Archive for October, 2020

October 29, 2020

You’re an expert in the Beatitudes

by Rod Smith

The Mercury / Friday

You may not be an expert in ancient biblical languages (I am not) but you are probably an expert in the Beatitudes, if you have heard (of) them or not.

The Beatitudes refers to the prologue in Jesus’ best known sermon.

Meet them wrapped in a real person and you know it immediately.

The finer nuances of “poor in spirit” may elude you but the counter – brashness, arrogance, haughtiness, are obvious.

Humility and gentleness are attractive, easy to discern, comforting to experience. Their opposites are jarring. You may not be a biblical scholar but in seconds you recognize meekness, and its absence.

You know who among you is exerting unnecessary power just because he or she can. Such people can’t hide from you. Same goes for mercy, truth, purity – you know it when you meet it.

Peacemakers, and men and women who have lived a little, salt-of-the-earth types who know they are not perfect, feed your soul on every encounter. But, in a nanosecond you know who is hungering for fame, power, recognition and who will go to any lengths to get it.

As rare as they perhaps are, may you encounter those whose lives are shaped by the Beatitudes, no matter what their faith tradition or the absence of one.

Better still, may they live and breathe in you.

October 26, 2020

Loving yourself is a rather good idea

by Rod Smith

It’s your longest relationship. You might as well enjoy it. 

Given that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” what’s NOT to love? You are a highly complex and powerful person, capable of so much. 

Besides, rejecting yourself is draining, tiresome work and naturally flows into rejecting others. 

Love all-round rejuvenates all-round.

Loving yourself will give others a fighting chance to love you. Someone has to lead the way. Besides, if you don’t love who you are how will you possibly expect me to? Loving yourself makes you nicer and easier to be with. It is so much more fun to be around a self-assured, self-aware person. Loving yourself makes you safe. 

Self-loathing people are short fused, quickly triggered.

Loving yourself will help you see others more clearly, especially your immediate and extended family. Your family traits, urges, passions,  will become clearer to you and you will want to embrace them, not fight them off. Appropriate self-love transforms your every perception and how you see and treat everyone and everything. Inner conditions are contagious and others reap the benefits or feel the sting of what’s going on inside you.  

Loving yourself is a prerequisite for loving anyone and anything.

October 24, 2020

Things not to lose

by Rod Smith

Losing your glasses or wallet, keys, or phone can be distressing but they can all be replaced. 

I ache we not to lose the following: 


That which separates you from others. Don’t permit the erosion of what makes you distinctly beautiful. Finding your unique form after submitting to the pervasive and grinding pressure to conform can be a tough task and, once you lose it, you may forget it ever existed. It may be impossible to reclaim.


Don’t lose your voice, not for love or money. Express your unique take on the world, let others know what you think, keep saying what you see. If you ignore or stop using your voice others will write their script into your avoidance or silence. 


Your sense of humor, hold onto it. This is the invaluable asset to laugh at yourself. Healthy humor spreads wildfire grace. It’s among your most powerful attributes for your own sake, let alone the joy it can bring to those who love you.


This is your capacity to show up, stand up, and speak up for yourself and for those who, for whatever sad reasons, cannot speak up for themselves. Don’t lose it. Spineless-ness abounds. Filleted men and women run countries, corporations, and churches, and are often paraded as examples of humility.

October 21, 2020

Inner urges worth fighting

by Rod Smith

Internal Battles Worth Fighting: To Spend, To Retaliate, To Impress, Self-pity, and To Eat – this is longer than usual. Those who are interested will plough through it all:


No matter how much money (or time) you have you will never spend your way from disappointment or loss or heartbreak to happiness. Spending won’t free you from what is causing you to feel down or let down.  

Identify, locate, isolate, that urge, and fight it. 

Try to see what is really going on in your life that you think at this moment will be corrected or satisfied by buying yet another something. 

It is an urge worth combatting and, if possible, defeating. 

If you surrender to it it will, over time, exact ever-greater demands. 

These powerful and understandable urges to find short-term relief will lead to stronger feelings of dissatisfaction than first ignited urges. 

Getting stuff and more stuff (and then even more stuff) provides a high that is almost certainly temporary. The crash, when it comes, will be accompanied by bills or debt that you probably don’t want.

