Common Ground, Can We Find It?

As I was scanning through Facebook this morning, I saw several people who felt the need to voice their opinion, on other people’s posts. Have you ever felt so angry or strongly disagreed with something a friend posted on FB, that you just had to reply? I bet we all have. But have you ever replied with a snarky comment in response to someone else’s post? This is what I witnessed this morning and have many times before. Someone feels so strongly, that they not only need to respond, but respond with a fairly negative comment. I have been told these people are called trolls.

I do not believe this is a healthy practice. First of all, many people rallied to support the person this “troll” was attacking. They were not kind to the “troll” thus becoming trolls themselves. (I do not like name calling and I think calling these people trolls probably hurts real troll’s feelings. They don’t want that kind of reputation- even if they did try to eat the 3 Billy Goats Gruff… it’s the circle of life after all!) I think expressing our opinions can be a positive thing, when it is done in the spirit of working to understand one another and find a middle ground. Then it is a beautiful and mature way to deal with our differences in opinions.

I really believe we need to allow others to have their own opinions. In this human experience, we are all having, we are all in the place we are perfectly meant to be. No one is better than someone else. From a spiritual stance there are probably some flaws in all of our opinions. Instead of trying to berate or change the opinions of others, what would happen if we just accepted others “as is”? Imagine if we all looked for our similarities, worked together, and just agreed to disagree on certain issues. I believe there is a way. Through loving our fellow voyagers in this human journey, we can work together. We do it all the time in our ordinary lives. I have co-workers who have a whole array of various opinions and beliefs. Some align with mine and some do not. Yet we still all manage to work together and are a wonderful team that, not only supports each other, but is very productive as well. My parents each have beliefs and opinions that are different than mine but I still love them like crazy and respect for them as they are.

I believe it is important that we allow others to have their own opinions and beliefs as a practice in love and acceptance. I also believe that doing so will bring us more peace. We can’t change others and when we are constantly trying to, it messes with our sense of peace and security. I am not suggesting we tolerate comments that are hurtful to ourselves or others. I only want to suggest we deal with them in such a way that we do not also become hurtful to others as well. Accept that this person is in a different place on their journey than you are. Kindly provide them with education if you can. Perhaps right now, some issues are so big, we can’t get to a middle ground. On the smaller issues, keep trying. On the bigger ones; try by looking for the good, the Divine, the Human behind the opinion.

Yes, I understand this is my usual happy Pollyanna attitude about life, but if we don’t start changing our approach to others, we’ll never get beyond the superficial. I feel we are so much more than our beliefs and opinions. I encourage you to let others have their opinions and look for the common ground. It is there! Sometimes it just takes more digging to find it in others. When you do I bet you find we have more in common than what makes us different.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you have a life of feeling loved and accepted, as if by magic! I love you!

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In Their Shoes

I recent listened to a group of family members discussing what it is like to work in customer service. As a nurse I also have been in jobs where pleasing people is a part of the role. I have seen people be extremely rude and even verbally abusive to people working in stores, all in an attempt to get their way. I am ashamed to admit, when I was younger, I also had occasion where I lost my patience with people just trying to do their jobs. What can we do and how can we think to help us have empathy for those who cross our paths in the course of a day?

Think about how different the world would be if we all followed the Golden Rule. Treating others the way we would like to be treated could help transform some of these frustrating interactions to be better. The Golden Rule is in some version in almost all major world religions. If we could see ourselves in that person, we would act the way we would want others to treat us, if we were working that job.

Nisargadatta Maharai said, “ The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love”. We are better able to give love and acceptance, when we see that we are that other person. Can you put yourself in their shoes? Can you feel empathy for what it must be like to be in that place and having to deal with that situation?

Today I challenge you as you walk through your day to imagine yourself in the shoes of those you cross paths with. I would be curious to hear how this changed your perspective on the world around you. Did this make any impact on how you dealt with people or situations? No matter which side of the counter you are on, there is room to try and see the other person’s persecutive. Eckhart Tolle said, “If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others”. Try seeing yourself as the other person in a way to gain acceptance.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May your day be filled with love and acceptance.

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What Would I Tell You?

The post below is from a journal entry many years ago when I was dating. I was frustrated with a relationship I was in and was trying to figure out how to improve it. I was learning that my blunt direct approach does not work with everyone. I wrote a letter to him. Telling him everything I was afraid or unable to say to him. I never sent the letter and the relationship did not last much longer. I think the letter explains how so many people feel within relationships. That is why I have chosen to share it here today. I would love to hear your comments and feedback. What does this bring up for you? Have you had similar experiences in relationships? What has worked in dealing with situations like this in your past? 

