What’s Your Spiritual “Footprint”? Emotional?

 (Warning: This piece is sort of a rant. Ironically, it’s about intolerance.  So, if intolerance makes you crazy, read at your own risk.  There is almost no cussing in this piece.  Which is unusal.  It’s hard for me to rant without cussing. 

Which brings me to something I’m curious about.  Sometimes, when I rant, I cuss.  And THEN, some of you unsubscribe and mention the cussing.  Which is really confusing to me, because it’s pretty clear there might be cussing here.  DID YOU NOT SEE THAT our tagline is “Quit Your BITCHING.  Change Your Life.”????????

See what I mean?  Confusing! But, I digress. (Mostly) no cussing in this one, though you might consider toughening up a bit if that puts you off! LORD, I guess I just had a rant within a rant. Sorry. It’s the hormones.

 

ANYWAY —

Not too long ago, I spent a really uncomfortable afternoon with people who see the world vastly differently than I. It wasn’t that I don’t understand or appreciate the passion behind their lifestyle – in this case, environmental responsibility.

It was a little edgy though. Their brand of eco-responsibility sort of borders on eco-militance.

Anyway, I’m fine with them living that way. In fact, I think their ideas are REALLY interesting.

Further, it’s actually NONE OF MY BUSINESS that they live that way!

Truly.  Some of their environmental protection policies are already in play in our own home.  Several of the men that I live with, for example, share their aversion to flushing for Number 1.

Nope. Their lifestyle choice didn’t bother me one little bit.

What bothered me was this one person’s ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that her way of viewing the world was the ONLY way to see it. She wasn’t just okay with choosing how SHE wanted to live. She wanted to pick for everyone else, too.

She made a point of sharing her disdain for other lifestyle choices – my work as an online writer, for example.

I found myself digging deep for kindness as the conversation progressed.

You see, I’ve never been very good with other people’s intolerance. In fact, I’m downright INTOLERANT of their intolerance.

I bristle at sexual intolerance, religious intolerance. I can’t stomach politically intolerant people, or educational snobbery. Gender inequality makes me crazy, of course, as does entitlement in every sense of the word.

Here’s the thing — I understand and respect your right to protest or change your corner of the world. Where it’s difficult for me to support you is when you bring your broom of judgment over to my yard and start sweeping off my patio – or anyone else’s for that matter.

I mean WTF??? (Okay, take a deep breath.  I didn’t ACTUALLY say the F-word there!)

In general, I try to have a “Live and Let Live” model for living. Whenever I find myself particularly turned off by another person’s ideas or actions, I DO try to take a step back and ask myself this question, “Why has your choice made me so offended?”

Invariably, whenever I see a flaw in you, it’s because, at least to some extent, I share that very same defect of character. You can’t see something in another person that hasn’t, at least at SOME time, also existed in you. Otherwise, you would have no personal frame of reference from which to even notice their behavior.

In this case, the question I had to ask myself was this – “In what ways am I intolerant of others?”

Well, as already confessed, I’m intolerant of the intolerance of others.

FURTHER, I believe there is no gray area at ALL about certain issues — Child abuse. The denigration of women. Sexual abuse of ANY kind. The abuse of power (I just realized I need to think about that last one a bit.  It seems a bit broad.)

Anyway, this is my list.

And I want the right to choose my list. I honestly can’t understand ANYONE not agreeing to my list.

But maybe that’s just the point.

Maybe that’s the place where she and I are EXACTLY alike!

She has her list. She feels good about her list. And she can’t understand ANYONE not fully agreeing to her list.

When it comes to value systems, our lack of mutual understanding and respect is the fertile ground upon which intolerance blooms.

As I said, during our gathering, the conversation turned to my work. My husband was bragging about our Life After Tampons community and what we are building here together.

He was laughing at the piece about me going bald that I had just bravely written, and was sharing with her the depth of your AMAZING responses. (If you missed that one, check it out here!)

But, in her world, internet-based work is one of the things that’s “wrong with this world.” Oh, she used a different little cutting remark, but that’s what she meant.

God love my husband, who is normally not this way – but in this case, he was CHAMPIONING me to the end. He even tried to hand her my card, saying, “You should just check it out. Jen is REALLY funny!’

But she was having none of that.

She wouldn’t even get up and take the card. I imagine it was later lifted off the table and disposed of by a disinfected hand protected by rubber gloves fashioned from the recycled poopy diaper of some underprivileged child in a Third World country.

It just wouldn’t be evolved enough to use the poopy diaper of some baby from Palm Springs, for example.

