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In observing my thoughts lately, what I’ve discovered is that they are not so much negative, as they are a constant stream of commentary.  Though it may not be all negative, it is rampant with judgments.

When I’m judging, I’m not accepting.  Without acceptance, it’s harder to change.  You don’t have to judge something “wrong” in order to change it.  It works far better to tell the truth about who you choose to be in relation to this thing you would like to judge.  Telling the truth, as you see it, without the judgment, gives you a broader perspective, a wider berth from which to make any necessary changes.  Acceptance is a far more solid and powerful place.  You can make more conscious and caring choices which reflect who you really are.  Rather than stirring up someone’s ire to fight back.  This allows you to choose what you want, rather than what you do not.

I wish to forgive others their minor traffic violations, as I forgive my own.  Many of my judgments come into play on the road.  The truth is, sometimes, I’m not sure where I’m going and have to make a quick turn.  Maybe I’m tired and cannot be as conscious or polite as I’d like to be. Why can’t I offer the same leeway to others?  I know it’s okay to make mistakes, after all.  We all do it.  And through mistakes you find acceptance, adjustments, more knowledge, and clearer vision.  I do not need to judge others’ driving ability.

When I find myself judging others, it’s usually in a place where I am unfairly judging myself.  Or feel others are judging me.

Woody Allen once said something like, he heard Commentary and Dissent were merging to form “Dissentary.” When judgments are flowing, like dysentery, you need to find medicine to stop that flow.  Acceptance and forgiveness are good pills to take.  If need be, there’s always the magic potion of gratitude. It’s hard to judge when you’re feeling grateful.

“Whoever you meet has been sent by God.  How would you greet them?”  — Alan Cohen

Alan Cohen never ceases to amaze me.  This is a fabulous idea: to see everyone you meet as a gift.  Sometimes, when it’s a little more difficult to see a person that way, we say they are our “Zen Master.”  It’s such a great way to look at others.  Everyone who comes into your life has something to offer you.  To teach you, to show you, to uplift you, to get you to see things in a new way.

It’s not a selfish thing to look at it that way because you are also a gift to others.  You were sent to them by God, as well.  So, no matter what happens in your exchange, it was for the good of both of you.

So, how would we greet them if we were aware that they were in our lives for a reason?  Perhaps we would be more open to who they are and what they bring.  Maybe we’d be  a little kinder, more accepting.  Would we maybe even welcome them with open arms and a wide heart?

I think I’d like to sharpen my awareness of others – what they’re projecting, how they are appearing.  Also, what they’re saying (and what they’re not saying).  I think one could not have a better avocation than to be a people watcher.

Perhaps I will be a little more patient with the prattling of others.  I will try to remember that even if it appears to be out of my realm, in fact, there is a gift for me.  This will help me to tune in more carefully, listen more deeply.

You know, this practice is likely to make me a more loving person.  That Alan Cohen surely is a wise one!

As each weekend draws to a close, I find myself saying the same thing: “I can’t believe it went so fast!  It can’t be time to go back to work already.”  This past weekend I realized that I must have an expectation that someone will say, “You don’t have to go to work anymore.”  Funny thing to expect since I would have to do something, like quit, for that to happen. Until such time as I hand in my resignation (or am asked to leave) I am going back to work on Monday morning. There’s no use in waiting for something else to happen or expecting a weekend to be more than 48 hours.  No amount of kvetching is going to change that.

With further investigation, I discovered a notion of the “perfect” weekend (and my lack of such.)  The weekend is never good enough. But it is very hard for the weekend to live up to my expectation of Perfect when I don’t, myself, know what that would be. You might characterize a perfect weekend where you win the lottery or fall in love.  Perhaps a Great Adventure coming to a close at just the right time.  But seeing that I’m not pursuing any of those things, it’s unlikely they will happen.

Perhaps a perfect weekend, for me, would be one where I got something done; for myself or the household.  Maybe having a little fun would add a flavorful dash.  Top it off with some good rest. Well, what do you know?  That’s pretty much what I do on the weekends.

