The One Thing, you really want to know about me.

Getting dusty, running wires. Stripping with a pocket knife and my teeth. Hammering staples and running screws. I had a few fun projects at the restaurant this week. Behind the bar, a big remodel, and adding a stereo system too, I was up early and working late.

Getting motivated and being energized, was no problem at all. When I have a fun project to do, time disappears. I was totally engaged, everything else took a backseat. I absolutely love this sort of work. I was able to take my ideas, talk to the experts and make it happen. I wanted to expand our capabilities and yet keep almost all of our present functionality.

We cut away a bottleneck of butt-rubbing, that slowed us down often. We added a new drink station, so we could double production of pop, tea and water. Tiny improvements were made all over the back of the bar, that will help in the smallest, but important ways.

I love this kind of work. (Did I say that already?)

Here are a few reasons why:

  • We can use existing construction, and improve upon it. We don’t have to start from scratch
  • We can design changes in the moment
  • From behind the bar, or in the back office, we can be, ‘rustic’ in our procedures. It doesn’t have to look perfect. Perfect for me, because I don’t make things pretty.
  • The changes we make, are immediate. Having an idea in the morning, and watching it come together, before opening for business, is so fun!
  • Creativity, problem solving and improving the experience of both staff and customer, combines all of my favorite things!

Yeah! Lots of excitement, lots of energy, I can’t wait to get up there today, to see some more get accomplished. We have more plumbing fixtures going in, and another piece to the puzzle will arrive.

So, if I am so capable of this high energy, high production and enthusiasm, why don’t I bring it to everything I do? If I can love this project so much, why can’t I love more of the projects around there in the same way? If I brought my same upbeat, creative and bouncy self, to the scheduling, or making our new menu, or even my working relationship with my brother-in-law, I wonder if all those things would be more fun…

What do you think?

Yeah, okay, you’re right. Truth is, although I do ‘get through’ those other tasks, and make them work, on some level, I don’t bring my best self to those projects.

I know that too. I could say the same thing, about my ‘other job’ at Front Row Sports. I could say the same, about mowing my lawn (which I don’t do), or maintaining healthy habits, even after the diet competition is over. I could add, that my prayer life is dismal. I have been skipping Bible study for a couple months now. I hardly hold up my responsibilities as a Session member at church. I don’t have my garden planted at all. I am looking at handwritten flyer for a charity event, that I need to turn into pretty graphics, and the desk it is on, is a wreck.

I had a small fight with my wife this week, that I wish I had handled differently. The same thing, with staff members too. I didn’t wish enough people happy birthday on Facebook, and I am behind on returning text messages from two weeks ago.

Ha! My upbeat energy and high production this week, doesn’t seem too impressive now!

What a great duality. I did speak in front of the congregation on Easter morning. I got up there and said some stuff. I almost cried through the whole thing, but didn’t shed a real wet tear. I had people tell me, they appreciated my words. It was cool. Of course, I wish I had planned better, and said more, or said less, and made it perfect, but not really. What I’m glad about, is that I did it. I did something, that I set out to do. I told a small part of my story. I praised Jesus. I brought one of my ugly days in front of the ‘Church People’, the ones I used to be afraid to be in the room with… because of my ugly-ness.

Basically, I see this week, more than ever, that Commitment, is the doing of things. I see that what I did with my hands, what I did with my feet, what I did with my actual body, I was committed to doing. It showed a result.

So much of life is lived within our heads, and expressed with our mouths. So much is thought about, talked about, considered and pondered. So much is wished for, and regretted and mulled over and over and over. Reliving the past, creating false futures, missing the moment, over and over and over, can become for me the meat of life sometimes.

This week brought back action. Up on ladders, kneeling on the floor, running errands to pick up equipment, pulling the jacket off a wire with my teeth. Making decisions on the fly, and then following through with that. Not just a ‘future idea’, or ‘someday thing’. A ‘right now thing’. A ‘hammer it in’, or ‘screw it up’, or ‘break it, and then fix it again’ thing. A ‘walk my nervous-self up in front of a crowd thing’.

