Beliefnet
A Reason to Smile

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I don’t mind admitting that this hurts.

One thing that I always tell aspiring Life Coaches is that you must always be your own best client.  It’s important to use your tools and live the same advice you’d give someone else.  Since walking our talk is how we avoid becoming hypocrites.

So, when faced with difficulties, I step back and ask myself what I’d tell one of my coaching clients to do, and the I do that thing myself. The purpose of this article is to give you an idea of exactly how I’m processing all of this—a process that is by no means finished—in the hopes that it might help you process things, too.

UPDATE: On a recent episode of Rise UP with B. Dave Walters I talked more about this, how my feelings have changed in the days since this article was posted, and where we need to go from here. Click here to listen.

The way I have set up the rest of this article is as a dialog between me, regular guy with all the same feelings so many others are grappling with, and B. Dave Walters, who always works to bring people together and shine some light into the world.

 ***

Me: I am shocked. SHOCKED.  My heart is broken, I have never been so ashamed to be an American.

BDW: And why is that?

Me: Why is that? We just elected a racist, sexist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, homophobic, xenophobic, narcissistic egomaniac with the business sense of Krusty the Klown to the office of the Presidency.

BDW: Apparently, his supporters didn’t see it that way.

Me: Oh, they saw it.  They just didn’t CARE.  He appealed to everything that was worst not just in Americans, but in humanity and it worked.

BDW: That might be a bit of an exaggeration.  They have some legitimate issues, like—

Me: I am SO tired of hearing about their ‘legitimate issues.’  You know who else had legitimate issues? Anakin Skywalker. His mother died because the Jedi wouldn’t listen to him.  They lied to him, and hid things from him, they forced him away from the woman he loved.

BDW: All valid things to be upset about, yes.

Me: Exactly. The problem is when he then said ‘since I’m upset with the way things are, I’ll destroy ALL of it.  I’ll burn down the Jedi and cause the collapse of the Republic. Because my feelings are hurt . That’s what happened on Tuesday: Trump voters killed a room full of Younglings because  they’re ‘mad.’

BDW: I thought Darth Vader was your favorite character of all time?

Me: HE IS. Another thing they’ve taken from me.

BDW: Now who sounds like Anakin Skywalker?

Me: Don’t make me laugh. I don’t feel like laughing.

BDW: Fair enough. But you will feel like it again soon. This feeling will pass; you’ll be ok. We’ll ALL be OK.

Me:  I know. I’ll get back to ‘can’t we all just get along’ soon. But I am NOT there now. My psychology is in a very adversarial state right now. I can’t even validate, much less support, the mindsets that won on Tuesday.

BDW: Racism, sexism, all the other isms are very dangerous.  But they are also learned. And anyone who learns them can unlearn them.  But really, although racism and sexism were obviously a huge part of the Trump campaign, I don’t think that’s why most people voted for him.

Me: OK, so they may not have been racist or sexist themselves, but they apparently were totally ok with racism and sexism.  The KKK endorsed him openly, none of this was a secret, and yet they went with it. What if I said to you ‘I don’t abuse kids, I just let guys pay me $50 to bring kids to my house to abuse them; that doesn’t make me a bad person, I just have to pay the rent!’  You would think I was a HORRIBLE person.

BDW: Maybe. But we won’t get anywhere calling people names and labeling them as stupid, racist, sexist, etc.

Me: If you don’t want to be labeled deplorable, stop doing deplorable stuff. That’s the other thing, I keep hearing about how ‘we didn’t listen to them,’ but how do you dialog with someone who isn’t listening?   Dunnings-Kruger is REAL.

BDW: I’ve been grappling with that myself. But step one is definitely to even be willing to talk without judgment or condescension. Since the truth is they feel great right now, and we feel awful.  But if Trump does even half of the things he promised—which I don’t think he will, since the things he promised aren’t possible—the repercussions are going to fall on his supporters the hardest.  The proposed budget cuts will hurt the working class more than any other, and once they start suffering they’re going to be even more upset.

Me: Good.

BDW: You don’t mean that.

Me: Fine, I don’t mean it. I’m just mad.

BDW: Then you should understand how they feel!

Me: I hate it when you do that.

BDW: Remember, he who angers you, masters you. Don’t let this temporary defeat change who you are. Yes, it’s very irritating always having to be the bigger person, but SOMEONE has to.  And we both know nothing good comes from everyone trying to be the lower person.

Me: I don’t see anything good coming at all.

BDW: OK, don’t be too dramatic. It’s true that there are substantial risks facing us all now, but it will probably be fine.  Tough times are almost certainly on the way, but the world will keep turning. We’ve made it through tough times before, and we’ll make it through these.  But we have to hold on to each other and lift up as many people as possible along the way.

Me: Who knows, maybe Hillary would have gotten us into World War 3 over Syria; chances are now we’ll just end up with another Cold War, which is preferable to a nuclear one. As long as no world leaders say anything mean about Trump on Twitter.

BDW: Ha.

Me: You know who else I’m mad at? The Bernie or Bust people, the 20 million people who voted for Obama and just didn’t show up this time, the 57% of white women who voted for Trump, and everyone else who voted against their own images.

