Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Healthy Hope

"Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded." ~ Goethe

Many of us believe because the head and the body are separated by the neck that these two things... mind and body... are somehow separate in how they function. The body has its own chores while the mind spends the day on its own daily dealings. Yet there is no separation. “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (World Health Organization) The mind and body must work together in order to bring harmony and peace of mind. When the mind is sick, the body will manifest this emotional distress somewhere in its physical attributes and when the body is sick, the mind is unable to complete its many tasks with any amount of clearness. All of us know this true and have felt this imbalance in one way or another. When pain commands the body, the mind responds. When the mind is emotionally charged, the body responds. Cicero said it this way, “In a disordered mind, as in a disordered body, soundness of health is impossible.”

Sadly, like many things in this modern age, everything seems to be upside down. As Charles Caleb Colton said, "Money is the most envied, but the least enjoyed. Health is the most enjoyed, but the least envied." Many of us have gotten so caught up in the ‘rat race’, that we have lost a once very valuable pole position; OUR HEALTH. Why is it that our health only seems more valuable AFTER we begin to lose it?  There is a saying that goes as follows: We lose our health while chasing after wealth and then we lose our wealth after chasing after our health. Today, many of us are battling sickness in our bodies. It impacts every aspect our lives. Our ability to think properly is curtailed and it leaves us with a spirit to do, but lame in our physical attempts to step toward healing. The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is too weak to step up to do anything about it. “The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results." (Anthony Robbins)  Over the years, I have had people come to me and say, 'They are sick and tired of being sick and tired' and I return a smile and say...GOOD! You may say, that is a mean response, but to me, I am happy to hear they are tired of being sick, because what they are actually saying is they are tired of coping with sickness in their body and now ready to do something about it! So many times we 'learn' how to cope with sickness in our bodies. We learn how to bear with the pain or cover it up with some kind of drug, but in the end, the harvest comes and the fruit of coping always brings a pay day.

"He who has health, has hope. And he, who has hope, has everything." (Arabian Proverb) If you are in this place of imbalance today, I want to offer you some hope. YOU do not have to cope with sickness of mind or body! Everyone of us has one hundred trillion LIVING cells in our bodies. Each cell goes through a process of dying off and then be renewed in newness of life. Every three months you have a new blood stream. Every eleven months you have brand new organs. Within a year you have new bone cells and new bones. Basically, within a year to a year and a half, all of us have a brand new body. The miracle lies within this fact of renewal. IF you change what you feed your body, your body will respond in renewal and life. Continue to feed your body dead processed foods, life will slowly fade from your body. But feed your body with the vital energy that is contained within living foods, then life will come back into balance. Obviously the cliche fits... Garbage IN... Garbage OUT! Good things IN, then Good things will come out! It is the same with the mind. If you are mentally zapped and emotionally charged, maybe you need to change what you 'eat' with your eyes! “The body is like a piano, and happiness is like music. It is needful to have the instrument in good order.” ~  Henry Ward Beecher You must change what you consume with your senses. If all you do is consume violence, murders, adultery, and hate over the established airways, then the mind suffers. But if you change your environment from hate to life, how much more would you feel a 'peace of mind'?

No matter how we try to get around this fact or ignore it, the mind and body work hand in hand. Today, we must stop making excuses concerning our health. There is a Spanish Proverb that says, “A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” Only YOU can take charge and take care of your own mind and body. Yes, it will take effort. Yes, it will be mentally and physically challenging, but are you not worth it? As you move to take care of your body, let’s try to remember one thing...neither I, nor your neighbor lives there...YOU DO!

Monday, March 25, 2013

No More Caving In

"Accountability breeds response-ability." ~ Stephen R. Covey

There is one thing for certain concerning the traits and characteristics of our human nature...we do NOT want nor desire any accountability! We are proud, haughty, and are quick to repel any authority over our lives. Yet, if the truth be known, it is only in becoming accountable to one another, do we really gain the necessary means for true freedom. We live within this earthy vessel called the human body. Trapped by its passions, feelings, hurts, pains, fears, hopes and dreams and many times, the only way to see outside this box is to have someone outside the box to point out things we cannot see! Elbert Hubbard said, "Responsibility is the price of freedom." It is the alcoholic, when he finally takes responsibility and says, "I am an alcoholic", does he then gain a measure of freedom. When he makes this statement, he can no longer fix the blame on someone or something else. He says, "I made the choices. I am the one who is to blame for where I am right now in life!" Then and only then can a person begin to be loosened from the chains that have fettered him during his life. Freedom, true freedom, can now be had because this person, rather than finding excuses, can now begin to look within himself and change those things which caused the wrong choices in the first place. "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." (Denis Waitley) All of us must become accountable in order to become free!

When any such discussion takes place concerning becoming more responsible, we are quickly moved by a knee jerk reaction called pride. In our pride and the illusion of our feelings we refuse to admit there is or can be anything wrong with us. Many of us feel we have had a right to feel the way we do! We have been hurt by our dysfunctional homes. We have been slighted by society! We have been abused by a deranged parent. We have a right to live in a self pity party of victim hood and retaliation. And as the years flow by these feelings entrap us behind prison walls of shame. Our life becomes cocooned into a hermit life of predictable patterns of living. We eat, drink, and live our hurts and pains until we end up on societies statistical pile of 'should have, would have, and could have'. Erica Jong said, "Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame." If we really take a moment to stop and think about it, real progress in our lives truly happened when we were made accountable for our actions. From our parents who corrected us to our teachers who taught us, truth growth was obtained through their observation. "A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with - a man is what he makes of himself." (Alexander Graham Bell) You cannot 'make yourself' anything until you see yourself in all your faults, idiosyncrasies, and misconceptions. There has to be SOMEONE outside the box of this flesh that can open our eyes to a better reality than what our feelings are exposing us too.

Those who have ears to hear, and eyes to see will be sparked to accept accountability for their actions. It is here and only here, can the fetters of darkness fall off and the prison doors break open to a new light of day. Josiah Gilbert Holland said, "Responsibility walks hand in hand with capacity and power." Once responsibility is taken, then you can tap into your true potential and God given power! Sure you will still have to deal with the harvest of bad choices, but from that moment on, the course of your life is set anew. How? You say? Let me put it this way. It is a saying I have told my students throughout my years of teaching. 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! So where did your destiny begin. Yes...it began with a thought. You are here, in this place today, because of the thoughts you have allowed to nest in your heart and mind. The harvest of the self pity party blame game has come to past and only YOU can change the harvest by changing the 'seed' thoughts of your life! "Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, "Here is an opportunity for me to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary." (Tony Robbins)

I am reminded of an allegory Socrates wrote many years ago about a man who had lived in the darkness of a cave. In this story, Socrates is talking to a young follower of his named Glaucon, and is telling him this fable to illustrate what it's like to be a philosopher -- a lover of wisdom: Most people, including ourselves, live in a world of relative ignorance. We are even comfortable with that ignorance, because it is all we know. When we first start facing truth, (like coming out of the cave of complete darkness the intensity of the light will hurt our eyes), the process may be frightening, and many people run back to their old lives. But if you continue to seek truth, you will eventually be able to handle it better. In fact, you want more! It's true that many people around you now may think you are weird or even a danger to society, but you don't care. Once you've tasted the truth, you won't ever want to go back to being ignorant!

Today, do not run back into your cave of darkness, but remain accountable long enough to get a taste of the truth and you will never return!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Power of Our Thoughts

"You are searching for the magic key that will unlock the door to the source of power; and yet you have the key in your own hands, and you may use it the moment you learn to control your thoughts." ~ Napoleon Hill

Among the tens of thousands of apples grown each year, some of them contain worms. Most producers of apples do their best to try and keep this from happening, it happens none the less. Yet, many people think the worm works his way in from the outside, but it has been discovered the worm does not work its way from the outside in but comes from the inside and works its way out! When the apple blossom is on the tree, an insect comes along and lays an egg in it. Sometime later the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then begins to eat his way out. And so it is with us, most of our problems start within us. As we live, learn, and experience life around us, we ‘create’ our world with the ‘way we think’. If we happened to grow up in a negative world of low self esteem, pain, and rejection (which is more likely than not), then we will ‘think’ in the same manner. Remember, we are not what we think we are, we are what we think. Like the worm in the apple, the thoughts we think work their way from the inside to the outside.

