the “too much” category, there will always be something behind it. Whether it be pleasurable or fear based, too much of anything always has something behind it that you may not be aware of, yet. Too much work with all of its promised financial reward takes a toll on things of far greater value. Too much fun, too much liquor, too many women (or men) all have a penalty and some pain. Defining what is too much is where the fun (and the contest) begins. It’s not complicated and you already know the answer, but maybe you’ve been avoiding it for some time now. Don’t avoid it!

I learned that if you’ll take the time to ask the questions, you’ll usually get the answer. Our job is never to know all the answers, but rather to take the time to ask the questions. Never fall for the catch-all, cop-out that life is a mystery or life is unfair. Life becomes very clear when you ask the right questions, to the right Source. Life is not so much unfair as unknown and again your job is learn, then know. How much time have you and I wasted wallowing around in the bog, perplexed and confused, killing ourselves trying to figure things out? And usually, if we’re honest, we didn’t find our solutions from endless worry, but generally a short time after we finally let it go. Let stuff go!

Relationships comprise a large, if not the largest, part of our existence. We spend so much effort determining how the other person should be and only a quarter of that time figuring out how we should be. If we’re single we search for the perfect mate yet dismiss our own imperfection. We look for and focus on flaws, shortcomings and differences, never considering that our differences are necessary, and that our flaws and shortcomings require another’s assistance. My insatiable desire for fun is mitigated by my wife’s sense of responsibility and her persistent accountability is offset by my pressure to break out of the norm. It’s balance that endures not the high peaks of total agreement and desire. It’s the friction that smooths the path, where two hearts learn to work together. As my good friend Mark Wallace once said, “Marriage isn’t two lives molding into one life, it’s two separate lives working together as one.”  You’re not supposed to be the other person and they’re not supposed to be you. Remember that and you’ll find the elixir to all of your relationships. Just do you!

I’ve learned how to be good and how not to be so “good.” Good is such a subjective term and is loaded with hidden requirements. It’s not being “bad” to eat chocolate cake, no matter how much you weigh. Nor is it good to exercise until your knees ache. It’s not bad to sleep in nor is it always good to get up early. It’s a balance. Trying to be good to please God is a plan destined to fail. How good can your good be? Does your being good exact such a toll on you that you end up hating yourself and other people? Do your requirements for being good exhaust you? Have you become so good that no-one can stand being around you? Remember when your Mom told you to be a good boy? Did it help you or did it teach you to be deceptive? You see, this whole being “good” thing is like cancer that eats away at you until you die. It’s far more productive to recognize that you’re not always good and just accept it for what it is. A diet doesn’t work because you always do it right, it works when you consistently get yourself back on track. Quit abusing yourself and get back on track!

Traveling around the sun for another year taught me many lessons. But, by far the greatest lesson is in learning to find the balance. Life is all about responsibility and having fun; discipline and letting loose; adhering to the rules and willfully breaking them. It centers on relationships that involve people very different from yourself. Life is a process, a journey and requires that you continue to grow despite the adverse conditions. It’s about figuring out how to love and accept yourself for your good and your bad, no matter how good or bad you are.

I’m looking forward to another rotation around the sun and learning to figure out this thing called ‘getting older…’

Just some good thoughts…

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts…


o-START-WHERE-YOU-ARE-570In a flash of inspiration today it occurred to me that I am where I am. In the world of self-development and positivity, you can get tripped up from time to time. Tripped up because all self-development is a growth process and if you’re going to grow you have to start somewhere. You can smile a lot; say positive things; do your mantras and set your intentions, but you cannot lose track of the reality that today you are where you are.

