Be Present In The Present

Rules of Living Series

Rules of Living:  Be Present in the Present

Last week, we started in a new series about my own Rules for Living.  These are the rules I try to follow in my efforts to live a thriving life.

This week, we head into rule #2:  Be Present In The Present.

These days, the buzzword is “mindfulness.”  In reality, our minds tend to be much too full.  And mindfulness is really about being present — really being in the experience of this moment.

But how do you do that?  First, you have to really show up.  Second, you have to make sure that you “distract-proof” yourself.  Third, it is all about understanding our thoughts — and letting them just be thoughts that pass on.

I cover some reasons why this rule is so important… and how to improve your “presence in the present” in this week’s podcast episode.  Listen below.

#1 Let Fear Point, Not Direct




Let Fear Point, Not Direct

Rules of Living Series

What Are The Rules For Living?Whenever I am playing a game, I like to know the rules… what I can do and can’t do; what I can get away with, and what will get me into trouble.

I have the same feeling about life.  The “rules” are principles or strategies to use when things are tough.  They give me a decision tree, to guide my choices.

The rules keep me moving forward, toward what I want.  They also keep me honest and living within my virtues.

I’ve gathered those rules together and want to share them with you.  I hope you find them helpful, even if you edit or alter them to fit for you.

This week is Rule #1:  Let Fear Point, Not Direct

I have discovered that fear is a powerful force for people.  It might protect us, sometimes.  But it can also hold us hostage from our dreams and aspirations.

It gets in our way for one simple reason:  we use fear to direct our lives.  Fear is better used to point the way… to show us what’s important.

Let me explain further in my podcast this week, rule #1 of my Rules for Living series.

The MPI Triad

"Make It Matter"

The MPI Triad -- Meaning, Purpose, Impact.I admit it. Her words have stuck with me for decades now. She told me, “Don’t waste it.” She meant that I shouldn’t waste my time… my life. Just before she died, she told me, “Make it matter.” She wanted to make sure I knew not to waste the precious time I had, and to make my life matter.

Her dying words to a young chaplain.

And those words have lived within me in the 3 decades since.

They still shape my work and my philosophy.

I discussed not wasting life in a prior podcast episode.

But what does it mean to Make It Matter? How do we make sure our lives matter, not for our own self, but for the world? How do we leave this place better for our being here?
The MPI Triad helps to clarify. That triad holds Meaning, Purpose, and Impact. How we make sense of what happens, how we move into the world, and what difference it makes.

Let me tell you a bit more in this week’s podcast episode.

Meaning & Purpose
Thrive Principles

MORE Lessons Learned As A Chaplain

MoreLessonsLearnedChaplainLast week, I shared some lessons I learned while I was a hospital chaplain at the beginning of my career.

In this episode of the podcast, I share another six. That makes a total of ten lessons. But they only scratch the surface.  My hope is to share some of the bigger lessons that emerged during that time.

Few people spend the kind of time a chaplain gets to spend with people on the edges of life.  Medical staff don’t have the time to spend, as much as they would like to.  Most others are only in those settings in the days of a crisis.

My evening hours gave me time with patients, after the doctors and families had gone home, while the nurses were giving medical care.  I had the chance to sit with people, while they sat with the big questions of life.  I didn’t always have the answers (often didn’t), but I had the time to walk with them as they explored their journeys.

Walking with them taught me the lessons I share today.

Lessons Learned, Part 1
Meaning & Purpose
Make It Count

Thrive Principles
Immutable Laws

Lessons Learned As A Chaplain

LessonsLearnedChaplainIt was in the early days of my Master’s degree and my clinical training.  I spent a summer working as a chaplain intern.  Then I joined the staff of the hospital as one of the chaplains. I had the evening shift.

Chaplains have a unique position in hospitals.  There to guide the tough times, celebrate the good times, and share in the spiritual journey.  And while I was there as a staff member, every day was a learning experience for me.

In fact, I still look back at many critical moments in my learning about life, about caring for people, and the human struggle — and many happened during just the few years I served as a chaplain.

I thought I might reflect a bit with you about the lessons I learned in my years as a hospital chaplain, just to see if they offer anything for you and your journey.

Listen below for part 1 of 2.

Meaning in Life
Purpose and Impact
Thrive Principles
Immutable Laws of Living

Make It Last, Make It Matter

I was watching television.  This one commercial, it spoke to me.  Not about what they were selling, but the story leading up to the product.  The product seemed irrelevant to the message.

