Category Archives: Beliefs

It’s a Small World

Share

Turns out, not so much.

Playing outside every day for me as a kid was great fun. My best friend, Susie, and I would lay on our backs in the grass and stare at the billowed puffs of clouds in the sky. An elephant or a turtle or the head of Quick Draw McGraw were not uncommon IMG_2244creations formed by the moving white plumes.

I had a ten-year-old belief about the world. There was the ground and there was the sky. I played in the sun, and I slept at night. There was home and there were friends. It’s a small world when you’re a child.

Although I’ve aged, I admit my ten-year-old belief about the world hasn’t. That is why I’m completely overwhelmed with this universe thing. There seem to be so many new or additional discoveries about space. I confess I’ve remained naive about complex astrophysical concepts. (You can read about that ( here.)

In a video, I watched Neil deGrasse Tyson explain the universe in eight minutes (watch it here).

I see no other possible reaction to this video than awe and a trance-like state as seen in The Walking Dead.

I don’t think I have an education high enough to understand how every thing in the universe, including humans, for reasons not completely understood came into existence out of randomness, chaos, accident, and good timing.

IMG_0695This revelation left my face in a blank stare, mostly like my Physical Science class did. The analytics in my brain was in a scramble to find at least one brain cell up to the challenge of understanding this. No go. I got nothing. It’s beyond me.

All I can think of is that “randomness, chaos, accident, and good timing,” describes most of my life. Maybe, that’s the point. That’s how we came to be and that’s how our lives are lived. Who knows?

As large as the world is, though, it’s a small world wherever we are. A tiny pinpoint on the globe not visible from space, yet it’s all any of us need. Our homes. It’s where love dwells. It’s here we raise our children, grow our gardens, and have family barbeques on the deck.

At night, we gather around the fire, look up and stare at the stars like it’s a drive-in movie. The vast blackness speckled with flickering lights filled with complex astrophysical concepts. Honey, did I ever tell you that all of us are stardust?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

Is That You?

Share

My Dad loves to drive. Except, he’s dead.

This is why my experience of him driving my car the other day gave me collywobbles.

FullSizeRender (26)

Dad, my brother, me, the car

Growing up, all bikes, skateboards, baseball bats, and badminton nets could not cross the two-foot invisible barrier that surrounded the family car in the garage. My Dad was a little obsessed with the safety specifics and monitored the inches between our kid stuff and the paint finish on his car.

God forbid a baseball, or any object for that matter, bounce off the car. I swear he had some hidden CIA radar for such occurrences. He could be two houses over in someone’s backyard, and he would hear the thump when a foreign body hit the metal on the car. There would be scoldings and lectures from him every time this happened.

FullSizeRender (27)

Dad, Mom, and the car

No matter the terrain or weather, he was your man on the street. My Dad took pride in his skillful art of maneuvering through the snow on any road, even no road. The rest of us in the family weren’t so unafraid of that skill. There could be a blizzard warning, and my Dad thought nothing of throwing all of us into the car and driving 70 miles to Wisconsin to visit family in Clinton or Beloit. “We can make it,” my Dad would say with confidence. My Mom would think about it, all of one minute, and call him crazy.

As he got older, he still made car care a priority. He was a State Farm man, after all. Every couple of years there would be a new car to pamper with pride. I’m sure his military experience of managing the care of the equipment he was entrusted with contributed to his viewpoint about other possessions. In WWII, it was a rifle he pampered. Home from the war, it was a car.

FullSizeRender (12)

My dad at 88

My Dad drove his car until a fracture in his foot sidelined him at age 90. Before that happened, dad gave anyone who rode with him something comparable to a cardio workout. He would drive: s-l-o-w. I chuckle now just remembering a few of those adventures. Every driver knows that when you’re clear to proceed across two lanes of traffic that you don’t dilly dally. My Dad would pull out quick enough, but then he would just peter out and linger while oncoming traffic was getting closer and closer. Inevitably, my brother or I would yell “Dad!!”

