Ask Jonathots… September 29th, 2016

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I am always suspicious of superstition–blaming resistance on outside forces and nefarious entities. But at the same time I believe the blessings in life are always wrapped in hassle and difficulty. How can you tell the difference between the resistance that comes from a bad idea and the resistance that come from the brink of greatness?

In the moment of conflict, our personal reaction cannot be controlled.

Even though people insist they can “count to ten, take a deep breath” or “breathe a prayer” to muster a mature response to difficulty, we have already locked in our profile.

This is the essence of “turn the other cheek.”

Jesus is saying that we must literally choreograph our reactions. Otherwise we will spill out the abundance of our emotional turmoil.

Therefore, it really doesn’t matter if something comes from a nefarious source or if it’s just an inconvenience.

Our reaction determines if it will be elongated or eliminated.

So we should be working on an emotional sense of security. We are heart creatures. We don’t answer tribulation from our spirit. All communication comes from the abundance of our heart.

So where should we start?

We should work on the dance–the ability to know how to move when life tries to stop us. To do this we must learn to recognize the triggers that cause us to fall back into genetic or pre-programmed training instead of making our own pure choice.

1. If I’m angry and I do not reveal it, it will turn into frustration, which will make me incapable of handling any unwanted surprise.

2. If I feel cheated and don’t voice my concerns, I will accidentally look for ways to diminish the ego of others to match my depleted profile.

3. If I’m tired of trying, I will stop doing the necessary steps that make my effort productive and start acting entitled.

4. If I believe that I’m supposed to find my enemies in order to isolate and avoid them instead of love them and overcome them with wisdom, then I will become paranoid and find myself making new adversaries.

Even those evangelicals who fear Satan and his wiles need to realize that the punishment of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden was to be cast down to Earth. In other words, evil has to work with Earth-bound fussiness to get at the believer.

So any way you look at it, the more you prepare for life by choreographing an emotional outlook that is not shocked by the arrival of setbacks, the better the chance that you can conquer problems–whether you believe they are natural or supernatural.

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The Alphabet of Us: F is for Fret … January 12, 2015

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

Fear tentatively creeps across the stage and cautiously introduces “fret”–then runs and hides. Fret takes over.

Fret has three modes of operation:

1. Hesitation. “I’m not sure.”

2. Procrastination. “Let’s wait a little while.”

3. Frustration. “What the hell is happening?”

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that fear is what got our fretful show going. Matter of fact, it’s almost impossible to trace it back to a specific apprehension that triggers our nervous twitches and worrisome attitudes.

People spend millions of dollars in therapy attempting to find the lineage of their fret. Honestly, my dear friends, I think it’s time and money wasted.

Since fret has decided to be the front man for the “band of fear,” you might want to deal with the lead singer.

Therefore, the main reason we hesitate is because we either refuse to deal with what we have or we’re convinced it’s insufficient. Here’s a great piece of advice:

What you have you have. What I have, I have.

Waiting for a new shipment to reinforce our supply causes us to fret. We do much better when we assume that no more is coming and we make a plan to use what we have.

Likewise, we procrastinate because we are unsure that what we have can be turned into what we can do, and that it will have any impact in solving our situation. Can we simplify?

What we can do is what we can do, and if more is needed, there is nothing we can do.

And often, developing a sense of humor about our lack causes others, and even God, to want to step in and fill in the gap.

And finally, frustration is when we’re constantly obsessed with the finish line and have lost sight of the steps that get us there.

For if I find out what I have and what I can do, I have the great opportunity to celebrate what is at least a good start.

Fret is an exercise in vanity.

It is the notion that we have achieved some status of importance that should make us pressure-free.

But if we find out what we have, and we discover what we can actually do and we pronounce it to be a good start, then hesitation, procrastination and frustration will be dismissed from our cast and replaced with much better actors.

