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By Laurel Pattenden

I really like cats. They are experts at knowing how to relax. Laying upon their favourite chair, sleepy eyes, opening to look at us. Although I must admit at times it appears as a critical eye is upon me.

Is my cat casting judgement on me? Probably.

Like my cat, I too am pretty good at judgement. Judgements are made within a nanosecond without any effort. How about you? From that first moment that we experienced feeling “less than” someone else we began to judge. Perhaps it was in school when someone received a star on the board. Or you were considered “late at talking, walking or whatever” as a toddler and that label has followed you throughout the whole relationship you have with your parents or siblings. Judgements also begins the first time we feel “more than” some other. Maybe your town had a neighbourhood deemed better and those homeowners carried a “better than thou” judgement on some others. Perhaps you lived there.

Judgement can be outward towards others. Judgement can be on an inward spiral directed at ourselves. Just as it can be directed to those who we think fit into the world better than us and to those who don’t fit in as well. Judgement is time consuming and energy consuming. Judgement can briefly make us feel better and right. Therefore judgement becomes very addictive to our egos. Judgement separates. There is not a lot of room in judgement for love.

We all judge for whatever reasons but I think where the problem really exists is if we truly believe in our judgements. It is one thing to think in an instant that purple cannot be worn with red. But it is completely another to actually feel “right and better” than whoever is wearing those colours.

In the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph we celebrate, with the author, about the freedom to wear purple with a red hat. Why do we celebrate? It is because it goes against all “learned judgement” to wear those colours together.

Maybe the poem lets us take a breather from our constant need to find fault. I think Jenny Joseph was on to a good thing. Let’s free ourselves from our own and others judgemental behaviour. Now we would have to let go of the buzz we get from being right!

It takes a lot of space and energy to store and hold onto years of giving and receiving judgement. We could call this space the “Judgement Files”.

Imagine all the space in our thinking and emotions that would be freed up if we just pressed delete. Cold turkey on judgement. I know habits are hard to break and I will need something to divert myself from it.

Hmmmmm… what if I sent out blessings instead of judgements?

Just the idea makes me feel lighter in a way and closer to God. What do you think? Shall we send ourselves and each other blessings?

Now that I think about that look my cat had for me I’m going to take it as a blessing. I think I was too quick to judge.

Laurel is retired and likes to spend her time in her art studio.

Laurel Pattenden. A Cat's Judgement (Pen and ink)