This week, shows results, it shows Commitment. I must accept that being in action, costs money, costs time, brings good things and bad things. When we are out of ‘thinking mode’ and into ‘doing mode’, we open ourselves up. We’re not on the sidelines anymore. We are in the game. We can win it, or we may lose it. But we are playing the game.

I noticed a moment this week, where I saw a distinction between Critic vs. Creative. Someone expressing their opinion, doing the talking, about the work of someone else, is the Critic. Someone considering the results of what someone else has actually done, and tossing in their two cents, is being part of the peanut gallery.

The Creative, however, is the one who initiates. They are the one who is taking the puzzle pieces at hand and actually making something out them. They are putting themselves out there, along with their own sweat and making their ideas come to life. They are the artist. They have done something. They have my respect.

Even in failure, the Creative has won. The one who did the work, has the ultimate benefit to themselves, to everyone. They are in the habit of honing their skills, and learning how, not just to not fall down, but how to fall, fall frequently, and get back up again.

I wonder if the Critic, is too concerned about that fall, to try it for themselves. So on the sidelines, they notice and point out the failures they see in the work of others.

I am too often, the Critic, not enough, the Creative. This week, I leaned a little more into the work. I was more in my body, than in my head. I’m thankful for the fun it was, and how I was reminded I can do that too.

So much of what I just said, has been already mentioned, in better and more powerful ways. I am rich in knowing and learning to see these things coming to life, in my own world, that have been taught by a couple of my mentors.

The real excitement for me, is knowing that these projects in my life, including this blog, are real challenges to me. I am growing and learning and failing and attempting things, that I never used to ‘think’ where possible for me. I am daily engaged in a personal mission and a purpose, like I have never known. Relationship with Jesus, with my Wife, with this business and with my own demons, is obstacle course enough, that I am never bored.

I talked at church about my sobriety. 937 days as of today. Applause filled the room. Why is that? I used to feel applause, while downing another round of shots, or beers or wine, or scotch, or whatever? I used to feel accomplishment and approval, in the sharing of spirits. Now, I felt it while talking about the stoppage of that.

I think it goes back to Commitment. People respond to a fully committed individual. Others engage, when you are fully engaged. The One and only thing, people really want to know, is where you are headed and what you are willing to do to get there. Commitments can be healthy or unhealthy, but either way, we want to see and feel your commitment, it is fuel for the fire of our own.

Where is my commitment today? I now quit clicking these keys, to head up to the Iron. I will be there till possibly two in the morning. Yes, I am committed to that business. I will see you again here next week. I am committed to this blog. Complete commitment, may cause me to drop and release some things that seemed like commitments before. It just is a way of me being more honest with myself every day.

What do I really want? When I look at my commitments, I will know my answer.

With Love,


Aaron Nichols

(If you like this post, please visit the website, facebook or twitter page of Mr. Dusan Djukich)

13 Things That Entrepreneurs Who Thrive Know That Give Them Their Edge

By Dusan Djukich

Thriving is much more than just succeeding financially and living in comfort, which is what most people try to do. Thriving is about “being who you need to be” so you can do “what’s required” in order to “achieve your intended results in life,” whether it be personally or professionally. A huge mystery has always surrounded the question of, “Why do some people thrive in life while most don’t?” Common explanations range from being hardworking and obsessed, to being gifted and naturally brilliant. But regardless of the reasons given, they do not provide access for someone who is merely paying their bills, or even someone living quite comfortably, to alter who they need to be, in order to thrive.

My intent is to help you, to help yourself to thrive. You have to generate the commitment. Commitment is the fuel that results run on. If you are not willing to do that, you are wasting your time.


They realize that it’s not enough to understand powerful things. You must create them for yourself. Talking about doing great and wondrous things, and bringing them forth into actual reality, are two entirely different worlds.

Without commitment nothing happens. Commitment is “doing what’s required, to get an intended result.” Commitment is created. If you don’t generate commitment, you won’t have any. Knowing “that you should be committed” is worthless without “being committed.” If you want to know what you have been committed to in the past, look at your results.

