Hey Passengers, M-E-R-R-Y M-O-N-D-A-Y!Â Wherever I am is wherever I am meant to be, whatever I am doing is whatever I am meant to be doing and whatever everyone else is doing is exactly what they are meant to be doing – this is contentment.
If we want to change where we are, or what we’re doing, I’ve TRULY learned that the first thing is to be content with wherever I am and whatever I am doing right now!Â Paradoxically that’s what attracts opportunities and invitations to be somewhere else! …Why?Â Because we are living magnets, and contentment is one of our most attractive qualities.
The law of attraction says that according to our dominant thoughts we will attract people and circumstances into our lives.Â Â Being content right now attracts the best possible future.Â Of course, the one thing that steals my (our) contentment more than anything else is trying circumstances.Â Â We crumble and lose our sense of satisfaction and peace when we allow our circumstances to victimize us.
No doubt the Apostle Paul was human and suffered. But then he learned a different way: remaining content no matter what his circumstances were. â€œI have learned to be content,â€ he said, â€œin whatever circumstances I amâ€ (Phil. 4:11, emphasis added). He really meant whatever, for in the next verse he ran the gamut of extremes from great poverty to great wealth. Itâ€™s possible for us as Christians to learn to be content in facing any situation in life.Â Â Â Â And we donâ€™t have to wait for the next life to be able to do this. We do need to keep one foot in the next life, however. Paul said it this way: â€œSet your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earthâ€ (Col. 3:2). â€œOur light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternalâ€ (2 Cor. 4:17â€“18). Paul endured many horrific circumstances (note his summary in 11:23â€“33) but through them he learned to be content by having an eternal perspective.
My fellow passengers, this week realize any circumstance we face are only temporary.Â The energy weâ€™re tempted to expend on it by getting anxious isnâ€™t worth being compared with our eternal reward.Â Remind me when you catch me slipping here on the Train, as I will remind you, to learn to be content by not taking your earthly circumstances too seriously.
Greetings passengers and welcome aboard!Â Today I want to share some food for thought.Â Too often we expect happiness to come as a result of our relationships rather than as a premise upon which to build one. If we truly wanted to be happy, we would not be so eager to sacrifice happiness for nonsenseâ€”jealousy, possessiveness, anger, fear or any other function of the ego. Nonsense renders us downright miserable. Happiness requires that we be honest, trusting, trustworthy, respectful and mutually considerate. We cannot realize true happiness when we entertain nonsense in our hearts and minds. Individually and collectively, we must work to clear ourselves before entering a relationship. If we wait until we are in the process and wading through the nonsense, the ego will be well on the way to eroding the happiness we seek.
Today, I say ….Let’s exercise our duty to be happy! And today when someone says…Hey U, How ya doin? Look them in the eye, produce that great smile and say: “SUPER FANTASTIC!”
Hey fellow passengers this is something I’ve learned over the years…“Listening is not talking.” I’ve found from personal experience that it is SO important to be heard and understood, but…it is just as important to “LISTEN UP!”
I’ve found out that to talk when someone is relating their distress, crying, or experiencing strong emotion reveals a lack of the listening concept. It is intrusive, disrespectful and violates the listeners assurance that they are there for their friend or relative. Being ” there” for my friend or loved one is recognizing the present need.
It seems a weakness in many of us as friends to be unable to be with a friend in silence and allow them to fully experience their pain, anguish, rage or whatever is needing expression.
True LISTENING is not about listening to the person’s words. It includes this, but more importantly, it embraces listening to what is deep in the heart of the speaker.
To be able to say, ” I hear your pain”. ” I hear your grief”. “I hear your rage”. ” I hear your loneliness, isolation, sense of invisibility, vulnerability, shame, guilt, self-hatred, humiliation,” and so on.
