Friday, September 14, 2012

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired!

"God gave us two ends - one to sit on and one to think with. Success depends on which one you use. Heads you win, tails you lose." ~ Unknown Author

Sometimes it takes people to become sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Many people are definitely tired and many people are sick, but most of them have not come to the place of being sick and tired or they just don't see the connection between the two. It seems that sickness has become this idea that it just hits you. Like some invading enemy from out of the blue, sickness invades your body and pow! you are sick. Whether it is cancer or the common cold, most seem convinced or just accept the idea that it just happens. These things are just a part of life and when they happen you just deal with as best you can. We learn to cope with our sickness, both natural and spiritual, rather than overcome and conquer them!

It blows my mind how most people don't see or are blind to the understanding of the simple cliche I was taught in my youth. "Garbage IN, Garbage OUT!" The principle is simple, whatever you put into your body will produce a similar effect. It is the idea there is a cause and then an effect that was created by the cause. Like a rock or a stone thrown upon a pond, its energy is catapulted into many layered effects. The ripples from the stone surge outward in a surrounding radius of waves and depending on the size of the stone will also impact on the size of the effect. Then there is the unseen side of the rock hitting the surface of the pond and what happens under the surface of the pond. The rock hits the surface and we see the surface effects, but what happens after it leaves our sight, is and could be a whole different story. Maybe it hits a fish or some other organism. Maybe it crushes a home of one of the organisms. Maybe the rock or the stone had some micro organism on it that causes the nearby water it hits to be contaminated. The overall effects are unknown, but they will eventually reveal themselves in the harvest somewhere down the road.

To think the average person today eats over processed foods and dead foods and actually expects or doesn't believe they will face repercussions down the road is a tell tale sign of a very manipulated society, or dumb downed as some have termed it. Maybe its just human nature just to be irresponsible. It seems to be a prevalent mindset through out our culture to NOT have or desire to take any responsibility for what happens in one's life. This victim hood mentality has enveloped our society and woven itself into the fabric of the mental make-up of our way of life. It is far easier to blame something outside of yourself for where you are than to have to 'eat crow' and take responsibility for your condition. Whether it be a spiritual issue or a physical one, the blame game shares equal footing for both. Sophocles said, "It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it."

Napoleon Hill said, "If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self." Just because we may choose not be accountable for our actions does not omit the fact that we are not responsible for those actions. Though we may live by the motto, "Out of sight, out of mind", this does not mean we don't reap what we sow! Abraham Lincoln put it this way, "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." Its one thing to be ignorant, its a whole different thing to be 'willingly' ignorant. Denis Waitley said, "A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make." The blame game only works for so long. After awhile finger pointing must be fixed to the real culprit! YOU! "Peak performance begins with your taking complete responsibility for your life and everything that happens to you." (Brian Tracy)

This pervasive trend of playing the victim is easy to 'fall' into and latch onto, especially in a culture seemingly centered around the superficial and lacking the depth of discussion which is truly needed for honest growth. For true growth to take place in our lives, we must be willing to take responsibility for our choices. We have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout that have occurred during our lifetime. "Within each of us lies the power of our consent to health and sickness, to riches and poverty, to freedom and to slavery. It is we who control these, and not another." (Richard Bach) On a daily basis, we give consent by the choices we make. I know it may seem like sickness just appears, but you cannot evade the consequences of eating fast food and junk food plays havoc on the immune system.

But in spite of all this 'eating crow' it must be made known to you, that God allows U-turns. The beauty of coming 'clean' with yourself is this fact...YOU can change. You can turn your ship around and sail to a different port. Only when the finger pointing and blame game stops, can true maturity and growth begin to take place. "The best job goes to the person who can get it done without passing the buck or coming back with excuses." (Napoleon Hill) You may not be able to change the circumstances, the wind, or the seasons, but there is one thing you can change...YOURSELF. Today, you can step up to the plate like never before and take charge of yourself! No more excuses. There are no more if's, and's, or sitting on your butt's about it anymore! Today you are going to hold yourself to a higher standard than the masses. Today, by taking responsibility of your all your decisions, past and present, you are going to refuse playing the victim and begin a determined pursuit toward becoming the victor!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Speed Up to Slow Down!

