Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How to put the resolve in your New Year resolution

As you are getting started on your New Year resolution, remember that a lot of people gave up on even setting a goal, much less resolving to do it. Don’t be one of them.

“Never, never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

In early January at the YMCA, it gets really busy. A lot of people get a great start on their fitness goal. But by February, it gets back to normal. People make one of two mistakes, so they end up quiting. 

1. They compare themselves to a shapely girl or muscular guy. They are being unfair to themselves. Just remember, that girl or guy was fat and out of shape a year or two ago. If you ask them, chances are that they have an inspirational story to tell about why they got into shape.

2. People do too much at the beginning, get stiff and sore, and then think they can’t do it. Instead, remember comedian Bill Murray’s movie, “What About Bob?” Bob suffers from multiple phobias that keep him from doing almost everything. Richard Dreyfuss shows up as a psychiatrist who wrote a book, Baby Steps. Bob starts doing everything in tiny steps, and eventually overcomes his phobias. It's heroic and inspirational. 

It worked for me. In 2000, I suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome. One day I was laying on the living room floor watching TV. I struggled get up. I had to roll over onto my belly, get up on my hands and knees, crawl over to a chair, climb up the chair, and carefully balance myself until I could stand. I was severely depressed, at times suicidal.

In my online searches, I found out that working out would help me beat the fatigue, as well as the depression. So, I decided to try it. 

The first day, I went shopping for some workout clothes. That’s it. I laid them out on the dresser for the morning.

The second day, I tried them on and went downstairs out on the porch. I stretched a little, and went back inside and changed. I felt a little embarrassed. 

The third day, I got dressed, stretched and walked one block down the street and back. I decided; I was determined to do this. 

The next day, I walked three blocks down and back. Not much, but just a little more. 

During some winter days, it got too cold to walk outside, so I joined the YMCA. I figured it was a lot less expensive than the medicines I was on; and if I could beat the depression and fatigue by working out, it was more than just savings. 

So, I kept doing a little more and a little more.

But some days the fatigue and depression knocked me down. Some of those days, I just gave up. But other days, I dragged myself up and did something. Just a little. Just to be able to say that I worked out. It wasn’t a little more. In fact, it was a lot less on those days. But that was okay. I figured out that some days I just need to take it easy on myself.

But the day following a down day, I tried to at least equal my earlier workout. If I didn’t make it, fine. At least I made a good effort. 

When I made a good effort for 15-30 minutes, I found myself feeling a lot better. I found myself continuing to walk for 45-60 minutes.

Sometimes I even skipped two days, but the third day I was feeling sick and tired again; and I knew how to fix it. Workouts – even short workouts – always made me feel good! 

Now, it’s 18 years later. I work out most days every week. I don’t worry about missing one day; but if I’m down for a second day, I know I’ll feel a lot better if I just get out and walk.

When I’m walking around the indoor track, I see a lot of new people show up in early January. Sometimes I get to say “Hi”; and when I do, I always encourage them with that Woody Allen quote.

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

"Keep coming back!" I say. 

Nowadays, I usually walk and lift some light weights; and this year I started doing some tai chi. Believe it or not, the tai chi made me aware that – despite walking – my legs were weak and that left me off balance. So, I do some leg presses on machines and deep squats holding onto a rail. I immediately put on some muscle mass, which increased my weight; but that’s okay. I'm much stronger now and have better balance. It motivated me to learn how to fast (on, recommended).

But I didn’t get there the day years ago when I crawled up that chair. This is 17 years later. My goal is still to just show up. Once I get going, it gets easier fast. I feel so much better all day, and usually for a couple of days.

I don’t count laps, miles, minutes, weight or anything. I might get curious, so I’ll check some number. (I lost 40 lbs. over the last five years.) But I never worry about it.

And guess what!? I only experience depression rarely and mildly! That is huge for me.

I found my two basic principles work great: 1. Just show up, and 2. Baby steps.

 Just keep showing up. Do a little more and a little more. That’s what works.

“It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

“Success is just beyond the splat.” – Unknown Amway distributor who was probably quoting somebody else  

“Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.” – Oliver Goldsmith

“Stay the course.” – Military phrase

“Practice, practice, practice.” – Every coach that ever was

- Christopher Aune, December 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Gender Identity Hoax

In a private post, a friend was talking about his experience of depression. I was lightning-struck by his description because, in describing his challenges, he so aptly summarized my own theory of the root cause of depression.

“… accepting that [depression] is a part of me,” he said. No, it’s not. It’s your natural and perfect reaction to the suppression of your true self, your identity. “I wasn't myself,” he said.

However, like most people, he can’t really hear what he’s saying. If he could, he would have a solid understanding of how to recover.

The root cause of depression and anxiety is a disconnect from your true self, a denial of your true self so as to meet the family, school, church and societal expectations.

It is denial of who you are to avoid rejection and achieve acceptance. It’s an identity crisis, with a totally normal and understandable physical-emotional reaction of either withdrawal (depression) and/or anxiety (fighting back). In the identity crisis, sometimes both.

“Recovery … is a very nice place, … and you're not treated as a patient but as a person.”

“I'm also struggling on daily basis with the pressure, expectations, and loneliness as a man ….”

“… society making it less a taboo and stigma around sharing and expressing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions as a man.” Which is our culturally mandated masculine role, trained into us from infancy.

I repeat my earlier comment: The root cause of depression and anxiety is a disconnect from your true self, a denial of your true self and everybody else so as to meet the family, school, church and societal expectations. As it applies to men, I’ve studied masculinity for two decades. If masculinity is a “monstrosity” (it’s not), then society is the Dr. Frankenstein.

Let me go a little deeper with what I’ve learned.

First, realize that male and female are sexes, and masculine and feminine are genders. Don’t confuse the two. Sex if a physical attribute, that varies in many ways. A rare few women are born with penises. Some women have more testosterone than an average woman, and some men have more estrogen than an average man.

Genders are social attributes (not traits, but a tendency toward a certain behavior pattern) that our culture associates more with one sex than the other sex. People of both sexes display both masculine and feminine gender attributes. Some parents expect engendered behaviors to be strongly associated with a certain sex. Other parents are open to some of both gender attributes despite sex. And some few parents actually teach their children to embrace attributes from both genders; and amazingly enough, those who rank high on both feminine and masculine attributes are consistently more successful in life.

