Morning Mojo

There’s an old Carpenter’s song that goes, “… Monday morning’s always get me down.” Ever feel that way?

How did you get your Monday morning MoJo?

According to research it is estimated that we have over 60,000 thoughts a day, with nearly 80% (45,000) of them being negative. Wow! So if you wake up with the Monday morning blues (or any morning for that matter), here are a couple things you can do to shift the mood.

1) Realize you’re not alone. (Remember that 80% theory.) It’s not personal. So give up the why me dance.

2) Reach for something positive. You’ve got to squelch those negative vibes. Have some positive quotes, a few Scripture verses, or some upbeat affirmations by your bedside or on your kitchen table. When you build a campfire you don’t throw a match to a hunk of wood. You’ve got to gather the kindling and coax the fire into a blaze. Same with you mental outlook. You need a little kindling to get your daily fire going.

3) Feed that fire. As your day comes at you, so will the negativity. So feed your mind with constant positive input. Set aside a few minutes throughout the day for quiet time, prayer, and a good quote or affirmation or three.

4) And before you go to bed, spend a few minutes counting your blessings for the day. Stay focused on the positive. When you go to bed with a mind full of good, there’s a greater chance you’ll wake up focused in a happier direction.

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Practicing The Revelation

Spring is a new season. It’s a season of change and transition. As the earth evolves through this changing season, so do we. It seems to be at the heart of the nature of God. We would do ourselves a huge favor to develop a better understanding of this process and how it applies to our lives. We have become so used to now, now, now, that waiting and patience seem to have become a lost art.

As I try to discern God’s message to me for this present season of my life, it has felt more personal; closer to the vine. As I begin to knock on the front door of my 50’s I am becoming acutely aware that I am also being encouraged to make some alterations in my lifestyle. The late night snacks, cheeseburger lunches, and Dairy Queen Blizzards need to be phased out in favor of more life sustaining meal options and health motivated physical activity. So I decided to try an experiment.

I went to my local book store and scoured the magazine rack. (Yes, they still publish print magazines.) My theory was that I could subscribe to a handful of life-theme magazines, rely almost solely on the information obtained from them, apply the principals learned, and see significant life changes within a three of four month period. I began my research in December, carefully selecting the magazines that I thought would give me a rounded perspective on aspects of life like healthy food choices, supplements, exercise, mental alertness, spirituality, and well being.

I subscribeSummer Reading Programd to four that I believed would supply me with the right mix of material to achieve my goal: Experience Life, Yoga Journal, Eating Well, and Science Of Mind. (Also note that I am a strong proponent of prayer, Biblical application, and faith, so this will also be a major part of the mixture.) One revelation that came to me during my research recently was this:

Revelation is not transformation. We must practice the revelation, otherwise we are just gathering information without producing any real transformation. We need to immerse ourselves in the material, write down the revelations, and then practice those revelations into our lives moment by moment, day in and day out until they become our new truths.

And thus the experiment begins. I plan to share the major revelations here as they unfold for me during my daily morning research. Today is May 1st, and to be fair, I plan to give this season until the end of August for measurable results.

Here are my first revelations, and seems appropriate to kick off the journey with.

” … when people start exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly¬† … for many people, taking time for fitness is a keystone habit that triggers widespread changes.” (Experience Life jan/feb 13, page 51.)

“Exercise spills over.” James Prochaska, RI University.

That’s enough to get me jazzed up. How about you?

With Positive Intention

I’m doing my best to stay informed, yet stay out of the mire of the mainstream media storm around world events lately. It’s not easy. But this quote from W. Clement Stone came to me in my journaling time this morning; “There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” How can you not be effected by all that’s going on? Is it a new trend? Who’s to blame? We are bathed in opinions and editorials aimed at swaying our mind in one direction or another. But as I step back and try to put it all in perspective, I am acutely aware at just how negative it all is. Tragic, yes. But where is the positive spin? If you believe everything from their perspective, we’re all about ready to die.

Now, I understand that there is a global shift towards violence and chaos. That is for another discussion. But we don’t have to lay down and quit. We don’t have to agree with the negative slant on humanity. Is there evil among us? Sure. But doom and gloom is a waste of energy – especially when your immediate world is still pretty good. Maybe there’s a different response in all this. What if we all adopted a different attitude? What if we fought back – with positive intention instead? We have been lured into a passive, fearful mindset – which is one step away from negative resignation. We still live in the greatest country on earth – surrounded by some of the greatest people on earth – we have just forgotten who we really are.

