Can You Find Silence

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”–Mother Thresa 

For the longest time at the beginning of my faith. The silence was not comfortable to achieve. What we mean by silence is the wheels that are spinning in our heads. Relaxing on any level is a challenge.

Finding silence will have peaceful results in your life. Learning to not freak out over daily challenges, not letting the traffic jam ruin your day. What is your joy worth?

Think about that question for a moment. What is your joy worth?

Is losing your joy worth:

  • Traffic Jam?
  • A line at the Grocery?
  • Poor Service?
  • Someone else having a bad day, spills over on you?
  • Financial Issues? (always remember temporary)

You see the point here. We all become susceptible to losing our joy for reasons that are either out of our control, brief, or only not worth the aggravation we bring upon ourselves.

It’s too easy getting caught up in silliness that steals our joy. Seriously, getting pissed because someone cuts us off at the exit. It could be that God moved you from harm’s way. Life happens for a reason. Instead of flipping the poor soul off that cut you off, maybe the purpose was to save you. Unbeknownst to any of the folks involved!

You never know what turn life throws at you that is actually saving your fanny. It may not look like it at the time.

How does standing in line at the grocery because they’re short-staffed. How about listening to an uplifting Podcast while waiting? Or you can be grumpy and ruin your day. What you choose is a choice.

Make the most out of time. Caught in traffic, let us say. Crank up some music that gets your heart pumping. Again listen to a good podcast. Choose to do something fun instead of being grumpy. Life is a choice of happy or sad.

self improvement, self help, happy

Learning to allow life to just roll of our shoulders. Don’t hold on to the lousy luggage. Let that luggage get lost at the airport. Hanging onto negativity begets negativity. Letting someone steal your joy over something stupid, well, you do the math.

My joy is no longer for sale to jerks, grumpy bosses, lousy service, or the like. Don’t let someone else miserable day ruin yours!

So how do we find silence? 

  1. Meditation, learn to sit in quiet reflection. I use rain and ocean sounds using headphones. Close your eyes and breathe through your nose, out of the mouth. Silence phone!!!
  2. Prayer. Find times to pray. Let God know what you need. Just have a good conversation. 

These two simple acts can change your life. We find answers in the silence. Allow God to flow through you when you’re quiet. This is where you hear God speak to you!

 

Fighting Old Habits

“The key to forming good habits is to make them part of your ‘rituals.’ I have a morning ritual, afternoon ritual, and Sunday ritual. It’s one way to bundle good habits into regular times that you set aside to prepare yourself for the life you want. Rituals help you form habits.”—Lewis Howes

With no real easy way to tell you this. Your head is going to be at times, your most formidable adversary. Wanting to stay status quo. Comfortable in misery. So much so you don’t feel the pain at a level like the beginning.

Changes in our lives, new paradigms to replace old thought processes is what is needed now. The past will not give up easily. Prepare yourself for a title fight.

If you’re a Christian, the enemy is preparing an attack like you’ve never fought. Why? He wants you to continue miserable. He hopes that you will implode. As we move further in this chapter, I will share with you how I made it through the toughest times.

self improvement, self help, joy, happiness

The enemy will attack you to keep you down. He is afraid of losing you to an excellent team. So he will fight you in the form of:

  • Depression (not diagnosed or medicated) Just feeling depressed.
  • Keep your mind on past mistakes.
  • I am feeling hopeless.
  • I am reliving the past over-and-over in your head.
  • Dark thoughts of self-harm. (NEVER AN OPTION)

Working through this will be difficult, and you will be tested. You can and will get through this time.

We are making it easier to understand. We all buck change at work. If a policy changes everyone in the office complains. “Why are they changing, the old way worked.”

Let’s say, for example, you’ve done the same thing, the same way for years-and-years. Change won’t come easy. Excuses like:

  • I’m too set in my ways.
  • I’m too old to change now.
  • Too hard f*&^ it.

Don’t fool yourself into these false statements. You can change, you’re not too old, stop limiting yourself!

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”—Nelson Mandela

Allow yourself to change. It won’t happen overnight; I can tell you I still fall into traps; however, I can happily report that the bear traps are further apart.

So how do we bring about real change, especially when confronted with real pain? Here is how I brought myself out of the dark:

  1. Learn to quiet your mind. Declutter all the garbage that goes through our minds. Meditation can be life-changing if you practice daily.
  2. Something that seems innocuous has tremendous value — taking times daily to slow your breathing for sixty seconds only. Slows your pulse, helps relax your body, relieve tension. Tension causes aggravation. Breathing several times per day for a minute or so will slow you down.
  3. Do something physical every day. Walk, gym, run, get off your butt, and do something to relieve stress in your body.
  4. Helping others will get you outside yourself. Reminding you that life is not all about you. Be a blessing to someone!

