In today’s post to his Jack’s Winning Word blog, Jack talked about the fact that “gruntled” is an actual word in its own right, even though we almost always use it in the negative sense (as in disgruntled) as a way to describe unhappy people.
tells us –
that you could greet someone who approaches with a smile by saying, “You look
particularly gruntled today.” They probably wouldn’t know how to react to that.
How do you
react to gruntled people when you encounter them during your day? Is your reaction
one of trying to bring them down – sort of what the heck are you so happy
about? Or do you immediately share their gruntleness and smile back? After all,
isn’t it more pleasant to be happy with them than to force them to join you in
whatever state of disgruntlement that you were in?
you keep the word “gruntled” in mind it will help you take the higher road. It
is pretty hard to say in your mind, “you look very gruntled today” and not
smile or chuckle to yourself. If nothing else, you can congratulate yourself
for knowing a unique word to describe their happy state.
So, don’t dis the gruntled people that you meet today. Join them in their gruntled state and have a better day because of it.
In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this little quote – “A life without faith in something is too narrow a space to live.” (George Woodberry)
I have a feeling that I could have inverted the words in my
headline for today by stating that hope is the foundation upon which faith
builds, but I really believe that faith comes first. Out of faith grows the
hope for a better life. Out of faith comes the courage to try. And, it is faith
that give us the strength to try again in the face of failures.
Faith embraces the idea that there is something working in our
lives that is bigger than us and stronger than us. Faith requires that we
accept something that we cannot see or touch, yet it touches us in every aspect
of our lives and “sees” everything that we do. Faith requires that we believe,
rather than understand; that we accept what happens, rather than futilely fighting;
that we trust, rather than demand; and, that we openly accept God in our lives,
rather than stubbornly rejecting His help.
Once the foundation
of faith is laid down in your life, you can begin to hope with a sense of
confidence that everything will turn out all right. You may get what you hoped
for in ways that you never imagined. You may begin to see that underlying
almost all hopes and dreams is the desire to be happy in life. Having a strong
faith at your core may allow you to be happy with yourself and you may discover
that little else matters. You might come to understand that you are living your
dream already and that your hopes have been answered. Little in the material
world matters much, once you have a firm faith as your foundation.
So don’t just hope for a better day, have faith that you
will have a better day. . In Hebrews
11:1 we are told, “Now faith is the
assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of thingsnot seen.”
Have conviction, have faith, have hope and have a great week ahead.
I seem to be stuck on the topic of finding a way to move on in life, but it is important enough to write about again.
A post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog some time back used this quote – Fix the problem, not the blame – Unknown
As I scan the posts to various social media sites that I
belong to, the advice in that little quote seems to go unheeded most of time.
Perhaps it is just human nature to try to find out who, or what, to blame for
whatever happens, especially things that happen to us. Obviously, it can’t be
my fault, so I need to find someone else to blame for any misfortune that
An unfortunate side effect of losing focus on the problem
itself, in the search for someone or something to blame, is that we often don’t
benefit from learning from the problem. Instead of increasing our wisdom and
making sure that the same thing doesn’t happen again, we focus instead on
finding a scapegoat upon which to heap the blame for our misfortune. This
exonerates us from taking responsibility for placing ourselves in the situation
that caused the problem and for the poor decisions that we may have made during
the incident. The knee-jerk reaction that “It’s not my fault” almost always
leads us to find someone else, or something else, to blame.
So stop yourself, the next time you go into reaction mode by
asking “who did this to me” or “what caused this” and turn your focus instead
to “what can I learn from this?” There is another saying that applies here –
You cannot control
what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to
you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to
master you. – Brian Tracy
A big part of mastering the changes that occur in your life
is keeping focus upon the problems and not on trying to fix the blame for
things. Don’t waste your time on blame fixing, you’ve got enough to do to
controlling how you react and working to fix the problem.
