Tag Archives: respect

An Open Love Letter to All the Judgmental, Racist, Sexist, Homophobes Out There

UntitledBy Chris Grosso

Hate, negativity, close-mindedness—none of this is new. Being heavily tattooed with big holes in my earlobes, a skateboarder and a fan of punk/hardcore music since my teenage years has left me all too familiar with judgmental people, especially growing up in a small town before these things started to become somewhat socially acceptable.

Disapproving looks, comments under the breath, or, in some cases, blatantly to my face, have been commonplace throughout my life, and it’s something that has led me time and again to seriously contemplate why people are the way they are. Particularly, why do people feel the need, or, that they have the right to cast judgments and write someone off based solely on outer appearances or personal lifestyle choices?

There’s really no simple answer. Each person is a unique individual with a unique set of circumstances that has led them to become the person they are today. One thing I’ve learned about myself, however, and my own judgments (because yes, I too am human and have no shortage of them), is that it’s rooted in fear.

For me, I’ve learned that being a counterculturist from a very early age, or, raging against the machine (though truth be told, I often wasn’t quite sure exactly what machine I was raging against) has often left me judgmental towards those in the mainstream media—from spiritual teachers to musicians, actors and so forth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly grateful for my punk/hardcore roots as they dismantled a lot of the naivety in my otherwise culturally conditioned mind, but I am definitely seeing some of the after effects playing out years later in my adult life (though adult or not, I still listen to plenty of punk/hardcore).

The fear of seeing myself as a “conformist” for nothing more than liking a popular band, or reading one of Oprah’s official book selections, or maybe, just maybe even admitting that someone like Justin Timberlake actually has some talent stems from fear. I mean really, why else do I feel the need to completely write these people off simply because they don’t look, talk or act like me? Isn’t that on a comparable level to what the close-minded individuals I’m writing about in this article are doing? Sure, they may be coming from a more hateful place, but at the end of the day, a close-minded judgment is a close-minded judgment.

I’m not here to make excuses for anyone, because hateful rhetoric of any kind turns my stomach. Every time I see the Westboro Church protestors and their “God Hates Fag” signs I feel my entire body begin to tense up, however, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t also make me feel a deep sadness and compassion for them.

I’ve been to some very dark places in my life. I lived for many years as a hardcore addict, and there were countless nights I would lay in a dark room wishing for death to take me. I was filled with fear, self-hatred and disdain for God, or whatever “it” was out there that created this whole insane goddamn world (how I felt then, not now). I lost so many years of my life to those experiences that now, years later having come out of the other side of them, I can’t help but contemplate what it’s like for others as they go to bed each night, or in this particular case, hate-filled people.

I put myself in their shoes and imagine what it must be like to lay their head down each night, filled with so much anger, hatred and fear. I’m sure the majority of it for these people is on a subconscious level, but still, it’s there. So whether they realize it or not, it’s making their lives what I could only imagine to be a complete living hell.

When I sincerely put myself in their shoes, it becomes virtually impossible for me to muster any judgments to cast back on them, no matter how much I disagree because honestly, all I’m left with is the desire to hug every single one of them. To really hold them in my arms and let them know that it’s going to be okay. To let them know they are loved and that whatever pain they are holding inside can be healed. To look them in the eyes with the compassionate understanding and again, tell them it’s going to be okay— that we’ve all suffered, and in varying degrees we all still hurt and suffer. I want them to know it’s all part of the human experience, and that since they are a fellow brother or sister in this journey, that I honor and love what they are beneath the thoughts and beliefs that are temporarily lodged in their minds.

Maybe some of you believe I’m naïve for thinking like this, and who knows, maybe I am, but this is what’s in my heart. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my travels, it’s that when I lay myself aside and allow my heart to do the driving, it never, ever, steers me in the wrong direction. I just don’t want to add to any more hatred to this world, and in this very moment, that’s the ultimate truth of what’s in my heart.

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-1Chris Grosso is an independent culturist, freelance writer, spiritual aspirant, recovering addict, and musician. He serves as spiritual director of the interfaith center The Sanctuary at Shepardfields and is a correspondent for the Where Is My Guru radio show. He created the popular hub for all things alternative, independent, and spiritual with TheIndieSpiritualist.com and continues the exploration with his debut book titled Indie Spiritualist (Beyond Words/Atria Books, February 2014). A self-taught musician, Chris has been writing, recording, and touring since the mid-1990s. 
 
