Wisdom Found in Unexpected Places


Lately, I’ve been finding that when I let myself be open and less rigid and judgmental, I’m picking up surprising wisdom from the universe.  

The most recent example happened when I was listening to a week of Wisdom 2.0’s, Global Mindfulness Summit.  My interest was in the interviews with well-known meditation/mindfulness teachers and well-respected people who have used mindfulness in their lives.  I listened and was inspired by Jon Kabot-Zinn, Sharon Salzburg, Phil Jackson, etc.  One of the interviews was with the singer, Jewel.  While I love her music, I was very judgmental thinking she wouldn’t be able to offer me much in the way of wisdom.  I almost skipped her interview so sure that yes, she’s famous for singing, but do I really need to hear what she has to say?  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  She blew me away with so many profound statements that I wanted to share some of her wisdom with you.

We aren’t broken. We don’t have to fix ourselves. 

“You spend your whole life saying I have to fix myself, because what that validates is I’m not good enough, something’s wrong with me.  What if I reverse it and came from the opposite angle?  That nothing’s wrong with me, something’s right with me.  What if I’m not broken but I just need to get rid of all the mud and layers and hurt, and misunderstandings and trauma to see what is already here and whole.”

“You get wrapped in something and you think your wrapper is who you are, but your authenticity is inside of it.  We can spend an entire life believing we’re the wrapper without ever getting nourished and going inside and finding our authentic self.” 

That is beautiful and resonates with me.  Too many people think they are broken and I love how she turned that on its head.

Peace, it’s not the absence of something, it’s the harmony with it.

“We keep trying to control our environment so we can get peace. We want to push out negative people, push out this, and push out our anxiety.  That isn’t actually what it is, . . .  We want our spirituality to make us more resilient, more capable, more gritty in a positive way.  And so, the idea of, it isn’t the absence of something – I can’t be happy until this is gone and that president isn’t elected – it’s coming into harmony with the truth.  Because now you’re not fighting reality.  You’re no longer in conflict with reality and now you can say what does my reality need for me to, what do I have to do, how do I relate to this, and you start living internally and that is a complete paradigm shift for sure.”

Wow, does that speak to me in a big way.  I absolutely want to push away negative emotions.  Specifically, I’ve been trying to find ways to get past my grief, to not cry or feel sad, it’s been 3 years, 3 months, and 17 days since Matt died.  The reality is grief will always be with me, I will always miss Matt, but what I need to do is try to find harmony with it.  Peace, it’s not the absence of something, it’s the harmony with it.  Thank you Jewel, for saying it so profoundly beautifully to me.

When we send mixed messages into the world, you get mixed messages back.

“So, everybody talks about boundaries, but if I have a boundary and I’m not willing to uphold it, I just sent a mixed message into the world. If I believe that somebody should treat me lovingly but I let somebody non-loving around me, over and over again, what’s my word worth? What’s my word worth to myself, much less to the universe?  But that type of mixed messages brings mixed messages back.”

Hugely important to set boundaries for yourself, that is self-compassion. How you allow people to treat you should be a hard and fast boundary.  Don’t engage with a person who is disrespecting you. That’s sending mixed signals, you say one thing but allow the other.  Instead, disengage, “I won’t allow you to talk to me like that so I’m leaving/hanging up/not going to continue this email or text right now.  I’d be glad to continue this discussion at a later time when you can be civil.”  Powerful.

Tolerance means you make room for people that have a different viewpoint.

“Really early on my fan group (which is pretty much 50/50 conservative and liberal) identified the values we have in common.  And we really support each other living those values.  How we live those values is up to every individual.  That’s like liberty, right.  Liberty for all.  How I chose to express my liberty might be different than how you chose to express it.  And that’s where tolerance really comes in, because tolerance, it’s only tolerating someone if they really are different from you.  It’s not actually called tolerance it’s just being around people that agree with you.  And sadly, we’ve lost the meaning and being able to live that word.  Tolerance means you make room for people that have a different viewpoint.  And you do it for each other.  And you might really, really disagree with how they choose to live their life.  But that’s ok, it’s not how you choose to live your life.  That to me is a really, important thing and to be able to honor another person, you can still see a sacred thing in them, you can honor a human that has a different viewpoint.” 

