The Blog

Watch Your Language

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

~ George Orwell, 1984

Our thoughts are powerful things, acting as blueprints of the conditions we want to create. What what we think expresses itself in our words which eventually become our actions, and so it obviously pays to think positive thoughts about the future. However, thoughts are not the whole picture – we also have emotions, a physical body, energy systems in that body, and a spirit or soul. Even more important, this connection between our thoughts and our reality isn’t a one-way street.

The words we choose in everyday conversation not only reflect, but can also influence what we think.  Scientifically speaking, words are simply verbal signals, or electrical stimuli carried through sound that produce an emotional and biochemical response in both “sender” and “receiver”. Consider how words of love and encouragement have often inspired humans to think beyond themselves, achieve great things, and perform heroic deeds. Negative words are equally powerful destroyers of self-esteem and spirit.

Masters of propaganda know all too well how to use language as a weapon of psychological warfare, to shape public perception to their will and produce conformity of thought.  But we can use the same principles to free our minds and promote critical thinking. It starts with watching our language, noticing the things we tend to say repeatedly and automatically.  If we find ourselves making negative assumptions, for example about what people think of us or what is likely to happen in the future, it’s time to ask “is this really true?”  If not, we can use the power of positive speaking to form a different perception of reality, and eventually create a different and more favorable outcome.

New Beginnings

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

~Romans 12:2

Yesterday’s full solar eclipse was the first one in 99 years to be visible over North America. I was fascinated by the astronomical event itself, but even more so by all the speculations it generated (mostly involving death, destruction and disaster) in our “scientifically enlightened” society.   

This tremendous public interest - and fixation with doom and gloom - is nothing new. In many cultures, solar eclipse legends involve fearsome mythical creatures eating or stealing the Sun.  Others see angry and quarreling gods at work. Closer to home, some Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions interpret them as a sign of God’s displeasure with humanity’s sinful ways and harbingers of divine wrath, even of the end of the world.  Not everyone looks on this celestial event as an ill omen, however.  For many American Indian tribes, a total solar eclipse simply heralds transformation and new beginnings.  According to Crow traditional wisdom, the sun first dies and then is rejuvenated during a total solar eclipse.  For the Navajo, the Sun is the epicenter of all creation.  They view its eclipse as a sacred event linked to death and rebirth, a time for prayer, reverence and focus on the end of evil and the start of a better future.

Of course there’s no scientific evidence that solar eclipses affect human behavior, colorful legends notwithstanding.  However, I think it’s still a good excuse for considering where we’ve been and for making a new beginning in our personal lives.  In so many areas, we rely heavily on external standards to judge our own performance. That’s usually a good thing. It helps us stretch beyond our perceived limits and achieve greatness.  But if we continually compare ourselves to what everyone else is doing, we’re actually just conforming to the patterns of this world. The transformation to a new and better way of living starts when we choose to adhere to a “higher standard”, and follow up the renewing of our minds with soul-inspired action.  

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:23-25)

Have It Your Way

Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.

 ~ John C. Maxwell

Have you ever tried hard to keep moving in the direction of your dreams, only to get hung up on the “cursed hows?” Maybe you’ve asked yourself questions like these…

Can I walk 30 minutes every day instead of working out at the gym 3 times a week? Can I put all the cash back rewards from my credit card into savings instead of cutting out my morning coffee shop run? How about reading something from the Bible instead of meditating - can I do that?

Of course you can! No one can blame you for wondering though, not when we’re inundated with social media posts and articles that dramatize every problem and claim to offer the one and only magic bullet solution.  On top of that, legions of “experts” tell you that you have to do things a certain way or you'll never experience any kind of change.  It’s all very confusing, not to mention frustrating. Faced with so much drama and way too much advice, it’s easy to procrastinate, or worse, end up doing nothing at all.

Here’s one of the few pieces of “expert advice” I’ve ever come across that’s worth following - release yourself from the drama and do what works for you.  Design a personalized approach to achieving your goal based on things you already know. You don’t need permission to mix and match elements from different programs and create your own system for meeting benchmarks and dealing with any obstacles you meet on the way. 

Remember that doing something is almost always better than doing nothing. You can “have it your way”. Maybe you’ll go with the diet from one health and fitness counselor and the exercise plan from another. Or you might combine a money mastery program with personal coaching from someone else. It's OK to experiment, to tweak the details as you go. After all, life happens and you can always adjust to changing circumstances as needed. What's not OK is giving up. This is the one "rule" you must always follow if you truly want to succeed.

To Your Brilliant Success!


The Vacation Principle

The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings. 

~ Robert Louis Stevenson; Happy Thought, from A Child’s Garden of Verses

For many of us, summer means being on vacation. Relaxing and having fun become our top priorities. We find the most mundane things interesting, and circumstances that would annoy us on a typical workday magically become exciting adventures. If only we could feel like this all the time - how great would that be?

News flash: we are on vacation at least as far as this earthly life is concerned. None of us will be here forever.  As you come to terms with this fact, you’ll start putting more of your “ordinary” experiences into the category of “not to be missed”.  You’ll feel more energized, stimulated and passionate as your interest in life grows. Colors will seem more vivid, sounds clearer, and scents more distinct as you begin to pay close attention to all that is going on around you.

These last few weeks of summer are as good a time as any to practice the vacation principle.  Find ways to be a tourist in your hometown and your own life.  Explore a new shop or side street, pull over for photographs at a scenic overlook, spend an afternoon walking in the park or on the beach, take half an hour out of a busy schedule to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea at a local café – the opportunities are limited only by your imagination.  Each of these little moments can give you glorious memories to treasure. Even the most lackluster aspects of daily life will seem like part of an amazing journey…and what an amazing journey it is!

To Your Amazing Life!


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