Espirational Faith

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." –The Apostle Paul


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Choices: Learn, Understand, Be Wise

Throughout our lives, every second of our lives, there is something which we all must do which will create the atmosphere of all which we will experience throughout the rest of eternity. We must choose.

Choose? Choose what, you may ask. How do we choose anything?

The simple fact is that no matter what we are doing, or even if we are doing nothing at all, we are making choices. Choices if by no other sense of the word concerning what we will be doing at that moment, if anything at all. Sound confusing? It really isn’t. Let me try to explain.

A choice is simply an opportunity to make a decision as to which way to go, what to do next, in order to accomplish what you are wanting to do. No big secret in that, right? But where the secret seems obscured is when the crossroads on your path seems to be numerous, the speed of the road gets rapid and the map which is supposed to show you the way to your goal becomes unclear and hard to read.

Every day we all make routine choices as to what clothing we will wear, what we will eat, how we will comb our hair (if we have hair), the route we will drive to work (if,  indeed, we drive to work), and so forth. Each of these seemingly repetitious, routine actions involves a number of smaller decisions like is this a work day or a day off which will determine if you wear work clothes or play wear. The only time these types of activities do not involve immediate choices are when you have done the same thing long enough that the activity has become habituated and you no longer have to think of how you will do that activity. At least not consciously. But a choice has been made. Sometime in the past you decided to do something in a certain way, over and over, until such action became routine and planted in the subconscious until the conscious mind no longer had to be involved until you find need to change the decision.

Such need to make choices permeates every aspect of our lives, throughout our lives, and as such helps us to create our own view of the universe wherein we live. Do we see everything and everyone as being dangerous and out to harm us. A pessimistic attitude such as this can create for you a form of hell on earth and endanger you of possible psychological paralyses. This unrealistic view creates within a person the cause for suspicion of everyone and everything they come in contact with, and they often become frozen in their actions because they soon begin doubting even their own abilities.

However, the incurable optimist can often be just as blind to reality because they are so intent that “all is good” that they are blinded to potential dangers which could and most likely should be avoided. The key here is to first gain knowledge, then work toward an understanding of how that knowledge can be used beneficially and then to tempore the positive and negative information you can obtain about any choice or set of choices so you can make a wise choice between the directions you can go. You may recognize this as the message of the “Serenity Prayer” quoted so often.

A good example can be seen in the story of the hiker in the mountains who is wandering along a mountain path to suddenly have the chill of a low growl coming to him from behind. At the point he was at on the trail’s ascent, the hiker knew there was no other way back to the cabin than through the area from where he heard the sound. Not sure of what was creating the growl, he decided against that and tried rapidly to think of other choices out of the danger he felt he was in as he kept climbing the path. As the growls grew louder and the trail grew narrower, the hiker soon came to the end of the trail which, a narrow precipice was overlooking the town below from whence he came.

Decision time. The growl was still echoing to him and his imagination started being wildly creative. But he had to make a decision. Does he go back down the hill to face whatever was making the hungry noises? Not an acceptable choice in his mind, especially since he was unarmed. That would be a similar pessimistic choice as just sitting down on the rock in the clearing, enjoying the day, and waiting for his carnivore host to arrive and eat him. Not a pretty picture. The other choice extreme is to optimistically believe that he can overcome all situations and therefore decide if his 150 pound, nonathletic frame could fight the bear or lion behind him or should he trust that at the last moment he could sprout wings and be able to jump off the cliff and fly to safety in the town below? Well, obviously whether you be a pessimist or optimist, the logic of reason and reality must at some point set in and the hiker must realize that he cannot fight a bear bare handed, nor can he fly, and to try to do either of these things in this physical reality would be simply suicidal.

What could be done? The hiker remembers a way to clear his thinking by taking a few deep breaths and, while doing so, repeating the word “Relax,” quietly to himself. While doing this the question permeated his mind, in the form of a prayer, of “How do I get out of here, safely.” While doing this, the hiker suddenly became aware that, even though the trail ended where he stood, the mountain did not. It went, well, straight up. Now a new choice was having to be faced, but there was no time for an in depth analysis of how to climb this steep precipice. The head of the bear suddenly appeared about 30 yards away. The hiker instantly grabs a stone sticking out from the cliff and started to climb. He was not an experienced climber and had no special equipment with him. But by the time the bear got to the clearing where he had been standing he was well above the animal’s head.

