I had intended to write something else this morning, but in passing my cousin Dane asleep in my grandmother’s spare bedroom, I realized that I needed to go another direction. Judgement, this is something I’ve been battling with for years. It kills me that we judge one another, and I’ve made it a high priority on my list of ways to make myself better. I struggle with this one and I know it, even though I am light years better. I find judgemental thoughts about strangers, people I love and myself (more than any of the others) popping in my head. I am better at defusing them, but some habits/conditioning die-hard. This is one of the main lessons I learned from my grandfather’s death, that sometimes to ‘protect’ myself or make things ‘easier’ I’ll use judgement or labels. I tightly concealed my grandpa in the ‘He’s An Alcoholic’ box when he was drinking so that I could write it off and not deal with it (I have an idea for a separate post for this, but it leads into where I’m going). My cousin Dane I put into a ‘He’s a shithead or brat box’. Unruly and whiney I tried to stay clear of him, keeping him neatly within the box I had created. For some reason I would not let it budge. This is actually pretty hypocritical of me because I was a pretty whiney kid (already maybe more than the average kid as my nickname was whiner). Looking at him asleep today, and spending some quality time together I was so so wrong and I really don’t know why I was holding on. By doing so I was not letting his inner light shine. More Rumi:
There is a sun within every person.
By judging others, and in judging Dane you eclipse their sun, dimming their light. I now sympathize with him and see myself. We all deal with demons in different ways, my grandpa’s was drinking. For Dane, maybe the unruliness is for attention. We all want to be loved and I feel bad. People seem to be continually putting him down (myself included previously in this pool). He spins the summers and usually weekends at my grandma’s because my uncle is raising four other boys and Dane seems to just not fit and they’re busy traveling around with sports teams and it’s easier at grandma’s he can have time to himself to do what he likes. But not being completely accepted by your own family must be a struggle. I have the most sensational relationship with my parents, sure we struggle sometimes but it is unconditional. My uncle Mick loves Dane, but we all show emotions in different ways. My grandmother told my Dad last night that she loved him. Granted it seemed a struggle, but my dad does not recall her saying it growing up. So it took 52 years for this epiphany. It took 23 years (last summer) before I told Dad, and now we have no problems. I have been working diligently on telling people how I feel the last year, taking out the question. I’m sure my dad thinks his mom loves him (and my mom with grandpa too, because she’s expressed the same thing), but sometimes we want to be told. Is that a bad thing? To have it acknowledged that we’re loved? To take out the assumption before it’s too late, because life is unpredictable. In spending time with Dane (and my dad) the last month, that’s what I’ve tried to channel. Spending time with him from a place of love. And you know what? It’s been fun and honest. The three of us built a chicken coop together. Although it was clear that doesn’t practice his godliness like me and dad, it was entertaining to mess with him about manifesting the right thoughts. One memory I’ll take is me and him in the dog pen unscrewing the top of another box to get the board. Talking about leaving, he was the first cousin I talked to about this. Not Jenna or Angelica, who growing up were always by my side, but Dane. It was a great, real talk. It was Dane’s birthday too. When I told him I was gonna write on his wall but noticed his Facebook was gone, he said some kids had reported him so he had to take it down. That really hit home how wrong I had been. I’m 24 and been working a year to be better, but 8th graders and teenagers can be cruel. And it broke my heart to think that other kids were treating him unkindly too. To think that he maybe didn’t fit in there either. Put yourself in his shoes Brittany: what if you felt like you didn’t fit in with kids your age or family. I can be a bit of a loner, but I always have a tremendous loving backup system to turn to. That accepts me unconditionally. From that moment sitting on top of the coop looking at him work, I decided that I had to make a more conscious effort to accept him. Once you make a decision like that and let go of conditioning, it frees you up to actually see and have fun with that person. We finished the coop, putting our handprints on it and wrangling chickens, he shot my bow and did some target practice, he did a kettlebell workout with us and took trips in town for supplies. I watched him with our dog Lulu (I find watching people with animals or kids often softens your outlook on people, like with my cousin Andy playing with my nephews. He is a cool kid and we get along swimmingly now. I’ve noticed the same thing with Dane and his youngest brother Gabe). How can I judge someone who shows so much love to a little dog ? I can’t. We so often live in fear, and like I’ve pointed out fear cannot exist when there is love. So in order to get rid of this fear in our lives and others lives, wouldn’t it be better to spread and share love? The first affirmation I tell myself before I go to bed is: I AM Love.
Ok I say it, now to feel, share and radiate it. So for my labeled bratty cousin Dane I have learned true life lessons:
Instead of passing judgement, send love. Instead of labeling, let them Be. Instead of seeing what you don’t like, see what is right. Just let go and life is fun again.
Thanks Dane for making me better, I love you!
BE, Love, Illuminate,