(Sorry for the sarcasm (sort of). I guess I’m still feeling a bit miffed.)

Anyway, my husband was working the “my wife is amazing angle.” (My mother would have LOVED him for that!)

God love him, every time he would bring up some funny thing about my Menopausal Combover, she actually had the audacity to say – repeatedly – “But you’re LYING!!!” Over and over and over again.

Anyway, she gave her little smiling condeming speech WITHOUT EVER reading the piece. Or, in fact, ANY of our work here at LAT. (Even though we’ve met with them several times since the launch and my husband keeps inviting them to check it out — god love him!!!!  (Honey, you can stop trying, now.  They don’t give a shit (oops) about it and I LOVE you for trying.))

So now, dammit, I was gifted with ANOTHER resentment!  Which means that, since it’s my spiritual practice, I have to look at my own part AGAIN.  Not hers.  (WTF!!!)

Okay, so back into the solution I go.

It looks like this: At what places in my life am I like that? In what circumstances, do I-I-I, have “contempt prior to investigation?” Oh, love, there is a LONG list for that one.

A commitment to character growth is NOT for sissies, I’ll tell you that. Sometimes I don’t like it AT ALL!!!

The next day, I was “coming clean” with a very good friend of mine. She actually took “my side” a bit and put it in the following perspective:

 

“It’s all well and good to go on and on about your commitment to your environmental footprint. But what about your Spiritual and Emotional Footprint? Where is your eco-awareness with that?”

 

In other words, when I enter into relationship with someone – ANYONE – am I aware of how I am in that space? Am I sensitive to their needs? Do I practice economy and emotional and spiritual sustainability in my relationships?

Nope. Not always.

Taking a page from the Boy Scout Handbook, do I ALWAYS leave my metaphorical campground cleaner than I found it?

Are you better off for knowing me? Every time?

Is the world better off because I was here?

Do I take care with my thoughts, words, and deeds, so that I contribute to the health of the planet? Not just the eco-health of the planet. But the SOUL health of this beautiful world and ALL its inhabitants?

Well, if I don’t it is what I ASPIRE to create.

I want to participate in the health of all SOULS.

I want it to matter to you that I was here. I want to so lift others up in this world – particularly women – that they can, in turn, give their very best work to others as well.

I want to be a force for love and service in this world. I want to see you succeed. I want to see your joy. I want to feel you reaching for your OWN DREAMS. In fact, I believe that is why I have been given this particular gift at this particular time in this particular way.

I know that, whether or not I EVER get any attribution, my support of you and your beautiful DREAM, will echo in a very real and eternal way in this world.

I want to live that way. Because, when I DO, the generations before me – the great, great, great, great grandchildren of my children’s children will be better off. 

AND because I can FEEL your joy.  Truly.  I can.

THAT is a sustainability model I can get behind!

Yep, THAT’s the Fair Trade Agreement I want to reach between me and the rest of humanity. I will continue to work on my character and my craft, so that you are better positioned to LOVE AND SERVE in the beautifully artistically creative way that is uniquely you.

If your gift happens to be developing other sustainable models for the health of our planet – all the better.

And, I make you this PROMISE: If you don’t tell me that my work and my life don’t matter, I won’t denigrate your choice to use reclaimed pinecones as environmentally responsible toilet paper.

Even though, to me, that’s just a little too, – well, OUCH!

Love, Jen

Okay, three final pieces of business:

1.   If you liked this piece, please share this piece with your tribes.  It’s how we grow our community.  (Social share buttons are right below these notes.)

2.  As always, I LOVE and welcome your comments, but please know this –LAT is a community for ALL women.  That means we’re TOLERANT of each other.  If that is tricky for you, I get it.  We allow for growth here.  So read, enjoy, rant from a reference point of your OWN intolerance.  But NO disrespect or personal attacks.  If you’re mean-spirited, I’m gonna block you — sort of FOREVER!  Because that reminds me of KL in 4th grade and I’m still sort of sick of her ilk and all the perfect little girls like her. 

3.  The WINNER of my Bundt pan give-away program is ELLEN. (If you’re confused about what this is, read the post here.)  Ellen was chosen because she loves bundt cakes but hates to wash the pan.  Well, duh!!!  This way, Ellen will have an extra and she can just throw my pan out after baking in it and avoid all that washing drama.  (I KNOW.  It’s sort of ironical (ha) and NOT very environmentally flawless, but I’m claiming environmental progress rather than environmental perfection!)  ELLEN, please let me know where to send your pan — jennifer@lifeatertampons.com.

