Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Headless Horseman -- Happy Halloween!


When I was a kid, there was one really scary guy who always raised my terror level to RED, and it wasn't always an election year.

That guy was the Headless Horseman, who seemed like he was always just over the hill, or, being where I was then, on the western horizon.

I needed to get in when it was dusk and I tried to make sure other kids or adults were somewhere nearby because of what might happen to me.

The Headless Horseman could come riding out of the distance at any time, then snatch me up and carry me under his arm as he traveled on.

Little did I know, growing up, it would happen exactly that way. By then I thought he'd be looking for smaller prey, but, no, he picked me.

That's my story. I was on a lonely path one night when he came bounding down the road, seemingly crazy but still a really good horse rider.

I hid under a bridge and thought I was safe, but he noticed and came back. Trembling in fear, I saw my life hanging in the balance, UNTIL...

I was staring certain death in the face. There was no escape, except, perhaps -- it could just work -- I diagnosed his personality issues.

At that point I became a helper to the Headless Horseman, leading him to see that what he was doing with his life wasn't the best course.

I would be dead right now at his hands. But I chose to address him person to person, one broken person to another, with understanding.

When someone's as mean as he seemed to be, to me that means they're just closer to the edge, and it doesn't take much for a breakthrough.

We worked on the issues: Self-esteem, obviously a problem, missing a head. Confidence, he actually had, but it was all negatively driven.

And Pride. Like confidence, pride is easily counterfeited. Pride has a wild side. But with a good self-image it can be manifested better.

There may be plenty of monsters to worry about on this Halloween. But I know of one who's a pretty good fellow, unless he's been drinking.

If you see the Headless Horseman riding by, wave to a friend. But if you see a bottle in his hand, for God's sake, run for your life!

The Headless Horsemen -- Please Don't Stare


As you can guess, the Headless Horseman had plenty of issues. Being without a head is something that would challenge anyone's self worth.

We know how it is with the smallest blemish or flaw. Even with acne, warts, rashes, and bandages from minor surgery, you feel conspicuous.

It's not really true that the whole world revolves around you, or that people are giving you that much attention, but you still think it.

Multiply those feelings by a million and you'll still be far from knowing what a guy who's completely without a head has to be feeling.

I've been in enough conversations with the Headless Horseman to know that this extraordinarily massive blemish is not easy to live with.

Of course it has marked his whole life since losing his head, turning him to the bad for quite a while, making him act out in a bad way.

But try to go without a head and see how it is! Or just imagine. You show up at a restaurant, a hotel, even church, and everyone stares.

No one treats you the same. Naturally that's going to eat away at your sense of self-worth, with your self-esteem taking a terrible hit.

I myself had a pretty serious fear of the Headless Horseman at first. But in my defense, he was the first headless person I'd worked with.

As I said before, I started working with him out of fear of dying. Then I found the whole key was this, to treat him as any other person.

That means we share a common humanity. My belief is there's good in everyone. I knew he could make gigantic strides if I treated him right.

So we got down to it. I guided him but he changed a few of his thinking patterns. He would try to stay positive, affirming himself daily.

I coached him along to understand how shocking it is for people to see a headless person. So with understanding, he was in greater control.

Then day by day, he raised his spirits and now he has greater confidence. He hasn't overcome it entirely. He knows these things take time.

Yes, You're Headless, But Focus On What You Have


How do you teach self-esteem to the Headless Horseman? Don't live regretting what you HAVEN'T got. Appreciate what you DO have.

I can't say everything I know about the Headless Horseman. He is a client after all and deserves his privacy. Plus, it's the law.

But he'd tell you himself, so not much of it's a big secret. Also I can talk in generalities, referring to "A guy I heard of one time."

Anyway, there's this guy I heard of one time. Rode a horse, didn't have a head. And struck terror in the hearts of everyone along the way.

They thought, "What's he want?" Each one, of course, thought they knew, and felt their neck and chin uneasily, with a lot of fear.

Then, let's say, this OTHER lifestyle-sciences coach, NOT me, was there, also huddled with the people. He alone knew what was going on.

He knew about the Headless Horseman's real problem, having diagnosed it one time in the guy's cabin, that self-esteem was at the root of it.

So with a few well-chosen words--along with much intuition and a real heart-sense for people--he led the Horseman in a personal inventory.

If even a Headless Horseman could be helped by these principles, it stands to reason that all of us could benefit from a boost now and then.

UPDATE: I saw the Headless Horseman necking with his girlfriend.

The Headless Horseman Rides Again

Through the dark of night when barely a thing can be seen and all the land is asleep -- except maybe an unfortunate traveler -- the Headless Horseman thunders his way along the roads and paths.

He's looking for something as he passes. He strikes terror in the hearts of those along the way, because everyone believes he's looking for his head. And that if he can't find his own severed dome he'll cut off someone else's to take its place.

Perhaps it will be an old gray haired farmer's head. Or the head of his kindly wife. Maybe a young man who stayed too long at the barn dance and was discovered late along the path. Or a girl separated from her friends through silliness and a wrong turn. What if he shows up with a knife over a crib, picturing a baby's head on his massive shoulders?

There has to be something supernatural, even special, about a rider without a head who's still able to live!

I remember a night not so long ago, a night very much like this one. I was on the path and I heard the snorting of his horse. Then there he was, appearing in all his headless glory, riding like lightning up the path and over the bridge. I had just a moment to duck under the bridge. Among the frightful sounds I heard that night was the sound of my own heart pounding with fear.

Did he hear me? At first it didn't seem like he had as he kept going. But the senses of this creature are said to be very keen. So I'd just crawled up, my heart still pounding, when I heard the sound of the hoof beats again coming my way again. This time I didn't have time to escape.

Suddenly he had me! He swept me up with one powerful arm and off we went! There I was, getting a view of the passing scenery that few people have had, bouncing, helpless in every sense of the word. Where he was taking me, I did not know. But one thing I assumed, my head was probably dead meat!

He carried my roughly into his cabin. The place was way back in the sticks, a terribly kept place. I knew right away this was a guy who needed help. Everything about the circumstances cried out that he had poor self-esteem. But I thought maybe I could help him, if he'd let me. I was in a chair, looking up as he drooled with blood lust, then he staggered toward me with a big knife. In that moment of truth, I summoned the discipline not to flinch. My best bet to live was to help him live. And I didn't want to just leave him hanging.

I asked if he could wait a minute -- "What's a minute? There's no hurry. We've got all night." -- and calmly directed him to sit down. The whole thing must've startled or confused him. I saw him scratch his neck as if to say "Huh?" But to his surprise, he did just as I said.

Next, through a series of probing questions, I got him to open up about his self-image. Not having a head is a downer, I commiserated with him, but I directed him through a personal inventory, pointing out that he still had plenty to be proud of. Obviously his other body parts more than compensated for his lack of a head. This was suggested by the fact that he could ride a horse, carry people, and sit listening to me in a pleasant way.

The thing to do -- and this goes for all of us -- is to be proud of what you have, not to be consumed with regrets for what's missing. Think of it: The fact that you can have regrets means there's a consciousness in there that very much has ideals in a central place. Once you've realized that, you can see in a flash that you're better than you think!

