Forgiveness

This article was profound for me.  W

Four Steps to Forgiveness

11/22/2013

Getting over a painful experience is a lot like crossing monkey bars.
You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.  — C.S. Lewis

blue-monkey-barsby Lynda Wallace

Feeling stuck?

In my work as a life coach and career coach, I work with people who feel stuck in a lot of different ways — stuck in their careers or relationships; stuck in limiting ways of perceiving themselves, their circumstances, or their resources. And often we discover together that one of the things holding them back is a reluctance to let go of old grudges and hurts.

Forgiveness — finding a way to let go of those old grudges — gives us the freedom to move forward in our lives rather than being stuck in the grievances of the past. Taking steps to forgive has also been shown to enhance our happiness, improve our relationships, and to have immediate and lasting effects on our physical health and well-being.

Some Reasonable Objections

Of course, as healthy as practicing forgiveness may be, it can run counter to some entirely reasonable objections. Let’s take a look at a few.

I can’t excuse it.

Okay. Forgiving doesn’t mean that you need to minimize or excuse what’s been done or how it’s made you feel.Forgiveness is simply a choice to move beyond hoping that the person who hurt you gets the suffering he or she “deserves.”  That choice can allow you to focus on healing the harm done to you without being distracted by a desire for revenge or a persistent feeling of ill-will toward the other person.

It’s not fair.

That’s very often true. Extending forgiveness to someone who doesn’t deserve it isn’t fair. It’s much easier to forgive someone who apologizes and makes amends. And perhaps the person you forgive will do so. If you’re to have a healthy ongoing relationship, it will certainly be much better if the person does. But if you make that a precondition of your own decision to forgive, you run a real risk of never forgiving. And remember, you’re forgiving for the sake of your own health and happiness, so you really don’t want to set up conditions that will prevent it.

This person is bad for me.

Strong connections with other people are what make us happiest in life, so you don’t want to end relationships over petty hurts. But sometimes you really do need to break things off entirely with people who are not good for you. Fortunately, you can still get the benefits of forgiving.

Forgiveness doesn’t require you to reconcile with the person you’re forgiving. You can choose to let go of ill-will toward someone without choosing to continue your relationship. You don’t even have to extend the relationship long enough to let the person know about your forgiveness if doing so would be unhealthy for you.

Ready to Give it a Try?

Forgiving can be hard to do. But it gets easier with practice, and there are some good strategies that have been proven to help. So if you’re struggling to let go of a grudge, here are four steps that just may make it easier.

1. Remember a time someone forgave you even though you didn’t fully deserve it.

We’ve all been the beneficiaries of other people deciding to treat us with more mercy than justice. Recalling how being forgiven felt to you can help you to get past the “It isn’t fair” objection.

2. Think of something you value, or valued, about the person who’s wronged you.

The point isn’t to justify the bad behavior, just to remind yourself that he or she is a human being with both strengths and weaknesses.

3. Imagine the situation from the other person’s point of view.

Try to find one aspect of the situation that you can see from other person’s perspective. Putting yourself in his or her shoes that small way can make it easier to extend forgiveness.

4. Decide to forgive.

Because forgiving can go against the grain in spite of how healthy it is, you’ll need to make a conscious decision to forgive, and to remind yourself of your decision if those feelings of ill-will start to come back.

If You’re Not Ready

If you try these steps and keep getting stuck along the way, you may not be ready to forgive just yet. That’s okay. Give it some time, then try again and see if you get farther. It’s not always easy, but if we take it step by step, we can develop an ability to forgive that will have lasting benefits on our relationships, our health, and our happiness.

 

lmw-head-shot-square-with-white-edges-200Lynda Wallace is a highly sought-after life coach and career coach who meets with local clients in her sunny office in Montclair, NJ, and with clients from around the world by phone and video. She wrote the best-selling book A Short Course in Happiness, and teaches coaching skills courses to both new and experienced coaches. Lynda spent twenty years as a senior executive at Johnson & Johnson, holds an MBA from the Wharton School, and is a Certified Positive Psychology Coach.

If you’d like to learn more, please explore the site, sign up for Lynda’s free Be Your Own Coach™ newsletter or get in touch to set up a complimentary consultation.

 

Sources:

The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want, by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Penguin, 2008 Learning to Forgive May Improve Well-Being, Mayo Clinic, Science Daily, January 4, 2008

Chicken Farmers Suffer Terrible Abuses

Please go to http://bit.ly/tellUSDA to support our farmers.

The following series of short films gives more information.  Basically, farmers were induced to enter the chicken farming business based on false representations of potential income.  Then they are trapped in a cycle of debt with requirements to upgrade operations imposed before they can pay off their last loans, meanwhile never getting a raise to meet increased costs.

Why No Media Coverage of Growing First Nations’ Pipeline Protest?

