Revisit tips for the holidays: people skills

For some years I posted some tips for coping with the holidays every year and then I drifted away from it. Thought I’d re-issue one with some links to others:

dont beat drum quote

Every year at this time I post about a teaching from Kahuna teacher Serge King that has had an enormous impact on my life.  Serge likes to keep it short and simple, so the basic principle is:  “People are who they are and they do what they do.

I believe that if everyone in the world learned this one and lived by it, peace would soon follow.  As with many of his seemingly simple teachings, if you started exploring this one you’ll find it has tremendous depth.

The greatest source of disappointment, frustration, and anger toward others arises from having your own agenda/expectations about who you want them to be and how you want them to act/what you want them to do..The deep reality is that people are who they are and they are going to do what they do based on who they are.  You can wish or will others to be somebody else as much you want.  You may even occasionally manipulate someone into doing something that’s not what they want.  But in the long run no one can be anyone other than who they are.

Your best defense, if you want to avoid being disappointed or upset by others, is to know them well enough to know who they are.  Know what they do.  Expect them to be who they are and do what they do.  You’ll never be surprised by anyone’s behavior if you really know them.

And then realize who they are and what they do isn’t about you.  Pretty much ever; even when someone attacks you, the attack has everything to do with who they are and nothing to do with you.  So Don Miguel Ruiz’s advice, “Don’t take anything personally”, fits very well with this teaching.  People are busy being who they are and doing what they do and none of it has anything to do with you.  So don’t take it personally.

Is Aunt Murgatroyd going to tell unfunny jokes at the annual gathering, as always?  Of course she is.  It’s who she is and what she does.  Is your cousin Snagglepuss going to bore everyone AGAIN with stories of his really dull job?  You bet.  Who he is, what he does.  Is your overly protective dad going to criticize you like he always does?  If his way of showing care is to fret and pick apart anything that doesn’t fit his view, then yup.  Gonna do it.  If he’s an unhappy guy who criticizes to express his dissatisfaction with the world, that’s who he is…  gotta figure he’s gonna do it.

If you walk in with a chip on your shoulder because you know the irritating behavior(s) are going to arise but you’re secretly hoping it will be different, you’re going to get what you’re expecting:  unhappiness and dejection.  A lot of times we enter these situations knowing what they’ll do and expecting to be angry because of it.  And you’ll pretty much get what you’re expecting — ongoing cycles of them being who they are and you being angry.

If you expect anyone to do anything other than what s/he does, you’re doomed to disappointment.  When you can walk in knowing they’ll all be there being themselves and doing what they do, you’ll get what you knew you would.  Know that nothing they do is about hurting, irritating, upsetting or disappointing you.  They’re just being themselves.

When you can step aside from the behavior, know that it’s about them and not you, and stay centered, you can defuse most of the emotional turmoil that can make the holidays stressful.

The question we’ll explore in the next post is:  can you love them anyway?

Love Them Anyway

Communication

Recognizing Love When It is Offered

Pro-lifers and precious lives — I don’t believe you

 

In my last post I explored thoughts on compassion and the need I keep feeling to try to understand the folks on “the other side”.  There are two big places where I keep hanging up, just incapable of understanding what the thinking process is.  Today’s ruminations are on the pro-life stance that they must oppose abortion because they believe all life is precious.  Next time I’ll get into some thoughts on claims to love Jesus.

My thoughts start from my firm belief that if you say life is precious, it should mean ALL life is precious.  And my problems with the pro-lifers’ statement of belief in all life is the vast amount of evidence I see that in fact they don’t find most lives precious at all.

Starting with abortion clinics.  The women who schedule abortions head to the clinic on what for many is the one of the worst days of their lives.  They’re women.  They’re living beings.  Instead of being met with compassionate people who value their lives and want to help them feel better, they’re met with screaming hordes who call them murderers.

They’re live human beings.  Why aren’t their lives precious?

When you say you think life is precious I don’t believe you.

Children are being ripped from their parents at the border and kept in horrendous conditions.  I have yet to see a gathering of protesters standing outside one of these centers waving Pro Life signs and demanding these little lives in being be treated as precious.  Nor have I heard of large contingencies of pro-lifers showing up to volunteer or demanding policy change.

They are innocent little living children.  Why aren’t their lives precious?

When you say you think life is precious I don’t believe you.

Black people are being murdered by police in every city in the country on a routine basis.  I have yet to see a bunch of people with Pro Life signs showing up at Black Lives Matter rallies to stand up for saving these precious lives. Or demanding policy change or sensitivity training…

People of every color are people.  Live humans.  Why aren’t Black lives precious to you?

