Attracting Good Karma

Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo, Chenrezig
©2009 Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo, Chenrezig. Hand-dyed cotton, silks and brocades, hand-pieced and machine-quilted, 43 x 31 inches.

From time to time I have a virtual run-in with a subscriber or customer who doesn't wait for a response before shooting off spiteful emails. This has happened to me twice in the last month, whereas it usually happens once every year or two.
Whenever this happens, I question what I do and who I am. This is exactly what the author of the email wants and I know it.
I write this post for myself as much as for you. I intend to keep going. I intend to keep doing my personal work (it's never done!) so that I live my best life and continue to attract good things and good people.


  • That 99.9% of all people are good and kind.
    It's hard to ignore the .1% of people because they're so loud and so negative. I keep my LOVED file to remind me of all the generous, loving people (the 99.9%) in my virtual world.
  • That even some of those 99.9% of people will go wrong at some point. They probably didn't intend to step on your toes. Give them the opportunity to make it right.
  • That something good will come from of a bad situation.


  • You never know what is going on in someone else's life. They may seem off the mark to you, but they could be dealing with enormous challenges. Don't jump to conclusions. Don't label them without first seeking to understand.
  • When people are surly, mean, negative, and rude, it doesn't have anything to do with you. It's about them. Grown-ups seek dialogue and understanding and do not automatically assume that everyone is out to get them.


  • Tweet, +1, Like, and Share with abandon. In fact, you can do just that at the end of this post!
  • Acknowledge others' accomplishments on your Facebook page, on a stage, or anywhere else.
  • Send Thank You notes daily to those who have been helpful, generous, and kind. In Art Biz Bootcamp we focus a lot on daily gratitude to help build and maintain relationships.
  • Offer to help an artist in need.


  • Accept gifts from others – be they compliments, time, knowledge, or actual physical objects. Turning them down or saying you don't deserve them implies you don't value the giver's opinions.


  • If a relationship isn't serving you – whether it's in real life or online – break it off gently. You don't need to rant about why the person is awful. That just serves to make you feel superior. (See “Understand” above.)

How do you attract good karma?

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62 thoughts on “Attracting Good Karma”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Life is pretty stressful and it really helps whenever we receive positive feedback, to know we’re doing something right.
    It’s nice to feature artists on one’s website or blog. Not only is it exposure for them, but also for the person featuring them.

    1. Thank you, Soraya. Be sure to pay close attention to that positive feedback. Stop and say a word of thanks to the person.

  2. Recently we got our first negative, nasty review of a plein air workshop after over 600 students have participated. My husband, the painter and workshop instructor was devasted, but wrote a reasoned response to the workshop participant. It is a long story, but the student demanded a mentoring workshop so it was rescheduled from an all level workshop, but it turned out they were not prepared for this type of workshop so they were unhappy with the outcome…
    Then out of the blue within 5 days he got two amazing unsolicited testamonial emails. One from a participant at a plein air festival paint out who had done poorly the previous year, then taken a workshop with Michael and then sold well this year and felt her paintings were something she could be proud of. The other was from a student who requested a reference as she is going back to school in an MFA program after being out of the educational system for over 20 years. She said the workshop at Acadia Workshop Center taught by Michael was her springboard to getting back into an art career and she wants to take further workshops with him.

    1. Trina: Your husband tried to make it right, which is what I always do. But it’s awful when people don’t even give you the opportunity to make it right.
      I hope you’re able to move on and realize that that student wasn’t a good fit and that you have bigger and better work to do.

  3. Alyson, you are right on the money here. I’ve been following you blog and your advice for a number of months now, and this is the first piece of advice that made my eyes prickle! If everyone, not only artists, followed these recommendation, what a wonderful world it would be. There is room for all here. I hope you brush off those people who were demanding or critical, and have a wonderful week.

    1. I love the thought of “making your eyes prickle”, Kelley. I agree with you – what a wonderful world it would be. We are all capable of so much more love than we think we are!

