Friday, April 30, 2010

Life in a Traffic Jam

IT’S PEAK HOUR ON A ‘FREEWAY FRIDAY’ NEAR YOU and you note all the different reactions accordant to the delay. Some are calm and resigned to the fact, and despite possibly harrowed working weeks at the office, they show they’re patient, investing in another world; others are impatient, as shown by their frequent lane changes and horn blowing.

Life can be seen metaphorically as a continual road trip that is punctuated by the odd, though regular-in-appearance, traffic jam.

There are times when we react like the first driver. We’re patient and we deal easily with the frustrations of life. There’s no pressing hurry and we know that getting upset won’t change anything, so we don’t sweat it.

Other times we easily fume. And we’ve all been there, without exception.

Despite these traffic jams of life there is only one thing we can do. That is to simply do what we can do. It’s no good getting cross and all bent and twisted about the delays and inconveniences or things that don’t go our way.

Knowing this in theory is one thing, however, and practicing it is another.

And so if we know this and don’t apply the lessons that take us towards patience we lose out on peace. We do ourselves wrong.

We can only do what we can do. We can only endeavour to play our part and keep up with the metaphorical slow-moving traffic whilst not stressing about the frustrating delays.

The delays will always come. Our approach to those delays that always come is something only we can choose. I wonder if it’s conceivable to get to a place—mentally, emotionally and spiritually—where we truly appreciate the delays for the extra reflection time we can utilise (amongst other things).

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Elevating the Morrow, not the Day

WE ALWAYS THINK THE PRESENT DAY IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE. The fact is, however, it is not. We’re lulled to live so totally for the day we forget our tomorrows will hold us firmly to account for our todays.

It is far better in life to simply hold out knowing the Day doesn’t rule over anything.

It’s just the present, and whilst the present is a lovely thing we want to make the absolute moral-most from, it won’t protect us from the wiles of history which blow truthfully through our lives, and the wisdom of the ages speaking fundamentally to, for and of this truth.

It is us, in our ‘living (only) for today,’ that are fooled to think tomorrow’s sun won’t rise and take us into the courtrooms of our hearts to condemn us for the silly things we decide to do today.

Of course, we know this. And yet, we will still be tempted to do that thing or things today that will pillage us in our hindsight—in our subdued and serious reflection.

Just as easily we could elevate tomorrow and place it firmly before our conscious minds, thinking, ‘What could this thought or act benefit/cost me/others?’

I’ve said this before: half of the best life is knowing what we should focus on and the other half is doing it.

The beauty of this thought is we don’t pressure ourselves to over-commit on the promises of today—we make far too many promises that we can’t/won’t keep. Taking the back seat somewhat and prudently thinking through our circumstances—though not to the point of procrastination—helps us weigh life.

Life is, on the balance, our living opportunity to establish our way; by our acts we’re accountable—if not to life, then certainly to God.

And not one is exempt.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

“V” is for Victory

You wake up and lying in bed you’re burdened with the “yell” of yesterday—guilt or shame or any flavour between—despondency soon grips you. The day’s events are before you and you simply shriek. Can you recall a time like this?

The point is we’ve all been there.

The remorse of regret or an otherwise numbed hopelessness plagues us. Sometimes we know why and sometimes we don’t. However it is we just want to get past it; and the easiest option is to do something that’ll take our minds off it all—the trouble is some of these activities are not healthy for us.

There is only one effective answer to this madness of the soul. And that is to make it as right as it can be, today, and then simply accept it’s the best we can manage just now.

Hope, and with it joy, comes back slowly. There are generally no overnight solutions. But we must still commit to them now to enjoy them then.

Courage has it. It takes a lot of courage to do all we can to address the issues of truth as much as we personally can. This also demands us to be honest and positive; eternally hopeful about the chances of a turnaround. Add to this the humility to accept the best that time and the situation both, collectively, have to offer. Acceptance of our situations is paramount.

Who would think that such definable and common virtues like courage, honesty and humility could be used in such ways for our good?—for a turnaround toward resilience!

And “V” is for victory—that sense that we’re okay and safe—when we implement these virtues and simply live the way we were always meant to live—running toward the light and not away from it—is what we can calmly feel.

