Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

More Importantly, Are They Ever Coming Back?

Horse and Hay

I was talking with a family member recently about how a lot… NOT ALL…. but a lot of boys and men today are lacking in the “tough guy” department.  Naturally, it should go without saying – but I’ll say it anyway because experience has taught me to always be thorough and leave no room for interpretation and even less room for wise guys – but when I say “tough guy,” I’m not referring to bullies.

For an illustration of the difference between the two, you need look no further than a street in black and white Mayberry. When Opie stood up to a milk-money-thieving bully, Opie was tough.  The bully? Well he was a punk. Punks aren’t tough guys – they’re just target practice for tough guys.

It’s kind of hard to describe what makes a man or boy tough, isn’t it? Maybe that’s what makes it hard to be tough.

I’ll use another illustration. This time a real life one, in living color.  When my oldest daughters (Emily and Brittany) were around 1 and 2 years old, they were sitting with my dad in his favorite recliner. This particular man thought these particular girls hung the moon and stars. I was never one to argue because I was pretty sure they did too.  He had just gotten home from work and was so excited to see that we had come for a visit, that he sat right down with the girls without taking the ball point pen out of his shirt pocket.

I was on the other side of the room, talking to my mother when I heard my dad calmly say, “I’ll be right back, girls, I just need to get something in the kitchen…”  He had his pen in his hand, so I just assumed he was putting it up.

Come to find out, somehow, in the chaos of four little excitable hands, the pen had come out of his pocket and had poked him in the eye.

PAINFUL!

He later said he didn’t want to scare the girls or make them think they’d done anything wrong, so he just calmly excused himself.  There was a tear that required a doctor’s attention and he wore a patch for a few weeks, calling himself “Grandpa Pirate.”

You know – and I know – that there are men today that, if this had happened to them back then – they’d still be screaming about it. They’d have pitched such a fit the two little girls would have been scarred for life.

This is just one of the illustrations of toughness that come to mind. Possibly it’s the one I choose to use I’ve had something similar happen to my eye before and know that the pain is excruciating. What’s more, it’s frightening – I mean, it’s your eye!  And yet, my dad (who was not at all a big, strapping man – in fact, he was WAY more Barney than Andy) summoned the toughness to take command of his fears, his pain, and his emotions.  It left an impression on me then and it still leaves one today.

Another illustration of toughness involves another of the most important men in my life – my husband. He was chosen to throw the first pitch out at an important minor league baseball game. He was lined up for the honor for nearly a year.  Tragically, his adorable mother passed away about a week before the game.  I never even assumed, for a minute, that he wouldn’t go through with his duty. I knew he was one of the last remaining tough guys, so I knew he’d manage to go through with it.  I just didn’t know that he’d be able to do so with so much strength.  He managed smiles and even laughed about not throwing the ball into the dirt.  No one in the entire stadium (except for one wife and three daughters) knew that underneath the smile was a broken heart.

He put on his loud Tommy Bahama shirt and did what needed to be done. No questions asked. He wasn’t going to let anyone else down or not do what he said he’d do.

Yet again, this illustration sticks out to me because, yet again, I’ve had something similar happen to me with my mom and know the pain is excruciating. And frightening.

As with most things in life, I don’t have the answer to the problem of our current drought of tough guys or cowboys.  Too much catering to whims… lack of accountability… too many parents “babying” their sons??  I don’t know.  A lot of people point to too many single parent homes where young boys don’t have a father figure to “look up to.”  While this certainly sounds reasonable and probably does account for a lot of it, my dad was raised by his mom after she divorced his dad.  So, even that “excuse” has holes in it.

Maybe, just maybe, a lot of men aren’t tough today because… Hey! Being tough is hard! It’s easier to complain, whine, gripe, pout, scream and bow out.   I watched a lot of westerns with my dad and I never saw the cowboys act like that.  They pulled up their boots and… more times than not.. quietly did what needed to be done. Quietly and nobly.

They didn’t throw pity parties, they didn’t demand attention, and they didn’t whine.  They were too busy doing cowboy stuff to have time for any of that “sissy” stuff.

Maybe part of it comes from selfishness. People today seem to be more self-oriented and selfish than ever before. After all, this is a generation that added the word “selfies” to our vocabulary. Most of us, when we were teens and even into our twenties, we pointed our cameras at everything and everyone BUT ourselves!

