I used to think that fun only happened while doing Fun things, capital F, you know? So my bucket list was cinematic, as if I expected a camera to be following me everywhere and proving my joyfullness to the world.
Then I got myself in a Very Useful Bind in Ireland and came face to face with the acknowledgement that I had a very unintentional and clueless relationship with my own joy. And slowly, I started really meeting my joy, and realized it was fucking enormous, huger than anything I could ever conceive of. Nor did it live in those cinematic bucket list items either, though it often lived in the birthing of a fresh wanting to do something like that. I feel joy whenever I take the next true step. My true step. Not anyone else's. I can tell it's a true step because it feels lighter than any other choice.
Even when my next true step is to feel grief or Freak the Fuck Out, there is joy in the honesty, in the bare chested greeting where life really is happening for me.
And now my joy has brought me to the fun of judging the world. Tonight on a LONG drive home from the airport, my daughter and I dropped deep into some hearty bits as we are want to do on long drives and I shared with her that I have come to see judgements as red flags, or rumble strips along the highway, letting me know that I'm leaving the part of the game that I have any business trying to play.
It was a warm summer night in an orchard and people were reading poetry on a large wrap around porch. Most of the light had faded from the sky and a man was reading a long rambling poem about his time in Latin America, and for a time, I was spellbound, wrapped deep in the lushness of the story, and I had that feeling of hoping the words never ended, and that I could stay forever in that jungle village eating jack fruit and chasing waterfalls like a TLC song in action.
Then suddenly the feeling was gone, and I was out. The spell was broken and I started thinking about his prowess as a poet, and the length of the poem and good Lord is he rhyming?
But the more I thought these things the further I was from the magic, woven feeling I'd just been so thoroughly enjoying. So instead of giving into the judgements about this wonderful old poet, I looked at what had just happened and I discovered the most marvelous thing: the judging act was a decoy, a distraction, a magic illusion to draw attention away from the main show. So I turned my eyes away from the judging thoughts and followed the emotional thread instead: I felt nervous.
It was actually my turn to read and I hadn't prepared and (in my head) no one ever REALLY gets my work anyway, and fear and fear and inadequacy, and ...
I had used the judgement because old emotions were coming up and it was easier to go think crappy thoughts about someone else than to have true stewardship around my focus and go have a conversation with the part of me that was surfacing and that had scared me so much that I had distracted myself with judgement going out.
So it's become my little party trick when I see people divebombing into judgement at parties, I think, I wonder what they've really got going on beneath all that? And I'll imagine their innocence and deep sweet engagement with each other, the kind of engagement that lives on the other side of judgement.
When I find myself judging, each time it's getting harder and harder to stay in the illusion of it long because it's always masking some realer response to life that I, for whatever reason, don't think I'm ready for. And the fun of it is, finding a way to be ready anyway.
And when I hear the phrase "no judgement" I now hear a very endearing invitation to stay within my rumble strip and not pretend I'm not ready to show up for the full joy of this whole being human thing.