Posts Tagged: awareness


27
Aug 13

The Truth About Lying

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I am not totally sure why I am digging into this topic today.  Nothing has happened in my own life that added the flake that started the avalanche of thought.

But I feel pressed about this topic, so I write.  I am a firm believer that God on occasion (probably a lot more than we think) will reach down and prod someone to do something for the purpose of helping someone else.

So I believe that I am writing this for someone.  I don’t know who it is, but someone out there in cyberspace needs to hear about and think about lying.  I have a feeling this topic will require more than one blog entry to do it

Here goes.  I want to tell you the truth about lying.

First of all, it’s important to know that I am not going to get into the weeds of what constitutes fibs and white lies.  Yes, telling children there’s a Santa and a Tooth Fairy is a lie.  We have our adult versions of white lies too; such as telling someone you’re busy so you won’t have to go to lunch with them.

Spending time to dissect this surface layer of lying will only clutter the landscape and keep us from the deeper truth about lies.

Let’s be real for a moment.  You know when you lie.  You know the kind of lie I’m talking about.  The lie you tell (or the truth you don’t tell) that crosses the line where trust is violated and destruction begins.

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I’m an algebra liar. I figure two good lies make a positive.

- Tim Allen

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There is an insidiousness about lying that corrupts us on levels we cannot gauge and distorts the reality around us.

A lie can be a blatant mistruth or the withholding a truth.  Some people lie just as boldly by leaving out information or a truth as one who conjures up misinformation.

As I said, lies are insidious.

There are some people where lying has become an art form.  They actually take pride in their art to manipulate and distort and then brag about their exploits.

They laugh at the gullibility of the trusting and afterward arrogantly preen their egos by reflecting on their skill to manipulate.

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The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.

- Stephen King

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But what the liar does not grasp is the fact that their mind becomes darkened by the lies they tell and they are unaware of the trap they have created for themselves.

They are consumed in a lie they do not see.  Lost in a life that has no reality.

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The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.

- George Bernard Shaw

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We’ll continue digging in to the issue of truth and lies next time.

See you later.

Ciao.


16
Oct 12

Distorting the distorted truth

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Welcome back.

As you know we are in the throws of a very aggressive Presidential election.

Yes, I do plan on talking about politics.  But NO, I am not going to talk about a particular candidate or party.

I of course have a preference as to which candidate I think will be the best option for our great country but that is irrelevant to this blog.

This blog is about the fact that I am extremely frustrated with all politicians in general and both political parties.

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Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
- Henry A. Kissinger
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I don’t know about you but politicians really irritate me.

It seems that all politicians ever do are take shots at each other and speak to us in scripted sound bites.  They don’t give us the big picture of their philosophy or values.

It doesn’t matter what side of the political aisle they because both sides are just as guilty.

They must think the American public are a bunch of idiots.

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If career politicians had the solutions, we wouldn’t be in the mess that we are.
- Rick Scott

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Just for the record, there is no question we have our fair share of really stupid people… all you have to do is look at any one of the several Jackass movies.

But for the most part we are a country made up of hard working people trying to make a life for themselves and their family.

It’s true that some people have more formal education than others, some make more money, we’re large and small, pretty and plain, and many different religions.

But the vast majority loves their country.  We may have different views on what the country needs, but love it nonetheless.

I believe everyone has some basic God given common sense.  There are things that we intuitively know to be good and bad or right and wrong.  I am not talking about a moral sense of right or wrong in this case but a right or wrong in regards to dealing with life situations.

The problem is we don’t get “real information” to make an assessment of the situation.  Everything we hear is spun, twisted, distorted and completely altered to benefit the political bent of the person providing the information.

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I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
- Charles de Gaulle

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We are forced to make important decisions based on truth that is projected through the lens of a kaleidoscope.

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They make it look all pretty but truth is not to be found.

The sad reality is that this distorted truth poisons the well of our mind and then we mangle the truth even more because of our faulty lens.

