Resonance and Drag

God and universe are system. We are constantly interacting with them – with God, one another and the environment around us. The cycles of interaction (feedback loops) between you and all things in your life can largely affect how you feel day-to-day. If you are getting positive feedback from others in your life and your environment, you feel good. This is what we call resonance. It is the feeling you get when you are doing something you were born to do or when you are spending time with someone who just gets you. You feel vitalized and creative. On the other hand, if you are getting negative feedback from others and your environment, you feel stressed, worn out, and maybe even depressed. Read More

The Good Life = Resilience  

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Remember your life is not supposed to be stress-free. I think we all have ideals we are dreaming of: “Everything will be great when….” Fill in the blank: “…when I find ‘the one,'” “…when I get a new job,” “…when I retire.” It’s the time when it feels like you’ll just be able to kick up your feet and relax for the rest of your life, when you’ve finally “made it.” I’m not saying we can’t experience good things, but if we count on attaining some version of utopian paradise, we are going to start wondering why all this stress keeps coming at us. Read More

When Bad Things Happen

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When bad things happen, it is easy for us to feel as if God has abandoned us or is punishing us, even though it is clear good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. We sometimes start to feel guilty or as if we need to change course when bad things happen since we think if we are “doing things right,” we should be rewarded! Yet the sun rises on the evil and the good and rain falls on the righteous and unrighteous. Basically, it’s a crapshoot. The fact that bad things are happening to you does not necessarily mean you have done something wrong or you are headed in the wrong direction. It could, but sometimes it means you’re headed in the right direction. I often tell people (usually when they are setting a boundary or trying on some new behavior), “If it’s difficult, you know you’re doing it right!” People don’t usually like that. 🙂 Read More

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

July 2010 028 (3) The stories we tell ourselves are very important. I heard someone say once that the thing that separates humans from animals is that we as humans attach meaning to our experiences. Think about it: an animal encounters stress in the form of a predator and acts on instinct to get away or fight and probably does not give it much thought after that. But think about what we tell ourselves when we encounter lesser threats: “I’m never going to catch up on things,” “life is not turning out the way I planned,” “I’m a failure,” “God is punishing me,” “I can’t handle this,” “life is not worth living.” The list is endless. What we call stress is not the physiological responses we have to threat or difficulty; it is the stories we tell ourselves and the meaning we abstract in difficult circumstances. These are what weigh us down and erode our well-being. If we avoid telling ourselves these negative stories, we can use our body’s stress reaction to help ratchet up our performance. The anxiety is there to help you pay attention and be able to perform at a high level. If you allow it to do so, you can meet the challenge and then allow yourself to “come back down” when you need to. Consider some different meanings we can assign to our difficulty: “God trusts me to handle this,” “I must be important enough to encounter this hard thing,” “my life must be worth something,” “this is just another challenge that will soon pass,” “there must be something important to take from this,” “my body is wired to help me meet this challenge,” “pain is the way I grow.” These are not just positive reframes to help us feel better. I think they are actually true.

Freedom In Suffering

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I have long been fascinated by and drawn to stories of people who have suffered greatly and yet live free. That’s why my favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption. I heard once that Nelson Mandela was able to find a sublime level of peace in his soul while imprisoned. You have probably heard similar stories. I have even wished suffering upon myself at times because in suffering, we learn who we truly are and what really matters in life bubbles to the surface. Weird, right? Read More