A Change Will Do You Good

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“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

What would you change in the world if you had a chance?  A priest who was traveling through Grand Central Station posed this question to a woman who was slumped against a wall, homeless, friendless and ‘an empty shell’.  Her answer was that she would change her mind.  She was so filled with bitterness and an inability to forgive.  Her only desire was to let go of hatred and that by so doing, would become free.

This is the same awakening that the physician in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous discovered in his recovery from alcoholism.  He says that acceptance taught him that ‘it is not so much what needs to be changed in the world, as what needs to be changed in me’.  The one thing we have the ability to change in this world requires a huge undertaking.  For the one thing that can be changed is me.

“Repentance calls us to an inner healing that comes from choosing a new mindset, moving us in a new direction, and releasing all that holds our heart in bondage.” ~ Daniel Groody

I was privileged to hear the joys, pain, celebrations, and sufferings of my counseling patients for four decades.  Often their emotions have been hinged on the doings of family members, employers, frustrations with the government or a variety of other external events.  These all have the ability to please us or fill us with bitterness.  Not much of it is in our control.

I have learned that bitterness and resentment have a sticky quality.  That stickiness becomes more than a diversion and can become the kind of hatred that so overpowered the woman who met the priest in Grand Central.  Freedom comes when we let go of those external distractions, take responsibility, and forgive.  Then we can set a new course, follow a new star, and change our direction home.  This is the essence of a really radical awakening.

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Maybe I’m Amazed

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“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement, to look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

Amazing! Life is filled with abundance, magnificence, and miracles.  Rabbi Abraham Heschel knew this to be true.  He was one of those incredible human beings who make us stop to wonder.  Such brilliant and selfless people as he ask us to notice and act upon splendor.  Heschel was a spiritual teacher who was in awe of every aspect of the world and its’ Source.  He called for us to pay attention and then do our part to make the world a better place…in words, in personal kindness, and in works of mercy. Action was a companion to radical amazement for him. When asked why he was marching side-by-side with Dr. Martin Luther King, he responded; “I am praying with my feet.”

“There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

Living in radical amazement is counterintuitive. When one of our prime objectives is to be comfortable, it is difficult to live in awe and wonder. In order to be radically amazed, we must develop a sense of responsibility for the life. And that’s not so comfortable. But when we accept our responsibility as co-creators of everything around us, we begin to treasure the splendor of the world and universe as wonderful gifts.  The miracles will be revealed. We will love, appreciate, and admire our own families, friends, and communities even more deeply. This is far more important than personal comfort.  Let’s become radically amazed as we look around in awe and gratitude for the indescribable magic that is everywhere and everything! When we see it is so, may we answer back with our feet.

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Understanding & Taking Action

Life’s journey is full of fantastic and memorable moments as well as hardship, and frustrations. Often we feel unable to see where our next step should be. We may be facing challenges and issues, which appear to be overwhelming and where we are unable to see a solution.  The solution is to become a person of action.

Here is the method of ACTION that I have been using in practice and in lectures since 1990. This powerful little presentation has several videos.  It should easily take up a full 50 minute class period.

For Student Resource Officers; Helping Students Discover Strengths of Character which Lead to Real Action

“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.” ~ Richard Bach (Author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull)

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a story of Action.  It is a little book for everyone who yearns to fly higher and is determined not to scuffle along following the footsteps of others. It is about the courage to follow your own heart.

Jonathan is tired of the boring life in his sea-gull clan. So he begins to experiment with new, always more daring flying techniques. He finds that Action is different than acting.  The ways of his flock which seem so dull are not for him.  Since he doesn’t fit in, the elders banish him from the clan. So he sets out to discover the world beyond the horizon in a quest for wisdom.

Like Jonathan, if we are to live fully, we must resolve to find our own passions and choose follow them every day.  This is what Real Action is all about.

Becoming a Person of ACTION

“What will you do to change the world for the better today?” ~ Eunice Shriver

This question was posed by the parents of Maria Shriver and her four siblings at the breakfast table every morning.  Each of the kids had to have an answer to the question and each of them was expected to explain how they carried out their mission at the dinner table that night.  What a tall order.  Of course, the result was that all five children grew up to be people of Action.  They are admired for their dedication and continual contributions to our country and our world.  Wouldn’t you like to become a person of Real Action too?

