Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who are Your People?

In the South, this question is sometimes asked as a way of getting to know someone. Who are your people means who is your family? Where are your roots? How are you connected to me, in that six degrees of separation kind of way?

I was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. My people of origin come from the Ozarks of Missouri. I have now lived in the Pacific Northwest for twenty years and call it home. When she was five, I took my daughter to a family reunion in the little Ozark town where our family comes from. We checked into the tiny motel, the only one in town. We walked into our room, which was hot as Hades and had a faint odor of mildew rising from the stained shag carpet. I was trying to figure out how to crank up the window unit air conditioner, when Mia asked, “Mommy, what is this?” I turned and saw what she was holding. “Sugar, that’s how you know you are in a first class deluxe establishment. That is a fly swatter.”

While we waited for other kinfolk to show up, we moseyed across the road to the Wal-Mart. As soon as we walked in the store, I saw my cousin Jayma Sue. And there was Monty Max and Bonnie Jo and Wanda Fern. And more. Soon we were having a family reunion in the aisles of Wal-Mart. My heart was filled with the warm embrace of my heritage, and I thought with grateful affection “These are my people.”

I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “All people are my people.” I was reminded of my Southern roots and the importance of knowing who your people are. I remembered that day in Wal-Mart. Can I look at all people with that same depth of recognition and affection? After all, at some level, we all share common ancestry, don’t we? We are our people.

Our usual concept of “us” and “them” is outdated. In its place, we need an attitude that sees all human beings as our brothers and sisters, that considers others to be part of “us.” –The Dalai Lama

Related post: There is No Them
revised from archives

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life is Good

I went to the vet today to pick up dog food for Sadie. Behind the desk was a makeshift enclosure with four kittens napping in a pile in the corner, three tan and one gray. Two weeks ago, one of the doctors arrived to open the clinic and found a cardboard box taped shut, sitting by the door. No noise was coming from the box. She opened the box with some trepidation...and up popped four little faces. The kittens were nursed back to good health and were now looking for homes.

While I was checking out, they woke up and began to play, leaping and stalking and pouncing. Even though my business was concluded, I stayed and watched. I couldn’t quit smiling and laughing. Pretty soon, the staff gathered around. And even a customer who was there because his dog had cancer was laughing, too. One of the vets came out to watch. I remarked that she saw cute little animals all the time and asked if she ever was immune to such adorableness. She just shook her head and laughed.

Two weeks ago, these kittens were abandoned, covered with fleas, malnourished, one near death. And here they were, soft and sleek, with bright eyes and tails high, full of joy and promise. I looked around at the people watching them, faces beaming with delight, all the chores put on hold, cares momentarily forgotten, hearts open and spirits soaring.

What magic is this? What power these little furry beings have to stop us all in our tracks and join us together in appreciation of life’s wonder.

My nephew’s favorite saying is “Life is good.” It is good indeed.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Voices in the Sea

I wrote earlier this month about taking the complaint free challenge. The goal is to break the habit of complaining by going 21 days complaint free. I have managed to go several days at a stretch so far, but then something will happen that irritates me enough that it seems worth starting the count over in order to voice my momentary displeasure.

Then I read a passage in a book that stopped me in my whiny tracks. The book is The Pursuit of Happiness by David Myers. In one chapter, the author suggested that having a broader view puts our trivial, temporary inconveniences in perspective.

A British veteran reflected on his experience with things of gravest import after sailing with Russia-bound convoys through German-submarine-infested icy waters: “There are two things that I shall always remember. The first is the sound of men’s voices in the sea at night, when you can’t stop to pick them up ... and the other is the sound of people’s voices complaining in the shops at home.”

When I read that, I felt so ashamed of the things I thought warranted my critical commentary. I’ll give you two recent examples. It was hot in taekwondo class the other night. I leaned my sweaty face near a classmate’s and moaned, “I’m dying in here!” Well, it was hot, but of course I wasn’t dying. I was voluntarily engaging in an activity I truly enjoy.

The second example is a bit more complicated. The simple version is that I am struggling to get health insurance since my retirement, and I spent several conversations with friends detailing the hours I have spent in the infuriating morass of insurance runaround, and outlining everything that is wrong with our health insurance system in the US. Yes, there are problems with our system, to be sure, and there is nothing wrong with having an opinion about the pros and cons of various alternatives. But I wasn’t having a reasoned discussion. I was griping, pure and simple.