  4. So very true!! Or as mama used to preach: what goes around, comes around. The mean and nasty are dealing with far bigger problems than the minor ones they present us with. And thanks for reminding us that “acceptance” validates the offerer.

  5. Ouch! Getting blasted by someone was always a really bad experience for me until I started hanging out at my exhibits for hours on end. Because of the peculiarities of my work I got the opportunity to talk with nearly everyone who took them in. This put me in a position to talk to people who liked what I was doing (99.9%? I don’t think I hit that height but at least 95%) The most amazing thing that came from being there to talk face to face with the people who didn’t like it was that their expression of vehemence was in direct proportion to their disappointment that they weren’t about to understand it. Their vociferous dissent actually came from the fact that they wanted to get my work more than most. Once we spoke and hashed it out almost all became BIG fans. It was a really hard lesson to learn but most enlightening.

    1. Ann: You’re amazing! What you did requires lots of patience and stamina. And it sounds like it paid off.

  6. Hi Alyson,
    I always say to my children what my mother told me…”Treat others how you wish to be treated yourself”. Karma may take it’s time but it will bite you.
    I love your blog and the knowledge that you share. Keep on doing what you’re doing..maybe for them you just hit a truth that they didn’t wish to hear.

  7. Great post! It is so hard as an artist and a gallery owner not to take things personally. And you are so right that we don’t know what is going on in someone else’s life. Great advice for everyone. Compassion is a great gift to give others!
    Alyson, I treasure your insight and value your advice! Keep up the good work!

  8. People seem to be pretty stressed out these days. We used to just ship artwork and people would write back gushing letters full of compliments. Now, if we don’t send them lots of photos in advance and get their approval to ship, they get testy and demand to ship it back. Usually it’s ‘the wrong color’, ‘the wrong brown’, ‘the wrong green’, ‘the wrong red’. Everyone’s wound up with the economic problems, the stalemate in Washington, the media is having a hay-day getting everyone worked up. Namaste.

    1. Namaste, indeed!
      I was reading the other day about someone (whom I very much respect) on a media diet. NO news. I think I’d miss NPR, but I’m seriously considering giving up TV news through next fall’s election. It’s just awful.

  9. Great post. I recently gave a talk and afterwards had someone being really rude and aggressive about it to me. (I found out later he has a reputation for being verbally abusive without making the effort to get his facts right.) I had to remind myself that his attitude said a lot about him, not me, and I should pay attention to all the people who said they’d loved the talk. Why is negativity so hard to forget and positive behaviour hard to remember? So I love the idea of your “Loved” file.
    I keep a “success” list of my art achievements so that I can see I’m making progress when sometimes I feel stuck in a rut. That can help too if occasionally people want to denigrate your art. Look at your success list to see how many more people have played a part in your career achievements, respect your talents and rejoice in your success.

    1. Jackie: I’m sorry this happened to you. It sounds like you were level-headed and able to move on, but I know it’s awful and overpowering.

  10. So sorry one of the rude found you. Every once in a while they find me. If I’m not careful, they cover up all the good stuff that I had been receiving. You can have a bad day, week, or month without insisting everyone else have it with you. So I don’t think that’s a very good excuse.
    Thank you for the thing about accepting a gift from someone. I’ve never been able to put my finger on why that bothers me so much. That when I offer something that’s not huge, not a burden, nothing attached, a few would run before taking it. You put it into words that I couldn’t find. Thank you for the present. I shall cherish it.
    Please step over those rude people. They do smell at times, but we’ve just gotta hold our nose and keep on going. LOL Have a better day!

  11. Wow, Alyson, how could anyone find anything about which to criticize you?? All you do is give and encourage and encourage and give! The internet makes it so easy for people to be rude, because it is relatively anonymous. Thank you for the wisdom for dealing with such bad manners (a perfect example of giving and encouraging!)
    Whenever I run across that snarly attitude in a Comments section of someone’s blog, it puzzles me why the blogger doesn’t just use the Delete option. It always causes me to stop reading the comments!