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. I have often quoted this saying to my students and I know I have quoted this same saying on these daily writings, but I cannot emphasize enough the power of our thoughts. James Allen said, "You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you."  The process of life begins with our quality of our thoughts. EVERYTHING begins with a thought! Victory or defeat begins with a thought! Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny. Sidney Madwed said it this way..."If constructive thoughts are planted positive outcomes will be the result. Plant the seeds of failure and failure will follow." So if we are trying to bring forth a new harvest then we must first begin with the seeds or the thoughts with which we are planting in the field. Simply put, if we change the seed (thoughts / the way we think) then you will change the harvest.

"The environment you fashion out of your thoughts, your beliefs, your ideals, your philosophy is the only climate you will ever live in. The key is in not spending time, but in investing it." (Stephen R. Covey) How many times have we allowed a seed to penetrate our hearts, only later to show up in the fruit of our labor? The 'worms' of hatred, malice, envy, jealousy, fear, laziness, and self doubt are just a few of the germinated seeds of the appetites and desires of our hearts. Sidney Madwed said it like this..."Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives." You see, we truly can't get away or run away from ourselves. For at the crux of everything that is good or bad in our lives, lies the fact that long ago, there was a seed planted in our hearts. Yes, we can blame others and our circumstances, but WE were the ones who have given permission for the seed to continue to grow in our ground long enough to take root. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we accepted the thought and allowed it to nest and set up a home in our hearts. Whether it was a hurt manifested from the outside by our 'dysfunctional families' or a lusts from within...WE must take responsibility for its origin. Marcus Antonius said, "Such as are thy habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of thy soul-for the soul is dyed by the thoughts. Dye it then, with a continuous series of such thoughts as these-that where a man can live, there if he will, he can also live well."

I am a personal believer in many of the elements of 'the law of attraction'. The cliches, 'Birds of a feather flock together' holds itself true in many ways. People who are alike, go to the same places and do the same things. Why is a person who constantly discouraged and depressed always in fellowship with the same kind of people? Because happy encouraging people will not pat them on a back and have a self-pity party with them, so they are moved to the person that will give them an ear! There is no doubt the law of attraction attracts us to everything we need, according to the nature of our thought life. All that we are...our environment and financial condition are the perfect reflection of our habitual thinking. To this extent, the power of our thoughts rules the world. Norman Vincent Peale said, "The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results."

Today, as you continue to replant your field, I want you to picture yourself as one that thrashes seed grain. A thrasher of grain throws the stalks and grain up into the air, the chaff is blown away, but the good seed falls back down onto the floor. I want you to take a closer look at the seed thoughts you are allowing to lay on the fertile ground of your mind. Scrutinize your thoughts closer than you have ever examined them before. Remember...your mind is the threshing floor. The unusable seeds should be discarded with the wind, and ONLY the good seed thoughts should be allowed to fall back down unto YOUR floor!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Face of Physiognomy

Physiognomy (from the Gk. "physis" meaning 'nature' and "gnomon" meaning 'judge' or 'interpreter') is the assessment of a person's character or personality from their outer appearance, especially the face. The term physiognomy can also refer to the general appearance of a person, object or terrain, without reference to its implied characteristics.

Wow! You should SEE some of the looks I get while I am out running the roads. One would think the people driving by saw an alien from Mars. Cigarette burning in one hand, coffee or cell phone in another, (doughnut or doughnuts on the seat), and one knee being used to keep the vehicle straight, they zip past me during the early morning hours. Many look at me with a dis-contorted face. They either have a bad case of gas from the eggs, bacon, and their morning cups of coffee, or they can't seem to fathom why someone would be, of all things, running so early in the morning. As much as I try not to lunge into some evil surmising about the facial pictures that fly by me each morning, it is difficult at times not to break out in laughter. While running I can't help but postulate the irony of it all. Most drivers are stressed out, racing to and fro to their work place or trying to get their kids to school on time. Frantically milling along the hectic pace of life as they consume a barrage of garbage food which paradoxically continues their declining health and stress of life!

All of us have heard the saying..."Never judge a book by its cover", but it just seems to be human nature or at least one of the most used traits of how we think. As much as I am endeared to 'judge' what I see whip past me at fifty-five miles per hour, many drivers also seem to be engaged in their own predisposed surmising of me. But there is, I am probably very safe to assume, there is a very big difference! The inescapable difference is this...I have been where the drivers are and its highly unlikely the drivers zipping past me have ever been where I am. Let's face it, most people don't exercise, let alone get up early for a morning run. The majority of people are content to remain in their learned habit of stuffing highly toxic foods down their throats first thing in the morning and then dash off into the sunrise for a stressful day on a job they hate, with a boss they despise.

While these drivers are urgently zipping to and fro each morning, its no wonder they seem shocked to see someone running so early in the morning. The many facial physiognomies I have had opportunity to witness is usually full of disbelief or, in some cases, even contempt. Most facial witnesses are filled with disbelief. You can see on their faces how they can't even imagine what its like to be running, you know, like outside of their climate controlled atmosphere of their easy rolling vehicle. Consumed by their path of least resistance lifestyle of no exercise, their morning hobble to get into their car was strenuous enough, let alone run along the shoulder of a road.

Over the years I have learned to remain very aware of my surroundings while running, especially if I am running along the shoulder of a road. Most drivers, while driving, are far too consumed with what’s going on in their car than with what is going on outside their car. Whether they are playing with radio, talking on the phone, texting, eating their breakfast, lighting a smoke, or just plain rushing to get their child to school, most drivers do not have me, a runner, in their early morning radar. When I see a vehicle, up the road, heading toward me, I have learned to watch what transpires. Sometimes, the vehicle ahead will begin to veer over, which to me, means the driver has identified something is in the road up ahead. As a runner, I am relieved to 'see' this movement to give me room to run. Though I still move to the shoulder of the road, I am relieved, because it tells me the driver is 'aware' of his surroundings. Sadly though, most of the time, drivers seem content to play 'king of the road' and show little acknowledgment of my movement in their direction. When this happens, I never take my eyes off the advancing torpedo and move as far off the road as possible. I have to admit, there have been times where a vehicle's closeness to my body has caused some disconcerting emotions. When this happens, I am sure to spin and make sure the driver sees my frustration in their rear view mirror, that is, if they were even aware enough to look into it!

I guess physiognomy is a two way street! As much as I am able to observe the looks of humans in the metal container that whizzes past me in the early morning, they also get a snapshot of interesting material for their morning mental outlook. There are times when my facial expressions are not necessarily matching what I am truly experiencing. Case in point, one morning a friend of mine was zipping by in his motor vehicle and saw me on one of my morning runs. Usually, a quick horn blast will announce that someone who knows me just zipped by and I try to give a quick wave of acknowledgment. Such is what happened on this particular day, and I remember waving and feeling pretty good on a ten mile run that I was on. Later on during the day, my friend walked up to me, laughing about how bad I looked in my struggle to run. I was somewhat dismayed at his assessment of what he saw and how I felt. As he drove by, he saw a runner struggling, but while I was running as he drove by, I felt very good in my run. So, the point being made here is this...as much as I am able to 'judge' what I see blast by me in a car is a two way street. At that critical moment, two souls collide in a mental juggernaut of quickened conclusions of what is externally seen in a moments passing!