Connect with Chris online at The Indie Spiritualist, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

I’m Not Your B****, Yo. (And Neither is Beyonce. Or Any Woman Ever)

beyonce-breastplate-nipple-costume-1This article references a previous blog I wrote, entitled: An Open Letter to Michelle Obama: Beyonce is Not a Role Model

Two months, an estimated 300,000+ readers, and over 30,000 actual Facebook likes after I wrote the Beyonce piece, I’ve gotten a piece – a piece of everyone and the world’s mind.

(As  precursor here I should say that in this article I am not singling out any one person who sent me messages in ‘conversation’ no matter how strong their position because I don’t think that’s fair. But, for those writers who published reply articles (that I know about) and who actually wanted readers, I am citing those here with links attached for people to visit and read.)

Through that lovely vehicle of social media, the #Beyhive came out, appropriately in droves: warm, fuzzy and stinging. They told me I should ‘watch my back’, that my ‘very life was in danger’, that I was ‘a ho’, that I had a ‘double chin’, and rather directly that I needed ‘more dick’ in my life. Aah. I see – #girlsruntheworld.

Others were less clever, if more labored in noting their contempt: In a departure from its title, a website called The Moderate Voice wrote a reply article with the clearly immoderate title ‘The Dumbest Thing I’ve Read This Week‘. Elsewhere someone studying for an MPhil in Linguistics at Oxford penned an essay in reply on ‘The Complexity of Beyonce“. One person in total commented on this essay, saying that they ‘think Beyonce and Jay-Z are poor role models based on their sick infatuation with wearing the murdered bodies of innocent animals as coats, garish shoes and other gruesome garments’. When I read this, I couldn’t help thinking that often times for many of us, it’s just not a very complex world at all.

Some people thought Beyonce’s costume was a celebration of the primal goddesses of ancient cultures. It was an emancipated return of the divine feminine rising, they wrote to me: ‘Can’t you see? You with your spirituality blog. Ha!’ I asked myself how could I have been blind to this? Where was my awareness of the divine feminine when it showed up and shimmied in my face? Inspired, I looked into it and found out the dress designers who produced the piece said their inspiration for the costume was to create ‘one of  the most glamorous and provocative looks she’s ever worn…(to) give the illusion of being covered in crystalized honey…’

Oh. Sweet.

They also said the costume was a collaboration between Beyonce and her mom. Such a nice mom and daughter project – perhaps all the women who wrote and said they had just had baby girls and would love to see their daughter grow into a Beyonce will want to try this for a first grade Halloween. Why wait till she’s a multi-million $ earner who has no material need to ‘earn’ her money like this. Ladies, you already know that I ‘just don’t get it.’ You’ve written to tell me so. But you know what – if it works for you – go ahead, make it happen: Objectify Her Now. Perhaps if you mobilize the power of the #Beyhive in support of this, Beyonce will issue a home-costume-design-kit for this one.

I’ll still be scratching my head at the hashtag, that’s all:

#honeygirlsruntheworldbysingingsongslookingliketheyarenakedcoveredinhoney

Elsewhere, others were impassioned to write that my feminism was not theirs (I agree completely) although they mistakenly decided I have zero education in the practices, and circumstances that lead to sex trafficking (especially urban USA), and also decided I conflated voluntary sex work with trafficking. They also confused an essay about the dangers of presenting the notion of feminine success as being dependent on sexualizing the self to very young girls, with the idea that I as its author wanted grown women to suppress their sexuality because it was shameful. They wrote about the rights of women to choose sex work, they wanted to ‘call me out’ for my own lack of liberation.

I never wrote it in my piece because it was so unrelated, but for what it’s worth let me say it here: women who are adults engaged in consensual, safe, sex or erotic work that you enjoy, and find personally fulfilling and that you do by your own independent choice: more power to you. What you do as adult women is your business. Literally. The question in the original piece was never about an adult woman’s freedom to make her own choices in an adult environment. The question was about the packaging to very young girls a message that ultimate feminine success for them comes with the necessity to sexualize themselves.

Lastly, sometimes I saw some things about some people talking – shouting mostly, actually – about ‘slut shaming’. I read my piece again when I got these comments just to check if I’d lost my mind and written something irresponsible but I hadn’t: I did NOT write a piece that supported the idea that women or young girls are ever responsible for the prejudices imposed on them by society. I did write a piece that said that women who present themselves as recording artists targeting young girls as their audience, who then present themselves to those young audiences in overtly sexualized terms – are not role models for our young girls.

