How To Honor Your Ashes!

Scorching your life offers nutrients not found in any other experience!

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I often hear great achievers talk about how they got to where they are. They relate methods for seizing your passion, empowering yourself with positive thinking, writing down your goals, and visualizing your dreams. Rarely are the back-stories presented in full disclosure. We routinely received the Readers’ Digest version.

While all success includes overcoming challenges and heralds dedication, determination, and a will to win we can benefit greatly from knowing more about the inner struggles. When we are offered the chance to follow an outline for triumph that doesn’t connect with the reality that we are living in its difficult to see desirable outcomes.

Occasionally, we get the deeper and more valuable storyline. The details of how beliefs of integral lack, feelings of not being good enough, and dealing with roots of unworthiness can address our most haunting questions. What we get from an open acknowledgment of personal failure is an invitation to move in closer. We rise inside, scoot to the edge of our seats, and brace for impact. We sense we are on the verge of a leap forward.

Fack Finality!

Every human being fails but, we do not all fail the same way. Failures get labeled because difference scares us. When we shut the door to learning by thinking we are always right and, only our way is the right way we bring a measure of finality that is unwarranted. We act out on an illusion; a type of fantasy that deceives us.

Only death concludes our participation in the ongoing saga of our lives. Until we take our final breath we retain the ability to write another chapter. To make our lives a celebration. To champion our intentions no matter how adversely they were hindered. All life experiences are a matter of interpretation.

The past has an overrated reputation and wields a mysterious kind of power. Through fear and manipulation, we succumb to directives of an imaginary nature. It’s easy to draw conclusions that either render us immobile or even drive us to retreat. I remind myself often that the past is less versatile than the present.

Perception is not reality but, what we perceive forms the reality we face. A closer look shows the past to have only two distinct potentials; the excuse for losing or the excuse for winning. It’s never too late to be what you were meant to be, to finish what you started, to start again, or to start for the first time.

“Don’t let the past be the imposter in your present.”

Grow From Within!

Failure Quote: Never confuse a single failure with a...

I scorched my life! I walk with a limp. And, I’m suspect of anyone who doesn’t. Oh, I’m thankful, very thankful that not everyone makes the same mistakes as I have made. I failed morally, intellectually, spiritually, and just about any other way you can think of. But I refuse to let any of it have the final word.

The landscape of my personal relationships, business relationships, and even family have undergone significant changes. You have to surround yourself with people who want the best for you, who believe in your inherent value, who can visualize your rise from the ashes. Remember, some people are for a reason and some are for a season!

Failure isn’t a grade its a lesson. Using what has gone wrong to correct your life’s course is wisdom personified. Hiding from our pain, embarrassment, or fear leads to the loss of precious time, the only thing we can’t get back. I’m not proud of my mistakes. I’m proud of not letting them define me. The sweetest revenge is success!

Honor Your Ashes!

 

 

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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The Power of Sufficiency!

Compassion

I came running from the backyard when I heard the magical tune of the ice cream truck. I darted into the house to ask grandma for the money to buy an ice cream. I panicked when she said she didn’t have the nickel it cost. I paused, standing in place as my hopes melted.

ice cream truck

Image courtesy of flickr.com

I was five or six years old on that warm summer day. I slowly walked outside as the truck drove past my house. We lived on a dead end street so I knew it had to come back past me. I stood at the edge where our sidewalk met the pavement. Pitiful as I could be, tears streaming down my face. The young man driving the truck evidently couldn’t take my distraught demeanor so he stopped and gave me an ice cream for free.

The next day I was playing away when I heard that same sound. I jumped off the tire swing leaped up on the porch and yanked on the screen door slamming it into the wall as it swung open. I ran into the house to find grandma. I didn’t have a good handle on economics. I didn’t understand that our finances hadn’t changed since yesterday. I gasped as the air completely departed my lungs.

Wait! I cried my way into an ice cream yesterday. Maybe I can do it again. I put on my sad sack formal wear and assumed my post. I watched in anticipation as the truck turned around at the end of our road. Here he comes…I got my beg on. He acted like he didn’t see me. I think he even stepped on the gas as he went by. I’ve never forgotten the feelings I experienced on both of those days.

We were poor and I hated everything it represented. I have so many memories of being left out because we couldn’t afford this or that. I think in my own naive way I vowed to overcome monetary depravity. I didn’t want to ever feel those feelings again.

A Backward Glance

I ventured out into the world unprepared to succeed. My father and three stepfathers did little to move my ball down the court. Leaving home at fifteen to escape the violence and hatred did little to increase my stature. Even though I left prematurely I didn’t get out before some significant damage was done.