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew." ~ Saint Francis De Sales

In your patience possess ye your souls. ~ Luke 21:19

We live in an instant gratification world. All of the high tech push button luxuries of this world, though they have helped, they have also seemingly distracted us from our own humanness. We want all the joys, power, money, and luxuries of life, and we want it NOW! We want our health back NOW! We want that job promotion NOW! We want our marriages to be healed NOW! Press a button, flick a switch, pull a trigger and all should be in place and perfectly balanced NOW! The child wants to be a teenager. A teenager wants to be an adult. Impatience moves all us to do things and expect things beyond the moment of our time of life. We want things before their time and our impatience overcomes our prudence to take the appropriate steps and the right decisions.

The scripture says to everything there is a season. We want to run, but it is really the season to walk. Young people are impatient to get married, and in their impatience, they race past the gift of being single only to find themselves not ripe enough to deal with the season of marriage! We eat trash foods, pollute our bodies, and exercise little, then when the moment of sickness hits our body, we want healing NOW! Our inability to wait and endure the temptations of the moment, bring us to a crash and burn later on in life.

Carl Jung said, "Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity." We must learn to play the hand that God has dealt us and to play it with patience. The scripture our patience we would possess our souls! Herein lies a bigger picture of where our impatience may take us. When we lose our patience, we are more apt to lose our souls. The spiritual ramifications of falling prey to our lustful desires and appetites are far more consequential than the things we can perceive with our senses! It is the inner man struggle to keep the right things the main things. The 'spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak' and might I add, very impatient. How many times have we given in to the moment without looking beyond the moment to later regret the decision? One would think, after making a few quick impatient decisions, we would learn a lesson or two and not fall prey to the flash pan protocol of our desires. But, without a doubt, there is a definite contrariness that is innately planted within this human body. The Apostle Paul said it this way..."For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Wow! Sounds like a battle to me, and not just a battle but a war! Most of the time we KNOW what the right thing to do 'is', but it seems as though, another 'force' is always looking for an easier, quicker way toward 'satisfaction'. Then, when we finally give in to this quicker easier way, it is often met with remorse because the action never materializes into the satisfaction that was promised in the moment of decision. Like Esau, who gave up his birth rite to Jacob for a bowl of pottage, his momentary feeling as 'though he were about to die' was traded for all the natural and spiritual blessings only the first born was privy too. Like Esau, we give consent to the 'quick fixes' of life only to not only regret the decision, but realize later in life, the quick fix made matters far worse than if we would have patiently waded beyond the moment of temptation. Though disheartening these lost battles may play upon our hearts, they are just that, momentarily lost battles! We must remember, we may have lost a few battles, but we have not yet lost the war.

If we want true success. If we want to really 'see' and perceive what is truly going on around us, our first step is to SLOW DOWN! We must take the time to examine ourselves and the situations of life that we are confronting. Lao Tzu made this statement, "Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Be still and allow the mud to settle." The rat race gets us so befuddled and caught up in its pace, for us to truly see, we must have the understanding and the power to step back from it all.

Today, I want you to slow down. Take a deep breath and slow down. Step back and examine yourself. LEARN to be patient. LEARN that patience is not only a virtue, but also your friend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hocus Pocus Where's Your Focus?

The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing. ~ German Proverb
How many times have we looked back in life and said within ourselves or aloud...’If I had only paid attention!’ Rather than being caught up in youthful lusts and petty cliques we would have concentrated on the more important getting an education! Oh, the power of being able to focus on the task at hand! If there is one thing we seem to lack in this day of multi-tasking is FOCUS! The ability to remain steadfast on a thought toward a goal seems to be lacking in our culture. In college I remember a professor saying World War III started immediately after WWII. He said it wasn’t the a battle of tanks and guns, but it was a battle for the mind! And when I take a look around, this statement seems to stand true. Look around and its not very difficult to see how scattered we have become. Running to and fro, here and there, and heltered skeltered. Whether we are just trying to make ends meet or keep up the Jones’s down the street, life has become one hectic ‘rat race’. From video games to cell phones, our lives are inundated to something and anything to take our minds off the task at hand! Lately, it seems, if we just get through the day, we count ourselves a success. Our minds have become so scattered and removed from any calmness of focus, to pick up a good book is difficult because our minds are forced to become calm and to a racing mind, calm seems abnormal!

