Judgment Constricts Creation: A Post-Gabby Bernstein Book Talk Exploration
Last week, I had the distinct privilege of seeing one of my most influential spiritual teachers, Gabby Bernstein, speak at Grace Cathedral. During her first hour, I sat enraptured, hands clasped in my lap, breath bated, trying my best to force my synapses to imprint that moment into my memory forever. Listening to her deliver plain truths and wisdoms to us without hesitation? It was magic. I, too, have aspirations of speaking in such a soul-centered, effortless way. I also have stories I want to share, written and otherwise. The experience of seeing Gabby in her art? I can only liken it to a finger-painting toddler watching in awe and inspiration as Picasso crafts his next masterpiece. It is in that moment you realize, though it may be full of profound lessons and unnavigable terrain, you are committed to post up beside that individual, join their legions, and work in earnest to spread that same authentic light.
Until the self-loathing, the judgment, and the general “she’s special, and I’m an f***’ed up mess” rhetoric joins the visualization. I know for me, that self-judgment manifests in the physical plane as procrastination, half-finished projects, and unsent emails. Why? Well, the only thing scarier than no one buying your book/coming to your talk/seeing your television show is everyone doing those things. Everyone’s eyes, all on you. What if they love it? What if they hate it? What if they ask too many questions about your inspiration? What if they realize you are a giant phony? What if the world sees your flaws? Those questions and trepidation are enough to send anyone right back under their fuzzy blankets.
It boils down to a simple equation in Allie Becker-land:
self-loathing x fear of making something people look at= lack of creation
I was tired of solving for the variable in this problem, I really was. Thankfully, during the part of the night with Gabby I was least excited about—the question and answer segment—divine guidance stepped in and showed me a pathway to releasing this judgment/fear combo meal. Gabby took an audience member through a customized round of EFT, and I quickly noted that it was time to take my tapping off-script as well.
What came through were both tears and relief, as well a very clear message:
Judgment constricts creation.
I decided to tap on my wildly unsympathetic judgment of myself. I realized as I worked through the problem, I was running a mental software program I thought to be very beneficial, though it was anything but. I mistakenly believed that the more I sat in judgment of myself, or the more I berated myself for everything I had ever done; the more I was redeeming my soul. The more I was atoning, or making up for the past; the more I was forging a better world. The more I could condemn myself; the more goodness I could create.
“If only I yell loudly enough at myself,” I thought, “then I ought to be able to feel better. Then I’ll be able to create peace with myself.”
“If I host the mental crucifixion, if I sacrifice myself at the altar, perhaps I’ll create relief, and in my relief, make a masterpiece.”
Truth of the matter is, judgment doesn’t hold the power to create. In fact, it constricts creativity and fosters fear. Nothing can be created out of the ghostly memories of the past. You cannot “fix” anything that no longer exists. You can only hope to leverage the lessons you have learned from those past experiences to be a better version of you in the present moment. Those judgment-based thoughts only serve to sink us deeper into stagnant waters, depths so dark, creativity dare not swim alongside us.
Well, that all seems really flipping dire, Allie, I hear you all saying. Sounds like you discovered you are most excellent at destroying things.
Love is also the most powerful force in the Universe. We are, at our core, souls operating in a human experience—souls yearning to discover ways to be in alignment with the light of love. As Neale Donald Walsch would say, we are hear to rediscover “who we really are.” That means, if we can turn back towards love, we can instantaneously flip the script.
And if Gabby has taught me anything at all, I know that the best way to find that return to love is through forgiveness, and a second chance to create a different choice—not through judgment.