Johnny 5, Hot Coals and My Brain = A Hot Mess!

photo (12)A few years ago I walked across a bed of hot coals. At first I thought the idea was ludicrous, hokey and rigged somehow, so it required a couple days of solid mental re-framing in order for me to even consider doing it. But far be it from me to miss out on a dare!

My pivotal takeaway from that event was a life lesson about what goes into my mind and how it affects me – my future – and the immense effort it sometimes takes to actually focus on it.

While reading through comments on someone’s post recently, it took me right back to that experience and exactly what it meant to me all those years ago. I promptly pulled the memento of coals from my nightstand drawer and set it where I’ll see it when I wake up and again when I fall asleep. What a powerful reminder of just how far I’ve come.

Admittedly however, I’ve been struggling recently and I know that I know that I know there’s only one sure fire way (no pun intended haha!) to get through it. Feed my brain nutritious things – physically, mentally and emotionally. Thinking about and acting upon what’s good in my life are crucial elements, as is hanging out with like-minded people who <lovingly> won’t tolerate anything less from me than what I expect from myself.

Reading those fire-walking comments also triggered other thoughts. 

Talking about motivation seems highly underrated these days. It’s been an overused word, sure, but its function is so integral to our forwardzig motivation bathing
movement. In Zig’s wise words, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”

People frequently ask me how I keep going as though I have other options….and then I stop to ponder what it is about my life, exactly, that makes them think I shouldn’t or couldn’t keep on goin’! Why do we all keep going? But, if I were to back it up I know I’ve been through some pretty ‘interesting’ life experiences, more than the average person I’ve been told.

So why does my normally positive outlook seem to stand out?

I have recognized that motivating myself is a daily requirement as is my morning coffee:), and it is absolutely necessary in order for me to survive. My brain needs the constant stimulation of positive input or I tend to spiral downward far too easily. And I’m usually very diligent in ensuring my thoughts are reigned in for that very reason. I can’t afford to succumb to the alternative thought patterns.

I also get a little chuckle every time I hear or use the word ‘input’ because it reminds me of Johnny 5 from Short Circuit. I adore him and I completely resonate with his insatiable need for more – and major – input!

We all know this stuff, so why is it so challenging sometimes to live it? It’s a great question to reflect on, but then action must follow. It must.

Are you struggling too? Be encouraged. Even small steps of replacing negative input with positive will gradually build you back up, and eventually you may just be ready to (even figuratively) walk across some hot coals yourself!

Remember. Daily.

photo (13)


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  1. #1 by judy schmidt on August 10, 2015 - 8:58 am

    Hello Shandra,
    Thanks for all you are doing to encourage us humans to keep going and never give up. I know it takes huge amounts of courage and faith but it makes a difference.
    All the best,
    Judy Schmidt

    • #2 by shandracarlson on August 12, 2015 - 7:46 am

      Hi Judy!
      Thank you so much for taking time to read, respond and to encourage me. It’s very meaningful and I am grateful for the ‘input’ you’ve had in my journey! 🙂

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    "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." ~ Jack Kerouac
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