I have heard the first rule of focus is this: “Wherever you are, be there!” Wow! Simple but seemingly difficult to implement in this hectic fast pace multi-tasking day and age we live in. It is difficult for us to concentrate on concentrating. When was the last time you were someplace and you were just there, focused and concentrating on the one task at hand. It seems wherever we are we are not there, but we are somewhere else! Yes, physically we are there, but mentally, we are paying the bills, going over our ‘to do’ list, or worrying about what may never happen. Its no wonder we always feel like ‘we are spinning our wheels’. We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet. We are so caught up in the trivial we have lost sight of the target and it is more than likely the problem lies in the fact that we have lost focus on where we are going and are wanting to go, leaving an overflowing of trivial problems in our lives. Is it possible if we were to re-obtain our focus that many of these problems would no longer hound or hinder us?

Its time we clean off our tables and clear up our minds of mindless fodder and refocus on the true purpose of life. Long ago, you had a sense of purpose and direction in which you were heading. What happened? You used to shoot your arrows at a fixed target, but today you don’t even shoot your arrows, let alone draw back your bow! No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined. Not only is the fool known by the multitude of his words, but the immature mind hops from one thing to another. It is only the mature mind that has the ability to focus and seeks to follow through. I know we have hurts, pains, and discomforts, but how many of those have been caused because we lost our follow through? How much refuge is in our lives now because our attention has been lost while pandering to the inconsequential. To move forward, we must shake ourselves and step out of the ‘rat race’ and back into ‘that place’ where the target is in view! We must not just get our aim right, but once again put forth the energy needed to draw back the bow of purpose, by no longer letting what we can’t do interfere with what you can do! The past is the past. Mistakes and disappointments are building blocks and should be used to refuel our passions and stepping stones into the future.

Haven’t we have learned that if we aim at nothing we are sure to hit nothing! The secret of our strength lies in our ability to concentrate. King David said in the Psalms, “My heart is fixed!” Was it not our Lord Jesus Christ who ‘for the joy that was set before him endured the cross!’ When all others and even his disciples tried to convince Him the cross was NOT where he was going, he rebuked them, and how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.’Anthony Robbins said this, “Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.”

"Only that day dawns, to which we are awake." (Henry David Thoreau) A new day has dawned and there you sit in your swivel desk chair. What are you going to do with this day? Once of the greatest generals of all time, George S Patton said, “No good decision can be made in a swivel chair.” Stand up. Stretch and push that swivel chair aside. Today is a new day! Today is the day of salvation!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Have To Go P (pt one)

 “Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” ~ Barbara Johnson

There are three words we must endeavor to keep and do while we run this race called life. These three words are very similar, yet very different. Different in approach, yet intricately connected, meaning when you do one of these words, you invariably are doing the other two. These three words are PATIENCE, PERSISTENCE, and PERSPIRATION!

Today I want to talk about the first word, patience. Ahhh, yes, that dreaded word we have heard so many times over the years...patience. How many times have you heard in your life time, ‘Patience is a virtue’? “Just hang on!”  “Be Patient!” or better yet, "All good things come to those who wait!" In our instant gratification push button happy society, this dreaded eight letter word is almost hated as much as the four letter word, w-o-r-k but that’s another blog for a another day. The scripture tells us that in our patience we will possess our souls. As a noun patience means “good-natured tolerance of delay or incompetence “ and as a adjective the word patient means “enduring without protest or complaint”. Either way, when we are patient, we are waiting and in this culture, if we are waiting or have to wait, well, that’s when we become impatient. The words ‘no’ or ‘wait’ in this time and age are almost fighting words. We want what we want, and we want it NOW. No wonder the newest label over this generation is called ‘the entitlement generation’. Fresh out of college, many young men and women expect to be granted all the rewards and bounty a hard working lifelong employee has earned after twenty-five years of working. It seems the more life loses its spiritual meaning and focus, the more hasty people become in capturing the most material possessions in their lifetime. It’s a race to fulfill the cliche, ‘the one with the most toys in the end, wins’.

