Belong judging

Judging to Belong

Husband and son enjoying karting for son’s birthday. Lots of judging went on during this afternoon as we watched groups of other people also enjoying their day. Many were stage and hen parties. March 2023. Photo taken by myself

I think this might fit in with the last few blogs.

I’ve been pondering judging others and Jesus comment about “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged” Matthew 7:1-2. Yet we do all judge on a regular basis. We are continually putting others into that “good box/bad box” But I think we do it so we can be safe, because we’re scared.

It is easier to make a judgement call on others than really get to know them, easier to put them in a box than lift the lid on them. But I think that is because we want to belong.

Jesus as that we will be judged in the same way as we judge others. I think too often we’ve thought of that as God doing the judging but I think it is each and everyone of us. So if I think of myself with my own internal labels of good/bad behaviour, of what makes a good Christian/writer/person of my age/add your own then I judge that person over there as being either part of my clique or not then I decide if I am going to like them or not, if I am going to let them get close or not. But I do it all much more for my benefit than for theirs. I want to be surrounded by people who will affirm my beliefs, behaviours, tastes, etc so that I have a group I am apart of.

I think there are not just Christian denominations but others groups, but it is the Christian ones I know best, who say if you do x then you are a better Christian than those over there. If you get involved and do things, behave like someone else, but in actuality it is when we are truly who we were made to be, our genuine selves, that we belong fully, especially to God.

I’ve just started a new job four afternoons a week. It is the first job I have ever had, I think, where I haven’t wanted to “fit it” and because of that I am being my genuine self. Yes it has helped that I have got rid of some of the things that held me back from being genuine. I am finding that I am really enjoying the job and I think that is because, even though I am hearing that things are not perfect and that there are things that the old-needing-to-fit-in-me would have been hurt by, I am not judging, but also not needing to temper myself to be “part of the clique”.

There is a freedom in not judging others, in not being fearful of not fitting in with culture one is in. It is not stepping out of the culture but not needing to be part of it, or even not needing to oppose it. Opposing is a judgement call as much as needing to know the “rules” to fit in.

The need to judge other and to belong is a survival mechanism but there is so much more freedom in not having to judge and being one’s genuine, authentic self.

Much of this post came from thoughts I had from a video and newsletter from the daughter of friends of mine who is on mission with Ywam in the Pacific. I felt the only way to end this was by taking a quote from our email conversation.

“I think it is very common to want to do things to get peoples validation and feel like you belong. But in the Kingdom of God you belong by simply abiding. My friend, Julie, introduced me to the song abide by kingdom culture. I love it! It says “there’s no striving, just abiding“, how beautiful that all we have to do is abide in the Lord. And with abiding in the Lord comes being yourself and not having to worry.”

Amaris, Ywam Ships Kona. April 2023
fearful trauma

But What About Me!

Between Traeth Lligwy and Moelfre at 3pm Sunday 23rd April 2023. Photographed by myself

I’ve been pondering how to pull the last four posts together and this came to me this morning.

When we live in a state of high alert, high anxiety, of fear, of high meerkat mode, even though it doesn’t appear that way to our logical minds we are too often thinking of ourselves and how things will affect us. We overlay it with looking as if we care for others but too often, not every time, it is that “but what about me!” fear. This leads us to being greedy and selfish, to taking the job that makes us miserable because we want others to see us as in a respectable position, putting our own egos and own self image before what our heart really says. The system is broken but we only really want to fix it if it helps us not if it helps a wider world, a world that will exist after we are gone.

Many people bemoan the state of the UK’s National Health Service and say more money needs to be put into it, but if something went wrong with the treatment they are having many would sue. I learned the other day that there is a department in each NHS health board that deals with people who wish to bring litigation against some part of the Health Service. Often because they think they have been short changed. This does not help with putting more money and resources into sorting out this system. Interestingly too I knew of someone who had to fight with lawyers who wanted her to take the NHS to caught because twice her babies had died a month before they were due to be born. She felt that the NHS was not to blame but also that no amount of money would ever replace her babies. Yes she wanted something to change but did not see how suing for a large sum of money would change anything.

