Tips for Self-Refection

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1One of the most helpful tips provided to me in improving my mental health has been to engage in self-reflection.  However, the tip did not come with any other instruction than to engage in self-reflection.  Thus, I provide the following for those who are like me who need a little more than simply being told to “self-reflect more.”  Please note, self-reflection is not complicated, does not require any special tools, and is only contingent upon starting.  The following is a practical guide to helping to spur starting!  It’s that Missouri mindset, I just cannot get away from it!

Self-reflection can be guided and unguided.  For the novice, guided self-reflection is a good place to begin to learn to self-reflect and grow into unguided self-reflection.  Some people will consider self-reflection meditation, and while I fully admit meditation and self-reflection have many similarities, they are different.  Others try to inject religious overtones into self-reflection, and I fully admit self-reflection is used in many religions across the globe to improve worship services; I am not venturing into the religious aspects of religious self-reflection.

If you would like to explore the topics of meditation and religious self-reflection, I know several good resources; don’t hesitate to get in touch with me outside this forum for those resources.

Guided Self-Reflection

Deep PoetryGuided self-reflection is as simple as journaling your thoughts on a specific topic.  Yes, it is that simple.  There is nothing complicated or crazy, no gurus, no chanting (unless you want to), simply writing down your thoughts on a single topic.  The idea is to focus your mind on sticking to a single topic and write.  I find pen and paper the most challenging medium and one that I cannot reliably, methodically, and consistently adhere to, so I use a keyboard and keep a journal in MS Word.

At the beginning of guided self-reflection, C. S. Lewis 365-Journal Topics was a book I picked up, and it helped inspire journal topics to consider.  Thus, the guided aspect of journaling, using the thoughts of others to marshal your thoughts and write them down.  Making your thoughts known is vital to better understanding you.  Please note, the blank page is intimidating; thus, novice self-reflection is enhanced with motivating forces of religious texts, quotes, jokes, memes, political feelings, news stories, etc.  All of which is fodder for getting the thoughts in your head onto paper for later review.

Unguided Self-Reflection

Free-flow writing, I unguided self-reflection and is where no longer is the blank page intimidating.  More to the point, unguided self-reflection occurs where the mind enters a period of peace or tranquility, recognized from journaling and reflects upon recent events surrounding you throughout the day, cataloging these events for later dissemination and discussion in your journal.  The advanced stage of unguided self-reflection occurs at different times and seasons for different people.  Some people go in cycles between guided and unguided self-reflection due to the chaos in their lives.  Other people move rapidly into unguided self-reflection and never return to guided self-reflection.  Some people stay in guided self-reflection; there is no right or wrong to self-reflection!

Tips to Self-Reflection

        1. Start!
        2. Find what works, and stick to it!
        3. Pick a time that works.
        4. Use what you have.
        5. Be you! – A friend keeps buying new technology, new note pads, new books, new etc., and never uses them. New isn’t them.

Be you!  Be real!  If you find yourself journaling on a paper bag with lots of doodles, keep the paper bag, and get more of them.  That is real self-reflection to you!

Some random thoughts on self-reflection.

In defense of writing with pen and paper - The WriterA friend from high school journaled (self-reflected) through their art.  Words could never come, but doodles and pictures were easy.  Each day their art was either beautiful or terrible, but always dramatic and eye-catching.  Most people learned to look at the book for the art before engaging in speech.  At the end of the assignment, the teacher freaked out trying to score the assignments for my friend; the art was expressive to the point that you could relate and feel what was felt that day.  I have never forgotten that art or its impact.

Simon Sinek wrote the book “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” self-reflection helps you to know your “why” to attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and so much more.  While I am not here to help Mr. Sinek sell more books, if you want a great resource to begin guided self-reflection, I do recommend this book.  You need to know your why.  Not knowing your why makes life more challenging, and your mind is easier to be manipulated by every wind of modern influence.  Knowing your why doesn’t necessarily make life easier, but it makes life easier to understand.  Understanding breeds compassion, empathy and allows you the freedom to make better choices.

