Category Archives: Mind Power

Aging Well

Aging well is something that can be hard to do.  When it comes to physical activity, the world is your oyster when you’re in your twenties. Then you find that the older you get, your body takes longer to do what it used to do so quickly.  And it takes longer to recover.

We just bought a new house (new to us anyway) and this weekend was the “Big Move”.  Needless to say, I am very thankful for friends and family!  We had some good help but we were all feeling it by the end of the day Saturday.   As a result, I have noticed a couple of things about aging well that I’d like to quickly share with you.

Because of these recent events, it is in the forefront of my mind that I feel physical exertion more now that I’m older (a very young 46).  Just as significant, I have found that it takes longer for my body to recover from it as well.

The most important observation I have made regarding this concept of aging well would be this:  Aging well is totally a mind game.  I truly mean what I said earlier.  I am a young 46 years old.  How many people consider themselves old at that age?  More than you would think.  How many limit themselves and what they can still do with their lives by what they tell themselves on a daily basis?

It’s a spiritual law that God addresses in the Bible.  There are many scriptures about the power of our thoughts and the words we choose to say.

Think about it.  And change what needs to change in your own life so that you can live as God would have you live.  Healthy and vibrant and free!

Talk to you next time, my friend.

Facing A Fear

Facing a fear.  It’s something we all hate to do because it’s so uncomfortable.  And yet, when we do face fear head-on, it brings an incredible sense of achievement, right?  Well, my brother and I faced one together many years ago that you may find interesting.

You might remember that I grew up with many a family card game of Progressive Rummy happening at my Grandma & Grandpa’s house.  My Grandma had a sister who everyone called “Aunt Shorty”.  For good reason, too, since she was all of about 4 feet 8 inches tall.  But her side of the family loved Progressive Rummy just as much as ours did.

My Dad had a cousin (Aunt Shorty’s son) named Bud.  Yup…..Bud.  He was a pretty laid back guy who took everything in stride.  He and his wife, Barb, lived a couple of hours away from us, so we occasionally drove over and visited.  When we did, the evening inevitably ended with the four adults playing cards late into the evening.  Since Bud and Barb didn’t have any kids, my bother and I were left to fend for ourselves for entertainment.

We were young enough at the time that we usually had pajamas with us to change into.  We eventually were laid down to sleep while the adults played on.  One night, however, after we already had our PJs on, we got bored while the adults were bantering back and forth.  We hadn’t brought anything of any real interest to keep our attention, so we looked around for something that qualified.

Then one of us saw the basement door.  We had been down in the basement earlier that evening for some reason (can’t possibly remember what that was at this point).  It was a big basement, mostly finished, with plenty of space to walk around.  I got this crazy notion that we should take turns going into the basement without the light on.

The goal was to walk (not run) the complete circle around the perimeter of the basement and back up the stairs without getting scared.  We decided we would keep the light on at the top of the stairs.  That way, with the door cracked about six inches, enough light shown down into the basement that we could just make out where we were going.

Because of two factors–me being the older brother and that this stupid idea originated with the same–I went first.  Once I got to the bottom of the basement stairs, I could hardly see a thing.  No sounds could be heard.  Just my own quick gasps for air as I fought the urge to hyper-ventilate while skirting the edges of the basement perimeter.  Shadows lurked here and there, some possibly moving in my peripheral vision, but I was determined to set the example for all to follow.  As I made my way back around to the bottom of the stairs, the desire to leap three stairs at a time was overwhelming.  I fought it back, though, and “calmly” climbed the stairs to light and the safety of my parents.

Then my brother went down.  He came back rather quickly, in my opinion, but stated for the record that he didn’t run and wasn’t scared.  So I went down again and tried to go even slower this time.  The thought of something lunging from behind to drag me back into the shadowy depths of the basement was there the whole time I climbed the stairs to victory.  But I did it!  We went back and forth with that journey into darkness for quite a while.  At least we did until the adults realized what we were doing and Uncle Bud put a kibosh on the whole thing.

So what’s your fear?  Can you take steps to face it?  Even baby steps? It’s worth the exhilaration you feel when you’ve taken steps to kick it in the teeth.  Try it!  You’ll like it.

Point of No Return

“The point of no return” is often used to describe the moment in time when, upon reaching it, there is absolutely no way to stop or reverse what has been done.  Here is a true story that illustrates the importance of that moment.  It came from a seminar that I attended and involves the speaker’s dog…..

