Power Words for July the 31st: Hard Work

“I believe strongly in hard work.” said practically everyone. We all believe in hard work. Hooray for hard work!

How true is this idea? Surely, we appreciate a person doing their best in whatever profession, when we’re in the consumer seat. Likewise, we feel best about ourselves when, in our career, we fully apply ourselves and refuse to sit idle. On the other hand, hard work is perhaps, an oversimplification of the real world metrics of what a person does. These thoughts may, however, be rooted in my specific experience.

My father was an ardent defender of the virtue inherent to hard work. “Boy, a man can move mountains, as long as he’s trying hard enough!” he’d say, in enthusiasm or anger depending on the events of that day. This was not simple philosophy, but a design he applied to everything he did. My father was never a religious man, but still insisted upon using the stairs in any tall building on the grounds that elevators were, “The work of evil forces.” Though he understood certain limitations (such as our inability to manage our home as a self-sustaining farm) he had very strict rules. He refused to purchase pre-sliced bread. When my brother once came home from college with a load of Wonderbread, my father beat him severely with it. Then made him eat each slice.

Of all my father’s rules and notions of hard work, one remains particularly tragic. Far ahead of modern day environmental concerns, he saw the automobile as a wasteful, needless machine. Eventually, when his “career” made local travel necessary, he went to his workshop and emerged five days later with what he termed the “Feiling 500.” It was a wooden box, with four wheels, that approximately resembled a car with room for six passengers. However, the vehicle had no floor in the places where the legs or driver and passengers sat. It was capable of steering, but the thing had no motor or transmission. It was to be powered by good-old-fashioned-foot-work. In other words, the occupants would move the car by pattering their feet on the exposed road. If this technology sounds familiar, you perhaps remember it from television’s The Flintstones, though my father would enter into rage blackouts anytime somebody made the suggestion that this was his inspiration.

One Sunday, we children all climbed into the vehicle to go to the grocery store. We were all under 12, but one did not require a license to operate the thing. Another benefit, according to my father, who labeled child labor protections as “Pussyism.” It was raining, and the car had neither windows nor a roof, but luckily my father saw being soaked in rain as admirable evidence of one’s toughness. On the way home, the vehicle began to slide on a muddy hill. My sister Katechelle, brothers Tortoise and Showman, and I, wildly beat our feet against the ground trying to reclaim it, but it was no use. We rolled off the road and down a rocky slide. When the car slammed to a stop, and I had my bearings enough to look around, I saw that my sister’s right leg had been crushed, and my brother Tortoise’s left had as well.

That was the last day we used the Feiling 500. My father never repaired it. As a show of goodness, my father now only assigned one child’s work to split between the unipedal Katechelle and Tortoise, but also treated them as one person in all other respects, such as food rations. They were happy just the same. His rhetoric about hard work went on, unchanged, as though the disaster had never occurred.

When I hear my fellows sing the praises of hard work, I often reflect on this story. I wonder if my family had been derelict enough to have engaged in the gluttony of Buick ownership, would my kin and I have a greater total of limbs today? But again, this is only my experience. I can offer only that.

Power Words:

Today I will excuse myself from working so hard, and diffuse or intimidate my critics with sad anecdotes.

Power Words for July the 30th: Truth

Concision is the soul of brevity, a paternal candidate for wit. Hence, a concise lesson today.

We have spoken about many facets of the human experience on earth, and the soul’s experience eternal. We have looked at ourselves and other people and tried to summon conclusions about both, without seeing ourselves falsely, or putting our insecurities on others, or casting judgment on either unfairly. However, some truths are independent of designations like these, and exist eternal. Here is one to ponder:

Beyond a certain size, shirts just shouldn’t be striped.

Power Words

Oh, no, no you shouldn’t wear that…

Power Words:

I have a mission from my creator to tell the truth. Look out, other people.

Power Words for July 29th: A Useful, Almost Certainly False Belief

Whether it’s evolution, archaeology, the Holocaust, or the continued success of reality TV, we can all look around ourselves and see countless reasons why, nearly definitely, there is no God.

