Dump your ego and find peace…

August 3, 2022

Two quotes that I had in my collection of quotes seemed to work well together today –

Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel inner peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your inner peace and then everything will fall into place.’  (Marianne Williamson)

“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.”  (Wayne Dyer, motivational author)

The first quote talks about letting go of the egotistical view that one can control things that are happening in life, while the second gives great advice on how to let go of that egotistical view of life.

I have advised many times about using the same little prayer to get yourself in the right frame of mind to deal with the issues of life – “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

To some that prayer sounds like you are giving up or surrendering to life’s events. The reality is that you were never in control of the events no matter how hard you tried to be. That was just your ego trying to assert itself. The only thing that you can really control is your response to those events. That prayer allows one to let themself off the hook for causing or controlling the events, but not for how one reacts to those events.

Williamson’s quote says nothing about being able to control or change the events in your life. Rather it refocuses you on accepting and dealing with those events and being at peace with yourself and the decisions that you make. Dyer’s quote provides a big clue on howe to achieve that peace. His advice is also to put ego aside (how you think life should be or maybe how you think you can make life turn out) and focus instead on calmly dealing with the events of life.

Note also that Williamson’s quote says nothing about changing the events that are occurring, only about changing the outcome of (or reaction to) those events as they apply to you. Rather than working yourself into a frantic lather worrying about things to come or beating yourself up over things that have already happened or trying futilely to control the events happening in your life, you can accept that they happen and focus instead on the best way to react to them. The best way, as Williamson opines is to be at peace and let the pieces fall into place. And, as Dyer recommends, the best way to achieve that peace is to retrain your mind to stop wasting time trying to be in control (your ego).

So, perhaps you should start your day with the little prayer, “not my will but thy will be done” and then follow up by asking God’s help to remain at peace and make good decisions on how to react to events as they unfold.

Dump your ego and find your inner peace that will help you get through the day.

So, get started already…

August 2, 2022

I saved this quote from a recent email of quotes that I get every day – “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” (Amelia Earhart)

You might also say, “You can’t keep going if you never get started.” For many of us, it is that getting started part that is the hardest. I find that I spend way too much time thinking about what could go wrong, rather than what could go right and that often prevents me from doing anything at all. In the end, when I actually do something, it usually turns out alright and my fears almost never come to pass. Does that happen to you, too?

In physics there are the concepts of inertia and momentum. Things at rest tend to stay at rest and things in motion tend to stay in motion. There are people like that, too. Some people seldom get started. They allow themselves to stay at rest because they see that as the “safe” option. Other seldom rest, they seem always to be doing something to be constantly in motion. I’ll bet that you know both kinds of people. Which do you see yourself as being?

walking man

The thing is that nothing happens until something happens – until you put yourself in motion. Things, including your life, won’t change for the better all by themselves. They need to be nudged, to be put in motion and you can provide that nudge. You need be more than a by-stander in life. So, get started already.

What holds many people back is indecision about what direction to take. The truth is that moving in any direction is better than sitting in place. Even taking a direction that is wrong at least gets you started and you can make course corrections as you realize your mistakes. One learns, not from sitting there imagining how things might turn out, but from actually doing things right or wrong – from being in motion. So, get started already.

What will you do today? Will you sit there frozen into inertia by fears of what could go wrong or will you strike out in some direction and make corrections as needed? Make the difficult decision to act and then be tenacious about staying in motion. So, get started already.

Keep them guessing…

July 26, 2022

Today’s quote is a good reminder to sometimes just stay silent and smile – “Always remember: Silence and smile are two very powerful tools.” (Paulo Coelho)

In today’s noisy and often acrimonious world there is way too little silence and too few smiles. Remaining silent in the face of loud complaints or expressions of opinion often gives the other person pause to consider what they just said? Did I not understand what they said or maybe do I not agree? And why am I smiling at them? They just don’t know.

Many times, people who are loudly proclaiming something are really looking for acceptance and reinforcement of their opinion. They do not find that in silence as a response to their rant and that is jarring to their confidence. And then, there is that smile. What does that mean? Am I smiling because I think they just said something that is completely stupid? Maybe I’m just smiling out of pity for someone who can be so far off the mark. They just don’t know.