I shared with him some of the teachings about how we picture the soul and consciousness, that in the West we definitely localize it more in the head. But it's not that way universally. Other cultures see the consciousness in the region of the heart or even the abdomen. Maybe that could be helpful to him.

He was interested to learn this, and agreed with me that whatever made him him was clearly present whether he had a head or not. In fact, I said, he ought to take pride for being able to do so much without an appendage that the rest of us consider vital. He was miles ahead, so to speak.

It was a real heart to heart. This in spite of the fact that I could smell liquor on his breath. Which doesn't do anyone any good. Especially if their self-esteem is low, like this guy's was. That's what brings forth the rage and the crazy riding at night.

Anyway, we parted as friends. I said I needed to go, not that I really wanted to, but that I felt he needed some rest. I could stay forever, I said, but I felt that I wanted to pull back to give him space to process what he had learned. "You knew these truths all the time," I assured him, "you just needed a nudge, someone to bring them forth so you could appreciate them with fresh eyes."

So why am I huddled up with the farmers and babies on this black night, hiding out from the Headless Horseman? Because, like them, I know he is looking for something! He's looking for me! Because he thinks he needs me. The poor guy. He drinks, then he has to relearn the whole thing over again.

But I will not stand for this constant regression. I don't want him overly dependent on me and my teachings. Part of my whole philosophy as a self-trained therapist and lifestyle-sciences coach is that eventually I want to work myself out of a job! It's true. I want to give people the tools with which to help themselves. But if they focus in too much on me, that's just as much a crutch as trying to cut off someone else's head and make it your own.

I'm afraid if I saw him, frankly, I might indeed lose my own head and lash out at him, again, putting myself in a dominant position over him and inadvertently causing him to regress further. It's better that I just huddle here until morning when he'll be sobered up.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Fond Farewell To Gravy

I wrote about gravy today. I also actually ate some gravy.

What can I say, it's been a gravy kind of day. But now it's just about over. The last thing I need to do concerning gravy after writing this is go wash the dishes. And I'm hoping there's water covering each of the pans, especially the one that had gravy in it. There's something about gravy. It would make a very good glue, if it sticks to paper as well as it sticks to the side of a pan.

That's true about a lot of food though. One day we were heating up some barbecued beef (or pork, I can't remember which) and some of it burnt in the pan. I about pitched the whole pan because it was stuck so firmly to the bottom of the pan it was virtually impossible to get it out. And I'm thinking, I just invented a new kind of barbecued flavor glue! I'm an accidental genius!

Anyway, the thing about gravy, beyond it's being delicious, is that it "teaches" us so much. It doesn't really, but this is like those idiotic investment commercials on TV. Like where they go, "What do two ships passing in the night teach us about investments?" Then they proceed to tell the things they know about investing, likening it to the passing of two ships. But I want to scream at the TV, in a way that they would hear me: "It's not teaching you anything. You already know what you know. The two ships passing in the night are an illustration of what you know, not something that instruct you! You idiots! Who do you think you're fooling!?" I get worked up about it.

So, just to review, what does gravy "teach" us. Lots of things. Things I hadn't even thought of, and of course things I didn't already know until the gravy taught me. Like there's no place like home. You put gravy in the pan. That's it's home. It stays in the pan, because if it strays from home, it will make a mess. We don't want to mess up in life, we stay home. That's a stretch.

What I emphasized today I think is worth repeating. Gravy is synonymous, or is a term for an excess reward. As in the phrase, "The rest is gravy." There was cause and effect, I got the effect after the cause, but then I got more than I was expecting, and that portion is gravy. It's on top.

Meaning, if we step out in life, perhaps with an investment, perhaps for a cause, perhaps for a personal pursuit, that's a cause and there's going to be an effect. But it takes GUTS to step out. That's the first point. The effect of GUTS, when success comes, is GLORY. It's expected that GUTS will lead to GLORY. GUTS could lead to disaster, but no GUTS, no GLORY, I believe the expression says.

But then what if when you step out and you have GUTS and GLORY, you go forth in a bold and very determined way. Perhaps you'll expect an excess effect, perhaps you won't, and in either case regardless you may get it. That's GRAVY.

I would say the key to my whole philosophy, the philosophical tenets of success that I teach (very successfully, of course), is that you should expect more than the typical effect. You should go beyond GLORY to GRAVY as a matter of course.

So that's it. I probably won't say much more about this 3G network -- G, G, G -- because I've said it all. You can link to my articles today and probably blow the competition out of the water. I wouldn't doubt that you could.

The Big Payoff Is Gravy


There's excitement in the air today, and it's all because of something as simple as GRAVY! Thank you for your interest. It's been great!

I've learned some of the secrets and I like to pass them along. Because I also know how it is. We're not always sure what the secrets are.

Then something comes along--a way of comparing, contrasting, or a way of encapsulating a philosophical stance through an image, a parable.

I hadn't seen the cartoon "Chow Time" for a number of years, which has the great line, "This time we didn't forget the gravy."

But today, with gravy being the theme, I searched on You Tube. First, I found a Spanish version, which wouldn't do me much good.

Then I found a high def recording of it in English, a gold mine! It brought back a lot of good memories, and also refreshed my memory.

I'd forgotten the whole set up, to be honest. I hadn't remembered the mouse, just the big huge dog, hungry, famished for another meal.

Then at the end, this is a biggie, I'd forgotten that they didn't hold the scene longer when they were pouring the gravy down his throat.

It mercifully fades out after you get the idea that they, the cat and mouse, have sweet revenge on the dog for being such an oppressor.

The dog got what was coming to him, but it's a very cruel (but wonderful) moment. We used to talk about it and laugh while eating gravy.

Today, though, the secret of the whole thing is this, that gravy stands for more than gravy. It stands for the rewards of diligent effort.

Like when we say, "The rest is gravy." It means there's a surplus that we have wrought or brought about through an effort or an investment.

But how do we get to that level of success, the gravy? My belief is that we have to step out, step away from our safety zone, as it were.

Stepping away from our safety zone takes guts. Then guts leads to efforts that often pay off. That's glory. And the big pay off is gravy.

So the philosophy that we've put forth--a great one for self-esteem, confidence, pride, and success comes down to this: GUTS, GLORY, GRAVY.

The 3G Network -- Guts, Glory, Gravy


Gravy everywhere! I had biscuits and gravy today, just like I said I would. Which proves I'm a truthful person. It pays to be truthful.

A big sizzling skillet of bubbling gravy, working its way around the sausage chunks, looking every inch itself, what gravy looks like.

The biscuits heated at 400-something degrees in the oven, awaiting their true baptism by fire when the sizzling gravy inundated them.

Moments later, breaking the biscuits apart, fingers burning, I scattered them on the plate and ladled them to give them their coating.

To get gravy just right is both an art and a science. It takes someone with a degree from a chef conservatory, or at least a skilled cook.

It was just right, not too runny, not too thick, in that just right category that anyone recognizes, like it was being served to Goldilocks.

To go from the literal, edible gravy to the inner psychic gravy or the payoff for dedicated effort--called gravy--is something on my mind.