A well known woman's marathon runner, Joan Benoit Samuelson, said when she first started running, anytime she would see a car coming she run and hide. She was worried about how she looked and embarrassed to have someone 'see' her running the roads. I can also remember feeling the same way when I began running some twelve years ago. But today...well...today is a different story and I am now thankful to say that people's physiognomy has little impact on my running. As a matter of fact, sometimes it empowers me to run on! So today, I give you the same encouragement to not let the non-verbal communication of those around you to squelch your attempts to better yourself. Get up! Get out! Don't let a momentary flash of discouraging looks stop you from achieving your eternal goals!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Back in Focus

"You can't depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain

James Allen said the ability to focus "is a process of diverting one's scattered forces into one powerful channel." In a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Aaron didn’t say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come up here to read.” (Nehemiah, Learning to Lead, J. M. Boice, Revell, 1990, p. 38)

It seems the one thing that has become difficult to do in this day and age is to remain focused. There is so much vying for our attention and our time, to remained steadfast toward a certain goal or objective, seems almost impossible. Think about the myriad of 'things' that assault us on a daily basis. Can you remember the day we never had a cell phone? I can! It used to just be television and radio, but now it's the internet and our phones. With the technology that is now available with our phones, all of life's distractions can be accessed in the palm of our hands. Wow! Everywhere we go, we can bring a handful of distractions with us! From texting to Facebook, I find myself inundated with a constant flow of information. When I begin to think about these many distractions in our lives, I begin to wonder how much the human mind can handle and at the same time, how difficult it is to remained focused while so distracted and interrupted on a daily basis. Henry Ford said, “A weakness of all human beings is trying to do too many things at once. That scatters effort and destroys direction. It makes for haste, and haste makes waste. So we do things all the wrong ways possible before we come to the right one. Then we think it is the best way because it works, and it was the only way left that we could see. Every now and then I wake up in the morning headed toward that finality, with a dozen things I want to do. I know I can’t do them all at once. ”When asked what he did about that, Ford replied, “I go out and trot around the house. While I’m running off the excess energy that wants to do too much, my mind clears and I see what can be done and should be done first.” (Bits and Pieces, September 19, 1991, p. 18)

It's not that I think these technologies are bad, or need to be abandoned. If these technologies are used properly, they are great tools that can be very beneficial and helpful in our daily lives. But one thing is certain, if you try to chase two rabbits, both will escape. We must be careful they don't become the distractions that hinder our focus. One of the paradoxes of all these technologies seems to be the same technologies that bring us some deliverance and freedom, also seem to bring with them a form of entrapment or bondage. For example, we are living in the 'information age' and the freedom to access information through the television, internet, and now our phones has provided a certain amount of empowerment. Never before in the history of mankind has so much been available at one's fingertip. Yet, there seems to be this incredible information overload. Most of us seem so overwhelmed with information we have a problem of balance and discernment. With so much information, what do you believe? One day, eating carrots is good for you, the next day, its not so good. This information overload is causing a great scattering of our minds. Society as a whole has almost become schizophrenic. Up is down and down is up! Sadly, very few seem to have much of a grasp on reality anymore and I wonder if some of this is due to our culture being saturated and distracted with TOO much information!

I would venture to say it is next to impossible to fix your mind on something that changes on a daily basis or on the whimsical feelings of someone else! If we are going to achieve any thing of worth in our lives, we are going to have to make up our minds on what we want and then FOCUS. Noel Peebles said, "What you choose to focus your mind on is critical because you will become what you think about most of the time." Therefore, it is vital that we have to set our hearts on what it is that we want to accomplish!  When a ship throws an anchor over board the whole idea is for that anchor to grab hold of something that does not move. When the anchor grabs hold, the ship will remained fixed in that location. The wind and the waves will not cause the anchor to give way and the ship will continue hold its mark!
Sir Winston Churchill said, "It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time." The distractions of this life and world are inherently fixed on keeping you un-anchored and manipulated. If your life is distracted, tormented, or seemingly out of step with reality, then maybe its time to take a step back and reevaluate what it is that you truly desire in life. Put your phone down, step away from the computer, turn the television and the radio off, its time to get a new prescription and make an adjustment on your vision! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Starving to Live

"You gotta be hungry!" - Les Brown

Call it desire, passion, zeal, a want to, or being hungry, but there has got to be a fire in us that burns us forward. Not just a fire, but a burden to achieve, accomplish, and obtain our deepest desires. There is a certain inner hunger that should be propelling us forward toward a goal. No mountain is too high, no valley is too low, and no obstacle can get in our way. Take a look at someone by the name of Theodore Roosevelt. Many do not know his life story, but he overcame many odds as a young man. Teddy Roosevelt had a myriad of health problems and always lagged behind in his education. Obviously, all us know what he ultimately achieved in life. Read, no wait, LISTEN to what Teddy had to say about life! “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Wow! This sounds like a man who has been in the arena of life and understands the necessity of having a passion to accomplish his goals!

A Chinese Proverb says, 'Pearls lie not on the seashore. If thou desirest one thou must dive for it.' If we want to see our vision come to pass, then we must step out of our comfort zones of mere talking and dreaming with a continued passion of pursuit! You see, some people develop a wish bone where their back bone should be. Wishing is great only if it is backed with an insatiable hunger to see it come to fruition! "Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve." (Wilfred A. Peterson) Everything you want to be is rooted in your will to become the best that you can become! "You can have anything you want if you want, it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose." (Abraham Lincoln)

You may be saying right now, 'How or where do I start?' Obviously, you must first find out what YOU are passionate about. What is it that moves you or captures your heartstrings? "There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to possess it." (Napoleon Hill) This is the first principle of success - knowing what you want. Desire then, is the planting of your seed. If your purpose is righteous then you know in the end the results will be right. Willam Hazlitt said it this way, "A strong passion... will insure success, for the desire of the end will point out the means."

If there is one characteristic about a hungry person, is their hunger burns in them and they will do most anything to feed that hunger. We may look out at the hungry and say within ourselves, "I would not do that or stoop to being that low to get food!" But when you are hungry, truly hungry, your inner passion will fuel your actions. WE cannot be timid in our pursuit! We can't go into something to test the waters, we must go into things to make waves. "The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat." (Napoleon Hill)

It seems like we are always getting ready to live but we are never really living. So today it is time once again tap into your hunger for life! If you feel low or have lost the zeal you once had, YOU can have it again! Somerset Maugham said, "It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it." Remember, it is only you and you alone who has given permission for your dreams to be squelched. "One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar." (Helen Keller) Image creates desire. Desire creates the power. You will pursue what you imagine. Pick yourself up by your boot straps, and rekindle the fires of your dreams!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Fork in the Road

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I... I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference". - Robert Frost

We are experts at making mountains out of molehills! How many times have we stood in that proverbial ‘fork in the road’ only to walk down the road everyone else is walking down because of our fears? As the years pass, it seems we are more disappointed in the things we didn't do than by the ones we did do. How many times have we looked back on our lives and said, "I wish I would have!"? How many times have we finally found the nerve to step out of our comfort zones, only to find that the mountain of fears we had created in our minds was lower than we originally had created? 

Countless people had told Roger Bannister his goal was "impossible." For many years, the scientific and athletic communities thought that it was impossible to run a four-minute mile. The event was regarded as something more than a sports record to be broken. This 'impossibility' was viewed by society as an epoch-making barrier that could not, and, more amazingly, should not be broken. Many people believed if a man were to run a mile in less than four minutes the result upon breaking the tape would be instant death.

In his 1935 article entitled "The Ultimate of Human Effort," British track coach Brutus Hamilton had listed the "perfect records beyond which man could never go" for a number of track and field events. He declared that the fastest mile possible would be 4:01.6. By the spring of 1954, Gunder Haegg's world record of 4:01.4 was nine years old, and Hamilton was still insisting no one could run any faster. Looking back in history..."The four-minute mile: This was the barrier, both physical and psychological, that begged to be broken." (Neal Bascomb)

"Whether we liked it or not, the four-minute mile had become rather like an Everest -- a challenge to the human spirit," observed Bannister in his newly-reissued autobiography, "The Four-Minute Mile". "It was a barrier that defied all attempts to break it -- an irksome reminder that man's striving might be in vain. The Scandinavians, with their almost excessive reverence for the magic of sport, called it the `Dream Mile.' "

History now reveals that Roger Bannister was the man of this moment! On May 6, 1954, this 25-year-old medical student, committed runner, ran a mile at Oxford University's Iffley Road Track in the time of 3:59.4. It's no wonder Roger Bannister could say, "The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win."

Louis. D. Brandeis said, "Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." How many times have we hesitated to venture out of our cocoons and risk what all those around us have determined to be 'impossible'? Peer pressure, societal norms, and traditions keep us stagnant and uncommitted from taking steps toward our dreams. It seems far easier to stay in our comfort zones than to step off the shore of familiarity. "Do not attempt to do a thing unless you are sure of yourself; but do not relinquish it simply because someone else is not sure of you." - Stewart. E. White

Now let me be clear. I am not talking about doing something sinister, stupid, or evil, but our venturing should be within the context of doing what is right for our families and giving back to our communities. All of us have had to endure the snide remarks of another who makes comments from their worldview of impossibilities. Family members, friends, and co-workers are quick to squash any attempt to step out of the known and into the unknown. Fear of failure grips us and leaves us frozen in a frightful fit of all the things bad that could happen! The comfort zone feels good, warm, and fuzzy, but such a zone zaps us of real growth and living up to our full potential. Rather than attempt something new, we are consoled in our complacent progress of staying put in our uncharted waters of a well known shoreline. "The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore." - (Dale Carnegie) Will Rogers said, "Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."

