What’s Your Story?

Turn negative thoughts around

We all have stories. “My father left us for another woman.” “I never do anything right in the eyes of my mother.” “My husband cheated on me.” “My children don’t appreciate what I do for them.” “My boss is a dictator from hell.” “I am fat.” What is mind boggling is that most of our stories, how we perceive our families, friends, and co-workers, and our thoughts about ourselves are mostly negative. We see ourselves as victims, and we resent the people who we think do not accept us or support what we do. Then we carry that heavy luggage around – anger, fears, worries, and regrets – while constantly complaining how stressful and difficult life is. Well, life need not be that way. In my previous blog post, Mind Your Own Business, I mentioned Byron Katie’s The Work. This new way of thinking introduces us to a process of...
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Mind Your Own Business!

Mind your own business

Are you feeling overly stressed lately? Have you been feeling down for reasons you cannot pin point? Then maybe you are not minding your own business. What do I mean by that? Let me share something I learned from Byron Katie, who is known for The Work, which she says is “a woman’s direct experience of how suffering is created and ended.” According to her, there are only three kinds of business: mine, yours, and God’s. When you do not stay in your business, that is when stress, fear, and depression creep into your life. When you find yourself thinking, “My husband should understand me more,” or “My sister should get a job,” you are in their business. When you worry about earthquakes, floods, and dying, you are in God’s business. This is not good because when you always think about what should be best for others and worry about...
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How Judging Others Can Turn Your Life Around

Judge others

Did I just say it’s okay to judge other people? Yes. But before you go on a judging spree, hear me out first. I know we have been told never to judge other people. Still, we often always judge others whether we admit it or not. This can cause tension within, especially if we hide it for long periods of time. These judgmental thoughts are most destructive when directed towards people we have forgiven 99 percent, but there’s still this 1 percent that keeps us from totally moving forward. This is why Byron Katie’s The Work encourages us to let our judgments speak out by writing them down. For us to move on, we must face these judgmental thoughts head on so we can turn the situation around. But how do you do this? The Work gives us Four Questions that we must answer when assessing judgmental thoughts: Is it true? Can...
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Originality

embracing your uniqueness

I’m working on a craft project. It’s a paper bag book made by folding three paper bags one on top of the other in half, sewing a binding and pasting scrapbooking papers and pretty pictures from magazines onto the pages along with quotes of encouragement. It’s for a friend who’s been struggling to accept herself and is plumb wore out with keeping up her walls of defense and mode of survival. Someone gave one to me recently and I thought I’d pass the encouragement along, because she really needs a pick-me-up and remind her how original and special she truly is. As I thumbed through two dozen issues of the same magazine, I grew more and more disgusted with what I was seeing. As much as the text proclaimed or insinuated, “This is how to be original,” not one bit of it was original. It was all about making people...
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My Brother’s Keeper

my brother's keeper

I’m back on the topic of the homeless. Why? Because as much as government policymakers and do-gooders think a new program or more funding will help solve the problem of homelessness, they won’t. You’ll remember I told you about my mate in the United States who took a homeless woman under her wing. Eight months ago, this woman – “Marta” – was on the streets, living from one drink or hit to the next, sleeping in the woods next to a park with other homeless people, and not improving her life. It was my friend’s courage to take Marta into her home for a while and walk with her through a mountain of bureaucratic paperwork to get financial aid and health insurance which enabled Marta to get off the streets and into her own efficiency apartment. The health insurance allows her to get some medical issues taken care of (many...
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Right to Fight

fight back

I recently watched a video produced by a major metropolitan city on what to do if a shooter comes into your building. It seems cities, companies and colleges are sending out these and email notices to prepare people for the worst and help prevent loss of life. What struck me as incredibly sad and extremely incredible is that the video has to tell people, “Yes, you CAN fight back.” While running and hiding is preferable, it’s acceptable to fight to take down a gunman. Have we really come to this place in modern, civilized society that we need to be given the A-OK to fight back? Good grief, give a toddler or dog a toy and watch how it fights back when another toddler or dog tries to take it. There’s no learned behavior here; it’s strictly reactionary. And yet for years we’ve been told it’s not nice to hit...
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The Art of Storytelling

the art of storytelling

Have you ever wondered why there are certain stories that stick in the minds of many even after so many years? Think of the likes of Les Miserables, Toy Story (which captured both the young and the young at heart!), and recently, The Fault In Our Stars – all of which touched many. While I was in the process of writing The Lighter Side of Large, I had all these hit stories in mind – books and movies alike. I looked for similarities and that special something that made people read and watch them over and over. I applied everything I learned and discovered from these stories and applied it to my own book. And guess what? It became a bestseller! What Makes Great Stories The art of storytelling is about being consistent. It must have a theme and the storyline must revolve around that theme. The writer must be...
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Enabling

enabling and disabling

A good friend, “Jessica,” comes to me in tears. She is worried about our formerly homeless friend, “Marta,” whom I mentioned a few weeks ago in this blog. Jessica is afraid Marta’s getting caught up with her old crowd again, a group of addicts and thieves. I related some things Marta had told me recently which makes Jessica and I come to the same conclusion: Marta is hiding her activities, lying to us, and quite possibly was beaten up by her ex. “If I would just be a better friend and spend more time with her, this wouldn’t happen,” Jessica sniffles, wiping her eyes. “Oh no,” I say. “Don’t you dare blame yourself. Marta’s the only person who can change her life and decide to not have contact with those people. I’m more worried about you because she’s going to you for encouragement to stay on the straight and narrow...
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Too Beard for Words

be the original you

Beards. Yes, I’m blogging again about beards. At the encouragement of friends, I checked out a few episodes of the A&E channel’s hit show Duck Dynasty. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a reality show about the family who owns & operates Duck Commander, a multi-million dollar business which makes duck callers. It’s a half hour of silly (and obviously set up) fun punctuated with wise insights from the family patriarch which make you go, “Hmm . . . that’s a good idea,” and outrageously funny statements from his brother which make you fall out of your chair laughing while thinking, “I’m glad he’s not my uncle.” What makes the show so appealing is not just the portrayal of a down-home, tight-knit family where the menfolk love to hunt and the matriarch is referred to with the Southern moniker of “Miss,” but the beards. Dad, uncle, three sons and employees...
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