This all sounds dreary and heavy, but not necessarily.

If we are willing to set aside our programmed notions then we have a better chance to sort through the clutter and find truth.

The most difficult thing as an individual is to realize that our lens is distorted and are willing to test the very beliefs we have.

This takes work and is extremely challenging but oh so rewarding.  Take a chance.

See you Thursday.

Ciao.


13
Sep 12

Look at it my way!

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Yep, I’m back.

For those of you who are regular readers (both of you), you know that I have been pretty good at posting a blog twice a week – but not lately.

But you have to admit, although my postings have been erratic as of late, my commitment to mediocrity has not been compromised.  That was supposed to be a joke.

Today I am going to talk about perspective.  WooHoo, how exciting is that!?

On the surface this topic may seem pretty mundane.  I encourage you to read on because you will find it much more boring than you may think.

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Side Note: Yes, I know.  I am in a very strange mood this morning.

Not funny… just strange.  But read on anyway.

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But on a serious note, I am continually amazed how two people can experience the same reality and walk away with two totally different perspectives.

I am not talking about differences in taste.  For example two people looking at a piece of art and having differing opinions as to its beauty or quality.

Differing tastes are not problematic to me.  In fact, I think that our differing taste about things is one of the greatest gifts of God to His creation.

Wow… the variety for us all to enjoy in different ways… how cool is that?

This would be a great topic for a different time, but not today.

Seeing things from a different perspective can be somewhat amusing, like the pictures I have sprinkled out in this blog.

It’s fascinating how a simple twist of position can totally distort reality.  How very clever and creative.

The issue of perspective I am talking about are life issues.  The types of situations that aren’t amusing nor fun.

Everyone has experienced times when something happened and you and the other person(s) involved engage in verbal fisticuffs because you saw the same event differently.

This is when frustrations heat up and tensions rise because you know what you saw and heard while the other person is adamant about what they saw and heard.

The communication gets heated and of course you know that their head was up their ass because if it weren’t they would agree with you.

The only problem is, they too are questioning the location of your head also.

Yes, situations like this are very frustrating and totally suck the sweet out of the day.

Now to make a negative topic even worse, there are no easy answers.  Nope.

This is life. Sorry, but true.

Wow, I sound negative today don’t I?  I don’t mean to be because I am not a negative person.  But I am realistic.

Yes, there are days that are difficult because of situations like I just discussed.

As I said there are no easy answers but I do have some opinions that hopefully will help.

Difficult situations like this either make us a better person or we become bitter and more locked in to our point of view.

Struggles in life sharpen us, educate us, and develop us… if we are open to it.

Every one of us has been programmed by what we’ve been taught or by life experiences.  Some of our perspectives are perfectly accurate… but frankly, these are fewer than we may think.

The majority of our perspectives have varying degrees of distortion.  And some are totally distorted.

This is how we learn and grow… going through the tough times.

Yes, I like to write about the kittens and rainbows of life where we walk away smiling coated with a happy mental salve.

But life’s tough times make life… life.  Personally I don’t like the negative things but I am thankful for them.

See you Monday.

Ciao.


10
Aug 12

Good Bad Decisions and Bad Bad Decisions

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Yes, the picture is disturbing.   And yes, I agree with what it says.

I also find myself asking the question, “Why did she have to make it so LARGE?”

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Consider every mistake you do make as an asset.
- Paul J. Meyer
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Hummmmm… I don’t think so.  Not in this case.

Thankfully most of our bad decisions don’t involve being permanently inked for public display.

But my guess is that you have done something and immediately wondered… what the hell was I thinking!!!?

I guess we all have.

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Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
- Franklin P. Jones
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The natural follow-up question is, do you have a tendency to repeat the idiocy?

Most of us could probably say yes to this also.  Wow… the ignorance of youth.

But let’s be real for a moment.  There are mistakes, and there are MISTAKES.

