Category Archives: Mindfulness

People are Not Resources


Someone once told me that they disliked the term, “human resources” because “people are not resources.”

I found that comment, “people are not resources” impossible to understand at the time because I was working for a large corporation in a management track position.  At the same time I couldn’t let it go. It was like one of those frustrating puzzles that you keep returning to in hopes of one day solving.

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Day 28: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Letting Go of Judgment


One of the toughest things for me to do is to stop judging. For most of my life I’ve taken a lot of pride in what I like to call my “sense of discernment.” It’s like being a connoisseur of whatever I want to be. Mistaking my opinion for expertise.

By definition, an opinion is a judgment but it is a subjective judgment meaning a judgment without much supporting evidence.

When you write a scholarly paper, one of the steps you take is to do a survey of all the research done on the topic about which you’re writing. This is to make sure you take into account previous evidence other people have discovered.

This doesn’t mean opinions aren’t important or valid. I know my emotional responses are important and worthy of taking seriously.

The distinction is an opinion is subjective and usually the result of personal experiences and beliefs. Two people with different experiences and beliefs can see the exact same thing and form very different opinions about that thing.

The visual that comes to mind for me is throwing a rubber ball at a wall. One wall is relatively smooth while the other wall is full of protrusions and odd angles. I think beliefs and experiences are like those rough walls with all kinds of angles and protrusions and each person has a unique “wallscape.”

So how the ball returns to you will vary a lot depending on the wallscape against which you throw it. The way the ball returns is the opinion each person forms.

Judgment can be a delicious addiction. One of my favorite questions to be asked is “Judy, what do you think about …?”

Oh boy! My ego is is rubbing her hands together in glee. And I’ll happily hold forth on the topic. I’ll get indignant and self-righteous. I may not use the word “should” but that word is lurking right below the surface.

And not just when I’m talking about something I don’t like. It’s there when I’m holding forth on something I like because if I like it, everyone else ought to like it as well!

I don’t think having an opinion is a bad thing nor is offering advice and suggestions. One of the most beautiful things humans can do for one another is to offer solutions and advice because I believe we are designed to be interdependent on one another as a reminder that we are not billions of separate bickering little entities in the grand scheme.

The question is: what is the source of the advice or suggestion? Is it our ego which is the part of us primarily concerned with survival? Or is it the Divine working through us?

How do I know?

If my judgment is about making me better than someone else however subtle that may look, it’s ego. This is because my ego wants one thing and that is relief from fear. If I’m better, not just as good but better, there’s good chance I’ll keep, maybe even grow my power and stay in the tribe.

If my judgment is about love, coming from a place of plenty, it’s the Divine working through me. The Divine isn’t worried about my survival. Fear isn’t part of the Divine.

Here’s an example of a suggestion coming from a place of Divine Love. When asked about the conflict in the Middle East, the Dalai Llama said, “People are too emotional. They need to calm down.” I’m paraphrasing a little here but that, in essence is what he said.

Now, the Dalai Llama is not the first person who has said that people need to calm down. It wasn’t what the Dalai Llama said. It wasn’t even the way he said it. It was the place from which his words came.

It was interesting also that the Dalai Llama responded to the question quickly and directly. He didn’t take a minute to contemplate what and how he would answer.

I think this is partly because he probably does spend more time than most of us contemplating these issues but I think it’s also because he spends a good chunk of his day in prayer and meditation when he is open and aware of God. Making himself a clear channel for the expression of God’s Love.

So from my perspective, giving up judgment means not going through my life with my ego holding forth on why I’m so much better and everything and everyone else is so much worse. It means:

  • Noticing when I’m in judgment.
  • Not participating when other people are.
  • Forgiving myself.
  • Opening up to Divine Love (which is what I really want to begin with).
  • Repeat as necessary.



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Day 27: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – The High Price of Avoidance

As I contemplate my circumstances, it’s clear that I’m here because I’ve been avoiding stuff.

I feel I’ve addressed the issue of avoidance before but I have a deeper awareness now of what I’ve been avoiding and why it’s important to stop avoiding.

What have I been avoiding? Reality. The reality? People in small business do things and I take those things to mean I don’t have value. It’s all about my ego. No actually, it’s all about focusing on my ego’s reaction which is valid but not that important.

It’s about my decision to give my ego’s response and interpretation meaning and allow that meaning to guide my decisions and actions.

At this point, I’m considering the following actions and haven’t yet tipped in favor on any one in particular:

Look at technical projects that sound interesting and that I’m qualified to work on. This action supports finding contract consulting work.

Talk with people about their marketing and messaging challenges. This action supports creating a business.

Doing some exercises to help me better articulate what exactly I’m looking for which would actually support both since if I can better articulate what I’m wanting, I’m open to different ways to having those things.

OK, based on the above, adding some words to articulate what I’m interested in sounds like the way to go.

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Filed under Choosing Joy, Getting Out of My Own Way, Mindfulness

Day 23: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Unconditional Happiness

Yesterday I was listening to the Marianne Williamson’s Letting Go and Becoming and in particular, the part about how many of us make our happiness contingent on getting something we believe we lack.