I love this following observation I jotted down one day from an unidentified web page:
To know your true self is to set free the beauty God made in you. So much of the pain of human existence is created by misunderstanding. We accept wrong ideas about who we are, and therefore live painful, stifling, disappointing lives. We were made to be so much more than that! When we rightly understand who we are, we can live as who we are. And if we accept the wonders God made in us – like love, emotion, devotion, passion, intelligence, love of truth, etc. – then we can express those wonders for the good of all.

A Two Dimensional Life

I have this little epiphany taped on one of the pages in my journal:
Change is just a two dimensional word unless you take three dimensional action.

It’s a haunting little thought. Even the idea of change can stir uncomfortable emotions in most people depending on the circumstances. We’re creatures of habit. We don’t like our little arranged lives being messed with. Yet we know life has taught us that change is inevitable. So we either embrace change or resist it. And I must admit, I resist it way too often.

Yet, there it is again, change, staring me in the face every time I scan through the pages of my journal in all it’s two dimensional glory. But I know too that in order for things to change, things must change. And that generally only happens if I initiate it. I can have the greatest ideas in the world, (and I think I do), but no one ever gets to see them or benefit from them if I don’t take some kind of action. I will have to change a behavior, or a habit, or a routine; something, if I hope to see any fruit from my ideas.

The key? How much does the outcome matter? How much do I really care about seeing my ideas come to fruition? What are the unintended results from not changing? Am I willing to do whatever it takes? If I am not, then I really have no basis for complaining about my circumstances. We’ve got to be willing to choose to do whatever it takes to change our circumstances – and then put one foot in front of the other with diligence and determination. If we will do that – results happen. If we won’t, then life is nothing more than a continual exercise in frustration.

Undoing Unhappy

One of my favorite sales writers is Jeffrey Gitomer. Taped to the edge of my computer screen is this quote from his book Little Platinum Book Of Cha-Ching; “If you want to learn something new, all you have to do is study something that was written 100 years ago.” I’ve taken that theory to heart over the past few years as I journey further into the archeology my soul. Digging into old books has uncovered some golden nuggets to chew on.

Tucked in my library is a photo copy of a thin little gem by Ralph Waldo Emerson called Success. The original notes on the back cover say “five hundred and forty copies … printed in 1912.” Almost exactly 100 years ago, Emerson put this ink to paper. “Don’t be a cynic and a disconsolate preacher,” he said. “Don’t bewail and bemoan. Omit the negative propositions. Nerve us with incessant affirmatives. Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of good. When that is spoken which has a right to be spoken, the chatter and the criticism will stop. Set down nothing that will not help somebody.”

Oh how much better we would fair in life if we would heed his words today. Seems the whole world is steeped in cynicism. The dictionary has the word disconsolate as being unhappy or cheerless. I know a lot of unhappy and cheerless people. Sad. Seems we are encouraged to chase happy – only to find emptiness is really all we’ve achieved.

“Set down nothing that will not help somebody,” he wrote. I wonder; how much better would our world be if that was our mantra? Don’t you think success would come more easily if that was our attitude every morning? (I’m talking to myself here too by the way.) Emerson later writes; “The affirmative of affirmatives is love.” Seems to me then that loving others will just about undo unhappiness. I like that.

The Unfolding Life

We so often struggle trying to coming to terms with who we are, and what we are to do while we are here on earth. When Jesus tells the disciples the greatest command is to “love your God, and to love your neighbor – as yourself,” we often overlook the as yourself part. If you haven’t learned to embrace your own journey and the fact that you are always changing, it’s mighty hard to love yourself. More often than not we are at war with ourselves; trying to hang onto some flag we’ve planted on some hill somewhere. Call it a career, a retirement plan, a vacation home, or just maintaining an image you think everyone expects you to portray. It’s a battle that generally isn’t worth fighting.

Ever wonder what would happen if we just laid down our sword and quit trying so hard to be something we were never meant to be? I mean, maybe there is another flow to life that feels more like a lazy stream than a raging river. Life is going to change anyway. And you are going to change anyway. Age has a funny way of doing that to us. Bill Thrall, author of the book The Cure, writes, “Nothing you believe and depend upon is more magnificently freeing than this single truth; you are no longer who you were, even on your worst say.” Isn’t that reassuring?