When you say you think life is precious I don’t believe you.

Synagogues and mosques and Black churches have been under attack in recent years, particularly since the Terrorist-in-Chief took office and made hatred okay.  I searched to find an example of Pro-Life advocates rallying outside a synagogue or mosque or Black church waving Pro Life signs and proclaiming their intention to protect the precious lives who worship in these places.

People of every faith are human beings with real, functioning lives.  Why aren’t all of those lives precious?

When you say you think life is precious I don’t believe you.

Pro-lifers consistently vote for Republicans, who consistently want to slash every social welfare program in favor of the rich.  From school lunch programs to medical care to refugee aid, you vote to strip the fragile support offered by social welfare programs from all those who need them.  It’s perfectly fine with you for children to go hungry, for people to die for lack of health care and for refugees to be sent back to countries where their lives are threatened.

People in need are alive.  They’re humans.  Why aren’t their lives precious enough to earn your compassion?

When you say you think life is precious I don’t believe you.

If you really believed life is precious you would be showing up with your signs and rallies and votes and petitions to support all the struggling people whose lives hang in the balance.  But you don’t.

When you say you think life is precious I don’t believe you.

What I do believe is something other than “life is precious” is the driving force behind your adamant concern for life in the womb and only in the womb.  What I don’t understand is what that is.  But I would like to know what the real story is.  In the meantime,

When you say you think life is precious I don’t believe you.

Unconditional Compassion

Ever since the election, it’s seemed to me that the liberal left (and I’m a member) has been patting themselves on the back and feeling self-righteous because they’re the people of compassion and caring.  And the other side are evildoers and deserving of hatred.  It bothers me, because my understanding of true compassion is that it’s unconditional.

I’m a work in progress when it comes to living with compassion; not claiming to be operating from the ideal place.  But I’ve contemplated it, done practices to develop it within and read a lot of the thoughts and wisdom of people who have mastered it better than I and I think I understand the basic idea that true compassion doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t see an “other”.

Hanging around calling people idiots or stupid or worse demonstrates that you are just as hateful as they are  It sure doesn’t argue for your great sense of compassion.

When I look at some of the hatefulness and dip into my heart and sense of compassion, I see people who are totally frightened.  I don’t know why or have the answers that will end their fears, but I know that understanding the fear and figuring out how to address it is more likely to shift their terrified and hateful responses to the world than calling them stupid.

To me the biggest failure of democrats and the left has been the absence of using their hearts to explore how to address the fears of those who become self-protective and lash out at those they wrongfully blame for their troubles.

But while political types are working on their idea of change, I keep clearing every issue I find within myself.  I keep meditating and chanting and working to raise my vibration.  Because in the end the one significant contribution each of us can make to the collective energy that is All of Us as One is to raise our own energy.

Every time I shout at the television or shake my fist at one of the candidates, it means I still have anger to clear.  It means I still have more chanting to do.

Every time we lift ourselves another notch in vibration, we lift the world a little bit.  If a million of us raise our energy, we change the world.  Be the peace.  Live with compassion that knows no other nor any conditions, but is given freely to all.

Being Peace: Where’s Your Focus

Louise Hay Affirmation

People keep telling me how bad the world is, how depressing, violent, etc.  And I keep trying to tell everyone it really is NOT.  For some time now I’ve been actively seeking positive news (see previous post) and, in doing so, have discovered the world is full of amazing and wonderful people accomplishing amazing and wonderful things every day!  It really comes down to a choice we all make about where we put our focus.  And why.

Governments and mainstream media have their own reasons for focusing on negative stories.  The fear they create justifies big budgets for police and military, the media keep people stirred up and it sells more of their product(s).  Because society has accepted these views and continues to support those who foment them, the negativity just continues.

I’ve embedded this video several times now because I feel it’s such an important message (and it’s only 10 minutes). She’s exploring the impact of having all attention on negative news and suppressing the multitudes of stories of people working for peace, helping the environment, making scientific breakthroughs, etc.  The negativity keeps people divided, which only helps those in power to keep their power and to keep the rest of us dis-empowered, poor, struggling…

Even among people I know who are deeply spiritual and well aware of the power of positivity, there are those who are caught in a cycle of doom and gloom about the current state of the world.  One thing I’ve learned in many years of seeking is this:  when people are stuck on an issue like that, whether personal or political or affecting all humanity, somewhere in them is an issue fueling their negative focus.

I’m putting several positive stories a day on Facebook, so many of the folks who are staying negative have an opportunity each day to look in a different direction.  But they don’t.  Why choose to focus on bad news and refuse to notice the good?

