Yesterday was a big day. For me. And sometimes we need those days…just for ourselves. Even if you have kids. Make time.
As we all grow and learn, sometimes changing things about ourselves for the better can be difficult. I am judgmental of others and have looked deep within myself lately to answer “why”. Sometimes I judge others because of something that I fear about myself. And these are usually superficial things I judge. I have been trying to look inward to see how I might let the need for me to do this fall away. When I judge others’ for flaws that I don’t carry, however, I now try to think to myself, “I am not that person, I don’t know what it is like to be them, what they have been through in life, etc.” But I still also think, “Why aren’t they trying to be the best them they can be?” This is where I usually judge. So, I have made a decision to work hard to step back and really embrace people for who they are, for their struggles AND successes! And, if approached by someone to help them deal with these flaws through eating more healthfully, I can use my own strengths and weaknesses to relate to them, work with them and support them to find their best selves. Bottom line is, I am aware of it, and I am working on it. I am learning to EMBRACE people for who they are, find the goodness in them and in doing so, I hope to be a better friend, partner, family member, community member and health coach. The following really resonated with me and it’s WORTH THE READ:
From Deepak Chopra, MD: “The Hidden Side of Judgment”
Not every person gets to the point in their life when they question the value of judging against others. After all, society depends upon a healthy regard for the difference between right and wrong. Many people, perhaps the vast majority, are content with a system where rules are meant to be obeyed, lawbreakers are punished, and so on. But the mechanism of justice is not the whole of life. When I was young, I was struck by a passing remark from the lips of a spiritual teacher: ‘Where love is not, there must be laws.’
At a certain point, a new and different kind of view begins to oppose our certainty that we have a right to judge others. Insight begins to dawn. It’s not the same insight for everyone, yet I’d guess that something like the following begins to make sense:
Judge not lest you be judged.
We condemn in others what we are afraid to see in ourselves.
Blame is the projection of guilt.
Us-versus-them thinking is destructive to both sides of the equation.
How would you label such thoughts? If you are a rigid adherent to “an eye for an eye,” these insights are corrosive; they must be rejected to keep your black-and-white moral code intact. But there’s a reason, despite the intricacies and cruelties of the system of law, why the spiritual side of our nature is attracted to non-judgment. We want to love and be loved. At a deeper level, we realize that all suffering is ultimately related to self-judgment. Seeing yourself as fallen from grace, you feel justified in treating everyone else as fallen, to one degree or another.
Yet at a certain, highly unpredictable point, the urge arises to move beyond self-judgment, and when that urge arises, the need to judge others begins to decrease. There is an evolutionary impulse in everyone, or so the world’s wisdom traditions teach us. We believe in our higher or better selves. We want to reconnect with the soul. The selfish demands of the ego wear us down and begin to seem pointless. Whatever the trigger, moving beyond judgment is evolutionary. A breakthrough is possible, after which a path opens up.
Walking this path transforms the entire person, over a period of time, and leads to many stages of realization. At one stage you may want to rebel against rules and authority. That can be a satisfying stance, but eventually it is seen as untenable. At another stage you may feel humbled and therefore more judgmental against yourself than ever before. That, too, is just a stage. Ahead are various roles we attempt to play—martyr, saint, ascetic, child of God, child of Nature, etc. It would be too ironic to judge against any of these steps in personal growth; they are convincing while they last and rather empty once they are finished. Whatever the way stations that you experience on the path, the goal isn’t the role you play; it’s fulfillment within yourself.
Fulfillment is all-inclusive, which is why it is often labeled as unity consciousness. You exclude nothing from your being; there is a common thread running through you and everyone else. At that point, when empathy is effortless, you have succeeded in something that is at once very desirable and very rare. You have transcended the war between good and evil, light and darkness. Only in that state does the war end, and the perplexing issues around judgment are solved at last. Short of complete fulfillment within yourself, you cannot help but participate in duality, because the entire play of right and wrong, good and bad, light and darkness, depends upon self-division. Your ego will persist until the very end in labeling A as good and B as bad, for the simple reason that duality requires choices. As long as you prefer one thing over another, a mechanism will sneak in that says, ‘If I like it, it must be good. If I don’t like it, it must be bad.’
Fortunately, even as the game of judgment keeps society running smoothly, constantly dictating our likes and dislikes, our loves and hates, human beings are born to transcend. We can go beyond the setup of society, the ego and judgment itself. In that innate capacity for seeking the higher self, every hope and promise offered by the world’s great spiritual teachers rests.”
I am writing this in response to my own reflection on yesterday, the big ME day. We all need a me day, and should not feel bad for taking one. I went to visit my dear friend Maureen in Sepastopol, stopping off in Petaluma to purchase seeds from The Seed Bank, (what an amazing place), then lunch at a scrumptious Indian/Mexican fusion restaurant where we shared a spinach salad with feta, tomatoes and veggie curry on top, followed by a seasonal special: fresh crab and pumpkin enchiladas – a warming and hearty dish. So tasty and an interesting combo.
That afternoon, my friend Maureen had to work (she is an Ayurvedic Practitioner at The Dhyana Center in Sebastopol (more on that later)) so I went for a little drive out to Bodega Bay, watched as the thick fog stood in front of me as I meandered amongst some of the west coasts’ most beautiful farmland and made my way back inland after some quiet time in the fog.
The Dhyana Center is wonderful; a safe place to visit for Ayurvedic healing and other health sciences. Maureen referred me to a clinic session that evening, and offered a treatment session for massage with all kinds of intense goodness. Cupping, hot rocks, gua sha’s, etc. I didn’t know much about these tools or techniques prior to the session, but with numbness happening off and on on my left side and with everything that I have been learning in school, I was excited to learn more…and it makes sense to me. Read MORE ABOUT MAUREEN! http://www.dhyanacenter.com/dhyana-center/practitioners/mo-washburn.html. And yes, she is really IS just as happy as she appears in her photo. : )
Needless to say, I didn’t really mean to book myself solid for so many healing sessions in one 24 hour period, but my day proceeded as follows:
- Acupuncture at the Berkeley Acupuncture Project (a favorite spot…and so affordable!)
- Appointment with my Primary Care Physician in Oakland to ask why I have been feeling crazy and tired in the morning after 8 hours of sleep, but awake in the evening after a long day filled with activity. Question: Why do I feel this way and what can I do to help it? Answer: Just get a bit more exercise. I feel for MD’s. They don’t have a lot of time to meet with each patient. It’s just not the model, I suppose. And I wanted to compare these two caregivers…
- First appointment with Dr. Sara Knuth, 2 & 1/2 hours later she addressed me with, “So I think this is what is going on with you: adrenal fatigue. And I have some great tools to give you to try out…” Your adrenals glands, above your kidneys, are chiefly responsible for releasing hormones in response to stress through the synthesis of corticosteroids such as cortisol (your stress hormone) and catecholamines such as epinephrine. Mine are apparently a bit tired and overworked. AS for Dr. Knuth, she was great. I felt listened too, and it was a great example of how a caregiver should mediate a conversation with a patient or client. I also highly recommend my deeply respected colleague Dr. Jennifer Strider (who has helped continuously with my care) of Simple Family Health, for all of you East Bay residents, and Dr. Elspeth Seddig or Dr. Laura Figoski if you live in San Francisco.
- Time for bed, and to wake up to a new awareness of my gifts, my strengths and successes, weaknesses and failures, that will help me to be the best me, who can hopefully help many new you’s be the best you’s in the future through Embrace Health & Nutrition.
We are all works in progress, and we should be glad for this freedom to grow and evolve. EMBRACE THE MOST EMBRACEABLE YOU!