Failure and mistakes are a part of living that provides learning and context to life.

These are life experiences that bring dimension and perspective.  We really are better off by the mistake made.  These mistakes shape us.

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The greatest mistake you can make in life is continually fearing that you’ll make one.
- Elbert Hubbard
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But unfortunately there are mistakes that trap us.  Instead of being a positive the negative mistake becomes our identity.

There is no question that we make mistakes and there are consequences for our decision.  But having consequences does not mean that the mistake becomes who we are and the trajectory of our lives is permanently altered.

The kind of mistake that traps us must be put in its place.

Whatever you have done, no matter how bad, it is NOT your identity.  You do not have to live under the shadow of the failure.

I hope and pray that over the next couple of days you have a keener sense of how you see your identity.

I think we will unpack that a bit more.

Ciao… See you Monday.


22
Dec 11

Filling in the Blanks

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Hi, good to have you hang out with me for a while.

In the last blog entry I messed with your head a bit when I titled the blog “Christmas is H _ _ _ !”.

I talked about the natural tendency to fill in the blanks (or any information gap) with things that tend to be negative.

I promised to fill in the blanks… and I will… but let me set the stage first.

As I mentioned in the last blog, I tend to be a pretty positive person.  But it seems to be more of a challenge these days.

It feels like the world is getting increasingly weirder, angrier and polarized.  Have you noticed?

I have never seen so much anger, distrust, cynicism, threats, and fighting… and that’s just getting out of the church parking lot.  Just kidding, just kidding, but you get my point.

You have to admit, the world does seem to be pulling apart more so than pulling together.

There seems to be no middle ground on anything anymore, only polarized positions with each side entrenched in their respective opinions.

The opening paragraph of Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities seems pretty relevant.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Charles Dickens,
English novelist (1812 – 1870)

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On the surface the world seems pretty hopeless.  But it’s not.  Not at all.

By now you may have guessed what the “H” word is from the title of the last blog… HOPE!

Christmas is HOPE!

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The possibility of hope scares a lot of people.  I found a very interesting quote.

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Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.
Friedrich Nietzsche

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Wow.  That only comes from someone who has no hope.  Sad… so sad.

We have to be honest.  For many people living in a troubled world, Hope does seem a bit illusive.

But you have to have Hope to survive.  Take a look at this great clip from the movie, The Shawshank Redemption.

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YouTube Preview Image

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Hope is real.  The reality of Hope came into the world nearly 2000 years ago.

Light was provided for a dark world.

Side Note: To my non-Christian friends don’t get all weirded out because I will be talking about Jesus.

As always, I am not trying to get you to believe what I believe.  That is something you work out personally with God.  I am just sharing how the reality of Hope impacts me.

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Now to some of my non-Christian friends you may think I am trying to promote my religion.  Not at all.

Religion in itself cannot provide Hope … it never will.  In fact, religion has added to the negativity and polarization the world is experiencing.

But Hope comes from the reality that Christmas celebrates… a savior was born… a Universe rejoiced… darkness pierced.

Merry Christmas!


20
Dec 11

Christmas is H _ _ _ !

Sorry if the title threw you.

But allow me to be a bit brash for a moment.  The title only threw you depending on what letters us used to fill in the blanks.

I have to admit, the set up was for you to assume the word intended was “HELL”.  This was to stir you up a little… and make a point.

The reality is, we as humans have this amazing ability to automatically fill in the blank spaces of life with our assumptions and beliefs.   Then our emotions and actions follow based on what we assume or believe.

There must be something within us that demands that things be complete or whole.  We can’t even stand physical space to be vacant… we have to fill it with a plant, chair, picture or something.

I am not saying this is a bad thing necessarily, except when we fill the void with the wrong information or belief.

There are two troubling aspects of the tendency to “fill in the blanks”.

