Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Got a Problem? Sweet!

“When you approach a problem, strip yourself of preconceived opinions and prejudice, assemble and learn the facts of the situation, make the decision which seems to you to be the most honest, and then stick to it.”

~Chester Bowles.

“Pretty simple really,” I hear you say sarcastically. Okay, I was having the same thought! Notwithstanding, the theory in the above quote is chock-a-block with decision-making wisdom; the practicalities of implementation, on the other hand, are sure to have us thinking again.

Okay, so let’s break this down:

1. Stripping Ourselves of Subjectivity – Becoming Objective

This is perhaps our hardest problem. We can’t help it—it seems—to have our biases. But, awareness is the thing that will redeem us from this lowly relational position. Awareness will give us the step-by-step tools of accountability so far as honesty is concerned.

Making ourselves see the truth regarding our factless opinions and biases is the effective starting point.

The truth is the necessary building block to the next issue: getting to the facts—what we can actually work with; that which won’t crumble between our fingers like opinions and innuendo will.

2. Assembling and Learning the Facts

Fact-finding is something many people do routinely in their vocations; it’s the job of doctors, police, teachers, tradespeople and scientists etc., to establish the factual context and then deliberate on approaches from there.

Thinking about your job role there’s bound to be skills in ‘truth acquisition’ needed for you to succeed. See, you already have the skills.

We have the skills, so we just need the right motive and techniques to employ. We must simply ‘catalogue’ the facts. Pen and paper, whilst they’re old-fashioned, often do the best job.

3. Make the ‘Most Honest’ Decision

Honesty requires us to be emotionless and personally ruthless—these form as our allies.

The ‘most honest’ decision is still the one that we might not want to make—to choose the most honest option. But, we deny the truth we invested in the foregoing steps if we cave-in to a whim of poor judgment now.

4. Commit to the Decision Made

Notwithstanding times when we clearly do make the wrong choice and then have to reverse our actions and plans, we do clearly need to stick to our guns, getting committed to following through with the decisions that have now been well made—due the above, very solid process.

The entire process above is enshrined in honesty.

Behind honesty, of course, is integrity. Integrity in problem-solving and decision-making is integral to success.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our Two Commonest Problems and What to Do

Our two commonest problems—though they are presented in the present—are our pasts and our futures.

Whether it is dashed or unmet dreams, abuse or neglect, if we don’t learn to let go of our troublesome pasts they will ransom our joy for fear, manifested usually in guilt or shame or both.

Likewise, the future can present us with either a lack of hope or fear itself, which, again, is a sort of momentary or longer term hopelessness.

Breaking Life Down to Its Time-Component Parts

Put another way to the above, if we broke life down according to time—past, present and future—we could assess and analyse the causes in each of those categories so far as our problems-of-living are concerned.

And this is important...

I think we’d quickly find that the past and the future—as living states—have a lot to answer for. These commence, for us, two problems which are opportunities to be taken; problems to be overcome.

The Central Premise of Hope

Hope is fundamental to the effective and ‘happy’ living of life. Not many would argue with that.

Hope, then—from the living-of-life viewpoint—steers our way by how we view our pasts and our futures, and how these inform our present moments—our feeling and thinking and, therefore, our saying and doing.

Of course, also, our saying and doing (from our feeling and thinking) come ‘back’ to us via feedback, in a world that is far from holding us ‘in a safe bubble’ i.e. people react to us almost in a cause-and-effect way. Put another way, life doesn’t in any way protect us from our words and actions.

This is almost like an echo of our feeling and thinking—to our saying and doing. Yes, what goes around truly has a habit of coming back around.

This fact—our acting and their reacting—has a tremendous and tumultuous effect on our ‘felt’ sense of hope.

“Just Live in the Present More”

We’ve all heard this cliché: “Just live in the present more to enjoy more of life.”

But what trips us up is our need and our propensity to revisit our pasts and envisage our futures.

Of course, by focus, we can live more presently; so long as we’re consciously aware, and perhaps secondarily, we can also train ourselves to live more ‘instantly,’ but this is still not going to be natural for us; not nearly enough for our intrinsic needs to be met, anyway.

Just staying in the present might help temporarily, but we really need to practice being present, i.e. continually, for it to work. This alone—the practice—can be very fatiguing.

Thankfully there is a superior way.

Show Me the Way Home

Let’s think about tangible solutions to these two problems—the past and future—we’ve invested in and analysed.

We know we are forever held back—our core problems in life regarding these hope-gaps—surrounded by our perception of our pasts and our futures.

We also know we can’t escape these entirely; the past and future commanding their own respective attention.

So, we must address the shortfalls in our experiences of both the past and future. The past is always the best place to start, for this is the place that so often—unfairly and incorrectly a lot of the time—informs us and guides us; our actual present and futures.

