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Archive for March, 2009

Today I am going to ask you a question, and it is my hope that you will leave a response here on this blog. Often times the act of writing something down allows our mind to leave it, to rest in it or to be a peace with it. Today’s question is concerning others, but is deeply rooted in your soul.

We often times define ourselves based on the actions of others. We give ourselves value or diminish our value based on the ones we surround ourselves with. This question is going to ask you to look deep with in, and to place your heart and soul out in the open for all to see. This is a risk for most and an everyday occurrence for others. Some of us naturally “wear our hearts on our sleeves”, but this question, this exercise is different, I am not going to ask you to state something personal about you, directly, but rather to look at others in your life, now or in the past, and to place your heart out for them.

Take your time, think deeply on this question, and than respond.

 

Who in your life should be acknowledged more?

 

It seems like a simple question, a one or two word response and your on your way, but that’s not what the question is calling for, what its calling for is a deeper response, one that calls for the emotion of the soul to be heard.  Use this space to acknowledge them, offer them your praise and empty bear your soul to them.

Paul

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Time for your self is important, each of us need to set aside a little time each day for ourselves. Now I can hear some people already says, sure maybe you have time to set aside, but me, I’m so busy that I barley have time to sleep, with work and the kids and this event and that even….

and so it goes….

Well I say bull crap to that!

No one, and I mean no one is that busy that they can not find 5, 10 or 15 minutes each day for themselves, I am sure President Obama does, and you can not tell me you have more stuff on your plate than the leader of the free world does.

I am sure he has time for his wife and kids and for himself. If he can find the time, so can we. It’s called time management, and its a skill we all need to learn. And it is one we can discipline ourselves in, if we truly try.

As proof to my point, the young man that lives with me, my nephew, he use to spend all his time after school doing nothing but homework. He would come home, sit down and start on his homework, stop for dinner than study until 10 or 11 at night, and sometimes wake up a 5am to study more. He did ok in his classes, but nothing great. I was on him for over a year to stop this madness and go out with friends, hang out and play a little , to take time for his mind to rest and time for himself.

This past semester I forced him to do so, I refused to allow him to come home a study, he had to go and do something else with his friends and than after dinner do his homework. He got his best report card to date! He has learned a lesson for life, that time for himself is invaluable. His comment to me after getting his report card was, “I guess to much studying is not to smart”.

No truer statement can be made, and you can replace the wordy studying with any other word you like:

  • I guess to much overtime is not to smart
  • I guess to much helping others is not to smart
  • I guess to much volunteering is not to smart
  • I guess to much ________ is not to smart

We all can find the time, it’s not a matter of needing more hours in the day, its a matter of using the hours we got smartly. If my 17 year old nephew can figure it our, we should be able to also.

Sit down and write out your typical day, hour by hour, see where your time is going, and discover how you can re order your day or remove from your day to gain 10, 15 or 20 minuets to give to yourself.

Paul

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Projection

Yesterday was a day off for me, I had personal stuff to take care of, so I decided that I would also take a day off from writing my blogs. In truth, I really didn’t have much to say. But today is a new day so I thought I would give it a try.

People tend to project there feelings or wants on to others, sometimes it is very obvious and other times its just little things. I could be there likes and dislikes, or political views. Projectors look for people whom they can project on to, someone to live there life for them. Most often times it is the negative aspects of themselves they project. The thoughts and emotions they want to feel or do feel but want others to feel the same, all to make them selves feel safer.

In some ways we all are projectors, we all want others to be like us, to feel as we do, it makes the emotion safer more real to us. But some seem to take this to extremes, they project every aspect of themselves on others all in an attempt to gain acceptance or to gain the upper hand.

I currently am dealing with this, I currently am the screen on to witch someone is projecting there hopes and fears. The problem, for me, is that I have stated my feelings and my expectations concerning this issue to this person, yet they seem to not hear what I am saying, they twist and turn it in to what they need it to be, to make it fit in to there projection.

It is a sad state when someone’s true feelings and emotions are negated by the other when your own outlook is masked all to help them feel good about themselves.

The problem, for me is, how do I deal with this? We have talked, the projector and I, concerning this issue, and to my face they agree with me, they accept what I state as my feelings but to others they project there feelings as mine.

If I confront this person concerning this issue, they will, like they have in the past, denial is the mode of operation. It is a frustration, one that I am not sure how to end.

Insecurities are part of everyone’s life, and anyone who says its not is lying and very insecure. the trick to insecurity is to turn it in to positive energy, to use that energy to accomplish the task at hand.  Yet some take that insecurity and project it on to others, turning it in to, what they consider, the great equalizer. I, like the rest of the world, am insecure. I have my comfort zones and my routines’ that keep me safe. But every so often I choose to step outside my comfort, I choose to shack it up a bit. I too want to be liked, but I am also realistic, and understand that not everyone will like me, in fact I figure that most will not, but I still put my self out there for others. My projections are mostly of the positive type, I have a basic trust in people, I feel that humanity is good, and most of us in humanity are the same. Like a negative projection, this too can cause issues.

