1 Thing You Can Do to Define Your Nature and Expose Your Heart

Start your day with a truthful evaluation.

Often in the pursuit of appearing to be even-keeled or well-balanced, we respond to a question with a contrived answer.

We all know the question.

It’s not like it’s going away.

But if you want to make a difference in life, you need to learn to answer it with twenty words or less, while still maintaining a truthfulness you can live out.

The question:

How are you today?

You’ve heard that one before, right? Here are the top five normal answers to that inquiry:

  1. Fair to middlin’.
  2. Just fine once I get my coffee.
  3. Great!
  4. Gettin’ started.
  5. Couldn’t be better.

There are variations on these themes, but the overall message is, “I don’t know why you’re asking me this question. It seems to be just polite, and I don’t think you really want to know how I am today.”

But if you misrepresent yourself in your answer, then later on it’s hard to explain why you’re getting such a bad attitude or why you become depressed because the toast was too dark.

If you want people to understand you, you must live more of a transparent life, at least as much as possible. So answer the first question of the day with an accurate report.

How are you today?

“Didn’t sleep great. Looking forward to maybe having a nap but going to cuddle up to my coffee right now.”

Now, when somebody hears this, they have a much better idea of where you’re coming from. And “where you’re coming from” is a gift you give to the people around you—so they don’t press all the wrong buttons.

How are you today?

“I slept pretty well but I’m scarin’ off some grouchiness so I’m going to be quiet and soak up the cheer in the room.”

Just that burst of plainness communicates how trustworthy you can truly be.

How are you today?

“Great. And I’m a bit surprised I’m great, because I woke up thinking I might be sleepy.”

Any answer you give that speaks to your real situation in twenty words or less will leave the room startled and delighted.

Because I guarantee you—whatever details you bring up, two or three other people will add their “amen.”

It may seem trivial but there’s something pure of heart about refusing to deceive anyone—even on such a simple morning question.

Remember the keys:

  • Answer quickly.
  • Less than twenty words.
  • Don’t elaborate.

 

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3 Things … April 11th, 2019

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You Should Never Take For Granted

1.  The honesty of your fellow humans

 

2.  The grace of God and the mercy of friends

 

3.  Tomorrow 


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Sit Down Comedy …March 1st, 2019

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I do not want to expel my innermost feelings, like some sort of nattering ninny in a room which is progressively disinterested. After all, in our society, we encourage one another to be honest, when what we really mean is honestly lie.

How are you?

Fine.

How’s the family?

Busy.

Got any plans brewin’?

Oh, just the usual.

Have you had any deep emotional or spiritual experiences which have transformed you into a new creature in your journey on Planet Earth?

What??

With this in mind, I have decided to candidly present to you my feelings about dying—that moment when I will leave this Earth, or at least contribute my dust to its topsoil.

I want people to be devastated.

I want slobbering sobs.

I want people wondering whether they can go on without me.

I want my demise to be a topic of conversation beyond a single news cycle.

I want people to remember things that are probably fictitious, but still cast me in a great light.

I want people to note the vacancy left behind by me checking out of the room.

I want loved ones to keep loving me with the same intensity they did when I was alive—except having it enhanced by the realization that I am no longer among the tax-payers.

I want to be valued.

This is probably why I do noble deeds—or at least attempt to. Of course, there is an altruistic part of me that really does give a damn and wants to help people, but I also want to be remembered as someone who lended a helping hand.

I’m not one of those Bible-thumping sorts who believe “this world is not my home” and “I’m just passing through.”

I want an empty chair at the table, so people will remember I once filled it—often gluttonous.

I want to be treasured, and if that means my loved ones lose a few hours of sleep, shed some tears and shake their heads, speaking of how unfair it was for me to be taken, then so be it.

Of course, I also realize that much of this is highly unlikely. With the several thousand people I may know, and the several hundred who have personal contact with me, and the few dozen who share intimate details, I will be very fortunate if there is one.

Yes, if there’s just one person who gets to the funeral luncheon and can’t eat because I’m not there.

If there’s just one who sits around with other people, refraining from discussing how good the honey baked ham truly is, it will be sufficient.

If there’s just one who sits in a dark room and conjures memories that are so rich and full that it seems my presence hangs in the air, it will be enough.

Because that one person could remind the others, and then the others can be stirred to good thoughts.

I know it’s silly. I don’t care.

