Good and Evil Are Roommates At War Here

One word: paradise.

Blue skies stretch across a vast horizon. The soothing sounds and colors of a landscape come alive along paths of trees bearing fresh fruit for the picking. The scenery is a tropical postcard—gentle river streams babble along with waterfalls that outline a garden of extraordinary design and resource.

Everything needed for happiness is present. Here is a paradise of abundance. Here, there’s no want. There’s no hunger, thirst, or need of a doctor. There’s no white collar or blue collar, first class or coach, millionaire or minimum wage. No sorrow, worry, or problems.

It’s a place of good and right and truth. It’s where you don’t live, nor do I.  We don’t live in the Garden of Eden.

You and I live in a place of disease, struggles, and mistakes. We live in a land of inconsideration, crime, and loss. We’re surrounded by tragedies, unspeakable acts, and fears. We dwell among those who seek to define winners by possessions, status, and bank balances. We’re exposed to the greedy, the unkind, the bias.

This is a place of bad and wrong and lies. This is our place—our world—the outcome of Adam and Eve’s choice. Good and bad, right and wrong, truth and lies are roommates at war here. This is where you and I live. This is our reality.

Adam and Eve had it all—no wishful thinking, no bills, no body aches, no wants, no worries.

They possessed a park-like mansion and owned a river that divided into four more rivers (two are still identified today in Iraq each over 600 miles long where Eden existed). They had land bigger than the size of Texas. They were given forests, beaches, oasis, mountains, prairies, and golf course landscaping. They had security for themselves and inheritance for their children to come.

Still, there was one tiny, very small part of the whole earth they did not have—a tree. Just one tree. The Lord asked Adam and Eve, who stood as the sole receivers of the Earth, to recognize one, just one, itsy bitsy tiny request. You are free to eat from any tree, but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Assurance of life to them, immortal life, was theirs if they would honour this one request asked of God.

It required a decision.

They had the freedom to choose whether to focus on their paradise or to focus on the one forbidden tree.

At first, Adam and Eve must have passed the forbidden tree many times without a thought. After some time, perhaps they would look at the one tree as they walked to the river to swim. They didn’t talk to each other about the forbidden tree, but they each knew it was permanently off limits or as God told them, the consequence would be they will surely die.

One day Eve walked up to the tree, stopped and stared at it—focusing on the one thing she and Adam didn’t possess.

She dismissed the truth, denied the existence of repercussions, and justified listening to the words of a snake over the Word of God.

The rest is history.

Many people choose to focus on what they lack, what’s unfair, what they should have, and they are soon blinded from the blessings already bestowed upon them.

Like Adam and Eve, the given abundance is lost in the more they seek to have. These individuals focus on the one tree—the one thing they don’t have, don’t possess, don’t experience, or don’t feel.

What they do have is taken for granted. We can’t appreciate what we take for granted.

When a problem gangs up on us, all the struggling aspects of living seem to take the stage and the positive advantages of our lives—the blessings—seem to be missing from the role of credits.

Enter the nature of God—abundance.

Look around you. There isn’t just one leaf, one river, one snowflake, one flower, one feeling. There isn’t just a single dollar, a single gemstone, or a single piece of gold. These things are in abundance!

Jesus said that He came to give life—not just ordinary existence, but life in fullness, abundance and prosperity.

The choice of what to believe and what to focus on requires your decision—the same decision required of Adam and Eve—are you going to focus on what you don’t have or are you going to focus on a life of gratitude for what you do possess?

Are you going to believe what God says or are you going to doubt God exists?

On one side is God with goodness, eternal life, and “plenty” of all that is necessary for life and on the other side is the enemy of your soul who comes to rob you of God’s blessings, to oppress your mind with lies, and destroy an attitude of gratitude.

You choose every day what you’re going to believe and who you’re going to believe.

Choose wisely, my friend.

Think about it.

drsandynelson@gmail.com, © Life101Blog.com, Sandy Nelson Ph.D., All Rights Reserved

Can Other People See Your Self-Respect?

Those times when we experience failure or a mistake, it’s a comfort to have the refuge and encouragement of family and friends who can remind us of our positive traits and abilities. This is especially true if we tend to over-criticize our blunders and beat up ourselves.

But if the only times we can feel good about ourselves is after we’ve  gained the approval and validation of others, then we have a difficult road ahead. If we’re tempted to daily pretend to be someone we’re not to gain the favor of others, then we have lost touch with our own significance as individuals.