This may surprise you, but I believe one of the greatest obstacles to your personal growth is in your failure to fully acknowledge who and what you are. You can get so swept away in speaking only of the person you want to be and blow right past the things that give you trouble. You know you have blind spots right? You know there are things that topple your castle with little more than a slight puff of air, right? Well, that’s part of who you are and why make that a bad thing? This where your personal honesty enters the picture. A whole interconnected system of things made you the person that you are and villainizing those sore spots serves only to talk you into not addressing them. Look, you are who you are. That doesn’t mean you are all that you can be, it just means you are at a place and time in your growth and you have to embrace that person before you can morph into a new person. What if instead of hating yourself for your absurdities, you decided they aren’t really the best you, but instead are learning opportunities to help bring out the best you? What if you had the audacity to love all of you, not just the good stuff? Imagine how much easier your life would be if you stopped devoting half your life to being mad at you for being you! Imagine…

My revelation today, amidst a very happy life I might add, is that I’m at a place in life where I know many things but also don’t know many things. It is infinitely easier to admit that I don’t know than to pretend I know; to guess, or analyze myself into oblivion. How much time have I devoted to a pain or a difficulty or a weak spot and have not moved one inch forward toward a solution? That is the clarity and the answer. I don’t have to know and neither do you. For goodness sakes, if you do not know, you do not know. This where my graciously Heavenly Father shows up. He knows and you don’t know. And, if you can stop condemning yourself for a minute and accept what is your reality, you can finally move to a place where change is actually possible. That is true humility, my friends. Humility isn’t just the absence of bragging, it’s acceptance regarding who you are and a willingness to learn something new. It’s the starting line of a race that lasts many years. How silly it would be to start a race in the middle and pretend you had a good start. You have to start somewhere and somewhere is exactly where you are today. What if I’m a bad person? Well, what if you are a good person with some bad parts? What if your bad parts came pre-packaged in your DNA and you had nothing to do with it? What if God knows your DNA and loves you anyway? What if God engineered a plan where your DNA is no longer even a factor?

There’s a tremendous freedom that comes with no longer having to know everything. The true design of life was that you would learn about your God and then He would be responsible to take care of you. That is the life that God envisioned. You were never supposed to be the “be all, end all” of knowledge. Let’s be honest, you couldn’t fix a cut finger by your own efforts. Oh, you could wash the wound and put a band-aid on it, but the real work happens outside of you. All of life works this way. Sure, you have stuff you have to do. Yes, you must work at things and apply your own best efforts! But in the end, someone, somewhere is helping you get where you want to go and He does it whether you believe in Him or not. His heart aches to supply your missing information. He longs to tell you and enlighten you and teach you. He just needs for you to admit you do not know and reach out towards Him, because He does know. He isn’t mad at you because He sees you for who you really are! He looks on your heart; that same heart that is reading this blog; the same heart that knows what I’m telling you is true…

You will be amazed at the transformation your life will take once you finally decide to relieve yourself of the burden of having to already know in exchange for accepting that you don’t know. Deep down you know you don’t know and pretending that you know is exhausting. Acting like you already are something you are not is also exhausting. Conversely, there are many wonderful things you already are, that you also haven’t discovered yet. There is a life waiting for you that encompasses all that you could ever imagine or hope for. You won’t discover it all at once, but that first taste is enough to keep you motivated for a lifetime of discovery!

You are where you are and you are who you are, today but, the promise of tomorrow awaits you! Embrace who you are, the good and the bad, and above all stop trying to know it all. Instead get to know the One who does…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 


above_clouds-780x520When my grandson, ‘Braylon Breeches’ was younger, he would come with the family for a visit. And, being a child at heart, I knew what he liked. I would grab the shovel from the garage and announce, “Hey Breeches, let’s go to the garden and find stuff!” So, we’d head outside to the garden and I would dig down into the dirt. And, what did we find? Well, we weren’t looking for anything in particular, but we both knew what joy would be found in our discoveries. We found rolly pollys, worms, spiders, bulbs, roots you name it. We didn’t find something we were looking for, we found whatever was there…

As I reflect back on our precious grandson-grandpa time together, I can’t help but recognize the lesson we found in the dirt. Life is discovered in discovery. The joy of living isn’t in what you already know, it’s in discovering what you don’t know. Everything God has done has a meaning and a point and a purpose. Absent any meaning, life becomes a drudgery; a perpetual passing of time; a gameshow replayed out over a lifetime. The meaning of life is found in the meaning. And just like my favorite discoverer and I found out, you don’t know what you are going to find until you start looking!