Photo: Flickr, emdot

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Comments from the LAT Wisdom Circle

67 Responses to What’s Your Spiritual “Footprint”? Emotional?

  1. Sharon Grimley says:

    All I can do is smile. I share your intolerance of intolerance, so I feel a lot better about my irritation with “how the world is”. It is a healthy reminder to worry about sweeping my own patio, rather than anyone else’s. :-)

  2. What an EXCELLENT point of view to adopt and embrace.

    Even though we have developed our sense eco-friendlienss, we have almost lost our sense of tribe and community – and the knowledge that we (our minds, bodies, spirits) are a part of the universe just as much as a cell in our bodies is a part of us! Just as we have to care for the physically tangible environment we belong to, we also have to exert the same amount of care and dedication to the emotional and energetic environment we are a part of.

    I will definitely be sharing this! Thanks for the POV and the cussing, too!
    Susan

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you, Susan. I’m saddened to agree with you about this part: “Even though we have developed our sense eco-friendlienss, we have almost lost our sense of tribe and community.”

      Having said that, I hope that our LAT community brings some of that back to women.

  3. I’ve long said, the only thing I can’t tolerate is intolerance.

    I love this idea of a spiritual and emotional footprint.

    I applaud her zeal in saving the planet on all our behalfs. I guess, I recognize that in order to have a spectrum of opinions within a cause, there must be zealots. I try to see their fervour as usefull in the overall picture. Even as I smile, nod and back away.

    I’m more of a quiet evangelist. I hope that by living my life ecologically (not perfectly), I can persuade others to make one more step in that direction.

  4. Diane says:

    So… I have this friend whose name is Julie. She called me on the phone – she didn’t text me, or send me an email, or post on my facebook wall. She. Called. Me. On. The. Telephone. to tell me about your blog. She did that because she wanted us – you and me – to be best friends. She saw a kindred spirit connection. So…I start reading your blog on a regular basis (read as…I don’t automatically delete the new LAT blog post notification from my email in-box, even when I have only two more minutes before I absolutely HAVE to wake up my teens for school if I am to avoid really crabby, bitchy, I’m-gonna-get-my-period-any-moment-now daughters). As I read each new post of yours, I laugh, I cry – well…not really as I am sort of emotionally dead inside – I smile and I admire. You truly are doing a good service, using your talents to help bring about a better world. Okay…well…that’s all I have to say. Thanks.

    • Diane says:

      …and now I have spent way too much time writing this comment. Time to wake up the girls. Lord, help me.

    • Jennifer says:

      Well, HELLooooo BFFFFFFFFF! And many thanks to Julie, too, for introducing us. She can stay. Even though I’ve replaced her. :)

  5. Crystal says:

    Condescension, judgement, and intolerance..all things I abhor (and work on within myself daily).

  6. Robin Barnes says:

    Loved this post. Becoming aware of your Spiritual/Emotional footprint is a journey I walk and attempt to live every day. Sometimes to great failure and sometimes to great joy. Becoming tolerant of others intollerance is a huge step in the “joyful” direction. Can you imagine the angst and tension that woman lives in every day….by choice! Send her love, lots of love. That will hit her so hard she wont know what to do. ;)

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you, love. And now I have to be careful not to feel morally superior to her – or worse, superior because of my “advanced” spiritual enlightenment, because, of course, if I felt that way, I actually wouldn’t BE.

  7. Christine says:

    I absolutely love this post. For serious. I know too many people on the intolerant side & I also have a severe intolerance to intolerance.

  8. Beth says:

    husbands; just you have them figured out they go do the white knight thing! Love it!

    • Jennifer says:

      Indeed! He’s happy to be all over the comments today. Now, if only I could get those diamond earrings instead of a “Honey Badger Don’t Care!” t-shirt for a gift!

  9. Crystal says:

    Oh yeah, and I have aquaintance like the person you described, except her crusade is on parenting skills or being the perfect parent or some such nonsense. I haven’t seen or spoken to her in over a year because I realized how tense and angry I became each time I was around her, waiting for her to offend me in some way. I finally decided that if you’re are not lifting me up, you’re bringing me down and I only want to be around people who lift me up….and I want people to feel the same about me.

    • Jennifer says:

      It’s really hard with kids. The “price” of making a mistake is so great there that you almost HAVE to feel like you’re “doing it right.” Until they get bigger, and start making all kinds of dumbass decisions. And THEN you start reading all that stuff about our kids not being a reflection on us. Until they do something amazing like 5 seconds later, and then THAT is because of what you taught them in 3rd grade. Until they’re dipshits again, so, of course, THEN, they’re “just like their father.”

      and so on.