Here is an acronym that could help you to become that person of Real Action who lives up to his or her potential and makes a difference in the world.  I hope that it guides you as you grow toward who it is you dream of becoming.

A ~ Affirmation.  An affirmation opens the door. It’s a beginning point on the path to change. Fundamentally, you’re saying to your subconscious mind: “I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something I can do to change.” When I talk about doing affirmations, I mean consciously choosing words that will either help eliminate something from your life or help create something new in your life. There is a great book called Affirmations: Words with PowerIt is well worth a read.   How do affirmations work?

  • They motivate.
  • They keep the mind focused on the goal.
  • They influence the subconscious mind and activate its powers.
  • They change the way you think and behave, and this can bring you into contact with new people, who can help you with your goals.

Positive affirmation statements make you feel positive, energetic and active, and therefore, put you in a better position to transform your inner and external worlds.  Here are some examples:

  1. I am loved.
  2. I listen to my heart.
  3. I am safe.
  4. I have lots of friends who love me.
  5. My dreams are coming true.
  6. I am helpful.
  7. I am friendly.
  8. Every problem has an answer.
  9. I am kind.

The idea of affirmation is to choose to think positive and happy thoughts.  If you are to become a person of Action you must make this choice.  Nobody can do it for you.  Your life won’t turn around overnight, but if you’re consistent and make the choice on a daily basis to think thoughts that make you feel good, you’ll definitely make positive changes in every area of your life.

Affirmation cannot be selfish.  It requires that you pass it on by addressing the good things that you see in another person.  It is much more than a compliment which says something nice about the outsides of a person.  Affirmation is the process of addressing the insides of someone.  We are talking about changing the way that we see someone and offering this perspective to the other.  (Example: A compliment says something like…”You did a great job at the swim meet” an affirmation says “You really are a star!”)

C ~ Courageous Compassion.

In the face of cruelty, we will choose compassion

Action requires courage.  But courage alone is not enough.  I have found that Courage, Compassion, and Persistence cannot be separated. For when these three team up something amazing will always follow. They are at the foundation of a fearless heart.

So what does that all mean.  Simply, courageous courage is a special inner strength that motivates you to help others despite the consequences. Dr. Michele Borba, Educational Psychologist, explains this in her book, UnSelfie, Why Empathic Kids Succeed In Our All-About-Me World.  Courageous Compassionate kids have good morals and will always take the risk of standing up for what is right.  She says, “Morally courageous teens are true UnSelfies: quiet, unsung heroes who don’t expect accolades and trophies, but act on their concern for others out of beliefs.”

Dr. Susan David gives a great TED talk about emotional courage (or courageous compassion).

People who are courageously compassionate are kind…even towards people who hurt them…for it is so much easier to inflict anger and judgment than to stop and consider what might be causing the harmful actions and behaviors of others.  Martin Luther King, Jr. once told us, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This is compassion.  This is courage.  This is the spirit we want to embody.  When young people are persistent in their courage and compassion, they will empower other teens.  You can build a world through the action of your compassionate courage in which you can thrive.

T ~ Trustworthiness.

“The highest levels of influence are reached when generosity and trustworthiness surround your behavior.”  ~ Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Being trustworthy is the third character asset of Real Action. Trustworthy people keep their word and honor their commitments. It feels great when somebody says “I trust you.” Have you ever thought about how you get someone’s trust? You can’t just tell them you are trustworthy. Trust is earned one trustworthy deed at a time, but it can be lost very quickly.

Trustworthiness means:

  • Being reliable by doing what you say you’ll do
  • Doing the next right thing by living up to your values
  • Being loyal by sticking with your friends
  • Being honest by telling the truth even if no one else is doing it
  • Not deceiving, cheating or stealing

This quality of trustworthiness is complicated but it is essential to meaningful relationships, long-lasting friendships, and successful associations in school and in the workplace.  Spend some time thinking about how trust is earned and why it is so important and then write a paragraph about one of these questions:

  • How do you know when you can trust someone?
  • What part does trust play in your relationships with your friends and family? How would these relationships be affected if you found out someone was lying to you?
  • Can you imagine starting a friendship with someone you didn’t trust? What would that be like?
  • What are the benefits of being a trustworthy person? How do you benefit from the trustworthiness of others?
  • What does trusting somebody mean?
  • What do you look for in someone so you know you can trust him/her?
  • What makes a person trustworthy?