When we’re sick of hell we can just as easily turn about-face and travel far from it, never looking back. This is the happy journey.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hit the Ground Running and Take ’Em Deep

LEADERSHIP IS HONESTY AND COMPETENCE. It’s as simple as that really. It doesn’t matter if it is self-leadership, spiritual leadership, workplace leadership or leadership of an empire, honesty and competence will take you further than any two other attributes.

Leadership in any walk of life is about hitting the ground running and going deep. It’s transformational at its best.


Honesty is hitting the ground running because it’s essentially the bridge of rapport. We don’t get to first base with people or ourselves without being honest. Both parties can smell unauthenticity miles off. Think about it, we cannot develop and hence transform ourselves if we’re not honest. Likewise, people will quickly dismiss us if they feel we’re not the real deal.


Competence is essentially about credibility and hence the ability to take people “deep.” Honesty started the charge, and credibility never gets a chance without the trust of engaged honesty.

Competence is the oil of sustainability regarding leadership from a technical standpoint. And depth is never encountered without much competence to hold a membership seeking that sense of technical mastery with which to trust in.


The greatest leaders of history were masters first of these two. Their honesty saw them enjoy the confidence of admitting the things they didn’t know, and this authenticity—which is such an alluring quality—endeared them to their charges, such that they soon did know and were hence found competent.

Likewise, the technically competent have the consciousness of being to note incongruence, and with their passion for truth, so the team doesn’t miss out, they quickly find re-dress for the situation in ways that engenders positive results for the person(s) affected and the team.

Leadership is power. It hits the ground running and takes ’em deep!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Acknowledgement: My thanks to a colleague, Keith Britton, for reminding me of these two key ingredients of leadership.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Self-Promotion and the Signs of Uncertainty

ALMOST EVERYONE IS BLESSED ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. Yet, there comes times for us to feel rather uncertain about ourselves and our “fit” in this world. These times we get tempted to self-promote because we think people aren’t noticing us and what good we’re doing, our talents etc.

These times—on the balance of everything—are simply a call to hold out some faith that we are getting the recognition due us, and there are many things we don’t know that are perhaps colluding for us behind the scenes. These things we’ll never really know about.

The “Self-Promotion” Balance to Achieve

When we go for a new job, for instance, we must “sell” ourselves. So, self-promotion is a necessary evil.

Anyone who’s in any sort of “industry” where marketing themselves and self-salespersonship are key elements skates a fine line—if they over-correct the balance—that threatens the relationships on the other side to the core.

People can be very easily irritated and upset at us, and frankly turned off, at our overtures for exposure, success, acknowledgment and recognition. The irksomeness of the overly zealous self-promoter is an itch everyone wants to scratch—for all the wrong reasons.

A Change of Focus?

When we start to absorb some of the negative self-reflection everyone tends to make, we can easily start to worry for our success, especially if our focus has slipped onto the issue of the “me” inside us all. We look in our own backyards too intently. We over-analyse. We make little issues into bigger ones than they need to be. We protect our own too much.

Perhaps we’ve just launched out new, published a book or created a product, service or website—and this, in our own minds, can only ever be a moderate success at best, even if people love it. Ambivalent responses just aren’t anticipated. Again, even if they do love it we’ll only be moderately satisfied. Anything less is just disappointing.

This is dangerous territory. But we’ve all been there I suspect.

High and False Expectations – the Danger

For starters, we’re setting our expectations unrealistically high—if they’re not met, and rarely are high expectations ever met, we’ll be crushed, annoyed, confused and even more uncertain and fearful about ourselves. We’ll reinforce a negative and quietly destructive loop.

And what’s more, sadly contentment and achievement become divergent goals. One or the other, not both.

The Call to Faith

All we can really do to remedy this situation is have a little faith.

We try not to think about ourselves, our plans and ‘our successes,’ and focus on others’ needs of us; this way when we do experience those little and large milestones we can enjoy the serendipity of them, for what they are—i.e. little joys.

We all need to be reminded from time to time.

Faith can help us better align simultaneously both contentment and achievement objectives; they don’t need to be mutually exclusive; they can be achieved simultaneously with faith.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Four Anonymous Inspirational Quotes to Live By

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

“God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow into them.”

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”

“The best angle from which to approach any problem is the try-angle.”

Each of these quotes above is from a person named “Author Unknown.” This person is obviously very smart and wise. They have created so many recorded wise sayings.