  10. Sally Branch says:

    Well now, I’m not sure I agree with you any more. (I would have done, a while ago). But whether I can find the words to say why…well you can be the judge of that! The thing is, who has suffered here? As you say, it’s not so much what she said (i.e her beliefs) (though you might disagree with some of it), it’s that she believed it was the ‘right’ way to think. And where there is a right way, there must be wrong way, of course. Yours, in this case! (And anyone else’s who sees things as you do). And yet this just another of her beliefs. Neither true nor untrue. So maybe the same self-enquiry (I wonder why this is bugging me?) is useful here too? Just a thought :-)

  11. jane london says:

    Oh, Jen. I KNOW this woman:) I’ve been a radio host for a very long time and some of the comments, emails, phone calls that I’ve received over the years would curl your hair.
    One of my favorites are the ones I meet in social situations, where inevitably someone else has to point out what I do for a living and there is ALWAYS one person who HAS to say “oh, I ONLY listen to NPR”. Which sounds alot like your ‘friend’ with the internet bias:)
    Having said that, like you, I’m sure that I’ve been just as guilty of being an intolerant “I know better than you” asshole on occasion, as well. (Oh, shit…i cursed…sorry)
    As I like to remind myself internally, on the radio and on my own blog, humans are an imperfect, messy lot.
    I love the honesty of this post because we’ve all been in your situation and really the person that’s annoying us has the real issues, no?
    Carry on!

    • Jennifer says:

      Jane, you’re so brave. Lordy the feedback you must get. Think of how strong your ego-strength is getting. And I NEVER listen to NPR — too smart for me.

  12. Katharine says:

    I LOVE your swearing! :) It’s part of the wonderfully real, rooted, funny voice you have here.

    And a fantastic argument about the intolerability of intolerance.

  13. The concept of a spiritual/emotional footprint has been with me for a long time … just never really thought of the terms for it. I like that you’ve labeled it :) Intolerance in many cases would indicate there is only one “right” way which then means everybody else is wrong. I was kind of raised this way and it took me a long time to see that usually there are several “right” ways to get something done … just some are more efficient/effective than others. I’ve come to the conclusion that folks can pretty much get the job done the way that works best for them … as long as I don’t have to do it (I’m giving up my perfectionist, gotta do it all myself ways).

  14. Lynne Spreen says:

    I have a suspicion that most behavior is motivated by fear. The more fearful a person is, the less tolerant. Usually, anyway.

    As to the intractability of some people’s beliefs, the best thing I ever read on this – it’ll haunt you, like it did me – was this piece by Sam Harris. You’ll never look at a cozy fireplace/campfire as benign ever again, and it’s an awesome metaphor: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-fireplace-delusion.
    PS hope you are feeling better. I reposted your balding blog post and a number of my friends recommended you check with your doc about HRT, which I’m sure you already did.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you, Lynne. His piece was an eye-opener. And I did talk to my doctor about that. But even now, there’s this new little crop of regrowth coming back in. So I sort of look like menopausal Cyndi Lauper. That’s cool. I really dig her.

      I just looked up the spelling of her name and she’s in Wikipedia. I wanna be in Wikipedia. How many readers do you think I need before I get there???

  15. Amy says:

    Spiritual and emotional footprint…that’s a brilliant thought and idea. Something I will remember
    Thank you!

    • Jennifer says:

      You’re welcome, though it was my dear friend, Mari who gave it to me. Right off the cuff, too. BRILL! Thank GOD for grounded women who DO THEIR (SPIRITUAL) WORK!!!!

  16. Ruth Seba says:

    Hehe! thanks for the smile in my afternoon. Have a great weekend YOUR way!

  17. Colleen says:

    Hi Jen! You are a better woman than I am because I would have verbally laid her out! She sounds like a completely rude beotch and it’s a shame that you even have to spend time in her presence!

    I totally agree with your desire to “leave the campground cleaner than you found it”, but how is it always possible to do that without selling yourself out? One thing that I am learning is to be true to myself, to speak up for myself, to disagree, to stop always being a follower, a joiner, stop always doing what is easy or “accepted”…

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you, Colleen!!! For getting OUTRAGED on my behalf. That is SOOOOO awesome. It’s okay, though. We don’t know what we don’t know until we know it. She doesn’t know some stuff. I’m SURE I don’t know some stuff. And I’m also sure that — that stuff I don’t know?? I’m pretty certain that I don’t know that I don’t know it yet, either.