Becoming a person of Real Action requires that you become trustworthy and stay trustworthy.  If people don’t trust us, nothing we do will be respected.

I ~ Involvement.

“You were saved not by work, but for work. Do it till all is done. By your Inventions, Innovations, Initiatives, Improvements, Involvements, Imaginations, Information, Interventions and Inspirations… Go the extra mile and dare to do it.”  ~ Israelmore Ayivor

The way to become a person of Real Action is to jump in and get involved in something you think might be important in your community.  Being involved in the will help you become independent, develop new skills, and will really help others too.

Here are 10 easy ways to volunteer without making any long-term commitments from TeenLife:

  1. Search your closet to find items in good condition that you’ve outgrown or don’t wear anymore. Take them to your local GoodwillSalvation Army, or shelter. It’s also work a call to schools and shelters in your area—most plan several clothing drives throughout the year.
  2. Pick up some non-perishables to donate to your local food bank.
  3. Certain shelters, fire departments, and foster parent organizations, alongside organizations like Fashion Delivers, welcome new or slightly used toys and stuffed animals. Whether you have a horde of Beanie Babies collecting dust in your closet, or you have some spare time to pick a bundle up, this is a quick and easy way to spread a little joy.
  4. Buy some prints from a local nonprofitthat empowers young artists. Your room looks great; teens in your community get to develop their talents. A true win-win.
  5. For your next birthday, ask that people give donations to a charity of your choice instead of gifts. When you drop off the donations, ask about volunteer opportunities.
  6. Send a package or cards to deployed troops, veterans, wounded soldiers or first-responders through organizations like the NROTCor Project Gratitude.
  7. Create or join a campaign through DoSomething.org. You can choose the cause, the amount of time you have available and the type of service in which you want to participate (donations, face-to-face, events, taking a stand, etc.). For example, you can work to stop friends from texting and driving; raise awareness about domestic violence; or create activity books for children in hospitals. DoSomething is a great way to volunteer on your own schedule, at your own pace, and flex your creative muscles while you’re at it.
  8. Collect children’s books and other reading materials for shelters, libraries and schools, then ask if they need volunteer readers.
  9. You know how everyone always says “write a letter to your senator?” Write a letter to your senator. Find out when your senators or representatives are holding public meetings; attend them. It’s one of the easiest ways to make sure the issues you care about get to the ears of the people who can fix them. If this develops into a passion, consider attending a social justice summer programthat shows you how to add power to advocacy.
  10. Offer to rake leaves, shovel the driveway, or do housework for someone in need. It sounds a little Norman Rockwell, but it’s a great way to volunteer without even leaving your block. And people, it turns out, are pretty interesting! You might discover something fascinating about your neighbor or unearth a network of connections that was quite literally just around the corner.

Nothing is going to happen unless you make it happen.  Make some time and get involved.  Start today.

O ~ Optimism and Owning Your Victories.

“Look for small victories and build on that. Each small victory, even if it is just getting up five minutes earlier, gives you confidence. You realize that these little victories make you feel great, and you keep going.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger 

You can only be effective as a person of Real Action if you give yourself proper credit.  This requires a sense of optimism that comes from owning your victories.  Every time you make progress toward your goal the building blocks for success are being laid.  Understanding that each step forward should be recognized is essential.  You need to recognize your strengths and contributions…otherwise you are missing the whole point.

You can give yourself more energy and increase your passion if you pat yourself on the back once in a while.  Remember the commercial about the kid who thought he could be the greatest hitter in the world? His optimism led him to ACTION.  This is the big idea.  Never let the heaviness of a task in front of you weigh you down.  You can do it.

Optimism is the conviction that things will work out well in the end. This character trait is the touchstone of resilience and is essential if you want to succeed.  The world needs more optimists. And people who are optimists have better lives. Research shows that people who believe they are going to succeed (optimists) are in fact more able to do so. They are less likely to get depressed, get fewer illnesses, have longer relationships, and live longer.

Optimists see opportunity in unlikely places. Without a dose of optimism, we’d never try anything new, and our lives would remain forever stuck in the same place.

Here are 5 ways for you to become more of an optimist.

