In January of 2009, I went to a fancy New England spa for a girls’ weekend. It was during a particularly challenging time in my career, and I was glad to be getting away to focus on my own wellness for a few days. By the way, “particularly challenging time,” is positive lifecoachspeak meaning “a long period of my life when I was miserable, overworked, underappreciated, de-motivated, and severely out of alignment with my essential self.” The market from which I made my living was in a nosedive from which it still hasn’t fully recovered, and my manager had a knack for focusing his laser-beam of derision on my most sensitive areas of insecurity. Otherwise, everything was fine, thank you.
I didn’t know until I checked in that it was the spa’s first-ever ‘Spirituality Week,’ with a schedule full of interesting talks and workshops designed to explore the connections between spirituality and physical health and well-being. It was one of those magical coincidences of which I crave mass quantities, but because I’m always looking around for them, I sometimes miss them. (More on this phenomenon some other time.) Lucky for me, I was paying attention and embraced its significance by quitting my job upon returning home. (More on this phenomenon, too, at another time.)
I signed up for a class about balance, peace and clarity in daily living, where the instructor taught me something I’ve returned to again and again. He said that in Buddhist tradition, when you judge someone else, you must always end the sentence with, “And I am that, too.” It took me a while to take this in, but it’s such a wonderful way to remind ourselves of our connection to all other human beings, and a gentle reminder of our humility.
Now go ahead. Let your inner brat out for a moment. Who would you like to judge? And for what offense? Judge them as harshly as you want, as long as you finish the thought: “And I am that, too.” Somewhere, at some point in your life, you have possessed those same qualities. This phenomenon is also known as “you spot it, you got it,” or as we learned in elementary school, “it takes one to know one!”
So to all the snarky bitches, raging a**holes, spastic morons, small-minded jerks, crappy drivers and otherwise defective sorry f*ckers out there, I just want you to know: I am that, too.
I’d like to believe that this simple phrase that connects all of us will work for positive judgments as well, a gentle reminder of our magnificence. Therefore, I want all the warrior-goddesses, warm and wonderful healers, brilliant thinkers, super-model-gorgeous women, talented athletes, and hilariously funny, perceptive and ground-breaking writers to know: I am that, too.