Follow the Conflict


“We feel conflict. 

The conflict we feel is not a problem.

It is a messenger.

We do not need help; we need only understand that there is no choice in life but to follow the conflict where it takes us.

If we are prepared to go there, we may discover the actuality of self and the nature of our sorrow.”

~ Steven Harrison

This is a message I wish I had heard many years ago. Although, to be frank, I probably would not have been ready to hear it.

All emotions are messengers and reflect a deeper state of our being. As long as we avoid looking at the uncomfortable ones we limit our growth and ability to connect fully to our higher Self and life.

Our ego mind will tell us we shouldn’t be feeling these feelings and judge us for not being better than this.

Yet it isn’t a problem. There is no better or worse.

Let go of judging how you think you should be.

Allow your mind to be open to it. And then your heart.

Be kind and compassionate towards yourself, until you are ready to follow where the feeling takes you.

Beyond conflict is love.


Being Out of Integrity

This is a re-post I found inspiring to me today. Take time to find your middle ground and come home to your Self.



I used to think that when I was out of integrity I was not walking my own talk and my thoughts were not in alignment with my beliefs and values.
That when my thinking and actions weren’t aligned, I was letting myself down in some away, and not honoring my best self.
And then I woke up and experienced it as something more.

The signs of being out of integrity were the same. For me, its an icky uncomfortable feeling in my gut. I’ve come to recognize this as my unconscious letting me know that something isn’t right. There is something to discover within.

When this feeling happens I ask myself two questions and then listen for an answer.

1. Am I feeling fearful? ….I didn’t defect any fear. There were no anxious thoughts or worries.

2. Am I out of integrity?…. and I couldn’t see anything “wrong”. I wasn’t letting myself down by being out of alignment with my thoughts and actions. Usually there’s something that comes up –  like avoiding exercise, over eating, trying to get out of a commitment I regretted having made, or feeling bad because I was snippy with someone when I was focused elsewhere. This time it made no sense whatsoever. But there was no “bad” deed or self denial to be dug up and exposed.

So what was going on?

I decided to set aside time to be with myself for yoga and meditation. I moved gently and then simply sat. Being fully present and open to see what would show up.

As I did, I felt a gentle wave of warm loving energy and a softening around my heart. A small voice without words seemed to say “Ah here you are. I’ve missed you.”

The well intentioned judge disappeared and was replaced by pure loving kindness. I gave it space to be and to grow. It moved through my very being. Enfolding me and nurturing my spirit.

My realization is this:

Before I would judge myself as in some way as being “wrong”, and then I would make it “right” by changing how I was behaving or thinking. My judge is well intentioned, but sees things as right or wrong and can be very critical.

When we let go of the judge, a loving connection with ourselves can seed itself and grow. Harmony is found again and everything is aligned once more with life and the world.

Now I know that when I am out of integrity then I am not taking time to be kind to myself.

It’s not about changing my thinking and actions, its about opening my heart and connecting to my Self.


The Difference Between Judging and Discerning

not black and white

When I was little, I was told how important it was to do what was “right” and not get into trouble by doing something “wrong”. Yet, as I grew up I saw that many of the rights and wrongs didn’t make sense. It all depended on the perspective and belief of the person.

When I was told that a terrorist is also a freedom fighter, depending on whose side you are on, I really got it.  It opened my eyes to seeing things in a new way.

Dualistic (either/or) thinking, prevents us from seeing the whole truth.

Judging is about determining what is right or wrong, good or bad. It comes from our minds tendency to think dualistically, in terms of right or wrong. We grasp on to this to keep us feeling in control and safe. In order to maintain a stable society, religion and the law reinforce this idea.

Yet, isn’t it even more important to see clearly, rather than to apply a right or wrong label?

When we let go of judgment and embrace the idea of discerning, we move into a place of seeking clarity and understanding.  We become freer to see things as they are.

Instead of asking “What is good or bad about this?” …  and being quick to judge, ask “What can I discern from this? What is going on here?”

When we detach from the belief of good or bad, and discern life’s multicolors and shades, we find freedom beyond the rules and conditioning of the mind.


* Pondering – Sliding Back

I read a post some time ago about “sliding back” over the holidays.  It made me wonder …

sliding back

What if there was no such thing as sliding back in life?

When we make a mistake, we are making a mistake. When we eat that chocolate bar, we are eating that chocolate bar. When we don’t get around to exercising, then we don’t exercise. When we forget to meditate then we don’t meditate….. you get where I’m heading with this.

“Sliding back” is a judgment that we put on ourselves. It is a belief that usually makes us feel bad …. Its like a weight we impose on ourselves.

It isn’t the truth.

Our thoughts are not the truth! Things are the way they are. Our thoughts create judgments in our mind whether something is good or bad.

Instead of being hard on yourself, try to accept the ways things are.