Who knows how many God given talents have been locked up on the carnal shores of our earthly vessels? God has called us to take our talents and grow, not to hide them away in fear! Vaclav Havel said, "Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs." If you want to eat the fruit, you have to take the risks that come with climbing the tree!

There is no doubt in my mind, if you are reading this today, there are dreams you have locked away on some distant shore of apprehension. One of the greatest college basketball coaches, John Wooden said, "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." Today, I want you to re-examine those dreams and goals that were once the emblem of your vision. Its time to raise up the anchor, throw off the bowlines, and sail away from the safe harbor of complacency. I challenge you to take a step down the 'road less traveled', you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find there!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


"There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment." - Norman Vincent Peale

What excites YOU? I mean, what really gets your inner man churning and stimulates your creative juices? What fans the fires of your heart? Is there anything that fuels your zest for life? It seems many of us are locked into this realm of 'just being alive' or barely making it? When you wake up in the morning, do you say, "Good Lord, its morning!" or do you say, "Good morning, Lord!"? It would seem if we are discontented with life or the life we live, then everyone morning is a challenge and life itself is waning within a meaningless hue of emotional atrophy. When this begins to happen, we are like a person sitting on death row. It has been said the only difference between a rut and the grave is the depth! To me, the rut seems far worse, because you are alive and yet you're stuck in the habits of living.

Personally, I believe one of the ways out of this rut is a little word called enthusiasm. Walter Chrysler said, "The real secret of success is enthusiasm." Enthusiasm is a lively interest or a feeling of excitement. Why aren't you excited about life? Where is your excitement to live life to its fullest? Has it become framed into this concept or idea, that now you are an adult and 'mature', life can no longer be exhilarating or fun?

All of us have heard of the cliche, 'Birds of a feather flock together.' There seems to be a tendency within our nature that like attracts like. We draw to us what we inwardly feel. If we are a negative person, then it doesn't make sense that we would attract positive people toward us. The way we hold ourselves within and without attracts the same kind of person toward us. A positive person does not want to be around a person who sees life as negative and vice versa, the negative person is looking for someone who will affirm their negativity about life. Norman Vincent Peale made an interesting statement, "If you have zest and enthusiasm you attract zest and enthusiasm. Life does give back in kind."

Within myself, I have found the way I think, affects the way I feel. You can't be thinking negative thoughts and have good feelings. And again, you can't be thinking positive thoughts and have negative feelings. If you are not careful, the WAY we think can become a habit, which in turn, can then turn into a stronghold in our minds. If we are continually negative in our view of life, then sooner or later, this WAY of thinking takes a STRONG hold on all we do. Negativity strangles everything we do and smothers our ability to escape its clutches. I can remember growing up and watching 'Lost in Space' or some of these other television shows, there was always a Dr. Smith in the background saying, "It will never work!" Always fearful. Always afraid. Always dreading the next move. And this is the stronghold in our minds. The enthusiasm and zest for life is smothered by an overwhelming negative view of life.

There is a direct connection between what you count worthy of your attention and your emotions. Maybe that is our problem. We keep putting our hopes in the wrong place(s). If our hearts are full of negativity, then maybe we need to redirect where we have been putting our attention. Is it possible we have bought the lie the world has sold us? Maybe, we have lived and followed after the lie for so long it has now become a stronghold in our lives. That childlike excitement toward a new day has been squashed under the pursuit of 'happiness'. While chasing down the abundance of things we have lost the power to live an abundant life.

Paul J. Meyer said, "Enthusiasm is the yeast that raises the dough." Today, I want you to take some time to regenerate the excitement of just being alive! Look around you! For a moment, I want you to stop the clamoring negativity of your mind and thoughts! Slow down. Take a deep breath. Breath. Capture the beauty of your spouse, your children, and the majesty of life itself! Remember, the choice is yours! How you perceive the world around your is a choice. YOU can begin to tear down the strongholds that wrap you in the cocoon of negativity or YOU can once again capture the exuberance of living! If you don't like what you are doing, then do something else. If you like what you do, then step into it with a renewed enthusiasm! As Mark Twain said, "Let us endeavor to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."

Monday, March 18, 2013


Man’s power of choice enables him to think like an angel or a devil, a king or a slave. Whatever he chooses, mind will create and manifest. ~ Frederick Bailes

I have read of many people who in the most dire circumstances of life still chose to live life to the fullest. People like Helen Keller who chose to make the best of her physical inabilities. Anne Frank, who was hidden away in an attic for two years, and chose to write of the 'goodness of life and people'. People like Victor E. Frankl who survived the concentration camps of Adolf Hitler and was still moved to say, "The last of the human freedoms is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances." Today, no matter what comes our way, we have two choices. We can wallow in self pity and despair OR we can rejoice and take advantage of whatever passes our way today. Some would say how can I rejoice at the bad things that come my way? We need to get one thing clear this morning...happiness or unhappiness is often a matter of choice. Abraham Lincoln said, 'People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.' Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, "A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy." The proverbial ball is always in your court. Life is a chess game, the next move is always yours. A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head-on and licks it, or he turns his back on it and starts to wither away. If a check is called, you can either surrender or move to defend. If a problem arises you can either see it as a horrible display how 'everything is against you' or you use it to your advantage. You can shake your fist at people or God and play the victim or get a back bone and make a choice to ‘see’ beyond the momentary setback. A now famous cliche says, 'If life gives you lemons, its up to you to make the lemonade.' The choice is yours and remember, if you choose not to decide, you have still made a choice. If you choose to remain in some gray area of indecision, that my friend is a choice.

You see, destiny is not a matter of chance, but it more of a matter of choice. The choices we make bring long results. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripples go in all directions and far beyond the place of impact. Every choice we make has an end result. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said, "I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime." If we can see beyond the 'feeling and emotions' of the moment and choose to be happy in God's divine purpose for our lives, in whatever fashion it may come our way, then happiness will always be ours. Because happiness is not in something we possess or in a set of circumstances that befall us in just the right way. Happiness is a choice. It is a way of perceiving life around us.

One of my favorite poets, Edgar A. Guest said this...You are the person who has to decide. Whether you'll do it or toss it aside; you are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you'll lead or will linger behind. Whether you'll try for the goal that's afar. Or just be contented to stay where you are.

Today...read this poem again and again...then make a choice!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Finding the Right Balance

“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.” ~ Brian Tracy

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they begin to exercise again is they try to do too much too fast! In their excitement to 'get after it', they end up over exerting themselves or trying to accomplish more than what their body's are able to give at that moment. Not only can this lead to injury but this can also be very dangerous. Euripides said, “The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.” 

In our zeal, we seem to forget we are not where we once were, nor are we as young as we use to be. There is something about the human condition that causes us to not be honest with ourselves. I am not sure if we just don't think we have aged or if we just believe we will forever be 'young'. So we make up our minds to exercise and think all things are as they used to be. This 'knee jerk' move back into exercise is a common issue I have witnessed over the years. Our minds are still seemingly functioning as an eighteen year old, but our bodies have lagged a little behind (no pun intended here)! The challenges of life have kept our minds mentally exercised, but in the meantime we have slacked bodily. Therefore, when we finally decide to 'move', we still think we have the body of an youthful teenager and we begin to match our bodies to our mental enthusiasm. Obviously, when this happens, I have witnessed a common cycle amongst all who endeavor to match the body to the mental...its called 'Crash and Burn'.

Part of the problem is definitely a 'nature of man' issue. All of us are engineered to look for the 'easy way out'. Most of us want and look for what I call the 'magic pill solution'. Its part of our human makeup and its also a part of this instant gratification culture we live in. After twenty years of doing nothing, we want immediate results. After years of inactivity we burst back onto the scene with this idea that we are going to blast our way back to those 'buns of steel' and a six pack of abs!!! We jump on the treadmill with an excited tenacity to finally get 'back in shape. Mentally and physically, we feel good. We have finally conquered this demon of laziness. In our newly awakened zeal, we push too hard, do too much, and over do it! Then comes the inevitable completion of the 'crash and burn' cycle. Though we feel good after getting off the treadmill, we wake up the next morning, feeling, well, to put it lightly...rough. Our muscles are sore. Our bodily pains seem to send very clear signals to our once excited mind and the signals are not nice. The inner voices rise up and the body begins to preach a message entitled, "What Was I Thinking?". Then to top it off, you are already scheduled your next exercise routine to do it all over again! Now spiraling out of control, its far easier to fall back into your old excuses and habits.