I think all of us would be a lot better off  if we pointed our attention… as well as our camera… at other things and people as well.  If we stopped putting ourselves in the center of everything and stopped worrying that we weren’t “getting our way” all the time.  Basically if everyone just pulled up their boots, got over themselves, and went on about life and the living of it.

Maybe then the cowboys would show back up…

 

I Think We’re Seeing a New Breed of People Being Born Right Before Our Eyes

Frankly, It's Not a Very Pretty Sight...

Quote About Egotism

Picture it. A documentary is coming on the television set. The music sets a dramatic tone.  The narrator (let’s give him a British accent for effect) announces that a new tribe of people has been discovered in (surprisingly) a part of the world that isn’t even remotely remote. You lean in close, wondering how a new race of people could have hidden all these years, undetected.  You watch, expecting them to be draped in animal skins, living in caves, speaking in grunts, and sporting, possibly, nose rings.

You admit to yourself that maybe you watch too much National Geographic.

As you wait, literally on the edge of your couch, for the big reveal, the camera zeroes in on the new breed.

Wait… What???

It’s us. As images of social media, pictures on Facebook and Instagram, infidelity statistics, divorce rates, and so on flash across the screen, the narrator pauses dramatically then announces the name of the new breed:  the Self Absorbed.

Dum-dum-dum-dum.

Kidding aside, I just have to ask, what is with people these days?  Why are so many individuals as self absorbed as high-end paper towels? When I was in high school, the ancestors of the self absorbed were called “self centered.”  But the generation they gave way to has far surpassed their efforts.

Odds are you know at least one person (the odds are greater that you know quite a few) who is self absorbed.  Heck you may even be showing signs of heading that way yourself.  If that’s the case, take heart.  Maybe this article was meant for YOU and will prove as a life boat to keep you from drowning in a sea of YOU.

When something happens gradually, it becomes our NORMAL.  What we accept as the norm today would have mortified us 20 years ago.  As a comparatively small example, think about the commercials you see on TV today.  If you could transport yourself back 20 or even 10 years ago, can you imagine your reaction if you saw some of this crap come on? Something my husband used to do, when our girls were younger was probably the best way of handling idiot commercials I’ve ever seen.  He’d always have a “back up” channel in place during the show we were watching (especially during sporting events, where commercials really show their immaturity).  He’d flip over to the “back up channel” (usually the Golf Channel or the Weather Channel) as soon as the commercials tried to throw themselves into our living room.

Since he didn’t want three young girls exposed to stupidity and flirtations with porn, he’d simply opt out.  He was a dad who didn’t want to let what was becoming “norm” to the rest of  the world to become the “norm” for his family.

Unfortunately, the commercials – gradually – have become even worse.

Isn’t that how most things happen? Slowly. Gradually.  Then you sit there one evening while a commercial plays out that leaves your jaw on the floor as you ask, “America… what happened?!”

Like commercials (and magazines, movies, television, music…), the road to self absorption for so many people has happened gradually.  They didn’t set out to become narcissists.  But unfortunately, they didn’t set out NOT to become narcissists either.

nar·cis·sist

[nahr-suh-sist] noun

1. a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.
2. Psychoanalysis . a person who suffers from narcissism, deriving erotic gratification from admiration of his or her own physical or mental attributes.

Signs of a Self Absorbed

In a nutshell, the self absorbed makes every single moment, every single situation, and every single experience about them.  What matters most isn’t who they are with, the beauty around them,  the moment they’re in, or what they can do for anyone else.

What matters most to them is… well… them.