Even better, lighten up and ditch that heavy load you’ve burdened yourself with!

Instead of judging, be kind and accept your own human frailty and failings.

If life is a series of highs and lows, then we move through challenges and setbacks. There’s no such thing as sliding backwards.

* Haiku – right and wrong

head held high


It’s time to accept

the need to judge and be right

makes life somehow wrong


Let go and transcend

Find grace in the aftermath

Embrace the unknown


 Yet be true to you

Live your vision and values

From your Middle Ground


Reflection – Being Strong

woman in body armor

This post begins back in time… when I had a different perspective and experience of life.

I don’t believe that I was emotionally bruised
And I definitely don’t need any help! 
As a child I put my armor on
I built it so carefully. And before you ask – yes, it still fits like a glove.
Its comfortable enough .. and more so in war zones.

You see, I am strong.
Nobody messes with me.
I can take it. It isn’t personal after all.
Others are just stupid. Idiots. They haven’t got a clue.
In my safe bullet proof coat I can judge and put down others in a familiar way.

And then one day I realized that it wasn’t my coat at all,
It was the coat of arms of my family.
And I could change it.
I could choose to let go of being strong.

I see people wearing similar coats .. and I want to help them shed them when they are ready.
Its okay to acknowledge the vulnerable part that hurts.
This takes courage rather than strength.
It is our choice to open our hearts to new possibilities.
It takes courage to be open and vulnerable.
After all, when we are vulnerable, the love can come in

* Meeting Life As It Is

… Continuing the conversation about judging, evaluating and accepting life as it is. These words from Adyashanti moved me today. May they touch you also and bring a deeper connection with your inner being and life itself.


Image courtesy of

“The greatest generator of conflict, both internal and external, is our addiction to interpreting and evaluating each and every moment of our experience.
When we continually judge and evaluate, we separate from what’s happening. We feel a certain distance from our experience, because now we have become the evaluator of the moment and we’re no longer in unity with the flow of existence and life.

As we begin to meet life as it is rather than as we think it should be, as we let go of our need to control and continuously interpret our experience, we start to open to life in a completely new way. We become deeply founded in silence.
The nature of this silence is a lack of conflict with life, and the more we open to this state of non conflict, to this state of inner stillness, we begin to fall into the grace of a different dimension of being – a dimension rooted in a deep intimacy with our own lives and with existence itself.”


* Recognizing your Judge

It can sometimes be tricky recognizing our own judge. When we see a situation our mind tends to leap ahead to interpret and evaluate what’s going on. Its part of being human. Our brain automatically sifts and filters information and comes to a quick conclusion. This is helpful when we are facing danger, but in every day life it can cause miscommunication and conflict.

seeing clearly

One way to recognize our judge (or someone else’s) is to look out for exaggeration or blanket statements. Can you see the difference between these statements?

“He is always late” rather than “This is the second time I’ve been waiting for 20 minutes.”

“One day you’ll fall and hurt yourself” rather than “I’m fearful that you will fall and hurt yourself.”

“She never does what I want” rather than “On the last 3 occasions I have done what she wanted to do.”

“You have no clue about what matters” rather than “I have a different point of view about what matters”

“You work too much” rather than “You’ve been working 12 hour days all week. I’m worried its too much.”

It happens more times than we may even be aware of!

Take a moment and consider … are you noticing or are you judging?

When we are able to experience what is happening – without judgment or getting triggered, we stay present.

When we simply observe, we let go of judgment and are open, rather than closed.

When we are open we can learn and grow.

The next time you find yourself in an interaction look out for your judging self. When you notice it, become the observer and ask yourself, what can I learn from this?

* Inspiration – Self Observation

A reminder for all of us who are working on self observation and dealing with our inner critic.

Be gentle with yourself on this part of the journey.

listen to yourself

Self-Observation Without Judgment 

Release the harsh and pointed inner voice.

It’s just a throwback to the past,
and holds no truth about this moment.

Let go of self-judgment, the old,
learned ways of beating yourself up
for each imagined inadequacy.

Allow the dialogue within the mind
to grow friendlier, and quiet.

Shift out of inner criticism and life
suddenly looks very different.

I can say this only because I make
the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to
acknowledge the real me.

What’s needed here isn’t more prodding toward perfection, but
intimacy – seeing clearly, and embracing what I see.

Love, not judgment, sows the
seeds of tranquility and change.

Danna Faulds from “One Soul”

The last line will be with me all day 🙂

* Reflections – People are our Mirrors

No pun intended here 😉 just some morning musings…

There is an old saying, “It takes one to know one.”

We see in others what we like and don’t like in ourselves.



people are our mirrors

If people are our mirrors, then everyone is a reflection of myself.

Its important for me to accept others for who they are.

Otherwise I am rejecting aspects of myself.

When I admire an aspect of someone I am recognizing that this is a part of myself.

