When I started this blog back in the spring of 2011, one of my bigger hopes was that I would eventually have the opportunity to write for some of the websites where I have found inspiration and guidance.
Today, it happened.
I’m very excited to share that I am now a regular contributor over at Beliefnet!
Beginning this month I will be sharing my perspective in a couple of posts per month, which I will link to from here once they are up. Just like here, the subjects will be Spirituality and Personal Growth.
Can’t wait to share!
“Relinquish the need to judge. When you stop judging, everything falls into place.”
Today I am thrilled to be able to share a Guest Post written by Pete Savage, a best-selling business author, spiritual seeker, and friend. In the article below he provides realistic ideas and tips on how to overcome our need to judge others. Thank you Pete!
It seems to me that when you’re on the conscious path, you get rewarded from time to time with a poignant experience. A little “aha” moment, or, sometimes, a major realization. Whenever something like this happens, it’s nice.
It recently happened to me. I had a moment of true clarity when it suddenly dawned on me that ‘high’ conscious beings share an important and common trait. That is, they seem to have released the pervasive human tendency to judge and label one other. Or, at the very least, they’ve developed an ability to spot those fiery sparks of judgment that flicker within themselves, and quickly snuff them out before they have a chance to smolder and ignite.
Releasing the need to judge is a milestone marker on the consciousness path. Anyone reading this blog would probably agree that when we judge and label, we create limits and problems, and we close the door to peace and expansion in the moment.
Usually, judging and labeling occurs in negative context. We’ve all said, or thought words like…
“He is so grumpy today.”
”She is so manipulative.”
”He’s just lazy.”
”She is obsessed with money.”
And so on.
One of the ways in which a negative judgmental spark like these ones turn into big, fiery situations is because as soon as we label something as this or that, we then tend to look for evidence to support what we’ve just brandished.
So, if your boss does something that causes you to think, “He is so manipulative!” what usually comes next is that you’ll try to find more evidence of his manipulative behavior so that you can feel ‘right’ in your judgment.
Likewise, if your daughter wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and begins the day in a foul mood, the moment you declare, “My gosh, she’s so grumpy today,” it’s like turning on an internal radar and programming it to FIND MORE EVIDENCE OF GRUMPY BEHAVIOUR. And then you do.
Facing the REAL Problem
Whenever we judge something negatively, we give that which we judge power over ourselves.
For example, we might think that if the boss wasn’t such a manipulative jerk, everything at work would be fine.
When we’re caught up in judging, we’re saying, “That person is the problem, and if that person’s behaviour would change, then I would feel better”
Sometimes this leads us into trouble.
In the case of the grumpy daughter, a parent might go to great lengths to attempt to feel better by changing the child’s behaviour. This might involved hopelessly throwing out desperate instructions like:
“Go to your room!”
Etcetera. If you’re a parent, you’ll know that hurling such instructions rarely work. Why? Because these efforts are attempts to fix the outward situation… but that’s not where the problem is.
When we experience an unpleasant situation or circumstance that causes us to make a judgment, we identify the problem as being located outside of ourselves. But this is not true.
In truth, we don’t experience the unpleasantness in some external place, we experience it within ourselves. The problem, therefore, is inside ourselves and so too is the path to the solution.
A Way to Break Free from Judgment
Once we accept that the act of judging is a mis-identification of the problem as being external to yourself, it’s easy to see that the path to the solution is to instead look within. This technique will help.
When you find yourself judging another person, with a statement like…
“She’s so angry.”
Pause, and rephrase it, turning it inside and making it a statement about yourself. You might begin your statement with the words “I am…” and then identify what’s going on within you as you observe the behaviour of another person which you don’t like.
So, if you’re dealing with a grumpy 4-year old, your inner dialogue might look something like this:
Judgment statement: “Gosh, she is so just so grumpy today!”
Inner Dialogue: “Ahhh, that was a judgment statement I just made. Let me try an ‘I am’ statement instead; I am just so frustrated with her behaviour today…
And from there, suddenly, there are lots of places to go. Lots of ways out. Lots of solutions to the real problem. Because the real problem is not your daughter’s grumpiness. The real problem at hand is the way that you, the person doing the judging, is feeling about the grumpiness.