Of course, these little sayings, when we reflect over them, can transform our otherwise negative outlooks. We all fall into the trap of pessimism and the quicker we can lift ourselves out of this the better.

Start now.

Grow into that dream of yours.

See the true you and listen to that person, not the impostor you usually listen to.

Those who try, succeed... eventually.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Perfect Technology

It’s trust manifest in communal grace,

the treasured being, divine embrace,

a moment seeing—heaven as a space,

that, for us, our heartfelt place.

Knowing congruence, lives lived true,

appreciation, aplomb, without a moment blue,

still there’s a role, a depth downstairs,

beside the warrant, special golden cares.

The perfect technology is nothing we brought to bear,

only of itself it comes to light, never appointed snare,

stilled the wonder, most prepared, eternally to dare,

all who see it simply stand, pointing: “a heavenly lair.”

Wonder aloft beyond the spoils and trouble,

gorgeous delight hastens at the double,

seamless truth and majesty the drive to be aware,

happens it of now, technology abounds in fanfare.


The perfect technology is the grace and the ways of God. It’s the wisdom way bound by truth—the only sort. It is how life works out. It is inevitability.

To think that we can go through life and never truly know this “heavenly” life is a tragic sadness. Still, everyone’s got an equal opportunity, but then again many are so horribly blinded by the masquerading of the prince of this world.

Perfect technology is the right answer to the problem—any problem; the place of literal and situational heaven. It is also poetry in motion, the splendour of beauty the beholder simply loves immersing themselves in. It’s hope, peace and joy all rolled-in on themselves.

This “technology” is more alluring and mystical than the scientific and manufactured technology we’re used to. It’s a spiritual technology as if there were such a thing. But, the great thing of life is the concept of invention. Here it is today, a technical concept, spiritualised. And yet, it always was.

The perfect technology is home to congruence, alignment, truth and hence grace. It is also our home—the use of it as our modus operandi, that is. It is the process of blessing.

A mystical and abstract technology in a post-postmodern age; funny, it was God’s idea in the first place. I guess, then, it won’t be so popular (to the masses)!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Stopping All Stations

THE FULL DAY-BY-DAY LIFE, considered and reflected upon, is a complete experience. The whole journey is punctuated—on its overall balance—seemingly with every emotion available to humanity.

Each period of life is a station—if we could view life that way—a temporary place of situational schema, uniquely contextualised, painted to the person. On this whistlestop tour we visit each station but do not stay.

Arbitrarily we travel almost without direction as the motives of time outsmart us—they will always have their advantage over us—taking us on a winding, dipping and ascending rollercoaster ride through the entirety of human experience. At times we ask quite desperately, ‘Why this station... why now... why me?’ Perplexed, we can’t grasp why.

And it needs to be recognised...

These stations, like all stations, never come against us derisively or spitefully. They don’t have intentions, they just “are.” And they leave as quickly as they come, though at times they stay with us for unwelcomely long periods of time.

Other stations are far more welcome. But these can’t take a trick, for they never stay long enough for our liking. We usually want to cling to these stations and they simply can’t be clung to. Our times shift—the motives of time beyond us. Time is dynamic.

Stations refuse to be held. We’re up for the full tour: good, bad, indifferent, cold, hot, busy, bored, calm, chaotic, living, dying, in pain, in pleasure; feeling ecstasy, sorrow, bitterness, better-ness; knowing triumph and tragedy—and all between.

This station-stop tour confounds our wills. Frustration is senseless and futile. It kicks against something that merely forces self-harm back on us. Any number of societal ills are attributed the anti-coping measures of people who refuse to endure badly “apportioned” stations; they blame something that simply can’t be blamed.

For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer... in sickness and in health... we must truly accept each and every station as coming inevitably, without bias and certainly on its own merits.

Appreciate that our all-stops tour is saving nothing of what we fully paid for—the investment of air in the lungs, oxygen to the brain, blood to the heart—the living, intelligent organism; the Mastermind behind it all would save us none of the fullest experience, such is his love.

As the seasons endure, combining a punched ticket-book of station visits, we can reflect over our experience one by one and know, God has been, and is, faithful.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Living in a Blur

Tragic place, supposed to be life,

Point of order, believe, or strife,

Negative wonder things unseen,

Hardly recognisable, reality a dream?

