Your Comfort is Killing You

If you value your own personal comfort, over your personal health and growth. You have a very big problem on your hands. I know that in our society, we truly value are comfort, but it might just be the one thing that is holding us back from living as our best self.

Comfort, I have found, stems from two factors:

Fear, fear is a biggie, that is hidden in comfort. For example, we fear going to the gym because we don’t like our own bodies and we fear what others might think of us. So we don’t go to the gym, we don’t break a sweat and most of us just end up back on the couch.

Which then leads into the second factor: Laziness, we all struggle with this. It’s easier to stay  in bed longer, it’s easy not to choose the right foods, its easier to skip the workout and its easier to do the things we know we should do.

What does that result in?

It results in us not growing, getting out of our comfort zones or learning anything about ourselves. The negative sides of our comfort far out weight the positive. This is exactly why we never see results in our over all health and personal goals, because we never step out onto the water so to speak.

So how to we break out of the comfort? How do we began to ditch the fear and laziness?

In the simplest terms, you and I have to do things you don’t want to do every single day. Do the pushups you don’t want to do, go for that run, apply for that job, go after that dream you have always wanted to go after. Talk to that person you have always wanted to talk to.

When we do that, we grow and are much more satisfied with the direction of our lives. I encourage everyone who reads this, to write down a list of goals that you want to accomplish.

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Movement As Blessing

 

I’ve always had the conviction that being able to move your body everyday, is a huge blessing. That conviction has only grown, upon getting my certifications in fitness  and nutrition. I want to ignite the fire and passion for people to love and honor their bodies inside and out.

Exercise can be a huge part in this, but more so, I am speaking toward the reality, that getting to move your body, everyday in small ways is a blessing. Even as I move my fingers to type this blog.

I long to see people with special needs, have a deep zeal everyday, to get themselves out of bed and do what they can to be healthier, happier and stronger. I know everyone has different ranges of ability, energy and so on.

The one objection that stem from this: Well, thats easy for you to say, you don’t.. (fill in the blank).

Actually, along with having CP, I am always in some sort of pain, I’m always tired, a lot of days I have to fight to even get out of bed. And yes, there’re a lot of days where my own struggle with depression beats me down. So I do understand very well.

But here is the deal, life is too much of a blessing to let any of that stuff have victory over me. Even on the days when I don’t want to get out of bed, you know what? I get out of bed. Regardless of the war that may be going on inside me on a giving day, I try and make someones life better.

Jocko Willink talks a lot about going through the motions, going to the gym when you don’t want to. Doing the things you would rather not do, because in doing so you’re better because of it. The moment my eyes open in the morning, I hear Jocko’s voice saying:

GET. OUT. OF BED. NOW!

Do the work you have to do.

Wash the dishes

Wash the clothes

Do the everyday and mundane things you’d rather not do. why!? Because your moving, your using the body that God gave you. Much better, you are forsaking the laziness in your mind, that says “oh no, you don’t have to anything today!”

Now, I’m not implying you can’t rest. What I am saying is that you can rest, after you have gotten everything on your to-do list done. Workout included! There’s something so beautiful about going to bed tired, knowing that you poured yourself out and crushed the day. That’s a wonderful way to live lives!

Then, you can rest and rest deeply.

So wake up everyday, rip the the covers from your body and get moving. Workout, do the mundane tasks (and even your prospective on them will change), better yourself in every way you can, help others and then you can rest deeply. Do what you can everyday, so no to the lazy voice in your head, so that when you rest, you will rest fulfilled.

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My Thoughts On “Trans Abled”

I can remember being in college, in hearing all the craze, about a woman who wanted to become paralyzed from the waist down. Link Here I remember scratching my head and thinking to myself this can’t be real, right? But I was truly wrong, it was real. I was made aware of the Psychological disorder called BIID, or body integrity identity disorder. 

B.I.I.D. according to the NCBI, is defined as: Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) is a rare, infrequently studied and highly secretive condition in which there is a mismatch between the mental body image and the physical body. Subjects suffering fromBIID have an intense desire to amputate a major limb or severe the spinal cord in order to become paralyzed.