This word patience is so contrary to our nature. We hear the word spoken, and we cringe when we hear it. We wince at the sound of the word because somewhere along the way we have learned to believe to be patient means to suffer. The word patience is almost synonymous with the word, ‘NO’. Yet, this is so very far from the truth.  Saint Augustine said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom.” How many times in our lifetime have we suffered because we moved too fast? How many times, after a hastily made decision, have we said to ourselves, ‘If only I had taken my time before I made the decision?’ How many times has our impatience engulfed our perceptions and made it impossible to ‘see’ beyond the moment? Questions like these can be asked over and over, because all of us have, from time to time, suffered from being impatient and making ‘dumb decisions’. And why were they dumb? Because we didn’t wait. We didn’t want to endure the pain of having to wait. Then, in the end, if we would have patiently waited before jumping into the situation, we would not be in ‘the shape’ we are in. Many times I have witnessed this with those endeavor to try to ‘get back in shape’. Rather than patiently step into an exercise program, they hastily jump into the foray with all the vigor of an eighteen year old. After having made up their minds to ‘do this’, they zealously lace up their shoes and go out for a ten mile run. This excitement pushes them past any wisdom that might come if they would just slow down, and hurls them into the usual ‘crash and burn’ cycle of impatience. Their new founded exuberance comes crashing down the next day when their feet hit the floor as the wisdom of their bodies tells their impatient minds of what a foolish choice they had made.

When one reads the scriptures, there is another word that is always coupled with patience and that word is FAITH.   “Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things - with resignations, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope.”  Corazon Aquino  We must see that being patient is not suffering at all, but it is IN these moments of patience we are able to gain the necessary understanding one must gain to make a right decision.  Benjamin Franklin said it this way, “He that can have patience can have what he will”. Many of us don’t have today what we truly had wanted yesterday because our impatience blinded us from seeing the bigger picture. There is wisdom in patience. As a marathon runner, when I commit to train for a marathon, I have learned to follow a training plan. Usually these plans range from sixteen to twenty week periods that outline a daily course of action. The training plan is designed to incrementally build my body up to endure the hardness of a full twenty-six mile run. The wisdom is IN the training plan. Why are there no long runs at the beginning of the plan? Because, wisdom says my body is not ready to endure such an undertaking. I have to trust the plan to this and this takes patience. After nine marathons, and one fifty mile ultra marathon, I have learned...if...IF...I trust the inherent wisdom of the plan, I will achieve the results I truly desire to achieve. But if I get restless, hasty, and impatient, well, to put it rather bluntly, I will fail.

Saint Francis De Sales said, “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew.” Today is a day to step back and take a good look at your life. Take a deep breath. Be honest. Scrutinize yourself and where you are right now. Why have things gone astray? Where is your happiness? Where are your dreams? Have you become hasty and stepped out of your life’s training plan? Has the rat race got you running on the wheel of impatience? Today is a new day...a new dawn. Its time to step out of the pace that the rat race has set, and run this race with the patience of your own know the pace...the pace you were meant to run so that you may obtain!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Seed For Thought

Our intentions -- noticed or unnoticed, gross or subtle -- contribute either to our suffering or to our happiness. Intentions are sometimes called seeds. The garden you grow depends on the seeds you plant and water. Long after a deed is done, the trace or momentum of the intention behind it remains as a seed, conditioning our future happiness or unhappiness. --Gil Fronsdal

There is no doubt I have written about this before and there is no doubt that I will write about it again. We are who we are and where we are because of our choices. Well, in reality, it goes far deeper than our choices because our choices were predetermined by our thoughts and the way we think. As the saying goes...”Watch your thoughts, they become your words; Watch your words, they become your actions; Watch your actions, they become your habits; Watch your habits, they become your character; and your character becomes your destiny.” Like a river flowing through uncharted wilderness, our character takes its shape by the choices we make, but those choices all started with a thought. In the end, we are not what others think we are, and we are not what we think we are, but we are what we think and what we think, like a stone hitting the waters of a lake, will have a ripple effect upon the outcome of our lives.

James Allen said, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” I have witnessed many people (especially youth) who grow up angry. Angry at their parents. Angry at their circumstances. Angry at God. This unchecked anger begins to permeate their every thought. When they speak, they speak within the framework of this anger, and soon their actions are mirroring this deep seated resentment. As time passes, this unbridled anger now consumes their every move, and since anger never bodes well, their destiny is not a good one. Sadly, with a lack of honesty and non-confrontation of self, this anger is cloaked within a cocoon of self-justifications. But no matter how much the anger is covered up, its there and the harvest will and does come. Like rearranging chairs on the Titanic, you may get a better view, but the ship is still going down.