  1. Before You Go to Sleep at Night, Think About What Things Went Well During the Day. That pesky little voice who lives in our subconscious minds will go over the last thoughts we had before going to sleep.  This inspires our dreams and even influences how we think and feel when we wake up in the morning. So spend a few minutes reviewing everything that went right for you that day. What did you enjoy? What felt affirming? This habit will help you program positive thoughts and images into your minds for the night. You might even have a better sleep and awake more ready to face the day.
  2. Start Every New Day by Focusing on Your Goals and Positive Expectations. As soon as you wake up, start thinking about what you want to accomplish with the expectation that it will actually happen. Visualize your goals.  Think about yourself at the end of the day having achieved everything on your list and more. Spend a couple of minutes repeating long-term goals to yourself.  You are on the way to accomplishing your mission and your purpose in life right now.
  3. Practice Gratitude. The most successful optimists never forget what they have to be thankful for. While striving to reach our goals and achieve more, it’s important to feel grateful for what we have in the present. I keep a gratitude notebook where I record at least 10 things that I’m grateful for. It helps me keep positive and gives me comfort knowing that I have a wonderful foundation to build on every day–no matter what happens.
  4. Always Look for Solutions First. Every time a problem shows up we have a choice to make. Where are we going to focus our thoughts and efforts? Optimists don’t waste time looking for people to blame or worrying about the details of the problem or the issue. They just start hunting for solutions.
  5. Surround Yourself with Optimists. Optimistic people don’t have the time to hang out with negative people. Those people zap our energy. It’s like being around Eeyore.  Find positive-minded, motivated people to be with. Bounce ideas off one another. You’ll soon find out that optimists attract other optimists.  These are the people who will offer you support and encouragement which will boost your own optimism.

Owning your victories and being an optimist will help make you a person of Real Action.  It allows us to believe that the future will be better than the past. We will look forward to what’s coming next with excitement and anticipation.

N ~ No Negative Thinking.

We just covered owning your victories and optimism.  But the ‘N’ in ACTION is just as important.  All of us have negative and self-defeating thoughts.  They bring us down and clip our wings making it impossible to soar to new heights! The truth is that we just do not have time for this thinking and self-talk. Very little good can happen when we are sitting in a mud puddle.

Here is a cool little poem by Walter Wintle that always helps me put negative thoughts in perspective:

“If you think you are beaten, you are

If you think you dare not, you don’t,

If you like to win, but you think you can’t

It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost

For out of the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or late the man who wins

Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”

The problem with self-talk is that when you hear it, you act as if it were true. The best way to get rid of negative thinking and negative self-though is to confront it.  A great way to do that is with a three step process called NED… Notice it, Externalize it, and Dispute it (NED). You can teach yourself  the NED process:

Notice Negative self-talk. The first thing you have to do is realize that you are putting yourself down or telling yourself you can’t.  One thing I do when I notice I’m doing it is to playfully wag my finger at it in my brain.

Externalize it. Treat it as if it were said by an external person whose mission in life is to make you miserable. (Some kids actually call him by the name NED.)

Dispute it in the same way you would an external person. We generally have the skill of disputing other people when they make false accusations, and we can learn to do so with ourselves as well.

Tony Teegarden has shared a video in which he shows how to get rid of negative self-talk once and for all with a simple question to ask yourself, “Would you talk that way to a five-year-old?”  Not a bad approach to adopt for any of us.

So, stop beating yourself up.  Get rid of negative thinking.  Get busy with positive Real Action.

Conclusion

We are living in a world where inaction and passive action are ruling the day for lots of people.  Folks are huddled around screens and staying inside now more than ever.  Let’s all take the Jonathan Livingston Seagull challenge.  Let’s never be satisfied with what the flock is doing.  Let’s become people who soar.  Let’s become people of Real Action.

A Walk in the Desert

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“The absence of God’s love makes us like a dry desert land without water, and thus we treat our neighbors harshly, fearing we have no love to spare.” ~ Guy Consolmagno

The droughts, times with little rain and scorching hot days, leave us feeling empty and anxious.  Lake levels drop, plants wither and die, animals venture out in search of anything to quench their thirst.  An uneasy quiet settles over the land.  We endured a seven year drought in the Upstate of South Carolina not long ago.  It was pretty uncomfortable.  People became testy and on edge as everything outside seemed to deteriorate.  At one point, the flooded river valley which has become Lake Hartwell dropped so low that old roads appeared which had been under water for decades.  Recreation and tourism slowed and almost halted.  Two years ago the welcomed rain began to come.  Over time, everything was restored and the beauty of the area returned. We have even started to forget how desolate it was.

