ProbThree: “It’s not my fault” … November 3, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Uncle SamFingers.

They perform two obvious functions: touch and point.

Touching is good. It’s a way of expressing our tenderness by putting our emotion into our fingertips. Pointing is when we try to place the blame on someone or something other than ourselves. We do this in three ways:

1. Pointing up.

Sometimes we feel so inadequate, inferior, ill-prepared and ignorant that we place all of our life concerns and journey needs on God in the sky, hoping for divine intervention. We use prayer to pass the buck to our heavenly Father. So we either procure our miracle or we get to act persecuted for the lack of attention.

Belief in God should build our character, not diminish it. It should make us more willing to serve ourselves and others instead of turning us into lazy supplicaters who feel that God has a responsibility to support us–since He fathered us.

2. Pointing down.

Some people, when they discover they don’t want to blame God anymore, decide to finger Satan, Lucifer or evil, which they can point down toward as the source of their failures. It is the ultimate superstition. Not only does it unrighteously free us of our own task and involvement, but it places good and evil on an equal footing and gives darkness too much light.

3. Pointing out.

This is very popular. When in doubt, accuse someone else. When confronted with deficiency, explain your indebtedness by insisting that another person has caused you to be a debtor. It is vindictive for two reasons: (a) it takes away the joy of achieving for ourselves, and (b) it often targets people we don’t like as adversaries, when those who really ARE against us are given a free pass because we like them better.

The three approaches of fingering–up, down and out–turn human beings into inferior, superstitious, vindictive souls.

The key to ProbThree–“it’s not my fault”–is to use your finger to point IN–not to create fault, but rather, to find your own definition of responsibility.

Here is my rendition of responsibility:

A. I have ability

B. I have problems

I will never be happy if I focus on one of those more than the other. If I only tout my abilities, I look like a jerk when it becomes obvious that I’m lugging baggage around. And if I only lament my problems, I become the buzz kill that turns every party into a departure gate at an airport.

It’s the blending of the two that creates responsibility. And responsibility allows me to point at myself without feeling the need to be guilty and faulty. Here’s how it works: I use my ability to help my problems and I use my problems to enhance my abilities.

Without abilities I wouldn’t have any way of addressing the problems that come up or possess the confidence to conquer. But I have to understand that if I never have a problem, I have no need to grow and increase my talents.

So every time I put the blame on God, Satan or others, I lose the capacity to become the beneficiary of a great life lesson. I also am admitting that I’m at the mercy of whatever I’ve fingered.

So ProbThree, “it’s not my fault,” is solved by the decision to point inward, taking responsibility and using my ability to solve my problems, knowing that my problems only enhance my abilities.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

More or Less … July 31, 2012

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Hearsay.

It’s when I hear something and go ahead and say it, sharing it with someone else without totally confirming that it’s true. It can be nasty stuff. So since what I am about to share is a bit of hearsay, we will make it hypothetical rather than real, to salve my conscience.

There was this guy who said that he believes what the world needs is MORE. Therefore, he felt that everybody requires more Jesus, more money and even more pornography. He was determined to do his part to bring this abundance to mankind.

It’s similar to the way Congress is trying to cut the deficit. They all seem to understand that the amount of indebtedness needs to shrink, but they fail to comprehend that to accomplish that, we have to stop spending more money. It’s tricky business.

That’s why I sought out the wisdom of a friend on this issue of “more.” I trust his counsel because he, too, has a desire to bring happiness to the world.

But his first suggestion was that happiness is achieved by discovering a “poverty of spirit.” I would have to agree that if we had fewer people in this world using their intellect and spirituality to lord it over other folks, and instead, were spending more time examining their own hearts, motives and efficiency of choices, things would be a lot better. Some people think the earth would be enriched by more religion, when actually, we need less religion and more personal responsibility for our spirituality touching our own lives and making us more pliable to others.

My friend also said that happiness can be achieved by mourning. It’s that old “less and more” thing again–many of us do a lot of crying, but truthfully, much of it is self-pity. Would we be happier if we had less self-pity? I think so. We’d also be happier if we had more emotional investment in the pain of others around us instead of being completely preoccupied with our own narcissism. So once again, you can see, as in the case of poverty of spirit, we need less of one thing and more of another.