Safely wedged between the cliff wall and a tree trunk growing from it, the hiker sat gratefully thanking God for giving him the wisdom to make good choices. After the bear had made a circle of the clearing, eating a few barriers and walking a circle he had obviously walked many times before, he went back down the path and disappeared. The hiker never knew what the growls were about. Knowing that brown bears are mainly vegetarian, he did not know if the bear caught his scent and was upset that an intruder was in his territory or something else. But the hiker walked back down the trail with a wonderful story to tell without fighting a bear or jumping off a cliff.

Most of us will never have such a dramatic story about decision making such as this, but we must all make decisions at all times. Do you put on your left shoe or your right first every morning? Do you take the back roads to work, or the freeway? Do you vote Republican or Democratic, or which candidate do I vote for in the U.S. election? What do you do about your bills? Do you believe in a God of love or are all things circumstantial?

Whatever you believe, the choices you make, are the reason you see the world as you do. Don’t like the world you see, change how you look at it, change what you’re doing, in short change your choices. But please, think and pray before you choose.


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The Successful Aging Plan

The “Baby Boomers” have arrived! We are now at the age at which our parents, grandparents, and so forth called retirement. But for us, that is a misnomer. We see life differently than did our ancestors; we always have – always will.

We grew up as children watching massive changes going on all around us, changes like people challenging the darkness of space in a realistic way for the first time in recorded history; people taking to the streets in masse to demand their rights as citizens; the change of our society from an industrially based economy to one of being technologically based, then later to being the world’s source for information and communications; and a political undercurrent pitting Republican rule by law against a Democratic power by the authority of the people philosophy slowly changing from being a major contender in world politics to being the leading world political system. We grew up with our teachers, friends, neighbors, spiritual leaders and even parents telling us of the importance of what was going on in our society’s current events and they encouraged us to get involved – and we did. And we still are.

We set out to change the world. We determined to make a difference in our surroundings. We wanted to use the science and technology being developed in the space race to help change people’s lives, to not only set foot on the moon as was Presidents Kennedy’s challenge to Americans when we were children, but to end hunger and poverty worldwide. But we soon found that not everyone was as fortunate as JFK in being able to set the societal wheels in motion to fulfill the dreams of lofty goals. We found that our dreams were often dashed by a society with established ways which forced many of us to comply or starve, and a world cowering under desks in training for the possible dreaded nightmare of a bomb too destructive to even imagine. So we complied and settled down into a socio-political system which, for many, has seemed to have grown more and more out of control, violent and corrupt.

But for the true “Baby Boomer” we have never lost our hope. We still remember what the teachers of the 60’s and early 70’s taught us about social justice, personal involvement, creativity and hope. Those are values that once a person learns them, and realizes that those values never change, they change the person forever. That is why the old way of looking at aging in our society is changing. Due to the way most “Baby Boomers” were taught to think and perceive life as a challenge, we are no longer willing to accept our senior years as a time where we sit around and wait for the inevitable to happen. No, not in the slightest. We no longer use the term “retirement” in the way our ancestors did in the late 1800’s and 1900’s where people were forced to “retire” because they had literally used up their bodies and minds in their jobs most often on meaningless tasks throughout their lives simply to be able to afford to care for themselves and their families.

Now the American society has successfully changed its method of providing its citizens’ basic needs from a base of drudgery to one of being intellectual merchandisers. What once was done by the sweat of one’s brow in this country is now done by machines, including computers, or farmed out for other countries’ citizens to do which, in turn, helps them earn a living. It all seems to be a remarkable, coincidental program but most of us know that the term “coincidental” is not quite right because this has all been brought into existence by a powerful, while invisible, group of planners working behind the scenes.

So now, my sister and brother “Baby Boomers,” what do we do with our senior years in a society where on the one hand we have fulfilled the 50+ years of working in the work-a-day world trying to be of worth to society as a whole only to be lead to believe that at the age we have or are arriving at we would be “set out to pasture” and allowed to place the workplace into our pasts? Society has changed, again, and we are now being told that we are too young, too healthy, simply too important to society to be allowed to quit working. And, because of our health, self-determination and, yes, youth we would have it no other way. Yet the very idea of politicians telling us the society cannot afford Social Security now, and the concept of people “retiring” is from laziness and instead of staying on the job we should have two or three jobs, angers many of us. I feel, and I’ve heard many others state also, that we paid into the Social Security and Medicare systems all of our adult lives that to say we do not deserve them is nothing less than a breach of contract by those politicians proposing those social systems’ demise. But the fact still remains that those systems’ planners designed a flaw into them which was not discovered until recently which we all must face. Due to population control, economic unrest and political misuse of the systems’ funds there is currently a budgetary crisis in Social Security and Medicare which causes it to not be as secure as we were once lead to believe.