Merging moments, life untended,

Sprinkling truth, a soul to be mended,

Truth that never goes away,

Coming back day after day.

Warning atop warning, such is life,

Clinging close threatens the knife,

Come to the place, sure we can see,

Stop the rot now that is the plea.

Finally the courage, the reserve of pluck,

Nothing like maximising our determined “luck,”

Strident order this life abode,

Thank heavens a place of gentle goad.


There are always plenty of reminders to establish or re-establish life balance. Living in a blur is okay for a season or a specified time in life. We can easily rise to the occasion, like the surgeon undertaking a critical day-long operation or an emergency team clearing rubble after an earthquake. But, the human body and mind break down eventually if they’re not given the rest they need. Burnout becomes inevitable.

For instance, humans rack up a ‘sleep debt’ that’s generally very hard to recover from. We cannot bank sleep. Burn the candle at both ends week after week and soon chaos is going to cascade into your life—making itself a dogged home.

When life gets a little crazy our realities seem dreamlike. We wonder if they’re really real. We begin to forget things we used to easily remember. We begin to second-guess ourselves and others. We become less reliable.

When life’s too crazy we’ve forgotten the essential art of maintenance; the science of truth as far as our mortal bodies is concerned. And still the reminders come, again and again. The body and mind have their ways of ushering in sense—if only we’ll listen.

Our sanity is not something to be taken for granted. It is linked more with our holistic health than many of us realise.

The gentle goad is the body and mind’s reminder we’re to heed. If we don’t heed the reminder eventually we’re going to pay and the cost might be too great. Many people who push themselves too hard for too long will end up eventually suffering any manner of adaptive disorders, including anxiety attacks and depression. Certainly our capacities diminish. Our hope fades.

Then we resolve to do something; we act... we get involved for a time in inaction so as to recover... we make adjustments, at first, slashing adjustments.

As the blur then recedes and we take hold of our peace in the expression of courage to stop, rest, sleep and recover, our minds and bodies return—restoration comes into our spirits.

And life can begin again.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.


Some days we have it and some we don’t. On a recent day I woke with such a resigned joy that it could only be described as a dense peace.

Driving to work was a funny experience. As I listened to the radio in my car I was not tempted once to channel-flick. My soul was in a numbed harmony with whatever was being played at the time. Nothing in the traffic was deterring me either. I simply moved calmly with its flow.

As I entered the work area I was destined for, the interactions with the people I had to see went like silk. There was nothing that blocked this sense of abiding peace. I was no threat to them and they weren’t a threat to me.

And yet throughout the day I wasn’t particularly happy or joyful per se.

Peace such as this is inexplicable. It feels as if it is simply in the state all its own; such a strange almost un-peace-like state.

This is a deep spiritual peace which comes not like the peace connected externally with joy and the outcomes in life. It’s the peace that transcends understanding—indeed, I connected it as the peace of the Lord (Philippians 4:6-7).

The best thing to do when such a peace comes is to simply allow it a place to rest, for we can buck it away because the typical joy doesn’t seem there. But a more deep-seated and resigned joy takes its place. If we take our time to ponder a cloud formation or appreciate any number of wonders around us, we’ll soon see that this sense of peace is fundamentally better than the other sort.

For starters, it is retained easier. Materialistic peace holds us more conditionally.

Spiritual peace can only come when we’re connected divinely with God.

I have often tried to describe or define the Hebrew word shalom, but it’s so rich a word it’s hard to find it its justice. But, as a state, this sense of resigned and deeply indwelt peace of holistic acceptance must come close.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It’s Time to LIVE!


This life is the life of the living; there’s plenty of time to decay when we’ve bitten the dust.

But, this is no excuse to take silly risks with this precious existence we’ve come to know. We’re blessed with the living to make the most of the opportunities to simply experience all of the good things there are to do.

Today ‘is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice fully and be utterly glad in it’ (Psalm 118:24). There are no half days, only full days. And though our moods waver the times don’t.

This is a message resplendent in joy.

As I walked with my wife on a night-time date in our lovely city recently, I suddenly re-discovered something amazing again: “This truly is heaven,” I said to her. She just smiled and knew exactly what I meant. The moment was joyous and light; we lived it in pleasant surrounds; all the eye could see was beautiful.