Now, as a person who has lived with an actually disability (cerebral palsy) for 34 years. It is extremely difficult for me not to take a stand against this. For the simple reason that I didn’t have a say in the matter of being born in the matter that I was. There was no psychological imbalance or trauma that caused me to be born with such a condition. But rather complications in the birthing process and actually trauma to my brain.

Cerebral Palsy is not the worst thing in the world, but it does have its taxing days, both on my mind and emotions. And yes, some days I wish I could walk, run, and live like everyone else. Somedays I wish that I could have a new body, but never could I ever have imagined the new momentum of wanting to be “Trans-Abled”

Where people actually want to not have use of their eyes, legs or even arms. And the torture in which they put themselves through. In the name of achieving such goals is down right disgusting and frankly demonic. Forever, there are doctors and seemingly “medical professionals” who are willing to aid their patients in the process! And if not done by a medical professional, then physical harm is done by the person seeking those results.

As a society, what is happening to us? And are we actually willing to accept this as the new social norm? Furthermore, if we are willing to accept this as a new social norm, provided more and more people actually want to move into this supposed “life style” are we actually fighting for human flourishing? No, we are are not fighting for human flourishing, rather we are accepting a deep form of human denigration.

As human beings we should be pushing people with mental illness and various disorders, to thrive and be at peace with themselves at some level. This also goes for medical professionals as well, as most already are, but there’re also quacks everywhere you go. I don’t meant to sound in-compassionate to these people that have this mental disorder, because they’re people too.

But no, you don’t and shouldn’t have the right just to cut your own arm off, simply because you want to be called “One arm Jack” which is a real story too. This is heart breaking, these people need deep compassionate mental care. For no real human being should set out to accomplish the goal of becoming disabled in various ways just to feel whole.

That in my estimation is the very definition of Ab-normal. I get that a lot of people feel trapped in their own bodies, but the answer is not harming yourself to accomplish a sense of people or even taking ones life, no way no how. Finding a sense of inner peace within oneself can be an extremely daunting journey, I know it has for me.

And I mentioned earlier, having CP is not the worst thing in the world, but there are days when it sucks and my body is in great pain. And yes, the days where I would like to experience what it is like to be like every other person, they come too. But I have done the hard work to have a sense of peace with myself and my maker.

I dealt with the shame of my right hand, the scars on my body and so on. And though my struggle is not the same of one that suffers from BIID. I can honestly tell you that I am at peace with myself, I still struggle, but I’m very okay with the body that I have been blessed with.

The same, I believe can be found for someone that suffers with BIID, to find true mental healing and restoration. It may be a long process, but it is possible, it takes the care and compassion of mental health professionals to help them work through a lot of layers and change the way we think.

Though I profoundly and disagree with the desire for one to become disabled, in any sense. Does not mean that I love or care for them any less. These people still have the image of God on them, and  whether they know that or not. That is their truest self of identity. And from that everything else follows.

They have such worth and value, and they need people who will show them that, not just cave to their desires.

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Arguing Toward Peace (Why Jordan Peterson is Right).

Some days ago, I watched a video of Dr. Jordan Peterson on the Dr. Oz show, Dr. Peterson was talking to a married couple who were on the brink of divorce. The wife had the papers all ready to go, but she had not signed them yet.

Link here: Dr. Jodan Peterson saves a marriage 

The wife had said that she didn’t go through wife signing the papers yet, for the soul purpose of there being hope still. Which I applaud and even find admirable. Dr. Peterson said a lot of good things in the three minute clip, but the one thing I found to be absolute gold was when he uttered the words:

Argue Toward Peace

Argue toward peace… Which is something we don’t do as Americans, why? Because we all want to be right, we all want to hold onto grudges and resent and not forgive and move for the better. Now most certainly, there’re times when it is right to walk away from a relationship and even family, if it is completely toxic and no parties want to meet in the middle.