There have been scientific research and meta-studies that have clearly shown how people of both sexes assign certain word descriptors to one sex or another: gender is well defined. Most people think of gender in terms of a single scale with masculine on one end and feminine on the other end. Not so! Masculinity is measured separately from femininity: two scales. So, any individual can rank as high masculine, low feminine; high feminine, low masculine; low masculine, low feminine; high masculine, high feminine; or any degree of magnitude in between.

It’s interesting that about 75% of females generally rank above average in feminine qualities and below average in masculine descriptors, but 25% of women average higher in masculine qualities than feminine.

Vice versa, 75% of males rank above average in masculine descriptors and below average in feminine descriptors, but 25% of men average higher in feminine qualities than masculine.
But this is all a statistical generalization! Every individual is different, some ranking very high on both feminine and masculine scales, some not. Now toss in familial, social, spiritual and political values, and immensely diverse life experiences, and we find that everyone is unique!

In fact, the whole concept of scientific categorization is flawed. We can only make generalizations about vast diversity. Any conclusions about an individual or group based on generalizations are flatly wrong.  

Which leads us back to my original assertion: The root cause of depression and anxiety is a disconnect from your true self, a denial of your true self so as to meet the family, school, church and societal expectations. More and more, society is trying to force use into categories, wherein we just don’t fit. - Christopher Aune, November 2017

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The only way out of our world's dilemma

If you are or know a young adult who is struggling to build an amazing life, watch this 2-minute video where Simon Sinek describes the problem. (Follow along with the transcript below.)

Then, to learn the solution, watch the marvelous full 30-minute presentation.

We know what works!

Simon Sinek transcript:
“I’m talking about an entire generation that – if we don’t fix this – will go through life where (they say) everything is just fine. My friendships are fine. My work is fine. You know, same old same old. Nothing is ever amazing. And the scavenger hunt continues.

And then you go to the Fourth Observation, the most egregious of all of them: Environment.

We’re taking a generation that has Lower Self-Esteem (First Observation).

We’re taking a generation that has a Lack of Coping Mechanisms to deal with stress (Second Observation).

We’re dealing with a generation that wants all those things fixed immediately (Third Observation: Instant Gratification).

And we’re placing them in a work environment that values money more than people.

Do you know that most of the business philosophies and theories that we embrace as standard today are not standard. They are theories left over from the ‘80s and ‘90s.

The concept of shareholder supremacy was a theory proposed in the late 1970s. It was popularized in the 80s and 90s. The concept of using mass layoffs to balance the books did not exist in the United States prior to the 1980s. It did not exist. It became popular in the 80s and 90s. 

The 80s and 90s were boom years. Anyone could make money. Relative peace: A kinder, gentler cold war. And so all of the business theories put forth were very, very selfish and all about enriching ourselves. And they worked for those times.

But these times are different. They are not peaceful times. These are not boom years. There is globalization on the internet that has made everything vastly more complicated, and those theories do not work anymore.

Worse, they’re having side effects. It’s really bad because what we do is we destroy corporate cultures.

The idea of using mass layoffs: Can you imagine sending someone home and saying, I’m sorry, I can no longer provide for our family because the company missed its arbitrary projections this year. That’s what we’re doing.

That’s like a coach prioritizing the needs of the fans over the needs of the players, hoping to build a great team.”

Monday, August 28, 2017

Slipping free from the busy bugs

If you fail to stop and think, the locusts of time descend upon you and distract you from yourself and your loves, devour your every peaceful moment, and create a world at war.

Things keep you busy. While you’re wishing for peace, the locusts tap your energy and drain you. When you look up from your to-do list, they swarm in and overwhelm you, 60,000 a day. You cry yourself to sleep.

But the people with the best lives take time to think. Thinking is a choice, you see.

You have no control over busy bugs until you stop and think. When you sit down to deliberate, your mind becomes your own. The locusts cannot enter in because your house is occupied, and you’ll be busy with a world of your own creation. You won’t notice the tapping at your windows, for you’ll be deep within your own realm, the kingdom where you rule.

If you choose to stop and think, you choose to contemplate, ruminate, daydream, meditate, pray and solve all the world’s problems in your mind. You’ll actually know what you’re talking about, and you’ll recognize in an instant when someone doesn’t. A peaceful, prosperous life will fill your days, your family and the world.

When you choose to think, you also choose what you think. You make a list of things on your mind and you prioritize them: A for loves, the important; B for all the things that ought to be done, need to be done; and C for everything else. Then, in your mind, you clearly see yourself sweep all the C’s into the trash bin. They’ll never get done, so why worry about them. 

When Martha complains about all her B’s, you - Mary - you laugh and enter your house, which is already swept clean and the sunshine beams in through the windows, and bid her come for tea.

Then you occupy your life with the A’s. Do what you love, for that is the only thing that is important.

- Christopher Aune 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

When parents say, 'You're not trying'

The other day I was telling my 16-year-old granddaughter that smart people keep on learning for their whole life. They’re curious. They want to know the truth. They want to enjoy life. They want to help others to know the truth and enjoy life.

But parents, teachers, pastors and other seemingly wise people will correct smart people, even when the smart people have it right.

The seemingly wise have a need for the world to be as they believe it to be, especially having everyone see them as wise without questioning. So, unless you’re prepared to stand up to them with not just facts and a good rational argument, but with the determination to undermine them and to appear to disrespect them, it’s best to just let them believe what they believe.

But for smart people, that’s not so. They can’t just believe what they believe. They feel deeply a need to know what they’re talking about. Even though that’s virtually impossible to perfect, we can get close; and we can certainly respect our own knowledge, thinking and confidence in our higher level of understanding. But that’s only about 33% of people who are smart. The rest just want to avoid feeling dumb.

Anyway, because of our deep curiosity and drive to know the truth, when the seemingly wise correct us, we defer to their authority. We want to know if we’re wrong, how we are wrong, and what is right. We listen.

Now, for an intelligent 16-year-old – and for most human beings of any age – that entails having humility. But without good discernment, that humility can easily be confused with questioning ourself and destabilize our self-confidence.

So, it’s important to have some sense of how smart you are in relation to other people, especially the seemingly wise. For an intelligent 16-year-old, she may have the latest and greatest knowledge, and she may even have a respectable ability to think like an adult, but she still doesn’t have the adult experience to make a clear distinction between humility and less-than-stable self-confidence.

