Open-minded

I’m emptying my cup.

Sometimes it’s scary.

Sometimes things you’ve believed your whole life turn out not to be true.

Sometimes people you thought were untrustworthy are the ones telling the truth.

It’s important to consider that you might be wrong.

That the other person might be right.

To weigh all sides before reaching a decision.

Sometimes the crazy person’s argument makes the most sense.

Sometimes truth comes from unexpected places.

Be open to it.

What happened to listening?

It’s ridiculous.

People demonize others.

Who don’t believe the same things.

Who don’t like the same things.

What happened to listening?

What happened to understanding?

Does liking a different sports team mean someone is bad?

Do different beliefs about the origin of the universe mean someone is an idiot?

“Divide” is the first part of “Divide and Conquer.”  There’s a reason for that.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Empty your cup

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”

– Master Yoda

There’s a famous story that goes something like this:

A skilled martial artist came to Bruce Lee.  He was seeking training and wisdom.

Bruce Lee told him he needed to empty his cup.  The man’s cup was full of his own knowledge.  He would have to empty it first.  Then it could be filled with new, better knowledge.

We have to be open to the possibility of our ideas being wrong.  Otherwise we can’t really learn.  We can’t really change for the better.

I’m wrong a lot.  I might even be wrong about being wrong.

I’m more negative than I realized

I’ve always thought of myself as an optimist.

The future will be better.

That keeps me going.

When I think about myself I focus on the negative, though.

I have a lot of good qualities.  I hesitate to share those.  I feel like I’m bragging.

I don’t think I should ignore my negative aspects.  Those need work.

Maybe the trick is to focus on the changes I want to make.

Why I’m still a Mormon

I’m not a shining example of  “Good Mormon.”

I’ve struggled with pornography most of my adult life.

I’ve lied countless times.  I don’t want people thinking bad things about me.

I’ve been inactive in the Church for most of my adult life.

It would be easier to just leave the Church completely.

But I don’t.

I can’t.

I know it’s true.

Turning my back on the Church would be like turning my back on myself.

When I was twenty-four I hadn’t gone to church for several years.

I felt like I needed to go back.  I was afraid to talk to a bishop.  Afraid to confess my sins.

I decided to take some religion classes.  I could get some spirituality in my life without any pressure.

After about six months I decided to go to church.

I only went for Sacrament meeting.  I didn’t go in the chapel.  I sat out in the foyer and listened.

After a few months I had my records transferred to that ward.

I started sitting in the chapel during Sacrament meeting.

Eventually I started going to all the meetings.

Then one day in priesthood meeting one of the other guys told me a group of guys were going to see a movie together.  He asked if I’d like to come.

I got spooked.

I didn’t go back to church for awhile.

I slowly started going again, eventually going to all the meetings.

Then one Sunday it happened.

Just before Sacrament the Bishop’s Secretary came up to me.  He asked if I could see the Bishop after the meeting.

This was it.

The Bishop had just wanted to meet me.  I spilled my guts anyway.

I felt so much better afterward.

I started meeting with him every week.

At that point I decided I’d better find out for myself if the Church was really true.

I’d believed it was for years.  I was never quite sure, though.

I’d been reading the Book of Mormon on and off for several months.

I’d never finished the whole thing.

I decided now was the time.

I finished it.  Then I prayed about it.

I got a feeling I’d never felt before.

I knew it was true.

I still do.

I’m not a “Good Mormon”

I’m a hypocrite.  I’m lazy.  I just don’t wanna go.

I don’t say these things to condemn myself.  I just need to work on them.

I haven’t gone to church for most of my adult life.  I’ve been wandering in the wilderness.

I don’t have a good reason.

That’s not to say I don’t have any reasons.

I have social anxiety.  Especially around people I don’t consider friends.

I haven’t made any friends at church.  Because of the social anxiety.

I feel ashamed.  I don’t live up to the Church’s standards.  I want to, but it’s hard.

That’s no excuse, though.

I love the feeling I get when I’m at Church (as long as no one’s trying to talk to me).

Sometimes I feel the Spirit so strong.

It moves me to tears.

Every week I think, “I’m going to go to church next Sunday.”

Then Sunday morning comes.

Those of you who struggle with getting to church know what I’m talking about.

Dragging myself out of bed.

Dragging the kids out of bed.

Getting them ready.

Getting me ready.

Etc.

The people who go to church every week have these problems, too.  Well, maybe not all of them.

I want to be more like them.

Learn the easy way. Please.

Advice is ultimately autobiography. Don’t listen to people where the advice is coming from a pedestal. That’s how snake oil is created.

James Altucher

He’s younger than me.  Even more foolish.

He hasn’t made the same bad choices.  Not yet.

Maybe he won’t with some helpful advice.

Or some scare tactics.

He’s me.  But younger.

Maybe he’s you, too.

I can’t un-choose my bad choices.

But maybe you can make better ones.

Maybe you can learn what I learned.

Without the pain.

Troubleshooting my life

Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.

Eric S. Raymond

I’m not sharing all my flaws and bad choices to publicly flog myself.

I’m not doing it to embarrass anyone else.

I’m showing you the source code of my life, hoping you’ll be able to find some errors I missed.

I need feedback.

If I share this information with enough people, surely someone will see something I missed.

If you see something, please feel free to tell me.

Finding my voice

Several months ago my therapist asked me what I wanted.  I wasn’t really sure.

He told me to find my voice.

I wasn’t sure what that even meant.  Isn’t it that sound I make when I talk?  The one that sounds so horrible when someone records it and plays it back?

I’m still not sure exactly what I want.  I have a vague, hazy idea.  It used to be better defined.

I wanted to be with my family.  To be able to spend time with them.

I wanted to move to a small town.  I wanted to buy some land outside of town and build a house.

I wanted to start a few internet businesses.  I wanted to work from home.

I wanted to help other people.  I wanted to make a difference.

I still want those things.  I never had a clear idea of how to get there.

Now it’s even less clear.

I’ve found my voice in another way.  I’ve found a way to express myself.

I hope it will help me get what I want.

Trying to be authentic

One of the problems I have with social media is that most people only show the good part of their lives.

I’m all for positivity.

But surely not everything in your life is wonderful.

Surely you have bad days.

I want to know who my friends really are.  Good and bad.

I haven’t been one to share much of anything.

I’m making up for that now.  😉