An Atheist, Socialist, Jew wasn’t going to win against what showed up on Tuesday.  The racist rhetoric still works as anti-Semitism. Socialism is still ‘he’s going to take your money and give it to brown people!’ Atheism would have still activated the evangelicals. Bernie had minimal support in the Black community, and wouldn’t have had the same financial resources from the establishment liberals.  I don’t see it ending any differently.  Trump sold them a fantasy that Bernie wouldn’t have been able to counter any more than Clinton could.  Biden, however, would have smashed him.

BDW: I can tell you what really won on Tuesday: Selfishness. The belief that what I want is more important than the good of the nation, and I don’t care who suffers because of that. That’s why I can say that not everyone who voted for Trump is ‘deplorable,’ but they didn’t care about what was going to happen to anyone else outside of their bubble.

Me: Wow, Coach.

BDW: I still gotta call a spade a spade. But now we have dueling bubbles with the no desire to see where the other side is coming from. How do we bridge this gap?

Me: My plan for dealing with it is specificity.  When they talk about how Trump is going to ‘fix things,’ ask them how exactly. When they rail against Obama messing things up, ask how exactly.  In a post fact world, sticking to the facts is an act of rebellion.

BDW: Sadly so. What else?

Me: I’m working to release the idea that voting for Trump makes you a bad person. But I must admit I’m not there yet.

BDW: You’ll get there.  This is a grieving process, and it takes as long as it takes; don’t rush it.

Me: I may still have to rip up some trolls…but only the ones who have it coming.

BDW: If that makes you feel better.  But, again, what do we gain from making people feel dumb?

Me: I’ll remember that when I get around to being the bigger person.

BDW: Here’s what I’d like you to remember: The majority of the people voted for her.  The MAJORITY of the people wanted the same vision for the future that you want, where there’s room for everyone at the table. So don’t feel like your world view is the odd one, because it isn’t.

By the same token, we need to understand what moved 50 million people in strategically valuable states to reject that vision. We need to understand their concerns, their hopes, and their fears, not necessarily to validate them—even I may never get to that place—but to help heal this divide.  Since until we accept how people feel, whether or not we agree with them, we can’t start the work of finding a common ground to build on.

Me: It’s going to be a long four years, isn’t it?

BDW: It will pass faster than you think. The first Hobbit movie came out four years ago. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was THIRTEEN years ago.  Time flies.

Me: I’d give my left foot for Mitt Romney right now.

BDW: You and me both, brother.  But keep your chin up; your country still needs you, now more than ever.

***

 I waited a long time to say anything.  I’ve you’ve been following me on Facebook (and you should) I didn’t say anything from the night of the election until when I posted this article.  I will just say it’s ok to let yourself feel how you feel.  I think the clouds are already starting to part for most of us, but don’t make yourself wrong for feeling how you feel.  The stages of grief are a spectrum, and you might still be moving back and forth between depression, anger, denial, bargaining, acceptance, and back again. So if you need to cry, cry. Scream, scream. If you need to stay in bed all day eating ice cream, do it and enjoy it.

But at the end of the day, this is where we find ourselves, and the work of building a country and a world that works for everyone still falls to us to do.  We can’t give in to anger, hopelessness, pessimism, or despair, or the haters win.  And the haters must never, ever win.  The only way for us is the same that it’s always been: Forward.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” -Maya Angelou

What do you think? Feel free to comment down below!

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me: http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything: http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Become a supporter of my work: http://www.patreon.com/bdavewalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha — Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism — Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another — A group for the coolest Spiritual people on the Internet!

 

 

America, my heart is broken.

sad-manA couple of months ago, I wrote this letter about how awful it feels to be a Black guy who truly loves this country.  And you, America, have responded by making things much, much, worse.

This article has taken longer than any other to write, because I keep having to start over with each fresh new tragedy.  I started over with the murder of Terence Crutcher.  I started over with the murder of Keith Scott. I even recorded an episode of Rise UP with B. Dave Walters where I talked about how it feels.  But this latest insult is the last straw.

Eye-tracking technology shows that preschool teachers have implicit bias against Black boys. 

It’s a mortal sin in the online world to direct people to another web page, but go read that article because it’s important and I don’t want to misrepresent the findings. I’ll wait.

Here’s the question I want to ask, and I want you to keep in the back of your mind from now on:
Where would you be in life if you’d been treated like you were wild and dangerous since you were three years old? Literally longer than you can remember?

The findings of this study kept me up all night. Here it was in black and white (pun intended) that little Black boys were being profiled from the day they first set foot in the classroom.  The study found not only that “African American students are suspended or expelled at more than twice the rate of children of any other ethnicity,” but that “in state-funded pre-K classrooms, 3- and 4-year-olds were being kicked out of school three times as often as older students. And Black children — boys mostly — were about twice as likely as Latino and white children to be expelled.”

So think about that. These kids’ earliest recollections are of objectively provably overly harsh treatment. If you’ve been around a three year old lately, you might notice that they occasionally have problems sitting still and following directions. But little Keith, little Terence, little Philando, little Alton, little DAVE get flagged early as being disruptive influences.

So besides the fact we already know that a teacher’s expectations DIRECTLY influence student performance, what happens when you’re expected to be a problem in advance?  At what point do these children begin conforming to expectations, and actually become the disruptive elements that are still going to be overreacted to?  At what point exactly did they have a chance to cultivate a love of learning? When were they able to invest their energies into cultivating their own unique genius?

And at what point did they learn that school was a hellish ordeal where they were perpetually treated as other?  Spoiler alert: Around three years old.