Emotional and spiritual droughts have strikingly similar effects on our insides. Emptiness and anxiety leave us feeling dry and forsaken.  God seems to have abandoned us.  When this happens, we withdraw and isolate.  The love we have seems to dry up and we hoard whatever is left for fear of losing even the most essential elements of affection.  Unlike the droughts of nature however, desert times of the soul and spirit are more misconception than fact.  Hard times are no delusion, but the sense of abandonment and loss of God’s love is only an illusion.  It is as abundant as when everything in life was going well.  We are promised this without exception.  We are never alone.  We are never ignored.  We are never without resource.  There is an endless underground spring of hope that will fill our hearts in time.  The healing waters will return.  My friend, Bill Scott used to remind me that ‘Things come to pass…not to stay’.  We can be assured of that.  There will even come a time when the drought is a distant memory.  Life is always wonderful…even when it seems otherwise.

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Pack Your Bags

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“Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars.  Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars.” ~ Bart Howard
A friend wrote to me saying that his vacation was over.  He was back home after soaking up the sun and enjoying long idle hours.  There was a sense of such happiness in his words.  Just think about it…we have the privilege of being able to go to the far corners of the world unlike any generation of human beings in the history of the world.  In a matter of hours and with a relatively small investment of personal resources, we can be in places people could only dream about in other times.  Tropical islands, majestic mountains, jungles and rainforests, oceans, and lakes are all possible destinations for many of us.  How incredible it is to have such opportunities.

Roy and brothers on a grand adventure

My grandfather, who was born in 1875, once told me his first memory was sitting on the back of a hay wagon working for his Dad around age 8.  That wagon and horse was also the means of family transportation at the time.  There were certainly travel limitations.  In his 98 years, Roy Jones was able to witness the coming of automobiles, airplanes and even a man on the moon.  He traveled rather extensively but always returned home to Monticello, Illinois.  Everything and everyone he loved most was close by.
“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” ~ Jack Kerouac
The thrill of finding new spaces and new people is intoxicating.  They can liberate us from our small corners of the world.  They can open our minds and hearts.  They can offer freedom from perceived bondage.  They can dispel and dismiss prejudice.  The road and journey themselves might even be as important as the destinations.  We need to just do it.  Without a doubt, we should adventure, leave home, and explore without regret.  We should also bless the earth that heard our first cry and always come home to kiss the ones who long for us. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” _builder_version=”3.5.1″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” saved_tabs=”all” use_background_color_gradient=”off” background_color_gradient_direction=”180deg” parallax=”off” background_size=”cover” background_position=”center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend=”normal” allow_player_pause=”off” background_video_pause_outside_viewport=”on” header_level=”h4″ header_letter_spacing=”0px” header_text_shadow_style=”none” body_letter_spacing=”0px” body_text_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style_image=”none” background_layout=”light” filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” filter_brightness=”100%” filter_contrast=”100%” filter_invert=”0%” filter_sepia=”0%” filter_opacity=”100%” filter_blur=”0px” mix_blend_mode=”normal” child_filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” child_filter_saturate=”100%” child_filter_brightness=”100%” child_filter_contrast=”100%” child_filter_invert=”0%” child_filter_sepia=”0%” child_filter_opacity=”100%” child_filter_blur=”0px” child_mix_blend_mode=”normal” animation_repeat=”once” animation_direction=”center” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_delay=”0ms” animation_starting_opacity=”0%” animation_speed_curve=”ease-in-out” animation=”off” text_shadow_style=”none” global_module=”26968″] Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse. In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers. His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation. Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast [/et_pb_team_member][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Let’s Go Fishing

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“Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.” ~ Ovid

I remember a boy who used to sit on the dock on Lake Vermilion near our home in Danville, Illinois.  He never seemed to have any fish on his line.  One day I asked him how they were biting.  He said he never put a hook on to catch the fish because he was afraid he would hurt them.

Very little happens when we don’t actively participate.  The thing is to always contribute, always be in action, and always get in the mix.  This does not mean that we are supposed to be in control of things, in charge of outcomes, or be the leader of the pack.  It means we don’t sit on the sidelines.  We participate by being fully engaged in whatever way our gifts can be of benefit.  Sometimes we lead as a generous servant, and sometimes we follow obediently.  Sometimes we welcome with open arms, and sometimes we establish safe boundaries.  Sometimes we listen attentively, and sometimes we offer wisdom.  Sometimes we are quiet, and sometimes we are boisterous.