      And, when I DO know it, I’m gonna need mercy and forgiveness. I so appreciate you, LOVE!!!!!

  18. Reminds me of a quote from Paulo Coelho, “it is one thing to think you are on the right path, it is another thing to think that your path is the only one.”

    One valuable lesson I have learned on this journey (South America) is that we think that what we know is all there is to know. I agree with Lynne’s comment. Our fear of the unknown holds us back from discovering new things. So, when we meet someone who dares do something that goes against our beliefs, we feel threatened. We do not like to have our world shaken up.
    A few months ago, I wrote a post about seeking first to understand, then to be understood. About, how one person in my Spanish class insisted on giving the teacher a lecture on how Argentines will never be able to compete with the rest of the world because of their way of doing things. Now, it is not to say that he was right or wrong, however, had he taken the time to understand the root of their culture, he would have had a different approach.
    As humans, we like having an influence on others. We like to impose our beliefs, it is probably a way to make us feel valued and hide behind our fear. There is nothing wrong with sharing our experiences with others, actually it is amazing when we share our knowledge with the world! I believe we would have a major break through in human relations if we first seek to understand others. Most of our beliefs come from past experiences. We do not all experiences the same challenges through out our course of life. It is what makes us unique!

    • Valerie says:

      Thank you for this quote and comment. Really useful and thoughtful. And Jen, GREAT post. One of the best ever (though I understand, in respect to others’ opinions, that there may be other perspectives…).

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m so glad you took that leap of faith and are writing now. The world needs your beautiful heart!!

  19. Don’t worry Jen, in my underwater world, WTF means , “What’s That Fish?” (smile)

    I was reading the other day about the backlash against people who blog about living your passion. It was incredible, the intolerance. Generally people who wish they could do what you do, as you mentioned.

    And lately, I’ve been on a rant about the lack of authenticity in the world, especially with the advent of the internet where people can hide behind what they really are and then scream and yell about others.

    I am also a pretty hard core environmentalist but you don’t “convince” people to your way of thinking by dis-ing on their lifestyle choices. She’s only making it worse, obviously!

    And……good for your hubby for championing you…as he should! I’m quite INTOLERANT of unsupportive husbands!

    • Jennifer says:

      You ALWAYS make me smile. Thank you!!!! I wanna come and swim with you and learn about the fishes.

  20. I can really relate to the “bring your broom of judgment over to my yard and start sweeping off my patio”. That is a great line. I have someone in my life who likes to do this, especially where it concerns my children, and I have had to tell her to stop many times, although she rarely does. You always make a good point and I enjoy reading. And the swearing makes you more real, so don’t stop.

  21. Georgia says:

    This reminds me so much of the work of Brene Brown around shame and how our culture seems to thrive on shaming others — I highly recommend her book The Gifts of Imperfection — it certainly changed my way of thinking (and thank you for your post – it helped put me in a new place in my brain!)

    • Jennifer says:

      Okay, heard Brene Brown’s name TWICE today. gotta check it out. Thanks so much. And I just wrote a HUGE piece on shame that I’ve haven’t figured out how to use yet. It’s such an important discussion.

  22. Barbara says:

    Maybe you should print this post on some recycled paper, using vegetable/plant based ink, and walk it over to her house….She might read it then, because otherwise it would be wasteful…

    • Jennifer says:

      ha! My husband just told me that today is like national bike to work day, or something like that. since I work from home, i didn’t have far to go, so I’m even MORE environmentally sound, i walked up and down the stairs a couple of times and had a peanut butter sandwich, though.

  23. Thank you Jen I laughed! I totally agree with your trepidation for this womans pert behavior but maybe her rigidity is a symptom of unhappiness. And your husband should be praised for standing behind you and your environmental contribution, seeking to make our world a better place with the LAT. So here’s my confession of intolerance…
    I learn things about myself everyday, some things I like and some I don’t but I am finally coming to understand that everyone is made in the image of the Creator, imperfect yet accepted and approved without judgment. I recently reached the point when I realized I was truly unhappy so I asked myself why, why do I pass judgment on others when my life is in emotional turmoil. I found that it was all because I let judgment and intolerance of myself and others rule. Accepting that was the first step on the path to a healthier happier life of willingness and acceptance without judgment.

    • Jennifer says:

      Be loving to yourself. And truly, you all need to STOP saying nice things about my husband, because it’s SERIOUSLY gonna mess up the balance of power over here.