This short passage with the stark contrast went right into my heart. Perhaps because I am terrified of drowning, and the image of being abandoned in dark, icy waters infested with anything is an image that makes my heart race and drops me to my knees in gratitude for the ridiculously blessed life I have.

I’m reminded of a blogger I greatly admire who writes about her son Sammy’s battle with leukemia. During some irritating incident they encountered, young Sammy put it all in perspective by wisely observing, “It’s not as bad as cancer.”

Out of the mouths of babes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thank You, Alfredo!

I’m going to digress from our June topic of judging to tell you about a special person. Alfredo was my student in his first year of law school years ago. As some of you might know, and others can guess, the first year of law school is very stressful. It is unlike any academic work most students have encountered. Whether students are coming straight from undergraduate programs or from the working world, they are usually overwhelmed. And to make it worse, most first year law courses are graded solely on a single exam at the end of the semester. (Don’t get me started on the wisdom of this approach to legal education or I will have to switch my “complaint bracelet” to the other wrist!)

It is not uncommon for first year students to experience panic as their first exams approach. This panic leads some to reevaluate their desire and commitment to be part of the legal profession. I did not sense this growing panic in Alfredo. He was a model student all semester. A career Army guy, he was unfailingly polite (always called me ma’am), worked hard, and did well in class. So I was very surprised to get a notice from the registrar shortly before first semester exams that he had withdrawn from school.

Never hesitant to butt into other people’s business(!), I contacted him immediately and asked him to come see me right away. I had a hunch that he was making a decision out of anxiety and not out of a clear recognition that law school was not his thing. (Law school isn’t for everyone and that’s fine.) Another professor also encouraged him to reconsider.

In short, he decided to get reinstated and take his exams. Two and a half years later, I met his family at his law school graduation. They were so proud of him, and rightly so. And I was very pleased because I knew all along that he would be a great lawyer. I knew he would be great because he has the right stuff – integrity, humility, courage, devotion, intelligence, compassion, and a sense of service. (No one will be making bad lawyer jokes about this guy.)

I lost touch with him over the years, but he contacted me recently after receiving the announcement from the school about my retirement. He is currently serving in Iraq as an officer in the JAG Corps, working to stabilize the government as we pull out. If anyone can make a difference there, I’m sure he can.

Today, I was surprised and intrigued by a heavy package delivered by the mail carrier. It was from Alfredo, all the way from Iraq. Inside were exquisite small tablecloths, embroidered with beads and sequins. And a set of brilliant emerald green crystal bowls. I was moved to tears by the beauty of the gift, but even more so by the beauty of the sentiment.

As I reflect on my career, I have many wonderful memories and many things I am proud of. But at the top of my list is the honor of knowing Alfredo and playing whatever small part I played, along with others, at a crossroads in his life. So today’s post is dedicated to Alfredo. Thank you for persevering to become part of a profession I love. Thank you for serving our country. Thank you for remembering me. And thank you for a gift I will treasure always.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

When you see a good person,
think about evaluating that person.
When you see a bad person,
think about evaluating yourself
–Confucius, quoted by Steve DeMasco in The Shaolin Way

Sometimes we are our own harshest critics, especially when we are criticizing someone else!

Last fall, I had one of those one-finger-pointing-at-someone-else-three-fingers-pointed-at-myself experiences. A colleague sent an email complaining about his teaching schedule. Because he thought my schedule was part of the unfairness (to him), I was copied on it. As it turns out, my schedule was not the one putting him at a perceived disadvantage; it was someone else’s. Then in the series of emails, he questioned the “POWER” of this other person to claim the coveted time slot.

Not sure if he was joking (I don’t know him very well), I deflected the issue with some weak humor. Afterwards, I pondered the email exchange and gifted what I labeled as his petty ego trip with some condescending compassion. Condescending, I say, because I saw myself as quite above such a silly fray. Way too spiritual, too serene, too wise. Concerned more with REAL suffering in the world rather than whether I would be coming home an hour later after work.