When it’s difficult to recognize our own significance we may think that the praise of others is necessary to feel positive about ourselves. Without that positive reinforcement every day we might end up feeling inadequate and rejected.

Everyone wants to be well thought of and liked, but we do not have the skill to determine and control what others think about us. We do have the skill to determine and control how we are going to think about ourselves.

Look, the most important opinion of yourself is not the one decided by polling others. The most important opinion of yourself is the one you and you alone determine.

You are an important person. You are special, unique. You have value. You have contributions to make to better your life and your goals! You have your own thoughts, feelings, opinions, ideas, quirks, preferences, likes, dislikes, character, tastes, humor, virtues, talents, morals, and dreams. What you can offer the world no one else can and God made that so.

The easiest person to be is you.

It’s near impossible to have self-respect if you believe you need to pretend to be someone you’re not. You can respect yourself only when you have a self to respect. Then, something wonderful happens. Self-respect brews confidence. 

This self-respect and confidence will be visible to those around you and evident in your conversations and attitude.

You show people who you are through your attitude. Your outlook and manners are always on display. Accepting and believing that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect is a necessary step towards seeing yourself in the correct light. It starts with you—you need to treat yourself with dignity and respect.

Pay attention to how you treat yourself.

You are the primary force impacting your life today. Other people or situations do not determine your life. Your attitude does. Your belief in yourself does. Your regard for yourself does. Realizing that enables you to become aware of thought patterns that set you up to be disappointed and feel defeated.

What is it about your self-respect that others will see?

Think about it!
drsandynelson@gmail.com

©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

What Do You Deserve In Life?

What do you deserve in life? – by Dr. Sandy Nelson
Did you find yourself hesitating to answer the question?

 

I did.

What do I deserve? Nothing.

But that’s old school thinking. That’s my unhealthy and incorrect thinking from decades ago.

You see, I was raised as a Missouri Synod Lutheran with a doctrine that preached, in my opinion, self-abnegation in church and you-don’t-deserve-crap in its parochial school.

My takeaway experience with religion by junior high graduation was: Jesus died for my pathetic existence and worthless life. I should live in continual disrepute, guilt and shame that He was killed in my stead.

I came to learn that many religions have a knack of guilt-tripping and adversely branding people who believe in something different than what the churches are preaching and demand within their denomination.

I believe in the full and true Grace of God.

In my opinion, there is no religious guilt, judgment, self-denial or shame under the Grace of God. We are free and we are to love one another as Jesus said.

It’s pretty simple when you take out all the bylaws and rules and rituals associated with many sects.

We have no right to judge or condemn others or ourselves.

Each of us has been given talents, skills, gifts, strengths, and abilities for use to better our lives and to help the lives of other people.

So, what do I really deserve? I deserve happiness, love, and success. And you deserve joy, affection, and achievement from your endeavors, too.

We deserve shelter and sunlight and shade and warmth. We deserve the free will to determine our destinies. We deserve the moon! And we have it. We deserve a universe! It’s all ours.

But, be alert to any invalidating thoughts you hold about yourself. They can cause you to sabotage relationships, success, and happiness.

If you do not treat yourself with love and respect, you can not experience the love and respect that other people want to give you.

So, seriously jump on any negative thoughts in your head about yourself. Refuse to criticize your mistakes or degrade your limitations or weaknesses—we all have them.

Self-love is necessary to succeed, to be happy, and to love other people.

Listen to the words you choose to use every day. Are they complaining and critical words? Are they judgmental phrases? Or do you hear encouraging expressions? Phrases of kindness? Words of gratitude out of your mouth?

The words you speak reflect your character. Your words reflect what you believe about yourself.

Stay aware of the words you choose to verbalize. Do they match the character you want to role model to your children, family, co-workers or other people? Are they in agreement with the integrity in which you want to be associated?

Where you are today can be attributed to the words you tell yourself.

What do you deserve? Are you ready to answer the question?

Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Any photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

Who Mindfully Lives Each Day?

The author of seven adventurous Star Trek novels, Margaret Bonnano penned: It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.

But can we really live that way?

Every day moves at a blast-off pace brimming with work, appointments, children, errands, obligations, and more. We’re not slowing down. We’re accelerating.

When the term multi-tasking entered our culture, the more efficiently we could perform three or more tasks in sync, the more valuable we became to employers, family and friends. Just like circus performers spinning several plates up on poles, we’ve come to expect ourselves to manage concurrent tasks effectively.

That’s stress!

How do we live one day at a time with all our plates spinning in a world traveling 1000 mph per second?

