Category Archives: compassion
It probably ‘doesn’t do’ for a life coach to admit to being judgemental on occasion, but whilst we’re being honest with each other, you and I, who doesn’t sometimes fall prey to judgementalism?
Being judgemental of others is about seeing the differences between things, rather than seeing the unities, and is probably the biggest problem that we as humanity are working on right now. You think I’m kidding? If I didn’t see other people as different than myself, would I condone war in any form? Would I eat to bursting and leave people on the other side of the world hungry? If I didn’t see the earth as being something different to myself would I extract everything I wanted from it and more and give nothing back? Enough said, and I’ll get off the soapbox. This is what happens when I write on a Sunday morning having read highbrow books and relaxed in the garden all of Saturday!
Well anyhow, there I was in Tesco, browsing the reduced shelf to see if any bargains lurked within (yep, life coach/hypnotherapists do that too – see how many myths I’m dispelling!) and there next to me was an old woman on one of those motorised scooter things. The kind of person whose eyes you might hesitate to meet. I mentally took a deep breath and bridged the gap. “Sometimes you get lucky” I commented. “Oh yes” she agreed in a voice that was stronger than I expected. “Oh well nothing here for me” I said, about to walk on. Then I noticed some Sabbath candles and picked them up to see if they were something I could use. They weren’t. “Oh you’re Jewish are you?” she said “I’m Jewish too. But both my mother and I married out. I do go to church on Sundays but I have great respect for the Jewish religion.” Well what a conversation starter that was! We stood there for several minutes talking comparative religion, messiahs and the Mayan calendar (really will have to write about that one of these days). I proposed that everything that existed was ‘of the light’. She said that Richard Dawkins surely wasn’t. I maintained that even he was, as somebody had to hold the opposite pole (I have Gregg Braden to thank for that idea). I was actually in a hurry – though you wouldn’t think it, with me finding the time to talk with strangers, so I had to make my apologies and go. “Everything is good” I called down the aisle as I walked off “sometimes it’s just hard to see it”. “Oh yes” she said again and we laughed as we parted.
Off I went, looking for light bulbs. Don’t you just hate it when the supermarkets move everything around so that you have to cruise all the aisles looking for something that’s been in the same place for the last 10 years! Finally I found an assistant. He came across as quite dopey … you know, a little, well, ‘David Beckham’. He didn’t know where the bulbs were and had to ask somebody. I remember thinking something to the effect that “You really can’t get the staff these days!” Found the light bulbs and several other bits and pieces and made it back to the tills, running even later than before.
There was the Beckham lookalike on the tills. Ok. But he was smiling, and of course we started talking. I like to chat with the people on the tills. It’s a bit of a game for me to see if I can cheer up the glum looking ones, and break up the tedium of the job for them a little. There was no need to cheer him up though, he was on form. “How much do you think this lot will cost?” I asked him. “Forty three pounds” he guessed. “Ok” I said “I’m going to go with fifty”. He tilled up all my shopping, and it came to forty two pounds and eighty eight pence! “Wow!” I exclaimed “You’re good, you beat me!” He leaned over and confided “You know why? Because when I first started to work here I used to play that game – so I got a lot of practice!” I just had to find out whether he played my other favourite supermarket game. “I know its a little un-pc” I asked with all the excitement of a child “but do you ever play this game: do you ever look at all the shopping on the belt, and then compare it to the person buying it and see if they match?” “You mean if they buy loads of fruits and vegetables” he started and then we both said “they look healthy” and I added “but if they’re buying loads of crisps and chocolate …” and he finished “they look overweight!” “Yeah” he said and we both agreed “…and they always match don’t they!” We were both grinning from ear to ear with the mischief of our shared supermarket games as we said goodbye.
As I pushed my shopping back to the car I mused that I had been wrong about him. Far from being dopey, and I guess rather like David Beckham, he was actually very intelligent. Intelligent enough to be amusing himself with mental exercises whilst carrying out the mundane task of checking out people’s shopping all day. “I really must stop judging people” I thought to myself.
I also found myself musing on the idea that you really can tell a person by their daily habits. You can have all the healthy intentions in the world but if all you buy is crisps, you’re going to be unhealthy. If you talk about peace but you keep needling people then you’re going to have arguments, and if you like the idea of being rich but you keep buying the latest gadget and don’t actually go and work to support that habit then you’re going to be skint. Conversely, if you buy and eat well on a regular basis, your body will glow with health, if you keep peaceful people around you and work on staying composed when others attempt to ‘rattle your cage’ you will have a peaceful life, and if you manage to arrange your finances so that you spend much less than you earn, eventually you get rich. Simple. Life is just so simple when you think about it. Life is just one action at a time. And having fun of course.