The person speaking had a family dog that totally and in every way loved its freedom to run outdoors.  They had a fenced-in back yard in a semi-rural suburb, but this dog always seemed to find a way over a certain part of the fence to its freedom beyond.  It always waited until the family left in their car and no one was around.  It would wander around the neighborhood, saying hi to all the other dogs and lesser life forms (also known as cats) and eventually come back around to its own house again.

This family realized that they had to do something to try to keep this dog within the limits of the back yard (which was a rather large one at that).  So they decided to get an invisible fence.  This is an electric fence that’s buried just below the surface of the yard.  The dog wears a special collar that picks up a signal the fence emits from below the ground.  This signal transfers into an electric shock that the dog feels around its neck.  The closer the dog gets to the fence, the stronger the signal that is received in the collar.

This might sound cruel at first, but there’s something important to understand about this.   When the dog’s collar first picks up the signal, the shock is light enough to just warn the dog that it’s getting too close to a boundary.  If the dog continues to walk closer to the fence, though, the shock becomes stronger until it’s just too much for the dog to take.  (Certainly not a point of no return, but probably in the ball park.)  This produces a nice brown streak across the yard as the dog suddenly repents of its actions and runs back from whence it came (besides the brown streak, you also see the dog).

Once the invisible fence was in and the dog had been trained on it for a while,  the family decided they would try leaving again and see what would happen.  They did so and came home to find their dog greeting them at the front of the house!  This happened quite a few times and became the unanswerable question.  Eventually, they came up with an idea to see how this dog was getting out of the back yard.

They made it very evident to the dog that they were leaving for a while.  Once they had driven out of sight of the house, however, they quickly circled back around and parked where the dog couldn’t see them, but they could see the dog in the back yard.  They were just in time to see the incredible actions of their family pet.

The dog was facing its favorite spot where it used to jump over the fence.  It backed up as far as it could and gave every indication that it was psyching itself up for something.  But what?  Suddenly, the dog started running towards the invisible fence!  As it got within shocking range, it started to yelp at the shocks it was getting on its neck.  But, incredibly, the dog ran even faster towards the fence!  It had reached the point of no return!  As the shocks became more intense, the yelps coming from the dog grew in volume to match.  But within seconds, the dog had crossed the buried fence and was free once again!

What can be learned from this dog’s actions?  Well, the dog wanted something bad enough that it was willing to endure whatever it had to to get it.  So what about you?  Is there something you want bad enough that you’re willing to cross the point of no return and endure whatever you need to to get it?  Your Big Dream?  A risk you might be scared to take?  A promotion at work and the unknowns of new territory that would bring?

If a dog is willing to cross the point of no return for its freedom to run around, what’s holding you back from what you really want to do?  Endure the pain, the discomfort and anything else that may arise.  It’ll be worth it in the end!

One more thing, in case you were wondering.  If memory serves me correctly, that family decided to put the old fence back up and may have used both as a deterrent to the dog’s escapades.

The Railroad Worker

This other story is about a railroad worker.  It, too, exemplifies the power of the human mind.  This story came from that same seminar and is also a true story.

This took place in the mid-1900’s at a railroad yard somewhere in Europe.  A railroad worker was working inside a refrigerated boxcar one afternoon.  As he was working away, the door to the boxcar shut itself, locking the railroad worker inside the boxcar.  He knew that there was no way to open the door from the inside, so he tried to make as much noise as possible to attract attention.  He knew, though, that it was late enough in the afternoon that most of the other railroad workers had already left for the day.  This, of course, meant that the chances of him getting someone’s attention at this point were very slim.

He yelled himself hoarse and banged on the boxcar until he just couldn’t do it any longer.  In utter hopelessness and exhaustion, he sat on the floor of the boxcar and leaned against a sidewall.  He knew that he was trapped inside a refrigerated boxcar, which meant that he had no way of staying warm enough to last the night.  He would be dead by morning.  As this reality began to sink in, he thought about recording his last thoughts for posterity.  So he pulled out a marker that he had and began writing his thoughts on the floor of the boxcar.

He wrote things like, “It’s so cold in here.” and “I don’t want to die.”  As the dark hours of the night crept by, he wrote, “I can hardly feel my fingers and toes now.”  Eventually he wrote, “Say goodbye to my wife and kids for me.  Tell them I love them.”

