Posted in self-improvement, spiritual/religious

Taming the Gremlin Summary

If you’ve liked the subject this month, the photo this week is of the book cover. It has lots of good information and exercises. It can be found on, and I’m assuming lots of good bookseller sites. As we finish this month, I want to leave you with some final thoughts:

Don’t argue with your gremlin, simply notice, and move on. The author expands on this brilliantly in the book, but the argument reminded me of the old George Bernard Shaw proverb: Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and the pig likes it.

Free yourself by not trying to free yourself, but by simply noticing how you are imprisoning yourself.

Draw a picture of your childhood home, a floor layout. Then write things that happened there i.e., laid on the floor watching boxing with my dad, etc. Think about any habits that you created there. Are they good ones? Then keep them. If they aren’t, discard them or modify them.

Make a list of 10 of your same gender’s parent’s characteristics. Make a check mark by all that you share. Make a minus sign by all you would like to change or delete. Make a plus sign by all you want to keep and expand.

Remember, don’t listen to your gremlins. Notice them. Breathe deeply. Give your emotions lots of space, don’t try to suppress or block them; just experience them and move on.

A final reminder of common gremlins:

  1. You can’t – change it to I choose not to
  2. You should, you ought to – change it to I choose to, I choose not to
  3. You need – change it to you want
  4. You don’t deserve – change it to guilt serves no purpose. I am worthy.
  5. They have to change for me to feel better – change it to my feelings are my choice. Simply notice. Breathe deep. Center myself. Move on.

Cite: Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson

Posted in self-improvement, spiritual/religious

Gremlin Habit

All the emotions can be placed in five basic categories – anger, joy, sadness, sexual feelings, and fear. Your responses to these emotions are usually based on gremlin thoughts or memory events. For instance, you may block your anger if you have been told it’s unprofessional. You may block your intimate desires if you were raised with Puritan parents. You may over act when you feel fear because you’ve been told that people who feel fear are cowards.

You may repeat the same patterns over and over again in similar situations. However, these patterns may be based in the world that was instead of the world that now is. As a reminder, you are NOT your memories, and you are NOT your habits. Instead of eating the next time you feel angry, stop to simply notice the emotion and the habits that the emotion raises. Simply notice your breathing. Then without over analyzing it, decide what to do. Practice this when dealing with the other emotions too.

Remember, by acting out of habit, you will replay the same life dramas over and over again. The characters and settings may vary, but the outcomes generally will be the same. As long as you operate out of habit, you will limit your ability to fully experience, appreciate, and enjoy your gift of life. Life may be one thing after another thing, but it does not have to be the same thing over and over again.

Habits are cemented in place by fear, your gremlin’s primary tool. When fear pops up ask yourself, “What would happen if I did…?” Would I fail? Be wrong? Lose friends? Lose my job? Be embarrassed? At the time the habit was created, it may have made sense. Only you can determine if it is still a good reaction or simply an old habit.

Cite: Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson

Posted in self-improvement, spiritual/religious

Gremlin Myths

Last Sunday we identified some typical gremlins that stay busy in our minds. If you missed it, check it out here: November 5th Post. This week, we continue.

Some common gremlin myths include:

  • The real you is unlovable and unacceptable.
  • If you show sadness, you are weak.
  • Suffering is noble.
  • Fast is good and slow is bad.
  • Nice girls don’t enjoy sex or nice girls don’t show that they enjoy sex.
  • To show anger is to be childish and out of control.
  • To express joy is to be childish and unprofessional.
  • If you don’t acknowledge your emotions, they’ll go away.
  • More is better.
  • Men are better leaders than women.
  • Worry, anxiety, and guilt have value.
  • Tensing in anticipation of pain lessens it.
  • Western/Eastern philosophy is closer to the ‘true’ religion.
  • Someday, when you get your ducks in a row, you’ll be happy.

Last week we talked about the process of simply noticing the gremlins inside your mind. To simply notice is to be aware. To simply notice is to pay attention. Simply noticing is not thinking about noticing, it is about simply noticing, simply being aware, simply paying attention. Simply noticing is shining a spotlight on your current moment, on your current now.

Consciously focusing your awareness requires effort, not strain. Consciously being aware is being willing to experience your now without the filter of preconceived notions, ideas, and thoughts. Consciously focusing your awareness is about trusting your own senses in the present moment. It is about taking care with your life and with your awareness. Taming your gremlin does not mean staying out of your mind. It means entering your world of mind by conscious, aware choice. It also means knowing where you end and everything else begins.

While remembering to be aware, also remember to breathe. Full, clear breathing is important. When your breathing is relaxed and clear and you are taking in all of the air you want and exhaling fully, you will be more aware of yourself and of all around you. Your perceptions will be clearer and your vantage point for responding to change will be better.

So, along with being aware of your inner gremlin thoughts and shining spotlights on them to shrink them, also be aware of your breathing. Be aware that you are breathing fully and relaxed. Once you are aware of your thoughts and your breathing, you are what is called centered.

