Live each day without judgement

I’m goal oriented—meaning I aim towards setting goals. And then I nail them. Find the right medication for Tourettes, run a 50K, score a new job; these are a few from the past year, all complete. The year before that had a few as well: publish a book and quit drinking are a couple of the larger ones that come to mind.

I can be annoying to live with. As soon as I achieve something, some long-term project, I immediately announce the next. And then I channel most of my energy into completing my new thing. I become obsessed, and I don’t settle down until I’ve finished my new goal, finally relieved of the pressure. Only to start again. My never-ending cycle.

This week, I’m at a crossroads. Last Monday, I accepted a new job—replacing my job of eleven years. The next day I left on vacation. Many people set resolutions at the New Year. I have a habit of setting mine while on vacation. It’s an opportunity to slow down, to think, to reflect, to decide what’s important to me.

The other day, while bobbing over waves in the surf, Susan asked “So, any big thoughts this week?” She knows how I work. She’d be shocked if I said no.

This vacation, in Culebra, Puerto Rico, is slow. There is essentially nothing to do here except go to the beach. There’s no shopping, no downtown to hang around, no mini-golf, no where we can really walk to. We’ve been to the three restaurants we hoped to try (one of them three times). There is wireless internet, but it sucks. It’s virtually impossible to stream any sort of video (especially while my kids are trying). I set three vacation goals: read, write and hang out on the beach (See? Goals! It’s a nasty habit).

When I’m writing a lot, my goals easily form. Writing’s an introspective activity. I make self-assessments, and then I try to improve. But I’m working to avoid too much self-assessment this week. I’m trying to “sit” with the big change in my life, my new job. This is one of Susan’s Buddhist terms… sit. The way I understand sitting is to let something wash over you, like a wave, without struggling. Just see where it takes you.

Eli’s been doing a lot of this in the surf. He allows himself to float about until he winds up in the breakers. And then he gets pummeled into the sand. He wades back out into the deeper water and starts again.

I’m planning on trying the same thing. I want to spend the next phase of my life sitting. I want to stop trying to direct my life. I want to see where it heads on its own. My life is pretty good, but it’s not perfect. And this is after years and years of exerting full control over every aspect of my being. Now I’ll sit. I’ll go with the flow, with the surf. And if I wind up in the breakers? Well, that’s the point of the game.

Not-sitting is steeped in judgment. It’s making a conscious decision about what’s right and wrong; what’s good or bad. Now is when I start to live each day without judgement. Judgement about the quality of my life, about myself and about others.

Instead of trying to steer every action in my life, I’d like to just react to it, enjoy it. I’d like to take each moment as it’s offered to me, and see where it leads me.

So yes, I fully understand I’ve just set a goal. A goal to be less goal-oriented. But now my challenge is to follow that desire. To see how my life changes (improves?) without the heavy hands of self-direction and judgement.

23 thoughts on “Live each day without judgement

  1. I saw a documentary about Buddha on PBS recently. Some of the speakers suggested that Buddha did not ask us to let go of desires, but rather to let go of an attitude of dissatisfaction. So far, I have not found my way to doing that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, this is also something I try to find myself doing – to worry and control less, and to relax and adapt more, especially when it comes to the frustration I feel with circumstances and people in my life. In movement as well, like dance and martial arts, one figures out that keeping your limbs and shoulders rigid isn’t going to give you the fluidity of movement that you’d want, and it seems to be the same with life. So maybe this is meant to be a fundamental human principle, one that we are all meant to strive to.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m the opposite . I do a lot of sleeping .
    I’ve gone through life without ever setting any goals. I just muddle through it. I tend to get where I’m going eventually .
    Guess when you set goals you get there a bit quicker.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful, your writings are aspiring, motivating, and powerful. I have read through several of your writings, you expressed yourself very well, and those words of yours are captivating, and the way you bring out your posts are fantastic. Hope to see more from you. Have hope, write on!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Is it a goal or an intention that you set? To me, goal has an end-point, “I finished the race”. An intention is more about a way of being, and something that is more of a practice, that is an approach we return to when we inevitably and naturally fall away from the path.

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  6. I have only just now begun my journey into goal setting. I am quite scared of failure and always thought if I avoided setting goals, I would not be disappointed in myself should I fail to complete a goal. Using this method has gotten me nowhere in life. Just aimlessly wondering from day to day without direction. From this article, my take away is that there should be a healthy balance somewhere in the middle between setting goals and aimlessly wandering. Neither by themselves is healthy, but both together can do wonders.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Delightful.
    How has your mind grown toward this goal? Is it accepting or rejecting the idea of sitting?
    I’ve been a happy medium since entering adulthood. I have goals, work toward, and accomplish them. But there are long periods of sitting in between, so when I finally make a decision, I’m anxious to fulfill it.
    Lately, I’ve been contemplating changing careers. Mine is a sensitive situation, and I have to weigh my decision carefully. I’ve decided to give it a two-year deadline…the wait is making me anxious…


  8. hmm so you’ve set the goal to sitting? There seems to be less joy in achievement of the goal than the road to getting there. Course I wouldn’t know much about it given my lackluster record on follow-through


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