Truth is the Birthplace of Self Love

My first indicator that I have a hard truth to tell happens in my chest. 

It starts getting tight, and uncomfortable, and starts creeping toward my throat making it constricted and hard to breathe.

I use the tightness in my chest as an indicator along with a simple metaphor to locate myself because it’s easy to get lost in fear when I feel it happening. 

An example would be when someone I care about is projecting something upon me that I’m not in agreement with, or who tells me something about how I am, or how I am feeling or “should” be feeling, when I’m not that way or feeling that way at all.  In other words, it’s not my truth.

Speaking the truth can be risky because it separates us from being in agreement with what’s true for everyone else, and it’s ok for our own truth to be different from everyone else’s.  In fact, it’s our birthright. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Our survival instinct kicks in to belong and to be loved and accepted. It's so strong in us, that it will often have us sacrifice or side step our own truth to preserve harmony, but we do so at the cost of our own freedom and autonomy.

So back to the chest getting tight;

Right before I’m about to tell a hard truth I think about a metaphor I call "The Swimming Pool" because it helps me get my bearings. My chest tells me that it’s time to get out of the deep end of the pool where I’ve been swimming, and go back to the shallow end where I can find a place to stand and feel my footing beneath me.

I imagine that I’m standing there, just up to my shin’s in the pool, all vulnerable in my bathing suit (no hiding that shit) exposed, but also stable.  There is no need to tread water in the shallow end, and there is plenty of air when you don’t have to work so hard to stay afloat.  This is the place I imagine taking a deep breath before moving back into some deeper water to do the work.

Just like when I was a child, I imagine looking to see where the sun is located in the sky above me. That way I know which direction the light is in, so that when I go under and while I’m below the surface, where it’s hard to breathe, I can still locate it’s presence.  It’s a trick I play on myself to orient myself before I go to the truth telling place.

It helps me.

The Truth Place

If we are raised to do the proper thing, the right thing, the "good" thing, and told to be a certain way, we are often cut off from our own truth. It happens endlessly from the time we are children.

I’ve noticed that by the time we enter adulthood, few of us know how to hear our true voice anymore. It’s can be hard to locate where the truth is when it sounds like everyone else’s voice but your own, but if you pay attention and listen for it, you’ll start to hear it’s hum.

The truth place can be a messy place when you begin,  but it’s also a birth place.  Thinking back to my pregnancy, and the delivery of my first child, I imagine nothing can be more messy and brutal than that, and then, there she was, in her "true form", and her beauty was blinding. 

That's what truth does. 

It makes us beautiful.

Truth can be be painful, chaotic, ugly, upsetting, and unbearably messy…and then beautiful.

The expression:

"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off".

True that.

Why do we expect that life’s truth is any less messy than our own?  Why do any of us believe that we can just skim along the surface of our lives always making it pretty, without the brutiful parts?  

I’m thinking of what we are requested to oath before a lawful hearing that’s dependent at times on life or death:

"I vow to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God."

Yesss. Help me GOD to tell this hard truth I have to tell because otherwise,  I die a little more inside each time I deny it.

Please stay close with me as I tell this hard truth because I am so afraid that when I say it out loud, that I will risk belonging and love.

And God, Please be my witness as I go back into the deep water to do my work, and help me tread the waters and weather this storm without forsaking myself. 

Please be the constant sunlight through the darkness to greet me after I dive deep and come back to break the surface, reborn in my own true and radiant self. 

Amen.

 

You Start Dying Slowly

Last year, was my year of YES. 

I was intentional about it because I'd gotten to the point where I felt like I was slowly dying inside.
I mean it, I had become so bored with the same old, same old and I was restless for something different but had no idea where to begin to make changes. The only thing I did know was that I had to start saying "YES" when opportunities crossed my path, even to things that were outside my comfort zone.  

Being intentional has it's perks because magically, new opportunities did begin to appear .. except Instead of saying YES, I would say "maybe".. at least I was getting closer?

Because, I hadn't quite let go of my reasons...

It's too expensive to do anything big, I need to save for college! 
I can't leave the kids.. 

My husband will miss me..
It's too much disruption.
Who will let the dogs out 3 times a day? 


and yet the real reasons were:

I was worried I was selfish to want more. 
I was afraid to fail at doing something adventurous.
I was afraid of wasting time and money on something that I said yes to.
Doing something "different" felt too far out of my comfort zone.
Doing something big while also being alone.. how can that be fun? 
What if I disrupt my relationship? 
and then there was this whisper that would say : BUT what if???
 
What if being selfish is a good thing? 
What if you don't fail? 
What if you have wild success and intense fun at doing something adventurous? 
What if going somewhere or doing something different is exactly what you need? 
What if doing new things enhances your relationship vs. disrupts it? 
What if disruption is exactly what it's all about? 

Disruption. 

It seemed to make sense that I would need to look at disruption in a whole new way. Maybe even as a magical ally that could be my ticket into positive change. I mean, lets be honest, what was I really disrupting? 

The status quo.
The routine.
The monotony. 
The same old same old.
The comfort zone. 

Ahhh... there it was.  The curse of comfort.  My comfort zone kept me from wanting to change because deep down, I was scared of the unknown.  I think that the longer I lived inside of my predictable and routine life, the less confident I became about my capacity to grow and shift again. However, I was also noticing that comfort itself had become wildly uncomfortable, and I was restless for more. 

Being content does not evoke change.

Being restless does.

Fast forward and I'm in the habit of continually adding things to my calendar that I look forward to, and I'm pleasantly surprised by the results of saying YES, and finding new things to do that inspire me. It's taken some adjusting for my family, but everyone is the better for it. I find that by taking time for me, everyone wins. 

I've got energy and a sense of purpose.  
I laugh more and think differently.
My relationships are more alive. 
My income has grown. 

Which brings me to this point:

It's important to invest in ourselves in a way that gives us a return on investment.  I remember that one of the first things I said yes to was more expensive than I was used to spending on myself, until I realized that I wasn't spending; I was investing.  By investing in myself, I've been rewarded over and over and I think it's because I actively have more confidence, energy, and inspiration than I did before and so people hire me more often and I'm more clear about good opportunities that come my way.  

I see now that women withhold from themselves all the time. They short change themselves nurturing everyone except themselves.  Remember that tale by Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree?  

I bet you thought that was a beautiful story. All I know is that she gave and gave and gave that boy everything, and in the end, all she had left was a stump. 

All she had left was a stump. 

Giving-Tree.jpg

In one year, my life has become filled with joy and excitement.  I've done so many things this year that I never would have imagined and it started with that first BIG "YES". 

You know the saying : 

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” -  Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

This has been my reality. I do believe that when we put our best foot forward and take a risk toward become who we are meant to be,  that we create an energy thats fueled with possibility and where literally anything can happen. 

So, when is the last time you did something for yourself that made you feel alive inside? 

When is the last time you said "YES" to something that will grow you? 

Here's a poem that spoke to me right around my YES time last year: 

You start dying slowly
if you do not travel,
if you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.
You start dying slowly
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.
You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking everyday on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.
You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.
You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice…
Pablo Neruda

If you are not sure where to start; start here: 

Say "YES" to being with a wonderful group of women in Kennebunk Maine at the end of April for a weekend of disruption.  Take time for you by saying "YES" right now, and stop being so damn sensible.  Ask your friends for help with pets or with the children and tell you husband you know that he's wildly capable of handling a weekend without you.  Now whip out that credit card to claim your space. 

It's just that easy.