There are no WORDS to fully and truly describe emotional devastation, or the depth of what it is to be longing, aching, yearning for an unattainable someone, some thing or situation . This is especially true where transference feelings are from a preverbal state or adult trauma has robbed the ability to articulate emotions that have been beaten into numbness or silenced by external influence or persons. The true listener will convey their understanding of this without needing to explain, or try to interpret back to the client why they are crying, look angry, or appear terrified. There is no helpfulness in telling someone what they are more aware of than the listener! There is more healing in the client feeling their agony has been heard because their therapist has really listened to them.
I have accomplished more with my clients by being silent and listening than I have by talking. This does not mean that when I am asked something I remain silent. If I am truly listening I will hear what is behind a question and respond to that. There is a balance that needs learning, and that is knowing when to speak and when to be silent. This skill comes through learning how to truly LISTEN.
Perhaps one of the most expressed complaints I have heard not only from my clients, but in everyday interactions with people where dilemmas arise, are, ” Nobody listens to me” ” Nobody hears what I’m saying”.
I hope we can learn better how to listen in a way that is respectful, empathic but not in a ” I can fix it” approach, and allow the speaker to help us know if, indeed, we have not only listened but truly heard them.
It is perhaps the greatest gift offered to a lover, friend or stranger.
Monday, …Yawn! Get it in gear passengers; here’s one way I think we can kick the week off.
We all know and remember a smily person – someone whose heart seems to radiate through their teeth. And when they do, notice how it’s almost impossible not to smile back…unless you are feeling very, very grumpy! So if you don’t feel a smile coming on – why not do it anyway. Not only does it transform your inner chemical production and create ‘happy hormones’, but when people are on the end of your smile, they smile back (well most do). And if you really don’t genuinely feel like smiling at life, the universe and everybody – This week passengers, fake it until you make it!
Hey passengers, allow me to introduce one of my most specialist frains!Â Ms. Marcia Nicholson, the latest published author to hit the bookstores.Â Please join me in “running” to the bookstore to pick up her latest, “Journey To Greatness!”.
I am very careful in what I recommend here on the train so this introduction and call to support Marcia is not just an arbitrary request.Â Marcia is truly one of the greats, I am privileged to know her.Â She has been an inspiration in my life…providing me with unconditional love, patience and support; why she has put up with me all these years is a model and testament to real friendship!
A little about the author:
As a published author, speaker, and life coach, Marcia Nicholson inspires and motivates others to live an authentic and rewarding life that is in connection with their Devine destiny.Â Through her writing, workshops, and life coaching, she is dedicated to helping others enrich their lives to manifest happiness, personal fulfillment, and prosperity.
Marcia holds a B.S. degree in Behavioral Science from Bluefield College and maintains a professional background in human resources management. In addition, she is an experienced qualified mental health professional and has worked with individuals to provide mental health and life skills support.Â Marcia served as the co-founder of the Womenâ€™s Empowerment Connection (WEC), an organization dedicated to providing support, encouragement, and resources to women.Â Additionally, she regularly speaks to business professionals and has conducted workshops for women’s & ministry groups, ex-offenders, students, and many more.
She is a current member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and is featured in the 2007 Cambridge Whoâ€™s Who Directory of Outstanding Professionals.Â Marcia resides in Stafford, Va with her two children; and worships at Strong Tower Ministries in Fredericksburg, VA.
A little about the book:
Journey to Greatness is about making every minute count and taking control of your life to create and manifest love, peace, happiness, and prosperity.
In her book, Marcia speaks eloquently of how nothing in life happens by chance.Â There is a Divine unfolding that takes place for the purpose of nurturing and growing you into the person that you were born to become.Â Your destiny is preset before you arrive and your life experiences â€“ including your trials, tribulations, and triumphs are all designed to prepare you for your ultimate calling.
Marcia talks openly and candidly of the emotional and financial struggles she faced following her divorce and becoming a single parent.Â She reveals the strategies she used to take control of her life.Â She will disclose her approach to building her confidence and rebounding from financial ruin.