So, keep Coelho’s advice in mind the next time that you are in a situation, perhaps one that is emotionally charged, that seems to dictate a response from you. Use the most powerful tools that you have – your silence and a smile. Keep them guessing.

There is another saying that applies, too. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” That saying has been variously attributed to Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln. Seldom these days do people jump to the conclusion that someone who remains silent is a fool. Rather they become concerned that they may have just made a fool of themselves. Keep them guessing.

Who are you becoming? Keep your hopes alive.

July 24, 2022

I saw this quote recently and just loved it, because it is such a great positive message of hope –

“I have hope in who I am becoming.”  (Charlotte Erikson)

Shortly after saving that quote, I got this graphic in a daily email that I get –

What a great message it carries, too.

I don’t think that you necessarily have to come to a cathartic event, such as entering the chrysalis state like the caterpillar does when it turns into a butterfly, in order to change and become the butterfly that you hope to be. The point is to consciously decide to make the commitment to the changes in your life that will alter the trajectory of it. Commit to turning into the new you.

Women may find the illusion to changing into a butterfly easier to accept than men, but the point is not one of changing one’s outer beauty so much as the inner you changing to become a better and more beautiful person inside – a person that others want to be around and an example for others to follow.

Maybe you can start each day with a little prayer such as,” God give me the strength and perseverance to become the person that I know that I can be.”  Just putting yourself in that frame of mind each morning will make each day better and get you one step closer to who you are becoming.

So, have hope in who you are becoming and welcome the change; not into a butterfly, but into the new and improved you. It’s a beautiful thing.

Do you have useful purpose in your life?

July 22, 2022

I saved these quotes over time, and they seem to go well together:

“The important thing is that men should have a purpose in life. It should be something useful, something good.”  (Dalai Lama)

“The purpose of life is to be useful to be honorable to be compassionate to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

I suppose that most people don’t view their lives as being useless. After all they work and support themselves, and perhaps others. That would seem to be useful, but I think the Dalai Lama and Emerson both had something else in mind when they said that we need to be useful.

The purpose that both had in mind was to be doing things for others or to make life better for others. But why?

In Philippians 2:2-8 we read – “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.” 

Another Bible interpretation of being useful is to bear the fruit of the vine.

In John 15 we read that Jesus said – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

What is the fruit of the vine?

The fruit of the vine and the fruit of the Spirit are the same and we are told –

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23)

So, in this sense, the purpose of our lives is to live in such a way that we share those attributes with our fellow man. By doing so we will make their lives better and fulfill the purpose that both the Dalai Lama and Emerson had in mind.

Don’t let the Bible quotes comparing what your actions to those of Christ intimidate you. The intent is that you learn from the life of Christ and try to emulate it as best you can by being conscious of the fruits of the Spirit and practicing them in your day-today life. Each day you can look at that list from Galatians and turn each item on that list into an action statement for your life that day, i.e. “I will show kindness to others” or “I will be patient with others” or maybe “I will exercise self-control when dealing with others.”

If you consciously do those things each day, you will be doing useful things by making the lives of others better. You will have purpose in your life and your life will be better, too.

Live well. Have purpose.

Leave your shadow behind…

July 21, 2022

In yesterday’s post to his Blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this old German proverb – “Come on, jump over your shadow.” Pastor Freed explained in his post how it was used originally to challenge someone to take risks.

Our shadows might be seen as a metaphor for our fears or maybe our reputation; so, leaving it behind allows us to try new things. The thing about shadows is that we seldom think of them, they are just there, following us around, much like the fears and prejudices that follow us around and limit our experiences. I can imagine how someone could see their shadow as being something that holds them back. We do not try new things because we are afraid of unintended consequences. We do not meet new people because they are different from us, and we allow our fears or prejudices to hold us back. Come on, jump over your shadow.

Our “shadow” might also be used to refer to our reputation, or at least what we think is our reputation – the shadow of our self-perception. This is the perception that others have or us or maybe that we have of ourselves. Perhaps we see ourselves as introverted and shy, so we avoid doing things that many others do because, “we just don’t do things like that” – we are afraid to even try. Yet something in us is shouting the old German proverb – Come on, jump over your shadow.