Being centered is your home base for the here and now. So remember to go ‘home’ often to keep yourself aware of the now, and to give yourself a fresh start. Center yourself every day, in the morning if possible. Doing this regularly will allow you to re-center yourself throughout the day as needed.

Cite: Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson

Posted in leadership, spiritual/religious

Thoughts, Actions and Memories

Over 2,000 years ago, one of my favorite Greek Philosophers, Epictetus, stated that people are disturbed “Not by things, but by the views we take on them.” A thousand years later, Shakespeare, in Hamlet, wrote, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” And even Solomon in Proverbs wrote, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”

As a child, I grew up with 4 flags, the American flag, the Kentucky state flag, the Christian flag, and the Confederate flag. The Confederate flag was an artifact of heritage pride. Even though Kentucky was a border state, it presented as southern. As a child, this was a simple association as was being a female child.

As I grew, I watched white power protesters claim the Confederate flag as their own. They associated it with hateful language, physical pain, and murders directed at innocent people. Just as the Nazis took over the swastika symbol, which was originally a Jewish symbol (something I didn’t know until I traveled to Israel), the Confederate flag was commandeered as a symbol of bigotry, racism, and death of innocents. So, as I grew and understood, I removed the Confederate flag from my things. Though I had one in innocence, I could no longer keep one and be innocent.

In the last few decades, Christendom has been hijacked by bigots and racists. I cringe as I watch hateful words, dangerous actions, and murders in the name of Love of Jesus Christ. These people are not performing Christ-like acts, but by using the name of Christian for their atrocities, they are marking all Christians with their hate and shameful acts, just as the white power people mark all southerners with their hate and shameful acts.

While there are many southerners who are excellent role models for being a real loving, generous southerner, and excellent Christians providing role models for being Christ-like Christians, I wonder, will the haters win? According to the ancient philosophers quoted at the top of this post, they only win if we view the actions of a few and judge everyone with it. For all who are working hard at trying to live a good life, a Christ-like life, I hope people can see beyond the actions of the haters toward the actions of people making positive changes every day.

 CITE: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, M.D.

Posted in spiritual/religious

It’s Easter Sunday

God is here! As we your people
Meet to offer praise and prayer,
May we find in fuller measure
What it is in Christ we share.
Here, as in the world around us,
All our varied skills and arts
Wait the coming of the Spirit
Into open minds and hearts.

Here are symbols to remind us
Of our lifelong need of grace:
Here are table, font, and pulpit;
Here the cross has central place.
Here in honesty of preaching,
Here in silence, as in speech,
Here, in newness and renewal,
God the Spirit comes to each.

Here our children find a welcome
In the Shepherd’s flock and fold;
Here as bread and wine are taken,
Christ sustains us as of old.
Here the servants of the Servant
Seek in worship to explore
What it means in daily living
To believe and to adore.

Lord of all, of church and kingdom,
In an age of change and doubt
Keep us faithful to the gospel;
Help us work you purpose out.
Here, in this day’s dedication,
All we have to give, receive:
We, who cannot live without you,
We adore you, we believe!
– Fred Pratt Green 1979, rev. 1988

Posted in self-improvement, spiritual/religious

What Makes You Happy?

In 1978, I answered the question, what makes me happy with the following:

  • Traveling
  • Innocence
  • Truthfulness
  • Feeling needed and special
  • Contributing to planet earth
  • Learning
  • Beach time
  • Hotels (not motels)
  • Great music
  • Friends and family

 Almost 40 years later, I found this list while going through old papers. Looking at this list again and cannot think of anything else to add to it.  What about you? What makes you happy? Has it changed or been added to over the years? Do you have any lists from the past that have stayed constant over the years?

While I believe that people do change and improve continually, I also believe there are core strengths and attributes that are constant within us. What about you? What are your core desires?

Posted in spiritual/religious

My Secret Identity

 As you search from goal to goal, what do you feel? Do you feel the moment’s satisfaction of completing the goal, or obtaining the object – the car, the house, the vacation – then followed by the ‘what’s next?’ feeling? It seems we are never completely satisfied with what we do, what we have, and who we are.  In Hebrews this is listed as, ‘longing for a better country.’

 “All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it – tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. It is a secret signature of each soul that is incommunicable.”

Part of my journey has been an appetite toward self-discovery. I am always excited when I can peel away another layer and discover another part of myself. But then, I start digging again to see what else is there. As an avid reader, I do a lot of my digging via reading books and articles of interest. The areas of interest are vast but can be explained by C. S. Lewis.

“Have you noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread? You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why liking this you should also like that.”

For me, the yearning to learn more about my identity continues. Based on what is written in Revelations, it will probably continue. Revelations 2:17 states, “God will give us a white stone with your new name written on it – known only to you and Him.” So, based on this, only in heaven (our identity’s birthplace) will I find out who I really am. It will be revealed with my new name, the name only God and I will know. Until then, I will continue my journey and rest along the way after each discovery. And to finish with C S Lewis: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”


Cite: A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven by Dan Schaefer