That something can be just about anything: a relationship, a better job, a promotion. Or it could be about getting rid of something we believe is making our lives miserable: an impossible boss, taxes (especially this time of the year), an extra 20 pounds, etc.

As I was listening, it occurred to me that so often I’ll look back on a particular time in my life and think, “Wow, I had a lot to be happy about.” But during the time period I’m thinking of, I wasn’t very happy at all.

For example, I took two years off to get my MBA. I look back at this time now as one of the best in my life. But during those two years I would say I was rarely joyous.  I definitely had fun and had enjoyable moments, but I was always worried about my future and that had a big dampening effect on my happiness.

There are a variety of reasons people get advanced degrees like MBAs: a big one is the ability to earn more money. I worked in advertising: a field that doesn’t pay well especially at the lower levels. I wanted to be able to make enough to live on my own. Another big reason was to get a more satisfying job with advancement opportunities. As someone in the marketing profession, most large companies required an MBA to qualify for positions in brand management. I wanted better options.

So during the two years I was an MBA student, I constantly worried about getting a job after I graduated. I think getting a job probably occupied my thoughts at least 75% of the time. The classes I took, the part time jobs I had…even the people I hung out with to some degree was contingent on “Will this help me get a job off?”

The point is, because I was so focused on a future event, I didn’t enjoy the present much. As an example, I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor is a beautiful town. The campus itself is really cool and there are a lot of neighborhoods with old homes surrounded by large shade trees and gardens. I would often take long walks and even though part of me was enjoying the sights, in the back of my mind there was still that endless question beating away, “Will I get a job offer?”

If I wasn’t worrying about whether I’d get a job offer I was fantasizing about how it would be when I did get my job offer: the clothes I’d buy, where I’d live, the boyfriend I’d have, the cool things I’d accomplish, and the accolades I’d get.

I was in my head not in my life.

So this made me think, “What if the time I’m living in, right now, is a time I’ll look back at fondly and I’m not allowing myself to fully experience it because I’m so pre-occupied with getting what I don’t have?”

That’s a good question to ask because it gets me out of my head and reminds me to appreciate the present moment more no matter what is happening. Appreciating means slowing down. Taking a moment to notice how things look, smell, and taste. Noticing my emotions, good and bad.

Some good questions and ideas to be with today.

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Filed under Choosing Joy, Getting Out of My Own Way, Mindfulness

Day 21: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Today is a Gift


One of the things I wrote about yesterday was how I can find all kinds of ways to lapse into unconsciousness.

After I stopped shopping online, I discovered I could also lose huge chunks of time by trying to create the perfect image to represent an idea I wanted to write about.

I love the trading card design I created for the post about Lack or Love AND I spent most of the day making it. I love the image I created. It’s really cool. I’m going to use it as a template for one of my projects. Still, I feel as though I spent a fair amount of time being pretty obsessive-compulsive.

I think there’s a middle ground.

The image created for this post took me about 15 minutes using Photoshop. It’s my “good enough” image so I really can have more time today to experience the gift today is.

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Day 23: Radical Forgiveness – On “Staycation”


I haven’t posted anything for the last few days for a few reasons:

  1. Christmas and time spent with my family. Between wrapping gifts, cooking, tidying up and just hanging out, I haven’t had the blocks of time I like to have when I journal or do an exercise.
  2. Hit a “stopping point.” When I finished reading Radical Forgiveness and completed the forgiveness process three times, I had the sense of hitting a natural stopping point. It isn’t as though I’m “done.” This is the kind of work that is done over a lifetime.
  3. I also felt some resistance. I enjoyed reading Radical Forgiveness and although I wouldn’t say going through the forgiveness process is exactly “enjoyable”, I’ve definitely felt a sense of progress and forward movement. When I did the self-forgiveness worksheet, I didn’t find what I had experienced forgiving others to be directly applicable.

Colin Tipping wrote Radical Self-Forgiveness after writing Radical Forgiveness to address some of the challenges people were experiencing when trying to forgive themselves. Although I felt some resistance to buying another book (the reviews for the second book were more mixed than for the first book and this also contributed to my unease), I think the second book has some useful ideas that compliment the original Radical Forgiveness book.

I began reading Radical Self-Forgiveness today and I find myself agreeing with Colin Tipping:

  • The radical self-forgiveness process doesn’t feel as clear cut as the radical forgiveness process because it can feel confusing when it comes to “who’s actually doing the forgiving here?”
  • For this reason, it helps to better understand the different selves we each have as well as to understand there is a self representing the Divine within.
  • It also helps to identify parts of ourselves we’ve adopted from others but that don’t serve us. All those “shoulds” that kick our ass all the time. Maybe there are things we don’t even need to forgive so much as unload because it was never ours to begin with.

To that last point, I suddenly had this awareness of how I was feeling bad because I didn’t spend the holidays the way I “should” have. I didn’t reach out to anyone over the last few days; no phone calls, no emails, no cards…and although I’m not aware of any feelings of loneliness  or isolation…a little voice in me is giving me a hard time because that part of me feels it’s not OK to “keep to myself.”