Besides eliminating wasted time, you may find that staying
focused on the problem makes it much easier to just put things behind you and
move on with life, when you don’t look for someone or something to blame. It
happened, it’s done, it’s nobody’s fault, what can you learn from it? Then get
on with life.
“Not the power to remember,
but it’s the very opposite; the power to forget is a necessary condition for
our existence.” (Sholem Asch)
I’m not sure that most people really forget things that
were significant in their lives, especially bad things; and, I suspect that
forgiving the things that others do to us is even harder for many. However, the
ability to put things behind us and move on with life is a trait that most
should try to adopt.
So, perhaps the advice that is in the quote from Jack’s
blog is really telling us that we need to stop wasting our time agonizing over
things that are passed and let go of them. We can’t go through life saying to
ourselves, “I can’t believe this has happened” or “I can’t accept that this has
happened”. It happened. Believe it. Accept it. Put it behind you. That will
allow us to move forward with life.
The immediate reaction to those statements may be “That’s easy for you to say, it didn’t happen to you.” The fact is that similar things happen all the time to lots of people. People die. People get divorced. Relationship[s end. People leave home. People disappoint us. Things happen. You’re still here, so what are you going to do? Curling up into a fetal position and whimpering about it won’t help. Getting mad at the world won’t help. Wallowing in regrets won’t help. Getting mad at God for letting this happen to you won’t help; but perhaps turning to God for help will.
Perhaps some advice from people wiser than me will help –
“Even though you
may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In
order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the
fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the
past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of
today?” – Mary Manin Morrissey
“Cry. Forgive. Learn.
Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” – Steve
A common theme in all of the quotes that I found on this
topic was the need to move on, in order to achieve future happiness. So, give
some thought to the question that Mary Morrissey asked – “What is it that you would let go of today?” If you need to have
that cry, do it and move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your happiness
Find those things that are holding you back and let go of them today. Tomorrow will be a better day if you do that today. Heck, the rest of today will even be better. Time to let go and move on.
From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog come s this tidbit of wisdom – “The world is full of abundance and opportunity. Too many come with a teaspoon instead of a steam shovel.” (Ben Sweetland)
This refers to the preverbal “toe in the water” approach to
life and the opportunities that we encounter. Far too many allow their fear of failure
prevent them from even trying, when opportunity knocks at their door. Others may be held back by prejudices or misunderstanding,
especially in opportunities that require that we interact with someone who is “different.”
The opportunities to know someone else are abundant for
most. Just think about the number of people that you encounter during a normal
day. Do you come with a teaspoon to those opportunities or do you embrace them whole-heartedly
with a steam shovel, open-arms approach? What are your first thoughts when
encountering someone new? Are they questions about who they are, where they
come from and what fascinating things you might learn from them? Perhaps they are
thoughts of fear or distrust and perhaps even hate, because of how they look? Do
you go in the offensive to welcome and greet them or put up your defenses to
avoid or put them off?
Each encounter with someone new should be viewed as an
opportunity, not a threat. These are people who bring with them memories and
knowledge about things that you have not encountered. They have back-stories
that can be fascinating. They have opinions and points of view that you may
never have considered. They allow you to add their perspective to your view of
things. They expand your realm of human experience by sharing theirs. You can’t
achieve that with an object, a non-human thing. No matter how fascinating it
might seem initially, it cannot share with you. Even a beloved pet provides
only a one-sided relationship, as much as we try to give voice to them. Only a relationship
with another human is one that may be truly enrich our lives through its sharing.
Can you put aside your fears and prejudices long enough to
allow yourself a real opportunity for a relationship with someone new and
perhaps different? Opportunities often hold out the chance for rewards, if you
take advantage of them. The rewards of friendship, companionship and perhaps
even love are there for the taking in your encounters with new people. How you
chose to share those opportunities for relationships is up to you. Will you use
a teaspoon or bring your steam shovel into the relationship? Are you willing to
give the relationship as much as you get from it? A lot depends upon how you
approach it. The opportunities are all around you. I suggest that you get out
your steam shovel and dig in.
