REPLAY of the LIVE class (on Periscope)! with notes!

I was a sweaty, nervous wreck on my first periscope.

It’s comical…did anyone ever see Broadcast News (the movie)?
I needed two tissues for my sympathetic nervous system.

(Some technical difficulties threw me just before broadcast and I talked SO VERY fast.)

If you didn’t get to see it here you go!
(Twitter pulled the plug on this feature – sorry everyone)




THE #1 Myth about the SOUL…

is that we have one.

But first….we should get on the same page…


(what are we talking about?)

This is how I’m describing it:


In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for soul is nephesh. We might use it this way, “1,517 souls were lost in the Titanic disaster.”

SOUL ≠ dead BUGS BUNNY …like a floating ghost and that sort of stuff.

Not a faint rendering of bugs bunny leaving his body to play a harp on a cloud with Porky Pig. Not something that is ghosty and haunting a house or helping Demi Moore on a Pottery Wheel. (Patrick it, young people.)


Ancients thought of the mind and heart differently (the will and the emotions)…

Maybe these verses come to mind…but you’ve been thinking about them in your own context instead of the ancient context from which they were written.


Remember this one?

The heart is deceitful and wicked above all things JER 17:9

(Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life)

or Proverbs 4:23 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

….The writers of these scriptures were not talking about emotions and feelings when they said “heart” (like we associate the heart today…they were talking about the HEART as one’s will and control center of a person…(the thing we now associate with the mind.)

For them, the emotions (the heart for us in our context) were associated, instead, with the bowels. Perhaps a bit gross..but there is some

MEDICAL TRUTH/correlation : anxiety and stress are closely associated with disease and problem that happen in the intestines…like….ulcerated colon, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (bloating, constipation, gas, and other fun things), digestion issues, food sensitivities and problems in that part of the body. These are extremely related to one’s emotions and levels of stress.

The GEM MODEL of the Soul (my version)


Think of the SOUL as a gem and the facets are ways to see the soul.

You can go as far as saying other things beyond these are facets:

family of origin, social economic situation, skin color (if that has been a defining factor in your life)

education, the country you live in,

Even Christianity is a facet. A worldview is a facet that we can gain a kind of look at who we are.

Grace is central to Christianity, for instance. We can look at our soul through the facet of grace.

When light is added to a stone you can see its flaws and imperfections and you can see its quality (color, cut, clarity, caret)

UGLY soul? Is that possible? what do you think?

In his book Care of Souls, David Benner writes, “We can define soul care as the support and restoration of the well-being of persons in their depth and totality, with particular concern for their inner life. Soul care is done in the context of community.”

The vantage point of Soul Care views struggle or failings not as fatal flaws or illness to be “cured”. Not therapy or self-help. 

It’s a sustaining endeavor for our interior lives and our relationships, like water and food is for the body. Incidentally, caring for the body falls within the bounds of Soul Care.

Ten Signs that You Need the Renewal of Soul Care 

1. Fruitlessness. Are there observable deficits in the enacted your Fruit of the Spirit? That means, is there any lack or slack in the


areas of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control? (If not, I think E.T. went home without you. Phone again. You might want to text, and retweet as well.)

2. You find yourself perceiving things others say as personally offensive, or as direct attacks. 

3. You are “venting” more in person or online.
4. You feel unloved.
5.You feel increased frustration, restlessness, or desolation.

6.Your fears and anxiety are more prevalent.

7.You have increased tension in relationships.

8. You struggle with one or more of the “seven deadly 

sins”: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. 


9. You have problems sleeping or bad dreams.

10. You’re in a creative slump. 


THE #1 myth about the soul is that…. you have one. You don’t have a soul you are a Soul. You have a body. George MacDonald, in 1892 (C.S. Lewis quotes him and the quote is mistakenly attributed to him sometimes)

Think of the Soul as “the real you” the essence of you. contained in a body, yes, but made up of everything about you in a pure sense.

Some might say the soul gets extinguished or goes to paradise or gets absorbed into the great Life Force (God) …but in terms of what you need…you always need Soul Care, because you are a soul and that include both the visible and the invisible.

All this more and much more is available in my book. Shame-filled plug.

Did somebody move your cheese?

Are you frustrated?

It’s probably because someone moved your cheese.

At the little library near my home I found a book in a pile of free books. I remembered the title probably because of the power of cheese.