I told her, “You are always good enough. Always. You are good enough by virtue of the fact that you are breathing, that you have been born into this life full of challenges and you meet those challenges. You solve the problems of daily life for yourself, and you try to help others. You always do your best, and you make things better than they were for yourself and for others. You’re amazing, exactly where you are in life, just the way you are.

“So, when parents say you don't try, it's because they forget that, although you have knowledge and adult thinking power, you don't have experience yet. You have book knowledge and a little, carefully protected life experience. You can think like an adult, comparing and contrasting disparate events in life, and assigning them value and meaning and a priority. But there’s a whole truckload of life experiences for which you cannot yet say, ‘Been there, done that.’

“On the other hand, there are a lot of the things you haven't tried yet because you haven't even conceived all the options available. Your parents have a lot more experience, so when they say you don’t try, they are forgetting that they have a huge amount of real life experience that you can’t possibly have yet.

“So, if a parent says you're not trying, tell them you need help to figure out how to try better. Ask them how they’d handle it. Make them give you an example from their own life. Not only will you better understand what they are trying to say to you – and feel much better about it, but you’ll get a new trick to put into your bag of life tricks, something that you can pull out in a situation where it can be useful.

“But then remember, every time you meet an expectation, they raise the bar. That's okay, because you're a wonderful person already doing the best you can. Be happy and proud about that. But also be excited about all the extraordinary new things you are going to discover and try.”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What's holding you back, and how to beat it easy

We all have our beliefs and biases. Beliefs are collections of ideas that appear to fit together in a way that makes sense. The appearance is often shaky at best, but very powerful, guiding the behaviors of millions of people.

Biases I like to describe this way: Anytime I agree with something or disagree with something, that is a red flag of my bias. Whether I agree or disagree doesn’t matter, but the fact that I have a pre-existing opinion of something that automatically approves or disapproves any fact, person or situation floating by - that is a bias. It leads to prejudice and discrimination without basis. Bias vs. basis.

April 22 was Earth Day 2017, and across the country there were local examples of the March for Science. People came out to demonstrate their belief that government decisions should be guided by evidence-based facts instead of the belief that regulations cut into profits. Both are beliefs, and both are biases.

Religions use a code of beliefs – dogma, doctrine and rules – to explain suffering and give a reason to keep living in positive ways. Religions teach that, when a person dies of murder or accident, that gods or God is in control and has a reason for it. They hold that, if we’re good, we’ll go to heaven when we die. These beliefs help us cope with life challenges. When we believe it, and the surrounding rules of behavior, we hold a bias.  

The point is that, whatever our beliefs and biases, they help us to feel better about ourselves and our lives. Beliefs and biases help us function better because they save us from having to examine the evidence behind every decision we make. If we knew all the facts behind everything we do, it would overwhelm the mind and stop us from taking any real action. We’d starve to death trying to decide what to eat.

But we don’t starve. We stuff random bits of edibles into our mouths without a thought. It’s only when a group of people begins dying from the same “food” that we stop and think about it. Reality comes calling.

It’s an important thing because reality is very powerful. It can kill you or it can give you a long, prosperous life. If our beliefs and biases become too disconnected from reality, our ability to function in healthy, constructive ways is hindered. I could step off a cliff and either God will send his angels to save me or I’ll end up in Heaven. Either way, I’m good … according to my beliefs.

But if I check reality, I have a natural, inbuilt fear of falling. Normally I don’t step off a cliff. My God-given nature stops me. If my beliefs allow me to jump, I’m out of touch with reality. I’m insane.

It’s not always that extreme, of course. Sometimes my beliefs just keep me from getting rich or from getting the exercise I need. Something stops me from trusting my own ability to prosper: I belief having lots of money isn’t spiritual and will keep me from going to heaven. Or I think people at the gym or the park are all going to judge my body shape, so I avoid the embarrassment and the exercise.

My belief systems hold me back from becoming the person who deserves the things I love. The reality is that I don’t believe that I deserve these things. I want good things for myself and for others, but I’m afraid to try. If I try, I might fail; and if I fail, people would talk bad about me. Horrifying! Deal breaker! Life-stopping. I’m just not good enough. I’m unable. I’m worthless, hopeless and helpless. Nobody loves me.

What a crazy set of beliefs.

But consider what Jesus said: Love your neighbor as yourself. It wasn’t just ‘love your neighbor.’ There’s a premise in there: Something is assumed to happen before you love your neighbor. Love your self!

The reality is that, when I love myself, it flips all the old fears and limiting beliefs on their heads. I need to take care of myself. It’s the natural, built-in thing. But not only that, I need to take care of myself first!

Until I love myself and take care of myself, I don’t have the energy or ability to love or take care of anything. I’m just a blob on the face of society. I need to be forgiven. I need people to love me. They need to love me because I’m not loving myself.  Everybody needs love. If I’m not getting love, I need to start loving myself.

It’s not egotistical; it’s self care. When I love myself, I’m able to make positive changes easily. I love me so I feel good. People around me sense that I feel good, so they feel good, too! They are attracted to me. Because I love me I can do whatever I want. I might fail, but that’s okay because I’ll just go on with life. And because failure doesn’t matter, I can try over and over again until I get it right … And I’ll still love me! And because I still feel good about myself, the people around me feel good about me, and so they feel good about themselves, too.

People have been failing for millennia. Successful people have failed at least seven times to achieve what they are trying to do. That means they tried seven times and didn’t get it right, but they just kept right on trying. Because they love themselves.

In the end, it’s your beliefs that make you or break you. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right,” according the Henry Ford.

That’s the reality. I’m not perfect. Never have been, never will be. But I love myself, and I’m having fun trying out new things. I don’t ever get it perfectly right the first time, but I keep trying and, in the end, I never fail. It’s impossible! I have unlimited tries! I could play this game the rest of my life. Fun!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Enlightened leadership: How far is too far?

My book study group is reading The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, by Dethmer, Chapman and Klemp. It’s a great book. I enjoy it and recommend it to others, whether you’re a leader or not. 

It describes Four Ways of Leading defined by perspective on how things get done: To Me – victimhood, By Me – taking responsibility, Through Me – surrender to a greater guidance, and As Me – oneness. There is no particular order, ranking or level to the Ways in daily practice. We all find ourselves acting in each of these Ways at different times of the day or times of our lives. However, the authors do stipulate that 95% of people are stuck in the To Me fault-blame-guilt trip 95% of the time.  