Once that was set aside, the feelings of being unwilling to engage in a conversation about ‘slut shaming’ set in and here, after some reflection, I can finally articulate why:

When I was little, the part of the world where I come from, they called me a Paki. But you know what – I don’t care how ubiquitous the term, I never was and never will be anyone’s Paki. No British Asian ever was or ever will be anyone’s Paki. We are individuals of separate and sometimes collective origins: human beings commanding the same human right to live in peace, freedom, and dignity as anyone else on earth.

Re-appropriating an offensive slur is not a route I am prepared to go down in order to claim my empowerment – or to stand for the the empowerment of anyone else. I may not stand with popular culture in saying this, but I say no.

Beyonce – just like every woman on this planet – can never be called a ‘slut’.

Just like I am never going to be anyone’s – not Jay-Z’s nor even #QueenBey’s – ‘bitch’.

Just like Jay-Z – like every other black man on earth – can never be called anyone’s ‘nigga’.

The brutality of the language we choose in addressing the other is deliberate.

If we want to address issues about the inequality suffered by some of us because of social values that judge us, then – no matter what the mood, or how strong the sway of popular culture – let’s exercise some awareness in the words we use. Let’s not start the conversation by framing those whose interests we stand for in a language that is inherently demeaning. Let’s begin the conversation instead with a language that acknowledges each person’s innate right to equality, respect, and dignity. Let’s not close off our hearts in an effort to make a point.

All points made with a closed heart are lost. Let’s keep our hearts open and meet one another, differences and all – especially differences and all – with respect, dignity, with Love.

And speaking of Love: someone tell me, where is it in the just released: ‘Turnt’ by The Dream featuring Beyonce and 2 Chainz?

Far more than the views I received above, tens of thousands of people weighed in on this subject with support for what I wrote. They’ve also messaged me, and I think in essence they’re asking the same questions I did in my piece.

For anyone still wondering why it’s time to move beyond rampant music industry misogyny that recruits female superstars as proponents of a toxic ideology, take a look at the video for this track featuring Beyonce’s vocals. Let me know if this is kind of partnership one should expect of our complex, feminist heroes of the twenty first century.

For my part, when I saw this video I stopped to think about what makes a person successful. And I came back to saying that the Buddha said:

The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.
Originally published on my website, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spirituality

8 Tools to Free Yourself from Bullies and Attract People Who Respect You

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 1.19.20 PMHave you ever been bullied? Were you able to respond to the bully in a way that valued YOU?

I grew up with a mother who was a bully. My response was to shut down into a kind of frozen numbness. When I was 12 I started smoking cigarettes and at 16 I started drinking – all to continue the numbing process so as not to feel the pain.

Now, many years of therapy and meditation later, I’ve un-numbed myself, let go of cigarettes and alcohol, and found my true self. Life is filled with love, joy, and inner peace. Along the way, I had to learn how to stand up for myself and speak my truth. It took courage and perseverance, but  I arrived at a place where I can respond to people in-the-moment if they are disrespectful.

I continued to attract bullies until I learned to step into my power, be vulnerable, and state my truth.

Here are my 8 Keys to addressing a bully and giving them an opportunity to apologize. They might apologize, or they might not – I’ve experienced both. Either way, the success is yours, because you have spoken your truth. Your self-confidence builds and eventually, if a bully starts up, you can dismiss them quickly, and easily, without getting upset.

1. Be Emotionally Honest With Yourself.
Are you emotionally honest? Ask yourself: How do I feel when a person is abusive to me? Angry? Hurt? Paralyzed with fear? Numb? The important thing here is to be HONEST WITH YOURSELF about how you feel. This is the primary key to freeing yourself from the prison of victimization.

2. Accept – Don’t Judge Yourself
Keep the focus on yourself, not on the bully. Accept your present moment, whatever it contains. Beware the ego coming in and dismissing your feelings, saying things like: ”It’s no big deal”, “I’m fine” etc. The Ego doesn’t like us being put down so it might try and distract you by focusing on the bully or rationalize you out of your feelings. Stay with your present-moment reality, no matter how uncomfortable (uncomfortable is good because it means you are moving away from  an old habit that doesn’t serve you) – simply allowing things to be as they are, without judging yourself. And have compassion for yourself – you’re doing the best you can with the best conscious awareness you have in the moment.

3. Listen To Your Body
If you don’t know how you feel, your body will tell you. Are you contracted in fear or rage? Is your heart heavy with pain? Or do you just feel numb all over? Whatever is happening, allow it to be so. Your body is your friend. It acts like a shock absorber in stressful situations to help you deal with things. Pay attention because the body gives us warning signals when we are not in harmony and at ease with a person/situation. The more in tune you are with your body, the easier it is to address things early on, before they escalate into something worse.

