The Leap from Judgment to Joy

May 1, 2013

When you were a kid, did you ever pick dandelions? Bright and yellow, puffy and soft—I adored collecting them in bouquets, making Barbie® hair accessories, using them to draw on the sidewalk and (to my chagrin now) popping the tops off. When I later learned that dandelions are “weeds,” that news was perplexing to me. How could something that brought me so much joy be judged?

To be fair, many lovely things have a hazardous side (e.g., the prettiest berries can be poisonous). However, in the case of dandelions, we now know their nutritional and therapeutic value. Why in the world am I going on about this plant? It will make complete sense in a moment.

Last evening, I heard the ominous grind of my rear brakes and, reluctantly, opted to postpone a creative gathering scheduled for today. At first, I felt put out; then I realized that the early morning walk from the auto shop to the natural grocery store was a blessing—air, exercise, nature, time to unplug and promise of a healthy breakfast. This week has been crazy, prepping for trip departure, sorting through 30+ years of memories and running all over a smoldering hot desert. When I saw a dandelion fighting for it’s three square inches of existence, I thought of how we choose joy or we choose judgment.

For instance, children learn to like or dislike certain vegetables, to compliment or ridicule others, and to dream of possibilities or worry about problems by the examples they find in the people around them. Reflect on what you carried up with you as you grew to adulthood. When you think of the joy in your life presently, do you think of it brimming over or running low?

Now, compare how much time and energy you spend in judgment. Think it’s a small amount? Well, do you groan about your weight in the mirror, unload verbal onslaughts in traffic, find yourself saying how others can’t do their jobs based on some perceived incompetence, or repeatedly look at the flaws and falls happening in the world?

Awareness is crucial. I openly admit that it’s a struggle for me too. I have made progress, but it took empathy, presence and letting go of ego. Most judgment is us reflecting our shortcomings, fears, personal frustrations, unspoken expectations or disappointments on the world. In other words, judgment comes from you and can be filtered by you.

Ready for something that will rock your perception? Consider this:

“If we can accept that we are the sum total of all past thoughts, emotions, words, deeds and actions and that our present lives and choices are colored or shaded by this memory bank of the past, then we begin to see how a process of correcting or setting aright can change our lives, our families and our society.” – Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona

It’s up to you how your internal self sees the external world: bothersome . . . or beautiful.

5 thoughts on “The Leap from Judgment to Joy

  1. Marla

    Needed this tonight! If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you I am the most positive, encouraging, hope-inspiring person they have ever met. But tonight I found myself angry by an onslaught of snarkiness and tension at a meeting I attended, and am having trouble letting go of my frustration. I guess even we positive folks have our “human” moments! 🙂 Thanks for bringing me back to my peaceful, joyful view of reality! (and I also think dandelions are beautiful flowers!)

    1. Sara McClellan Post author

      Hello, Marla! I love your positive and inspiring ways. This world tests our resolve and our patience at times. That, as you aptly said, is part of our human journey. How we choose to take it from there and what we choose to hold on to defines our long-term happiness. I wish you abundant joy.

  2. Nicki Escudero

    I love this post! After a bad car accident, I looked with wonder at everything I saw in the world — for about 2 weeks, until the stresses of college life took over again. This is a nice reminder to see beauty all around us. Thanks, Sara!

    1. Sara McClellan Post author

      I appreciate the feedback, Nicki. I love that we can define our world through our perspective.


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