Another interesting take away from that article is that Black faculty was actually more likely to be too hard on Black children. Allow me to explain to you why that is, which is something 114% of Black people will verify. Here is exactly what’s going through that teacher’s head:

This little Black boy is not going to show out and embarrass all of us.

An interesting reality of being Black in America is we are all connected. If you notice, 9 out of 10 times we always greet each other on the street, if only with eye contact and a nod. All that Brother and Sister stuff is actually true, there’s an innate kinship and connection between all of us.

Don’t believe me? Here’s just one example of an experience 99.9% of us shared in January 2008:
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However, that connection often gets weaponized and used against us (more on this later). And a sad byproduct of this is when one of us messes up, it’s a problem for all of us. When a Black person gets out of line near us, we all cover our faces. The less of us there are in the vicinity, the more acute it becomes.

Along with that, we have ALL heard that we “have to be twice as good to get half as much.”   So a Black teacher is going to make extra certain their handful of Black students are the absolute model children, even if that pressure is horrifically unfair to the child.  It’s almost as if in attempting to prepare them for the unfair double standard they’ll experience in the world, we begin by inflicting it on them as toddlers.

Bonus point: We often hear about the fiction of the epidemic of Black children growing up without fathers, but more White and Latino families are raised by single parents than Black; that is a media fiction and right wing talking

Click and read the description.

Click and read the description.

point.

The Problem with Policing.
So these little Black boys and girls are getting an objectively provably unfair chance from the start.  Then they go out

into the world, where Blacks and other people of color are 3x more likely to be stopped by the police than Whites, with Blacks again 2x as likely to be arrested and 4x as likely to be threatened with arrest than their White counterparts.  Source.

Young Black males are 21x more likely to be shot and killed by the police than their white peers.

It’s gotten so bad that some schools have begun teaching classes on how Black kids should interact with police to avoid getting murdered.  This was highlighted in a recent report by John Oliver about police accountability that absolutely everyone needs to see:
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If you follow me on Facebook (and you should) I’ve been on a tear about this. And it never fails that after presenting the above statistics, and doctoral thesis level citations and support, I run into people who basically come back with ‘yeah, well…nu-uh! And what about all the Black people who kill Black people? And what about (insert BS false equivalency I heard from inside my mirrored bubble Fox News and Facebook inspired self-righteousness)???’

After the shooting in El Cajon I made the point that police have killed WAY more Americans than ISIS has. If another nation had killed 800 people this year and counting, we’d be at war.  I also made the statement that I’m exponentially more afraid of getting killed by police than I am of getting killed by a terrorist.  As you might imagine, some people took exception with this undeniable reality.  You can see every thin-skinned, misinformed, knee-jerk reaction that gets vomited up after another unarmed Black man gets killed, and my disassembling of each one of them. I’ve gotten to be very good at it, much better than I ever should have been, since the same flawed and lazy thinking comes up every time.

You can read the entire exchange (both the post and comments here), but be advised there is some very intense emotion and ungentlemanly and NSFW language used. I said it ALL there, so it’s easier to direct you to it rather than restate it all here. If you want to know why we’re mad, read it. If you want to know how to explain why we’re mad, read it.

I need you to understand something very important.
Last night my youngest daughter was sworn into her Girl Scout troop. As part of the ceremony they said the Pledge of Allegiance, and proceeded to recite the Girl Scout’s Promise. As a part of that, they promise to serve their country, and respect authority.

And you know what? It tied my stomach in knots.

I personally taught them the Pledge, and was so proud seeing them take pride in saying it.  But now? When Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling during games I can’t say I agreed with him…and then I saw how he was treated in response. I see how innocent men are murdered on camera and the narrative immediately shifts to what they must have done to deserve it. How afraid the heavily armed cops who outnumbered him were, but how he had no right to be afraid in exchange. How there can be no charges against the cop who shot the man in Miami who was literally laying on his back with his hands in the air.

Cs5KnzpXEAEc7wOI am bombarded daily by constant reminders that my life does in fact not matter. That we are something dangerous; something less than human, of no value, and not worth saving.  And if you think that I’m exaggerating, pop over to the comments section on any article on FoxNews or Breitbart.com about Obama or Kapernick and feast your eyes on the comments.  That’s the hill we have to climb.

I love this country. I love this country.  But the United States of America has been at war with Black people since we first landed on these shores. If you didn’t know that, take the time to look at this very quick overview of the last 300 years.  And if you feel the need to still dispute that, congratulations: You are part of the problem.

 

I don’t know what to do, America; I’m truly at a loss.  You tell me.

Normally I end my articles with links to my website and social media profiles, but I’d rather use this space to spread some more awareness:

Examples of white people pointing guns at cops and surviving, which destroys the ‘having a gun == death’ myth 

Why ‘All Lives Matter’ is offensive, unnecessary, and actually racist

Why ‘Black on Black crime’ is an ignorant, racist myth

Stages of Reactions to Injustice against Black People

And last, but certainly not least: This truly brilliant piece on why Black people are always bringing up race

13257069_514553265403856_502693467_nConfession: I’ve spent about a week working on my follow-up article to my recent article: Dear America, from a black guy.  It’s taken longer than any other, because I keep getting upset and having to start over again.  There really is too much to put into words.