The trouble with adulthood isn’t in getting older, it’s when by habitual repetition, you stop looking for the rolly pollys; when you think you already know what’s out there; when you give up on finding something new. As you sit there immersed in the conundrum of the meaning of life, ask yourself, are you still looking for the answer? If you seek, you’re going to find, but only if you persist in the seeking. Your full-time adult responsibility isn’t just to work at your job, it’s to work at discovering the meaning behind things. The clues are all around you. Don’t let a scientist or a theory or a so-called educated person talk you into surrendering your pursuit. Do not settle for a meaningless existence or accept that you are here at this moment in time via some random expression of nature or evolution. Both of those things are real, but they’re only the surface of the garden. The treasure is down a little deeper.

Life isn’t happenstance or random (sound familiar?). There’s supposed to be a point to it. How sad it must be to be persuaded that there is no greater purpose and that you, through some cosmic magic, are just here to live out 70 or 80 years, acquire as much stuff as you can and then die. How tragic! Life, your life, is a helluva lot more than just the here and now. But, the here and now is important! We’ve all been cast in a drama of epic proportions. The storyline is familiar; good versus evil. We all have an assigned role, but the character in that role is of our own choosing. We’re supposed to be the starring role, but ignorance regarding our greater purpose renders us extras, bumbling about in the background, without any lines! It’s high time that you find out your starring role.

Finding meaning is like finding anything, you have to be willing to look. Stop simply accepting everything that happens to you and start seeking to understand why. Are you winning? Great, why is that? Are you getting your butt kicked? Not so good, but why is it happening? Those simple, unpretentious discoveries are going to lead you to something; something great!

Life often appears to be an unwieldy beast fraught with challenges, oddities and absurdities. Many times there appears to be no sound explanation for why things happen. But, make no mistake, everything happens for a reason and whether that reason is positive or negative, it exists and is not beyond your ability to understand it. Your understanding, however, comes about as a result of a discovery; a discovery you can comprehend if you remain willing to look. I should add that the world will offer you many of the apparent reasons why, but if those reasons break down in logic at any point along the way, they’re probably not true. The truth is a cohesive whole with no holes in it (pun intended😉 ) and the contradiction is a clue that you haven’t found the truth yet. God’s Word, the logos is flawlessly logical, but like any literary masterpiece requires more than a cursory reading. It’s worth your time to understand it.

Discovering the meaning of life is no more complicated than discovering the hidden world beneath the soil. All that’s required is a heart that wants to know and a mind that’s willing to pursue it. I know of no human being living who earnestly asked God for an understanding and never received it. Often the signposts show up, but habit man; I already know man, gives up on his quest in favor of the familiar. Familiarity certainly feels better, but it never finds the gold. The best fruit can only be found by going out on a limb!

Your life is important enough to take the time required to understand. God never intended for you to drift through life, wandering from one seemingly unrelated circumstance to the next. He wants you to know… The question is, do you?

Braylon Breeches is 8 now and has since dropped the “breeches” moniker. I think it’s time for me and him to go on a discovery hike. I know I need it…

Just some good thoughts…

Is Life Random?

April 21, 2016


2000px-Two_red_dice_01.svgImagine, if you will, that your life plays out on a field of pure potential. There’s no predetermined destiny or well-developed course. You came from the factory with complete freedom of will to function within a complex, fully loaded network without limitation. You began with a mind and a heart as a means to tap into that potential and were given the ability to develop your own life as you saw fit.  In the infinite field of potential (called life) you were provided with the choice to soar as high as the heavens or fall as low as the deepest valley. This is how your life started and this is how your life functions to this day. There is no element of randomness involved. Randomness is a deception on a breathtakingly, masterful level. Behind every apparent act of randomness is a carefully crafted plan.

