Blaming

An amusing event happened a few days ago, bringing the word “blaming” into focus. Although “blame and blaming” can be severe topics, I’ll write this experience in the form of a brief parody: Here is the story:

Our dryer made some strange noises, and we called the repair people. A burly guy arrived, took the machine apart and then he called me. Perched on his finger was a purple panty, and he told me with a big smile that he found it in the lint fan. He also mentioned that in his long career, he had never run across this problem before. Of course, I recognized my underwear, wanted to disappear into a hole and didn’t know what to say. My first reaction was: it couldn’t have been me; I wouldn’t run the dryer without the lint filter. Would I? Well, there was no one to blame but myself – I do my laundry!

This was a vivid example for me how easy it is for us to look for someone to blame, to shed our responsibility. It is an unkind and insensitive action, and when we become aware of it, taking responsibility is the right thing to do. It is is also an example where we may blame ourselves. My first reaction went from one to the other, but I had to face reality, I was guilty as charged!

Let’s be kind and give ourselves and others some space and understanding. A simple event, no one, and nothing got hurt besides my pride, but it taught me a precious lesson. If something goes wrong, don’t look to place blame. Just fix it and go on with life.

My husband couldn’t resist bringing the panty to me that evening, holding it as the repairman had done a few hours earlier. He asked me if I wanted him to put it into my laundry. I swallowed my pride again, saw the humor in the whole thing, and told him that the garbage sounded more promising.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Food for Thought

Silhouettes of workers in the mine.

I was in a discussion meeting, and one of the topics was about miners, mines, and their future. In a comment, one member called the miners “stupid.” It troubled me deeply, and I felt I had to know more about miners and what might have caused such a harsh statement. I started my little research right there on the spot (was there life before Google?)

What I learned is that miners are thoroughly trained by the mines, because it is a hazardous job having a high rate of fatalities. Nevertheless, in many families, it is traditional to become a miner, and there is a great deal of pride. I felt compelled to tell the group that I do not believe we should call anyone, or any group “stupid,” which implies that there is little hope for betterment. I explained that I prefer uneducated, for example, although in the case of the miners, I do not believe that applies. It is a struggling industry, but not caused by the miners.

Why do I have such a strong opinion about this? Growing up in post-war Germany, there was poverty, and I learned young not to judge by appearances. Lacking education doesn’t make someone stupid; it just makes them less knowledgeable. We may not know why people are where they are, but I feel it is wrong to express a blanket opinion and attach a label to all of them.

I have never looked down on someone. I feel everyone deserves respect. Judging and labeling a whole group of people because of their work and their appearance seems superficial and inappropriate.

The gentleman who made this remark asked me after the meeting for a short personal talk, and it was very enlightening. He admitted that he never thought about the meaning of the word “stupid,” it had just been a mindless word thrown out without considering what impact it could have. We both smiled that it took someone like me, an immigrant, who never met or seen a miner, to point it out. We also dwelled on how often we use words that sting, hurt, or are not what we mean. I know this incident taught me to be more careful in my choice of words. There is always room for learning and growing!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

Bad Cat

While reading some of my spiritual books, I came across a quote by Abraham-Hicks and wanted to share it with you:

“What is a bad thing, anyway? A bad thing is something different than what I want. Who gets to decide what a bad thing is? Jerry and Ester watched a mother bird lay her eggs in the nest, and then the neighbor’s cat ate one of the baby birds after they had hatched. Esther Hicks said, “bad cat!”, and the cat said, “good bird!”

How often do we encounter a similar story in our lives, thus creating resistance? Love and wellness cannot flow when we experience resistance, and the judgment and opinion “bad cat” becomes a hindrance to our balance and harmony. Things are often so much more complicated than we think, as is colorfully demonstrated in the quote. The cat looked for food, and there was no malice or ulterior motive in its hunting. It found the bird and its survival was guaranteed for another day. Yes, the poor baby bird gave its life and didn’t see another sunny day, but that’s how nature’s food chain works. Although I am the sentimental type and feel sad for the bird, I know I cannot judge the cat for doing what is natural and necessary for its survival. Realizing that I can analyze circumstances without having to judge, I’ll approach other situations with the same mindset, an objective and open mind, and leave any judgmental feelings behind.

Pondering some more about the quote and what it means to me, I decided that in the future I will stop myself when “bad cat” comes into my mind, and replace it with “bad for one, good for another” bringing me to a neutral feeling. A small thing, but it might bring valuable changes.

During my reflection, I also realized that often I don’t spend the time and energy necessary to see the whole picture. A rapid judgment, a formed opinion, and I run with it. Does this sound familiar? I’ll change this as well on the basis that if it is important enough for me to form an opinion, I owe it to myself to explore the big picture. If I am not willing to do so, I’ll do like above with the “bad cat – bad for one and good for another” and strive for neutrality. Neutrality is not what I usually look for. I search for positivity and good feelings. But if I cannot summon positive aspects, neutrality allows me at least to develop better feeling thoughts.

I wanted to share these reflections with you and hope you will be able to relate to them. We all have situations calling for opinions, and as long as we can avoid resistance or reach neutrality, our well-being is positively affected.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Affirmations


Positive and meaningful affirmations are potent, and they can be life-changing. When you use them regularly, you will feel the shift bringing you closer to the desired results. Tailor them to your life and dreams, and they are personal and unlimited. They can address all areas of your life, for example, health, relationships, professional career, and wherever you would like to effect change. Put the affirmations into your own words, feel them, and repeat them as often as you wish.

I have used affirmations for many years and have adapted them to changes in my life. At this time, I mostly aspire to simplicity in my spiritual approach and my daily life. How do I do this? I use the following affirmation as frequently as I can. Stressful situations calm down quickly when one repeats an affirmation and breathes deeply.

One of the affirmations I like to use is the following:

“I am living a life filled with love, compassion, empathy, joy, and laughter.”

A life without love would be sad and unfulfilling. Being loved and loving others is uplifting and brings us harmony. It fulfills deep needs within us and is the basis for other beneficial feelings.

Compassion, feeling concern for the suffering of others, should not be confused with pity. Compassion is born out of the feeling of love, and you can imagine it as offering a helping hand or a supporting shoulder, bringing strength and comfort.

Empathy is the ability to understand and listen to others and to feel their need. Without love, one cannot feel empathy. Empathy doesn’t mean we tell others what to do, because we think we know what they need, but instead, we listen with the heart and find the right word to bring comfort. Imagine it as gently stroking the back of a friend, caring but not overbearing.

Joy speaks for itself. It is different for everyone, but it is uplifting and cheerful. We can only feel joy when we are loving and caring. Joy comes from a happy heart.

Laughter makes us happy; it lifts us, and we feel joyful. It is said that laughter is the best medicine, and there is some truth to it. It is also contagious and used therapeutically in “laughter yoga.”

Try to compose your affirmations, in your words, in the present tense and clearly outlining what you would like to achieve. Repeat them regularly. The mind is a powerful tool; take advantage of it.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

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