I talked about exactly how this all feels on a recent episode of Rise UP with B. Dave Walters. And, if you follow me on Facebook then you’ve seen my comments on the most recent string of police violence, the ugly underbelly of America being exposed by the Trump campaign, and more.  We’ll get back to that another time.

So here, let me say something I haven’t said outright: Why and how I can stay positive in the face of all this insanity.
Bear with me, because this requires some background: Recently Hillary Clinton came under fire for referring to half of Trump’s supporters as a ‘basket of deplorables.’ Was this an accurate statement? Absolutely. If anything, saying ‘half’ was kind.  But, since this is supposed to be a positive article, I won’t belabor the point.

But what does that statement mean?  As of now, Trump has the support of roughly 40% of the country. That means roughly 20% of the country is ‘deplorable.’  20%. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? One in five.

But you know what else that means?  Four out of five people aren’t racist, misogynist,  xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, or some other phobic. Four out of five people are normal, decent, human beings.  Eight out of ten are just like you.

So odds are, the people you meet on the street aren’t hate filled and intolerant, they’re just trying to make their way through life, just like you.

The internet is the closest thing we have to world-wide telepathy.  And it can be frightening to see some of the short sighted, ignorant, offensive, and often vile things keyboard warriors like to post.
So, as you see those posts of innocent unarmed people getting shot and it breaks your heart, but seeing the comments of people trying to justify why they deserved to die starts making your blood boil, notice how many people are saying awful stuff, and how many are just as outraged as you are.

The simple answer is, as Mr. Rogers said, look for the helpers.

Since the truth is, there will always be people saying awful things; some of them can be reached, some of them can’t.look-for-the-helpers  Let’s say half of those ‘deplorable’ people are lost, that still means there is hope for the other half.

That means nine out of ten people aren’t so bad, and those aren’t bad odds.

So despite the pain and hostility that has been flying around, I still declare this is the greatest time in history to be alive.  We, ALL of us, have it better than any people have had it any time in history. Look back across time and see how common hatred, intolerance, and death were for the common person.

Now those people are the weird ones. Now the racists, the bigots, the misogynists are the ones on their heels.  Every day the world moves closer to inclusion and diversity, and nothing and no one can stop the flow.

We’re all in this together. We’re all cousins, we’re all neighbors; what happens to one of us, affects us all.   More and more people are realizing that every day, and that my friend is progress.

The hatred and violence aren’t new, the cameras are new.  The people speaking out are new. The calls for unity are new. So keep your head up. We’ve got more work to do, but things are moving in the right direction.

What do you think? Feel free to comment down below!

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me: http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything: http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Become a supporter of my work: http://www.patreon.com/bdavewalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha — Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism — Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another — A group for the coolest Spiritual people on the Internet!

“Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honored. Dying…or busy with other assignments. Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life. There as well: “To do what needs doing.” Look inward. Don’t let the true nature of anything elude you. Before long, all existing things will be transformed, to rise like smoke (assuming all things become one), or be dispersed in fragments…to move from one unselfish act to another with God in mind. Only there, delight and stillness…when jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. You’ll have a better grasp of the harmony if you keep going back to it.” Marcus Aurelius

Keep Pushing!

Keep Pushing!

I recently had the honor of being invited to participate in a new group aimed at helping people create the lives they dream about by focusing on your goals in 30 day chunks. If you’re looking to make changes quickly, I highly recommend you check out the 30 Day Collective.

The question posed was “what’s a change that you wanted to make and for some reason have not been able to, or something that you wanted to pursue and just can’t seem to stay motivated to do so.”
In addition to some direct coaching, I answered all the questions that were submitted to me, two of which I thought would be valuable to share with you:

“Looooooooooosing weight. I always have this little voice that make me believe that tomorrow will be the perfect day to start my new diet. So today, it is time to celebrate = to eat, to drink. And for 30 years, I have been believing this little voice!”

“I am a procrastinator. This began in 1991 when I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that I am working with a coach to spiritually resolve. However, until my physical energy returns, I would like some advice on how to feel better about myself right now, and to parlay that into partitioning what energy I do have into accomplishing priorities. Too much?”

I talked about both of these questions at length on a recent episode of Rise UP with B. Dave Walters, along with: How to do the things you know you should, and stop doing the things you know you shouldn’t. How to make change, lose weight, get motivated, and much, much, more! Click here to listen.

I put these two questions together here, since although they seem different on the surface, at their core they are the same: Not doing what we “should” do. This problem of procrastinating on the things is not new, and can happen to even the most ‘enlightened’ of souls. The Apostle Paul complained about this exact same thing in the Book of Romans: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

So how does one break this cycle?

The first thing to do, is take a look at your ‘shoulds’. Are these even things you really want to be/do/have? The first questioner wants to lose weight…why? The second person wants to be able to ‘partition energy into accomplishing priorities’…why? As you dig into these things you are telling yourself you ‘should’ do, it may not even be your wish at all. You might have absorbed the voices of your parents / significant others / friends / society so thoroughly you’ve fooled yourself into thinking it’s what you want, but it may not be at all. And, it’s also possible that your goals have changed. I had a goal of running a marathon, until after getting injured repeatedly and getting too skinny for my own tastes, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted after all. I dug and found that what I REALLY wanted was to prove to myself that I could stick with something difficult for a long period of time. Once I realized that, I was able to adjust my actions and hang up my running shoes.

