Criticise at your peril

Don't ever run out in the road again!

Don’t ever run out in the road again!

This little post is a reblog in a way of someone else’s words. Or perhaps it’s just a very long quote from a Master!

Yesterday I watched a Barbara Sher video on YouTube where she says to be very careful of giving criticism. “One piece of criticism is not overcome by 20 forms of praise. First of all you might not know what you are talking about and secondly even if later down the track it turns out that you are right, they won’t remember what you said. They will remember the hurt.” Wise words indeed from one of my favourite people (more on her later, but I am spending over two months pay soon to go and meet her!!).

The bit that spoke loudest is that ‘maybe you won’t know what you are talking about’. There have certainly been times that I have gotten the wrong end of the stick and have maybe put in my two cents worth to an organisation and then been politely responded to in way which showed I had it all wrong. Ouch! but no biggie – I can do failure and sorry really well. A heartfelt apology and we are all on our way. I don’t hang on to my failures too long – too scatty to remember them, luckily. And of course sometimes ‘you have to learn to accept the apology you never got’. I like that one too. Got a few of those under my belt, sadly.

What about the times when you don’t criticise or give feedback, don’t speak up for yourself? Is it because you know you are speaking to someone unable to hear you or because you fear the venom that will pour out of you once you let loose? Nobody wants venom inside. That leads to cancer, right? So should you speak?

And again, if that venom is somehow misdirected, you will only end up feeling bad, especially if you hurt the other person and have any kind of compassion in you. Time to consider what you say before you open up. In some cases I choose not to ‘stand up for’ myself, no matter how much I am invited to. And in others I speak where clearly it is not wanted. But that is tomorrow’s post….

How to know the difference?

This quote I just found on Pinterest sure helps!

He has the right to criticize, who has a heart to help.

 

Advertisements

Eternal Newbies

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there – L.P. Harley

rollerskate toddler

So what? I ask myself, things move on and what’s gone is gone, irrelevant isn’t it?

However it is relevant because we learn from past experiences, hoping that this ‘knowledge‘ will serve us well in the future i.e. the here and now. Our brains get wired in this way. Unfortunately many things we’ve learned in the past just would not apply today. I am not even talking about caveman times. The changes in our own lifetimes are astounding. What worked for us 10 years ago or even last year may not get the same results today. And many careers are having to change because of it. I’ve heard that what Uni students learn in first year computer studies, is probably outdated by the time the course ends. It really helps nowadays to learn fast and think on your feet! Continue reading

Set yourself free – one way or another

Angel in the marble

I found some ‘wisdom from the masters’ on Pinterest today – the whole point of creating this blog, much as I have digressed in any old direction with the blog as well as the posts.

Isn’t that what we are all doing with our lives – carving ourselves until we set ourselves free? What does your day consist of? How do you carve? With diet and exercise, learning and study, working and earning money?

I’m going to create a conversation between Eckhart Tolle and Michelangelo.

In response to this quote, I imagine Eckhart would say that the angel was already free; he already existed in Michelangelo’s mind and didn’t need setting free. The angel didn’t need anyone to complete him. He didn’t need time or being carved or more of anything to be complete. The angel can just enjoy being, enjoy the now. Joy is now after all.

Eckhart is assuming that the angel has no ego and doesn’t need to show off his beautiful form. And Michelangelo, if he has an ego as most people do, might argue that it is his life’s work to follow his passion, to share his talents, to show the world what exists in his mind, to create and leave his mark.

So what are you creating today? Anything that will be remembered 5 years, a year, a month, a week from now? Will you remember today next week or will it blur into yesterday, a tiny brick in the life you are building? 

angel

Alternatively, do you go by Eckhart’s thinking, that you are already complete, that there is already a thin person inside you, that you are a brilliant and successful book writer, as soon as you carve your book and prove it, which you don’t need to, that you are already a rich person, meaning that you don’t need a thing? Future and time will not complete you, as you are already complete, so just relax and enjoy each day.

It’s your life.  Your choice.  You do what you like.  I hope you can think both ways.  It sure passes my years enjoyably toying with these ideas.

