Tag Archives: Mindfulness

Day 26: Radical Forgiveness


I haven’t been actively doing a lot of forgiveness exercises because I’ve been reading more about self-forgiveness, specifically, about all the “selves” that fall into “self.”

I often hear people talking about having different parts of themselves. Most commonly people talk about their “inner critic” and “giving myself a hard time.” Sometimes someone will also say, “I’m the one getting in my way.”

These are good examples of those other parts of ourselves.

What I’ve discovered so far is:

  • We all have parts of ourselves that we’ve disowned in order to get along better with other people. For example, I often tone down my creative side when I’m working with people who are focused on doing things in a logical, step-by-step way.
  • I was happy to realize how much progress I’ve made when it comes to rediscovering and integrating those parts of myself. It’s been fun and exciting to remember the things I loved doing when I was a kid.
  • There are still things I push down but I see myself making a lot of progress.
  • I don’t have any regrets about the way I’ve lived my life. That’s good too. I feel like I’ve usually done my best with what I knew at the time. Also, the things I might regret have ended up working out for the best.

This is encouraging.

Tomorrow I’m going to be reading about my “shadow” self and my “sabotage” self. I’m really curious and kind of excited to learn about these because these are parts of me that have kicked my ass in the past. I’m excited about the possibility of “diffusing” these selves. Not getting rid of. These are parts of me that have served a purpose in the past. It would be like saying, “I want to cut off my nose.”

But I would like to be able to say, “Thank you for doing what you did because you were wanting to protect me. I’m not going to need you anymore, you can go now.” More like, leaving these selves behind me as we leave old beliefs and habits behind that no longer serve us.

I really can’t wait to learn more!

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Day 3: Kicking the Online Shopping Habit

I decided to rename this “kicking the online shopping habit.” Although going on a “fast” has become super fashionable these days it the word still connotes giving up something I love and deprivation. Although online shopping feels good in a creepy instant gratification way, I wouldn’t say I love it so much as it sets me up to feel compelled to do it.

It’s been two full days since I stopped shopping online. I should stop here and give myself a pat on the back because I really have stopped. I’m not even “window shopping.” If I’m doing research on a project that’s a little different but I’ve been limiting my searches to search engines and haven’t actually visited any sites whose purpose is selling stuff.

MC900238229 So I’m throwing in some virtual balloons, confetti, and champagne to celebrate this fact.

Yesterday, I mentioned that online shopping is a type of addiction for me and I want to write more about that.

I haven’t yet felt anything like withdrawal pains..it’s only been a couple days but I have noticed at times how I’ve used online shopping as a way to avoid doing something unpleasant: making a difficult phone call, cleaning my office, or working out.

I’ll be done with my routine work like checking my email and going over my list of things to get done and now faced with the prospect of something important but unpleasant I’ll suddenly get the idea that “I really need to find a nice pair of shoes to wear with that little black dress I just bought.”

And three hours later, half the day has literally disappeared and I realize I haven’t gotten anything at all done. I remember one time when I started shopping at 10 am and only stopped because it was 6pm and had gotten so dark in my office I couldn’t see the keyboard anymore.

The funny thing is, usually the next day, I look at whatever it was that I was so obsessed with finding and don’t get why I would spend so much time compulsively searching every nook and cranny of the virtual universe. But that’s the nature of the online retail universe. It’s a lot of gaming .. that sense of achievement “Aha I finally found a pair of size 81/2 Frye boots in Palomino Tan!!” has those components of hunting and catching that wire right into my hunter gatherer brain.

I think it’s that perception and achievement and success that feels so good. Not to mention the perception that by somehow having a particular item, I’ll feel happier and more fulfilled. As though that object is a kind of magic talisman which will somehow enable me to be more than what I am.

I also am realizing that I can’t do things I don’t enjoy in hopes of finally being to do what I do enjoy. One of my coaches told me I would have to do presentations and call everyone I knew to invite them to attend those presentations in order to have enough clients to work with. I wanted to have the clients and I wanted to coach them because that’s what I enjoyed. But I didn’t really enjoy the cold calling. In fact I hated cold calling.

So it takes time and I’ve realized I need to find things I find intrinsically satisfying and am happy to do to attain the longer term results. But because this is a relatively new insight, I ‘m not sure what that work would be for me.

And I’ve been engaged in a lot of trial and error to discover what it is that I enjoy doing and can be a viable business. Trial and error means sometimes what I do isn’t very fun. It also means maybe what I’m working on will pay off and maybe it won’t.

Shopping online has bean a way to feel like I’m accomplishing something useful and a way to avoid the discomfort of uncertainty and to avoid doing things I find unpleasant, tedious .. even painful.

I guess looking at it this way, it makes sense that I’ve been spending a lot of time shopping online.

My one concern has been if I stop shopping online will I find other distractions and addictions that allow me to avoid the stuff I’ve been avoiding?

Yeah, duh!

So the question to explore is how can I frame things differently and do things differently so I don’t lapse into yet another addictive behavior?

Mindful Self-compassion feels like a fruitful place to explore.

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Online Shopping “Fast” – Day 1


For a while now I’ve been thinking about the power of habits.

The word “habit” comes from the Latin word habitus —  condition, character, demeanor. The root meaning is “to hold,” which can be either in offering or in taking. Applied in Latin to both inner and outer states of being.  Habit can also meaning “to dwell” (habitat) and “to dress” (a nun’s habit).

The modern use of the word, habit, as a “customary practice” began 700 years ago. I’m guessing it evolved out of religious practice because religion was such a huge cultural influence at the time; it was important to know the time of day so you knew what prayers to say.

What’s interesting to me is how “habit” in Latin could refer to both the inner and outer states of being. The Romans placed great importance on character and bearing. That what was inside shaped your appearance.

I like that idea because I’ve been focusing on what’s inside…my values…when it comes to influencing my decisions, and actions.  This is often very challenging because outside influences can be so strong.

Part of this shift has been to spend less time on the Internet. I find it’s easy to lose, literally, hours by surfing without much purpose. It’s also easy for me to become obsessive and the obsession can feel like a purpose.

For example (this feels really embarrassing) yesterday I got the idea that I should find a scarf I saw for sale on Amazon.com earlier in the year. It was a nice scarf. As I recall it had a hummingbird or a dragonfly motif and came in two colors: black and amber. All of the sudden it seemed absolutely essential to my happiness that I find that scarf and buy it.

After I spent an hour trying to find the scarf on Amazon.com. I searched Google and finally tried to find it by using the Wayback Machine to look at the scarves Amazon.com sold back in January and February.

I probably would have spent the entire evening trying to find this scarf if I didn’t need to start working on dinner.

So you could say I’ve developed a bad habit of obsessively searching the Internet for things that aren’t very important and I may add which aren’t bringing anything useful into my life. If I were a researcher or detective this might serve me but even then, you have to know when to quit because at some point, the possible benefits of the search are outweighed by the normal activities of life.

I’m thinking about committing a 30-day period to “unmaking” habits that no longer serve me. The habit of shopping online feels especially pernicious lately. There are lots of good reasons for doing a 30-day online shopping “fast.”

  1. I don’t need most of the things I buy online. I have more than enough clothes, office supplies, books, etc.
  2. Most of what I can buy online can be bought in the bricks and mortar world.
  3. There are other things I’d rather spend the money on.
  4. It takes up huge chucks of time finding things, trying on clothes, and then returning what I don’t like.
  5. It occupies my mind and when that happens I’m no longer mindful. In fact I often find I’m in a kind of “fugue state” when feels uncomfortably close to an addictive state.

These are pretty compelling reasons to go on e 30-day “fast.”

I also find that regardless of my success, the effort to change a habit is often enlightening. It’s hard to know the obstacles until you go on the journey.

So I’m going to consider today, Day 1 of my online shopping fast.

I’ll write about my experience on a daily basis as a way to keep accountable and so I can share what I learn with others.


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