What would I tell you…if I could tell you anything?

That I want you to want me. I need to feel desired by you. I need to know you see/notice the specialness that I know is within me.
I want you to give me affection. I am affectionate by nature so I currently find myself holding back from touching and kissing you as much as I would like. I do not want to have to ask you for affection. It makes me feel needy. I find neediness in myself unattractive. I can remember being in relationships where I was touched too much and I have no desire to make you feel that way. I have also been in a relationship where I was not touched enough. I have no intention of living like that again. I realize you can’t read my mind and have no way of knowing how much touch I want or need, without me telling you. I also realize the same is true in reverse; that I have no way of knowing how much touch you want or need, unless we find a way to communicate that to each other.
I am not perfect but hey… who is? No one. We are all flawed. I guess that is part of this whole dating thing. To see if I can live with your flaws and if you can live with mine. I do not want to campaign for reasons why you should want to be with me. I am a great catch. If you do not see that or appreciate that within me, who am I to convince you?
I need depth from you in our communications. Not all the time… sometimes just silly nonsense is perfect… you know I love to play.
I also need conversation where you share memories, what you think about various things and how you feel about different topics. I will wither and die in a relationship that does not contain some level of depth.
I have in the past, tried to use sex to try to form a connection. I need passion in my relationship to feel alive. More than this, I need connection and I feel connection is formed by touch and sharing.
I see such goodness and beauty in you. Somehow this causes you to take points away from me. How confusing is that? If I was still questioning whether you were worth my time, would that somehow make me more attractive?
In many ways I am the girl next door. I am scared of things that go bump in the night. I want my parents to be proud of me. I want my children to be productive members of society. I want to help my grandchild see the beauty and magic in the world. I want them to be better people because I made a difference in their lives. I want to contribute to society through my donations, work and deeds. I want to leave the places I have been, a little bit brighter then when I came. I want to live my life and allow others to do the same. I love my friends and family. I do not want anyone or anything to hurt them, nor, do I want to hurt anyone else. I work hard and have climbed my way out of poverty, poor decisions and failed marriages to become very successful in my career field. I am nowhere close to done in my growth. My life is a magical ride. If you choose to climb on board and come along, you will enjoy that magical ride too. The sky is the limit for me and my life has a way of allowing magic to happen.
I love my family but they do not define me, nor does my career or marital status. I am not desperately seeking a man to take care of me. I am more then capable of taking care of myself. I am looking for the right man to care for me, to connect with me, and to share my life with. Are you this person? Time will tell.
I am a continual work in progress. I attempt to sit back and watch how I react to things. This has taken years of working on myself. I am not perfect at it. At times, I still react to things without thinking about why I am reacting. The goal is to notice when I am getting “triggered” and exploring why I am feeling whatever I am feeling. Often it will relate back to baggage from the past and really not have much to do with the current situation. It has been interesting when opportunities to explore these things come up, I continues to help me grow and heal. I will probably never be completely healed or done growing. I am still human and will still react to things with out exploring what is underneath it from time to time. Nobody’s perfect, right? At times I may still get into the drama of the moment, but please know, I am seriously trying not to.
I do not want to create drama within our relationship. I believe we still have things to learn from each other and adventures to have together. I believe to have a successful relationship, autopilot will not work. We will both need to learn how to communicate what we are feeling and what we are needing within the relationship. We need to feel safe sharing those things that are at our core. We will both need to be vulnerable with each other… something neither of us is completely comfortable with.
All of this is what I would tell you… if I could tell you anything.

Bringing Hidden Emotions to the Surface

Recently Emy and I started planning our next BWCA trip. We were debating how many days we should stay. Because there is usually no cell service and you have to arrange for an outfitter to drop you off and pick you up, once you are there, you are there for the duration. I have noticed that when I am “stuck” somewhere, without some distraction, my emotions move.

There was one year that it rained, a lot! Emy and I passed the time sitting under a tarp, drinking tea, journaling, and talking. There is no electricity so using your phone for entertainment is not an option. After hours of sitting under our shelter I felt this desire to leave. I didn’t want to be there anymore. It was like my “fight/flight” response was in full swing and I wanted to run! Of course there was no way and no where to run to. I had to just sit. Then a breakthrough happened. My emotions broke free. I had a revelation. I became aware of some old thoughts about myself that I was holding as true. I realized that I did not believe I was lovable. I broke into tears and cried (something I seldom do). Because of this solitude and sanctuary of the forest, I was able to process this emotion.

