Monday, December 31, 2012
I have decided it’s time to shake things up a bit. I’m looking forward to 2013 I am going to look back at 2012. I can feel some of you cringe in horror. Our whole society is aligned to look ahead. How many e-mails have you received in the past week that talks about setting better and more effective goals for 2013? How many of those goals will be circling the drain by March 1? It is why diets do not work. We struggle to change behavior without changing or altering our thought process. Deep down inside, when we begin to alter our eating and exercise habits we form the belief we are being punished, because, after all, we are fat aren’t we. (I know I am supposed to say obese, but really, is your self, internal talk politically correct.)
Sometime today and most likely tomorrow, I am going to review my year and rather than celebrate what I have accomplished I am going to focus on where I have failed. No rousing or self-uplifting motivational talks or blogs here. Not going to focus on how wonderful I am and how much Jesus loves me even if I am fat. I am going to ask myself what went wrong. Because I have, feelings that the same things that went wrong in 2012 are the same things that went wrong in 2011 and 2010 and down the line. As someone so eloquently put it: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
This isn’t going to be fun but neither is a colonoscopy and it has a positive benefit doesn’t it? I am going to examine my failures and faults. I am not going to cut myself any slack, no pious platitudes and when I am done I know there won’t be any great revelations for 2013 just the realization of what things in my life need to change.
Despite our bleating and moaning, the only person who makes anything happen in our lives, positive or negative is us. We choose what external influences enter our lives. We vacillate on the tough choices because of the “P” word. No one likes pain, especially the emotional type. It strips us naked and we see all the bumps and lumps. So we create “do betters” without ever addressing all the “what the heck happened” of the past.
The three mantras I live by have not changed; moreover, they are a work in progress, something to be refined as I gain knowledge or as I stub my toes.
I deserve to be successful.
I deserve to be open and honest with myself about those areas of my life that need attention. Dorothy’s ruby red slippers are safe in the Smithsonian. There is no magic that is going to change my current state of affairs.
I am worth all the effort I put into myself.
The key word is effort. The laws of physics apply to each circumstance in our lives: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Positive and healthy behavior equals a healthier me. Cookies, cakes, and pies at my age are road maps to Type 2 diabetes. It takes no real effort to succumb to the will of others. When we fail the folks who tempted us are convenient foils. It is never our fault. There is no way we cannot reject our family of origin can we? I dunno, can we?
Ya are whom ya hang around with.
If you surround yourself with people who move forward, take honest but painful looks at their behavior then you too will be lifted up. For me, I’m done with excuses. I’m tired of running with the “there, there” crowd.
So today, tomorrow and into the next week I’ll take a hard look at the past year and ask myself how and where I could have handled some things in a different and more importantly WHY didn’t I have the courage to do so. The sad thing is that those of you who are in the same boat I’m in will give me a thumbs up, cheer me on, tell me I’m 100% correct and log off. Gosh I wish ya wouldn’t. I for one care about you too much to see you continue to be frustrated. Could we turn on our flashlights together and find the light of health in this next year.
As Michael J Fox once said “I’m back to the future.”
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Last week I posted a blog about perfect joy. It was a story about St Francis and one his fellow travelers discussing what perfect joy might feel like. If you would like to see the whole exchange, you can read that blog at:
In the end, Francis declared that perfect joy did not come from comfort and wealth but often from the discomfort of being rejected. This morning I had the opportunity to experience that type of joy up close and personal.
It had been sleeting since midnight. It was that nasty slushy stuff. I took Joan to work and started to the store. Having lived up north for many years, I know you do not wear a three-piece suit in this nasty, wintery weather. I usually wear an old pair of warm ups, a sweatshirt and a hoodie. I have a pair of running shoes that just might be older than me. Did I tell you Joan had been after me for about two weeks to get my beard trimmed? I needed to buy the usual staples – milk, bread, and eggs. I take a blood pressure pill that is also a diuretic. This morning, I NEEDED to use the men’s room before I shopped. I walked past three clerks and said my usual cheery good morning. The all nodded and I could feel them follow me with their eyes into the men’s room. Upon exit, I noticed a shoelace untied so I sat down on a bench to tie it. I sat for a few seconds, warming up. One of the clerks approached me and said “Excuse me, but the restrooms are for our customers.” I wanted to say something like” I’m just resting a moment I’m going to shop here in a minute,” but I was so incredulous that I just sort of stared at the ground. I heard one clerk say, “If he doesn’t move in a few minutes just call security.” I got a cart and took care of my shopping. As I walked up and down the aisles, a manager followed my movement from aisle to aisle. Honestly, I was a bit freaked out. I hurried through the You Scan, paid my bill, and headed to the car. As I loaded my groceries, I realized I had not paid for my milk. A quick look at the receipt confirmed my suspicions. This is not negotiable. If you do not pay for something and you know you did not pay for something you go back into the store and pay for it. Contrary to popular belief, it is not your lucky day. It is theft.
