Judgment and Discernment

Last night I had an interesting experience, a culmination of feelings that have been rambling around in me for a while now. I was talking with a couple of my friends while we were enjoying a champagne from 2011. This tends to be a difficult vintage in Champagne, but the winemaker chose to bottle a specific single vineyard wine in essence highlight the land and the year. The wine was tasty, but not profound. It was great for that moment though, not too demanding and rather delicious. A great vehicle for enjoying life and the company of my friends.

Judgment is something that is very much a part of our lives. We are given a set of criteria and we measure and analysis whether something or someone(including ourselves) fits into a neat box. This can be quite useful, and it can be fantastically limiting. Judgment is all too often used as a shield to avoid having to examine something deeper with in ourselves, or feel something deeper within ourselves. We judge – things, places, people, ourselves to make it seem as though we’re connecting. Instead we’re just avoiding.

 

The time with my friends above hit a moment where judgment of the wine came about because it wasn’t living up to its best potential for the winemaker, vineyard, etc. I realized I was annoyed and bored with this turn in the conversation. I didn’t want to judge that wine for what it “should be”. I wanted to appreciate the wine for what it was. Listening to the conventional thoughts on what a wine should be was tedious and boring. I felt uncomfortable and either wanted to leave or get mad. I rode out these sensations, and then spoke my truth. It wasn’t fully heard because my friend was in his head, analyzing and judging. He wasn’t feeling. He wanted to focus on what could be rather than what was.

I have been guilty of this so many times in my life. I understand it, but it was time to move past judgment. I was feeling not thinking, and it was brilliant. Yet, it separated me from my friends to a degree. I didn’t want to bond over what could have been, I wanted to bond over what was. Obviously we moved along and it was fine, but this feeling stuck with me. Bonding over a future that isn’t going to happen is a more high minded form of negative bonding. Its still avoiding what is real and being present. Actually feeling.

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I’m not casting judgment out entirely, it has its uses, but we rely on it far too often as a means of control. It is simply another illusion for us to hide from our truest and highest selves. Stop trying to control and simply be. Feel the feelings, and do this enough and you will enjoy the feelings rather than hiding from them.

A counter point tool for judgment is discernment. Discernment allows us to be present in the moment and lead from our feelings. Does this feel good, right, beneficial? It doesn’t rely on external rules and rigidity, if follows intuition and openness. Enjoy discernment as it connects you to your highest self allowing you to know what is best for you, in the moment. Judgment forces you to rely on others boundaries and rules, putting you in your head rather than your body.

Enjoy discerning, connecting to yourself, experiencing your actual feelings. Skip judgment, its someone else’s game that’s not truly fun to play.

Force and Flow

I have been quiet on this site for the last few months. During this time I got married, went on a fantastic honeymoon, and generally discovered more about myself through both joyful and difficult moments. Many of these moments were the result of either force or flow. Force and flow are the names I’ve given two states that I find myself in when I want to get something done, accomplished or achieved. Both have merit, but I have found flow to be vastly preferable.

Force is a state that I learned from my family, society, and myself. I can’t say whether Force came pre-programed from past lives, or simply resonated with me from a young age. Regardless, when I am working from this state, I push, I MAKE things happen, I use tons of energy, I blow people out, I wear myself out, and so on. Generally, whatever I was trying to accomplish gets done, but often with significant cost to my own well being as well as causing problems with those around me. Sometimes I don’t accomplish anything from this state, leading to shame and depression because I used so much energy only to fail. Force can be useful, but in small amounts.

By contrast, Flow is a state that I have come to cherish. Force is very active and requires a lot of energy. Flow on the other hand stems from calm, peace, and ease. Flow can be difficult as it is more passive, harmonious with the rhythm of life, and comes with a slower pace. Flow allows you to tap into the energy around you rather than expending your own. Flow operates from a state of grace. Flow is a deep feeling of calm movement.