One of the most difficult things for people to do is to find a right balance. Its seems like being extreme is the fashion of today. Its an all or nothing attitude, but if the real truth be known, the victory lies in your patience. You have to balance reason with passion; reason keeps you open, passion keeps your adrenaline going. So today, I implore you to start SLOW! The goal is to build a strong base and a strong base can be your spring board into a new you! Don't let the moment get away from you and allow your zeal to be misused. Think LONG TERM! Think slow, not fast! Remember, it took you a long time to get into the condition you are in right now, and it will take some time to get the results you desire to see. Be sure to keep your program fun and you will not have to enter the cycle of crash and burn.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Race

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
-John Bingham, running speaker and writer

I am up early this morning getting ready to run my first road race of the year. Its an annual 3.1 mile (5K) road race held by a local running store. Yesterday, even though the plan said to rest, I decided to keep myself loose by running an easy three miler. Sometimes I rest before a race day and sometimes I don’t. I know one thing, this ole body doesn't seem to respond like it used to. Though I 'feel' like an eighteen year old, at least in my mind, my body is forever reminding me that those days have passed me on by. Friday as I was running, a thought raised up within me about my running and exercising. And it’s not just on Friday I battled this thought, but it’s a common battle of mind and spirit. Why run? I mean its not like I have a multi-million dollar contract with Nike or something. I don't have to run and try to keep in shape. I don't have to get up early, get in my car, shiver my way to the start line, and run a road race this morning! Especially looking out my window this morning and seeing two inches of snow on the ground! Why run? Why do this to myself? A lot of friends and people have expressed those same thoughts about me. Why or how come you continue to do that to yourself? Hence the page and blog title...R-U-nSane (Are You Insane?)?

There is no doubt in my mind running has its parallels with my own spiritual journey. The pitfalls I have encountered in trying to remain dedicated and disciplined to running has helped to reveal many things about myself. Strengths and weaknesses have been exposed, all for the working of my good! "I run because it's so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can't. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you're capable of so much more than you thought." (Arthur Blank) Running is truly a ‘spiritual’ journey that brings you far beyond the temporal thoughts of the earth. Whether you are running a 5K, Half-Marathon, Marathon, or an Ultra the battle resides deep within the will of the runner and in the depths of that run, you find yourself face to face with no one else but yourself. It’s a gut check, a character check, and so much more. Yiannis Kouros who could be classified as a legend in the world of Ultrarunning once explained what he was feeling when he was running. In an article he wrote published by Ultrarunning magazine in March of 1990 he stated, "Some may ask why I am running such long distances. There are reasons. During the ultras I come to a point where my body is almost dead. My mind has to take leadership. When it is very hard there is a war going on between the body and the mind. If my body wins, I will have to give up; if my mind wins, I will continue. At that time I feel that I stay outside of my body. It is as if I see my body in front of me; my mind commands and my body follows. This is a very special feeling, which I like very much. . . It is a very beautiful feeling and the only time I experience my personality separate from my body, as two different things."

Here I sit contemplating the question, why run? this first 5K of the ‘spring’ as I stare out of the window observing the freshly snow covered ground. My answer is complex and yet so simple. I run to obtain the most out of life, naturally and spiritually! Today, I know when I will finish this 5k road race I will receive a prize and truly the prize I will receive will transcend any kind of natural prize.  As the well known runner and author John Bingham said,"What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate."  You see, life is far more than what our feelings and carnal senses can offer us and there are worlds to see that cannot be perceived from the seat of the living room couch. While most people shun the agony and the seemingly grotesque consequences that comes with the word ‘discipline’, failing to see beyond the pain...I in turn understand and look to what happens AFTER the pain. And this is probably where most people disconnect and cannot see because you won’t know until you do and until you do, you won’t nor understand or see.

So, now I am ready to be delivered into the hands of a cold Michigan morning! But I know and I am assured that I do not run for naught! As I run I cast my mind toward the finish line, knowing by faith, it is there and in a not too distant future I will cross it! I will lay aside the layered clothing, and any weight that may hinder me from obtaining my vision! Whether I win the race or come in last, when I cross the finish line, I know how many inner ‘demons’ I have fought to finish the race. And because of this fact alone...I will have won the race! "In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that." (Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Voices From the Rut

I spent a fortune
On a trampoline,
A stationary bike
And a rowing machine
Complete with gadgets
To read my pulse,
And gadgets to prove
My progress results,
And others to show
The miles I've charted'
But they left off the gadget
To get me started!

How often is it that we get started on the ‘road to victory’ and then fall right back into the same old bad habits? These ‘ways of thinking and living’ pull us back into the same rut we are so desperately trying to climb up and out of...leaving us frustrated and crying out from a furrow of lost desires. It doesn't take long for the voices of the past to decry the implementation of change. There’s one thing for sure, it’s hard to feel groovy in a rut! Like some unfolding Broadway drama, these voices dramatically present their case on why the rut is better than change.  As a matter of fact, some voices are so strong, the excitement of the 'new' year (all but two months ago) has already become an echo down the hallway of procrastination. Clearly, there must be something stronger than those calls to quit that motivates you to move forward in this challenge to leave ‘normal’ behind. The "I will start tomorrows" either have gotten old or will get old, and the next thing you know, another 'new' year will be here with a new set of resolutions. If you are truly going to meet the challenge of change, there comes a time when you MUST command your body to follow your will.

One of my favorite inspiring stories is the one of Sir Edmund Hillary. He was the first man ever to climb Mt. Everest. Yet most do not know he failed at his first attempt to climb the mighty mountain. Even though his first attempt had failed, the English government wanted to honor him. On the stage where Edmund Hillary was to ascend, a huge picture of Mt Everest was on display. Its picturesque presence loomed over the stage and the audience with its own mighty audacity! As Edmund Hillary climbed up the stairs and walked upon the stage, he turned and looked up at the towering picture of Mt Everest and said, "You defeated me But you won't defeat me again Because you have grown all you can grow.... but I am still growing" And he took that same inner fire and passion with him, and the very next year, Edmund Hillary became the first man to conquer the mighty Mt. Everest!

The word 'motivation' is a noun which means, "the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior." Many times the question is asked..."What motivates you?" What is it that lights your fire? What is your driving purpose? Is it your family? Is it a desire for more money? What arouses your inner fire to push forward into the day? And the questions could go on... but something does motivate each and everyone of us.

Stephen R. Covey said, "Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly." The fire must be from within! There must be a burning desire within you that pushes you toward a mark or a goal! If you are pushed, prodded, and prompted to go forward, you may go forward, but those kind of fires fizzle out in a very short time.

History is littered with the passion of men and women like Edmund Hillary. Who no doubt battled the same voices from the rut, but refused to give up even when they probably had a right reason to quit! Men of renown...

Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.

Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him hopeless as a composer.

Colonel Sanders had the construction of a new road put him out of business in 1967. He went to over 1,000 places trying to sell his chicken recipe before he found a buyer interested in his 11 herbs and spices. Seven years later, at the age of 75, Colonel Sanders sold his fried chicken company for a finger-lickin' $15 million!

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. Disney also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn't read until he was seven. His teacher described him as "mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams." He was expelled and refused admittance to Zurich Polytechnic School. The University of Bern turned down his Ph.D. dissertation as being irrelevant and fanciful.

Eighteen publishers turned down Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull, before Macmillan finally published it in 1970. Five years later by 1975 it had sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone.

Margaret Mitchell's classic Gone with the Wind was rejected by more than twenty-five publishers.

When the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book was completed, it was turned down by thirty-three publishers in New York and another ninety at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California, before Health Communications, Inc., finally agreed to publish it. The major New York publishers said, "It is too nicey-nice" and "Nobody wants to read a book of short little stories." Since that time more than 8 million copies of the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book have been sold. The series, which has grown to thirty-two titles, in thirty-one languages, has sold more than 53 million copies.