But first I savored the actual gravy, knowing it was cooked for me, for my pleasure, my enjoyment, to nourish me when I would be eating it.

Yes, that's what it is when we say gravy. Someone has the guts to step out, leading to the glory of the experience, to the reward: Gravy.

It's a 3G network I understand. If you can work up the confidence, it'll feed on itself. You'll go from Guts to Glory to Gravy every time!

If your experience is more limited than what you see described here, try again. Step out on your dreams and see: Guts, Glory, and Gravy.

Heaping Streams Of Running Gravy


I'm getting ready to have biscuits and gravy for lunch, oodles and oodles of gravy.

Big heaping streams of running gravy, meeting an irresistible force in chunks of sausage.

The biscuits undergirding as a foundation, yet sure to be acted upon as a sop by the pervading gravy.

Gravy! Delicious, runny, chunky, perfect gravy. Among Nature's most perfect foods.

When I think of gravy, I think of the innocent days of childhood. Looking down at my potatoes and the beautiful vistas of Lake Gravy.

It's going to be good! I will learn a lot -- mostly it will simply reinforce what I already know -- about the success teachings of gravy.

You go "From Guts to Glory to Gravy." That's what the teaching is. It's been proven true many times over.

From Guts To Glory To Gravy


Gravy is the good stuff. Whether it's the literal delicacy we pour over potatoes and savor. Or the benefits that come from hard work.

I definitely like both kinds, the literal delicacy that thickens biscuits and accentuates sausage, and the payoff after dedicated work.

Gravy gives unadorned food something to be proud of, exciting the senses. And when we say "The rest is gravy," we know that's good.

But how you get to gravy? That's another matter. You can labor for years over a stove and not get it. And it's the same with gravy rewards.

Do you have the guts to go for gravy? That's where it comes from, with this progression: "From Guts to Glory to Gravy." The Three G's.

The guts is what we need when we step out with a plan, because, think about it, there's always something there that could hold us back.

Sometimes my present circumstances holds me back, because so most of the time I like the security. But what I get isn't the good gravy.

It's not the good gravy but I eat it, and it's nothing but a thin, worthless, watery slop. It's not satisfying, but again it's security.

There's no pride in this thin, worthless, watery slop that's not the true gravy. It doesn't deserve the term, let alone my desire for it.

If you have something you want to go for -- ultimately to get the gravy -- you need to have the guts to step out and go for the glory.

Think of those you know who have the gravy that life gives. They'll be people who had the guts to go for the glory. They stepped out.

That's the good stuff, made the good way, sustaining those who are smart enough to get it. They went for the glory, the rest was gravy.

The gravy is out there, within your reach!

Heavy On The Gravy, Please


The lifeblood of potatoes. A sopping, flooding lake. Whose levies and dikes know no integrity.

The thickness of sausage and gravy keeps biscuits on the same page. There's a coherence that keeps your teeth occupied.

It can be light, thin as tomato juice. Or thick and ponderous. Take the it out of gravity and you've got it.

The greatest cartoon line in history concerns it: "This time we didn't forget the gravy!" Such sarcasm, such revenge against his oppressor, with what? With gallons and gallons of deadly gravy poured down his throat with a giant funnel.

The making of gravy is a mystery known to none but the world's cooks. How you can mix meat drippings and some kind of liquid or powder and come out with gravy is an esoteric truth guarded by a close coterie of tight-lipped devotees. They glide through the hall from the chapel to the kitchen.

I'm sure long years of devotion, prayer, and one vision after another would be all it'd take to open the ultimate revelation. But most of us lack the faith to believe we could be in the know. I personally am resigned to enlisting the services of an infed priesthood whenever I need a fix.

Even dogs have the yearning for it -- Gravy Train. It transforms their crunchy boring food to savory soft chews peeking out of a delicious brown soup. They eat it in big gulps, pulling their head quickly back to make sure they suck up as much of it as possible with each approach.

It's a liquid, it's a food. It's a delicacy. It's practical, allowing you to clean the pan and let nothing go to waste. You dip in it. You mix it with everything else.

Children are fascinated with gravy and learn that it always seeks its own level.

I'd like to have a big bowlful of gravy now. The good stuff.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do It With Gigantic Strides


That was a power nap.

I am nicely refreshed, just a little groggy. Time to press on!

I want to end this day the right way, making gains, improving myself, honing my outlook, raising my sights. Is there a moon to howl at?

I hit that point in my falling to sleep -- and I remember it well for about 10 seconds -- that feeling of confused paralysis.

I remember reflecting on it that this was the place you need to cross on your way to a good sleep. And once you see it, you're there.

My dog is an accomplice to every power nap. She is so faithful behind the legs. She's like a nap coach, spurring me deeper to restfulness.

But that's over with now -- thank God I didn't sleep all night. Now it's time to think about exercising and finishing that book.

But first I have maybe four blog entries I need to write. I have random people who show up from around the world. Need to provide for them.

Like Mama Bird here. I've got the worm in my mind, my mind is chewing it, then I spit it out my fingers on this thing I call my keyboard.

Let me close off my theme for the day, "Gigantic Strides." I don't forget these as we press toward tomorrow. I love the concept of it.

Because, seriously, what should it be hard to accomplish things in life? It's not hard, it's just a matter of determination, making it so.

Every little thing we think is potential groundwork for what will follow. If we think negatively, then NO, we probably won't get it done.

If we think positively about ourselves and our abilities, then step out and DO IT, and do it with "Gigantic Strides," we can do it well.

For several reasons, one being because we're acting more on instinct. Combine instinct with personal confidence, there's no stopping you.

I've said what I wanted to say. It's done. Now I must press on, gigantic strides and all that, practicing what I preach. Good night to you.

Gigantic Strides Philosophy Includes Sleeping


It's been a day of gigantic strides. Whatever I've had to do I did it -- BOOM -- with determination! Very focused. Now it's time to relax.

I had a number of projects that were lined up like ducks in a shooting gallery. Plink, plink, plunk. They kept coming, they kept going down.

A lot of tiny stuff, some stuff I could've put off to another day. But I kept thinking "Gigantic Strides." What you gotta do, do it now .

I recommend the whole "mindful" approach to living. Adopt some kind of theme for the day, like "Gigantic Strides," and see how it helps.

Who knows about tonight? I feel tired, really. But I have a book I want to finish, maybe go exercise. "Gigantic strides" gets it done!

If I end up at the exercise place -- and "end up" isn't the right way to say it. If I PURPOSELY GO there, I'll stride through my routine.

Trouble is I just had a big meal. That on top of being tired gives me that drifting, dreamy, eye closing, lethargic swirling consciousness.

I might take a "Gigantic Stride" into the bedroom and take an early evening power nap. Set my mind on a half hour and not hit the snooze.

Sleeping is good for the person who takes Gigantic Strides, right? It's something you NEED to do, so do it with that Gigantic Stride spirit!

To sit here and rue it is not true to the Gigantic Strides philosophy. To need to do something, then to do it with determination is it.

Whatever the task is -- and sleeping does qualify, now that I've given it some thought -- line it up like one of the ducks: PLINK!

