A Letter to the Judge

Updated: Jan 14

December 2021 Soul Notes

“This is the season to go home

far within”


“as I wrap myself in winter silence

and curl into its rooty hollows”

Harriet Wadeson describes the invitation of winter in all of its sensual might and I feel my longing to plunge into the blanketed and muffled depths. It’s been a long year. A strange year. A liminal year. One where we hoped for an ending to the chaos and disruption, and fear, and found ourselves ever deeper in an unravelling tale, where the ending is yet to be revealed.

I’ve noticed that in this second year of the pandemic, many of us have moved from cutting ourselves some slack, to a place of harsh self-criticism as we try to get lives back on track in a world where the tracks are being rerouted and we’re not exactly sure where they lead. When a child feels helpless in the face of parents who let her down, this is a self-preservation strategy. If I blame myself, then I hold onto the belief that I can do something to change the situation. If I recognise that my carers are inadequate, then the world feels out of my control, which is devastating for a tiny mind-body.

So self-blame and criticism become ways of protecting our vulnerable self, effectively by denying that it exists. Rather this than feel our helplessness. However, often the judge continues to berate us well into our adult lives, blaming us for circumstances over which we have had little or no control, and making us responsible for everything, as a way of continuing to avoid feeling that same vulnerability. Better to believe in this individualistic world that the power to pull myself up by my bootstraps lies with me and me alone, than expose the cultural fault lines that inevitably punish some and reward others.

In my Tuesday morning writing circle, we were invited to write to this inner judge as a way of relating to the tyrannical voice. I thought I’d share my letter with you as a way of ending the year….it didn’t quite come out in the way that I had imagined but I like where it took me so here goes…..

Dear Judge

First of all…..thank you. You’re kinder to me these days. Do you feel the pull of my heart leaning into the dappled sky and embracing trees? Are you touched by that too? Perhaps. I feel you’re drawn too (ooh…you’re here…you don’t like those poetic words, do you? Too fancy and flowery for you. But I’m writing them anyway because it’s true.) I feel my heart. I feel wonder. Bewilderment. All that was stripped somehow along the way of the drive, drive, drive. It’s returning. Slowly. Miraculously. Chastely. Feeling the corset of city life and yearning to burst out and run naked in the crystal arms of the lake (I felt your punch then…..naked in a newsletter…rolling eyes…..ppppllleeeaaasssse!)

You’re tired. I can feel that. You’ve worked so hard in this lifetime. Guided me. Guarded me. Held me in your arms, like a toddler, stretching beyond her mother’s hand but still caught by her fingertips, unable to launch into the airy space just beyond. This has been our habitual position for so long. The dance of daring. Sometimes I’d manage to run away from you. I’ve given you the run around for sure. But you always catch up eventually.

You show up in more insidious ways these days. Scheduling a shopping delivery to show up in the middle of my writing workshop because it’s more “convenient” in the early morning. For which read, you’re not letting me get too far into any deep writing because you don’t know where that will take us. Probably into more fancy concoctions that you’d rather not find their way to the page. You love to book in client sessions slap bang in the middle of a clear bit of space dedicated to “writing” if you were to peek at my diary. Which of course, you have. The email that just has to be written NOW. (I can feel you smiling as you take pride in these master skills).Yours is a skill of distraction. The parent pointing to the television screen for a few moments of peace so that the toddler doesn’t keep climbing and launching herself into thin air. Is that how you get your rest? By plopping me in front of the pragmatic task you know I can’t refuse? Wily. The energy that courses through me then is fast and furious, willing me to do, do, do….act, complete, finish. Sitting that energy back down at the desk for some thoughtful meandering is like trying to get the toddler to meditate after a bag of sweets. Highly unlikely to happen.

But there are others more wily than you. Nature steps in. I glance at the sky. My eyes wander to the dancing leaves of the tree and the furious energy is transformed into a deep fire in my belly. In the warmth of this hearth, deep in my centre, I begin to feel infused by my experience, inner and outer, and can begin to form the words, images, ideas that name what it is like to be me…here….now. Words that are mine in this moment, not anyone else’s.

I’m filled with it right now. Your distraction worked for a moment but I’m wise to your tactics. I’d like us to be friends. Is that possible? Our relationship right now is based on your power, but it is waning. I feel it. Your grip isn’t so tight any more. Nor your will. I will listen to you but you must be kinder. Let me be a little and know that I am not reckless. I’ve been growing up too. No longer a toddler but a grown woman now. When I strain away from you, it’s because I trust myself. I’ve learned what’s out there, in spite of you holding me back. I’ve snook away more than you realise to see if what you tell me is true. Sure it can be risky. A bit dangerous sometimes. Sure I’ll get hurt sometimes. Fall over. Fail. Graze my knees and heart on the gravel of life and love. But I’ve learned to tend myself when I do. Bathe my wounds in healing waters and words. Find the comfort of friends who judge me way less harshly than you. To learn the lessons so that next time maybe I won’t fall so hard. I’d like you to trust me too. To witness the growth that has taken place beyond your arms and bless it and me with your companionship. Come along for the ride. You can sit quietly and take in the landscape too. It’s time. Time for us both to stop straining and scrambling and to enjoy the stunning ride that is this life.

I feel you on my shoulder right now, not pulling but wondering what others will think of this. But you’re smiling. I can feel you with me, daring me too. Welcome. This is going to be fun.



What’s your judge up to as the year draws to a close and you spiral inwards? What would you like to say to her?

I wish you all a gentle, kind and compassionate time over the holidays. I look forward to meeting you again (maybe even in person) in 2022.

With love


If you would like to learn more about who I am and what I offer, please visit my website or instagram.

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