Arguing toward peace, requires a few things

One: Letting go of your ego, meaning that one stops thinking about only about what they want. And why their right, actually hearing the other side. This can even be said in light of our political climate as well!  Who would have thunk? Once again I know it can be difficult to control our emotions when we are bitter, frustrated and angry. Lord knows, that I suck at this myself.

Its easy for me to blow and raise my voice, and even harder for me to step away and breath for a moment. Yet, that is what we must learn to do more and better. Scripture informs us that fruit of the spirit is:

Love

Joy

Peace

Forbearance

Kindness

Goodness

Faithfulness

Gentleness

And-self control.

Furthermore, scripture says Blessed are the peacemakers  (Matthew 5:9). The reality is, we could all do a lot better at being peace makers, that doesn’t mean holding firm to our own convictions, or stepping into battle when the time is right. But it does mean, that we learn to make peace with those we love. For example, my girlfriend and I have made an agreement not to go to bed angry, This is partly a biblical approach and partly logical.

I hate going to bad with any sort of anger or frustration it literally robs me of all joy, makes me toss and turn and takes me away from my true self. That usually leads me to call my girlfriend to apologies, which of course leads us both to feel at peace. Arguing toward peace, means sitting down, and calming talking through things, not screaming and holding onto how they hurt you or vise versa.

It’s about knowing that things are with fighting for, even when the world tells us to give up and start afresh. Not doing the relational hard work to reconcile our differences with one another. Arguing toward peace, in my opinion must become the new norm for us as a society.

And only when we have exhausted every option, is it worth giving up. In closing, I’d like to say also, that arguing toward peace Does NOT Mean allowing someone to walk all over you, cheat on you and even be physically abusive with you.  Arguing toward peace is a methodology,  that is to be used to facilitate healing in the lives of two people or even a group of people. But never under violent relational circumstances.

Blessings

-Brandon

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The Gift of Your Child

The following entry is a topic that has long weighed upon my heart, I do not wish for anyone to feel condemned or even shamed in the process of reading this. If anything, it is my hope and prayer that your heart and mind might see things in a fresh perspective and that you may sense a jolt in your spirit, and even a fresh perspective on the life your leading.

I can’t imagine what is was like, for my parents to hear from the doctor that I would be born with cerebral palsy (CP). The doctor gave my parents a lot of double speak, in that, one hand I would probably grow out of the condition, which never ever happens. If I didn’t grow out of it, then, according to the doctor, I would be dependent on others to help me live my life and I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything on my own.

You don’t have to be a pattern in the present moment, to get an idea of how that made my parents feel. My mom always tells me this story, that she grabbed this doctor by his lab coat and gave this doctor a piece of her mind. Apparently, in doing this, that caused this very small hospital on lock down. Furthermore, my mom would tell me about how, she would walk in the snow, to the hospital to make sure I was fed and gained the weight that was needed to be discharged from the hospital.

There is only one word to describe this: Love. Was it stressful and nerve racking? Yes, without question. I can only imagine that there were times where my parents felt frustrated and just needed a moment to breath and gather themselves back up. God knows, that we are only human and have our breaking points. Yet is was love, for my dad to take me to each physical therapy session and doctors appointment. It’s love, for my dad to teach me martial arts and how to be strong as a man.

Now, I have always tried to be as sufficient as possible,  but there’re a few things in life which have always got in the way. 1) driving and 2) cooking, I have attempted to learn to drive before, and will try again. The problem becomes, in having a bad startle reflex and taking a bit of time for my body to wake up and regulate its self in the morning. As of now, wisdom tells me that it’s easier to air on the side of caution. I would hate to be behind the wheel, and get startled by a loud noise, gun through the intersection and either being badly hurt myself or injuring someone else.

Cooking, it’s something I can do for myself, however the kitchen in my home is not the best set up for me. But I know that this arrangement is only temporary. The point being, is I know that things get stressful for my parents. Because, as I said earlier, their human too.  Yet, knowing that I am dependent in some ways and as a person with CP (or any other disability one wants to fill in the blank with).