I don’t want to be part of a genealogy. I don’t want to slip through the cracks of a gravestone.

I want one blessed, holy, sweet person to wonder what he or she is going to do since I have vacated the space.

Just one.

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Become a Better American)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

(To Become a Better American)

Although he made a questionable choice–to wear red boots with an ocean-blue leotard–Superman was very adamant in his mission statement.

He was determined to promote and protect “the American way.”

He also had his own definition for “the American way.” He believed that it was only brought into existence by justice, which was triggered by truth.

Truth, Justice…Then the American Way

So take a moment and roll up your flag. Save the Pledge of Allegiance and sit, walk or stand during the National Anthem. But comprehend that being an American begins with honoring the truth.

Yes, your one thing you can do this week is:

Tell the Truth

Begin with small things. Stop hiding behind partial revelations. Take the risk. Be honest. Go against the common flow in our country, which insists that a little bit of lying is necessary to provide cover.

Just take seven days and tell the truth. Here’s how to get yourself started:

1.Don’t wait until someone asks you to be forthcoming.

Waiting makes it so much easier to lie.

2. When you tell the truth, make sure it’s what you have seen and heard

Not what you’ve read or had whispered in your ear.

3. Make your confession brief

Don’t offer explanation unless someone asks for it.

If you take those three things as the power of telling the truth, see where your respect level, authenticity and acceptance from others will be at the end of the seven days.

Because once truth is established, the desire, energy and climate for justice is suddenly thrust to the forefront.

Then we can tout the American way.

After all, we may laugh, applaud or even cheer people who lie–as long as it’s not to us.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 65) Just As I Am… September 9th, 2018

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Matthew sat quietly in the rental car he had selected at the airport, having arrived early for a meeting with Milton Crenshaw–one he promised Jubal he would cover.

As he sat on the narrow thoroughfare winding through the trailer park leading to Crenshaw’s mobile home, he watched with great curiosity as a mama duck led her four babies across the road. She was so damn organized.

He suddenly felt very stupid because he envied her. She was just a duck–but she had a family. Matthew had no “honey” and no “sonny.” Just himself and a nice rental car. Oh–and of course, there was that little thing of being saved by his old friend, Michael Hinston and being given a second chance via a liver transplant.

Matthew knew he was an ungrateful son-of-a-bitch, but that didn’t make him any more thankful. When Soos called him that morning and told him it had been a hundred days since anyone had heard from Jo-Jay, he was concerned–but not engaged.

Likewise, it had been seven days since anyone had heard from Carlin Canaby. Matthew investigated, and discovered that Carlin had turned in all his rental properties and checked out of his suite at the Las Vegas casino. He was nowhere to be found.

Jubal felt that he should take over some of Carlin’s duties, so he asked Matthew to take the weekly meeting with Milton.

Matthew had been very reluctant. There was no real reason for it. Well, he didn’t like trailer parks. Or old men. And he wasn’t particularly fond of fat people–especially if they were “preachers of the Gospel.”

Overall, he just felt ill-suited for the task. However, the ducks completed their journey across the road, so Matthew decided it was time to go meet Mr. Crenshaw. Like a boy called to the dinner table on broccoli night, he took his time, dragging his feet. He trudged to the door, knocked, and a voice from inside bellowed, “Come on in. It’s open.”

Matthew stepped through the door. Sitting in a wheelchair was a big fat man with a grin. The fellow reached out a hand and Matthew took it. He then offered Matthew a seat. Matthew sat down and declined coffee, breakfast and water–he wasn’t staying long.

Milton waited for a moment and then realized that Matthew had no intention of starting the conversation. So he launched. “You’re a talkative one, aren’t you?”

“No disrespect, sir,” answered Matthew, “but you’re a stranger to me and I’ve never been particularly fond of strangers…”

Milton interrupted. “Especially big fat ones that preach the Gospel, right?”

Matthew was taken aback by the bluntness, but managed to reply, “Oh, no. Nothing like that…”

“So are you tired?” asked Milton.

“My flight wasn’t that long,” began Matthew.

Milton interrupted again. “I’m not talkin’ about your damn flight. I’m just wondering if you’re tired of dodging and trying to escape the obvious.”

“What is obvious?” asked Matthew.

“What is obvious?” mulled Milton. “Well, how about this? We’ve tried for several hundred years to live in a world where everyone is allowed to believe anything they want to, do anything they want to, and even form governments around that thinking, without any objection.”

