Monday, November 23, 2015

11/24/15—Getting What I Asked For

Last Sunday I wrote that I needed some new inspiration to make some of the changes I need to make in my life. On Monday, I got my fresh inspiration. It was a "be careful what you ask for" moment, as I had a severe attack of being unable to breathe. I tried to "just get better" until Thursday, when it became clear I had to see a doctor. I then ended up in an ER and spent the next three nights in the hospital.

This all goes back to my year and a half issue with breathlessness, weakness and exhaustion. I've written about all that before, when I ended up having to get a new doctor because my one at the time seemed insufficently concerned about my situation. I never got an answer to that problem, but it abated and, pretty much all of 2015, I've been healthy. Or healthier in that regard. 

But last Monday I had my most severe attack yet. And it came with body aches and a fever. I thought of it simply as a reprisal of the situation my doctor wasn't concerned about, so I didn't run to the doctor. And, sure enough, it started getting better. Then, on a whim, I googled "breathlessness and fever" and saw, over and over again, "get to a doctor." So on Thursday I did. And I was admitted into the hospital through Sunday, taking tests, getting poked and the like. 

My diagnosis is asthma, Not the heart attack, clogged arteries, lung cancer and other deadly diseases I'd feared. Asthma may not be the end diagnosis, but I'm going to live with it and an inhaler for a few months and, if it's cured, it's cured. But the important thing is that I finally got doctors who listened and so I finally found proof through a CAT scan that there really is something wrong. And so now I can find answers. 

A side blessing is that I also know for sure that the problem is not my heart, nor is it anything else more serious in the cardio and pulmonary worlds. I have a couple of smaller problems with my heart, but nothing that needs treatment...just yearly tests to make sure they're not getting worse. So all of that is a relief and a gift for someone who has spent the last few years fearing heart attack on a daily basis because of my "mystery disease" with symptoms that could indicate anything from depression to heart failure. 

But going back to the point of the post, I will say that the care of my body and home have been slowly going downhill for many years. A recent "theme" for me has been the realization that I've beccome comfortably numb, like the Pink Floyd song. I'm numb to how far the problem has gone and now I have a big hole to climb out of. Which is why I need inspiration to change. And this is the blessing of landing in the hospital. 

As I laid in my bed Monday night, getting out of breath every time I tried to turn over as if I had just run a mile, I was terrified I was going to die. Today I feel better than I have in maybe a decade. And not just physically, either. For at least ten years, I've thought the fog in my head was menopause, depression...whatever. 

Turns out, that's what happens when you can't get oxygen into brain cells, just like the physical weakness is what happens when muscles and organs are getting oxygen in the 85% range, vs. the 100% range most humans get. It's very emotional to realize really how MUCH I've been suffering for so long and I was just accepting it as age or menopause or obesity or whatever because the people I relied upon to know that part of my life, my doctors, weren't too terribly concerned. To be fair, most people with asthma wheeze and cough from time to time and I never have, so that's why it eluded diagnosis before. 

So anyway, what this is all leading up to is that, in the hospital, I went "code gray"—a patient who has disappeared and can't be found. I was gone for 2.5 hours and everyone was looking for me. I, of course, knew I was being irresponsible. I was on a wireless heart monitor and I figured I had gone out of range. I knew I was missing my regular pokes and blood checks and whatnot. But the universe was infusing me with the inspiration I had asked for, and I had to drink it in. 

See, I have had a long love affair with walking. I lost 100lbs back when I was 30 through that love affair and kept that weight off for nearly a decade through that same affair. I would find long hikes in guide books and do them all. I would challenge myself on difficult mountain trails. I loved pushing myself to walk faster and farther. I powerwalked five miles a day in less than an hour...every day for 8 or 9 years. That's walking an 11-minute mile, which is pretty impressive. I was THAT girl. 

