The Alphabet of Us: D is for Despair… December 29, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2458)

Building Block D bigger

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

DESolate. “I got nothing.”

PARalyzed. “I can’t move.”

Despair is when these two come together and we are convinced that our situation is unchangeable.

It is also a miscalculation–allowing the emotions and the brain to wage war with one another instead of consulting the wisdom of the soul and using the body to do something to improve our surroundings.

I believe it occurs in the human family because we get three things out of whack:

  • God scares us
  • Mother Nature confuses us
  • And people piss us off

When this occurs, the only reaction that seems logical to us is to relive our defeats.

So first, let’s get these three things straight:

  • God is our Father. In other words, He’s stuck with us. Nothing can separate us from His love.
  • Mother Nature is a system that can be learned. Yet she has no favorites.
  • And people are inconsistent and must be handled with a good sense of humor.

Without this, we quickly lose sight of any goal motivation and resolutely determine to lick our wounds in some corner of our mind or cave of our emotions.

Here are two very important precepts that just happen to be true–at least from the perspective of my journey:

1. Nothing is personal.

The rain that falls from the sky wasn’t sent from some dark place in hell to taint your picnic. If you had checked the weather forecast two days earlier, or even the sky, you might have had an inkling of what was coming down.

2. When it is personal, it is nothing.

You should rejoice. Why? Because anyone who takes out a vendetta against you will soon lose interest. The only way to keep anyone intrigued in bullying you is to give them focus by being angry or upset. With the 24-hour news cycle, the attention span of our country has gone down to about twenty-four hours.

So as long as you understand that nothing is personal, and on those rare occasions that it is personal, it is nothing, you can allow your soul to give you patience and wisdom to survive some disappointment–which gives your brain the chance to come up with a plan on what to do next.

Despair is not merely self-pity–it is a self-pity cemented by a lack of understanding of how life really works. 

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Three Ways to Be Valuable Without Being Used … December 4, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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high five big

For every reason you can give to encourage people to be generous, open and expansive, they are fully prepared to counter with a hundred excuses why such benevolence never works.

It is usually accompanied by some well-rehearsed horror story, when an attempt was made to share heart, soul, mind and body with another human being, only to be used or abused.

This leaves you standing there, holding your rejected virtue, sheepishly walking away, dismantled by their aggressive dismay.

But somewhere along the line, the human race must be caring enough to include one another, or we very well may resort to eating one another.

So how can we be valuable without being used?

1. Invest in people, but do it in three phases:

(A) Start by offering your ears. If you listen to folks, and realize they are either crazy or unwilling to heed advice, you might want to keep that relationship on the back burner. But if you discover that these people are not just hearers of the word, but might actually become doers, you can move to phase two of your investing.

(B) Time. Never give people time if they’re not listening. It’s a waste of … well, time. And since you have limited quantities of that, you may not want to be too extravagant. If you discover that investing your minutes in people is fruitful, then you can consider the generosity of money.

(C) Yes, some people are worthy of a financial risk. But never pursue them if they aren’t listening.

2. Don’t be in demand–just available.

You may think it’s cool to be popular and bombarded with requests, surrounded by those who need your care, but it gets old really fast, and the personal benefits aren’t obvious. To make sure that you’re not in demand, but just available, learn how to say no.

Yes, every once in a while, when you sense that people are taking advantage of your soul, choose to pass on the present opportunity. It will balance things out and will let them know that when you are involved, you’re in it all the way.

3. Use hope for your own dreams and common sense for the dreams of others.

If you believe you’re going to be a millionaire, that’s absolutely fine. But if you’re gathering around a candle, holding hands and joining in the belief that someone else is going to be a millionaire, you’re an idiot.

Your hope belongs to you because you can sustain it with your own faith and survive any failure in your own way. But you cannot maintain the faith of another person, nor control his or her disappointment.

So when people share their dreams with you, be enthusiastic, but also ask the logical questions that cause them to think, instead of getting generally “goosey.”

If you pursue these three approaches, you can avoid being a doormat … while still becoming a door.

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Populie: The Longer You Live, the Better… November 19, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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nursing home

Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody’s in a hurry to get there. Even the more bitter and pessimistic souls around us are not anxious to exchange “streets of crime” for “streets of gold.”

It is an open contradiction.

So what do we desire? A superficial form of immortality called longevity.