Another year, it was the day before we were scheduled to leave, a beautiful sunny day had us lounging in the sun. I could feel the anxiety building in me. Our scheduled pick up time on the next day seemed so late in the day to me. We had a long drive to Emy’s home and then I had an additional hour to my house. I needed to unpack from the BWCA trip. I was scheduled on an early morning flight the next day for work and needed to pack for that trip. Laying there, on a warm rock, next to a sparkling lake, I once again felt that “fight/flight” instinct kick in and I wanted to run. I needed to get home and get stuff done! With nowhere to go and nothing I could do, I asked myself why I was feeling this way. Digging into those emotions and explored their root cause, helped me realized it was about not speaking up for myself. When we were arranging our pickup time, I knew I needed to leave early. When Emy suggested a later pickup time to the outfitter, I didn’t explain to her my perceived need to leave early because of pressure to get ready for a work trip. I just passively let her pick the time. Here it was four or five days later and it was causing me discomfort. Being in a place where I could allow my emotions to surface without the distractions the modern world offers us, gave me the time and space to allow the emotions to surface. I had the ability to dig into them and see what was causing them. I then knew how to prevent feeling like this in the future and advocate for myself.

So often in life we use distractions so that we do not have to deal with our emotions. TV, alcohol, games on our phones, housework, and so many other things to “be busy” and not have to deal with or process our emotions. Give yourself time and space to just be. Even though, at times, it may be uncomfortable it will allow those old emotions to break free. Then you can deal with them and release them.

What types of things do you do to “be busy” and not feel? How do you find space to let these emotions surface?

7 Techniques to Keep Spiritual Ego in Check

Have you ever run across a spiritual teacher who believes they have all the answers. They may even bad mouth other spiritual teachers? Perhaps they do things or treat people in ways you do not agree with? This is what I call spiritual ego. It is when a person believes they have all the answers and use that to justify their actions. It may even cause a falling out between people.

Spiritual ego is certainly not something that just happens to spiritual teachers. Any of us can fall prey to our own spiritual ego. How can you avoid this?

1.     Know you do not have all the answers.  There is a lot of mystery in spirituality. Accept that the mystery is a part of it.

2.     Be willing to listen to others view points. We all want to share the things in our own spirituality that give us peace, comfort, or joy. Others do to. By listening we may hear or learn something that deepens our own spirituality.

3.     Accept others where they are at. Everyone is at their own place on their spiritual journey. They are at the exact place they are meant to be in this time and place. Just because their journey is different than yours does not make it wrong.

4.     Don’t judge. There are many types of spirituality out there. They range from giant organized religions to highly personalized, individual relationships with a greater power. If you study major religions you will see there are more similarities than differences. Recognizing that we are all the same, in the most basic ways, is a huge step to laying your judgments aside.

5.   The golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have other do unto you”. This has always resonated with me. Did you know most of the world religions have a version of this.

6.   Allow for expansion. When we allow ourselves to expand it is easy to be more inclusive. We allow change within ourselves and open to the possibility of becoming a bigger better version of ourselves.

7.   See yourself in the other. When we allow ourselves to see aspects of us in the other person, it creates empathy and understanding.

Spirituality is a beautiful thing and can be very comforting. Believing we have all the answers can be dangerous and can lead to spiritual ego. I know atheists who are more kind, giving, loving, and altruistic than some religious people I know. Be open to others individuality and personal journeys. This will help you to keep your own spiritual ego in check.

How to Build Relationship Beyond the Roles We Play

Todays Blog is written by Emy Minzel, Adventure Sister.

Who am I? How do you define yourself? There are some relationship patterns we seem to get ‘stuck’ in, roles we are born into, or the positions you may appoint to yourself. I am an only child. I am the oldest child. I am the baby. I am the parent. I am the spouse. I am a mother, wife, daughter, niece, friend, business owner, and animal lover. I am aware that I exhibit a great number of contradictions. I am an adventurer that loves to be home, semi involved environmentalist, meat eating animal rights advocate, and a failing perfectionist. I am a walking contradiction. I am human.

Do you have to choose just one or two titles to identify with when we are with other people? Doing so sure would help others put you in their perceived boxes. They have you in these already. Coworkers will perceive your characteristics differently than your best friends, parents, or children perceive you. Yet you may be all of these ‘people.’ How can we consider real soul connections if we are only able to see our family and friends as only the role they play in our lives?