4. Get Support
Find a friend or a family member you are close to, someone who loves you very much. Tell them what happened. This will bring you some instant relief and the powerful loving support you need to speak up to the bully. Allow yourself to RECEIVE the love of your friend to fill yourself up and build your confidence.

5. Be Willing To Let Go of the Person/Situation
Before you address the bully, spend some time in self-reflection and realize that you might have to walk away from this person, or from this situation. Friends can be helpful here to help you see things clearly. You might not have to let go, but you might. A lot depends on the response of the bully. Do they apologize? Do they “get it”? If not, they are highly likely to bully you again.

6. Speak Your Truth
Speaking your truth means respecting yourself enough to let people know that you deserve respect. Bullies will transform, or leave. Either way, you win!

Best case scenario is to speak to the bully in person, in a calm, courteous, respectful manner, simply stating how you feel about what happened. Bring a friend as a witness and for support. If that is not possible, talk on the phone, your friend standing by. Third best option – send an email or letter. Know this truth: bullies, underneath their aggressiveness, are cowards. In many instances, they are embarrassed you’ve called them out and apologize, which allows the possibility of taking the relationship to a whole new level. If they don’t apologize, see #5!

7. Be Courageous and Allow Yourself To Be Vulnerable
Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens over time when you go on being more and more courageous. In the beginning, the only difference between a coward and a courageous person is that the coward listens to their fears and follows them; the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person can say, for example: “What you said hurt me”, in spite of  inner trembling and a constricted throat.

Be willing to be vulnerable, befriend your fears, and remember that this situation is happening for you, not to you. It’s helping you step out of victim into mastery of yourself. It’s helping you expand even more into who you are.

8. Practice Expressive Meditation
Expressive Meditation techniques can help you become more aware of your feelings and be honest with yourself. The Gibberish expressive meditation is great for releasing the charge of  anger, rage, frustration and resentment, and helps you come back to a calm, neutral place of clarity.

You can learn to express your emotions without being emotional.

Expressive techniques for healing grief, sadness, and emotional pain, help with the emotional wounding that can keep you in a victim state. You will experience pain transforming into peace and love.

From personal experience these 8 keys work! By speaking your truth you attract people who treat you with courtesy and respect…. because you are treating YOURSELF with courtesy and respect!

I look forward to your comments.

Elephant in the Room: How to Get More Respect from Family

22/365 - Doing the DishesDear Cora,

I am from India and am wondering what shall I do when my family people keep on nagging me to do something? For example, if I am cooking, my mother may ask me to go to a relative’s house. If I explain that they are not close to me or I will go at some other time she will never stop and keeps on insisting. Most of the times I try to avoid the conversation and focus on my work, but she will follow me wherever I go and she won’t stop until I obey her. I face this kind of behavior from most of my family people. I don’t know how to handle them and keep my life cordial and happy. Please help.

Thanks,
Family Girl

~

Dear Family Girl,

Thank you so much for your question. Family troubles are trickier than most because there is no escape option – you have to deal with it head on and you have to face the consequences that are sometimes long and arduous. However, that also works in your favor because for the most part it means your family is still going to be there no matter what you do.

I grew up with a very strict former-military father. My older brother and I were the only children in the house, and because I was the girl I got the most strenuous attention. He used to watch me cross the street until I was 15 to make sure I got to the other side all right. I got my driver’s license three years after the rest of my friends because his rules about when I could drive, how I could drive and who I could drive with were so ridiculous it just wasn’t worth it. “It’s just because he loves you so much,” my mother would say to try and comfort me, but it didn’t feel like love – it felt like strangulation.

It continued into college. For my 21st birthday I wanted to go out with my friends at midnight to have my first legal drink at a bar. He invited himself to go along and said I could hang out with them by myself the next day. This was the final straw in a very large pile of straws. As intimidating as my father was/is I sat him down and told him plainly that the “midnight drink” was a rite of passage – one that parents are not included to partake in and he needed to let me do it by myself. You would have thought I had run over his childhood puppy, and I felt horrible, but it needed to be done. I went out with my friends and had a good time, he joined us the next day and it was great.

From what I’ve learned about Indian culture, family is often very important, and part of honoring that means respecting your elders. However, I think that your family pesters you to do all of these things because they know they can get you to do them. That’s not to say it’s your fault, but it is only you who can make them stop. And the answer is simple – you literally tell them to stop.