A few questions that’ll help classify a self absorbed person:

  • Does the person talk, at length, about their health, their diet, or their appearance?
  • Does the person buy things only for himself or herself?
  • Does the person ever do “cool” things for others?
  • Does the person give to charities… could the person even name three charities?!?!
  • Does the person look at the world around them or are they too busy demanding that the world look at them?
  • On Twitter, is the person 95% about self-promotion?
  • On Facebook, are they begging others to LIKE them (or their product) or are they working hard, giving others a reason TO like them?
  • Does the person ask… and actually listen to the answer… how someone else’s day was?
  • Is the person friendly, respectful, and courteous to servers in restaurants or do they have the, “You are here to serve me and you’d better do a darn good job!” mentality?
  • Does the person have any idea, whatsoever, what’s actually going on in the world – or is the world, to them, literally what’s in the room with them?
  • The self absorbed individual is the one who, when talking about their success (something they’re always doing),  shows pictures of their car, their vacation, and sometimes even their home.  I’m never impressed with that – come on, just about anyone can buy a car or take a vacation!   To borrow a phrase from an old Shania Twain song, “That don’t impress me much.”  Show me what you’re doing to make THE world a better place, not YOUR world.  Show me how you’re helping precious children who need someone to care, show me how you’re saving a beautiful animal from becoming extinct, show me how you’re helping elderly people live out their lives with dignity, show me how you’re making the world a better place. Put your car in the garage, dude, it’s the least of my worries.

In Defense of the Self Absorbed

Before you start to think I hate self absorbed or self centered people – I do not. I don’t hate anyone.  In fact, I feel sorry for them because if you limit your world to YOU, you’re missing out on so, SO much.  If you make every situation, every day, every holiday, every moment all about you, you’re missing out on everyone around you. What’s more, you’re creating a void between you and everyone else. If your life is all about you 24/7, make no mistake about it, you’ll end up pushing everyone away and you will be left with your one true obsession.. yourself. How lonely does that sound?

As I said earlier, sometimes things happen slowly over time. Many self absorbed people slowly transition into being that way because of a health scare or other dramatic event in their lives.  A loss of a very close loved one makes some people become very self absorbed.

Over my lifetime, I’ve seen a lot of people become very self absorbed because of a health issue or because of  aging.  They become, literally, obsessed and preoccupied with the person they see in the mirror.  They’re every conversation and thought is channeled in that direction.

To me, that’s not LIVING, that’s simply TRYING NOT TO DIE.

There’s a big difference.  But, again, things happen slowly over time. The same person who would have been mortified by the idea 10 years ago is, today, discussing bodily functions with the hostess at Cracker Barrel and medications with a stranger in Target. Just because someone politely asks, “How are you doing?” doesn’t mean they want your medical history.

When you read interviews with people who have celebrated their 100th birthday, they look back over a life of living. They don’t look back over a life of trying not to die.

I think we have to cut our young people a little bit of slack, too.  Young girls and boys, today, have grown up with Facebook, Instagram, constantly taking selfies (pictures taken by oneself of oneself), reality TV, and with the mindset of “By gosh, it IS all about me!”  Sadly, it’s their norm.

And our future is in their hands.

Are you scared now?

Dangers Posed by the Self Absorbed

I am a positive person – very positive, in fact. However, even I am driven to say that the self absorbed breed could just be our downfall.  Think about some of the problems we face.

  • Divorce rates are through the roof.  Self absorbed people don’t think about the other person, all that matters TO them IS them. So what if they “flirt” online or go to websites that bother their spouse – it’s their life, by gosh, and they’ll do what they want.  And then they do…. all the way to divorce court.
  • People are falling for scams online left and right. The person they THINK they’re having a relationship with is completely different from what they think. Sometimes the other person is actually married and often they aren’t even the sex they believe them to be! Talk about awkward.  When people only care about themselves, they don’t care if they hurt another individual or not. They don’t even care if they wreck their world.  Remember, the self absorbed care only about themselves – all others are irrelevant.
  • Relationships are crumbling because men and women seem to have complete misconceptions about infidelity.  If you are in a committed relationship, your every e-mail, “tweet,” direct message, etc. should be able to be seen by your companion.  If they can’t be (without you wanting to run for the hills), you’re cheating. Plain and simple. I read a few days ago something that stood out to me. If you could not exchange phones with your significant other without panicking, you need to wake up.  Same can be said about e-mail and social media. Self absorbed people only think about what makes them feel good at the moment – they don’t have any respect or regard for anyone else.  And then they wonder why their relationship fails.
  • I don’t get shocked easily.  I always say the reason for that is I lived with three teenage daughters – how in the world could anything shock me?! However, I am shocked by what’s considered normal these days. During the Super Bowl, for example, there were about 3 different commercials that left me grasping for reality. Do advertisers not realize (or give a darn) that kids watch television? Do they not realize that the only people who buy their products aren’t 15 year old boys?!  Many companies are just as self absorbed as the individuals who run them.  They think, “I’ll do what I want to do, and if offends people… I’ll probably just make more money.”
  • Self absorbed people are the ones who text while they drive. The dangers they pose don’t matter – the only thing that matters is that they have something to say and… after all… their words are worth any chaos they cause.  Especially if they happen to have a picture of themselves to show off.
  • One of the biggest dangers of the self absorbed person is the fact that they’re keeping the breed going.  They’re continuing a “norm” that needs desperately to end.