10+ Best Sketch Drawing Ideas | Free & Premium TemplatesGeil Browning, Ph.D., in discussing reflective learning, talks about self-reflection and learning, providing counsel and essential guidance.  “Reflection is a deeper form of learning that allows us to retain every aspect of any experience, be it personal or professional — why something took place, what the impact was, whether it should happen again — as opposed to just remembering that it happened. It’s about tapping into every aspect of the experience, clarifying our thinking, and honing in on what matters to us.”  Practicing self-reflection takes discipline and intentionality. It requires pressing pause on the chaos of life and simply taking the time to think and ponder about life and the events of daily living, which is not easy for many people to do. But it’s a precious practice.

        1. “The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination… until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.” – Iyanla Vanzant
        2. “What we perceive about ourselves is greatly a reflection of how we will end up living our lives.” – Stephen Richards
        3. “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung25 Beautiful Rose Drawings and Paintings for your inspiration
        4. “It is always our self that we find at the end of the journey. The sooner we face that self, the better.” – Ella Maillart
        5. “I visualize where I wanted to be, what kind of player I wanted to become. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and I focused on getting there.” – Michael Jordan
        6. “The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.” – William Makepeace Thackeray
        7. “Our self-image, strongly held, essentially determines what we become.” —Maxwell Maltz
        8. “One of the greatest tragedies in life is to lose your sense of self and accept the version of you that is expected by everyone else.” —K.L. Toth
        9. “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” —Marcus GarveyBeauty will save, Viola, Beauty in everything
        10. “Self-awareness gives you the capacity to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes.” —Lawrence Bossidy
        11. ”The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one’s self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course.” —Michel Angelo
        12. “You cannot have a meaningful life without having self-reflection.” —Oprah Winfrey
        13. “Honest self-reflection opens your mind to reprogramming, change, success, and freedom.” —Unknown
        14. ”Self-reflection is the school of wisdom.” – Baltasar Gracian
        15. “Doubt, not self-reflection, comes from a destructive energy, and when it rears its head, I talk to it like a lunatic.” —Gwyneth Paltrow
        16. “There is one art of which people should be masters – the art of reflection.” – Samuel Taylor ColeridgeArt journal spread "Who She Had Always Been"
        17. “Friendship with one’s self is all-important because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
        18. “Self-reflection entails asking yourself questions about your values, assessing your strengths and failures, thinking about your perceptions and interactions with others, and imagining where you want to take your life in the future.” – Robert L. Rosen
        19. “Emotions are there to enjoy life, but they are not used in self-reflection because they inhibit a proper reflection. They gunk us up.” – Frederick Lenz
        20. “Difficulty creates the opportunity for self-reflection and compassion.” – Suzan-Lori Parks
        21. “Self-reflection is the gateway to freedom. It also brings greater appreciation and enjoyment. We begin to enjoy spending time with our own minds, and we enjoy reflecting on our experience of the teachings. Like the sun emerging from behind the clouds.” – Dzigar Kongtrul RinpocheDecoArt - Mixed Media Blog - Project - Art Journaling the ...
        22. “It is great to be introspective; self-analysis can be useful, but only if it results in action.” —Joe Sacco (emphasis mine)
        23. “Your self-esteem won’t come from body parts. You need to step away from the mirror every once in a while and look for another reflection, like the one in the eyes of the people who love you and admire you.” – Stacy London
        24. “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius
        25. “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” – Margaret J. Wheatley
        26. “Self-reflection is an important stage to diagnose, develop and strengthen your creativity.” —Pearl Zhu
        27. “The ultimate mystery is one’s own self.” —Sammy Davis
        28. “To realize the Self is to be still.” —Ramana Maharshi
        29. “The self is only that which it is in the process of becoming.” —Kirkegaard
        30. “Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed; the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.” —Indra Devi
        31. “Reflection is one of the most underused yet powerful tools for success.” – Richard Carlson
        32. “Reflection can transform something familiar.” – Diane L. DuntonReflections
        33. “We have so committed ourselves in different ways that we have hardly any time for self-reflection, to observe, to study.” —Jiddu Krishnamurti
        34. “Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don’t make it wait any longer.” —Dr. Steve Maraboli
        35. “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Revisiting No Neutrality – Today is a Day of Choosing, Tomorrow a Day of Action!

Why The Safe Path Is Dangerous - Tri-Peaks Life CoachingOn 01 July 2021, I first wrote an article regarding how there are no more safe paths, no more neutral zones, no more areas of peace to rest upon.  After the last 15-days, the world has witnessed this reality, and I revisit this topic to issue a plea.  Today, make a choice.  Tomorrow go to work implementing that choice.

