being human

‘but why’…..

Why do I write?
I think it is a process of refinement and discernment through words and energy. Perhaps it is a way of pulling threads and coalescing as I go. I am not sure exactly…but a process.
And I witness so much as I go…..
So much curiosity all entwined in this being human.

I generally remind myself of a 2 yr old constantly and perpetually asking…. “but why?”….
This is the question that follows most moments and thoughts throughout my days. I might see an ad on television, overhear a ‘gossip’ heavy conversation, witness a perceived imbalance in exchange or dynamic between people or groups, interpret a certain suffering ……and as I begin to flex opinions and judgements…this question ‘interrupts’ it all.
“But why?”…..

It is amazing how this practice supports my not getting swept away in judgements and criticisms. Because asking ‘why’ says ‘I don’t know’. It humbles me immediately; creates space for other possibility. And it is a questioning that simultaneously asks me to let go of any attachment or desire for finding an ‘answer’…..because this asking has no focus or goal for an ‘answer’ per se.

The questioning allows a multitude of responses/possibilities to emerge so that my single snap judgement or conditioned opinions have some company; all standing shoulder to shoulder.
My asking ‘why’ becomes a practice of looking in between the cracks of this constructed ‘human’ world we have; our derogative stereotypes, social dynamics, judgements, insecurities, systems of greater than/lesser than,’suffering’……(and so much more)….
To witness the spaces between and all around the concepts and habits…

The ‘why’ is a softening into these complexities….with compassion and curiosity.

And perhaps….
just perhaps…..what if these inherited and potentially unquestioned perspectives of self, life and other were to underlie so much of the imbalance that fuels this sense of ‘suffering’ in the world? Would you change anything? Would you ask ‘…but why…’?


What would da Vinci do?

It’s early morning and the sky is lighting up……
I feel sparked by several recent interactions……always my curiosity weaving…..

I went to a craft fair yesterday and there was an artist whose work I thought was really good. In talking she had said she found inspiration in Leonardo da Vinci’s work and then continued to make sure I understood that she was in no way comparing her work to his. I said ‘why not compare and why wouldn’t you and Leonardo both be equally good…yet different?’. (This concept is sometimes confusing for people as we are all wired towards status and prestige….the evaluation and criteria for what makes someone or something of ‘worth’.) I went on to simply say that ‘Yes, I appreciate and honor his work/talent but why would we create a hierarchy that put him so high above? Why would her talents not be viewed as on par with his?” I thanked her for her work and said I appreciate her talent as I would da Vinci….even with their unique differences.
She then told me that this was the nicest thing she had heard all day…..
…….which is cool and all…..but why isn’t this what we are already telling ourselves each day?

I am so curious about these compartments we create and levels…..these systems of status or hierarchy. We implement them in many forms….even in something as simple as cooking a meal or having a conversation and it usually involves some layers of criticism, comparisons and self deprecation.
In the realms of celebrity and prestige (within any craft or field) it is challenging to not keep them separate from us and elevated… compare ourselves and yet not feel we can be ‘equal’. (This is not to say we can’t have people we look to for inspiration and for whom we offer our respect for their perceived talents and work)
But why not consider ourselves equal? What harm does this create? What happens if we let go of status while maintaining reverence?

For me this extends into all human interaction……a co-worker, yoga teacher, friend, family member… do I appreciate their talents or qualities in things such as cooking, socializing, family, finances, physical appearance etc etc…….and not elevate them (or myself). How do I cultivate a new status quo inside myself that is equality? ….we are different yet equal……

Whether it is an artist that is considered a ‘master’…..a well known writer, teacher or chef……or simply day to day interactions and activities……how are we maintaining this practice of comparison or judgement that the end result is a ‘pecking order’? And why?
Seriously, I am asking you ‘why’? What are the reasons or answers you find?

I am an advocate of celebrating individual talents and efforts….so this is not a bid to make everyone monochromatic.
‘Equal’ is not a lessening….
…….it is the real possibility to embrace what lies underneath all our conditioning.

