You’re doing it right

 

It seems no matter where we look, we are bombarded with the same message—you’re doing it wrong. Whether it’s how you parent, use social media, engage in activism, make medicine, treat your depression, or even build your home, there is often a judgment-tipped arrow of opinion to greet you.
 
The internet is a brilliant thing. It makes world-wide movements, information exchange and global connection possible, but it also magnifies one of humanity’s largest downfalls— our tendency to judge.

In the past handful of years I’ve seen this crude tool, so often used as a corrective measure to “fix” our own selves, become the method for shaping online movements (herbal, earth activist, spiritual or otherwise). Instead of encouraging each other’s growth through recognizing our goodness and potential, our culture has gone in the opposite direction— to correct, criticize and judge as a way to force change. The essential problem being that no matter how much we try to use judgment to fix things, the presence of judgment itself nearly always inhibits growth.

 

 

Sometimes called “purity culture,” this toxic system of criticism is inherently immobilizing. In public, we walk around with increasingly tender feet. In private, we worry that we are so hopelessly incorrect, maladjusted, or misinformed that we stop striding forward. We cease having conversations. We self-edit and shut down. As social researcher Brené Brown writes, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

Inevitably, this feeling of “I’m doing it wrong,” leads to the sneaking suspicion that “I am wrong.” Perhaps the most destructive poison of all, this doubt in our essential goodness ends up becoming the very malady that causes more harm. Whether its chopping down forests to be seen as affluent or cutting down a fellow human to be recognized as an activist.

We are told the best way to be conscious community members is to continually judge ourselves. But what if it was the opposite? How much more can happen in our health, in our wellness, in environmental and social healing, when we embrace our goodness?

For years now the earth has been whispering something in my ear, asking me to pass on this message, pure and clear. So today I’m doing just that. Maybe you didn’t know that you needed this assurance. Or maybe you’ve been waiting for this truth like you’ve been waiting to exhale…
 
Dear one, you are doing it right.

 

 

What you’re doing, right now, is exactly what you need in order to be on your path of learning and growth. From a spiritual perspective, as well as from an ecological veiwpoint, there is no right or wrong. There is simply cycles of evolution and growth. The world is crying out for your unique, fumbling and all-together beautiful participation. You do not have to be perfect to bring joy and healing to this earth, in fact, the world is relieved and nourished by your fallibility.

Love and acceptance is essential to survival. But in order to receive this nourishment, we think we have to try harder or somehow overcome our essential nature. To be the right person, say the right thing. But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

As Pádraig Ó Tuama, an Irish poet, theologian and social healer who facilitates conversations of reconciliation in Northern Ireland, so beautifully reminds us, “Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other.” Love, healing, acceptance, togetherness, is not about consensus. It’s about seeing each other’s essential human goodness. And it begins with embracing the impossible truth that maybe, just maybe, you are doing it right.

If you are feeling weary of this culture of criticism and are wanting to dip your feet into a rejuvenative stream of a different kind of perspective, check out my new YouTube video. In it I talk about how to neutralize the poison of an overly critical culture, and also how to go about offering and receiving feedback in a way that truly creates growth. In the video I share one of my most precious stories about a time someone called me “in” with curiosity (instead of calling me “out” with judgment) and the way it forever changed how I taught.

 

 

I truly believe that this work of releasing shame and recognizing our own goodness is ecological at its core. It is not peripheral to the journey of earth healing and reorientation to a relationship with the living world, it is essential. The earth wants you to see your own goodness, so we can come together as a family once more.

Thank you for being here.

Thank you for continuing your journey.

Thank you for being the heartfelt, caring and compassionate person that you are.

 

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