What is always required is a ruthless honesty to accept what’s been, to forgive where necessary, and to move on in truth, grace and love. The simpler and more mechanistic this can be done the better.

The way home is the journey back to the past, to ‘put it right,’ (as far as personally possible) and to live life accepting life’s best, which at times is pretty ordinary, always. This journey ameliorates both problems—the past and the future—the commonest problems known to humanity.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Gumption to Start Over

“Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.”

~F. Scott Fitzgerald.

We’ll so often laud the person persisting to the detriment, often, of the one showing the equivalent pluck, and this of salient wisdom, to begin again, to start over.

To start over takes humility and, in that, honesty. It’s to the genesis of thought that springs from knowing at once—or finally, at last—that things have gone far enough in their present state and that change is necessary.

Enter the Resolve of the Will

Once the situational environment has been considered, and a decision reached, the will is then invested toward commitment; the acquisition of the change itself.

The will facilitates the desire of change. It remains intact whilst the attention is bound within a flurry—the torment of discomfort as new things are tried.

The will is capable and engineered to maintain resolve. It makes itself a promise and has the potential to endure, not with things that have ‘always been’ so much, but with new things. The will is shaped to the need of the mind, body and soul—the human being it represents.

Instances of Courage

For anyone that’s gone ‘in’ and considered change—and this precludes none of us—there is a moment or even two or more where courage is needed; this is the rearguard enabling the will.

Reinforcing tenuous moments (or instances) where the will quivers; this, again, is courage’s role. In this it has no peer.

But, courage must be led; well-versed as it were... it requires a well-ordered, disciplined, and justly-informed faith.

Finally, Faith

Courage, realistically, has no idea without the necessary basis of faith.

Instances and possibilities of good faith or faith-not-so-good—including options between both—reveal the need, also, of faith to know a discreet and trustworthy wisdom. This counsels the purveyor of the decision.

Faith is the golden inquisition of the heart, striving for good; for a better modus operandi—even to bear the necessary pain of change.

Faith is the breathing space required—a three-month money-back guarantee or some relative equivalent—underwriting the project, giving it wings.


The ranks of insight, awareness, the will, courage and faith report for duty in cases of vitality where starting over is the wisest though grittiest move.

Point duty is assigned and each has their part. The goal is reached when each resists the temptation to insubordination. Starting over requires the due diligence of the well-oiled military machine.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Living Out This Bliss-filled Day and Beyond

“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”

~Hans Christian Anderson.

Some days we wake up and we immediately conclude, “This is going to be good!”

And so it is. We have mastered this moment.

We have an abundance of things to look forward to in this state—we’re resplendently hopeful, even to the idea of the unfathomable. We cannot even contend with such irreconcilable joy.

Holding this Terrific Moment

Days like these we gently rest, content as we are, loath to grasp at more happiness—the shyest modicum even—that we can safely contend with or endure. For when we grasp at it, off then it suddenly vanishes into thin air!

Therein lays a momentous tension.

We hold something with beauty so lightly and it exists before our eyes, even for the whole world to see; clasp it a tender bit tighter, however, and it slips through our fingers like warm oil.

A Burgeoning Platform

Because this particular day seems more blessed than many others, we ‘risk manage’ with it, applying to it the thought of the ages, to the wisdom of the sages.

We can’t restrain the day so we do the next best thing of perception. That is to simply begin gently planning ahead, whilst containing the moment, so we can realign our less bliss-filled expectations—which we know will be all too awry the day after or the day after that.

With the vision of this ‘not-quite-yet’ life on our peripheral radar, we’re investing—or better put, redeploying—some of the superabundant joy we have now for a time when we won’t quite be so spiritually spritely.

What’s Next?

We have to be careful how we redeploy our positive spiritual energy—the infusion of God’s abiding Presence together with a fortunate set of circumstances.

Some planning, in the purely negative sense, is perhaps invested too deeply in the indecisiveness of worry. We’re not advocating or standing for that. Considering what is next and aiming on mitigating the risks to our strident hope is merely a string of wisdom in prudently retarding the ambush of time.

And time will inevitably ambush all of us via the fact we cannot hold bliss.

Half of one eye on the near-sighted future does help us, very paradoxically, to redouble our resources of hope and joy in this present and lovely day we’re right in.

Both for then and now, we like the fact that we’re attuned to reality—not one little bit scared about the truth and what the future holds.

Now, that’s life!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

PERSPICUITY – the Better Way

“I can look at the future with anticipation. And it’s comforting to know that someday, as Christians, we’ll be able to look back and have a little more clarity on why certain things in life happened.”

~Amy Grant.

I always know God is pointing me in a particular direction of exploration when he places before me one strange word or concept in two dichotomous ways. The way I see it, it has to be a God-thing.