Try this:
During the course of the next few days discover situations where perhaps you might not perceive yourself (or someone else) as equal…..even the small, fleeting moments……and allow yourself to invite a sense of equality. Try to let got of any sense of ‘greater than, lesser than’ and just feel a balance of status, value or ‘worth’ between you and this other person. (This might be in a focused field such as artwork or fitness activities…..or it could be general qualities like generosity or kindness.) Just work with your perceptions or visualizations and see what you notice. Try not to force anything or judge what unfolds…..simply witness.
(You could also observe where you see this happening in the media, entertainment or in your own social circles. Again, just notice it and see if you can play with your perceptions and be curious about some of our ‘accepted’ patterns of thought and status.)

You never know what you might discover…….

Thanks so much for reading……..

being human

Oh…… Judgement

Judgement……what role does it serve in our lives and world?  What does it illicit in you as you read the word?

I am fascinated in watching it in myself and all around as it seems quite persistent.  Is it inherent or is it conditioned?  Does it serve the health and well being of us all?  Is it a nourishing (adjective:containing substances necessary for growth, health, and vibrance) element or something that deprives nourishment?  What role does it play?

These are some of the questions I ask myself. (and I have come to appreciate using the concept of ‘nourishment’ as a barometer in my questioning)

And I find myself so amazed at how pervasive it is in most arenas of human interaction and thought and how rarely do I see it nourish people or situations.

I should clarify here that ‘judgement’ as I am addressing it is different from the definition of it as opinion or decisions based on one’s wise and practical conclusions.  The judgement I am speaking of is along the lines of making someone else or yourself greater than or lesser than.

(To criticize or condemn someone from a position of assumed moral superiority.  Or to sit in judgment assuming the right to judge someone, esp. in a critical manner.)

I support everyone’s right to opinions and celebrate it emphatically.  This is an important detail so as not to confuse what it is I am questioning.

I am questioning our choice, each of us, to judge or criticize in most situations.  I am curious how we feel it supports growth and health for all and what it serves within us when we engage or perpetuate it?

Do we judge things when they threaten the comfort of our own held belief systems?  Do we feel a need to defend what feels safe and familiar within us and that which we are attached to?  By minimizing the existence of other ideas, thoughts, feelings and ways of living are we somehow trying to create a sense of personal power in a world that is inconceivably diverse in human and natural design?  Do we simply feel engaging judgement is benign and doesn’t really need to be questioned?  Or perhaps it is our right to judge and criticize and is as natural as eating and sleeping.

Imagine for a moment if you can that you moved to a city where judgement didn’t exist.  How would you explain it to other people and the purpose of engaging it?  But even more so…..imagine how it would feel to be in a place where you would never be judged and where your own internal judgements dissipated.  (remember that judgement in this context is not opinion or experience)

Can you sit back and close your eyes for one moment and see if you can feel that in your body and breathe it in even if you might not believe it is possible.  What do you notice?

For me I notice that there is a feeling of relaxation and ease within me.

I think it is tricky sometimes because judgement and criticism can be slippery allies with opinion and only our own internal knowing can understand our intentions.  I personally tend to dismantle down to the most subtle of thoughts and energies in myself so I can come to know more about my inner workings and offer new possibilities that allow for more nourishment for myself and others. In this practice I will even question my engaging in comparisons or how I speak information in social contexts.  I can see how craftily and indirect the judgement in me can manifest because those parts of me have a perceived notion of survival on some level.  It is pretty impressive and what I always come back to is love without conditions and compassion for those parts of myself.  When I am able to witness ways they engage in judgement and all its derivatives, I can simply become curious, loving and compassionate for the ways they have learned to ‘survive’.  And it is through witnessing and presence with them that the possibility of growing more into nourishing dynamic is possible.

That is me……at least today……

What does judgement or criticism serve or nourish in your life and can you ask the questions without judging what you notice in yourself?