Force is grasping. Our society loves doing, winning, getting, and so many action oriented words. To achieve all of this fast paced movement, we expend a lot of energy. We use our heads to push, pull, and cajole. We lose touch with our bodies, deep desires, and the natural world. Force is the tool that we are encouraged to use to chase the next sugar high be it money, fame, material goods, and so on.

Flow is letting go. Flow is the white space. When we are in a state of flow we are the passenger in the car rather than the driver. Much easier, and we still get where we want to go. The biggest trick is letting go of control, so you can work in harmony with nature and the divine. Stop chasing, start being.

Enjoyment

Why do we enjoy what we enjoy and how do we know it? Societal norms? Listening to friends and family? Experience? Intuition? Listening to our bodies?

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All of these contribute to our sense of enjoyment. Does one come with pre-programed preferences or is our enjoyment learned through societal conditioning and experience? Certainly our mothers’ preferences while we were in the womb influenced us, and is there something more? Past life preferences? A true core of gnosis that is tied to our consciousness that transcends this life(and previous ones)?

These are huge questions that don’t have an obvious answer that we can point to with our current systems of knowledge. Accepting that these could be possibilities is important as it allows us to continue explore ourselves and our world.

For the moment, I will focus on some of the other areas from which we learn our enjoyment.

Societal norms play a large, if not oversized role in the development of our enjoyment. From birth we are conditioned by our societies as to what is enjoyable, partly based on availability but also our parents’ and families’ societal conditioning. Following social norms does help us feel part of the whole and feeds our need for belonging, it also comes with the possibility of shame and exclusion. If our desires don’t line up with that of the heard, we may be shunned. Avoiding pain helps shape desire and enjoyment. While helpful in some ways, following societal norms for enjoyment means our voice can be drowned out by the voice of the many.

When we are new in this world, we simply operate on what our bodies tell us, which creates initial preferences. Despite being influenced by family and society, during our infancy and early childhood we still listen to our bodies for direction as to what is good and enjoyable. Its only as we age that society plays a broader role, particularly during teenage years when the desire to belong is the strongest.

The other area where we form our idea of enjoyment is experience. Hopefully, throughout our lives we continue to have new experiences that add to our sense of what we enjoy and what we don’t. As we age we have to actively seek out new experience, else we stay in a static state in a normal lives. We must also revisit old experiences, to check in and make sure old preferences are still true. I have certainly outgrown some preferences over the years, and discovered other that I didn’t care for initially now speak to me deeply.

This leads me to intuition. At various points we have all experienced a “gut feeling” or sensation that pushes us toward something. Whether we follow that feeling is another matter, but we all have these experiences. What is this? I believe intuition and gut feelings are simply our bodies’ trying to communicate with us. We live so much of our lives in our heads, trying to fit in with society, keep up with the Joneses, and be cool that we ignore our bodies. Certainly if you’re chasing cool and your body wants something that is deemed uncool, than your mind is going to try to override your body and go for the cool. This continuous state of override is the source of dissatisfaction and dis-ease.

We have learned to ignore our bodies and intuition, which is a damn shame. As I have continued down this path of Energetic Wine, I am re-learning how to listen to my body about what feels good and gives me enjoyment Reengaging with my body has been an amazing gift and provides tremendous enjoyment and pleasure in both big and small areas of my life. Now that I have been reawakened I can’t imagine going back. Listening to society tell me what I enjoy versus hearing my own truth and following it is no longer an option. As I discover what I truly enjoy instead of listening to the noise, I find deeper appreciation and joy in my life. My body feels better, my mind is clearer, I feel less stress in my life, and my overall well being is much higher than when I try to fit it.

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I’m not saying to throw away everything society has taught you, simply check in with yourself to make sure you truly enjoy it. If something doesn’t bring you pleasure and enjoyment, its time to let it go and find what truly resonates with you.

Energetic Wine is not just about wine, it is a path back to yourself. An opportunity to explore what nourishes your body and soul without the oppressive voice of family or society dictating what you should enjoy.

Healing

The word healing is used a lot these days. We are often called to heal past trauma and let go of hard experiences from the past. I understand this on some levels, but it rarely feels fully authentic to me. Too often it feels shallow, forced, or trying too hard. Like everyone I want to let go of old hurts and live more fully, yet healing seems tedious.

