Misordered Priority of Function!

Finding Meaning

When it comes to defining meaning, there are more paths to explore than can ever be recorded on a map. It’s easy to get lost in the maze of ideas, opinions, and admonitions. The extremes might best be expressed by tribes or isolation. The vast majority seem to quietly search for a connection to something larger than themselves.

In a broad sense, I’ve come to realize how religious people really are. It doesn’t take God, in fact, God can be fundamentally left out, and religion can be highly active. All we really need is some beliefs, an attitude, and a determination to express our crafted ideology as the one to be elevated above all others.

One definition of religion is a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance. 

We all engage in an endless process of interpretation. Everything that happens in life gets a label, a definition, and gets wrapped in some measure of emotion. Pain and dissatisfaction most often provide the framework for our expressions and explanations to what we’ve experienced in our lives. Anger can drive our operational theology and can be a powerful motivator. We’re generally deeply troubled by the ever-so-present hypocrisy of imperfect human beings. The problem this creates is that we can fail to acknowledge our own hypocrisy.

The short answer to why there are so many religions is that religion is man-made.

Everyone thinks they are right. I’m reminded of the song For What Its Worth by Buffalo Springfield. Here are some of the lyrics:

There’s battle lines being drawn Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong Young people speaking their minds Getting so much resistance from behind It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going down What a field-day for the heat A thousand people in the street Singing songs and carrying signs Mostly say, hooray for our side

I recommend listening to the complete lyrics as I think they represent a clear picture of what we are participating in today.

External Fantasies

What we take in is what we give out. Looking down the road to what lies ahead is an art undeveloped. Troubled minds are not relieved by instant gratification. When individuality is sustained by selfishness and self-centered appetites, it’s difficult to believe in a shared utopia.

Even our politics are upstream of culture. As hard as it is to swallow all externals are a reflection of what’s inside of each of us. It’s a fallacy to believe inner peace is possible by forcing our will on other people. Any honest critique of society at large can only draw the conclusion that the equality being promoted today is a shuffling of the deck at best.

Taking away injustice from one group to give it to another group can hardly be considered progress. The real work lies inside of each of us. Hatred does not possess the ability to perfect anything. As powerful as anger can be it has a shelf-life and will expire before virtue is obtained.

The Fine Print

The best thing that ever happened to me was a colossal failure. One that broke my own heart and turned my attention away from the wrongs I suffered and helped me see the wrongs I had done to myself and others. It opened me up to a spirituality that went beyond my limited understanding of what is possible. I went from seeing barriers that I perceived as hindrances to awakening to the law of unlimited potential.

My doctrines of rigid adherence evolved to guiding principles of empathy, patience, and a willingness to work with strong differences. I learned to accept my humanity, my imperfections, and my hypocrisy. The gifts I have to offer don’t extend from intellectual supremacy, religious dogma, or any claim to unique enlightenment.

While God is my foundation, I have transformed my faith. I have come to embrace love as the final frontier, the predetermined priority of my life. If my strategies and methods of life fall short of love, my legacy will represent a destiny drowned in almost.

I have no illusions that my mission involves ridding the earth of debauchery, immorality, or anything I think is undesirable. It doesn’t mean I don’t participate in the processes of common sense. What it does mean is that I don’t pretend to do what only God can do. And, I’m not confused about our significantly different roles.

The farthest you can get from God is unforgiveness!

My understanding affords me the privilege of knowing that crimes against humanity, sexual deviance, or any controversial topic you may choose do not represent the farthest distance one can travel away from God. The farthest you can get from God is unforgiveness! If you don’t find forgiveness for others, you will not find it for yourself.

The priority of function calls each of us by name!

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Easter Fools!

Historically, Easter Sunday and April Fools’ Day has happened, on the same day, a number of times.

Perpetual

It’s a bit challenging to establish the origin of April Fools’ Day. Some think the holiday was first mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392). In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally “Fish of April”), a possible reference to the holiday? There are too many possibilities to lists. We can agree it began somewhere and continues around the world in various forms. (Wikipedia)

Easter Sunday is much easier to nail down. It’s universally believed to be the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after His crucifixion. To some, this is the cornerstone of their faith. Other people find the notion disgusting and dismiss the very idea as a day for fools. Whatever position you hold, Easter began and continues around the world in various forms.

Egg On The Face

Pranks are coming! It’s just too irresistible…too invitational not to pull some shenanigans on the unsuspecting.  In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. Maybe, “Fake News” is simply an omission to say, April Fools.