In a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack used this quote from Annette Funicello – “Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.” I suspect that many don’t remember Annette Funicello, the movie actress and ex-Mousketeer. Annette died from complications of multiple sclerosis after a long battel with the disease. Certainly, her later life was not perfect, but she made the best of it. Many find themselves in situations that are far from perfect. Those who do best in those situations are those who can still find the wonder in life.
have a feeling that, if life were without problems all of the time it would become
boring and much less wonderful. Another of Jack’s recent quotes comes to mind –
“Just because a path
is difficult doesn’t mean that it’s not rewarding.” (Danielle Thralow)
In fact, it is in
overcoming difficulties and challenges that most people find the most satisfying
feelings of being alive. There may be some real, physical reward at the end of
a struggle, but just the feeling of accomplishment and victory over the problem
is the best reward. For most in their “prime” years, life is too intense to be
boring. They work heads-down to make the living that allows them to play hard
in their few moments of off time. The demands of job and family life fill each
day and seldom give boredom a chance to creep in.
When they retire, it
is the dramatic reduction in the daily challenges at work that leave many
feeling bored and less useful. Some actually channel the energy that they used
to use at work into their retirement hobbies. Many just go back to work,
perhaps in some other field than the one that they retired from, or in
volunteer work. They crave the challenges and feelings of reward for a job well
done. I personally find the thought of sitting around with nothing to do to be completely
alien. Therefore, I work at two jobs part-time and do quite a bit of volunteer
Whatever stage in life
you are in, it is important to look for the wonderful in life, instead of hanging
on the imperfect things. Looking for and finding the wonderful things in your
life isn’t that hard, but it does require that you stop for a few moments to
stop and look up from your daily routine (some use the word grind) and think
about all of the things in your life that you love. Stop and think for a moment
about your family, maybe about your home, possibly about your job and certainly
about all of the things that God has given you. It may not all be perfect, but
it certainly is wonderful, when you really think about it.
Sometimes just taking that pause to wonder at all that you have allows you to stop worrying about things that you don’t have or to let go of things that are not perfect. Ignore the imperfect and look instead upon the wonderful in your life.
In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack told a wonderful little story that used this quote as it’s headline – “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.” (Shakespeare) Go read Jack’s post.
There is a little phrase that people often use – “in my
mind’s eye”. They use it to describe the ability to “see” things in our minds.
Athletes use this ability to visualize a shot or a play ahead of it actually
happening. Most of us use it to give form to our imaginations and conjure up
images of the good or bad things to come. It is interesting that vision is the
primary sense that we imagine in our minds and not touch or smell or sounds
(although most dreams, which also take place in the mind, involve sounds as
well as things that we see).
So, how does one see love in the minds eye? I would submit that is less visual than it sounds and involves the “mental” sensations of various of our senses all at the same time. One does not so much “see” love and they sense it, they experience it. You can watch love (or experience it yourself) as a child (or adult) plays with a new puppy. There is unconditional love coming from the puppy and the new owner is returning that love. You also see it many times with young couples interacting when they think no one is watching (or they don’t care if anyone is watching).
Trying to put the experience of love into words gets
complicated. It is a feeling of warmth and safety and surrender and
reciprocation and comfort and appreciation that washes over you all at the same
time. There are alliterative phrases that have been used by authors, poets and
song writers trying to describe this feeling, like “melting into his arms” or “a
warm embrace” or “swimming in the pools of her eyes”. Whatever words one
chooses to use to describe the feeling of love usually end up describing a very
satisfying experience or state of mind.
How do you “see” love in your mind’s eye? What words come to your mind when you think of someone (or something) that you love? Doesn’t that make you feel better?
Imagine how great you would feel is you could love everyone that you meet. That is what Jesus asked us to do in Luke, Mark and Matthew when he stated the Second Great Commandment – “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What a great place to live this world would be if instead of meeting people with judgement or fear or prejudice or hate, we met them with love in our minds. The next time you meet a stranger, trying seeing them with love in your mind’s eye.