At times I think and write in ways that are anything but perspicuous. In other words, the end (for the reader) is sometimes reached arduously, with much thought, and some I’m sure are perhaps lost along the way; it doesn’t quite make for effective communication.

Nonetheless, it’s often what must be.

Something Better to Look Forward to

Life will soon become clearer.

It comes clearer by the view of the moment and of eternity. God has promised perspicuity, i.e. clarity, and it is certainly known to us in the nature of life; take, for instance, the outcome of learning. Things that once confused and overwhelmed us we now do with unconsciously competent aplomb. Is that not clarity?

Insight is a marvellous thing as it’s reached. As it’s acquired; sweetness!

Suddenly the light-bulb flashes into operation in our minds and we’re brilliantly and correctly edified.

This Better Way – a Reason to Strive

In all ways known to life we search for the better, clearer way, the way that makes an aberrant sense and that separates out the various confusions of life.

With this better, more perspicuous way, we find our confidence and suddenly we’re more able to fully enjoy this life—the superabundant life of John 10:10b.

And yet, perhaps we’re not there yet. Maybe we only get there occasionally. Perhaps we’ve been there but those times have long vanished. Even worse, maybe those times are such a distant memory in the context of our presently enigmatic circumstances we can’t possibly see our way back to the way we know life can be.

Still, we strive. We must.

Now and Then!

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

~1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV).

Clarity is coming, and though we see glimpses of perspicuity, we won’t know it fully, unconditionally—not yet.

The Christ-life is, however, within realms, the view and reality of salvation this side of eternity, which is perfect perspicuity. And though we live now in a rather imperfect version of perspicuity, a.k.a. ‘eternal life now,’ it is no less the better way.

We can afford the confidence of grace; of lightness; of the knowledge of God.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

More ‘Sunscreen’ Advice – Building ‘Life’ to Your Years

“Don’t worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.

“The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindsides you at 4 P.M. on some idle Tuesday.”

~Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen (the Song by Baz Luhrmann).

Many people won’t listen to biblical wisdom and it’s their loss, but God knows that wisdom for living is so important he sprinkles it everywhere. This is one source of God’s wisdom—in this humble song that charted well in the late 1990s.

Being Blindsided

We are best to never underestimate the ability for life to surprise us—and not always for the better. We only need to be blindsided once in a cataclysmic sort of way and we’re forever wary, it seems, to the power of life to grab us by the shortest hairs on our body and shake some sense into us.

Being blindsided and the possibilities for same are not really about living in fear; not at all.

It’s mainly about just simply being aware that these things happen, and indiscriminately it seems. Being awake and compassionate with those who have been side-swiped and T-boned in life is a great thing—a real blessing.

There’s no lack of suffering in this dying world.

Worry – Confounding Folly

The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34 regarding worry and its senselessness are as resonant today as ever, but we can only lead that stubborn horse to water—we can’t make him drink (and stop worrying). Only the horse can do that for themselves!

The logic of worry tends to make sense to us because, well, we can do it.

However, just because we’re capable of doing something doesn’t mean it’ll lead us to the destination we seek. Worriers are generally pretty aimless. They’ve lost focus.

Focus is the great reparative to the ancient vexation of worry and focus is a discipline.

Staying in Eternal Reality – Addressing These Two Above

Reality is the best place. It’s ironically safest. Although it occasionally chills us to its horrible and all-too-real lucidness, it also reveals itself as a friend to the ones of truth. But, we only know this when we dabble in the unconditional experience of it—taking what comes, come what may.

Focus is the friend of reality. It stays in the moment and does not run either to the past or future, for comfort or as the result of some other fear.

As we take our drink from the bar on some holiday destination in the sun, quaffing it reflectively, we do well to remember the moment, cherishing it for what is actually is.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Ode to the ‘King of Pop’ – One Year Hence

He came to our worlds lighted and hot,

pressing delight and hot to trot,

worthy esteem we could but give,

some it seems disparagingly grieve.

Leaving us then, sad but true,

why now, why ever, only God knew,

leaving a hole, one that grew,

we now sit obliged giving him due.

Alive we stand for this time we do,

cherishing the wonder and how life’s new,

willing we are astride the queue,

he lives in our memory forever askew.

Finally, paraded, he will not give,

apart this world without to live,

for us to recoil we do but know,

he pushes us off inspired to go.


No matter our view of Michael Jackson, he influenced and inspired generations been and to come. His legacy lives on. And though we rightly stop in our adoration of him before we reach worship—which is due only God—we do thank God for Michael and people like him; people who take our imaginations beautifully by thankful ransom.

Personally—and I speak for many silent voices in this—people like Michael Jackson, despite the maligning slurs, have their place in inspiring us to go to the zenith of ourselves. God-placed inspirants these all are; players of talent modelling achievement and dedication to their crafts.