There is a huge difference between core values and operational values. Core values are what you believe in, and many times think about, and talk about. Operational values are how you actually live. Saying you value health, fitness, and an active lifestyle (core values) while engaging in over-eating and a sedentary lifestyle (operational values), will produce a life dominated by operational values. Your results in life don’t come from what you “believe in” or “talk about” but “how you live.”

Brief unmitigated speech is in constant use. Long-winded explanations reduce power and impact. They weaken your message. When asked, entrepreneurs who thrive are able to say what it is that they do, in one sentence. There is no such thing as, “softening people up” by being artificially nice, or utilizing cute platitudes. They show respect for other’s time and life by getting to the point without hesitation.

People have great intentions, but their impact many times misses the mark. Most people would rather be judged on their intentions, rather than their impact. The problem is that others don’t know your intentions – only your impact. The other problem is that people don’t usually care about how well-intended you are. They care about what you can do for them. You are the only one who can take responsibility for generating effective impacts in life.

Purpose management vs. time management confusion. People don’t have time management problems; they have purpose management problems. If you don’t have a basic purpose in life, you had best create one. Don’t go looking for it, as that’s just another way to put off this vital and necessary part of life. A big purpose that you are truly committed to gives a life of substance and depth. Create it now. If it’s not a good match for you, you will know soon enough and you can create another. A purpose will always let you know what to say yes to, and what to say no to. Just know your purpose and that will tell you what to do next.

Always deal in specific measurable results. By observing specific measureable results, you will know where you are at, and what to focus on next. They make a great compass. So say what you will accomplish and by when. We are talking precise date and time. Purposely being vague is an attempt to create a back door if things get tough. You must follow through on clearly stated declarations in order to thrive.

True intent is demonstrated in behavior. That goes for both yourself, as well as others. Never assume that logic is running the show. Examine the current reality. What is really so? The only proof of a person’s true intention is found in how they live. Do they honor their word? Don’t lie about it or rationalize it. You will just keep enabling what’s not working in your life.

Always learn from the past, but don’t be attached, or dictated to by it. Using what happened in the past as an excuse for not living fully and completely in the present, is one of the most irresponsible things that you can do. The past no longer exists, unless you want to constantly recreate it, and carry it around with you. If you are living in the past, know that you are living in a place that isn’t. It’s dead – move on. The past does not cause the present. The present is the source of the past and also the source of the future.

10 They are very black and white about results. They don’t play games with themselves. They confront the question of results head-on: “Exactly what result am I producing? Is that what I really want?” They don’t spend years climbing up and down a tree with no coconuts.

11 Refuse to be a victim, regardless of what was done to you, or what your present circumstances are like. There may be people in your life who invite you to buy into this mentality. Ignore them. Living in blame, shame, and regret doesn’t work, and will only serve to keep you stuck. Self-pity breeds entitlement. Psychologically mature people don’t blame others for the life that they have. Create an “ownership mentality” for your life today. Owners focus on what they want to create. Victims focus on what they want to avoid.

12 You won’t have a conversation with the world that is any different than the one you are presently having with yourself. How you operate in life comes out of your speaking. You either speak powerfully, or you don’t, and there are consequences to each.

13 The only thing that stops anyone is an action that they are unwilling to take. And the reason this happens is because of a thought that they allow to paralyze action. Thoughts are just thoughts, no matter how scary. You don’t have to obey them.

Dusan Djukich is the innovator of Straight-Line Coaching and the best-selling author of Straight-Line Leadership: Tools for Living with Velocity and Power in Turbulent Times. He resides in Northern California and can be contacted through

Awake to the Problems of Life, Asleep to the Solutions.

I want things to be easier in my life. I almost always do. Everything that I attempt to solve, is a process of making it easier for the next time. When something is hard, I’ve decided that it’s bad, and I could design a new better way. I want to avoid difficulties, only always.

I guess somewhere along the line, I decided that hard equals bad. Usually, in my little teensy human-mind, I think easy = good, hard = bad.