Why There’s a Media Blackout on the Native American Oil Pipeline Blockade

8/26/2016

By Nick Bernabe

North Dakota — As the Lakota Sioux continue their peaceful blockade of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, the story’s absence from the national media narrative is palpable. Considering the corporate media’s chronic quest for controversial stories on government versus public standoffs, you’d think this situation would garner the typical media frenzy invoked during a right-wing militia occupation of a federal building, for example, or a tense standoff between the Black Lives Matter movement and police. But it’s not.

As of late, the media has faced criticism for its selective coverage of certain events — like, say, focusing on singleterror attacksin Western Europe that garner thousands of headlines while basically ignoring similar or worse attacks that occur on aconstant basis in Muslim-majority countries.

But the confrontation unfolding in North Dakota, in particular, is strikingly similar to the recent standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, which involved a right-wing militia advocating land rights against the federal government. The militia was led by the controversial Bundy family, which previously drew sensationalized coverage during a similar standoff in Nevada in 2014. So why were these stories covered extensively while the other — also centered around land rights — has been mostly ignored?

The first point is actually very simple: Native Americans standing up for themselves is not polarizing. In an age ofinstitutionalized media divisiveness and hyper-partisanship, the story of Native Americans in North Dakota fighting for land and water rights just doesn’t fit the script of deep, societal divides plaguing the nation’s law and order, nor does it fit in with the left-right paradigm. People from both sides of the political spectrum pretty much agree that Native Americans have been screwed by the U.S. government and resource-snatching corporations long enough. Considering this sentiment, there’s really no exploitable controversy on this issue from the mainstream media perspective, which inherently drives topical, superficial news narratives.

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It’s easy to create a controversy out of right-wing white nationalist militias occupying an obscure federal wildlife preserve building (if that sounds petty and not exactly newsworthy, that’s because it was petty and not exactly newsworthy). I witnessed liberals so incensed by the Oregon occupiers they were calling for the FBI to literallygun them down. Meanwhile, the alt-right movement hailed them as heroes and harbingers of the second American Revolution. It made for a great, divisive controversy. But in the end, nothing was accomplished. It was topical. It was superficial. It was essentially meaningless — and the media loved it so much it dedicated a month’s worth of prime time TV coverage to it.

In contrast, the only thing the mainstream media would accomplish by publicizing the growing tribal oppositionto the Dakota Access Pipeline would be to effectively kill the prospects of the pipeline. Providing ongoing coverage would likely inspire national outrage toward the oil company, Dakota Access LLC, and the government agencies currently trying to evict the indigenous people from their own ancestral lands.

It’s important to understand that the media doesn’t always cover certain stories just because they’re actually newsworthy. Often, the media’s coverage is intended to promote and drive narratives, and the divisive flavor has been a top seller for a long time. This coverage has accomplished at least one thing in the United States: the country is now the most divided it’s been in avery long time. Maybe that has been the media’s intention all along.

The second and more obvious reason why mainstream outlets have not focused on the situation in North Dakota is money — oil money, to be exact. The corporate media in the United States is deeply in bed with oil interests. From fracking advertisements on MSNBC to individuals on Big Oil’s payroll literally working for Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, the ties cannot be understated. Why would mainstream media publicize a standoff that could potentially kill an oil pipeline when their own financial interests would be negatively affected? The answer is they wouldn’t.

And there you have it. That’s why right-wing militias pointlessly occupying a wildlife refuge is one of the biggest stories of the century but Native Americans stopping the construction of a multibillion-dollar pipeline isn’t worth a single headline on CNN.

Greek 99% Have Not Benefited At All from Huge Loans to Gov’t

Who Profited From the $440 Billion Greek Bailout? Not Greeks

8/26/2016

By Jack Rasmus

Hundreds of billions of dollars in loans haven’t helped the Greek economy or its people.

This week marks the first anniversary of the 2015 Greek debt crisis, the third in that country’s recent history since 2010. Last Aug. 20-21, 2015, the ‘Troika’—i.e., the pan-European institutions of the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB), plus the IMF-imposed a third debt deal on Greece. Greece was given US$98 billion in loans from the Troika. A previous 2012 Troika imposed debt deal had added nearly US$200 billion to an initial 2010 debt deal of US$140 billion.

That’s approximately US$440 billion in Troika loans over a five year period, 2010-2015. The question is: who is benefitting from the US$440 billion? It’s not Greece. If not the Greek economy and its people, then who? And have we seen the last of Greek debt crises?

One might think that US$440 billion in loans would have helped Greece recover from the global recession of 2008-09, the second European recession of 2011-13 that followed, and the Europe-wide chronic, stagnant economic growth ever since. But no, the US$440 billion in debt the Troika piled on Greece has actually impoverished Greece even further, condemning it to eight years of economic depression with no end in sight.

