You can’t deny it, so deal with it…

September 18, 2019

The first stage of grief is often defined as denial, the “I can’t believe that he/she is gone” or “I can’t believe that this happened” stage. That is also the first stage (maybe the precursor is a better description) of dealing with problems in life. Recently this quote appeared in the Jack’s Winning Words blog –

“When you confront a problem, you begin to solve it.”  (Rudy Giuliani)

Zig Zigler put it slightly differently – “ The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist.”

I’ve posted here a few times about problem solving (see Problem Solving 101) and there are lots of great posts and article on line about how to resolve a problem, once you have identified it. There are fewer things devoted to recognizing the problem in the first place.

Confronting the problem means acknowledging that it exists. For many it is that first step that is missing. They can’t see the problem, especially if it is them – how they are acting in or living their life.  Spousal abusers seldom see what they are doing as controlling or manipulative, much less as abusive. Addicts become too focused upon the next high to deal with their addiction. Sometimes it is hubris, as much as anything else that clouds the judgement of the problem; the arrogant and self-important people of the world see things that are considered wrong by others as rights or entitlements. For these people, who can’t see that they have a problem or that they are the problem, interventions by family or friends is often the only way to get them to confront the problem.

If denial is the first stage precursor to dealing with a problem, many times it is quickly replaced by excuses. The immediate response to any threat is fight or flight and excuses provide a little of both by providing a way  to deflect blame for the problem by claiming that it someone else’s fault or caused by someone else. The wife beater may blame the actions of his wife to justify the beating with the comment that “she deserved it”. It is also easy to shift the blame for ones actions on some nebulous entity, such as society or everybody.

Do you remember what your mom told when you used the excuse that “everybody is doing it” to justify something stupid that you did as a youth? That advice still applies to your adult life. You can’t ignore or deny a problem that you might have by citing that excuse. Maybe the “everybody” that you know and to whom you are referring to is a big part of your problem.  Recent Chevrolet commercials have used the tag line “Find new roads”; maybe you need to “Find new friends”.

Perhaps the third stage as a precursor to solving problems in your life is the feeling of isolation or loneliness that overcome you. It is a very lonely feeling when you have that “aha” moment and realize that you have a problem and that problem is within you. All of a sudden, everyone else seems to drop away and you are standing there by yourself with your problem. Or are you? That is the time when your faith can provide you with the support and strength to carry on. You are not alone. You are never alone. God is always there with you and ready to help. You just need to ask.

If you can get to that stage, where you ask God for help with your problem, you have broken through the stages of denial and blame and started to deal with the problem. That is huge!  It is likely that the problem is not resolved just because you have taken that first step, but you are on your way in a new direction (the right direction).  You have taken ownership and sought help. It may be that you need the help of others – therapists or councilors – but you already have God at your side, so that part is easier.

When you reach this stage, you should feel good about yourself, maybe for the first time in a long time. You may still find the next few steps in the problem solving process to be difficult, but they are rewarding as well. The problem is no longer in control of you. Now you are in control of the process to resolve it. Congratulations.

Start your day by asking for God’s help with whatever problems you have (or have been denying). Your day will go much better.

Advertisements

And for all the times in between?

September 13, 2019

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack got philosophical with this quote from Wolfgang Goethe – “Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.” 

However, what about all of the times between the joys and the not so enjoyable things, which must be endured, i.e. your normal day-to-day life? The philosophy embodied by the British saying, “Keep Calm and Carry On” seems most applicable to those times and actually serves the highs and lows of life very well, too. For a Christian that British saying might be translated into Pray and Persist.

We often pray when we are under the duress of a problem or loss and we pray to thank God on the occasions when we have something to celebrate. But what of the time in between? We find guidance in the Bible –  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)  

Prayer has a calming side effect, because it serves to offload from the practitioner the sole responsibility for resolving the issues that you are facing, whether they be things that must be endured or just common, everyday occurrences. Once you bring God into the picture through prayer, you no longer bear the weight of resolving those things by yourself.  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Since, before starting out on each day, one cannot predict the occurrences or tribulations that might happen; perhaps a short prayer for God to give you the calm and wisdom to make good decisions is a good way to begin each day. At least it puts you in the right frame of mind to face the day, with God on your side.

So, thank God for the things that you enjoy, ask for God’s help with the things that you must endure and pray for Him to guide you and be with you in all of the time in between. Pray without ceasing and have a great day!


Don’t let the uda’s get you…

September 11, 2019

Some people always seem to let the uda’s take over their lives …the propensity to keeping saying I coulda or woulda or shoulda, when they don’t do something. They should heed the advice of the quote in today’s Jack’s Winning Words blog – “The six W’s…Work Will Win When Wishing Won’t!”  (Todd Blackledge)

The law of Inertia in physics states that a body at rest stays at rest unless some external force is applied to it.  Usually what is holding it in place is friction or maybe just gravity, so the force applied must be great enough to overcome whatever is holding it in place. In the frictionless environment of outer space, even a very small force applied to an object will cause it to move.