Where did that come from? When did I discover this idea? Is it even true at all??

My super cute, almost 3 year old nephew, Tucker-Man, was playing with cars last weekend. We were laying on the floor together and he noticed a spoiler was broken off of one the Hot Wheels. He had the two pieces in his hands. Very maturely, he explained that ‘We have a problem… look Uncle A, the car is broken… we have a problem.’ 

Hmm, I said, as I saw that the pieces were never going back together. I noticed he was using the word “problem”, but in a very inquisitive way. He was discovering the idea of a problem, but it didn’t seem that he wasn’t placing judgment on the broken-ness of the car and it’s busted part. So I asked, ‘Is a problem a good thing?’ He stopped for just a sec, and responded with excitement, “YES!”

Just for fun, I agreed, and reiterated, “A problem is a good thing, Yay!”

I wished that I could be that free and easy with those words all the time. I wish that I was like little Tucker-Boy and had yet to make these decisions about the nature of problems, or broken parts to things.

I run across broken-ness all the time. I am constantly inside the activity of piecing back-together, busted parts of things. I sometimes do it with actual mechanical pieces. But lots of times it is a system that needs adjustment at the restaurant, or a tee shirt design that has been sent incomplete. I am all day long, in the business of fixing problems. I make my living doing it. I spend hours and hours each day on problems. I actually do find enjoyment in the solutions that I use my creativity to come up with.

Soo…. Tucker is right. Problems are a good thing. So why do I want so bad, to be rid of them? Just like I explained tonight, in a business conversation, I want to find solutions that are sustainable, solutions that end the continuation of a broken-record repetitious cycle. I love it, when I can think of an idea, that when executed will put a stop to the problem, once and for all. That is my favorite.

What a farce! What a sham! What crap! If I was so good at that, then why do problems keep constantly popping up? Why is there a never-ending storyboard of problematic scenes playing out each day in my little world? I still have a lot to learn.

Instead of being so honed-in on finding perfect solutions, maybe I could begin working on my flexibility to accept the toss of these issues, in a more playful and fun way. Maybe instead of getting bummed out, with each ‘thing’ that ‘messes up my day’, I could learn to know that ‘my day’ wasn’t going to be perfect anyway. My day is as jacked-up and convoluted as they come. Actually, I tend to prefer this looseness and open-ended way of life, to a very strict and regimented version. I haven’t had a ‘normal job’ with ‘normal hours’ since 2010. I actually keep choosing this type of lifestyle, week in and week out. I have yet to go back and discover ‘normal life’ appealing to me.

I guess though, I want it all. I guess then, I want to have a dynamic free-form entrepreneurial lifestyle, and at the same time, steady predictable mundane-ness. I guess I want the excitement, and simultaneously, no surprises. I want to do everything my way, and have everyone else want it to be their way too… My way, that is…


So here I sit. At the (new) computer, at 2:17am. Just a bit earlier, I was going to give up on the blog for tonight. No ideas brewing, nothing percolating upon the screen. I was headed to bed, thinking, DANG! Why do I have all this stuff going on right now! Why do I have to write this blog, why do I torture myself with it? Why didn’t I realize that setting up my new computer would take so long? Why do I have to work so many hours tomorrow? And also, WHY, did I volunteer to speak at church on Sunday? Why do I do that to myself! I am getting stressed out, about all these PROBLEMS!

Uhh, yeah, so anyway…

I guess right now, it is actually Good Friday…

I guess right now, I could hear the cry of a much much more powerful moment. I guess right now, I feel pretty small, in my little problems. I noticed that the moonlight in the Garden of Gethsemane. I noticed that our Lord, was facing down much more grave and torturous circumstances than my whiny inconveniences…

Deep in the night, Jesus knew that the culmination of his ministry was at hand. He knew the pain that was about to come. He knew that his mission wouldn’t be complete without a very wretched, brutal and cruel death ahead. He did offer prayers, and request that if it could be avoided, by God’s will, then he wanted to avoid it. He had REAL Problems, yet, he wanted God’s will, more than his own.