Gigantic Strides -- Faithful To The Process


Have I still got the "gigantic strides" mentality I started the day with? Definitely, and I recommend it to everyone.

I have a lot of little tasks that seem like I'm frittering away my energies in the weeds, but I must be faithful in small things.

If I keep my confidence, none of these things is such a big deal. It all works out. Then I can stand back and say "Check, check, check!"

Life is a sequence of individual breaths.

There's no assurance of something big if the small is neglected.

Whatever life gives me, I'm completely into it.

Be confident at the beginning and stay confident all the way through.

The big depends on the tiny.

You can only take gigantic strides when you honor the whole process.

I'm very pithy today. It's my own pithy party.

Gigantic Strides -- No More Crawling


Big, huge, enormous, vast, world-conquering, gigantic strides! That's what I'm taking today. No more mincing, toe-tickling increments.

We have not because we ask not. Then we have because we take. We make a way where there is no way. Because there's always a way.

We can be bogged down like everyone else, with tentative, hesitant, reluctant, ultimately failing baby steps. Falling down by the couch.

~Ooo, I tried it and I fall down. Now I don't think I can get back up. Crawling is good enough for me. I'll just crawl all my life.~

Piffle. Don't do it. Don't do it even if everyone you know does it. You're going to get nowhere by crawling. You demand something more.

I've been down like everyone, maybe worse than many. It happens. But then -- you know how confidence is -- it comes time to hulk out.

It's like in professional wrestling. The guy is whacking away at you and you look like a rubber chicken, till finally you become rigid.

And that's all she wrote for the guy whacking. Next stop, Graveyard! Because it's going to be a quick succession of vicious moves...

Gigantic strides. It's a great concept. Don't do anything halfway. Don't do anything tentatively. If you're ready to live, live NOW!

If you have a goal to achieve, achieve it posthaste. While everyone else is shuffling by, get in there and strut by like you own it. You do.

It's really true most of the time. The person who owns it is the one who claims it. We're talking conceptually, but it does work out.

And who's going to own true success like the person who takes gigantic, mind-blowing enormous steps? Set your course, don't back down!

Making Gigantic Strides

Baby steps suck.

Baby steps are for babies, finally pulling themselves up with the couch, then turning around and falling flat on their butt. Fortunately their butt is already close to the ground and padded by a diaper and most places where there's a couch are also carpeted, so it's no big deal. "Me fall down and go boom."

But pretty soon they're back up and at long last they get it, so they're able to walk, then run, and they put away their crawling talents until many years later when they're married.

I'm no baby! I'm a big boy! And I don't crawl. And I don't take baby steps.

In my life I insist on everything being done with gigantic strides. Like the Apple Bonkers in Yellow Submarine. Like Uncle Sam on stilts at the Fourth of July parade. Like the "Keep On Truckin'" Robert Crumb cartoon guy. I have my biggest and best foot out in front of me, encroaching on the entire foreground, with a big round world receding behind me. The curvature of the earth is right there two steps back.

Gigantic strides. I love the sound of the words.

There's no time to lose. There's no time like the present. If you're going to get it done eventually, get it done now. Do it! Do it! Do it! Suck it up and do it! That's the philosophy to live by. Don't live with regrets that you didn't do it. Because you did it and you did it now, three seconds ago.

Everything you set your mind to you can at least take a stab at. And having taken a stab at it, keep on stabbing till it's bleeding at your feet. Quitting smoking? Done! Exercising more? Done! Losing weight? Done! Going back to school? Done! Having another kid? Skip it! Unless you get a prenate that he'll support you in your old age.

Like the Bible says, "There are giants in the land!" Yes, I'm one of them. This land has giants. And that's who takes gigantic strides. Giants.

Today I will get it done. I will take enormous leaps, steps bigger than my feet physically allow. I will leap tall buildings in a single bound. I will straddle continents, then bound from one mountaintop to another.

Are you with me? Is that going to be your way too? Let's leave the baby steps to the babies. We're big boys! We're big girls! Striding is our way! Big, huge, enormous, gigantic strides!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Need Emptier Shelves


Some people want to have everything there is, that's why they need plenty of shelf space. The more the better.

I seriously envy two groups of people: 1) Those who have everything; and, 2) Those who have nothing.

I'm in the middle with an arbitrary collection, missing many things that'd make it complete, stacked on my shelves in arbitrary ways.

You see some guy who has everything on his shelves and it's nicely organized, maybe taking up a whole room, that's a beautiful look.

He always looks like someone who expects you to admire it and him. I hate to generalize but that's been my experience.

And you see a guy who has nothing -- a couple books, an empty wine bottle, an alarm clock -- he might be the happiest of all of us.

I'd like to be that guy sometime. Just empty everything out. Like a friend I had who joined a cult. They made him clear his shelves.

But I don't want to join a cult like that. He gave away everything and the next thing I knew he was mad when his parents kidnapped him.

Still, I'm in a battle with myself. I look at the shelf and think, "I didn't have that three months ago. Why do I need it now?"

The solution is to thin out a few things every now and then, when the spirit moves, then resist the impulse to go buy more.

I was at Goodwill tonight. And they had a nice CD shelf, one of those 4-5 shelf things. I came THAT close to getting it, then didn't.

I See My Shelves


Ask me about shelving. Do I sell shelving? No. Do I know anyone who does? No. Is there any money to be made by me in shelving? No.

I do a lot of shelving, a lot of putting things on shelves, looking at my shelves, and wondering what I should be doing with my shelves.

When I wake up I see my shelves. Before I go to bed, there they are. Loaded and overloaded. Stacks of things pointing every direction.

On my shelves there are lots of things that could use a good dusting. There's a lot of things that could use a good tossing out.

I have some of the trinkets of the first scary hunchbacked man I ever knew. I have three objects. One on the wall, two on my shelf.

This man ran a small business that my family bought out. I'm sentimental about him, although he's not well known.

I've checked eBay for anything relating to his business. It's not impossible that something could show up there. But it's SO not likely.

Anyway, this guy -- whose first name was Otis -- Otis' few remaining objects are on my shelf. Weird, huh?

On my wall is a calendar that belonged to Otis and advertises his business. It has the complete year of 1938. I keep it set at January 1938.

One other thing, I have pictures of people I don't know, including a cool 50 year old woman in a gold lame suit who I call "Aunt Goldie."

It's all on my shelf. Shelves are so useful! What do your shelves say about you? I know what they say about ME. Slump out...........

A Great Idea About Shelves


I had this great idea ... about shelves ... that we keep things on shelves ... but with the light of day it doesn't sound great anymore.

So it looks like I'm stuck. I can personally relate to shelves, or concerning shelves, and most people probably can. Who have shelves.

There they are against the wall, the poor floor under them, the poor beams holding up the floor, all of it a weighty mass.

If yours are like mine -- and there might be some real slobs out there -- they're doing their job and doing it well.

They can't organize themselves. They can't organize themshelves. So it's not their fault that they look like a controlled explosion.

Our shelves, like our desks, are a reflection of ourselves. Not to be too trite, I get semi-embarrassed when people see my shelves and desk.

Because I know what it means. But maybe THEY don't know what it means. My shelves tell me I'm busting at the seams.