But, and this is all on me, my life changed and I wasn't so regular with my walks. I gained weight. And that was reflected in the clutter of my house. And then I started having trouble walking, which I now know is probably the asthma. Then it got worse. On a walk, one house length would look and feel like a mile. I'd only go out with my dogs on occasion and then rest each time they wanted to sniff. It was the only way I could get through a walk...resting every half block or  every few house lengths. I dreaded, hated, avoided walking. And that was emotionally painful for me. It was also physically painful as it would take all my energy for the day. My love was becoming a chore to avoid. My head was fogged. And all this affected my mental state and the state of my home. This was the situation I said I needed to change last week. 

So, pumped up on steroids, I was feeling physically better than I had in years—better than even before I started noticing an issue. And I wanted to go out for a walk. And I did. I walked around the entire hospital without needing to stop to rest. I went out of range of my heart monitor and I knew I probably had. But I didn't care. My precious love had returned to me and nothing could tear me away from being with it and being outdoors. I wandered back and forth on the hospital property, meditating, enjoying the fall foliage and wandering about, something I had been robbed of for so many years. And I finally rested in the parking lot that held the best view of the sunset. I drank it all in. I knew I needed to return, but I couldn't tear myself away. And then I was found by security and carted back to my room...haha. 

But what I found as a "Code Gray" patient was hope. A lost love. And, most importantly, inspiration. My heart had already been declared "healthy-ish". I felt like I had tons of energy. I knew I wasn't in danger, but of course my team didn't. They didn't know where I was or what I was doing. Also, it was cold outside and they were worried about that. But what I was finding in that walk was something far more important to my health than being upstairs, warm (I wasn't cold anyway) and getting poked and prodded. 

Of course being poked and prodded was what got me to this day. It's important. But in that moment I needed to drink in the inspiration that could carry me forward to the rest of my life. The inspiration I had asked for. The inspiration that could keep the small issues found in my heart from getting larger. The inspiration that could propel me to weight loss, both in my body and home. And it needed its due. It was too important to rush away from so that people wouldn't be mad at me or worried about me. It was the answer to a prayer I'd been having for years. It was my spiritual charge. It was a prescription given to me by a higher healer. 

Normally I'm all about following rules, being the "good girl" and doing what I'm told. I always end up feeling too guilty to go rogue in "official" situations like this. But a larger authority was moving through my life. In those couple of hours, I gave my will over to something greater. It was an out-of-body experience during which time I was no longer tethered to this form that had been broken for so long.

I've been home a day now and I can tell the air in my house is not healthy. I have three dogs, an XL order of dust and a lot of clutter that is spiritually choking me. I've known that for a while. But up until today, I didn't have the mental clarity or readiness to address it. I've been "comfortably numb" for years now. And I'm hoping this doesn't wear off before I get around to addressing it. When you've been sick as long as I have, it's hard to trust that you're actually well. I've had so many "false starts" on this journey where my health cleared for a day or two and then I was right back where I started. But now I have healthcare professionals who can't pass it off on my weight or age or female status anymore. If I were good enough to be my own doctor, I'd be a doctor. But I'm not. So I need that support. 

It's interesting. Knowing myself, I would have normally been restless, worried about my dogs, annoyed at losing my freedoms—a whole list of embittered responses to ending up in the hospital and losing so many days. But that never happened once. Because I saw it for what it was. It was the best thing that had happened to me in years. It was blessing directly from God and in quick response to a prayer. I've written here before that the answers don't always look like you'd expect them to. I asked for inspiration and ended up in an ER. But by staying open to the way grace is moving through my life, I'm seeing the breadth of beauty and eloquence of the reply. The universe's answer to your prayers could be moving through your life right now, similarly disguised. How will you turn to greet it?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

11/23/15—Being Late With My Blog

For the first time (I think) in Daily Draw history, I'm going to be late making a post. I've been in the hospital since Thursday and just can't manage to pull the blog together tonight. But I do have one in the works and can get it posted tomorrow. And that's when you'll get the story about what I've been through this past week and the amazing gifts I've gotten from it. See you tomorrow!

P.S. I'm fine. Nothing to worry about. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

11/16/15—Cutting the Tree

My tree has been a topic of worry and conversation lately. But there's an aspect to it that I haven't yet revealed. 

