News and Blogs

Negative Evangelism: We are all Influencers

by Andy Bunch

The marketing guy inside me makes me go for an attention grabbing title. In truth this is a pretty controversial post. My hope is that people who are attracted to my blog will be cheering by the end as opposed to embarrassed. 

The Subtitle of this post is, “We are all Influencers.” 

I firmly believe that being created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27) means we are given Body, Soul, and Spirit. We know something separates us from animals and it’s been said they don’t have a soul or that they have instinct instead of morality. I see animals have emotions and I see them do selfless things and express empathy often. Animals don’t have authority in God’s name. 

God put man over them and gave Adam and Eve authority and responsibility on Earth. Only humans can travel to heaven, see what God is doing and partner with God to do that on Earth. We are built to be a conduit of something into the Earth. 

Jesus prayed that the Father’s will would be done on Earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9-13). Why would he pray that as an example to his disciples if they didn’t have authority to do likewise? Adopted Co-Heirs in Christ have their authority restored to partner with God and be a conduit of his Kingdom to Earth. I believe we are all conduits of the supernatural either the darkness or the light. We are actually never neutral.  

But all that is aside from my main point–that two camps of Christians have formed. Those who drive folks away from God and those who draw them into Christ. Driving away, I call Negative Evangelism. This camp could be called Churchianity. When I was a kid, adults in the church talked about Cultural Christians as though the worst thing you could do is claim to be a Christian but live an untransformed life. Then if you busted them doing something terrible they’d say, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” 

Well, I’ve got news for yah. Grace means God no longer sees you as a sinner, He sees you as a child learning how to be better. Being transformed is about something much larger than going to church weekly, keeping the rules, and paying tithe–which is what most Christains thought it was when I was a kid. 

The group who really draws people to Christ are the followers of the Kingdom. Those who embrace the transformation of their hearts and let their lives be their testimony. 

Churchianity folks tell you the Gospel. They force it upon you while ignoring their own issues. Kingdom folks hardly have to say the name Jesus because by the time they do they’ve earned the respect of those they’re speaking to. Group one folks might spend more time doing good works, but group two folks are able to do small acts of kindness where they work so they are witnessing 40 extra hours a week. 

In one sense this is the least revolutionary post I’ve ever written. 

This has all been said many times. So here’s the part I think is really rebellious…growing up, the denomination we belonged to believe in holding themselves apart from the world. They believed that by hiding, not being noticed, and not offending anyone they would impact the world. They disfellowshipped members for getting famous outside their own little circle. I distinctly recall them pulling the ordination from a pastor who got an acting job–as a pastor on TV. What if that actor slipped up? What would people think of them? 

In the small sense they did unspeakable evil to members who God built to be exceptional in a way they deemed unacceptable. They robbed them individually of the chance to shine in an authentic way, the glory God shined on them. If you were born to dance you’d better hope you weren’t born in that denomination because they believed dancing lead to impure thoughts. 

In a larger sense they robbed the world of positive role models. Why is Hollywood so dark? Why are so many billionaires now getting busted for child sex abuse? Because Christians didn’t go there and bring light!

I have a Confession to Make:

I am convicted that I am to be an influencer. The thought of taking selfies of me with duck face or getting sponsored to wear something I find so repulsive I almost missed the true meaning of what was on God’s heart for me.

The way to have influence is to ascend a cultural mountain to a place where people want to do it the way you are doing it, because it works better. The reality is that you climb the mountains of culture by showing up in excellence and applying Kingdom principles in partnership with Christ in a way that’s authentic to you. That’s a writer-downer! 

“You climb the mountains of culture by showing up in excellence and applying Kingdom principles in partnership with Christ in a way that’s authentic to you!”

When you are showing up with God, as you, you will have creative solutions to problems. You will handle people the way they’ve hoped others would treat them. 

  • You will show up on time.. 
  • Work till the job is done… 
  • Volunteer for tough assignments… 

In other words, you’ll be a great employee. 

We’re actually not allowed to just work for a paycheck. Money is not the measure of how well you are doing at work. Your mission is to bring value to work, not to sell them time. There are no small jobs. The bottom is the top, and the last shall be first. There is nowhere that God can’t use you. In fact, the path to working in a way more close to your heart may well be to better steward what you are doing now. 

Shameless Self Plug:

This is where knowing yourself, finding God’s vision for you and developing a life plan that leads toward that vision really comes in handy. I call it finding your life Adventure. I’ll write more on that topic in the weeks and months to come, but I wanted to get this message out there. 

Where you are now is just as useful to God as where you want to be (which is most likely where he’s trying to take you). 

Don’t despair. Change your lens. See yourself as a work in progress and embrace the challenges before you for the growth opportunities they really are. 

If you want to talk more about it, the best ways to get ahold of me are this FB Page or email me at SirBunch@TaleScribe.com 

Life Adventure Consulting: Part 2 of 2

Synopsis of Part 1.

In part 1 I laid out my theory that we are all searching for a more effective way to live. We have the one we inherited or/and modified over time and we get a lot of advice on ways to improve it. In fact we pay a lot of money to people for ways to improve life. But as much as we make inroads in some areas, we end up feeling like we are trying to spin too many plates. Whichever plate we aren’t actively focused on ends up crashing down around us.

What We Really Need

We really need to go back to looking for the big picture, because things like wrong beliefs are just pieces of the puzzle. What we need the most to put them all together is the picture on the front of the box. That picture is going to be of you, by the way. It’s a you that you probably wouldn’t recognize. 

Success Coaches (Secular Gurus) – employ an outline technique. They take you through a process of figuring out what pieces you do have and putting them into an outline. Then you can try to figure out how many blank spots there are and what order things go in. You can also work on improving the parts that you do have. That’s not wrong. 

The problem is they still don’t have the picture. They don’t know what’s authentic to you and what’s not. 

New Age Gurus – have a lot of techniques pulled out of the ether and observation of what others are doing that does and doesn’t work. They are great at generating ways to get and stay connected to the unknown forces that guide us. These deeper self knowledge and focus on connection to others and “the universe” tend to be things that bring more meaning and motivation. They aren’t wrong.

The problem is that by not being willing to personify the “universe” they are living deeply connected to something nebulous. God seems to meet these folks where they’re at and reward them to the degree he can. But they’re missing out on something truly amazing and a piece of them knows it.

Clergy – hover between these two worlds. Some have a relationship with God and exuberantly fling themselves into a grace-filled license to flounder about. Some are great at mining the scriptures for Kingdom keys that they incorporate into a lifeless practice that’s not sustainable. What both do well is picture God in who’s image we are made. One problem is they’re still looking for a corporate picture in that image. They can be so in league with the Spirit of Institution that they preach against the postmodern idea of finding what works for you individually. 

Yes, We are The Body of Christ…

Okay I know corporate fellowship is all over the bible. I get it. God values the “one anothers.” The problem is that it dovetails so nicely with institutional centralized control. It’s become a justification for elevating the body over the priesthood of believers. I don’t want to nerd out too much here and get off track, but frankly the fruit of elevating corporate identity above all has been the creation of churches based on uniformity instead of unity. God didn’t create a church in his image. He made a married couple. God’s plan is more about innately different things working in harmony than he is about conforming so you can fit in. 

For too long the church has relied on our longing to belong as the force for living a more moral life when they could have been pointing people to a God who accepts them where they’re at, and in whose image they are uniquely made, and counting on the desire to draw close to that relationship to bring about more abundant life. 

A church full of spirit-filled, rugged individualists, who pursue their best selves in Christ so they can shape culture would explode across the world and change it for the better. It would also be impossible to control…and that’s a problem for Clergy.

So what’s the Answer?

We are built uniquely in God’s image. We are the output of a creative process. A divine self portrait. The picture on the outside of the puzzle box is a picture of you as God sees you and it’s brilliant because you look a lot like your dad.

Of course in order to see it you’re going to have to leave the box. Gurus and Charismatic Clergy are at least willing to step outside the box. Gurus then refuse to see what the picture is, they just bring back a few elements and call it good. Likewise, Clergy see only the parts they want to see. The parts that apply corporately. For the answer to the question of how to live better they turn to the scriptures and extrapolate principles to apply religiously.