  As an experiment, we can go through our day with this beginning to a question in mind, “Why would God make a world where…” and see just how many different endings we can put on it. It shouldn’t take long before we’ve lost count, and become sad.

  But so what? Don’t we believe in a lot of things that are probably fake? We tell ourselves things that are probably false all the time, for a million reasons. When our favorite politician gives us hope by promising change, we suspend certainty that he or she is a self-interested jerk who will betray any promises made to win our vote. If we want to sleep with somebody purely out of lust, we might tell ourselves that person is kind, that we really connect with them on a personal level, or that they are not a lunatic, all so that we can justify this choice to ourselves. What has reality got to do with it? Didn’t a magic feather make an elephant fly?

  Why should God be any different? If we are helped to be better, more ethical people, with positive outlooks and values, simply because we believe in an all powerful, magical, bearded lord, a fat and bald wise man, a strange animal creature, a loving hippie, or a vague spirit-of-the-universe that we dreamed up in college because we wanted to reject our parents’ religion while maintaining its values without feeling like hypocrites… why should every observable truth get in the way?

Power Words:

Today, I will be a person of faith, and show love to the world accordingly, but without being annoying and preachy or doing any genocides, at least not ones with religious motives.

Power Words for July 26th: Time, Time, Time

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We’re just in time. We’re having a great time. Time to get going. We’re going through tough times. The time has come.

And on goes the list. There are a lot of things we have to say about time. Although, could any of us really say we have the answer? What is time? When did it start? How long will it go? Most importantly, how much time have we got left? In truth, there are no answers. So what shall we do? What if we could stop time, as Zack Morris did on our beloved Saved by the Bell? This is unlikely to happen for most of us. For us, time is a constant.

On the spiritual path, we speak a great deal about living in the moment. When practiced, this ideal can be key to a happy and peaceable life. Unfortunately, living by this philosophy is much easier said than done. We think of regrets and disappointments in our past, or about fears and dreams for the future. These things can consume us, as might a giant monster who would eat us like so many snacks.

What can we do? How do we shuck the shackles of a mind trapped everywhere but in the present time? Here again, our affirmations are the key to opening the door of light which will bathe us in showers of peace.

When we worry about these things, we need only remember that the past is unchangeable. If we had to do it over again, we’d surely make the same mistakes, because we’re only ourselves, forever subject to our own limitations. Of the future, we can expect that whatever happens, we’ll encounter more disappointments, but what is more relevant is that no matter the triumphs we may have, we’ll ultimately grow ungrateful for them and focus on what we want our next future to be. Such is the nature of man and woman.

In short, all time is indistinguishable from the present time. If we feel discomfort, we have likely felt it before, and will feel it again in the years to come, without much significant change. There’s no use getting our hopes up. As a wise Eastern teacher once advised me, “Put down the shovel.” Years later, when I had stopped sniffing glue and other inhalants, I reflected on this and realized it was an analogy that implied I was digging a hole for myself. Though I was often observed to be carrying a literal shovel in that period of my life.

Power Words:

Time is not my master. I am free to choose living in the moment, and I should. Any other moment is surely just as unremarkable. What shall I have for lunch?

Power Words for July 25: What’s Up in the Stars?

As a boy, living in a small town without much going on, I had only my imagination to keep me warm. At night, I would gaze into the clear sky at distant space, and imagine all the wonders that might exist beyond this planet. What marvels lay on other planets, stars, and galaxies? Was there a space-boy somewhere, staring right back?

  As I grew, and came into receivership of my adult brain, I learned all about science. Centuries of astronomy, cosmology, and physics; all the work of the learned scholars, awaited me. I couldn’t wait to jump into the deep end of this pool.

  Sadly, these fields held more disappointment than anything else. Those wise scholars spoke of how the heavenly bodies I had once yearned to reach were nothing more than wastelands of icy rocks, clouds of dust and gas, and sometimes mere tricks of light entirely. These, like so many other revelations of adolescence, killed parts of my innocence that would never live again.