Changing our lives takes time and work. You can’t all a sudden tell God you want to make a million dollars this year, order a Pizza and wait. Sorry life takes real work.

The most important of this is discipline and organization. Set reminders daily to do the tasks laid out in this book. Otherwise, you wake up a week later and go, “crap, I was supposed to meditate every day.”

If you want lasting and real change, fill your calendar with an activity that fosters change.

You are fighting with yourself. I call it kicking your own ass. Your noodle will run from the pain of change. Your mind is falsely convincing you that you cannot change. It’s too hard. Don’t listen to these false prophecies of your life. Years of conditioning will take time to shake off old paradigms.

At times this will seem relentless the attack on you to stay status quo. The enemy will come at you in ways that look as though you cannot win. You will feel alone, like nothing you can do will ever help. Surrender to God. Let him know that you can’t see a way, but you know he will take away.

When I first moved from my home in South Texas to live in West Texas. My ex-wife wanted a divorce that I honestly at the time did not want a divorce. Financially in dire straits, the woman I believed to be my soulmate now gone.

Could not at the time be in more of a dark place. I had so many times thought I had no reason to live. Scary how close that came to pass. For whatever reason, I never acted on dark thoughts. Thank God I did not.

With some lucid moments of I need to start over. I began to think about life without my wife. I decided I would get into Church and try to understand the spiritual side of my life. I was drawn to this need to find a Church home.

After finding a Church that was recommended to me by someone that I trust, I became a regular attendee, most times staying for two of the three Sunday services. Because my head would clutter with such garbage; I was fighting so hard to hear what the Pastor said; it was exhausting.

Most Church services end with a call to give your life to Jesus Christ. To confess, you’re a sinner and that you accept Jesus as your Lord and savior. For a few weeks, I had faithfully attended sitting mostly in the back of the sanctuary.

One Sunday during this altar call; I raised my hand. The Usher came and gave me a CD, and I confessed and prayed the short prayer to accept Jesus Christ. At the end of this part of the service, the Pastor headed across the stage stopped and turned.

He began to say “sir, sir,” not realizing he was trying to get my attention for a moment. As I realized he was trying to get my attention. Pastor Don said to me God had put in his heart for whatever I was doing artistically to keep going, don’t stop.

Here is the real kicker to the story. I had been blogging, take pictures with my camera and stating to myself that for the last half of my life I was going to do what I wanted to do not what I have to do. I wanted to be a freelance writer and photographer.

Not one person in this Church, including the Pastor, knew me from Adam. I stayed to myself and never said as much as a good morning unless first approached.

No way could the Pastor know that I was doing or working on anything artistically. This Pastor stopped in the middle of the ending of this service to tell me that God told him to say to me, keep doing what I love to do.

To say the very least, I was utterly in shock. It took a bit for this to sink in. Nothing in my life to this point was so profound.

This event helped me to go further and keep trying. Freely I admit stumbling and falling post this event. However, remembering that God has come into my life then and several times since then.

When I thought a couple of times all is lost something would happen to show me that even with a Mustard seed of faith left, God would bless me so that I knew he was still protecting me.

My point of this is even in your darkest moment when you see nothing, but my life is worthless not also worth being here. God if you try, if you fight through when you cannot see anything but dark, let God know you are trying to hold on, God will answer.

Today after many events from small to abundant miracles. God has convinced me that if I focus my faith, he will lead me through anything. Now I run after God.

The old me would not have hung in the darkness to realize the blessing. I would have long before quit and moved on. That is the old paradigms I must break. When enough-is-enough, you will change. My time was when I moved to West Texas, once you make that decision, you will be amazed at how life opens for you!

No matter what happens, you cannot quit. Take one more step, always.

Let me share with you why having patience will serve you well.

The dream job of a lifetime is something that you now focus your attention too — searching far and wide for this wonderful job. Some time goes by with nothing happening, and you cannot see any hope.

What you don’t know is that a beautiful person occupies the job you seek; someone that has had a fantastic career, beloved by all at the job. This person is getting ready to retire; the job will come available for you to apply for and get!

This person is another thirty days from retirement, and well-deserved retirement. God has you in mind so that this job will cross your path. Your search has gone on for five months with no results, so you quit thirty days before the position of a lifetime comes available.

Your focus moves on to something else, and the Universe moves on because you did.

Stay in faith even when you don’t see a way God is making a way. You won’t know what is having to take place in front of you before God can move this part of your destiny to unfold for you. The Universe won’t cut you in line. So have patience!