However, I have a problem with the As Me way of being, it is described with phrases like these: Money “is just another form given and received with freedom and joy,” “time is an illusion,” happiness just another passing state, can you find the one who is disciplined?, “Being and purpose are the same,” “It’s impossible to be off purpose,” and “There is no one to lead and nowhere to lead to.”

This As Me way is kind of like saying, “It is what it is, and it’s all good.” And that’s fine and dandy as long as you include it as one of the Four Ways. But people living in the 95% fault-blame-guilt trip are always comparing, and they will inevitably want to be the most “enlightened” (read “best”). From that perspective, they’re going to look at the Four Ways and attribute greater value to the As Me way. In application, they’ll want to live every moment of every day in the world of “Don’t worry, be happy.”

This is a clearly Buddhist approach to life, and applying the principle to its “ridiculous extreme” (a term from formal reasoning) in Dzogchen Buddhism, it leads to “nothing matters,” “emptiness is worth pursuing,” “fade away to nothingness,” and the ultimate extreme application “spiritual suicide.”

Is that enlightenment? Not. In the overly focused thinking of non-valuing everything, it gets stupid.

Instead, a better way of looking at this “It is what it is” Way of Being is to see it as a detached way of looking at circumstances. If it's a stressful catastrophe, this Way is a starting point for seeking a solution. It's hard to clarify the real situation do when you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Even if everything has become boringly routine, recognizing the reality of the situation is a great start toward planning for “better.” 

So, fair warning here: Don’t go to the “It is what it is” Way of Being and live there. If you’re perceiving illusions, you can exhaust yourself trying to change them, but they aren’t really there! You change them! 

Instead, release all the emotion (anxiety, boredom) surrounding the immediate situation, and see reality for what it is. When you see reality, you can have a real impact and create better. And that, to me, is fun! 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

How to fix 'dwelling on it'

Brooding guy: Don't dwell. Choose a higher feeling.
Yesterday I had something bad happen. It doesn’t matter what it was. It hurt me, and I was angry that a person hadn’t done what I expected them to do, what I had paid them to do.

I found out about it about four months later, and only then did I feel hurt and angry. For the intervening four months, I was neither hurt nor angry. They had done what they had done, but I was ignorant of it, so I had no feelings about it.

But when I found out, I felt hurt and angry. Not only did I feel badly about what they had done, my brain started dredging up all the old memories of times I had the same feelings. All the times I had been lied to and lied about, misrepresented, not given credit for outstanding performance, shortchanged, conned, ripped off and stolen from, all those old bad stories came flying to the surface. All these experiences – events in my life – carried these same feelings.

It wasn’t that the same things were a repeating pattern in my life. It was that I noticed them at the time and again in the present. A couple of early childhood experiences had sensitized me to them, and so they caught my attention whenever they came up. I had learned the lesson from those experiences, but the feelings associated with them still came up now and then. And when the feelings came up, the old memories came up. Bunches of them, one after another.

That’s when I realized that, while I had intellectually learned the lesson, I was still choosing the same emotional response, and worse: I allowed that emotional response to draw up multiple old memories that I didn’t care for and really had nothing new to teach me.

I found myself asking, why are all these old things coming up again? I know that I did the best I could at the time, and despite that, someone misused and abused me. I wasn’t responsible for their behavior, yet I had felt unjustifiably bad about it. I had believed their story about me over my own story. I understood that I did great stuff, but others felt insecure about that and attacked me. I got it.
But there was another lesson I hadn’t learned yet. 

Emotions are tied to memories. When I have a feeling response to some occurrence in my life, my amygdala is trained to protect me. It stimulates the rest of my brain to come up with similar examples of those emotions looking for how I resolved it in the past. When my brain recalls those emotions, it also calls up the memories of the events, and not just one event, every possible event associated with that feeling.

It seems like I’m dwelling on it, but I’m not. My brain is just doing its job. It’s looking for solutions to a situation that caused me pain. It’s asking, how did I deal with situations that caused me that bad feeling in the past? And I remember – intellectually – how that worked. The short version is that I’m a basically good person and sometimes people do mean things to me even when I’m doing great things. It’s their problem over which I have no control.

So, how can I get my brain to stop dredging these things up? That’s easy: Don’t feel those feelings. Of course, I can always sidestep feelings, even if that were desirable. However, if have some strong feelings, I can recognize that my brain is dredging up all the examples looking for possible solutions, and CHANGE THE FEELING! Stop repeating the bad feeling, which stops repeating old bad stories. Choose a positive feeling, and change to it every time the old feeling or old story comes up.  Every time! 

I don't need all those old feelings and old stories to come up. I just need to apply what I previously learned to the current situation. 

I'm a good person! I feel good about myself. I make the personal changes I need to make, and guess what? Now I'm an even better person! 

So that's the lesson from these repeating old feelings and repeating old stories. They are the cue to change the feeling. When you catch yourself dredging up old bad stories = change the feeling! 

Frickin' brilliant. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Would you want to be an Idealist by this definition?

Somebody asked if people felt they were an Idealist according to the following definition.

"Working with others, in a spirit of generosity and mutual respect, I want to help build a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives."

Here’s my response: Since everybody is falling gently into line, let me be the Devil’s Advocate. No. No. And hell No!

Working with others – Okay, admit it. How many of you people out there want to go to work today? I’ve been waiting for 40 years for people to step up and take steady, productive action. It is a rare thing when people actually work together on something, and usually it’s short-lived as people become bored and lose the initial momentum. Yet it does happen occasionally and then great things happen. 

The huge drawback to this portion of the definition is that it implies waiting on others. Fuck that. I’m taking action and others can show up when they’re ready, and just for as long as they want. I have no expectations, and I am not going to wait on anybody.

In a spirit of generosity and mutual respect – I think that’s idealistic in the dreamy sense of the word. Everybody is going to be nice to one another, and when we disagree, we’re all going to kowtow to the one who talks loudest and longest. We may as well call ourselves the Dreamy Teamy, sweet cream and peaches. Naw, let’s have some arguments, making an important point (thesis), and counterpoints (antitheses), and then synthesize (synthesis) those into a greater solution. THEN, if you feel it (Do a gut check here), jump on board and help make it happen.

Help – Screw that. I’m not helping. I’m doing it. If you’re not doing it already, then watch and follow my example.

Build a world – What is this world thing that people are always talking about? The world is doing fine just as it is. We can destroy all life on earth, and the world will continue doing just fine. Perhaps you mean a system or a “way of doing things.”