I’m being a little unfair to Clergy. I know I’ve made some sweeping statements that put a large group of people in a box. Forgive me. I want to describe the reason no one seems to be able to help their fellow man answer the question, “how do I live now that will bring life?” 

I know you have good intentions. I know I depend on the same Grace you do. But I’m driven by this one thought, Jesus said, “I came that you may have life abundant.” 

Why isn’t every Christian I encounter living in abundance? 

There is a place out there, a Promised Land, that every child of God is meant to inherit. It’s a place of Prosperity with a Purpose. It’s a place where the Kingdom of God pours through them and they are massively blessed while they delivering massive value to a world that’s looking to leave slavery in Egypt. 

Why is God’s church still circling the wilderness? We seem to wander periodically alongside the Jordan River and peer across at the land God said he wants to give to us. God wants it for us. Why aren’t we there?

God actually takes responsibility for getting us into the Land He set aside for us. The problems are on our end.

I know in my journey I’ve completely misinterpreted my time in the wilderness. I’ve looked at the miracles God provided to keep me alive, but not blessed, and seen it as God holding out on me. 

The truth is that one of the key things we learn in the desert is that God will always be your source of good things. This is a lesson best learned in a state of dependence. Once God gives you abundance it’s way too hard to keep our eyes on God when we have money, etc. to credit with our victories. It’s hard to deny manna from heaven, it’s easier when to ignore a God who sends rains on soil you tilled, planted, guarded and harvested. 

That’s a Writer-downer

We will always be dependent on God. Now there is a lot more to learn about all this, but my goal here is to paint the big picture. I want to introduce the concept of context.

We are all on an adventure from Egypt to the Promised Land. We really need to understand the wilderness season we are in if we want to enter our Promised Land. 

I bet you’ve felt one of the following things, if not right now, then sometime in the last 30 days…

  • Overwhelmed by options or obligations.
  • Resigned to never find an answer you are seeking.
  • Hopeless that answers to your problems exist.
  • Out of touch with your life vision, or without direction.
  • Lacking passion/motivation to do the hard things that are supposed to bring success.
  • Tired of trying the same thing and not having it ever work.
  • Like you don’t have time to get everything done and you will never get to what’s important 

If you have felt any of those things, or if what I’ve written resonates with you, there are 4 things you need to know. 

Email me and I’ll tell you for free. I’ll reply to your email with those four things and a link to my calendar so you can set an appointment to chat about it for free, no obligation. (An offer, but no obligation.) 

Please take me up on this. Whether or not you believe in God, he wants you to have life to the full. He wants to clear up any confusion and set you on a path to more abundant life. In 20 minutes we can identify the source of any fog and create some next steps.

Life Adventure Consulting: Part 1 of 2

THE Problem: As You’ve Never Heard it Stated Before

There is a problem faced by nearly everyone I’ve ever known or met. We often have emotional, and physical, pain from this cause. 

  • Businesses lose millions of dollars a year as a result of this problem. 
  • Children are neglected or abused because of this problem. 
  • Marriages end because of this problem. 

It affects people of all walks of life, of every religion, around the entire globe and it’s existed nearly since the dawn of time, although for much of history it didn’t occur to anyone that such a problem could exist. Now there are billion dollar industries trying to solve this problem, most of which don’t work long term, and some of which are outright scams.

We see people treating symptoms of this problem but almost no one has a cohesive treatment for the underlying cause of all these painful side effects.  

I’m going to attempt to do something no one ever has before and state the universal problem clearly and simply. 

We don’t know how to live. 

That’s right. The core issue beneath most of our difficulties in life can be summed up by saying that we don’t know how to live. 

Now of course we all navigate our way through each day, based on a combination of habits we formed incidentally over the years and a certain amount of will power we exert to handle specific things we’re facing. But something inside us knows that there is more. I’m talking about a LIFE, the kind that is marked by joy. The kind that carries us toward more life each day and away from toxic things that rob us. 

Our hearts crave two things nearly every day. A way to navigate the day that moves us toward our goals, and a way to engage with something larger than ourselves, a deeper meaning, our reason for being. 

What we feel like the answer should be is some kind of purpose, a guiding light to help us navigate and inspire us to live our best life. Yet something is missing. Some illusive piece of the puzzle evades our search and no guru who claims to have the answer has ever produced the missing piece. 

The answers seem to work and then in a few weeks, or a few months, we uncover another void in the picture. Masking the issue is our own childhood. When we’re young we know that we don’t know what’s up. We spend the first ¼ to ⅓ of our lives not only learning information intentionally, but also gleaning meta information through observing how the world works and who we are in it.

A lot of what we learn this way is dead wrong. 

Current Potential Answers

During my lifetime, there has been three main groups of people demanding an answer to this problem and three types of teacher that has risen up to meet that demand. 

Type 1: Gurus/Success Coaches

When it comes to treating symptoms Success Coaches are at the top of the game. No blame/shame, they have done a great job of observing problems and investigating solutions based on evidence. This approach isn’t wrong but it doesn’t get at the core issue. 

Type 2: Clergy 

We’d expect people to turn to religion for answers and the clergy respond. The core of their work is salvation, which means after this life you go to heaven. But people innately need answers to how to live now. For this the clergy turn to the bible and to the world. 

The little secret most Clergy have is that they don’t have a clue how we should live. The religious answer is, you’re going to heaven when you die, try not to sin very much between now and then. Of course there are biblical principles about how to live, but for some reason they don’t seem to yield the long term change. One reason is that they require faith and other mysteries that are hard to maintain consistently. 

So, Clergy have turned to the Success Gurus for their evidence based answers, which they then baptize by finding biblical justifications. These ideas work about as well as the other biblical answers, but they join the litany of principles, rules, and regulations that religion promotes in place of relationship with God.

Type 3: Gurus/New Age

Those who have been turned off to religion, but are aware that something else exists in the universe often turn to New Age, even if it’s under a number of lighter names. New Age, ironically does the reverse of what the clergy have done. These Gurus stumble on or search out kingdom principles without accessing them through the bible. But their version is devoid of God and won’t lead to lasting answers either. 

I’m not saying that the bible is wrong. It’s not. It’s full of answers. It needs a good lens to view it through to get to the answers. The bible is meant to be read with the author. Without the author’s help it can lead to truth without the power. Unfettered by relying on the bible, and believing in spiritual things these gurus reach out with their senses and blind faith to find answers that help about as well as the evidence based ones of success coaches, and the biblical based ones of the Clergy. 

In all this I’m not blaming anyone so far. I’m not saying the answers these folks come up with are demonic or ill-intentioned. Most of them even work–at least a little, and for a time. As with illness, when you treat symptoms with medication you often just suppress the pain & obvious effects, or chase the symptoms to another location. Sometimes it creates whole new symptoms elsewhere. 

Secondary Problems

The primary problem is that treating symptoms won’t give us a way to live. The search for answers and the need to supply those answers has created three possible paths discussed above.

The first effect of all this is that there are three times the possible answers to sort through. People are inundated with potential answers and the only way to find what works is to try them out–one at a time. It’s a process I call auditioning. Facing the prospect of all those potential options is overwhelming. The need to find a solution to this almost impossible to articulate problem has already made us feel overwhelmed. So we are doubly overwhelmed.

The second effect of all these potential options comes from our non-stop autioning. Everytime we try something out and it doesn’t work, we get a little more resigned to the idea that there is no answer out there. 

The Premodern mind existed in a world with little explanation. It was big and dangerous and death could come without warning or explanation. It was a time of God’s and titans who pulled strings in unseen realms that affected your daily life. The rains came or didn’t, fires came or didn’t. Fate was not in your hands. 

Side note: there were two ways to deal with this, accept it as beyond you or battle for control despite it all. Either way you worshiped the local god and made offerings, just to cover the bases. 

In the Modern Age, science began to explain things and by faith most men accepted that anything there wasn’t a current explanation for would one day be explained. This also took two forms. Religious modernists believed in studying God through the scriptures, while secular man put his faith in science. Of course, there was still a contingent of people who either didn’t care to explore for answers or were too busy trying to survive. 

Now we’re in a Postmodern Era. A lot of people hate postmodernism but this is the age we are in, like it or not. Today we suffer from a grand disillusion because science and bible reading haven’t yielded the answer. I’m not saying God isn’t the answer, I’m saying we didn’t find anything in the bible that solves the problem without requiring faith. 