I haven’t felt inspired to reach out. Usually if I’m inspired to reach out, I do.

This is an example of something that I might think I should forgive myself for when actually I’m just being myself.

Tomorrow I’m planning to do the exercises around how I define myself and what qualities I’m fine owning and what I can give back. I imagine I’ll also learn about the qualities I own which I don’t like about myself. Those are the things, I’m guess which require self-forgiveness.

On a final note, I’m wondering if I’ll want to extend my time practicing Radical Forgiveness. Quite possibly although I expect to do it parallel with the work I’ll be doing to find my “right work.”

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Day 29: Kicking the Online Spending Habit: More Positive Results


Although I’m not officially tracking the online spending habit anymore, I’m still seeing new, positive results worth reporting.

This month, my credit card payments were really low. Not only does it feel good to see such small numbers on my monthly statements, I can’t begin to describe how good it feels to know I can easily pay these bills in full without any concerns about the effect on my bank account.

The lightness and sense of space I have is wonderful.

A few days ago I was buying a Christmas gift for my husband and I noticed a necklace I’d been looking at for a while that was on sale. I added the necklace to my cart. Then, thinking about how much I enjoyed those low credit card bills, I thought, “I already have quite a few necklaces, most of which I never even wear. Why buy yet another necklace I may or may not like. And why deal with having to return something?”

So I removed the necklace and bought only the gifts.

Feels like the 800-pound gorilla I was struggling with is now like a little monkey.

This is a big win for me! Yeah!

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Day 21: Kicking the Online Shopping Habit – Results so far …


From Addiction to Forgiveness

It’s the official three week mark since I decided to stop my obsession online shopping behavior.

What surprises me is that it’s been a lot easier than I expected it to be. I honestly thought I’d struggle with stopping.

Results so Far

Some of the benefits I thought I might see as a result of ending online shopping included:

  • More time because my online shopping jags could go anywhere from 1 – 8+ hours at a stretch. I’d say the average shopping period was 2-3 hours. If I wasn’t shopping online what would I do with the extra time?
  • In fact, this doesn’t even include the time I spent trying things on and returning things I didn’t like or that didn’t work! So I could easily double the time to at least 4-6 hours!
  • Saving money because I tend to spend between $50 – $200 per shopping binge. Although my husband worries a lot about me spending a lot of money the truth is most of the stuff ends up returned. Nonetheless I’m still paying for shipping returned items back and in the case of heavier items like bags and shoes, shipping can get expensive.
  • Having more emotional space because it isn’t taken up in worrying about getting refunds and disputes with vendors.

Of all the above, the most noticeable benefit so far is with the money. During the 21 day period, I’ve spent only $50 in total. Two e-books and a software app. Figuring I usually spend $200 – $250 this is a big decrease and if I could have been a bit more patient I could have saved $10 getting one of the books from the library (the other was well worth owning).

I don’t yet feel an appreciable increase in time because so many other things have rushed in to fill the space. Still just having the time to spend on journaling and reading Radical Forgiveness this month has made a big difference in my emotional state.

21 Days of Tracking Feels Like a Good Stopping Point for Kicking My Online Shopping Addiction

At this point, I’m going to stop officially tracking my efforts to stop shopping online. This doesn’t mean I now give myself permission to go hog wild and back to my old habits.

It means I’ve been successful when it comes to internalizing a new set of habits. I’m so mindful now of my tendency to lapse into mindless shopping when I feel stressed out or am considering a painful action that I believe I’ve formed a new habit.

I realize this habit is new and still may be fragile. At the same time I feel ready to take on a new challenge in my life.

Beginning tomorrow, 12/3/14 I’ll be practicing 30 Days of Radical Forgiveness using Colin Tipping’s book as my guide. I’ll write more tomorrow about what I’ll be doing during this challenge and the results I hope to attain through practicing radical forgiveness.


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Filed under Celebration, Habits, Mindfulness, Radical Forgiveness

Day 15: Kicking the Online Shopping Habit

Like a Feather D r i f t i n g Along the Roadside

The other day my son told me he felt I was “drifting” when it came to my work.

That was painful to hear and I can understand where he’s coming from. I feel like I’m drifting as well. I do a little work on decluttering. I do a little work on the Business Success from the inside Out Mastermind. I haven’t done much work at all on selling m clothes on eBay.

It’s easy to feel guilty and wrong.

I know it wasn’t Matt’s intent to make me feel bad. He was just making an observation but I’ve lived for so many years under the belief that moving forward quickly and purposefully toward some goal is “good” and not doing so is “bad.” It’s hard to avoid judging myself harshly.

On the other hand I do feel I’m having some big shifts around some of the beliefs that get me stuck in places of anger and resentment.

Staying at my parents this year has been remarkably stress-free. I usually feel a combination of resentment, anger, and sadness and this year I’ve been able to simply appreciate that time I’ve been spending with them and I’ve been able to appreciate them for themselves.

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Day 14: Kicking the Online Shopping Habit

Not Much to Report Today

Spent most of yesterday traveling to Chicago where I’ll be for the next week.

Although I didn’t feel much of an urge to shop I am aware of a lot of resentment coming up towards other people.

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