First is the sad reality that if there is a void to be filled the default tends to be something negative.  I work with a lot of different companies and invariably when there is a void of information people automatically assume the negative.

The default is to distrust vs. trust or assume the worst vs. the best.

Now people will argue that there is good reason to distrust or assume the worst – maybe, maybe not.

All I know is that an inordinate amount of energy (emotional and physical) is lost on negative assumptions when the majority of time the intent or reality was not negative at all.

The other troubling aspect is that we most often “fill in the blanks” in regards to other people.  This is where it gets really messy.

And let’s face it.  We make assumptions about people all the time based on inadequate information.  We question there motives or intents.

How many times have you seen someone become offended, get their feelings hurt or just get angry (I was going to say pissed off but I thought my wife would not like it) by the actions or inactions of another person?

The saddest thing about it is that the other person meant nothing by it.

We, without thinking, fill in gaps with our assumptions – good or bad.

Just so you know, I have my fair share of faults.  I struggle with goofy things that hinder my effectiveness as a business person, husband or friend.

With that said, I am very thankful that one of the issues I tend not to struggle with is automatically assuming the worst or the negative.

I generally suspend judgment or decide not to take something personally.

I’m embarrassed to say that I have a hard time understanding why people automatically gravitate to the negative assumption with incomplete information.

Maybe I’m too self serving and selfish (or completely naïve) to get all worked up and spend negative energy based on incomplete data.

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I think a lot of times we don’t pay enough attention to people with a positive attitude because we assume they are naive or stupid or unschooled.

- Amy Adams
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What I am about to say may really sound weird or naïve.  Even if I do have some basis to believe the other person may have meant something negative by their behavior… I generally decide not to be bothered.

I decide.

I intentionally make a decision not to take something personally.  Even if the person happened to have negative intent I don’t want to give them the power of impacting my life.

I’m sure that I may be coming across a bit arrogant or (God forbid) self-righteous.  I don’t mean to be.  I have no room for self-righteousness because I have plenty of other demons that keep me humble.

The next time you are faced with a void of information… decide.

Now back to the title.  What is another “H” word that would fit?

Humm… I will talk about it on Thursday.


16
Dec 11

The Missing Head

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Hi, me again.

My wife and I just returned from a two week cruise and I am fading back into reality.  That’s why I am posting this blog entry a day late.

I tried to write yesterday but… to no avail.  My body was willing, my hands were moving but my head was no where to be found.

As I reflect on yesterday I can clearly see that my body was home but head was still on the cruise ship.

But fortunately (I guess), today the clouds of reality are beginning to form and some semblance of rational thought is wiggling its way to the surface.

I believe more and more that it is important to step away from the hum drum of life.  Life, if not careful, becomes a slow grind that consumes us and dulls our senses.

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“Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.”

- Anton Chekhov (1860 – 1904)

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The strange thing about life is that… it takes on a life of its own.  Yes, I know what I just said was a weird statement but true.

It is critical that we periodically take time to recalibrate.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t confuse recalibrate with refreshing our body.

We can give our body a rest and a break with a good vacation, but recalibration is when we intentionally test the lives we live… test for distortions.

Let’s face it, we work hard to control of our life.  There’s nothing wrong with that in principle.  We just want things in life to go the way we want them to go.

The problem is our perception of life can become distorted.  The life we then pursue is the perception not the reality.

You can choose your own poison but let me give you a personal example.  There are some people (uh, me for example) who believe they have to be on the “go” all the time… even on vacation.

I get bored easily, so on vacation I am constantly doing something or going somewhere.

This worked really well until about the ninth day of a fourteen day cruise.  I started to be bored and being in the middle of the Atlantic didn’t provide many options.

But then something happened.  I was forced to go to a different level of vacationing.  I was forced to slow down… and it was a good thing.

I found myself actually just sitting on the deck, doing nothing, and loving it.

Yes, I know that people are naturally different and some “go” more while others “slow” more.