I would like to live mindfully one day at a time—to only be focused on the day that I’m living.

My mind, however, tends to fret about what might happen tomorrow and I get stuck over-thinking about stuff that occurred yesterday, last week, and last year.

Former New York Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said: Life is one day at a time. And thank God! I couldn’t take much more.

That sounds like someone who was accustomed to spinning plates every day. Someone who tried to keep yesterday and tomorrow in check while managing today. That sure describes me, how about you?

There’s enough to sort through, solve, organize, and workout in one day. Adding worry about tomorrow and second-guessing yesterday isn’t a good use of time and energy.

So I try to practice Mindfulness.

Now wait, before any eye rolling or scrutiny that you have no time for meditation, consider this—mindfulness in its simple form is merely the art of self-awareness. It’s a state of being aware of your thoughts and feelings in your surroundings.

I try to stop several times throughout every day and remind myself to take in the moment. I stay mindfully aware of my thoughts and self-talk and make it a point to kick negativity to the curb.

I’ve customized the practice of mindfulness to what works for me. I do not sit on a yoga mat in the Burmese or Full Lotus position.

But every evening, in quiet, I sit in a recliner with my feet on the floor. I shut my eyes and mindfully focus on my breathing. I envision a calm and healing energy going to my mind and body with every inhale of breath. When I exhale, I imagine all frustration and worrisome thoughts leaving my mind and body. After a minute or two, I focus my attention to gratitude for the blessings in my life. In about ten minutes, I’m done. I feel more physically relaxed and my mind is calm.

Mindfulness has been found to have considerable health benefits. It’s like a wonder drug that isn’t a pharmaceutical.

Think about it.

Dr. Sandy Nelson

Dr. Sandy Nelson

 

©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Become Happy Right Now

How To Become Happy Right Now – Dr. Sandy Nelson

 

What do you do that sustains happiness in your life? How do you maintain a level of happiness every day? If you find it difficult to find and keep happiness alive, you may benefit from this post.

Happiness can seem elusive, but you don’t need to sift through clues outside of yourself for its existence. Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, using the power within yourself is how you can become happy right now.

Use these tested strategies to guide you:

1. Be thankful.

Take 60 seconds and make a mental list of what you appreciate in your life at this moment, especially if you’re enduring difficult times. For continued happiness, practice gratitude daily. A bad mood can improve quickly just by completing a simple gratitude list.

thanksIf you have trouble recognizing what you could be thankful for, stop and think how would your life be different without access to electronics, books, a bed, running water, electricity, heat/AC, food, appliances, a sofa, indoor plumbing, the roof over your head, your transportation, health, the ability to read and write, law enforcement, doctors, nurses, teachers, firefighters, and a government that provides you with human rights.

 

2. Let it go, immediately.

Happiness and resentment can’t coexist. So release the prisoners bound in your mental prison whom you have pledged to never forgive. Your forgiveness doesn’t free those individuals from transgressions. Forgiveness frees you. Otherwise, those who harmed you will continue to hurt and destroy you every day. You could become a bitter, unhappy person consumed with grudges and hate.

 

3. Take a two-minute mental vacation.

Close your eyes and picture a scene or a landscape that is peaceful and inspiring CHO98UqVAAADzECto you. See yourself there. See yourself tranquil in this vision. Take it all in for two minutes. A visualization exercise like this has a calming impact and calibrates happiness.

Visualization means recreating an image in your mind surrounding an activity in order to practice a perfect environment. It works, too!

 

4. Sweep negative thoughts out of your mind.

The consequences of negative thinking appear to be widely known. It disturbs your mental and physical health. It creates tension and stress. It blocks your ability to focus clearly and it blocks happiness.

A good base of optimism is necessary to succeed in today’s often stoic world. If the current CEOs of companies were negative thinkers, their company would end up in the toilet. To think positive is to address problems with a can-do attitude to target solutions.

 

5.  Let go of the Perfection Delusion

Life is so much happier when you come to terms with your flaws and limitations and stop raging war on yourself for failing to meet a unrealistic standard. Your 10433864_10153254889623908_6471637140694356733_nhuman nature includes the inability to achieve perfection.

As human beings, errors are unavoidable. Accept that you will make mistakes, unintentionally, of course. And usually, you will feel regret when those mistakes occur. Take responsibility and make amends and corrections as soon as possible.

 

Here’s additional motivation in the words of Christian D. Larson in Your Forces and How to Use Them

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something good in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

10349980_10152917879477743_1204698828966865720_nTo think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words but great deeds. To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

 

Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com