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Life Lessons and Change

Freelance Writing LessonsBy Lori Widmer

The meditation group I belong to teaches us about life’s sanskara, or the stuff that keeps coming up throughout our lives that must be dealt with.

For example, suppose you keep meeting the same type of person as you’re dating. No matter how far outside your comfort zone you look, that new person soon starts acting like or resembling in some way your former dating mishaps.


Or suppose you have long felt harassed by your aunt, who has a sharp tongue and doesn’t mind belittling you in front of anyone within earshot. Or maybe you have a tendency to hire shady contractors.

It’s all sanskara, which means these situations are probably going to continue presenting themselves in your life until you find the strength or the patience to finally deal with them effectively.

In your working relationships, you’re going to see them. It’s the stuff that keeps recurring in your client base. For example, mine is the recurrence of clients who bring in posses to edit what I’ve already edited. Or it’s the return of clients who are unorganized and want it yesterday.

In my personal relationships, I’ve come across so many self-centered, arrogant people that I’m sure it’s my sanskara to learn to accept them and look to their more endearing qualities instead of focusing on how I want to shake them and scream “You’re not that special!” It isn’t that these people are any more flawed than we are – it’s that maybe we have perceptions of how they are based on how they affect our perceptions of ourselves.


According to Hindu principles, this stuff, the chum that’s churned up in your life, is going to keep recurring until you figure out a way to deal with it internally. In fact, even then the issue(s) may never fully leave you. It’s there to strengthen your conscience, bring some clarity to your awareness, and help you gain insight into your self. If you continue to allow the stuff to cause turmoil, it’s just going to keep coming up. That’s not a bad thing – it’s a lesson waiting to be learned.

So it goes with client sanskara.

Consider:

  • What’s your sanskara with clients?
  • What client issues keep recurring in your career?
  • How have you dealt with it in the past?
  • What can you do to deal with it in the future?
  • What do you need to do in order to let go of the frustration and move to a more controlled, professional place when these people waltz into your work day?

Let’s talk about it.

Lori Widmer blogs at Words on the Page. You can learn more about her at her business site, and if you want to follow her on twitter it’s: http://twitter.com/LoriWidmer

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Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • I’m learning how to ask for compromise when something’s not working, instead of just toughing it out.

    One thing I won’t do is accept people who don’t respect me or act disrespectfully towards me. I’ve cut slack before, and no longer do so.
    Devon Ellington recently posted..Monday, June 21, 2010My Profile

    • I think that’s a great lesson, Devon. And that you’ve asserted yourself in order to say something isn’t working is great. Why we water signs refuse to do that sometimes is baffling, but we don’t think twice about being put out. It’s the need to help maybe – it’s a wonderful characteristic, but we suffer for it the most. 🙂
      Lori recently posted..Dressing for the JobMy Profile

    • Anne

      Oh, excellent way of doing it Devon, tell s more.

  • In my case, it’s the day job, which is fraught with frustrations and backhanded evil (I’m not the only ones who notice or feel this way about it). It comes from above, which we can’t do anything about. We just have to joke about it while we hang in there and wait until things resolve themselves, or we can find an out.

    I’m not sure what this is supposed to teach me. Patience? Well, I’m as patient as I’m ever going to get. One thing it has done is kick me toward finding my path in the writing world, and getting other things together so I can escape when the moment presents itself. Also, in order to survive here, I’ve had to stop caring, but I still ,care. I just don’t get so upset about stuff anymore.
    Elizabeth West recently posted..Grrrr!!!My Profile

    • I’m stealing this line – “backhanded evil” – perfect description of corporate life. 🙂

      I think it’s supposed to teach you either to assert yourself politically or leap onto your next path fearlessly. Hang in there, Elizabeth.
      Lori recently posted..Monthly Assessment – May 2010My Profile

    • Anne

      Elizabeth, I second what Lori says is your lesson… to move on.

  • Thanks so much for this post, and to all for the corresponding comments. So many times I’ve seen this at work in my life, and sometimes it takes me a minute to step back, look at things objectively and say “now what is it I’m supposed to be getting from this?” It’s a constant learning experience, this life, and I’m being able to find the gratitude within for my lessons as well as my joys.

    I was recently introduced to a book called Streetwise Spirituality by Carol Marleigh Kline. It’s a book geared towards women and it approaches the subject of repeating patterns and how they truly are opportunities for enlightenment and change. It does this by highlighting the three simple life skills—patience, perseverance, and adaptability—needed to help us make a turnaround and that these are the links between everyday life and spirit. It all presents real world examples of women we can all relate to and find ourselves in their stories. I highly recommend it to anyone who is recognizing their treadmill of repeating patterns, thoughts and emotions. It will help!

    Thanks again for this post. I will share forward to all who can benefit!
    Molly recently posted..MollyB777: Currently reading "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" and "Streetwise Spirituality" – and soon, "Fly with Wounded Wings" and then, who knows? =)My Profile

    • Anne

      Thanks Molly… I certainly can benefit from that. Glad to have you here.

    • Anne

      Molly, do you mean for your link to last blog to go to twitter? Didn’t know comment luv could do that.

      Streetwise Spirituality sounds good.

  • What a great post! I was reading something on this yesterday and did an exercise to see where I needed to make a “shift.” Mine is to set my rates and stick with them. To really own that I do add value to clients. If they can’t see that then they’re not the clients for me. Also, to accept that I’m entrepreneurial and that I’m good at it.
    Rebecca recently posted..DIY Websites Can Give Writers a MigraineMy Profile

  • The gang edit – good term for it, Carol. 🙂

    Cathy, maybe it’s because now you don’t have time for jerking around – your career is in full swing and these people are wasting your time!
    Lori recently posted..Monthly Assessment – May 2010My Profile

  • I feel like awareness is a huge part of this. You have to be willing to accept the things that aren’t always in your favor, which can be nasty sometimes.

    Sanskara is a much deeper idea than just the frustrations dealt with clients. It’s about all the things that color your life. Being mindful of the things that affect us is so important, and understanding sanskara means understanding that things may affect us more than we can understand while they are happening, and then dealing with them efficiently down the line.

  • Love a philosophical slap on the side of the head. 🙂

    My recurring issue is the client that is always late for scheduled calls, reschedules calls all the time (like a week later), and never lets me know until I call or email that they are going to miss the scheduled call.

    Funny how it didn’t bother me as much when I first started, but now it does. But then, I’m busier now, with more clients. Some days, I’m cool-other times, not so much.
    Cathy Miller recently posted..You Can Learn a Lot From a Sports FanMy Profile

  • Aah, the gang edit — that’s one of my favorites. Fortunately have been able to avoid it the past couple years!

    I’d say mine is the desire to please everybody. To drop everything to answer a mentees’ question even though I should keep writing that article that’s due today.

    And indulging in distractions like email. And hey, answering this!

    In Judaism we consider these recurring cycles beshert — events that are arranged for you by G-d on purpose, for your character development. And as you say, you can either recognize the need for growth, or keep getting the lesson.
    Carol Tice recently posted..Six Lessons Learned from Creating My Make A Living Writing E-BookMy Profile

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