The idea of being a gift or blessing, gets replaced with the word burden or thinking that we are dead weight. Now, let me lay before you that, parents that vocalize any sort of frustration. They don’t actually mean it, does it feel good? No, it doesn’t, in fact it hurts and cuts down to the bone if we don’t learn how detach ourselves from the moment, and cling to truth.

The truth is, our parents just might be having a bad day, should parents vocalize such frustration in front of their sons or daughters? Probably not. The reality is, it’s not good for anyone. I think that there should be times for parents with special needs children to vent, but in a healthier context. Not directly in front of your son or daughter.

Once again, to those of us who have CP or any other disability. Remember the truth, you’re not a burden, but a joy. Who has unique gifts and talents to offer the world. It’s important that we have a forgiving and grace filled spirit. Because the people around us, who love of the most will have bad days. And it’s important to know who we really are, to smile and forgive.

Parents, again, God knows you will have bad days. God knows that you will say things that you don’t mean. I think is key to remember, that if your son or daughter could actually drive, cook or do X, Y or Z for themselves they actually would. I m deeply thankful, for all my parents and family has done to help me get to where I am in life.

And if I could drive and do a few other things for myself, I would gladly do so. But in this current moment, things are as they are. Yet that does not mean, that I stop trying to improve myself to be as sufficient as possible. Lastly, and I don’t mean to pull at your heart strings, but always remember what it was like to see and hold your child for the fist time. The love and joy you felt for them in that moment, is still there even when you have a bad day.

Sons and daughters, the same goes for us, the love our parents does not change, simply because of one day. Always be kind, loving and gracious.

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How To Endure Suffering and Embrace All of Life.

 

Life is a series of moments, moments that are quickly escaping us. Whether we are aware of it or not. Which is breath, each month, each year, with every word and with every thought. And what we do in these moments is up to us. What we believe in these moments is up to us.

We can choose to be a pessimist or we can choose to be optimist. Sure, each day brings trials and worries of its own, yet the choice is still ours. Even in the darkest of times, we don’t have to be completely swallowed up by suffering.

Suffering does not have to crush or destroy us. One of the ways I have found to endure the hard times of life, is to condition myself in the midst of suffering. The same way I condition my body in the gym and on the matts. I condition my mind to be strong and stable in the harshest of conditions.

Am I always successful at it? No, I am not. I fail at it a lot, but if I/we do not condition ur minds to endure suffering. Life will in fact crush us. How do I condition my mind, you ask?

two ways:

  1. Patience’s in suffering- this is something we humans do not want to hear, but it is true none the less. Wishing the pain away, really does nothing for us. But being calm and as steady as rock, thus allows us to pray, ask, seek and knock. It allows us to endure and learn optimal lessons about ourselves. Consider the words in James 5:7-8 (NIV)  Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.    When we know that the Lord is near, nothing can shake us. When we truly know his character and his love for us. The suffering and adversity is momentary compared to his steadfast love.

2. Learn the art of Joy: Psalm 30:

 will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
    and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.[a]

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.[b]
For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.[c]
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

 

The poet David knows suffering all too well, and even he has endured much difficulty and despair. And yet he has learned the secret of rejoicing in the Lord, for he understands that God will not let the darkness triumph over him. Yes, I know that others may not share my same belief and faith in the Christian world view- but I believe that it is the only world way, that has anything to say about suffering. And it is the only world view that confronts suffering head on. Some say that faith in God is a “crutch” per- say, and yet most of us, that have been put the ringer of life, understand what it’s like to walk with a limp.  And so yes, Jesus comes along side us in our suffering and gives us himself to trust and lean on.

After all, he was plunged into the deepest sea of darkness for us, to show us his mad love for us and that we are not alone in suffering. He knows our suffering, temptations and weakness very deeply. The blessing of life then, as I said in the beginning, is a bundle of minutes and precious moments, passing us by whether we like it or not, believe it or not. As such, it is up to us to embrace the moments, darkness in all. We all have a choice in how we handle and view the suffering.