When I am judging of others I am not accepting that I am judging of myself.

When I get annoyed because they are needy, I am rejecting my own needs and nurturing myself.

When I get frustrated when people go too slowly, then I am not accepting when I need to go slowly.

And of course, the best of all …. When I get upset when I feel others are controlling, I am rejecting the controlling part of me.


Our own inner critic is the voice of this self rejection.

Listen to it and love it for pointing out what to embrace rather than reject.

Remember there is no good or bad… And beneath it all is our deep longing for love and acceptance.




* Behind Every Label …

labeling a person

Behind every label is …
A need to resolve complexity
A drive to know and understand
An impulse to feel secure in that knowing
A sense of comfort when feeling in control

When we label people however, it brings …
A distancing from the rest of the person’s qualities
A withdrawal from our humanity
Closed-mindedness and stereotyping
This kind of judgment is the precursor to violence and war.

What if we could let go of labeling?
Would we be more accepting of complexities and the unknown?
Be more open to not knowing?
See more clearly what we have in common rather than our differences?
Bring more compassion, kindness and acceptance into our lives?
Get along with our fellow imperfect human beings?

Our brain is built to analyze and filter information. We may not be able to erase labeling from our minds, but we can bring a more mindful awareness to it and its impact on all of our relationships.

Why not bring in this new awareness as you go about your day today 🙂

* 4 Questions to Ask When We Get Annoyed

Recently, there has been some discussion going on between myself, Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way and Don at Candid Impressions. Its about what goes on when we  are triggered and get annoyed. I thought I would share my perspective and 4 questions that can throw some light on might be going on.

Judging shadow

When we experience discomfort, our basic human response is to look outside to see who is “doing it to us”.  It is a part of being human. We react and make a judgment about the other person. We may blame them, ridicule them,  put them down or attack them. We have labeled them “wrong” in our own minds. They are the “enemy”.

I believe that this is our ego’s instinctual way to defend itself and to maintain its vision of itself. The ego thrives in making itself look good to itself… and others.

Our ego’s role is to survive. Deflection and attack preserve the way things are. Preservation drives the ego. It’s always more comfortable being “right” than vulnerable!

When we react or feel triggered it isn’t really about the other person.

The actions or words of the other person have triggered something already inside of us.

If we want to grow and evolve, then we must take responsibility for our own feelings and become curious about what is going on within us.

It is our reaction. These are our feelings to explore.

Child looking at flower

I believe that if we ask ourselves the following questions, then we can get closer to our inner truth.

Taking a moment to pause and center yourself. Finding your middle ground and being present with what is alive in you, is the door to inner transformation.

Here is an example we can use to explore the 4 questions: You are in a group of people and you get triggered when someone hijacks the conversation and makes hurtful “humorous” remarks that puts an other person down.

1. How am I that?

This is the hardest and boldest question … as it makes us look honestly at ourselves. Is there a part of yourself that does this? Is this a blind spot you are unwilling to face?

Your ego may be shouting NEVER! I have never been critical or put others down! I have never grabbed attention! I would never use humor to bully someone else! I could never be like this! I am not that kind of person!

Is this really so…. With the wisdom of your years and perspectives on life … is this so…

Rather than denying this aspect of ourselves, be prepared to meet it. In doing so it’s hold on us will diminish. There may be real transformation, acceptance and freedom here.

2. How have I been hurt by that?

Have you been at the receiving end of this type of behavior. Perhaps you weren’t able to stand up for yourself back then. But you still feel the pain and injustice. If this painful experience is still alive in you, then give yourself empathy and compassion. Imagine you are like a loving grandmother comforting the young and vulnerable part of you. There may be some healing to be done.

3. What is the unmet need behind these judgments and feelings? What is missing for me?

When you react to this person, you wouldn’t want to be a person like that … but underneath it may reveal an unmet need that you have. Perhaps a part of you that isn’t being fully expressed. What could be missing for you? For example, an inability to speak up or assert yourself. Or a need for authentic expression. Or a need to be recognized by others?… There may be a valuable need of yours that yearns for attention.

4. How does this violate a core belief of mine?

You are witnessing something you wouldn’t tolerate within yourself. It goes against your own values and beliefs.

A word of caution here …. Note that option 4 is what your ego will always prefer. It stokes it and makes it feel good. It wants to be the champion and hero. Watch out for this one as a deflection strategy to protect itself from being vulnerable.

On the other hand, if it is a belief that comes from your inner heart and soul. Coming from love rather than fear. A core value that you live by every day. Then you are indeed seeing an injustice. Recognize it and choose what to do.

How can you channel this anger in a positive way? Transform it into powerful compassion. Use this emotion to make a difference and bring about what you deeply believe in.

So be mindful with all 4 questions … and listen to your inner wisdom and heart.

Be compassionate rather than righteous.

Be open rather than closed.