We face many cases of mental or emotional inertia in our daily lives. We are most often held in place by fears, prejudices or simply ignorance. We avoid someone who does look like us and thus never meet one of the most interesting people we may ever encounter. We don’t go to certain places or attend certain events because we are afraid of some imagined outcome and our lives are less rich for the loss of exposure to those experiences. We don’t try new things because, well, we just don’t try new things… we go with what we know. We let the uda’s take over our lives.

So, how can we apply the advice of today’s quote to this situation? The key is found in the first word – we must work at it, so that we don’t end up wishing that we had done (or sometimes not done) something. For many the best way to work at overcoming their personal inertia and spring into action is through prayer.  Long before Nike adopted it as a slogan, the bible had this to say about prayer –

Just do it – quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out… The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. – Matthew 5:4-6

Pray for the courage to try. Pray for an open mind to accept others as they are. Pray for patience and persistence in difficult pursuits. Pray for the willingness to accept temporary setbacks and learn from them. Pray, most of all, to be the person that God wants you to be this day.

You may find that the days go a lot better for you when you start them out in the right frame of mind by taking that time to pray before you set out for whatever is ahead. You will sense His grace throughout the day and that grace will take away the friction that preventing movement in your life.

So take the advice of Matthew or maybe of Nike and Just Do It! The laws of physics also state that a body in motion stays in motion. Overcome your personal inertia by starting your day with a little prayer to get you moving. Don’t let the uda’s get you.


Live in the moment…

July 19, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog had this advice from Will Rogers – “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” That’s good advice and I suspect that Will would agree that you should also not let tomorrow take up too much of today either.

Having memories or yesterday isn’t bad, nor is making plans for tomorrow; however, dwelling for too long on either is usually just a waste of time.

Our minds are wonderful things that allow us to recall moments from the past orinsight fantasize about the future. Both can be pleasurable retreats from the reality of the moment or they can be the source of pain or fears and concerns that can temporarily paralyzing.

Some people who have suffered a loss or a set-back in life get stuck reliving that event, perhaps second guessing themselves and what they did at the time or maybe just being unable to accept things and let go of the relationship or job or loved one.

In the case of the future, many people find themselves unable to settle on a course of action or cannot stop themselves from considering and exploring all possible alternatives. They literally “What if” their time away.  

depression 5Living in the moment is an exercise in focus and self-control. It is the inability to focus on the present that opens the door for the mind to wander into the past or begin exploring the future. There are all sorts of helpful Web sites, on-line articles, videos and other ways to get information about living in the moment. Just Google “Live in the moment” to see a list that is pages long.

I’ve also posted here a few times about not living in the past – see “Don’t fixate on the mirror…” and I’ve occasionally written about not spending all of your time daydreaming about the future – see my 2017 post on “The future starts now…”

So, how does one focus upon the now, rather than the past or the future?

I recently met with a Developmental Optometrist. I had no idea that such professionals even existed or that there is a need for them. What she does is work with patients, mostly children, who have vision problems that impede their ability to learn. She explained that the most common issue for many young children is the inability to properly focus their boy imaginingeyes on the books of other items in front of them. Since most are too young to have a very rich vocabulary, the issue is exacerbated by their inability to explain the problem that they are having. Her practice involves working with the children to determine the nature of their problems and to provide them with exercises to help them focus their eyes on the objects that they need to see in order to learn.

A take-away from that visit is that we may all need to develop exercises that help us focus on the things that are right in front of us. In the context of this post that means developing exercises (or habits) that bring us back from dwelling on the past or dreaming about the future and return us to living in the moment. For some it man prayingcan be as simple as keeping a calendar and taking a quick look at it every morning to reset your mind on the things that you’ve committed to do today. For many the creation of a daily To-Do list is a morning ritual. For some starting each day with a prayer allows them not only to refocus upon the day, but also to start it off in the right frame of mind and with the confidence that they are not alone in whatever the day has in store.

While I have used the terms exercise and habit as if they were interchangeable, the fact is that one precedes the other. Exercises are ritualized or repetitious sets of steps that one consciously goes through, while habits are sets of steps that one unconsciously performs because the body and mind have been trained by repetition.

Maybe you need to develop some exercises to help you focus and live in the present. Maybe taking the time for that daily morning prayer is a good exercise for you. Whatever works for you, just keep repeating it until it becomes a good habit. There is much less angst and much more satisfaction when you live in the moment.

So, join me in the now and live in this moment.