Lately I’ve been seeing through these illusions to the bare facts. Rather than make things worse, these revelations seem to be lightening the load. When I stop wrestling with myself, expecting magnanimous gestures or magical experiences, I can relax into accepting my life for what it is and keep moving ever forward.

Been thinking about Allowing lately.  It seems to be the most basic of the building blocks of an awakened and positively slanted life.  Allowing requires that you pay attention in the present moment, to know what it is you’re allowing.  There is no better or more powerful practice than being aware of the now.

But let’s take it a step further with Allowing.  When you allow, you welcome whoever (or whatever) is at the door.  You embrace your Guest as a friend, a comrade.  You accept whatever gift they have brought.  And you invite them to sit down so you can get to know each other more deeply, break bread and share thoughts and love.

I was wondering what would happen if you were to reverse that.  What if it was you at the door and The Universe, The Divine, Your Higher Self, was opening the door to you?  Welcoming you, embracing you with love.  Accepting the gifts you bring graciously and appreciatively.  And then, inviting you to the table to share what you have brought.

To me, turning it around, makes it more of a pulling than a pushing.  The working hard at things doesn’t work.  You wouldn’t want your guests to think it was difficult for you to have them over.  Neither does the Universe want you, as Guest, to work too hard at it.  Come in, relax.  I will take care of everything.  Like a Good Host.

For this Friday night, we’re all invited to the Divine’s House Party.  You need bring nothing but your willingness to attend.  Tonight, on the occasion of his birthday, we drink a toast to Dan Fogelberg and all the light he brought to this world in the short time he was with us.

I’ve been working on a piece for the forthcoming book, Raising Yourself, on the subject of Allowing.

It occurred to me that people seem to use the terms Allowing and Accepting interchangeably. Allowing is to admit, concede and permit what is. Accepting takes the next step to recognize the truth. In practice, I guess, they are pretty much the same. It’s that process of acknowledging what’s in front of you (or inside you.) Accepting life for what it is. Allowing Life. There’s something very sensible about that. And something insane, really, about seeing it any other way.

Part of allowing is Allowing Yourself. I had a bad cold this week. This was, at first, met with much resistance. I take good care of myself, I live a balanced life. What was I doing sick? I had things to do, I couldn’t afford to take time off. But then I started to see that I had been getting these messages for weeks. Several times, I planned to take time off for a restful Sunday, doing what Julia Cameron preaches, the “Artist’s Date” to play with an art project I’ve been wanting to tackle, and a date with a friend. But all were rescheduled, put off, blown off. As a freelance writer, I tend to work every day. Things happen, plans change. I never got to them.

So, after exposure to some cold germs, a few chills, on top of the strain of winter weather woes, incessant computer frustrations and the economic situation, my body forced me to take a few days off. “Sit down, shut up and rest!” my body called. Perhaps, if I had allowed myself those times off, I might well have prevented this.

Once I stopped haranguing myself for whatever I did wrong to get sick and all the work I wasn’t going to be able to do because of it, I had to admit that I was down for the count and that was that. From there, I could focus my attention on tending to my needs. I drank a lot of water, took Andrographis, Cold-Eze (and a few aspirin when I needed to sleep.) I had multiple cups of Echinecea tea, some Breathe Easy, Dandelion and Red Clover teas. Ate as well as I could. Did plenty of fruits and vegetables. Most of all, I allowed myself to get the rest I needed.

What an amazing gift you can give to your beloveds to accept and Allow Others to be just exactly who they are! How wonderful it feels to be with someone who isn’t expecting you to be any more than what you are, who isn’t judging you for anything. That’s a loving place for a parent to be, too. This acceptance does not mean succumbing. It means accepting the truth. Clearing the way to see what the other needs. Just think of the love that could be spread if you accepted everyone and everything in this way!

It’s not something you can get to overnight. It’s a moment to moment practice. But how many moments have you got to practice! On this Valentine’s Day, practice spreading love by allowing life to be what it is, allowing yourself to feel what you feel and do what you do, and allow others to be just exactly as they are.

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