Maybe we are conscientious that we avoid certain people, not because of who they are but what they are – a different color, a different look, a different way of speaking, something “different” from us. That is the shadow of our unfounded fears and prejudices following us around. Every time that shadow yells “Don’t talk to them”, another voice in the back of your mind that longs to know more about them is saying, “Come on, jump over your shadow.”

At work we may not be happy with our job or position in the company, but we hesitate to talk to our managers about getting ahead or doing something different and potentially more rewarding. Maybe it is a fear of being fired or maybe just a lack of confidence in our on ability to perform a different job. Yet we hear that nagging little voice saying, “Come on, jump over your shadow.”

Whatever our reason for holding ourselves back in life and in relationships, we need to find the courage to heed the old German proverb. Perhaps we can find the courage that we need in ISAIAH 41:8-10 –

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Maybe you can refocus away from fear and upon the positives of your faith:

 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 TIMOTHY 1:7)

Whatever your motivation, summon up your faith and assert your self-control. There are wonderful people and great opportunities just beyond the shadows of fear and prejudice that are holding you back. “Come on, jump over your shadow”

Change you and change the world…

July 15, 2022

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “We’re told that ‘You can’t change the world.’, but the world is changing every day.  The only question is…Who’s changing it?  You or someone else?”  (J. Michael Straczynski)

That quote almost immediately brought to mind the quote, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” That quote is often mistakenly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi; but, according to Quote Investigator, what Gandhi actually said was:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.”

Gandhi passed away in 1948, and Quote Investigator went on to report that the first sources of the abbreviated quote appeared many years later in 1974 within a self-help book chapter written by educator Arleen Lorrance. It was called the Love Project and stated:

One way to start a preventative program is to be the change you want to see happen.”

Quote Investigator wne on to state that it took a couple of years more — until 1987 — when a Santa Fe, New Mexico Newspaper article about a self-help group organized by Mary Lou Cook was quoted as saying that the inspiration to form such a group came from a statement by Gandhi: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

The attribution of that quote to Gandhi has stuck ever since, even though he never said it in that way.

Even so, Gandhi’s thought that we control the change in the world by controlling our reactions to those change puts us back in control of the change that is going on in the world. Change happens every day all over the world and you see or experience only a tiny bit of it. The key to the impact that you will have on the changes that are occurring is your conscious effort to react to them. One can benignly accept the changes that are occurring or one can choose to do something about them – either in a positive and reinforcing way for changes that we agree with, or with a negative and resistive effort to fight against those changes with which we disagree.

So, how you “be the change that you want to see in the world” is that you react to those changes by making changes of your own to your own life. You become an activist, rather than standing passively by and watching the changes occur. Maybe you take up a sign and join a march for or against something. Maybe you volunteer to work for the election of someone. Maybe you donate to a cause to join a fund-raising effort for that cause. The point is that you react to those changes and by reacting you cause change in yourself and in the world.

So, it turns out that you are the change that you were hoping to see in the world. Start with you. Change your attitude to the things happening in the world around you and you will see the world differently because you changed. Additionally, the world will see you differently.

Change you and change the world.

What will you make of your day?

July 11, 2022

In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Pastor Freed used this quote – “Today is a great day to have a great day!”  (Tag seen on a tea bag)

I’m sure that someone said that before it ended up on a tea bag, but the author was lost in history.

The quote points out that every day can be a great day if you start out in the right frame of mind. One can get into that right frame of mind by first pausing in the morning to thank God for giving you another day.

“A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.” (James E. Faust)

Have a great day.

Without spending too much time, one can look ahead at the day and get some organization in mind – what are the important things that you could focus some time on and maybe in what order; what things need to be set aside for later, so that they don’t waste your time today; what things just need to be discarded.

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” (Winston Churchill)

Have a great day.

Some of the things that you may wish to devote some time on today are long-term in nature, so you need to be happy just getting one more step in the process done today and not become frustrated with not getting to the finish line today. Yoi can get some things done today and, as you accomplish each one, take time to celebrate those small victories. Great things are often made up of many small, good things.