For those who don't know, I have a massive silver maple in my back yard. Near as I can figure, it's 65 years old, which is middle aged for a silver maple. But the thing with these trees is that they grow quickly and, if they're not properly pruned when they're coming up, they get gangly and then the limbs can snap. 

Over the 17 years I've known this tree, there have only been a few incidents. The tree overhangs three yards and each of the three of us has seen some sort of large something fall in our yards. I've cut the tree back before, but now "the short branches" have grown so much that they're overhanging two houses. I've always worried about this tree, but now it's a concern that could cause some real damage to property. So I'm taking it down. 

I'm kind of into things like trees and, over the years, I have "seen" different things in the bark or the tree. There was this incredible "owl" that showed itself in the bark when I trimmed a limb once. And, for the past few years, I have seen, if you were to cut the tree just right, its trunk as a torso, the right and left branches as arms and the middle branch as a head. There is a man in my tree! Possibly a tree god or something like that. 

As crazy as it sounds, I can't help but see him every time I look at the tree. And as time to cut the treegrows nearer and nearer, I grow more and more anxious to let him out. So with every estimate, I've had to explain that I don't want the tree removed. Instead, I want to leave a sizable trunk that looks like a man flailing his arms like one of those inflatable air sacks you see along the roadway to catch your attention. They smile politely and nod, but I get the sense they think I'm punking them. 

Anyway, this past week, the power company had to come out and cut the limbs over the power line in preparation for the tree service I'll be hiring. It was an impressive show. But I found myself getting really emotional, partly at the loss of the tree and partly in anticipation of "letting the man out". And as I was looking at the tree, it occurred to me that I sometimes feel like that I'm locked within a me that is no longer appropriate to me, and I'm having trouble getting out. 

There can sometimes be a long time between the first thought of change and the change itself. I'm somewhere along that length, hoping for some sort of inspiration that will coax me to white knuckle my way through...if I have to go the hard way, that is. It's not that I've had plenty of things to inspire me. It's just that none of them have taken yet. So I'm guessing I'm not ready yet. I'm certainly not done making excuses for why I'm not making changes, that's for sure. :D

So as I looked up at my tree and cried as I saw Phase I begin the process of removing limbs, I also cried a little in relief that the man would finally come out. Like me, he's been somewhere along the length to change since I first saw him, maybe 10 years ago or more. And the thing is, he's always been in there, I just didn't see him. So that's progress for both of us. Recognizing you want change is the first step toward getting it. 

As far as the tree is concerned, I have officially turned the corner from "am I doing the right thing?" to "I hate to see the tree go" to "ok, let's get that guy out of there". Usually once I get to the "let's get that guy out of there," things move fairly quickly. As for changes I want in my life, I'm somewhere in the corner's curve, looking for some meaningful impetus to help me gain enough momentum to complete the turn and break out of the tree that's held me so long. 

It's a good tree. A tree that has served me well. But one with a potential to do damage if I keep from cutting it much longer. My process has begun. It's a slow process, but I can't contain myself forever. I know that much. I feel this thing with my tree is happening now for a reason and I'm soon to start making the tough cuts that will change everything for good. 2016 may just be an interesting year. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

11/9/15—Letting Go

A. Reaves Photography
Spirituality. Personal growth. Oneness. Transcendence. All the stuff we talk about on this blog comes from one thing. Letting go. 

Now, granted, it's far more complex than that. But pretty much everything you want to achieve, can be achieved by letting go.

Say, for example, you want to become a published writer. The list of things you have to let go of could include fear, excuses, limited ideas of what you can be, a relaxed work ethic, some outdated definition of who you are, naysayers, expectations...the list could go on and on. 

If you want to change a thought, you have to let go of the old thought. If you want to open your heart, you have to let go of the fortress you've built around it. If you want to be at one with others, you have to let go of the notion you're in any way different from them. If you want to move closer to god, you have to let go of needing to "know" and just trust. 

If there is something eluding you in your life right now, ask yourself what you have to let go of. There is something you're holding on to—an attitude, dream, goal, outdated notion, belief, emotion, stubbornness, resistance, fear, concern, excuse, knee-jerk reaction, insecurity, thought pattern, paranoia—something. Of course, you have to be self aware enough—and honest enough—to recognize the things you're holding on to in the first place. Ultimately, the only thing that ever stands between us and the things we want out of life is ourselves. 