Wow. What a moment in the history of humankind. What a sacrifice. What a whiny little brat, I can be sometimes…

Will I stay awake tonight? Will I keep watch with my friend Jesus, in the dark of night? Will I be better than the disciples, who experienced him in the flesh, and pray with him till his betrayer arrives?

I don’t know… I was headed to bed, until I heard his voice in the garden. I heard this moment playing out, from a story we read in Bible Study. I heard it speak to me through the ages. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

I am still torn. How can I step back and see the duality of all these situations? Yes, my daily problems, are bad, because I react in a bad way to them. I get upset and cranky. I am not being my fun and enjoyable self through them. I want my will to be done. I want my way. It crushes me into smallness and claustrophobia. Yet, these problems and these conflicts are the exercise I use to grow. I am so much stronger, I am so much more capable now, that I have dealt with problems, small and large in my life. I am no expert. I fail often. Every day though, I am exercising myself. I am pumping the iron.

Jesus, showed so many human traits that night in the Garden. We can imagine ourselves staring down something monumental, and showing great concern, wanting to pray, wanting friends nearby to support us… How though, can I be more like him, and be in prayer, not for MY will to be done, but God’s?

My friends, my life is exquisite in it’s simplicity. It is feather-like in heft. It is a clean soft, even shallow breath of spring time breeze. I am blessed. I have no worries, no sorrows, no regrets. I can find this place, when I focus on Him… not on me…

My life and my relationship with Christ, has not made any problems go away. It has not created happiness, or ease or joy. I find it a struggle, I am challenged, I am mad often and deeply deeply hurt, by the pain of the contrast I think I experience vs. the truth I wish to.

I however, think of myself all the time. I think of me, mine, and moi. I feel the ‘me-ness’ of it all, and rarely do I approve fully, I find flaws. I think little Tucker, saw the problem of the broken car parts as outside himself. He saw that it was just a broken toy, that he noticed, and an opportunity to play and try to fix it. It wasn’t a comment of how good of a toy-repairer he was. It didn’t display his worth as a person, whether he played with broken toys or perfect ones. He hadn’t listened to the lies of the world yet, that have us believing that ‘we’ have our own value, adjusted good or bad, by the problems, material things, or even actions taking place in our life.

‘We’ were reason enough, for Jesus, the Son of God, to die for us. He was the ultimate Passover sacrifice, he did that for You, he did that for Me. Wow…

When I once again focus on this unbelievable act, and the absurdly unbelievable Resurrection to follow, my problems disappear. They become not good or bad, they just don’t exist. I see His light as both an ethereal envelope around us, and as the very substance of everything we know. All is love. Love is all.

I will probably always bounce between the polarity of self-pity, self torture and of seeking His divine Will. I wonder if the action of that exercise will ever get easier?  If it is God’s will, then let it be done. If it is not possible to avoid these trials, then let it be so.

I fear that, like the disciples, I will miss my opportunity to stay awake with the teacher one last time. I too will sleep. We all will. We are people, not perfect, like Him.


Perfectly Broken: Aaron Nichols


Wildthing, You make my heart sing, I think I love You!

“I’ll never fence you in, baby,” I said, in front of a bunch of people, as I found out that my wife was leaving to attend a school, and I would have to move with her, hundreds of miles away. I was surprised by this realization in the moment. Thinking quickly though, I knew instinctively, that I couldn’t say no, and that I wanted to support her in this endeavor.

Sure, it was a super-vivid dream, that I woke up with this morning. Another crazy one. Lindsay and I were with some other of her family, in a room full of community people, talking about the benefits of riding bicycles. All kinds of bicycles. Road bikes, beach cruisers, mountain bikes and kids bikes. What did all that mean? I have no idea!

Anyway, someone in the crowd, asked if she was excited, that she was accepted to something called Rockthurst, and I was caught really off-guard. I was red-faced and embarrased, that my wife had something in the works, that I didn’t know about. Lots of emotions were flooding my mind. Since there was an audience, I went with “I’ll never fence you in, baby!”. And then everyone clapped in approval. I said we will figure it out, and make the most of this move.