So I’m thinking these days about questions like:

  • what are you getting from holding onto this fear/anger?
  • what do you believe about life or the world that holds you in this place and when did that belief begin?
  • what can be done to heal the negative thinking patterns and/or shift them into positive ones?

As you know, I’ve been using ho’oponopono to explore issues for a long time.  When the bad news starts to “get” me, I begin asking questions like the above and I start working with the prayer:

  • For every way in which I hold negative patterns, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
  • For every unresolved issue in me fueling anger and fear, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
  • For every part of me which sees an “other” who is separate and unlikeable/unloveable, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
  • For my failures at living in compassion and love and being peace, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.

Another way to help change negative thinking is to use affirmations.  I like to create a few which I keep repeating every time I catch my thoughts on certain tracks (this changes over time, so it means creating new ones…) and I also play a lot of recordings of affirmations in the background.

I’ve created a long tape of affirmation recordings from Dick Sutphen which is on Spotify, Steve Nobel has lots of affirmations recordings on YouTube and it’s easy to create a list.  Hay House has offered some nice affirmations recordings from Louise Hay for free.  There are millions more options.

Sometimes the deep issues creating negativity require help from a therapist or pursuing a process like Fisher Hoffman or Choices or the Diamond Heart work of H. Almaas.  While clearing issues isn’t exactly fun work, the relief and freedom that flow from releasing old stuff is so immense, so lightening, so transformational, it winds up feeling great!

Every time one of us clears old negative thinking and offers positive energy into the web, the world inches closer to peace, a healthy environment, and compassion.  The more you heal, the easier it is to stay drawn to the positive and good.  It’s time to empower the peacemakers, the inventors of answers, the compassion holders instead of the corrupt and hateful.

I know most of my regular readers already get this.  But I bet most of you know people who are caught up in the angst of these times, so please pass along the notion that looking at the positive or the negative is a CHOICE.

A few posts from the past about positive thinking (and check out the Journey to Peace tab above):

Dipping into Peace and Love

A another blogger — also a friend — asked me recently to post something about being peace.  I’ve been re-reading old posts and giving it some thought ever since, without quite landing on what I’d like to write.

In the meantime I felt drawn to yet another Steve Nobel meditation and I think it will make a nice opener to what I’m thinking may be a series of posts reflecting on peace.

This one, “The Sun Goddess Amaterasu Transmission. Embracing A Higher Flow of Pure Grace” is almost entirely about filling with grace and love and light from the Divine Feminine and I found it amazing.  If enough of us start resonating with this level of grace and love most or all of the time the world will shift…

Outage blessing: a shift

A couple of weeks ago a big storm took out electricity for a couple of day (previous post) and then our phone/tv/internet service went down for a week.  When the electricity came back but the other stuff was still out I pulled out some DVDs to have something to watch.

I’d been drawn for a while to re-watch some “positive” stuff, like Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life” or “What the Bleep”.  But you know, have to remember how to get in DVD mode and find the stuff to watch, so it kept getting put off…  But with DVD the only possibility, the draw became compelling.  So I started with the Louise Hay.  As I watched for what was probably the sixth or eigth time since i bought it, I suddenly felt like a switch flipped.

Having been aware of her mirror work for years, I finally actually went through all the exercises in one of her more recent books about it a couple of years ago.  I enjoyed it and felt like it did some good, though years of work on similar things meant it didn’t feel like a big change happened.  But I’ve long been aware of a gap for me between my intellectual understanding about positive thinking and my ability to hold on to positive thoughts.

Many people I’ve known over the years have seemed to just flip a switch upon encountering Ms. Hay or Eckhart Tolle or whichever “you create your reality” guru they found.  It’s always amazed me that someone could turn it around so fast.  Sometimes I realized they became very good at saying only positive things but it didn’t necessarily mean they’d really cleared the negative thoughts or explored their origins…

On my journey I realized in increments over many years that lots of old personal and ancestral issues created endlessly looping negative tapes in my thought patterns and that I didn’t know how to turn them off.  It’s taken years of release work, self-examination and creating positive thought loops to progress slowly into a more positive mindset.

But suddenly as Louise and friends discussed loving yourself and mirror work, something in me went, “yes, of course, I love myself.”  I’ve been smiling and looking in the mirror to repeat variations of loving myself affirmations daily ever since and spontaneously looping positive thoughts through my mind at intervals each day.

I’ve waited a while to write about this, wondering how well it would stick.  Must admit the constancy of it has faded a bit over the course of a couple of weeks (probably time to watch the video again?), but by and large I’m still finding myself running affirmations through my mind and smiling into the mirror daily.