Next, ask yourself what exactly do you want. It’s not enough to say you ‘want to lose weight’; how many pounds, and by when? If you want to ‘handle priorities’, what exactly do you want to be able to do with your time? If you want to save money, exactly how much do you want to put away, and by when? The more vague an idea is in your head, the less power you will feel; this works for goals and for worries. If you find yourself using words like ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘everybody’ and ‘nobody’, chances are you aren’t feeling particularly powerful at the moment. Always remember specificity is the path to power.

Once you know exactly what you want, ask yourself: Exactly what will doing this gain me, and what will not doing it cost me? Get as clear as possible on the positive benefits of changing; how you’ll feel once you reach your goal weight, or the sense of accomplishment you’ll have when you accomplish something that you once couldn’t do. Imagine as vividly as possible the last time you felt that way in your life, and if you don’t have a good example imagine what it will feel like. Start anchoring yourself as often as possible in the mentality of this thing having already arrived. Don’t focus on it coming, since it will always be somewhere in the future; focus on the reality of it being here NOW.

Ask yourself why hasn’t it happened already, and why this time is different. The Human mind is a strange thing. We all have a certain way we see ourselves, and anything that gets too far away from this self image can be uncomfortable. So if we’ve spent 30+ years looking at ourselves as overweight, we will find ways to continue seeing ourselves that way, even if we don’t want to. If you over-identify with having a chronic illness, you’ll always mentally hold yourself back. You can counter this by taking in stories of people who have had bigger challenges than you have, and still overcame them to do great things. Like Helen Keller said: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” Make a conscious choice to finally move forward, and let nothing and no one stand in your way!

Give yourself a carrot to chase. This means set a specific, tangible goal, but make it small. If you want to write a novel, plan a reward for every page you finish; if you knock out one a day, then your novel will be done in less than a year. If your goal is to lose 50 lbs, plan a specific reward to give yourself every 5 lbs lost. Whenever I start a new workout cycle, I pick two outfits: One that fits right now, but not well; and one that won’t fit at all. Then half way through the program, I try on both and see how they fit; I do it again at the end. Often times it’s hard to see our bodies changing day-to-day, but this sort of thing gives you proof that you’re making progress. Side note: Always take before and after pictures when you start a new exercise program for this exact same reason!

Do SOMETHING every single day. It always amazes me when people come to me with something they want to be, do, or have, and I ask them: What did you do today to make it happen? Nothing. What did you yesterday? Nothing. Well then, I may have discovered your problem! I can’t stress enough how important it is to be in action EVERY DAY. It doesn’t matter how small, if your goal is to lose weight then remember losing a pound a week if 52 lbs in a year. So any time you’re about to put something in your mouth, ask yourself: Is this getting you closer to, or farther away from your goals? If you want to be more productive, ask yourself: Is what I’m doing right now the highest and best use of my time? And by the way, any time you might feel compelled to say “I don’t care,” or ESPECIALLY “I can’t help it,” that’s a giant red flag that you’re about to make the wrong move. You have control over your mind and your actions, use it wisely!

And finally, be gentle with yourself. Some days are going to be better than others, and you’ll have days that you back slide. Some days the chocolate chip cookies are going to win. Some days you’re going to stay on the couch watching Netflix. And guess what? That’s ok! The secret is to plan for them in advance! Give yourself a cheat meal, or an entire cheat day where you don’t have to work out and can eat whatever you like. Let yourself off the hook to be lazy and do absolutely anything you want from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon. Whatever discipline you decide on, give yourself a chance to let your hair down from time to time. And when you slip up and fall short, don’t make a big deal about it: Just admit you messed up and get back on the wagon. No drama, no beating yourself up, just get back on track. No big deal.

And that’s it, that really is all there is to it. You can do anything in the world following the steps outlined here. It’s simple, but by no means easy! But if you clear on what you want—and why—and take action every single day, then success is inevitable. Just remember to enjoy the ride!

What do you think? Feel free to comment down below!

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me: http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything: http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Become a supporter of my work: http://www.patreon.com/bdavewalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha — Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism — Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another — A group for the coolest Spiritual people on the Internet!

On July 7, fresh of watching videos of the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille, I wrote the following post on Facebook (note, if you are offended by those incidents being referred to as murder, then keep reading because this 13619945_1306892279339591_6909013594495857444_narticle is for YOU):

“You know, normally I’m all hugs and light with the things I post. And I do that on purpose; life is hard enough as it is, so I try to post things that will make your day a little brighter and the way a little easier.

But this time, there is no silver lining. This time, as a black male who’s spent his entire life with the knowledge that here in the greatest nation on Earth, the country I love more than anything else, my life is essentially expendable, I have to say something:

Hey All Lives Matter people, wasn’t Alton Sterling a life? Philando Castile?
Where are the protests? Where’s the outrage? Where’s the ANYTHING even remotely constructive?
That’s right. Nowhere. Hypocrites.

Dylan Roof shot up a church and was taken alive.
Robert Louis Deer shot up Planned Parenthood and was taken alive.
James Holmes shot up a theater and was taken alive.
Brock Turner raped a woman, and jail was deemed too harsh a punishment for such a ‘promising athlete.’

Someone like Alton Turner gets executed by two cops ON CAMERA and people can’t bend over backward fast enough to publish his criminal record.

