Worrier or Warrior?

Worrier or Warrior?

Oh what a difference a couple of vowel movements can make! Swap an “A” for an “O” – and change begins to flow; then a final “E” for an “O” and off we really go!

Two words with the same framework of consonants and one shared vowel in the same place: W-rri-r, but what a different outcome! Of course, the vowel they both share in the same place is the identifying letter, “I”. “I” is the decision-maker!

I’ve been a professional Worrier for years – paralysed by fears.

But I’d rather be a Warrior, ready for action. And I think that this is the difference that makes a difference: taking action. When I focus on worrying, I become frozen and inactive. Everything seizes and ceases. But if I seize the moment and take action, everything changes.   Sometimes gradually; sometimes dramatically.

I can’t pretend to be brave, but perhaps being courageous doesn’t require one to be brave?

Perhaps the courageous person is the one who takes action when other people hesitate?

Through the eyes of my inner Worrier, I have some impossible challenges before me – 50 years of clutter and mess to sort, save or shed.

Through the eyes of my inner Warrior, I have a plan: one box at a time, one shelf at a time, one cupboard at a time. It’s not a battle like so many dear people are having to face for their future at the moment – I am not in dire straits, so it’s important to have a sense of perspective. But emotionally, it is a battle for me.

We are all in a tug of war between our Inner Worrier and our Inner Warrior. Today, I would appeal to your Inner Warrior and simply ask, “What’s the first physical action you can take?”

I wish you a courageous day!

Life to the Max

Life to the Max?

[Audio version: Life to the Max]

I’ve got a little friend called, “Max.” Max is my neighbour’s dog. He looks like “Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy” if you’ve ever seen the Lynley Dodd books (or care to Google the image).

Max is an enthusiast. Nothing is held back. I have known him try to draw me through the garden fence by the power of his nose suction alone. This little black, wet nozzle of a snozzle finds a tiny gap under the fence and inhales as if his life depends upon it… His wagging tail causes a small tremor that can be felt through the ground… he is truly inspirational!

I think it would be fair to create a verb in Max’s honour: to be Maxed. To be Maxed means to be enthusiastically ‘assaulted’ by an energetic bundle of hairy love!

I’m pretty sure Max’s love is unconditional, or perhaps indiscriminate. It still feels nice – if you’re not wearing your posh togs.

Walking to the shop the other day, I saw Max in the distance, and thought to myself, “Today, I do not wish to be ‘Maxed’!” I wondered how I could politely avoid being pounced upon without offending him or his owner. My concerns were unnecessary. Max was ‘elsewhere’. He had found some fascinating scent along the bottom of another fence and was busy pursuing this trail. Nose down, he was blissfully unaware of anything else.

Max had found joy and freedom through single-minded focus. One thought, one purpose, one pursuit. I don’t think he has many worries, but if he did, he wouldn’t have been troubled at this time. His mind was absorbed.

Could you find joy and freedom in single-minded focus today? Could you make a promise to your brain that you’ll come back to the other stuff it’s fretting about later but in the meantime just focus enthusiastically on something lovely and absorbing?

Live life to the Max.

 

A Walk In The Park?

Robin

A Walk in the Park?

[Audio version here: Audio version of the blog]

There are many strange clichés in all cultures. English has its fair share. How about this one, “Life’s a walk in the park!” This means that life is easy and pleasant. This is a wonderful state that we’re all supposed to aspire to. Apparently.

Well the more people I get to know – really know – the more I realise that I don’t know anybody for whom this is true.

Scratch under the surface a bit and you find that all people or their friends and families face battles against poverty, ill-health and all manner of sorrows. None of them have a life that is a walk in the park.

So, should we abandon the dream? Yes, I think we should! The exaggerations of marketing professionals, fashion gurus and media moguls set us up to expect the unrealistic. When the unrealistic is continuously unattained, disappointment and disillusionment can set in… and even despair. Far better, then, to choose a better path – a path of realism.

The path I recommend is a path through the park. Not a walk in the park, but a walk through the park. By this, I mean the conscious decision to take time to enjoy the park each day. The ‘park’ can be anything you take pleasure in. Your loyal and adoring pet. Art. Music. Nature. Whatever your ‘park’ is, is must be cherished each day, at least for a few precious moments.

One of my parks is the park! There’s a recreation field at the top of our cul-de-sac. There, with space to grow and be itself, is a young oak tree. I get a ridiculous amount of pleasure from pausing and just looking at how well it is developing this year. I haven’t seen a single other person pause and enjoy this feast for the senses. For many, it seems the park is an interruption between where they are now and where they are seeking to get to.

May I recommend a walk through the park? And when you do take up this recommendation, may I suggest you pause and drink in the sensory feast prepared there for you? The clouds, the trees, the grass, the birds…

My desire is that, in taking a walk through the park, you find that your life might just become more like a walk in the park.