  24. Susie says:

    Love this. I get you, yes. It’s when “the broom of intolerance” comes over to my porch that I get intolerant of the intolerant. And show me a person who has “never sweared” and ‘ll show you a liar. Peace baby, you’re just getting started. :)

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you, love. Actually, if they wanna come and scrub a couple of toilets, I might be good there. I don’t mind sweeping the patio, though. Gets me out of the house and off the Internet, which is, of course, the symbol of all that is wrong with this world.

      Honestly. It’s just a tool!!! Like the trowel you use to plant your heirloom organic tomatoes.

  25. Sandy Morris says:

    Jen, once again you have hit the nail on the head! Just this morning I read a friend’s facebook post regarding a picture of a soldier in the desert. It was about how we complain about the heat here at home, and then there they are in 120 degrees carrying all of their gear with that uniform on. The barrage of insults that followed from both sides of the fence on the whole war issue and who is right and who is wrong, who is a so and so, and who is a sissy and blah blah blah made me seriously want to puke. Actually it made me sad. Very sad. It hurts my heart. It seems that people have decided that it is super-important to not only ‘sweep your neighbor’s porch with your broom of judgement’, but to beat them over the head with your broom until they keel over dead and then dance on their corpse. It hurts my heart so bad that I have to run hard the other way. Quickly. Then my heart sobs. I think that beating someone up with your opinions in deference to ‘selling out’ is just an excuse to hurt someone, which in my opinion, doesn’t solve or prove a dang thing. I’m with you Jen, just be kind. As our mom’s used to say, “If you can’t say something nice…”

    As far as cussing goes, I am always reminded of one of my favorite old loves. He used to say, “You know, my dad always said that swearing is the last resort of a person lacking creativity. I disagree! Swearing can be very creative and very liberating!” He and I used to swear with great glee and gusto, and it always made us smile and laugh. I think it is an expressive and humorous use of creative language and is the sign of an uninhibited, spirited individual when used in moderation and in the right context! I come from a long line of cussers and we all know when to bite our tongue and when to let ‘er fly! Love you! Keep up the good work!

    • Jennifer says:

      “Damn straight!” as they say in Texas! And, believe, I can be VERY creative and innovative when it comes to cussing. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a contest sometime? Like some YouTube cussing festival. Just riffing here. No biggie!

      • Sandy Morris says:

        Actually Jen, this friend of mine and I have done that!! It’s hilarious! We were comparing all of the cusswords we have heard in our travels until we were practically peeing our pants! I LOVE her!!

  26. Sarah O says:

    Ohh, can so relate to this one. Coming from a very politically left, environmentally sensitive community, I’m sometimes scared to bring up my new gig as an online blogger and business person. The raised eyebrows and little sneers tell it all. My Lizard Brain hops in with all kinds of reasons why I’m just goofing off with this and why aren’t I doing anything to save the planet. Ugh!
    That’s why I’ve learned to avoid those judging circles, or at least avoid bringing up such subjects. At least as much as possible.

    Like you I despise intolerance of all sorts. And it really hurts to see people who believe in MY SIDE doing it in an intolerant way. I mean, WTF? But there it is. The religious left is just as annoying as the religious right.

    BTW – your husband sounds like an absolute sweetie. He’s got your back!

  27. Christiena says:

    Bahahahaha… Nice post Jennifer :D Yep, intolerant of intolerance and injustice – especially the underhanded, sneaky kind.

    The reason there’s 7 billion people in this world is so that the chance of at least some being on the same page as us is good. Those who aren’t can find their own like-minded soul family someplace else.

    Sometimes we gotta stop questioning where our role in a miss-match was and simply say “fuck it” and move on. Can’t waste time wondering why they’re close-minded, jealous, inflexible, etc or whether the problem lies with us and our thinking. We got living and loving and laughing to do.

    Just be the best you that you can be. Just continue to be real. It’s why we keep coming back for more.

  28. Jeanette says:

    Great post and responses. I believe in the ripple effect. We cast our stones in our small ponds and they ripple out and into other parts of the world. Intentional tosses needed.

    What you do here is life-giving, Jen. Keep tossing your stones (and cussing…humor is a gem of a rock!)

  29. Ayana says:

    I love this blog and all the posts because they make me think … not necessarily always agree with any or all but definitely clarify my stance in life.