You know what? None of the things he did were death sentences. Those cops didn’t try to cuff him, tase him, pepper spray him, or even club him; two grown men sat on his chest and murdered him.

Good cops should be leading the charge of outrage, but they’re silent. “All Lives Matters” people should be lining the streets, but they are silent.

We live in a country where a black child with a toy gun is shot on the spot, and a confirmed mass murderer gets a trip to Burger King. None of this is new; only the cameras are new.

Pay very close attention to the people who are trying *a little too hard* to justify why these men deserved to die.

“The glaring injustice is there for all who are not blinded by prejudice to see.” -Bram Fischer.””

In the days since, I’ve received several comments and engaged in several conversations about these events, and the horrific events in Dallas, which compel me to say more about these events, and the things we are facing as a society.

The murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille
It would seem there was no more to say, since the testimony of your eyes should be sufficient; but considering how many people are still struggling to justify their executions, a few words.

Yes Alton Sterling was a criminal. What exactly on his record constituted a death sentence?
“We don’t know what was in his right hand.”  Unless it was a hand grenade, his murder was unjustified.  Also, I am going on record now to say there was no gun. Why? Because they’d be repeating it constantly as the Officer’s justification.  Philando Castille had a gun he wasn’t reaching for, and they can’t stop talking about it; therefore Alton Sterling was unarmed.

And a side note: The latest bit of propaganda was that Philando Castille was stopped for a bolo that he matched the description of an armed robbery suspect.  Again, no he wasn’t, or that would have been the story from the beginning before the Governor held his press conference.  And second, why would being a suspect be a death sentence?  The law in this country is supposed to be founded on a presumption of INNOCENCE, remember?

As written above, pay very close attention to the people who are arguing a little too hard as to why these men deserved to die.  And one other thing, this man was killed for having a lawful weapon on his person; where’s the outrage from the Second Amendment advocates?  The NRA?  That’s right: Nowhere, and it’s *not* due to ‘not wanting to comment on an ongoing investigation’ since that hasn’t been the benchmark of their communications up until now, has it?

Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter
Imagine if the ASPCA was going to break up a dog fighting ring, but a group of counter protesters showed up saying 32b“whoa, whoa, whoa, ALL animals matter.  Why are you singling out people killing dogs?  Cats get run over every day.  And I love dogs; I own a dog!  Stop discriminating against non-dogs!”

Or, a group of people were chaining themselves to a 5,000 year old redwood tree to prevent it from being cut down, and a group of protesters showed up saying “but wait, the polar ice caps are melting, which is going to flood thousands of miles of coastline, killing all kinds of plants!  We can’t save this tree until we prevent global warming!”

Or, a man was being arrested for beating his wife, and the conversation immediately shifted to “what did she do to get punched in the face?  I never burned *my* roast.  What kind of person doesn’t have the house clean before her husband gets home? I was raised to know my place.  And he didn’t beat the children, only her; so he can’t be THAT bad.”

Of course these examples are laughable.  And if anyone started trying to justify why she deserved to be beaten, you’d assume they were at best heartless, and at worst complicit.

The supreme hypocrisy of the All Lives Matter movement is that it should never be used as a counter.  Anyone who truly believe in the sanctity of all lives should be equally outraged by injustice towards blacks as towards anyone else.  But notice how many All Lives Matters rallies there have been in the wake of these recent tragedies, or after the tragedy in Orlando.  That’s right, zero, because it was never about the sanctity of human life, but the justification of the patently unjust.

There are ultimately two types of people who are offended by the Black Lives Matter sentiment.  1. Racists.  If I say ‘all child molesters deserve to be beaten and left on an island covered in broken glass and hot sauce,’ do you know who that offends? Child molesters.  Only people who are overtly or indirectly involved in atrocities defend atrocities. There is a reason why misogynists are so staunchly opposed to women’s rights, because they are terrified of someone treating them like they’ve treated others.

2. People who are inserting an imaginary ‘Only’ in front of Black Lives Matter, or an imaginary ‘More’ at the end of it.  In this Law Professor’s excellent defense of Black Lives Matters they wrote “there are some implicit words that precede “Black Lives Matter,” and they go something like this:

Because of the brutalizing and killing of black people at the hands of the police and the indifference of society in general and the criminal justice system in particular, it is important that we say that BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

Let it be stated outright: All white people are not racist; not even most.  But if you find yourself put off by the Black Lives Matter sentiment, ask yourself which of those two camps you fall into, because there is no third option.  And if you still feel compelled to argue that neither of these things applies to you, read this.

The murder of police in Dallas
13567428_10207751425318182_8296433793538780007_n
This was horrible, wrong, completely unjust, and had nothing to do with Black Lives Matter. Any and everyone involved in this attack deserves to be caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law.  Violence never has and never will solve anything; an eye for an eye truly does make the whole world blind.

To be clear and state outright: All, or even most police are not bad. They have a very difficult, often thankless job where split second decisions can mean life or death.  But that doesn’t  give them a free pass to shoot first and ask questions later, nor does it excuse them from the consequences of their actions.  Those officers almost certainly didn’t set out to murder Alton Sterling or Philando Castille, but that doesn’t make them any less dead.

But, anyone who feels compelled to blame all or most of the black community for this attack, is also on the hook to blame all or most of the white community for the actions of Dylan Roof, Robert Deer, James Holmes, and Brock Turner.  And if those realities seem contradictory, it’s time to take a long hard look in the mirror.