I say embrace it, head on, knowing that God is the great shepherd. Who can lead you beside still waters, regardless of where you have been, what you have done or have scared you may be about the future.

You are loved, it is never too late to accept the hand with the most amazing love and grace.

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Do You Want to Get Well?

One of the most pointed questions, Christ ever asked Do You want to get well?

John 5, Jesus spots a paralyzed man, who wants to go into the pool of Bethesda. All kinds of other people with various aliments are going into this pool for physical healing. But everyone is passing him up, going in ahead of him.

The man says to Jesus: Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’

Jesus replied Then Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

There are a few things that we can glean from this passage:

  1. his inward disposition of self- sorrow: he feels that he will never get well, he is focused on his circumstances and  he has no idea who his near him. It is our own inner thought process from seeing the power of God and who He is.

 

2: I believe that God heals not just the physical, but spiritual: You see, when Jesus asks if you want to get well, He is pointing to a much deeper reality. He is pointing to getting well spiritual speaking, He is talking about making our mind, emotions and hearts come alive to the truth He offers. He is the true path way to healing, that is not found in any other spiritual method or guru. For every other enlightened person, has claimed that they are a path way to the truth. But Christ says, that He is the truth and He has come to set you free! It does not matter what you have done in your life, it doesn’t matter your pedigree, education or anything else that we think can take the place of Him. He wants your heart, then He will make your more in His love and character.

 

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Do What You Were Meant To Do.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

― Howard Thurman

Finding your soul purpose, is not a exploration through outer space. I repeat:

Finding your soul purpose, is not a exploration through outer space.

What does this mean?

It means that God has endowed us all with things that we are passionate about, and talented out. What ever those things are for you, are the things that I truly believe that you should be pursuing.

It doesn’t matter if its painting, web design, clothing, public speaking, mentoring, coaching or something else. If we are not doing the things we love in some fashion. We are living a horrible existence.

As a society, we are caught in the 9-5 trap, working for our bank accounts. Now, if you like what you’re doing, good. Keep doing it. But I feel that most people hate what their doing and as such they are dying on the inside. Living for the Fridays and drinking some beer… Not that that’s bad at all.

But I just think that we could be living a more meaningful existence… You have to work an odd job to make ends meet. But to not do something that makes you come alive, is utter foolishness.

Write down what makes you come alive, make a plan and go do it.

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Remembering Chester Bennington

I’ll never forget being a teenager, lying there in my bed watching MTV, when MTV was actually MTV. Meaning that they actually played good music videos. It must have been early morning I remember seeing Linkin’s Parks video for the song One Step Closer.  I was hooked from the first sound of the guitar, the break down and the perfect hybrid rap Rock vocals. The lyrics hooked me as an angsty teen. The lyrics were speaking to me in a way nothing else could.

I was a fan and will always will be. There was not a LP album that I was not a fan of. To be quite honest though, it was the lyrical depth that drew me in. The fact that the band was armed with a great live show was even better. I had never gotten the chance to see the band live, but I remember seeing them live on a show called Reverb Nation. There was so much emotional connectivity with the crowd, it was all so intriguing and inspiring to me.

To think that someone like Chester, or any member of the band could command such attention. When ever I was sad, depressed or angry it would be linkin park that I went to the most. The interesting thing is though, even through Chesters heavy, dark and even hopeful lyrics. I never truly connected that fact that he struggled with depression or mental illness. In my young mind at the time, I thought he was only telling stories of people that he knew.

There was no way he could be depressed right? I mean he was a world wide celebrity and had everything it seemed. That the was the younger, less wise part of myself. Now that I am bit older, I realize that it is truly possible to have everything and feel like you have nothing at the same time.

In my own journey with depression and anxiety, it was the lyrics of Chester B that gave me the room I needed to give voice to what I was feeling on the inside. I was never blessed with the chance to meet Chester, and tell him thank you for his words. And that I in some ways considered him a friend.