Marcia’s delivery is empowering and her ten strategies are profound.Â You will be enlightened and inspired to take action and apply these principles in your life starting TODAY!
In her words:
There is no greater reward to me than helping people and providing valuable information to a receptive audience.Â I truly desire to impress upon everyone that I come in contact with, you were born for a specific reason and purpose.
Some people expect very little from life and are willing to accept even less. Know without a doubt, God did not call forth your birth for you to experience a life of destitution, misery, uncertainty, rejection, and strife.Â You were born of greatness and now is the time to take control of your life.
I pray that you are enlightened to the strength that lies within and I am used as a vessel to provide everything you need to start and reach your destined greatness!
MARCIA IS A LIFE COACH!
Look for Marcia on the lecture circuit.Â And guess WHAT!!!Â She and I have even talked about hitting the road together tag teaming to deliver some of the tid bits of life’s lessons God has blessed us with.Â I can see it now, The MARCIA AND CHUCKIE SHOW!!! Notice she got top billing, shivery is NOT dead ladies 😉 !
Look for The Marcia Nicholson interview coming soon on “The LiFeTrain” online radio show.Â Dates/Times to be announced.
Went to my favorite Doctor cause it’s time to do the unthinkable!Â He knows how to psyche me up and get me to do the right thing…like schedule my…choke, gasp, say it ain’t so…they gotta stick what WHERE!?!Â OH H@#$ NO! I actually drove all the way to Carolina for you to tell me this!Â I thought we were BOYZ Doc!
Well, I ain’t doing this alone.Â Yall, need to meet me back in Carolina and join me in the first annual LiFeTrain…I can’t say it….see below.Â I need one of my fellow passengers to come hold my hand and tell me it’s gonna be alllll-right!Â It’s my time to do what the American Cancer Society recommends…the test at age 50 …colonoscopy.
I know I am (kinda) making light but as I read most colon cancers arise in an adenomatous polyp.Â It typically takes about 10 years for a benign polyp to become cancerous, and removing such polyps through colonoscopy can stop any cancer formation. More frequent exams – say, once every two years – are recommended for anyone found to have polyps or colon cancer and for those whose close relatives have had the disease.
How do we Vanquish a Major Killer a major killer here on the Train you say? Glad you axed:
Though it commands far less attention than, say, cancers of the breast or prostate, colorectal cancer is the leading nonsmoking-related cancer killer of Americans. It is the third most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths. This year, the cancer society predicts, about 145,290 cases will be diagnosed and 56,290 people will die of it.
Both statistics represent needless deaths: this disease is largely preventable, and if diagnosed early, nearly always curable, often with surgery alone. Though there have been notable exceptions (Darryl Strawberry, for one), this cancer rarely occurs before age 50 in those without a family history. Over a lifetime, 1 person in 20 in the United States gets colorectal cancer; three-fourths have no known hereditary link.
But fewer than a third of us Americans over 50 have ever had a colonoscopy, the test that can beat this cancer into the ground by finding the polyps that give rise to the disease.
So, let’s just schedule to get’er done…DANG…Â “I WANT MY MOMMY!”
Merry Monday Fellow Passengers!Â Let me start this week’s train ride journey with this:Â Thank you all for a great Birthday!Â I appreciate all those who commented here on the train sending all those kind words!
This week let us all remember the following:Â “If we never emptied the trash in our homes, there would soon be a fowl smell.Â It’s the same with our mind.Â Your mind is the home of your thoughts.Â If we don’t release old thoughts, our lives become bitter with stinkin’ thinkin’ and emotional clutter.Â Â Â This week, let’s all join hands and encourage each other to empty our mental and emotional trash can of any stressful or painful thoughts.
Each day this week, starting today [Merry Monday] we have the choice of living in a state of grumbling or gratitude.Â Â Let us not allow the irritations and challenges of this day or your past to steal your joy.
