Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Without Judgment

Every time I commute out to New Jersey and see all the people streaming into New York City, I am amazed at our sheer numbers - the people who are here, living and breathing all their own little lives and secret agonies.

I've been "on my own" as one might say for coming up on two months now. Part of my "recovery work" in the past two months has been learning to love myself again, to not chastise myself or hate myself for what happened. It is so easy to end up in loops of negativity, to wish I'd been kinder, a better communicator, on and on and on...It is easy, too, to stem those thoughts my making myself busy, to jam my schedule so full of dance and work and social outings that I don't have any time to just sit and reflect and think about how things went wrong.

I take the hard way out instead, and purposefully place unscheduled time on my calendar. I spend at least one evening a week having a date with myself. On those evenings, I go to a museum or watch a movie or make myself dinner (which I eat without the internet or my phone next to me), and I write and write and write.

I still feel lonely, oftener than I would like but not as often as at first. It seems sometimes when I am feeling sad, or missing someone, or bitter, that I ought to act upon it. I assume that I should always "fix" problems, and that by doing so I might be happier. When I asked,"I'm missing him, what should I do?" the best advice I ever got was "Do nothing." In other words, don't call, don't blog, don't reach out. Just let yourself sit with the feeling, say hello to it, and let it stay for a while.

My wise roommate passed on something her dad told her. I'm going to paraphrase poorly, but it was essentially this: Why it was so bad that Adam and Eve gained the knowledge of good and evil in the fall in the Garden of Eden? Shouldn't that be a good thing, that we would be able to tell the difference between the two? But in fact, what that did was create judgment, the need to put things in the "good" bucket and the "bad" bucket. If we turn to Buddhism and the practice of meditation, one of the things one learns to do in meditation is to observe feelings without judgment. To acknowledge that in the world, there is anger and jealousy and fear, and to be at peace with their existence.

I've been spending a lot of time on the weekends birdwatching. I've found, I think, a form of meditation in the practice - seeking and spotting the lively creatures, finding joy in the fact of their existence. By going and joining a group of strangers, I reclaim a piece of myself that I thought might have come from someone else.

Kurt Vonnegut once said, "I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.' "

The past week of practice has been more challenging than usual; our coaches have been pushing us hard, and we struggle to put the information together. C and I try to put new feelings into our body and we have been clashing with each other. So this morning's practice is a particular relief, despite us both being a little sleepy we manage to find one another, and so find the harmony that we'd been missing. It is such a luxury to have that sensation at the outset of my day. As the subway trundles me home, I am calm and at peace; I feel my love of life washing me clean.
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