When he died in 2006, there were a handful of noticeable dents and dings on my Dad’s car. Something he would have never tolerated some 50 years earlier. All the dents were signs that his driving ability was reaching its limit.

So on that day, I was driving on the road my Dad would always take to get home. I was looking at the sidewalk where I used to ride my bike as a kid. I drifted off in thought. I was riding in the car with my Dad. He was driving us home. There was a warm and comforting light that filled the car, the way sunlight does but brighter. There was a stream of energy that rippled. There was no sound.

Then suddenly, it was gone. The radio returned to its bellow. I was driving again and realized I had just felt the presence of my father–driving my car. Wow! Tears filled my eyes. I couldn’t recall driving the last mile. Did that just really happen? I looked down to see how fast I was going and realize it had to be my dad; I was driving 10 miles under the speed limit!

Thanks for the visit dad. Glad you’re still driving, and you were not here to pick me up!

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

Choose Yourself First

Share

Sounds selfish, doesn’t it?

Choose yourself first. Reminds me of a kid in school when growing up, he would always run to be the first in line, or to grab the best seat or the favorite swing. Encompassed by his own amusement at beating everyone else, he was oblivious to our chagrin.IMG_3289

Choose yourself first.

That instruction makes sense in other areas of life.

Brian Tracy says If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.

Self-development. Don’t people gravitate away from such topics, or dare I say, nonsense?

But consider this. I don’t know any happy and successful people with a self-contempt attitude toward themselves. I don’t know any happy and successful people with bruises from beating themselves up over mistakes and setbacks. The happy and successful people I know hold a humble confidence in themselves. A determination. That’s self-development.

belief28They’ve spent time in their own backyard and faced any personal obstacles in their thought process that could block their goals. They’ve examined any feelings of inadequacy and shortcomings that would prevent their confidence. They learned their weaknesses and manage them rather than excuse them or blame someone else for their existence. That’s self-velopment. Taking care of business with yourself ahead of any pursuits.

Choose yourself first.

Could you prosper from self-development? Would you benefit from looking for any flaws in your attitude? Can you see areas where being stubborn is holding you back? Do you notice any control tendencies in yourself? Or are you experiencing negative self-talk–those conversations in your head where you degrade yourself? Are there areas in your thought process that could be changed so happiness and success can arrive?

It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that 218e76ad-5533-45f5-9a64-b28209648cef-mediumdetermines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.Anthony Robbins

Choose yourself first.

Where are you today in your self-development? Don’t allow regrets of yesterday to undermine the success you can obtain and the happiness you can have today. You deserve every joy in life. If you struggle to believe that, then the regrets and failures of yesterday are imprisoning you today in a confinement of self-contempt.

Choose today to banish from your mind any self-degrading thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. Then your energy and attention are free to focus on a happy and successful destiny. Choose yourself first.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

What Do You Deserve?

Share

Do you pause with this question?

What do you deserve? Do you even know? Do you feel guilty for craving more in life?

First, let’s get that guilt out of the way. God, through Jesus, has liberated you self-confidence2from your own guilt and has provided your freedom.

God does not want you living in guilt, self-condemnation, despair, or sabotaging His blessings for you. That is not what He desires for your life. He wants you to have joy, affection, and achievement with your endeavors. God has given each of us talents, skills, gifts, and abilities for use to better our lives and help the lives of other people.

What do you deserve? You deserve happiness, love, and success. You deserve shelter and sunlight and shade and warmth. Done. You deserve to determine your destiny. Fini. You deserve the moon! And you have it. You deserve a universe! It’s all yours.

10433864_10153254889623908_6471637140694356733_nBut, any negative thoughts you have about yourself can cause you to sabotage your relationships, success, and happiness. If you do not treat yourself with love and respect, you can not experience the love and respect of other people.

What do you deserve? If you do not believe you deserve success, you will not experience it. If you do not think you should be happy, you will not find happiness.

What words do you use every day? Critical words? Ones used to complain? Judgmental phrases? Sarcastic tones? Encouraging expressions? Caring speech? Words of gratitude?