There is a respectful way to do it. You don’t have to raise your voice or get angry, but you have every right to use the word “No.” Don’t give them an excuse or promise to do it later, tell them no and stick to it. It will be shocking at first, and you may have to have the conversation several times (just last month I had to remind my father that as a fully-grown adult I can travel to visit whomever I want without him flying out to inspect my car before I did it). This is an exercise in empowering yourself. Be prepared for hurt feelings and for them to say things that will make you feel guilty – don’t cave. This is also an exercise for them in learning to respect you and your personal time more and you are going to lead by example.

No matter how uncomfortable it is at first, if you stick to your guns the end result will be your own peace of mind and a family that knows they can’t take advantage of your kind nature and willingness to be helpful. They’ll have to get used to it and in the long run I think you’ll feel much better.

Best wishes,
Cora

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avatar-NO-BKCGRNDSubmit your questions, troubles, and predicaments to Cora via editor [at] intent [dot] com or in the comments section below. The Elephant in the Room advice column will be published every Friday – a blend of humor, compassion, and wisdom specially tailored for our Intent audience.

Seeing Is Believing: How To Improve Your Relationships Through Perception

234/365 - 1 <3 photography 6/10By Dr. Andra Brosh

I like to take pictures with my very fancy camera. I love shooting photos because it’s one of the few places in my life where only my perspective matters.

When I’m taking pictures I lose all self-consciousness about how I see things, and can completely immerse myself in what I believe to be true and perfect. It’s my photo, my angle, and most importantly my point of view.

You may not know it, but your perspective of the world is extremely valuable. How you see things is just as important as how you feel. An even more important concept, however, is that your ability to share a different perspective from your own is one of the most valuable qualities you can have. Taking it even one step further, your ability to see things from another person’s perspective is an essential skill in maintaining a healthy relationship.

As human beings we have a very deep and basic need to be seen, and to have our experience and perceptions validated. When we are told that our point of view is “wrong” a little part of us dies inside, and we begin to question what we believe to be true in the world.

When you and your partner share an experience with each other that is perceived through each of your unique vantage points, neither of you are right. Denying another person’s perceptions, or questioning the validity of their perspective leaves them feeling misunderstood, insecure, frustrated, and angry.

Perspective is very closely aligned with empathy, but they are different. Empathy is the ability to step into another person’s situation with the intention of understanding how they feel. Sharing a perspective requires you to stand behind the other person, to look out at the world through their eyes, and to see what they are seeing.

It’s like looking through their camera once they set up the shot.

Sharing a perspective does not equate with agreeing, and it doesn’t mean your perspective has to be eliminated. It’s simply an opportunity to step back from what you believe to be true, so you can see something different. Accepting and acknowledging these ideas about perception will shift how you relate in the world, and it will also build an incredible sense of intimacy in your present relationship.

Here are three tips to share another person’s perspective:

  1. It’s all in the language. Avoid saying things like “That’s not true” or “Don’t be ridiculous” when your partner shares their experience. Try saying something like “I can see how you might see it that way, but…” or “I’m having a hard time seeing it the way you do, can you help me understand?”
  2. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to see things. Your experiences and perceptions of things are subjective. You get to have your view, and your partner gets to have theirs. If you feel the need to be right, your next step is to work on letting go of this unrealistic expectation so you can be more open.
  3. Use empathy and compassion to get there. When we are in a heated situation or feel strongly about something we often lose sight of the other person’s perspective. Using your imagination, and seeing that your partner is feeling just like you will allow you to step back, and be more objective.

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picofme2Dr. Andra Brosh is a Clinical Psychologist, writer, and thought leader. Her unique perspectives on life, love and connection stem from her own personal wisdom, and her knowledge of psychology and philosophy. Dr. Brosh’s work is founded on the fundamental truth that we are all wired to be relational beings, and that with the right guidance and tools everyone can find happiness and fulfillment in their interpersonal relationships.

A Lesson in Love: How to Be Your Own Best Friend

In the latest episode of The Chopra Well’s 30 DAYS OF INTENT, Iman and Natalie continue their therapy sessions with counselor Alyssa Nobriga, this time focusing on the difficult path to self-love and acceptance. Iman bravely recognizes the role he played in a recent traumatic breakup, saying, “It’s hard to forgive myself.” Natalie criticizes herself for missing several key passes, which, she says, ultimately marked the end of her professional soccer career.

Both struggle with self-acceptance in the face of these regrets, a feeling to which many can probably relate. Does self-love mean loving all of it – the faults and failures, too? To echo Natalie’s words in the previous episode, “How do you love the parts of yourself that are most misbehaving?” Better just to love our friends, our family, anybody else, than to spend too much time trying to fall in love with the one person we know best… Right?