    1. Jana: That’s so nice.
      I have made my share of mistakes that deserve criticism, but usually people do so in a civilized manner. I can handle this. It helps me learn and grow and be a better person.
      Good point about snarly comments. I often leave them up (only if signed) because it exposes the person. It is also my hope that other readers will be more gentle.
      I do have a blog policy that states you have to be kind and polite:

    1. You are right, Janice! There’s an exercise I often practice in these times that is “send love.” I imagine myself sending lots of love to the offender. Amazing how helpful that is. I just forgot to do it in these instances.

  12. You all are very kind and I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate you.
    Please know that I didn’t write this for sympathy. I want to share my story in case it helps others who might be in the same place – and to remind everyone just to be nice to each other.

  13. Alison, this is an excellent post, something I must try to remember. Your Loved file is a fantastic idea, I have a similar folder too, it works wonders. ps just want to say I have been keeping up with your site for a wee while now & it has been such a wonderful source of information & has helped me hugely with moving forward in my business. thank you. ruthie

  14. I did just what you say that should not be done. I was working with a nutritionist on line. We had been working together for over a year. I had paid a lot of money for classes, tests and evals. We had been going alone fine. Then she “shouted” at me in a e mail that I should just give up. She told me to find another way to eat as I was just too over the top about all this. I had pushed her with too many questions that I guess she took personal. I just looking for understanding of some of the things she had told me. Well…I “SHOUTED” back. And that was the end of our relationship. I dropped her and unsubscribed to her newsletter and quit her vitamins that she sold me. I am kinda sad that it ended. I could have been more understanding. It was the loud e mail that had upset me when I was just trying to understand. But I didn’t give her the break. And didn’t try and understand her. A lesson I learned and won’t repeat that mistake.

    1. Aleta: Thank you for being so open about your experience. We live and learn. You’ve beaten yourself up about this, but she obviously said something that incited you.
      I sometimes get on the phone and call the person: “Can you tell me what’s going on here?” That backfired once when someone (2 years ago) really went off on me in a rant that was so incoherent and childish that I removed her from my life and blocked her from everything. But it sometimes works.
      What is most telling is that you say “I learned and won’t repeat.”
      How do you think you’d handle it differently next time?

    2. Yes I think the phone thing might be loaded. But I think next time I would wait a day and re read the e mail. Think about it and see if there would be a calm way to answer. But my hot button is when some one gets on me about something that I didn’t do or didn’t say I get crazy. But!!! I know this about myself and have had to tie myself down as to not go off on people. I do try and chant the 4 Agreements and that has saved me a lot.

    3. Aleta: Whenever I have to respond to such emails, I sit on them – usually for hours. Then I have my husband look over my response. He’s such an analytical, patient type.
      But, first, I always ask myself if I REALLY need to respond at all.

  15. Great post, Alyson! But your creative resource of readers’ comments here are a treasure and just what I needed today! Earlier, I had one of my ‘friends’ question the wisdom my art career vs. the workday world. Thank you, one and all!

    1. Jan: It’s so nice to be able to come to a place and find like-minded souls. Glad you found it here.

  16. Hey Alison, thanks for posting this. I have had a few that were rude and abrasive, but I chose to ignore them and focus on the vast majority of super nice people. But I will admit, it did sort of hurt my feelings and then I had to wonder why I would be sensitive about a stranger I have never met.

    1. Exactly! We are sensitive souls. It’s okay to be that way. We just need to be able to move on – to recognize the futility in trying to please bullies.

    2. Do you think it’s just experience – building up a thick skin – that works? I don’t think it’s something that we “decide” or can turn off and on.

  17. This is my first chance to take a good look at your blog — are they always so full of wisdom? I am so excited to have found you — you mention TRUST and GIVING and you have some excellent links for further discovery!
    Please do continue to do the voodoo that you do so well… Karma isn’t built in a day.