Is There Any Hope for the Self Absorbed?!

If you had an uneasy, “Uh oh” moment when you read the words “self absorbed” and saw a bit of yourself in the descriptions, you’re lucky.  You’re probably cured already.  Sometimes all it takes is a wake up call. It’s kind of like taking a good look in the mirror before going out for dinner and a movie and seeing that your hair’s standing straight up.  It’s not a pretty sight, but thanks be to God you saw it before anyone else!

Personally, I think there’s hope for even the most self absorbed people.  If not… at least they provide the rest of us with a little free entertainment.  Just be sure you don’t buy into what they’re selling – it really isn’t any way to live.

 

Where Do You Stand on Hypnosis and Subliminal Thought?

Eldon Taylor's New Book Might Just Change Your Opinion

You probably, at this moment, have a preconceived opinion about hypnosis, self-hypnosis, and subliminal thought. You may be rolling your eyes, wondering if you’ll even read the next paragraph or you may be leaning in, anxiously waiting to learn more about a subject that already fascinates you. More likely than not, you’re somewhere in between these two extremes. Self Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology by Eldon Taylor

To be perfectly honest, that’s where I was before I read Self-Hypnosis And Subliminal Technology: A How-to Guide for Personal-Empowerment Tools You Can Use Anywhere!. I was in between the two extremes, but (shhh, don’t tell the author) I was closer to the eye roller than the leaner.

Then, as fate would have it, I read a little book that made a huge impact.

Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology Book Description

Self-hypnosis and subliminal communication have long been mired in mystique, urban legend and disinformation. The truth is that both of these techniques are backed by extensive research demonstrating their efficacy and more importantly, once learned, both tools can be customized for any situation and can be used almost anytime and anywhere.

Join Eldon Taylor as he unravels the truth behind these technologies, and demonstrates how they are invaluable tools in your self-help armamentarium. In this essential guide, you will learn:

  • How to create your own custom subliminal program to break through subconscious blockages.
  • How subliminal communication works and why it is so much more powerful than simply using affirmations.
  • 5 steps for putting yourself into a hypnotic state.
  • Several techniques to assist you in going even deeper into a hypnotic state.
  • How you can create new habits, uncover hidden conflicts that often cause self-destructive patterns and discover new solutions to old problems!

Hypnosis and subliminal communication have been used for medical purposes as well as the metaphysical. Once you have mastered these two technologies, you will be able to use them anytime and anywhere to achieve a wide range of goals, from weight loss to stop smoking, from building your self esteem to maximizing your own healing potential, from enhancing your learning ability to dealing with anger and stress, and so much more.

Finally, you can take complete control of your own self-help program!  – Book Description from Amazon

Self-Hypnosis And Subliminal Technology: A How-to Guide for Personal-Empowerment Tools You Can Use Anywhere! is, simply put, one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read – and, you know me, I read A LOT of books.  This is one of those books where you’re anxious to turn the page to see what you’ll learn next, but (at the same time), you aren’t quite “over” the page you’re on, so you don’t want to leave it quite yet.

Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

 It’s no surprise (to you, me, or anyone with an ounce of common sense) that the mind has boundless power. The saying goes, “You are what you eat,” but you can make a very strong case for, “You are what you think.”  Consider what Eldon Taylor writes on page 13 of:

What is the limit to the power of the mind? For years the power of positive thinking has been heralded as almost a supreme power to attract and create wealth, power, relationships, success, and general prosperity of all kinds.  Recently – at least within, say, the past 30 to 40 years – the power of the mind has also been championed as the body’s great healer.  Word and abbreviations have been added to our vocabulary to accommodate the exchange of ideas regarding this seemingly miraculous interface between mind and body, words such as psychoneuroimmunology, or PNI for short.  More recently, several researchers have stepped forward to inform us that our thoughts, the stuff in our minds, engage and activate the DNA molecule, and for this labels such as novelty-numinosum-neurogenesis and psychosocial genomics have been added to our vocabulary.