“You can’t love anyone else until you learn to love yourself.”

You have undoubtedly heard this statement or something like it before. Society is quick to dole out such pockets of wisdom, especially to young people struggling with self-esteem. But honestly, doesn’t it sound like a bit of a threat? After all, it can be easier to love outwardly rather than turn that focus inward. We know ourselves better than anyone else, will spend more time with the self than any other person in our lives. But this depth of understanding and rapport means we also have an intimate knowledge of our own faults, fears, and mistakes. Now add to that the notion that we might not be loving others as fully as we could, just for a lack of self-love, and we might start feeling guilty, too.

Reality check… Love is love. If you feel it, then it’s most likely real. So don’t worry on that front. But that doesn’t mean self-love has no place in the equation. As Deepak Chopra would probably tell you, we are all expressions of consciousness, comprised of the same possibility waves that make up the entire universe. To know the self is to know the world; and to love the self is to love all of creation. Consider the aspects of yourself you can’t stand, the ones that get in the way of total self-acceptance. Would you love your spouse or mother or child in spite of those very same faults? Might you not even love the faults, themselves, for making that special person so beautiful and unique in your eyes?

Try this exercise:

Place two chairs facing one another, and sit in one of them. Here, you are the neutral “Self,” the one you embody most of the time. Describe the difficulty you have loving yourself, as though you’re talking to a friend. Maybe there is an old wound or regret you can’t metabolize. Maybe there is some bad habit or quirk you can’t shake, or something in your physical appearance you aren’t satisfied with. Lay it all out.

Now move to the opposite chair and sit down. Here, you are the “Best Friend,” who resides within you all the time, even if you don’t always hear her voice. From the perspective as a friend, respond to what you just said in the other chair. Tell the “Self” why she is beautiful and strong and perfect in your eyes. Explain to her why these “faults” make her who she is, and why you love the whole package.

Move to the other chair again. Did you hear what the “Best Friend” said? Continue in this way back and forth between the chairs, taking on these two perspectives, until you really take in what the “Best Friend” has to say. Let us know how it goes!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and make self-love and acceptance a daily practice.

photo by: ♥serendipity

Sign Of The Times: Are Kids Today Not Disciplined Enough?

In every age, in every era, any parent that ever lived to raise its offspring must have thought, “This is not how it used to be when I was younger.”

Growing up in a fairly conservative household, I can’t once remember talking back to my mother or trying to level with her when she unreasonably demanded me to be a certain way. I recall being trained to just ‘suck it up’ and take it in my stride.

Undoubtedly this must have generously contributed to the many ‘anger’ issues I developed as a teenager, which have now taken years of yoga & meditation to heal from. Nonetheless, I am thankful for my mother being the way she was.

We were raised to know our boundaries at a young age. We were raised to respect our elders, and not get involved in arguments that disrespected them in any way. This is one of the reasons why, seven years after my divorce, when my ex mother-in-law says something hurtful to me, such as divorcing my ex-husband and rendering my daughter a product of a broken home, I sit there biting my tongue because where I come from, we don’t answer back. We just take it in our stride.

Needless to say, there is some wisdom in that. After all, engaging in, what would inevitably sound like an argument with an older person, who is now fairly set in their mode of thinking and perceiving the world, is largely a futile exercise. So I respectfully stay shut and make some excuse to leave.

Psychologists today would tell you not to repress feelings or contain yourself like a pressure cooker, but sometimes that is the only thing that will ensure peace of any kind. And so it’s something worth paying a little heed to.

However, this era is all too different even from my youth, and I am only thirty-seven years old. In raising my eight year old daughter, I have found that leveling, arguing, reasoning and coming up with all sorts of excuses and statements is much the modus operandi. And that it matters not whether you have ‘ordained’ something to be or not, these days kids find a way to probe, question and eventually make you relent in some form or another.

I would imagine, some parents think it’s a question of discipline. And that inculcating strict discipline and drawing sharp lines would keep the children from getting into word games with the parent. But I am finding that to be a challenge as I raise my daughter.

In schools they maintain a relationship at par with their teachers. Meanwhile, growing up in South Asia, we spent most of our schooling years being frightened of the teachers, never speaking until called upon and certainly never arguing with the teacher if we failed to understand something. I don’t think that was the correct way, I do believe that academically kids today have it better. Professors understand that children are smarter than ever before in the evolution of mankind. The gadgets and information at their disposal is far superior to anything they have ever seen. But when it comes to parenting, it’s a whole other ball game.

