My Stuff, Your Stuff, We’ve All Got Stuff – Part 2

I knew at some point I wanted to reflect further on how we can deal more effectively with other people’s stuff — the upsets, judgments and criticism that stem from their fear and sense of lack — in other words from their Inherited Purpose as it’s called in the Life On Purpose Process.

I thought at the time it would be at least a few issues away, but then I received the following story from Meg R. and I realized it made sense to get on with this second part. So, here’s Meg’s story:

“Thank you, Brad, for this article! It could not have been timed more serendipitously; I feel like it was written with just me in mind!

(If you missed the first article, you can find it online here:

Let me share a story with you: I recently moved into a new apartment in New York City with a woman I consider a good friend: She’s dedicated to a purposeful life, committed and passionate about her profession and creative arts, and a beautiful soul.

So I’ve been surprised to find, ever since I moved in, that the content of her evening conversations with me turn so negative! She hasn’t a good word to say about anything or anyone, even me; I listen, trying to be patient and to “witness” until I have to politely disengage, and leave thinking: “Wow, I really don’t like this person!”

Your article reminded me of my own tendency to judge her behavior and, more important, that she is still the beautiful soul I knew before — albeit, I realize now, one with “stuff” which she has not yet acquired tools to resist the temptation to share with me, whom she feels is a safe place to “vent” or “dump.” And it’s a reminder of how much easier it is to remember that her stuff is none of my business when I feel love and compassion for my friend rather than judgment and aversion.

Thanks again for a great article!!

Thanks Meg. Now, let’s look at how to deal with the conflict that can insure when we run smack dab into other people’s stuff. To do so, I’m going to power some purposeful wisdom from the Christ teachings as offered through Gary Simmons, author of “The I of the Storm: Embracing Conflict, Creating Peace.”

Making Friends with Conflict

Here’s the instructions from Jesus that we’ll work with, and I do mean we’ll work with because I’m far from having mastered these steps to making friends with conflict:

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. (Mt. 5:44)

Four steps to making friends with the conflict of our lives that often stem from the stuff of other people (usually mixed in with our own stuff. )

1. Love / Acceptance
2. Bless
3. Do Good
4. Pray

Let’s look briefly at each one — #1 in this issue, and the others in a future issue.

To move to that place of loving and accepting our ‘enemies’ starts by making a mental shift from thinking of them as ‘the enemy’ to thinking of them as a mirror reflecting back to you a place where you are not connected to your own wholeness and worth, i.e. Your true self or life purpose.


Or as my minister often suggests, to view each person with which we experience conflict as our next guru who’s in our life to help us along the Purposeful Path back to our true, Divine Self.

Now, this can be a BIG first step, and not always an easy one to make, but with practice you can begin to catch yourself making someone an ‘enemy’ and then gently shifting to asking what aspect of your wholeness and worth are you not in touch with.

This often can point you back to your own Inherited Purpose as well, remembering the Inherited Purpose is the fear and lack based lie you’ve been telling yourself about yourself and life so long that you’ve come to believe it to be true…and it’s not.

Here’s a simple, and somewhat silly example, although in the moment it didn’t feel silly. The other day, my wife called me from the upstairs office to tell me that I needed to give a credit card service agent permission to release information to Ann since the card was only in my name. We’ve gone through this before so I jumped on the phone thinking it would only take a few seconds, though I could feel a mild annoyance already starting to build.

I identified myself and that I was giving my wife permission to access the info. The representative then asked for my birthday and I gave it…and then she asked for Ann’s birthday, and my mind went blank. And in that moment, the agent became the enemy who had just embarrassed me. (Not actually, what had actually happened is I’d become plugged in by my Inherited Purpose that says “I must be smart and have all the answers…” and suddenly I didn’t have a simple answer that I normally would have known.

I started to go ballistic….”Well, this is ridiculous. I don’t know her birthday off the top of my head, and if that’s what it takes to have this credit card, just cancel our card…on and on. Luckily, Ann was still on the line, sniggering quietly and trying to calm me down as she dropped a note to me from the balcony with her birth date on it.

I started to realize how reactivated I’d become and what was really going on, and somewhat shyly told the agent what she needed to know and sulked off the phone.

We really don’t know when the next guru will show up in our life. And if by chance the agent is reading this message, I apologize for my outburst and do hope you will forgive me.

So, who’s holding up a mirror for you this week? Let’s hear from you.