Since the large institutional answer has failed us, these days we are left with our own private search. That’s not entirely a bad thing. The hallmark of postmodernism is trying to examine what’s failed about the premodern solution and the modern solution. Postmodernism suggests that if there is any hope to finding the answer it’s taking what works from everything so far and creating a custom answer. 

Postmodern is Almost Right

They are onto something. The answer is undoubtedly at least somewhat unique to each of us individually. And they are right, the premodern idea (faith in God) is true, and a modern idea of scientific exploration is true. 

We can also learn from what they got wrong. Both eras suffered from pride and idolatry. 

Modernism in it’s faith in man’s ability to suss out an answer either by science or through the perfect combination of principles based loosely on interpretation of the bible (aka theology).

Premodern invented religion. They were the first to look at the works of God and make it about what he did and not who He was. 

Imagine you’re a villager under attack by an enemy and a hero saved you. He left behind a gun, which is technology beyond your comprehension. His intent was to promise you that you are safe and if trouble returns so will he. The villagers put the gun on display in a glass case on an altar. A couple generations later they worship the gun. No one remembers what this tool does or the one who carried it in their defense. 

Premodern man knew what was in the scriptures and they put it to practice. It became about the practice and not God. That is the spirit of religion. 

The scriptures point to an author. Nature points to a creator. Modern man, the era we’re coming out of, had a conceited belief that they could either find the answers by their own means or through the practice of religious doctrines found in the scriptures. The catholic church had the scriptures and “tradition” through which they interpreted the scriptures. Martin Luther got rid of tradition but left the church scripture. 

Of course, scripture is perfect. I’m glad we have it. It’s just that it only points to God. Tradition can be a tool to understand what the scriptures say about how to live life. But it can also be misleading. 

Modern Christians aren’t aware how much they are guided by tradition. Which is a topic for another section.

Unlearning

One of the big things we’ll need to do is unlearn the wrong ideas and habits we’ve developed. (A lot of people say we shouldn’t call them wrong ideas, because they are actually just unhelpful or ineffective. I call them wrong because what they are is false self knowledge. Consider the possibility that these ideas, these bits of wrong info might work for someone else, but they don’t work for you. So they are inauthentic. Which is a concept we’ll go into more later.)

Wrong ideas come in a few forms. 

One is things we learn by personal observation and experience as we grow up. Another is the belief systems of other people. We can inherit belief systems from our parents, teachers, and friends. You can read a lot of great information about belief systems and its worth doing.

One of the most common and underrecognized ways we inherit belief systems is through tradition. Americans aren’t very aware of how much tradition we have. The feeling is that most people who came here early on were leaving behind something they didn’t want anymore, and eventually they started coming here because the new culture that was built provided opportunities the culture they left behind didn’t.

In a way, Americans have more culture than most countries because we have inherited from every nationality that came here, as well as creating our own from them. 

America is the first postmodern nation because there was a deliberate attempt to bring what works and leave behind what doesn’t. 

If you suddenly feel surrounded by belief systems don’t worry. They are no more harmful to you than they were a few minutes ago. You will need to identify and eliminate wrong beliefs but there is a right and wrong way to go about it. I’ll lay out more on that in Part 2 of this post, coming Wednesday.

Bk Review: Grief Recovery Method

Contents

Part 1 Seeing the Problem

  1. Grief a Neglected and Misunderstood Process
  2. Compounding the Problem
  3. We are ill prepared to Deal with Loss
  4. Others are ill prepared to help us Deal with Death and Loss
  5. Academy Award Recovery

Part 2 Preparing for Change: Starting to Recover

  1. Your First Choice: Choosing to Recover
  2. Setting the Guidelines
  3. Identifying Short-Term Energy Relievers
  4. The Loss History Graph

Part 3 Finding The Solution

  1. What is Incompleteness
  2. Introducing the Relationship Graph
  3. Almost Home: Converting the Relationship Graph into Recovery Components
  4. What Now? – Clean up Work

Part 4 More on Choices and Other Losses

  1. What Loss to Work on First
  2. Guidelines for Working on Specific Losses

First Impressions

This book is meant to work like a manual so expect to skip around and to have to reread certain concepts until they really internalize. 

Key Concepts 

What is Grief

  1. Grief is the normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind.
  2. Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of, or change in, a familiar pattern of behavior.
  3. Grief is the feeling of reaching out for someone who has always been there, only to find when you need them again, they are no longer there.

Typical Responses to Grief

  • Reduced concentration
  • Changed eating habits 
  • A sense of numbness
  • Roller coaster of emotional energy
  • Disrupted sleeping patterns

Some examples include:

  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Moving
  • Pet loss
  • Retirement 
  • Empty Nest
  • Loss of health 
  • Legal Problems
  • Starting School
  • End of Addiction
  • Financial change (increase or decrease in wealth)

Here are some intangible examples of Grief. 

  • Loss of Trust
  • Loss of Safety
  • Loss of Control 
  • Loss of Faith
  • Loss of Fertility

Over 43 losses that are considered Grief in total.

Grief is individual and unique. There are no stages. 

Grief cannot be neatly categorized. Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s work was on Death and Dying, not Grief. She is very specific about this distinction in her books and yet the media and universities have attached her work to Grief. This common misinformation has confused and hurt many grievers throughout the years.

There are no absolutes in Grief. 

There are no reactions so universal that all, or even most, people will experience them.

Grief is normal and natural. 

It is not a pathological condition or a personality disorder.

Grief is often misdiagnosed

Mislabeled as ADHD, Depression, PTSD, and many other pathological conditions.

If you misdiagnose, you will mistreat. These mislabeled Grievers are then incorrectly put on various medications, which will get in the way of recovering from loss. 

How do I know if I, or someone I know, is incomplete with a loss? 

  • If you are unwilling to think about or talk about someone who has died, or express feelings about any other losses.
  • If fond memories turn painful, you may be experiencing unresolved Grief.
  • If you want to talk only about the positive aspects of the relationship, you may be incomplete.
  • Wanting to talk about only the negative aspects of the relationship, might be unresolved Grief.
  • Unresolved Grief may be at the root of any fear associated with thoughts or feelings about a relationship.

The impact of unresolved Grief in society

The following statistics are heartbreaking and could be avoided in many cases.

  • 13 million Grievers annually due to death. There are 2.6 million deaths per year in the United States with an average of five Grievers per death. (According to US Census Bureau)
  • 2.5 million Grievers per year due to divorce. This does not include the children grieving this significant loss. (A compilation of US statistical agencies)
  • 15.6 million Grievers per year due to a romantic breakup.
  • A study of 95,647 persons who lost a spouse found that the overall death rate for the surviving spouse doubled in the first week following the loss.
  • In the same study the heart attack rates more than doubled for male survivors and more than tripled for woman.
  • The surviving spouse was 93% more likely to get into a fatal auto accident and the suicide rate went up 242%.2 

Unresolved Grief is cumulative and cumulatively negative.

Unresolved Grief is everywhere. Thousands of mental health professionals we work with have found that although their clients come to them with some other presenting issue, almost all of them have unresolved Grief as the underlying problem.

An incomplete past may doom the future. We find that many people alter their life choices after a series of unresolved losses. This is done to protect themselves from further heartbreak. Usually this just translates to living a guarded life and a reluctance to participate fully in relationships or new endeavors.

Grief is not clinical depression. A recent study of 8800 clients established that a large percentage of people diagnosed as depressed and placed on antidepressant drugs are not clinically depressed. They are actually just experiencing unresolved Grief due to prior losses in their lives.

Depression and Grief have similar symptoms. Difficulty concentrating, roller coaster of emotions, sense of numbness, disrupted sleeping patterns, altered eating habits and massive loss of energy.

Short term energy relieving behaviors. 

Many people in our society use what we call STERBs or “Short term energy relieving behaviors” in an attempt to cover the feelings caused by unresolved Grief. Some examples of these are alcohol, food, shopping, and exercise.

Most common misinformation on the topic of Grief

Time heals. Time does not heal, action within time does. We know people who have waited 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years to feel better.

Grieve alone. Often this advice is subtly implied, “Give your mom her space” or “He just needs a few minutes alone in the other room.” As children, we learn that this means that sad feelings should be hidden or experienced alone.