All people – Not everybody wants to work with others, be generous and have mutual respect, and lead free and dignified lives. A huge percentage of people want a powerful leader who will tell them what they want to hear and let them be mean and fight their illusionary enemies that seem to pop up anywhere the haters happen to be. So, not all people … some people. Those individuals who know themselves and declare an ideal that they are actively, here and now, working on bringing to reality.

Free and dignified – Okay, I’ll give you this one just out of generosity and mutual respect.

How would I define an Idealist? A group of mutually supportive individualists, each having a system or “way of doing things” that demonstrably leads to a better life for themselves and those in their circle of influence.

Individualists – People who know who they are. If you don’t have a good idea who you are, what you are about or why you’re motivated to do it, then go join a herd that is under the guidance of somebody who does know who they are, and with whom you can agree and support while you’re finding yourself.

System – A way of doing things that others can learn and practice, and then produce the same great results.

Demonstrably – Show examples where the system actually worked to produce a better life for somebody. There is science out there that tells us key elements of a system, and there are communities out there that have demonstrated success for large groups of people for decades. Study and do. (Take action.)

Enough ranting. (That’s like saying “enough fun!” LOL)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How to Build a Network of Friends

A friend is somebody who cares for you, and helps you meet your wants and needs. Friendship is a give and take relationship, never one way. People love to be able to help their friends, so having a network of friends is a deep source of just about everything. (Learn more at Be a friend and Winning the power and benefits of friendship.)

But how do you build a great network of friends?

Starting out, you should aim to have 12 people in your network of friends. On the other end of the spectrum, nobody can keep track of 150 people without an assistant.  Twenty-five friends is a comfortable number for most people, but you can grow it as big as you want.

Build your network one conversation at a time. LISTEN first, but don’t just listen in a general way. Listen specifically for the person’s wants and needs. Keep track of them, and even write them down. In your third conversation, you can go deep by asking them, “What is the greatest challenge you’re facing today?”

Second, GIVE them something helpful. It might be calling them to share a joke or email them a link to an article they might find helpful. Don’t overdo, just let them know that you’re thinking of them. If you come across something that would help them achieve their wants and needs, take them by the hand and walk them to it. Don't wait for them to recognize it. And understand that they always have the option to reject your contribution. Love them anyway. 

Okay, so now you are taking care of them, but a friendship goes both ways. Most people don’t know how to get what they need. They don’t realize that people love to be helpful. We all feel good when we can help somebody. So give your friend a chance to help you. It cements the friendship.

So the third thing in a good friendship, TELL them a story that identifies your greatest challenge. Don’t whine, but share the adventure, the ultimate goal, and the specific challenge you are currently facing. People remember stories, and if you are facing a challenge, most people will automatically try to help. 

Fourth, ASK them how they would handle your challenge. No matter what their answer – mundane to master – thank them and encourage them to explain further. This not only gets you desired results, it lets people feel good by helping you. They'll be happy to help again because it feels good. Also ask them who they would ask for help if faced with a similar challenge. One or more of your friends will know an expert in the area of your challenge. Tell your friend, “I’d love to meet that person. Can I buy you both something to drink? Lunch?”

Finally, FOLLOW UP. In your subsequent conversations, ask them specifically about the challenge they were facing last time you talked. They'll be surprised you remembered. And then ask them again for their ideas and connections to help with your challenge. Repetition helps them to remember you after the conversation. 

This can be the pattern that gives meaning to every conversation: Listen, Give, Tell, Ask and Follow Up.

And remember, a friend – a real friend – will actually keep you and your challenges in mind long after the conversation. They'll find something that they believe might be helpful to share with you. Never reject their offerings; always accept them graciously. It encourages them to continue trying to help. 

There are all kinds of little ways to tweak your conversation to make it more fruitful. In fact, you could print out this post and share it with a friend, asking them how they approach friendship and networking.

Copyright © 2017 Christopher Aune,

Winning the power and benefits of friendship

Everybody needs to have friends, right? It’s really important for lots of reasons. For instance, scientists have discovered that lonely people experience real physical pain because of being isolated. Ouch! It is even likely that social isolation (which can be experienced in a crowd) is the cause of most of our society’s ills, from crime to poverty to mental illness. I should write about that sometime, but not today.

Instead, it’s important to understand what friendship is and how it works, so we can receive the power and benefits of friendship. That’s right, you get stuff out of friendship … IF you do it right.

If you’re a natural at friendship, this post may help you to better understand what you’re doing. If you’re a total klutz at relationships, this is how you can become a great friend and collect some of the coolest best friends ever.

First, let’s define friendship. Friendship is when two people take care of each other. That means a friend helps a friend accomplish their wants and needs … without asking. You give some, and you get some. It’s a reciprocating exchange.

If you give but don’t get, it’s not a friendship. If you get but don’t give, you’re a fucking leach. Don’t take it too hard. Sometimes your friend doesn’t need anything, so you’re just standing ready. But if the time comes to help and you are too busy, you are not really a friend.

For a little closer look at friend relationships, check out this short essay.

You should always be building your network of friends. They are a deep resource for all kinds of things. Whatever you have a want or a need, chances are that one of your friends knows somebody who knows somebody who does what you want or has what you need. A friend’s introductions are invaluable. No matter what you seek, if you have a network of friends, it will always be pretty easy to find what you want. Hard to believe? Not at all. Once you try it, you’ll know it’s true.

Build your network of friends in advance, before you need something. If you start digging a well when you’re thirsty, you’re in for a tough dry spell. If you plant your garden after you’re already hungry, it’s too late. Cultivate your friends well in advance so that, when you need something, your friends are already there for you. Take care of them so that you can even call them in the middle of the night to ask them for a ride to the hospital.

So, now you know what a friend is and why your network of friends is so important. But how can a total social geek build a group of real friends from scratch? There’s a clear process I’ve taught for decades. My students come back to me surprised, declaring, “It really works!” Of course it does! I’ve seen the worst home bodies just follow the instructions, and in a matter of months they have a crowd of go-to people.

Copyright © 2017 Christopher Aune,

Monday, January 30, 2017

Are you ready to stop repeating life mistakes?

Break loose from old tiedowns
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you say to yourself, “Dammit! I did it again. I’m back in the same old situation, only different. Obviously I’m making some mistake that lands me back in the same kind of situation. I’m supposed to learn a lesson from this, but what the hell is it? Why am I back here again?”

There could be a lot of reasons you keep repeating the same problem, but it doesn’t matter why. If you have any life experience, of course you’ve experienced this broken record.  