So then, if our thoughts, whether they be anger, hurts, pains, and resentment, have brought us to where we are today, then is it possible to change our tomorrow? To this, I give an emphatic, YES! Napoleon Hill said, “Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true.” Many an author and poet have said, ‘Change your thoughts, and you change your world!’ But to do this takes courage. Courage to be something that few truly want to or can be. It takes a sincere honest look at oneself. To honestly examine one’s heart is probably the most difficult thing a man or a woman can do. This is why I love the Word of God, because it gives me the truth without the excuses I usually am apt to give when I try to examine myself by myself. Truly, if we are honest, there is no way we can give an unbiased assessment of who we are. We have to have something outside of ourselves to help us break up the monotony of what’s going on within us. Family, friends, and other humans can only go so far, because they too are full of their own feelings and biases. But the Word of God, well, I will let it speak for itself. Hebrews 4:12 - “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” In this day and age of smoke and mirrors, I am in need of the TRUTH.

There is ONE principle we need to understand as we move to change the way we think. We live in a very push button, instant gratification world. A world where technology has actually stolen the victory that comes with true and honest work. Unbeknownst to us, many of us live within the Burger King mind set...we want it our way, and we want it NOW! But I want to remind you of the farmer who has plowed his field, and planted the new seed. He doesn’t go out the next day and expect the harvest. Before a harvest can ever be celebrated, the farmer understands the seasons and he works evermore diligently to protect the newly planted seeds from the fowls of the air, beast of the field, and the myriad of weather changes that may take place. So today, as you begin to examine your heart and meditate on the idea of a fresh start. Remember this new harvest will not occur over night. It will take honest work to break up the fallow ground, plant new thoughts, and then protect them long enough to produce the kind of harvest you have always wanted in your life. Yes, its work...its hard work...BUT anything that is worth anything in this life has always come with hard work!

Friday, March 9, 2012

What City Do You Live In?

“Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you… yet, someone survived… You can do anything you choose to do.” –Maya Angelou

Nowadays, especially in these perilous times, it seems like everyone has a story. Somewhere along the pathway of life, everyone has been hurt or traumatized by a painful situation. From living in a dysfunctional family to suffering some humiliating event, many people remain cemented in fear. The scripture speaks of how difficult it is to deal with a ‘wounded’ spirit. If our hurts are not properly dealt with, these mental images become the building blocks of perceiving the world. These thoughts, left to themselves, become an almost impenetrable walled city of self-absorption. And the city’s forecast is always one of doom and gloom. It is a place where nothing seems to be able to change the ‘reality’ of this urban city of dread and fear. No words are strong enough. No deed is positive enough to offset the inner turmoil of a mind in constant defense of itself.

This is not being written to make light of these ‘issues of life’ nor to poke fun, but one of the greatest deterrents to victory is our quick descent into claiming victim hood when confronted to move out of our city of comfort. I say descend because claiming victim hood is the easiest way to never commit to anything that promotes any type of growth. Usually, when one is confronted to ‘shake themselves’, like some volcanic explosion,  an immediate and  innumerable amount of reasons begin to spew out of our mouths. Using the most amazingly connived reasons, we move to justify ourselves by using our hurts and pains, which allows us to stay stagnant behind the 'safety' of our wall. Claiming the role of the victim is the expressway to 'safety' in our walled city of little hope. Over our lifetime, any life outside the walls, has proven over and over again to be a wild and exotic land of violence and evil.

Yet, in the midst of this atmosphere of seclusion, there truly is a world of beauty to behold, if only we can rise up high enough above the walls of our pained perception. I like how C. JoyBell C. said it, “Pain is a pesky part of being human, I've learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can't be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.” For me, after living fifty years on this planet, I have learned that pain is just a part of our humanity and it seems improbable to know and understand the power and depth of living without such pain. We can live a life trying to avoid the hurts and pains that naturally come with life or we can accept the richness that it brings to our lives. Truly the strength of character shows up in the ability to overcome resentment against others, to feel the hurt feelings, and at the same time to quickly forgive.

Mahatma Gandhi made a powerful statement, “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” If we are going to live, we must remember what Ghandhi said. Not that nothing in life hurts, but we don’t have to allow the hurt to become the reality of our lives. We give the other person a license to hurt us for only as long as we say so. We must remember that we have a choice. We can choose to remain hurt or we can choose to move to a new city. “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn And only you can make that change. Think about it. You are one decision away from becoming a different person with a fresh view of the world!!! You are not finished and you are not dead! “Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.” -Richard Bach So if we are alive, then why don't we make the most of the moment of living?