Yes, this was all a dream. I experience lifetimes of them every night, and I remember a lot of them, as I wake up. This one is interesting in it’s parallel to the waking world. There have been several key moments in my life, in which, I am presented with a fork in the road like this. As in the dream, usually I have responded in much the same way. I will enthusiastically, endorse the open possibility ahead. I will say that I am excited about the future for everyone involved. I will speak something grandiose about the greatness ahead.

One of the most recent real-life versions of this dream, would be, when Lindsay was hired as a teacher at Central Heights School, and I accepted her role at the Restaurant. Caught up in the moment, it was all excitements and wonder, and new possibility ahead. It solved a few real problems for us. It fulfilled a lifelong dream for her, and probably for me too. Win-Win-Win! Yay!


Except, that my bark is bigger than my bite. Except, that I begin with rushes of energy and sparkle, that are unsustainable. Except, that once again, I find out that, I can’t truly live up, to the expectations that I set for myself…

I could type out, that ‘real life sets in’. 

My beginning vigor begins to fade. My excitement and wonder at the newness of it all, slowly converts. I then see the flaws, I see the problems, I wonder now, if I can live up to, what I said I would do in the beginning. As I understand that it ain’t going to happen in some perfect, dream-like scenario, I lose my poise. The honeymoon ends. The dreamer wakes up, and looks around, there is no clapping of approval from the crowd.

Yeah, there are many of these moments that I can recall. I set a bar for myself and truly for others, that can’t be reached. I resent our failures to do so. My ugly side shows up.

The other day, it occurred to me, that it sometimes is a good thing, that I see problems everywhere. I can spot issues and see ahead to upcoming complications. I see them at home, but especially at work. I scan the room, and pick apart all the things that need worked on, or improved. I have done lots of that, at the Brand’N Iron. I am troubled by inefficiency, or wasted spaces. When we are out of a natural flow, and stepping all over each other, I cringe, knowing we are wasting our energy.

So it is a good thing, that I see problems. I am good at solving them. I can get creative, grab a tape measure, and move things around. I buy new equipment, if that will help us. I type out checklists, make signs, trying to smooth the wrinkles and create a more seamless workflow, for us, and for the benefit of our customers.

So there, I see problems. I have lots to see. There is a buffet of them, everywhere I look. Ironically, as much as I love solving problems, I am frustrated and depressed at the sheer volume and scale of the issues I recognize. I am too good at picking them out. It is counter-productive to hold myself accountable to straighten them all out. I feel lost, hopeless, and yes, angry, at what I have gotten myself into.

It is a good thing, and a bad thing to see problems. It is a good thing, and a bad thing, to jump into new adventures with this unsustainable dream-like almost reckless abandon. I get myself into things that I am not equipped to handle. Re-tooling myself, building the skills on-the-job, and having truly high expectations for myself, chews me up, and I want to be spit out, sometimes.

So far, just like you, we have survived everything that we’ve been put through. So far, we haven’t been beaten, truly beaten, by any of the problems of our lives. If you are here, reading these words today, you have not failed. Maybe you are like me, and get overwhelmed with problems, I hope not, if so, I understand. We get, that this universe is a place of unlimited possibility. We get that it may take hard work, but that improvement is always at hand. We have unimaginable resource, forgiveness and sustainability in the God who loves us. We just want to feel that fuzzy huggy love all the time.

I wonder if the message today, could be that God’s gift to us is that the structure of our existence has a built in dynamic. “I’ll never fence you in, baby.” Maybe that is what our creator says to us, as well. We won’t be fenced in, and blocked off from world around us. We won’t be contained and captured in a small little pen. We have the expanse of the world to explore. We have all the freedoms we want.

Yet, we are not protected from it all either. We do not have a barricade, that turns away all problems, all the elements, all the beasts, that could harm us. We aren’t pets, there are no sugar cubes and brush-downs and lazy strolls on the summer afternoon. We are given none of that pampering by our creator. We are equipped however to deal with the environment. We have been blessed, with the ability and agility to explore. We’ve been given each other. We have been given The Word.

