I'm on day 12 of a 40-day judgment detox and at this point I'm really starting to not just put the steps into practice on a daily basis, but to also reflect on how judgment plays a role in friendship.
It also happens to be one year to the day since I had the most transformational week of my life. And I realize as I've been looking back on that week, reading my journal entires from that time, and thinking about why it was such a powerful experience for me that one of the incredible things about that experience was that is was truly free of judgment.
I had gathered with 60 women (and one man!) for level 2 of Gabby Bernstein's Spirit Junkie Masterclass at Kripalu, and the moment our time together began I knew that my life would never be the same.
I don't know if you've ever experienced this sensation, but it was kind-of like I was realizing that something was changing my life while I was in the middle of living it.
It was like an immediate and unbreakable bond of trust, love, and acceptance was formed instantly in this group of people who were from all different walks of life, but joined together by the desire to choose love over fear and show up with that intention in every part of their lives.
Witnessing all the bravery, honesty, strength, vulnerability, humor, and grace every single person in our group brought to Kripalu shifted everything for me.
Being surrounded by their light awakened the light within me.
The presence of each person’s story in my heart and their willingness to share it to help others serves as a constant reminder to me that love is the only thing that is real.
And one of the keys to letting ourselves be so open and feel that deep connection to one another was the absence of judgment. And it was effortless.
Like I actually did not feel the urge to judge anyone for anything they said or did. That week was transformational for me for so many reasons, but beyond all the healing and internal shifts I had, one of the things I am most grateful for is the people I got to meet and now call my friends.
I learned so much from the lessons Gabby taught us at Kripalu, but her ability to hold a judgment free space for the group, while being vulnerable, strong, wise, endearing and funny all at the same time is one of things I admire most about her.
And that lesson to use your presence as your power and make people feel like they are loved, safe, seen, and heard is something I hope to be able to bring into all the friendships I have and will have in the future.
After that experience, and particularly during this judgment detox, I've also realized that I am truly blessed to have so many friends that I can tell anything to without fearing they'd judge me.
They might have a different opinion or react in some way, but underneath it all I know they don't think less of me for being vulnerable, honest, and real. I know they love me more because I am those things. And the really cool thing is I have those kinds of non-judgmental relationships with friends I've known for a few months and ones I've known for 30 years.
Take my girlfriends from growing up, who are some of my favorite people on the planet. Just being in their presence is the definition of joy to me.
We’ve seen each other at our best, worst, and everywhere in between and all we expect is for everyone to be who they really are. We all love each other more because we are not perfect.
They were right there next to me for most of my “firsts” as a teenager and now I get to hold their sweet babies, see them get married, and witness their lives unfolding and evolving with each passing year. What could be better than that?
And the even more amazing part of it to me is we can all be separated and spread out across the country and some of us can go years without seeing one another, but the instant we’re back together it’s like not a day has passed, in the best possible way.
Many of us have very different lives now, but at the core we understand and know each other on a level that can’t quite be put into words. I am so grateful to know that kind of friendship. And to know that we will always be there for one another, no matter what.
Then I have all the friends I've made along the way from then until now. As an 18-year-old California girl who left everything I knew behind to go to college in Boston and as a 20-something who landed in NYC full of excitement and anxiety about what my life as an adult might be like.
And over the past 15 years as my career in the fashion and magazine industries has led me to work at a handful of great companies where I have found true friendship that will last a lifetime.
I have also met so many other wonderful friends through Gabby's spirit junkie community over the past year and a half, and the thread through all these stages of my life and the friends I've made is being able to truly be myself in their presence without fear of judgment. And I hope that I have been able to give them that same feeling when they are in my presence.
Now sure, I've had bumps in the road with friends along the way, but ones I don't keep in close touch with anymore or ones I haven't spoken to in years still hold a very special place in my heart.
I truly believe we all meet for a reason and that those friendships were meant to be.
We can all learn so much from one another if we simply take a moment to look at each relationship we have as an opportunity to grow and learn the lessons we are meant to learn in this life.
A lesson I hope we can all learn is that judgment is a choice to look through the eyes of fear, and it's up to us whether we do that or choose love instead.