The faith-based have their own challenges. The Easter story carries the dynamic of  God, defying natural law and clearly defines the Creator as supreme over the created. According to Jesus, all power in heaven and earth is His. And, He gives this power to His followers. Any Halleluja around impotence offers the skeptic all the fuel they need to scoff.

Funtimes

A few years ago I decided to prank my wife’s aunt. She is a rock…a matriarch in the family. This was at the time when the paternity of Anna Nicole’s baby was dominating the news cycle. When she answered the phone I said, aunt Freda, I’ve done something I need to confess to the family so, I decided to tell you first.

She said, OMG, what have you done? Just a minute, she replied. I’m on the other line and I will tell them I will call them back. I knew I had her. She was so concerned and willing to hear my confession. She clicked away and then came back on the line. Ok, she lamented, what have you done?

I said, aunt Freda, I’m the father of Anna Nicole’s baby. After a moment of silence, we both started laughing so hard neither of us could speak. I had to hand the phone to my wife who was standing next to me not knowing what I was up to. Even though she was laughing too she managed to say to her aunt, he’s a nut!

I’m a writer. I’m always aware of the need to show… not tell. As a person of faith, I’m also aware of the need to show…not tell. For years my life experiences didn’t match my beliefs. I fundamentally misunderstood the correlation between my mess and my message. I kept wisdom at bay by complicating the simplicity of truth.

Somewhat slowly, understanding emerged. My desire to experience good things, to benefit other people, to witness the power of virtue in action was frustrated by my theology, doctrines, and dogmas of judgment and condemnation. I was undeniably opposing my self. When I learned to accept what I needed most I also understood what others need most from me…

I’ve been able to convince myself…love never fails! It’s the antidote to the self-righteous and the haters. We can be very divided on how we define love but, when we meet it face to face it does its job. Love is the only way I know to not be an Easter Fool!

What do you think?

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Finding The Perfect In Chaos!

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve looked into the face of confusion. While I have my share of things that have worked out I, also have my share of things that didn’t go as planned. The ebb and flow of life can be fiercely independent. It’s difficult to talk reality out of being the reality.

Order choas

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 

When I suffered a setback and had to deal with hardship, I used to look for someone to blame. The idea of my best efforts not producing desirable results left me dazed and confused. How could my good intentions not be rewarded? Why don’t people see the virtue I see in myself? I had a perception problem. We all have a lens. What we see when we look through our lens is based on our interpretation of life events.

I remember when I first noticed that my vision was changing. I made an appointment with the eye doctor and discovered I needed glasses. I had mixed feelings about wearing spectacles. I worried as to whether I would look professional or studious. Or, would I look like a nerd? I was only in my thirties. I wrestled with the idea of ending up with thickening lenses as my conditioned worsened over time. The fact was I needed help seeing. Deal with it, Rick!

What a metaphor for life. Sometimes we all need a little help with our perception. I learned in my Behavioral Analyst Training that people fall into two predominant categories; we either see the world as friendly or unfriendly. And, we base much of our attitude on one of these notions. Either premise contributes heavily to how we exist and relate to the world.

I discovered that I could drive or draw people and things away or into my life depending on how I was seeing and interpreting the world around me. In my work with people, I have seen this principle perform with precision. Things don’t happen to us; they happen for us.

Clarity jon wiley flickr

Image courtesy of Jon Wiley via flickr.com

 

A client who had married multiple times thought she was simply “bad in love.” The truth is much less mysterious. She was looking for someone to complete her. What she attracted were men who were looking for someone to complete them. We get out of life what we are in life. If we don’t like the fruit, we have to look at the root!

We will be a part the pollution or, part of the solution. When patterns emerge, there is only one place to find a remedy, inside ourselves! That’s not a bad gig. Just think about it. You’re readily accessible, very familiar, and worthy of transformation. We actually deserve a rich and rewarding life filled with good things and relationships.

I know it’s not always easy to forgive…especially ourselves. Letting go is a form of letting grow. While it would be nice to be able to erase moments of failure and disappointment it’s just not practical. What is possible is to learn and embrace the lesson.

Confusion can be a door opener or a door closer. Life is a delicate balance of tension with a yin and a yang. Can anything be more perfect than to experience it all? I think mastery evolves out of finding the perfect in the chaos.

 

What’s your strategy for moving forward?

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Staying Inspired Is A Tricky Business!

LEANING IN

You know you have a dream on your hands if you experience more than an occasional flirtation. And, your passion keeps tempting you with eye contact. When you are given to restless nights and, busy days filled with contemplations of fully expressing yourself you just might be pregnant with possibility. The discomfort of not delivering that thing you are carrying inside can make a person downright grouchy.