Your words reflect your character. Your words reflect what you believe about yourself. Where you are today can be attributed to the words you tell yourself.

Stay aware of the words you choose to verbalize. Do they match the character IMG_0862you want to role model to others? Are they in agreement with the integrity you want to be associated with?

Jump on any negative thoughts about yourself. Refuse to criticize your mistakes or degrade your limitations.

Pay attention to your inner critical voice that degrades you. Realize it represents voices of those who criticized you in the past. Those voices don’t represent the truth today.

What do you deserve?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

The Problem With Religion

Share

It was shocking. And for most Americans, I think it was unexpected. And then the problem with religion was on stage.

On June 26, 2015, the SCOTUS, in a landmark decision ruled that same-sex marriages were IMG_1904legal. The hashtag “Love Wins,” flooded the internet, as did “Equality For All.” People were shown hugging with tears of joy. Now, for the first time ever, same-sex couples are protected under the Constitution from any bans that would deny them the same rights as heterosexual couples. That’s how love won.

A paragraph, of the majority opinion, authored by Justice Kennedy prompted comments from people on what they believed to be a beautiful, compassionate and romantic definition of marriage. An hour later, the quote had gone viral:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. —Justice Anthony Kennedy

Then the love won hit the wall.

The problem with religion was ablaze. Conservative Christians, some GOP leaders and Presidential candidates disagreed, intensely, with the ruling. Probably the most wigged-out reaction came from Bryan Fischer of American Family Radio. In just one paragraph, Fischer compared the ruling to slavery, 9/11, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Sodom and Gomorrah. A frenzied Fischer announced:

From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is the new 9/11, because it was on this day that five justices of the United States Supreme Court became moral jihadists, They became rainbow jihadists and they blasted the twin pillars of truth and righteousness into rubble. And they did this by imposing sodomy-based marriage on the United States through an act of judicial tyranny. Today, June 26, 2015, is a date which will live in infamy. On this day, the United States became Sodom and Gomorrah.

Yikes! God, that’s a horrible thing to say. That’s the problem with religion.

But Fisher was not the only conservative Christian who reacted with agony and sorrow at the prospect of gay marriage across the land. Indeed, there was a great deal of weeping and gnashing of teeth. All of the nay-sayers seem to believe the institution of marriage is at stake. Their priority is to uphold this sacred union. This is God’s will. The Bible states marriage is between a man and a woman.

Now here is where this battle loses credibility.

Divorce is against God’s will and against the teachings in Scripture. Having sex outside of marriage is also a big no-no according to Bible teachings. And living together in sin? A huge taboo.

What’s the difference between these sins and the implied sin of same-sex marriage?

Can someone explain that to me?

I asked that question in a Facebook group that was declaring that America was on the verge of collapse and going to hell because the ruling is against the inerrant word of the Bible. The group could not answer my question, but they did send me a short video of why Obama is bad for America.

I moved on and had a three hour back and forth conversation on a Facebook group belonging to Fr. James Martin. Even with over 11,000 comments, no one could answer the question. That’s the problem with religion.

My point is there is no difference.

Divorce is against God’s will, and Christians get divorced all the time. There’s no hoopla. Christians have premarital sex and cohabitate outside of marriage. Where’s the protest about that to the Supreme Court? Why is that seemingly okay, but same-sex marriage qualifies for continued flogging and imprisonment? That’s such hypocrisy and that’s the problem with religion!

God is love. We are to love one another. Why is that so difficult?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

My Counselor by Dr. Sandy Nelson

Share

The Lord is my Counselor

I shall not wig out.

He makes me aware of my gloom and tainted motives.

He leads me to reality.

He restores my heart and mind.

He guides me on the path of
self-respect,
purpose,
and concern for humanity.

He teaches me to
think clearly,
be helpful,
and take responsibility for my choices.

He makes me calm and passionate.

He enables me to remember the people I am not to control,
and to control myself.

Even though I walk through the valley of
frustration,
pessimism,
and indifference,

I am not influenced,

For thou art with me.

Thy devotion and goodness encourage me.

