Soulful living requires that the mind be trained to celebrate more and criticize less. The tendency to be critical can be like an addiction, and requires a recovery program all its own. I have coined the phrase, critiholism to bring this disease to the public eye. I share my story now to inspire any fellow critiholics out there to realize what they have been doing and to get help.

Like many, I spent years in denial of my thinking problem. I fancied myself an average social criticizer, enjoying a few harmless judgments of myself and of others at parties and other social situations. Then I noticed myself sneaking in a few criticisms while alone. Soon I was waking up and starting my day with a double shot of straight criticism. When I found myself criticizing myself for how much I was criticizing myself, I knew I had a problem. But where to go for help? There were no twelve step programs for this addiction, and I had definitely hit bottom.

One Sunday I was thinking and driving, and got caught in the act. A policeman pulled me over. He had clocked me on his radar judging myself at eighty three times per hour. My thoughts had been swerving all over the road! I had no excuse. He arrested me for inner child abuse, driving myself crazy, and disturbing my own peace. When I told him I was a workaholic and was on my way to work, he added resisting a rest to my charges. He also informed me that my thinking problem contributed to astral air pollution and eats away at the ozone layer. Uy, Vey! Did I feel guilty!?!

In court I asked to be my own prosecuting attorney, since I had so much experience in that role already. Of course I won the case and was found guilty as charged. I thought they would throw the book at me, being that domestic self-violence is such a heated issue these days. Instead, the judge warned me that if I was found beating myself up again that I would serve hard time for giving myself a hard time.

The court suggested I visit a hospital that specialized in the treatment of chronic critique syndrome.* Upon examination I was immediately placed on the critical list. The doctors were blunt. They told me that if I didn't learn to be more gentle with myself, my mental habits would lead me to a probable critiac arrest.* I decided to rest my critic instead, and to open my heart before a surgeon might have to do it for me.

Living soulfully is the art of becoming a love generator, rather than a fault finder. To do so we have to alter the mind's tendency to critique life. Throwing our hands on our hips and laughing at ourselves is a mighty step in the right direction. Abstinence from seriousness is highly recommended for any critiholic seriously committed to their recovery. Remember, soul brothers and sisters, when it comes to critiholism, sobriety and seriousness do not mix.

*Chronic Critique Syndrome: This condition renders the alleged victim unable to see and enjoy the good. It is passed from parent to child, and can also be caught from schoolteachers and the media. The disease affects the eyes, often leaving the sufferer with Anal Eyes, the predisposition to anal eyes everyone and everything, especially the self. The cure is a series of emotional and mental procedures designed to remove the layers of anesthesia blocking one from heartfelt feelings. People in remission often can be seen spreading joy and hugging on the streets. For more information, see Jimmy Stewart at the end of It's A Wonderful Life.

*Critiac Arrest: This occurs when, after years of a person attacking their own heart, the heart fails. The major causes of critiac arrest are a poor mental diet, hardening of the attitudes, and the lack of heart-strengthening exercises, such as hugging, laughing and playing. More Americans suffer from critiac arrest than all other metaphoric illnesses combined.

Scott Kalechstein is an inspirational speaker, modern day troubadour, recording artist and workshop leader. He is also a frequent guest minister and singer at Religious Science and Unity Churches around the country. He will be giving a concert in Encinitas on Saturday night, March 8th; a Musical Healing Circle Workshop on Saturday, March 15 in Encinitas; as well as a workshop entitled "Say Yes to Your Dreams" at Unity of Tustin on Sunday, April 6th. Scott will guest minister at Bonita Church of Religious Science on Sunday, April 20, followed by a workshop "Say Yes to Your Dreams". For more details, inquiries about bookings, or to order recordings, please call (619) 492-8726.

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