If you've ever had a massage, meditated, practiced yoga or done any sort of relaxation exercise, then you know that your body holds on to tension in places you didn't realize. And you also know how hard it can be to let go of certain muscles...or to even know if you've let go of them...or to even know those muscles are there. Then, when you're "fully relaxed", you find another level of holding on beneath that. And you loosen that. And then, eventually, you're satisfied you're fully relaxed, even if momentarily.

This is the same process that happens on our personal journeys of growth. The more you let go of the muscle of the ego, the tighter wound you realize it is and the more places you see you're holding on that you never knew existed. And then, if it's even possible to reach a place where you think you've fully let go, you become conscious of a whole other nuance of holding on that you never knew existed.

If you're angry with someone, you're holding on. If you're sad or lonely, you're holding on. If you're stressed, you're holding on. If you're pursuing a goal, you're holding on. Even if you're happy, you're holding on. In fact, if you're alive and conscious, you're holding on...haha. Even monks hold on to their practice and devotion. We get glimpses of letting go, but we can't stay there, partly because trying to stay there would be holding on and partly because our journey on earth counts on us holding on to something. Holding on is our gravity. It's what keeps us tethered to this reality. 

As you begin a practice of self awareness and letting go, you also begin to see what's working for you as far as attachments go. A wise friend once told me "move toward that which makes you feel larger" and that principle applies here. If something is keeping you stuck or making you feel small, it's time to let go. 

For a different perspective, Buddhism believes that attachment is greatest source of suffering amongst humans. They define attachment as seeing the thing you're attaching to as separate from yourself. In their way of seeing things, it's possible to transcend attachments by being united with all things. So, in that way of thinking, letting go is actually the opposite of non-attachment. In non-attachment, there is nothing to let go of because there is unity in all things. In essence, you let go of your resistance to accepting this thing into your being. So that's another perspective on the situation. It doesn't make our journey as spiritual seekers any easier, though. It's just as hard to come to a place of non-attachment with something as it is to let go of it. 

I estimate that some of my letting go is letting go and some of it is non-attachment. I know that the more I understand and embody something, the less impact it has on me. And I also know that I frequently feel like I'm fighting upstream with some struggles and I often visualize letting go and letting the current take me...surrendering to it. Two sides of the same coin, really. 

For the vast majority of us, there's never going to come a day when we'll be here on earth without having countless attachments or things to hold on to. But we can lighten our loads, which is what the spiritual journey is about. It's about being as clear a channel as possible to transcend suffering or to receive and transmit grace, God's light, universal energy, the goddess...whatever speaks to you. Whatever your beliefs, however, the path to God or happiness or whatever you're trying to reach, can never be found by reaching toward something outside of you. It can only be found by clearing a pathway toward it within. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

11/2/15—Getting Comfortable With Loneliness

There is something that keeps coming up as a topic of conversation, but I have never gotten around to writing about it. Today I had some thoughts about it, so I decided it was time. 

It's about feeling lonely. Specifically feeling lonely on the spiritual path. I have a handful of friends that you would call "spiritual leaders"—they teach, coach, write or otherwise have a trusted voice. And all of them/us feel lonely on the path. 

There are a lot of reasons for this. We're mostly solitary seekers, so we don't have a group that we delve into these questions with. Or, if we do, we're the leader of that group and that makes us different in group dynamics. And, also, the further down the path you seek, the fewer people are out there. And, sooner or later, you seek in realms where there are no guidebooks and few road markers to help you on your way. 

Those are the more "flattering" reasons, and all are true. But there are also other possibilities. 

The fact is, being a human, period, is a lonely, uncomfortable row to hoe. The further you travel along your path, the deeper the realization of this may become. You may realize how far, by being a separate individual here on earth, which is the mission you agreed to before you came, you have disconnected from source, despite possibly being more connected than others. And by source, I mean God, the universe or whatever you feel is larger and more vast than any entity here on earth. 