Today, if you will CHOOSE, I want you as though no one is watching you. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though heaven is on earth. And remember...

“People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be
shot down by the smallest person with the smallest mind.
Think big anyway.
What you spend years building may
be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack if you help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have
and you might get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got anyway.”
       - Anonymous

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Beautiful Life

May the sun bring you new energies by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away any worries you may have. May gentle breezes refresh your soul and all the days of your life, may you walk gently through the world and know its beauty. ~ Unknown

Confucius said that ‘Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.’ To capture the ‘reality’ of his statement may be difficult for us. The questions immediately begin to spring up from within and pour forth out of our minds of how anything can be beautiful when all THIS is happening to me? The lists of ‘bad’ things... from financial distress to sickness racking the body pumps diligently out of our hearts. The ‘pain’ of life seems to be enduring and blots out the reality of any beauty to behold around us. It just seems in this day and age our brains are being constantly bombarded with bad news. The negative surrounds us in an all encompassing act of blanketing the beauty of life. Bad news and the ugly represses the beauty of life and living, and pushes it into some dark corridor of our hearts. As though the only time we had to enjoy beauty was some long lost day of our youth. When we could roll in the grass, dash through a spring meadow, or lay on the ground in wonderment of a midnight starlit sky of a billion stars. No, we say to ourselves, those days are gone and are cloaked beneath a label of ‘in the past’. Beauty then, is categorized and placed on the shelf of a our past and relegated to as something being below our mature minds of adulthood.

Yet, deep inside each and every one of us, there resonates this inner fight to return. Oh! To be young again and to feel the cool grass crunch beneath our feet or grab a seeding dandelion and blow the white fluffy parachutes into to the wind and watch their loops and sways as they travel in a warm summer time breeze. We yearn for a moment of beauty and yet when the moment comes... when we are confronted with beauty, our minds either ignore it or we are thrown into some cognitive conflict. Like the man in the scripture who could not be tamed. Who, when he saw the Lord in the distance, all at once fell down in worship and yet tried to repulse him with his words, ‘What have I to do with thee?’ Caught in the crossfire of his torments, on the one hand he worshiped the Lord, but in his next breath, he tried to push him away. Is this not a picture of the modern day us? We look out and ‘see’ something of beauty and yet we quickly remove the thought of it as though it has no redeeming value. Just like the man of the Gadarenes, out of the tombs of our present day mind set, comes the cry, “I don’t like it. It’s too beautiful!’

The renown art historian, Herbert Reed, reminds us, “It is not so often observed that the same forces that have destroyed the mystery of holiness have destroyed the mystery of beauty.” So many of us, if not most of us, if not all of us... are so busy, we think we do not have time to appreciate beauty. Like the sun hiding behind the clouds, we know the warmth of beauty is out there somewhere, but we push if off as though the warmth is not for us but is reserved for ‘another day’ or for someone else who has the time to stop and ‘smell the roses’. To take time to enjoy beauty is tantamount to committing death by robbing oneself the pleasure of a moment. How often in our time-constricted schedules and burned out spirits, do we pass unknowingly by a lovely flower, fail to hear the symphony of the roaring tide, stop and smell the fragrance of a cool spring breeze, or even forget to see the glory of God in our own humanness? The list of not just seeing the beauty of life around us but perceiving that beauty is even there could probably go on and on. The point here, is not to degrade or tear down, but to once again gently shake that lust for life that each of us have within us. To remind us that many of the fetters and chains that seemingly have us bound are of our own doing. We are either handcuffing ourselves or allowing someone else to handcuff us into a jail cell of their own creation.

Often time the Lord would leave the ‘rat race’ of the multitudes and visit the garden of Gethsemane with His disciples. Leaving the hectic pace of ‘modern’ life, the Lord was moved to a place of beauty. Yes, we know he went there to pray, but is it possible He went there to remind Himself of ‘life’s beauty’. I find it interesting the Lord did not confront the pains of his inner turmoil in the market place, the financial district, or in a theater. It was here in the garden of Gethsemane where He really met himself and it was there where He came to face to face with the truth.

You know you want too... you know you want to touch it again. You know you want to smell it again. You know you want to be refreshed by it again. You know you want to hug it again. So today, I want you to stop and find a garden of Gethsemane, and breathe a breath of beauty and maybe, just maybe, you may find the answer you have been seeking as you unlock the beauty of your day.