 

flirting by ferlinka borzoi on flickr

Image courtesy of Ferlinka Borzoi via flickr.com

Whether our dreams are big or small they are precious, to the dream holder. Dreams can be ever so fragile and should be handled with utmost care. It can be tortuous even trying to understand exactly what it is we want to bring forth let alone, explain it to someone else. I’ve discovered that it’s best not to deny how I feel about my embedded seeds of artistry. Allowing my passion to unfold has been a lifesaver for me.

 

Passion can evolve from childhood or come along later in life. But, passion has a way of demanding attention. While it can be ignored for brief periods of interlude, it’s unusual for deep desires to be silenced indefinitely. They work their way into our consciousness despite the inconvenience it can cause.

Discovering the very thing we are born to do, uniquely called to do is the longing of many hearts. We send ourselves into moments of anxiousness and trepidation when we turn away from the life source our passion provides. We don’t want to give up, … not really. We just get frustrated by what can seem like a never-ending battle to emerge in the light of success.

BANKABLE EMOTIONS

I’ve yet to meet the person who only deals with good feelings. Everyone I know runs the gamut of diverse emotions. The good, the bad, and the ugly make their presence known. I have settled on the notion that all feelings are nothing more than invitations. I think long and hard before I allow feelings a voice. Feelings and thoughts are how we roll.

It’s imperative to capture the feeling of what you want as though you have already obtained it. Thoughts and feelings are not inherently best friends. They must be trained to get along. I’ve witnessed the limitations of positive thinking when it stood alone. No matter how affirming my thoughts, I didn’t enjoy momentum until I addressed any negative feelings too. Because feeling incompetent, disconnected, and unworthy directly opposes the best thoughts.

Feelings are the gatekeeper to the law of attraction. Feelings draw thoughts. The real battle for our dreams takes place in our hearts. Thoughts by themselves can get us to the negotiating table but, to close the deal we will have to get our hearts to agree to it. Owning your heart… the seat of emotions is the result of getting the head and the heart working together. If our thoughts and our emotions aren’t harnessed into a single effort we will continue unfulfilled.

rainbow by grimeshome on flickr

Image courtesy of grimeshome via flickr.com

 

DEFINING MOMENTS

“Everybody’s life is either a warning or an example. You’ve got to decide what you’re going to be and you have to draw a line in the sand.” ~ Tony Robbins

We often treat our failures as the conclusion to what could have been. This is just wrong. I find the perfect in chaos! Learning to embrace pain and pleasure, as pieces of the whole and not as separate experiences, gives me a sense of self-acceptance. “A rainbow is a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction, and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. It takes the form of a multicolored arc. Rainbows caused by sunlight always appear in the section of the sky directly opposite the sun.” ~Wikipedia. Rainbows come after a storm. Let your light shine!

Any great achievement comes with a degree of danger. Most significant accomplishments follow a season of intense commitment. Oftentimes the celebration is escorted by a troublesome return to normalcy. According to the Harvard Business Review, after Michael Jordan lead his country to an Olympic Gold Medal, winning his third NBA championship, and scoring more points than any other player in the league for a seventh consecutive season he retired stating, “I just needed to change.”

Jon Stewart expressed similar sentiments in an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross. After directing his first movie, Stewart made the following remark about returning to the daily routine of The Daily Show, “I don’t know that there will ever be anything that I will ever be as well suited for as this show.” “That being said, I think there are moments when you realize that that’s not enough anymore, or that maybe it’s time for some discomfort.” ~HBR, February 3, 2015

I think it’s reasonable to conclude that most people’s lives have a mix of warnings and examples in them. Obviously, we want to be more example than a warning. It’s the dominant arc that gets the final tally. Jordan returned to basketball, and I could not have been more pleased, to accomplish even more incredible feats. I’m not sure where Jon Stewart will reemerge, but here’s the thing to remember in your ups and downs, if you’re still here, you have more to do.

spark of inspiration by@notnixon on flickr

Image courtesy of @notnixon via flickr.com

 

INSPIRATION IS A HABIT

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.” ~Jack Canfield

One common denominator I have found among the many successful people I’ve studied is this, success is found in your daily routine. Another lesson I’ve learned the hard way is taking care of myself first. Many people struggle with this concept. We need a time of reflection, meditation, and contemplation that’s protected from intrusion. The morning works best for me because I want to start my day fully charged. It might be a different time for you but, by all means, give yourself a consistent time to align your passion with your activities.