I feel that play, laughter, wonder, exploration, and joy are far better tools than “healing”. Healing implies I’m sick or have a problem, moreover it focuses on the negative and how to remedy it. Play on the other had focuses on pleasure, enjoyment, joy, and love. One just has to show up and want to play, and magic can happen.  This is far easier than wanting to “heal”, and all the murkiness that comes from the uncertainty of what or how to heal. Even the why of healing can be vague. Play isn’t vague or uncertain, we all inherently know how to do this, its simply getting out of our own way and enjoying ourselves. Healing trauma from the past? I don’t know many people that have a good grasp on how to do this.

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As usual, I’ll take the enjoyable road to feeling good about myself and this world, shedding fear and crap because its taking up room that I need for the good stuff that’s coming in. I don’t want to start with the negative and difficult because its there. Give me a reason to heal and I will naturally. Force me to heal, and I’ll avoid it and procrastinate.

Overcoming Fear

I feel I have to address a potent, and unpleasant topic – fear. I love talking about all of the good feelings and ideas involved with Energetic Wine. I also know there is fear. Right now we live in a world that thrives on fear, big fears, little fears, jealousy, shame, worthiness, and so on. These fears slow, block, and stop us from enjoying ourselves and truly living.

I understand being uncertain about trying something new, something that’s woo-woo and out in left field, maybe even a little nuts. It took me months longer than it should have to introduce Energetic Wine to the world because I was scared. I was scared of the judgment of others, losing face amongst my peers, losing business because my customers thought I’m nuts, shame, and questions of worth and whether I would be called a fraud. Ultimately, my belief in doing something great for myself and others overcame these fears. Take a step with me, try something new, you will be rewarded!

Maybe all of this is bringing up another fear, one of the nastiest of them, feeling as though you don’t deserve to feel good, that you aren’t worthy, the fear of success. It’s a potent adversary, this fear. It hides in the shadows of our minds and trips us up. This fear enjoys the delicious feast of our uncertainty and inaction. Take a little step and enjoy some wine with me. You deserve to feel good, feel appreciated, feel loved. These are our birthrights, and a bit of wine will help you on your path to reclaiming what is yours.

This is a pretty tall order for wine. I don’t promise miracle transformations by drinking some wine. I do know the pleasure and richness that comes from enjoying these wines. Trying something new will bolster your confidence and help you tackle the pain and fear in your own life. Better connection to your body will help you recognize patterns and feelings that you can change. Awareness creates the ability to heal and move forward. All of this propels you to a greater life with more enjoyment, possibility, and love.

A bit about this blog

I’ve had some questions about my musings. Namely, there’s nothing about wine here, just spiritual, self help stuff. This blog isn’t about wine per se, its about my journey in life, and the lessons I’ve learned, often from wine. Occasionally I will talk about wine here, but mostly its going to be other interesting stuff about life and living more fully. You’ll see posts on feeling, play, truth, culture and breaking with tradition. These topics and plenty more are what ramble around in my head and what I feel in my body.

 

This journey I’m on to experience and feel more is greatly aided by wine, so I will intermingle the experience and the wine in future writings. I want to share the best of my thoughts and feelings rather than feeling obligated to write about wine exclusively.

Play for Serious People

I can be a rather serious guy, too serious in fact, but when I peel back those layers I do find I have a playful side that is ready to pop out, explore and have fun. As I have wandered down the path of Energetic Wine, and going through a good bit of self examination, I’ve realized that I love my playful side, and I want it to be in the driver’s seat far more often.

As I’m a serious person, I have plenty of friends and acquaintances that are serious as well. Fortunately I have an amazing role model for playfulness in my fiancée. I have been following her lead and being more playful. Her style of play is filled with laughter and joy, being silly, and poking others to join her. I realized that this isn’t my style, and due to my serious side, I have been trying to figure out what’s my style of play.

