Eye see it

Life lesson:  You go where your eyes go.

It was a hot day, miserable in fact. The road was radiating heat like a red hot engine overheating on a summer’s day. I was that guy outside on a jog soaking up the heat like someone who has lost their mind. I swear I saw buzzards circling! Next thing I noticed my eyes were gazing down, looking at my feet, counting the cracks in the sidewalk. What followed is illustrative, my posture began to slump, my steps became harder and my breath got shorter. In short, my running got harder because my eyes changed what they were fixed on. I became aware of this and changed my focus for just a moment. I lifted my eyes towards a fixed point in the distance and my entire posture, gaze, and breath changed for the better. The only thing in my circumstances that changed was my focus.

You go where your eyes go.

Want to change your life?

Change your focus.

Step 1: Take a moment at each meal of the day to simply think about what you have been focusing on.

Step 2: If your focus is misdirected, willfully change it.

Step 3: If distraction is common then place a visual reminder such as a photo, or a word, heck get a tattoo!

 

Root Deep Living

I LOVE “likes”!

I was glaring at my screen eyes wide open scanning for the red notification that I have received a new “like”. I saw the beautiful red number that indicated that yet another human or computer somewhere out in the universe saw my work as worthy enough to attribute the click of the “like” button. See what I just did there? I prescribed significance and meaning to getting “likes” on my social network. Know what happened in my brain when I saw this red notification? My brain lit up like a Christmas tree in the rewards center. A shot of dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure), pulsated through my system causing my brain to smile BIG.

I just explained the anatomy of addiction!

At the very core of my functioning, I was rewarding myself by searching for “likes”. And just think, I haven’t even watched the popular Netflix documentary about this very thing. I am admitting my vulnerability to being addicted to the “like” button. How about you? Do you find yourself surfing searching for the newest response to your post? Are you hungry for the next comment on your selfie or blog post or video? We are people who are searching for the next HIT of dopamine whether it comes in tiny doses the size of an M&M or in huge doses such as personal praise or rewards. We are becoming mice in B.F. Skinner’s test labs where he created the theory of Behaviorism, this theory is rooted in the belief that we have NO FREE WILL and are only a product of rewards either positive or negative. Are we ok with being reduced to a series of rewards that influence our next actions? Are YOU ok with this?

What is my counselor’s take on all of this?

I believe that earlier and earlier we are introducing electronic devices to children where their reward center of the brain lights up much more frequently than it is designed to. With our young brains lighting up so frequently it begins to develop shallow root systems. The trees grow tall but the roots grow shallow. What does this mean? It means that as soon as something hard comes into the life of the young person they fall over because their brain can’t handle the stress.

What about you and me?

Our roots are getting more shallow as well. When the root system in our adult brains gets shallow, the smallest stress can topple us over like a live oak in wet weather with a gust of wind. Don’t believe me? Look no further than the year 2020 when Coronvirus hit our nation and world. One of the biggest results of Covid has been a massive toppling over of our trees. The absolute highest intellectual minds in science and medicine have been toppled over which has trickled down to the general public. Guess what our response was? BUY MORE TOILET PAPER!!!!!! Seems to me we have toppled our trees.

So what and now what?

We have a problem. More than ever we need to take the time to be aware of what we are doing to our brains and begin to make the choices (you have free will) to choose to deepen our roots.

Here are some root deepening exercises we can all begin to practice to deepen the roots of our brain.

  1. Put your device down and take a 15-minute walk. Notice the beauty around you, the rustling of the wind through the trees, the sound of the birds as they sing. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin.
  2. Put your device down and choose to be very interested in someone else. Dale Carnegie is famous for teaching us How to Win Friends and Influence People. One of the key point’s Carnegie made is to be very interested in other people. Get them talking. It’s amazing how much more people will like you if you become very interested in them.
  3. Close your eyes and imagine God. The leading Neuropsychologists and scientists have found that when people are hooked up to brain imaging machines where we can see the activity of the brain in real-time, it shows that our brains light up like a Christmas tree when we simply think of God. I don’t know what your faith lies in, but may I invite you to imagine the God of the Bible?
  4. Smile often. Smiling releases happy chemicals through your body. Go ahead and try it! Try frowning, it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.
  5. Live with your palms up. It has been said it is impossible to be angry with someone if your palms are up. Try to be angry with your palms open facing upward. Now ball up your fists. See the difference?

In conclusion:

We have the opportunity to be deeply rooted as we lead the next generation towards their future. Unlike Skinner, I believe we have absolute choices, God doesn’t make us mice rather we are complex intricate humans made in the likeness of a creator God who loves us and designed us for JOY! If you will take these ideas and put them into practice you will produce fruit that will impact the next generations to come.

Let’s go deepen our roots!

Dirt and roots

Growth amidst the dirt and roots, the grime and smell yet yielding to life.

Crushed, down further and further into the decayed rotting soil of life goes the roots in search of precious water and sustenance.

Out of the effort springs forth life above ground where the roots can’t see.

It seems our focus in life is the above ground pursuit but the real pursuit occurs in the muck and yuck of the growth underground where eye cannot see.

Ever pressing onward deeper and deeper into blackness, void of senses yet toiling ever deeper in a necessary rush to find life.

The world around us draws towards the upward life.

Real life happens in darkness, in the workshop of root work.

Application:

How are you growing below the surface where no one can see? Write 3 ways you are growing.

Change begins with me

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi

When one gets better we all get better.

Would you agree with that?

Like the butterfly effect, (a minute localized change in a complex system that can have large effects elsewhere), small changes can result in huge effects elsewhere.

So what does all this mean?

It means that as one person improves their marriage, entire generations are impacted.

As one person invests in their Spirit, Mind, and Body, entire communities, workplaces, households, and churches can be impacted.

As one student works on their attitude and habits an entire school can be impacted.

Application:

What is one area of your life that you want to improve. Write it down and create a small attainable goal to improve that one area today.

Be weird because normal doesn’t work

Resist the urge to blend in.

Blending in is easy and builds the wrong kind of muscles, the easy muscles.

Instead build the weird kind of muscles, the kind that gains the type of results you want anyways. Need some help? Try these as some examples of ways to be weird and build weird muscles:

  • Cancel your credit cards and pay them off
  • Resist the quicksand of the “not enough” life that social media offers
  • Read excellent books
  • Be a filler not a drainer
  • Rise early and get moving
  • Pray often
  • Thank at least 5 people a day

This is a start as you set out to be weird.

Why weird?

Because so few people are actually doing this.

Begin today!

Application:

What is one thing you can start doing today to break out of the ruts? Share your story here.

Life detour OR God’s wake up call?

Sometimes we end up somewhere different than we intended.

Detours are God’s way of getting our attention to check the road we are on and make course corrections.

Don’t dismiss the detour, embrace the change of scenery.

Ask yourself the simple question, “What can I take away from this detour?”.

Application:

When was the last time you encountered a life detour? Were you made aware of a course correction during that time?

Comfortable being uncomfortable

 

Routines create ruts which over time can become shallow graves. 



Choose one thing in your life that you KNOW will make you uncomfortable and do it.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

Question: If you do not like where you are today what needs to change? 

Once you make up your mind to press play on your decision a release of adrenaline will shoot through your entire body like the fireworks before a football game, it’s the kickoff.

fireworks-180553_640

You will find that it never becomes comfortable to do hard things but you can learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Application:

What is one crazy goal you can set before you? I chose to run a marathon and did it! How about you?

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