“That’s what they call freedom,” inserted Matthew.

Milton laughed. “‘Freedom’s just another word, for nothin’ left to lose.’ That’s from Bobby McGee.” He peered at Matthew and added, “I’m sure thqt was before your time.”

Matthew sat up in his chair and stated, “Well, if it’s conversation you want, and you want it to be honest, I would just love to receive this report I’m supposed to collect and get the hell out of here.”

Milton smiled. “Well, I see you have some backbone. That’s good. So you want my report? Here’s my report. I’m sitting in a room with a man who has been blessed–who is so ignorant that he feels he has the God-given right to question the logic of the universe. How’s that for a report?”

“I don’t like you, Mr. Crenshaw,” said Matthew. “And it’s not because you preach the Gospel or because you are heavy-set.”

“You mean fat?” Milton interrupted.

“Your word,” countered Matthew. “It’s not because of that. It’s because you’ve eye-balled me ever since I walked in, as a potential conquest for your ego-stroking evangelical need to save the world, one damnable sinner at a time.”

Milton lurched back in fake horror. “Oh, my God! I don’t want you to get saved! Then you’d be my brother in Jesus and we might have to work together! I’m just pointing out that you find yourself to be so intelligent and erudite–yet the obvious continues to escape you.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. What is the obvious?” asked Matthew.

“I didn’t say I’d tell you,” replied Milton. “I don’t usually waste my time sharing valuable information with those who are determined to be ignorant.”

Matthew stood to his feet. “And I’m not accustomed to hanging around to be insulted. I’ve had enough of this. I’ll just tell Jubal that it was great and you were super-fine. How’s that?”

“Sit down,” demanded Milton. Matthew didn’t move.

“Please,” added Milton with some tenderness. Against his better judgment, Matthew sat back down.

Milton paused. His demeanor changed.

“My dear friend,” he began gently, “if the human race does not find a common cause, a common kindness and a common appreciation, we’re just gonna fuckin’ kill each other. I hope you don’t mind me using that word. I don’t very often, but sometimes it’s the only one that grants correct emphasis on the desperation and futility of a situation.”

Matthew jumped in. “My problem with you is not that you say ‘fuck.’ My problem with you is that you’re a big, fat fuck.”

Milton laughed. He roared. He slapped his chubby thigh and he rolled his wheelchair closer to Matthew.

“That I am,” he said. “Do you know why?”

Matthew shook his head.

“It’s because while you deliberate two inches of rope to determine its strength, the world is hanging itself by the remaining length. Please understand–I don’t follow Jesus because I’m a religious man. Hell, I had a porn addiction at one time in my life. I had to fight it off like crazy. I’m not a good man; I’m not a pure man. Morality is not my primary concern. It’s common sense. You see, the reason they killed Jesus of Nazareth is because he was sensible. And the reason the church today does not preach Jesus is because it’s afraid their people will not tolerate the simplicity of ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ It’s much easier to play the organ, the guitar, preach the sermon and feign worshipping the heavens with candles and eucharist. But meanwhile, the world keeps dividing into smaller and smaller groups. And the smaller the groups are, the more dangerous they become. Organization becomes easier. You see, it would take China months–maybe years–to get agreement to destroy the world from all its various leaders. But sixteen fanatics in a garage in Syria, with a dirty bomb, could pull off tragedy before the weekend.”

“If we don’t come up with a common message–a common goal, a common sense–we will kill each other. And you see, Moses won’t do it–he believed in killing. As did Mohammed, Buddha and all the religionists throughout history. Jesus never killed anyone. He never recommended it. He said God is your Father, nature is your Mother, I am your brother, and the whole world are your cousins.”

“If that message doesn’t permeate our society in the next twenty years, we will have diminishing results, which will end up in a foolish decision to prove some asinine point.”

Matthew was stunned, but didn’t want to act like it. “What gives you the right, Mr. Crenshaw, to make decisions for everyone in the world?”

Milton leaned forward and said, “What gives you the right, young man, to deny that the decision has already been made, the price has already been paid–and all that remains is for each one of us is just to walk into the wisdom of loving one another and being kind and tender-hearted?”

Matthew laughed. “And you think you’re kind and tender-hearted? You think the way you treated me this morning is the spirit of love? If your attitude is Jesus, then you can stick the motherfucker right back up on the cross as far as I’m concerned.”