When you boil it down, life is a solitary thing. Sure, there are people who support you through this difficulty and that. But as people come and go from our lives, experiences get cobbled together and nobody else has been exposed to your blend of experiences. Nobody else has your unique way of looking at those experiences. We might have good people and great relationships all around us and yet, in the still, quiet moments we'll all experience loneliness at one time or another. 

For some, those moments will be comforted by faith in a higher power or a connection to the oneness in us all. But life will always intrude and bring us back into our humanness. It's inevitable. 

I'm not going to claim to have all the answers, so maybe I'm wrong. But I see people who feel lonely and think it's because they don't have a mate or they don't have enough friends. And I believe mates and friends are distractions that make you feel less lonely. But they don't cure the loneliness. 

Nothing cures the loneliness. Because the fact is, each of us is alone. We're born alone. We die alone. And in between we distract ourselves from loneliness, but we're still alone. And feeling sorry for ourselves or comparing ourselves to people we perceive to be less lonely doesn't really help. 

What helps, I think is knowing why we feel alone. Much of it is our ego telling us we need to be affirmed by others and if we're not affirmed enough or often enough, we feel alone. But when you move past that level of loneliness, I believe it's because you're "clear" enough to feel the weight of the solitary task you've taken on here on earth. You're clear enough to see how irreparably alone you will remain as long as you have human consciousness. 

The human consciousness is what you came here to experience. It's a totally unique and complex way of learning and growing that you can't find anywhere else. But that part of us that is universal can never quite forget it has to be separated from source in order to make that possible. We have to feel fear. We have to feel loneliness. We have to experience discomfort. We have to have ups and downs. That's what we came to do. We can't do that unless we separate from that which feels no fear, loneliness, discomfort or imbalance. 

Your soul may be part of something larger, but the individual you came here to be is on a solitary journey. Which doesn't mean you can't have companions along the way, but only you can come here to do what your unique individual part of the whole came here to do. Rather than your loneliness and discomfort telling you you're doing something wrong, they're actually indicating you're doing something right.

Because it's such a solitary thing, it's also really hard. And the more you let go of the distractions—social gatherings, alcohol, TV, reading, work, whatever—the harder and lonelier it becomes. Because you're left alone with your inner work. You're left alone with your mission and wherever you might be on that trail. Or, because many people feel they don't know what their mission or purpose is, you're left alone with that. And all of it is painful and/or difficult and/or uncomfortable for a human to face. 

I do believe, though, that there is a way to reframe all of it. First, if you have a cooperative and loving relationship with your soul, you actually are never fully alone. Because the individual you came here to be and your soul are separate, but connected entities, one of which dies and the other which is everlasting. And if you can feel the way your soul is there to comfort you lovingly during those moments of loneliness or exhaustion, you can get a different take on it. Sure, your ego will always tell you that another individual is the answer to the problem, but really, everything you need is inside you. 

I wrote about spiritual adulthood in a previous blog. In that blog, I defined spiritual adulthood as having three core components—awareness of yourself and your own consistencies and inconsistencies; personal responsibility and the ability to fess up to your consistencies and inconsistencies; and the will to break free from the kinds of behaviors and attitudes that keep you from having a deeper relationship with your soul or higher self. 

Spiritual adulthood is a massively hard role to undertake, one only taken on by those souls and individuals who are willing to make the tradeoffs necessary to go exploring off ego-paved paths.  And here's the kicker...there's no confetti flying once you finally reach your destination, because there's no destination to reach. Just more journey. The second you realign one inconsistency, another will become apparent. And then you'll have to come around to addressing that one, too. It takes a lot of staying power. 

And, then once you've crossed over the threshold of spiritual adulthood and become conscious of yourself and your soul and how you're both connect and disconnected from source, there really aren't any good places left to hide. You can try to hide, but once the lights are turned on in your consciousness you're pretty much screwed. So you just become more and more raw in the face of the loneliness and difficulty and have to learn to come to peace with that, too. 

