All posts by J. Emm

I live in northern Canada. My blogs are reflections and observations on life, spirituality, Adult ADHD, personal development, physically fitness, and health.

Those Troublesome Apologies

Over the past couple weeks we witnessed a well-known celebrity make terrible attempts to “apologise” for something she had written towards a another woman on social media. This celebrity had become comfortable over the past few decades with making degrading comments that were sexist (towards men and women), racist, anti-Jewish, anti-Islamic, and anti-Christian. She also had a habit of posting fake news about political issues she didn’t support and trash talking about Americans who were working hard to survive in a currently hostile America. No one was guaranteed to be spared from her malignant comments in the media. Eventually someone with the power to make this woman pay expensive and creative consequences for her actions did so.

I’ll refer to this celebrity as Mean Marri. When Mean Marri realized her consequences were real and costly she did what so many do when they can’t accept that they have done something truly wrong to another person. Marri gave a weak and insincere apology and when she saw that it wasn’t working she became angrier and defense. She then moved on to making up ridiculous and impossible reasons for why she had written such a mean post about another woman.

Reading over Marri’s supporters comments about the incident, I realised there are people who don’t know what is involved in an apology. I found Marri’s post to be stomach turning and her response to the backlash left myself and others further upset with her. If your apology is not sincere or you don’t believe you have something to apologise for, then please, in the name of integrity, don’t apologise. A fake meaningless apology only adds fuel to the fire and is insultive to the person(s) you are “apologising” to. It means you think the offended is foolish enough to believe you.

God has not called us to make false apologies. We are always welcomed to come before him with the truth about our wrongs, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:3); he already knows in advance what we have done. Once we have come before God we can approach another with a sincere apology and desire to repair what has been broken. This can be done only if contact will not cause emotional or physical harm or be a threat to people’s safety.

Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” James 5:16

The beauty of the relationship between an apology and forgiveness is the emotional healing that takes place either individually or between all parities involved. God is a healer, he offers us grace and forgiveness so that we in turn can apologise to those we have hurt and those who have been hurt can forgive us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Apologises aren’t there for the purpose of saving one’s reputation, peacemaking, keeping one’s job, avoiding a lawsuit, gaining a personal advantage, or for any selfish motives. Apologies are spiritual, and they are there to humble us, help us grow, bring about self-awareness, and draw us closer to God and people.

If you have wronged another person or have been accused of wronging someone and are having a difficult time apologising, bring the situation to God. He will reveal to you what you have done wrong and if you are open to his spiritual correction you can work towards rectifying the situation in a healthy manner.


Not everyone knows what is involved in an apology and why apologies are important in a civil society. Here are some links below to articles and videos that can help you with offering or accepting an apology (Click the titles):

How To Apologize: Asking for Forgiveness Gracefully

How To Apologize: The 7 Steps of a Sincere Apology

How To Apologize: 5 Elements of a Successful I’m Sorry

 

 

Sheepwalking Through Your Life

“I define sheepwalking as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them brain – dead jobs and enough fear to keep them in line. You’ve probably encountered someone who is sheepwalking. “ Seth Godin, in his book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

I think Seth Godin is correct, I bet we all know or have met someone who works obediently in a brain – dead, and possibly dead- end job. The reasons for people remaining in those jobs are varied. For some it is fear, for others, they simply don’t care, the job provides a pay cheque and that’s all that matters to them. For others, they stay in these positions because the right opportunity to leave or move into another position hasn’t happened yet.

A manager at my last job was a shepherd to sheepwalkers, let’s just say her and I did not jell well. Until she was hired I had a position that allowed me a lot of autonomy and flexibility. This position freed me to help low-income people by filling in some much-needed gaps in the service this organization provided. The newly hired manager had no experience in the industry yet began making sweeping changes as soon as she was hired. Amidst all these abrupt and ill-fitting changes, she awarded the sheeps who followed along without question and punished those who dared to ask questions.

During my time working with this manager I realized she made no efforts to include staff in the plans she had for her department; workers never knew when a sudden change in policy or operations would occur. Sometimes she even made up changes on the spot. Feedback, thoughts, and observations were not welcomed to be shared in team meetings; this was seen by her to be insubordination.

During my time working within this manager’s department I observed a very important lesson: if you are passionate about the work that you do, you will never be content with being a sheepwalker.

People who have a passion for their work, or those who are creative, resourceful, and vision oriented will eventually feel suppressed, unsupported, and unmotivated. Staff need a certain amount of freedom and flexibility in order to remain creatively productive.

Sheepwalkers don’t put their heart into the work they do, instead they focus on what it takes to please their superior. This type of work doesn’t even consider pleasing customers as their goal or providing patrons with a decent product; their only purpose is to make their supervisors happy.

I understand that not everyone can speak up or leave their positions, but I challenge people who are in these situations to think about what other areas of their lives have them sheepwalking or sleepwalking.

What are your interests? Are you able to freely feed this interest? This doesn’t have to be something major, it can be as simple as being free to choose what restaurant you and your friends/family are going to eat at, what movie you’re going to watch, being able to decide if you are going to stay home or go out, volunteering in positions that genuinely interests you, or maybe becoming a board member and providing your knowledge and skills to a non-profit organization.

What’s important to remember is that if you are in a work position where you spend 40 hours a week being a ‘sheepwalker’ you are going to need an outlet outside of your workplace where you can use your mind and feed your imaginative and creative self somehow; if not, there will be an important part of yourself that is not being fed. If you are not practicing this type of self care, you leave yourself vulnerable to burnout.