Which brings me to another game I play at the supermarket … riding the shopping trolleys. I must admit at this point that most life coaches probably DON’T do this. Whilst this may conjure up in your mind an image of some wild woman standing rodeo style aboard her wheeled ‘carriage’, waving a shopping list and yelling “Yee-hah!” I am not as yet that flamboyant! I may reserve that for old age, just to tease people. That and arriving on an elephant and parking him in one of the parking bays, whilst I go in and do my shop. I’ve always wanted to do that. Maybe one day. Meanwhile I do like to ride the trolleys whilst I’m shopping – I mean why walk when you can roll! So if I see a clear aisle, and I’m in the mood, I am not above squaring up the trolley so I don’t bash into anything, starting to run a little, leaning my weight on the handle so that my feet leave the ground, and then wheeeeeeeee! It’s so much faster, and less effortful. You think I’m crazy? Come on, loosen up a little and have some fun. Life can be hard work sometimes, so why take yourself so seriously all the time? And if you ever see me flying down one of Tesco’s aisles, with a huge smile on my face, don’t judge me, join me!
Have an irreverent, mischievous and judgement-free week!
You know, being a life coach, I practice what I preach, so every year I sit down, reassess the past year, look at my lifelong goals and plan for the year ahead. The boundaries between one year and the next are a little blurry for me, as being Jewish, I also have a Jewish New Year, so in practice it tends to be a new year ‘period’ that runs from sometime in September until the end of December! So unlike many I’m already thinking about my New Year’s resolutions…
I’ve recently started to have a mantra or slogan for the year – something that’s simple yet digs deep and affects everything I do. Last year it was ‘Compassion, Not Judgement’, which I’ll probably write about at some stage. This year it’s something out of a Rhonda Byrne book …*shuffles off to go find the book and get the quote right*…
Ok, here it is…
“… with anything you don’t love, simply turn away from it without judgement and you won’t include it in your life”
Rhonda Byrne – The Power
Now I know I’m writing for an educated audience here, most of whom are aware of the Force of Attraction – that the more attention you give something the more of it you bring into your life. What I used to have a problem with was the other side of things. It’s all very well focusing on wealth, health and all the other good stuff, but what do you do when something nasty ups and smacks you in the face? Life’s not all rosy-sunny all the time is it? And if you then say to yourself ‘this thing is bad and I hate it’ you’re just giving it all the focus it needs to turn into something bigger. A lot of people will tell you – “focus on the good stuff, don’t focus on the bad stuff” but how do you ‘not focus’ on something? When you ‘not focus’, you’re actually focusing on it!
So those two words in the above sentence – ‘turn away’, really solved a problem for me. When it rains on my parade, or someone disrespects me, or the traffic just won’t move, and it’s a situation I can’t do anything about, I just turn away. Physically if I can, mentally if I’m bodily stuck there. I turn away and find something more productive and enjoyable to think about or do. You can’t fight the rain, force someone to respect you or snap your fingers and magic away the traffic, so what’s the point of resisting it?
Which brings me to another point – Acceptance. I’ve written about this in a previous blog (https://rivkadavid.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/38/ ) so I won’t delve into it here, I mention it only to point out that accepting a thing you can’t change allows you to drop your obsession over it, and get on with your life instead. So I think it’s relevant here too.
With that in mind, here’s my new 3 point plan for dealing with what appear to be adverse circumstances, and at the same time keeping a hygienic ‘Force of Attraction’:
1- If you can do something about it, in whole or part, then Take Action – every little positive action always bears fruit, if not in the situation at hand, then in the future.
2- For things you are currently powerless to change, practice Acceptance (and do please see https://rivkadavid.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/38/ so you understand what I mean here). These things happen, it isn’t personal. Heavy traffic isn’t personal, and neither is the intention of someone who disrespects you – even if they think it is! Their disrespect for you is about their journey. What you do with their disrespect is about your journey and is the only thing you’re responsible for. Actually I would say practice acceptance of the things you do change too – acceptance always comes first – once you accept something challenging, you remove the negative energy that surrounds it, leaving you free to act with a clear head.