I seem to place trust in those who do not deserve it, or who take advantage of it. I error on the side of good, and will always think the best of others before myself. Others seem to do just the opposite they will think negative of humanity and others before they think negative of them selves. I feel that these two types are basically the same, I must prefer the positive projection to the negative, but it’s easy to see where either are coming from. Its this this class that I feel is the most dangerous, its the negative person who projects negativeness, the ones who don’t put themselves or others first, the ones who have no faith in humanity, they are the ones to fear. They do not even know they are who they are, because they place no value in others or themselves, they do no see the harm they cause, nor do they care to see it. Often times they also see themselves as a good force in nature, they live a lie to survive. It is this type that I am dealing with and I am at a loss as to what to do. I have tried different approaches, from telling it like it is, to back door psychology. Nothing seems to work. The friendship, as it is, is on the ruff road to ending, and that in its own way is sad, but life happens and things change, we all must grow and sometimes that means ending friendships and sometimes it means fixing them, only time will tell.

If you have nay ideas, please let me know…

Paul

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Last night I had a intimate chat with my nephew, he is a 17 year old young man who originates from Cameroon Africa. He has only been in this country for a few years, and I have only known him for 1.5 years or so, well maybe closer to 2 years now, but what ever. In truth he is not my natural nephew, I knew his dad, not very well, through the church I am youth minister at. His son was in the youth group, and to make a long story short, to help him and his boy out, i let his son move in with me, so now he is my nephew. But back to that chat.

Last night at dinner he is usually very quiet, and does not offer up much information, not much more that a grunt or two. But some of that is typical teen age communication but with him it’s also a cultural thing, he was taught to be seen not heard. And that’s what he tries to do, over the last year or so I have worked very hard to get him to open up, to talk to me and other adults more freely. It’s been a hard road, but it has had it’s moments, like last night.

the topic of our conversation is of no real concern for the point of this blog, what is of concern is the importance of intimate conversation. We have gotten away from intimacy in general, our conversations are done via text messaging on our cell phones, one of the latest trends is to text your boy friend or girl friend that you are breaking up. My nephew asked a young lady out via a text message. I was not happy and told him so, to me, asking someone out is an intimate act and should be done face to face, or at least over the phone, voice to voice. The ability to text someone removes the direct contact, removes the personal touch. It makes it easer to have no investment in to the relationship. Sure there are times that texting is called for, or Instant Messaging (IMing) someone one. I IM people all the time, unless it is important, unless it calls for intimacy than it is a face to face contact.

The body often times speaks more that the voice, we can learn more for the language the body is using than the language the voice is using.  With text messages and such, all that is lost, we speak in bits and peaces, using icons to display emotions and words that haven’t even been added to any dictionary as of yet.

When I talk with my nephew I always make sure I can see him and that he is looking at me, often times he looks down or away, and misses the body language of the conversation. I try to explain the importance of looking someone in the eyes when you talk to them, but in this world of texting it seems to make no cense. I am sure he would rather just text me a reply and be done with it.

This all to often is what most teens, and now even adults would rather do. We are loosing the ability to have intimate conversations by allowing our youth to continue hiding behind there phones. As parents and care givers we have a responsibility to teach our children how to be intimate, and we do this by example, but forcing them to look at us when they talk to us, but explaining that texting does not replace face to face or voice to voice, that important things are not reduced to “OMG” (Oh my god) or other such abbreviations, and that a 🙂 does not truly equal a smile.

If we continue down this path we run the risk of living in a world of no intimacy, just a quick text and off we go. So last nights conversation was truly of no great importance except he did communicate with me, he looked at me and he smiles and responded with feeling in his voice. That is much more than a text message ever can be.

ttyl

Paul

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Emotions can help you or hinder you, it is up to you. I have often talked about how our attitudes will shape our our comes, how we can think our way in to a new you. The opposite is also true, we can think ourselves out of a new you, we can think ourselves in to the same old same old.

The power of positive thinking is only defeated by the power of negative thinking. The human mind is capable of many great things, it has the power to land a man on the moon and to start horrific wars, the same mind can do both. Our capability is only limited by our lack of imagination. Our greatness is with in us, and only our emotions keep us from achieving our goals.

The power of negative thinking can be overwhelming, and in today’s society, the negative takes the forefront, over shadowing all other emotions. We are encourage to feel the negative emotions, we are made to feel sub-human if we do not. New daily news feeds off of our fears, manufacturing crisis after crisis, our schools teach our children fear (unproven global warming science) and our government thrives off our fears grabbing ever larger portions of the privet sector.

We as a collective mind buy in to the fear, we all look for the negative emotions and try to use it to our advantage, we publically state our shock and outrage but privately we are celebrating the momentary power surge we receive. 