Here is the real kicker that will blow your mind. You can’t move yet because God is blessing someone you don’t know with something you currently have. He is driving your life around to be a blessing for someone you don’t even know.

Point is none of us know. So why stress over a fair outcome that may take a little more time. How many times have you quit than if you had not your life might be completely different? Think about that. Patience can make all the difference in your life. Faith, Hope, resolve, need to be your mantra!

A chapter from my book Tying It All Together. Click the book cover to see all my works on Amazon.

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Resources vs. Resourcefulness

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your future. Make your hope. Make your love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”—Bradley Whitford

In my research, the one common denominator that stood out to me more than anything. Peoples fear a lack of resources. We don’t have the right equipment. I don’t have a proper education. We don’t have enough money.

All great excuses if you don’t want to win. Throw in the towel before you even get in the ring.

Let’s dispel a few things.

The definition of resourcefulness as it appears in the dictionary:

noun

the ability to find quick and smart ways to overcome difficulties.

“his films show remarkable technical resourcefulness.”

You are learning to become clever. If you say you can’t be clever, I am going to scream.

Yes, you can!

Let’s work a couple of scenarios:

You want to start a photography business. You have no gear or at least not too much.

  • Some of the gorgeous photographs taken with a smartphone. Apple®, for example, has photo contests for its products.
  • Have you seen how many commercials shot on the phone? YouTube®
  • Pentax® introduced a new point-n-shoot and shot all the national promotional commercials with it.
  • Rent gear. Several cool shops offer this service for any camera you can think of including Cinema cameras. I should know I rent equipment all the time.
  • Free editing software. I use an editor called Resolve®. It’s free and very robust. Even pay software is not that expensive to use.

With a little research, you can get smart enough to start your business. Besides, most great videographers prefer simple equipment. You don’t need a $50,000 camera to shoot incredible shots. It’s the eye, not the gear! The expensive gear will come, be great the gear companies will come to you!

How about relationships. Who says you can’t find the right person? Say your supper, shy. Social occasions, you freeze, cold sweats, and disaster.

  • In chapter one, we learned volunteers. Do something you are passionate about that helps people. My guess is you do something in your life that you do well, and the shy you fade away. Helping others is a great way to get out of your head.
  • Teach people something. You can go to the library and offer a class. Can you potty train a puppy, do you cook well, can you bowl, what can you do that you could teach someone else to do?
  • Read to kids at the library. Kids are funny and will keep you on your toes.

Find something that will help you strengthen yourself to have confidence. Then we go out and tackle the big fish. Use things you’re comfortable to do to help you develop.

Most people I meet that are shy are afraid of social interaction. Why? Because of a lack of being in that environment. I get there are clinical issues that can go beyond this simple process. What I am suggesting is if you’re comfortable, to try simple things like volunteering. It’s easy to exit these situations if needed.

The more we can put ourselves in situations that allow us to grow from our fear. The less likely we are to fail.

Resourcefulness is fun to challenge the mind to find solutions to the impossible. My favorite comeback when asked what I am doing at work; “I am making Ice Cream out of dog shit.” Talk about resourceful, forget about it.

However, let’s stop for a second. You would have to be resourceful to make ice cream out of dog poo. The extreme that I want to take you too. If we lack in resources, then we better learn to make this ice cream.

How pray-tell do we achieve this smelly task, you ask? Knowledge, read, research, we learn how. Did you know that Warren Buffet reads much of his day? Other veracious readers include Bill Gates and Mark Cuban. My thinking is if these guys gather this much knowledge, seeing what level of success they enjoy. Well, there is something to the power of education.

When we have a lack of resources, maybe gaining knowledge that shows us how to be resourceful to overcome an obstacle will serve us well. Even if we have the resources, would you not prefer to solve a problem vs. writing a check cleverly?

witty, clever, smart

Something I have learned along the way about having funding for a business. Of course, who would not want a million in the bank to begin a business? However, many who start a business with funding often fail. It makes you complacent. Take more risks in advertising, or we need this piece of equipment. When reality says no, you don’t.

Let me share something with you that I thought was one of the most profound statements ever. Robert Stephens, the founder of Geek Squad®, made this vague statement; “Advertising is the TAX you pay for being Unremarkable!”

What does advertising do it begs people to buy your stuff cheaper than anyone else? Have you ever seen a Cartier® commercial that says; THIS SATURDAY ONLY WE’RE BLOWING OUT ALL OUR ENGAGEMENT RINGS AT 50% OFF OUR LOWEST PRICE. Are you kidding me? Cartier® does not even open the store on Saturdays. If you can’t come during the week, you can’t afford to shop there. Moreover, they’re remarkable!