This life is the call to take hold of the minute as it slowly ticks by and decide for joy; to recognise the hope that’s there beyond our perhaps sullen or downcast mood. We can be taken to joy as quickly as misery. What a choice that is!

Being ourselves tonight is about really being ourselves—free to exist and explore and dominate our days with healthy inspiration. It’s the courage to be as we really are. No false pretences, no fears weighing us down, no doubting that life is good.

Life is good.

Today and tonight is mine and it is yours. We were given it. Let us not waste this very precious gift.

Truly, how many are no longer alive or as yet unborn?

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How Do Others See Me?

NO MATTER HOW MUCH PEOPLE REJECT THIS nobody can truly refute the power we give regarding others’ perceptions of us. We all care what our peers, neighbours, superiors and subordinates think of us.

Knowing this, and looking it squarely in the face—with gritted teeth in fact, we can now draw close to the only thing that will promote the best in others’ perceptions of us, and again, a positive self-perception.

This thing we need is authenticity—the ability of the character to sit comfortably with the truth, always. That is the perfection of authenticity.

A whole barrage of virtue underpins this.


Courage, for one, is the very basis of truth’s apex. Without courage to throw off the shackles of those things we hide about ourselves we cannot come close to truth. Courage implores us to boldly go where we’ve not gone before, risking at times humiliation, embarrassment and even temporary loss so far as popularity with our peers is concerned. But courage is not stupidity... think about it.

Courage is the catalyst required in building for us, a wall of virtuosity.


Humility too is the desired and sought-after fruit of character balance. We see things aright when we’re humble. We’re therefore drawn to the truth—about ourselves and about others. All we want is truth. Hang the cost personally. Yet, costs as far as they come to others are wisely considered. Humility is a balanced self-interest in what we can do to improve.


Acceptance is a product of courage and humility. We accept what we can’t change. Acceptance is also wisdom as it accepts the things that can be changed as “changeable.” This is a great blessing, because finally we have the courage and humility to change and become more real, more truthful and more ourselves. We accept ourselves.


Authenticity—the overall goal in how others should see us—is the outward manifestation of our dedication to truth; courage, humility and acceptance work with truth to achieve this. They propel truth... or thrust us toward truth.

There is nothing quite like—more and more—being able to look people in the eye and be ‘all of us’ in our momentary interactions with people. This is the character of congruence—and of itself it brings peace to the soul.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, April 19, 2010

En-JOY Your Life – By Means, Spiritually

THE SPIRIT WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES knits thought together in seemingly harmless ways but always according to the purposes of God. Nothing in this way is ever an accident. [This thought ignited by a dear friend.]

I love playing with words like a kitten does with a ball of wool or a young leopard with a novice impala before it savours its first fresh kill.

When we “enjoy” things we’re in the process of being ‘in-joy’ for the ancient languages that feed into our English held “en” as equivalent to our “in.”

So, what is the relevance?

Life is to be en-joyed. We’re purposed for a life that is, in a sense, a total joy—a state of in-joy-ment—or a movement toward that state.

And this, at its final resting place, speaks of hope. It’s the hope of coming joy that keeps us smiling through the madness, the fury, the sadness’s, the tears. Hope remains for joy, for peace at last.

To be in-joy and to “enjoy” are one and the same thing. Whilst we enjoy something we’re in-joy and our whole life purpose is to achieve this state continually.

The only way we can do this is to become spiritually one with God. He is the only one who can give us the power of continual spiritual in-joy-ment, not that this is “happiness” as we usually associate it as. But it is an appreciation for life and all it holds for us. It’s a long-term view if you like.

It’s an “accepting” state that runs with the flow of life.

Joy is not really happiness. Joy is an inside job. To en-joy, truly “in” ourselves, is to feel within the safety of knowing God and his Presence with us. It’s a sense of peace in that.

Joy is available in pain. Joy acknowledges the pain is real, that it’s horrible just now, but it waits patiently in hope, for a better time is coming. We never enjoy pain but we can remain in-joy for a future time and a future state that is coming. We can also remain in-joy for what the pain is achieving in us, if we’ll let it—that funnel to maturity. The hope for these things is enough to keep a smiling light burning better-than-dimly within.

This is when we know we truly know God—when we can feel this kind of joy at the depths. It’s the safest place to be. It’s the place where the Holy Spirit calls us home, residing as welcomed houseguest-unto-family-member.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.