To pay for the US$440 billion, in three successive debt agreements the Troika has required Greece to cut government spending on social services, eliminate hundreds of thousands of government jobs, lower wages for public and private sector workers, reduce the minimum wage, cut and eliminate pensions, raise the cost of workers’ health care contributions, and pay higher sales and local property taxes. As part of austerity, the Troika has also required Greece to sell off its government owned utilities, ports, and transport systems at ‘firesale’ (i.e. below) market prices.

Europe’s Bankers Got 95 Percent of Greek Debt Payments

The US$440 billion in Troika loans—and thus Greek debt—has not been employed to benefit the Greek people, or to help the Greek economy recover from its eight years of depression; it has gone to pay the principle and interest on previous Troika debt, as that debt has been piled on prior debt in order to pay for previous debt.

A recent 2016 released study has revealed conclusively where all the interest and principal payments on the US$440 billion debt has gone. It has gone directly to European bankers and investors, and to the Troika institutions of the EC, ECB, and IMF, who indirectly in turn recycle it back to private bankers and investors.

According to the White Paper (WP-16-02) published by the European School of Management and Technology, ESMT, this past spring 2016, entitled “Where Did the Greek Bailout Money Go?”, more than 95 percent initial Troika loans to Greece went to pay principal and interest on prior Troika loans, or to bailout Greek private banks (owned by other Euro banks or indebted to them), or to pay off European private investors and speculators. Less than 10 billion euros was actually spent in Greece.

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The ESMT study further estimates the most recent, third Greek debt deal of last Aug. 2015 will result in more of the same: Of the US$98 billion loaned to Greece last year, the study projects that barely US$8 billion will find their way to Greek households.

The Cost to Greece Eight Years Later

In exchange for the 95 percent paid to the Troika and banker-investor friends, the austerity measures accompanying the Troika loans has meant the following: Greece’s unemployment rate today, in 2016, after eight years is still 24 percent. The youth jobless rate still hovers above 50 percent. Wages have fallen 24 percent for those fortunate enough to still have work. The collapse of wages is due not just to layoffs or government and private business wage cutting, both of which have occurred since 2010, but is due also to the shifting of full time to part time work. Full time jobs have collapsed 27 percent, the lowest ever, while part time jobs have risen 56 percent, to the highest ever. The poorest and most vulnerable Greek workers and households have seen their minimum wages reduced by 22 percent since 2012, on orders of the Troika. And pensions for the poorest have been reduced by approximately the same. All that to squeeze Greek workers, households and small businesses in order to repay interest on debt to the Troika, to Europe’s bankers, and private investors.

None of the debt, austerity, depression, and collapse of incomes existed before the Troika intervened in Greece starting in 2010. Greece’s debt to GDP was around 100 percent in 2007, about where it had been every year for the entire preceding decade, 1997-2007. It was no worse than any other Eurozone economy, and better than most. Greek debt rose in 2008 to 109 percent due to the global recession, accelerating to 146 percent of GDP in 2010 with the first Troika debt deal of US$140 billion. It then surged to more than 170 percent in 2011, where it has remained ever since as another US$300 billion was added in Troika loans in 2012 and 2015.

Greece’s debt since 2010 is certainly not a result of Greek government spending, which has fallen from roughly 14 billion euros to 9.5 billion in 2015, reflecting Greece’s deep austerity cuts demanded by the Troika. Nor can it be attributed to excessive wages and too many public jobs, as both these have declined by a fourth as debt has accelerated. The debt is Troika loans forced on Greece in order for Greece to pay principal and interest on previous loans forced on Greece.

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And Still No Relief 2015-16

What happened a year ago, in the third Troika debt deal of Aug. 2015, was the same that happened in 2012 and 2010: US$98 bill more debt was added to Greece’s already unsustainable US$340 or so billion. In exchange, last August Greece had to implement the following even more severe austerity measures:

Generate a budget surplus of 3.5 percent of GDP from which to repay Troika debt-i.e. around US$8 billion a year. Raise sales taxes to 24 percent, plus more tax hikes on “a widening tax base” (i.e. higher taxes for lower income households). Introduce what the Troika calls “holistic pension reform”—i.e., cut pensions up to 2.5 percent of GDP, or around US$5 billion a year, and abolish minimum pensions for the lowest paid and the annual supplemental pension grants. Introduce a “wide range” of labor market reforms, including “more flexible” wage bargaining, easier mass layoffs, new limits on worker strikes, and thousands more teacher layoffs as part of “education reform”. Cut health care services and convert 52,000 more jobs to part time. And introduce what the Troika called a more “ambitious” privatization program. And this is just a short list.

And How Has Greece’s Economy Actually Performed over the Past Year?

Greek government spending since Aug. 2015 has further declined by 30 percent as of mid-year 2016, except for military spending that has risen by US$600 million. Since Aug. 2015, quarterly Greek GDP has continued to contract on a net basis. Greek debt as a percent of GDP has risen further.