The message was about life.  About living.  About living long.  And living as if it mattered.

Given my own history of a health crisis, it spoke to me.  And reminded me of a cancer patient in my chaplaining days years ago.  She grabbed my arm, pulled me down, looked me in the eyes and said, “Don’t waste it.”

I think I did in the years after that.  Not completely, but enough that her words haunt me.  And call me to make it matter.  For as long as I can.

That’s what I discuss in my podcast this week.  The importance of making it last, and making it matter.  Your life, that is.

Thriving Body
Making An Impact
Finding Meaning
Thrive Principles Book
The Immutable Laws Of Living Book


That Balance Between Certainty and Variety

FindBalanceCertaintyVarietyWe need balance.  Tony Robbins notes that we have several human drives.

The first two are where we need balance:  certainty and variety.  We need to be able to count on things in life — that’s certainty.  But we also need new experiences and a change of pace — that’s variety.

Too much of one makes most of us crave the other… until we get too much of that.


That doesn’t mean that we find the space equidistant between certainty and variety, but that we have BOTH as parts of our lives.

How is YOUR balance?

I know I am out of balance when I get exhausted by too much busyness and unpredictability (too much variety, too little certainty) or when I am bored and energy-less (too much certainty, too little variety).

In this week’s podcast, I discuss how to find the balance and why it is so important.  It is also a great lead-in to this week’s Save The Marriage Podcast, where I discuss how this can cause problems in relationships.  But it applies to everyone, single or in a relationship.

Learning and Life
Be an Experiment
Show Up
Beating Stress

Your Circle Of Control (and what you can’t)

CanControlOh, if only we could control things.  Everything.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Finally, a chance to change the outcome, keep your loved ones safe, rid the world of injustice….

But… we can’t.  We sometimes get caught up in trying.  In particular, we often fall into the trap of trying to control other people.  Usually, with bad results.  Sometimes, with disasterous results.

And yet… those concerns.  They might keep you up at night and fill your day with worry.

Worry is one way we pretend to have control.

So, if we can’t control those things out there, what CAN we control?

That is the topic of this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.  Listen in and discover the “spheres” in your life — what you can control, and what you can’t.

Then, take action to shift your focus to what you CAN control.

The Thrive Principles Book
The Immutable Laws of Living Book

2 Targets To Thrive

Two targets for thriving in good and bad times.“But where do I start?”, he asked. I was at a conference talking about thriving. I’d spent a good amount of time discussing some principles of thriving. But I could tell it was a bit overwhelming to my new friend.

He challenged me, “You said I could thrive, no matter what life is throwing my way. So, where do I start if things are going well, and where do I start when things are not going so well?”

I thought for a brief moment and said, “Either way, you aim at two targets. They both apply, whether things are going well or not so well. When you are at the top of your game or at the bottom, these two targets remain.”

“It can’t be that easy,” he replied.

“Easy? I never mentioned ‘easy.’ I just said that there are two targets, no matter where you are,” I offered.

“OK,” he responded, “I’m all ears. What are the two targets?”

Gratitude and Growth.

Those are the two targets. Targets… you aim at them. You may not always hit them. But you aim at them.

When things are good, it is easier to remember to practice gratitude — and yet, we often forget to do it. When things are tough, there are still things for which to be grateful. But it can be a challenge.

When times are tough, growth is often the outcome. But it isn’t always fun to find the lessons. And when things are good, we think we have it down — no need to learn. And yet, there are plenty of things to learn at the top. And at that bottom. And in between.

In this episode of the podcast, I discuss these two targets. And how to hit them.

Lessons To Learn
Thrive Principles

Don’t Believe Everything You Think!

DontBelieveThinkThose thoughts, they get us into trouble, don’t they?

We keep looking for that thing that will make us happy. We think we know. We think that thing, that person, that place, that paycheck, position, etc., etc., will finally do it.

Until we get it, get there, have that relationship, or whatever… only to find that it didn’t quite work.

Oh, sure, we might be happy for a brief time. But not the way we thought. That “shiny new object” just didn’t do it. And back to the drawing board we go.

Mostly because we keep thinking that that thing “out there” is going to do it.

Notice that “happy” and “happen” share a root.  Something out there needs to happen in order for us to be happy.

Which is not the path to happiness.  No matter what your thoughts are telling you.

In this podcast episode, I discuss why our thoughts trick us, and what to do instead.

Thoughts are Thoughts
Making An Impact