Holding on to toxic emotions is not healthy or productive.Â Our toxic
emotions can negatively impact our health, peace of mind, relationships and work.Â Just as we empty our trash at home often, we have to do the same
with our mind.”
So fellow passengers, let us start this week by counting our blessings and changing our point of views.
In closing look around, hear the news, we are losing folks left and right [Michael RIP].Â So let us remember that each moment is a gift to us all!
Let’s focus and think on good things.Â Start giving God thanks right now
and praise Him for the wonderful break through about to happen in your life. It’s only a matter of time before your change comes.Â That’s right …
smile…sit up straight…shake off the heavy stress, think positive and
walk with courage, faith, peace, love and joy.Â Remember that God is in
First, let me once again thank all my fellow passengers for sharing their thoughts on this subject.Â I was astounded by your very astute, candid and knowledgeable inputs (see previous article “Ketchup”!).
As promised here is my take on what has prevented me or provided barriers to intimacy for myself.Â However, so as not to over burden this topic I decided to switch tracks and just release the whole kit and ka-bootle (is that how you spell Ka-bootle?).Â Anyway, being the conductor I can do that (he he).
As I approached my thoughts on this subject I took a long look in the mirror and decided to open my kimono, be vulnerable and expose myself.Â Here’s why.Â Â Since my divorce I have struggled with intimacy, i.e. being able to truly trust and stabilize into a wholesome and monogamist relationship.Â Â During this time of healing for me I have found that there are a lot of confused and hurting people.Â My primary goal is to share and hope that via the love of Jesus our lord and Savior that healing might occur.Â OK?Â Still love me?Â And note I am not seeking pity. I also want to in some way answer the question I am often asked, “why aren’t you married?”.Â Well, I suspect that some of that might lie in the fact that I don’t have Denzel (Washington) cosmetic qualities and a few other reasons as follows, read on:
I discovered that I am now recovering from aÂ fear of closeness and intimacy. You might ask, has he lost his mind, his manhood?Â Why would someone be so afraid of becoming close to another person?Â My self discovery reveals that the sufferer must be believe that closeness and intimacy must be dangerous and threatening to their well-being.Â A possible origin of this fear might be as I look back having suffered a traumatic loss of a loved one or a love.Â Alternatively, another possible reason might be that as children of divorce we haveÂ witnessed our parents fighting and quarreling.Â So, one could conclude and believe that closeness is dangerous.Â While it is understandable that such a conclusion could be reached, it is also premature and prejudicial: I now know that all relationships are not dangerous.
I truly believe that a fear of closeness is a phobia-driven illness, and for me, I know my cure lies in my now progressive attempt to safely and methodically get closer to another person who is capable of doing the same.Â No relationship can survive in a healthy fashion when the fear of closeness exists in any measure.Â Can I get an Amen?
As I start seriously pursuing and attaining closeness with a loved one I face the inevitable fact that I WILL ultimately lose them. It is the reality of impermanence that makes the pursuit and attainment of intimacy and closeness even more meaningful, worthwhile, and necessary.
As I continued in my self-evaluation having lost the love of MANY a good woman over the years, I now know that I have been sabotaging myself and myÂ possible “Love of my life” opportunities.Â I found that I can categorize my fear in the following categories.
Lack of Self-Knowledge
When I found myself suddenly and expectantly divorced, I had a gut wrenching big belly laugh.Â Suddenly single…I HAD NO IDEA who I was.Â I was so focused on being a good christian husband and provider that I just did not know who I was.Â When women would ask me “So, you got any goals?”Â I would scratch my butt and feel real stupid having not the faintest idea of what I liked in life, what were my passions.Â I was just that consumed by my marriage.Â So, I have now concluded that the deeper we know ourselves the more fully we can be present with others and consciously share our experiences.Â The less we know the more difficult it becomes to communicate our feelings and desires effectively to your partner.Â Intimacy requires both partners to communicate in an open and honest way, to be able to say to the other what we cannot to anyone else. In other words, we are communicating about the effect we have on one other, both our delight in them, and how we feel uncomfortable. The less we know about ourselves and the less comfort we have in focusing on our internal and felt experience, the more tendency we will have in interactions to focus on the other and assign blame.Â If this is not present for me, the ability to express myself to the person of the opposite sex without fear of judgment, I realize that that particular union might not be healthy for the both of us.Â No matter HOW FINE she might be.Â WHY DID IT TAKE ME TILL 50 to learn this!!!!
