I was reminiscing about my days as a Speech Therapist the other day.
I would walk down the carpeted hallway of the rehabilitation facility where I worked, knock on the door, and enter a patient’s room. They would most often be lying in the bed covered in a thin, white sheet and looking weak, tired, or just plain sick. Occasionally they would be propped up in a wheelchair.
The point is, if you’re in a rehabilitation facility to begin with, you’re physical health is compromised. You need assistance. That’s why you’re there.
Many people, myself included at the time, would see this as a bad situation. If you were sick, that was not good.
I would pull up a chair and sit next to the patient. I would talk to them, ask them questions about themselves, and do my “therapy” with them. (I put it in quotes because I believe most of the real therapy I did with people was not actually what I was supposed to be doing. But that’s a whole other story.)
Here’s what dawned on me during my reminiscing: I remembered that when I came into that room from a place of judgment, from a place of pitying the person lying in the bed, the sessions usually didn’t go very well. The patient might resist talking to me or we wouldn’t be able to connect from the heart, which was what I was always wanting to do.
I had so many judgments of how life and a person should be – they should be better, they should be healthy, they should be back on their feet and back home already. That’s what the world tells us, right? If you’re sick, there’s something wrong with you. It’s bad.
I absorbed many of those judgments about health and illness and used them against myself in my own life. I judged myself harshly for being sick. I then reflected those judgments back to my patients.
But eventually, I started to let those go. And I had a new experience with my patients.
When I walked into the room from a place of compassion, honor, and really seeing the person’s soul underneath that human appearance, my interaction with them changed.
When I stopped judging their compromised situation as bad and needing to be changed, they opened up to me. They would literally shine back at me and laugh, smile, and tell me all about their lives.
The difference was incredible. I loved these interactions and connections.
And then it hit me…I still do this to myself sometimes. I still judge myself sometimes for not having a body that feels good 100% of the time. I’m walking into my own room and judging myself for being other than I am right now in this moment.
Why am I still doing this to myself? And look – I’m even now judging the parts of me that judge.
I stopped right there and let everything be. I accepted the parts of me that judge the judgments and accepted the parts that judge. I did a u-turn and walked back into my room from a place of compassion and honor, but this time, for myself.
Because where I am, even with this body the way it is right now, is exactly where I need to be. I don’t need to judge myself for creating this experience of a body that still has physical symptoms. It’s serving me, even if I don’t always know how in the moment.
Yes, I would prefer to have a body that feels good all the time. I’ve chosen that and I know it’s coming. But in the meantime, I asked myself, can I let it be ok where I am right now? Can I open my heart up and connect back to myself from a place of love and compassion?
I could. I accepted myself in this very moment, as I am, body imbalances and all. And when I did that, I watched what happened: I began to shine. I could be myself again. I could express myself. My heart opened up again.
I took the pressure off myself. I let go of trying to be perfect. I loved myself as-is.
And in the ultimate paradox, I then saw everyone and the entire world as they truly are in each moment: perfection, just as they are.
There is nothing to change – only love.
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