“Very dramatic,” said Milton. “I can see why they asked you to take on this mission. You have the power of your convictions even when they’re wrong. You started out your life–you wanted to be funny. You are funny. You wanted to have your own business. You do. You wanted to be successful. You are. You wanted money. God knows you got that. You wanted people to look up to you. Accomplished. Yet you sat in your casino suite and nearly drank yourself to death. How gentle do you think I should be with such arrogance?”

All at once Matthew broke. It really wasn’t anything Milton had said. It wasn’t a conviction from the challenge. But tears filled Matthew’s eyes. Not the usual weeping, where he conjured self-pity over some perceived injustice to his character. These tears were coming from another place, out of his control, streaming down his face, though he willed them to cease.

Matthew wept. Then he sobbed. And then he cried out, “Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”

Milton backed up his wheelchair and turned away to give Matthew a private moment.

Matthew was moved–but angry at the same time. He didn’t want to be some common, everyday sinner, repenting and weeping over evil actions. He hated himself for being weak.

But none of that stopped the tears.

Quietly, Milton spoke–nearly under his breath. “Just as I am, and waiting not, to rid my soul of one dark blot. Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me.”

Through a gushing of tears, Matthew squalled, “Why did they kill him?”

Milton paused and turned slowly to Matthew. “Because they foolishly thought it would stop him.”

This brought an even greater torrent of mourning. Milton eased his wheelchair over and put his arms around Matthew, who laid his head on the old man’s chest and cried like he had lost everything.

No one hurried the moment. No one spoke again. Neither Milton nor Matthew knew exactly what it all meant.

Yet something was different.

 

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Be Smart)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

To Be Smart

The vocal chords and the tongue have very little to do with intelligence. Surprisingly, the brain is also often a deterrent to being aware of the truth.

The best way to be smart is to be honest.

And the preferred path to honesty is to get rid of the fear of being considered out of step or not in the know.

So this week, try one thing to open the door to becoming smarter: That which you’ve seen and that which you’ve heard is the only thing you will declare.

In other words, if you read it on the Internet or catch wind of a rumor, restrain yourself. If you haven’t seen it and you haven’t heard it, don’t confirm it.

The most powerful part of your life is your personal testimony and journal about your own discoveries.

When something comes up that you have not seen or heard, simply reply, “I’m sorry, I don’t have much personal experience in that matter.”

It does not make you look stupid. For after all, the only way to look ridiculous is to pass along ideas which end up being false. The better way to come across intelligent is to let people know that you will only offer insight if you have personally seen and heard.

Other than that, you simply listen and see if you can garner some data which might be tested and proven to be true.

A great man once said, “Be careful how you hear.”

He also said, “The light of the body is the eye.”

True.

So take this week, and instead of going to the trough of the Internet or the news services to discover erroneous stories which you pander off to your friends, speak only what you have seen and heard.

It is a powerful way to look smart.

 

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Salient…July 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Make a statement. Avoid questioning.

And by questioning, I mean the assumptions that other human beings draw about you based on very little information.

For some reason, we, as people, feel no need to apply facts when it comes to deciding who somebody really is, since they haven’t clearly stated their position one way or another.

This quick-to-the-punch evaluation can be based on facial expression, body language, race, gender, sexual orientation or whim.

If you don’t make a statement about things in life, you leave it to others to come with the questions, or to question for themselves and then form conclusions–which more than likely will be far from true.

Yet, because we have become so politically correct, afraid to voice an opinion for fear of being offensive, answers like “I don’t know” or “that’s a tough one,” or one I personally disfavor, “I guess it depends on the circumstances,” are prevalent.

Make a statement. Avoid questioning.

Let me give you some examples:

  • I do not believe in killing anything unless I plan on eating it.
  • I also decided not to judge anyone at any time unless I’m wearing a long, black robe and have a gavel in my hand (so far no offers).
  • Every week I evaluate my compassion, success and motivation on whether I end up giving more than taking.
  • And I freely admit that I’m a bigot. I favor one race. The human race.

So there you go.

Because I make statements, you don’t have to exhaust yourself coming up with a list of inquiries or challenging me in your private thoughts, developing your own profile about me.

So here is your salient moment:

If you’re not afraid to make a statement about what you believe, then you won’t have to field so many questions about what truly and honestly is in your heart.

 

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