Be strong. Usually the Griever is asked to be strong for others. “You have to be strong for your [wife]” or “Be strong for your children.” 

Don’t feel bad. This is usually followed by an intellectually true statement but is not helpful at all to the Griever, “Don’t feel bad, his suering is over.” or “Don’t feel bad, at least you knew her as long as you did.”

Replace the loss. This is common with pet loss or the end of a romantic relationship. “On Tuesday we’ll get you a new dog” or “There are plenty of fish in the sea. You just have to get out there and date again.” Most likely there has been no action taken to grieve over the loss of the pet or relationship, just an attempt at not feeling the emotions attached to the loss.

Keep busy. “If I just keep busy then I won’t have time to think about the loss.” This one is sad because some people spend their whole lives with this mentality and never get a chance to grieve and complete what was unfinished with the particular loss.

Most things Commonly said to Grievers Aren’t Helpful

A survey asked Grievers to decide which comments were helpful following a loss. Out of 141 comments, they found only 19 helpful.

Here are some of the types of comments that were not helpful:

  • You’ll be fine in time. 
  • I know how you feel. 
  • You shouldn’t be feeling that way still.
  • Don’t be angry with God. 
  • It was just a dog, cat, bird etc.
  • Look on the bright side, at least they’re in a better place. 
  • Don’t feel bad, his suffering is over now. 
  • You’re young; you can still have other children. 

Helpful things to say to someone grieving a loss.

(Do listen with your heart, not your head. Allow all emotions to be expressed, without judgment, criticism, or analysis.)

I can’t imagine how you feel…” or 

I can’t imagine how painful…” – devastating – heartbreaking

“…that must have been for you.” 

(Every relationship is unique, therefore, every Griever is unique. You cannot know how they feel so this is always a truthful statement that will never offend the Griever.)

I can’t imagine how you feel; I know that when I lost my mother I felt…”

Do ask, “What happened?” Most people will avoid this question. However, most often we find that Grievers feel isolated because most people will tend to avoid them as if nothing happened. This can be very isolating for someone who’s grieving.

Follow their words in your head as they are spoken. In other words, stay in the moment while they’re speaking. If you leave the moment for one second, you have just become an unsafe person to talk to about Grief.

Be empathetic. This means that if you tear up during their story, let that be ok. (You are allowed to be human.) Sharing sad emotions is ok with you.

Above Badge Displayed on website indicates GRM Specialist is Certified by the Institute

Dealing with the “G” word. “Guilt.”

Griever: “My son committed suicide, I feel so guilty.” 

GRM Specialist: “Did you ever do anything with intent to harm your son?” 

Griever: “No.” (This is an almost universal response.) 

GRM Specialist: “The dictionary definition of guilt implies intent to harm. Since you had no intent to harm…You are probably devastated enough by the death of your son, you don’t need to add to it by hurting yourself with a word that distorts your feelings.” 

Griever: “Really? I never thought of it that way.” 

GRM Specialist: “Are there some things that you wish had been different, better, or more?” 

Griever: “Oh, yes.”

The Grief Recovery Method

Recovery from loss is achieved by a series of small and correct choices made by the Griever.

Sadly, most of us have not been given the necessary information with which to make correct choices in response to a loss.

  • Recovery means feeling better.
  • Recovery is finding new meaning for living, without the fear of being hurt again.
  • Recovery is being able to enjoy fond memories without having them turn painful.
  • Recovery is acknowledging that it is perfectly all right to feel sad from time to time and to talk about those feelings no matter how those around you react.
  • Recovery means acquiring the skills we should have been taught as a child. 
    • These skills allow us to deal with loss directly.
  • Recovering from a significant emotional loss is not an easy task. 
    • Taking the actions that lead to recovery will require your attention, open-mindedness, willingness, and courage.

REFERENCES 

  1. James, John W. and Friedman, Russell P. The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition. New York: Harper-Collins, 2009. 
  2. Kaprio, Jaako, MD; Koskenvuo, Markku, MD; and Rita, Helo, MPolSc. “Mortality after Bereavement: A Prospective Study of 95,647 Widowed Persons.” American Journal of Public Health 77.3 (1987): 283-287. 
  3. Wakefield, Jerome C., PhD, DSW; Schmitz, Mark F., PhD; First, Michael B. MD; Horwitz, Allan V., PhD. “Extending the Bereavement Exclusion for Major Depression to Other Losses: Evidence from the National Comorbidity Survey.” Arch Gen Psychiatry 64.4 (2007):433-440.

Reflections

This is a groundbreaking and original approach to something that almost no one is even talking about. The cost of not dealing with grief is costing businesses millions of dollars a year in sick time, and accidents, and taking a toll on citizens that can’t be calculated. 

That said, the hallmark of The Grief Recovery Method is that it’s not profound. It doesn’t completely wow you. It stands out among all the other books and programs I review, which typically has one or two items that ring in your bones when you read or hear them.

(Note: I read and audit tons of self-help/time management/success books/programs/workshops/etc.) 

To be fair, the Grief Recovery Method is very impactful, its just super subtle. A week or so after you complete the method, especially if you use with a certified GRM specialist, you realize that you have a new level of peace and things that used to trigger you don’t anymore. 

I strongly recommend the Grief Recovery Method. I was so impressed I got certified as a specialist personally. I don’t typically add modalities to my core Life Adventure Consulting but this method covered an area that I wasn’t addressing and in an evidence based way. 

Contact Authors/Creators 

griefrecoverymethod.com
1-800-334-7606

Contact me if you want to know more about having a better life after loss then you did before.

Purpose & 13 Motivations

There’s never been a better time to reconnect to your motivation. Let’s face it, even if the last two years didn’t completely derail you, it probably rerouted you. Most of the people I talk to describe it as a kind of malaise. Your forward momentum was likely stalled. You probably have new habits to unlearn, whether these were bad habits or just ways of working around things necessitated by covid lockdowns that aren’t as effective as ways you could be doing things.

We hear a lot about finding your motivation. Some people say you need to connect to your, “why.” Others say you need a vision for your life. Still others say, no you need a purpose or a mission. I think this is another instance of people being wired a little different from each other. Each of these terms describes what I call a motivator, a product at the end of an approach to self examination. (ie a mission/vision/purpose statement, or life’s message.) I’d include in this list a Core Value Index (CVI) which accomplishes a similar goal in a very applicable format.

It’s probably worth defining each of these terms and outlining there approach. but that’s a meaty enough bite to warrant it’s own post. In this post lets focus on the 3 pillars you need to have if your efforts are going to move you toward prosperity with a purpose. Then cover 9 motivations, at least some of which are wired into your nature. Recognizing how you’re wired will let you work with not against yourself, and it will show you reasons you may have been tripped up in past attempts to succeed in life.

3 things we need to have Joy at Work: (John Garfield) 

I’m not sure you said it first but I first heard it from John Garfield. To feel fulfilled we…

  • a Cause
  • a Contribution
  • a Community

A Cause

To be satisfying, a cause must be larger than yourself. It must be noble. Like someone in AA coming to the conclusion that if their addiction controls them, than something out there must be bigger and more powerful than the substance–a higher power they can call upon for rescue from problems instead of numbing themselves. Ultimately we need to process the wounds that leave us feeling the need to numb out, but a great start is believing that I’m not my own God. I’ve never met a person who could claim to be happy living for themselves. We get energy and excitement being a part of something larger than life.

Our cause doesn’t have to be entirely philanthropic. It’s totally okay to need energy or money in exchange for what you’re pouring out, but the key is impact. We need to have a unique impact see below.

A Contribution

Our contribution is our part of the larger thing. It must be unique. There is something innately offensive about someone who tries to put you in a box. We sense their need to reduce us to a few simple descriptors. I’m much larger than just a few attributes, no matter how true those attributes are, or how well they describe me in a given circumstance.

I’ve been through ups and downs in life. I’ve got scars and I’m proud of them. I’ve done hard things and I’ve had breakthrough. I’m uniquely qualified to help at least some people through at least some difficult times. I call this my Unique Value Add. I have a unique toolkit of strengths, aptitudes, character traits and experience to address circumstances that plague others. I come alive heling others, but only when I’m heling them toward something I believe in and doing it in a way that is unique to me.

