February, in Minnesota, typically means snow, cold, and Valentine’s Day. With some hockey mixed in. Although it’s the shortest month, it always feels like the longest to me. We’re tired of icy weather and ready for spring, ready to see if March is coming in like a lion or lamb. February feels like a month of waiting for something better to come along. And that’s no way to live. In a way that dovetails nicely with Valentine’s Day, I’m making my February mantra simple: choose love. Love for myself, love for others, and avoiding self judgement in the spirit of Ram Dass.
What “Choose Love” Means to Me
I love mantras that can change and adapt with my moods and feelings. Choose love is no different. Off the top of my head, here are a few of the ways in which this mantra will help me find my way this month:
- First, I’m choosing to be generous in spirit. To avoid snap judgements and being overly hard on others–and myself–when I feel disappointed or frustrated.
- Secondly, choosing love is a reminder to be quiet, and treat others and myself with love. To see their storyline, and how they got to this place where they are. And to do the same wtih myself.
- Lastly – love is the opposite of the things I don’t want in my life. Conflict, hate, negativity. By calling for love, by choosing to see and be love, I’m choosing what I want to bring forward.
Ultimately, while love is just yet another feeling or sentiment, it still has a power. And I’m invoking that power to be transformational in my life, and to release myself from self judgement.
Ram Dass on Self Judgement
Are you familiar with the tree parable from Ram Dass?
I often use this image, which I think I have used already, but let me say it again. That when you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.Ram Dass
Which is your preference: to live with the judging mind, or the free mind? What speaks to you more?
At times, we need the reminder that there is a choice. You don’t have to live with that internal judgement sounding off in your head all the time. But it takes work to rewire our brains to remember that we have this choice. Ultimately, as we make the choice to live free from judgement, it becomes more and more natural. Despite what might feel like our natural inclination to think otherwise.
I’d love to hear more about your current mantra. What are you calling into your life?