The question is, how do you break free? Here is how.

These “same old situations” are tethered to an emotional life experience. It imprints on our brains and bodies. The obvious example is childhood abuse. A beating gets imprinted on our bodies. A frequently repeated put-down gets imprinted on our brains. As long as the imprint remains, we’re doomed to repeat the same stuck feelings and thoughts.

One lady recalled a memory when she was eight years old. She was talking with a trusted uncle when suddenly a sense of dread filled her. Her heart racing, she ran into the kitchen where she found her mother. She recalled that nothing bad actually happened, but throughout her life she experienced the same sense of danger anytime she began to trust a man. At age 48, she had managed to marry once for three years, but she reported that she always felt anxious until divorced.

An imprint can be from real trauma or from a rule of life that we decided to live by. Over time the origin of the rule faded away, but we still recreate similar situations, trying to resolve that old imprint. We relive it over and over, trying to make it have a different, better outcome. We keep walking into the wall expecting a door to appear. Obviously, personal experience tells us that doesn’t work.

Anytime we have a imprint experience, our minds keep going back to it, rehashing it over and over. That’s your brain trying to find a solution, trying to resolve the imprint.

Here’s how to get beyond it. Researchers have found that, if you repeatedly retell the story of the bad experience, it slowly relieves the imprint.

So, first, write your story. Then rewrite it and add any details you want.

Retelling the story brings up the old pain, and we naturally want to avoid pain. So you may find yourself trying to avoid the story because of the associated the pain. But if we don’t retell the story, we remain stuck in the imprint.

The next step is, once you have your story written, find someone you trust to listen to you tell the story over and over again. Each time you retell the story, the emotional imprint will fade some. 

Over time you’ll become desensitized to the bad feelings associated with the story. Once the feelings are resolved, the story becomes an ancient faded memory, and you are freed to move forward in your life.

This works no matter how long ago you had the bad experience, but it works best in the first 90 days after it. You may have several old imprints to overcome. Go through this process for each one of them, as well as for any new ones that come up.

And next time you feel inspired to do something new, step through any discomfort and test your new freedom. Once you’ve released your old imprints, there’s truly nothing holding you back. 

Copyright © 2017 Christopher Aune

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Human beings are problem solvers eager to be challenged

Decades ago the newly elected parish council at the Catholic church I attended voted me to be their president. At our first meeting, in the parade of old business, there was a scheduled pancake breakfast that no one knew about. The kitchen and hall were scheduled, but we were otherwise unprepared for it. It was unfunded, and it was just four days away.

The priest pastor immediately dismissed it, said that it wasn’t going to happen, and started to move on to other business. I jumped right in.

“Wait a minute. Not so fast,” I said. “A lot of people already know about that breakfast. What would it take to make it happen? How many people do we expect to come?”

People contributed several guesstimates, and we decided to plan for 70-90 people.

“I’ll buy two sliced whole hams,” I said. “Who will buy the pancake mix, eggs and milk?”
Margaret Mead

People split that up among themselves, and others added coffee and orange juice and paper plates. We already had cups and tableware.

“Now, how do we divide up the work?”

In short, that pancake breakfast went off without a hitch, and in the process, we built a collaborative team out of our parish council.

Human beings are problem solvers, folks. Quit listening to the naysayers. Stop giving up before you’ve even begun. And realize that money is never the issue. 

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Be a Friend

True friends stab you in the front. - Oscar Wilde

A friend is someone who will let you talk through your pain until you come out the other side … someone who won’t interrupt and tell you that you’re negative based on an incomplete report of your pain … someone who lets you talk through things without making sense … who tells you what they just heard you say … who listens as you correct them… who keeps trying to understand until you feel understood …  who keeps listening and coming back until you turn positive and hopeful, and the light comes into your eyes. 

A friend is someone who will suggest a parade of things you could do about the situation, knowing that you’re not likely to do any of them. A friend sticks around anyway. A friend wants to be included, but doesn’t impose.

A friend is someone who trusts you enough to doubt themselves even when they suspect you have a hidden agenda. A friend tells you about their hidden agenda; and when you want to help, they figure out some way you can be included.

A friend asks you about what you’re trying to do … your recent thoughts, activities and plans … and long after the conversation is over, remembers your struggles and finds something that might be helpful to you … and gives a little humor, a little information, a little taste of something great, and most importantly, a little encouragement.

“That’s a great idea!” “Wow! You actually started that? Most people don’t even get started. You’re doing great!” “Amazing that you keep pursuing that. I never knew anybody who was so passionate about something.” “Golden!” “Smokin’!” “You’re a good-hearted person.” “You have a golden heart.” “You’re the expert in that area. I wish I knew how to do that. Tell me how you do that.”

A friend sometimes tells the truth, even though it might hurt you. But a friend doesn’t insist that you always be honest with yourself. A friend values your happiness, your illusions, and your dreams … even though they may be totally unrealistic. A friend encourages you even when your goals are pretty wild, and allows you to keep your dreams alive.

Friends are loyal: They defend you when you’re not there, even if you did something stupid and indefensible. “That’s not like him. He must have had an off day.”

A friend is happy and grateful to receive anything from you, just because you thought of them and are trying to help them. Friends give back when asked. You can tell if a person is a friend: If someone is willing to receive from you, but is consistently unwilling to give back; that’s not a friend. A friend has your best interests at heart, keeps an eye out for ways to be helpful, and tries to give back when possible, especially when asked.               

Copyright © 2013 by Christopher Aune,

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What to do when you trust nobody, no way, no how, uh huh, ain't gonna happen

Sometimes in life you end up in deep dark places. Especially if you're an upbeat, trusting, hopeful type of person, you can get overwhelmed by lack of support, being betrayed and even being attacked. What do you do then?

I had spent 20 years building a great reputation and proving myself over and over. I was recognized with 17 awards and 20 military decorations during those 20 years. Suddenly, it went downhill, and then then it went over the cliff straight to hell. I didn't change. The people I trusted did. I wasn't just hurt, I was devastated. I couldn't even walk on the same side of the street as other people. I trusted no one, no way, no how, not, nadda, don't even think about it.

Now, 17 years later, I'm okay. How did I get back?

First, I realized that not trusting was my problem, not "theirs;" that I was hurting, not them.

Then I decided "Screw that! Not trusting hurts me, not them. I'm not doing that anymore."

