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Showing posts from April, 2019

Mindfulness Practice

How has mindfulness practice increased your self-compassion? This was a question posed by Tara Brach today in our dharma talk. Mindfulness has given me objective vision and observational wisdom. I no longer judge people, situations, emotions as good or bad, I just observe. By observing, I realize that anger, sadness, frustration, laziness, happiness, joy, pleasure, pain, and all other emotions and experiences are universal. They are part of the human experience. There is no need to ascribe a label such as "good" or "bad" to our experiences or people. Just observe, investigate, nurture, accept, allow, and perhaps even embrace. It is what it is.

How do we stay mindful? Practice. Just as a muscle becomes stronger through lifting weights, or cloth becomes saturated with color in proportion to the number of times it is dipped in dye, so too it is with our ability to stay mindful. We must train for it is natural to be loving, compassionate, kind, non-judgmental, etc. wh…

The Swift Sword

Dan Kennedy just talked about his principle of the swift sword which means you should never chase sunk costs. Instead, you should cut your losses swiftly and move on to more productive endeavors. I found it interesting how he applied the principle of theswift sword to relationships in his No BS Guide to Time Management

I agree that if a relationship no longer serves you, you should move on. Would applying the principle of the swift sword result in more divorces? How many people are chasing sunk costs in their marriages? Does the fact that you've already invested so much time and energy into a relationship, keep you there long after you should've left? Would it portend a national disaster if everyone left their significant others the moment they realized it wasn't a great fit?

Furthermore, is it really so easy to know when you are chasing sunk costs? How many times has something appeared hopeless only to have it turn out alright? What if you pull the plug a tad too soon?…

Relationship Theory

I'm no expert on relationships except when it comes to my own. There are many relationship theories out there and I have come up with my own relationship laws.  Here are just a few:
1) I am responsible for the quality of my relationships. 2) I only maintain relationships that are positive, productive, and profitable. 3) I teach people how to treat me.
I'm okay ending relationships. I now live by the mantra of "I love you, but I love myself more." I am okay being alone. In fact, I prefer solitude to sociality. It is not selfish to want alone time nor is it selfish to make and keep appointments with yourself.
It is your responsibility to speak up for what you want and need in a relationship. Assertiveness is essential if you want to avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings. I was programmed to suck it up and serve in relationships and I am still unable to express what I want, initially. I'm working on being straightforward and expressing my needs and desires …

Punctuality and Integrity

Okay, I'm still working my way through the No BS Guide to Time Management and loving it. When Dan Kennedy said that those who are habitually late lack integrity, I initially felt it was a bit harsh. But now that I think about it, I hate when people make me wait. I am a busy person and it disrespects my time to be kept waiting. I have been late to many things before, but I am always on time for important meetings. That just goes to show that we show up for the things we value so if someone is habitually late when working with you, they don't value you nor themselves. If they valued you, they'd respect your time and if they valued themselves, they wouldn't make a commitment they couldn't keep. They'd exercise integrity and show up on time or not accept the appointment in the first place.

My current boss is punctual. I value that. I respond in kind.

One of my friends is habitually late. I notice I respond in kind. I don't bother showing up on time as I know I…

Guarding Time

I just started Dan Kennedy's No BS Guide to Time Managementand it's a fun read. I'm actually going to make this post short so I can dive back in.

Basically, what is your time worth? It is your most valuable, non-renewable, asset. Do you hold it sacred? Are you adequately protecting it?

I don't want to become militant about my time, but I do want to be straightforward with those who waste it. I am going to not feel bad hanging a sign on my office that says "Do Not Disturb," or "Send me an e-mail please." That way I can avoid unnecessary interruptions.

I love the idea of limiting personal access to once daily or once per week. If you tell people that they can have 15 minutes at the end of your day to discuss their itemized list or that you will go over all their questions in a 20-minute call at the end of the week, those people will be more thoughtful in crafting their emails, texts, calls, etc. And if they know they can't disturb you all the tim…

When Breath Becomes Air

I just finished a touching, powerful book When Breath Becomes Air.That title meant nothing to me till the end. I knew its meaning when Paul took his last breath.