  It could’ve been avoided though. Or, if we fail to avoid these things, the damage can be healed. What if I had never learned of the facts being taught in our universities? Would I be any the worse off for it? Once I had begun my path to enlightenment, and looked at the world with new eyes, I learned that perfectly happy people were wandering around all day, choosing to be ignorant of certain facts. A person can choose not to believe their spending is forsaking the whole of their nation’s future for their children. A person can choose to believe that their favorite celebrity is not a murderer, a pedophile, of a sexual orientation they fear, or a Republican. A person can say, with confidence, “Evolution, Schmevolution!”

  Thus, I chose something new to believe. I now gaze into the night sky, and choose to know in my heart that just beyond the clouds is an entire Cloud Kingdom. In this fantastical place, where clouds meet space, Cloud Kings race and battle on chariots of ice, armed with tridents that fire ultraviolet lasers. That’s why we, down on earth, sometimes incur sunburns. Some Cloud Kings are good, and others evil. So I live my life by day, and stare into the sky at night, wondering when I’ll be summoned up to the Cloud Wars, so that I can fight for the side of good.

Power Words:

Today, I won’t let anyone’s sheets of data rain on my parade, and I will await my ascension into the Cloud Zone with dignity and patience.

Power Words for July the 24th: Effective Negotiating

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Getting what we want, at the right price, can often feel like an overwhelming task. When we search for a new car, a home, livestock, or bread, how do we know we’re getting the best deal? Nobody wants to be flim-flammed.

Power Words

Bird Looks, Talks, a Great Game

  This is an area wherein the things we learn in our spiritual development can really be utilized to our advantage. We have examined, over and over again, the problems in our lives. We have looked at the troubles and desperation they inspire in us and the behaviors that result. We realize now that when we are under siege, we don’t do our best decision making.

  Now let’s turn the tables on life. In all of our negotiations, we are matched with another person, not always a foe, but certainly a foil with their own agenda. We must realize that these people, though they may seem intimidating, are just like us. They are only humans on an earth-planet-spirit-quest. The same as ours.

  Hence, they have weaknesses we can exploit. Let’s imagine a car salesman. He is not so much a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing, as a snake-in-worm’s-clothing. Though not universally true (but almost), the majority of people working in this field are parasites living day to day, transferring between different hosts, from which they seek to suck the maximum quantity of lifeforce. If you arrive on their car lot, you become the target for that day. Those in the auto sales game may have a myriad of problems: child support and alimony payments, debts to bookies, shenanigans with narcotics, sexual deviations, etc. When you go car shopping, you never know how put upon by his or her problems a particular sales associate will be. Realize, however, that at some point, all of these people will encounter a very desperate time in their career, where they absolutely need to sell a car, and must be willing to settle for less to avoid prison, leg-breaking, or some similar fate.

  While you may not catch a particularly desperate fish on your first try, focus on the fact that such a slimy bottom-feeder is out there, statistically speaking. When at a car dealership, wherever you might be, you are never too far from another car dealership. So your strategy might look something like this: go to such a retailer and make an offer on a car substantially below the retail price. You may be laughed off, but if you are, so be it. Simply try the tactic at another outfit. Eventually, you will hit upon that salesperson who hasn’t any choice but to indulge you. He or she must pay that bill, or keep their job, or fill that syringe, and so on. If your actions hasten the event of their premature death in a motel room, decades before peers in other fields, this is not your fault. You merely seek a way of getting to work and around town.

  This is only one example. When seeking the best price on anything, we can often look at human frailty and discern where the desperation is. While I, as a spiritual leader, would never endorse blackmail and manipulation, I would be dishonest to suggest that these aren’t also very effective habits. Above all, we should always remember this: we can have anything we want, and never overpay for it. We simply need to look closely at our situation, and see how.

Power Words:

Today, I see how this game works. I can find out who the human parasites coming after me are, and bleed the life out of them instead!