Always we are prayerful.  Trusting fully that everything flows as it was intended.  With our participation, we become co-creators with God.

The magnificent life which surrounds us waits for us to bravely step up right and jump right in.  There is nothing to fear.  When we join in with our community to make things better, miracles start to happen.  We do what we can do and do it well.  We cast our hooked and baited lines into the water knowing that fish will bite.  The great feast is waiting for you.

 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” _builder_version=”3.12″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” saved_tabs=”all” use_background_color_gradient=”off” background_color_gradient_direction=”180deg” parallax=”off” background_size=”cover” background_position=”center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend=”normal” allow_player_pause=”off” background_video_pause_outside_viewport=”on” header_level=”h4″ header_letter_spacing=”0px” header_text_shadow_style=”none” body_letter_spacing=”0px” body_text_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style_image=”none” background_layout=”light” filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” filter_brightness=”100%” filter_contrast=”100%” filter_invert=”0%” filter_sepia=”0%” filter_opacity=”100%” filter_blur=”0px” mix_blend_mode=”normal” child_filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” child_filter_saturate=”100%” child_filter_brightness=”100%” child_filter_contrast=”100%” child_filter_invert=”0%” child_filter_sepia=”0%” child_filter_opacity=”100%” child_filter_blur=”0px” child_mix_blend_mode=”normal” animation_repeat=”once” animation_direction=”center” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_delay=”0ms” animation_starting_opacity=”0%” animation_speed_curve=”ease-in-out” animation=”off” text_shadow_style=”none” global_module=”26968″]

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Making America Kind Again

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A great friend of mine is the mother of a special needs child.  A few days ago she posted a plea on Facebook for kindness.  It was my intention to write about kindness for my Sunday journal, but I don’t think I can make the point better than she did.

“ALWAYS show kindness to people because you just never know what they may be going through…people only see the surface of other’s lives, when in reality, many people live with struggles that most people are unaware of and things unfathomable to the typical person or family.

For us, most people see our precious family as happy, happy, happy, which we ARE and we are blessed BUT…no one knows the struggles, meltdowns, battles, etc. that often occur when trying to get to church, work, family functions, the barber or anywhere! People don’t understand the disruptive behavior that can often ruin a function, family or otherwise…people don’t understand that, as the parents of a special needs child with autism and active seizures, who will always be a child no matter his age (24), we literally live every day with our hearts half shattered with pain as we navigate this life doing the best we know how to protect, love and care for this gift of a child we’ve been blessed with. That said, there are tons of parents in this world living through worse situations than we are, tons of people with unspoken struggles that they keep private…KINDNESS is free and can make a huge difference in someone’s day, hour and life!!!”

Perhaps our greatest gift is the ability to be kind.  There is not one person on earth without this inherent capability.  How then do we tap into it at times when we are angry, disappointed, dismissed or rejected?  It is the matter of a conscious decision to reach into our hearts and offer it.  We can do this.  Everyone is fighting difficulties and suffers in their own way despite what might be seen in their demeanor.  Those we touch with tender kindness will be restored and renewed.  We will be remembered for the beauty that we leave behind and our actions will be the talk of generations to come.

“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” ~ George Sand

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” _builder_version=”3.5.1″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” global_module=”26968″ saved_tabs=”all”]

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Spiritual Awakening; From Pain to Wisdom

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“You embrace the pain that comes from knowledge and laugh at the bliss born out of ignorance. You accept that pain is a side effect of doing what you love, knowing that pain is merely the hard center of love that must be embraced, softened and transformed into wisdom.” ~ G. W. McGee

One of the signs of a spiritual awakening as defined by G. W. McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, asserts that we find ourselves preferring to ‘be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie’.  There develops a real appreciation for truth that trumps any amount of pain or suffering that’s necessary to achieve it. People in AA are well aware of this fact. Regardless of consequences, they face the reality that addictions have caused great pain to themselves and others.  They follow the 12 Steps and engage in a new responsibility to truth and begin to practice it in all of their affairs.

As William Goldman tells us through Westley (Dread Pirate Roberts) in The Princess Bride, “Life is pain, Highness. Anybody who tells you otherwise is selling something.

