Tag Archives: Self-Improvement

The Reality of Belief

The great task in life is to find reality.

We make most mistakes, we suffer the most, and we do the most harm when our thoughts and beliefs differ from reality.  It’s when we create stories and assumptions in our own mind which are untrue that we begin on a journey of falsehoods.  And, those falsehoods lead to; alcohol abuse, drugs, eating disorders, gambling, heavy smoking, self-harm, casual sex ~ just to find temporary comfort and the illusion that our falsehoods are true.  When our beliefs are untrue we can suffer from anxiety and depression, together with a host of other serious mental illnesses such as;  Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.  The stress of having beliefs which differ from reality causes a raft of physical illnesses, including cardiovascular problems, cancers, diabetes, dementia, and early death.

Yet, there is no such thing as reality.

Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.  ~  Albert Einstein

It seems that in quantum physics and interpersonal relationships there is no such thing as cause and effect ~ no straight line between the past, through the present, and into the future.  Even in very close relationships there are often merely shared perceptions of the world ~ and two people may both share perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs which are untrue.  If alcohol, drugs, or mental illness is added into the mix then we get dangerous situations such as physical, verbal, mental abuse and co-dependency.

If your life is going down the shitter, if you are prey to addictions, if you suffer from a mental illness ~ then the chances are that your thoughts and beliefs have seriously differed from reality.

Einstein and other serious thinkers may tell us that reality is merely an illusion, BUT on a day to day basis we have to live in whatever reality surrounds us.  That means seeing and accepting reality as it is, and not as we wish it to be.  Reality is neutral and impersonal.  Reality has no expectations and no beliefs.  Reality is the true state of things.  There is only one past, present, and future reality ~ it is our own perceptions and beliefs which create an infinity of different versions of the past, the present, and the possible futures.

To find true reality is both very easy and very difficult;

  • be totally honest with yourself and others ~ reality is truth
  • never take things personally ~ reality is impersonal
  • do not make assumptions nor create expectations

Some say that reality is an illusion.  And that we are all just simulations living in a matrix.  All I know is that when my beliefs differed from reality I got myself into some serious trouble.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

to discover your ultimate reality requires a lot of deep thought

 

Aztec Wisdom and Lost Luggage

Do the best to treat yourself with truth and loving care.

Red Rock Country, Arizona

On my very recent rip to Arizona I was fortunate enough to be taught some of the wisdom of the ancient Aztecs.  These new-found insights into dealing with the more difficult parts of life came in useful ~ when I eventually got back to the North of England, after some 30 hours travelling from the Western USA.

After an interminable delay at Heathrow, I manged to arrive  late at Newcastle upon Tyne Airport ~ I got home, but my luggage didn’t.  I did not take my missing luggage personally, British Airways had loaded none of the passengers’ bags onto that flight.  Something the pilot only told us just as we about to deplane at Newcastle.  You can imagine the scene at the baggage agent’s desk in arrivals, with more than 100 people completing forms, crying, and complaining bitterly about their ‘lost’ luggage.  It was chaos.

I remembered some of the teachings of the ancient Aztecs;

  • Be open, honest, and honorable to yourself and others.  In all honesty, it didn’t much matter to me that my luggage hadn’t arrived.  That just meant that I wasn’t going to be starting my laundry as soon as I got back to the garret.  I was also honest with myself, and accepted that all the crying, complaining, and shouting passengers at the baggage handling desk annoyed the hell out of me.
  • Don’t ever take anything personally.  I wasn’t singled out by fate or British Airways to suffer the inconvenience of missing bags.  There were more than 100 people on that flight, and all anyone had was their carryon bag.
  • Don’t make assumptions.  I’m not assuming that my luggage will eventually arrive, or not.  What will be will be, and there’s fuck bugger all I can do about it.
  • Always do your very best.  Yesterday, and the day before were not my best days, but somedays my best isn’t as good as 100%, and somedays my best is maybe just 50%.  However, if I always do the very best I can in the circumstances, then that’s the best I can do.

These teachings applied to the trivial matter of a horrible 30 hour journey and missing luggage.  However, these teachings of the Aztecs apply even more to matters of much more import in one’s life.  For example; Love, Relationships, Illness, Poverty, and Abundance…..

Some say that Life is a version of Hell.  And that if you think someone is out to get you then they probably are.  All I know is that the Cosmos doesn’t really single me out for misery and misfortune ~ even in matters of missing luggage.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

The Benefits of Exercise

Walking is the best possible exercise.
Habituate yourself to walk very far. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Climbing stairs is even better for you than walking.