Basking in my moral superiority as I condemned his sense of workplace superiority (you see where this is going), I suddenly “saw” a mirror in front of me. I remembered years when an hour in my schedule meant the difference between being able to pick up my kids after school or needing after school childcare. I don’t know anything about my colleague’s personal life. That hour might be very important. Indeed, I remember times when I was practically apoplectic over being kept waiting 10 minutes. When I thought I was entitled to something better than someone else. Who am I to judge him?

Disappointed that my enjoyment of being more-enlightened-than-thou was so abruptly cut short, I started wondering if there was anything I could judge someone for that I wasn’t guilty of myself. Surely there is something I could point at and say with confidence, “I never have done and never would do that!” After several hours I couldn’t think of anything that I was not guilty of, either directly or indirectly.

Earlier this year, I was struggling more deeply with what I labeled as a careless and selfish choice by one of my kids. Her choice has changed her life and the lives of those around her, including mine. I was feeling resentful and angry. How could she be so unthinking about the consequences of her actions, so cavalier about their impact on others?

Then I remembered myself at her age. I was every parent’s worst nightmare. All I can say is that I must have had a whole platoon of guardian angels on 24/7 duty shifts, because it is truly a miracle that I did not destroy my life and take a few lives down with me during my tumultuous adolescence. As I said to one of my other kids once when she was amazed that I caught her doing something she was sure she could get away with, “Honey, you are not even in my league.” I am so glad my parents lived long enough to see me turn into a halfway decent human being. When I think of my own youth, I fall to my knees in gratitude for every one of my kids.

Seeing our judgments reflected back to us certainly takes the fun out of it! Thank God.

We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are. –Anais Nin

Friday, June 17, 2011

First Date

I read a book by Mark Hughes, the title of which begins I Am Not a Prophet.... I was immediately attracted to the title, thinking “I’m not a prophet, too!” The author’s point is that we don’t need to be anyone special to hear our inner guidance. The answer we seek can only be found within. And here’s the good news – everyone can find it.

Okay, okay, I get that. But maybe if I just read one more book, go to one more presentation, attend one more meditation workshop, listen to one more teacher.... Maybe if I keep looking out there, I will find what I’m looking for in here. So I keep reading about meditation, about listening to my inner guidance, about forgiveness, about compassion, about being here now. If I keep reading about, perhaps I will become....

If I could just get to that darned nirvana place, my life would be so much better. I would be calm and joyful all the time. I would be wise. My life would be eternally blissful. I would never, ever be angry or judgmental or unhappy or even cranky. I would be a better person. A much better person.

Pema Chodron says that this way of thinking is a subtle form of aggression (sometimes not so subtle, I think). We blame ourselves or others because of what we perceive as some lack in our own life. If it weren’t for my boss, the government, my childhood, my neighbor, my ex, the terrorists, the weather, my life would be great. And my personal favorite, “If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.”

Instead, she says, we don’t need to change anything about ourselves. We can still be our crazy, cranky, impatient, insecure, silly selves. We don’t need to trade ourselves in for the new, shinier, upgraded model. Instead, we can make friends with ourselves. We can start where we are. Here. Right now.

We can start by suspending our judgments long enough to get to know who we are. Imagine that you are going out on a date with yourself. A first date. Feel the excitement and anticipation. Imagine you are sitting across the table from yourself at your favorite restaurant (or at some other favorite place). What would you ask yourself? How would you answer? Treat yourself with the same curiosity and courtesy you would give your date. Have a great time!

If we befriend ourselves, we might do less searching outside and more finding inside. We might even ask ourselves for a second date!

I’m headed up to my cabin for the weekend (no phone or internet), so I won’t be able to post your comments till I get back on Sunday. Please know that your comments are important to me and I look forward to reading them as soon as I get back!

Thanks for the Advice

Y’all are great! I so appreciate the time you took to share your blog posting/reading/commenting ideas with me. Your wealth of experience, expertise, and wisdom will help me create some needed structure around what has been, up till now, a rather fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach. And you have inspired me to learn a new thing–Google Reader! If you have any other thoughts, I’m always interested. Thank again for your tremendously helpful response.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Request for Advice

I don’t usually blog about blogging, but I could use some advice. I know this is a topic that makes the rounds every now and then, but here it is again. The specific topic is reading and commenting on other blogs, but in a broader sense, it is a time management issue.

