Sunday, November 29, 2015

Are you improving your soul?

I'm utterly convinced that our soul is totally different than the rest of us. In other words, the state of our soul is not in any way shape or form dependent on our looks, our social status, our worldly success or bank accounts.

I think it's important to work on improving the condition of my soul. The condition my soul is in is the best indicator of where I'm at in life.

And yet, improving the soul is so easy to overlook. Entertainment and its endless diversions are everywhere. Why do the hard grunt work improving the soul demands when you can veg out in front of the TV or computer (something I'm drawn to doing)?

And don't you just have a sense when a person's soul is right? Like, they may not have a lot of worldly success but they are at peace. They have integrity in their life. They value what matters most.

Working to develop the world's success is so much easier than working to improve the soul. But hey, the world's success is going to be stripped from you someday for sure, while the soul's success will accompany you throughout eternity.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Can shocks be a good thing?

I have sustained my share of worldly shocks. —Lord Byron

I have too. I'm sure you have as well. But can shocks be a good thing?

A friend of mine once said that she needed some "bee stings" to get moving out of the complacency her life had become. Isn't that the truth? If we are overly settled in our lives, entrenched in the ruts we've been living in for a long time, well, then, chances are reasoning (no matter how persuasive) or will power or love or whatever is not going to be able to get us moving. But bee stings will.

No one handles bee stings well. They're like, "Ho, I'm out of here!" and they're running off. There's not a lot of deliberation. You're not asking a lot of questions. ('Gee, maybe I should move away from this wasp stinging me?') You're just moving. Fast.

Nobody likes to get bee stings (actual or figurative), but I think we can all agree that they do get us moving.

Health is a good example. Sometimes it takes the shock of a bad report on a test to get us taking care of our health.

I think of shocks (figurative shocks, now) as breaking up the barrier in our mind or psyche that is keeping us stuck. And nothing else will do. Even in the physical world, think of a big slab of stone blocking something. Will chipping away at it  break it open? No. It may whittle away at the edges but it will not break it open. Only an out and out smash will do the job.

So, if you want quick change in your life don't hide from shocks.

Should we pursue shocks then?

Some people do. Lord Byron did. He lived a tumultuous life of wild risk taking (and accordingly received his share of worldly shocks).

I think, though, if you want to change badly enough you don't need to find the shocks—the shocks will find you. But you do have to be open to the shocks. And not curse whatever has brought them into your life. It might even be said that it would be best to welcome them.

And then hang on for dear life while the shocks do their job—and deliver the change you were looking for.

Yes, shocks can be a good thing. A very good thing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Do you have the courage to be a nobody?

From Jim Perskie in the Washington Post:

I figured out early on that I wasn't cut out to be a neurosurgeon or fighter pilot. So I kinda aimed low my whole life. It worked for me. Sure, the world needs some ambitious people. But it's worth noting that ambition has given us products like New Coke, men like Donald Trump, and war after war. Ambition certainly doesn't seem to make the ambitious particularly happy. By definition, they cannot be content with who they are and what they have. And the world seems to encourage them to inflict their desire for advancement on the rest of us. So to all you ambitious folks out there: Enough. I'll gladly concede that you all 'win.' Just leave the rest of us alone.

How you doing compared with your neighbor? The people you went to high school with? How much money do you make? What kind of car do you drive? Are you famous?

Those are a lot of questions I know I've asked myself through the years (and come up on the losing end with my answers), but now I'm reconsidering even asking those questions anymore.

Does it matter how I compare with anybody else? It can, in a negative sense. I know that much. Time and time again I've made myself miserable asking them. So why do I do it?

Good question.

Which leads to another question: Can a person live without comparing himself to others?

Yes. But from my experience it's very hard to do. But oh, the results are so worth it.

Because when I don't compare myself to anybody else I am fine! Yes, fine. Just the way I am. It's a remarkable thing. My job or my car or my significant other, whatever they may be, are just dandy. It's so freeing.

Give it a try. I promise you it will feel good.