In a world designed by God there can be no element of chance. There is nothing without purpose or meaning. Often the meaning or cause remains hidden and in a futile attempt to understand, man is forced to guess. Man is schooled to evaluate by cause and effect. When he fails to see the connection, as he often does, he foolishly assigns erroneous causes and played out to his exasperation, assigns nebulous causes which are not causes at all. The apparent randomness of life is such a nebulous cause. If you could see life as God sees it, you would be well aware of the complicated, unbroken chain of events that led to both your greatest accomplishments and your most tragic catastrophes. You did not land a good break nor did you run across a patch of bad luck. In the same way that a plant does not just appear, but first began as a seed, so your life and the results thereof began as a seed. And through knowledge or by ignorance, you planted and one day received. This offers you no consolation for the horrible things you may have experienced, but it is the truth, somewhat simplified, of course.

My purpose for attempting to explain this is not to condemn you for any negative events you are presently surviving, but rather to give you back something you have possessed all along. The sooner you stop guessing at the game of life and get back to life’s Designer, the sooner you can change the course of your life and start manifesting the results you really want. God is quite adept at teaching you the truth and seeks only a willing heart. If you were paying attention, you would recognize where He was already at work. Whether it came in the form of an apparently random thought, or a close friend, or a teacher or your own attempt at evaluating what happened to you, God was back there igniting a burning bush to see if you might stop and investigate. No-one is exempted from God’s tender love and guidance if that person really wants to know. No-one…

The notion that life is random serves only to take away reason and purpose and meaning. Without those elements, life becomes pointless. Logically there would be no point in what you think or what you do or what you believe, if life is random. It all becomes a giant exercise in futile existence whereby stuff just happens to you from a perpetual state of “look-out!” Now just observing your surroundings, you know that isn’t true. Nature alone denies that theory and it isn’t anyone’s mother.

There are reasons behind even the most insignificant events. Sometimes those reasons are good and sometimes those reasons are bad, but how you vote determines the election (Dr. VPW). No person can control every aspect of life, nor should he want to, but he controls a helluva lot more than he thinks. He is playing in a field of pure potentiality with the potential to do or go or be whatever he wants. His only limitation is his beliefs and ignorance regarding the reality of things. God said, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” It’s ignorance fostered by a world carefully manipulated to present an apparent order that is not order at all. It’s a training program you have participated in without knowing you were participating. It is the systematizing of error that once accepted leads only to misery and hopelessness. Just think about how many things you hold as true that really aren’t true at all. The doctor said your disease was incurable, but God didn’t. The system says you cannot achieve without the right education, yet many achieve despite it. If you do this, you’ll get that and if you don’t do this you will suffer. All erroneous, all systematized, all put forth as truth to a world starved for goodness and love and success, then resulting only in evil and hate and failure.

This is your opportunity to break out of the myth of randomness and regain control of your life. This is your chance (pun intended) to chart a new course whereby you decide how things are going to turn out. This the reality of the life that God gave you complete with a full catalogue of instruction, if you want it.

Breaking free from bondage and limitation and ignorance isn’t any more complicated than deciding in your heart that you need God to help you. You ain’t smart enough to do this on your own as your own experience exemplifies…

So as I wrap up these good thoughts, I peer into the sky where I see the moon mocking the sun by appearing to rise in the east behind the clouds, draped by the splendor of the mountains and I think, “Thank you God that this wonderful sight isn’t random either…

Just some good thoughts

The Good Life…

April 17, 2016


Good-LifeThere’s something out there that all humans are after. It’s something often talked about but rarely found. It’s the inner heart desire of every person that draws breath. It’s a goal, an experience, a journey and a destination. It is the pursuit of all pursuits, the good life!