Think about that metaphorically. You could apply this statement for every aspect of your life.

 Are you remarkable?

  • Remarkable Human Being
  • Remarkable Spouse
  • Exceptional Parent
  • Outstanding health

This statement speaks to resourcefulness. People are much more impressed with cleverness than they are any amount of money.

I could hire a ghostwriter, or I can write my books myself. Writing requires me to be smart. If I can’t keep you engaged in the book, I won’t sell to many. Amid this, I still hold down and everyday Joe job that is a stepping stone to my new life.

Learning to become resourceful will help you gain a great many new skills when no choice exists but to do something or try something. As you journey into that abyss, you will retain more because your focus is more.

You can teach yourself to do just about anything. The question is how bad you want your dreams to come true. Are you willing to invest in your success? The question applies to any aspect of your life. A great deal of what I’m writing sounds like a business success story. This information is all-encompassing.

The only way you can ever expect to win is to have more knowledge than the other guy. Allow you the resourcefulness to amaze. When you can solve issues without having to buy your way out or in, my friend that is genius. Who would you do business with a talent or a dude that has a lot of money (keep in mind money comes and goes)? The genius has a higher long-term yield.

Apply this to a relationship. Who will win the girl? The clever man or the guy with money? The clever man will have to work much harder and do even more spectacular things to win a girl’s affection. A good woman is going to weigh out and respect more the guy who must come up with unique ways to make the girl feel special. Money might buy you a good time, may purchase good food, but a resourceful guy wins over the heart.

If people can see your ability to solve problems consistently, that will take you to the finish line every time! Money comes and goes. Intelligence if forever.

I go back to the photography business. It’s not the gear; it’s the photographer’s eye. You can see the subject in a way that inspires. You can give a $50,000 camera to someone that never guarantees a Pulitzer prize.  For that matter, a decent photo.

Being resourceful solving issues, seeing life in a way that you embrace challenge you don’t freeze because things get tough. Seeing the opportunity in all things is our minds destination. For years, I did not, and gave up. No more!

Today I am always looking at how to improve a bad situation. Looking to be resourceful helps me hone my skills.

This is a Chapter out of Tying it All Together. Link to Amazon

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Helping Someone Depressed

*To help your friend or relative:

 Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.

Talk to him or her and listen carefully.

Never dismiss feelings but point out realities and offer hope.

self improvement, hope, help

Never ignore comments about suicide and report them to your loved one’s therapist or doctor.

Invite your loved one out for walks, outings, and other activities. Keep trying if he or she declines, but don’t push him or her to take on too much too soon.

Aid in getting to doctors’ appointments.

Remind your loved one that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.

Caring for someone with depression is not easy. Someone with depression may need constant support for an extended period. Make sure you leave time for yourself and your own needs. If you feel you need additional assistance, there are support groups for caregivers too.

Helping someone with depression can be a real task. The person may be in a pit and become verbally combative when insisted on getting moving to a therapy appointment or maybe just to the shower.

Remember, it’s the depression lashing out or talking to you. Just like someone drunk, it’s the liquor talking. Boundaries can be set; however, patience is the call of the day.

*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2015). Depression (NIH Publication No. 15-3561). Bethesda, MD: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Make It a Fun Day

Life is about choice. You can choose to be happy, sad, depressed, or you can want fun! Sounds a bit of a cliche, but ask yourself, “what if I choose to have fun today?”

Here are five quick fun things you can do today:

  1. Go bowling! Have you ever seen anyone not having fun bowling? For those of you that have never bowled, it’s just fun. 
  2. Get outside. Park, lake, mountains, river, just get out. Take a picnic, frisbee, get your pets outside. Tons of things to do outside free. Breathe fresh air!  
  3. Watch a comedy movie. A laugh out loud comedy. This will date me, but Author with Dudley Moore, one of the funniest movies ever! 
  4. Volunteer. Find an organization you can get your head around and go help. Senior home, dog rescue, food pantry, tons of places to help. 
  5. Find a fun hobby. Something that brings you pleasure. Internet searches, you can find thousands of choices. Pick one and go! 

That’s just five simple things. You can do whatever you choose just make sure it’s fun. Noting like a pleasant smile, laugh, and being with people together.

happy, fun, amazing

The biggest mistake in my life? Chasing a living instead of living a life!

Get out and do something right now today. No time limits, no pressure, just get outside of where you are now. No money, no worries, go to a local park shoot some baskets. Play on the children’s playground.

Point is don’t say next week, tomorrow, or whatever excuse your head can put out. Fun is the call of the day!

Don’t wait for your life to happen, go make it happen!