How Grace is the antidote to judgment when we allow it in
Since embarking on this spiritual and personal wellness journey, I’ve come to realize that I used to talk a lot about concepts that I really didn’t understand because I hadn’t truly experienced them. Concepts like grace and faith and compassion. These aren’t just words, these are experiences of energy. For me, particularly when Grace and Compassion rain down (or arise, or envelope) – it’s a tangible experience. I can feel it arrive, inviting me to surrender into it. It invites me to rest, to trust, to breathe.
Grace visited me a lot in July. I spent that month constantly failing at being a “great” human being. At every turn, I was not doing a great job at being patient or having a soft Heart. And I was seeing it at every turn, getting a chance to practice acknowledging the weaknesses and choosing to respond differently, without judging myself or others. Isn’t that the usual go-to when we realize we’ve made a mistake? One way or another, we have been conditioned to beat ourselves up. We replay the error over and over again, sometimes apologizing over and over again. At the very least, we stand in judgment of ourselves in our minds, putting ourselves through a mental flagellation for being so weak/wrong/stupid/mean/insensitive/etc.
Many great spiritual teachers talk about how people are always doing the best they can in any given moment. I remember when I first heard this, I thought, “That’s the stupidest mumbo-jumbo I’ve ever heard. If people were always doing their best, the world would be in a lot better shape.”
I’ve slowly come to understand that these wise ones are trying to convey the simple truth: that people find themselves in circumstances – each of which have unquantifiable variables, most of which they cannot control. This fact, coupled with the varying modes of “awakeness” (for lack of a better phrasing) each of us experience means that people are doing the best they can in any given moment. These teachers aren’t saying that people aren’t ever messing up or failing miserably. These teachers are conveying a really important lesson about how judgment is a total buzz kill for experiencing Grace because judgment places a false narrative on reality.
My husband had major surgery last month and being his wife and all, I took care of him afterward. I thought I was prepared: I cleaned the house, caught up on laundry, sanitized the bathrooms. We made sure that the outside chores were all caught up and any major lifting/carrying/hauling had been taken care of. We were very busy in the weeks leading up to the procedure because we knew he’d be out of commission for a few weeks to a few months.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a lot of sleep which, looking back, was way more important than cleaning the bathrooms. I was nervous about the surgery, so I didn’t sleep well the week before. When the surgery was completed and everything turned out fine, my adrenals suddenly downshifted back to normal and I felt like I got hit by a mac truck. I was exhausted, achy and overly sensitive and emotional. This isn’t me being hard on myself – it’s just fact. When I don’t get enough sleep, I can get pretty ridiculous taking things personally. It’s like my shell just evaporates and nothing rolls off my back. I’m made of Velcro. Couple this condition of mine with my husband’s – on serious pain management medication and was adjusting to this new role of “patient,” and let’s just say the first couple weeks were rough.
Despite the rough road, my husband and I were doing the best we could. I was being the best person I could be in the situation I created. My husband was being the best person he could be in the situation he was in. And that’s the space where Grace gets a chance to enter the scene. Simple acknowledgment that “this is hard and we’re not perfect” is so much more productive than “this is hard and I’m failing.”
Do I look back and see where I could have done things differently to have had a smoother experience? Yes. Do I make a mental note of it for the future when similar situations might arise? Of course. Do I apologize to my husband for the moments when I wasn’t my best self with him in his time of need? Yes, of course. Recognizing that we’re all doing the best we can in any given situation isn’t about not taking responsibility or getting let off the hook or ignoring mistreatment or hurt feelings. It is about remembering that we are human beings being human. If the core of any given relationship is healthy and strong, these situations that arise in life don’t have to be defining or altering in any way. And we can rest in the fact that each person is doing the best they can always. This is where room for Grace is made – in the simple, “This is hard, we are doing the best we can, and above all else, I love you and am here for you.”
I’m grateful for the opportunity this situation handed me. Had I trudged down the well-worn path of self-and other-judgment, I would have missed the Grace and compounded the pain. It sometimes took effort to choose Grace because, well, I’m a human being, but each time I did, the effort was well rewarded.
A quick note about a new page on this site.
Because of this surgical event…
I took the month of July off from social media, writing, and accepting new clients. Now I’m slowly returning and amping up for September 12th, when registration opens for the Crystal Therapy Certification Program. I am really excited about this fresh start with a new group of practitioner candidates – we’re going to have a great time of learning and expansion together. I have only 4 spots left for 2017. If you are interested, please visit the link above.
I have decided to release some crystals from my personal collection. I have spent the last two days creating a special Crystal Shop page here on the website. I hope to eventually offer crystal essence sprays and oils too. For now, the shop page will have only a handful of very special, one-of-a-kind crystals, as well as information about my crystal finder service. If you are hunting for a special crystal, I am happy to go on the hunt for you. Simply fill out the contact form found on the page to get the ball rolling.
Any questions? Feel free to email me at tana at tanaschott dot com.