November 19, 2014

Letting Go of Judgement: How To Drop The Hammer.

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This past weekend, I completed a 15 hour Yin Teacher Training, and, holy hip openers Batman, that was some kind of connective tissue stretching right there.

Ow. My ego head hurts.

But really, it was quite the painful growing experience. Literally. It hurt. Like, a lot.

Not only did I log in some serious hours exercising my joints (apparently this is a real possibility), I also had an opportunity to settle into the silence and take a deep and honest look at my reality.

Sans my standby set of sanguine shades to roll out with or my bumpin’ beats to flow to, that reality was quite the image to behold.

Through a yin practice, I got to feel, not force; listen, not speak; soften, not resist.


Having been prompted to identify something I would like to let go of in my life, I spent a whole lot of time staring at my hands (you know, with my third eye), to examine exactly what it was they were holding onto so very tightly, and then considered why.

I lay there miserably, stuck in deer pose, wandering off on my own little thought trails:

I should pick toxic relationships. No, that sounds cliche. And also totally like what that chick with the dreads and the 15 bracelets and the om tank is going to say, only probably about animal products. I can be more original than that.

I’m going to pick control. No. No. Hell f*cking no! I’m not even going there (again). Crap, I think I stopped breathing for a minute.

Okay. So. Hmm. Overdoing it. Yeah. That. The teachers will totally like it if I say that. I’m going to let go of overdoing it.

Hahahahahahahahaha. Who am I kidding? That shit is not happening anytime this decade. Let’s be real here.

Okay. So. .  I’ll pick expectations. Yeah. Those, or er, that.  

No, wait, that’s hard to explain, because then people will think I don’t care, or like, I don’t have any goals or I’m crappy mom because I don’t have set limits for my kids or something.  And that’s not what I mean. Besides, my expectations are reasonable. They’re great. I have great expectations, just like my man Pip. Or does that make me Estella? Estella’s a bitch. I don’t want to be Estella, I want to be Pip, dammit.

I can’t pick expectations, because then they’ll judge me.

And then I stopped. Right there. At judgement.

Oh. I see. And there it is.


What is holding me back from growth, what’s preventing me from reaching my maximum potential, from deeping my self awareness and relationships with others?

My judgy-pants, label-making, duct-tape-packing ego, that’s what.

I acknowledged, in that moment, that I have established a response pattern, and it goes something like this:

  1. Make a judgement (about myself, others, a place, a situation, etc…)
  2. Rationalize it. It, being primarily my own bullshit, but especially the reasons why I’m right, it’s acceptable (or not), and I’m right  (yes, again).
  3. Fix it! Don’t just sit and stare at the wreckage, whip out that magic wand and make it all better, now.

Gulp. So that (nugget of enlightenment) just happened.

Now what?

Maybe this time I can leave that pattern in the past. I can let it go, set it free, shake it off and otherwise bust a (breakthrough) move in the dancehall that is my life.

Why? Because this myopic thinking shifts my perception of reality, and not in a good way.

If I say, “Oh ,that must be_____,  or, “You are _________ or, “I am _________”  not only am I labeling (which my buddy Ginnot says is disabling), but I am also instantaneously creating an attachment to an idea,  giving it a value and thereby power over me.

If I run with that (clearly defined) train of thought, such as, “You did x, so you must be y and that means z will happen,” I can no longer see it any other way, and it affects everything I do and everyone with whom I do it.

It becomes my truth.

Judgement not only lets me continue to stand in my own way, it builds a personal platform upon which I may stand, perhaps forever.

Yeah. So. How about I retire that hammer?

If, instead of judging, rationalizing and fixing, I can instead:

  1. Reflect  (on what is happening, who is affected and what information is available to me).
  2. Identify (what is possible. Not what is, but what is possible).
  3. Move forward (with positive intention, a thoughtful approach and an open heart and mind).

Well then, I just make make some actual progress.

A panoramic point of view captured with a gentle touch just might produce a warmer image. A receptive and empathetic observation of my world will create more happiness in my life, and the lives of others.

My job is not to judge. My function is not to label. My work is not to repair all things broken.


It is to see. It is to learn. It is to give. It is, as the hippie chick knows, to love, all kinds and in all forms.

It is, as it always was and it always will be, to live with grace.



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Author: Rachel Astarte

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Wikimedia Commons



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