Many bloggers at some point start to feel like their blogs are more like The Blob (remember that old horror movie?). We start to spend so much time blogging about living that we forget to actually live our lives. We try to post on a regular basis, and we read and comment on other blogs, both because we like those blogs and because we want to attract more readers.

I post 2-3 times a week. I don’t find that very burdensome. I can always think of something to write about, and my posts are relatively short. Occasionally, I rework older posts. (I blogged for a long time before I started getting many readers, so the older posts are new to most readers.)

For me, the challenge I’m starting to experience is reading and commenting on other blogs. Don’t get me wrong–I really like the blogs I read and comment on. That’s why I do it, and I think it is appreciated the same way I appreciate comments on mine. But it takes some time. Lately, I haven’t been keeping up very well, and I haven’t spent much time at all exploring new blogs, something I enjoyed in the past, both because I learned new things and (honestly) because I hoped to attract new readers.

This is so ironic because I just retired and I envisioned having more time to tend to my blog, to pay more attention to my usual round of other blogs, and to make new connections. And of course, to spend more time doing other things unrelated to blogging. And maybe that will happen. Retirement is, after all, still a new state for me, and I haven’t really adjusted, but so far blog related activities seem to be getting put on the back burner. But I know bloggers, or at least I think I do, who are much, much busier than I am and who still manage to “get around” in blogworld a lot more than I do.

So I am hoping that you will share some of your blogging/reading/commenting practices. Do you set aside a certain amount of time, or certain days, or a certain number of blogs to read on a regular basis? Do you plan time to look for new connections and do you have a particular method, or do you just browse around when the mood hits? In general, how do you manage your blog-related time?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you and I appreciate any advice you have. Thank you.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Spinning Straw into Gold

Just as the miller’s daughter in Rumpelstiltskin was called upon to spin straw into gold, we often have opportunities to turn a judging thought into a kind thought. While I was on vacation last summer, I found myself in a warm climate surrounded by several thousand people in bathing suits. I confess I often reacted with less than charitable thoughts.

“You should not be wearing that bikini, girlfriend.”

“That Speedo is not doing you any favors, bro.”

After a couple of days, I realized that I was poisoning my own spirit with these thoughts. All those folks were soaking up sunshine and having a great time without any regard to my opinion, and rightfully so. I decided that every time I had a judgmental thought I would turn it into something positive.

(To bikini girl) “That’s a great color on you.”

(To Speedo guy) “I admire your self-confidence.”

Everyone continued enjoying their vacation in blissful ignorance of my alchemical feats. And my mood improved so much that I started passing out silent compliments instead of judgmental thoughts at every opportunity.

“Love your accent.”

“Nice smile.”

“Great job.”

It seemed that everywhere I looked, there was something or someone to send a pleasant thought to. Not only did my thoughts change, but my whole outlook changed, like straw into gold. I found myself humming a familiar tune.

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
–Johnny Mercer

revised from archives

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another's Moccasins

Don’t judge someone until you walk a mile in his moccasins.

Many of us have heard some version of this Native American proverb. I recently read on someone’s blog about an incident that is familiar to most of us. Have you ever been annoyed in a store or restaurant or on a plane by a child misbehaving? What was your reaction? We might think that the child is a brat, that the mother is a bad mother, that kids these days are not taught good manners, that the civilized world is going down the toilet.

More times than not, when my son James was growing up, I was the mother with the misbehaving child. James was a beautiful little boy (everyone said so!). When you looked at him, you could not tell that he was autistic. But his behavior often left something to be desired. He would not look you in the eye. He liked to make animal noises. He had a low tolerance for certain stimuli, such as an amplified voice, crowds, being touched. He did not like a change in plans, or a disappointed expectation. Of course, many kids and even adults share some of these traits. But for James, something he did not like could cause a total meltdown, with screaming and crying. Once his anxiety began to escalate, it was very difficult to avoid a tantrum, and once triggered, the tantrum wrecked the rest of the day.

Taking him anywhere was always stressful. I had to think about where we were going and what might happen there. I had to be careful about what I told him, so that I didn’t set up an expectation that might get disappointed. I was his minesweeper, going before him to discover and avoid places and scenarios that I knew would cause an explosion.