A Community

It stands to reason then, that I need people to help. If I need dishes put on the top shelf I can get a stool, but if I have a tall friend standing right there why not hand them for help. We need to learn to lean on each other’s strengths. Together we can get more done, in less time, and have more fun doing it.

Community comes in three forms–people I help, people who help me, and people I work with to help others. I call people I help my Audience. People who help me mentors, and people who help me help others my team.

There is a fourth group of people–my tribe. We benefit greatly from associating with others who have a similar calling. We can share tragedies and triumphs. We can share strategies. The people we’re told are our competition are actually part of our success, but only if we embrace the uniqueness factor. When we realize that our contribution is unique and our audience is unique we realize that we aren’t really in competition with others who may be doing roughly the same thing we do.

13 Core Motivations – Marisa Murgatroyd

Altruism
Autonomy
Financial Gain
Intellectual Challenge
Lifestyle
Managing People
Positioning (for future)
Power/Influence
Prestige
Recognition
Security
Variety

Specifically these motivations are career related–what moves you at work or to start a business. I encourage you to look these words up and don’t assume you know what they mean, because some of them might turn you off at first, but then when you read the definition it’s actually something you’d be very motivated by.
For example, you may not feel like power and influence is a very healthy reason to be motivated, however, if you’ve ever had a great idea how to solve a problem at work and had no authority to implement it you may have empathy for someone who is motivated for power.

Notice also that a lot of these motivations work in reverse, to keep you stuck. You may decide to skip an opportunity to make a lot more more that was 100% commission because working without a net was scarier than the potential to make more money.

Understanding your motives can be a great tool for letting yourself off the hook when you’ve made career choices. Don’t agonize over decisions you made. You might be honoring your baked-in nature. Now that said, you may need to take more chances than you currently are. Sometimes you can’t get the new thing you deeply desire without leaving the safety of your current place. We tend to get stuck in zones of comfort and while we need to enter zone of challenge to feel like we’re making progress the real danger of getting stuck in comfort is that you may not be equipped to recover when your comfort zone is more temporary than you thought it was. Never forget, you feel safe in the familiar, but that doesn’t mean what you’re familiar with is safe or beneficial.

Hopefully this gives you some great thinking points. I don’t have all the answers so I welcome your feedback. You can comment here or join my FB community and post there.

About this Blog:

Welcome to the Cleric Blog Series on Sirbunch.com. I’m Andy Bunch, and I’m a Life Adventure Consultant. I help Creative Entrepreneurs find Prosperity with a Purpose by removing constraints to success. I’ve been seeking wisdom for 50 years and I’ve distilled what I’ve learned into a framework that has lead me to more fulfilling and abundant life.

This blog will outline that framework for free for the rare person out there who can read, learn, and implement things. Most of us need more to really make wisdom usable so I’m inviting you to my Facebook community where you can workshop what you’ve read and learn of opportunities to go deeper with me.

Another feature of this blog is the book reviews. I’ll be reading dozens of non-fiction books each year and reviewing them here. I’ll explain the main facts and grade them for effectiveness, then speak to how they potentially fit into the framework I’m outlining. I say potentially fit in because I believe no two paths to success are the same. Like every student of better living you’ll have to find what works for you. The smart approach is to leverage the lessons of others because you won’t live long enough to make all the mistakes yourself. Welcome to this blog, and God bless you.

“Stop living the life you’re supposed to and start living the life you’re meant to.”

Andy Bunch

Set your Biological Clock Back

Who doesn’t want to be younger? For one thing it means you’re further from death, but what most of us get excited about isn’t living forever, it’s living while we’re alive. I personally want to feel good. I want energy to do more stuff. I want less painful joints, less sick days, better sleep, less stress, I want…vitality! 

I know daylight savings time tends to have the opposite effect. Especially when we spring ahead. Well, what if you could set your biological clock back an hour, or a day, or maybe a year or two? 

I ran into this batch of research on Telomeres and it might be the fountain of youth. Better than that, it’s completely free and there’s no risk for trying it. Let me explain how it works, but first a quick explanation about this upcoming series on the SirBunch.com blog. 

Disclaimer and Shameless Explanation

Let me start by saying I’m not a scientist. I don’t specialize in aging. I’m a writer and a nerd who likes to read about things that improve our lives. My goal is to help people so I started this blog to share what I learn that can be beneficial to others. I’m by no means the expert with all the answers. I’m in the cave with you. But when I find something that works, I’m going to put it here from now on. You can save a lot of time, energy, suffering and money by following my exploits.

#2 I’m not selling anything…this time. I reserved the right to make an offer should I come across something I want to endorse or promote. 

What is your Biological Clock? (scientifically speaking)

Your cells are dying all the time, and being replaced. Aging is when your cells don’t replicate fast enough to keep you freshly stocked with plump healthy new cells. Telomeres are non-coding DNA at the ends of your chromosomes that protect them. Think of them as the hard plastic bits at the ends of your shoe laces that keep them from fraying out. 

An enzyme called Telomerase is responsible for keeping the telomeres nice and long. When they get short your cells are closer to the end of their ability to keep replicating. 

We know all this from the work by Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD,who won the Nobel in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 for discovering the molecular nature of telomeres.

Blackburn is the  President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA. Her 2017 book is entitled, “The Telemere Effect: A revolutionary approach to living younger, healthier, longer.” 

Here’s the amazing, fountain of youth secret: Blackburn’s on record as saying, “your Telomeres…listen to your state of mind.”

In fact in her books Blackburn Identifies 5 unhealthy thought habits that could be speeding up the rate at which you age, based on reviewing thousands of studies. 

They are…

Cynical Hostility – high anger and thoughts of mistrust of other people

Pessimism – leads to cancer, heart disease, earlier death

Rumination – unable to let go of conflict or anxiety, effects immune system

Thought Suppression – trying not to think about negative things instead of resolving them (it’s impossible to not think about something, it takes constant energy.)

Distraction – inability to focus or stay in the present 

Blackburn’s Answer…

…to potentially reversing damage to Telomeres and thereby reversing your age. She suggests meditation, long distance running (meditation while burning calories) and though awareness (realizing that you had a thought and thought it isn’t necessarily true or beneficial. 

Andy’s Answer…

I notice in all of the five negative thought habits, but especially in Rumination and Thought Suppression, how it’s not just having a thought that’s a problem–it’s not dealing with them. 

In our culture we’re trained to acquire things, not to lose them. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a promotion, a great marriage, or a happy family, but loss is inevitable. 

In fact you’re probably going to blow it several times before you learn how to succeed at anything. No one who you think of as successful got there without blowing it badly, many times. 

There are three life skills that will help you succeed more and faster.

  1. Find ways to leverage the hard earned experience of others, because you won’t live long enough to make all the mistakes yourself.
  2. Develop tools for dealing with your failures and losses so you turn them into wins eventually. 
  3. When you encounter a loss for which there is no win to be had, have tools that let you process that and move forward without it. (One mistake can plague you the rest of your life if you let it.) 

To acquire the tools to move past your grief and loss I recommend the “Grief Recovery Method,” by John James and Russell Friedman. In fact, I’d recommend walking through it with a certified grief recovery method specialist. I’m certified in this method, but find one in your area by looking online at the Grief Recovery Institutes website. 

Closing Truth

I make no attempt to hide my faith. I call this the Cleric Blog. I try not to force anything on anyone, and I believe anyone will benefit from following this blog. I’m going to review all sorts of books and self improvement programs, some from Christians sources but most will be what’s topping the lists of pop culture past or present. 

Occasionally I’ll interject some of my own discoveries or biblical truth that applies to the topic at hand…

Proverbs 23:7a “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”

Philippians 4:8 “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self control.”

Resources:

Dr. Jonathan Liu WRote a post on April 4th entitled Nobel Prize Winner: 5 Things that Speed up Aging, and 1 Anti-Aging Secret.

Day 5 (of 63) 2021 Transition Season: Supplemental on Diet & Schedule

Welcome Back

I’m coming to you with a Friday bonus. I’m dropping new content on Tues/Thurs. Those will be updates on the journey, plus some additional details as they arise. I’ll publish bonus times periodically. I have a few types of bonus planned. I’ll be launching a line of PDF’s that are my own version of spark notes, or cliff notes, on the nonfiction books I read. I call them Indie Andy Guides. They’re free to subscribers as a bonus and I’ll be drafting them directly to the blog as I go through each book.