Death. Why is it so feared? Is it because no one really knows what comes next? I think so. We can speculate. We can believe. But who knoweth for sure what happens after breath becomes air?

I can see why people cling to religion. It provides an answer about the afterlife. It may not be true, but it can be comforting. Who really wants to believe that this is it? It seems so final. So unfair to those who are taken early. But what is early? Is there any promised amount of days allotted to man? I think not. So why should any feel robbed?

Time is a gift? Those who are granted more time, are they the lucky ones? Is it the depth of life, or the breadth of life that which we should use as the measuring rod for a life well lived? And, by the way, who is to say what makes a life well-lived?

Paul's reflections took me on a rollercoa…

Painful Practice

Why would anyone want to practice staying with pain? This was a question raised by another student in my mindfulness teacher certification program. He was specifically referring to the pain that comes from sitting on a meditation cushion for an extended amount of time. "Why not just move? Isn't it stupid to sit in pain when you can so easily obtain relief?"
Sounded reasonable to me.
Jack Kornfield wisely responded, "We practice sitting in pain because there may come a time when we cannot move."
There is value in painful practice. That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. 
This lesson beautifully coincided with a lecture I listened to later in the day by Seth Godin. He spoke about the importance of training. For a person who has not trained, running a marathon is a painful endeavor. For those who practice and train, a marathon becomes less painful. In fact, those who practice and train find them rewarding enough to do multiple marathons per ye…

Mindfulness of Pain

How has mindfulness helped you deal with pain?

Mindfulness has taught me to recognize my feelings and name my pain. It has always been easier for me to recognize and deal with physical pain vs. mental/emotional pain. I am an athlete. Pushing through pain, ignoring it, or increasing tolerance for pain has been part of my daily life. No pain no gain, right?

Over the years, I have developed a high physical pain tolerance. I can breathe through intense pain and even relax into it. I have learned that physical pain will pass--or at least its intensity will ebb.

Mindfulness has helped me transfer my physical pain skills to my emotional/mental pain skills. I am getting better at sitting with and through mental pain. I can send myself love and compassion when the feelings are intense. For me, self-compassion is to mental pain as breathing is to physical pain.

I'm still learning how to best apply these skills when it comes to the pain of others. How can I best support others better in t…

Right it Out

I know I should optimize my titles for search, but since my titles are part of my art, I cannot compromise. You see, I love a title that is clever and nuanced. For today's post, I vacillated between "Write it Out" and "Right it Out." Both have a meaningful application.

Through writing, I come to know what is right for me. And as I discover additional rights in life, I return to my pad and write it out. It's a beautiful, self-reinforcing cycle.

I was texting with a dear friend today and she confessed her lack of confidence in certain areas of her life, particularly regarding her decision to leave her faith culture. We were both raised in the same religion by devout parents, and this past weekend our church held one of its large conferences. I didn't even remember that it was that time of the year and I was busily engaged at a work conference in a distant city. I have no idea what was covered in their sessions and I can honestly say, I do not care. She, …

My Faith Update

I had a dear friend and family member reach out the other day concerning my departure from the faith. I appreciated her loving concern. I referred her to my previous post entitled Holy Treason to bring her quickly up to speed. She read it and replied,

 "Hey Janelle thanks for letting me read that; I see what it means to you. Either it's the curiosity in me or the therapist but I am interested to know the "road to the unraveling of your faith". I hope you are able to navigate this "being not on the same page" time with your husband as it appears you make one another happy."
To which I replied:

Yes, the "another article for another day"... I should probably write that as I wrote this summary blog post one year after my decision to no longer actively participate in the church. I spent considerable time journaling my journey along the way and notating the insights that "opened my eyes." Have you ever read the works of Wayne Dyer, Adya…