When we accept that there is always pain in life, the wisdom gained through even the most difficult experiences becomes attainable.  Regrets begin to slip away when we awaken to the certainty that God is with us through every suffering and heartache.  We face the truth and embrace the existence of unconditional love.  This is spiritual awakening.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” _builder_version=”3.5.1″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” saved_tabs=”all” use_background_color_gradient=”off” background_color_gradient_direction=”180deg” parallax=”off” background_size=”cover” background_position=”center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend=”normal” allow_player_pause=”off” background_video_pause_outside_viewport=”on” header_level=”h4″ header_letter_spacing=”0px” header_text_shadow_style=”none” body_letter_spacing=”0px” body_text_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style_image=”none” background_layout=”light” filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” filter_brightness=”100%” filter_contrast=”100%” filter_invert=”0%” filter_sepia=”0%” filter_opacity=”100%” filter_blur=”0px” mix_blend_mode=”normal” child_filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” child_filter_saturate=”100%” child_filter_brightness=”100%” child_filter_contrast=”100%” child_filter_invert=”0%” child_filter_sepia=”0%” child_filter_opacity=”100%” child_filter_blur=”0px” child_mix_blend_mode=”normal” animation_repeat=”once” animation_direction=”center” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_delay=”0ms” animation_starting_opacity=”0%” animation_speed_curve=”ease-in-out” animation=”off” text_shadow_style=”none” global_module=”26968″]

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

[/et_pb_team_member][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

What Makes You Unique; Creating Six-Word Memoirs

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Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response was this;

“For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”

Back in November 2006, SMITH Magazine asked readers to send in their own Six-Word Memoirs. They were meant to be short life stories which would be shared in the publication.  So many people responded that the Six-Word Memoir project formed and grew wings.  Stories have ranged from the bittersweet (“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends”) and poignant (“I still make coffee for two”) to the inspirational (“Business school? Bah! Pop music? Hurrah”) and hilarious (“I like big butts, can’t lie”).

The Six-Word Memoir project has become a global phenomenon and a bestselling book series. Six-Word Memoirs have been featured in hundreds of media outlets from NPR to The New Yorker and covered on tens of thousands of blogs.  Hundreds of thousands of people have shared their own short life story as well as in classrooms, churches, and at live Six-Word “slams” across the world.

I have used the Six-Word Memoir project in counseling groups and as an interactive presentation for over a decade.  Initially, I used it as an icebreaker but soon it became a powerful tool to inspire and encourage conversations which get to the bottom of how kids (and adults for that matter) are experiencing their lives.  They disclose in six words what might have been impossible otherwise.

Larry Smith recently published a book called Things Don’t Have to be Complicated: Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs by Students Making Sense of the World, published with TED Books, a division of the TED Conference.  It would be a great resource for any School Resource Officer who will be making presentations to student groups (both small and large).

Kind of Group:            Experiential

Group Size:                 4 to Classroom Size

Purpose of Group:     Team building; Community building; Relationship building; Developing individual insight;

This is how it works:

  1. Write your own Six-Word Memoir or story on the black board or white board.
  2. When the kids have settled in, read the words to them and ask what they might think the story means.
  3. Ask the group this question; “Can you tell your life story in six words?” Provide examples of memoirs. Some people ask the kids to add drawings to illustrate them.

Other examples are:

  • Not quite what I was planning
  • My life made my therapist laugh
  • The psychic said I’d be richer
  • Bad brakes discovered at high speeds
  • My happily ever after is now
  1. Ask the kids to create their own Six-Word Memoir. Allow about ten minutes.  They can sign their names or leave the work anonymous. Some folks have kids make a Six-Word YouTube video.
  • Your Life. Six Words.

    Six Word Memoirs written by my seventh grade students at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Middle School during my student teaching experience.