If you’ve lived any amount of time, you know there are as many theories on the way to get there as there are people. One man’s good life is a nightmare for another. One woman’s unacceptable is another’s acceptable, and even more, a victory. For some it’s money. For others it’s family. For some it’s solitude and quiet space. For others it’s opportunities for learning. Truth is, you have the privilege to decide your good life yourself. But, there is one consistent thing that underlies all variations of the good life. It is  the most glorious and delicate balance in life. It’s called self-control…

If you’re like me, you tend to bristle up when that “control” word shows up. Nobody likes to be controlled. And, sometimes it’s tough to control yourself, especially when that controls involves the things you love. But, and you cannot find a larger but, self-control is truly the essence of life; the good life. Here’s the paradox, the more control you exercise, the more free you become. Now, before you get besieged with sadness, self control doesn’t mean refusing happiness or good feelings or good things.  Self control is more about enjoying your happiness and producing good feelings and maintaining your good things.

Have you ever had the experience of finally deciding to control some aspect of your life? If you were successful, i.e. lost the weight, stopped a behavior, brought some ‘out of control’ aspect under control, how did you feel when the job was done? Conversely, those areas that are out of control; those aspects of you that drive “you” nuts, the things you do over and over and over again and despise yourself when you do them, how do they leave you? You see, your feelings, though not 100% reliable, are trying to tell you something. They’re telling you that you need to get a grip on you! And, sadly, you know it’s true.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Fun is always fun, but there is a ‘too much’ fun. Wine, the great mood enhancer, has an end point where it changes from a sparkle to a sedative. Tasty food is delightful but the Thanksgiving gorge is over the top. Discomfort is the tell-tale indicator. Bad feelings are the barometer. If you really think it through, there should be no down side to a good thing. But the downside sometimes applies not to the thing itself but the quantity of the thing.

In every realm of life, there’s an expectation of control. Control keeps you healthy. Control protects your finances. Control enhances your experiences. Control makes your highs higher and mitigates your lows. Your life depends upon your willingness to control it. I would surmise that whenever you observe someone who seems to be living the good life, behind that life is some element of control; decisions you maybe never see.

Life is always about staying in balance. Work is good unless you work too much or too little. If you work too much, you allow it to compensate for other areas it was never designed to cover. It becomes a consuming force and begs for remedy. If you work too little, the penalty is found in dissatisfaction and angst. Even a day at work where your focus is not on work but quitting time, makes for the longest day ever. If you’ve ever lost your job, you know that time off is not really time off when your responsibilities aren’t handled. But, how sweet is your vacation when the work preceded it?

Life requires both the things you have to do and the things you get to do. If all you have is things you have to do, you’ll live your life in misery. Likewise, if all you do is things you get to do, you’ll soon be found wanting. A lawn must be mowed before you can enjoy the patio. The bed must be made to make the night’s sleep that much nicer. Food is eaten on clean dishes. Work comes before play and play is made possible by work. The weekend comes at the end of the work week, not before it. The balance is the beauty of it all.

I think you may discover one day that the good life you were after was right there for you all along. But instead of being found in fame and riches, it is found in a thousand little choices; choices you make in defense of yourself. Choices that don’t always feel good, but always feel good if you know what I mean. The ability to sometimes say no, to yourself… The sublime, inherent ability to finally take command of yourself; your elusive self! That, my friends is the sure steadfast definition of the good life – getting and then staying in control of yourself…

You don’t know where to start, you say? Begin the next time you start to do something you really wish you wouldn’t do. Listen to the gentle urging inside you when there’s a decision to be made. Pay attention to that thought back there telling you something you have been trying to ignore. You already know where the control needs to be, you just need to make up your mind to do it. And when you do, notice how that feels and see if you cannot get a glimpse of the good life yourself…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

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