People work the first forty years of their lives to save up money, so they don’t have to work the last thirty-plus. Very few people ask the big question: how important is the quality of life?

So we create the populie. We applaud people who reach their ninety-fifth birthday without ever asking what is propping them up and whether they are dreading the daily pains of life.

Entertainment works both spectrums on this issue–sometimes portraying that “old is mold” and other times insisting that “old is gold.”

Religion extols the promise of long life because therein lies their piggy banks. Yes, it’s true–young people don’t give as much to the church as old folks.

Politics tries to garner a huge block of graying voters by playing to the fear of these souls, while reflecting back on the nostalgia of what they consider to be “better times.”

But if we’re looking for good life and all we get is time spent, then there’s the danger of ending up in a prison of disappointment.

For instance, if I drove over to a retirement home today at lunch hour, would I hear laughter, conversation, gaiety and feel energy in the room? Or would I encounter disgruntled human beings, who thought they were going to enjoy their “golden years,” and now find the whole experience sullied by too much concern, too much worry and too much pain.

There is a very simple three-part mission given to human beings, which, as long as we are actively and joyously pursuing, makes any age in life feel like twenty-two. You don’t have to go much further than the beginning of the Good Book to find it:

“Be fruitful, multiply and replenish the Earth.”

Can we all agree that when we stop being fruitful, what we feel is rotten?

The lack of multiplying subtracts purpose, and doesn’t add up in our thinking.

I, too, am getting older. So every single morning I get up and ask myself a question: am I still fruitful?

In other words, can I do what I’ve always done to some degree, and still do it well? Maybe there will be a drop-off due to age, but I still should be peddling towards the second mile.

Secondly, am I multiplying? Am I taking the energy I have for living, and helping others do what they do well?

One of the things you will discover as you get older is that your greatest value is not self-obsession, but rather, self-awareness in blessing those around you.

And finally, am I replenishing? This one is simple. Am I still giving more than I’m taking?

Each one of us has seasons of vulnerability, where we must draw from our account instead of making deposits. But if that season continues, the will to live slowly dies in our being.

It’s not about living long. It’s about living well.

Candidly, if I were told tomorrow that the next fifteen years of my life would be spent breathing, but my talents, joy, good attitude and spirituality would be dimmed in the process, I would choose to go.

I might be reluctant, but I would be fully aware that to be truly human requires fruitfulness, multiplication and replenishing the earth.

 

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Three Ways to Avoid a Squandered Life… August 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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kleenexI sat very still in my chair, staring at the scrap of paper in front of me, bewildered, if not a trifle bewitched.

It was a note from an aging friend which appeared to be spilled ink on paper, dabbled with a human finger in an attempt to form words.

“Pray for me. Hitting my head. Brain disease.”

I thought about the many hundreds of letters I had written to this individual and the hours I had spent loving, reasoning and perhaps even arguing with him about the ebb and flow of life. And now I was looking at this ripped sheet of paper, wondering what had brought him to this conclusion.

For I will tell you, it is too easy to blame people for their own path, and also much too simple to portray them as victims of clinical diseases which take the power of choice away from them. There are occasions in life which threaten to steer our carnal vessels in directions which prove to be disastrous.

Are there warning signs? Are there ways to avoid a squandered life?

1. Don’t allow yourself to feel entitled.

The minute we expect, we stop being able to accept. Lack of acceptance leaves us vulnerable to disappointment, which lends itself to despair.

2. Don’t give up on good work because of critics.

I wish I could tell you that every brilliant concept is embraced by even a single convert. It is not so. Often the greater the gift, the less it is received.

You must learn to be content with your own belief and purpose.

3. Don’t lose your faith in people.

If people don’t understand what you’re saying or doing, then don’t attack them for their ignorance. Use your creative genius to make what you do and feel more understandable.

Squandered: Wasted in a reckless or foolish manner.

I will pray for my friend. But prayer by itself is not what he needs.

What he requires is to be baptized in a fount of good cheer and faithful pursuit.

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

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Three Ways to Overcome the Blahs … July 10, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2287) 

blahThe “blahs” are when the blues collide with the “bah” from your “humbug.”

This occurs if we decide that the present circumstances seem to lack promise, so we are pre-prepared for sadness and defeat.

In my opinion, it is the struggle of the conscience, procrastination and disappointment–our conscience being the part of us that wants to do right; procrastination, the urge to put it off until tomorrow; and disappointment, the bad mood we find ourselves in because of the results so far.