What do your shelves say about you? This is one problem I'm just going to live with. At this point I can barely do anything else

Shelf Things

It's probably no secret that my favorite Jonas Brothers song is "Shelf." I listened to it just a couple days ago.

"Don't take my heart and put ... it ... on a shelf, yeah."

It's a good driving rocker, very exciting. More than that, what can I say? I'm way out of their age group but I do have that one CD. Although now that I think of it, didn't I burn it in the yard after they insulted people over 35? I believe so.

Now I remember: My burning it was either a joke or symbolic, which is appropriate since the second song on the album was "Burnin' Up." To watch it go up in flames, as I now recall, was an experience that made me delirious with revenge.

But it was definitely symbolic, the burning, since I know it's on my shelf with everything else. Ironic, huh? They don't want to be put on a shelf yet that's exactly where they always end up.

I have lots of shelves with lots of things. Just the way I like it. Except it'd be cool to live in a big warehouse with miles of shelves. And to have your own personal forklift to lift things 40 feet and stack them on big pallets. I'd be beeping the thing when in reverse even though there'd be no one else there. With a hard hat.

One of my favorite images, from Kafka books and movie adaptations of his books, is of shelves overstuffed with papers, books, knickknacks, folders, and who knows what. Like in his old lawyer's office in The Trial or the mayor's home in The Castle. File cabinets stuffed haphazardly.

I don't actually keep my shelves that poorly arranged -- but basically I do, since nothing's precisely organized. Books aren't in alphabetical order or even grouped by authors or type. I do have some things ordered and it's useful. But there's lots of other interesting junk stacked around with them. Then on some they're in there with a layer in the back, middle, and front. However much space there is, that's what gets used.

Like almost all my poetry books are on one bookcase. But it's not as nice as it sounds, since nothing's ordered. I still have a hard time finding things, because I don't know what I have precisely. I was looking for Swinburne the other day but couldn't remember if I had anything by him. I couldn't find him if I do. Plus there's other junk up there loading it down, including an old transistor radio, CDs, cassettes, pictures, a dancing hamster greeting card, a chewed up hard drive, and so forth.

I have other shelves that are worthless, because where are you supposed to stack the junk of a lifetime? I'd like to have them all in the basement, where there are others, but things down there always has a chance of molding. Some is.

I saw someone say the other day that if you get something you should get rid of another thing. So you'd have an unchanging number of things, which sounds too arbitrary to me.

I see bookcases in magazines or ads for bookcases. And they're weird. These people don't need a bookcase. They have about five books, a few other things on the other shelves, and it's virtually bare. What do they need a bookcase for?

You only need shelves when you're going to use them. To their fullest.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Inner Beauty -- A Sunbeam Called You


There shouldn't be any discussion about physical beauty vs. inner beauty. It's been completely resolved. Except in our thinking.

This is one where we know the truth perfectly well, but still we wonder, "What will people think of me when they see me?"

Whether it's first impressions we're trying to influence or maintaining the impression people have of us from years gone by.

I'm very realistic when it comes to looks. You look the way you look. And if you worry too much about it, you're just wasting your life.

It's the same thing with age. There shouldn't be any discussion about it, because you were born when you were born. Period. Everyone was!

As for the impression we make, it really is up to us to use what we've got in the best way, such as being clean, normal for the situation.

There's all kinds of things you can do to present yourself as charming, interesting, pleasant. There's no reason to give up on ourselves.

The biggest secret is to feel like you've got it together inside. If you can believe in yourself inside, the rest takes care of itself.

And that's where giving yourself some mental boosts along the way will do you good. Keep it personal, reward yourself with an inner smile.

I have some childhood pictures I printed off, a big stack of them. I look at them and remind myself of my thinking back then, the innocence.

There wasn't any thought of these worries back then. Remind yourself! You're exactly the same person, just the thinking has changed.

There's lots of inner beauty when you start thinking of your parents, what they had to do (heh heh) to have you, and how special you are.

I think of dear old Dad getting ready for their date, thinking, "Oh boy!" And Mom putting perfume on her neck. Then that SPARK that was ME!

Everything in heaven, let's say, pushed them along. Then that beam of light shone down on the backseat of their car. A big stork got ready.

I was that sunbeam! That sunbeam was ME! That sunbeam was YOU, depending on what car we're talking about, where your parents were parked.

So it's like being reborn. We don't want to mentally regress, just get rid of some of the crap that's piled up from the years gone by.

Then we can remember (and not forget) how special we are and what beauty we have through and through!

Inner Beauty -- You're Unique


Minutes. Just minutes. That's all I have for my self-esteem, confidence, and pride pointers. Today on the secrets of inner beauty.

A lot of our pride and confidence, rightly or wrongly, is impacted by our appearance, which most typically takes a very unhealthy path.

We think our worth and value are to be measured by what's on the outside, if it matches up with our ideas of beauty.

Of course it's a positive thing to look our best. If we can avoid looking slovenly, unkempt, disheveled, run down, that's good.

Anything can be spruced up. A rickety old barn about to collapse doesn't look so terrible with a fresh coat of paint.

But once you've done what you can do, then forget it, unless something else occurs to you that maybe you'd forgotten.

If you forgot, then remembered, do it, then forget it again now that it's done.

At this point you're going to be looking for your inner beauty. Note well, I said your inner beauty, which you DO have.

What kind of character do you have? Are you pleasant to others? Can you manage a friendly smile? Do dogs growl when you pass?

What are you telling yourself? If you're telling yourself you're a person of real worth, true value, that means something.

Always affirm yourself. You're a part of this whole scene we call existence. It's true nothing would be the same without you.

There's only one of you. There may be others who look like you, have the same body type, etc. But truly you are unique.

Live with that sense, that you're unique from the inside out, and that what you have to offer will be something very special.

Inner Beauty Is Also Sexy


Here's one that everyone has an opinion on, what beauty is and how we recognize it.

It turns out it depends on a lot of cultural things, including the time you live, what era in history you're from.

As I understand it, years ago the larger woman, seen in old artwork, was the ideal.

These days if the head is bigger than the pelvis, that's supposed to be good. According to the one fashion guy, Ralph somebody.

But Ralphie-boy needed to apologize, because he's just putting forth a bad image for women to try to emulate. An unhealthy image.

I've got the September issue of InStyle right here, and there's some stunning fashions throughout. Definitely Lady Gaga isn't alone.

Plus it's over 500 pages, so it's jam packed with models. Each one heard someone say, "You should be a model," and now they are!

Maybe they thought, "No, the field is too competitive." But if they use a ream of paper for each magazine, there's room for everyone.

There's beauty -- and I hate to be cliche about it -- and there's inner beauty. I know, that sounds like a ho-hum topic.

It's like transitioning from Pastor Durward's object lesson tadpole to a boring application on how we can change to something better.

But inner beauty is also a knockout, also sexy -- if that word is allowed on Twitter and Blogger.

And there are secrets of inner beauty just as there are secrets of physical beauty. They're not near as exciting perhaps, but still true.

It's a matter of putting your character through a kind of boot camp, making it submit to the formative process....

...And cutting out the junk calories of a badly oriented psychology...

