Thankfulness: Its Not Just My Imagination

“Pretender”: that is one way I can get by.  In my years of walking, sitting, listening, growing, with recovering drug addicts I have heard many mantras: “Fake it ’till you make it.”  What is this, a paradox?  “Fake it”?  What about authenticity?  There it is, a glimpse of the entanglement of identifying what is what, and what is a mirage.  With the “Fake it ’till you make it”, I finally got it.  It makes sense.

As men, we all have an extraordinary ability to out-think ourselves.  

  • Claiming to be realists, oblivious of our pessimism;
  • Critical of one’s pessimism, unaware of their realism;
  • Claiming to be optimists, blind to our naiveté;
  • Critical of one’s naiveté, missing their optimism.

Thus, my bind with pretending: to be thankful, when I do not feel it.  I recognized, at some point, my thankfulness; regardless of what I felt.  Stepping back to sort out the semantics, I have come to choose thankfulness, even by faith, over fickleness of feelings.  Feelings remind me of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, at times.  Thankfulness is one of the greatest forces we can keep close throughout our journey:

  • Thankfulness operates as potential opposite of anxiety;
  • Thankfulness  is “pro-relationship”;
  • Thankfulness triggers a “strengths self-inventory”, which gives us an “awareness of empowerment”;
  • Thankfulness exudes “other-centeredness”, versus “self-centeredness”.

thanks noteSo, men, be courageous and step into thankfulness: for your wife / your girlfriend; your children; to fight the depression and other battles.  Thankfulness is an action for me; it doesn’t always come easy.  Here are some things I am thankful for:

  • My God;
  • My wife;
  • My children;
  • That I finally started blogging (why did I wait so long?);
  • Other bloggers – – – their posts, their words of wisdom and encouragement;
  • My dogs.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Peace, T

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A Jungle Out There

Tarzan once said “It’s a jungle out there.”  Tarzan also said “Don’t let go of vine.” (Invaluable Safety Tip!) There are not too many Tarzan quotes . . . he was a man of few words.  But Tarzan was right: it is a jungle out there.

https://i2.wp.com/www.alleywatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/jungle.jpg
 alleywatch.com

An American anthropologist, Margaret Mead, said: Of all the peoples whom I have studied, from city dwellers to cliff dwellers, I always find that at least 50 percent would prefer to have at least one jungle between themselves and their mothers-in-law.”  In a time where people rave about management skills, management books, management experience, blah-blah-blah, I really like Steven Covey’s quote:

The ability to manage well doesn’t make much difference if you’re not even in the right jungle.

Some folks pride themselves on knowing how to make life work.  AND … they will teach you how to make life work, for  … $150 per hour? But, not all jungles are the same.  What does it mean to make life work?  For a heroin addict, making life work looks different from what it looks like for a pathological liar.  A heroin addict uses heroin, to make life work.  A pathological liar lies, to make life work.  Someone who has learned to live in fear and anxiety, has learned to make life work, using their fear and their anxiety.  How do you make life work?  And how do you make it through the jungle? And … how is that working for you?

Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan / www.mentalfloss.com

Change, Elusive and Avoidable

“Change: when something starts or stops; or … when something that happens one way starts happening another way.” Mary Heathmen

One man’s fear:

I will never change. 

Life will always be this way.

http://campusrec.studentlife.wfu.edu/files/2013/01/snow-skier_1024x768.jpg

One man learned the Law of Inertia, defined as: “An object in motion will continue in motion, unless acted upon by an external force.”  A friend responded to the one man’s fear of changelesness:  “If nothing changes, nothing changes.  But thinking positively about change, acting proactively on the change process, will lead to change.”  To take it one step further, one MUST expect change.  A downhill snow skier moves with the Law of Inertia

No motor, just the Law of Inertia.  Ski poles, a snow-drift, the crossing of one’s skis upsetting balance and momentum … whatever. 

Momentum is huge

and it is positive, or it is negative.  Another man, a different city, a different state, a different time, a different mindset asked himself:

“Why do I need to change? 

If its not broken, don’t fix it.”

Ahhhh, stagnation; absence of momentum If nothing changes, nothing changesThis last quote is indicative of a lack of awareness.  There must be change, on some level.  Not necessarily fixed; but changed, or adjusted.

Change avoidance? Or, change embraced?

Thank You Anne Lamott, Steven Wright, and My Dogs

“You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town” Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith

Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lamott. So, what do you think? That is, those of you who have picked up a copy of Traveling Mercies?  Caucasian woman, dreadlocks, mischievous smile, great mind, great writer, political activist, recovering addict, a mom, an encourager. Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images.  “Thirst” is a chapter  in Traveling Mercies, that gives some insight into this woman’s journey with substance abuse and recovery.   Lamott’s chapter – “Thirst” – is amazing .  Here is an excerpt, as she recalls a day in 1985, when she wanted to quit drinking:

” … I woke up so hungover that I felt pinned to the bed by centrifugal force … literally glued to my pillow by drool …” 

Anne Lamott then talks about beginning her attempt to quit drinking:

“I was doing quite well …until five o’clock that first night … panic set in … clarity … I understood that the problem was not that I drank so much but that I drank too quickly.  The problem was with pacing.  So I had a good idea.  I would limit myself to two beers a night.  Two beers!  What a great idea.”

Anne’s “addict-rationalization”  is profound along with classic denial, and honesty about her ambivalence as an addict.  Anne Lamott is a woman of beautiful wisdom. Yes, I love Anne Lamott’s writing, and am thankful for her encouragement.

I Have a Pony
I Have a Pony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Steve Wright, a comedian whose humor is different from anyone I’ve ever encountered, does one-liners with a whiff of philosophy, and a bent towards thinking outside the box.

“For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier … I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.” Steven Wright

“You can’t have everything.  Where would you put it?”  Steven Wright

And lastly, my dogs.  I have two.  One of them is the Bernese Mountain Dog … to the right, here.  *Stash outside

If one of our kiddos is sick, or not feeling well, or sad, Stash (the “a” is pronounced with a short “o”) will go and sleep somewhere close in their rooms.

The other dog is older and more private.  She is actually on a secret mission outside of the country right now.  And, she often avoids cameras.  I am so thankful for our dogs.  Recently, I read a post entitled “Not raised by wolves but damn near close”, on the blog “Northier Than Thou”. He puts good words to the amazing sensitivity of our pets … and he has a topical index, where you can find the topic of animals.  At some point, check it out.  I hope he will not be offended if I say that I think his posts are a bit long for me … and because of that I sometimes have to scan.  (http://northierthanthou.com/category/animals/)

Okay, I’m out.  My suggestion for today: Be encouraged.