    Hmmm … Someone made a comment that summed it for me:
    “Can’t waste time wondering why they’re close-minded, jealous, inflexible, etc or whether the problem lies with us and our thinking. We got living and loving and laughing to do.”
    I say YES! Yes we can!
    That, in my opinion, a contradiction in itself. The closed minded, jealous, inflexible, PEDANTIC, etc. are the people who need our loving the most (isn’t that what “living and loving” are all about?). Oh heck it’s easy to love those who like us … but …

    I want to tell you I was “one of those”: Inflexible and pedantic. One day not too long ago when I was ready do do some more “sweeping” I asked one of my angel-daughters, whom I trust with my life, about something that was dangerously close to my heart. Her answer contained a word -unbeknown to her, and me – that changed my life. It went straight to my heart like an arrow and its profound impact helped me to see with self compassion and clarity what all my real trouble was.

    Pedantic, jealous, intolerant, inflexible, closed minded people become that way because of fear. It is their form of self defence. I’ll personalize that:
    IT WAS MY FORM OF SELF DEFENCE, because I was threatened by my own perceived inadequacies.
    I connected the dots. I realized that I had nothing to fear. I felt at peace with myself and life felt safe for the first time ever. Magically I saw no need to “be right”. I could have my own opinions and smile to myself, or not. I could actually for the first time be peacefully weighing in my own mind if voicing my opinion would actually contribute or not, which in the past I was uncontainable: wether you liked it or not you’d get my 2 cents worth. I had to be worth something. I needed to be/sound intelligent. I needed to be/feel important.

    Offensive people need love the most. We can love them best by calling them up on their intolerance, or rather how they display their intolerance, because after all some intolerance is good. Why tolerate child abuse, family violence, bullying etc, etc, When the way I shared my contribution became offensive people either fled or called me names, but no-one ever told me how it made them feel. I had no idea that my feelings of inadequacy (all my life I thought I was dumb) which I was trying to compensate by sounding so intelligent, would actually detract from my message and would antagonize people by being disrespectful. NO IDEA! So I concluded people were jealous, mean, whatever. Not my fault, their fault. A never ending loop that would isolate me and disconnect me from everyone.

    It isn’t their intolerance that irritates, it’s their way of making it personal, offensive to us. And when it is, how lucky for us that we have this opportunity to grow through it. When someone bugs me, if I remember, it helps to ask myself “What is it about this situation that annoys me?” Notice I used “situation” instead of “person”. Then I can own it … Because after all it is all about me, always.
    Hahahaa!

    Yes, life is about Living Loving and Laughing!

    ~Ayana

    • Christiena says:

      I hear you Ayana and you make some very thoughtful points.

      I don’t recall stating not loving the close-minded, inflexible etc. We live with and encounter such people every day and they are all as deserving of love and respect as any other. And I do. I’ve been and sometimes still am just such a thinker.

      Some people who we ‘percieve’ to have such thinking are just not interested in the love, understanding and respect we have to give. They don’t see they have a problem (it is our perception after all).

      They might think the issue is with us, they may not be ready for growth…etc. What ever the case may be – we don’t need to analyze and question every, single one. That isn’t our job.

      Our job is to be the best version of who we are. By being real, being true to ourselves, we teach by example. Some people are just not interested in our finest example. That’s ok. There are many other fine examples for them to choose from. If they’re interested.

      I analyze myself, my thinking and my own behaviour to improve my own best example. Unless a person asks or shows interest in some way to do that for or with them – should I make a point of doing so? To analyze and question and point out their thinking and behaviours. Based on what I percieve?

      I believe that would be a display of intolerance. One I used to master before I learned that to change my life I needed to change me, not my environment or the people in it.

  30. Ayana says:

    My message was offering a perspective from the irritator rather than from the irritated.
    At some point I realized I needed to be loved … first of all by ME. I saw how and why I was being offensive and in similar ways to all other “intolerants”.
    What precipitated my healing was first my desire for change, second my request for help, third my openness and fourth my willingness to let go … But, the key to all of that was the LOVING word of my daughter.

    I believe that loving someone never includes wanting to change them but rather to accept them the way they are, without analysis; by changing our thinking from judging and labelling them as intolerant, closed minded etc, to accepting that they are simply not being receptive at that time for whatever reason or perhaps fears they may have, and leave them alone.

    It is when someone is abusive about it that I refer to speaking up and reminding them, bringing respect to the scene, because a difference of opinion does not have to become a personal thing. I know I would have benefitted from knowing when and how I offended someone. I believe most people are doing the best they can with what they have, and are not meaning to injure, yet they do so without knowing.

    Personally, I am not interested in teaching anyone anything … and as long as I am alive, by default I will be an example of something … good or bad.
    But if I can give to anyone what my daughter unknowingly gave to me that afternoon on Mother’s day, with her pure and humble gesture, then I will know I have contributed in the highest way. Like her, I may never know it. It doesn’t matter.