As a black male, and a proud American, this feels awful.
It can be easy for white Americans to feel somehow offended by the (often imagined) implication that they are racist.  For the rest of us, we have to worry about getting killed because of it.

I am from Little Rock, Arkansas.  I learned early to relate to the police as someone would relate to a tamed tiger in the circus.  It probably won’t eat you, but still move slowly and don’t bother trying to pet it.  I have raised my children to believe the police are their friends, and the first person they should go to if they are feeling scared or lost.

I also live in a nice suburb of Los Angeles,  but for the first time in my adult life, I was scared to go outside.  I was scared of ending up like Philando Castille, who did everything right, and ended up dead.  If we run, we die. If we stand still, we die. If we put our hands up, we die. If we put our hands down, we die.  The next time I am stopped by the police, I literally have no idea what to do.  And statistically speaking, I will be stopped—and sooner than later.

If that feeling has not been a part of your common life’s experience, understand that that is a privilege.  Even Newt Gingrich recently commented on how little the average white person understands about the average black person’s life experience.  Just like the average man doesn’t understand a woman’s average life experience, or a rich person understand a poor person’s.  The undeniable fact is that by an accident of birth, some of us have more problems than others.

And, anyone who says “but I have problems, too!” that is absolutely true.  White America has its own struggles, difficulties and injustices.  The thing is, it very rarely includes the ever present reality of getting murdered for nothing and then having the media and the internet bend over backwards to justify why you had it coming.

I love this country, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, or at any other time in history.  But we have got a real problem with our obsession with guns, and our willingness to easily accept discrimination as long as we didn’t personally do it.  I’m upset about Alton Sterling and Philando Castille because they were ME.

Black Lives Matter protesters are upset because every new dead person is US; our fathers, brothers, mothers, children, aunts and uncles.  This is not an ‘anti police’ position, because it’s possible to be against the murder of citizens and the murder of police, and there’s such a thing as black police.

Deep down inside, we all know if Alton had been a blonde guy named Todd, or Philando Castille was an Irish guy driving a Benz, they’d both still be alive.  And if you know that, you see the problem. But guess what? We already know how to fix it, all we have to do is do it.

I love you, America.

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me: http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything: http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Become a supporter of my work: http://www.patreon.com/bdavewalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha — Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism — Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another — A group for the coolest Spiritual people on the Internet!

 

 

 

 

One day at a time.

One day at a time.

Here is a letter a I wrote to someone close to me, on the day of her wedding.

So, I’ve been married for 13 years now, which is no small feat.  13, or even 10 years from now, your life will be completely different.  You won’t live the same place, you won’t work the same place, you won’t drive the same car, or

watch the same shows. Look back to where your life was 10 years ago, and you’ll see this is true.

You’ll also probably have a few children by then, too!

And yet, in the midst of this, you’ll have to find a way to stay together with your husband and stay in sync when the whole world turns around you both.

Contrary to what we’ve been told, marriage isn’t some lifelong binding contract that you’re just FORCED to endure.  It’s also not some iron clad obligation to God, either; plenty of holy people have grown apart, and gone their separate ways.

So what is marriage, then, and how do you make it work?  Marriage is an agreement between the two of you to choose each other.  7 Billion people walk this Earth, and you choose each other.  And you stay together by *continuing* to choose each other.  You will have good times and bad, ups and downs, and changes the likes of which you can’t even begin to imagine (see the above comment about children for starters!).  And the only, only, ONLY, way to make it through that sane and happy is to make doing so a conscious choice.  To work to make your relationship a conscious effort to keep growing in relation to each other, and always stay in each other’s orbits.

And really, that’s all there is to it.  A conscious willingness to choose each other, to communicate, and to trust, respect, and love each other.  Notice, I put love last on that list, since although it’s vital, there are PLENTY of people who love each other, and are TERRIBLE for each other.  And you can respect someone you don’t trust, but you can’t trust someone that you don’t respect.  Always keep that in mind, and you’ll be all set.

And last, but certainly not least:

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

I love you; congratulations, and enjoy this day, and all the days to come.

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me: http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything: http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Become a supporter of my work: http://www.patreon.com/bdavewalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha — Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism — Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another — A group for the coolest Spiritual people on the Internet!

 

Every day is special if you make it special.

Every day is special if you make it special.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
-Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Motivation can often seem like a mystical force that some people just seem to possess in abundance. Or, something that can be gained by sitting through a weekend seminar, or a tenth viewing of The Secret. Or worst of all, something you feel the need to wait for, before taking action.

The truth is that it is none of these things.

Motivation is a wonderful state where things come easily, like sailing over smooth waters with the wind at your back. However, you still have to keep sailing even when the sea is choppy and the winds are blowing you all over the place! For the record, it may not sound as exciting but motivation is nowhere near as important as discipline.  Discipline is what makes you get up and do what you need to do, whether or not you ‘feel’ like it at the time.

A little while back, on an episode of Rise UP with B. Dave Walters, we talked about:
How to do the things you know you should, and stop doing the ones you know you shouldn’t!  How to change in an instant, and much, much, more!

After I got off the radio, I realized I had more to say so I made a video about why your New Year’s resolutions haven’t worked in the past, and how to make them work every year from now on! Although it’s not New Year’s currently, the truth is every day of every year is the beginning of a ‘new’ year.