As everything on the spiritual journey, it comes down to trust. You have to trust that the soul that chose your body, personality and path has a higher wisdom and is guiding you correctly. As humans, we tend to gravitate toward that which makes us comfortable and we tend to cling to the ego mindsets we perceive hold value. As seekers, however, we tend to gravitate to that which makes us uncomfortable and that which requires we shed things that once held value, because that's where the higher wisdom is found. And wherever higher wisdom is found, that's where we can meet with our higher selves and our god-selves in the most meaningful ways. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

10/26/15—Enjoying the View

I was giving a reading the other day and said something so wise I surprised even myself! :D I may not be the first to say it, but its worthy of repeating and reconsidering even if you've heard it before. Plus, I've been living it and considering it for a few days and it's a great thought to carry around...

At this very moment, your dream has come true and your future dreams are coming true. Today was a day you dreamed of. 

Think about it. THIS was a moment you dreamed into fruition. And even though it may feel like a "flawed moment"...or not as perfect as the dream you is nonetheless the moment of manifestation for you. A moment to cherish and celebrate. 

Consider that everything that happened today and will happen tomorrow is in response to a prayer you put out. We're always making dreams of the future...always working toward a future dream that continually expands ever further into the future as we meet goals, take unexpected turns and live our daily lives. And because of this, it seems like today is just never good enough. But today is the answer to a dream you had not that long ago. Rejoice in the answer to a dream rather than poo poo it as not as good as the revised vision you have now. You couldn't even have that vision if you didn't once dream the dream you're living today. 

A year ago I dreamed I'd be more mentally clear and more physically capable. And I am. And yet it's not good enough. I want even more now. And a curse of being human is that we don't know how to exist without a dream of something more. So we're never satisfied with what we have. The thirst for more serves a purpose in moving us forward. But with all these mountains we climb, we really should take the time to enjoy the view. Living a life of purpose that doesn't account for appreciating the beauty of the process is missing the point, imo. 

Part of the challenge of taking personal responsibility for having dreamed this and every day of our lives—whether consciously or unconsciously—is realizing that the things we dreamed of, in the reality we actually live in, have upsides and downsides. For example, I dreamed of having dogs. So when I carry three sacks of poo with me for a mile on a walk, that's a day I dreamed of. Because that's part of the reality of dogs. 

Say that, years back, you dreamed of the day you'd be married to the spouse you have now. Or say you dreamed of getting the job you have now. And now you're unhappy with that situation, whatever it is.  Dreams, when translated into reality, have upsides and downsides. So this is a day you dreamed of. 

And so imagine that today you're dreaming of being free of that job or marriage. Then, in reality, things are probably going to get worse before they get better, because most of us need to be pretty miserable to take on changes like that. Therefore, the miserable times are all days you dreamed would happen. And now imagine that you're free of that situation, at last. But you're feeling lonely on Friday night or are unemployed or maybe having trouble settling in to your new job. Those are all days you dreamed of, too. And if you want to change that, it's likely it will all get worse before it gets better, so those are the days you're dreaming of now when you dream of changing the situation. 

And the same goes for all the happy and neutral days we all have, too. I just didn't mention them, because it's easier to imagine the good days being days you dreamed of. We'll readily take credit for having brought those into fruition using our powerful dreaming abilities...haha.

So consider taking your head out of all that you want to accomplish before next month, next year or the end of your life and spend some time appreciating the powerful fact that you created today. It is an answer to a prayer. You are that good. So good, in fact, that all the dreams you have for tomorrow are unfolding effortlessly as we speak, just as today unfolded from yesterday's dreams. 

By the time we fulfill our intentions and reach the places we dreamed of yesterday, it's too late to enjoy the process. And, besides, we already have a new dream in mind that we're focused on instead. The only time to really appreciate and enjoy the striving is not when we've reached our destination, because we never really do. It's day by day as we're experiencing it. 

Today is the day you once dreamed of. You are magic. You are literally living the dream. Celebrate the beauty of this moment. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

10/19/15—Blogging from Between the Layers of an Onion

One of the things about the spiritual journey is that each time you peel off a layer of the onion, and each time you think you've nailed a particular lesson, you just end up discovering new layers and lessons to learn. 