In mentioning the following, I am not discussing religion but social history.  The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints holds sacred “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of JESUS CHRIST” as holy scripture.  The book contains a record of a civilization ruled by kings; then, the king proposes a society ruled by judges where their own conscience and written laws govern every person.  Both systems of government worked well.  The reign of the judges ends in chaos when the chief judge is murdered, and the people break up into separate tribes.  That is a couple of hundred years of history boiled into a few brief words; however, the pattern holds true for several other societies not recorded in books considered holy scripture.  I find the following fascinating as a template for the current time the world finds itself facing.

Why do societies fail?

Image - John Wayne QuoteMost societies fail because leaders have violated the core fundamental principles those societies were built upon. The people have lost the way to hold the leaders accountable to the fundamental principles that originally built the society.  In modern societies, these principles are codified laws from founding national documents, and holding the leaders accountable would involve lawyers and judges, as well as time and other leaders committed to holding together the system to ensure those who broke the system are held liable and accountable before the law, and not a mob.

Pick an empire, Rome, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Nephite, etc., all of them suffer the same fate as they crested the height of their time and slid into failure and ruin.  The leaders failed the people.  The government decided they did not have to perform their only job, to look out for the safety and security of the people, and the people died, and the government fell into ruin.  What have we witnessed across the globe, governments not listening to their people, refusing their people, and denying rights and liberties to their people in the name of personal power, wealth, and highly temporary fame.Finest Hour

Australia and New Zealand, the COVID measures are so beyond the pale horrific, and totalitarian that the government is doing more harm than the disease the government proclaims to be fighting.  China has blatantly broken the treaty with Hong Kong.  Nobody outside of Hong Kong appears to care enough to issue strong demands, let alone support Hong Kong’s citizenry in reclaiming that which is their right by treaty.  North Korea continues to vacillate and sway to whatever music China plays in the hopes of catching scraps, as their people suffer and die from malnutrition, disease, and neglect.Patriotism

Head into the Middle East, and that powder keg is going to blow again real soon.  Terrorists in Afghanistan never stay in Afghanistan, and now with a pipeline to China, money, and weapons from America, and new ways and means to launder money, how soon before the Middle East becomes a free-fire zone, the European mainland becomes a terrorist free-for-all shootout to rival America’s Wild West, and Africa descends into more tyranny and villainy?The Duty of Americans

Where are the leaders of government?  Where are the government representatives?  Our globe has changed since 2000; the hoped-for peace from the end of the last century has turned into a blood bath of terror on a global scale fed by low-intensity conflict (LIC).  Just as major international conflicts dominated the previous century, this century is being dominated by small brushfire LIC conflicts.  Our modes of war must change, our governments must adapt, our societies must change, and we are 20+ years into the new century.  The government still thinks this is 1995, money is free, music is 1980s good, and the future is bright and happy!

The Decisions for Today

QuestionWhat do you want most?  What government is most important to you?  Is your government system sufficiently powerful enough a motivator to propel you to action to save it and pass it along to the next generation?  America has had leaders who have been quoted as saying something to the effect of, “The blood of current generations must renew the tree of liberty to remain free.”  What will you sacrifice for liberty today, for your children to experience freedom tomorrow?

LIC is here to stay.  LIC will be the “gentlemen’s war” of this century.  Where the wealthy pool resources and purchase mayhem and destruction for their pleasure.  If society does not change, all representative governments will be lost in the turmoil created by these “children having fun.”  Worse, those little fracases could become full-blown international conflicts with nuclear weapons very easily — all based on the WWI model of human ineptitude and our human weakness for killing ourselves.LIC 2

The decisions are yours, and yours alone to make.  Collectively, your choices will move you into one of two groups, those fighting for representative government and those opposed to representative government.  Truthfully, do not expect to experience peace; there are no safe paths, no routes through tulips and rainbows on gossamer wings of spun sugar plums.  The enemy is awake; the enemy has prepared a legion of useful idiots and ivory potentates to give orders.

But, the decisions must be made, and the sooner the decision is made and communicated, the easier life becomes, for then you know your purpose!