Then I sorted out who I don't trust and just stayed away from them. If anyone tried to join the "not trusted" list, I let them. Very low bar. Any discomfort for any reason, list 'em.
Protect yourself: woman with sword
Protect yourself from evil people.

Protect yourself: woman with sword

Protect yourself from evil people.

Later, I insisted on trusting only the best people and screw the rest. I was still very wary. Very. But I allowed trust to grow with a few people. It was interesting how certain people showed up.

After a long time, I decided to take the emphasis off others and put it on me. Now I'm in charge of what I do, who I allow into my life and how they are in my life.

It turns out that I was really bad at loving myself, taking care of myself and protecting myself from uncaring or manipulative people. Since I now know and accept that, I am generally cautious, and have learned to listen to my heart.

If I don't feel comfortable with someone, I trust that feeling and stay away from them.

Also, if I feel attracted to some one, I don't ever pursue them, but I just be myself with them. If they are meant to be in my life, they come to me, and we slowly grow closer.

There are still less than a handful of people I trust, but the truth is that, the only ones I truly, really trust are myself and the Universe speaking in my heart. That's all I truly trust. That's the main thing. It guides me with all other relationships.

Now I have a guide for knowing who to trust and how much. People are going to do what's right for them, whether it bothers me or not. That's okay, I let them do their own thing.

If they break trust intentionally, I'm prepared to lose them, and that's part of life. And sometimes they break trust intentionally but unconsciously. They don't realize they're doing it, and they deny it even while they're doing it. But they're doing it. You know they're doing it. And the fact that they deny it or "didn't mean to" has no bearing on the matter. These days I always ditch toxic people no matter what. A year later I might give them a chance, but I'm twice as quick to cut them out of my life if they're still doing the same crap.

But sometimes people break trust unintentionally. I can tell if they have a good heart. I can feel it in my heart. I can be fooled for a little while, but the breaking point is simply this: If it doesn't feel right, it isn't right. If you aren't sure, then it's not right. If you're confused about it, it's not right. End it with huge distances and high walls. And don't let them be violated.

You have a right to feel good and to surround yourself with only the people who make you feel good and support you doing the things you want to do. Screw the rest of them. Protect your heart. Period. End of story.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What if your hunger isn't actually hunger?

A lot of people eat when they are not hungry. I have, and sometimes still do. I think it’s because we are trying to feel better. We are trying to fill a hole in ourselves that cannot be filled with food, things or other people’s love.

So, the first thing we need is self-love. Love is the miracle cure, according to Louise Hay. Loving myself works miracles in my life. Self-love helps me make changes easily.

If that sounds selfish, think again. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. He just assumed that you love yourself. So, love yourself first. Then you have the wholeness to love others.

If you haven’t been loving yourself first, how has that been working for you? If it doesn’t feel inspiring and healing, isn’t it time to try something else?

A hole in your heart cannot be filled with food. Stuffing your discomfort with food becomes a symptom, not the solution. Learn to love yourself; it’s priority one. I recommend any and all of Louise Hay’s books and recordings to learn how to love yourself.

While you’re healing the emptiness in your core being with self-love, understand and manage your eating. A lot of other people have written about dieting, but probably the most important thing they skip is understanding what is hunger is not. 

People think that any discomfort in the abdominal area is hunger. They respond by eating ... even when that discomfort is caused by being overly full and bloated! The truth is that the discomfort in your gut is rarely hunger. People can go for long periods without eating and still not actually be hungry. Modern humans eat much more than their body actually uses. 

What else do people mistake for hunger? Often stress causes a discomfort that’s mistaken for hunger. You feel stress as a tension in your gut. Mistaking it for hunger, you eat to cure the discomfort. But eating doesn’t fix stress. You can reduce stress in several ways. First, do a centering meditation. Your mind is often on the children, the car, the house, the bills, or that person who slighted you. All those things are outside of you. They are not in you.

So, to reduce stress, draw your energy and attention away from those outside things and put your attention on the energy inside your body.

First, take your attention away from outside things. Sit down and be quiet. Say to yourself, “I am not the house payment. I am not the car that needs repair. I am not the screaming children. I am not the husband who doesn’t help. I am not the wife who demands more of me. I am not the dishes in the sink.” Imagine a smoky stream of energy flowing out of all these “things,” and back into your heart and torso.  

Then, put your attention inside yourself. Say, “I am who I am. I am enough. I do only my best, and that is always good enough. I am a great _____. I feel good about myself when I _____. I love me! etc.” (Hay is the master of self-affirming statements, and has books and audios filled with them.)

A second way to reduce stress is to exercise. Walk for a while every day. It doesn’t matter how fast, but walk a little more each day until you are walking at least 30 minutes. Exercise reduces stress, activates hormones that make you feel great, burns calories, and eliminates that hungry feeling.

Thirst is also mistaken for hunger. Water is good. Keep a glass of filtered water around all the time. Not only does it keep you from feeling hungry when you’re not, but it cleans out all the toxins that can make your sick and tired.

Sleepiness causes tension in the gut, which can be mistaken for hunger. Sleep is essential. Go to bed at the same time every night and rise at the same time every morning. If you start dozing off in the middle of the afternoon, go ahead and take a nap. You can reset your brain clock with a 10-15 minute nap. But you may want to sleep for 30, 60 or 90 minutes, especially if you’re not feeling fully up to par. When you wake up, lay around until you feel happy about getting up. Love yourself! You can be sick and only notice that you feel tired. When you feel sick, tired or on edge, sleep more! Never feel ashamed of getting enough sleep. Sleep is essential.

We also feel tension in our jaw muscles, and we interpret it as hunger. Try a piece of sugar-free chewing gum. A lot of times, chewing relieves that stress that starts in our jaws and extends down our esophagus into the gut. A simple piece of chewing gum can stave off that discomfort for hours!

If somebody upsets you, you may feel stress that can be mistaken for hunger. Don’t stuff your feelings. Sometimes we keep repeating a memory of a perceived insult or injury. Everybody gets upset sometime. But few people realize that you can choose your feelings. Go up several paragraphs and practice centering your attention and energy within yourself.

Instead of living in the memory of hurt, forgive the perpetrator (unless it’s criminal, then report it). These feelings are yours, and the perpetrator probably already forgot about it. Why would you want to carry this around? Release the hurt and anger to the universe. Stop dwelling on the pain. Refuse to live there. Release yourself from that prison.

