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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Judgment Is Fun... Right?!


How often do you judge others?  Be honest, and I will too… pretty often.  In fact, the world we’re brought up in today almost encourages judgment.  Everyone has an opinion about someone’s style, work ethic, beliefs, lifestyle, and choices.    

But what are these judgments really saying?  Nothing.  Nothing at all really because there are just opinions and opinions are not facts.  “When you judge others, you do no define them, you define yourself as someone who needs to judge (Dr. Wayne Dyer).”  When I read this a light bulb instantly went off!  Who am I to judge anyone?  I’m just as flawed as the next person trying to figure out this life on earth.  And it’s true, judgment on a person does not change who they are… mostly it just separates you from ever having a connection to them.  Who knows what kinds of amazing relationships I could be blocking by keeping people away with judgment.  Everyone has the choice to live their life in the way they see fit and it’s not our place to say whether that is right or wrong. 

But this also applies to judgment passed on us from others.  Again, we can’t control what others think, feel, or put on us.  However, we can control the way we respond and receive feedback.  Ultimately, if you feel you’re being judged you have to know deep down that what they’re saying really doesn’t matter.  So many people constantly try to dictate where you life should go, what you should be doing, how you should be doing it, and so on.  But only you know what’s best for you.  Only you have the guide of your emotions telling you whether or not you’re headed in the right direction.  And if you feel good then that’s all that matters.  Nothing else matters but feeling good- today- not tomorrow… right now!  When people throw judgment into your field you have to view them as opinions and that’s all. 

I’ve been thinking about why I judge people and the answer is simple… to feed my own ego.  It almost always comes down to the ego.  You feel better when you “think” you are above someone.  But do you really feel better at the end of the day or does your ego?  Because they are two separate entities.  Your ego masks everything true about you by seeking the approval of others and weighing your worth on accomplishments, accolades, and achievements.  Your ego must prove to everyone else how important you are… trust me, I know all about the ego.  What about proving to yourself how important you are?  Well, if we can make others feel less about themselves then surely we will feel more powerful, right?!  Of course, most people don’t consciously think this way but subconsciously that is what we’re really doing.

You see, our ego is counterintuitive because feeding it actually makes you starved like an insatiable thirst that can’t be quenched. Our ego- always without a doubt- separates us from love, abundance, and self-respect.  There’s no fulfillment to filling your ego, just constant ravenous hunger.  When you have self-respect for yourself you don’t need an ego that always has to win because you have already won.  You don’t need to seek the approval of others because you approve of yourself.  You know that the Universe, which we are all connected to, loves you no matter what.  You aren’t hungry… you’re full. 

That’s why when we judge ourselves and others we are basically saying, “Everything is WRONG in the world!  God is wrong!”  But is it?  Or is that just how we choose to perceive it? Perception is everything… would it be so terrible to perceive everyone like they are capable of great feats.  Imagine if everyone was instilled with this belief, with this mindset, or we saw the infinite possibilities in everyone.  Envision others treating you this way and you can feel how this effect would be contagious.  Spread encouragement, hope, and joy and that’s what you’ll receive back in your life because you know that judgment is worthless.  

This is something I know I definitely need to work on but by being consciously aware of my judgments towards others I’m slowly chipping away at my own ego.  I want to see the best in everyone, to encourage people’s dreams, motivations, and desires.  In the end, that’s all that matters.  And when I’m living in a state of non-judgment I have an easier time of not letting judgment affect my own life. 

Have you felt judged recently?  Or passed the judgment unknowingly?  I’d love to hear in the comments. 

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 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye?” – Matthew

“People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.”  Albert Camus


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Let Out Your Song

Here's a little poem I wrote last night... how does it speak to you?  

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A Heroes journey through the foot hills,
Past the lilacs and daffodils
A wanderer with a goal
To find his missing soul.
No burning expectation
Just quiet deliberation.
Mindful opulence,
Blissful presence.
Childlike wonderment.
Pure bewilderment.

