Anger and Forgiveness

Anger and Forgiveness….

How can we forgive people who’ve done horrible things?
Our judgment on the act is a reaction of anger.

Can forgiveness and justice co-exist?

When something bad happens, we seek justice. We want the wrong-doer(s) to pay.
But who made us the justice police? I’m not saying to give up on law and order, but I am asking us to reflect and seek out answers to the question, “Who made us the justice police?” To seek revenge, justice, and trial?

We hold out for justice to the abusers, abandoners, neglectful, and greedy.
What happens when we hold on to seeking justice, for the apology, for the remorse year after after year? What happens to anger over time? Is it still the same or has it grown ready to explode?
How do we respond? What can we do?

Anger met with anger creates more anger.

Anger cannot be overcome with more anger. You cannot get rid of anger with anger, however, a habit can be overcome with another habit.
Our response to anger is a habit and we can change our response with a new habit.

But what is anger? Anger is an emotional reaction.

“Anger is a response of suffering that has not been met with compassion and love.” – Dr. Deb Lindh

One of the greatest human strengths is the mind. We are able to judge right vs. wrong. Our common sense says if we do “x” then it will lead to “y;” cause and effect.
However, if the mind is preoccupied or distracted by anger, then we lose the strength of judgment. Therefore, we are not in harmony with ourselves; our mind, body, emotions, and energy as well as the world around us.

We are not free.
We are hostage to the energy, force, and power of anger.
Therefore, we must protect our mental strength and superpower of judgment.

How? We can counter our anger with a few steps.

We can cultivate less anger through building our response muscle in the mind. We can counter our anger with a few steps.

  1. Respond to projected anger with love and compassion. Through seeking to understand and using mindful awareness, we can counter through love and compassion. Once we can build awareness of understanding, then we see the person through compassion and love. You may not like what’s happening, but you can understand. Ask, “Why” and then reflect, reframe, and respond. 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. End with 0. In nothingness we find stillness; we find clarity and train the mind.
  2. Find the Value. If a person makes you angry or a situation makes you angry, ask: What is the Value? What’s good about it? What’s this person’s gifts? Respond to anger by finding the value of the situation and/or person. It’s there.  I always say, “everything has value.” It might take a little bit longer, but it’s there. It’s the balance of the Universe.
  3. Dealing with strong and harbored anger takes a bit more work. The longer the passed time, the stronger the anger. Suppressed anger grows. Let it out. Whether that means to write it all out (and it make take several times doing this writing), or talk into a memo app (make sure to not save or review but to delete)…just get it out.

After using any of these exercises…do one more step. Forgive. Holding on to anger hurts you. Release the anger and forgive. Release yourself from holding on to the anger. Doing so you’ll free yourself.

“Anger is a form of tension that robs us peace.” – Dr. Deb Lindh

Who does anger serve? With its hypnotic powers, once all is said and done and the dust settles from the aftermath, man’s clouded judgment becomes clear and as he looks around at the destruction. As he gazes he says, “God, What have I done? What have I become? How did I lose myself? Look what my hands have done to myself and to my fellow mankind. I have suffered and caused suffering. Please forgive me. Let me repent and dedicate my life from this moment on to do good; to promote kindness, compassion, peace and love.”

Post your comments. Share what you think.  I want to hear from you!

In love and light,

Dr. Deb

Mindfulness, Myths, and More!

I will admit that seeing the title of Mindful Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Barry Boyce, recent email blast: 5 things people get wrong about mindfulness, an immediate thought came to mind, “Yeah, I can think of more than 5.”

Noticing my immediate thought, I made the decision to take a mindful pause from my day and read the article. No expectations; just to see what he says.  See, I have a trigger about mindfulness which is: mindfulness in recent years has become so popular, that it’s also become very distorted.  This distortion increased confusion and does harm to the good that mindfulness practice provides. Also, the distortion and perpetuated myths trigger me.

Mindfulness has become perceived as this “practice” this “thing” that we “do,” and schedule time to “do,” where we sit cross-legged on some fluffy cushion in silence for hours, even a full day, and then go brag about it to the rest of the world.  The sitting on the cushion practice especially irritates me.  As a mindfulness and stress consultant, I practice and teach with the value of inclusion; Mindfulness is for everyone and not dependent on form such as sitting on a cushion cross-legged.  And frankly, images of mindful practice sitting on a cushion excludes people with physical disabilities such as neuropathy from diabetes to paralysis, Parkinson’s, and other physical limitations.  Heck, after the birth of my kids, sitting for too long, my hips start barking and I gladly reach for a high-density foam roller. And yet, I “practice” mindfulness every day. Wherever I am.  In any moment. Cushion-free.  🙂

I was a subscriber to Mindful.  But then with each issue, came again an image of a person sitting on a cushion; Which is an image often associated with practicing meditation.  Well, until I saw Vinny Ferraro, from Mindful Schools. I was thrilled to see Vinny’s head-shot on the cover of Mindful.  No cushion.  Just Vinny.  Just being. Taking classes with Mindful Schools and interacting with their educators and fellow mindful peers, I gave Mindful magazine a second chance.  After all, don’t we all deserve a second chance? Yeah. I believe so.

And in the moment of seeing Barry’s email, all of these thoughts that you’ve just read came flooding into my awareness.

So, I took a mindful pause and purposefully read.  And you know what? He’s spot on. Barry brings to our awareness common myths and misconceptions about mindfulness. He details each myth, calls out why it’s a myth, and then adds his (or Mindful Magazine’s) version of truth and reality. My only recommendation is to be mindful when using the terms “meditation” and “mindfulness” with the phrase “mindful meditation.” Clear and concise writing is essential when addressing myths to illustrate the intent because it’s not clear if he intends to use mediation and mindfulness as interchangeable terms. It looks that way, but I am not sure.  Perhaps Barry will address this in his next post.