Regular exercise is good for your body, mind, emotions, and spirit.  Exercise not only tires you out, which helps you to sleep, it also increases your energy levels during your waking hours.  This increased energy helps your body to fight off illness and chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.  Getting a good night’s sleep is also vital to the health of your body, mind, and spirit.

Physically, frequent exercise helps to regularise your weight ~ inactivity is a major factor in weight gain and obesity.  Your body uses energy in 3 ways; #1 digesting the food you eat; #2 maintaining bodily functions like heartbeat, breathing, and staying upright.  #3 Physical activity, like your exercise of choice, or digging ditches, or chopping firewood.  Dieting is very bad at helping you to lose weight, a reduced calorie intake lowers your metabolic rate, which delays weight loss.  On the other hand, exercise raises your metabolic rate so you use up more calories.

Exercise also helps to build and maintain muscles and bone, because strenuous exercise releases hormones that help your body to absorb amino acids, which will delay muscle wastage in older people.  In older women, regular exercise helps prevent the bone wasting disease osteoporosis.

It has been shown to improve your mood and decrease negative feelings of depression, anxiety and stress, as regular exercise increases the productions of the good hormones serotonin and norepinephrine.  Exercise also promotes the production of endorphins which help to produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of physical and mental pain.

Exercise also helps to maintain and improve brain function; for a start your hippocampus, the bit of the brain that’s vital to memory, will stop shrinking and begin to grow, which increases mental function in older adults.  Regular physical activity also helps to stave off Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

Regular exercise means you will look much better, for a start you will begin to lose all that unattractive bloating and belly fat.  Your skin will look better because your body will be producing more antioxidants, and you will have better blood flow which delays skin aging.  Looking better means that you’re more attractive to the opposite sex.  Not only that but being fitter means that your sexual performance will be better, (women will have more and better orgasms if they take a reasonable amount of exercise).

I was in a bureau de change today, talking with the young lady cashier, (teller), about my walking at least 10,000 steps a day.  And she said; ‘is all that walking why you look so young?’

HA!

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

yoga is damn good exercise too

and, I can hold the tree position

HA!

Negative Emotions

Cultivate love within you and negative emotions will disappear.

Negative emotions are so all-pervasive that doctors will now prescribe drugs like Prozac and Valium to patients who are merely feeling mild anxiety.  Really negative emotions, such as; anger, boredom, confusion, despair, disappointment, fear, grief, jealousy, resentment….. are extremely powerful and painful.  Medication, and self-medication such as booze, are no solution whatsoever.  Go down that road and you will become hypersensitive to your feelings, and take more and more of the drugs of your choice in an attempt to medicate them away.

This is just treating the symptoms, and it doesn’t work.  I should know, for many years I had a pot-mess of those negative feelings running through my psyche.  And none of those negative emotions did me any good at all.

So, what takes people back to the doctor, the pharmacy, the drug dealer, and the bar?  Not to mention the casino, the refrigerator, unsuitable relationships, and casual sex.  Escaping painful thoughts and negative emotions drive people to do stupid things, all in an effort to find a pleasure rush that will ameliorate those bad thoughts and terrible feelings.

There is also the thought that just one drink, or one piece of cake, or one small wager wouldn’t hurt at all.  Besides, you’ve been pretty good all week, so one little slip is OK.  Forget that, escaping really negative emotions takes a lot more than just one drink, or one night fucking a stranger.  And the guilt you will feel, (even if you don’t acknowledge that guilt), will make your bad feelings worse.

Your mind will tell you that you might as well give up on losing weight, staying sober, being good, because it’s pointless.  You will never get better, just take another pill and have another drink.

To truly escape those negative emotions and bad feelings you have to find another way.  This might involve a 12-step group, talking therapy, or completely changing your lifestyle ~ more exercise is good.  Try walking 10,000 steps a day.  Mostly, stay away from those people, places and situations that encourage you to do bad things that will only feed your negative emotions.

Some say the way to escape negative emotions is to turn to drink.  And that moving home and finding new friends is the solution.  All I know is that running away never solves anything.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

get out the back Jack

make a new plan Stan

no need to be coy Roy

Stress and Being Overweight.

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.