Placating dissatisfaction or disappointment with short-term quick-fix acts of relief is a diversion, a diversion that will steer a person inner-miles from potential solutions. 

Spending is seductive. It seduces the spender away from the very issues it feels promised to solve. 

Fight the urge by trying to uncover what is under the dis-ease driving the destructive urges to spend a path out of discomfort. 

Go there, take a close look at the urge, rather than let it whip you into another spree of short-term quick fixes. 


If you have been insulted or rebuffed or cheated, any expressions of retaliation, as understandable as they may be, will probably not lead you to the outcome you are seeking. It’s an urge worth isolating and fighting. Fighting back escalates. Retaliation seldom and solves. As understandable as it is, it means you assume you are correct, that the other is wrong. Retaliation suggests you have nothing to learn but only to teach or reason to punish. 

I know it is a tough pill to swallow but our adversaries, or those whom we perceive as adversaries, are often our best teachers, if, indeed, we are willing to learn. Often the lessons adversaries teach are not available from our allies and are the lessons we most need. 

Try to see what is beneath the insult or offense that is hitting its target within you. 

Try to understand why it is that some insults or offenses run off you like water off a duck’s back but others stick. 

What is the difference? 

Go there, rather than assume a boxer stance. 

Go there, rather than try to satiate the get-even inner drive which will only lead you into a life-style of getting even and one spent against the ropes.


Combat the often-impulsive urge to impress, save the day, be the hero. Of course there is nothing amiss with living an impressive, heroic life. It’s good to deploy your skills which may result in your saving the day for someone, and I hope you do. We are all called to do the right, next good favor. We are called to look out for each other. May we all be alert to others and as a result find ourselves in occasional heroic circumstances as a result of going about the business of daily life. 

What I am referring to is the urge to be noticed, the urge to be the good, nice person who wants to save others, to be the hero, all in order to be noticed. 

Fight the driving force or insatiable urge to be the ever-present hero. 

If you are going to be a noble it will be an outcrop of your natural and daily living. You will not have to go out seeking it. Find that urge, go there, and quell it rather than be in constant search for the opportunity to don your cape. 

Good, strong, authentic people don’t have to put on their capes or prove anything about their strength. 

Their capes are just normal everyday dress.


The inner urge of self-pity; fight it, no matter how tough your life has been. Try to avoid the pit of self-pity. It leads to no destination worth going and no pondering or analysis worth following. 

I know, I know, it may feel good for a while, even a day or three, but the best analogy I have is that it can become a pathway in a forest that, if you walk it frequently, it becomes visible and then it becomes a well-worn track and then the default until it seems and feels unavoidable, even normal – and the only way to go. 

A personality shaped by self-pity is tough to live with, and tough to be around, and tough to shed once it makes its way into a person. 

The antidote? 

Personal responsibility. 

Asking questions of oneself like “What is my role in this?” and “What about my behavior landed me here?” and “What is it that is convincing me that I am a victim right now?” and “What is the truth about what is leading me into the waves of self-pity?”

Self-pity is a dead end and when you get to the end it is rather lonely.

As tough as it may be, finding where and how you can be responsible for yourself, even if it is in quite minimal ways, will lead you out of the dead-end and into a world of new and attractive beginnings. 


There is not enough food available or opportunities to eat it if you succumb to your inner-urge to eat your way out of a problem, a conflict, an undesired mood. 

The urge, the drive, the compulsion, to eat when you are anxious or troubled is understandable and the rewards, as we all know, are almost immediate. Of course, the rewards are short-lived and do not address the issue that propels the drive. 

Rather, seek out the driving issue, the genesis of what stimulates the urge.  

Eating provides a temporary quick-fix. It provides a way to avoid whatever it is that brought you to the fridge or pantry or the fast-food franchise in the first place. 

Try to find the source and work with that. 

Such short-term comforts are fine as long as you know what they are. Consuming comforts are fine as long as you know such behavior will not address the root causes that are driving you to consume and are likely to trigger more of what you want eating to address.  

There are other primal and physical drives that can lead a person down a track not worth pursuing and really mess with a person’s real and living relationships. Again, they are temporary fixes to unrelated issues. 