I looked back only to remind myself to keep going. I wished things were different but, it didn’t take long to learn that wishful thinking wasn’t the mother of invention. I appreciated the free ice cream I got that day but I wanted to be able to pay for ice cream whenever I got the urge.

Steady As She Goes

When I got married and had a couple of kids my financial forecast was bleak at best. I wanted a family…the family I never had. I also wanted to give my kids a better life…a better childhood than I’d had. I didn’t have a very good plan or strategy to make a better life but, what I did have was the intention to do so.

perfect storm comons.wikimedia.org

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Shame is a terrible weight to carry and I was loaded with it. Before I knew what my issues were I added on layers of responsibilities. Life is full of good intentions that never get followed through on. I had the makings of a perfect storm.

I tried one thing after another. Seeking. Searching. Trying to make it all happen. Oftentimes my only fuel was the necessity of those depending on me. I simply had to keep going. There was so much I immediately improved. And, there were fierce repetitions from adolescence at work that I didn’t even know were there.

The refusal to give up eventually brought about opportunities. The kind of monumental moments that change your trajectory. Things began to work out that wasn’t connected to any well-planned scheme. They happened solely because I kept looking, pushing, believing I could make life worth living.

Never Give Up

Back in the 90’s I built a  multi-million dollar insurance agency. The residual income should have lasted me for the rest of my life. For a while, it looked like I had set us up for good. Through some mergers and shifty corporate shenanigans, it evaporated overnight. Gone with a thirty-day notice.

I don’t like to be violated, who does? I don’t know how to warm up to rejection. What I do know is that disappointment is never unemployed. It’s almost like some people feel it’s required of them to do you wrong and do so blaming you for their unacceptable behavior. I’ve had the bitter experience of disappointing myself more deeply than anyone else has. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.

Callenge yourself Air Mobility Command

Image courtesy of Air Mobility Command

When you peer past the obvious there remains a subtle truth: If you made it once you can make it again! If you’ve yet to experience that one big break the only reason…the only reason you’re thinking about it is that it’s within you…within your reach.

In a world filled with corruption, polarization, and the hollowness of the world wide web we have a standing invitation to make things better for ourselves and those we come in contact with. The age of entitlement is half right. We are each entitled to our dreams and to what we can achieve. But, if we define success by what is given to us we can never be free. We cannot know what we are capable of and we will never know who we are.

I learned something about compassion the day that young man stopped and gave me an ice cream. I learned something even more important the very next day when he didn’t stop… when he didn’t even look my way, I learned the power of sufficiency!

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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 Secret of Change!

We all know if we keep doing the things we are doing, the same way we are doing them, we remain as we are, have what we have, and commit ourselves to exploits only of the imaginary.

Those who have wrestled challenges into cooperation enjoy the benefits of tangible fruit. The deep satisfaction that comes from seeing ideas, hopes, and dreams take on reality can leave a person breathless and oxygenated at the same time. I find it easy to celebrate the successes of anyone that pours themselves into excellence. I know what it takes to face yourself, overcome obstacles, and refuse to settle. If you beat the odds, you’ll have me jumping for joy right along with you!

Change on wikimedia

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Navigating the twists and turns of life without losing forward momentum is an admirable trait. I’ve witnessed those rare individuals who make it look easy but, closer scrutiny reveals it’s an illusion. They’re operating under a very different paradigm than the average fellow. While remarkable results usually include a strong work ethic, we shouldn’t overlook other principles.

What’s the secret? You ask. Let’s start by backing up a little. Any honest self-reflection will include taking inventory, in reality. “You can do anything you set your mind to!”  We’ve all heard this, felt the twinge of excitement brought on by the very suggestion. But, is it true? I find there are elements, common dynamics, and systematic traits with people that reach the highest levels. It does, in fact, take a resolute mind. However, there is more to the story than meets the casual eye.

Dr. Liza Siegel, the psychologist for the hit reality shows “The Apprentice” and “Survivor,” has had a front-row seat to what it takes to succeed, and what to do when at first you don’t succeed. In her book Suite Success, Dr. Siegel lays out six essential psychological characteristics of successful people. They are Optimism, Creativity, Resilience, Self-Control, Emotional Awareness, and Sociability. You may want to read all about these categories in her book Suite Success: The Psychologist from “The Apprentice’ Reveals What It Takes to Excel – in the Boardroom and in Life.” (Available on Amazon)

Garret Kramer, the noted sports Psychologist, and Coach have recently caught my attention. In his latest book “The Path of No Resistance” Garret enunciates that its insight, and not intellect that fuels our ability to achieve. I had to dig into Garrett’s train of thought to understand his “inside-out” model. Being a subscriber to self-help principles, it took some careful consideration before I could admit that many of the strategies I adhere to were not working. I’m thankful to have discovered this insight.