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Jesonian: Carpenter Logic… August 31, 2014

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Janice has a five-year goal spectrum which she has laid out, printed and shares with anyone who’s interested and quite a few who truly aren’t. Unfortunately, five minutes after Janice shared her sixty-month roll-out, she discovered that her mother had just passed away from cancer and that her services would be needed to assist her father in finding a new place of residence. Unable to muster the kind of logical profile to continue her dreams, she abandoned them in frustration.

Mark has a business plan and has filed corporation papers to start a company to pursue one of his adventures. In the process of gaining investors, he uncovered some unsavory facts about his helpers and was forced to walk away from the money because he wasn’t sure how to logically handle the adversity.

Even though planning is a terrific way of proving to yourself and others that you are serious about your aspirations, what really determines our success is the path of logic which we pursue when our “best-laid plans of mice and men” go ker-plunk, ker-plop.

It is unfortunate that religious people don’t study the life of Jesus. They would see that he spent thirty years as a carpenter’s son and only three years concentrating on his sonship with God. So the logic of the carpenter permeated his dealings and helped him get through many a tight spot and tribulation.

What was his carpenter’s logic?

1. What’s the job?

A powerful question. Because oftentimes we prepare for a job we have created in our minds rather than dealing with the actual task set before us. When we ask ourselves, “what’s the job?” we have time to get focused on the moment instead of finding ourselves discussing logos to adorn our five-year goal plan.

2. What materials are needed?

Even though we may be familiar with the old street phrase, “don’t show up to a gun fight with a knife,” there is great depth of wisdom hidden beneath that dark thought. Knowing what materials you will need in order to pursue your situation and keeping yourself flexible for changes and revisions proves that you have the kind of logic to get you through tight times.

3. How much?

Yes–count the cost. And then, if you’re smart, ask yourself the question of what happens if the budget doubles.

4. How long?

Since the philosophy of the carpenter was “he that endures to the end shall be saved.” what might be some of the obvious and tell-tale signs of where and when the end might be?

5. Build it to last.

Even though sand is on sale, it’s not a good deal because you have to keep rebuilding. The rock might cost more, but anything that’s built on it will remain.

And when you build things to last, you not only communicate the level of your commitment, but you have an obvious passion for your work which tells people you can be trusted.

Your plans in life only work if you are following a logic which survives pettiness, stupidity, and human frailty.

 

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The Cheat Sheet… November 4, 2013

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big WyethI thought it would be handy to have the conclusions of the past three days of jonathots placed in one essay for you to access quickly when you find yourself dealing with ProbOne, ProbTwo or ProbThree.

So what happens in a moment of weakness when you find yourself grumbling, “It’s not fair!”?

Just ask yourself:

  1. Who am I working with?
  2. What needs to be done?
  3. Where will we need to work?
  4. When is the deadline?
  5. Why is it being done?

How about when ProbTwo raises its ugly head and screams in frustration, “It’s not enough!”

Just go back to kindergarten:

  1. Cut.  Are there things we can do without, and still feel that we have enough?
  2. Paste. Sometimes it’s a good idea to delay one thing in order to take care of another.
  3. Color. Make yourself more attractive and viable by thinking, working and discussing instead of complaining.
  4. Play. Get around other folks and collaborate. The Good Book never says that God will take care of your financial needs. It says that MEN will give to you.

That’s how you handle ProbTwo.

And finally, ProbThree: “It’s not my fault!”

Look at your fingers. Where are you pointing?

  1. Are you pointing up? That means you expect God to do everything, putting Him under the gun when you’ve messed things up. It makes you feel inferior.
  2. Are you pointing down? Do you really believe the devil is to blame for all of your difficulties–or even some of them? Do you actually plan on doing battle with the fallen creature? This promotes superstition, which is never a good thing to have around when you require knowledge.
  3. Are you pointing out? Blaming other people for your situation? Remember, the best way to handle your life is to point inward, letting yourself know the magic formula for responsibility:  I have ability; I have problems. And responsibility allows me to point to myself without feeling the need for guilt. How?

