It’s taken me a long time to recognize how my negative thoughts affect my body. Recreating an old argument in my mind instantly sets my heart to pounding. Reliving a sadness weights my heart. Judging imparts a feeling of ickiness. I’m working on being judgmental, on ceasing stemming the tide of those myriad mental pronouncments that so often pop up of their own accord. And then there are the judgments I make knowing full well what I am thinking or saying. I’m working on it.

But before I could attend to the judginess, I had to develop the awareness of my judging.  And before developing this awareness I had to remember having set the intention to develop it in the first place. The process is ongoing. Some days are better than others.  More often now I recognize the constricted icky feeling when Judge Debra surfaces. I try to remember self-compassion for this human flaw of mine and to send kindness toward unsuspecting human just bonked by my inner gavel.

I recently attended a terrific concert at the Detroit Symphyon Orchestra — Frank (Sinatra) and the Great Ladies where “Broadway brass meets old-school class in a fresh take on songbook classics with award-winning vocalists.”  The female singer wore a dress that instantly set my inner judge railing.  That dress does nothing for her. Too tight. It needs better undergarments. Wait, are you here to focus on a dress or on the singer’s stunning voice? Then a post-intermission costume change: a body-skimming silver-sequined dress scattered with geometric shapes in black sequins. Glimmer. Shimmer. Total style and stupendous.

Judge Debra approved. Human Debra remained aware of the inner thought-circus and its attendant sensations. Criticism and approval are simply two sides of judgment’s coin.  Judgment is judgment. Kismet, by way of Reverend Galen Guengerich’s First Light Meditations, sent this quote my way today. Once again my man Marcus shows the way to  learn, to live and to walk from a higher place of being.  

Treat with utmost respect your power of forming opinions, for this power alone guards you against making assumptions that are contrary to nature and judgments that overthrow the rule of reason. It enables you to learn from experience, to live in harmony with others, and to walk in the way of the gods.     Marcus Aurelius, 121 – 180