I met with a sponsee yesterday, and the topic of judgement arose, as it so often does with those of us in Al-Anon. I came into this program with the firm belief that it was not merely acceptable for me to judge other people, but a necessity, to keep myself safe.
When my sponsor tried to show me that I was constricting myself with my judgements of others, I didn't get it. I judged her for not judging. I marshaled all the usual reasons for my thinking, and carried on, secure in the knowledge that I was right, and she was wrong. Loving, kind, accepting, wise in so many respects, but in this area, somehow confused and mistaken.
When I am loving and accepting, I'm open to my Higher Power; when I'm in judgement mode, I'm choosing to close myself off, and live inside that tiny box of self.
I'm not suggesting for a moment that I live in complete acceptance of everyone and everything - my ego is still far too strong to allow me an unrestricted journey. It offers me suggestions on how to think on a regular basis, and is particularly vociferous when I'm hungry, angry, lonely, tired - HALT. Then it's up on the soapbox declaiming about this, that and the other thing, and it takes concerted effort on my part to remember to stop what I'm doing, close my eyes (or not, if I'm driving) and ask my Higher Power to "please take this, I don't want to feel this way."
When I ask, I always get relief. That yapping in my head is quieted to a indistinguishable murmur, and I feel love, acceptance, serenity. It's my choice - do I want to have that channel to my HP open, and feel that loving wonder? It's hard to imagine not wanting it, but the ego is amazingly strong in us. Ego tells us many stories; before Al-Anon, I thought my ego was honest with me, only telling me the truth. Regular, daily practise of Step 10 has made it very clear that my ego is often wrong. Spectacularly wrong, too, not just slightly mistaken. I'm tired of listening to my ego. I want peace. I can only achieve peace when I'm willing to let go of judgement.
When I realised how simple it is, I couldn't believe it. You mean all I have to do is ask? But what about all these other complications?
The longer I'm in Al-Anon, the simpler my life becomes.
I've only recently gotten over what felt like a major hurdle with regard to my spouse, and my judgements about what he should or should not be doing, in and out of his program. From the other side, that hurdle was massive, huge, it blocked the light, it made forward motion impossible, I couldn't imagine how I was going to get over that one, or even if I wanted to, in truth.
Until I decided to surrender completely, and ask my HP for help. Up until then, I thought I was surrendering, but I wasn't; I'd always kept a little piece of it aside, and that piece was a judgement. My HP can't get to me, if I've closed myself off with a judgement. The door only opens from one side. My side.
And finding myself on this side of it, I'm trying to see where exactly it was - you mean that barely distinguishable wrinkle was my hurdle? But that's impossible! It was massive, huge, it blocked the light. I couldn't get past it, I...wow. Just that little wrinkle, that's what I've been trying to get over all this time? It's funny. It sure wasn't funny from the other side, but on this side, it's hilarious.
I pray to always want to be more loving, more accepting, to keep that door to my HP standing wide open, and propped open with the rock of Al-Anon.