About the Author

Eldon Taylor has been researching the power of the mind for over 25 years. He has testified as an expert court witness with regards to both subliminal communication and hypnosis. Eldon has been called ‘the master of the mind,’ and is the creator of the patented InnerTalk technology – the only such technology to be researched by numerous independent universities and institutions, and be demonstrated effective. Eldon is a Fellow in the American Psychotherapy Association and a certified hypnotherapist.

Self-Hypnosis And Subliminal Technology gives the reader a fascinating and straightforward introduction to hypnosis.  It strips away the images many of us have of, “When I count to three, you’ll flap your arms and quack like a duck.  1 — 2—-3!”   The reader soon realizes that, not only is hypnosis very, very real – it’s very, very powerful.  What’s more, the possibilities are as limitless as the stars in the sky.

In addition to a fascinating education in the workings of the mind and the  truth behind hypnosis, the reader is given a wonderful list of affirmations for use with the cd included with the book.

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend. – Henri Bergson

I hope you’ll click the following link and learn more about a book I can’t stop thinking about – Self-Hypnosis And Subliminal Technology: A How-to Guide for Personal-Empowerment Tools You Can Use Anywhere!.

How Do You Make Time For Yourself?

And Why You Should do It More Often!

Holy Mole Cartoon

 Peace: I Guess You Have to Keep Creating It - Holy Mole Comic Strip by Rick Hotton

Day 9 of November’s National Health Blog Challenge Month!

Do you have a certain routine (daily preferably) or “escape” each day that’s for you and you alone?  If you don’t, it may be the very thing missing from your life.

At least 5 days a week, I retreat to the bathroom for a little “girly” escape. I put on a facial mask soak my feet in the tub, then follow it up with a foot scrub treatment, finishing off with great smelling lotion. After I take off the facial mask, I do or re-do my nails if they need it. Then I’ll finish the retreat off with a chapter from the Agatha Christie novel I’m reading at the time.

One of the quirkiest of the quirky things about me is that I am ALWAYS in the middle of an Agatha Christie mystery.  Even if it means going back and reading one I’d read years ago.  What can I say, I’m obsessed with Agatha Christie.

It may sound crazy to some people (especially males!) but the mini-retreat does me a lot of good and I mean A LOT. Fortunately, I work from home, so when I’ve reached a certain  point in my day when I could use a little relaxation, I minimize all of the windows on my computer, grab my coffee and iced tea (naturally I have both going at all times – another quirk or am I not alone in this one?), and off I head for the back of the house… followed immediately by my cat Alexa who enjoys a good retreat, herself.

More than anything, these precious few minutes I steal away from the day recharge me.  No matter how I felt immediately before the mini retreat… when I return to my computer, work, and the real world, I feel (and smell!) a world better.  I guess you could say it puts me in a better place.  In fact, I find that my thinking is even clearer after I return to my work. My creativity flows more graciously and I’m able to get things done in no time at all.

Like I said, it recharges me!

A lot of times I’ll hear from people who say they feel as though they’re hanging on by a thread.  Whether it’s stress, anxiety, or the blues – life appears to be serving them more than their plate can hold. Inevitably, I’ll ask them what they do to take time for themselves.  Just one short “get away” each day could make all the difference in the world.

Before a recent foot injury, yoga was my great escape. I’m hoping it will be again soon – but as it is, right now a balancing move of any kind would  end in disaster.  For now, I soak.

How about you? What do you do each day to take a little time for yourself and recharge your own batteries?

See more wonderful Holy Mole Comic Strips!

The Hidden Root of a Lot of Rottenness

The Past is a Great Place to Visit...

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote about living in the past

There is no past we can bring back by longing for it. There is only an eternal now that builds and creates out of the past something new and better. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The past is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. That very thought ran through my head a few days ago when, for whatever reasons, I started thinking about a terrible car accident my oldest daughter and I were in.  The brain’s a peculiar thing, isn’t it?  There I was, picking tomatoes in our garden and my mind started playing 20 questions: “Why did you take that particular route?  Why didn’t you take the main road? What was so important that you even had to go to the store anyway?!?