We always reside in awareness and unawareness (or conscious and unconscious).Â When we are coming from an unconscious place we tend to feel disconnected from those around us, and have less control of our feelings, desires and behavior.Â During these times for myselfÂ as I look back I found that my communication became confusing, and I had a tendency to project my feelings on to my beloved instead of expressing them and experiencing them directly.
I believe it is our responsibility to keep working on moving from unawareness into more awareness.Â To do this we need to take time to reflect, deal with unresolved issues, and learn about ourselves.Â Ok, Ok enough of that one.
Unresolved issues – Family and Relationships
Here’s the big boy for me…Â A particular aspect of working on self-awareness relates to unfinished business.Â Â All of us bring our past into relationships and no one escapes this. When we have not examined unresolved issues but rather attempted to move on by saying to ourselves ‘the past is the past and has nothing to do with me now’, we may believe we have gained control over painful memories and experiences. However, we are likely to find that the same tidal wave keeps coming at us in an unconscious re-enacting of those experiences, and at some point we have to stop and consider that we have gained no more control than we do over an actual tidal wave. It becomes clear that we do not come into relationships objectively or with a clean slate. We carry a veil over our partner and the world that we see through. A veil of projections, that in order to really see and connect, we have to remove.Â Hopefully by being totally honest with you, my fellow passengers, you will see that my veil is lifting and yours can to if necessary.
Emotional wounds occur in early relationships, and when this happens we develop self -protections; unconsciously or consciously we are saying, “I am not going to let that happen again.”Â The ways in which we protect ourselves can range from withdrawing, fighting and blaming, trying to please or sabotaging (there’s that word again!).Â For me, these behaviors prevented intimacy, and created distance between me and my partners.Â My apologies here, to you…and you know who you are…just know…I was really hurt…and I had no manual. Anyway, the following for me were my most common issues as a result of my past wounds;
* Unmet Needs. It would be impossible as we grow up for those adults around us to anticipate and fulfill our every need. Of course there are some that live in the desert compared to others, but all of us end up with areas in our psyche where we have experienced deprivation, an un-fulfilled need that still seeks to be gratified. We have been starved of attention, pride, care, or support. The list (mine) goes on. Coming into relationships I (we) carry a longing for that person who will know us so completely that the pain of unmet needs gets washed away.Â How often have you heard at the beginning of relationships such expressions as; I feel so cared for, finally someone understands me, he/she really see’s me, etc. These are the statements of hope that things will be different. What we find is that things are not that different and the same kinds of disappointments emerge as relationships progress. These disappointments tend to have a familiar quality for each person. For some it is the familiarity of not being heard, for others it is feeling judged. Just like our parents who could not meet all our needs nor can our partner. I now realize that “EYE” have to resolve the past within myself so as not to burden my future beloved with the task of meeting all my needs.Â …and again, why did it take me till fiddy to understand this?
* Attachment difficulties. The ability to form secure intimate attachments for me was a result of the kinds of attachments I experienced early in life. Depending on how our separations, in my case the divorce of my parents, was dealt with during informative periods and it possibly determined for me how insecure I would feel later in life regarding attachment and separation. Difficulties tend to manifest as fear of abandonment and fear of engulfment (e.g., “Don’t leave me” or “Don’t get too close”).Â I researched and found that highly differentiated people can maintain strong emotional bonds while still maintaining their individuality. WHAT A REVELATION!Â They can tolerate intense connection and periods of solitude. Separation and loss is the underbelly of relationships.Â As we open our hearts to someone there is the knowledge that they will be torn from us, either as a choice to walk away, or in death. So times of separation from each other can evoke strong feelings. Partners can deal with this by trying to hold on too tightly or alternatively, maintain their distance emotionally.