Rhythms Cycles and Ripples pt1

Rhythms, Cycles and Ripples

Sammy Davis Jnr said it,

“And the rhythm of life is a powerful beat,
“Puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet,
“Rhythm in your bedroom, rhythm in the street,
“Yes, the rhythm of life is a powerful beat.”

[Song, “The Rhythm of Life.”]

There’s a rhythm and a cycle to your year, your Seasons, your month, your week, your day and night.

Every moment has its own rhythm.

And your personality has its own “Signature Rhythm”… something that sets ‘you’ apart by the way you walk, the way you talk, even the way you shrug your shoulders.

Or to sing again…

“The way you wear your hat.
“The way you sip your tea…

“The way your smile just beams.
“The way you sing off-key.
“The way you haunt my dreams…

“The way you hold your knife (do-do-do-do do-do).
“The way we danced until three.
“The way you’ve changed my life…”

[Song, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”]

There are many messages here, but I’d like to begin today with drawing our attention to circles that ripples make.

Life happens. Events happen like dropping a stone into the pond of our lives. The effects ripple out.

Some things we can control, some things we can influence, and some things are outside this in what we can call “The Circle of Concern”. Knowing the difference between these ripples or circles can really help respond with resilience. By focusing on what we can control and what we can influence, we can feel empowered. It’s not always possible to let go of those matters that are outside our control and influence yet still weigh upon our concerns. However, time is mercifully finite. If we choose to invest our finite time in giving attention to the circles of control and influence, the positive ripples will spread out and even tranform the ways we see the circle of concern.

To conclude this first in a series, I’d just say that there will be a rhythm and cycle to your day – a time in the day when you’ll feel more able to deal with ‘stuff’. I’m stronger, sharper, more effective in the morning. I know this. So, getting in-synch with this rhythm of life can make all the difference to working on what you can control and influence.

Here’s to perfect timing.

Decision is Ultimate Power

Nowhere Map

Lex v5.312 – all will be explained!

“Imagine if your beliefs guarantee you can never get to where you want to go?” Tony Robbins during his most popular TED Talk, “Why we do what we do.”

Our beliefs form what psychologists often term as our mental map of the world. Folks, I don’t need a new map, I need a new atlas!

Robbins, in his TED Talk, also said, “The defining factor is never resources, it is resourcefulness.”

Changing our beliefs and thus transforming our mental maps is the only guarantee that we can change our destination. And, if this is not too corny, changing your destination kind of changes your destiny, doesn’t it?

I like the idea of mental maps. I also like the idea of mental software programmes. Approaching 54 this month, I would classify my current mental software as Lex v5.312! It’s still got loads of bugs and still crashes most days. Furthermore, I really don’t like where I’m getting to in life. So, I really need to improve my maps and update – or even upgrade my software, don’t I?

If you are even remotely like me, where shall we start?

Surely our transformation must begin with our beliefs? St Paul talked about a pathway to transformation. He said it was through the renewing of our mind. That sounds like new beliefs and paradigms to me – new patterns of thinking, backed up by new habits of action.

If we see limiting beliefs as software bugs or errors on our map – whichever works best for you – we can also see a way forward. Let’s hunt out and challenge those limiting beliefs. Capture them, challenge them, change them.

I know enough of my own limiting beliefs to make a start – and I’m willing to bet that you know some of your own too. I’m not even going to share my dirty washing here! What I am going to do, in privacy, is challenge their validity and then, if they don’t stand up well to scrutiny, I’m going to go for a belief upgrade!

Robbins lists the following as examples of resourcefulness:

  • Creativity
  • Determination
  • Love and Compassion
  • Curiosity
  • Passion
  • Resolve

Even looking at this list, I find helpful. All of these I have experienced in my life and yet some are at a low ebb at the moment. I believe that strengthening my resourcefulness will help. I know I can take action to change the health of those factors in the list that are currently weak. And that is what I have decided to do.

Thus I close with my final Robbins’ quote today:

“Decision is the ultimate power.”

 

 

 

Walking Up The Down Escalator

KIDS138---Up-The-Stairs

Walking Up The Down Escalator

I spent the other evening trying to ‘encourage’ a friend. I wasn’t trying to cheer them up so much as helping them to see themselves as other people see them – which is a lot more positively than they see themselves.

It…. Was……. Hard……………….. Work………………………………

Meditating on this in the bath, I remembered an important lesson I’d temporarily forgotten. This is that people have a bank ledger when it comes to the positives and the negatives in their lives. If they have far more deposits in the negative ledger, it takes a lot of positive inputs to balance the books. You can be positive with them, but it is totally unrealistic to expect a positive response for a long time – there’s just too much of a deficit to clear.

I’ve heard this is the case with ‘Rescue’ dogs – they take a long time to trust their new owners, but then become fiercely loyal and protective of them… whilst maintaining a distrust of strangers.

