I was being judgmental and hating myself for it...
As I looked around the room, it was overwhelming. Here I was at a social occasion, one that – at its core – held everyone together in their belief in something bigger than themselves. The essence of this ceremony was to support our friend, with open hearts, in the impending delivery of her child. Yet I was judging everyone, myself included.
It was as if a river had been swelling and the dam had burst, boom, my ego unleashed. There was no reining it in, the momentum was too strong. What had happened? I couldn’t get a grip on my thinking; these crazy runaway thoughts were in full motion. I closed my eyes, trying to focus inwardly. My heart was pounding in my chest; I tried to steady my breathing, pull in air from my belly.
Every day I see people as I drop off my kids at kindergarten and school, some I know, they smile and say hello. Most I don’t know, but the faces become familiar. As I looked around the room at these familiar faces, yet most unknown to me, I felt so much turmoil. Did I like them? Would they like me?
You see, I seem to categorise people. What it comes down to is how open and friendly they are towards me. There are those that have shared their heart with mine and we are consciously connected. Then there are those whose stories remain a mystery, all I have are the stories I tell myself about them, based on the little I see of them.
“This is not who I want to be, it’s not who I am. Or maybe it is?” I wondered whether perhaps I was in need of humbling. As much as I wanted to control it, to resist it, the only thing left to do was allow the full force of that rampant river wash through me. I bowed my head and closed my eyes.
Not a fan of rituals, I gave gratitude that this gesture would not in itself look out of place as part of this particular ceremony. I needed to go within, I needed to sense into that inner peace that is always there.
Finally, intermittently, I tuned in to others who were reading poems, or passages filled with inspiration and love. Then, a pause, I raised my voice and began reciting my own offering, one I had written recounting some of my darkest moments, and how, in them, I had learned the art of allowing. Ironic.
Yet there is no irony, no coincidence. Again and again I have to practice defocusing on my ego, my thinking self, in order to focus into that part of me within that knows we are all one. It doesn’t feel good to judge others, simply because ‘not feeling good’ about anything is my cue that the larger part of me simply doesn’t agree with the opinion I hold.
That larger part of me is love, yet I had felt no love, I held myself from it and felt self loathing in my judgment of others. “I’m a horrible person” I thought. Still no feeling of peace, the source within me did not – would not - agree.
This has sat with me all week. The internal retribution has dissipated, new awareness has dawned. I’m not a horrible person after all, just someone who has obviously gotten into a habit of quickly judging and categorizing people I see often, yet never really talk to. Well, okay then, that is not a habit that is serving me well. With new awareness, begins change.
Now I can see it more clearly, the handful of memories I have of walking through the school grounds to collect my kids with a smile in my heart and a greeting for everyone. Then there’s the few examples at the other end of the scale when I arrive, a torrent of anxiety, the kids driving me crazy with their seemingly schizophrenic requests and behaviour.
Everything else is in between, some sort of survival. Arriving, just pleased to be there, pleased we all held it together. At pick up, just relieved to make it into the car, seat belts on, before any major meltdowns or outbursts as the kids decompress from their day.
Suddenly it hits me. I am them and they are me, these parents. This should seem obvious, especially to one who believes we are all part of one energy, one source, coming into and out of form, but it had been lost on me until that moment. “Aw naw!” I thought in my distinctly Scottish accent, “I’ve become a spiritual snob”.
Now I recognise that I obviously had this idea in my mind, that people who recognise themselves as spiritual should always be open and friendly. Certainly that is my goal, it’s the goal really, an open heart allows our true nature, love, to flow through. Yet of course these other woman are just like me, sometimes they are open hearted, sometimes not, stuck in our survival of life mode.
Ever evolving change and awareness, teaching us all to soar. It just takes practice, this tuning in to our inner voice and allowing our heart to open.
And so, again, no coincidence, Jonathan Livingston Seagull lands on my lap this week. For those who have not yet become acquainted with Jonathan, he is not in fact a live sea bird who is about to poop on my lap. Jonathan is the lead character in a short novella written by Richard Bach and first published in 1970.
The truly amazing success of this book is not in the millions and millions of copies it has sold over the years, nor that it became a film with an award winning soundtrack, nor its appearance in the Brady Bunch or reference in The Simpsons, pointing to its iconic status. To me, its success is something different entirely.
In a world where only a few it seems are awakened to their spiritual essence, Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a phenomenal testament to the inner knowing of people that may not have consciously recognized their own nature, but know it none the less. As Richard Bach says, it’s a story for those who follow their hearts.
It was also just what I needed. A reminder that excellence requires practice, and it’s in the pursuit of that excellence, those moments of success that are so fleeting to begin, you find true joy.
Judging someone for not being open hearted is hilarious, at least I can now laugh at the ironic, moronic ego part of me that was blind in that moment to its own hypocrisy. I promise, I know that I not as open hearted as I’d like to be most of the time. I’m aware of it and I’m in pursuit of it, as my highest goal.
So with that, I forgive myself for being such a moron, it’s just part of the ride. Oh to see ourselves as others see us! I’m thankful for the light it has shed on my journey.
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