Fill Your Life With Fabulous

Photo R. Meshar

During the past few years I have been consciously working on putting only good – no, make that fabulous – relationships, events and things into my life. Simultaneously, I have been eliminating or minimizing anything that doesn’t add something fabulous to my life.

Life is short. We never know how much time we have. Why spend it with people who treat others badly, pull us down or make us feel less than who we really are?

The most fabulous thing to add is service to others, especially service to those who are struggling. In helping them I help myself. That is the paradox of becoming who we are meant to be. We are all connected. We can’t really manifest our best selves until everyone is able to share their gifts. That is why working to end poverty and hunger is so important – crucial really. We need the gifts of everyone and we need to serve those who struggle in order to be healed of our own blindness.

When I am asked to participate in a group, event or activity I stop and ask, “Is this something that I can’t wait to do?” If the answer is “yes” then it goes on my calendar. If not, then I politely decline. No excuse required.

The same goes for people. If the relationship is mutual and life-enhancing I spend time there. If not, I minimize my exposure there as much as possible.

Think about where we spend most of our time: work, friends and family. Do you love your work? If yes, then you are filling your life with what you love. If not, then start taking steps to do what you love. To do anything less is to devalue the life you have been given.

The same is true of family and friends. Apply the “fabulous standard.” If you love spending time with everyone in your life, then you are in a good place. If not, minimize contact with those who don’t enhance your life or make you feel wonderful. Instead, start spending more time with those whose presence adds to your life. Be around people whom you admire, who appreciate you, make you feel terrific and are happy to spend time with you. Be around those who live with integrity and who value the common good. A helpful tip: these will not be people that you would normally expect.

Apply the “fabulous standard” to activities, food, movies, books, clothes and household items. In carefully selecting the content of my life I find that what is there is of high quality – but not necessarily high priced.

Live intentionally. It’s simple really. Be the empty bowl. The recipe: Take one life. Add everything you love. Take out everything you don’t. Mix and enjoy.

Whoever you are, wherever you are – fill your life with fabulous!

Originally published on this day last year, as I prepare for my doctoral proposal defense today – exactly one year later – I can see the importance of embracing filling my life with fabulous! Last year on this day I could never have envisioned completing my doctoral course work today. Thank you to all of the many people who supported me in this undertaking. I am VERY grateful to you all!

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Myth of Objective Reporting

The post Truth or Consequences talked about the fact that the way we speak about something determines how we understand it. It’s not the other way around.

In a previous post I discussed how our untruthful speech keeps us from seeing reality as it really is. Here’s another example: the idea that there is such a thing as an “objective” or “unbiased” point of view, or reporting.

Why? Because the reality is that all reporting is biased. It can not help but be biased. This is because we each come to a situation with our own experiences, background understanding, education and cultural lenses. We have no way to write or speak about anything that doesn’t incorporate these aspects of ourselves.

For example, I can’t have the perspective of a man of color from the global south. I can only understand and speak about the world from the perspective of a woman of northern European descent, living in North America, benefiting from white privilege with access to far more than my fair share of resources compared to most human beings on the planet.

Rather than trying to make reporting “unbiased” which is impossible, we should try to learn what the bias actually is.

In other words – there is ALWAYS a bias. The question to ask is “What is the bias?” and “Is the reporter or speaker open and transparent about their bias?”

Every newspaper, book, magazine and TV show edits the material they have. Some facts are reported. Some pictures are chosen. Some quotes are used. Others are not. Everything we see has been selected and edited using a particular lens. What is the lens? Who pays? Which corporations sponsor? Who benefits?

As a Catholic theologian, my bias is for the common good. This does not mean “to compromise” like in a real estate deal. I don’t give up something, others give up something and we wash out somewhere in the middle. No. Rather, we each listen to every one’s needs. Then we use imagination and creativity to come up with something that meets the needs of all.

In striving for the bias of the common good I use my lens described above. It is a limited lens, which is why it is important that I listen to many points of view. This requires on-going reading, conversation and education.

This is not fast. It is not easy. But that is not to say that it is impossible. It does take time, effort and perseverance. It does take listening to one’s self and to others. But this is the task of caring for our human family.