There are 83,000 fewer full time jobs. (But 28,000 more part time jobs). Youth unemployment rates have risen from 48.8 to 50.3 percent. Consumer spending has dropped by almost 10 percent, as consumer confidence continues to plummet, home prices deflate, and business investment, exports, and imports all slow. In other words, the Greek economy continues to worsen despite the added US$98 billion Troika debt and the more extreme austerity measures imposed a year ago.

Is Another Fourth Greek Debt Crisis Inevitable?

The answer is “Yes.” Greece cannot generate a 3.5 percent surplus from which to pay the mountain of principal and interest on its debt. Debt repayments in 2016 to the Troika were relatively minimal in 2016. In 2017-18, however, greater debt repayments will come due as Greece’s inability to repay will no doubt worsen, when the next Europe-wide recession hits, which is likely in 2017-18 as well. The next Greek debt crisis may erupt even before, as a consequence of the current deterioration in Europe’s banking system in the wake of Brexit and the deepening problems in Italy’s and Portugal’s banking systems. Contagion elsewhere could quickly spill over to Greece, precipitating another fourth Greek banking and debt crisis.

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An Emerging New Financial Imperialism?

By imposing austerity to pay for the debt the Troika since 2010 has forced the Greek government to extract income and wealth from its workers and small businesses-i.e. to exploit its own citizens on the Troika’s behalf-and then transfer that income to the Troika and Europe bankers and investors. That’s imperialism pure and simple-albeit a new kind, now arranged by State to State (Troika-Greece) financial transfers instead of exploitation company by company at the point of production. The magnitude of exploitation is greater and far more efficient.

What’s happened, and continues to happen in Greece, is the emergence of a new form of financial imperialism that smaller states and economies, planning to join larger free trade zones and ‘currency’ unions, or to tie their currencies to the dollar, the euro, or other need to avoid at all cost, less they too become ‘Greece-like’ and increasingly debt-dependent on more powerful capitalist states to which they decide to integrate economically.

Neoliberalism is constantly evolving and with it forms of imperialist exploitation as well. It starts as a free trade zone or ‘customs’ union. A single currency is then added, or comes to dominate, within the free trade customs union. A currency union eventually leads to the need for a single banking union within the region. Central bank monetary policy ends up determined by the dominant economy and state. The smaller economy loses control of its currency, banking, and monetary policies. Banking union leads, of necessity, to a form of fiscal union. Smaller member states now lose control not only of their currency and banking systems, but eventually tax and spending as well. They then become ‘economic protectorates’ of the dominant economy and State-such as Greece has now become.

For a deeper analysis of Greek debt and the emerging new financial imperialism, see Dr. Jack Rasmus, “Looting Greece: An Emerging New Financial Imperialism,” by Clarity Press, September 2016.

Heads Up: Serious Mercury Retrograde Coming Tuesday; Expect Clarity Challenges for Three Weeks

Mercury turns retrograde on Tuesday at the teetering 29th degree of Virgo.  The planet is conjunct benefits Venus and Jupiter, but all three bodies clash with the Moon in Gemini today.

Things will clarify tomorrow as the Moon moves deeper into her home sign, Cancer, resolving the conflict.

Remember Venus is loving and Jupiter forgiving. This would be a good time for positive communication of any kind. Think (Mercury) highly (Jupiter) and well (Venus). Say something nice?

This is also a good time to share (Jupiter) your ideas (Mercury) which may be sweet in some way (Venus).  This situation holds all weekend. If you get into this, you’ll likely not get into the mutable T-square problems out there.

It’s sort of like choosing to write a love letter rather than attend a riot.

Learn more about this unusually challenging Mercury retrograde period starting on August 30thBye, Bye Clarity.

Also, this is super important.  There’s a Solar Eclipse in Virgo on September 1st.  I’m sure you will read all kinds of terrifying stuff about it. Fact is, most of us can make terrific bank with this energy. Learn how, here – Earthquake – Great Opportunity.
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Have a great day,

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Relearning to Re-Be

When I began this venture called Being Wat, I wanted the name and address of every demon, large and small.  I had time and energy, and demons were little red fantasy beings that I had heard the masters say must be confronted before I could move on.

The problem is that I learned well, and I found them.  Little did I expect an invisible enemy with a grasp on my heart that can only be broken by remembering everything so painful, and by relearning to re-be that person whom I had thought I needed to leave behind.
The red snake carries the white snake in its mouth around a 6-lane terra cotta-colored running track in an empty stadium.  Again.

Some days I might say this kind of ambition is a disease of the young, and a good reason youth need apprenticeship.

But on the other days, I still think I can do it
if
I think I can.
Do you know of the silent, menacing, four-armed giants in Holland?
I want them too.