I walked back into the store, explain what happened, and hold out a ten dollar bill. The clerk tells me to wait a minute. Shortly thereafter, the store manager approaches me. He asks for ID. I comply with his request, explaining the milk must have nestled behind the toilet paper and I overlooked it. He asked me where I lived, where I worked and how could I have missed the milk. He took my money, and walked me to the door and watched as I drove away.
There is lots of stuff I wanted to say, even a few people I wanted to call. The people in that store thought I was homeless. They treated me with contempt. I was angry, really angry, until it dawned on me that my attitude suggested I was BETTER than someone who had no permanent home. How dare someone treat my like “one of those people.”
That’s when I began to feel something close to perfect joy
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Many years ago, a pastor of ours, preached a Christmas sermon. In it he challenged us to allow the sweet baby Jesus to leave the manger and to grow into the man who’d saved us. He went on to say that many of us kept that Christmas tableau all year round because a sweet, innocent child cannot do anything you and I don’t agree with.
Poor Jesus. The reason He came gets more distant every year. Why it was just Sunday when I read the NRA says our right “to bear arms” is based in one of the Gospels. The Republicans claim Him as theirs, so do the Democrats. Right to Life, Pro Choice, trust us, Jesus is on our side. The voice grows dimmer as our own concerns grow larger and more forthright. Let me ask you something? 2000 plus years later given how we’ve read the tea leaves and discerned what Jesus “really meant” --- How’s that working out for ya? Are you loving’ your brother and sister any stronger than you are last year? Is there more peace and harmony or do we spend most of our time uttering ablutions and forcing our own point of view down someone else’s throat in the name of Christ Jesus.
Jesus had a simple mission. Strip it of all the glitz, glamour, and guilt we have added it comes down to this: Jesus Saved. The problem is not Jesus; the problem is ours. Jesus paid a ransom, set things right, balanced the books call it what you want. By His death, he said “It’s over, there is no reason to sin any longer. “ It cannot be that simple can it? All we have to do is love, respect, and practice “Namaste” honoring the presence of God in the person across the table from us. We have built large, impressive structures to honor God, ensconced him in gold and silver, called down the wrath of the almighty, and killed folks who do not believe the way we do.
You tell me there are people who do not believe and it’s our mission to save them, to bring them to Jesus so they can believe what we do. I’ll share something with you God often tells me “John when I need your help I’ll ask for it.” Every path is different and every journey makes different stops. My relationship with Jesus has grown stronger in the past year not because of hymns and scripture but because I have spent time reading the writings of the Buddha. They have caused my faith to grow stronger. A lot of you might want to burn me at the stake. Do you think Jesus would?
Accepting the fact that the ransom has been paid can be a huge responsibility and that’s why some choose to keep Jesus in swaddling clothes. The true mission of redemption is never met; it is to love without reservation.
Merry Christmas and Namaste
Monday, December 24, 2012
Blessings to each of you this holiday season. However you choose to celebrate and honor this day I hope it not only meets but exceeds your expectations. If I began thanking each of you for all the wonderful gifts you give me each day of my life I would run out of room to write.
I honor the presence of the divine spirit within each of you. Formally, there are 1505 of you who have acknowledged me as a friend. I sometimes wish I could send a personal message to each of you and to tell you how much you mean to me. To some of you that doesn't happen too often. You toil and struggle and work very hard to make yourself the best you imaginable. Little do you know that you inspire me to continue my own amazing journey.
Namaste to you my dear ones and I hope you enjoy this season and all it holds.
Get An Email Alert Each Time JOHNTJ1 Posts