The Actions for Tomorrow

ToolsAct with haste, prepare with confidence, and move with speed.  Get loud!  Stand like a rock!  I was told standing is not an activity.  The person proclaiming that has never stood still and faced down an enemy, or they would know just how arduous standing can be!  Seek learning through study, discussion, questions, and faith.  Seeking learning through faith means that you will actively believe until you can prove otherwise, even if it means waiting patiently for a while to learn more.

I learned this principle in the US Army.  I fully did not expect to learn this lesson, but learn it I did.  I believed in the chain of command.  Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training did nothing to dissuade that the chain of command needed to be accepted, supported, and obeyed unquestioningly.  Then I got to my first duty station and began learning my role in the chain of command as an active participant.  First, I refused to believe, then I believed in faith, then I tested and learned, then I acted above and beyond my rank and got swatted down for breaking the chain of command.  Always the same counsel, you are a great soldier/sailor, but you make decisions above your paygrade, and this rubs higher ranking people wrong.  My response, how am I responsible for the choices and consequences of those higher in rank choosing to be offended?

Knowledge Check!Everyone is now in the same boat; the chains of command cannot be trusted.  We must each think and act for ourselves for the betterment and security of our country, families, homes, freedoms, and the next generation.  We must each choose to throw off the shackles of the past, learn the lessons of history not taught in school, and then act to save the best in our societies before the wolves of terrorism steal everything.  We each must become the sheepdogs of war!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Let us Open the Dialogue – Black Lives Matters Edition

BLMI want to begin with a question, knowing the controversy over Black Lives Matters Websites, is the following website the official BLM website: https://blacklivesmatter.com/?  If this is not the official website, where is the official website?  Does this website represent another false BLM website?

I want to point out, here in the beginning that when you know justice, you know peace.  When there is no justice, there is no peace.  This single principle, “Know Justice, Know Peace” is the foundational variable upon which every successful society has risen, and upon which every failed society has suffered and fallen.  I begin with my first honest questions; would you please describe the image used and the purpose of the symbols and language?  What does “winning look like?  Does the definition of winning depend upon which color a person was born with?  Why the raised fists?  Why the color scheme?

The following article is based directly from Black Lives Matter’s Website, mentioned above, under the subheading “What we Believe,” the honest researcher can find some interesting points that matter in the ongoing conversation about the group, Black Lives Matter (BLM).  I find the final paragraph a most interesting place to start.

We embody and practice justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.”

PeaceHow can an organization believe in and practice peace among their fellow men, when members are looting, rioting, burning, attacking, and destroying?  Consider for a moment what this statement is saying, practicing peace means disowning the violent fringe, demanding your name be stripped from those acting in such a disreputable manner, and demanding the “Rule of Law” be applied, so that peace, which is the freedom to live without disturbances like riots, attacks by looters, and the tranquility of seeing tomorrow be better than today, become achievable for all.

LiberationLiberation is defined around the idea of setting someone free, releasing a person from oppression, and imprisonment.  Liberation and freedom can only be accomplished under the “Rule of Law,” where all peoples are held to the same standards, rules, and social behaviors.  Without regard to race, color, creed, religion, and lifestyle choices.  Who is BLM dedicated to liberating?  Why is BLM dedicated to liberating that population?  How does BLM plan to go about executing a plan to liberate?  All valid questions, but not discussed anywhere on the website.

ScalesJustice is the act, behavior, and the treatment of all according to a moral code.  For example, one of the earliest moral codes known to man is recorded as, “Doing unto others as you would have done unto you.”  The mainstream media has reported on BLM rioters and looters, destroying the businesses, shops, and employment of fellow black people, in traditionally black neighborhoods.  How is this tactic practicing justice?

Throughout history there have been groups dedicated to improving the lives of their fellow men.  Personally, I support these groups, when the fruits of their actions are evident in promoting a better society for the community they claim to represent.  Personally, I despise and loath any group claiming to be for a specific population and that group does nothing but enrich themselves at the expense of the populations that claim to serve.  Hence, BLM, which are you?  I cannot honestly tell that good is being done by your organization to the support of your community.  This is especially true when the mainstream media is reporting your members are pillaging, looting, and thieving at the expense of the community you purport to serve.

With all the disparity between action and published written claims, I am left to ask, “What type of group are you?”

Bob MarleyWhat do the following mean, in practice and daily application?

We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.”

For example, history has shown where skin color and personal beliefs are different if a person believes they are black, are they allowed to be members in full standing?  If a person looks to possess one skin tone but believes themselves to not belong to that skin color’s purported race, does this disqualify them?  How does this statement equal the actions purportedly by BLM members in the pillaging seen in America recently?