No, we haven’t been fenced in. Yes, I want to be out on the open range, I want this exact life that I have right this very moment. I want it exactly, as it is. I am grateful for it all. I want to remember that a little more often. I want to still see the problems. Nobody is better at causing change, and mentally chewing on solutions, until something shows up, than me.

I want to be here now, not in some dream. I want the honeymoon to be over, so that the real work, the true character building can begin. The fluff and excitement of the new, is short-lived for us all. Hard work is hard, but worth it.

Thanks be to God. Thanks for not fencing us in!


Aaron Nichols

Wishin’ I didn’t know now, What I didn’t know then…

Man, I used to LOVE Self Help Stuff! I really truly truly did! The insights, the wisdom, the stories and the steps to assist one in their own development. I just loved it, any way I could get it. Books, videos, seminars, personal life coaching sessions, it was all wonderful to me.

And then, it wasn’t, so much, anymore.

Somewhere along the way, my own enthusiasm seemed to drain. The vigor of this personal pursuit, faded. The peaked interest and the special tingles, I used to get from ‘resonating with an idea’, lost some sparkle to me.

In fact, to be truthful. I have begun… to resent it.

Yup, that’s right. The same person who used to be so excited and spellbound, by a Wayne Dyer PBS Program, or another book about personal success and happiness, or even, I hate to say it, a new free audio program on ‘Welcoming Every Circumstance’, by one of my heroes Steve Chandler, will now change the channel, or pass on the freebie.

After a few years of gorging myself on all this information, I have gotten kinda sick of it. In fact, there are a few things I think are important enough about this ‘shift’, that I will type it out here.

After a few years of Self Help Stuff, my life is radically different, than when I started it. Really, truly, different. Sometimes the scope of this difference gets me down. Sometimes, I resent the new changes, and have longing loving memories of the old ways of being. I want to be like Bob Seger and ‘Wish I didn’t know now, What I didn’t know then.’

After a few years of Self Help Stuff, I see things so differently. I cannot hear conversations the same. I cannot see them as I did before. Sometimes it is good. Many times it is not. Not everyone has downloaded all this same information as me. I find it almost like learning some secret stuff, that I wish I could unlearn. Like, that almost always, when we are talking about someone else, we are really speaking opinions and judgements we have against ourselves. ‘If ya spot it, ya got it.’ So if we are saying uplifting and complimentary things about others, we must have a healthy confidence in ourselves. If we are talking down about others, and pointing out their faults, then we probably have a similar inner narrative.

I want to un-notice this stuff in my day-to-day life. Because truthfully, as much as I have learned and understood, I do not practice it well at all. Nope. I am not one of these divinely anointed guru’s who seem to float around on clouds, and always have the perfect attitude and warm sunny response to the whole of life entire. Not at all. Honestly, the fact that I could be using these teachings and philosophies more to my own advantage, than I am, leaves me in a trap of double self judgement…

Okay, I know, I choose to be in self judgement, just like I choose everything in my experience… I know….

But I don’t. I actually find myself stuck, more often than I would like to, if all this stuff is so easy to understand and implement in my own life…

And there is the rub. Guess what… Life isn’t easy. Darn.

Suuuuure, I can get you a copy of a book or online video saying I am wrong in this too.

I do seem point my awareness at the gap, between where I am, and where I would like to be. In the self-help world, that may have to do with success and business and yes, material things. It also has to do with inner-peace, and letting go, and release of these worries of the world. In the practice of these ideas, I find my contempt pointed at my own failure to master them. Ignorance, it seems, would be more blissful…

And then there is the deeper influence that self-help has had on my being, my higher-self, even my eternal soul. See, I think that God has used this self-help stuff, to interest me and spark a curiosity, that would have been too scary or uncomfortable for me, waaay back in my twenties. I wouldn’t have wanted to dive into the Bible back then. However, after a few years of getting ‘spiritual’, I did feel called to express and discover more. I wanted to return to some of my religious roots. Through self-help, and new-age spirituality, I found Jesus.

