Life happens…let go and move on

October 29, 2018

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this little quote – “Life is not like Burger King.  We can’t always have it our way.”  (Randi Zuckerberg)

One can imagine that life is unfolding in front of us in a totally random way; or, perhaps, take the approach that the things that are happening are God’s grand plan for how things are supposed to happen. I’m not a believer that God somehow micromanages everything that happens to everyone. Taking that position would seem to go against the concept of free will, which is an important tenant of Christian faith. There are sayings like “Everything happens for a reason”, which seem to be pointing towards God having a say in everything that happens. I don’t buy that either.

What I can buy into is God’s hand in how we react to the things that happen to us in life. The ability to accept things and move on and the ability to forgive those who may have caused us pain or harm and move on with life are different ways to react in which a strong belief in God plays a key role. In both cases, a key requirement is the ability to give up the self-delusion that we are in control of things.

If we admit that we cannot control the things that happen in life; then, what’s left for us to do? The main thing that we do control is how we react to those things that happen to us or around us. Some people spend a great deal of time and energy (mental and zombie apocolypsephysical) preparing for things that they imagine might happen. The recent fascination with the concept of a zombie apocalypse is an extreme example; however, there is a huge contingent of “survivalists” in every corner of the country who are planning and preparing for apocalyptic events that they “see” coming. They have stockpiles of food, water and guns to provide for and protect their families when the imagined worst happens.

A more likely day-to-day happening in life is for one to be faced with some disappointment that comes our way. It may be a social snub of some sort, a loss at a game, or perhaps something at work that doesn’t play out as we had hoped.  No matter what the disappointment or defeat is; we have a choice of how we react to it. The best coulda woulda shouldareaction may be one in which you say to yourself, “Oh well, I guess that wasn’t meant to be” and move on. The worst reaction is one in which you wallow in self-pity, self-recrimination or self-doubt. Those reactions are all the first steps toward self-loathing and depression. Don’t go there. There may well have been things that you could have done differently; but, you didn’t; so get over it, learn from it and get on with it.

How do you find the strength to deal with adversity and move on in life? That’s where your faith comes into play. Accompanying most setbacks in life is a sense (fear) of being alone. Sometimes this is self-imposed isolation, because we try to keep our remorse or woman-prayingregret or shame or hurt to ourselves. Perhaps we have no “significant other” with whom we can share these feelings. In either case, don’t forget that you are ever alone. God is there with you and ready to share and offload your burden. All you have to do is ask God for help and accept that help; in order to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. Try it. Use the little prayer that I often use – “Not my will but Thy will be done”. Let God lift your burden from your shoulders. Let it go.

Peace be with you. Move on.

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Walk like Kung Fu…

February 21, 2018

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog had this interesting lead-in – “I’m going to walk the earth like Kung Fu.”  (Samuel Jackson)  These words are from the movie, Pulp Fiction, and indicate that there comes a time in life to do other things.  The “Jackson words” were recently spoken by a man who’s closing his comic book store.  “It’s time to move on to a new adventure.”

Jack did some research and discovered that the term Kung Fu has many meanings, one of which is a life-long search for self –improvement, specifically in a particular skill. The key attribute of practicing Kung Fu is continuing to move forward. It is through that constant effort to learn more, master more and move forward that the skill is developed and your Kung Fu becomes strong. “It’s time to move on to a new adventure.”

So, maybe moving on in life, learning new things, meeting new people and developingtime for change new skills helps us strengthen our life Kung Fu. Certainly, becoming sedentary and stopping our learning makes us duller people and is just not healthy. Becoming stuck in the past is really not good, because it is also frustrating. You can’t change the past, no matter how long you think about the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s that come to mind. “It’s time to move on to a new adventure.”

If that job has ended, look for work elsewhere and maybe even try something completely different. If that relationship is over, let it go. If a loved one has passed, remember them fondly, but move on. If one door in your life has shut, look for the next door to open.Walk the earth like Kung Fu. “It’s time to move on to a new adventure.”

This is not to say that you should not learn from the past. Learning from our mistakes or from our experiences is a part of moving forward. A big part of the learning experience insightis categorizing the things from the event that were good and bad and letting go of the bad, or at least filing them away as things not to do again. Most human interaction experiences have both components and we learn to master certain aspects of life by learning from those experiences. We learn from failures, disappointments and heartbreaks that those things didn’t kill us. They didn’t make us happy either; so we resolve to do things differently and better the next time. We strengthen our life Kung Fu because of those hardships. “It’s time to move on to a new adventure.”

So, think about where you are right now. Are you stuck somehow at an inflection point in your life? Are you unable to let go of the past and move on? Maybe you need to look at your future more as an adventure than as a great unknown to be feared. One way to dome that is to replace fear with hope. That hope should be based upon the promise that God has made to us –  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” —Jeremiah 29:11

Walk the earth like Kung Fu, for the Lord has prepared a wonderful future for you. Have a great day…that future starts now. “It’s time to move on to a new adventure.”


After the tears…

December 8, 2016

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog featured this quote – “I like walking in the rain, because nobody can see my tears.”  (Charlie Chaplin) Most people did not know about the great anguish that Charlie Chapman had during his life. Chaplin’s life was far removed from the funny little tramp that he played on the screen.