Yes, when these three are conflicted, emotions dull, the spirit goes to sleep, the brain goes on automatic pilot and the body becomes overly demanding and aggressive.

Therefore, we over-react, over-compensate and over-eat.

So what can we do?

Well, it’s a good idea to minister to these three parts of you, since they’re not going to go away.

The best way to convince your conscience that you intend on participating in a righteous path is to:

1. Tell the truth.

Yes, first be honest with yourself. Sometimes simply stating aloud what is troubling you is enough to break the dreariness of the blahs.

In handling procrastination, my best suggestion is:

2. Do something dreamy today.

Yes, instead of ignoring what you’ve always said you wanted to do, find a simple representation of your goals and aspirations and put it into practice immediately.

If you’re a fisherman and you can’t go out fishing, simply go to the store and purchase a new lure for your tackle box.

If you’re a person who wants to be a seamstress and you don’t have time to sew right now, buy a beautiful bolt of cloth as a reminder.

Yes, bring to remembrance why you do what you do, for procrastination is not a terminal disease that infects us, but rather, a blemish on our skin that needs treatment and will go away if we don’t insist that it’s here to stay.

You have a dream. Find a piece of it and enact it.

And finally, when disappointment threatens to close down all motivation:

3. Go out and give something away that you’re not using.

It seems a little contradictory that the best way to handle feeling cheated is to become generous, but actually, since receiving must always begin with giving, you will be astonished at how quickly your disappointment leaves when you bring joy to another person over something you’re not putting to use anyway.

  • Tell the truth.
  • Do something dreamy.
  • And give something away.

You’ll be astonished at how your “humbug” will no longer feel any “bah” … and your blues will brighten into a new day.

 

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How Much?… June 2, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2252)

How much time does it take to maintain a relationship?bucket

How much emotion do we need to be successful?

How much money is enough to cause us to relax?

How much proof do we need that God is alive?

How much disappointment before we give up?

How much passion is required to compete?

How much doubt is necessary to fortify our faith?

How much ignorance does it take to create prejudice?

How much prayer to receive a miracle?

How much longer will we live?

How much discipline do we use to make a child honorable?

How much sex to confirm our love?

How much responsibility does it take to foster freedom?

How much do we control our destiny?

And …

How much can we trust our evaluations of such matters?

After all, how much does it matter?

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

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G-9: Easy or Ease… January 31, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2137)

 

atlas bigMay we take a moment to sum up the human condition?

The gravity of our situation adds weight and pressure to our lives, creating burden. Feeling this added weight, we tend to gyrate to situations where we can float along and be buoyant. Unfortunately, because this climate is not where we really desire to be or in correlation with our calling, we stagnate, which lends itself to feelings of disappointment.

So even though the added gravity of an environment that questions us may occasionally make us feel defeated, trying to stay in an “easy” climate that does not cause us to grow produces disappointment, which degrades itself to depression.

Sooner or later we must understand that we are not meant to be buoyant. We are not intended to be creatures who merely bob up and down, moving with the flow of the world around us.

  • We have legs.
  • We have a backbone.
  • We are not fish.

We are supposed to endure the gravity of life, but somehow find a way to ease the tribulation and be of good cheer.

Yes, there is a difference between easy and ease, and in finding that distinction, you discover one of the key secrets of human life.

The main thing that has to be conquered is despair. Easy does not defeat it, nor does throwing a fit over your inadequacy scare the dark clouds away. We must find a way to ease the gravity of our situation.

Where do we start?

  1. Being too positive makes you ill-prepared for the realities that will come your way.  1a. Think yes, prepare for no.
  2. Being too negative encompasses your time, which could be better spent in planning and learning. 2a.Consider no; prepare for yes.
  3. Being practical is the art of balancing what you have with what might happen. 3a. Ignore yes and no; focus on the details.
  4. Knowing that surprises are inevitable, it’s a good idea not to take too much time acting surprised. 4a. Difficulty is common to all human beings.
  5. Set small goals so achievement is possible daily. 5a. The blessings and trials of life are delivered with each morning’s portion.

To choose an easy path is to quickly make yourself extinct in your own evolution. To ease the path, you have to consider the factors–every movement is countered by a movement from another direction.

Being aware of that grants you the advantage of not needing to fall into a pit of despair, but rather, pulling up short of the edge, gaining your footing … and living to think and work another day.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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