This is the same way you balance a budget, right? You take less of something so you that can have more of another.

How about another thought from my wise friend? Happiness is best achieved by understanding how to use meekness. This one is pretty simple to me. There is always something on earth to be inherited. Many times we just disagree on the plan of action. We may even feel that if we don’t stand up for our rights and fight for our cause, we may end up defeated and destitute. Actually, when we find ourselves taking a profile of being less overbearing, we buy time for more opportunity to come our way to insert our opinions, ideas and ultimately, even our will.  Less and more. There it is again.

Then my friend had this idea that happiness is like hungering and thirsting for righteousness. What is one of the more unattractive things about human beings? That’s a tough question, but I would have to say that within the top five is acting like a know-it-all. There is something appealing–even sexy–about people who long for more knowledge and wisdom, even though you can see they have already stockpiled a lovely arsenal. Yes, we need more hungering and thirsting and less patting our bellies like we just had a good meal and are completely satisfied.

Can happiness really be achieved by being merciful? Yes–if you extend it more to others and spend less time demanding grace, which you neither deserve and is being blocked from delivery because of your pride.

Likewise, how do we achieve happiness by being pure in heart? Would you agree that the world might be a better place if there were less lying and more transparency? It might even enable us to see God in more parts of our lives instead of looking for the devil behind every mishap.

And finally, my friend put forth the premise that happiness is possessed by being a peace maker. This does demand that we cease to be too nationalistic, gain a vision for the entire world, understand the customs and beliefs of other nations and have more diplomacy and less saber-rattling. Yes, I guess I have to say that my friend with his plan for happiness suggests to us that the human experience is a very delicate understanding of where to apply less and when to go for more. Because the danger of “more” is that we always hit the limits on our ability to acquire and start stealing from others.

So as I said, having not confirmed my story, I don’t know whether this fine fellow I originally referred to actually voiced this opinion or not. But it is a prevailing thought–that if we could just “give more” to everybody, all the problems of the world would go away.

But sometimes, a poverty in spirit leads us to mourn the loss of others instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, which causes us to slow up our egos and buy time instead of tramping through other people’s turf, trying to dominate them. Once you see that’s effective, it causes you to hunger and thirst for more information to empower you, instead of making you look calloused and stupid. On that journey comes the opportunity to be merciful, which also enables you to obtain mercy. Guess what? You also realize that telling the truth keeps your heart clean and enables you to see God in life. Now you are finally prepared to go out and make peace with folks who are just determined to take more–even if they have to rob, kill and destroy.

I have actually experienced a situation where more was given to someone who was not prepared to appreciate it. I watched in surprise as this individual did less with it than I could ever have imagined.

More or less? Happiness, I believe, lies in knowing when to chase more and when to relax with less.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Motelin Just What … May 29, 2012

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Somewhere between $35.95 cents and $169.99 is the average cost of a motel room in this country for one night. Of course, there are places where you can pay much more for a room based upon locale, special events or some little extra accommodation advertised. But generally speaking, most motels will blush with embarrassment once they go above that top dollar.

It is probably one of the most diversely priced items in this country. For instance, if I told you that a gallon of milk ranged between $1.23 and $18.55, you would be up in arms and ready to lynch some dairy farmer in Wisconsin. Yet the motel industry seems to get by with it by maintaining some dubious rationale in its advertising.

I will tell you right now, after having traveled nearly forty years staying in these establishments, which the top fifty dollars of every price is paying for the name, the location, or the privilege of eyeballing staff wearing coats and ties rather than t-shirts and jeans. If that is relatively important to you, then you should pull out that money and spend it heartily.

Thirty dollars of the price of a motel room in the higher range is for the privilege of being with clientele of your particular social ilk. Yes, I am saying it out loud—cheaper motels tend to draw people who don’t have as much money and unfortunately, in this country we contend that those souls are the source of our crime and violence. (Obviously, not so.)

Motels that charge you a lot of money for the rooms refer to these cheaper establishments as “flea bags–infested with bugs, or dens of drugs and prostitution. Of course, once again, very little truth in the matter (although I would not recommend taking out a motel room adjacent to an adult bookstore.)

