Living to Work, or Working to Live?

It’s so strange…

In survey after survey the findings are eerily the same: most American workers don’t like their jobs. In a 2014 survey prepared by The Conference Board, and reported by Forbes, only a little more than half of the people working actually like what they are doing.

They live to work. The job is a paycheck.

There’s nothing wrong with that, nothing at all. In fact, so many consider themselves lucky to have a job at all. I know many who were devastated by the Great Recession, some of whom were out of work for many, many months (some, years). They feel fortunate they have the job they are in now. But, two things can be equally true – they may feel fortunate, but they also would rather be doing something else. Something that fulfills them authentically.

What is it for you?

It’s said that Carl Jung (the anti-Freud) thought it was most fortuitous when one of his patients had lost his job. That’s when the real work could be done. What would be possible if you did the work before that happened? What if you started right where you are today?

Given the landscape today, with uncertainty being the only thing that is certain, most agree that we should all have a back-up plan. For many that plan includes having a gig on the side.

Some people invent things. Others write for blogs. I imagine that some still sell Amway and Herbalife. Some study to get their real estate license, others go back to school.

All of that is cool. Deciding to create a separate gig is part and parcel with the journey toward the authentic life – the life you love to live.

For me it is writing. I’ve always written – even in the jobs I didn’t like all that much. Writing has always been at the core of what I do. And now, with Blazing Mind, I write about the things I care most about – helping others realize their potential, encouraging them to grab their brass ring, follow their bliss.

For me ( and thousands of others, it seems), I discovered a community called Wealthy Affiliate. My objective is to establish Blazing Mind as a brand that people will trust. To do that I needed the knowledge and tools to accomplish this goal. I’ve found that at Wealthy Affiliate.

It’s like a university where one can learn just about everything there is to know about online marketing. The trainings are complete and diverse. What I didn’t expect is the supportive community – you’re never on your own.

And it’s free to join.

At no cost you can receive the basics. If you want to pay a little you get a lot more. If a part of your dreams is to establish an online business, I recommend Wealthy Affiliate.

But, whatever it is that’s whispering in your ear, whether it’s something that has taken silent residence in your soul since you were a child, or it’s something that caught your interest last weekend – whatever it is – you owe it to yourself to investigate and take action.

If you’re tired of living just to work, if you’re a part of that 53% hating what they are doing – take the first step toward your dream today. Maybe you’ll strike gold, maybe you’ll just gain more knowledge. Either way, you won’t regret taking that step.

Just like drawing a paycheck, there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.

The Power of Prayer in a Postmodern World

The rash covered her body. She was burning up with fever. She felt like she was going to die. Debbie, 39, did two things immediately: she called her doctor – who didn’t even need to see her: she had scarlet fever, a childhood disease that is pure misery, and would likely put her on her back for at least two weeks.

Her doc prescribed the needed antibiotics and told her to rest, She’d see her in two weeks when the rash finally went away.

The second thing she did was call her girlfriend, Molly. Immediately Molly activated the prayer network at their church. The congregation was small, maybe 50 people, but they all began to pray for God to heal Debbie.

By Sunday the rash had gone away, as had the fever. On Monday Debbie felt as if nothing at all had happened. Her scarlet fever was gone.

Before you say, “whoa there, Cowboy…the antibiotics must have kicked into overdrive”, consider Veronica.

She had a strange, painful growth on her skin near the clavicle. She saw a specialist who did a biopsy. Sure enough it was chock full of cancer.

She belonged to a prayer group that, or course, went to work.

Veronica was scheduled to have the growth, and likely a pound of flesh surrounding the growth, removed about a week later. When she went to see her surgeon, there was no sign of the growth, certainly no evidence of cancer.

“I can’t operate on something that isn’t there,” he said, and sent her on her way.

The moral to these stories: prayer works. Of course, we’ve known that for about 5,000 years. But, during the modern age of medicine many (if not most) doctors, researchers and otherwise rational people cast aside prayer as superstition or as a benign, harmless activity that made people feel better. A spiritual placebo.

However, about 10 years ago a new movement, neurotheology, was born. Neurotheology (aka the neuroscience of spirituality) takes a long hard scientific look at spiritual practices and how they affect the brain – which leads to how they affect quality of life. What they have found is that those engaged in meaningful, intense prayer and other spiritual practices experienced significant changes in their brain.

Many more studies have been done. One study (captured in a story done by NPR in 2009) followed the research being done by University of Wisconsin neuroscientist, Richard Davidson. He wondered if the brain could change for people who weren’t prayer warriors for hours each day – but led normal lives. Participants spent 30 minutes per day in prayer/meditation during the study.

Lo and behold, through a process called neuroplasicity, their brains began to change within two-weeks. For example, those who focused on being more forgiving actually saw changes in the parts of the brain that produce compassion. (I’ll be writing more about neuroplasicity in other posts.)

So…that’s the physical effects  of prayer. But, what about the results? Isn’t that what really is meaningful to us?

Let’s face it, not every prayer is answered. Maybe that has more to do with how we pray, than the efficacy of prayer itself.

In research done by Larry Dossey, MD (a pioneer in the neurotheology field), certain types of prayers tend to be more effective than others.

For example, if I were to pray: “God, please let me win the lottery!” Chances are that my prayer being answered is directly proportional to the odds of winning the lottery.

However, what if I prayed: “God, I believe in your provision, and I pray that you will provide so that the best possible outcome is experienced by all involved – and I am thankful and grateful for whatever that outcome happens to be.”

I cannot even tell you the number of times I, or friends of mine, have prayed something similar to this and a check finds its way into my mailbox the next day…or my friend finds a $20 bill in old coat pocket…or another friend lands a contract they didn’t expect.

I think it’s not about what we pray for – but the attitude from which we offer the prayer. Being thankful and grateful. Accepting. Not being attached to outcomes. Living in the moment, doing the next indicated things on the journey. Proceeding with confidence and faith. And trust.

The research that’s being done will verify what we know in our hearts. Prayer works. Just ask Debbie and Veronica. They’ll stake their health on it.