Today’s bonus is a clarification and recent revelation about this seasons journey. Earlier this summer I heard God say that He was making me whole as I’m faithful to show up as me. Today I really caught some new understanding about what that means and it relates to the season I’m in. So this is a good opportunity to go into a little more detail on my long term projects/goals: Health and Schedule.

Personal Revival

If we are to partner with God in national revival, the foundation must be personal revival. That’s one big reason why I’m declaring a journey and unifying both my business growth goals and my personal life goals (including spiritual goals) into one fluid project. I’m igniting personal revival through declaring who the Lord is being for me in this season and who He says I am in this season.

It’s important to realize a few key elements in my statement about personal revival.

One is that we need to show up authentically. The closer we grow to God the better we understand and appreciate our design and destiny. God isn’t asking us to change into someone else in order to lay hold of our destiny, He’s refining the flesh-weakness out of us so we can inherit what He set aside for us. So seeking intimacy with God is step one.

Receiving what He says and does is step two. its going to take faith. It takes declaring God is right even when our feelings get cloudy or fear rises up. He is good and it will work out.

Side Note: If this new season seems 80% the same as the last season (it’s really more like 70% the same) it’s because I’m the same person as and it’s only been a few months. To me this feels so much more clear in many areas than last time. I was going for a ready, fire, aim strategy last time, because I have a tendency to over plan. It did get me moving and though I have more clarity this season, I’m still pushing my comfort zone to blog this while it’s happening.

Another aspect of the personal revival statement that’s important is that it incorporates business, spiritual, and personal goals. It’s been said by many entrepreneurs, business is personal and personal is business. If they take the time to think about it, no one believes that a person who makes a million dollars and loses their marriage is successful. As Christians we have verse about it. What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul. Perhaps that’s why so many of us struggle with the idea that God is heavily involved in every aspect of our lives–including our money.

Oh now I opened a can of worms! I said it, I meant it. I could, and might, write an entire post about God and money, but for now I’ll reference Jim Baker (the other Jim Baker). There is a difference between building wealth and mammon. Or as another of my mentors, Pedro Adao, puts it, “money isn’t everything, but it’s not nothing either.”

Christ lost everything on the Cross. He withheld nothing, even his dignity. To me that indicates that everything of mine belongs to him…even my money. Now, I could try to make this more palatable by saying income. It’s true that way too, but I want to confront what many people quietly believe, that money is evil therefore poverty is holy. That’s false, as is the belief that have a lot of money means you’re spiritually healthy.

Having a lot of money means this–God has blessed you somewhere and you are stewarding it well.

Most people don’t struggle with this concept when it comes to health. These days we don’t look down on someone who gets cancer and think, the must have angered God. But when Jesus walked the earth they did.

So if God takes an interest in your income, and showing up authentically is a key to personal revival then it’s a quick leap to say that God wants to be a part of every area of your life. He’s revealing who you are, uniquely, in each area of your life. Therefore I make my journey plans holistically. I intentionally touch every area since each area touches each other.

Creating My Journeys

As I mentioned before, God’s idea of good for us uniquely can be found by asking two questions (which I shamelessly stole from Graham Cooke):
1) who is God being for me in this season?
2) Who does God say that I am (now and historically)?

If you struggle with those questions a great way to expose limiting beliefs is to asking:
3) who do I say God is?

Sitting with these questions, periodically, never fails to reveal what season I’m in and often where I’m at in the season. Lets dig into more about my long projects this season (it’s really exciting).

This Season’s Long Projects: Health & Schedule

Schedule is one component of my ORGSys that is foundational to all other areas. It’s hard to eat consistently when you don’t get up or go to bed consistently. I need to choose a time that allows me to accomplish my work and my personal projects (like this blog), so I try to get up early.

Mornings are a good time to focus with limited interruptions in my experience. That’s it. I’m not a morning person, I just find that afternoons are chaos and evenings are made for winding down if I’m to get good sleep.

I decided to create a block of time called “Cleric” for all my worship/Organizing/journaling etc. I also needed to get ready for the day (shower and such) and I had to get a handle on what I would try to accomplish that day. All that seemed to be in one bucket so I made it happen first thing. I also needed to start work at a reasonable time, but I did decide I would put boundaries on my work life, so I do my best to keep it within a 6 hour window. But that’s straight up work. Very focused. I don’t have a water cooler so I still get more done most days than a typical worker doing an 8 hour day.

So I did a lot of math and decided to get up at 5 AM. Which didn’t work at all. I used to get up at 5 when my wife had a job in Portland, but I got out of the habit and it’s never fully come back. I do have some success getting up at 5:30 and that’s what I’m working my way back to.

Diet?!

Given the theme at the start of this post, I must admit that Cleric is me being authentic to me. I believe we all have a superhero identity. We have the broken way we used to live and we have our superhero identity in the future. I will do a whole post on this eventually (or perhaps a book).

A Cleric, to me, is a Writer, a Priest, and a Warrior. I’m more effective if I view my activities through an epic lens. I’ve been aware of this for quite a while, but I only recently realized that I need to up my imagination use in my life journeys.

It came about because my wife actually hates the idea of a diet. She can wake up one day and decide I’m not eating carbs for a month. That’s her super power. She is more authentic when she doesn’t tell anyone she’s, “on a diet.” She and I need to change our eating habits together to be successful, but we need a little different approach. I have to plan. I have to prep. Changing my eating is a campaign. A war waged for my health and family.

So I’m not doing a diet either. I’m declaring it a fast for the Lord. I’m not going to bed on time I’m resting in the Lord. I’ll do things for God I won’t do for me. That will improve as I learn to see me through God’s eyes.

I’m Auditioning Optivia

One of my goals with this blog is to audition different health and wellness products and review them for my audience. Full disclosure I’ve tried Optivia before for 5 weeks. It wasn’t easy, but it worked.

I chose Optivia deliberately. There were some rivals. I do Thrive by Level sometimes. It’s really good at a narrow bit of healthy eating, but it’s overpriced. I end up dropping it whenever I want to get serious about weight loss.

I’m not a fan of long term starving myself. A new eating plan should be sustainable. However, I do believe in seasons of feast and fast. My birthday was a massive season of feasting and it’s time for a fast. I’m excited to take on a fast and as I said before, I’m more successful at not eating when I dedicate it to God. So if I’m going to fast, Optivia is a good one. I don’t know that I could do there sustainable thing, I’ve not tried, but when I get done eating less than a thousand calories a day for a month or two I don’t want a bunch of restrictions. We shall see how this one turns out.

So far…well the 1st two days on the plan I lost 6 pounds. So It’s working so far. Any side effects. I’m hangry a lot! More updates to come.

Day 4 (of 63) 2021 Transition Season: The Restart!

Welcome Back

Tuesday 8/3 I posted Day #1 but my actual 1st day was Monday. I’ve corrected my
numbering and from now on new posts come Tuesday & Thursday.

Link to Day 1 of this season, Link to Last Post in Last Season

I’m excited to jump right into some details of what I’m committing to do in and for the next 60 days. I’ll include a recap of my 1st somewhat successful attempt to blog my life journeys toward the end, or you can follow the link above for more explanation of what’s going on in this blog.

The New Season:

The Transition Season: On the Topic of July. When I got to the end of May and still hadn’t completed the renovation, I started getting depressed. It felt like it would never end. I pushed hard, but there was always another 3 days of solid work no matter how long or fast I worked. After a few arguments with my wife I went to God and he said that I was in a transition season. I needed to take my foot off the striving pedal and rest/recover/recreate for awhile. So that’s exactly what I did for June and July. Now I sense it’s time to start getting back to work.

Goals for 2021 Transition Season

To start, it’s worth a quick note that I build my journey plans around four quadrants that reflect my values/priorities b/c part of the goal of doing these is to not neglect important areas of my life. One goal is to avoid overwhelm another is to avoid chronic survival mode syndrome. My quadrants change and clarify over the years but right now they’re Relationship (God/Family/Friends), Health, Wealth, Wisdom (Organization).

