Escaping Memory Fog

When you feel yourself drifting back into the fog of a memory, command your energy to return to the present moment by saying, “I am not going in that direction any longer. I release it once and for all.” And don’t make heavy weather out of the act of releasing. It isn’t always necessary to beat up pillows on the floor while screaming in rage. Release can also be accomplished with a bit of humor, such as, “You again? Beat it! I haven’t got either the time or the energy to think about you any longer.” Lighten up, and don’t allow your past to frighten you. Stop giving it power by clinging to the belief that things could or should have been otherwise. That is nonsense.

As you gain more control over your thoughts, try changing your vocabulary too. Speak more in the present tense about your life. You can certainly recall your past, but make it a habit to recall the good times. When someone asks you how you are, give them a positive answer; let that be your default setting. If you are genuinely coping with something that recently happened to you, go ahead and share that, but don’t dwell on it.

— Caroline Myss, PhD, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, p. 26

Joyous Participation

This is why Christians who talk the most about going to heaven while everybody else goes to hell don’t throw very good parties.

When the gospel is understood primarily in terms of entrance rather than joyous participation, it can actually serve to cut people off from the explosive, liberating experience of the God who is an endless giving circle of joy and creativity.

Life has never been just about “getting in.” It’s about thriving in God’s good world. It’s stillness, peace, and that feeling of your soul being at rest, while at the same time it’s about asking things, learning things, creating things, and sharing it all with others who are finding the same kind of joy in the same good world.

Jesus calls disciples to keep entering into this shared life of peace and joy as it transforms our hearts, until it’s the most natural way to live that we can imagine. Until it’s second nature. Until we naturally embody and practice the kind of attitudes and actions that will go on in the age to come. A discussion about how to “just get into heaven” has no place in the life of a disciple of Jesus, because it’s missing the point of it all.

— Rob Bell, Love Wins, p. 179

Embracing Detachment

To begin with, I think we have to cultivate our willingness to let go, that is, to detach from the trials and tribulations of our contemporaries if we want to find the quiet peace we long for, a peace that will allow us to truly love, to truly embrace, and to appreciate those who journey with us. In this process, we also give those companions the freedom to grow and to find their own way, thus their own eventual peace too. I don’t think we can come together as loving equals without embracing the willingness to detach.

We live very codependent lives, from my perspective. By this I mean that too many of us let even the whims of others — in our families, our communities, our workplaces, even in other parts of the world — define us, determine how we feel, and then decide what we will do next in many instances. Learning to detach allows us to live the life we were meant to live. By allowing other people’s behavior, good, bad, or disinterested, control us, we miss many opportunities for movement and expression in new directions. The converse is also true: if we attempt to control the other persons on our path, wherever they may reside, keeping them “attached” to us through any means (and most of us are very practiced at this), we immobilize them, thus preventing the growth they deserve and have been prepared for already.

— Karen Casey, Let Go Now: Embracing Detachment, p. 1-2

Going Somewhere

In the Genesis poem that begins the Bible, life is a pulsing, progressing, evolving, dynamic reality in which tomorrow will not be a repeat of today, because things are, at the most fundamental level of existence, going somewhere.

When Jesus tells the man that there are rewards for him, he’s promising the man that receiving the peace of God now, finding gratitude for what he does have, and sharing it with those who need it will create in him all the more capacity for joy in the world to come.

How we think about heaven, then, directly affects how we understand what we do with our days and energies now, in this age. Jesus teaches us how to live now in such a way that what we create, who we give our efforts to, and how we spend our time will all endure in the new world.

— Rob Bell, Love Wins, p. 44-45

Lower Your Tolerance to Stress

Surprisingly, the solution to stress is to begin to lower our tolerance to stress. This is the opposite of what most of us have been taught, but it is the truth. Lowering our tolerance to stress is based on the simple principle that our level of internal stress will always be exactly equal to our current tolerance. This is why people who can handle lots of stress always have to do just that.

People with extremely high levels of stress tolerance might end up with a stress-related heart attack before they begin to pay attention to what the stress is telling them. Others may end their marriage or find themselves in a recovery center for alcohol or drugs. People with lower tolerance might begin paying attention to their stress earlier, when their job first begins to seem overwhelming or when they find themselves snapping at their children. Still others, who can’t tolerate stress at all, sense that it’s time to slow down and regain perspective when they start merely having negative thoughts about their friends or family.

The lower our tolerance is for stress, the better off we are psychologically. When our goal is to feel our stress as early as possible, we can “nip stress in the bud” earlier, and return more quickly to a positive feeling state. We have choices; in fact, we have a series of “choice points,” in any situation. The longer we wait to disregard the stressful thoughts, the more difficult it becomes to bring ourselves back to our natural state of mind. Eventually, with practice, any of us can get to the point where we are aware of our negative thoughts before they pull us off track.

— Richard Carlson, PhD, You Can Be Happy No Matter What, p. 105

More My True Self

God, in his faithfulness is changing me…. Instead of making me into someone else, he is making me more me. And that is one of the beautiful things about him. That the more his we become, the more ourselves we become; more our true selves…. To have a gentle and quiet spirit is to have a heart of faith, a heart that trusts in God, a spirit that has been quieted by his love and filled with his peace. Not a heart that is striving and restless.

— Stasi Eldredge & John Eldredge, Captivating, p. 134

Being Time

I’ve long since stopped feeling guilty about taking being time; it’s something we all need for our spiritual health, and often we don’t take enough of it….

When I am constantly running there is no time for being. When there is no time for being there is no time for listening. I will never understand the silent dying of the green pie-apple tree if I do not slow down and listen to what the Spirit is telling me, telling me of the death of trees, the death of planets, of people, and what all these deaths mean in the light of the love of the Creator who brought them all into being; who brought me into being; and you.

— Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water, p. 12-13

The Deciding Vote

The perception that happiness is a decision affirms that attitude is first, circumstance is second. It teaches you that whatever is happening, you always carry the deciding vote when it comes to happiness, success, love, and peace of mind. Sometimes this is easy to remember; other times it’s not so easy. Once again, it’s when you forget that you must ask for help.

— Robert Holden, PhD, Happiness Now! p. 54