Judgment is something I've been working on for a while. Or perhaps I should say non-judgment of others. Fact is, every time you look at or see another a person, you make a judgment about them. Oh, that's my *good* friend, Ken." "That's a *tall* woman." "Oh, he's got *great* hair." All of those are judgments.  True non-judgment is being of neutral mind about all things good or bad.

I don't think there will be very many of us that will choose to go so far down the path that we stop quantifying others altogether. That's monk-level non-judgment. But what most of us need help with is the everyday judgments of what is right and wrong about the things other people say, believe, want and do. That's where I feel I've made good progress. 

But I still catch myself making those judgments or making judgy comments from time to time. The hard part, really, is not just to stop saying those things, but to also stop thinking those things. Of course, one leads to another, but I do notice judgy thoughts seeping in from time to time. Far less than I used to, but they're still there. And that led me to a realization. 

While I'm far less judgmental, what I'm really far MORE of is accepting. In other words, I still might make that judgment—"what an ass he was for doing that"—but I'm less likely to mete out any "punishment" or take on any stress over it. So if, say, someone screws me over on something, I might judge them as an asshole, but then accept the situation for what it is and move on. What that does for me is it disconnects me from the toxic rehashing of the situation and the desire for karma to visit upon them. I'm far more able to lift things up to the universe and trust, though I admit, from time to time, I do get stuck on something. 

There are two essential truths critical to moving past judgment and toward acceptance. The first is that everyone has their own path to walk and what they do on their path is none of our beeswax. We don't even know what's right for our own path half the time. We have no business sticking our nose into the paths of others. So if they have had multiple affairs, if they own an arsenal or if they've been to jail, it's none of our business. Not ours to judge. It's part of their journey here and we're not in charge of their journey. We have laws that keep order within society and, within those laws, live and let live. Nobody says you have to invite them into your home. I'm just saying tend to your own crap and let others tend to theirs. And if you're judging others, then simply put, you still have your own stuff to work on. Because the person who has healed enough to be in a position to judge wouldn't judge. 

The second truth is that people who create drama, tell lies, cheat or otherwise do things where they knowingly hurt others—as well as those who do crap unconsciously to hurt others—they're doing it because of who they are and not because of anything having anything to do with you. Regardless of what it looks like. Regardless of what they tell you. It's about who they are, not about you. And it usually comes from a place of deep anger and hurt within them. It's because of things they can't face, not things they're trying to make you face. 

Which isn't to say the crappy thing they've done isn't hurtful. But because it's about them and not you, then you get to *choose* how to respond to it. It has no power over you. Only you have power over you. So you can look at it as an opportunity to learn something about yourself, rather than an opportunity to hurt. If you want to. When you feel hurt, it's just the universe showing you where you still need to heal. So again, instead of focusing on the other person, focus on your own stuff. 

If you tell yourself often enough that "it's not my path, so it's not my business", you'll find yourself judging less. And I'm not saying if you see someone about to jump off a bridge, you just leave them to their path. This is about judgment. You wouldn't judge the person for wanting to jump off a bridge. And so you might be able to approach them and start a compassionate conversation, rather than one that starts with, "hey, asshole, don't jump!"

And if you remind yourself often enough that the other person's asshattery comes from a place of pain and anger within themself, then you can have compassion toward them. Because you understand pain and anger. And while you might have the tools to deal with anger and pain without hurting others, this person does not. And that's worthy of compassion and acceptance. You understand them and you accept the situation as it is because you've felt the same way before and, however you dealt with it, you probably haven't dealt with it perfectly every time around. And, besides it's not about you anyway. So all "the asshat" is guilty of is something you've been guilty of in the past. And you can accept it for what it is.

So while non-judgement may be the path, acceptance is one of the nuances of that path and can be a deceptive mile marker along the way. For some time I saw my acceptance of a situation to be the same as not judging it, and it's not. And so the plot thickens. 

The clarity between layers of the onion is fabulous and a great indicator of how far you've come. But it's not the destination. And you can only hang out there for so long before you also see how much further you have to go. And so you enter a new ring of the onion, not knowing for sure where you'll come out. But knowing for sure that, no matter where you come out, you'll never quite reach the end.