On a personal level, I often feel so up and down. Happy one moment and either want to scream or cry the next. I have had a handful of psych professors tell me that life, for most is very up and down or much like scribbling on a piece of paper. But thats never been a soothing or satisfying response for me.

The more I listen to the lyrics of Chester, the more I sense that he was truly crying out. Duh right? As a psychology major though, I have learned to pay more attention and see more deeply into a person. Are they truly happy when they smile or is there more going on below the surface?

Better yet, are we happy in a public setting and then fall apart behind closed doors? It’s almost been a year since his passing, and I honestly cannot believe that he is gone. I keep waiting for some FB article to pop up saying that he is alive and well, much like 2 pac. ..

But I guess that a big part of me is still in denial, that he is truly gone. All I know is that, we cannot afford to keep losing people this way. Regardless of what we believe about life. We must be willing to ask and have uncomfortable conversations, about how and where we are at in life.

We have to be willing to say **** the stigma behind talking about depression and suicide, for it is the only way to break free. We have to be willing to say enough is enough.

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Cerebral Palsy. Body Image and Internal Healing.

I’m starting to see a correlation between cerebral palsy and body image, this correlation stems from being in contact with numerous people who live with cerebral palsy through social media. In this particular regard, I’m speaking about having a negative self image.

You may look at the image of me below, and not think that I am “fat” all, but when I look at myself. That is what I see.

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When I look at the sides of my stomach, I think “Ugh gross” then I start thinking or obsessing over what I eat and upping the intensity of my daily workouts. Which is not a bad thing at all. It is a problem though, when you are in the middle of your workout and you can’t stop dwelling on how disgusting you feel and look.

I posted that above photo on instagram a few weeks ago, lots of people said that I looked great, or that we all had those feelings, or even “that’s just skin!” The comments were heart warming and helped me to think more positively.. For awhile, but then I would find myself in the downward spiral of self destruction and sabotage.

My workouts have consisted of lots of burpees, probably two-four hundred every single day. Along with Kettle and Bar Bell lifting. I sweat a lot, recover well but am utterly hungry the rest of the day.  Nor am I afraid of eating my carbs, protein and Beer… My one beer after work.

The engine is constantly stoked, and I’m constantly pushing my mind and body.. But there is this area of my life, that needs change. I’m tried all the thought stopping methods, all the positive affirmations etc. And still nothing helps the crap shoot stop.

After CF today, I came home, ate and then went to wash my stinky self. There I was, looking at my body with contempt. And then I thought, “this has to stop!” Truly the only thing that gets me through life is my faith. So after redirecting my thoughts back to it, I whispered to God:

“God, you don’t want me to hate my body, I know that. Help me to see myself differently, as you do.” At that moment, something clicked on inside of me. I’m not saying that you have to do, as I do, that is something that you have to decide and work through for yourself.

What I am saying though, is that these destructive thinking has to stop, or at least be put in its rightful place. A vast majority of therapists would saying that working out is killing me, and steer me away from it as they would most addictions. But I don’t think that that is the end all be all solution.

Yes, some things might need to change, or pause. But this is less a physical issue, and more a mental, emotional and spiritual issue. And until those issues heal, nothing we change the way we long for.

So! We have to understand that this is going to be a long journey, with plenty of ups and downs and twists and turns. We have to accept where we are at. I know that this is something that will not want to be heard, you might spend lots of time in a wheel chair, and be on lots of meds. Okay, we can work with that, the fact is that we cannot give up.

There are plenty of exercises that can be done from a seated position, plenty of ways to even build stamina too. I should get on making videos regarding these topics. Yet the biggest component is learning to take care of ourselves from a place of love and not so much a “I have to” but an “I want to” there’s a huge difference.

Change your forward thinking: Think less on your image, and think more about prolonged health, mobility, strength and focus. So that we can be the strongest version of ourselves, not so much for ourselves but for others.

The internal healing is more tangible than we believe, more closer than we think. Much like any medicine though, it takes time for the benefits to show up, but rest assured. Through discipline and diligence change will come.

Blessings!

-Brandon