SocksWhat does the following mean in daily application?

We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.”

Does this empathy extend to police officers or other people of authority?  Why?  What does being empathetic do for your group?  How are the current methods of engagement with “comrades,” working?  How does empathy improve connection and context arguments to improve the black communities?  How are those efforts working?  Personally, I do not see any empathy, and the context of engagement tends to be negative.  Hence, I am asking honest questions, looking to open dialogue.

Content of their CharacterWhy this particular statement, and what is it doing to support child-rearing, and ending the practices that have been harming the black community since 1960?

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”

What evidence is being used to justify this path of child-rearing will build a stronger black community?  Where is the time-tested research reflecting that the nuclear family structure is harming or causing a disservice to the black community?  In my youth, I was privileged to know many older black Americans who discussed black community problems, failures of politicians, and honestly looked for answers to pass onto their children.  In none of these conversations was the “village” methodology mentioned ascribed as a good method for improving the black communities.  In fact, the opposite was true and the older members of the black community were quite vociferous in their arguments against this practice.  What has changed?  When did it change?  Where is the proof?

I recently read several articles by economists who looked at nuclear families in all types of races, colors, creeds, religions, and non-nuclear families in the same races, creeds, religions, and the economic impact of not having a nuclear family was distinct and clear.  From only an economic perspective, those children raised in nuclear families, without experiencing a divorce, were multiple times more likely to be successful themselves, when race, religion, creed, color, and so forth were controlled.  I am not asking for convincing evidence, I simply want to know how this conclusion was drawn and understand the process for making this decision.

What is “public justice work?”  One of the major problems in current society is that of plastic language.  Plastic language uses words that sound good and stretches them into something that means one thing, but in practice is something completely different.  For example, “fair” is often bandied about as a term.  Fair means that all are equal and receive equally.  Yet, many times fair is plasticized to mean a slanted proportion of a population gives more, where another slanted population receives less.  Fair in this instance has been abused and plasticized into meaning in practice something it does not mean.

CommitIn reading the “What We Believe” section multiple times, I am struck by the frequent mention of the homosexual communities.  Without regard for race, America has roughly 4.5% of the population as identifying as homosexual.  According to the same Gallup Poll, without regard for sex, approximately 3.7% of the black community identifies as homosexual.  Leaving some questions about beliefs unanswered.  A recent research study on traditional beliefs in sexual prejudice and race found that the black community of males tended to be more traditional towards the role of men in society, and less open in their biases towards homosexuals in general.  BLM has been reported to represent the black community, has been reported to have their finger on the pulse of what makes a person black, and knows the black community as its members are the black community.  Hence, why would the black community report one thing to researchers and another to BLM regarding the tolerance of the community towards homosexual people?  Especially to the point of repeating multiple times the opposite of traditionally reported views.

Let me be clear, I do not care what you believe as an organization.  I do not care what you believe individually as people.  Provided those beliefs do not infringe upon another person’s US Constitutionally guaranteed rights, you may believe and act according to your beliefs without any qualms from me.  When your beliefs infringe upon another person’s rights, liberties, and ability to pursue happiness, you have now crossed the line and I will oppose you.  I swore this as an oath to become a Soldier and a Sailor and I would be dishonest before God if I acted any differently.

Action is a different matter entirely.  If your action support society, even I might not personally approve, I will give you a pass because your beliefs have become a positive action in a community.  If your actions are negative towards any portion or segment of society, I will oppose you to my last breath.  Again, this was an oath taken before God and I will not change to fit a social narrative!  Any act of violence is inappropriate and detrimental to society as a whole and the community’s aims and goals.  I do not care if that violence is taken by a KKK, BLM, Antifa, ISIS, Catholic, Protestant, etc. it is violent in nature and deserves nothing less than a violent conclusion.

Lady JusticeLady Justice is blind and armed for a reason.  Not to kill without cause, not to judge with the balance of mercy, and not to use her eyes to allow one to escape the same crime another would be punished for, that is true justice, under the law.  I support the “Rule of Law,” and as such will not see the US Constitutional Republic be destroyed on my watch.  The questions asked above are honest questions.  What does BLM believe and where are the actions supporting those beliefs?

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/