BIG BOY Jr.Â …Intimacy requires openness between partners. Honesty is also very much related to self-awareness. We can only be honest about what we know. Being honest is obvious in the big things that we know we are actively keeping something from someone.Â It is in the everyday avoidance of being open about our experiences with one another that I feel it is a problem, mainly because it is so easy to do, and so easy to justify. For example, when I was married, picture the man who is looking forward to seeing his wife after a stressful day so he could have someone to talk to, and gets home to find her out with the girls (again) or engrossed in a project of her own giving noÂ attention to her husband.Â Over time that could potentially make one resentful and disappointed but in a passive aggressive way nothing is said so as not to create any conflict. So what happens over time is this unexpressed experience begins to build a wall between partners. Each incident is dismissed as unimportant and with it a dismissal of what is important to ones self. People are driven by fears of how their partner will take the truth. So people tend to withhold things that they believe will get a negative response or disappoint their partner.Â Honesty becomes a particular challenge at times when negotiating differences, or expressing feelings about the other that are threatening, such as jealousy, criticism, disappointment, and hurt.
Trying to Please (Raising my hand and shouting …Guilty).
For me this was aÂ common process associated with a difficulty in being honest. This often relates to an avoidance of conflict by developing a focus on their partner’s needs and feelings.Â Even though women tend to be the caretakers it is not exclusive to women…trust me. Taking on this role in relationships begins early in life when children’s needs are neglected or criticized. As aÂ child I remember focusing on trying to please to develop a connection with caretakers.Â In this society where women’s roles have changed and have increased in independence and achievement, the process of pleasing can take the form downplaying their skills and achievements in order to maintain their male partner’s expectation that they should carry the personal success. Another area that can be difficult to be honest about is in the arena of sexual experiences.Â You’ll have to buy my book for more on that…
Addictions take energy and attention away from the relationship. It is easy to see the destructiveness of a substance or alcohol addiction on a relationship, but less obvious is a work addiction. Work is hard to confront because it is legitimized by our need to earn a living, and is seen as supporting the relationship and family. However, when one or both partners chronically spend long hours at work there is no time to spend in the relationship. The relationship and their lives become out of balance.Â Got the tee-shirt…
Finally..you are almost home…I am about to take the offering (LOL)
Lack of Time
Intimacy takes time.Â The longer you are in a relationship the more trust is developed, the more you get to know about your partner.Â Time also relates to making time to spend in each other’s presence.Â Where you have time to have fun together, as well as address conflict or address feelings within the relationship. It is important to give yourselves enough time to transition from the rest of your life to really ‘be here’ with your partner, to experience co-presence. In all relationships there are times when things outside the relationship take priority, such as work, school, family commitments etc. Problems arise when there is a pervasive pattern of not making time to be present with one another. The more time goes on where both partners have not connected in an intimate way the more likely certain experiences in the relationship go unaddressed. These may be resentments and conflict issues, feeling unloved, or decisions are made without the full involvement of both partners, lack of fun, less and less shared interests, lack of sexual intimacy and individual changes not shared. As these experiences build up, the motivation to spend time together decreases because there is so much to repair. Over time, from my experience, couples tend to avoid one another and the minefield of unresolved issues. Ultimately, “lack of time” can be a red herring, a euphemism for avoidance of relationship issues and fear of intimacy.
Hey, I am not sagacious or authoritarian.Â But, I do know…when it’s all said and done for me…I hope that I would’ve left my mark on this earth by opening up and sharing some things that may help others.Â Especially those things that for us men folk that we find hard to express.