Sunday, June 10, 2012


Have you ever heard someone say ‘no judgement’, or ‘I’m not being judemental’, or ‘judgement free’ in a conversation where in fact what you are all actually doing is talking about how you feel about someone based on their actions?  Be honest in your answer now.  This is just a blog you are reading on a computer, you can say what you like and I won’t judge you – or will I?

Judgement is a word that has been on my mind a lot over the last few months, particularly because I undertook the first part of my training to become a yoga teacher.  The creation of a safe space for people to talk about their hopes, fear and dreams is crucial to the process of teaching people to be teachers and I found it fascinating as to how much we talked about judgement, of ourselves as wannabe teachers, of our bodies, of other people’s bodies and of our yoga abilities.  At some level it bothered me that one thing people kept saying was ‘I’m no judger’.  It made me wonder if that was really true of any of us.  Can we really walk through this life not having opinions of what we think of other people, and not making judgements.

It made me realize that I do it all the time.  In fact it is a constant part of my mind chatter as I walk down the street, go into work and interact with people on a daily basis.  In the most positive way it comes because I am fascinated by people and their lives and what has made them who they are today, but on the down side I realize that I usually draw the conclusions without knowing the facts.  I had even made some judgements of some of my yoga peeps which seriously made me question the type of person I am and who I want to be.  Oh my God I thought - I am the world’s worst judger – and even by saying that I am judging myself – aaagghhhhh – how do I get out of this cycle????

During one of the last days of our training we held a bonfire on the beach and into the fire we threw all the things we wanted to get rid of.  In went the shame, the fear, the old jobs, the self-hatred, the sadness and the failed relationships.  I didn’t think too hard about it and I flippantly threw judgement into the fire, not realizing how profound this act would be over the coming weeks.

There are two life-changing things that have happened since that bonfire night.  The first is a realization of the judgemental and ‘violent’ language I use against myself.  Every time I go to disparage myself in the name of humour or humility I am in fact judging myself. This must stop, for me and for all of us who do it.  You know how it goes, especially you women know how it goes.  Someone gives you a compliment and instead of saying thank you, you tell them how cheap your new dress is, or how your new hair do is just to cover up the grey or how the good job you did last week was luck.  You fail to do something perfectly and in your mind you are suddenly fret with the possibilities of being a terrible parent, or losing your job, or being dumped by your partner.  All of these things are judgement on ourselves, on us not being good enough or being ‘enough’.  We would be mortified to be judging someone else in this way and in these last weeks since the bonfire I have come to believe that treating ourselves in this way is an adage for how we then treat others.  The opposite is of course, understanding, compassion and respect, three qualities which would enable us and all those around us to lead much happier and more loving lives.

The second thing that has happened is that the stories I tell myself about people I see on the street, in the park and at work have changed their tone.  I noticed this first when I saw a very overweight woman on the street.  Instead of my usual judgemental thought of ‘wow, she doesn’t respect her body because she is so fat’, I found myself thinking, ‘I wonder what happened in her life, how could I know, why am I judging, maybe she is really ill, or abused and in fact I don’t know so just shut up monkey mind’.  After that thought a wave of compassion came over for me, for the woman, for myself, for humanity.  I never know what has happened in people’s lives unless they choose to tell me, so in fact there is no use at all for the moment that I spend wondering about and judging people.  I doubt I am going to stop people watching, nor stop being intrigued by people’s lives but I can certainly stop telling myself stories about them in my head.  Now I find myself compelled to bring compassion to those thoughts as well as acknowledgement that their story is their own and not mine to tell.

So please don’t read this and judge yourself for having had judgemental thoughts about yourself or other people.  Liberate yourself, start your own bonfire, (I suggest you use the kitchen sink or a BBQ if you don’t have a beach close by), and throw judgement into the flames.  Then find some space in your heart for compassion, understanding and love, first for yourself, and then let it spill over into all the other millions of interactions and relationships you have every day of your life.  And if it takes time for this to happen, just remember not to judge yourself along the way.  We are all already enough just as we are.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Creating 2012

So it's almost the end of the first month of 2012.  Australia day has already passed in a haze of no wuckers boomer, silly Aussie humour and pavlovas so before we move into 'the rest of the year' I thought I should take these last days of January to wish everyone an incredible and wonderful 2012.  And seriously, I hope it is a year of much peace, love, joy and happiness for all.  

New Year's Eve or Old Year's Night (however you want to see it) is my absolute favourite moment in the year.  It is my one annual opportunity to wipe the slate clean of whatever didn't work out from the year before and to dream and plan all kinds of amazing things for the coming year - what an opportunity!!!! It's one that fills me with silly excitement and huge anticipation and it's the perfect excuse to drink champagne with great friends and family.  

In our household we have named 2012 The Year of It All Being Easy.  Gone are the days of waiting to see what will happen to us over the next 12 months and waiting to see what luck or challenges befall us.  This year I am determined to create just the year I want.  So let's not create a difficult year but instead welcome in a year where everything is effortless and easy.

For those of you who know me well, you also know that I am a somewhat positive soul (I blame/thank my mother and the Pollyanna books), and so I truly believe that what I put out into this world will indeed come back to me.  Apparently Deepak Chopra thinks the same with his 'Law of Karma' so I'm in good company.

In the past I've written lists of things I want to attract into my life and created tables of goals and objectives and spent time wishing and wishing for fabulous things.  This year I'm taking a slightly different approach and leaving some space for fabulous stuff to just kind of wing its way to me.  I think officially it's called detachment but rather than give it a label and wonder yet again if I have or haven't 'achieved' detachment, I'm going to let it all go and just create a general vibe of coolness and relaxedness around me - that way there's no pressure :-)

All coolness aside I still do want to have an incredible 2012 so here are some words which describe my hopes and dreams for the coming year:

Breathing space

My theory is that if I say and think these words enough then I might just become them and however kooky that might seem it costs me nothing to try.  At this point I confess that I also have a secret list in my head of things I want to do this year but I refuse to write it down for now and instead just see what comes my way.  It all seems to be going well so far and the first 29 days of 2012 are indeed rather fabulous.  

So before this first month of the year ends and I feel no longer credible to wish you  a happy new year, I shall indeed send you all my best thoughts, energy and love in the hope that it brings you just the kind of 2012 you want.