mixed-up monday: elemental truths
I was typing away, wading ankle-deep in a post about truth and lies when BAM! Pinterest dropped your soul-piercing gaze and words of wisdom in my lap.
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people.”
That one sentence made me slam on the brakes. Instead of the almost jaunty stories I was using to explore the shaded textures of honesty, I was compelled to write about what may be the most elusive element of truth — being honest with the person in the mirror.
I became a master internal spin doctor at the age of 6, shifting my father leaving from the then unusual story of divorce to his being called away on a top-secret C.I.A. mission. As the years went on and I was able to lower the protective armor that served me as a child, I still had a difficult time looking within to not only see the truth, but to acknowledge how situations and feelings affected my definition of me.
Fast-forward to today . . . the spectrum of honesty is often front and center in adventures with my 7 and 16 year-olds — from Paul Bunyon-esque playground tales to the anatomy of a white lie to the role of omission in the theater of truth. I’m even more compelled to take a deep breath and look inside with eyes wide open to see what’s true.
As inspiration for fearlessly peering within, I’d like to share this passage from Mark Nepo’s THE BOOK OF AWAKENING. It focuses on how living our truth is not only liberating, it’s as essential to our lives as breathing.
“Whatever truth we feel compelled to withhold, no matter how unthinkable it is to imagine ourselves telling it, not to is a way of spiritually holding our breath. You can only do it for so long. Of course, the longer we keep our truth hidden, the more difficult it is to give it a voice, or so it seems, because while the pressure is building, we are running out of air. But we are never more than a heartbeat from freeing ourselves of that awful isolation, never more than a gulp and a cough from falling back into the open.
All the while, the power of being hidden keeps us from the vitality of living, and so the healing value of telling the truth is in how it returns us to the pulse of what is sacred. Just as important as the respect and trust gained for telling the truth is the release of that terrible pressure that keeps us hidden and isolated. This is the embodied gift of truth which like breathing keeps us alive.”
And now for some music . . . it is Monday, after all. Click on the symbol below to tune into this week’s Spotify playlist — ELEMENTAL TRUTHS.