  18. Excellent post Alyson, you share great wisdom here. I have learned to do better at these things over the past few years, and I can attest to the value of living this way.
    Thank you for sharing, and for reminding us of these traits.

    1. Patty: Those of us interested in bettering ourselves are always struggling with these things. Being conscious is half the battle.

  19. Excellent advice! I hope I remember it — Oh wait I am going to make a file too and put this post in it as well!. Your words certainly ring a painful bell in my heart- I am sure all of us have had this experience more than once. God Bless and Peace Be with you. Terri

  20. I hope all the sweet words shared here have knocked the harsh communication you received far enough away that you’re not troubled by it any longer.
    I found your blog about 6 months ago and check it daily. You provide inspiration and great encouragement and ideas. I may not comment with every post but I’m always glad to find a new one to enjoy. Thank you!

    1. Always, Beth. Always. As I said above, I wrote this post just as much for me as for you. Perhaps even more so.
      I always take comfort in the kind souls that visit this space.

  21. Obstacles are obstacles…But when you climb over that wall, or break that glass ceiling, it feels really good…Some of those very mean people have caused me enough anger, that I have done some very good things…Without the anger, I was lackadaisical…I try to absorb the moments & figure out what they mean & then change whatever got me into the mess…Sometimes the rude people help me more than the nice ones…I’m sort of married to a thunderstorm, so I am used to it…It pushes the lazy me…(re good karma?: I’m nice to a fault, I listen to people deeply & then I help them in any way I can…)(Conversely, my husband is a natural monster-but people like this because he doesn’t pander & is brutally honest…)

  22. Alyson, I love that you included “Accept” and placed it right under “Give.” Did you know that part of the Bodhisattva Vow is never to refuse gifts (compliments, help, time included)? Not only does refusal devalue the giver’s opinion, it denies them the opportunity to be generous and kind themselves. So accepting someone’s kindness is actually an act of generosity — generously giving others the opportunity to give!
    Thank you for this post, Alyson. For modeling grace and kind, discerning attention. For vulnerably showing us your own practice, as a work in progress, like the rest of us… but better at it than most.
    And thank you for allowing my Chenrezig to bless your words. It’s an honor.

    1. Love it! Thanks for sharing that, Leslie. And for sharing your Chenerezig with all of us here.

  23. Hi Alyson,
    I have took your “give” advice and posted this article on my facebook fan page. I thought it was excellent.

  24. Hi Alyson,
    I have taken your “give” advice and posted this article on my facebook fan page. I thought it was excellent.

  25. A friend lent me the book “The Tao of Abundance” by Laurence Boldt and after reading many books on attracting/finding abundance in your life, this one finally has the story right. The Taoists say that everything in life is done in a circle. So in this case, to attract good karma, we have to give good karma. A simple concept, but sometimes hard to live up to!

  26. Hi! Have done my first course in Vipassana, a form of meditation as taught by the Buddha. There are so many questions that arise as one searches deeper in our own pshyche. Your blog is a great way of reaching out to so many more minds seeking the same answers. it will surely help so many like me. Thank you so much for reaching out.

  27. Thank you for this timely post. I spent most of my evening reading a blog from a local newspaper where hatred and ignorance were spewing from people. I was absorbed but didn’t feel good after reading the comments. My husband and I noticed that after watching a TV show where sarcasm rules and snarky gets ratings that we typically fuss with each other over stupid stuff as if we were in the sitcom after it ends. It proves to us that what we take in affects us in many ways. We have decided not to watch that show anymore. Garbage in, Garbage out! We want to let positive messages in and hope we will be spewing positive out! Thanks.

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  29. Cool post. I used to work with the public a great deal, I learned that crazy people are to be ignored whenever possible. They take up all of your energy, and then you have none left for the positive, it’s a challenge to block the crazy ones out of your head, but you have to protect yourself. In shamanic studies, we call this energy “spirit intrusions”. You have to pull them out or they “possess” you.

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