Technically – misused, overused and generally abused

March 3, 2019

If there is a word in the vernacular that I would nominate for banishment it is the word “technically”. Look it up on Google and you find this –

technically/ˈteknək(ə)lē/- (adverb)

from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

1 : with regard to or in accordance with a strict or literal interpretation of something (such as a rule, a term, or an official description or designation)

2 : with regard to technology

3 : with regard to technique (as in a performance or movement)

from Vocabulary.com – Something technically true is actually, really true or correct but it may not be the way people think about it. For example, although people call a tomato a vegetable, technically it’s a fruit.

and the definition that I like the most and think best describes its current usage –

jerk

 

from the Urban Dictionary –  What 12 year olds say to sound smart. Often found said by smartasses to make someone look wrong and stupid.

Recently I called into the local Detroit Free Press office to report that I had not received a paper that morning. I usually find the paper on my front lawn when I return from the first dog walk of the day at about 6:30 AM. That morning there was no paper and none when I checked again at about 7:15 AM. So, I called to report that I had not received one.

Of, course, I got an automated voice-response system and dutifully worked my way dinosaurthrough the various menus and options until I got to the place where I could say No to the question, “Did you get a paper this morning?” Upon answer that I had not received the paper, the machine (a machine!) proceeded to make me feel stupid by replying, “Technically, the carrier has until 7:30 to deliver your paper, so it is not yet late.” There was an implied “dumbass” at the end of that sentence, but the machine graciously left that part out. Perhaps the machine was programmed to say that by some 12 year old who found it amusing to make the machine sound superior to whatever dumbass was calling in before the deadline. Technically, I was not amused.

Also from the Urban Dictionary definition comes this further explanation –

When used at the beginning of a sentence, this word is a variety of the ‘filler’ word basically. Another direct replacement for technically is essentially. Maybe the speaker sees his or her own bad speech patterns and recycles these three words while speaking. Filler words add absolutely nothing to the sentence being spoken. Other filler words include like, just, and stuff and y’know, but they tend to be in the middle of or at the end of a sentence. Filler words are rarely used in writing and are part of acquired speech habits.

So, technically, the use of the word “technically” adds nothing to the sentence. It’s, like, just a verbal indication on one’s own level of ignorance or verbal incompetence. Y’know? Just sayin’, dude.

Say or press “1” if you understand or 2 if you are technically lost.


Forever young…

September 25, 2018

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog quoted this interesting question – “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?”  (Satchel Paige)

Satchell PaigeSatchel Paige was a black baseball pitcher who played at a professional level in the Negro League and then the Major Leagues. In 1948, he was the oldest rookie ever to join the Cleveland Indians at age 48. He played his last professional game when he was 60 years old with the Peninsula Grays of the Caroline League.

Our minds are interesting when it comes to the issue of age. We never think we are too young or too old for things, but our bodies might not be ready yet to take on certain physical challenges or perhaps they have aged past the ability to take on those challenges. I know that, as I age, I’m occasionally disappointed by the realization that I no longer have the strength or stamina or perhaps the agility to do things that I once would have jumped right into and done. In some cases, I can still enjoy a sport or activity, but at a different level than I did in my youth. Like many others, I Tiger Woodsjoined the millions rooting on Tiger Woods this past weekend as he had a moment of recaptured youth in his PGA Tour Championship win. Even Tiger realized what a special and rare moment that was for him and he’s only 42.

We may feel trapped in bodies that continually remind us of the passage of time or which bring up the pain of past injuries or indiscretions on the playing field or elsewhere. It would seem that the key to remaining happy as one ages is to find outlets for the energy and creativity of our minds within the limitations of our bodies. There are sports and activities that have age appropriate leagues or teams that we can join. There are clubs and organizations providing activities that stimulate and satisfy the mind without overtaxing the body. Though we must accommodate the limitations of aging bodies, our minds can stay forever young.

If you’re into music, here’s Alphaville’s mix of “Forever Young”.


Lots to do in Milford today!

September 16, 2018

Today is day two of the Milford Home Tour, with homes open from 11 Am until 5 PM.800 E Commerce There are 6 really nice homes to visit, as well as the Milford Historical Museum and the Log Cabin next to the fire station.

Tickets may be purchased at the Museum at 1124 E. Commerce Rd or at any of the houses on the tour.

For more on the home tour, go to our web site – http://www.milfordhistory.org.

2018 Car Show pictureThe annual Milford Car Show is going on in downtown Milford today, too. Over 350 cars of every type and description will be on display from 9 AM until about 3:30 PM this afternoon. This is a free event.

 

Finally, there is also a vintage tractor show going on out at the Huron Valley State Bank tractor_show_graphicparking lot at the corner of S. Milford Rd and GM Rd.

This is a free event.

 

 

Finally, don’t forget to stop by the Rivers Edge Brewery this weekend or anytime this Resized - Feelgood Tap Sept2018 Historical Societymonth to buy a “feel good tap” beer and support the Milford Historical Society.

The Rivers Edge Brewery donates $1 from each beer purchase of the featured “feel good tap”beer to a non-profit in the area and this month that is the Milford Historical Society.