 Steps to writing a Six-Word Memoir (Student Directions)

  1. Instruct the kids saying: “To narrow down your memoir to six words…start with many”
  2. Start with a list. Take three minutes to write as many words as you can about yourself.  List things you like, things you think and things you feel. Don’t worry about spelling. Don’t erase or cross out.  Go for quantity. Just write. (examples; friend, happy, silly, hip-hop, sleepy, bored, band nerd, jock, secrets, girls, girls, girls, dinosaurs…)
  3. Now circle two or three words that stand out for you.  The ones you could say more about. (example from the list; silly, bored, girls)
  4. Pick one of the three and freewrite about it. In other words, just start writing about it…Whatever comes to your mind.  Don’t stop writing for about two minutes. (an example of freewrite; “I love to get silly and make people laugh.  Sometimes I do it in class and get in trouble but I don’t care. One time I fell out of my seat when I tipped it backward and hit my head on Gina’s desk.  Everyone went hysterical.  I could be a comedian.  It makes people like me”.
  5. Simplify and synthesize the Freewrite. (example from above; My topic is “silly”.  My idea is “Being silly makes me happy and popular no matter what the consequences are”).
  6. Develop my Six-Word Memoir: “Silliness is crazy. Love me yet?”
  7. Now ask if anyone wants to share their memoir.
  8. Process and seek feedback from the group on any of the shared memoirs with their permission
  9. Congratulate the kids on their work and collect the papers completed by students. Then pick three or more of the collected memoirs and read them. If they have been signed ask the student for permission to read before doing so. Process as in step 6.
  10. Close the group by offering to meet with anyone who wants to talk about their memoir. Lighten the mood with a Six-Word Closing like;
  • This was cool. See ya later
  • Be a star. You already shine

There is a lot that can be done with the memoirs you will collect.  By all means keep them. One thing is certain.  Everyone will have been uplifted and will have gained some insight.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” _builder_version=”3.5.1″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” global_module=”26968″ saved_tabs=”all”]

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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More on Judging and Being Judged

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“Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged.” ~ Rumi

I often write about judging.  But right now it seems so important. The finger of judgment points in every direction nowadays. With it comes feelings of superiority and inferiority.  Neither is good.  So I try to revisit the subject in my prayers and mindfulness meditation daily in hopes of being spared the burden of judging.

You know how terrible it feels to be judged.  I think we all have felt the sting of judgment at one time or another.  Many of us are all too familiar.  A description of how it feels to be judged was shared with me during a counseling session.  This wounded young fellow told me; “It feels like I am being awakened in the middle of the night and dragged naked in front of everyone to be teased and ridiculed.”

Perhaps the saddest part of his story is that he had been living in a therapeutic community in which he should have been receiving compassion and encouragement.  Instead, he felt rejection, pain, and malice. As our time together that day progressed, he began to launch into a rant which described the failings of the people in the group that was wounding him.  He labored with character assassinations and perceived shortcomings as he verbally railed against one and all.  When he was finished he started to sob.  I told him that he was loved and not to put so much stock in what others thought of him or about their feedback.  He replied; “I know you’re right.  I’m crying because I just did to them what they have been doing to me.”

“Who are you to judge the life I live?  I know I’m not perfect and I don’t live to be.  But before you start pointing fingers make sure your hands are clean.” ~ Jimi Hendrix 

Can you imagine what it might be like to stop judging?  Can you imagine what it might be like to not be judged?  How wonderful it would be to believe that we were not under scrutiny and that nobody was looking down on us.  Think how great it would feel to accept those who are not behaving as we might want them to with understanding and patience.  There is much harm done when we have been judged.  And there is no good that can come from our judgment of others.

Today I will live without judgment.  I will not accept it nor will I indulge in it.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” _builder_version=”3.5.1″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” saved_tabs=”all” use_background_color_gradient=”off” background_color_gradient_direction=”180deg” parallax=”off” background_size=”cover” background_position=”center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend=”normal” allow_player_pause=”off” background_video_pause_outside_viewport=”on” header_level=”h4″ header_letter_spacing=”0px” header_text_shadow_style=”none” body_letter_spacing=”0px” body_text_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style_image=”none” background_layout=”light” filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” filter_brightness=”100%” filter_contrast=”100%” filter_invert=”0%” filter_sepia=”0%” filter_opacity=”100%” filter_blur=”0px” mix_blend_mode=”normal” child_filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” child_filter_saturate=”100%” child_filter_brightness=”100%” child_filter_contrast=”100%” child_filter_invert=”0%” child_filter_sepia=”0%” child_filter_opacity=”100%” child_filter_blur=”0px” child_mix_blend_mode=”normal” animation_repeat=”once” animation_direction=”center” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_delay=”0ms” animation_starting_opacity=”0%” animation_speed_curve=”ease-in-out” animation=”off” text_shadow_style=”none” global_module=”26968″]

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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