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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pilgrim Blessings for Us All

My good friend, Ron Angert, a Jew who converted to Christianity, has begun a walk on the Camino de Santiago. His trip has taken him from Blacksburg, Virginia to Paris via Atlanta, and on to Morocco. 

After visiting Rabat the capital of Morocco he is in Marrakesh, Morocco where he visited the Berber Museum, displaying a culture of which I knew nothing. 

From Marrakesh he plans to fly to Barcelona and then bus to St Jean Pied de Port, France from where he will begin his 770 km (478 mile) hike to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, believed to be the resting place of St. James the Apostle.

Ron is going to post daily entries of his travels at  

Already his blog has made me more refined and cultured, granted my refinement is just above an East Texas Big Thicket swamp. Most important the blog has provided and will continue to provide a spiritual lift.

Before he began his walk (known also as the Way) Ron's church pastor, Morris Fleischer, sanctified his trip with the Pilgrim Blessing found on the Camino:

As you follow the Way
May God bless you with discomfort at your own easy answers, half truths, superficial relationships, so that you will learn to live deep within your heart.

As you walk
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people so that you will fill your heart with the desire for justice, equality and peace.

As you carry your load
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and change their pain into joy.

As you enter the Cathedral at Santiago
May God bless you with the foolishness to think that you can make a difference in the world, so that when you return home you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done."

May all of us on our Way to sanctification receive these blessings.

Just after finishing this entry I read an editorial in the August 27, Wall Street Journal quoting a television address of Mohammad VI of Morocco who said, in part: 

I call upon [Moroccans living abroad] to be always among the first to defend peace, harmony, and coexistence in their countries of residence....The terrorists who operate in the name of Islam are not Muslims. They have nothing to do with Islam, and jump on the bandwagon to justify their crimes....

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

You Never Know What a Call May Bring

Two decades ago I gave motivational talks. Following 911 several of my presentations were cancelled thus ending my word-of-mouth marketing. A busy psychiatric practice and hospital duties drained the enthusiasm for rebooting. I was soon forgotten by meeting planners.

Somewhere along the way I lost a fourteen page booklet, The 3% Solution: Proven Techniques for Rising to the Top During Times of Change, containing pearls of wisdom that I had labored over for many an hour. I couldn't find the computer disk either. I combed the filing cabinets and storage bins, the closets and book shelves. No joy.

Heartbroken is too strong a word. Devastated–too melodramatic. Frustrated, perhaps, is the best word to explain my disappointment in losing valued material much of which hadn't been duplicated in other booklets or handouts I had developed.

Then Vance Proctor called. He had heard me speak 25 years ago, we figured. In rummaging through some old files he can across The 3% Solution and decided to look me up and call.

Vance's booming voice, cheery and optimistic, announced the Texan I had met a quarter of a century ago. We agreed that the Texas we knew then was not the Texas we know now. Because we can't hit life's pause button our memories become more special day by passing day. 

Soon we got around to the presentation of long ago. After I told Vance of my loss he agreed to mail a copy. It arrived today. 

Here's an ounce or two of the 3% solution:
  • Character Builders: Those Characteristics that Enable You to Love, Work and Enjoy life:
    • Altruism––earning your neighbor's love by inspiring good will, gratitude, respect and happiness through service to others.
    • Suppression––solving problems instead of ruminating about them.
    • Sublimation––channeling frustration and anger into productive work.
    • Anticipation––goal directed planning.
    • Humor––a twinkle-in-the-eye kindness to yourself and others.
    • Wisdom––by studying the scriptures and reading the classics we learn the consequences of bad behavior and the blessings of virtuous living. 
    • Integrity––the answers to three questions asked of you (from Lou Holtz):
      • Can I trust you?: Always do what is right.
      • Do you care about me?: Follow the Golden Rule.
      • Are you committed to excellence?: Always do the best you can in all that you do.
After receiving the package from Vance I wrote back, concluding with these words:

Thanks for responding to that  inner voice suggesting that you make an "out of the blue" phone call. Your call was not only a pleasure to receive but I got a bonus gift that I thought was gone forever. When we listen to that quiet whisper from the Holy Spirit miraculous events occur. 

BTW: If you'd like to hear a funny talk loaded with stories and packed with useful information give me a call. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Research clearly demonstrates that an annual vacation significantly cuts risks of most diseases by 20-30%....but more than one out of three fail to use their full vacation times.

Of those who do take full time away from their regular jobs much of their vacation time is spent on activities other than rest and relaxation:
  • 19% spend their vacation time on family or personal responsibilities.
  • Another 13% spend vacation time going to school, working at another job or participating in reserve military service.
  • A fourth of employed adults report checking work email or voicemail while vacationing.
  • 20% of vacationers are contacted about work matters during their time off. 
A self-induced increased workload causes deterioration in marriage and family life undermining the main source of non-work related support. Likewise, avoiding vacation time leads to a decline in efficiency and initiative resulting in an increasing spiral of mistakes and complaints from associates and customers. Accompanying poor work performance is the inability to have fun. 

Whether on vacation or at work or at home the ability to have fun improves performance, harmony and health. Here are some tips for enjoying life more:
  • Everyday ask yourself, "Am I having fun yet?"
  • Be an inverse paranoid: Think the world is out to do you good.
  • Surround yourself with people who fill you with joy and laughter.
  • Decide to be hopeful and fun-loving
  • Don't take yourself so seriously. Those people who take a cosmic view of life cultivate a lifestyle that allows them to tolerate outrageous fortune. They laugh at themselves and their absurd situations.
  • Develop a hang-loose philosophy of life.
  • Read, listen or YouTube humor regularly.
  • Marry someone (or hangout with someone) who thinks everything you say is funny. 
  • When a situation becomes stressful pretend it's a joke for YouTube.
  • Practice LOL---it's internal jogging.
  • Play golf. Golf is just like life---difficult and unfair. Par is 18 laughs a round.  
When we learn to think funny our life becomes becomes enriched with friends and fellowship.

Let's get some communication going between you and me. Click on the comment section below and tell me how you have fun. What do you do on your vacation? (Avoid X or R Rated vacation answers, please). How do you have fun?