So, I call upon my meditative practices, take a deep breath, and very softly explain to my daughter why she’s not allowed to eat desserts for dinner or skip camp, and silently pray that a long tirade of responses doesn’t ensue. Needless to say, it does. And we go back and forth talking and discussing why certain things are just the way they are, and there are no ways to bend the rules. I am sure my mother felt that it was just as hard to raise my siblings and I, even though we never engaged in any argument or asked questions when we were asked to do things that we didn’t much care for.

The upside to this parenting dilemma may be that my daughter does not end up having the ‘anger’ issues that I had, as a result of holding and suppressing so much within me, as I was growing up. That said, I heave a deep tormented sigh as I suspect somehow kids always find a way to be angry with parents regardless of how they are raised.

“Look, there’s YOU!”

"There, but for the grace of God, go I."

We all KNOW that saying, but few of us remember it for any length of time. Actually, it’s a pretty powerful statement. It tells you a LOT in a few words & it ‘lets you in’ on a very important universal secret.

Listen to new podcast: "Look, there’s YOU!"

http://cowboyshaman.podomatic.com

Find Your Strengths through Your Vulnerabilities

 Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strengths. ~ Sigmund Freud

 “I had such a dream last night…I feel like a ton of bricks came down on me. I have messed up my life. I am really afraid of commitment.”

This is what a girlfriend said to me recently. And this is the reality of what is going on for many people. As I have said, whatever you have been hiding from yourself is coming to the surface and yes, it may feel like a ton of bricks or the icy cold slap across the face. The mask of denial, of manipulation, of negativity and escapisms is coming off. You are being given an opportunity to deal with those patterns or at least acknowledge them, becoming more aware of this simple reality of your choices you have made. And as this friend said to me later in the day, “What a relief!”  Self respect and self love have arrived.

You are going to grow if you make that choice to look at your choices, the reasons for your choice and decide what you truly want to be with your life. This moment of reality with the truth of what you had created and it is now up to you what you do with it. You can continue with the games with yourself or you can face those issues and see how loveable you are and the ways that past simply made you that way. Wounds will begin to heal with self forgiveness. Ho‘oponopono is great for this.

On the AIR November 11th  show, Rev. Kenneth Roberts and I discussed these very things. If you are out of integrity with yourself, your sacred contract with yourself, with Spirit/Source/God or others, this is the time to get a solid clue. Take that leap of faith, make the changes needed and things will come your way. It is time to make up for your doings and trust yourself and others. Trust your feelings on the people around you and look to see if the friend truly has only their best interest at heart, not yours. Respect yourself. Embrace the friends that are truly looking out and have love for you.

Friends are great mirrors for you. Do they hold you with integrity, being the way you want to be…honest and trustworthy, devoted and peaceful… Or lead you away from your true self and heart? Are you living in your heart with those with you? Or you playing games with them, if so…why?  What is the gain? Are you treating others the way you want to be treated or manipulating them? Intentional or unknowingly? Be aware of your choices in friendships and the ways you are around them and with them. See the influences others are having on you as you may be doing the same to them.

Yes, the process can be tough, seeing how you may have made mistakes in your life in ways… that is your past. Forgive yourself and everyone involved. Look at where you are and what you really want to achieve. Where you want to be and who you want in your life? Did your fear or ego change a good situation that you want back? Is it best to let go or make amends? Make sure you are answering with your heart and not the controlling ego, the trickster. The ego doesn’t want to change or let go of control. Letting it go is freedom. 

The questioning can be overwhelming at times and many feel just be in the moment. It all happens as it suppose to. Yes, though there is a responsibility and consequence for this moment. Each moment leads to another and the sum of the whole is made up of those “moments.” The moments can be a mistake and change your life in direction you may not really want to go (free will), though it is only mistakes if you don’t learn from it, correct what you can, to get that integrity back.

Sincere apologies are not a sign of weakness; it is compassion and vulnerability of the heart. The empathic connection with your truths and the actions you may have taken or not taken. Patience may be a part of the lessons for all the people involved with the understanding of the choices made; realigning to the heart of the matter and the trusting what is for the highest good for all.

Time has come for all of us to make a decision about our lives and the creation we desire that life to be. The last two weeks have been intense eye-openers for many, including me. Reconnecting with my sacred contract with self and Spirit, I do know the directions I am working towards and the people I wish to include in this journey. I embrace them spiritually each day as I count my blessings. I can only be receptive, patience and be presence to the moment with integrity, trust and love. I may have closed some doors out of self respect and integrity, though the door remains unlocked. I have learned to accept people for whom and what they are, as they are; seeing the highest potential and possibility in each as well where they are in the moment. I have learned that sometimes the best thing I can do is to leave for a time and let that space open; lessons to be learn, hopefully for all. It is up to each of us to look inside and be what is right for us.