I turned the tables on these thoughts and ended the conversation by saying, “Thank God we both lived through it and, what’s more, I know it made us both stronger.” Plucking a positive out of wreckage (literally, in this case) puts negative thoughts on mute.  Just where they should be.

Even those of us who so firmly live by the phrase, “Live in the Moment” that it could be tattooed across our forehead have moments when our thoughts slide into the past.  We’ll long for days that have passed or, as in the example above, wish desperately that we could get a “do over” where we could change events.

Spending time in the past can actually prove to be  the root of many problems, but because it’s such a deep, hidden root we don’t always see it.

  • Many relationships are tense because of unforgiven or forgotten incidences in the past. One will pounce on the other for a tiny infraction simply because they’re carrying residual anger from a past incident. The other person will cry out, “What I did isn’t worth all of this!” and perhaps the one who’s angry KNOWS it isn’t’. They may not even realize that the “root” of the problem travels into the past.
  • People who have lost dreams will hold onto them so tightly that they fail to realize just how wonderful their life really is. They keep measuring it against their castle in the sky dream, causing it to come up short. What part of that is healthy?!
  • Parents with grown children will often cling to the past, when their children were small and running through the house bouncing off walls.  If they aren’t careful, they fail to fully appreciate and cultivate a close friendship with the young adult in front of them.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with having wonderful memories and, certainly, revisiting happy times is a beautiful trip. The point is this, you don’t want to spend so much time THERE that you fail to fully experience HERE.

I once had an experience that sort of sums up what I’m trying to say.  If you read much of my writing (if you do, I love you!), you know that I’m a nature and animal lover to the core. I’m one of those people who gets completely lost watching birds at her bird feeders or seems to check out of reality while staring at a magnificent tree.   One day this past summer, my husband and I were driving in a region of Kentucky called “Land Between the Lakes.”  This gorgeous area is filled with wildlife, birds, butterflies, trees, sailboats, lakes… it’s just gorgeous and it’s a place we visit regularly.

As always, I had my camera with me and was snapping pictures for my own enjoyment as well as for my Kentucky blog.  As we turned down a scenic road that ran right by one of the lakes, for some reason (I’ll never know why, exactly), instead of keeping my camera ready and looking out my window as usual, I started looking down at the pictures I’d recently taken. My husband came to a slow stop and, when I looked up , there was a gorgeous doe right by my window.

Would have been the photographic moment of a lifetime. 

She was so close I could have practically kissed her nose.  But where was I? In the past.  I was looking at what had already happened rather than fully taking in what was LITERALLY right in front of me.

Whenever I find myself being pulled back into the past, I remember that gorgeous doe and the lesson she taught me.  Look in wide-eyed wonder at the world around you. Take it all in and appreciate where you are.

“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.” - Betty Smith

Instead of Turning Things Over in Your Mind…

Turn them Over to Your Subconscious Mind

Note to Subconscious Mind

As soon as we stop worrying, a solution pops up. – David DeNotoris

I’ve always been a firm believer in trusting your  subconscious mind. In fact, I think we’d all be a lot closer to our life’s goals and dreams if we trusted this wise inner voice more often.  A while back, my husband turned a problem over to his subconscious mind and was blown away by what it had to say.  He has been planning a particular website for a while now.  Given the fact that he works full-time (I guess a 50 hours a week constitutes full-time!), planning stages can sort of drag out.  He finally got around to picking out the perfect domain name…. and naturally it was taken.  And (again, naturally), the owner was doing absolutely NOTHING with the domain.

I contacted her for my husband, asking how much she’d want for the domain.  I’m still laughing over her answer.  I replied that she surely misunderstood; we didn’t want to buy her home, cars, pets, furniture, and children. Just the domain.

We aren’t lottery winners, so my husband began thinking of new domain names.  He decided to stop worrying and to even stop thinking – and to “turn” the problem over to his subconscious mind and see what it could come up with.  Mere hours later, he had the perfect domain name. Yes, even better than the one that remains unsold, unused, and over-priced.

It’s simply another illustration of what we can do when we stop WASTING energy worrying, fretting, and over-thinking and start HARNESSING untapped mental power.