“Greatness comes by doing a few small and smart things each and every day. Comes from taking little steps, consistently. Comes from a making a few small chips against everything in your professional and personal life that is ordinary, so that a day eventually arrives when all that’s left is The Extraordinary.” (Robin S. Sharma)

Have a great day.

Maybe today is one that you have been thinking about (perhaps dreading) for some time; maybe a day when you have to do something that you would rather not have to do. Steel yourself before you start by visualizing the outcome that you desire to happen and then make that outcome happen. Things never go as badly as our imaginations conjure up and often go better than we had hoped.

“Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Have a great day.

Whatever your day has in store, never forget that you are in charge of you and how you act and react during the day. You do not have to let the event of the day control you.

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

Today is a great day to have a great day!

Listen for Hope’s song…

July 8, 2022

Pastor Freed recently used this quote in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words – “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”  (Emily Dickenson)

Sometimes it can be very hard to hear Hope’s little song amidst the calliope of news about hateful acts of deceit or violence that we are overwhelmed with each day; but it is still there. One must consciously pause and search the soul for its presence. Sometimes, we call that pause prayer.

Why take time for prayer each day?

“Our physical, emotional, and spiritual health requires rest. We need to take a break. We need to nurture ourselves. To take a time out to refuel, rejuvenate, and revive ourselves.”

― Dana Arcuri

“Prayer is perpetual rejuvenate force.”

― Lailah Gifty Akita

Prayer gives one the chance to hear Hope’s song. If you listen very carefully to Hope’s little song you may also realize that Hope is singing a duet with Faith, the other little feathered thing that resides in the soul. Hope and Faith always sing together in prayer.

There was a 1960’s song written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono titled, “Give Peace a Chance”. Perhaps in this day and age we need a new song titled, ”Give Hope a Chance”.

So, if your world gets too noisy and overwhelming, take time to rejuvenate by finding a quiet little place (literally or figuratively) to pray and listen for the little song of hope and faith that is there in the back of your mind.

Give Hope a chance.

Take the risk and find out…

June 28, 2022

I’m not hung up on this theme, but this quote just inspired me this morning. I got this quote from one of the daily inspirational quotes emails that I get every day and it seemed worthwhile saving and writing about.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” (T.S. Eliot)

Elliot isn’t about taking stupid risks, like those depicted in the show Jackass; but, rather, about pushing yourself to get to the next level, to achieve a new personal best, to go as far as you can and then go farther. It is about overcoming personal fears that stop you short of achieving your goals in life. The sad truth is that too many people convince themselves that they cannot achieve those goals – they stop themselves short.

I have written here in the past about how athletes use visualization when preparing to make their next attempt at something – they “see” the success that they want to achieve. In terms of achieving  your personal best you could say, “If you can see it you can be it”.  The process of visualization of success unconsciously involves the visualization of overcoming any roadblocks to achieving that success. It allows the mind to tackle the thoughts about how to overcome those obstacles within the positive frame of mind of “seeing” the successful outcome.

Taking the risk to go too far is not the same as buying a lotto ticket and starting to dream about how you will spend the money if you win. You know that the odds of winning the lotto are just about impossible, so you really know that you are just daydreaming to amuse yourself. Taking the risk to push beyond where you are and get to the next level is a commitment. Even if you don’t achieve the end goal in the initial effort; once you try, you will be further along that path than you have ever been before, and you should celebrate that – you have achieved a new personal best.

More important than things like monetary goals or job position goals, one should always push the personal boundaries than constrain you from achieving the goals that the U.S. Army used as a tag line in their commercials – “Be the best that you can be.”

What is the best that you can be? Take the risk to find out. Take time at the end of each day to reflect on how you could have been a better person that day. Could you have reacted better to someone in need? Could you have spent more time with family? Could you have been more encouraging and supportive of a spouse or of your children? Could you have shown more love towards a neighbor or others. Don’t beat yourself up over those missed opportunities, just resolve to push beyond those mistakes and do better tomorrow. As a side benefit, you will find that you achieve many of your other goals in life, just by being the best person that you can be.

How far can you go towards being the best person that you can be?

Take the risk today and find out.