Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Respecting Our Fellow Beings

I've been circling around this observation for some time now.

And quite frankly, I'm a little worked up about it.

I know it's very much a larger topic that has many veins, but it's something I feel compelled to write about tonight ... and to pose some tough questions about.

I've often wondered why it's so much easier for us to disrespect or hurt those we love more than complete strangers.

That thought leads me to the next ... why do we often get so caught up in our "roles" and "statuses" in society (all ego-driven concepts mind you) that we so easily dismiss people we consider "below" us or somehow inferior. And by that same code, we almost grovel to those we consider "above" us or superior.

And at the end of the day, when you step back from the close-up shot of ink blots in a mural and look at the picture in its entirety, we are ALL ink blots on the same tapestry of life. One blot isn't any different than the next, maybe altered in appearance and color, but identical in every other way. We are all made up of the same matter of this planet. Our energy, the electricity that flows through our body and animates it, our spirit if you will ... it's ALL the same. And if you believe in a higher power, than you would believe we are all connected to the exact same source, intelligence, higher being, God.

So why on earth do we look to the person next to us and allow our egos to automatically label them or automatically change our entire energy and treatment and behavior based on some observation we've made about them (male, female, young, old, poor, rich, slow, smart, black, white, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Atheist, parent, child, manager, employee, owner, secretary, CEO, maid, etc.)

But let me rein this mental thread back in to the seed of my original thought — which ties into my previous post about taking people for granted — why do we so often act respectfully and politely to a stranger who asks us a question on the phone at work or who stops us for directions on the street or takes our order in a restaurant, yet we can turn to the person right in front of us — the person we know, trust and love — and disrespect them, dismiss them or hurt them right to their face?

Is it because we've taken them and their place in our life for granted so much that we can so easily project our personal "stuff" on them?

I can't speak for you all, but I know I've certainly done this many times in my life, whether it's to my parents (especially in my teen and young-adult life), friends, the person I'm dating, acquaintances, etc.

Is it because I figured "oh well, they love me, so they can take it"? And I've certainly put myself in situations in my life (which I've blogged about plenty ;-) where I've been another person's punching bag ... and in the next breath, watched them be nice as can be to someone they hardly know, or might not even care for in general. And I would lying if I said I haven't done something similar in one way or another in the past to someone I cared about.

My point is, what makes that other person more worthy of our attention and respect than the person we know and care about? In fact, shouldn't that be the other way around, or at the very least, equal?

It's worth pondering. I don't have the answers per se. I just raise the questions.

And speaking of equal ... my second point or question is, Why does anyone deserve more or less of you than anyone else? Why do we pick and choose what we give to people? I'm not saying that the people we love and care about wouldn't naturally get more of us, good and bad ... but at the end of the day, we are all just people, humans ... in this world together. And if the world was ending tomorrow, none of those labels would matter, all that would matter is our species as a whole. Yet we operate from those labels day in and day out.

Yes, some people drive us nuts, some people rub us the wrong way, some people we even consider mean, angry, manipulative, possessive or evil (though again, these are all ego-driven labels), but does that mean when you take a step back and look at the whole mural, we still don't all appear as the same small ink blots?

Because I think this about that person, does that somehow give me the right to treat them differently or expect everyone else to?

In the yoga world, as some people might know, the saying "Namaste" means "I bow to you" and variations of this greeting also mean "The light in me honors the light in you."

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all "Namaste" to one another on a regular basis?

Imagine a world where we treated one another as fellow human beings rather than "this type of person" or "that type of person."

Imagine a world where we actually treated people we loved and cared about with ... love and care.

I would surmise the world would be a far better place.

'Til next time my friends ...

Be well,


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How to Stop Taking Your Life and People for Granted

Close your eyes a moment. Take a few breaths and imagine the faces of all the people important in your life right now. 

Linger a moment on each of them, their eyes, their smiles ... their energy. Think about what each of those people gives you, what each of them adds to your life on a daily basis. 

Now imagine if they all disappeared.

Imagine what your life would be like without those people in it.

This is a good exercise to practice every time you get upset with any of these people or angry about something and take it out on them. It's a good exercise to practice on a daily basis, upon waking up, mid-way through your day, before going to bed.

It doesn't always have to be people either, it can also be a job, your kids, your pets, a situation, a home, etc. 

The reason I mention it is, in a way, when we take people, possessions, jobs and even something as simple as running water and fresh food for granted, we are not honoring their value in those moments ... in those moments, they may as well not exist in our lives for all the honor we are giving them right then.

It's a harsh thing to think about or admit, but once you realize it, it can change your life ... and the silver lining is, it can change your life in ways that oftentimes (unfortunately) only tragedy or loss will do. And I've read about, written about, experienced and seen enough loss in life that it really hits me hard these days how fragile it all truly is.

But if you let this practice be a part of your day, it will give you the power to honor and respect all the people, all the tangible things and intangible things in your life. It will change the way you talk to people you care about. It will change the way you view your job and all the things it provides you, it will change the way you view your pets, even when they're driving you nuts ;-) or kids, your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.

The second thing you can do to help rewire your brain to focus on the positives in your life and to no longer take people and life for granted, is gratitude. When you actually sit down and write out all the things you can think of off the top of your head that you have to be thankful for, you will be quite surprised how long that list gets.

So the second you have a negative thought about a person, situation or experience, try to counter it with a positive thought about that person, or a pleasant experience you had that day. And stay with THAT feeling and emotion.

The third thing you can do ... is when you have an enjoyable moment during your day, or something makes you laugh, try to stay with that feeling for a few seconds longer than you normally do. Try to stay present throughout the day and give your presence to the people in front of you at any given moment. 

You will find you experience those people in ways you may never have before, you will notice things about them you haven't before ... and if you have the open mindedness ... you will appreciate them for who they are and what they offer just a little bit more than you might have the day before.

These are just a few things that come to mind. But I think the key is stopping periodically throughout your day and just taking a moment to really ... well, take it all in. Take your life in and all the people in it.

And imagine if they weren't there anymore.

Til next time ... be well my friends <3