Somewhere along my journey (about a year and a half ago), it occurred to me that I could stop judging myself based on the concepts of “right and wrong.” You see, no matter which decisions I made for myself, there were always consequences that either moved me forward along my path, or taught me humility (which I needed to learn at the time). Once I made the decision to stop labeling everything as “right and wrong,” something incredible happened. I was immediately set free, and there I envisioned myself standing before this amazing playground that we happen to call “life.” My soul has always longed to explore, yet I was hesitant to move about freely because of all the conditions I placed on myself. There was religion, beliefs, ideas about the way things worked, my own thoughts about things, judgments, fear, concern of other people’s judgments, etc., yet here I had been very self-destructive regardless of all those conditions. When something isn’t working for us (and obviously it wasn’t working for me), we must try something different, and this is when I decided to open myself up to the possibility that life was more about exploration, than it is about limitation.
When I was a kid, I was all over the playground. I didn’t miss a beat out there. I learned to climb to the top of things, swing as far as I could go, dig the biggest holes in the sand, slide backwards and down on my stomach, and flip around those metal bars; both forward and backward. Oh, I got hurt. Countless times I recall bashing my head against the ground from not getting enough air space during my bar twirls, and I don’t know how many times I burned myself on metal slides. It was a dangerous place to be; those playgrounds. My fingers got stepped on, my hair got pulled, my knees bled and my hands were often scraped up or splintered. I laughed out there, cried, made friends, rejected stinky kids and compromised being Wonder Woman with a girl named Tina more often than I wanted to. Each day outside was a different adventure and none of those pains or inconveniences stopped me from playing on the playground, because they weren’t considered failures. They were simply part of the experience.
We are all in this playground called “life” together. When one person is climbing up the slide instead of scooting down it, we tend to project our distaste for their way of doing things, but what if we considered that this was simply part of their own experience, and compassionately allowed them to do their own thing? As we grow, we learn how to do things less clumsily, but each individual is at a different level of exploration, and the playground is endless. There are many things you have yet to explore, which may require a helping hand when you decide it’s your turn to twirl upon a different bar. In your own arena of the playground, others may need guidance along their adventure, and you should be their to help them, rather than making fun of them for not knowing what you’ve already learned. We shouldn’t stand back and judge the person who falls, or the recovering addict who relapses. There is always something for them to learn, and humility is a definitive part of the human experience.
Since I’ve been playing upon this playground, instead of limiting myself to the safe boundaries of life, I’ve realized how much compassion and acceptance is out there. It’s like my safety net along my journey. With this understanding, there really is no right and wrong – there are only learning experiences. Some of my so-called “failures” have been catapults to my greatest successes. This new perspective has given me freedom and there is no need for fear. It’s a darned good place to be… this amazing playground called LIFE.