WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

August 9, 2013

JunkFood We Feed Ourselves

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 5:01 pm

The other morning at 5 am, dressed in a neon bright pair of Lycra gym pants, mountain hiking boots and high socks, a weighted vest and bright pink shirt and a ball cap, I set out to do my 6.5 mile walk along the major roads near my house. Now this is to accomplish several things: break in my hiking boots, break in my feet to long hikes, build my endurance, and generally challenge my strength. Why? As mentioned earlier in this space, I have a forty mile hike to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in November, and to do that well, you have to train for it. The best way to train for long hikes is to, well, hike. Since I’ll be carrying a 20-lb day pack, I don a weighted vest, the same one I wear to build leg strength out at Red Rocks when I climb the stairs.

So as the sun eased into the cloudy sky and I walked the sidewalk along the broad thoroughfares near my house, I bid good morning to fellow walkers, runners and cyclists. One man jerked his dog away from me when I spoke kindly to it. Two elderly women gave me the hairy eyeball when I cheerily bid them a good day.

At 6:12, I made out the sound of a siren. A female cop was waving me over, so I pulled out my earbuds and walked to her vehicle. She got out and as she approached, she started laughing. ” We got a call about a dangerous person in a bulletproof vest wandering the neighborhood,” she said. “Yah,” I said, “Some terrorist, in bright neon pants walking along all the major streets in full sight,” I chuckled.

Then I thought, how many people, terrified by overwrought police procedurals and Hollywood blockbusters, are aiming their double aughts at me from their kitchens without thinking? More than I want to know. So mid morning I was at the station with my vest, meeting the cops and giving them my ID. They are going to contact me first if there’s another fearful call, and give me fair warning about my neighbors, not the other way around. And I also just bought a bright orange safety vest.

The world changed for us after 9-11, but we also allow ourselves to be fed junk food through the programs we watch and radio we hear. Whether we are radicals or Republicans or regular Reggie, we take a diet of information that feeds our fears. If we believe we are in imminent danger, which most of us most assuredly are not, especially in my bucolic little Colorado neighborhood, then we’re likely to act out of unreasonable alarm. We don’t ask intelligent questions, like what operative would be wearing eye-searing colors and be on the major roads, or attack a calm little neighborhood when higher value targets are far more important, like the airport? Nobody thinks. We just react, out of fear. In my mind, this is how the terrorist has already won the war.

I’ve told this story to friends, who have shared both the laugh and the realization that this is the world we now live in. But everyone has a choice. What we feed ourselves, the pap that is on the talk radio shows, the overblown, overstated, out-of-proportion sensationalism that is presented as “facts” that have caused the average American to not trust his neighbor. I continue to believe in the intrinsic good of my neighbors and my country. But I shudder to think about how many of them have guns, and would have used them on me out of irrational panic yesterday morning.

Roosevelt said it years ago: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” That is even more true today than during the Second World War. It’s important to consider what Junk WordFood you’re feeding yourself. If that diet is causing you to stockpile guns, fear your neighbors, hate your government, call the cops on an athlete in training or lock yourself inside, well. I’d seriously consider the cost to my psyche, my love of country, and my well-being, and shut down the source. And reclaim the happiness that is my birthright.

March 5, 2013

Letting in Junk WordFood

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 10:04 am

Chances are you love junk food. Even a little bit here and there. A cookie, Doritos, some truffles, could be anything. I read last year where the three worst things you can eat are Oreos, Ritz crackers and hot dogs. Three of America’s favorite things to eat, especially Oreos. Few of us can resist.

What about Junk WordFood, which doesn’t make us fat or rot our teeth, but rots our hearts and minds? Even the best of us can revel in a little gossip, the inside skinny on someone’s troubles or scandal. When we’re talking to a friend about an annoying person, it’s so tempting to fire off our own frustrations. The other day a friend was discussing a woman we both knew, someone who was a highly accomplished and lauded woman but who also had some challenges in her personal relationships. Neither of us had been able to establish connections with her. I had strong opinions, and was sorely tempted to express them. My friend asked what I thought, and this time I simply offered that I knew she had challenges, and I wasn’t privy to them, and for my part, I couldn’t connect.

The temptation to slam this woman behind her back was real, but unfair to her and unjust. I’m quite sure I have my detractors for one reason or another, and it would be painful to hear their comments. They’re not privy to my full story, just as I’m not privy to this woman’s. We cannot know what is going on in others’ lives.

When you let Junk Word Food into your world, or pour it into others’, you’re adding garbage to the atmosphere. You sully the waters and create hurt that can sometimes backfire. Your words have the power to damage, not just the people you’re criticizing, but also yourself, because they affect your state of mind. When you refuse to take part in gossip and tearing others down, you keep your heart and mind clean. You also set the standard for others to follow.

Like Oreos and Ritz and hot dogs, Junk WordFood is tempting, but it does damage. When those opportunities come to participate in gossip or character assassination, just walk away. You’ll feel lighter, better and stronger when you do.

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