The answer lies inside of you.  Always has.

I’ve had a favorite approach when it comes to problem-solving that I’ve used for many, many years.  I used it before my self help blog existed and long before I even acknowledged the subconscious mind’s existence!  One of my favorite approaches to a problem, question, dilemma, or decision is to “flip it.”  I approach it this way: I imagine that someone I know is the one with this very problem.  I then “tap into” the advice I would give them. Approaching the situation from this vantage point takes self completely out of the way and allows you to view the problem logically, clearly, rationally, and with an open-mind.

Basically, it’s just another way of allowing your subconscious mind to take over where you’ve left off.

Not long ago, I read about another approach. I’m ALL about index cards and post it notes, so I jumped on board without a moment’s hesitation.  Some people write a particular problem in the form of a question on index cards or post it notes and leave them in places around their home, car, and office.  The notion is that your subconscious mind will see and “register” the question even when you don’t realize it.  Even better, it’ll be working on a a solution or answer even when you don’t realize it.

When will you realize it? When it hands you the solution!

You have to write the problem in the form of a question, though. That’s the most important thing.  Also, be very specific. See the post it note I made and put at the top of the post?  Don’t ask vague questions. If you do, you’ll get vague answers.  Be specific and bold, never vague and shy.

Why You Should Turn Your Problems Over to Your Subconscious Mind:

  • Worry just walks around in circles.
  • Bitterness sulks in the corner.
  • Stress eats away at your life.
  • Anger eats away at your relationships.
  • Giving up? Never an option.

The next time you have a decision to make, a problem to solve, or a dilemma to iron out, call upon your subconscious mind.  Whether you mentally turn things over to your subconscious mind and head off to bed, write questions to stimulate its thought processes, or “flip” things entirely, the point is this:  The answer is inside of you. If you invite it to take center stage, it’ll do so. You may love what it has to say, you may hate what it has to say. Either way, you’ll have your answer.  A subconscious mind is a terrible thing to waste!

The Heartfire Project Journal Will Refamiliarize You with Someone You May Not Have Thought About Years

Being a highly excitable person, many things excite me. For better or worse, I get as excited over a lot of things, much as a small child gets excited over Christmas morning. (Child, nothing – Christmas morning gets to all of us!)

One of the things that really gets me revved up is when ordinary individuals (you know, those of us who have to make our way and find our way because we haven’t inherited anyone else’s way!) take on projects with passion and purpose. It’s exciting when someone has a dream within them, then brings that dream to life with hard work, determination, and sheer, “I. Will. Find. A. Way.” willpower.

Makes me want to cheer for them. But when I do that sort of thing, my cats worry.

Two friends, with particularly lovely smiles – Molly Hart and Sonya Conrad – have started something they call the Heartfire Project. Click on the link I just tossed you to read about their project and mission. I could, of course, explain the project to you – but it seems only fair to let the ladies tell you, themselves. After all, it’s something they’re passionate about, so it’s only right that they get to introduce themselves….well, themselves.

I got my copy of their Heartfire Journal yesterday and have already filled out many of the pages. I did some of them this morning, when the house was all quiet and everyone was asleep except for me and one of my cats, Alexa. Click HERE to see sample pages from this journal. They’re downloadable, so you can get a “feel” for how special this journal is.

Ironically, one of my favorite “insighttivities” (they’re activities that bring about personal insight, so I’m going with calling them such) is the one titled “My Nine Lives.” As the authors point out, beautifully, on the following page, “You are all these people rolled into one. It may be hard to imagine you can be a farming-showgirl or mud-wrestling school teacher, yet we all have a collection of characters on our bus. Allowing them each a voice and then a place in your life creates a more complex, satisfied version of you.” I love that!

The characters on my bus sometimes seem so completely opposite that it amuses me. Sometimes I find myself engrossed in an NFL (or baseball, basketball..) game while making homemade bread, and talking about politics with my youngest daughter. I love the concept of fining all the many aspects of your personality and making them all sing together in harmony.

This journal is a lot of fun – but it’s fun with a purpose. As I was writing a few thoughts down this morning, something struck me. I was taken back to days in my room, as a pre-teen and teenager – writing in my diary. Although it seems as though it’s a lifetime later, the same girl that sprawled across her unmade bed with a siamese cat named Solo still lives within the one that was sprawled out on the home office floor with a cat named Alexa this morning.