The next morning, railroad officials and other railroad workers conducted a search for the missing railroad worker.  Eventually, someone opened the door of that refrigerated boxcar and discovered the lifeless body of the missing railroad worker.

The death of this man, however, had everyone baffled.  Why?  What the dead railroad worker didn’t know was that the refrigeration unit on that boxcar was broken!  It hadn’t been on at all the whole time he had been inside the boxcar.  Which meant that the temperature inside the boxcar didn’t get below fifty degrees that night!  This man killed himself with nothing but the power of his mind.  What he believed became his undoing.

So this begs a question:  How are you and I limiting ourselves and thus not achieving our full potential?  What are we believing about ourselves or a situation that just isn’t true?  What is it that we aren’t seeing that we should see?

Soul-searching questions, but your answers are crucial to the outcome of your life.  God loves you enough to make sure you see what you need to see to change–if you’re willing to see it.

God’s best to you, my friend.  I’ll catch up with you soon!

The Shoe Salesman

Are you old enough to remember what a door-to-door shoe salesman was?  Yes, I say “was” because obviously door-to-door anything is taboo in today’s day and age, let alone a shoe salesman.  But why am I even talking about this?  Because there is a true story involving a shoe salesman that I want to share with you.

 

Are you aware of how powerful our minds are?  God certainly created something extraordinary when He designed the mind and the human brain.  I make a distinction between them because, believe it or not, they are very different!  There is a great book on this subject entitled, “Switch On Your Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf.  I won’t go into detail, but it’s packed with a lot of good information about the power and the differences of both our minds and our brains.

So what’s this got to do with a shoe salesman?  Well, this subject was being addressed at a business seminar many years ago.  I heard this story from a guest speaker who was at that seminar and I never forgot it.  He said it was true and I have no reason to doubt his credibility.  It is a real-life example of the power of the human mind!

Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, being a door-to-door salesman of any kind was considered a decent profession.  It was during this time that a shoe salesman was driving across the Midwest somewhere late at night.  He had made a wrong turn (no GPS back then) and was out in the middle of nowhere.  He was exhausted and just wanted to sleep somewhere.  Finally, he saw the distant lights of a farmhouse ahead!

He pulled up to the house and knocked on the door.  The farmer and his wife opened the door and the shoe salesman proceeded to tell them his predicament.  “I took a wrong turn somewhere back there and have gotten myself hopelessly lost.  I’m exhausted and desperately need to get some sleep.  Would you happen to have an extra bed somewhere that I could sleep in?  I’ll gladly pay you to do so!”

The farmer said, “The only spare bed we have is up in the attic.  You can sleep there if you like.”  (Another thing that you wouldn’t see happen today, right?)  The shoe salesman gladly excepted , grabbed his overnight bag and followed the farmer up to the attic.  The only light in the attic was a single light bulb in the middle of the room with a pull-string attached to it.  As the farmer left the shoe salesman alone, the shoe salesman quickly took in his surroundings.  There wasn’t much to see–just some old antiques and things scattered about on one side of the attic and a bed on the other with a window close by.

He was so tired that all he did was take his shoes off and set them on the floor by the side of the bed.  He got up and turned the light off and groped his way back over to where the bed was.  But as he sat down on the bed, something significant occurred to him.  He realized that there was no air movement.  He had to have some fresh air to be able to get to sleep!  The darkness in the attic completely enveloped him though.  It would be almost impossible for him to find the pull-cord to the light bulb again.

Suddenly it dawned on him:  The window!  He remembered seeing a window on his side of the attic!  But now he was so tired that all he could think about was getting some sleep.  So he made a drastic decision:  He was going to break the window and just pay the farmer in the morning for the damages!  So he bent over, picked up one of his shoes and threw it in the direction he remembered the window being in.  The sound of glass shattering told him he had hit his mark.  He laid back on the bed to enjoy the fresh air he knew would be flowing through the broken window and promptly fell asleep.

When the shoe salesman awakened the next morning, it took him a moment to get his bearings and realize where he was.  Then he faintly remembered what he had done the night before and looked over where the window was.  What he saw took his breath away.  His shoe had found the window alright.  But the window was completely boarded up on the other side!  He hadn’t had any fresh air come in at all from breaking that window the night before.  It was all in his mind!  It was what he had expected he would experience.

The power of thought.  It really is amazing.  I’ve got an even more impressive true story about this that I will share with you when we catch up again!