NOW! Here is another hard part. A life shaped around WWJWM2D, is tougher than I ever imagined it could be. What would Jesus want me 2 do? How can I keep my eyes on Christ, instead of on the temptations of the world? In this moment, do I do what feeeels right, and my body wants, or do I temper my desires, and exercise my spiritual will? Can I win the battle and let anger, resentment, pride, envy, jealousy, lust, and greed find somewhere else to live, but within me?

I can’t win the battle. I don’t win the battle. I lose it. I lose my mind, my body, my demeanor, my sanity. I lose all that stuff, almost all the time. So there. That is why I don’t like self-help stuff (as much), anymore. I now see, how much I fail. I feel so far from where I want to be. I loooong to live in close proximity to the perfectness of God, and I ain’t even in the same galaxy…

So instead, I grumble and whine. I resent and pout. I am a baby, sitting in my dirty diaper, with an unwillingness for a change. I could even write a blog about it, tonight, and cry some more, while I choose to sit in my own poooop.

Truth is, many times that I was high on a life of self-help secrets, it was a fantasy world imagined in the years ahead. Just as I could begin this stuff, everything, and I mean, everything, would come together. Quickly, with a rush of the golden assistance of the Universe! Ha!

So impatient. So unappreciative. So blinded. So right and so wrong.

So many things are wonderful in my world, right now. I sit here and speak and write, I express my artistic side. I actually engage in an artistic endeavor every week. A deeply personal one, something I would have been too scared to do, years ago.

My beautiful bride slumbers softly in the bedroom tonight. I am so blessed by her presence in my world. I am in awe of the gift she is to me. A love so contorted in it’s arrival, that it had to be sewn by the almighty. No man could make this happen. Not me, for sure.

Working at the Brand’N Iron Bar and Grill, is a dream, that’s come true. I cannot think of something more perfect, and more exciting and more important for me to be putting my energy into, than our little spot on the side of Hwy 59, serving the local community. Doing it with reckless amateur abandon, intent on making people enjoy their experience. Creating comfort-food, serving, not selling, giving and working too hard, for laughably tiny pay. It just feels right, in so many ways. Deeply connecting, even spiritual ways.

And I laugh in this moment. For every thing I mentioned here, I live the flip-side too. I even carry a head-ful of the negatives, in unison with the positives. The balancing act can exhaust. I do love this blogging thing, yet I am anxious about it. I stay up waay too late with it, I am wasting my time, selfishly. I of course, love my wife. Marriage is hard though! I am no picnic to live with. I will fight, and say ugly things. I upset myself with my reactions. Compromise is not my forte. I love the Iron, yet I struggle with it too. Again, compromise, management, customer-service and looong hours, it is not always peachy, I have days and nights where I am not happy.

So. I must be careful, what I wish for. I get almost everything I want. I am blessed, beyond imagination. I am blessed however with every facet and side of my wishes. Not just the fun, good-time parts. I get it all. If I am to live into this life, as a Christian, as someone awake to their conciousness, and pushing their own limits, there is a price to pay. It doesn’t pierce the surface and release all the pressure to pray to God, or use self-coaching techniques. Nope. Feeling the struggle, being squeezed tightly, yet surviving, is building something. A stronger, deeper, foundation is under construction. It isn’t about being the tallest and prettiest. It is about withstanding the relentless tidal waves.

I usually fear that I am breaking under the stress. I fear that I am ready to wash my troubles down with a delicious glass of red. I fear, that I won’t have the balls, to keep myself on track. And therefore, my fear, reminds me that I don’t like self-help stuff anymore. It reminds me, that the help is going to have to come, from myself.

I sometimes think that is very true. It is up to me, although impossible. None of the blessings of my life, including sobriety, had much to do with my strength, it is his. When I forget that, I hurt, I stress out, I resent the smiles and 7 steps to happiness. I’ve lost the belief that it is possible…

And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”  Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said,
“I do believe; help my unbelief.” 
Mark 9:23-24


Aaron Nichols