The Secrets of Inner Beauty

I heard something about the way our eyes follow a layout, in an inverted S path, meaning we start at the top left corner and work our way across. But I'm stuck at the woman with the pink gloves. I can't see anything else. That's stunning! That's beauty!

But I must ... force ... myself to look across and take in the whole vista of this beautiful collage of beautiful people. Of course we have the pink gloves lady -- remarkable in every way, and we haven't even got the rest of her face, hair, and body. But she has to be a looker. I know I would definitely look twice.

Going across, we have her, then I'm just going to take in the females. There's some gorgeous ladies here, in my opinion. I like the quirky one in the middle -- she's throwing in some personality. The two plain janes side by side are showing the natural look, natural beauty, showing they don't need to spice it up to look ravishing. Then below there's just the nose and mouth and some of the face of one whose other looks are unknown in this cropping. I cropped it myself and it's half ambiguous, but really there's enough to go on with which to draw certain conclusions and say, Yeah!

The woman in the top left corner, with the gloves, must know by now that she didn't have to take it off to be a beauty, but occasionally that's a nice touch as well. And in this case, it goes beyond nice to being an absolute knock out. You have to say, and I don't think I have any reason to be fearful of contradiction, she is definitely gorgeous. And she has really nice gloves too.

The man I've chosen to represent the entire gender of men is definitely the most beautiful man I've seen this side of Elvis. And that's Adam Lambert. You take one look at him and you know men aren't as ugly as everyone says. He's got it going on as far as the hair, eyes, smile, whole face, voice, and so forth. To me, he has a good fashion sense. Or at least the people who dress him do, but I'd guess he has it too.

I'm thinking today of the secrets of inner beauty. And whether Adam Lambert has it or not is still an open question. I hope he does. Some of the interviews I'm seeing by him suggest he needs to work on it. I don't have any quotes at hand, but a little more reserve and modesty, even if feigned, would no doubt help. It's great to be glam, great to be flashy -- and I love him for it -- but really, pull in the pronouncements against religion, for example. Good grief, that's not going to do you a bit of good. You don't need to say everything you think. Get a personal coach to help you set some reasonable limits.

Inner beauty is a lot like outer beauty. Sometimes less is more. Like the stunning woman in the pink gloves. She could do the entire spread eagle and it'd be less beautiful. Or put her hands behind her neck like a self-inflicted full nelson, with her bountiful attributes on full display, and it might look great -- I'm sure it would -- but we wouldn't linger as long. The modest covering is best.

With inner beauty that is inner beauty indeed, and not just faking it, it's something you have or you don't. But there's no need to despair, because it's like other inner things, you can grow in it. By being reasonable, figuring out the kinds of attitudes people like, then pulling in and directing yourself in showing that.

The secrets aren't secret really, except that they're often lost on us.

The rest of us see inner beauty on the outside, because it's an expression of someone's character, what they're becoming as they put the good things of life together on the inside and express that. Cheerfulness, pleasantness, helpfulness, kindness, sympathy, etc.

If you've got it, keep going. If not, get it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Warring Angels At The Fitness Center


There are different ways to picture a hedgerow of warring angels, which to me is an endlessly fascinating subject.

The general way of course is to have them surrounding you, alternately looking toward you, then out as a matter of vigilance.

But it could be you're sitting on a couch and the only access to the room is a door. They could be in a phalanx facing the door.

Or they could become extremely small -- the way you visualize them -- and sitting on a bookshelf, legs hanging over the edge.

I don't want anyone to think you're the boss of a hedgerow of warring angels. Because they answer to a higher power.

But as the person they're guarding and helping, it could disturb you to think of them surrounding you, say, if you're seated.

If I pull my chair out to face someone facing me, I don't want anything (or anyone) between us, so they would be at my side.

Maybe a few would be at the door, in case the person facing me tries something. Then it'd be like Maxwell's Silver Hammer.

The key thing to know about a hedgerow of warring angels is you don't really have to worry about them. They worry about YOU.

They're sent more or less to protect, but also to give you the confidence that no matter what happens, you're completely OK.

Goodnight everyone. I'm taking my hedgerow of warring angels to Goodwill to look at records, then to the fitness center.

When we're at Goodwill it's their job to nudge anyone out of the way who's hogging the place I stand, a quick invisible sword to the butt.

Then if you see a guy at the fitness center whose heavenly entourage is using every piece of equipment in the place, that's me!

Say hi to me. But don't get too close or make any sudden moves. Please.

Warring Angels -- They That Be With Me


I've been very conscious today of my hedgerow of warring angels, since that's been my theme. By conscious I mean I depended on them.

The situations I was in today weren't threatening in the least, but there are those times I don't want to put forth a huge effort.

So I just silently thought of the phrase "Hedgerow of Warring Angels" and it made me feel better. Assuring myself they were there.

You can picture them anywhere -- above your head, at your feet, around your belt area, all these areas combined, guarding your whole being.

2 Kings 6:17: "Behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." A hedgerow on the mountain! Wow!

And I love this thrilling statement, back in verse 16: "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them."

That's what I'm depending on for my unfailing confidence, that they that be with me are more than they that be with them. So beware!

I don't know what you'll do with this knowledge. It might be dangerous. So let me say this is "For entertainment purposes only."

That's my disclaimer, so that if you're injured or psychologically damaged in the summoning of your own hedgerow, I won't be liable.

But I don't think you'll be too psychologically damaged, more like enhanced. You're psychologically damaged NOW. That's the problem.

So sue whoever it was who damaged you in the first time, if you're that upset about it.

As for me, it's a great feeling, one of confidence, to have a hedgerow of warring angels. It's even better than being Zestfully clean.

They're Called "Warring Angels" For A Reason


I said my hedgerow of warring angels, that I and they are not going to be lashing out, because we do things micro-surgically. That's true.

But keep in mind what they're called: A hedgerow of "WARRING ANGELS." Ultimately, I don't have any control over what they might do.

The way I picture them, warring and everything, is that they can be very mean. And with supernatural powers, it could be hard to stop them.

Our relationship is a good one. That's been how it's been. I know this by their grace and love, as well as the fact that I'm still alive.

It's the hedgerow of warring angels that keeps me mellow so I'm NOT lashing out. If there's any unpleasantness, that's their business.

I'm sure that in the course of an ordinary day, like today, they're more or less at ease, although they still keep an eye out for others.

If I hear someone unexpected come in, they perk up. If someone says something nasty to me or takes me to task, their swords are in hand.

Meaning what for ME? There's a shifting in my consciousness, going from my everyday, normal attitude, to one of alert, enforced mellowness.

Why mellowness? What's more disarming than to meet someone on completely different terms? Very few people know how to handle it.

As to what happens when they're away from me, again, I have no control over that. If one of the hedgerow "gets them," that's not my fault.

A Hedgerow Of Warring Angels -- 100% Confident


I have 100% confidence that I can say what I need to say, and once it's said, to know that it is 100% what I wanted to say.

Confidence is a rare commodity in our world today. We have millions of self help books and gurus, yet a real shortage of true confidence.

People roll out of bed less refreshed than they were the night before because they're afraid to face the day. They have no confidence.