He prepares a table before me in the presence of daily enemies:
pride,
dishonesty,
self-pity,
fear,
and helplessness.

He anoints me with
gratitude,
self-confidence,
and acceptance.

No longer am I defeated; neither am I unsupported.

My cup runneth over with
enthusiasm and determination.

Surely, peace and blessings shall follow me all the days of my life.

And I will dwell on making a difference in this world forever and ever.

Amen!!

 

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

How To Hate

Share

How To Hate

Only a person with self-contempt can contemplate murder. Self-worth and self-respect can’t co-exist with hatred. But organized hatred helps give new meaning to the lives of those who feel marginalized. That’s how to hate.

In 1915, D.W. Griffith used the technology of motion pictures to make Birth of a Nation, a film prejudicethat portrayed African-Americans as stupid, lazy and inferior, and glorified the Ku Klux Klan for standing up for the rights of the white supremacy majority. It was so effective in fostering hate against blacks that even Griffith himself was said to have been shocked.

One hundred years later, in Charleston, South Carolina, Dylann Roof walked into a Bible study on Wednesday evening, June 17th with a mindset of how to hate. His reason for attending was to shoot and kill everyone there. For an hour, Roof sat with the group and participated in their discussions about Scripture. Later, Roof told police he almost aborted his plan to kill the group because they were so welcoming and kind to him.

Michael Daly of The Daily Beast wrote:

But that would have meant giving up the hate that filled the hollowness of being born of a fleeting reunion between his parents three years after their divorce and of getting no further in high school than the ninth grade, but wearing a jacket with an “Academic All Stars” patch rightfully worn only by seniors in the top 10 percent. 

He had compensated for that false claim by sewing two other patches on the jacket, flags of apartheid-era Rhodesia and South Africa, symbols for those seeking another kind of supposed supremacy. 

And his older sister, Amber, was to be married on Sunday. To have just left the Emanuel A.M.E. Church on Wednesday night would have meant going to the wedding at the end of the week as a rank loser from a fractured family who could rightly declare himself supreme in nothing at all.

Even so, Roof seems to have understood in his moments of indecision that these warmly devout people of the Bible study group were putting the lie to his racism. He may have sensed that the faith filling their lives might also fill his own.

After an hour, just as he was apparently losing his resolve and his hate was slipping away, Roof seized it anew. He allegedly produced the Glock .45 automatic that he is reported to have purchased with birthday money from his father.

That was when Tywanza Sanders is said to have told him, “You don’t have to do this.”

Roof is said to have replied as if he were also trying to convince himself. He was not some loser. He was a champion of the white race about to start a race war.

“I have to do it,” he reportedly cried out.

His next words were the language of white supremacists. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

Hate is a painful state of being because the mind is not intended to hate. Everybody is born with an inner purpose—to love ourselves and to love others.

IMG_2247It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves, wrote Catholic Monk Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation.

A zero self-worth is a developed misery. It’s miserable because it’s painful and unnatural to hate one’s self—it goes against our very nature. Our core disposition is to love, not despise; to include, not shut out; to embrace, not isolate.

When we as a society stop the hate, end the prejudice, and embrace all human beings of all ages with dignity and respect they’re entitled to, then maybe the violence will end. When we encourage and support one another, then the inner flames of self-worth are not extinguished.

FullSizeRender (6)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

People Have A Right To Be Wrong

Share

PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE WRONG – Dr. Sandy Nelson

We are not satisfied to be right, unless we can prove others to be quite wrong. —William Hazlitt

Some years ago I discovered an important and liberating truth: people have the belief15right to be wrong. Including me. People didn’t need me pointing out where I thought they were misinformed or misguided about global warming or why their opinion about renaissance art was misconstrued or why GMO‘s should be banned from the planet or why Jon Snow should never be killed off.

Instead of trying to force unto others the beliefs I was passionate about, I found it incredibly freeing to grant others the right to their opinion! Imagine that! I no longer became frustrated with people who held views that opposed mine. The urge weakened to butt in and debate their opinion.

niceJudging the choices of others is not the best use of our time. Judging other people isn’t the best use of our character either. When we look down on people who have different opinions and beliefs, it appears we’re superior and we can get snotty and snobbish. UGH!