Jack also wrote – Billy Graham has said that he often prays to God with tears in his eyes. God understands crying, as did Leonardo da Vinci  who said – “Tears come from the heart and not from the brain.” 

crying-1Sometimes having a good cry is the best immediate response to something that has happened in our lives, both sad and happy things. Letting go for that moment and allowing yourself to weep provides a needed release from the unnatural control that we are all taught as we grow up. That same need for self-control also dulls the joy that we might otherwise feel from good things in our life. As Golda Meir once said – “Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.”

Still, eventually life must go on, and as C.S. Lewis said, “Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” After the tears of pain or sorrow or even joy, one must put the cause of thatremorseful torment of tears into perspective within their life. Tears caused by pain, loss or sorrow most often involved another person and our memories of them. Perhaps the pain was caused by a snub or by bullying or by someone making a harsh or unfeeling remark to your or about you. In any case, life goes on and you must, too. “There is an ancient tribal proverb I once heard in India. It says that before we can see properly we must first shed our tears to clear the way.”  –  Libba Bray

So, what comes after the tears? I love this quote from Steve Maraboli – “Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” There is forgivealmost always something or someone to forgive, even if you realize that it is yourself. I have witnessed people crying in anger at a deceased life partner because they felt like they left them here alone. They later have to forgive themselves for that selfish display. Perhaps the term forgive should include the thought of healing, too.

Certainly there is always something to learn from any event that causes us to come to tears – both good and bad – and we will be forever changed by that addition to our knowledge base. The memories of a lost loved one always influence our own future decisions.

The final step to take is to move on. Life goes on and so must you. It may be harder now, at least for now; but you have shed the tears that have watered your future and now it is timecivil-war-tear-catcher to make the best of that future.

Going back to Biblical times, in some cultures (ours included in the 19th century during the Victorian Era) tear catchers called LACHRYMOSA or LACHRYMATORY were devices for capturing tears of sadness and loss and saving them. Often the tears that were captured would be used in small vases into which a single flower might be placed at grave sites of the lost loved one. It was a ritualistic way to end the tears and bring a sense of closure to the cause of those tears by using them to honor the lost loved one at their grave site. Life could then move on.

Have faith that God sees your anguish and hears your cries. Psalm 56 says,

“You keep track of all my sorrows.

You have collected all my tears in your bottle.

You have recorded each one in your book.”

rainbowSo, go ahead and have that good cry;  whether it be in sadness or in joy, forgive and then realize in the words of John Vance Cheney that – “The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.” Find the rainbow after the tears and move on. God will keep track of those tears for you and makes the rainbow to show you the way forward.


Move on to the next chapter…

May 2, 2015

“You can’t start the next chapter in your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” (Michael McMillan) – as seen in a recent post to the blog Jack’s Winning Words.

In my real estate business I seem to hit situations like this a lot. I guess it’s because I’ve had a lot of clients who are going through divorces lately or who are disposing of the estates of recently deceased people. Some find it very difficult to let go, remorsefulto stop reading that last chapter in their lives and move on.

While a death is sometimes tough to deal with, it seems to be something that most people can cope with better than a divorce. Deaths seem to involve mainly sadness, maybe some sorry or regret from not getting to know the person better or not spending more time with them or perhaps an overwhelming sense of loss and loneliness, if the deceased was a life partner.

Divorce, on the other hand involves a complex soup of emotions, including loss, anger, fears and regrets, selfishness and angry couplemore. While death has finality associated with it, divorce does not and begs the issue of what’s next. Divorce may also involve a sense of betrayal and disappointment towards the other side, especially if there was an infidelity involved. There is almost always some since of failure in a divorce; and, especially if there were children involved, a sense of letting others down. It is tough in the early stages to see clearly what role one’s own actions may have played in the failure of the marriage, so a sense of blame often accompanies the rage that is near the surface.

So, imagine that I walk into the situation with the role of trying to sell the family home as a part of the divorce settlement. I am seldom greeted with open arms by all parties. In fact a good part of my job is usually to try to bring a sense of calm and order to the situation and to keep a lid on things until I can get the place sold. Since I am the most convenient target for the release of some of the pent up anger, I quite often get arguments over the pricing that I might suggest or the suggestions that I might make for things that need to be done to make the house more sale-able. These are usually not people in the mood to hear about working on a house that they just want to get away from.

But, enough about me. What about you? Are you able to let go of the last chapter in your life and move on, or do you keep re-hashing things and re-reading that last chapter? If you re-read it many times, does anything ever change? If not, move your bookmark and get on with life. Remember that old definition of insanity – doing the same things over and over and expecting different results each time. If you must go back over things from the past, do so only to learn from the mistakes that were made, so that you can do better in the future.

new stickerPerhaps you should go further and close that old book completely and put it on the shelf. Start a new book – a new you. The first thing you could do is write a new Forward for your new book of life. In that set of remarks before the new book starts la out the things that are your new goals and new commitments to yourself. Define who you wish to become and lay out the structure (chapters) of how you will get there. Then, instead of starting to read; turn the page and start to write the new book of your life. Remember that this will be an adventure book in which you will be exploring all new things, so enjoy the journey as you turn the new pages of your life. The great thing is that you get to make the main character whatever you want them to be. What fun! I can’t wait to read your story.