Michael Jackson—like so many of his contemporaries—has breathed a lasting legacy into the worlds of music, dance; the performing arts in sum.

All our lives have been vastly enriched by him and others like him. I thank God for them.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Image Credit: The Musing Wordsmith: The Indomitable Musings of Cydnie Wilson, My Lifetime with MICHAEL JACKSON, A Homage to the Moonwalker (June 27, 2009). Available:

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Healing Power of Tears

“Invisible tears are the hardest to wipe away. Just let it out, my friend.”

~Terri Guillemets.

Everybody hurts and everybody cries—some simply forlornly hold up their tears. I wrote the following in my journal at the beginning of this year:

Don’t underestimate the power of tears.

This has abided faithfully with me; the process of tears is a most faithful companion bringing a most certain sunny dawn like was never before seen—whether that is the literal to-morrow or not.

There is an amazing amount of simple and yet fundamentally powerful wisdom in the abovementioned and foregoing quotations. Anyone who will extend upon themselves these truths—in their sorrowful meandering, however they come about them—will know the place of peace; the peace provident in God.

“The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep.”

~Henry Maudsley.

“Tearless grief bleeds inwardly.”

~Christian Nevell Bovee.

We stress the organs not bound for grief when the heart will not do as it’s told—due often to a foolish sense of pride. The heart must be supple and obedient to the mind; the mind informing the heart, in wisdom no less, how it is to augment both body and soul, bringing them, and the unit, into oneness again.

“Let your tears come. Let them water your soul.”

~Eileen Mayhew.

Tears, we should know, facilitate the healing process. Yet, in all our tears—often due a lack of precursory evidencewe doubt the healing power of this process; the flowing tide of overwhelming emotion going uncontrollably into the morrow.

Like the growth process that we also cannot see, tears are never more certainly doing what they were designed to do. They are bringing a sunshine-destiny to the weary soul that partakes of its gently abiding tranquil grace.

“The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.”

~John Vance Cheney.

The evidence of rain—after the event—is the rainbow.

The rainbow is pretty and indeed miraculous. It signals something dark is ended—for the time being. The rainbow—meteorologically and spiritually—we’d all perhaps agree, is something for which nature and life depends.

Tears - A Faith-Held Investment

We must go with the flow and never resent the tears that overwhelm and even embarrass us. It is the compassion of Jesus all over our souls as we’re imbued—revived as it were—from the inside out.

And this is, at last, an expression of our faith, for faith invests patiently not knowing beyond doubt; but indeed it still trusts. We too must trust in our tears—the assured, eventual and incremental healing power of both those light and streaming tears—growing us, to heal us.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Conditions of Spiritual Strength

Strength abiding, the resolve of accord,

pleasure’s uniting, smiles abroad,

the Spirit attending, One simply adored,

bonds a-blending, it cannot be ignored.

Strength as this, never to be condemned,

Adding the response, a season to flow,

Quelling not the stream now as it’s stemmed,

A balance accordant, the reason to know.

Parlance­—of meaning—the concept is sure,

a matter, it is, of harmonious trust,

it takes us assuredly through life’s held door,

the product can it be, the holiest lust?

Abiding, the sense, keen to the heart,

heaven aboard, the thing to glean,

the Spirit’s whisper, where to start,

sprinkling the soul, clean and lean.

Here we are, alive, renewed,

displaying God’s power however construed,

parlay of promise, the hope imbued,

Strength of moment holds us, never unglued.


There are times when we feel as strong as an ox spiritually; a keen sense of God’s Spirit abiding in and through us. We feel awake and alive and almost as if nothing could come against us.

This Power is a Flow

We harness the condition here and this is what the poem above is about. We feel unified within; completely able to sense and enjoy the pleasure we’ve been bestowed with, for such a time as this.

And yet, at times we’ll be condemned by others for feeling strong; they’ll be threatened by the power we’ve sourced—denying it is truth. But, power like this is a flow. It cannot truly be interrupted—not of its own accord, anyway.

The power in these conditions of spiritual strength is alluring; it abides in God. As God is One, so are we.

‘Holy Lust’

What on earth is holy lust—surely an offensive oxymoron?

Not so quickly. Lust is lost in the emotion of excess love—love gone awry—it now wants what it cannot have, but it takes it anyway. And only in terms of the energy of lust... what if we approached holiness with the very same greedy vigour—is that possible? This is surely falling head-over-heels in love with God.

Power and Strength

Power is cleanness. It is a channelled energy, clean and lean.

Strength as this is built. One day upon another, the receding days attending between, we capitalise on the strong days as they do come, never looking back nor forward.

Striding through our days—bolstered in godly magnanimous strength, prepared for love—we are easily and constantly well-inspired. Life is full of meaning and hope and the threats are not seen so much fearfully, but as opportunities. And they abound, they do, every day.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.