Do you ever have one of those moments when you just “get” something? A concept  you thought you understood and then something shifts and you understand it even more? That happened for me this past weekend when I was out hiking in a nearby park. During that walk “Judgment” and I had a little one on one.

Nature therapy comes in all forms

Spending time in nature is my own form of therapy. It allows me to discard the cares of the day as I immerse myself in the sights and sounds around me.

I have a set of trails that I especially enjoy and depending on the time of day and year, can see almost no one else. I am able to engage all my senses and am technology free while I do so. In my heart, this experience is the right way.

This past weekend the trails were busy. It was a sunny, warm day and people of all ages were out experiencing a break from the city. Many conversed with their children or as couples. Some walked quietly and pointed out things of interest as they came upon them.

Others stopped to take pictures or to read some of the information about the flora and fauna. It was busy and people were enjoying themselves.

At one point on the trail I saw a woman who seemed completely out-of-place. She was walking briskly, made no eye contact, had “gym” wear on, and sported ear buds from which I could hear thumping music. My first thought was, “you are completely missing the point of being out here, why even bother?” I felt both pity and disdain that she was so disconnected from her surroundings.

Imposing shoulds and musts

Then I realized how judgmental that was. Just because I have a created my own “how to” of hiking is by no means the only way to do so. I was imposing my shoulds and musts upon her, with no idea of what it was she was using this time for or what she needed from it. Her experience doesn’t have to mirror my experience.

I am grateful that I crossed paths with her because even though we didn’t speak, she provided a very powerful reminder of how we can pollute not just our lives, but those of others with our rigid views of the world.

Passing judgment or being judgmental, is a constant companion and one that doles out right/wrong, good/bad/, deserving/undeserving and any number of other scenarios. It comes from attempts to make sense of the world, of trying to create order. Rather than bringing people together it can be very divisive.

Do you really want to use energy to maintain the judgment stance?

Judgment tends to put us on unconscious guard, vigilant for spotting all the things that aren’t right in the world. It actually takes a fair bit of energy to maintain and once we let go of it, allows us to be a more creative force in our own lives.

As I continue to push at the beliefs I have set up and the judgments that go with them, I have found my life richer and more interesting. Why? Because those judgments are not just for others, but ourselves as well. We have created whole stories about who we are and what is, or is not, okay to do or be.

Let go of the shoulds and the musts and the have tos. Embrace could, might and want. Then see, if like me, you don’t begin to find greater self acceptance of yourself and become more open to possibility and opportunity.

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