Confidence doesn't just happen. There IS plenty of grace involved in having confidence, but we also have our part in it.

Confidence breeds confidence. So you obviously start with what you have. If you have nothing (that's hard to believe), build on that.

Today I have what I call "A Hedgerow of Warring Angels" around me all the time, giving me the confidence to step out and get the job done.

I actually might not show the people I meet my confidence, but that's a strategic, confident stance. Like playing poker. I'm poker faced.

As for the hedgerow of warring angels, they know me perfectly. They know I (we're) not going to be lashing out. We do it micro-surgically.

If you approach me today with some bad intentions, blessings on you!

A Hedgerow Of Warring Angels

We turn our attention now to confidence.

This is part of our continuing "Drive for Pride," setting forth some of the truths that are foundational for having self-esteem, pride, and confidence.

As for me today, I am 100% confident that I can do this. I am 100% confident that what I have to say will be 100% useful to 100% of the people who read it, more or less. That's the kind of confidence 100% of the people need to have. Really, if 100% of the people were 100% confident, can you imagine the kind of world we'd have? I don't know what it'd be like exactly, but it'd be interesting.

At this point, speaking for myself, at least, I'm 100% confident. No shade of doubt is entering my thoughts. I'm standing like a girder, a beam, and one with integrity. There will be no buckling under, no shifting, no shaking. Like Atlas himself, this is something I can do, no questions asked.

Where does this confidence come from? I will have to reserve a few of my secrets on that matter. There are (or potentially are) prying eyes, those who would love to get their hands on what I know and how I know it. Some of the step-by-step stuff will need to be closely guarded at this point. But no matter. You won't be at any serious disadvantage if I keep a few personal things personal.

The ending of the matter is what makes the difference, and how you arrive at that point happens in more than one way. It has something to do with your personality, including your determination, your ability and willingness to put the teachings you come in contact with into practice, your choice and follow through on reading between the lines, etc. And if you have any boldness whatsoever in your make-up, that will come in handy. If you are the least bit creative in your contact and follow through in psychological/spiritual matters, you should do just fine.

Whatever confidence you can muster, do it. And put it together with the other things just mentioned. Confidence breeds confidence.

But be aware that there's many pitfalls, and most of them are right in your mind. The wrong kind of pride or inflated pride. A confidence that is not mixed with humility. Motives that are so personal and demanding that there's no allowance for love, etc. If you find yourself in negative circumstances, it's best to back up, honor the negative circumstances (really!), and take stock. Negative things are actually good for you, chastening, that you may press on, while still honoring them. Don't give negative things a bum's rush!

Friends, I have 100% confidence because I either have (or have the equivalent of) "A Hedgerow of Warring Angels" around me all the time. [From this point on, anytime I mention the hedgerow of warring angels, it will be without capitalization and quotation marks. I just wanted it to stand out in a dynamic way that one time, to impress it upon your consciousness. And note that I said "or...the equivalent of," in order not to make this sound necessarily literal. But I'm not saying it's not literal. What is and what is not literal and what we mean by those terms is a whole subject by itself.]

What do you think it would mean to your confidence if you knew that you had a hedgerow of warring angels around you all the time? What would you suppose they were there to do? Obviously they would be there at least to protect whoever they're surrounding. But there's more. They'd also be assisting, taking an offensive stance, whereas protection is defensive.

When you have a hedgerow of warring angels around you, you move with confidence. It's like Elvis with his entourage. If he needed a peanut butter bagel with strawberries on it, there was an assistant to get it. So Elvis moved with confidence. And he gave them a Cadillac in return. That's a good exchange!

I have the confidence -- 100% confidence -- to face this day. To get out and do my business. To surprise people by my spirit in getting it done. To go beyond their expectations, good and bad. To look them in the eye and say good things, even if they say bad (and especially if they say bad). To sympathize, to empathize, and to love. Basically I would make a terrible Supreme Court nominee.

I need to go now.

For the greatest confidence, check into getting a hedgerow of warring angels for yourself!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Be True To This Glorious Quest


OK, it's the last go-around for the Quest. If you feel like going on the Quest, grab for the brass ring. It's now or never.

You can see there's more to it than a reasonable person might guess, being "willing to march into Hell / For a heavenly cause."

I mean, c'mon, that's deadly stuff. There I go, marching into Hell. I look around, plant Heaven's flag, and it bursts into flames.

But there I am and my group of self-esteem, confidence, and pride students, looking at me like they hope I know what I'm doing.

I do a few Hulk Hogan crunches and show my undying confidence by ripping through my T-shirt, revealing my well-ripped torso and pecs.

We're on a Quest. I recommend it. It may have its bad side, like most trips to Hell do. But it's all in a day's work. The Impossible Dream.

Look at it this way: Is sitting on the couch vegetating really that much better of an life? In the end, what have you got to show for it?

But with a real true blue Quest in life, like the song says, "My heart will lie peaceful and calm / When I'm laid to my rest."

I think that describes me pretty well. But the song also says that only happens "If I'll only be true / To this glorious quest."

If I'm not true to the Quest, if I discount it, if I shirk my duties, what I know to be right, the best path, then I'll get squat.

So are you with me? Are you going on this Quest? Maybe not MY Quest, but YOUR Quest? If you are, let's have a rallying cry! YEAH! WOO-HOO!

This Is My Quest -- Without Question Or Pause


Hmm, I'd forgotten where the "Impossible Dream" song came from. Turns out it was from "Man of La Mancha," which I've only seen part of.

So it says, "No matter how hopeless, no matter how far," which I remembered well enough. What follows is more of the same, only worse.

"To fight for the right / Without question or pause / To be willing to march into Hell / For a heavenly cause." Willing to march into Hell?

I'll have to think about that one. That might be more than I'm willing to do. That could be tricky. I might not make it back for dinner.

I'm not much of a fighter either, especially without question or pause. I think it's very worthwhile to question what's going on.

And if that means pausing long enough to look at the situation from various angles, so be it. Nothing's worse than unnecessary conflict.

I'm pausing right now. And if questioning is bad, count me bad. I'm forever on a quest, but I like to think it's on reasonable terms.

I can't advocate anything quite that severe for those I counsel on self-esteem, pride, and having confidence. I'm a little more delicate.

Yet it's still good! Don't be discouraged! Maintain your sense that it helps you to look ahead, to look afar, to be on a quest in your life!

This Is My Quest -- No Matter How Far


Where is your quest taking you? Are you looking afar? The song says "This is my quest ... no matter how hopeless, no matter how FAR."

If it doesn't matter how far, you may as well shoot the moon! It's hard to believe a quest that is a quest would be easy to arrive at.

But the key thing is not how far it is, only that you're aiming for it, actively, purposefully going that direction.

You're going to feel better to know that you believe in something, that you're on track, and fulfilling your destiny.

When I head out on a journey, I'm always thinking how long it's going to take. Have to stop for food, bathroom breaks, iced mochas.

Some people just want to get there, some people want to enjoy the journey. I'm a little of both, depending what there is to enjoy.

For a lot of our trips -- interstate travel -- it'd be great if they could come up with a pill to put you to sleep till you got there.