Check in with yourself periodically and ask yourself, are there other areas in my life where I am able to be creative or contribute my thoughts and ideas?

 

 

 

Comfort and Clutter: Spring Cleaning is About Values

Spring Cleaning Time

 

Since Easter Monday I have been decluttering each day. This is my version of spring cleaning.

There are a lot of YouTube videos and blog articles on the topic of minimalism. I always tell people that you don’t have to be a minimalist to get useful information, tips, and advice from minimalists. Minimalism isn’t for me at this time, but I seek out information from minimalists because they don’t just show you how to declutter; their approach removing things from your space involves looking at reasons why you have a difficult time getting rid of items, why you purchase certain things, and why excess of anything (material goods, food, physical space, etc.) is a part of your life.

By the time I ended my first day of mass decluttering I ended up getting rid of 35 books. Some of these books had been a part of my life since 2005, some, for less than a month. I also threw away two standard recycle bags full of paper (research and journal articles) that I had used over the years to write various papers for my graduate courses. As I sat down and looked at these bags I wondered why I had kept these books and papers; what a waste of much needed space. My bookshelves and paper piles were not messy, instead, they were neatly ordered by topic and area of research. Sometimes having a tidy space gives the impression that because everything is neat and orderly, it somehow has a purpose; it gives the false impression that it belongs in the home.

 

Here are three great values that I have learned from minimalists in the past week. I highly recommend seeking out information from different types of minimalists for when you are ready to declutter, spring clean, go shopping, or make lifestyle changes about the material goods you want to keep as part of your life.

 

1.

Find what works for you.  Everyone has a different motivation, goal, or style.  Figure out what yours is, and stick to it. For me, the results were my motivation. The thought of walking into a clutter-free home where everything had its place and was hand-selected because it brought me joy, was very appealing.” Tania McDonald from, Thefinancialdiet.com

http://thefinancialdiet.com/6-realistic-ways-to-practice-minimalism-that-dont-suck/

2.

“No matter what your conviction is about living with less, just know that it doesn’t have to look any one way. One of the most beautiful aspects of a minimalistic lifestyle is that you can shape it however you like. Items other people need may not be items you need. The role stuff plays in our lives is solely based on the needs of the owner.” Melanie and Jeremy Scroggins from Winnebago Life

https://winnebagolife.com/2017/11/a-realistic-view-of-minimalism

3.

“Decorations. Many of the decorations in our homes hold no personal value to our lives. They just simply happened to match the color of the carpet or be on sale when we walked into the store. Unfortunately, they are distracting you and your guests from the decorations in your home that share your story and highlight your values. Take a moment to walk through your home with a discerning eye. Leave only the decorations that are the most meaningful and the most beautiful. Your home will begin to share your story in a beautiful way. And your old decorations will likely end up on sale at your next garage sale.” Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/sample-living-with-less/

Hate Doing Dishes

Preparing for Lent 2018

Lent image.jpg

This year Lent begins on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018. If feels like Christmas just barely ended and now we are on to the second half of the wonderful story of God’s love for us all.

There is a misconception that Lent is only for Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, however, I am pleased to inform everyone that Lent is celebrated and observed by believers from a variety of denominations.

Every year I make it clear to people that Lent is not about punishing yourself or making yourself miserable for 40 days. Lent is about joining Jesus in the desert to grow closer to God. Lent is an active way to remember that we are dependent on God for our spiritual strength and that despite having an abundance of material goods, nothing can satisfy our souls except God.

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.” Luke 4: 1-4

Jesus was never alone during those 40 days, the spirit of God was with him. When we struggle it may feel as if God is absent, and the lies we tell ourselves may lead to the belief that God has abandoned us, but that is not the nature of our Lord, he is with us always. The feeling of absence is called emotional and spiritual pain.

God doesn’t test us and we are told not to test him (Luke 4:7). “Testing” others is a form of manipulation and this type of behaviour has no place in a relationship, especially the one we have with God.

In the desert Jesus shows us how to respond to temptations and anything that enters our lives that threatens to remove God from being the most important in our lives; he shows us to respond with truth and the word of God.

For Lent 2018 I will be reading Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life, by Trish Harrison Warren. I chose this book because I wanted to learn to be present to the presence of God in my daily, ordinary activities and interactions. And, if you’re wondering what I’m “giving up” for Lent, the answer is nothing. I decided that the words and obsession with “giving up” can easily lead us to focus too much on accomplishing a habitual goal instead of the spiritual experience of gaining a deeper relationship with God. During Lent I will intentionally engage in prayer walks. Walking is something I find deeply meditative and calming. I haven’t been walking much lately and I can see how it has affected my spiritual disciplines and prayer life. Winters in northern Canada can be brutal, and this year we’ve had a lot of snow, and this has been my reason for not doing much walking.

For those 40 days I will be doing daily prayer walks. What I’ve “given up” is idle time that is often spent on Netflix, going to the fridge or cupboard for snacks, Facebooking, or other activities that aren’t adding much to my life. The idea of Lent isn’t to give up things that are sinful or unhealthy for you (these things are best given up forever, not for a mere 40 days). The goal is to engage in increased prayer, reflection, and charitable giving or works.

However you chose to celebrate the love and redemption that God gives us, my hope is that it will bring you closer to him and provide a deeper understanding of the power and strength provided to us by his Holy Spirit.