Same type of thoughts, same type of Mary Poppins attitude, same smiley face doodles here and there. Actually, my smiley faces have evolved. They get noses, hair, and sometimes glasses now. But they’re still smiling.

I can’t really put it into words, but I got reacquainted with ME this morning. Not just the wife, mother, animal lover, blogger, cook, reader, food network junkie, coffee drinker, self help guru, movie addict…. I got in contact with HER again. Just Joi. The one who lived before everything else happened. Before losing her parents, before finding the love of her life, before having the three most beautiful daughters in the world, before speeding tickets, before budgeting (yuck), before life.

I found something out. I like her. And I like me.

You are, I’m sure the same way. You get so busy wearing so many different hats that you sometimes lose touch with the wearer of the hats. The real YOU is underneath it all – all the titles, all the deadlines, all the to do lists — all the hats.

I do all of my blogs with the same thing in mind – helping and touching as many people as I can. In that frame of thought, I would love to see you head over to Heartfelt Project and order a journal for yourself. It isn’t a purchase as much as it is a journey… Ordering it is simply the first step.

I hope you take it.

- Joi

When It Comes to Self Discovery, the Writing isn’t on the Wall, It’s in the Journal!

Self Discovery.  This one phrase has more life-changing power in it than most people realize.  You can’t possibly improve ANYTHING unless you first understand it and know it for what it is, inside and out.  That’s why I love programs, books, websites, lessons, etc. that have enough sense to focus on self discovery. 

It’s only after an individual has a clear understanding of where they’re coming from that they can realistically chart in which direction they hope to move next.  If you or I have no idea who or where we are, we’re prisoners to our own lack of knowledge and we have no more direction than an autumn leaf riding in the wind.

I’m sure you don’t like leaving your fate up in the air anymore than I do!

For as long as I know, I’ve kept journals.  I’m pretty sure I’ve gone into great detail about my notebook obsession – I have thoughts, reflections, quotes, randomness, and journal entries all around me.  Their benefit doesn’t necessarily lie in the future.  Truth be told, I don’t go back and re-read what I’ve written very often, not unless I’m feeling nostalgic or need a little piece of information I can’t “pull up” all by myself.  The benefit of writing things down takes place during the writing – when my thoughts, hopes, feelings, dreams, worries, etc. come spilling from my mind onto the page. 

There’s something amazingly wonderful about writing down your innermost thoughts.  Very often, mid paragraph, something comes out you never fully realized existed.  Talk about self discovery! I’ve always thought of journal writing as “Putting yourself in the best possible hands – your own.

The Progoff Intensive Journal Program is an ingenius integrated system where you use this sort of self discovery to lead to self development and self improvement.  The direction we all want to head in, to be sure. 

This Intensive Journal Program uses writing exercises to aid in this self discovery – in my opinion, a brilliant idea. 

The Intensive Journal workbook is the basic instrument in which you write about your life. It is a three ring binder containing tabs, each of which covers a specific area of your life. Examples include personal relationships, career and special interests, body and health, events, dreams, and meaning in life. – Intensive Journal.org

Since the founder was a leading authority on C.G. Jung, depth psychology and transpersonal psychology AND journal writing, you can sort of think of this Intensive Journal Program as a journal with a psychology degree!

Take a few minutes, now, and try a sample Intensive Journal Exercise. I did the written exercise, myself, prior to writing this review. I read everything on the website and thought, “After I go through my recipes, get my grocery list together, and go to the store, I’m definitely going to write a post about this program.” However, after doing the sample written exercise and actually benefiting from a few insights it brought forward, I wanted to share it with you right away. The recipes and groceries aren’t going anywhere – but you can.

Self Development is just a step away….

The above is a sponsored review, which merely means that I’ve been paid to give my opinion. Whether I like or dislike a product is my own choosing – as are all of the words and all of the thoughts. Frankly, if I don’t completely approve of something or feel that it can benefit my readers, I don’t accept the offer to write the review. I’ve been keeping count (what can I say – it’s something else I get to write down) -and I turn away three times more offers than I accept. So the rare ones I do, you know I mean them!