No Judgement Here

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Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 3.45.40 PMI have this buddy, John, who I’ve known since I was 14. We grew up at church camp activities together and we both lived in Denver during those transitional years between college age and actually growing up. I stood up with him during his first wedding, we now make it a point to do an annual ice fishing adventure together and we just returned from a short vacation.

This wasn’t just John and I on vacay. Our wives were included (duh!), as well as three other couples we’ve met through John. If you’re counting, that’s a total of 10 people on vacation together.

With 10 folks, there’s a lot of potential for disharmony. You can’t usually make all 10 people happy for dinner plans, much less how that many people want to vacation. While the other four couples have been together before on getaways, this was our first time infiltrating. Everyone was warm and welcoming and we had a blast. In fact, less than four hours after we were introduced, plans were already being discussed for another vacation.

Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 3.48.47 PMWhile we sat around a New Orleans courtyard, we sipped hurricanes and one of the vacationers, Dewey, made this statement:

“Marcus, what you’re going to find is that this group of folks has no judgement. If you’re with us, you can always do whatever you want and no one is going to think less of you. If you want to skip dinner and opt for room service, that’s cool. If you don’t want to do whatever everyone else is doing, you don’t have to. There’s no judgement here.”

That would make anyone feel welcome, right? The thing is, while I was in N’Orleans, I was also finishing up “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabot-Zinn; one of the leading researchers in the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.

I know the benefits of meditation and mindfulness…I just don’t always practice. One of the hallmarks of mindfulness is simple awareness and not-so-simply practicing non-judgement. It’s this non judgement that a lot of folks have a hard time with, me included.

Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 3.51.15 PMYet, over cocktails, I’m reminded of how much we all desire to be accepted for who and what we are. We don’t want to be judged. No one wants to be judged. As we expand our thinking to include acceptance and awareness, we find there’s no benefit to judgement of any sort. We simply look at what is, not what “should be.”

I hope you’ll spend a few minutes today practicing some non-judgement of your own. Don’t forget to include yourself when you’re non-judging, too.

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