Replace sad, angry and fearful thought with a happy memory: a happy place or event. Every time the repeating thought comes up, replace it with the happy thought. Stay with that thought for a few minutes. Keep coming back to it every time you notice you drifted away. With practice, you’ll learn to go to your happy place in a snap.

You can be preemptive about it. As you go through your day, notice beautiful, happy things: Gems, flowers, a nice view, a couple holding hands. Remember these and the feeling they give you. Recall them often so they come easily, even when someone upset you. Why get hungry when somebody else is being a jerk?

Okay, sometimes you’re actually hungry. Check all the various things that might be causing that hunger feeling. Make sure it’s really hunger. Some important ones are listed above, but you’ll notice others, too. Try the suggested solutions, or you can make up your own solution.

If you think you’re actually hungry, try drinking some water before eating. Or eat an apple, drink some water or wait 30 minutes, or all three! If you’re still experiencing discomfort in your gut, and you think it’s really hunger, you can choose whether you need a small interim fueling or a full-sized healthy meal. You always get to choose.

For an interim fueling, I drink a Green Schmoo: a smoothie made of half an apple, half a banana, an amount of kale equal to the apple and banana, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, some unsweetened almond milk and water. Blend thoroughly, maybe a full minute. The sweetness is satisfying, and the fiber will fill you up. You can omit the banana for less sugar. If you’re diabetic, you may need something different, like a cereal bowl of blueberries, pecans and home-toasted rolled oats covered with some unsweetened almond milk. Yum!

Of course, we sometimes get hungry for a full-sized meal. If you've done your best to stave off the hunger, go ahead and eat a meal of single helpings. 

Realize this: It’s okay to be hungry. In fact, if you want to lose weight, start with fasting. Make abstaining your norm instead of eating. Fasting turns on your cells’ healing powers and allows for toxins to be expelled from the body. Intermittent fasting allows you to eat healthy for a period of four or six hours each day. You can fast two to five days a week.

I have some Bulletproof Coffee in the morning, a Green Schmoo at 3 p.m., then eat normally between 6-10 p.m. I fast from 10 p.m. one day to 3 p.m. the next day. That’s 17 hours. (Water and Bulletproof Coffee doesn’t count.) It’s easier than it might sound because, instead of breaking fast in the morning, I simply extend the fast until the afternoon, taking an hour long walk, drinking water and a cup of coffee till then. There are lots of different ways to fast intermittently. Figure out a schedule that works for you. Search for it online or find videos of Dr. Jason Fung on

Also, eliminate sugar. Sugar makes you hungry. It burns a lot of minerals and vitamins, and when your trace minerals get burned up, you get cravings – intense hunger - which leads to binges. Sugar is addictive, so it can be hard to kick. The best way is cold turkey. But expect to fall off the wagon several times before you get clean. It took me a year of keeping on trying. I just kept doing it over and over until it stuck.

Finally, you may feel hunger very strongly, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat a huge meal. Often, you can get strong feelings of hunger – like you could eat a whole cow with the trimmings or a whole gallon of ice cream – but if you’ll give yourself a single serving or two of healthy foods, you stave off the hunger. You only need a small amount to stop the strong intensity hunger. And that gives you time to think and to prepare something very healthy that you can stuff yourself with.

In conclusion, you may not be hungry. If you really are, it may be okay to not eat immediately. You may only need a single serving of something healthy. Stave off the hunger until you can put together the healthy, filling meal that you really want. Find what works for you.

You’ll feel blessed for implementing your solution.
© 2018 Christopher Aune
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Sunday, January 8, 2017

The end of sorrows

Today is Sunday, and I went to Tiny Church, where I've been going for a couple of years now. I hugged Pastor Martha and felt her vibration. I've been doing that more and more lately: Sensing my own and others' vibrational energy.

Anyway, I discovered something during the sermon. We read in the Bible, Matthew 24:6-8:
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
That last sentence suddenly made sense to me.

I've written elsewhere about how we get caught up in the memories of painful experiences and project that as the fear of future painful experiences. We live in our pain. The pain no longer exists, but the memory does and the fear does. We live in an illusion. But how did we get there?

Well, the beginning of sorrows is famines, pestilences and earthquakes. These are all things beyond the control of any human being. They cause initial pain. Once we have the experience, we live in fear of the possibility that it could happen again. It drives us crazy. We react to anything that causes any discomfort as though it a precursor to famines, pestilences and earthquakes. We get agitated, angry and even violent. We relay that anxiety to our families and across generations. That leads to wars and rumors of wars. Yes, it really actually happens that way. It even activates our DNA so we are born afraid and ready to fight. Not a good thing.

So, here's the fix. As soon as you have a painful experience, go talk to a good listener about it. The sooner the better, otherwise you get into the habit of carrying that memory and fear around with you, and it gets harder to deal with. The scientists have demonstrated that the way to dissipate and eventually remove the pain and fear is to talk about it, re-experience the memory and pain over and over again in a safe setting until you can talk about it without the emotion. It works ... unless you live there in the memory of pain. Don't live there.

Step Two is getting out and collecting good, positive, upbeat experiences. Recall them over and over again. Anytime your thoughts go toward negativity, stop! Tell yourself, "Stop that! I don't live there," and then replace it with your favorite happy memory. Live in the happy memories. Notice beauty everywhere, every day. Notice when something brings you joy. Dwell there! Share the good stories of your life. Talk about the good things that have happened to you.

What about painful experiences that happened years ago but are still living in your mind? Do the same thing. Talk about it with someone who knows how to listen. Share the emotion associated with the pain in a safe place. Do it over and over until the emotion no longer bothers you when you talk about it. Replace negative memories with beautiful memories and feelings. Do it every time until it becomes an automatic habit.  Repeat them to yourself in the mirror until the stories come naturally and automatically. Share the positive stories with anyone who will listen. Share the joy, don't annoy.

Famines, pestilences, earthquakes and wars may be the beginning of sorrows, but now you know the end of them. The reign of heaven is at hand! Live it! - Christopher Aune

Saturday, January 7, 2017


I want to do the "greater things than these" that Jesus Christ said we would do.

There. I said it. I had to say that right up front because that's why I started this blog. I'm going to be exploring the astounding things I've learned about meditation and prayer, plus my progress toward my dreams and goals. I'll be sharing my attempts, my failures and my triumphs.

To start, I'm focusing on Foundations. It may not look like it, but all these things fit together to make a life I love. All the following posts are encounters along The Way.

Click on image for a larger view
My Best Day - added May 2019.