We all have preferences and opinions that we want respected and accepted but we can be brutal towards others whose preferences and opinions differ from ours. Acceptance of someone’s differing opinion doesn’t mean submission. It means you accept and respect the right of the person to hold his or her own views.

Today, join me in respecting the choices of other people—even if you think their preferences and views are inaccurate. And, better yet, ask why they hold the opinion they do and listen, not debate, listen. You might learn something unexpected.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Finding Happiness

Share

FINDING HAPPINESS – Dr. Sandy Nelson

Finding Happiness. The individual pursuit of humanity.

Is finding happiness a mood of euphoria, or a state of contentment in the sum of life? Is IMG_3192it the attainment of possessions, or a rewarding career? Is happiness the affection of love or is it charitable giving? Is it peace in the world, or on the street between neighbors? Is it health and long living? Happiness is any combination of all these attributes.

Finding happiness makes you lighter on your feet, and more kind and generous. It prompts more smiles on your face and makes you more eager to help others. Happiness brings a sense of gratitude to life.

IMG_1918Finding happiness just feels good and it’s good for your health as well. According to a The Huffington Post article: More and more science is revealing the depth of our mind-body connection. We know now that cultivating a positive state of mind isn’t just good for your mental health — it can also keep your body healthy and protect you from disease. Positive emotions have been shown to boost the immune system, to improve sleep, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, among other physical health benefits. (You can read the entire Huffington Post article here.)

The most significant facet for you in finding happiness is what you believe about your life. That’s what will determine if your pursuit to find happiness will be successful.

Every day you live according to what you accept as being true. All your daily IMG_1925choices, thoughts, feelings, and actions about yourself and your life are based on what you agree is fact. It’s impossible to conduct yourself for a period of time in contradiction to your opinions—to what you believe is true and fact. You can not act in a manner inconsistent with the way you view yourself and life.

People who are steadily gloomy and indolent believe that life is a constant struggle. Their outlook is to put into life only what is expected and yet they blame other people for feeling trapped and unhappy in their day-to-day routine. The weariness and apathy in their thoughts fade only when resentments surface. For a time anger rises and takes the place of indifference. People who view living as a wrestling match experience the outcome of that belief–unhappiness.

IMG_0942Those individuals who are consistently positive and jovial believe life is a miracle which has happened to them. Far from viewing life through rose-tinted glasses, they experience misfortunes but respond to them with the belief that they are isolated incidents. They see and believe the best in life before acknowledging the worse. As a result they expect good events to happen to them and this keeps them on happiness road.

Pay attention to the content of your attitude towards yourself and your life, and make the necessary attitude adjustments. Finding happiness will be easier.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Stand-In’s For Self-Acceptance – Dr. Sandy Nelson

Share

Are you using stand-in’s for self-acceptance? It’s not uncommon.

Many people use possessions as a stand-in for self-acceptance. They acquire stuff to show the world they have value and measure up.

It’s tragic to realize these individuals are merely adding more baggage to a self-confidence2muddled frame of mind. Self-acceptance doesn’t require icons to represent significance or success. There’s no need to prove that we’re significant when we’re thinking correctly about our self-worth. The more uncertainty we have about our worth, the more we need objects around us to represent what’s missing in ourselves.

When we lack self-acceptance, we’re unhappy campers. We’re unhappy because we believe, incorrectly, that we need something to hide behind. We believe we 10433864_10153254889623908_6471637140694356733_nmust have something to simulate the outward appearance of self-confidence and success. There’s a belief that we’re not acceptable the way we are. We may have the tendency to criticize and condemn ourselves. This negative self-talk has been in our minds so long that we never questioned where it came from or why it started.

Come out from hiding. correct your negative self-talk. Correct those lies. There’s nothing amiss about you! Focus on your talents and skills. Use them to better yourself and the world. There will be no stand-in necessary for your self-confidence.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated