I love to hear two words that usually don’t go together, like healthy and regrets. My friend Kathy was musing on an unfortunate situation when she used those words to describe her feelings.
The juxtaposition of healthy and regrets stopped my mind, and allowed an instantaneous dive into how healthy regrets might work.
How can there be something healthy about regrets, which are usually embodied as feelings of loss, disappointment or sorrow over something that happened?
The idea caused me to bring to mind some lingering regrets of my own … the kind that show up on long drives that a remembered song or unresolved disappointments bring to mind.
I noticed that I didn’t have regrets when I faced challenges and broke through to a new level of awareness. The regrets disappeared with the evolution of my thinking or a new freedom for action. They took their place in the historical record of my life, enriching the journey. Read more...
My husband and I were walking and talking discussing the topic of unconditional love. He asked what the conditions are for unconditional love, and then burst out laughing at the conundrum his question implied.
No conditions. It reminded us of a process we ran for years in our On Course personal empowerment training. Two people would sit facing each other. One would say “I love you unconditionally.” The other person would think of what they were afraid would sever the connection of love.
What if I leave you?
What if I disparage you?
What if I leave the top off the toothpaste?
What if I get fat?
What if I get sick?
What if I was broke?
What if I lost my job?
What if I didn’t agree?
What if I get angry?
What if I forget to take out the trash?
What if I disappoint you?
And on and on the list grew with the only response, I love you unconditionally until it came to be that there was nothing left. No fear that would sever the connection from one person to another, not some event from history or life today as it unfolds.
It was transformational, everyone walked out of the training with a glow of unconditional love. Then they ran into their first conflict. Bam! How do you make unconditional love a practice rather than a memory of what’s possible? It’s simple really. Just revise your point of view.
I’ve had two recent conflicts that reminded me to revise my point of view. And do you know the most common point of view to revise? Whichever one that makes you right and the other person wrong! Conflict is hard. It’s a collision of points of view. But it only takes one to revise to unconditional love. The past disappears as an overpowering imperative to hang on to hurt feelings, wrongs, or indignation, and instead creates a pathway to greater awareness.
Maya Angelou reminded us that history in all of its anguish and pain cannot be unlived. But if faced with courage can be a catalyst to create life anew. It takes courage to allow love to come through when life delivers a blow or a raw deal.
I told my daughter when she was 16 years old that she couldn’t screw it up with me. No matter what I loved her unconditionally. We still laugh over the truth of that moment.
So when life doesn’t meet my expectations or delivers a blow to my self-image, I take a breath and respond to an inner alarm to use what’s happening to wake up. Look around. The world whether it’s at work or with your family doesn’t need more animosity. We need the generosity of spirit that love brings. We need the truth spoken with love.
When I’m upset or concerned, I nudge aside the limits of how I think life should be. I step outside of my predictable thinking to find an unlimited universe of possibilities. That’s where I continue to discover the practice of unconditional love as a way of seeing in the world.
Consider that love is your nature. When you practice unconditional love you affirm your nature. Don’t confuse love with attraction, need, or dependence. Love makes you strong not weak. Love allows you to live and laugh with awareness instead of attachment to any one point of view. Love is enduring and forgiving.
So when you’re stuck in an endless cycle of concern about something or other practice unconditional love with yourself, others, and the situation itself, and see what emerges. It may release the regret and forge your strength to carry on.
I find the words of Martin Luther King inspiring: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
My love goes with you as you work with this Uplifting Moment.
“He decided a change of scenery would do some good.”
I see this sentence hanging on the wall of my living room as part of a stunning and colorful depiction of a shaman looking out over a scene. It doesn’t matter where I’m sitting in the living room; the shaman is always looking at me!
My husband and I had recently arrived back from Croatia. We were sitting having our morning coffee in the living room and noticed the saying at the bottom of the picture as if it were the first time.
We just had a change of scenery. Croatia was different: ancient, Roman ruins, castles, Adriatic Sea resorts, and Soviet remnants. And it was the same: friendly, good food, graffiti, families, traffic, stories, and queuing up for tickets. Read more...
I have been told recently by people I love and work with that I bring out the devil’s advocate in them!
One of my closest colleagues told me the story of how the devil’s advocate came to be. When the Vatican proposed someone to sainthood, they also chose a devil’s advocate to poke holes in the candidate’s life and accomplishments, to ensure that his or her sainthood was deserved and accurately portrayed.
I never considered that when I speak about some people it sounds like I’m proposing their sainthood, but I do extol their virtues, praise their achievements, and may not look closely enough at their shortcomings.
It’s a way of being I enjoy … optimism, kindness, and love. On the other hand when you’re developing a person, team or organization, virtues need to be balanced with truth, facts, and relevance to winning the game. Read more...
I walked by a window at the mall that stopped me in my tracks. Written boldly across the window, blocking mannequins and merchandise, was a graphic statement:
No resolutions, No regrets
I laughed out loud and kept walking, musing about the truth of that statement.
New Year’s resolutions don’t work because they’re a reaction to what we don’t want instead of a new habit we’re developing. These are just a few of the ones I’ve heard in the last few days: “I really should lose weight, change jobs, make more money, get a new place to live, stop waiting, tell the truth, exercise, stop smoking, go to school, retire, meditate, take more vacations!”
The operative word is “should.” Read more...
During this time of year when we’re completing our list of what needs to be done for the holidays, family visits, and year-end strategies, it’s easy to slip into an awkward moment.
Here are six I’ve noticed! Read more...
- You rush into saying yes when you really meant to say no. Now you’re stuck with a commitment you don’t want to keep. Awkward!
- You hired someone and they’re not working out. It’s the holidays, but you still need to terminate their employment. Awkward!
- People ask you questions you don’t want to answer. They know you’re holding back information that’s really none of their business. Awkward!
- You tell your boss your great idea, and he shoots it down with facts and figures. You feel stupid because you didn’t think through possible objections. Awkward!
- You give someone feedback and they go ballistic. You vow never to talk to this person again, but you see them everyday. Awkward!
I was running along a path at the beach, and my phone went off nine times in nine minutes. I’m not kidding … calls, texts and emails. This is not an unusual circumstance!
I’ve developed the ability to run and look at my phone at the same time. I answered a call, sent some texts, and even some emails. I had to pause my run for the emails and walk for the texts, but right after picked up my pace refreshed by the moment of rest.
It’s the busiest time of the year for the business I’m in. Would I choose to run or not to run, that was the question. Then I noticed the mental game of “should I or shouldn’t I” that throws a decision to less fulfilling options, and decided fulfillment doesn’t need to be put on hold just because of the holidays. Read more...
Tis the season to be thankful and, very soon, jolly.
This is also the time of year when secret recipes are handed down from generation to generation. In my family it was the secret recipe for stuffing! But the secret recipe I’m handing down to my children is a delicious recipe for dealing with complaints.
The first step in the recipe is to put the complaint on a cutting board like an onion, and peel back the layers until a hidden request is unveiled. This could make you cry! But if you run it under the cold water of introspection, tears often turn into surprise.
If you look, you’ll find that the core of a frequent complaint is a persistent desire that’s not being fulfilled. You unveil the longing inside, and see it for what it is … a call to action. Read more...
“I can’t possibly get everything done!”
I hear this in some form or another too often not to notice the impact of perpetual incompletion on creativity, healthful activities, or just the space to consider something new.
Over the years I’ve written about goals, timelines, and completion. I’ve written about the buzz and fulfillment in accomplishment. Major goals, micro goals, unexpected goals all throw you into the pursuit of accomplishment, and also can throw you into a state of perpetual incompletion.
Who am I without a goal is a question I haven’t answered yet.
I’m a classic example of perpetual incompletion. Plans to make, problems to solve, weight to lose, bills to pay, reports to issue, friends to see, family to visit, guidance to give, vacations to take, and time to notice what’s missing, and act on it, before it becomes a breakdown at work or at home. Read more...
It was a leisurely afternoon with friends on a pontoon boat sitting under an awning to protect us from the sun. We drifted slowly across Lake Cachuma chatting about life, listening to music, and eating home made foods.
Another person and I gravitated easily to talking about business as we floated along, a subject we obviously enjoyed. I had met her once before. She runs her own specialty food company. At some point she turned to me all serious and asked, “Could you stop working?” Although she is younger than me by a few years, I guessed she is wrangling with the question for herself.
I responded yes. She then asked what not working would give me, and I surprised myself with the answer. Space.
She quickly interjected, ah yes, more time to do what you want to do. I nodded slowly but that didn’t quite capture what I was saying. Time is something I make. I make time for something because I made a commitment to do it. Read more...