Power Words for July 23rd: How to be Cool

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Growing up, we’re often tossed into situations that have a very noticeable social hierarchy. We learn who is popular, and who is not. We see the roles that everyone, including ourselves, fall into. We learn, more than anything, who is in charge. The dynamic people from whom others take their cues. In our youth, these clusters can most often be identified as, “the cool kids.”

Power Words

Parks Braum, Cool Bright-Futured All Star Rebel

  To be sure, it is quite nice being one of the cool kids. The character of the cool kids can differ, but inevitably they are equipped with some innate advantage over non-cool kids. They can be attractive, rich, athletic, defiant, cocky, or any combination of these things and other things. Later in life, former cool kids will assert that they did not have this status, but don’t be fooled. An adult friend of mine once said, “I was a real dork in high school. I really liked The X-Files and had tons of acne.” My friend was neglecting to mention that he’d also been a talented pitcher who had a cool car, and lots of sex all the time. My friend may not have been perfect, but he was solidly amongst the ranks of the cool kids.

  It may be hard to believe, but I wasn’t always Brad Feiling, the worldwide self-help expert and industry thought leader, with so much reverence connected to my name. In my high school years, I was most commonly referred to as, “Fag Feilings.” To pun unavoidably: my feelings were routinely hurt by the moniker.

  I am no longer called that, or any cruel name. Today, I am secure in the idea that I’m as cool as it gets. I’m totally cool. How, you ask, did I overcome these childhood wounds? Well, in my heart, long into my success, I still saw myself as the weak, 14 year-old son of a failed fishing promoter, terminally unable to pronounce S and P sounds without spitting, and constantly shunned by girls who laughed me off, claiming I smelled of the rotting sea.

  I was able to forever drown this former me by, in effect, promoting myself to the rank of cool kid. I realized that the cool kids, for all their slick bravado, would be nothing without the lesser kids they pick on, and define themselves as cool in contrast to. After all, we can’t see light until it reflects off of another object, right?

  Today, as the mogul behind ThePowerWords.com and Warm Feilings World Media, I employ several salespeople, security personnel, assistants, and interns. I bark orders at these people, demanding they rush to bring me whatever I need or want, and consistently criticize what I perceive as their flaws, be it in their performance, haircut, or whathaveyou. By doing this, and attacking their self esteem so that I can feel big, I constantly reaffirm my self-image, and can believe everyday that I am cool!

Power Words:

Today, I’m pretty cool. If I forget, all I need do is look at somebody who is not, and target them.

Power Words for July the 21st: Letting Go of The Past

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We all have baggage. It’s not the kind we can see, or put our socks in, or load into the trunk of our car, but we carry it always, and it gets in between us and the people we aspire to grow into.

Power Words

I use The Power Words to battle temptation.

  One night I fell to sleep, and dreamt I was at the airport. I was at baggage claim, watching the conveyor belt go round and round. There were no other people around. None in sight. The conveyor was full, however, with many large, heavy bags. In the dream, I knew that they were all mine, and it felt awful to watch them traveling by me again and again. I didn’t want to touch them, to take them, but at the same time I was locked in place, unable to leave.

  Worst of all were my regrets. After enough time passes, we often forget the wrongs others have done us, moving on to new ones in the present term of our lives. The wrongs we have done, however, can be much different.

  There was so much I wasn’t proud of. I wasn’t proud of the things I had done in my addiction. I wasn’t proud of the amount of cars I’d broken into, searching for things I could sell to get high. I wasn’t proud of missing my brother’s wedding. I wasn’t proud of having cooked a dog. I was even less proud that I hadn’t made use of all the dog’s parts, as the noble Native American would have done. I wasn’t proud of all the baggage I’d stolen from baggage claim at the airport.

  Once I had begun my spiritual journey, things changed. I gained some perspective on who I was. Sure, I had done some bad things, but that didn’t make me a bad person. No longer were my days were focused only on doing whatever I needed to in order to feed my glue habit. I had emerged from the sniff dens and into the sunset, and I didn’t have to live that life anymore. I wasn’t going to pick up the pipe and ‘base epoxy again. I could let that life go.