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So today, I’d like to give you a few pointers on how to get motivated to do the things you really want to do.  Notice what I said there: The things you WANT to do, not the things you should do.  Since as I pointed out in the video, anything you ‘should’ do is never going to happen.  Everything in your brain is wired to rebel against being forced to do anything.

So, the key is to set your mind on things that pull your forward, rather than push you from behind.  Ideally a good goal has a bit of pushing and pulling, the stick and the carrot as it were.  For instance, if you have a goal to lose 20 lbs, my first question would be why do you want to lose 20 lbs?  The number on the scale is meaningless, it only has what power you give to it.

ANYTHING outside of yourself only has what power that you give it.

So maybe you want to lose the weight to fit into a certain outfit for a certain party, or to be ready for beach season.  But why does that matter?  To turn heads? Why does that matter?  Keep drilling down until you get to the core of what your motivation is.

I’ll tell you another secret, though: If your ultimate goal is some sort of external approval, you’ll never be satisfied.  This is one of the main reasons goals fail: Ultimately it wasn’t for YOU, but to get someone else’s approval. You don’t need anyone else to accept you, you only need to accept yourself.

So knowing that, maybe you instead frame it as “I want to lose 20 lbs in the next four months so that I can feel healthy and strong, and I can prove to myself what I’m made of.  I don’t want to feel like a prisoner in my own body and like I’m forced to hide from the world anymore.  I want to be able to step out on the beach and feel proud of all my hard work and everything I’ve accomplished!”

See the difference?  There’s a goal, a deadline, a compelling ‘why’, AND a focus on how it will feel when it’s done.  Any goal you set should have this level of richness and detail.  And I’d submit that as you look back on the things you’ve accomplished in your life, you probably had this level of clarity as you worked at it.

Now, let’s say the things you want feel like they are so far away that you can’t even get started.  We talked recently about how to get up when you hit rock bottom, but more than that I’d say start with smaller goals.  If you are on the edge of being homeless, setting a goal to make a million dollars is the wrong goal; start out with focusing on stabilizing your current situation.

Small, *consistent* progress is what makes the difference.  Remember to do SOMETHING every single day towards accomplishing your goal, and victory is guaranteed; and even better, you’ll enjoy the process.

One last thing: If there is some old habit or painful memory holding you back, this video will help you change it once and for all.

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me: http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything: http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Become a supporter of my work: http://www.patreon.com/bdavewalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha — Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism — Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another — A group for the coolest Spiritual people on the Internet!

 

If you look at your life, you might start to notice a pattern emerge: Certain kinds of relationships, certain kinds of job

it really is that simple

it really is that simple

situations, certain kinds of body difficulties, and all sorts of other things.  Sometimes these patterns can work to our advantage, but more often than not, it’s the same sorts of problems that occur again and again.

It’s all too easy to give into bitterness and blame other people for our troubles, but once it becomes clear that not everyone has these problems, there must be a way out. More often than not our problems are rooted in the past; in our own unresolved baggage, issues, and trauma.   But if there is a problem, there is also a solution (just like Buddha told us with the Four Noble Truths)!

In a recent episode of Rise UP with B. Dave Walters we talked about  how to stop making yourself miserable, what to do when the thing doesn’t make you happy, how to get unstuck; how to deal with painful emotions, release painful memories, and much, much, more! Click here to listen.

Give this a listen and find out how to release the things that are weighing you down, so you can move on and fly free.

What do you think? Feel free to comment down below!

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me: http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything: http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Become a supporter of my work: http://www.patreon.com/bdavewalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha — Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism — Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another — A group for the coolest Spiritual people on the Internet!

  

Tomas Prower, author of La Santa Muerte: Unearthing the Magic & Mysticism of Death

Tomas Prower, author of La Santa Muerte: Unearthing the Magic & Mysticism of Death

Tomas Prower is the author of La Santa Muerte: Unearthing the Magic & Mysticism of Death, a book about how to

tap into the power of the Ultimate Mystery to bring peace and healing into your life.

In this exclusive interview series, we discuss the ‘true’ meaning of Death, and how it gives meaning to life; how to go about creating the life that you really desire, why so many feel powerless and unhappy, and much, much, more.

These are the first 3 parts of our interview series, but you can find the complete audio recordings here.

 

Part 1:
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Part 2:
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Part 3:
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What do you think? Feel free to comment down below!

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me: http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything: http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Become a supporter of my work: http://www.patreon.com/bdavewalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha — Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism — Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another — A group for the coolest Spiritual people on the Internet!

  

TemperheartRadhika Vekaria is one half of the singer/songwriter duo TemperHeart. Ms. Vekaria left behind a successful career in England in order to move to Los Angeles and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional singer.  In this exclusive interview series, we discuss how to go about creating the life that you really desire, the number one reason why most people are unhappy, why most people are unhappy, and much, much, more.

These are the first 3 parts of our interview series, but you can find the complete audio recordings here.

Part 1:
YouTube Preview Image

Part 2:
YouTube Preview Image

Part 3:
YouTube Preview Image

What do you think? Feel free to comment down below!

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me: http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything: http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Become a supporter of my work: http://www.patreon.com/bdavewalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha — Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism — Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another — A group for the coolest Spiritual people on the Internet!

  

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