Who Moved My Cheese

by Spencer Johnson

The title is the best part. It’s one of the most poorly written books I’ve read in ages. Like, poke-your-eye-out awful.

It could be a 25 page book, but no, it drags you through brambles for over 80 pages…

Nevertheless, the takeaway is a simple and helpful reminder.

Here’s a reboot and summary:

We act like rats in a maze looking for cheese. (Cheese is what we think we want: love, money, power, security…whatever). If we find the cheese we like it and get comfortable and get lazy. We don’t think about finding new cheese.

We have to be willing to change, improve, or keep searching or we will starve, eventually.

The big problem?
If things change we act all ticked off that someone “moved our cheese”.

“Hey! Who moved my cheese?”

It’s true.

Someone or something will always crop up to move your cheese. It can get upsetting.

The Lesson: Keep moving and don’t expect things to be easy or long-lasting. Especially success.

Are you a ZOMBIE? 3 Ways to Know if you’re truly stuck and NUMBING-OUT


As a kid I would see adults numb out. (I didn’t know it was that at the time.) They’d get obsessed with hobbies, drink too much, channel surf late into the night, veg-out with a bag of potato chips, flitter about with shopping, or keep their nose in a book. Smart phones hadn’t been invented but going numb abounded!

I sensed I wasn’t like them because I was always moving on to the next adventure. I was sort of powerless as a kid, but I wasn’t stuck. It wasn’t just their actions, it was their faces gave away that something had shut off.

I get it now.

I get that we grow to numb out because it’s a way to reduce anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t lessen with age. In fact, more disappointments have piled up and more is at stake after a few decades of life. Disappointment, pain, fear, and frustration all drive us to numb out. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t do it in some variety.

The difference is that some people can block and judo chop numbness and start moving again, and others get stuck in a pattern they go back to it–like food, or stay stuck in it–like a bed. That makes you fat and sleepy. Undead. A Zombie.


I have to fight off a tendency to go numb and zombie out, too. Life is painful, I get it. But, I’ve realized it’s worth the fight. (It’s an actual life or death struggle.)

Blasting numbness takes skills.

But how can you tell if you’re numb or just in a slump?
Here are 3 Ways:


1. You just can’t “get to it” 

Whether it’s that you’re -super busy-, or that you feel the conditions are never quite right to get started, there is a special sort of “stuckness” that signals Numb territory. You meant to. You want to. You should. But, there’s lag and drag.

2. You’re distracted by design

You try to stay busy or occupied (whether you realize it or not). Maybe you check your emails a lot, or play apps or video games, surf the net for reading material or naked people, or scrapbook like mad. Maybe you text a lot, or you have to “get your run on” (frantic exercise), maybe you troll blogs, or do Facebook on your Smart Phone when you find a gap in your day. You want a break! It makes sense.

Or maybe, it’s more subtle. Maybe the kids have crazy schedules of activities you must attend to. Whatever it is, you have to admit that you’re trying to appease to your restlessness. You’re trying to stay moving but really you’re going nowhere. In the end, you only want more “soothing” or movement because you’re still in the same place.

3. You’re less connected

Have you really opened up to a friend lately, face-to-face? Can people get close to you or really know you? Have you avoided getting close to other people because they seem like a pain in the butt? This is because there is something painful about it. You want to avoid that stuff and you want to stay numbed out. People are a great source of anxiety for all kinds of reasons, but disconnection means you’ll stay numb. It’s time to be fearless.

What’s really so bad about going numb or staying numb?

Tons, but I’ll limit it to 3.

• You. Stay. Stuck. (Hardly anything is more frustrating. It’s like a jail. But, you made this jail. It’s time to get out.)

• You stop growing as a person. (Remember the cranky neighbor or the jerk boss? That is or will be you! Don’t be that guy. Remember, the mean librarian or pissed off gym teacher. Don’t let it come to that.)

Deadness. Zombies look cool in the movies, but…hello…they. are. dead. (and they eat the brains of living people. gross. Wow. How true is that, anyway?)

If you are numb, you are deadened. You can’t feel the good stuff either, like love, acceptance, belonging, and joy. (This stinks because it’s hardly living when you’re numb to the good stuff!) You can’t fine tune numbness. It’s a categorical deadening.

I can’t stress this enough: Don’t be a Zombie.