It feels like a big shift.  One that was fed by all the work on shifting, sorting, examining and changing that went before, but a shift nonetheless.  Quite a blessing to receive from an outage!

The week+ with no Internet or t.v. has also changed my viewing and on line habits a bit, as I actually watch instead of half watching more things, take more time away from computer and t.v. to read, cook, weed, etc.  I have to say, frustrating as it was, the blessings were greater than the inconvenience.

Privilege and Expectation

We’ve been experiencing some outage problems here in the Bluegrass which have me reflecting on life in the first world and how demanding we’ve become.  A huge storm blew through last Friday, knocking down trees and limbs which in turn brought down wires, etc. and took out electricity for over 80,000 people in the area.

By Sunday I was catching headlines on my cell phone about people being angry and impatient at how long it was taking to restore service.  Personally I was pretty grateful when they got ours back on by late Sunday afternoon (our longest spell, due to ice storm in 2002, was nine days without power…).  A couple of hours after the electricity came back our TV, internet and phones went down.  Someone at the company called it a catastrophic outage when I called in and we’re now at four full days since that went down-and counting.

When I hunted on line to see if I could get info about the outages and estimates about when services would be back, I saw more people complaining about the length of time this one is going on.

I’ve been observing this phenomenon and pondering it since the Northridge Earthquake in 1994.  The damage was truly catastrophic and a few days later people were bitching and moaning that they had to wait in long lines to sign up for disaster aid and it was taking too long to bring life back to normal.

I remember thinking, “what about disaster are you not understanding???”  It began a long fascination for me with the degree to which Americans (a) don’t want to pay taxes or ever have a tax hike but (b) expect the government to wave a magic wand and restore damaged houses, torn up electric grids, etc. in a blink – and presumably without any tax money…–every time there’s a disaster and (c) want government really to take care of everything in general, from road repair to creating jobs… without being taxed for it.

Similarly, each time we’ve had a major blast from Mother Nature here in the Bluegrass, people have wanted everything back to normal within 24 hours and start bellyaching if it goes on any longer.  It’s not that I can’t see it’s a pain in the butt or even that I don’t feel upset or frustrated by long spells without the things I’m used to.  But I also get the magnitude of some events just requires time to get things back.

I also try to have perspective.  Think of Haiti, where YEARS later they’ve never been restored to normal.  Think about the multitudes of people around the world who live 24/7 without electricity or the internet or television, etc.  Think about the long span of history when no one had any of those things.  From that view I find it insignificant to suffer for a few days without some services I like while living in a nice house, having plenty to eat, etc.

This time I really kept trying to look for the up sides and finding many.  For a long time I’ve kind of enjoyed the first bit in a power outage because there’s such a beautiful quality of silence when all that stuff is off and the house isn’t buzzing from all the appliances, etc.  It feels like a gift from the Universe to be able to relax into the quiet for a while.

In this case we were pretty lucky because the storm cooled it down so we didn’t miss the A.C. and since it’s summer, we had plenty of light for reading and hanging out till 9 p.m. so not too much wear and tear on our battery-powered lanterns or our candles.  On Saturday I piled my Fire tablet, cell phone and laptop into a bag and headed off to the library, where I was able to charge everything up and get some stuff done on the internet.

So many places on the planet don’t have electricity at all, let alone the internet, etc., I have trouble whining about how terrible I have it that I have to go to the library to go right on using all the stuff I’m used to…  And since the electricity is back on and I’ve never unhooked the DVD player, I’ve been able to watch some movies and do some binging on Gilmore Girls.  Plus while on the library wi fi, I’ve downloaded some Amazon Prime content on my Fire and some Netflix stuff onto my laptop so other things to watch are available.  Seriously, how is all that a hardship?

Would I prefer to be able to watch what I want to watch and surf the internet any time of day or night?  Of course.  It’s not that I can’t understand people feeling a little frustrated, but I’m perturbed by the sense of privilege that makes so many people so angry every time something untoward knocks them off the normal game plan

We’re all pretty out of touch with Mother Nature and her cycles in the modern first world, but even knowing this I find it hard to fathom being so out of touch you can’t understand natural disasters can and will happen and life as you know it may be off kilter for days or weeks or months or years after.  And it isn’t the government’s fault or the electric company’s fault or the cable company’s fault, etc.  It’s just what is.

So I’ve been toting up gratitudes and today, as I sit in the overly air conditioned library in a perfectly comfortable chair while using free high speed internet, I’m thinking I’m pretty darn lucky.