Monday, October 24, 2016

It's okay and I love you

We sure do judge a lot don't we?  It seems like every other thought is a judgement of some sort.  Most days I meditate for 20 to 30 minutes in the morning.  After I meditate I write in a journal an intention for the day.  I also write a few words about a dream I may have for the future and lastly I write 5 things I am grateful for.  What I write down for intention is often words like breathe, present moment, loving kindness or forgiveness.  But lately, I have been declaring my intention each morning as non-judgement.

I write these intentions down but, honestly, I usually forget them as the day goes on.  But since I have been choosing non-judgement daily for the last couple of weeks I have carried it with me through the day a bit more than usual.

For instance, I may be driving and catch myself thinking,"what a f*&**g idiot" and instead think,""he must be stressed and in a hurry, some days that's me,".  Or I may be waiting to buy groceries and a person is taking forever to pay, writing a check and filling in all the details and I think "what the hell is she using a check for? Hasn't she heard of atm cards?" and instead think "it's okay, but really, checks??" Okay, I'm not perfect.

Of course, judging others doesn't just happen in these classic situations described above.  It also happens at work.  In the morning I get a list on the computer of all the patients I will see that day.  It has the patient's name, medical record number, age, etc and it also has the reason for the visit. When I am not mindful I find myself judging how the encounter is going to go just by the little tidbit I know from the description of the visit.  For instance, routine ob is good (easy), pelvic pain is bad (hard), routine gyn exam of a long time patient is awesome(love my patients!) and recurrent vaginal infection for 15 years is horrible (how can I fix it if every other doctor has already tried).

But the amazing thing about this is that most of the time when I actually see the patients that I think are going to be difficult it either is good and satisfying or at least not nearly as bad as I anticipated.  So that judgement really only caused me anxiety and stress and sometimes if I don't let it go prior to seeing the patient it caused a less helpful visit.

Most days now, I say to myself, prior to seeing each patient,"may I be present and may I be of most service to so and so" and I say it for every patient.  It helps me let go of my judgements and be in the moment with the person.

Another concept that has helped me let go of judgement is the phrase 'just like me".  Most of us want the same things, care about the same things.  We may have different ideas on how to get there.  This certainly is apparent during the political season we are currently wading though.  We all want our families to be safe.  We want enough to house and feed our selves and our loved ones.  We want good schools.  We all, I think, even want peace.  So when I am ready to judge someone for their beliefs I think they are "just like me".  It doesn't mean I don't express or fight for the way I think things need to be done but it gives more common ground and more love between me and the other person.  I am not always able to practice this but I like it as a goal.

We judge others and we judge situations before they ever happen.  A famous quote attributed to Mark Twain is "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened."

And lastly we judge ourselves.

The funny thing, though, is as I am more aware of my judgements of other people and situations and practice letting these go I find I also have more compassion for myself.  I judge myself less too.  Loving kindness, compassion, non judgement; these spread like wildfire.  The more you practice them the more you have.  It's a sweet phenomenon.

From Tara Brach, "When I am in judgement I am no longer in the flow of grace."  May we all be more in the flow of grace.

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