In the next post, I’ll share best practices for judo chopping numbness in the neck…and getting on with your best life. (Click the content link in the right sidebar to get that post zipped right to you.) 

Now you’ll like this! Check out what a good judo chop can do.

(photo source)

Picking your Neurosis Before it Picks You

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Pulpolux !!! via Compfight
I’m neurotic. You are too. Ready for a pleasant surprise? Neurosis is normal. Anxiety is normal. Both are…get this: helpful.


Neurosis is how normal people cope with a changing environment.
As stressful situations enter our lives we have anxiety, and we deal with it in a number of ways. Neurotic ways. A neurotic person (like you or me) is just someone who is dealing with anxiety-producing pain, hurt, or stress. You know, the normal stuff of life. If we didn’t become anxious we wouldn’t have the motivating to improve our situation. We wouldn’t be…human.


It’s only when our neurotic method of coping becomes a main characteristic in our life does it fall into a category called “a neurotic disorder“. (Neurosis should not be mistaken for psychosis, which refers a loss of connection with reality and will include delusions or hallucinations. To be clear, both disorder and psychosis should be helped by a trained pro.)


For a bit of a primer here is the insight of Dr. George Boeree. Effects of neurosis can involve these (all too familiar) states:
• Anxiety, sadness, depression, anger, irritability, mental confusion, low sense of self-worth. Again, normal stuff we experience from time to time.
Behavioral symptoms like phobic avoidance, vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, or lethargy…on the other side of the spectrum.
Cognitive problems like unpleasant or disturbing thoughts, repeating thoughts and obsessions, habitual fantasizing, negativity, and cynicism.
Interpersonal problems like unhealthy dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, schizoid isolation (which sounds like the name of a punk band, right? Actually, it relates to social avoidance), and socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors, among a few. [1]
In each case a certain amount of any of these traits fall into the range of normal human behavior in the face of stress. It is the prolonged characteristics which signal a greater problem, and needed healing.
You could be more typical than you’ve imagined. I wonder if we go around thinking we are incredibly messed up, when we aren’t doing so terribly bad after all. It helps to periodically assess how you are doing on this front.
Personally, I was reflecting on all this. I was rather relieved to learn that neurosis is normal. Am I the only one who didn’t know this? I took some inventory of my own neurotic outcroppings. (I felt brave at that moment.)
• How much thought was I putting into my neurotic behavior? Little.
• Were any neurotic behaviors the “boss of me”? Yep.

For instance, sometimes I crave and ingest sugar. Sometimes I numb-out with tech, or some distraction. Sometimes I grow irritable and wallow a bit. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop before we both get too embarrassed.


I thought, “What if I could be more conscious of how I direct my neurosis, since stress and the neurotic response are in fact unavoidable?” I can’t be rid of them, but I can make wiser choices.
Instead of opening the fridge when I feel stressed, I’ll do a set or two of arm curls. Or, maybe I’ll make a journal entry, pray, meditate, or take a walk instead of strolling the information super highway to distract myself. (I thought I’d bring in a 1990s internet term to keep you on your toes.)
Have you considered some of your unconscious (yet normal) neurotic mechanisms recently?  How could they be better directed in your life?
I’d love to hear your thoughts or comments on the topic.

What are some of the neurotic things you do?


Why You Don’t Need Patience

Photo Credit: James Vaughan via Compfight

This is the 2nd consecutive month that I took a day for a prayer retreat at the same Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Center. I couldn’t recommend it more highly. This time I took a friend along. After we arrived, we went our separate ways, and met up later to talk a little about our insights, prayer time, and Scripture reading.

I’ll share one of them with you. I was struggling with some frustration and impatience. It’s mostly the ordinary stuff that involve being a mom, a wife, a writer, and the parent of a special needs boy. It’s the kind of thing that becomes distracting, and hinders my reactions, thoughts, and feelings toward my family. They might get the the spillover when I can’t handle the chaos of the day.

So, this was nagging at me to talk to God about, and I did just that. It didn’t hurt that I was sitting in the sun, and the pink trees was blossoming fully. I was ready to listen. And just as soon as I get it out I heard in my spirit, “It’s okay. You don’t have to be patient.” I didn’t saying or do anything, because it sounded absurd. Thankfully there was some followup, “You can draw from my patience. I have enough for you. You don’t need yours. You can use mine. Then, you won’t be so tired.”

I had to admit it sounded nice. It felt like freedom.