  Let’s imagine ourselves at that airport, now. Watch your baggage parade in front of you. We can visualize it, and honestly ask ourselves: Is there anything in those bags we need? Anything at all that’s good for us?

  See yourself turn, and walk away from the clanking machine. See yourself walking to the automatic sliding doors. They open for you, and you step out, and make your way to the white zone. It’s for immediate loading and unloading only, but that’s okay, because right then your ride pulls to the curb and stops. It’s the fancy sedan of your loving Spirit of the Universe, here to transport you into a brand new life.

Power Words:

Today, I am new person. I am a free person. I may be powerless over my glue addiction, but I’m not glued to anything. I can let the past slip away.


Power Words for July the 20th: Dealing with Rejection

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Nobody likes getting the wrong answer. When an employer tells us we are not right for the position we seek, or someone we are attracted to refuses our offer of a nice date at Chili’s, it is normal to feel hurt. We stomp our feet, even if only in our own mind, and demand answers. Don’t I have an impressive resume, and nice personality? Didn’t I tell her she could order whatever she wanted from their elaborate menu? What’s wrong with me?

Power Words!

Don’t do anything rash, Ginger Geoff…

  The answer is nothing. Nobody always gets what they want, and those who seem to are hateable monsters. When we stubbornly refuse to accept this principle, we only make our situation worse. Our only healthy option is to go forward, seeking a new job prospect, or a new potential mate who would love to be our guest at California Pizza Kitchen. If we are willing to continue, we always find what we’re looking for.

  But what of those people who didn’t give us what we wanted? How do we make our peace with them? Quietly. We bear in mind that on a long enough timeline, life punishes all people. That boss who thought we didn’t measure up will eventually realize they are hopelessly confined to the world of middle management, contract an awful disease, or merely be confronted by the fact that their subordinates (fairly or unfairly) hate them. That date we sought will someday personally experience the universal truth that all old people are unattractive. The most vibrant, beautiful person in youth will one day be a disgusting ghoul, if they don’t die young. In either case, perhaps the subject of our resentment will just gain a lot of weight. The point is, bad things will eventually be visited upon anyone we dislike, because they await all people. We can resign ourselves to a quiet smile when we imagine these possibilities, and a humble one if we should hear about them, or run into a fat version of an old nemesis, knowing our own future is as bright as we choose for it to be.

Power Words:

Today I will know that I’m worth it, even if there are those who don’t realize it, and I will focus on me, leaving it up to life to punish them for their transgressions against me.


Power Words for July the 18th: Schadenfreude

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Schadenfreude. A German word for the sensation of taking joy in the misery or failings of others.



  At one time or another, we all do this. We get passed on the highway at dangerous speeds by a sports car, only to discover it pulled over by the police a ways ahead. We watch a person who once bested us fail, and grin inside, even if we pretend to be sympathetic. We see a fat person drop their oversized ice cream cone. All the better if they pick it up and try to continue eating.

  It’s often the case that this feeling is served with a condiment of guilt. What cruel, unfeeling beasts are we, to amuse ourselves with people’s pain. Shouldn’t we seek to help our fellows in their worst moments?

  No. The truth is, tomorrow we may wake up and step in dog feces, find we’re the subject of a tax audit, or be diagnosed with a terminal disease. If the people we ridicule want to turn the tables and laugh at us when these things happen, have at it. Life is short, and someday when our hearts stop and we become dead, no amount of sympathy shown during our lifetime will reactivate our bodies.

  So for now, when we hear of a senile, old person who became confused and wandered miles from home into the desert, or watch a drunk girl trip on her heels and land mouth-first into a curb, let’s let our laughs come loudly, knowing that surely life has plenty of similar tricks up its sleeve for us!

Power Words:

Today, I will look around my world and laugh with malice at the pain I see others feeling, all with no shame in my game!