My goals/priorities last season–addressed in one project (One Big Thing), include
* Losing weight (Using Optivia to kick start things – more info to come).
* Bed by 9:30 PM & getting up at 5:30 AM weekdays, time with God (which includes writing this blog).
* Launching the coaching arm of my writing/coaching business.
* Finish work on new home without losing my peace.

I’m adding two more goals, which is dangerous and tough but I believe if I stagger the start of these I can do it, because the work on our new home is at a place where I can do a little here and there.

My new goals are…
* Write book two of my science fiction book, Saber and Science.
* Complete two elements of my Organization System (ORGSys)

The reason I need to complete my ORGSys is…
it will speed up everything else I’m trying to do,
I’ve been wanting to work on it for ages,
I believe it’s foundational to elements of the business I’m launching.

The reason I’m committing to write a sequel to my scifi is that I haven’t written fiction since I’ve become a father. It’s time to get back to it and that particular book ends too incomplete for me. (Also, I’ve had a couple of readers ask for it.)

So let’s talk schedule for a moment.

I call this a 63 day season because some goals (diet & sleep schedule) I’m doing for that long in the hopes of burning them into my lifestyle. Other goals (book drafting & house reno) are shorter, and if I do them in series, I can reallocate the time from one to the next as they’re completed.

Long projects and medium projects have different ways they go wrong. My long term projects require self control. My medium projects will often take more time or get rescheduled because of other peoples availability. So the plans are a little fluid.

I’ve already started both long projects. The diet is going well–not counting that I’m grumpy from hunger. (I’ve lost 3 lbs so far.) I’m still trying to retrain myself to get up at 5:30.

I’ve already had to shift and pivot some on my medium projects, which is just how it goes. God is good and working things out. My plan was to transfer my cell phone notes to the program Workflowy, and finish the shed this week. Then go on a camping with the guys this weekend. Instead I finished unpacking my office restarted this blog, my contractor had a medical emergency delaying the shed and the guys camp out was postponed to next week. Which reminds me, I probably won’t have a post next Tuesday.

I may still get to my workflowy project (which is one of the elements of my ORGSys I mentioned before) this week. All things considered, my week has gone well.

Note: There is more details to come on each of these projects in the coming weeks.

How Last Season Ended:

So How did Spring 2021 Cleric Journey Go?

…I abandoned updating you about day…34. I feel bad about that. I intended to blog my way through what I knew would be a tough season. I meant for the blog to help me remember that my life is bigger than the giant, difficult, “thing” that looms at me. I stopped blogging because I got way too busy and as I thought might happen, my life quickly became all about the big thing.

Spring 2021 Cleric Journey had a lot of success. I notice most seasons are a mix of wins and losses. Either way I glean more wisdom from them now that I track them better, which is the short version of why started blogging them last Spring. My hope is that you could learn from my experiences and get inspired to have you’re own. Quite selfishly, I also hoped that by publicly committing to it I’d follow through more. Did it work, enough to try it again.

What is a Journey? When I see big changes coming, or a big project, I like to create a focused plan for it that combines the less tangible things I find important–so they don’t get lost. The main reason is I can’t live a prolonged season under the tyranny of the urgent.

I’m a writer (fiction/non-fiction/copy). It takes a certain amount of focus and time to write a book, or say…renovating a house my wife and I bought with my mom. So the challenge, and I do enjoy the process, is to discern a plan that allocates resources more evenly.

Another link that might help if you’re new is this one which I wrote before starting the last season I tried to blog through. It explains what I was trying to do in blogging out my seasons: Christian Influence Peddling.

Last Season Goals Recap:

A major inspiration for “Spring 2021 Cleric Journey” was turning 50. You’ll be glad to know that I did in fact turn 50. My wife through a huge party–I really felt loved the whole month. I knew I had some head junk to work on, so I started blogging the journey. I also created a “Fit by 50” plan which was a good plan. With a few tweaks it forms the basis of many of my plans in my new season. I even took a grief recovery class to officially mourn the things that didn’t go as planned in the first half of my life, which I strongly encourage everyone mourning a loss or facing a change to do.

I thought I was prepared. I was NOT. I know it’s just a number, but this one pounded me. I’m glad I prepared as much as I did. Combined with letting the house renovation really take over my focus I felt in a tale spin the last half of April to the end of June. Praise God, July I got my footing back.

Day 1 (of 63) 2021 Transition Season: The Restart!

Welcome Back

Full disclosure, I call this day one, but it’s actually post #1. I wrote it day one,
but I’m going to post Tuesday & Thursday.

For those who followed my previous crazy journey’s, you know I abandoned updating you about day…34. I feel bad about that. I intended to blog my way through what I knew would be a tough season. I meant for the blog to help me remember that my life is bigger than the giant, difficult, “thing” that looms at me. I stopped blogging because I got way too busy and as I thought might happen, my life quickly became all about the big thing.

Side Note: I feel like this is a common challenge for creatives. Christian creatives, like me, must find ways to keep God in our planning & doing. God is always doing a work in us, and through us. It’s easy to get distracted by either one and end up off kilter. I believe the key to Roman’s 8:28 is understanding what God’s idea of good is. In general, God’s goal is to build intimacy with us, and to build our character (so we can receive/contain/disperse more kingdom.)

Specifically God’s idea of good for us individually can be found by asking two questions (which I shamelessly stole from Graham Cooke): 1) who is God being for me in this season? 2) Who does God say that I am (now and historically)?

If you struggle with those questions a great way to expose limiting beliefs is to ask yourself (prayerfully of course):
3) who do I say God is?

Sitting with these questions, periodically, never fails to reveal what season I’m in and often where I’m at in the season. I’ll go into more about this season later in this post (it’s really exciting), but first I want to close out the last season.

How Last Season Ended + Links:

Feel free to skip down to the update section if you’re all caught up on this blog.

It’s probably easy to assume that I stopped blogging because I utterly failed at my goals. Actually, Spring 2021 Cleric Journey had a lot of success. Something I notice since I’ve been tracking my journeys is that most seasons are a mix of wins and losses. Either way I glean more wisdom from them now that I track them better, which is the short version of why started blogging them last Spring. My hope is that you could learn from my experiences and get inspired to have you’re own.

A rough season is unavoidable, the loss happens when you don’t learn anything from it. It’s like paying to go to a concert and then not going. You’re still out the money. The blog is my way of sharing the souvenirs. Quite selfishly, I also hoped that by publicly committing to it I’d follow through more. I’m on the fence about how well that worked, but I’m still willing to try it again.

For those of you confused by the way I use the term Journey here’s a quick recap. When I see big changes coming, or a big project I like to create a focused plan for it. The main reason is that I have several things that are important to me, and sometimes its okay to scale back something important to make room for a life priority. However, as a Christian creative, I quickly dry out and get grumpy. I can’t live a prolonged season under the tyranny of the urgent.

I’m a writer (fiction/non-fiction/copy). It takes a certain amount of focus and time to write a book. I can get just as lost in a creative project as I can in say…renovating a house my wife and I bought with my mom. So the challenge, and I do enjoy the process, is to discern a plan that allocates resources to the big project of my current season without drawing things like health, family, and my spiritual life down to zero.

So How did Spring 2021 Cleric Journey Go? You can read for yourself at the links below or skip down to the recap/update.

Link to Day 1 in Last Season, Link to Last Post in Last Season

Another link that might help if you’re new is this one which I wrote before starting the last season I tried to blog through. It explains what I was trying to do in blogging out my seasons: Christian Influence Peddling.

Last Season Goals Recap:

A major inspiration for “Spring 2021 Cleric Journey” was turning 50. You’ll be glad to know that I did in fact turn 50 last June. My wife through a huge party for me (she’s awesome like that) and I really felt loved that whole month. I knew I had some head junk to work on going into it. I created a “Fit by 50” plan which with a few tweaks continues to be relevant. I even took a grief recovery class to officially mourn the things that didn’t go as planned in the first half of my life. I thought I was prepared.

I was NOT. I know it’s just a number, but this one pounded me. I can’t explain, it just did a number on me. I’m so glad I prepared as much as I did. Combined with letting the house renovation really take over my focus I felt in a tale spin the last half of April to the end of June. Praise God July I got my feet back under me. I’m excited to give details about the next big season that’s starting now (later in this post).

