On the Road Again


A Satisfied Mind

How many times have

You heard someone say

If I had his money

I could do things my way

But little they know

That it’s so hard to find

One rich man in ten

With a satisfied mind

Once I was waitin’

In fortune and fame

Everything that I dreamed for

To get a start in life’s game

Then suddenly it happened

I lost every dime

But I’m richer by far

With a satisfied mind

Money can’t buy back

Your youth when you’re old

Or a friend when you’re lonely

Or a love that’s grown cold

The wealthiest person

Is a pauper at times

Compared to the man

With a satisfied mind

When my life has ended

And my time has run out

My friends and my loved ones

I’ll leave there’s no doubt

But one thing’s for certain

When it comes my time

I’ll leave this old world

With a satisfied mind

Shortly after I wrote and published my last article “An Untroubled Mind,” I was listening to the soundtrack from Kill Bill: Volume 2, when the above song, sung by Johnny Cash and written by Joe “Red” Hayes and Jack Rhodes played.  I was struck by the truth of the lyrics and wished I had included the song in my previous article. So, I chose to introduce this article with the lyrics from the song, because they provide a bridge to getting “on the road again” after I took a detour from peace and joy.

What is the bridge to transitioning from one state of mind to another–from sad to happy, anxious to gracious, mad to magnanimous, and so on?  The bridge is self-awareness.  You must first become aware that you are not in your right mind because with this awareness you reestablish your ability to choose.  You can now decide if this is how you want to feel, or if you want to change how you feel.  Choose, decide and change are in bold letters because they are words of action and empowerment.  These types of words restore your sense of volition, thus positioning you to take action.  

In the above song, the event of “losing every dime” triggered an awareness that material possessions did not bring real joy or peace of mind.  Having a satisfied mind became far more important than material wealth.  The singer made a systemic change at the level of belief, precisely where all transformational, lasting change must begin.

The first step in the Twelve Steps to Recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous is, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.”  This step has two components–cognitive and behavioral.  The cognitive part is accepting the truth of this awareness that alcohol use is causing an unmanageable life–a life completely out of control.  The behavioral part is to actually stop drinking alcohol.  This step requires a fundamental change in one’s belief regarding control.  Admitting the loss of control over the use of alcohol and not drinking empowers the person to begin to reestablish some semblance of control over his or her life.

 My awareness that I wanted an untroubled mind allowed me to shift my attention to how I was sabotaging what I really wanted.  I had to identify and examine my thoughts, feelings, and the underlying beliefs energizing them in order to get on the road again.  I asked myself, “What thoughts am I paying a lot of attention to?”  (See Cherish is the Word.”)  I realized I was preoccupied, almost obsessed with the political situation in the United States and worldwide.  I had been spending hours on YouTube and other news outlets watching all the political commentary, listening to all the dire economic predictions, and absorbing all the negative energy associated with most of the news media.  I also realized I had clear expectations of the outcomes I wanted in the political/economic arena, and when most of the news was not what I hoped for, I became angry, frustrated, and discouraged.  I was also watching many movies that were dark and violent.

 I also realized what I was NOT paying attention to–my spiritual practices.  I was not reading A Course in Miracles or any other of my spiritual/inspirational sources.  I had completely forgotten my plump little Buddha statue sitting on the fireplace–the one I used to routinely orient toward at breakfast to remind me of abundance, amusement, gentleness, and peace.  I was mostly in my mind, listening to all my negative thoughts about life, relationships, family, finances, and the bleak future.  I was dwelling on all my past errors of omission and commission.  I was not doing anything productive like building something fun in my woodshop.  I was not paying attention to all the natural beauty surrounding me.

 Stepping back to pay attention allowed me to see the big picture.  It was not pretty!  It energized me to take action.  I immediately cut back on my news consumption.  I started reading A Course in Miracles every morning and evening.  I reminded myself at each meal to direct my attention to my rotund companion on the fireplace mantel.  I sat on the porch swing to absorb the beauty of the butterflies, birds, flowers, plants, and trees in the yard.  I started doing yard work again and began a project to build two night tables in my workshop.

Lastly, I started using an extremely powerful mental skill–reframing.  Reframing is finding a new way to perceive a situation that creates a different state of mind–a better, non-fear-based one.  A friend reminded me of this skill.  I was expressing my anxiety over how much money I was spending to build a bungalow on a piece of lake property I had purchased.  He listened politely for a while as I bemoaned and complained about all the cash outflow.  Then he said, “Steve, look at it this way.  You’re not spending money, you’re investing money.”  When I thought of the project in that way, my anxiety level diminished immediately.  Reframing is more than mental gymnastics or just fooling yourself into thinking differently.  Reframing must be based on a recognizable truth–one that clearly makes sense and has the ring of authenticity in order for you to change your state of mind.  In order to use this skill, you have to have a desire and willingness to see something differently.  In other words, you must have an open mind.

That is how I got on the road again.  Nothing spectacular or innovative, just stepping back, becoming more aware, being open to seeing things differently, and embracing the better way.            


  1. Kathy Lewis

    So glad your back on the road again and sharing the process with us my real good friend!

  2. What a universal lesson… and reminder for me. I’ll be sharing this with group members in Fargo! With gratitude,

  3. Craig Campbell

    Well written reminder for all of us. I have have travelled the road away from tending to my “spiritual business” and back too often. The world will lead us away with no effort on our part, the road back takes only a little willingness, but it does require that willingness. The tools you discuss are real and work. Welcome home!

    • Stephen Timm

      Thanks, Craig! As always, I greatly appreciate hearing from you, old friend.

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