So with this time of growth, be present of your choices, through free will or obligations, learn to fully trust and love yourself. Then take the steps toward being the person others know you can be, though you have been afraid to be. Step into your true light. You will find that peace when you take those steps to be true to yourself and truly allow others to enjoy that you with respect and integrity. 

I thank you all for reading this blog and being present in my journey. Namaste.



Find Your Strengths through Your Vulnerabilities

 Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strengths. ~ Sigmund Freud

 “I had such a dream last night…I feel like a ton of bricks came down on me. I have messed up my life. I am really afraid of commitment.”

This is what a girlfriend said to me recently. And this is the reality of what is going on for many people. As I have said, whatever you have been hiding from yourself is coming to the surface and yes, it may feel like a ton of bricks or the icy cold slap across the face. The mask of denial, of manipulation, of negativity and escapisms is coming off. You are being given an opportunity to deal with those patterns or at least acknowledge them, becoming more aware of this simple reality of your choices you have made. And as this friend said to me later in the day, “What a relief!”  Self respect and self love have arrived.

You are going to grow if you make that choice to look at your choices, the reasons for your choice and decide what you truly want to be with your life. This moment of reality with the truth of what you had created and it is now up to you what you do with it. You can continue with the games with yourself or you can face those issues and see how loveable you are and the ways that past simply made you that way. Wounds will begin to heal with self forgiveness. Ho‘oponopono is great for this.

On the AIR November 11th  show, Rev. Kenneth Roberts and I discussed these very things. If you are out of integrity with yourself, your sacred contract with yourself, with Spirit/Source/God or others, this is the time to get a solid clue. Take that leap of faith, make the changes needed and things will come your way. It is time to make up for your doings and trust yourself and others. Trust your feelings on the people around you and look to see if the friend truly has only their best interest at heart, not yours. Respect yourself. Embrace the friends that are truly looking out and have love for you.

Friends are great mirrors for you. Do they hold you with integrity, being the way you want to be…honest and trustworthy, devoted and peaceful… Or lead you away from your true self and heart? Are you living in your heart with those with you? Or you playing games with them, if so…why?  What is the gain? Are you treating others the way you want to be treated or manipulating them? Intentional or unknowingly? Be aware of your choices in friendships and the ways you are around them and with them. See the influences others are having on you as you may be doing the same to them.

Yes, the process can be tough, seeing how you may have made mistakes in your life in ways… that is your past. Forgive yourself and everyone involved. Look at where you are and what you really want to achieve. Where you want to be and who you want in your life? Did your fear or ego change a good situation that you want back? Is it best to let go or make amends? Make sure you are answering with your heart and not the controlling ego, the trickster. The ego doesn’t want to change or let go of control. Letting it go is freedom. 

The questioning can be overwhelming at times and many feel just be in the moment. It all happens as it suppose to. Yes, though there is a responsibility and consequence for this moment. Each moment leads to another and the sum of the whole is made up of those “moments.” The moments can be a mistake and change your life in direction you may not really want to go (free will), though it is only mistakes if you don’t learn from it, correct what you can, to get that integrity back.

Sincere apologies are not a sign of weakness; it is compassion and vulnerability of the heart. The empathic connection with your truths and the actions you may have taken or not taken. Patience may be a part of the lessons for all the people involved with the understanding of the choices made; realigning to the heart of the matter and the trusting what is for the highest good for all.

Time has come for all of us to make a decision about our lives and the creation we desire that life to be. The last two weeks have been intense eye-openers for many, including me. Reconnecting with my sacred contract with self and Spirit, I do know the directions I am working towards and the people I wish to include in this journey. I embrace them spiritually each day as I count my blessings. I can only be receptive, patience and be presence to the moment with integrity, trust and love. I may have closed some doors out of self respect and integrity, though the door remains unlocked. I have learned to accept people for whom and what they are, as they are; seeing the highest potential and possibility in each as well where they are in the moment. I have learned that sometimes the best thing I can do is to leave for a time and let that space open; lessons to be learn, hopefully for all. It is up to each of us to look inside and be what is right for us.

So with this time of growth, be present of your choices, through free will or obligations, learn to fully trust and love yourself. Then take the steps toward being the person others know you can be, though you have been afraid to be. Step into your true light. You will find that peace when you take those steps to be true to yourself and truly allow others to enjoy that you with respect and integrity. 

I thank you all for reading this blog and being present in my journey. Namaste.



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