Yesterday in the UK we had a nationwide security alert go off on our mobile phones. This was a practice to see if it was possible to warn people of an impending disaster. [The above photo is where myself, husband and dog were at that time] Now much as I do not like the idea of any government department being able to get into my phone and send me something I also think it isn’t such a bad idea to know if one was likely to be flooded, earthquake, fire, bombed, whatever, in time to take evasive action. But what tickled me was that many people were saying how it frightened them and that they would be really upset if something like that happened unannounced. So now we want to be warned about warnings of impending disaster. Nice idea. But again it was “all about me”.

So why are so many people on such high alert? For good reason. There have been so many traumas, many of them passed down through the generations, that too often they are seen as just what is rather than a trauma. A friend once commented at a map I had on my wall to help with home schooling about how many it was all just about commemorating battles, and of how many there were. Our land is littered with fighting, much of it internal battles of who should be king, who should rule, how people should worship God, etc. Then in more recent times those who came back from both the 1st and 2nd world wars who were traumatised, those who had lived without a man in the house, etc. And for myself I campaigned with CND and learned about what would happen in a nuclear war. All very scary. All things that make one on high alert. All things that make one put oneself, and often those closest, first. It does not encourage thinking of something bigger like a national health service, a national education system, a national anything. It all comes back to “what’s in it for me?”

Again though we revolve back to getting rid of those traumas. I know I’ve been pushing QEC but I do also think there are many others ways too. QEC worked for me but things like Sozo, and other inner healings works for other people. I would say anything that helps deal with trauma, deals with pulling down those walls that separate us from each other and the world, from God and the Universe, are all valid. But I do believe, as I say so often, that until we can release ourselves from being on high alert – which is often so ingrained that we don’t know it’s there – we will not be able to really put others before ourselves.

Love your neighbour as yourself

Mark 12:31

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life

John 3:16

God loved because God isn’t traumatised. Jesus was able to do what Jesus did because he put others first. We can only love others if we truly love ourselves and are willing to stopping having to protect ourselves by being on high alert and so having to protect ourselves first.

When someone is on high alert it is not about the other but about them. Let go and let God in and then I think we can truly heal our broken systems and our broken world and let of of logical thinking and replace it with heart thinking.

ego heart

Heart Versus Ego

Every move he makes is totally heart led. Photographed by me last week

I ended the last post with “Are we willing though to listen to our hearts and not our egos?” and feel I should unpack it a bit.

Logic isn’t bad. In fact going back to a previous post I think life would be easier if we didn’t put things into “good box/bad box” but the Eden myth lets us know humankind chose knowledge of good and evil over life, chose wanting to put things into logical boxes over wanting to trust in God/The Universe itself.

“Humans are primarily primed to be emotionally relationally led survival based beings. Egos don’t want to accept this which is where it all goes wrong. Sadly our world is obsessed with logic. The more they rely on logic the harder it is” Quotes from a conversation from the other day. Note it isn’t logic that is bad but the obsession with, the relying totally on logic that is the problem.

What is Ego though?

Ego is your idea or opinion of yourself, especially your feeling of your own importance and ability:

in psychoanalysis, the part of a person’s mind that tries to match the hidden desires (= wishes) of the id (= part of the unconscious mind) with the demands of the real world

Meaning of ego in English

But this gets skewed when we have allowed ourselves to be shaped by outside influences – what are parents/friends/teachers/colleagues said about us, what we read on the internet/in newspapers/magazines/books of how we “should be”, when we listen to adverts of what we “need” to be happy. Then we slide logic into the mix and we get confused. We are listening to all those outside influences and not listening to our hearts, not hearing who are true, genuine self is . [see the picture]

NOTE – we are not to be our “best self” but our most genuine self. Best goes back to the good box/bad box, right/wrong mentality. My genuine self is true to me and through that of course I will be giving off a calm energy which will help those around me to be their most genuine selves.

So if our world is obsessed with logic how to we “fix the broken systems”? How do we get to that place of “spiritual and cultural transformation”?