In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this quote from teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg:
“I want you to act as if your
house is on fire.”
It is common wisdom that when threatened most people react one of two ways – flight or fight. The flight response can take many forms – actually running away, lying to yourself and others, or just pretending not to notice. The fight response usually takes the form of some action to deal with the threat.
I would submit that the “house” that Greta alluded to is one
that we all live in – the planet Earth – and the threat is not a fire but the effects
of climate change. The response of many to this threat has been to ignore it or
to create and spread the lie that it is not happening. That is a flight
response. It is real. It is happening. Our house is on fire.
The flight response has not worked, nor will it ever work.
We must turn and fight this fire in our house. Making that choice can leave you
feeling a little like those pictures you see every now and then from California
when wild fires are raging. Perhaps you’ve seen the ones with the homeowner
standing there with his pathetic little garden hose trying to save his house by
himself. It is a feeling of helplessness and being alone in a futile battle.
That does not have to be the case.
You are not alone. There are many organizations out there
that are rallying support against climate change. Some focus upon trying to get
big companies to change their polluting ways; others focus on the political
process and back candidates who get it and are committed to making changes to save
the planet. Still others primarily focus upon educating the public and changing
the mindsets of citizens who are still in flight mode by fighting against the
misinformation being spread by the polluters themselves.
It’s time to take a stand and fight! It is your house. It is
on fire! What will you do? Flight or fight?
Maybe it’s time to listen to the child – “And a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6 ) – and join Greta in her fight against climate change.
“Take care of your
body. It’s the only place you have to live.” (Jim
One of our local Chamber of Commerce members is Nancy
McDaniels, who is a personal trainer. Nancy uses a tag line that is similar – “Remember
that your body is the only place that you have to live.”
While today’s post title may sound like I’m talking about
active self-destructive behavior in which you abuse your body, it is just as
much about just letting your body (or mind) go to pot as anything. Doing
nothing is a popular option when contemplating following the proper diet and doing
the exercise that you should be doing routinely. However, doing nothing is not a
benign option; it is a destructive choice that too many people allow to rule
their lives. Doing nothing is as abusive as doing obviously harmful things.
The body needs regular exercise to maintain muscle tone and to retain balance and flexibility. Up until he was on his deathbed, my grandfather had a daily morning routine in which he ran through a series of stretching and movement exercises to maintain his body. He lived to be 98. My father did not follow that example and only lived into his mid-70’s. Unfortunately, lately I have been more like my father than my grandfather. I need to get back to a regular routine of exercising.
Sometimes we all need someone else to prod us into doing the things that we should be doing. In the case of your physical health that somebody is often a personal trainer. Just joining a gym or health club isn’t really enough, just like buying an exercise bike for your home isn’t usually successful either. Both are easy to blow off when you have no one to hold you accountable. That’s one of the roles of the personal trainer.
In addition to abusing your body by not exercising regularly, one can abuse themselves mentally by getting down on themselves all the time or allowing themselves to be mentally overwhelmed into a state of depression. Often the root cause of alcoholism this feeling of being overwhelmed and seeing alcohol as the way to feel better. That is not the answer!
The point of these posts, and others that I’ve done on that topic, is that you must deal with your own self-image and get comfortable with who you are, in order to keep yourself mentally healthy. Only then will you really be able to deal with the things that life throws at you that initially may seem to be overwhelming.
The feeling of being overwhelmed can quickly spiral into
depression if you can’t deal with it. Depression can be as debilitating as an injury
or physical illness. Dealing with
depression requires that you have some ability to identify it and I posted
The take-away from all of this is that one needs to be proactive in managing both their physical and mental health. In both cases, there is positive impact to be had from engaging an outside party as your coach or councilor. Both your physical well being and your mental state can severely impact your body and that really is the only place that you have to live.
Don’t continue to abuse yourself; get the help that you need to keep your mind and body in great shape, whether that is a personal trainer or perhaps a mental health counselor.