It can be tricky but when we resolve to let the spark of inspiration mature into sustenance we wont go without the inspiration we need!

What do you think about inspiration?

This article first appeared in Read My Mind Magazine.

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Where Greatness Resides!

ELOCUTION

I’m intrigued by the way words are put together to convey ideas, sentiments, and deep emotions. I appreciate words, phrases, and quotes. I love to hear an angry person when they are in control of their vocabulary and verbally lay the ax to the root of bad ideas. I’m also excited to hear people who are equally adept at erecting the kind of noble word-lofts that even kings want to climb. And, I stand in awe of the celebratory individual with such a command of the English language that everyone wishes them to speak on their behalf.

Speech on pixabay

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 

The only thing that gets my creative energy flowing more than hearing powerful speeches, verbal duels, and passion inducing vernacular is action. Yeah, imagine that? My attention span becomes shorter and shorter as I become less and less convinced of the speaker’s commitment to what they are saying. I’ve lived too long now to play patty-cake with the idealistic rhetoric of people who think misinformation, deception, and manipulation as art forms.

Our public landscape is changing faster than politically correct terminology. Who can possibly keep up… whatever do you mean? Words are rarely innocent anymore. They are often cosmetically engineered to mean something different than their origin. It’s like dating a plastic surgeon who takes her work home with her. I still dig it. I’m just at a loss sometimes, to know which word is least likely to incarcerate me in the land of sacred spaces. Is my aggression micro or macro? Where is my shrink when I need him/her?

It’s generally accepted that words play a marginalized role. Tone and body language trump mere syllables. Hate speech, nouns and pronouns dipped in insanity, and incendiary disquisitions are most likely to get primetime play. If you have strung together a few lines or a paragraph of hope-filled solutions you should expect to be indicted for inciting a calm.

CLARIFICATION

I love to converse. Share ideas. Make peace with the lexicon pipe. Are we still capable of reasoning together? About important issues? It does seem like neighborly conversations over metaphoric picket fences might be extinct. The silence of the lambs is disturbed by peace devouring foxes. Did you get your shot? Everyone must be introduced slowly and methodically to the impediments of the common sense virus. 

peace pipe on pixabay

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 

I look both ways but, I find myself running a lot of red lights on intolerance these days. I’m hoping for a resurgence of simplicity and wisdom. We’re now at a time when getting over an education is more challenging than not obtaining one. Who would have ever thought dropouts could actually be the more scholarly career choice? No, I’m not advocating ignorance. But, to not see most colleges have replaced education with indoctrination would be ignorant indeed!

Human beings by nature are problems solvers. It’s just that we have this habit of reinventing negative systemic attacks on our general well-being. Somewhere, deep inside each of us resides the capacity to knock it off. Is remedy to scary of a concept? How about reminding ourselves that healing is a virtuous form of revenge.

DEFINITION

I was incensed so early in life I thought anger was a part of my anatomy. C’mon! This hell-bent annihilation of diversified viewpoints is nothing short of ideological genocide. We need a renewed mind that understands liberty is impossible without restraint. Just because we can say it doesn’t mean it’s expedient that we do.

We are all going to fight for what we believe in. And, we should. But, it will serve us well to be mindful that a free-for-all lacks stability. Our self-justified speechification is eating away at the beauty of independence. The best affirmative action is personal responsibility. It’s liberty and justice for all! or not at all.

Power of the tongue on pixabay

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 

I don’t like a lot of things. But, wishing thinking produces nothing. Our country has an expanded mind…the genie is out of the bottle. We need to learn to play together before we are bewitched beyond repair. We need a “first, do no harm, approach.

Words founded us. Words define us. Words sustain us. The power of life and death are on our tongues. What we say, how we say it, and who we say it to matters. Our greatness resides in our willingness to improve!

What do you say?

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The Vision Trip!

“If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness!” ~ Pablo Picasso

DESIRE

Eyes, please open. I really want to see. So many times I just haven’t been able to see clearly. With invisible blinders clarity resists. The craving for understanding growls like an unsatisfied tapeworm pushing me to keep believing in what is not yet revealed. How do we even know intuition will produce something tangible?

wild horse by Torbakhopper on flickr

Image courtesy of Torbakhopper via flickr.com

Believing has the companionship of reality or delusion. When hope begins to materialize it’s akin to a freshly prescribed pair of glasses. Antiquated thought restrictions loosen their grip. Liberty announces it’s presence. It’s the opposite of receiving a new package in the mail. It turns out that what we want is inside of us. And, has been all along.