All I am saying is that so many people believe life is to be a certain way and discover that it was a distortion.

Here is a wonderful truth.  Life naturally tries to recalibrate.  It is like a “reset” button to reconnect us with what’s real and important.

But it only takes effect ifwe are open and receptive.

I have always enjoyed the “GO” times… but now I appreciate and value the “SLOW” times.

Ciao.


8
Dec 11

Deceive or Receive?

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Welcome back… that is… assuming you’ve been here before. 

Nice picture huh?  I know it’s weird but believe it or not… it applies to the topic.

Over the last few entries I have been unpacking a remarkable “Ah Ha” that I experienced a few weeks back.

Last time we talked about the struggle of getting things from the head to the heart and ended with a statement and a question. 

I said, “Some people believe it, but do they receive it?”

Yes, I realize this may be a bit confusing but let me take it apart and attempt to put it back together.

First, I feel the need to define the word “receive”.

I checked the dictionary and as you would expect there were several definitions.  The initial definition was pretty good for my purposes and others fell short. 

The definitions that didn’t fit, primarily dealt with examples like receiving a letter, instructions, etc.  It focused more on the offering of something than the actual receiving.

The one that did fit pretty well was – “To take into ones possession.”  But it is still missing the real point I am trying to take.

My definition is talking about receiving something intangible like a thought, idea or insight vs. something tangible like a gift or letter. 

The type of “Receive” I am talking about is when someone takes in something (an insight as an example) an makes it a part of them.

Lots of people hear things, are told things, are taught things, believe facts and it just passes through.  But when you hear something and you take it in and it becomes a part of you… that is receiving.

A Sobering Question

Why is it easier for most people to receive (take in) an insult and find it more difficult to receive (take in) a compliment? 

We hear compliments… maybe believe it to some degree… but we don’t actually receive it (take in to our being). 

Where as, we perceive something as a slight or insult and we humans tend to immediately believe it and take it in.

It is not he who reviles or strikes you who insults you, but your opinion that these things are insulting.
- Epictetus

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It’s sad but true.  Unfortunately it seems our natural default is to believe and receive negative messages much more readily than the positive.

Think about it.  What are you personally more likely to believe and take in (receive)? 

Why is that? 

Personally (now I am going to sound really religious – don’t let it scare you), I believe that because the world is fallen, the evil one will do anything to keep us from the fullness of what a loving father wants for his children.

Now back to what started this series of blog entries.

A loving mother can see her daughter as perfect (even with imperfections).  If she, an earthly mother can do so, then God our father does even more.

I have known and believed this truth on one level, but found it difficult to receive (take in to the core of my being) it to the full. 

I’m not there totally but my oh my, what a joy to know that God loves us in spite of our imperfections.

I hope you see you again on Monday.

Ciao.


5
Dec 11

Head to Heart

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Hello again.  I am glad you decided to hang out with me.

In the last couple of blogs I have been talking about a recent Spiritual insight.  It is regarding the love of God and how he sees his children.  If you haven’t read them I encourage you to take a quick look.

In the last entry I talked about God seeing us as perfect even though we are imperfect. 

On some level I have believed this in my head but couldn’t quite get it to my heart.  Conceptually I knew that God sees us as perfect because of Christ but still struggled at times because I could still see all of my imperfections. 

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The reality of God seeing us as perfect expanded significantly, and dramatically moved closer to my heart after the encounter with the mother and five year old daughter that I wrote about two entries back.

I have always heard that the longest journey is from the head to the heart.  This is not only true in spiritual matters but in all facets of life.

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There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.
-  Charles Dickens

.Our heads are continually being bombarded with thoughts, ideas, information and data. 

We can learn, theorize and speculate about all sorts of stuff.  The more information we have the greater the likelihood of being deceived that one is an expert or truly knowledgeable about something in particular.

Side Note:  I will use a lot of societal or earthly examples to try to impart a spiritual truth.  They of course will all fall short.  But the core concept is sound.