I don’t think we can think this through, that we can logically find an answer. I think it is time to move to a different place, to a place of mystery, of deep spirituality, of not needing to understand but trusting that there is a better way, but something greater than us can bring us to this point. I think we need to stop putting our trust in what we can do and start resting in God/The Universe/Whatever higher power you wish to call it.

How do we do that you may be asking? Because ask you will because that is logical. I’m not sure that many religious organisations can help because there is too much emphasis based on “having the answers” to give to the world, rather than living out the answer, rather than loving people unconditionally – that isn’t logical.

Let us step into the mystery of God, of the Son of God walking the earth, even the death and resurrection of Jesus to be a mystery not to be something that we can say “he died because of this”. Though I do think it is alright to say “One of the many reasons Jesus died is to reconcile us to God but there are many other things that I don’t understand and don’t get and that’s ok”.

Let’s start saying “I don’t know and that’s ok” more and more. Let’s start working on getting rid of the rubbish that stops us from being our genuine selves, that makes us afraid to trust our hearts. Let’s be bold and know there is more than we know but we want to connect with that more than.

I wonder what would happen if we all did that?

Listen to my heart logcial

The System is Broken

Taken from a private FB group I’m part, which is where the idea for this and the previous 2 blog post emerged from

I was hoping to say this post is, a sort of conclusion, a sort of answer if we are brave enough to do it, to the issues in the previous two posts, but as it has progressed I realise there has to be at least one more post.

One of the major reasons we finish up in jobs we’re not happy in, whether high paid or low paid, going too often for the miserable but respectable position is because we listen too often to the voices of others, even if that is not conscious. We want to fit in so we go for something that will “use our brains”, make our parents happy, earn us “enough” money which will lead to a “nice” house, lots of leisure time during which we will too often continue the patter of doing things that are subconsciously put on us by external voices. Yet in all this we are being logical. We are looking at things with logical eyes. We are not listening calmly and quietly to our hearts. In fact we shut our hearts out and then wonder why we see increases in depression, anxiety, and various other things.

Interestingly the person I mentioned in the 1st of these three posts has quit the job that was making her miserable, is now doing a selection of other jobs, is happy and is writing again.

Interestingly for myself I’ve just taken on 2 part time jobs, which I felt in my heart were the right things to do. I am back to being as busy as I was before lockdown and yet I am finding that I feel more creative, more able to write within the spaces that there are in my day. Following my heart even though it actually looks a bit full on and illogical has released me to write more than when I was trying to do things that seemed right.

In the last post the question was posed firstly by Gus Seth, then by myself, of how do we over come greed, selfishness and apathy and bring about a spiritual and cultural transformation.

The answer I think is so obvious – let go of trying to figure out things logically. Stop trying to work out how to change the system. Instead find those things that block us from listening to our hearts, be healed/set free of them and just listen. Then I believe we would do the jobs we liked, want to do the things that were needed to keep this world clean and healthy. We would care more for the planet, and each other, because we would be hearing it more. But this takes time

As a Christian I love hanging out with God. But too often in too many denominations to fit in you do have to let go of the magical mystery of God and go with your logical mind to fit in. It is not that you give up your intelligence to truly meet with God but you do have to let go of your logic to really enter into that mystery. As God says in Ezekiel,

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26

This must be on my mind because I did a post about this only last year which you can read here. Following on from that I think that when one has a heart of stone it is when one is using logic and working out what fit right, what will work properly. But we have to let God/The Universe/our therapy move us from the logical to the vulnerable heart, the fleshy heart, the heart that often doesn’t do the things society expects but in the end changes things by the energy that they release.

I also think this is why people do not rush to go to churches. They do not need another logical, rule based, fitting in with others system. They need a place where they can be free to be their genuine selves, free to fly, free to make mistakes and be picked up after. I could rant away about this for ages, but …

I also think that this freedom from logic and being able to let go of the blockages that hold us back from hearing our hearts is not just for those who meet God/Jesus, but is open to everyone. I also think that those who go to church often have not worked on freeing those blockages.