3- Then once you have accepted and dealt with what you can, Turn Away from the rest – and Turn Towards something positive. Turn your attention to something creative and constructive. Think about the people you love, and the people who love you. Think about your favourite projects and the things you intend to materialise in your life. If you can physically move away from the challenge, go do something fun – take a walk … scare other adults by going on the swings and be sure to balance on a low brick wall on the way! Go spend some time working to bring good things into your life … make some money, send an email to a friend, take your kids out for ice cream.
Well that’s my plan anyway. Actually it reminds me of The Serenity Prayer (see here for the rest of it http://www.drnadig.com/serenity.htm )
G-d grant me
the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference;
With an action point at the end – Go Do Something Cool!
This year I shall Turn Away from all things unchangeably heavy, and so TURN TOWARDS all the beautiful, wonderful, delightful things – and there are so many your heart could positively burst into flowers at the thought of it!!!
I invite you to join me – let’s all harness the Force of Attraction together and make life even more beautiful!
You know what else? I’d love to hear YOUR mantra for the coming year – come on peeps, give it some thought – and share in the comments section below, so that everyone benefits.
Have a stupendously fantastic week 🙂
Using pain as punishment for wrongdoing? A bit of an old chestnut. Since the dawn of time people have been inflicting pain on themselves or others as a punishment for doing something wrong. Research now finds that this seems to be hardwired into our psychology.
A paper published in Psychological Science by Brock Bastian et al in January 2011 found that people asked to write about a time when they rejected another person left their hand in icy water for longer than those who just had to write about an everyday interaction. Of those who had to write about rejecting another person, they later scored much lower on a guilt questionnaire if they had put their hand in a bucket of ice than those who had put their hand in a bucket of warm water.
In other words, those who had punished themselves felt less guilty afterwards about having rejected another person!
So how’s that for a solution? You can do what you like, and then punish yourself afterwards and you don’t have to feel guilty. Hmmmm.
I prefer a different Feel-Good approach. The approach of doing one’s best.
Yup. As simple as that. If at every juncture you do your best, then what have you ever got to feel guilty about? And if you don’t feel bad about things you’ve done, or not done, then you’ll never feel psychologically obliged to punish yourself or let anyone else punish you. Instead you can feel good that you did your best.
Of course this only helps with things you do willingly and with intention. What about all the actions where you’re not sure about what to do and you take the wrong action, or you make a mistake? What about those times where whatever you do you end up doing damage in some sense? Well in those cases there’s still another option – the opportunity to say sorry and do what you can to put things right.
Punishing oneself is destructive. It may be hardwired in, but don’t you get the feeling that it’s a bit of an old-world approach to doing things? Like caning naughty children … we don’t do that kind of thing anymore. Punishment weakens you and lessens your ability to do the next thing. Whereas caring passionately enough about your world to make better decisions upstream, putting things right if they go wrong and if all else fails saying sorry and finding a way to forgive yourself allow you to continue moving forward in life. You can have a lighter, happier attitude and go forth and achieve everything you desire. Forgiving yourself and others when things go wrong allows you to cut ties with negativity and heaviness and focus on the good stuff. It allows you to start again and get it right this time.
Have a fabulously productive week – in which you forgive yourself and others!
Ps: This post was meant to self-publish on Wednesday and as you might have noticed, it didn’t … so Ive fixed it, and here it is. I certainly did my best though, so I’m not going to give myself a hard time about it – in fact I’m forgiving myself and moving on to the next thing!
Brock Bastian, Jolanda Jetten, and Fabio Fasoli
Cleansing the Soul by Hurting the Flesh: The Guilt-Reducing Effect of Pain
Psychological Science January 2011 , first published on January 18, 2011
What do you do with the dark times? You know, like visiting a house of mourning? Or when September the 11th comes round? Or hearing of some human tragedy – (even the ‘UK Riots’) on the news?