If you will allow me to put it into perspective for you, a motel room is a simulation of a master bedroom.  Bed, dresser, closet, television set and adjoining bathroom. And nowadays, most of them have microwaves and refrigerators for convenience, which is a consideration we all might have in the future for our own home unit.

There are really three questions you must ask yourself about your motel room for the night that are essential for a good stay:

1. How much room in the room? Unless you have become very familiar with your traveling companion or don’t mind cramped quarters, being able to walk around your room without running into walls or furniture is a plus.

2. Can I park in front of the door or near to my room? One of the biggest misconceptions is that motel rooms that are enclosed, with a parking lost adjoining are safer than those where you can pull up to your door with your car. Honestly, if I were a criminal, I would not want to rob from cars that are right next to the windows of the owner. I would find a nice, large parking lot far from the front desk–and take my pick.

3. Now, this may surprise you. Staying in a motel room is all about the bathroom. You should be careful of those establishments that miniaturize everything in the toilet area so as to condense space so the room can look larger—because all of the plumbing may look Snow White, but it is best suited for the seven dwarves. Especially beware of toilet seats that are round instead of oblong. They tend to be very uncomfortable and are usually encased by a wall on either side, giving you the feeling that you are being wedged into your experience. The bathroom is the key to a motel room. Good lighting, double sinks a plus–or even a sink in the bathroom and one outside the bathroom is really handy. The shower should be easy to get in and out of and have good pressure.

Once you discover these pieces of information, you understand that the most you should probably pay for a motel room is about $75 a night. Everything above that is advertising name, location, staff or a hot breakfast which is offered to you, including eggs, bacon and sausage (which, by the way, is completely unnecessary unless you’re a lumberjack felling trees in the Yukon.)

As you find with everything else in life, there are ways to save money without losing quality. That seems to stymie a lot of folks, including the U.S. government and Congress–because at least half of what people refer to as quality is name-brand assurance that you will be taken care of if something goes wrong.

So the Holiday Inn wants you to pay extra money for their good name over “Bob and Mary’s Motel” down the street–because in the case of some unforeseen difficulty, they want you to believe they would handle it better than Bob and Mary. But since we don’t know what that unforeseen difficulty would be, and no one knows what anyone would do, you end up spending a lot of money for absolutely nothing–similar to buying extra insurance coverage on a car rental.

So I pulled into Denver yesterday and went to my motel, and as always, it ends up being a mixed bag. The room is small but has a lovely bathroom with an accessible shower AND throne. The air conditioning unit needs some work, but we’ve already met the maintenance man and he seems congenial and willing to try. The television set is too big for the room, but that hardly seems like something one should complain about after simply noting it. And the furniture is not made of oak or covered with leather, but instead, looks like your Uncle Charlie made it out in the garage because he’s hoping to someday leave his job at the factory and start a business.

I feel very good every week upon discovering a diamond in the rough and saving money that people have given me so that I can travel—to use it wisely to buy quality instead of merely a name or false assurance. If we could teach the financiers of our nation the same concept and we would begin to barter once again for better pricing on items instead of signing lifelong contracts with companies based on their previous reputations, we could begin to emerge from this dark cloud of indebtedness and arrogant spending with some dignity–and even have a little fun in the process.

Fortunately for me, I have a traveling companion who enjoys cutting a corner here and there as long as she doesn’t lose and arm or a leg. If we could just find people to elect to be our representatives who had similar mindsets, we would be all set.

So those are my discoveries about moteling. To sum it up, if you need a name, or if you are afraid of being next door to someone who makes less than 50K a year, then you will probably end up paying for the higher priced institutions, for the powdered eggs in the morning, convincing yourself it was worth it. But if you realize that buying a name doesn’t mean guaranteeing quality, or sharing the neighborhood with people who don’t have late-model cars but do have contemporary standards and morals–then you can shop around and save yourself upwards to fifty or sixty dollars a night.

Last week I met some of the most interesting people at the swimming pool where we were staying in Grand Junction, Colorado. They were young enough to be my children or grandchildren, and I befriended them, loved them and enjoyed them, discovering many twists and turns in their ever-evolving lives. It was fascinating.

So “motelin’ just what you’re looking for,” as you stay overnight somewhere, realize that money can be easily spent pursuing a security–that is never pre-ordained.

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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