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Take something as innocuous as the sport of golf.  I can read books, watch videos, try to channel Tiger, even play a few rounds.  I have the head knowledge but it isn’t realized in actuality.

Most who golf –are not golfers; most who paint – are not artists; most who build – are not craftsmen; most who cook – are not chefs.

The journey from the head to the heart is a journey of dedication, commitment, trial and error, openness and vulnerability.  

It is a journey of struggle and transformation.

I believe that information and theory never gently flows from the head to the inner being, nor can it be imposed.  It is rewarded.

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“We must work out what God has put in.”

- Oswald Chambers

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I have referred to the following illustration before but it fits so well with this topic.

The transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly is a journey of struggle. 

The slow, low caterpillar grinds his way through life and eventually builds and entraps himself in a cocoon.    

When the right time has come, he begins to push the confines of the walls he built. 

The struggle begins.  There can be no stopping, and most importantly, he can receive no help. 

You see, it is the struggle that forces the fluids and strength to the extremities that enables the butterfly to fly.  

We have all had those moments in life, relationships, with hobbies where we finally say, “I get it, I get it!”

The concepts and information are internalized and become real.  One knows that they haven’t mastered it, but also knows that they are experiencing it on a totally different level.

But there is another element to this spiritual insight.

One believes it – but do they receive it?

See you Thursday.


22
Nov 11

May the FORCE miss you

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No salutation or niceties to start today’s blog.

I am a day late with my blog, I’m focused and on task.  So in my best Soup Nazi accent… “NO NICETIES FOR YOU!”

For you Seinfeld fans I cannot let the reference go by without some Soup Nazi clips.  For some reason you may need to take an extra click to see the video… enjoy.

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I don’t know about you, but when things are looming, too busy, or a bit intense, I tend to go one of two directions – extremely focused allowing nothing to distract or scattered.

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Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.

- John Carmack

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My wife can attest to my face forward in a “world of my own” look and walk.

I’m not in a bad mood… just focused.  I’m a man on a mission and I don’t need or want any distractions.

But of course, since I don’t want any distractions, everything seems to be a distraction.  Nothing seems easy at all.

Have you ever noticed that when time is at a premium, everything that can go wrong usually goes wrong?

I have several things going on that are screaming for my attention and creating the squeeze.  But there’s one that tends to sneak up on me – the Holidays.

It took me years to finally see and understand the ritualistic cycle that occurs.

I am going to ask you a question that seems totally irrelevant to the topic.  Have you ever driven to Atlanta?

Side Note: Yes, I know… weird question.  In some odd obtuse way I will actually try to connect the dots.

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My wife and I have driven to Atlanta many many times.  We approach the city from the north.

Something weird starts to happen when we pass Dalton, GA (70 miles north of Atlanta).

All of a sudden you start to feel an increased intensity in the traffic.  The cars move a little faster and the drivers slowly become more aggressive.

It’s as though Atlanta has a magnetic force field and once you get within range there is a pull and tension that seems to take over.

I finally learned that the holidays have that same force field dynamic.

You don’t feel or sense it at first, but before long you feel a tug that begins to pull you into the frenzy.  And like a spaceship being sucked into a black hole you feel helpless

The pace seems to pick up just before Halloween and before you know it there starts to be more clutter.  Not the type of clutter in the house but clutter in the schedule and life.

You really begin to feel the pace about the week of Thanksgiving.  After that it’s a 90 mile an hour dodging traffic, driving defensively, “get out of my way”, don’t mess with me, scramble.

This year is going to be different.

Figuratively speaking, my wife and I have decided to take the back roads… not as fast, not as busy, and not as decorated.

My challenge now is trying not to get caught in the pull of the black hole before we get off the main Interstate.

The back roads won’t get you there as quickly… but the view is spectacular.

Wish us luck.

See you Thursday.