The idea of living honestly, in truth, is nothing new. We’re taught from a young age to be truthful or bad things will happen. But we learn that bad things (consequences) happen when we tell the truth, so it’s a Catch 22. In order to save face, not look like a bad guy, we fib. First to others. Then to ourselves.
In reading Entering the Castle by Caroline Myss, I came across the wisdom that in order to hear both our intuition and our soul more clearly, we need to operate in truth. I admit, this scared me. It’s not that I’m a big liar or con-artist or have a million dark secrets. I, like so many of us, have built an operating system that allows myself to live in grey areas and be okay with it. I make promises, I break them. Small ones, big ones, doesn’t matter -it’s part of being human, being imperfect.
Example? New Years Resolutions. “This year I am going to have quiet time in the mornings for 30 minutes. I’m going to work out. I’m going to lose 15 pounds. I’m going to make X amount of money.” And then it doesn’t happen because with each big goal, I make excuses for myself. “Well, I’m tired. I’ll skip my work out today because what my body really needs is sleep.” And a day, two days, a week, a month pass and my workout gear hasn’t been touched. Excuses and fear. But mainly fear. That’s what stops me from accomplishing what I want to do.
I was thinking about the 12 week plant based class I’m leading. All these people who have chosen to leave behind things that they have built a personal culture around that defined their meaning of food and nutrition and health, deciding to change it for something new. That’s scary. (And it’s exciting. A new adventure!) My brain skipped around to different subjects and landed on chocolate -not too unusual for me. I have a very strong relationship to chocolate. There were some days when that would be 60% of my intake. (Not. Good.) True, there were some days or weeks when I didn’t have any. But the fact was I knew I had a dependency on chocolate. I ate it not for sustenance, but for what it did to my brain chemistry and my body. I ate it for how it made me feel. Comforted, alert, soothed, celebrated. And the thought of NOT having chocolate ever again (or at least for a long time) scared the crap out of me.
That very point made me realize I had an unhealthy relationship with chocolate and I needed to let it go.
“WHAT?!?! Give up CHOCOLATE?! HAVE YOU GONE NUTS, KELLY?!” my brain said.
I realized the truth, that if I looked at myself with honesty -objectively- I could identify that I had an addictive relationship to chocolate and if I want to be free and healthy, I need to let go of it, no matter how much it scared me.
Anything that makes me scared to live without needs to be released.
For me that means Netflix. Social Media. Chocolate. Excessive salt.
Man, the list goes on.
But the point is, if I am going to live the highest quality life -this one life to live- I want to be honest with myself. And when I see an incongruity, I need to correct it. Where there is a lack of health, I want to reverse it.
Living in truth is scary because it calls us to action and action is disruptive. We’ve so carefully skirted around issues in our lives, created cyclical patterns that allow ourselves to function but not thrive. When we stop the ride, look at the tracks and see the truth, we have to either agree to keep lying to ourselves or change. Change often means ending relationships -with people and things. It means getting rid of the crutches and numbing devices we’ve put in place to help us feel better about living trapped and small. And that’s scary, I know. Without those things (alcohol, tv show binges, pain killers, comfort foods, enabling relationships, etc.) we are left standing on our own. I imagine it like floating in space or standing on a bare stage. Vulnerable. Ourselves seen. No mother’s legs to hide behind. We are accountable for ourselves, responsible for our personhood, we are on our own.
But we are free.
It is in this place, having everything stripped away and ourselves laid bare that we have access to our truest self, our most fulfilling life, our full range of being to experience things fully and with awareness and connection to others. We can hear again, feel again, be again.
Don’t you miss being?
I got up this morning before the rest of the house. Well, baby Truly woke up with me. My first instinct was to grab my phone and check my email and various social media. I left my phone alone. I made a cup of peppermint tea. I would have made a decaf+chocolate soy milk mocha. I sat with Truly in front of the Christmas tree. Just sat. Held her. Normally my eyes would be glued to my phone as I scrolled Facebook and flipped back and forth between Instagram, feeling pressure to post something before the work day started. As I held her, we regarded each other…and she began smiling, looking so deeply at me it felt like she was talking with her eyes, talking right to my heart. And I thought,
“THIS. This is the life I’ve been missing. So afraid of missing out, afraid of not being ‘seen,’ not doing enough. Oh, but this? Oh, my heart!”
And we stayed there, just being together.
We don’t want to see the truth because of the choice we’ll have to make once we know it -to continue living in an unhealthy manner, or to change. And change is disruptive and uncomfortable and brings you to a place of vulnerability and the unknown. And it bothers other people. Because once you start changing your life to be healthier, it shines a light on others -and often people don’t want the lights on. I lived like that, in the shadowy areas. Light was highly uncomfortable.
But I really like living in the light now. Yep, it scares the crap out of me. I hate knowing that I’m so imperfect and that some people will not like what I do, how I live, or who I am. But I do really like living in the freedom of truth and, even though I’m nervous about how vulnerable it makes me, I am more excited for where it will take me and how I will get to experience this life by being in it.