I use my ability to help my problems and I use my problems to enhance my abilities.

You may want to believe that your tribulations are unique, but really, pretty much all of them fall into these three categories.

I thought you might like to have them on one reference page.

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All I Know… August 19, 2013

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blind with dogAggravated–even though he felt foolish to manifest such a nagging emotion. After all, the improvement in his circumstances certainly had eliminated any need for additional vendettas or sprouting frustration.

He could see. The power of that simple phrase was that just short days before, he couldn’t.

See, that is.

Call it a miracle, a transition, an intervention or just the “course of human events”–no matter what position you took on the issue, he had gained a great gift, which to his delight, was not dimming with the passing of time.

It wasn’t so much that he was angered by those who had passed by him as strangers during his dark time, musing over the question of whether his excesses or some genetic flaw passed on my his parents had caused his condition. That’s just what people do. When they peer at something unpleasant they start looking for dark reasons which caused the affliction, so as to distance themselves from both danger and responsibility.

He was shocked, however, when his friends, who had known him since his birth in blindness, pretended they didn’t know who he was, or weren’t sure he was the same person they had been acquainted with. Or they offered that dastardly opinion: “Since his healing, he’s just not been the same.”

It was terrifying–and enraging–to go through the questioning from the investigating elite, who kept probing with repetitive inquiries about the source of his new-found sight, only to reject his story and rebuke him for believing in some sort of “Godly gift.”

At times, he was tempted to deny the measure of grace that now permitted him to eyeball the world instead of merely considering what the images might be, since those around him felt he was a sinner or a friend they used to know or some riff-raff who was confused by the unfolding of events.

Yes, doubt began to creep into his own soul about his good fortune. But you see, he stopped himself short of turning into a denier of his own blessing … because he could see.

He had never done that before. It was impossible to reject the manifestation.

So after hours and hours of grilling by people with agendas to destroy his miracle, he finally simply stated, “All I know is this: once I was blind but now I see.”

Of course, this simple statement of trust did nothing to deter his critics. He was so grateful he was able to see–because if he had been surrounded by those who refute, rebuff, renounce and reject and was only able to hear their words, it could have turned into a living hell.

But his eyes gave him the ability to look past their short-sightedness into the face of a heavenly intervention.

Why couldn’t people just rejoice? He didn’t know.

But he did realize that faith is not what we believe–faith is when what we see and hear begins to jive … with what we hope

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As It Relates… March 16, 2013

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Sharing personal stories with people to let them know we understand their plight, is a good thing–until we steal from them the much-needed moment in the spotlight they deserve during their hour of need. For after all, there are times that each one of us must blow off steam and believe that our particular predicament is unique, special and not exactly like a thousand other things that somebody else has been through before.

The conclusion? We need to realize that life is not here to be analyzed as it “relates to me” nearly so much as it is to be compassionately approached “as it relates.

I don’t want to confuse you here. Let me give you an example.

I’ve had an epiphany this year on the issue of killing. Just for the record, I’ve never been in favor of it, but I have realized that as it relates to me, there are times I have felt that killing was necessary or even noble in order to achieve a perceived good. The truth of the matter is, killing leaves something dead. And something dead is no longer relatable in this life passage and can no longer be redeemed.

This is not a good thing.

But if I just dealt with it as it “relates to me,” I would think that as long as I wasn’t involved in murderous plots, or supporting the demise of other human beings, I should be all right. However, I have come to realize that all killing stems from violence. I also became aware that I was allowing some violence into my life via my entertainment choices and even sometimes my reading material.

It begged the question: why do I have any intrigue with violence, which is a precursor for killing?

It was a great question. It made me realize that I allowed violent entertainment choices into my life as a release for some of my frustrations. I knew I wasn’t going to kill anyone–but allowing myself to watch some violence was a “quick fix” to appeasing some of my own personal frustrations, and even, God forbid, some vendettas. So here we go.