I listened to a Ted Talk by Richard St. John. Richard spent ten years interviewing over five hundred successful people and then analyzed the data resulting in identifiable characteristics. In his book 8 To Be Great: The 8-Traits That Lead to Great Success, he lists them for us: Passion for what you do. Work hard and have fun. Focus on one thing – not everything. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Consistently coming up with new ideas. Constantly improve. Provide value to others. Persist through failure.

An article I read by, Ciara Conlon, on lifehack.org offered one of the more comical takes on the attributes of highly successful people. They are early risers. The “Mind over Mattress” reference she makes can’t go unacknowledged. Getting up just one hour earlier each day gains 15 days a year. I have always been an early riser. For me, it has been effortless. I love the fewer distractions during the wee hours. I do understand the challenge this poses for anyone clamoring for a few more minutes of pillow time.

changes on pinterest

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“If you do not change your direction, you may end up where you are going.” ~Lao Tzu.

Before climbing every mountain, I passed through the valley below. These highs and lows have been the perpetual classrooms of my education. Forming the experiences of my life. I’ve been able to tabulate a few absolutes throughout my six decades of mounting the impossible, facing my fears, and relishing in moments of jubilation. My trials, errors, and awakening may not be everyone else’s normal… it certainly is mine.

As I continue to discover life’s deeper meaning and caress understanding, I live more and more intentional. If I had to step through the many concepts of success principles and offer only one as a gift to others my tip, from personal experience would be this, find the “why” of your life. Almost everyone can explain what they do, write, sing, sew, etc. Others can even talk about how they do things. But, knowing why you do what you do is what separates distinction from mediocrity.

Why are you here? Simon Sinek, (Ted Talk) uses what he calls the golden circle to explain the concept of why. He asks, what’s your cause, your belief, your purpose? Why do you get out of bed in the morning and, why should anyone care? I can tell you it’s not accolades, fame, or even profits. Most people start with what, move to how, and maybe get to why illustrates the “outside in” predominance.

Find your why on braintraining tools.org

Image courtesy of braintrainingtools.org

 

We all deserve to find our place in the universe, to offer our unique contribution to serving others, and create the world of our dreams. Recognizing the temptation to dally in external factors and strategies affords us the opportunity to cancel distractions. Authenticity, success, and contentment is an inside job. Reversing the trend of utilizing the least essentials first will put us on the right track.

The secret of change is discovering your why!

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This article originally appeared in Read My Mind Magazine.

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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MATTERS OF FACT!

Love, as a necessary construct is missing. When I observe society and consider our present state of affairs I find that many of our social ills are the direct result of a lack of love. Our politics and policies would look very different if we insisted on compassion and empathy as the framework for governance.

Liberals and conservatives occupy the landscape like they are the only choices we have available. These two predominant points of view, in their present makeup, fail to accurately present the growing concerns of the vast majority of our population. As awareness, of the deep departure from the principles of our founding, matures, more and more people are wanting to return to our roots.

As diversity is touted as the pinnacle of enlightenment we discover that “political correctness” has only camouflaged the corruption of special interests. Back-room deals, constitutional ignorance, and an out of control elite class has run our country off course. There’s a rising mandate to recover from years of dysfunction and abuse of power.

We’re living in an echo chamber where we have been trading deficits with imaginary progress. We have sliced and diced our way into divisions and clicks that can only be described as mass detachment from reality. We have erected totems that represent attitudes of self-centeredness and selfish thinking that epitomizes the worst of humanity. For all of our accumulated knowledge, we lack the basic restraints needed for recognizing the unalienable rights of every living person.

It’s time to … 

I’m not inviting or encouraging nullifying any genuine progress that is universally beneficial, without violation, and non-threatening. I am advocating for authentic and transparent leadership, accountability to our oaths, and a willingness to respect our principles as we heal ourselves from the wounds of manipulation. I’m promoting personal responsibility as the means to charter chaotic waters. I’m saying we have not yet found our best selves.

The acknowledgment that what we’re doing isn’t working as a society is the beginning of our rebirth. What lies ahead is alterable. Personalities that provide lip service and false promises are losing their grip on our people. More and more rhetoric is being dissected and schemes to strip us of our power is being uncovered. A return to love affords us the opportunities we need to correct our path.

I’m excited and filled with hope for the future before us. I believe in our ability to regain our destiny. As we face our challenges we do so with the determination that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is still a possibility for all of us. We have a lot of work to do but, the work has already begun. Let us not grow weary in the worthy endeavor of triumphing over times of prevailing corruption.

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