 

 

 

Building that Loving Relationship

Everything we explore and experience is an expression of our relationship with our primordial nature – Damon Gautama

http://becomingfullyhuman.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/it-can-be-helpful/

I take my inspiration from two of my favourite bloggers today Yaz Rooney and Damon Gautama who were both the vehicle for bringing me something I need at the moment. Thank you both. When I am down I can just go and read all the amazing posts from the bloggers I have discovered. I could just gobble you all up, I am so grateful.

Both messages are about love and relationship which, now I think about it is the number one, numero uno, the only thing worth having on this planet! Yep, back to sweeping statements. I think my Mojo must be returning! Confident to allow my ignorance to shine forth once again and not care how it’s received.

Damon points out that we have only one relationship and that’s with our primordial nature. To me that means with ourselves though I am sure he is also referring to the fact that we are all one in a sea of Quantum Energy. You could call it a relationship with the Universe or God if you like to use that word (which I am not comfortable using myself personally).

This relationship with yourself is based on faith and trust in yourself. Do you have trust that you will keep to your own (high?) standards? That you are being the ‘best’ you can be and won’t let yourself down, or judge that you are letting yourself down (same thing perhaps)? Do you have inner peace because you have faith and trust that as your life unfolds it will bring you what you want? How about what you need? If I open my eyes and look clearly once more I realise it certainly is bringing me what I need, if I have courage to see it. It takes courage to be happy. Courage to go ‘Oops I was wrong but it’s OK, I can learn from this’. I forgive myself. This week I wasn’t forgiving myself for being grumpy and unsettled. Damon responded to my comment about how I was feeling, that there is a big energy going through the world this week and I believe it because I want to believe that it’s not just me feeling this way. I have looked around for examples of other people feeling grumpy to solidify my opinion and gratify my ego. Easily done and pointless really. Seek and ye shall find. But of course it’s fine if I am the only one in the whole world feeling this way. I am allowed to. Anywhere in the world just now is someone overjoyed at having a baby or getting married or falling in love. And others are perhaps in mourning for something – a job, money, lover, identity which they thought they needed to go on being happy. Of course their journey is to process the loss or the gain, and hopefully come to the conclusion that it’s all OK. Everything is fine as it is. They are fine as they are. Outcomes are neither good nor bad.

Anyway I digress. Back to success and the success of loving who you are, what you do and how you do it. My ego loves that I can bounce back. My ego loves my job in customer service, problem solving and helping people. I get a kick out of feeling I have gone above and beyond to help them, even if they don’t see it. And I love how I do it – with enthusiasm, understanding attitude and tone of voice on the phone, putting my brain into gear to not only help them solve the actual problem but make them feel better. I defend the company I love if possible and apologise for our failings when all too necessary. It’s about connection, as is any job really. I am at an entry level job, probably unappreciated by society yet I am finally feeling like a success now that I see it the right way! I always thought I needed more but I just needed to see it right and I knew it. This quote clarifies it for me more and I am grateful.

So if our one relationship and possibly our happiness rests on how we judge our relationship with ourselves what can we do to improve it? For me it’s applauding my own successes in whatever form it takes (not buying the fattening honey roasted Macadamias in the supermarket yesterday) and forgiving my failures (buying the half price Toblerone and a bottle of Frangelico this week in hopes of making some amazing new cocktail I have the recipe for somewhere, using Christmas as an excuse).

Applaud and Forgive. It’s quite the opposite of the Beat Myself Up and Downplay Anything Good that I did, said, wore, felt.

I am back on track! Praise be to ….?????  

Masters of Silence

A Master doesn´t teach words, but Silence – Julien Matei

Mirrors of Encounters blog by Julien Matei 

I love this. And yet how ironic as I use words to express myself and the joy I have learned through being silent. By being silent I mean that I stopped chasing the things I thought I wanted on the outside to read, listen, learn and find what I needed on the inside.