So I found myself on a mission not merely to analyze killing as it relates to me, but also as it relates to life as a whole.

So what was causing me to be frustrated? That answer also came back pretty quickly: things I didn’t like, things that were displeasing to me and things that seemed to be out of my control. They were never spoken aloud by me, but instead, buried deep in my heart, causing me to become resentful and frustrated.

My heart was impure. Wow. So because my heart was impure, it produced some frustration that allowed me to tolerate violence and lessened my revulsion to killing.

Gosh, I didn’t like that. So what could I do to get a purer heart?

I came to the conclusions that my heart was so clouded because sometimes I lacked the will and fortitude to say “yes” when I needed to say “yes” and to just flat-out say “no” when I needed to say “no.” I was doing many things because I felt I should, because somebody wanted me to or it was the requirement of my generation. Just simply saying yes to the good things I wanted and no to the things I didn’t enhanced my whole disposition.

So looking at my viewing habits on television just as they relate to me, I would have insisted that they were a choice, relaxation or fluff, if you will. But when I took the time to relate them to the world around me, the problems in our time and the history of human interaction, I saw that I was becoming more accepting of killing because I had made myself open to violence–brought on by my own unresolved frustrations because I didn’t have a pure heart about so many things I was doing–incapable of saying yes to the “yes stuff” and no to the “no stuff.”

It really opened my eyes. More accurately, it opened my heart. If we only see the world as it relates to us, we will always find a way to justify our actions as we simultaneously criticize the same attributes in others. It makes us hypocrites.

But if we relate our lives to the truths, the power, the joys, the contentment and the peace of mind that exists from the foundations of the world, we will learn so much more about who we are–and therefore will be much more compassionate in helping others.

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Chingaling … December 9, 2012

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“How’s your chingaling?”

Sounds like the typical, comical loaded question, doesn’t it? The chingaling is that delightful area located between our heart and our soul, where ideally, our feelings turn into praise. You can completely destroy the potential of a human being by dulling the chingaling or disconnecting it, causing the brain to stop learning, leaning to its own understanding.

The chingaling is under attack in America:

  • What could be spirit has turned into religion instead of experience.
  • We are satisfied with beliefs that fail to deliver fruit. What was meant to be government “of the people, by the people and for the people” has become politics, segregating us into our prejudices, rather than teaching us to pursue the common good.
  • Our chingaling desires real romance, but we are instead inundated with a war between the sexes, extracting the life-giving force of tenderness.
  • Movies that were intended to inspire our chingaling to greater human feats of generosity and intelligence are now just coy vehicles for promoting violence.
  • Sports, which used to be an inspiring way to initiate competition, have now become the generator of anger and malicious words and actions.

The chingaling of the American public is under attack. The end result is that we have emotion without feeling and spirituality without praise, so we settle for crocodile tears and worship services.

It’s not enough. Human beings are emotional. When legitimate heart is removed from endeavors and we try to replace it with duty or phoniness, we stagnate. We revert back to family, culture, misgivings and bigotry.

I feed my chingaling every day–because if what I feel does not turn into praise, then I will stop learning and never expand. But if what I feel does result in praise, I can renew my mind and bolster my strength.

What should we watch out for?

1. Repetition. Let us be frank–lightning cannot be captured in a bottle. Therefore, blessing can’t be packaged and shipped off for mass sale. The blessings of the Lord are fresh daily.

2. Cynicism. I don’t mind a good dose of sarcasm or satire, but when I’m led to believe that reality is dark, I am prepared to do battle for the light.

3. Frustration. Frustration is not the natural result of human beings living their lives. Frustration happens when we make wrong turns, and rather than taking the time to correct them, we assume that our choice was acceptable.

If you can avoid those three monsters, you can clean out your chingaling and get ready to feel again with your heart and praise with your spirit. It will set you apart. It will make you a little peculiar.

But it has always been those who have pursued excellence who ultimately carry the banner for better humanity.

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