I applaud Barry and Mindful for their public efforts to bring clarity to a mucky situation. With great wisdom comes great responsibility.  Sometimes that responsibility includes setting things straight.  Bravo! And yeah, I look forward to tomorrow and Myth 3.

8 Ways to Live Mindfully

Mindful or Mind Full?

As Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. (1990) states, “mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness” (p. 11) where we pay attention to the things of ordinary life giving us new insights to our lives through relaxation, awareness, being present, and through insight.

Perhaps your mind is full with endless to-do lists, resolutions, and other stuff like shown in the drawing.  How would your life be different if you stopped living with a full mind and instead lived mindfully?  Today, make a stand to mindfully live moment-to-moment.  Don’t worry about getting off track.  As Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994) says, “If the mind wanders 1,000 times, you simply bring it back 1,000 times.”

Here are 8 ways to live mindfully:

  1. Be present.  Have you ever driven your car only to not remember actually driving to wherever you were going?  This happens to a lot of people and it’s called living a life on auto-pilot. Our minds are so filled with stuff, the to-do’s and obligations of life that we go through the motions and sometimes zone out.  Living in the present means to be fully aware; mind and thoughts, physical and body – so, how we feel, how we think, and respond – moment-to-moment.  Sure, we will experience distractions and with regular practice, we are aware of living in the presence of each moment, each experience; all experiences one moment at a time.
  2. Wisely choose words.  Living mindfully also involves cultivating an ability to pay attention in the present moment.  What words do we use as a means of communicating? Words are powerful; they have vibrations of positive and negative energies, and combine emotion with information.  So, living mindfully – what words do we choose to use in our daily lives?  Do we tend to lean toward negative or positive words?  For example, do you workout or exercise?  The word “workout” denotes working our bodies and has 3 definitions; one of which is about resolving a problem.  On the other hand, “exercise” has 5 definitions ranging from the act of carrying out an agreement to regular use.  The two words by social definitions mean the same; however, they are very different when living mindfully.  So, be mindful of the words you choose and aware of the differences you experience.
  3. Just breathe.  Ah….breathing.  If we don’t breathe, well – we’re not alive.  Yet when we experience stress or in conflict situations, one thing people tend to do is hold their breath.  Holding the breath or breathing in short, shallow breaths only adds to the stress.  Living mindfully means paying attention to our breath, experiencing the air flowing through the nose, filling up our belly and releasing; to sit with the breath, observe it, and stay with it…moment-to-moment.
  4. Unplug.  Moments of non-doing? Yes!  In today’s world we are connected like the Borg.  Think about it.  Our cell phones, computers, social media outlets; we’re connected to the world 24/7.  Our whole lives are driven by doing and doing many things at the same time.  How can a multitasking person be present, aware, and mindful?  Recent studies show that multitasking is a performance hindrance.  In moments when we are aware that we are not being our best, simply unplug.  The act of non-doing restores some balance and perspective; by returning our attention to being present and focusing on the breath, we allow ourselves to return to the familiar place of being mindful.
  5. Stretch and rest.  Exercise the mind, the body, the energetic self.  Examples of stretch and rest come in many forms.  Whether this is through meditation, yoga, or a combination of both. For some, it may mean taking a walk, sitting in a park on a bench, or doing the hokey pokey with kids.  Stretch and rest is a way for your mind, body, and energetic self to switch from the doing to the being mode.  By giving ourselves permission to be, we learn to practice awareness with patience; cultivating a level of gentleness toward oneself.
  6. Consume nourishment.  The old saying “you are what you eat” is taking on a meaning today associated with our relationship to food.  The practice of mindfulness comes naturally when we start paying attention to the domain of food, our preparation of food, and our eating of food.  Great efforts go into buying food, preparing food, serving food, eating food, the environment where we eat, and the cleanup afterward.  Being mindful about food involves being aware of how much we eat, how frequently we eat, the quality of the food we are eating, when, where, and how we feel after we eat.  Do we feel well after a meal or eating certain foods?  How do we feel when eating rushed as compared to a leisurely meal?  What are our eating habits?  What are our family’s eating habits? All of these variables come into focus when bringing mindfulness to the foods we eat. Eating mindfully means being present and being aware of what your food looks like, tastes like, and makes you feel as you are eating it as well as afterward.
  7. Do a do-over.  Practicing mindfulness requires us to be aware of our own experiences, paying attention to the constant stream of reactions and judgments of life.  A wonderful gift mindfulness brings is do-overs as we transform from the habitual categorizing or labeling things  “good” or “bad” or “neutral” and move to acceptance, patience,  non-judging, and letting go.  Living mindfully, we pay attention to our intention, awareness, and our purpose.  For example, living mindfully we may become aware of our reactions to life and through awareness we identify our patience, understanding, and purpose.  Practicing mindfulness allows us to recognize our intention for being and purpose for doing.
  8. Make a commitment.  Living mindfully won’t happen by itself or because a person decides it’s a good idea.  Living mindfully requires a strong commitment to working on self and enough self-discipline to persevere in developing practices.  Through regular practice, the momentum of practice helps a person to live mindfully.

References:

Kabat-Zinn. J. (1994). Sitting mediations. Series 2. [CD]: Louisville, CO: Sounds True Publishing.

Kabat-Zinn. J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Bantam Dell.