Trying to engage in normal activities, like going to the grocery store, often left me drained and in despair. More times than I can remember, as James began to whine and ramp up, I could see eyes darting my way, lips pursing, eyebrows frowning, heads shaking. I wanted to scream, “He’s autistic! I’m doing the best I can. I just need to get something for dinner.”

Once I took him to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal. After he ate, he wanted to play in the plastic ball pit. He got in and started jumping around. He was having a great time. Then a little girl got in, too. James was ignoring her, but he was making his animal sounds and the little girl got nervous. (Who could blame her?) I was trying to coax James back to the entrance to leave, but he was at the far side. The little girl’s dad looked quizzically at James and then began to scowl. “Your son should not be in there if you can’t control him.” I went home and cried.

I am not denying that there are bratty kids out there, or bad moms. And I’m not denying that James had his bratty moments, or that I had my bad mom moments (more than I care to remember). My point is that we don’t always know what is going on in someone else’s life. Perhaps the mother who appears to be ignoring her misbehaving child is overwhelmed. Perhaps the child has OCD or autism or something else that affects her behavior.

Rushing to judgment blocks our ability to feel and express compassion. When I was in a position to explain what was going on with James, I found people to be universally kind and supportive. Now that James is grown, his disability is immediately apparent and people are quick to be friendly. When we have information, we often put our best foot forward. When we don’t have information, perhaps we could put that same foot in the other person’s moccasin.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Perfection of Imperfection

We all have made mistakes that we remember with embarrassment and even shame. Rabbi Kushner, in his book How Good Do We Have To Be?, says that making mistakes is not remarkable. What is remarkable is how vivid our memories of these mistakes can be and how these memories can still trigger such intense emotion. He gives the example of missing a word in a spelling bee. He still remembers the word and how he misspelled it. I can relate. I misspelled “parade” in the fourth grade spelling bee. I spelled it “prade.” I can’t remember whether I already gave the dog her medicine today, but I can remember how I misspelled a word half a century ago. And I’m still embarrassed about it.

I can look back over my parenting years and quickly call to mind several incidents from years ago that to this day make me cringe. My chest feels tight and I want to crawl in a hole. I pray that my children will not recall these things during their future therapy sessions which I’m sure they will need as a result of my failings.

The memories of mistakes come unbidden and still have the power to hurt. I have to use my brain to rationally remind myself that I managed to spell enough words correctly to represent my class in the spelling bee. I have to remind myself that all five of my children have within recent memory spoken lovely words of appreciation to me, rather than “Hey, Mom, remember when you ...?”

A Course in Miracles teaches us that perception is a mirror, not a fact. What we perceive is our state of mind, reflected outward. Rabbi Kushner says that when we define ourselves by our worst moments instead of our best, we see ourselves as never good enough rather than as good, capable people who make occasional mistakes like everybody else.

In her book Taking the Leap, Pema Chodron encourages us to change our habits of perception. In every day, for example, there are moments that are not perfect as well as moments that please us. Instead of labeling the day as bleak, we can cherish the moments of joy. Gradually, we can appreciate our lives as they are, with all the ups and downs. And we can appreciate ourselves as we are, with all our imperfections.

As quoted by Rabbi Kusher, “Imperfection is the wound that lets God in.” Or more simply, “I’m not okay, and you’re not okay, but that’s okay.” It’s better than okay. It’s perfect.

revised from archives

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Complaint Free Challenge

“Oh man, I am sick of this rain.” “I didn’t sleep at all last night.” “I ate too much.” “What is wrong with my team?” “I can’t believe I have to work late again.” “That movie was a waste of money.”

One of the most common ways we judge is by complaining. Several times this week, I caught myself complaining when someone asked me how I was, or how my week was going. Why did I do that? Like many people, I often complain as a way of connecting with someone. For example, a common complaint in my area during this cool, rainy spring, is about the weather. Why do we often try to connect with each other by sharing our annoyances rather than by sharing our joys?

Complaining is a habit. It keeps us from our happy place by focusing on negatives. It invites others to join us in this negative place. We can change this habit. Will Bowen started a program called A Complaint Free World. Based on studies showing that it takes about 21 days to form a new habit, he encouraged his church congregation to replace the habit of complaining with the habit of being positive. Everyone wore a purple plastic bracelet as a visual reminder. Each time a person caught herself complaining, she would switch the bracelet to the other wrist. The goal was to go 21 days without complaining. (I would be happy to go 21 minutes!)