They say pilots of the major airlines can actually sleep along the way because the plane is programmed by a computer to fly itself!

It's a bad thing for pilots to sleep during flights, in my opinion, because then how will they be able to sleep in their hotels?

I don't wish that on anyone, being at the hotel, tossing and turning, suffering through a long night because you can't sleep.

But when you have a quest, and when you say "No matter how far," you're not necessarily talking about actual travel or distance.

It's a mental thing, a psychological thing in some cases, to aim high, aim far, expect great things of yourself and fulfill them.

I'm wishing you the greatest success for your quest, whatever it may be ... and however far it takes you!

My Quest -- No Matter How Hopeless


This is my quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far... Ah yes, that takes me back, a great old song!

It speaks to me still today -- "The Impossible Dream" -- because I don't know the meaning of the word. "Impossible?" Not in my vocabulary.

(Technically it's in my vocabulary. I've heard others use the word, but I myself don't.)

The key thing is -- There's a quest. I'm on a quest for something better...

We think of self-esteem and what all that means. One thing it doesn't mean is sitting on your duff, consumed with regrets.

There's a million and one regrets for what might've been -- I could've, should've, would've.

That'd be enough to weigh down anyone. And it's practically always self-inflicted, and a wound that is hard to heal.

Because it's an endless cycle of wasting away today, wasting away tomorrow, then looking back and saying I shouldn't have done it.

The time to say "I shouldn't have done it" is before you do it -- NOW! And look up, look out, look ahead, look anywhere but down or back.

And press on, with a fire in your heart. A quest in your mind and a quest in your heart. Think of what's out there, then go for it!

If you think it's impossible, go TWICE just to show 'em!

This Is My Quest

I'm thinking of that old song -- "Da da, the impossible dream da da, da da da da da da. This is my quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far..." And with that I go blank on the lyrics.

But it's a great song. If you're any kind of visionary it ought to be on your playlist. Then if you're up on a mountain or looking across at your first glimpse of the New World, you could play it and you'd be totally inspired.

I'm like that -- I like to have songs as kind of the soundtrack to my life. Just like we see it in the movies. The song never means more than when you hear it attached to characters, their predicaments and the resolution.

And what song would be better for a guy like me than "The Impossible Dream"? I've always been a dreamer, looking for what's just over the next horizon. I get tired dinking around with all the old horizons. I want more, newer, better ones! When they tell me it's impossible, that word to me is like "sic 'em" to a dog with a bone. I'll guard it and defend my own regardless of the cost. You don't tell me what's impossible, mister!

I'm always looking forward to something. And that's what keeps me going. Knowing that something might be just around the next corner, around the next bend, over the next hill, maybe that way, maybe the other way, try it and see.

I recommend it! It's all very nice. Life's an adventure, a quest for something. I left the old country and I didn't know where I was going, but I went. Then I get there -- let's say -- and I have to scrape around to make a living. I might be a fry cook in a sleazy, greasy dive. I've got a full body apron on.

Three weeks ago I was sitting on my own half acre looking for a quest. Three weeks later I'm in this dive. They're calling me Cookie. I'm an old guy who slaves over a griddle night and day. Then when it's quittin' time they pat me on the back and say "See ya tomorrow." But little do they know, this isn't what I was looking for exactly. So I hang up the apron, put my suit back on, and hit the road at midnight. My quest continues!

I've got the greatest self-esteem in the world because I'm not bogged down in what might've been, what could've been, the things of regrets. This is what I recommend. I'm forward looking, looking ahead, kicking every bush I come to for what might shake out. There's no time for feeling sorry for myself, no time for looking back. I've got to keep hoping, keep searching, pressing on toward tomorrow.

If you're down today -- cheer up, friend -- and see your life as a hopeful thing. There's a quest for everyone. And when you wear out the first one, there's another one waiting to take its place. They're endless. They're everywhere. There's a quest for you just over the next hill. Check it out.

Your life will never be the same! And that's a good thing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Beware The Wild Side Of Pride


It's been a long day of teaching about the Wild Side of Pride, and I'm tired ... mental exhaustion. Too much study, delving into the issues.

Teaching about such things is a very rewarding experience, don't get me wrong. You just have to hope it's doing someone some good.

Because it's clear we can know about the trickiness of pride and still be tricked. That's what trickiness is all about. It's very tricky.

Again, let me emphasize this just so no one misunderstands the issue. Pride itself is good. We want it, we need to have pride.

But it's a double-edged sword, so to speak. It cuts both ways. Healing and killing, as it were. We need to handle it in the best way.

If we're consumed by pride, that means we've gone beyond what is good and beneficial. We're then dealing with the Wild Side of Pride.

Maybe it'd be possible to bring it back down. I believe it's been done, although it has to be rare. Usually it's simply hopeless.

The good news is most of us aren't so far gone. We can still take the good path.

But you see, for example, some muscle builders, they're too far gone. They had pride, then pride had them!

They have literally given themselves over to it, and now their bodies are seriously misshapen, making for a hideous display.

But pride (or rather, the Wild Side of Pride) marks them, as they drink one weird chemical milkshake after another and stare in the mirror.

Don't follow them. I know you won't. That'd be ridiculous. Stay the good path. Have healthy pride, not pride from the Wild Side.

Don't Let The Wild Side Of Pride Getcha


Pride is something everyone needs, but it is often hard to handle because it has a wild side.

Think of some of the commonplace sayings about pride, like "Pride goeth before a fall." You get it bad and -- WHAM -- there you goeth!

But if you haven't got it, you try to get it. Then when you get it, you wish you didn't. Rather, the people who know you wish you hadn't.

Still, pride like anything that's desirable has its value. Especially if you let it know you're the boss. And control it like a sane person.

I've seen pride's wild side get the best of people. They're always trying to keep up with the Joneses, then frequently declare bankruptcy.

Or in the case of muscle builders, pride twists them in knots and they're so ugly children point and laugh and others quickly look away.

And you know, women muscle builders wear a tiny bikini top just so people won't see theirs are smaller than men's.

What's the problem with these sad folks? They started working out, then the wild side of pride got the best of them and they couldn't quit.

To have self-esteem that's worth having, it's necessary to keep your pride in check. Do yourself and all of us a favor.

Avoid The Wild Side Of Pride


~C'mon, take a walk on the wild side~ ... but AVOID the wild side of pride.

I can be as wild as the next person, unfettered, free, restrictions abandoned, my spirit fluttering like a dove.

But in my life I've learned some of the lessons about pride. There's good and there's bad.

I'm thinking about some muscle builders, who have graduated from the "School of Hard Knots." They're proud of themselves, but shouldn't be.

And that's only one example, but it illustrates very well the gnarly places our psyche can take us when we walk on The Wild Side of Pride.

If we're proud, of course that's a good thing. We get up feeling like we can face the day in a good way. We tend to our business as is good.

We encourage our children to do their best, knowing that they may really mess up if they don't have the confidence that goes with pride.

But we also know there are good limits to pride, that pride must not consume us. If we're consumed, what's there to be proud of in that?

Pride is something that we can be conscious of, so that we're not consumed. In other words, let pride know who's the boss.