Sends out his vibration across the land
Thoughts bring objects to his hand.
Mountains move, the world then bends.
His visions cleared, the earth sends
What he was seeking all along,
Once he let out his song.
The note soars past mortar and brick
Reaching minds faster than quick.
To the sound of his voice calling within.
Finally trusting himself to begin.

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How can you let out your song today?  I would love to hear... 

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."  -Lou Holtz





Saturday, December 1, 2012

Power of an Idea... MPOW!



Everything in life starts as an idea.  A small thought that continues to fester in the mind until it must be released.  A seed so small that if planted could grow into a tiny plant or a rain forest.  Everyone has these inspired ideas but many refuse to plant the seed.  Look around you… ideas are everywhere.  The chair you sit on, the computer you’re reading this from, the electricity that’s powering your place.  Ideas are all around and there are truly remarkable when you think that it all started with a thought in someone’s head.  Well, yesterday I had the distinct privilege of seeing one of those tiny ideas manifest into something incredible. 
About four years ago when I was a senior at the University of Michigan I happened to stumble into an outreach program for inner city kids in Detroit.  I had no intention of participating; in fact I had no idea it was even going on!  I walked in that day dressed in sweatpants and a wife-beater ready to do a yoga class, or so I thought; instead, I stumbled into a room full of elementary school kids running around like wild animals.
Immediately one of my professors approached, “Oh, Alex!  I’m so glad you came!  You can help lead one of the groups…” 
Huh?!  “Oh yeah, right… that’s why I’m here…” the lie was probably more than obvious but I jumped right in.  I can’t even remember what happened that day because I was so thrown off guard and probably pissed that I wasn’t going to work out!  All I knew was that forty inner city school students from Detroit were staring at me and the six other volunteers.  Alright, let’s do this!  The idea was simple, “sharing the positive powers of the performing arts to inspire the urban youth of Detroit (http://www.mpow.net).”  Again, an idea.  An idea that had no idea what it would amount to or how much it would impact the lives of others, just an idea with a mission.
Four years later, I witnessed the power of an idea come to life with The Michigan Performance Outreach Workshop.  The seed, planted by Ashley Park, Laura Reed, and Linda Goodrich, grew into a beautiful rainforest where over 110 kids got to swing from the trees.  Four years ago, there were about 40 kids involved cramped into a rehearsal space, now an entire three stories of a giant building were given to the organization, and that rehearsal space was strictly the lunch area catered by Cottage Inn Pizza and Trader Joes.  The six or so volunteers from four years ago had multiplied into a hundred students from every discipline of the School of Music.  If you weren’t apart of MPOW, you knew it, and you were missing out.  And how could you not want to partake?
The 110 kids were bused in from Detroit where they were greeted by a herd of cheering students forming a tunnel like they were football stars running onto the field.  Their field was a majestic performance room where the game began with a dance troupe, a band, clowns, singers, classical chamber musicians, jazz ensembles, one woman shows, and even a boy band number set to One Directions, “What Makes You Beautiful.”  And it was beautiful… kids were crying, cheering, and smiling from ear to ear.  Then, all of the kids broke off into smaller groups where they learned how to make films, dance, sing, act, communicate, interact, and explore their creativity!  I was shocked to say the least and they were too.
An entire community of STUDENTS made this all happen… again, students!  There was hardly any faculty supervision, illustrating the power of community and that anyone can make a difference.  Many of the students from Detroit had never stepped on a college campus, let alone been exposed to anything artistic.  Some of them just wanted a free lunch.  Some of them just wanted a chance to break out of their shell.  Regardless of what they wanted, they all left with something, as did every person involved with the event.  This is what it’s all about, using our gifts to help others, and we all have gifts that can truly change peoples lives.  After MPOWs event some kid is going to go home and have an idea after an idea that was inspired by someone else’s idea.  If any one of those kids start planting their own seeds who knows what will grow from their gardens.  

How did MPOW affect you yesterday?  Do you have a seed waiting to be planted?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!   
Footage from yesterday:

2011 MPOW Event:
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 "If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." - Albert Einstein
"If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself." - Rollo May