To change a habit, we must first be aware of it. Try to notice your complaint habits and their effect. When do you tend to complain? To whom? About what? How do you feel when you’re complaining? How do other people respond?

Once we become aware of our complaint habits, we need to substitute a more desirable habit. If you want a toddler to hand over some inappropriate but coveted object, what is the best approach? Yank it from his hand? Or offer him something more attractive? Our minds work the same way. If you simply try to stop the bad habit, it will flow back in to fill the void. Give your brain something better to do. Create a new habit.

When you catch yourself complaining, substitute a positive thought or comment. With practice, you will catch yourself just before you complain, and you can connect with others through positive comments instead. You will feel happier yourself, and you will lift up those around you. Misery might love company, but joy creates company. Good company. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired millions by describing his dream rather than by describing his pain. You can practice by thinking of common complaints and substituting positive comments. For example, instead of complaining about the rain, I could focus on the lush, green vegetation and the rainbow of flowers it produces. Or you can use a generic positive thought, like “Life is good.”

I took the complaint free challenge a couple of years ago, and I enjoyed the positive effects. I admit I never made it to 21 days, but I did significantly reduce my complaining ways, and developed a habit of positive thinking and interaction with others. Unfortunately, I have relapsed, perhaps not back to chronic complaining, but at least to more frequent complaining.

So I’m ready to take the challenge again. If you want to try it with me, find a visual reminder, something you can switch easily from wrist to wrist. When you catch yourself complaining, substitute a positive thought or comment, and move your visual reminder to the other wrist. You will not catch all your complaints, at least not at the beginning. And, if you are like most people, you’ll be switching your visual reminder frequently, at least for awhile.

This is not an invitation to find fault with yourself. If you catch yourself complaining and then criticize yourself for the lapse, that is two complaints! Give yourself a thumbs up for every complaint free period you have, however brief it is. When a nun complained to Father Keating that during her time of contemplative prayer, she had to refocus her wandering thoughts a thousand times, he opened his arms wide and exclaimed, “That’s wonderful! That is a thousand times you were connected to God!” Likewise, every complaint free period is a time spent being happier.

Maybe you can try it with your whole family, or with a group of friends. Relax and have fun. Remember – fun is good!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Here Comes the Judge

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged. –Matthew 7:1-2

That’s harsh. When I was five, I got my first diary. I ran across it awhile back when I was cleaning out the attic. My first diary entries went something like this.

January 1 – Carolyn is good.
January 2 – David is good.
January 3 – Donny is not good.
January 4 – Mary is good.
January 5 – Becky is not good.

Wow. I must not have been reading my Bible! Next time a five year old gives you an appraising glance, be very afraid.

A Course in Miracles teaches that any separation from any other person is a separation from God. (When I say God I mean God in whatever sense is meaningful to you.) How do we separate ourselves from people? By judging, criticizing, hating, fearing, labeling, dismissing, stereotyping, condemning. By seeing them as “other.”

So ponder that for a moment. Every time you separate yourself from another person with a judging thought, word, or action, you are separating yourself from God. Every time.

On the other hand, it is very hard not to see as separate that person who was really rude in the checkout line at the grocery store. Or the homeless person reeking of booze asking you for money. Or the CEO of a bailed out company pocketing a gazillion dollar bonus. Or your ex.

Yet many faiths and psychological theories stand firm on the foundation that our ticket to our happy place is our connection with others. Which brings us to the good news. Every time we open our hearts and connect with another person, we connect to God. Every time.

So that gives me pause, at least occasionally, when I am poised to cast that first stone. Is it worth separating myself from God? Is it really?

This month we will be focusing on Step 6–Judge not. We’ll be exploring all the ways that we judge things and people and ourselves. We’ll try to break that habit and set the stage for the next two steps, practicing compassion and forgiving everyone. As you can guess, all three of these are interrelated, so a discussion of one often includes the others.

PS–If you grew up in the United States in my generation, you might recognize the title of this post from the TV show Laugh In.

Related post: There is No Them