October 11, 2020

International day of the girl

by Rod Smith



Part 1:

Run from men (and boys) who are more interested in your body than in your brain. Your appearance may be, in some settings, the first point of mutual attraction but if things don’t move beyond that within the first three minutes, forget it. Move on.

Dump the thought that you are a “half” waiting to become “whole” because some man will “complete” you. You are a person, not an incomplete jigsaw puzzle. You are a full person, partner or no partner. You are not lego.

Relationships are not a game to be won or lost and flee those who treat them as such. If you (or he) treat relationships like a game of Chess, Risk, or Monopoly, you will probably end up rather lonely. At the first indication of a check-mate situation (whichever way you choose you lose – or you have no choices at all) cut your losses no matter who he is or how much money is on the board.

It’s not your job to train or to teach men (and boys) how to treat women. That’s what parents do. If his parents were unsuccessful, hope life itself teaches him. Don’t take it on. If you assume the role of teacher or guide or therapist to him and you marry him, you will be signing up for an exhausting lifetime of parenting and guiding and counseling your spouse.

Enjoy your friends. The “right” man (or boy) for you will make you even more thrilled to be yourself than you already are. He will selflessly love your joy, encourage your freedom, and embrace everything about you. Please, please, settle for nothing less.

Part 2:

Without exception every one of you is gifted, talented, uniquely curious. Believe your parents or care-givers or teachers when they express something similar.

It’s not just “adult talk.” It is not said just to get you motivated. You are to be treasured, never exploited.

Talent, power, and bravery are divinely endowed. They are yours.

They are in your bones, your soul; in the very depths of your spirit and your being.

In the best of company your uniqueness, your talent, and the power within you will be encouraged, respected, and deeply valued.

But, some will try to exploit, ignore, or squelch you, and do so often in the “nicest” of ways, and even in the name of God.

Don’t cooperate. Not ever. Not for money, fame, recognition, or even to belong.

Stay out of control.

Arm yourself by chasing education (the only thing worth chasing), rejecting the foolish, pervasive belief that beauty is skin deep. Use your strong voice as early, quickly, and as loudly as possible.

Stand up for yourself.

Speak up.

Express your views. Don’t hold back.

Do it now so it becomes a way of life.

October 6, 2020

I (just) want to be happy…….

by Rod Smith

“I just want to be happy.” 

I hear it over and over again, often whimpered, as if happiness searches some people out and not others, or, as if it is some sort of award that may descend upon a person who is in the right place at the right time. It’s uttered as if happiness is being doled to some and not to others.  

Happiness has no victims.

You have more chance of being struck by lightning than you have being struck by happiness.

Happiness is a by-product, not a goal. 

It grows, emerges, unravels, out of purposeful living. 

Happiness is out of the control of the rich and powerful. That is surely obvious. You may have noticed its penchant for playing hide and seek with the rich and powerful. 

It’s yours when you fight and win the good fight over trying to be happy. 

It’s yours when you engage purposes greater than yourself, your pleasures, and appetites. 

The road to happiness is often paved with difficulty and things you may think will never deliver any joy. 

It hides from the lazy, the self-indulgent, the entitled, the spoiled, the whiner. It tends to embrace those seeking justice and authenticity and doing what is good and right by others.

Ironically happiness often escapes the rich and arrogant, but makes its home with the poor, the humble, and the rich and humble. Oddly, it’s one thing that doesn’t, “follow the money.”

October 4, 2020

For thinking this week…….

by Rod Smith

I invite you to think about the following this week. Respond, please, offering your ideas: 

There is beauty and brutality interwoven in every individual life and into every family. Thankfully the everpresent beauty – if you have eyes for it – softens the brutality making it easier to bear.

Forgive everyone everything everytime. But, know what to forgive and to remember. Know what to forget. Remembering can become a guide so past hurtful situations are not repeated. 

Most of us have more possessions than we need. Decide what to keep and treasure and what to give away or sell. A move or two will help most people evaluate what things are worth keeping. This is not really about stuff. It’s about a mindset of simplification, it’s about shredding and shedding. In survival mode we tend to hold onto far more than we need.   

You and I, whatever our age, are getting older. We have options about how we will adjust and what kind of people we will be as this occurs. If we are gracious we will be less inclined to feel entitled and discover a growing and greater sense of gratitude for the way things are, the way things have been, and the joy that awaits us in our advancing years.