As I read that line, my playful side wants to smack my serious side for being such a fuddy duddy. Play is easy, what’s hard is getting out of your own way. By actively searching for how to play and what my style is, I’ve found a few tricks that help me get out of my own way. They don’t always work, but more often than not, I can wake myself out of the serious state, and enjoy my life.

For those of you that have forgotten how to play, or that you should be playful, here are some tips:

Use your curiosity! This is such a wonderful tool, and super easy to use. When we were children, this came naturally to us. We’d ask everyone about stuff, how does this work? Why is that? What does that do? And so on, this instinct is worn out of us by our parents getting sick of answering endless questions, many of which are too hard to answer.

Now that we’re adults, we can simply ask these questions of ourselves, and our good buddy google can often provide answers. Too often we forget to ask questions and use our curiosity. We’ve been indoctrinated into the system. We have our lives, we go to work, we spend time with family, etc. We don’t ask why enough though! Look around, wonder! Touch something and ponder why does it feel like this, who designed it, where was it made, and so on. Let your curiosity out and play will follow.

Breathe –Take a deep breath, do it again, now one more time. I bet you didn’t do it. Serious people usually read that and skip it. I know I used to. Taking a few deep breaths and focusing on your body and how you feel helps free you from the loops in your head that are focusing on stress, things you have to do, and the unpleasant sides of life. Observe where you’re at and how you feel, but don’t judge, just notice. I find that just noticing where I’m at can help me relax, which opens the door for play.

Feel! We feel playful, we don’t think playful. Get out of your head, all that thinking is getting in the way of you feeling and playing. Remember any of the joyous and playful times in your life and you’ll find all of them all centered on how you felt, not how you thought.

Finally, focus on what you do want in life, including play! Us serious folks are often worrying about this or that, focusing on something we don’t want to happen, or how we’re going to get all the stuff done on our to do lists. If you focus on that stuff all the time, it creates patterns in your brain, which cause you to think about that stuff more often. You have to actively think(and feel) about what you do want! This is takes regular practice as its easy to fall back into old habits of thinking about what we don’t want. Tell yourself regularly that you want to be relaxed and playful, that you want to experience joy, and that you want to love your life. All the self help folks are right, this shit works! Focus on what you want and you’ll notice more of it, but you have to rewrite your patterns so you’re not clogging up your brain with a lot of crap.

I hope these help you enjoy your life more, I know they help me!

Bonus tip: Go outside! In your back yard or deep into the woods, it doesn’t matter. Being outside always helps relax and bring in play. Why do you think our parents told us to go out and play!

Connection to Body and Spirit

The joy of greater awareness and connection to your body is that it helps you build and enjoy a rich, robust life. This life is less dependent on external stimuli or judgments and very much about that which brings you love and joy. You feel more, your intuition is more active and accurate. Your body tells you what it wants and what brings you true nourishment and pleasure.

Societal dictates and high sensation activities hold less appeal as you know TRUTH. Deeper truth about what is best for you, how to love yourself, and how to spread this knowledge and love to others. Your body shares this truth if you listen.

Connecting and integrating your mind, body, and spirit empowers you. Activation of your higher self occurs and you begin to be the person you know yourself to be, the one that the world wants, the one full of inspiration, joy, and love.

Obviously there are multiple paths toward these places of enlightenment, many of which require you to disavow your earthly body and its desires. I am not in a position to say which path is best, that is for each of us to discover for ourselves. I will say that when I tried to negate my desires and move toward monastic life I found the experience to be hollow. Full of space, yes, but hollow as well. I want to live, I want to experience, I want to feel, I want to eat, I want to drink, I want to love. Richness and vibrancy!

My connection to my body helps me enjoy all of these pleasures as well as deeper ones. I have a greater awareness of what I’m putting in my body and allowing into my field. I have greater intention in these areas as well. No longer can I just drink any old wine for a cheap thrill or to numb out and avoid feeling. No, I drink that which nourishes me on many levels. My body and spirit demand this, and with my enriched connection my mind knows this and all come together to act for the greatest good of myself and others.