It always gets a bad rap.
But karma is what we make it.

Simply put, the energy you send out is the energy you get back.

If you send out peace and kindness you will receive peace and kindness back. It’s the universe working for us, not against us in the most perfect way.

It is the fairest and best teacher we could have. By reflecting back exactly what we are sending out we have the chance to see what we most need to learn for our spiritual growth.

If you judge others, guess what? You will be judged!

You will be given the opportunity to feel within yourself how you may have made another feel. It brings new meaning to the saying “love your brother as yourself” because how you love your brother is how you yourself will be loved.

If you say to yourself, “man, being judged by others feels terrible” then you can learn from that. Down the road when you are presented with another opportunity to judge someone you can make a better choice for yourself.

Maybe you can choose acceptance instead of judgment.

If you do, you will bring more accepting people into your life. Every time you choose to accept another and not judge them, you get acceptance instead of judgment back. Fair enough?

If you want to become more aware of how karma is working in your life, here are four tips to help you:

1. Look at your actions, are you being what you want in your life? Are you always in a hurry, rushing here and there? If you are, you may be sending out chaos and disharmony. When you rush, your heart beats fast, and you get nervous and upset. Where is the harmony in that? When you race around it is very hard to show patience or compassion for others. It’s not easy to think about others feelings either. When you hear yourself say, “I am so stressed, I need some peace in my life!” Well, you probably do, but that is not what you’ve been creating for yourself. So you decide to take a vacation or meditation class and what happens? The crowding and rushing comes into your mind and it’s very hard for you to relax. To create a calm and peaceful life you have to act calm and peaceful. You have to slow down, be patient, and be considerate of yourself and others. Karma says so.

2. Examine the motivation behind your actions. How? By watching the patterns in your life. When your intentions come from a positive place they are aligned with the energy of the universe, which is very positive, and very loving. If you are not aligned with that energy the same lessons will be brought to you over and over so you can make different choices that will align you closer with the universe.

Have you ever felt like your life was going around in circles? Do the same things keep happening to you over and over? If those things are good – terrific! But if the patterns are not so terrific, it may be time to make some new choices.

Have you ever worked hard to reach a goal and just when you are about to attain it something happens to ruin it? It’s Karma coming around to teach you something new about yourself. Maybe you have a fear of success? Or maybe through fear and a lack of trust in the universe you believe that what you want won’t be provided for you. Sometimes we (unknowingly) chase things away because we become so attached to the outcome we feel desperate to have it. Then, it has become a need instead of a desire.

Every lesson you are given that you don’t learn gets repeated out of love from the universe to help you grow. So if you feel like the same situations keep happening over and over – they probably are! The good news? Learn the lesson and the cycle ends.

3. Learn to walk around negativity and chaos. Buy into it and it will affect you. Why? Because letting yourself become involved in it causes you to attach your energy or karma to it. Let me give you an example. Think about the deep divide between Democrats and Republicans in our country right now. I have had people get very aggressive with me if their opinion differs from my opinion in regard to politics. People have actually tried to attack me personally for my beliefs. Most of the time I can walk away from it without reacting. React to it and I am allowing my energy to become negative and angry. That is not what I want to bring toward myself. So when someone is trying to convince you to believe the way they do, walk away! Don’t buy into the ego’s need to be right. You don’t need to convince anyone to believe the way you do. If you know what is right and true for you, you won’t feel as threatened and you won’t feel the urge to judge another for what is right for them. See it as two people with different opinions, agree to disagree and move on through your day.

4. Use Karma as a tool. Many of you have heard of the book “The Secret”. It’s a book about the law of attraction or Karma. Send out positivity and that’s what you will attract back. That is “the secret”. Understand that principle fully and you can use Karma as a tool to create what you want in your life.

When your intentions come from a loving and peaceful place instead of a fearful and angry place, then you will get loving and peaceful people and situations coming into your life. Thoughts, words and actions are karmically binding. Why not bind yourself with good thoughts, positive statements and affirmations? Why not bind yourself with nature, beauty, gentleness, compassion, joy, love and harmony? Love everything beautiful you see around you - the tiniest flower or the grandest tree. Loving the tiniest blade of grass means as much as loving the greatest human being! Love is love! Anything living or non living - bless it! Send love to it! When you see hatred or anger – show kindness, send out peaceful and harmonious thoughts or prayers! When you are kind and compassionate with people that are angry or hostile it changes the energy. It softens it. Then, not only will you be helping the situation, you will also be sending kindness and compassion back to yourself. Now that’s perfection, don’t you think?

So let’s stop giving karma such a bad rap.

It’s not a punishment – it’s an opportunity – if we can learn from it.

I’m going to send out more gentleness, compassion, love and joy this year because not only does that make me happy it’s also what I want more of in my own life.

How about you?