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, "You ain't goin' nowhere… son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck." Elvis Presley went on to become the 'The King of Rock and Roll'!

What motivates YOU? What is your deepest desire? What turns your wheels and cranks your shaft? Only you can discover it and only you can light that fire? YOU have to find your passion...YOU have to tap into your chief motivation...search out the ‘why’s’ of your heart and when you find them...don’t ever let the voices of the rut call you back to it’s slippery ways!  Besides, don't you think its time, once and for all, to keep your fire burning? Truly, how has life in the rut benefited you anyway?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Kervorkian Diet Plan

"One-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three-quarters keeps your doctor alive."   (Hieroglyph found in an ancient Egyptian tomb.)

"One should eat to live, not live to eat."
(Moliere) If you want to avoid pain and regret, its been said there are two subjects you cannot talk about with people...religion and politics. But I have learned there are actually three subjects...religion, politics, and FOOD. It's very difficult to talk to people about THEIR food! "There is no sincerer love than the love of food." (George Bernard Shaw) People love food and love eating their food and something always happens when I begin to talk about people's food. Benjamin Franklin said, "Beware the hobby that eats." If there is going to be real change in our lives, we must gain control over what and how we eat. In this day and age, where everything is centered around making things easy and convenient, we must become aware of what this convenience is doing to our food. We cannot be so addicted to our foods that our belly blinds us and we cannot see beyond our forks. As a Spanish Proverb says, "The belly rules the mind."

The Standard American Diet (or otherwise known as SAD), when one really takes an in depth look at the standard American diet, it truly is 'SAD'! I have come to call the American way of eating, The Kervorkian Diet Plan. You may say, 'What is the Kervorkian Diet Plan?' Well first you must understand who Kervorkian is and then you will understand what I am saying. Dr. Kervorkian is / was called the assisted suicide doctor. He championed the cause of helping people to commit suicide or kill themselves. In a nutshell, without opening Pandora's Box concerning the social/political/spiritual ramifications of his cause, he created a machine that would make snuffing out your life easier. Dr. Kervorkian felt he would be doing people a favor by 'assisting' them to kill themselves since they were already terminally ill and dying a slow painful death anyway. His cause has garnered him the nickname, Dr. Death. So, there you have a small understanding of who this doctor is and how he views his purpose.

Now with this understanding I can launch out into the deep! Recently a journalist by the name of Michael Pollen wrote a book called, "Food Rules". It is an off shoot of a few other books he had written, kind of like a summary of the things he has learned concerning food or what we have come to learn and consider what is food in these modern times. Mr. Pollen doesn't claim to be nutritionists or food specialist, like many journalist who write investigative reports, he somewhat stumbled his way into researching food in our society. I like this kind of investigative journalism, because when they investigate they don't have any predetermining ideas or biases concerning their research. They are reporting from outside the box of the mainstream influence and understanding. In "Food Rules", Mr. Pollen comes to two conclusions concerning what he learned.

First, the Western diet leads to Western diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. "Four of the top ten killers in America are chronic diseases that can be linked to this diet," Pollan claims.

Second, people throughout the world who eat a range of traditional diets, even those heavy in fats, carbohydrates, or protein, don't suffer from these diseases. Thankfully, Pollan offers a third fact derived from these two: If we get away from the Western diet, we can see dramatic improvements in our health and reduce the risk of chronic diet-related diseases.

Amazingly, these facts are not necessarily new, but have been reported by many outside the box for many years now. Men and women from Dr. Loraine Day, Paul Bragg, Norman Walker, Joseph Mercola, and on, have all been screaming from their rooftops for years concerning these two facts. Eat the standard American diet full of processed dead adulterated foods and die a very youthful painful death. Depart from the SAD way of life and your body will give you back your life!

It has been said and the saying is true, 'You cannot out train a bad diet'. When one decides to leave 'normal' behind, it is paramount to your understanding, in order to truly leave 'normal' behind one must abandon the Kervokian Diet Plan. Live and learn...or should I say...learn and LIVE. Don't get too caught up in the lamestream media's word plays and advertising. Don't be reeled in by the propaganda packaging glitter of the food industry that creates in their science labs, Frankenstein foods that are not foods, and then sells these excito toxic chemically ladden meals that in long run are only assisting us to slow long painful death. And this is why I call it The Kervorkian Diet Plan, because the SAD, based upon these over processed foods are assisting us to commit suicide and not only are they killing us from the inside out, those behind the scenes are making 'killer' money on our ignorance and gluttony!

Ignorance is NOT bliss. Work to free yourself from the bondage of the Standard American (western) Diet which you have been 'dying' to eat all these years! As Sally Edwards said, "If we’re not willing to settle for junk living, we certainly shouldn’t settle for junk food."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Victim or Victor?

"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 responsible. Though we may live by the motto, "Out of sight, out of mind" 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 that has 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 and how those decisions to eat that kind of 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!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To Be Lymphatically Inclined

Caution: This blog has a very dirty word in it and you will have to read it more than a few times. Please read at your own discretion!

"Purifying the lymphatic system is vital for ridding your body of cellulite ... since [the body] doesn't have a pump, like the heart, it must be exercised ... the best way to do this--to give those fatty deposits the old heave-ho--is by cleansing your lymphatic system either with a bouncing action or by moving your arms while walking briskly ... use of mini trampoline has proven to be an efficient form of exercise with virtually no harmful side effects ... in approximately two weeks, you should notice that your legs, buttocks and ankles are becoming toned and those orange peel-like cellulite deposits are smoothing out." Anne Louise Gittleman

Exercise, exercise, exercise, exercise...there I said (wrote) it!!! Now the real issue is, how did your conscious and subconscious mind take it? If you truly desire REAL results, then you cannot get around this word and not only that, you must find something you can do physically. Exercise is one of the vital keys to truly stimulating your metabolism and changing your lifestyle for the good.

I emphatically believe we were not built to live the way we have been living in these 'modern' times. These sedentary lives of non-moving, computer oriented, desk top jobs may be the 'normal' way of living nowadays, but the human organism was built to move. We were built to sweat and when we don't sweat our bodies slowly deteriorate into a cesspool of waste products. Our bodies were made to move and bend...walk and run...jump and climb.

When we exercise so many wonderful and dynamic events begin to occur in these fearfully and wonderfully made bodies of ours. The first and most important thing exercise does is it affects our lymphatic system. Our lymphatic system has a few similarities when it is held in comparison with the circulatory system. All of our blood is supplied via the arteries, veins, and capillaries through a special pump called the heart. As our heart pumps, we receive our nutrients through the life giving flow of our blood with each powerful push of the heart. The lymphatic system is tubular (vein like) and expands throughout our entire body. It also has its own fluid that flows through these tubes. Yet there are a few very important facts we need to understand when it comes to the lymphatic system. First...although the lymphatic system has fluid, it does NOT have a heart like pump like the circulatory system. Second...the lymphatic fluid is very thick and gooey. It does not flow with the ease our blood does throughout the body. Third... and probably one of the most vital points to understand, the lymphatic system is woven through the muscles of our bodies. The most efficient and  BEST WAY the fluid of the lymphatic system can flow throughout our bodies is through exercise! The contraction of our muscles when we use them pushes the thick gooey fluid of the lymphatic system through our bodies. Sedentary lives of little or no exercise leads to a stagnant lymphatic system.

You may be wondering how a stagnant lymphatic system affects the body. Your lymphatic system performs the vital function of cleansing the fluid that surrounds the cells in your body by removing impurities and waste products. This process not only protects your body from toxins, but also allows cells in the body to function at their best. When the lymphatic system breaks down, dramatic health imbalances can begin to impact the body. Poor lymph function is associated with fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, aches and pains, bloating and poor digestion. And to all those who are trying to lose weight, studies show an unhealthy lymph system can contribute to cellulite, fat deposits and obesity.

So, there you have it! The lymphatic system basically operates as a filter or a cleanser in the body. Hence a swollen lymph node is a sign of the lymphatic system trying to ride your body of an infection. If it is not functioning properly then many other vital functions begin to break down. As a matter of fact, the whole system begins to back up and become congested.

Here are a few things you can do for your very own lymphatic system. Drink plenty of water. Choose healthy foods. Eat your fruits and veggies. Get your essential fatty acids. Stay active. Practice deep breathing because like exercise, deep breathing promotes the movement of fluid through the lymphatic system while providing it with fresh oxygen.