So, what are we to do? “It must be nice to be retired,” my wife and I have had people comment. Well, not really. While it is nice to be able to move by a beautiful lake and to set up a home in a nice resort community with a lush green pasture in our backyard, this was not really our choice; not at this time at least. I wanted to work at least five more years but unexpected health issues with my eyes intervened and to be able to cope with that and not chance loosing funds we had in investments we chose to “go with the flow” and relocate to a more conducive place where we could have better control of our lives, protect our investment funds somewhat by buying a place to live, and create a space for us to work at home comfortably. But that green pasture soon did not look so luscious when we started observing the limitations placed on the cattle’s movements behind us, and hearing their bellowing when their calves were taken from them was heart rendering.

Retired? By societal designation only. I took Medicare at age 64 and Social Security when I reached the designated full “retirement age” of 66 which has made our lack of income for the past two years tolerable, but its supplementation is not sufficient enough to cover the basic living bills and the high costs of health insurance due to runaway costs of medical services worldwide, so we have to find other income in various ways. But we are content, happy that we are able to pay our basic living expenses and we feel like we still have a degree of control over our lives even with the turmoil of the forced changes in our lives. But retired? Not really. I joke that since I quit working for the other guy that I have worked harder than I ever have in my life. It’s true with the financial control I’ve had to make over our money, the move from one state to another, the challenges we’ve had trying to get me medical assistance and my personal attitude of coping with suddenly finding myself physically challenged with extremely poor eyesight from being a senior who before was rather well compared to others I knew prior to the awareness of my eyesight limitations.

But, yes I’m going to say it, if we can “retire” with limited income and not work for the work-a-day employer and still be comfortable, so can you. And we can help you lean how if you want us to.

There are six basic areas needed to be built into anyone’s successful senior years plan, which summarized are:

  • Spiritual – Everyone needs to recognize their spiritual base, what is yours? Who is your God? What spirit controls you? How do you find peace, comfort? How do you express life experiences and wisdom?
  • Mental Challenge – You must keep a positive frame of reference to be a successful senior. Are you staying mentally active? Are you keeping up on current events? Are you learning new skills? Only the inactive brain becomes the irreparable mind.
  • Health –Healthy or challenged you must keep yourself on the road toward health and live in a way to prevent accidents and disease. What does this mean to you? Do you eat healthy? Do you exercise? What do you do to prevent health problems?
  • Financial – Comfortable or challenged by money, its control is key to senior success. Do you have a budget? Are you able to stick to it? Do you know how to build one? Are you able to discover ways to earn creative income? What is creative income?
  • Social – In our senior years our social interactions become more important, who are your friends, family? Do you know? How do you respond to conflict? How do you react to others’ expressions of love, concern, or attempts to control your actions?
  • Diversions – What are your hobbies? How do you have fun? You may find that what you enjoy doing most can become the most important area of your life and even a possible source of income. Now you have time to develop these, if you will allow yourself.

As personal lifestyle coaches, Rogene and I simply help you review each of these areas to help you prepare for the time when you are able or need to quit your career or job and enjoy the fruits of your labors. But this is always easier to do if some prior planning has occurred. With our business, psychological and educational training, and our own personal experience with being forced into early retirement, we can assist you in your own personal review to make your transition from worker/professional to being a successful senior citizen with less effort and fear than you may think possible. Our charges for our coaching are comparatively low and are based on a pro-rata system which is fair to all income levels.

You can have access to many of our ideas and concepts by visiting our blogs regularly. Click to follow Rogene’s blog at Espirational.com to receive daily inspirational quotes and ideas on diet, frugal living and other ways to keep a positive frame of mind. Follow Espirational.org for more in depth articles about things concerning spirit, politics, investments and other things of interested to the successfully aging person. These blogs may, of course, be read free and we enjoy making the information and our thoughts available to you, however our expenses do still carry on to get this information to you so the revenue from our bookstore and other sales goes toward these expenses.

Rogene and I enjoy helping people. While we realize that not everything we say will necessarily be welcomed by everyone, sometimes it is best for you to hear (or read) these things so the challenges can be faced before they become major problems. That’s what we want to help you do. If you would like us to provide some personal successful senior coaching, please contact us via email at EspirationalFaith@outlook.com today and we’ll start your plan to be a successful senior citizen.

Also you may want to check out the new page on this blog called “Successful Seniors” where I plan to put tips and ideas to help you find ways to enjoy your post industrial years. And, by the way, check out Espirational Books & Gifts store:

                                —IT’s ESPIRATIONAL!