She Moves In Mysterious Ways: Letting Go Of The Gavel.

She moves in mysterious ways… until you become that She.

Tales of people leaving often triggered the judge in me to flare up. When I understood why someone walked away from family, spouse, community, work, etc., I could comfortably file their behavior in my brain. Judgment crept in when people’s motivations perplexed me.

My inner judge is not who I wish to be. She’s impatient and cold, sour-faced with intimidating vertical brow furrows. She wears too tight a collar, belt and shoes. Her heart is squeezed somewhere behind the business suit beneath her judge’s robe.

Partly, my desire to make sense of others leaving situations was a misguided attempt to assign some semblance of order to the world. If I could break things down into good guys and bad guys, the world might seem less chaotic.

Life would become explainable and understandable. Safe. What I didn’t then realize? Stepping into the role of judge catapulted me into the bad guy category.

Focusing on those who walked away was tethered to the part of me that subconsciously knew that I had some walking away to do myself.

When She became Me, I could see more clearly. My movements that maybe seemed mysterious to others were most mindfully crafted. Deliberate. Essential. Sometimes we need to leave situations, whether others understand or not.

Becoming the She shed light on the other She’s who had gone before me: The others and I had judged them out of assumption, lack of awareness, ignorance, and perhaps fear.

The first She who moved in mysterious (to me) ways was a woman I’ll call Emily, the sister of a childhood friend. Growing up, I spent much time at this family’s house. Many years later, I was stunned to hear that Emily had cut all ties with her family.

I told myself that I knew this family. Truly, all I knew was the love of my own immediate family, and the little sliver of life that Emily’s family allowed me to see. If the rumor mill was accurate (and that is always suspect), Emily severed ties under a therapist’s advice.

At the time, I was all too quick to jump into the pervasive judgmental dissection of Emily’s cold-hearted behavior and to cast judgment on the therapist. I was not alone. Emily became a target of ignorant, heartless, harmful, hurtful talk devoid of compassion.

The truth? I knew nothing about the situation. I simply had nowhere for this scenario to land within my own experiences and my then-current level of understanding, exposure and maturity.

In ignorance, I joined the ranks of self-appointed judges, joining the crowd in casting yet another layer of pain over what I now imagine was a devastating dynamic.

Decades later, I still know nothing about Emily’s situation. What has changed? I’m letting go of the gavel. I’m trusting that there are often profound, painful and empowered truths behind the mysterious ways in which we move.

Recent years have given me glimpses into motivations behind mysterious moves. I’ve witnessed loved ones reach points of such intense pain that they uprooted their lives to regain their sanity and/or safety.

I have learned the term No Contact, and have delved into writings on the dynamics that can lead to cutting off ties with family, relationships, friends or community.

In a cliché aha moment, a U2 song refrain rattled my consciousness: She moves in mysterious ways. I got it. I saw what I had done to Emily. I felt the pang of how harmful my words — our words — could have been to her at a raw, tender time.

I saw how frighteningly easy it is to cast judgment on those moving In mysterious ways.

I also became a She and could see clearly that sometimes we need to walk away and take our reasons with us. As the She, I knew that my moves were quite conscious. For my health’s sake, I moved in what may have seemed mysterious ways to others.

But for me, there was no mystery. Merely necessity.

Until finding myself in a toxic environment, I simply did not understand the connection between what can happen behind closed doors and the mysterious ways in which we sometimes must move.

Whether those closed doors are the doors to a family home, doors into a romantic relationship, a circle of friends, a professional setting or a community, we won’t know all that transpires for another, even if we’re behind those very doors ourselves.

Becoming the She profoundly shifted my ability to hold the space for the mysterious ways of others.

She moves in mysterious ways… unless you are the She terrorized by her raging spouse, a man known publicly as a respected, upstanding figure.

She knows she needs safety and space in which to heal the trauma and breathe without fear catching in her throat. Her moves are most mindful, guided by survival.

He moves in mysterious ways… unless you are the He who has been slandered by a coworker’s manipulative behind-the-scenes backstabbing. He chooses to walk away, knowing it is healthier to leave than to stay.

Leaving means losing everything he’s worked for. He chooses freedom.

She moves in mysterious ways… unless you are the She who has been targeted with narcissistic abuse.

Since speaking out escalates the dynamic, she chooses not to speak out so as to not add drama to the crazy-making environment smoke-screened by gas-lighting and riddled with gossip.

She knows that speaking out escalates the drama, and the drama has already stripped her to the bone. She seeks peace through trusting the truth of what she feels. She finds peace by leaving.

He moves in mysterious ways… unless you are the He who knows the deeply-buried secret of generations of familial abuse. He knows that he must leave in order to repair the primal scars to his nervous system, and to feel whole again.

He knows he will be judged by others for turning his back on his own family. He chooses to show up for himself.

She moves in mysterious ways… unless you are the She who hears the nerve-wracking incessant clank of gavels dropping judgment on her choices born of self-preservation. She deserves and longs for kindness, compassion and love.

She also knows that she won’t find them where she is, so she walks even further, more mysteriously, away.

Unless shared with me, I won’t know the truth guiding others’ mysterious moves. I won’t necessarily know when a soul is unable to find compassion in current circumstances. Private matters aren’t mine to know, dissect or discuss. I now comprehend this.

I can choose to be respectful and strive to do no further harm through my words.

I cannot take back my words about Emily. Hopefully, she had fled so far that she didn’t hear the murmur of our words. But I know what I said. I know how much words matter and how deeply destructive they can be, whether heard or energetically left lingering.

How can I move forward?

I can stop and drop the gavel when I default into reflexive judgment, and continue dropping it until I no longer habitually grab it.

I can choose the kindness, compassion and love we all long for. I can trust that, like I once was myself, others are doing their damnedest in situations that they perhaps wish and/or need to hold close.

It’s not my right to know details about others’ choices perhaps born of self-preservation. I can choose respect.

May our words co-create the safe spaces we all deserve.

May we hold space for the mysteries that are not ours to know.

May we let go of the gavels.


TracyStamperTracy Stamper is a dancer at heart, in mind, of body, and with words. She is blessed and blissed to call dancing her profession, thanks to the transformational conscious movement form of Nia. She teaches Nia classes and offers Nia White Belt Trainings for fellow dancers at heart, in mind, and of body. Tracy lives in St. Louis in a home on a little hill, with a whimsical wind sculpture out front, and two crazy rescue beagle boy dogs and the two human loves of her life inside. Her current favorite colors are purple, orange and glitter. She likes her chocolate dark, her little bubble of a world Personalitics-free, her inspiration flowing, and her car dances to be uninhibited. You can connect with her on her website, Nia website, and Facebook.


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