Stress can kill you, but in an older women stress is far more likely to drive her to comfort eating and hence pile on the pounds.  For most women less stress, or better stress management, is the key to sustainable weight loss.  Of course, for older women the menopause doesn’t help with controlling your weight at all.  There is evidence that there are changes in the brain chemistry of a menopausal woman that triggers a shift in her metabolism, causing her to overeat.

Looking for comfort food; cakes, chocolate, pizza, bread, burritos, donuts, (or drinking too much), is a common occurrence among woman of a certain age ~ of any age when stressed if it comes right down to it.  These high calorie foods and booze do pile on the pounds ~ particularly unsightly belly fat.  It’s all to do with insulin, and this energy dense stuff spikes your insulin levels, which only makes you want to eat more.

The environment doesn’t help much, there are countless fast food outlets, supermarkets promote more expensive energy dense foods, and there’s a bar on just about every street corner.  Rule #1 is stay away from fast food places, and rule #2 is that a woman on her own should never, ever go into a bar.

Associating unhealthy food and booze with good times is something your brain will program into itself, and rule #3 is that you must work hard to break that programming.  Eating unhealthy food and drinking too much booze doesn’t mean you are cool, in fact quite the opposite ~ you are perhaps pushing being an unattractive lazy person.

The really important thing for women to learn, accept, and practice is how to manage stress.  And usually it comes down to:

  • Delegate More.  Stop letting your family and friends push you into doing everything for everyone.
  • Be Creative.  People with a creative interest are much less stressed that those who don’t have that worry-free time.  Why do you think art therapy is such a big thing in rehab?
  • Take a Walk.  Walking is bloody good for you; physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Aim for 10,000 steps a day.
  • Talk to People.   And don’t go into a bar to find someone to talk with.

Some say that the change made them overeat.  And, that their happy place is the refrigerator.  All I know is that fat people often get very sick.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

regularly eat healthy and nutritious food

honey salmon in foil

 

Unlearn Your Life

Before you can learn something new, you have to end what used to be.

I have learned to love the desert.

At least half of what you know is outdated in today’s world.  Most of your past experiences have created insecurities, jealousies, and resentments in your subconscious mind.  It is easy to feel inhibited and illiterate with the constant pressure to learn, unlearn, and relearn ~ to accept, approve and understand.  Our entire life has created us as we are, and yet who we are right now probably isn’t working so well.

Learning new things isn’t difficult for most of us ~ each of us has our own way of learning as we explore new situations, new processes, new challenges, and new relationships.  The real problem begins when we have to unlearn something first.  We can become so fixated on what we already know, on past experiences, that it can be hard to let go of the old to let in the new.  If your old partner cheated on you, then it’s going to be difficult to trust any woman / man you date in the future.

Every day you will be challenged to unlearn what you think you know about women / men, or how you expect them to behave, or whether you can trust or not.

Unlearning is a way of making space for newer, fresher experiences, information, and knowledge.  Unlearing is like deleting files on your laptop, or repainting your apartment, or dumping your partner ~ it’s stripping away the old and unwanted before you can add something better.  The problem is that when something has worked in the past, we have a tendency to assume that it will keep working in the future.  This is not true.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  ~ Albert Einstein.

The most successful people are ready to question what they know, who they know, and why they do what they do.  The really successful man / woman is open to contradictions and failure ~ always ready to learn something new.

Some say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  And that a leopard can never change its spots.  All I know is that a successful man realises that the experience will always be different from his expectations.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

some dogs learn new tricks

Cardio Vascular Screening

I went for some cardio-vascular tests today.

Physical activity ~ even if you don’t lose an ounce, you’ll live longer, feel healthier, and be less likely to get cancer, heart disease, stroke, or arthritis.  It’s the closes thing we have to a wonder drug.  ~  Tom Frieden.

This morning I was checked for a potential aortic aneurysm, and I have to admit to being very nervous beforehand.  What if they actually found something?  It was an ultrasound scan, and they covered from my neck to just above my groin.  The cold gell was a bit yucky in places.  But, the good news is that I’m utterly, totally, completely clean and fine.  No nasty crap in my arteries.

If they had found something it would have meant treatment, up to an operation and strong drugs.  It may have also precluded me from overseas travel, and stopped me from driving.

So, the good news just came rolling in, and life is grand again.

The testing doctor even said that I seemed very fit…..  Which re-motivates me to take more physical exercise.  I may even go back to the tai chi and yoga classes.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Sunday Prayer

Goddess, if there is a Goddess, please listen to my prayer.