You may also like Truth of Consequences, What is Your Story?,

Difficult People

Photo Minnesota Arboretum

Far too much drama is generated over what to do with difficult people we encounter in our lives. In the end it’s really quite simple: fill your life with wonderful people whom you love to be with and who love to be with you. To do anything less is to not value yourself or your life.

There will always be people for whom you feel neutral or those you dislike or who treat you badly. Minimize or eliminate contact with them. If you must work with them develop coping techniques for minimal contact. If they are “family” – I would beg to differ. “Family” is a category for those who cherish, love and care for you. Arbitrary genetic linkage isn’t automatic qualification for the designation of “family.”

“But,” parents often say, “I want my children to know their grandmother (grandfather, aunt, uncle, etc.).” Really? You want your children to spend time around someone who makes you anxious or worse, treats you badly? Rethink this parenting decision quickly. Instead, develop relationships with those you value and who value you, and by extension, will value your children and model healthy, mutual relationships for them. This is good parenting.

To be around people who are difficult will never contribute to your well being – physically or spiritually. Adding relationships of anxiety or hurtful comments & actions to your life will never bring us physical or spiritual health. Only health brings health.

Further, whether others are actually toxic or not is not the point. All that matters is if they are toxic for you. Insanely, sometimes we continue to return and drink the poison – wondering why the other person doesn’t “drop dead” or change 😉

“But what about forgiveness?” Forgiving is not the same as forgetting. You can explain the problem or issue to the other person once. If they are willing to make changes, great. If not, reassess the value of this relationship. Forgiveness is what we do to heal ourselves. The other person needn’t even know we have embarked on the process of forgiving them. Truly, they may not even feel they need forgiving! But we don’t forget. We learn to accept the person for who they are, – as they are. If the way they are doesn’t add goodness or health to our lives, then we need to rethink the necessity of maintaining that relationship.

“To forgive is not to forget, but to remember in a different way – in a way that no longer holds us captive to the past.” (R. Schreiter, C.PP.S.)

Justice begins within.

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(Originally published 4-24-11)

The Story of the Wolf


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on
inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance,
self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority,
and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

“Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

(Originally published 2-25-11)

Technology Changes Us

Technology brings much that is wonderful and good into our lives. However, used thoughtlessly, it can make us less than who we should be or less than who we are.

Social media formats such as FaceBook can help us stay connected and can be a way to develop richer and deeper relationships in real life — or, and this happens all too often — it can be a way to avoid deeper relationships or face to face encounters in real life. Social media and technology devices can make us more isolated and lonely – unable to enjoy solitude or deeper relationships. Connecting deeply with ourselves – enjoying solitude – and connecting deeply with others are both learned skills, afterall.

Sometimes I am asked why I have chosen to study for my Doctorate in Ministry rather than a Ph.D. This is why. Like a Master in Divinity, a Doctorate in Ministry develops the whole person including relationships, not just the mind. This is an important distinction.

We are who we are as persons because of the kind of relationships we have. We form our personhood with the depth and richness of healthy relationships we bring into our lives. On this website there are many posts about focusing on healthy relationships and minimizing unhealthy ones. There are many posts on examining genetic or “family” relationships to verify that they really are healthy and life giving.

Meanwhile, social media formats like FaceBook can all too easily minimize real connections with real people in real time. While this makes life easier, it also makes us feel less. Experiencing all of our feelings, both pleasurable and painful, is what makes us human. Developing the capacity for real joy means that the capacity for experiencing deeper pain emerges too. In the end, this is what makes us compassionate, gives us depth and helps us see reality as it actually is – rather than through the limited eyes of privilege.

To learn more, watch this enlightening, short TED video on what psychologist Sherry Turkle, who has studied the effects of social media, has to say here.

Once again, edit your life. Be thoughtful about the kind of social media and technology devices you use. Know why you use them. Monitor how they effect you and your relationships. Be prepared to make changes and eliminations if necessary.

You may also like InnerPeace – “Family Only” Idiocy, and The Dangers of Obedience and Compliance.