If we truly wish to change, to grow in to a better self we need to learn to control the negative emotions, we need to learn not to buy in to the mass hysteria that drives the masses. To so called “true feelings” of negatives need to diverted in to a positive. The task at hand is truly a monumental task, all the forces of humanity are working to control you, to scare you in to a submission, the choice is yours.

Here are some things to consider concerning negative emotions:

Anxiety and fear strips away courage and makes great performances impossible.

Doubt makes even the best decisions feel difficult and causes procrastination.

Anger rips your focus away from your goals.

Frustration can only serve to make you quit.

Guilt makes it impossible to enjoy any successes you achieve.

Jealousy and envy create dishonesty, hate and corruption. Your thoughts and emotions are the only things that can truly stop you.

 

Paul

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Each new day brings with it new opportunities. As we continue or journey to a new and exciting version of ourselves, we often times need to close the door on the old version of ourselves. This door closing often times can be harder than the actual change we have gone through, is a way we are allowing a part of ourselves to die out.

The process of dealing with the death of a loved one can be difficult, but in some ways it is even harder to deal with your own death, of sorts. It is hard to let go of a part of yourself, even when you know it is good for you.

Have you ever tried to quit smoking or eating that second helping of cake. It is hard to quit something even when you know its best for you. We enjoy the little evil pleasures of life, for what ever reason and to give it up is a struggle.

How much more of a struggle will it be to give up a part of yourself? To move on to a new you? The death of yourself is a very traumatic event, one that can bring you down or lift you up.

Now you maybe asking how can a traumatic event lift me up? Well if you look through out history you will see examples of just that. In fact you really do not have to look very far back in to history, just look to 9/11. In the mist of tragedy we saw the best of humanity. People where lifted up and became new. Mother Theresa lived in tragedy daily, but she was lifted up by it, became a new creation.

The heroes of 9/11 and Mother Theresa, and scores of others, all had to die to themselves to become the saints and heroes they are. They each had to give something up, in the case of our 9/11 heroes, some gave there lives others gave them selves. Mother Theresa gave her love. But each, regardless, had to give, had to die to themselves.

Change is hard, it is a struggle, but it can be, and should be an uplifting experience. Death is never the end, it is always the beginning of something new and greater than what we have known. Death allows us a new life, it allows us the opportunity to rediscover the living, and to see them in a new light.

So sure, dieing to yourself can be difficult and it can cause pain, but that pain is only temporary if we allow it to lead us, if we allow it to lift us up.

Paul

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Every artist was first an amateur.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

How true is that, we all must start out as amateurs, beginners and apprentices. But some do not think this is the way it should be, for some reason they feel that they should achieve greatness with little to no effort. I see it all the time in my job. Young hot shots out of school wanting top dollar for what they consider there greatness, I see it in all walks of life, people wanting greatness with out the effort, as if they are above all that.

Not sure where it came from, or how we as a nation have arrived at this point but it permeates our lives, we see it in all we do. The youth of this nation expect it, and are shocked when they are not perceived as great. We are a nation of “give me” we expect that it will be provided, with no effort from me needed. We see this also in our government, a government that is willing to provide rather than making us work for it. It has even seeped in to your churches, we now have people in religions that assumes there salvation with no effort on there part (see my blog on www.staticyouth.wordpress.com for more about this topic).

We find it easier to blame others for our failures than to take responsibility, we choose to burden ourselves in the name of others so we can be martyrs for the cause. Yet we fail to work towards our greatness, we choose to allow others to define it for us, to package it and hand it to us with a bow on top.  We are unwilling to work at our goals, and we criticize those that do.

We have fallen in to a trap that tells us hard work is for others, that we must not be bothered with it. That the success of others is something we must envy but never under any circumstances should we strive to achieve the same, rather it should be taken from them and given to us, because we deserve it.

This has to change, we must get back to the basics of working your way up a ladder. Nothing is automatic and nothing should ever be expected because you deserve it. Everything should be worked for, and set backs should be expected and welcomed. We have become a nation of entitlements, we assume we are owed our greatness just because we are who we are.

Our greatness will not be given to us, but rather it is something that we must work at, something that we must create, the artist is not great because others tell them so, they are great because they persevered through the hell of becoming an artist. We will be great when we are willing to walk through hell to achieve the goal we set out for ourselves.

Changing yourself is a goal towards greatness, weather it is changing one aspect of your life or redefining yourself, each will require that you do the work yourself, that you wall through the hell on your own. The hell you endure will be the hell you create. Each of us are responsible for our own destiny, we choose the path we wish to walk, we create our own heaven or hell here on earth, its all in the way we choose to deal with it.

Me, I choose to see more heaven than hell, me I choose to create my own greatness rather than expecting others to give it to me. It is my choice, and it is yours.

Paul

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