Though at one point in my life exercise was a dirty word, today, exercise is a wonderful word. I once despised the thought of 'having to exercise' but now I look forward to exercise. I am lymphatically inclined to believe the plethora of benefits exercise brings to my life is too much for words to truly describe. Today you need to find something...anything to do that will get your lymphatic juices flowing again throughout your body. Whether its a brisk walk, running, or riding a bike...find something...an exercise you can do, and you will also become emphatically lymphatically inclined!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Nations of Our Mind

"The worst day in a man’s life is when he sits down and begins thinking about how he can get something for nothing." ~ Thomas Jefferson

I was just thinking (I know, that's a dangerous thing) but there seems to be three nations that overtake our minds...procrasti-nation, condem-nation, and imagi-nation! Clearly these nations of our mind have entangling alliances. It all starts with our imagination. Imagination is a flaw of the heart and sets up a production studio in our minds. Its not that imagination is a bad thing, but when it’s the only thing going on in the human brain, then trouble is fixing to happen. When our imaginations are left unchecked, then an unchecked imagination without any restraint can lead to powerful 'floods' that deluge the mind.

Come on...be honest with yourself. Your (our) imaginations are very powerful when left unchecked. If you will be honest and truly examine yourself, you will admit these nations are the enemies of your soul that have gotten you to this place and time...overweight, depressed, lazy, lethargy, etc. You are at a harvest of a handful of imaginative ways the mind created months, if not years ago.

There were moments 'back then' when you allowed your mind to sow thoughts (imaginations) that kept you bound. You see...and you know...how our imaginations paint pictures with a very broad brush. A plethora of brush strokes (thoughts) invade our minds and we have those ‘inner’ conversations with ourselves...surely, if we eat this and or that, surely we won't die. And even if we do eat this, tomorrow we will exercise it off. Just ONE of those desserts aren’t going to kill me anyway, will it? It can't be THAT bad for me. Life is short, I might as well enjoy it...a person's got to live.

Jack Kornfield said, ”The trouble is that you think you have time.” We allow the moment to slip away within the capsule of 'I'll get to it later on down the road' (procrasti-nation), and later does come, but once we give in to the machinations of our nature, the alliances of other 'nations' begin to form and become stronger and stronger. Like chains of darkness, these nations begin to shroud our ability to think. They besiege our mind and surround us with a limited depth perception of a bigger and greater world outside of those engulfing strongholds.

Once our imaginations are set free, then its off to the races of creating a justification for fulfilling the appetite at hand. Those entangling alliances begin to form with the other 'nations' of the mind. First, procrasti-nation steps up and sets up the dilemma of 'putting off today what you can get done tomorrow'. With procrastination, today comes but you never make it to your tomorrow. It has been said, "Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried." Today, is always greeted with too much to do, or too tired to attack that issue today. Imagination sweeps across your mind, and tells you how much easier it will be to get it done tomorrow because you will not be as busy. Do you see the alliance? They work hand in hand to your own destruction. The next thing you know...life has passed you by and you are where you never intended to be!!! Then the next enemy nation of your soul rises up to put the final blow on your now damaged psyche...CONDEM-NATION! Oh yeah, this is the guy that tells you there's no hope now anyway. Why bother? Why try? There is no hope...I am who I am. I will never be anything different. The nation of condemnation wraps the other nations within a cocoon of hopelessness and defeat.

You can no longer continue to let these words, “It might have been” be the motto of your life!  Deep down, there is a voice crying out of each and everyone of you. Though faint that it may be, its still there and yes, there is still hope. I know this because I’ve been there. For thirty-seven years I played these ‘war’ games with myself. Until one day, I decided to fight back and I began to wage my own personal battles against these nations of my mind. Yes, it will take work, and there will be some tough times as you begin to break the links that bind you down and tie your hands, but YOU CAN DO THIS! Robert Allen said this, "Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone." Use those imaginative alliances for a motivation by looking at where they have gotten you! There is a proverb that says, "If and When were planted, and Nothing grew." Its time to quit letting the imagi-nation of procrasti-nation create the condem-nation to control your life any longer. Throw out the if's and the when's and do something with TODAY. If you truly want it...YOU can have it. A man by the name John Cleek said it right, "What you want to do, you do. The rest is just talk."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Multi-Tasked and Overstimulated

My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you'll win... Channel your energy. Focus. ~ Carl Lewis

     Have we lost our ability to remain focused? I don't remember a time in my life where the minds of so many people are so scattered. It seems to be very difficult for people to remain intent on one thing. To get people to bear down and focus on a dilemma or a project is a difficult task these days. Within and without, people seem to have no sense of direction. Better yet...they have no sense of purpose, and yet I find that these two thoughts...focus and purpose are connected. How can one maintain a pursuit upon a 'purpose' when their mind cannot remain focused? How can you ever find a purpose in life if you cannot discipline the mind? When one slows down for a moment (if you can), its not difficult to see how upside our society has become. Earl Nightingale said, "You become what you think about." and if this is true, well then, what are we?

     We have become a society of multi-tasked and over stimulated people. We cannot seem to live unless our lives are inundated with some type of stimulation. Look around, what do you see? The next generation, and even our own are caught up in this technological vacuum. Cell phone in one ear, iPod in the other, eyes fixed on the computer screen, or the Ipad, doing homework with one hand while text-messaging someone with the other, and don't forget the television is blaring in the background.

     In the documentary, Digital Nation, they researched this 'new' phenomenon that has overtaken our nation, and in fact, the entire world. I found it interesting how they studied students who were considered multi-taskers. Within themselves, these multi-taskers felt like they were very focused and well able to maintain the myriad of objectives in their lives. Yet, after being put through some test, it was quite clear these students actually lost their ability to remain focus, even though they 'thought' they were very focused and able.

     You see...multi-tasking overloads and burdens our system. Everything in the media, every television program, every movie, every music CD, every computer program, every phone app, every video game is designed to give us higher and higher levels of stimulating responses. None of these exciting things are necessarily bad. What is bad is that they are unrelenting. It is a constant bombardment of the mind. A continual 'harassing' of the brain. There is no downtime.

     It is a no win situation, a catch 22 if you will. The eyes of men are NEVER satisfied. The more we overload the pleasure center, the higher the barrier goes. So we seek greater and more pleasurable activities to get over that barrier to the pleasure center. We become hedonistic in our pursuit of pleasure. Our happiness is defined by the level of excitement in our lives. Then pleasure itself becomes unpleasurable. Overstimulated minds reach a place called anhedonia, which is an inability to experience pleasure.  The truth is excitement is not happiness and true happiness cannot be found in excitement. In fact, excitement is the ultimate drug. It is excitement that people are seeking after when engaging in any destructive or addictive behavior.

     To me, in our society , its painfully obvious, many are having trouble remaining focused. Not only do I see it within myself, but as a teacher of young teenagers I see it on a daily basis. As a marathon runner I have had to learn how to remain focused and keep to a training plan for eighteen weeks, and this is not easy, especially in the middle of the training plan. Eighteen weeks of trying to remain steadfast toward a goal would prove difficult for some and overwhelming for a few. I see many caught within this crucible of pleasure and focus. In this instant gratification pleasure oriented society, we want it all. Not only do we want it all NOW, but we want it all, served our way and in our time. But this is not a true picture of life. If the truth be known, we have lost some precious things in this overstimulated culture. The things of meaning have become mundane. Books are boring. To read their words takes focus and concentration of mind. Many would rather read a quick quote covering a picture than take time to read a blog. The outside world has become a threatening place. No longer can the soft breeze of a summer wind stimulate a person enough to be a pleasurable event. To get someone to take a walk in the rain is next to impossible these days. Hobbies of the hands and mind have given way to video games that rob the brain of imagination. Individual creativity is falling to the wayside as we lose touch with the world around us.