Goal Recap

The Transition Season: On the Topic of July. When I got to the end of May and still hadn’t completed the renovation, I started getting depressed. It felt like it would never end. I pushed hard, but there was always another 3 days of solid work no matter how long or fast I worked. After a few arguments with my wife I went to God and he said that I was in a transition season. I needed to take my foot off the striving pedal and rest/recover/recreate for awhile. So that’s exactly what I did for June and July.

My goals/priorities last season–addressed in one project (One Big Thing), include
– Losing weight & getting younger, (soon auditioning new diet/exercise plans).
– Bed by 9:30 PM & getting up at 5 AM every weekday and spending time with God (which includes writing this blog).
– Launching the coaching arm of my writing/coaching business, and faithfully stewarding opportunities with my church.
– Remodeling a new home so that we can start living multi-generational with my mom.

I maintained my weight loss through the end of May. Even though my birthday month was awesome I still hardly gained much, maybe 3 lbs. Then in July I gained another 4 lbs and I knew it was time to start a new season.

My sleeping schedule mirrored my weigh management except that I started oversleeping in June and could shake it for most of July. I have about a week of getting up earlier, if not quite 5 AM. So a running start on this new season for sure. I never stopped spending time each morning with God although there were some pretty dry sessions. I’m glad to get back to a more normal regimen with sleeping and connecting with God.

I’ve been settling in with the opportunities at my church. Its slow progress but I’m at peace with it. I haven’t launched my coaching side of things, however, God promised to increase my copy-writing business through no effort of my own, purely as a gift. He did that like crazy in July so I feel super blessed. Coaching launch is not forgotten, simply delayed for another season.

The House Remodel Recap:

We got mom’s main-floor master conversion done. As well as moving laundry room, building a closet, moving the HVAC, and building mom a purgola for her porch area. We discovered that some of our plans did’t quite work, like sharing an office with my wife. That meant moving her office out to the laundry room, then moving it back and moving mine downstairs to the family room. Yeah, these were frustrating developments.

What kills you is often the thousand little things like hanging house numbers and painting the new doors…we replaced 7 doors and put in 2 new ones. Every time I hear about the one we reused in a different spot I almost lose my mind. But I’m praying for peace. Here’s a couple more pictures. Like I say I stopped tracking it all and just worked sun up to sun set.

The clean up also took a long time. But we are pretty close to finished. We’re building a small storage shed on the property but that should be done in a week or so. I’ve got some fun adventures coming in this next season so I can’t wait to fill you in on what comes next.

The New Season:

Ok I don’t have all this new season set yet, but I have some exciting things worth announcing, so I’ll start typing what I know and, who knows, I might get more clarity before I’m done. (That’s part of the fun of being a creative.)

To start, it’s worth a quick note that I build my journey plans around four quadrants that reflect my values/priorities b/c part of the goal of doing these is to not neglect important areas of my life. One goal is to avoid overwhelm another is to avoid chronic survival mode syndrome. My quadrants change and clarify over the years but right now they’re Relationship (God/Family/Friends), Health, Wealth, Wisdom (Organization).

My goals/priorities last season–addressed in one project (One Big Thing), include
* Losing weight (Using Optivia to kick start things – more info to come).
* Bed by 9:30 PM & getting up at 5:30 AM weekdays, time with God (which includes writing this blog).
* Launching the coaching arm of my writing/coaching business.
* Finish work on new home without losing my peace.

Note: There is more details to come on each of these projects throughout this week.

Day 32 – 34 (of 63): Catching Up Again

Links:

Link to Day 1, Link to Last Post

For those who followed my previous crazy journey’s, here’s the post the Friday before I started this one, which puts it in the context of this blog as a whole: Christian Influence Peddling.

Welcome Back

Welcome to Saturday. It’s been a exhausting but mostly positive few days.

As anticipated there will be days when I just can’t get something posted (even though I’ve given myself permission to post less than perfect copy b/c it’s a blog after all). I’ll try to give a fast update of the last 3 days, but here’s a little recap of what I’m trying to do with this blog series.

Feel free to skip down to the update section if you’re all caught up on this blog.

Quick Recap of this Blog Series

I’m a writer (fiction/non-fiction/copy) who’s turning 50 in June. When I have a season of big changes to adapt to and big projects to take on, I like to combine it all into a plan I call a journey. I’m calling this journey Spring 2021: Cleric Journey – (It includes such things as turning 50, remodeling a house, expanding my writing business to include entrepreneur & life purpose coaching). I typically journal me progress, big wins/big flops, but this time I’m blogging it so I can…

  • Inspire or help some folks facing similar life situations.
  • Share tips I’ve learned or that people suggest to me that I decided to try out.
  • Stay committed to progress by stating to all my readers what I’m doing and if it’s working or not.
  • Eventually turn it into a written resource for the Creative Christian Entrepreneurs I coach.

Note: The thinking behind journeys is this. When facing busy seasons in life, we need to impose some routine on life, and be flexible other places. We need to decide what our life is about, that authentic to us, and not lose site of that while taking on those big projects of crazy seasons that happen to all of us in life.

Goal Recap

My goals/priorities this season–addressed in one project (One Big Thing), include
– Losing weight & getting younger, (soon auditioning new diet/exercise plans).
– Bed by 9:30 PM & getting up at 5 AM every weekday and spending time with God (which includes writing this blog).
– Launching the coaching arm of my writing/coaching business, and faithfully stewarding opportunities with my church.
– Remodeling a new home so that we can start living multi-generational with my mom.

Update

Let me just say, there are awkward ways in which we notice things in life. For example, I brought a 6 pack of TP over to the new house the day we got the keys. Ironically, my buddy Jeff brought some rolls and some paper towels as an early housewarming gifts (he said its the kind of thing you forget when moving until its too late.)

We’ve had contractors and subs, and we’ve been there a lot working ourselves–it’s time to bring over another 6-pack and it hit me in that odd way life does sometimes–we’ve been working on this place for a long time, AND we ain’t done yet. Holy cow.

I continue to “sleep in” to about 6 AM, weighed in one day at 295.2 lbs. I continue to be blown away by the favor God is showing us with Subs being suddenly available and coming in at or below their estimates. We’re exhausted but still on schedule. Did I mention we’re tired.

The crazy parts aren’t the time at the house crossing things off the list. I mean, yes, we’ve hit some walls there. For my wife, Kristin it was a banister that had to be painted in place (couldn’t remove it) but first had to have the gloss stripped off. It took a total of four coats (including the liquid sandpaper) and since it was all just one 4-foot section of our house over and over for two days Kristin was so frustrated. Normally she might have done part of it each day and then circled back after she got something done, but this had (ideally) to get done before carpets go down tomorrow.

For me it was a set of vertical blinds that I think were installed by the devil himself. I pulled window treatments off every window as we prepped to paint and only the blinds are going back up, so typically it takes a little longer to take it down than put it back. But this particular room was a theater room with a bunch of extra curtains (big holes to putty) and the window is 8 feet wide so it had vertical blinds instead of horizontal. The header was screwed through the valence and you couldn’t get at the support because of the center channel speaker shelf… it was a puzzle. So I had my arms over my head working for 4 hours trying to get this thing unclipped. I finally got a part loose and did a pull-up with my finger tips to tear it out–mostly. If you weigh almost 300lbs I recommend against fingertip pull-ups.

But as a I mentioned the thing that has been most challenging this week is the stuff that pulls us away from the work site. It’s my daughters spring break so we didn’t have to work around school trips and we all could sleep in a bit. But we also had scheduled her dentist (two visits b/c we went back for a seal coat?) And we established care with a new pediatrician. That guy is great but all the way out in Washougal. Then there was an appointment with the bookkeeper for my writing business (two of those as well). And I took on another writing client–for which I’m super excited because she’s in my target market/ideal client type. I can’t wait to do more writing for her agency. The timing was just crazy, LOL.

So that’s about it for catching you up. More next time… oh wait. First here’s the plan going forward. We’re down to just the thousand little things in the main house and my friend comes back from AZ at the end of this week so we can get to work on the ADU in earnest. And the carpets go down tomorrow–the vinyl is already in the new laundry room. It’s fun to finish each room one at a time. (I carried 8 loads of construction trash down the stairs yesterday–ugh. More next time.