It reminded me of how some people describe debt: like trying to walk up a down escalator.

Many of my Bi-Polar friends, like me, are in debt. We have had an abundance of negative investment in our lives. We’re on the down escalator hoping to get back at least to the level.

I don’t say this in any kind of ‘Sob Story’ way – just plain accounting – we’ve had more negatives than positives.  These are in the emotional bank account – I’m not talking about the concrete things in life – food, shelter, clothing – in these aspects we are rich.

So here’s my word of encouragement. Be gentle with yourself. If someone is kind to you and you don’t feel able to respond, realise that it is at least a step up the down escalator. Lock onto that positivity and look out for more. The rest is pure maths. Get sufficient positives in and you will get to the top of that down escalator back onto the level.

Then, you might just find the up escalator… and that’s a lot of fun.

Addendum

Do you remember being told to, “Walk!  Don’t Run!”?

I’m going to encourage you to be disobedient.

Run up that down escalator… across the level floor… then up the up escalator.

Life’s too short to be down.

On Purpose, Patterns and Passion

On Purpose, Patterns and Passion

On Purpose

I think.

A lot.

On purpose.

I like it when “Life” makes sense.

But it doesn’t often.

When “Life” doesn’t “make sense”, I think you have to make Life make sense.

And I’m not alone in this.

Viktor Frankl wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning.” I’d recommend you read it for yourself. Part of his key message is to find meaning in existence – and thus give yourself a reason for living. His credibility flows from the fact that he managed to do this as an inmate of a Concentration Camp.

My quest for meaning led me to become a Theologian (of sorts!) I went to Theological College and walked away with a love for Wisdom and Inspiration. The Apostle Paul said that, “All things work together for the good of those who love God…” (See Romans 8:28) Paul and Viktor were always looking for a pattern that made sense – that made their circumstances serve them or a higher goal.

They lived their lives “on purpose”.

So, even when “Life” seems both kind or unkind, ask yourself these liberating questions:

“How can this serve my purpose?”

“How can this serve me?”

If you’re even more assertive – make it serve you. Adam and Eve were put on Earth to rule the Planet (according to the Scriptures) – not to whinge and whine. Dominion was their job description! Later in History, when the storm threatened to sink the boat (Mark 4:35-41), Jesus was asleep! The text suggests that He expected His disciples to do something about it.

Whatever your theological position, these messages are about humankind creating purpose and taking action. You are naturally creative – so create value in whatever you experience.

Live deliberately… on purpose.

When you need a better Pattern

If “Life” isn’t working…

…you need a better pattern.

If “Life” doesn’t make sense…

…you need a better pattern.

When humankind has forgotten the “kind” part of “Humankind”…

…we all need a better pattern.

That’s what revolution is – changing the paradigm – upgrading our thinking – creating a better pattern.

If your life seems flat – remember that’s the way the Earth used to be to multitudes of people who were wrong. They had the wrong pattern. Now the pattern is different – now the pattern is round.

The Earth used to be the Centre of the Solar System – now it plays (an important) part, but it’s not the Centre of everything.

You can have a well-rounded life if you take you out of the centre of everything! Light, Life and Laughter – like the Sun – doesn’t revolve around you, you revolve around it. If you want to evolve, revolve! That means making some cause or someone else the Centre of your Universe. That’s a revolutionary pattern.

You are amazingly designed to discover patterns. That pattern of discovery will never end. You’ll always be learning. Don’t fight this, embrace it. If you see a “pattern of behaviour” you don’t like, change the pattern. When you change your thoughts, you change the very chemistry of your brain. When you change your chemistry, you change your behaviour. When you change your actions (your observable behaviour) you change your History. You cannot change your History without changing mine. Let’s change History together.

It begins with another pattern… a pattern of thought.

The Passion

They can make software and robots to do many of the tasks and activities that take up my time. I have access to a washing machine – I don’t need to spend hours going to the river to wash clothes. Sewing machines can sew my clothes. My computer can even back up my memory so that I can remember birthdays and get to meetings on the right day – without having to think.

But, the software and the robots will never have my passion. They may be able to mimic passion, but they can never have my passion. That’s unique. That’s the spark. When that goes, the spark dies.

So today’s blog closes with this imperative:

“You need to control your chemistry.”

You are more in control than you’ve yet realised. “Enthusiasm” is a chemical reaction. “Love” is chemistry. “Faith” is chemistry. “Hope” is chemistry. It’s “stuff”. And you can make this “stuff” in your very own Chemistry Lab. It begins with a thought and a purpose. You can lead your thoughts. Your thoughts become the catalysts for the kind of chemical reactions that happen next. You can put that chemistry in motion – that’s why we call part of the process “E-motion”. Choose the thought, add the passion, trigger the reaction, watch the result as you witness the magic unfold.

You are the Chemist.

You just might be an Alchemist.

It’s time to stir yourself!