Please help me to cleanse my body, mind, emotions, and spirit of the poisons that have infected and tortured me.

Please help me to cleanse myself of all that is no longer necessary in my life.  Help me towards a new beginning.

Help me to make good decisions, especially concerning what should happen when I am not around.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

In the wilderness, one’s spirit grows closer to your Goddess

The Better Man

Wake up each morning a better person than you were yesterday.

Most people, if they’re both honest and intelligent, have an in-built desire to be ‘better’.  For most of my life I was no different from most people ~ until I tried to work out what it really meant to be ‘better’.

I firmly believe that for most men, being better really means being better than the other guy.  For most men being better means being superior ~ getting what you want, even if it’s at the expense of the other guy.  And, I can look back and see that attitude in myself.  I read innumerable books, watched hordes of self-development videos, and attended courses that were all about being superior, about winning at all costs, and not at all about being better.

Today I believe that being better, means being better than I used to be.  More honest, honourable, considerate, understanding, and accepting than I used to be.  Now I believe that being better doesn’t mean just going all-out to get what I want, even if it’s at the expense of someone else.  For me being ‘better’ no longer means being ‘superior’ ~ and that goes completely against all the business training and life experience I’ve ever had.  And you know what?  All that training and experience was really about surviving in a dog-eat-dog world.

That is such a bad, negative, misogynistic, and uncharitable attitude to have.

The difference between surviving, and really living a great life is all about attitude.

To become the man I wanted to be I’ve had to learn some difficult lessons along the way.  It’s a hard road, but it’s possible.  It’s a struggle, it’s harder than I wanted it to be, it’s takes longer than I wanted, and it takes more out of me than I could ever have believed at the start.

However, to be better than I have ever dreamed I could be, I had to learn this lesson ~ the only person I am competing with is myself.

To be a better man, to be a really cool guy living a really great life, to achieve my absolute and fullest potential, to reach enlightenment ~ all I have to do is to strive to be a little bit better today than I was yesterday.

Some say that the only way to win in life is to put yourself first, even if it’s at the expense of others.  And, that good guys finish last.  All I know is that I have learned the real lessons in life ~ Chivalry means something.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

be a Paladin

 

Neuroplasticity

we are shaped by our thoughts, we become what we think and believe

Neuroplasticity is the ability your brain has to rewire and restructure itself according to usage and needs.  The more we use certain parts of our brain, the stronger they get.  Conversely, the less we use certain parts of our brain the weaker they get.  So, if your brain spends a lot of its time being depressed, then the part of your brain / body that is depressed, that creates sadness, melancholy, and hopelessness in you, will become stronger and larger.  You will get better and better at being depressed.

Whereas, if you fill your life with joy, companionship, and happiness, then the part of your brain / body that deals with those things will become stronger and larger ~ you will become better and better at pleasure, satisfaction, and elation.

Weird, but that’s the way it really works.

If you learn a new and difficult skill, particularly one which involves both the mind and body; golf, tennis, touch typing, knitting, carpentry, learning to drive…..  then your brain will change, enlarge, and strengthen to allow you to get good at your chosen pastime or occupation.

Because of the power of neuroplasticity, you can, in fact, reframe your world and rewire your brain so that you are more objective.  You have the power to see things as they are so that you can respond thoughtfully, deliberately, and effectively to everything you experience.  ~  Elizabeth Thornton.

The really interesting part is that we can use neuroplasticity on purpose to create and reinforce a change in ourselves.  With each repetition of  thought or feeling we reinforce a particular set of neural pathways.  These small changes, frequently enough repeated, lead to changes in how our brains work.  Neuroplasticity offers us the opportunity to make real and lasting psychological changes in the way our brain / body works.

There are a number of exercises we can use to enhance the interconnectedness of our neural pathways, and they are both intellectual and physical.  For example, regularly only using your ‘wrong’ hand promotes left / right brain connectedness, while reading a good, difficult, and stimulating book promotes the efficiency of the intellectual and memory parts of the brain.

The key is repetition and keeping on practicing until whatever it that you want becomes a habit and your normal way of life.  If you want to stop being jealous, then practice being tolerant, accepting, trusting and understanding.  As they say in AA; ‘fake it to make it’.

Some say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  And that once a sinner, always a sinner.  All I know is that the phenomenon of neuroplasticity allows us to be whoever and whatever we want to be.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

you can change and strengthen your brain / body so you could build anything

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