If you’ve never seen a blossom on a saguaro cactus, just know that it is a thing of exquisite beauty. The cacti are in bloom now in the Arizona desert and yesterday, outside our condo near the street, a tiny cactus had an enormous blossom. My partner, a gifted photographer, took the picture below and was planning to take another one this morning when the light was better. But this morning, the blossom was gone. It had been neatly removed leaving the cactus as if it had never blossomed. The question is “Who filched the flower?” I still don’t know the answer to that but the important thing is that I had a lesson in non-judgment.
Who filched the flower?
Look at the picture. You have to look carefully to see the top of the cactus peeking over the blossom. The vivid pink and the creamy white, lacy petals seemed to glow in the early morning light. In the evening when we walked the dogs, we stopped to admire it again.
This morning, as I said, it was gone!
I was annoyed and on the edge of angry. “What right did anyone have to take that beautiful blossom off the cactus? It wasn’t anyone’s personal property,” I fumed. Look at the flower closely and you’ll see why I was upset.
“Who would be so greedy and selfish,” I began, “to take the flower so no one else could enjoy it?” After a few more seconds of my rant, Jack suggested that maybe someone took it home to their family to enjoy it. “After all, it would only last a couple of days,” he said. “Humph! They should have brought their family to see it instead of taking it!” I thought.
A rush to judgment
As I began to reflect on what I called “the filched flower” I realized I had rushed to judgment. It’s easy to do. So I let my mind ponder other possibilities:
- The gardeners trimmed the flower off for reasons only gardeners know.
- Someone could, indeed, have taken the flower to someone ill who would never have been able to see it and enjoy it.
- Maybe a child found it and took it home for Mom.
- It was so beautiful, perhaps someone “official” took it for a display where many people could see it.
- The javelina, (a pig-like member of the peccary family) who roam freely, could have passed by and discovered it to be a tasty morsel.
At any rate, it didn’t belong to me and I really didn’t need to get upset or rush to the judgement that someone stole it.
A timely lesson
It seems to me that lessons come as we need them. You see, I’ve done a lot of needed work on acceptance and non-judgment and had the idea that I was doing fairly well with it. I have been reading the recently published book Remembering the Light Within by Mary and Ronald Hulnick. The chapter on acceptance was followed by one on judgment. I rushed through these chapters with the I-don’t-need-this-anymore attitude. In regard to being judgmental, the Hulnicks wrote “…anytime you enter into judging, you will experience a negative emotional charge—you’ll feel disturbed or upset. Unfortunately, these reactions tend to get anchored in the body, and this results in habitual emotional response patterns to certain situations.”
I certainly was feeling disturbed and I DID experience a negative emotional charge. I certainly don’t want to make it a habit. It was time to put myself in “time out” and get grounded. It was also time to realize I still had some work to do. I know that what I think and how I react are choices I make. I also know that I’m human so I won’t go into a tizzy because I “messed up.” I will simply forgive myself and go on with more awareness than I had before.
With hindsight, I realized that I had been given a lesson in non-judgment.
Being able to make a choice not to judge another person, situation, or outcome brings with it great satisfaction and peace.
And knowing this, I can look at the lovely picture of the beautiful cactus flower and simply enjoy.