    I am of the idea that everyone wants to be loved, respected and understood. We can do so even with our silence.

    For a long time I’ve been admiring and learning from trees. They simply give … everything … shade, shelter, beauty, oxygen, fragrance, flowers, fruit, wood, nourishment, etc. etc. without judgment, opinion, complaint, worry … unconditionally, without whining, analysis or ego.
    They simply take everything they can only to return it in infinite ways.

    That is my answer to Jen’s question.

  31. Laura says:

    I am pondering my emotional/spiritual footprint. Hmmmm……
    Yesterday it was black/brownyucky/heart muck. My daughter and I had a difficult road trip back from a good week at the beach. We left saying I love you, but really we wanted each other to be different in the car. Sigh.
    Heartprint.

  32. Tanya says:

    mmmm…. what to say???

    okay so part of me wants to hunt her down and show her just how rude and full of Shit she is!!! and the other part feels VERY sorry for her!!! silly cow…

    like she is perfect?? or her percepition is perfect?? 12345678910…… ok, ok, calm down Tanya…..

    Jen, i love your blogs and i appreciate this community, and even though i am new to this electronic/ internet world, i am learning and enjoying the journey! so from me to you, stay just the way you are as you are uniquely you and there are many of us who love you and love your writing, please don’t take to heart ANY thing she said and keep doing the execellent work you do.

    as for this poor lady, just a note to her, incase she was to check this blog in seceret…. Chic Really???? life is full of different cultures, beliefs and perceptions, each of us see life through different eyes, you are entiled to your opinions, but to dis-respect someone like that is not right, we are meant to love people, not necessarily have to like them, but love them enough to allow them to be themselves too and value the contribution they bring into this world of ours!!!

    ok, so now i feel bit better….

    so my footprint….. to treat others the way i would like to be treated (doesnt always happen….. but i try….) and live my life in a way that would show others how to be positive and see the good in our world…..

    have a great day to all…..

    lotsa love
    Tanya

  33. Louise says:

    “When it comes to value systems, our lack of mutual understanding and respect is the fertile ground upon which intolerance blooms.”

    Perfectly said. Hence why our world suffers with so much war and hatred.

    I am in your camp. Emotional and Spiritual footprint is what I want to set in the sand during my time on the planet. I live and breathe by:

    “Be the change you want to see in the world” – I try to do that quietly and not let the evangelists get the best of me.

    Great work.

  34. Christopher says:

    Intolerance of intolerance. I share it as well.

    Ben Franklin, who had a large part on the success of this country, preached tolerance for all. If it wasn’t about compromise and letting others be “right” on occasion, “The Declaration of Indepence” would never have been.

    Love it Jennifer. Your perspective is lovely.

  35. Teresa says:

    For a few weeks now, I have longed to read your posts. I do subscribe but it takes me some time to get caught up.

    You are one hell of a writer and your humorist gift of captivating your mid-life posse is that of writers who do shows like Friends, Seinfeld, etc., you might consider getting a side gig for comedy because you are brilliant!

    This is another important topic.
    I echo your thoughts about intolerance of intolerance.
    I appreciate your touching upon so graciously and gracefully that we all have ‘stuff’ we get reflections of from others when our buttons are pushed, BUT, it’s not always because we mirror their behavior. Sometimes it is a matter of owning our own perspective as maybe the better way, just as they see theirs as you illustrated perfectly!

    You made me giggle several times.
    You managed to hold your potty mouth just enough but allowed a little slip here and there…I happen to love the F-word but never use it in public or around other people’s kids…NEVER! But, it’s a word and my pre-teen knows my saying it is an adult choice and he’s not allowed and he never does, but at least he heard it from me first and I am not hiding it. They hear worse stuff at school in this day and age!

    Anyway, I love who you are and you do make a difference.
    Those who don’t find resonance maybe just need some time to figure it out.

    Thank you for this beautiful piece.
    Your written brush strokes are magnificent!

  36. Shaleen says:

    I loved the ‘shit’ slip up Jen. oops!

    I also love the emotional and spiritual imprint idea. I try to remember to bring love to all my interactions and yet, much as I recognise this as great spiritual practise, it’s certainly not for the faint hearted!

    At times I feel my own intolerance button getting pushed and I know it’s time for some self introspection. As you well know, that’s not much fun WTF!.. however you certainly remind me to keep my humour button locked on!

    Thanks Jennifer:-)

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