QUESTIONS

I’ve heard it said many times; “the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.” I have sat through Q & A sessions where that theory could easily be challenged. Leading questions. Open-ended questions. Closed-ended questions. Popular questions. Unlikely questions. Reflective and hypothetical questions, Questions you wished you hadn’t asked and, questions you wished you had.

Inquiring minds are aroused, negatively and positively at the introduction of both familiar and unfamiliar ideas. The perceived answers we cling to are only as good as the questions we ask. Experience, human interactions, and various forms of language often offer opportunities to form more questions.

mindful ForbesOste on flickr

Image courtesy of ForbesOste via flickr.com

 

Thoughts structure the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual house we live in. To add on to our dwelling science/psychology explains, in order to change we must create new memories inside old ones. I discovered a principle that changed the trajectory of my life. It’s this, new answers require new questions. Ask the same question and you are likely to get the same answer.

RESISTANCE 

The technical term for the fear of change is Metathesiophobia. It’s a real thing. And, it is common enough to be recognized as a conditioning of vast segments of populations, cultures, and societies. Fear immobilizes us from taking any steps forward. Convincing us that it’s protecting us and providing security wherever we happen to be.

The admission that we are looking for something beyond what we are currently functioning in, ought to serve as an invitation, to be more open to greater understanding. Avoiding facing the tougher, more thought out, and demanding questions locks the door to growth. We feel trapped.

The temptation to double down where we are is difficult to resist. Changing our belief system, methods of operating, and familiar habits simply to say, we have changed, without the benefit of standing on higher ground, can be futile. Fear can reinvent itself without changing its core.

FREEDOM

Trending philosophies can harness a collective momentum that seems liberating until the net closes. Leaving us ensnared in an intricate woven tapestry that uses us for decorations, memorializing what could have been. Too many things appear virtuous until their deficits are unmasked.

Progress is a funny thing. Forward for some… backward for others. Is right and wrong really that controversial? While I am fascinated with how people come to opposite conclusions when considering the same information I am unwilling to switch my position until I can determine the end result of doing so.

Trip by J Sounder on flickr

Image courtesy of J Sonder via flickr.com

In an ever-changing world where mixed messages remain constant, I think it’s important to find resolve. Somethings are very knowable. For instance, what determines the value of anger is whether it’s attached to hurt or healing. We can ascertain the message of pain by whether or not we turn it into passivity or purpose. Our intention is decided by our altruistic or egoistic contributions.

Everybody is on a vision trip!

What do you see on your trip?

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CHECKING YOUR WORLD-VIEW!

Much of the mainstream news has sunk into activism. Their agenda is undisputed; they want to get us to believe what they are saying. It doesn’t matter if it’s true. The only fact that we can rely on, from the media monopoly, is their determination to get us to buy into what they’re selling. One really shouldn’t underestimate their commitment to propagate controlled deception.

Unfortunately, many people have allowed themselves to become desensitized to the reality of synchronized oppression. What is the truth? How do you find it? And, what should you do when you discover it?  Things don’t magically appear out of thin air. Make no mistakes about it, when fruit shows up it has a root.

Power politics have existed since Cain and Abel. If there are two people in the same proximity rest assured, one of them wants to boss the other one around. Or at least, wants what the other one has. Lord Acton has it right, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We are surrounded by a free-for-all where the fringe and elites alike are vying for as much power as they can possibly acquire. The power they seek, specifically, is over the commoner, average Joe, and every day you and me.

Sometimes we wake up by tragedy and sometimes we wake up with passion. Whatever it takes, be thankful to be awake. The time for resting on our laurels and burying our head in the sand has come and gone. The fox has hit the hen-house like a thief in the night. The feathers of our freedoms are quietly falling to the ground to be trampled on. We’ve been gently acclimated to the presence of violence in our most sacred spaces.

Even if you don’t agree with every point presented we owe a debt of gratitude to anyone who spends hours and hours in research, looking behind the walls of corruption and then sharing the information even at the risk of personal loss or harm. If the very idea of conspiracy theories and secret agendas have you quickly dismissing them without so much as considering their possibility, it might be expedient for you to check your world-view. Some people are devoted to investigating, uncovering, and sharing everything they find so that people can weigh the facts and decide for themselves what is true and what is not. I’ve come to know Luca Majno as a journalist who will make you think, and think again.

I take very little for granted. I routinely investigate information so that I can decide for myself. And, I always encourage others to do the same. I recently interviewed Luca, a fellow co-host on TLB TV. You can watch the whole interview by clicking this link:  http://bit.ly/2hF9dRq

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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