Each day has a whole new set of opportunities to embrace life and to learn to love yourself. When you do, that is when authentic life begins to flow forth and you no longer are attached to the fruit of life. You no longer seek blessings – you just seek to know the author of the blessings and life as it unfolds.

The Human Experience

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are Spiritual beings having a human experience.” Maybe you should read that again.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are Spiritual beings having a human experience.”

Let that statement sink in for a minute.

Think about this; God told the prophet Jeremiah, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

Most of us live life as human beings trying to understand spirituality. But the reality is, we existed before we got here. What we struggle with on this journey here on earth is our understanding of what it means to be human. What we often call a mid-life crisis is really a crisis of identity. Our quest for understanding has been from the wrong angle. Of course, the human journey can be frustrating. Remember, Jesus warned, … “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33)

But, this journey we call life is really about us as spiritual beings learning how to be human. And too often we attach our worth and value as a person to the peripheral things of life. We are then only as good as the outcome. And thus prevailing circumstances or supervisory individuals in our lives have control over how we see ourselves and value ourselves as a human being. When we realize that the outcome of the circumstances are merely outcomes – and that it’s really all part of our evolutionary journey, we can then have peace, and joy, and even happiness in the midst of the present circumstances. They don’t define us or validate us. Therefore they cannot confine or invalidate us either.

Under The Influence

One of my favorite modern day philosophers, Jim Rohn once wrote:

“You must constantly ask yourself these questions:

Who am I around?
What are they doing to me?
What have they got me reading?
What have they got me saying?
Where do they have me going?
What do they have me thinking?
And most important, what do they have me becoming?
Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?”

We so underestimate the power others have to influence our lives. Rohn later states; “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Have you ever thought about that? Who are you spending most of your time with? Think about their personalities – are they optimistic? pessimistic? happy? grumpy? givers? takers? Take a serious inventory of your life right now. Are you headed in the direction you want to be going? If not, quite possibly the environment you are in and the people you are around have something to do with that. If it’s not okay, then what will you choose to do about it?

Autopilot

The autopilot function was invented sometime in the early 30s to help ease the rigors of transatlantic flights for military bomber plane pilots. Any pilot today will certainly vouch for the value of this significant contribution to flight navigation. The autopilot function in life however is not quite as helpful. A plane can fly without the captain at the wheel while the autopilot is engaged. My life however, doesn’t fly so well when I leave the cockpit. Oh it’s such an easy button to push though, isn’t it?

Here’s the problem. When we put our lives on autopilot, we tend to coast for a while, thinking everything is okay. But what happens when we check back into the cockpit and find that we’re considerably off course? I hate that. It’s a chaotic feeling. It’s almost like those moments after waking up from a bad dream and trying to decide if it was real or not. There’s a better way to avoid all of that. Why not stay present and conscious? You are the navigator. You get to choose your path. It’s your flight. Have you reviewed your flight plan recently?

Morning Fog

If you’ve been a reader of my musings for any length of time, you are probably aware that I am a huge fan of journaling. For me personally, it has become my lifeline connection; it’s my rants, my gratitudes, my prayers, and my conversations with God, and my inner self. That time and experience brings me back to center. Unfortunately my mornings are usually kind of foggy. Do you get that? My brain just isn’t perky until I get a cup of my favorite java and get into my quiet place. And on days I can’t get there, I can tell I missed it all day long.

My journal also becomes a refuge throughout the day as I pull back and reflect on my morning revelations. Today happened to be one of those more profound mornings. The fog was more thick than normal, and the gloom seemed to be waiting to pounce on me. So, pen and journal in hand, I thumbed through some pages of the current books on my reading list; grabbed a couple quotes, a passage or two from the Bible, and let it all soak in. What filtered out was (for me at least) a profound moment. Not so much revelation, but reminders of basic principals that are so easily robbed from our conscience mind. So I now share them with you in hopes that they will help you reset and refresh as you continue about your journey.

1. Stay connected to your vision
2. Remember it takes time
3. Enjoy the process
4. Discipline is the bridge
5. Set goals and take action
6. I am in charge of how I feel
7. Choose happiness (it’s a feeling)
8. Have a plan, draw a map
9. Stick to the map
10. Keep showing up