With all of this there is no logical system that will work, whether in prayer or in anything. There is a hanging out, a trusting, a deep listening, and then a bravery to go outwards into whatever comes next.

Are we willing though to listen to our hearts and not our egos?

apathy greed selfishness

Selfishness and Greed

Flint Castle, photographed by myself October 2023. A great example of a selfish, greedy king wanting to rule. Though at least then it was very openly selfish. Now, I think, things are more subtle, more ingrained, and are met with apathy.

I used to think that top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought with 30 years of good science, we could address these problems, but I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need spiritual and cultural transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.

Rabbi Yonatan Neri, and Rabbi Leo Dee in the Eco Bible quote Gus Seth, former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, which I have taken from Christine Sine’s Meditation Monday – New Creation Is Emerging

God/The Universe’s timing is amazing, I think, if we let ourselves go with where our hearts are leading. I don’t normally read Godspace before taking the dog for a walk. It is usually a quick cuppa, Morning Pages, and out the door. But this one morning I decided to read Christine’s Meditation Monday post and this quote stuck with me and left me pondering the “problems are selfishness, greed and apathy.” I’ve actually struggled to find the quote because that was only that bit that stayed with me. Again trusting God/my heart that I remember what I am meant to remember.

I was just coming to the end of my walk that day when I met a friend who looked awful. It turned out his company was halving his team, even though the team was really busy, had done it quite ruthlessly, and he was hurting because he had to tell two men who were his friends and he didn’t want to. It turned out this was a move to save the company money. And the thing that hurt him most of all was that the CEO’s starting comment “don’t worry you’re job is safe.”

The reason this jumped out at me was that phrase about problems of the world being selfishness, greed and apathy. Here was just one company out of many [and it fits in with the company I mentioned in the previous post who did not care members of their staff were miserable because their desire was to make a bigger and bigger profit] only looking at profit and encouraging their employees to be greedy and selfish, as in “your job is safe”. This does not create a caring community to work in. It creates a dog eat dog, looking after self, community.

Yet what do we do about it? As the above quote says we need a spiritual and culture transformation. Not a shift, not a slight different way of looking at things, but a full on transformation.

I occasionally hear about community projects that are going on in my role as freelance writing workshop facilitator. All of them focus on trying to change their community and yet the culture of both the application process and the various areas themselves have that underlying ethos of competitiveness, which of course leads to selfishness and greed. There are also a lot of freelancers out there chasing the same pot of money. But it isn’t transformation. It is sticking plasters. And if the wound is big then eventually it will burst around the sticking plaster. This in turn actually leads to increased apathy rather than change.

But this also attitude of selfishness, greed and apathy bleeds into our shopping habits, our uses of plastics, our not really worrying where our food, clothes, electronic goods, etc come from. We want them cheap [selfish and greedy] and we don’t care how that happens [apathy]. I know for myself it is easier to click a “sign Greenpeace petition” than to move forward to changing my lifestyle. And I am someone who does try to reduce waste, shop local, only get what I need, but there are times when I just cannot be bothered.

So today’s thought to leave you with is — How do we get away from fear, from selfishness, from greed, from apathy? How do we have this spiritual and cultural transformation? Because according to Gus Seth this is the only way we are going to save our planet and ourselves.

Judged miserable respectable

Respectable V Miserable

My first bluebells of the year. 5th April 2023

I am lucky. I have two jobs, both recently started, which I love. Both are part time. As well as being lovely jobs they are giving a bit of structure to my week and hopefully helping me to be more focused on my writing.

But something came up recently from someone I know who was trying to say about how she needed to give up her job because it was affecting her mental health. One of the responses she got was to basically get over it because she had a respectable job now. Thus implying that this person thought the job she had been doing previous was not respectable! But also that doing something that is deemed responsible is better than being happy.

What really got to me with this response, which was then followed the day beforehand by a fellow dog walker bemoaning his job, is how often we go for what is deemed as “respectable” even if it makes us miserable rather than following our hearts and trusting that the universe/God has our backs.