     Life seems to be turning into a virtual reality game! BUT this is your life. This is my life. Within our grasps is the way to true victory! I hope and pray, in the weeks ahead, as you and I are tossed to and fro in this epic battle to find our purpose. We can 'see' the power we give up when we remain connected to this need for stimulation and so disconnected from reality. When you feel the crux of all this over stimulation fall upon your mind, THAT is the time to step outside its power. Go for a run. Go for a walk. Ride your bike. Sit in the sun and read a good book. Let’s pursue toward a reality of a life beyond society’s pressures and feel the power that comes from leaving ‘normal’ behind!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Creatures of Habit

"The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." ~ Samuel Johnson

     All of us have habits, both good and bad. A habit is a noun which means; a pattern of behavior acquired through frequent repetition. Obtaining and maintaining habits in our lives is, well, just a part of life. Yet, once again, a habit is one of those two edged swords that can make you or break you. A habit can be one of your greatest servants or one of your worst task masters. "Nothing is stronger than habit." (Ovid) As Samuel Johnson said in the quote above, the smallest of repeated behaviors we do can and will eventually turn into a way of life. Though seemingly minuscule in its beginnings, the behavior grows into a stronghold that is not easily broken. Once a habit is entrenched within our psyche's, our life is framed by those things we habitually do. The famous author, Stephen Covey said, "Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character." The fact of the matter is our habits are a reflection of who we are and the thoughts we have held dear to our souls. When we do something, for the most part, it is not some spontaneous effort or idea, but the way we react is nothing more than a composite of our habits. As creatures of habits, we can only act according to the those patterns we have consistently adhered to from our youth into adulthood.

     We are but a walking harvest of our habits! Think of the myriad of behaviors we do on a daily basis. How did you first begin this behavior? Why did you begin to do this behavior? Those behaviors just didn't happen. As Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." Somewhere long ago, in response to a situation in life, we began to will ourselves to act in a certain way, and now those acts are entrenched themselves into our way of living. "Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables." (Spanish Proverb) You see, we first make our habits, then in the end our habits make us. Its not that we consciously wish to have bad habits but they sneak up on us, until we become their slaves.

     Lets get one thing clear. Most of the time, when habits are discussed, its always discussed within the context of being a bad thing. Habits are a necessary way of getting things done in life. Habits make us predictable and allow a certain stability to operate in our lives. But habits are not neutral, and can only take on the persona we give them within the context of our life's daily routines. Vincent Lombardi said, "Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."

     Let me give you a personal for instance of a habit in my life. For years, I was an advocate of eating healthier, and taking supplements to help with our health, but there was a a thing I avoided at all costs when it came to health. This thing is called EXERCISE! Though every time I read books and articles about healthy living, the word, exercise, was a key component to bringing healing to the body. I always had an excuse to why I couldn't exercise. One day, at about the age of 37, I was laying sick in bed. I realized just eating a decent diet and taking supplements, obviously wasn't enough. So began a journey to change a bad habit...no exercising to exercising. From a mind set of habitually being repulsed and finding every reason in the book to not exercise to changing my life into a habit of routinely exercising was not an easy task. I have always told people they can't just stop a bad habit by doing nothing. There must be a good habit ready to replace a bad habit or at least a desire to acquire a new habit to take the place of the bad one. Desiderius Erasmus said, "A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit." Deep down, I truly disliked how I felt about myself and where I was going. I did not like my bad habit of non-exercise. (Who really likes their bad habits?) So, I stepped into the odyssey of overcoming the bad with the good. I bought a treadmill! But guess what? Purchasing a treadmill did not break my bad habit of no exercise! Soon my inspired purchase was a very nice coat rack rather than a bad habit buster I had bought it do for me! Yep, that's right, the treadmill didn't do a thing for me... except drain my wallet of a monthly payment. Oh yeah...and every time I walked past my high tech coat rack, I could swear it laughed and taunted me with snide remarks!

     So let me just lay it on the line here! The only way to overcome a bad habit is to replace the bad habit with something good, and this takes EFFORT and WORK. I try to tell people if they can do the good for at least three consecutive weeks, then you have a great possibility of breaking the chains of the bad habit. You can pull down the strongholds that keep you from obtaining the desires of your heart. It was a bumpy road to victory for me, but here I sit, writing this article (eleven completed marathons and one fifty mile ultra marathon later) trying to inspire you to believe it can be accomplished, IF you put your mind to it! It took me awhile to finally die to live, but when I did die out to my lazy ways, and began to exercise on a consistent basis, something great happened. I realized how great I felt. I realized it wasn't as difficult as my imaginations had made exercise out to be. I came to many realizations concerning the power of habits and their control over our lives. I won't lie to you, do I struggle from time to time with my exercise...sure, but it doesn't take me long to remind myself of all the good it does for me and how I feel when I conquer the myriad of voices that call me back to my cave of apathy.

An ancient proverb says, "Good habits are formed from resisting temptation." You must begin to resist the temptation to stay in the bed of ease LONG ENOUGH to run into through the finish line of successful doing! Quit thinking you can't break the bad habit and step into the power of today! TODAY is the day when you drop apathy like a bad habit! Today is the day you begin to break that bad habit one chain link at a time!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Here's to Salt in Your Eyes!

“He that would have the fruit must climb the tree.”
Dr. Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)

Salt is mined in two ways. Dry mining and solution mining. Dry mining is the type of mining that takes place on the surface of the earth. This kind of mining is rare. In solution mining, fresh water is injected through a pipe into deep shafts that end in the salt beds, and salty water (brine) is drawn upward and dried, to recrystallize the salt. Obviously, this way of extracting salt from the earth is a little more involved than scrapping the surface of the Earth with a bulldozer. It takes effort to bring this kind of operation together. Scrapping the earth leaves scars and and impacts the surface of the earth, but solution mining goes beyond the surface and digs deep into the earth. Water is shot through penetrating shafts into the earth and the salt is then brought to the surface. All of this takes place below the surface, much of which is not seen with the naked eye.

You are probably wondering, what on earth does this have to do with exercise or really anything for that matter? Well, believe it or not, the picture of solution salt mining is a great analogy of exercising. As a runner, I have learned some great principles, not only about exercising, but also about life. These principles are both natural and spiritual and are applicable in a myriad of ways.

It is clearly evident that our nature has a tendency to want something for nothing. Within us is this strong desire to achieve all our goals without much effort. It's an instant gratification attitude that pursues the path of least resistance. After years of mistreating our bodies, lazy living, and lethargic lifestyles, we are easily moved by advertisements that offer quick and easy solutions. Commercials proclaiming you can lose thirty pounds in thirty days, WITHOUT exercising, capture our attention. Anything or any idea offering an easy way out will prompt us to draw money out of our bank accounts. Let's just put it this way, we want a magic pill solution to resolve the problems we have sown in a lifetime! We want a surface dry mining solution that can only penetrate the surface of the problem when the only real solution is an attack on the inner man, which resides deep within the crevices of our hearts!

Any time you want real change, it becomes quite evident, once again, that it takes physical action to fulfill your mental resolution to change yourself. No matter how many exercising tools, DVD's, or gym memberships you buy, nothing happens unless you, that's right, YOU, do something with them. The treadmill will not do much for YOU, unless you get on it and press the buttons. You see, I have been here before. I have bought the two thousand dollar treadmill and watched it sit in the corner and make a very nice coat rack. I have spent the money on the exercise DVD's and watch them collect dust on the bookshelf. So, I write today with some first hand knowledge. I am no different than you. Believe it or not, I face the same temptations to NOT exercise as you do!

It's a battle to move beyond surface intellectual thoughts about doing something to actually doing something. But I love it when I get to a place in my exercise routine when a nice salty sweat rolls down my forehead and into my eyes. Sure it stings, but at the same time, I know I have had to work hard to get my body to sweat. Over the years, I have witnessed when I work out, a good old fashion salty sweat does not come in the first few minutes of a workout. I have had to dig deep into my earthen vessel, called this body, in order to bring forth the salt. By digging deep, I mean I have had to mine through a lot of negative thoughts and pressed passed many temptations to produce a salty sweat, and this makes me feel good! Mining salt does not come easy. It doesn't come by looking at the treadmill, nor does it come at 'thinking' about exercising. The salt from within doesn't even come in the first few minutes of a workout, but only after I have kept my body under subjection to the exercise at hand.

You have heard the saying, "Here's to mud in your eyes!" Well, today, I say, "Here's to salt in your eyes!" Don't make the mistake of just shallow surface mining for salt. Today, dig deep within your heart, and press pass the superficial surface desires until you reach the depth where the salt lies. Then, and only then, will you feel the stinging delight of drops of salt in your eyes! And believe me, the external taste of a deep mining workout will bring an internal joy and a hand raising pump in victory!