She was asked how she could be friends with someone who had said really homophobic things: 

“I was like I don’t agree with him, we talk about it all the time, but I don’t agree with him.  I believe in tolerance as a value. He doesn’t believe what I believe in either.  I do believe if we’re friends long enough we’re gonna have a good positive influence as we evolve as humans and evolutions hard.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It doesn’t happen by shaming someone or screaming at someone. 

How’s your tolerance for people who believe differently than you?  She’s spot on when she says, it’s not really tolerance when you’re just hanging around people who agree with you.  Especially during these difficult times, we all need to cultivate more tolerance.

Do any of these pearls of wisdom resonate with you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  

I hope you’re as inspired by Jewel’s wisdom as I am.  She mentioned that she’s in the process of writing a book, called “This Hoop”.  You’ll find me first in line to buy it.

Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness?  Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.

Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it?  Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 and let us help you spread kindness.


6 thoughts on “Wisdom Found in Unexpected Places”

  1. Love your latest MKRO! Much to think about here….I think that finding ways to engage with those we disagree with is incredibly relevant in the world we live in today. It would seem it is very difficult to find some basis of common ground that allows for us to explore the things we do not agree on. Potentially one of the most alarming things happening in the U.S. today. It is something all of us need to commit to making better. Thanks for sharing!

    1. thanks. agreed, i’m working hard to be more tolerant too. it takes real effort in these polarized days, it’s not always easy but the intention is there and i’ll continue to work on it and talk about it as a way for all of us to come together.

  2. I really loved this post(email). I was just reading a book that was talking about tolerance. How social media and the internet in general has allowed us to find people who share our same views, but in the process we have lost the ability to have discussions and listen to people who don’t have the same views. It has become a polarizing agent amongst us.

    I feel like I work with and have friends who have very different views than myself. While I find it enraging at times (lol), that the things I’m so passionate about and believe will better help future generations they seem to not care about or have a different and opposite opinion. I also find if can come into the conversation with a calm demeanor of just listening, instead of standing my soap box of view… occasionally I’m surprised by what I learn. Even if what I learn is what I don’t want to be, it’s something or some perspective I havnt thought of before.

    I also find that everyone is angry. Not over the same things I am per se, but the passion and frustrations are there. Learning to respect that emotion and understand where it comes from is truly important. Important not only as a person to person communication but as a country. I have come to realize only by listening and understanding the pain, or fear, or frustration from another person with a different view is the only way, in the end, that lasting change can be made. Through compromise and the humble attempt at understanding of another human.

  3. so true! listening is a huge skill we all need to work on. another skill that’s harder than it looks. it’s too easy to start formulating a defense while they’re still talking rather than try to understand where the other person is coming from. great you’re thinking about it and putting it into action at times. me too, i just need to do more of it.

  4. Hi Jackie!
    There are some delicious gems in your blog. Tolerance, boundaries et al. In my mind, boundaries tend to form from a lack of tolerance. So how do I create what I want which is a deeper understanding of communication breakdown.

    I volunteered to help Joe Biden win the presidency. I spend gobs of time connecting with voters of all persuasions. I try to understand their frustrations and disappointments, their joys, their sadnesses. It is not a simple task. Your blog gave me some insights to ponder.

    I thank you,


    1. yes it’s so hard to do but good for you. listening is the first step in tolerance and truly trying to understand the other person. so hard when it’s 180 degrees opposite of what you might believe in but so important to try to do. thanks for getting out there and listening and trying to connect with people of different views. as jewel said, we’re not going to change people by shaming and screaming at them. and that’s what’s happening way too much today. so thank you for being a calm in the storm. keep it up.

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