Well now, some people lap it all up. They love a bit of tragedy. I think in a way they kind of get high on it. They’ll be the first to call you and say “Did you hear what happened to …. isn’t it sad?” Isn’t it miserable, hard, deliciously depressing… Then you’ve got those who feign complete composure. You know, the ‘pass the salt’ types. They’ll sit there and say things like “Well it was par for the course, wasn’t it really, I mean what did you expect?” Sometimes they’ve gotten so cold in the practice of not feeling, that I think they actually don’t feel it anymore. Then you’ve got the channel switchers. You know, the people who change the channel when the ads about abused or starving children come on because they can’t bear to watch. And here I have to put my hand up and admit: That’s me. Well at least it was…
I know this one from the inside. I do watch the news, because I like to know what’s happening, but I’ll never read sad books and hate watching drama. Don’t talk to me about horror movies – even the film ‘Titanic’ kept me awake for a week, thinking about all those people dying. Funny disposition for a life coach/hypnotherapist. I get to hear about a lot of the dark things that have happened in people’s lives – sometimes things that they themselves haven’t faced up to in years. And it grabs me by the throat every time. I don’t think I’ll ever be immune to feeling it, and I don’t think I want to be. Lucky for me I’m adept at ‘turning down’ the sensitivity enough at least to help my clients get themselves out of the pit, but I feel it first. I’ve always got time to ‘feel’ along with my clients, but when I get home, you’ll never catch me chasing the misery shows – life’s serious enough!
So what do you do with it? It seems I’ve not been alone in trying to ‘protect’ myself from the dark side of life. There are plenty of people – some of them pretty big in the personal development world – who actually don’t watch the news at all because they don’t want to be brought down by the world’s misery. There are therapy techniques that have you ‘rewrite’ your past so that the dark things supposedly never happened or so that people apparently didn’t hurt you. And there is some pretty powerful evidence that ‘what you focus on, you get’, so there’s a growing industry out there to help you focus on the good things, so that you get more of them. It’s powerful stuff and I believe in a positive focus with all my heart.
But here’s the sting in the tail. In ‘trying’ to protect yourself from the darkness, what are you doing? YOU’RE FOCUSING ON IT. Think about that. I’m not talking to the misery wallowers here, you’re focusing on it and you know you are, so you’ll get plenty of it to keep focusing on, if that’s what you really want for yourself. I’m talking to all of us personal development junkies who read all the positive books, and laugh with all the funny people, and wake up and tweet “It’s a beautiful sunshiny day!!!” How many of us can’t face the darkness, and run from it? Well guess what baby, you better never look back, cos it’s right there chasing you!
What’s the answer? I’ve just read it. In a book by Gregg Braden, entitled ‘Walking between the Worlds’. I’m probably still not going to watch the tear jerkers, but I won’t be switching channels every time the sad ads come on any more. I’ve found a better way to deal with it and I’m ready to share. Here it comes: Accept the Darkness.
‘Watttt?????” You might say. “You mean I have to like the dark side??? You mean I have to want it?? Why did I just spend all those years training my brain to ignore it??? Don’t be silly, the dark side is bad, its evil, it pulls you down, it makes you sad, why would I want it???”
I didn’t say want it. I said accept it. Allow it. Maybe forgive it. Mr Braden even has us bless it.
To quote Gregg Braden:
“To live in the absence of fear and pain, you must allow for their possibility. That is it. Simply allow for their very existence. In the “allowing” for the possibility, is found the removing of the charge. Please be clear regarding this subtle yet powerful chemo-behavioural code. Allowing for the existence of something does not mean that you are choosing for something to happen. It does not mean that you condone it or like it. It does not mean that you would ever wish that something upon someone else. Allowing simply means that you acknowledge its existence and the role that the “something” plays within the overall context of life. That is all, no more and no less.”
Why allow it? Because then you can leave it behind. Once we accept that these things happened, that they exist, that they play a part in life, once we find a way to truly make peace with the dark side, the fight is over. It can’t chase you if you don’t run. It won’t suck your energy anymore every time you strive to ignore it. And then you’ll finally be free.
Once you’ve made your peace with the darkness and found a way to view it with compassion this allows you to deal with the situation compassionately and successfully, ensuring the best possible result for everyone involved. And so we see that acceptance does not mean impotence. Far from it. Once you accept, you are no longer compelled to a ‘knee-jerk reaction’. Instead, if a response is possible, you will be able to respond in a measured, appropriate and compassionate way – and you will be far more effective.
Furthermore, the power that you’ve freed up through no longer being obsessed with heavy feelings you can now put to use to accomplish everything that’s important to you. To really live a life of abundance, and blessing and brilliance. Then we can fully turn to the brighter side of things, with all our newfound vibrancy and zest and drink in deep!
Ps: I’m now starting a running collection of useful information, both on resolving our issues with the dark and of course on the all important positive focus side of things. You will find these in ‘Newly Added Resources’ to the right of this page, and in the ‘Resource Bank’ page – link at the top and to the right. Please do contribute, and here’s to all of our brilliance – go forth and shine bright!