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Russell’s Sunday Sermon: The Key to Motivation is Emotion


Russell’s Sunday Sermon: The Key to Motivation is Emotion

I’m now available for weddings and dinner parties.

Apparently, there may be a (very small and exceptionally delusional) contingent of people who (obviously don’t know me well) think some of these essays have been motivational and may reflect, somehow, on their author. I laughed when I heard this. Trish laughed even harder. I think the sentiments came from some non-mutual friends of hers after she’d shared a Sunday Sermon or two.

The Reverend Russ as a motivational speaker.

In a van, down by the river.

The truth is that I rarely remember the things that I’ve written. Especially and particularly if they happen to be of a decent quality.

Oh, did I put that together? Huh. Wow. I’m happy that came from my hands, if not my brain. Often, it is just as likely that I’ve blacked out and some feral, bearded midget has crawled out from under the ottoman and typed it for me while I was in an altered level of consciousness.

Oh, his stubby, little fingers just hacking away.

Glasgow Coma Score = 9

But he’s such an optimistic little fella, and it seems we’ve had many similar life experiences. I suppose I’ll keep leaving those cookies on the table for him.

What does it take to be motivational? What does it take to lift other people up? What do they need to hear to see their own worth? Is there some magical formula? Does it require a musical score?

Music helps, but the score is so hard to nail down. It varies from person to person and minute to minute. Sia’s “Fire Meet Gasoline” is my own motivational score this morning. Don’t judge. I’ve also been listening to the soundtrack from “Last of the Mohicans” repetitiously during my early mornings at the word processor. That is probably up after Sia, if it isn’t time to head to the gym when I finish here.

The key to motivation is emotion. But emotion grounded in truth, not false, glittering fantasizations (first word spellcheck didn’t know, 2 points). You know the difference. There is a presidential candidate who sells emotions built upon a temple of false constructions, fear and bald-faced lies. This person raises emotions, but hollow emotions devoid of truth. Stewart Smalley used to gaze into the mirror and remind himself that he was good enough, smart enough and, gosh darn it, people liked him. There is someone for everyone, there is a crowd for everyone.


Stewart wasn’t wrong. You are good enough. You are smart enough. And gosh darn it, people like you.

But you have to find the what, where, when and who. Sadly, it isn’t entirely universal. It may require definition and qualification. You may have to leave your couch and look around.

Welcome to my own experiment in the above. A socially phobic introvert sharing a rapidly expanding personal blog, as well as writing one for Beartooth Crossfit. This is my own personal motivation and another personal experiment, n=1(me). An experiment in sharing (oversharing?) to break down some of my own walls.

I digress. I do that.

But did I? In the writing, pondering, introspection and sharing I seem to keep stumbling upon truths that resonate with voices outside my own head (and the bearded midget under the ottoman). These essays keep circling back to the qualities that redeem each of us. Our pasts may be beyond repair and absolution, but there can always be truth and hope in the future. There is always a path forward, beset by slings and arrows though it may be.

There is always hope in the future, and that is motivating. Though our past may be a path of false-starts, trips and falls – though we may view it as abject failure, the future is what we make of it, and that is motivating. That is truth. That is the magic formula. I can’t sell you your past. I can’t reconstruct history, but I can point you toward the promise of tomorrow.

We can lose weight. We can gain weight. We can work harder. We can go to college. We can get promotions. We can lift heavier weights. Everything can change with the rising of a new sun.

Can you wake up in a different town? Can you wake up in a new house? Can you wake up to a new job? Can you wake up as a new person?

Shit people, I’m sittting in my tights at 0130, swilling coffee with a feral mini-person who only speaks in hoots and chirps, but doesn’t throw anything or grow violent so long as he’s kept in a ready supply of cookies. Let me tell you about recreating yourself. Let me tell you about opening new doors.

Let me tell you about being a know-it-all-asshole, nuclear launch officer in a flight suit (janitor suit, right Trish?) who hung that up to become a muscle-bound, pseudo-cerebral, philosopher, boy-nurse. Let me tell you about being a powerlifter who decided to run ultra-marathons. Let me tell you about a guy who has stayed home surfing the internet because he was scared he wouldn’t know anyone at a party and would just stand awkwardly in the corner, who is now sharing a large portion of his thoughts out into the voids of the interwebs?

This morning’s SAT word is catharsis.

Last week’s SAT word was ennui. (I’m glad last week is over)

Change is possible. Hope is true. Tomorrow is true. But don’t point at a calendar and say, “that day is the day when I change, that is the day when I grow.” Don’t shortchange yourself today for some hope of tomorrow. Tomorrow is a euphemism for the moment that occurs right fucking now.

Tomorrow begins today. Tomorrow begins right now.

Don’t allow the calendar to dictate your future. Do not allow an anthropomorphized enemy on the wall to tell you when you get to become who you are supposed to be. Fuck that calendar. Tomorrow doesn’t begin on Monday the 14th. Don’t schedule change. Don’t throw away every day until the 14th because that is the day when change and growth happen. How improvident. How wasteful.

Don’t begin your diet next Monday, living on cheesecake in intensive preparation. Don’t begin hunting for your new job in July. Don’t start that new exercise plan on January 1st. New Year’s Resolutions are something we may all do, but they are virtually the textbook definition of “don’t do today what you can put off till tomorrow”.

When I was younger, I made fun of the New Year’s Resolution crowd at the gym. Fitness centers are well aware of the phenomenon. They hold membership drives and sales to capitalize on all of the people who pointed at a calendar and said, “that is the day when I change”. Gym membership swells through the first couple weeks of January and then it recedes again before February. But January can be a little irksome for those who have been there all along. So many people wandering around, lost and confused. The rest of us waiting for them to figure it out or get out of our way.

They almost always do before the end of the month, retiring to the couches from whence they came, defeated and nestling in with some new television series for the remainder of the winter months.

These people used to drive me nuts. I’d make fun of them and their efforts. I’ve mellowed with age. I have divine insight and have grown philosophical about their New Year’s exertions. These people are trying. They identified something that needed work and took steps to make manifest their introspection. They decided to try.

And some asshole gym-bunny like myself is standing there, judging their efforts and angrily waiting for the squat rack – instead of asking if they need help and making sure they feel like this club is a welcoming one.

Do you derive motivation from some day on the calendar, or is the right song all you need? Perhaps the feral midget living under the ottoman at the Herring’s has typed words (oh, those little sausage fingers. But why does he wear so many rings?) that might serve as your call to action. Whatever that thing is, grab it, ride it and use it. If I can help, please let me!

That judgmental asshole died in my past somewhere.

I think raising boys (and Trish) has helped that. Judging you doesn’t improve my quality, it lessens it. Lifting you up makes both of us better. Finding the good in you makes me better. Together we grow. It isn’t additive, it’s multiplicative. Together we are better and more than our consituent parts.

Some combination of Russ and the feral midget (his name is actually Jeff) have accidentally cobbled together another “ode to motivation” at 0’dark-thirty on another Tuesday. How random. Laugh, love, live. Get out there and kick the world’s ass.

And be good humans.

Post script…

But seriously, one of my new goals in life is to be the officiant at a wedding. I think I’d be pretty awesome, don’t you? Can’t you see it? I’d make your special day super special. You want to talk about the master of ceremonies dropping some philosophical, mind-fucking truth-bombs from the alter? I’m your guy. I’d get those nuptials started on an interesting (of course the right) foot.

I can guarantee there would be a mic drop.

**This blog has not been approved for weak-minded idiots**

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