I do not plan to stop writing. It soothes my soul and of course I am no Master. But it is true that Masters teach silence. I can’t speak for Buddha with any in depth knowledge but I know he would agree. Eckhart Tolle says in one of his two hour ‘intensives’ (his term) that ‘we are not sitting here today to add more but to take it away’ and that if you don’t ‘get it’ already then you will be extremely bored listening to his talks. He jokes that what he is trying to ‘assist the arrival of (because it is coming anyway)’ in the collective consciousness is EMPTINESS. And he can appreciate that it does not sound very exciting.

So how can silence/emptiness/nothing be of benefit? For me it gave me the chance to hear my inner voices more clearly. I would patiently listen to the negative voice within trying to make me feel bad, stupid, guilty for something I had done. Then I chose not to listen to it. If I wasn’t silent enough to really hear and be aware of the inner critic trying to undermine me, I could not have responded to with a more loving, constructive voice. It was just there fueled by others, fear and ignorance. And now it only whispers unconvincingly. The first step in fixing the ‘problem’ was being aware of it. I needed to hear it.

So there in the silence and stillness I found my answers, once I stopped looking so hard. The Masters continue to bring me silence. 

 

Are you awake yet?

Awakenings are just the beginning – Damon Gautama on www.becomingfullyhuman.wordpress.com

We start each day with an awakening by definition. For some it is ‘we start each day, hopefully’ not as in a hopeful mood but hopefully we start the day. My 80 plus friend John used to joke that he always woke up in a good mood, because he didn’t take it for granted. He would say “Fantastic. I’m alive!” And start his day. I think it would serve us all well to do that. But I am sure this is not what Damon is referring to. I think he means the awakening of our authentic self, our soul if you like, the true and loving part of ourselves that will best navigate us through our lives.

My journey to Awakening will always be gradual but I sometimes have mini wake up calls, à la Eckhart Tolle, where I snap out my thoughts, and step back to become an observer of what’s in my present. For example, I might observe myself in an unengaged conversation, an angry mood I don’t want to be in or a petty argument which I am all heated up over. Sometimes when I am fighting with my kids, I get a fit of the giggles. I suddenly step out and see us there, all hot and bothered. It looks ridiculous. It is ridiculous! And when I get that gift of awakening and laugh, my kids can’t help but smile themselves, even if they want to stay angry and we laugh together.We are both awake. Next thing you know we are hugging and apologising, even joking about how we accidentally hurt ourselves or repeated ourselves and tried to hide it during the argument. The awakening is the beginning of the end of the argument; the beginning of love and closeness once more. I don’t want to fight and nor do they. It is fantastic to be able to ‘save face’ and exit stage left.

Being able to do this is such a gift. I actually think it saved my life. In Egypt 15 years ago I had 3 kids under 4 and was feeling particularly ill. For the first time in our 6 year marriage,  I asked my then husband to come home from work early to look after us. As he took his time coming I was so angry with him that he decided to go and stay at a hotel.  Another first. But because he is such a nutty engineer he couldn’t find any of his clothes to pack. As he was storming about the room where I lay in bed, I got the giggles and we managed to resolve the fight. That night on my way to the bathroom I passed out and defecated on the floor. I was in intensive care for a few days and the doctor said I might not have made it through that night. (Tropical disease, severe dehydration in case you are curious.)

Anyway I digress. Really being awake is where the fun starts, the new beginning. You begin to experience joy, optimism and hope, like when you fall in love. It’s the beginning of new experiences and your world seems at least manageable if not downright pleasurable. You have this inner voice that tolerates and appreciates, starting with yourself. If you are kind to yourself, you are more likely to be kind to others (see the post on All Criticism is Self Criticism).

Another way to picture the potential strength of an Awakening is to imagine winning the lottery. Suddenly your future happiness looks assured (of course it will not be as our internal world always prevails and the luxuries eventually fail to provide ongoing comfort as we take them for granted) and you begin to see everything differently.

So I repeat Damon’s words. Awakenings are just the beginning. There is so much more to come once you are awake. ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’ I have heard. So shape your life from here. It’s just as well to remember that and I am glad I am awake to get started!