Full Moon Judgment
The world seems so very full of judgment at the moment, which is why on the dark moon, I chose to give up judgment – of myself and others.
For the new moon on August 22, I welcomed in forgiveness.
It seemed a foolproof plan – I was going to need forgiveness in my court too because I am the most judgmental person I know!
I’ve often heard the phrase that when you make an intention, you often get to see what’s standing in the way of that intention. And this was true for me over the last fortnight. I saw 100 different examples of how judgment takes over my thinking – and that was 100 times before lunchtime!
I said I was giving up judgment, but instead, I was seeing all the many things to be judged. Of course, I felt many of these things were justified (anyone else battling against the latest racist and homophobic dialogue?), while others were just mean (judging myself on how much TV my daughter has been watching lately because I have been too sick to play with her).
Why was I judging? Why did I believe these things to be justified? Why can’t I change the way I think? What thoughts would I rather have anyway?
The first three why questions were impossible to answer, but the last question gave me some hope.
Perhaps I didn’t need to know the why behind a belief. Since I believe that my thoughts become my life, I just needed to figure out the new thoughts I’d rather see.
I was reminded of a story I heard at a seminar – a Montessori Approach to Dementia Aged Care. I went to this training seminar in late 2013, because my dad has Alzheimer’s and I was going to be his full time carer for 4 weeks.
The presenter told the story of an aged care facility in the Deep South of America. All the residents were white, until the day a black man started living there. All had advanced Alzheimer’s. Soon, the caregivers started noticing the appalling behavior from the white residents towards the black man. Insults, swearing, social exclusion and general unpleasantness. The tipping point came when the residents wouldn’t let him eat their meals with them. Every meal time, there he was, sitting alone while the other residents whispered and jeered at him…
Yukky right? All my hurty judgment crashing in, I just want to march into that facility and tell those white folks off!
And yet, I totally understand the perspective of the white residents…
Please, hear me out before you stop reading.
She seemed to live a life of constant pain and constant pleasure. She lived completely, madly, deeply and not just when she was mobile – being stuck in bed recovering from yet another surgery, she still lived with passion and vitality and still worked on developing her art.
“I paint myself because I am so often alone, and because I am the subject I know best.”
Her self-portraits are fascinating, raw, vibrant, unflinching. But I suppose, how else can you paint yourself when it’s what you see every day in the mirror above your bed? To paint herself any other way would be a lie – a lie only to herself.
“I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”
Ahhhh…. I’m reminded yet again that that is what all art is. Good art that is.
Forget the audience, forget the critics, forget it all. Just do it because it’s the right thing to do for yourself right now.
As part of Alzheimer’s, social niceties fall way and swearing is always common. On top of that, these white folks were raised in a time when segregation was real for them and they were reverting back to this behavior and way of thinking – even though the Civil Rights Movement was many decades earlier.
If you have ever had the heartbreaking opportunity of knowing someone with Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll know that words don’t count for much. People with Alzheimer’s lose their ability to make sense of language early on in the disease – if you want to help them, you have to drop your words and instead show them.
So what happened?
The progressive care-givers at this American facility dreamed up a brilliant plan and created a series of events that required a prize-giving. Each night at dinner time, they would announce the winner. Who was the important, well-respected official giving out the prize?
The black man of course.
It didn’t take long before everyone wanted to sit next to him, talk to him, be close to him.
There were respectful nods in the hallway, requests for his advice and best of all, every night there was a seat waiting for him at each of the five dinner tables – the residents clucking and fussing, hopeful this was the night he would sit next to them…
When I remembered this story, I realised that being the change I want to see in the world means less hating on myself and others when they don’t think or act ‘perfectly’.
Instead I could spend more time dreaming up what I want that world to look like.
And that seems so much more delicious and achievable!
As troubling as this moon has been for me, I give thanks for learning to focus on positive outcomes – especially in the face of insurmountable odds.
All I need to do now, is to start dreaming up how I want my world to look – focusing less on my judgments and more on how fabulous things could be.
Not an easy task I know, but certainly a lot more fun than the way I have been thinking!
I need to hear more stories about strong women leading beauty-filled and spiritual lives, and so I created Empress Crow and Rabbit. It’s a forum to showcase the inspirational stories of women in uniquely feminine careers. It's also a bridge between what we think we know and what we feel is right. Thank you for joining me – let’s all learn, grow and celebrate the feminine together.
Photo credit: Lucy Spartalis