So “She’s so grumpy,” can become “I am feeling really frustrated.”
And from there, you can go further, perhaps with something like:
“I’m frustrated because she’s saying some mean, angry things to me, and to her younger sister.”
“I’m feeling frustrated because she’s been grumpy all day.”
And from there, it becomes easier to ask yourself, What kind of a change do I want to see take place in me and the way I’m relating to this situation?
And your answer might be:
“I want to feel happier.”
And from there, it’s easier to see solutions on how to make that happen. From this wonderful place of self-introspection, you might come up with such creative solutions as:
- Totally change the dynamic. Put the kids in the car and go out for ice cream, or to the beach for a swim.
- Rent a movie for everyone to watch.
- Give the person (your daughter) some physical space. Leave the room.
- Do something YOU like to do, like play your favourite song.
- Hand the kid off to your spouse, babysitter, grandparent, sister, brother and go for a walk.
By working on what’s inside you, you might come up with all kinds of solutions – even preventative ones – like coming up with strategies to help your child deal with grumpy feelings.
The takeaway here is to help yourself break free from the tendency to judge and get caught up in the mis-directed projection of the problem and all the negativity that can happen as a result.
Replace judgment statements like “He is…” or “She is…” with an “I am…” statement and expand into a bigger you by releasing your need to judge.
Pete Savage is a best-selling business author, speaker, and coach. You can follow him on Twitter @PeteSavage
Today I am excited to share a Guest Post from Jillian McKee, Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In the post she discusses a variety of Yoga Poses that can be used to help those who are suffering from cancer with the goal of increasing their quality of life.
Yoga has been proven to provide a variety of benefits, including better sleep, less pain, and an improved outlook on life to individuals with cancer. A review of several recent medical studies, “Yoga for Cancer Patients and Survivors ” by Dr. Julienne E. Bower, et al, shows that yoga can provide therapeutic relief for those suffering from a variety of cancers, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, melanoma, and breast cancer.
When beginning to plan a series of poses for a cancer patient, strive to keep the poses at a low-intensity to begin with to prevent further injury from over-extension.
The Marjaryasana (cat) and Batilasana (cow) poses are usually recommended for therapeutic relief. These low- impact positions stretch the torso, back, and neck while gently massaging the spine and internal organs.
One of the primary benefits of yoga for cancer patients is that it can relieve depression and anxiety. Several poses are especially good at this. The Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining bound angle pose) requires the practitioner to recline in the pose for an extended period of between five and twenty minutes for complete benefit. Instructions on the pose can be found here.
The benefits of this pose are that it quiets the mind, relieves stress and mild depression, stretches the knees and inner thighs, and supports increased circulation.
In addition to the Supta Baddha Konasana, the Uttana Shishosana (extended puppy pose) also can be held for up to thirty seconds to relieve stress and anxiety.
Yoga is also incredibly effective in aiding cancer patients to sleep better. The Savasana (corpse pose) can be used at the end of a series of poses to calm the body and mind. It also helps to relax the body and may aid patients in allowing them to fall asleep faster with fewer sleep medications needed.
Another pose that can aid in sleep is the Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) by calming the brain and by relieving stress and depression. It also is said in some traditional yoga texts that this pose helps to heal disease, though traditional medicine is certainly at odds with that assertion.
These specific poses, (along with many others,) can provide cancer patients with therapeutic relief. However, the most important part of using yoga in cancer patient therapy is to stay consistent in practicing it. The risk of injury can be lessened by discussing a yoga pose with a medical professional before attempting it so as not to complicate efficacy of traditional cancer therapy.
The American Cancer Society provides even more great information for those cancer patients who wish to learn more about yoga in complementary cancer care.
Jillian McKee is a yoga enthusiast and cancer activist. She works as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Her time is spent mostly on outreach efforts and spreading information on complementary and alternative medicine used in cancer treatment.