Yes we do need to earn “enough” [that dreaded word again] to pay bills, to eat, to live, but what actually is that? A topic I have gone into a bit before. What I want to do with this, and some other posts that hopefully will come out in quick succession, is to look at the way our world is progressing and what can we do about it.

So to start I want to look at how often we do jobs that make us miserable, that lead to others being miserable, but we do them because we feel we ought to “have a respectable job“, “use our brains to their full” – as if we can only do that in a job, and earn a “decent wage“.

At heart I am a socialist and think that many jobs that we deem as not respectable should be and those doing them should be rewarded for it. I now have my desk facing out on to the road [I’ll post a photo one time] which means I can watch the many different delivery drivers descending on the street. I wrote a post during the pandemic that said we should see these people as essential workers and reward them accordingly. But we didn’t.

We all expect our parcels delivered when we want them, to be able to go the pub, out for a meal, to a historic building/fun park/cinema/add your own whenever we want, but we do not see these jobs as respectable. The person who was told to stay in her miserable respectable job was working for a company that was encouraging people to spend money on their credit cards – not out-rightly but it was a credit card company and they did, as many credit card companies do, kept increasing the limit on their cards. But that is seen as more respectable than the person who gave someone their pub Sunday lunch.

I wonder with this policy of pushing as many young people to go to university as possible, with the idea being that without a degree you won’t get a “respectable job”, and then with many of them finishing up in jobs they could have got without the degree and are on minimum wage, if this is causing a widespread malady in our land.

More and more there is a demarcation between what is a “good/respectable” job and what isn’t. It is back to the judging business again. Putting things in boxes, but also then sealing the lid.

So I’m leaving this here and hope that myself and those who read this can just ponder why we would happily push ourselves and others into jobs that are viewed as respectable when they are making us/the other person miserable and are leading to more greed and selfishness.

forgiveness freedom

Forgiveness Part Two

Woodland walk. just me and my dog. A space to think. April 1st 2023. Photographed by myself.

I was going to write a post about another thing that keeps niggling at me but I felt I wanted to revisit Forgiveness before I can really let it go.

I’m not sure if it is forgiveness or the things that one needs to forgive that start to loom large once God hooks one onto a topic. But just recently it has felt like there are things with spikes, like those seed cases that stick to one as one walks through a wood, or have to be tugged from the dog’s fur, things that I thought I’d “dealt with” via various QEC and inner healing journaling stuff but that nip at me when I’m not quite noticing.

A thing that not only QEC but other inner trauma type healings talk of doing is to be aware of one’s vagus nerve and how one is reacting – fight, fight, freeze, fawn – and how to bring it back to feeling calm, peaceful and filled with deep joy. Not happiness but contentment and something 100 times deeper than happiness.

But these little sticky seed cases aren’t heavy. The dog can continue his walk when he has them. They don’t slow him down. But these small sticky things that I need to forgive for the millionth time do slow me down. They make me grouchy, which makes me tired, which makes me uncreative. And I really don’t like to be uncreative.

And that for me is my awareness; when I feel uncreative, when I don’t want to write anything at all. Sometimes I write angry pieces which I don’t share but that helps me look at what I need to forgive so I can move onward. We each have different things that show us we are out of sync with the calm, peacefully, pure, safe joy we should be working if we are aware of ourselves. So when we don’t enjoy or want to do the things that make us who we are that is the time when we have to stop, reset our vagus nerve, breath, and forgive – often ourselves for still reacting with that hurt as much as forgiving the person who hurt us.

Forgiveness is NOT something with sharp teeth, which is what I was going to write. Forgiveness is the the true MUST DO that is the only things that is going to keep us in good relationship with others and with ourselves. If I don’t forgive me then I forget who “me” really is.

It isn’t easy forgiving but it is essential but too often we get used to those sticky seeds, to those sharp teeth. Too often we are afraid to brush them off, to release ourselves and others. Fear stops us doing many things but most importantly it stops us being ourselves.

So as we enter into the season of Easter, into Holy Week, whether that is your faith or not, just ponder some of the things that are recorded of what Jesus did – the Ultimate Forgiver.