Certain roles come with big duties we must fulfill. these fill our lives with tasks, big and small, throughout the years. We may tell ourselves, “My parents were fabulous! I have goals to be an even better parent than mine were.” These roles can give us direction and purpose or a reason to get up every morning. Then life continues to grow and changes those roles. When we get married our roles are filled with being best friends and lovers. Maybe then children come, and we are up to our elbows in diapers, sleepless nights, work, and being bossed around by little people needing you to fill the ‘parent role.’ Yet we are still supposed to remember we have a best friend and husband/wife who still thinks of us as a lover.

We may hold on to those roles for dear life, or we may try our hardest to bust out of the mold society has us in. We may buck our roles as the child to our parents after we have children of our own. We may reject the roles, stories, or nicknames we still have attached from childhood because we are not those roles anymore. Yet to our loved ones, you will always be who they want to see. Rejecting the molds of roles society puts us in, affects all the other relationships you are in. Loved ones who don’t understand your actions, because you have changed, is part of growing in relationships. They don’t call them growing pains for nothing, do they?

Let’s take some responsibility and ask ourselves, can we possibly know who our parents truly are if we never ask them about their past, present and future? We don’t know for sure who our children are if we do not ask them about their lives and plans. How can we call our best friends best friends, if we don’t ask them questions about their lives and feelings? Instead of talking about work and the weather, we could ask questions of future dreams and goals to find deeper depth and connection.

Asking questions shows interest in connection. It helps to add more depth to their personality through years of these relationships. Showing interest in others helps us build bonds that we crave in these close relationships. Talking helps to communicate and grow into or through the roles we are pigeon holed into. Asking questions only works if we listen.

When we really listen, we can appreciate all the roles one person can encompass throughout their lives. This helps you to see what motivates them to think the way they think, or act the way they act. What if we tried honoring people for who they are, rather than the role they play in your life?

~ Emy Minzel, Adventure Sister. Have you enjoyed Emy’s blogs here at StacyCrep.com? She has been inspired to start her own blog at EmyMinzel.com. Check is to to read more of Emy’s wisdom! 

Maintaining effective communication during the holidays

Today’s blog is written by Emy Minzel, Adventure Sister.

The stress of the holidays has a way of bringing us closer or tearing us apart. I hear stories that make me laugh, cry, and groan, sometimes all at the same time. I would like to focus on how we convey or communicate love in our closest family relationships. I am guilty of getting defensive when I hear something I may not agree with from people I love. Yet through my years I’ve learned it’s not the best way to communicate effectively.

We know that when our parents, family, and friends are meddling in our lives it’s usually because they love you and see things from a different perspective. They may have advice we don’t want to hear, but it is important for us to listen with love. They speak up because they had been there and done that, and don’t want to do it again. They warn us or tell us ‘how it is’ because they love you, even if it upsets us and pisses us off.

What if we decided to give our dearest family and friends, the benefit of the doubt? Choose to think only the best of them. If we tried to recognize that whatever they do or say, they do it out of love or fear. Then we could also assume that the people we love, do the best they can, in the time and space they’ve been given. I have realized that all our actions, the good, the bad, and the ugly, come from fear or love. At the root, we all want to be loved. As we grow in different ways and different directions, the way we communicate changes as well.

What matters is that we continue to communicate. Even if we are scared, it’s important to tell our loved ones if you are fearful, or hurt, without assuming their actions or words were purposely harmful. Most likely they were not. Keeping lines of communication open, by not overreacting or shutting down is difficult for some, yet it’s imperative for effective communication. When we overreact and blow up, our emotions take over and our ears stop listening, stopping any connection in its tracks. This can affect even our closest most cherished relationships.

What if we met miscommunication and perceived hurt with love? Understanding that loved ones are either fearful of something or trying to show love in a way you may not understand. How would the conversation change if we chose to calm fears, by focusing on love? It may take courage to ask our loved ones to explain until we understand. It takes disciplined focus to speak our truth the best we are able, in the kindest way possible. It’s well worth the work we put in to communicating well, we should talk and know it’s ok to agree to disagree, respectfully.

It can be hard to remember that how we communicate our thoughts and feelings will define our character. How we act/react, handle hard times/good times/holidays, how you make someone feel, the words you choose and how you say them become how you communicate. How you communicate portrays how your closest family and friends will remember you.

My hopes this holiday season are that you too choose love and communication. Remembering that most of your family will act out of fear or love. When we focus on love, we open understanding and healing, this is how we make the world a better place, one family at a time.

~ Emy Minzel, Adventure Sister