How Are You Using Your Time?

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

I’m not as productive as I’d like to be. Who is?

I spend a good amount of time reading.

And I’ve been writing. Drawing. Painting.

I go for the occasional walk.

Pretty productive.

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time with my boys. That’s always good.

Not all my time is spent so wisely, though.

I spend hours sitting and thinking.

Spending too much time in the past.

It’s good to learn from the past.

But not to live there.

I need to get out and do more.

“Only Say Positive Things”?

I knew it was extreme. I set an extreme goal on purpose.

I’m not trying to set a realistic goal. I’m trying to stretch myself.

Explaining my present situation may help.

I’m usually alone in the mornings. I write, do my mirror work, listen to uplifting music, read uplifting books, list things I’m happy about/grateful for, etc.

It’s easy to be positive during those times.

Most days I see my boys. This is one of the things I’m most grateful for.

They and their mother live with their grandparents.

These are not positive people. Not by a long shot. These are angry, bitter people, who have no interest in improving themselves.

By the time I leave I’ve been taken down a few notches. It’s worth it to spend time with my boys. I love seeing them, and they love seeing me. I hope my efforts are helping them.

I’m looking forward to meeting super positive people. People who will be a bigger influence on me than the negative people in my life.

Until then, I do what I can.

Be kind to yourself

Self Hug

Do you think you’re doing the world a favor by beating yourself up?

How does it do any good?

Do you think your Father in Heaven would want you to?

Would you want your son to?

“Love thy neighbor as thy self” implies you should love yourself. Otherwise I hope we never become neighbors.

Treat yourself like someone you care about.

This is something I’ve had to learn. I only started showing myself compassion a few years ago, after watching a TED talk by Kristin Neff. Jordan Peterson wrote a chapter about it in 12 Rules for Life (not an affiliate link yet ;)).

You don’t have to be better than average to deserve compassion. Being human is enough.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be trying to be better than you were yesterday.

But you can’t climb higher if you keep knocking yourself down.

School your emotions

Emotion Clouds

Your emotions come in response to your thoughts.

Train yourself. Learn to control your thoughts.

You can’t control which thoughts come into your head. But you can choose which thoughts to entertain.

Dismiss the bad ones.

Focus on the good ones.

What you focus on expands.

Most people focus on the negative.

Changing your focus is hard. Some of us need professional help to change. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Leave reminders for yourself. Sticky notes. Photos. Anything that helps you remember what’s good in your life.

One thing I like to do is make a game of it. Especially when I get annoyed in traffic. I’ll ask myself what I’m grateful for, and start making a list. I try to not just list things, but to actually feel gratitude for each thing. It always helps. Sometimes I get really emotional.

I’m not perfect at this. I forget to do it.

I still get mad. I still yell at my kids.

I don’t stay mad as long, though. My kids are better off.

So am I.

Have faith

Thanks to those joining in the Worldwide Fast.

I feel confident that the Lord will hear us. That things will soon return to normal.

Better than normal, actually. I hope we’ve learned something from all this.

I’ve learned what’s really important to me: my boys, my faith, and my liberty.

What is success?

Success implies greatness. Or at least above-averageness.

That doesn’t have to mean financial success.

It could mean you’ve raised great kids.

Or you have a great marriage.

Or that you’ve inspired others to be great.

Maybe you’ve quietly made a lot of little contributions to other people’s lives.

Ultimately, I think success means living your dream life, and helping others live theirs.

Point of Origin

Pin in a mapMy starting point:

I’m 41 years old.

I’ve been separated from my wife for a year and a half.

She lives in her parent’s basement. Our two boys live with her.

I live in my mom’s basement.

I weigh 400 pounds.

I’m unemployed.

I’m a porn addict.

That’s the bad news.

The good news:

I get to see my boys almost every day.

I go to church.

I pray morning and night (most days).

I read my scriptures every day.

I read lots of other books.

I have a car.

I have my freedom.

I have a Savior.

I have more blessings than I can count.

I know I can improve myself.

It’s just going to take a lot of work.