I welcome all feedback and look forward to reading your comments. Please be respectful of everyone's voice. My intention is to create a safe, secure place where people can be completely vulnerable and express themselves fully without fear or inhibitions of being judged or criticized. I ask that you respond not react. Practice the art of mindfulness in your comments.
"When one experiences truth, the madness of finding faults with others disappears" - S.N. Goenka.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trusting Our Truth

My dad signaled when he was about to strike. His round, hairless head turned a bright shade of red while his lips pressed so tightly together, they lost their color.  Like a gazelle looking up in a nature film my body became aware of an impending danger. It was when my Dad’s upper lip virtually disappeared and his bulging, eyes shifted from green to a devilish red – that I knew I’d better start running.  His glare was so frightening; I literally felt the wrath of God.  I ran with the same fierce, life-saving determination of a gazelle that spots a salivating leopard ready to pounce.  Nothing stood in my way from trying to escape his rage.  I turned over chairs, moved tables, jumped furniture - all with the gripping hope of making it to the door in enough time to open it. 

The few times I made it out, I hit the pavement and kept running without once looking back.  With tears streaming down my face and my body trembling, I managed to feel a moment of victory. My lungs burned as my pace slowed to a crawl on my way to a sacred spot; a safe place. Sitting under my shaded hidden tree, near Tom’s Party Shop, my head rested on my bent knees as I let the tears flow with the power of a tsunami hitting land.  The reality of my situation left me feeling defeated.  That fleeting moment of victory was completely forgotten. 

I rarely let my dad see me cry, resolute on not giving him the satisfaction.  When he hit, I hit back.   And I did all I could do to lessen the power of his contact.  I braced for impact.  I kicked.  I wiggled.  I punched.  I bit.   But my efforts proved futile.  I, like that slow gazelle, was always overpowered.    But despite my wounds, I somehow managed to walk away with my head held high, and with the confidence of a survivor.  

The early life lesson was that the world is a scary place.  

People cannot be trusted, which meant that we always, have to keep our guards up.  Who knows when someone will strike? Therefore, we must live life with the conviction that someone eventually will - even if that someone proclaims love and devotion.   Showing any signs of weakness will leave you open for attack, so live life cautiously.  And even if fear consumes you, never let anyone know you’re scared. 

This reasoning served me well throughout the earlier parts of my life.  I survived childhood, adolescence and young adulthood by self-reliance.  I almost never asked for help, and was reluctant to accept it when offered.  My appearance was strong, confident and powerful and it was a false façade. Still, I was able to plow through life.  But I was removed from the world, keeping myself distant and watching with a skeptical eye.  This was my survival tactic.  It was when I was finally ready to thrive and not just survive, that my ideas about the world started to shift.

Looking back on those developmental years, it is clear how that time shaped my view of the world.  Feelings of inadequacy kept me in a perpetual state of fear, guilt or shame.  I constantly blamed others for my unhappiness, or pretended nothing bothered me.   I was ultimately afraid of exposing my true self because I wasn’t sure it was worthy of connection.  We all have this inherent instinct to connect with others because fundamentally, we know we are all One.  But before we can fully grasp this, we must find that connection within.  This becomes a challenge when we’re constantly told to look outside of ourselves for validation. 

Society persistently tells us that we’re not enough.  

We have ideals. We try to meet them because we’re convinced that there is a certain standard to meet in order to be “good enough.”  We need to be thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, strong enough, successful enough – and have enough “stuff.” Eventually, we should get married and stay married  (with a partner of the opposite sex, of course), become parents & grandparents, have a house, a dog and maybe a cat – and then, if we live up to all of those standards…we may possibly be worth something.  And while we do all of those “shoulds” to be “good enough,” we have to keep serving a God who supposedly loves us unconditionally, but who will quickly strike if we break a condition.  Why would an all-powerful God create laws that must be adhered to, and then give us the option to violate them?  It has been argued that it’s a lesson of  “free will.

Let’s consider this:  How is “free will” free when that very will doesn’t even originate from us? 

“Free will,” by definition, means the freedom to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or divine intervention. 

The role of “parent” has been projected onto God.  The assumption is that a diety has needs.  He needs to control.  He needs us to follow his plan, and he has feelings.  He gets angry when we disobey, and he’s sad when we don’t praise him.  This magical man in the sky is constantly judging our behavior, and then he rewards or punishes us based on how he feels about what we’ve been doing - sounds a little like my father.  Is it too grand to believe the magnificent notion that God is not to be feared, will not judge, and has no cause to punish – and then, to recognize that this God does not live outside ourselves, but instead resides within?

We have been taught to look outside of ourselves for answers.  By doing this, we relinquish our own power.  We believe that we are worth less than the power who created us.  We deny our own experience in favor of what we have been told to think.  And when we do encounter an actual experience for the first time, we overlay what we experience with what we think we should feel.  We have forgotten (or perhaps never learned) how to trust ourselves.  Our inner truth has become so foreign that we barely recognize it.  Once we’re able to hold our values up against the light of public scrutiny and admit to ourselves, and to the world, how we really feel – without hesitating or breaking stride – then, we have reached a point of whole-hearted worthiness.

This reasoning brings with it openness and vulnerability.  Vulnerability, by definition, means leaving yourself open for attack.  This was certainly not something I was ever willing to experiment with.  Then, I began to recognize what happens when we expose our true selves – when we are honest and raw.  It is within this state, that a real connection unfolds – within ourselves and the outside world.  It is how we feel when an artist expresses themselves from an inner core.  We embrace that power of connection.  It goes beyond the physical, and transcends into something much deeper.  When we release outside expectations and instead, connect with truth – we move to live from a place of courage, compassion, clarity and connection.  We are free from fear and judgment, and we are comfortable with vulnerability. 

An identity built upon false pretenses – like a house of cards – is bound to collapse. Reaching this inner destination, we finally live in genuine Truth.  Life’s contradictions and paradoxes begin to vanish.  They are replaced with a beautiful sense of order, meaning, and purposeful simplicity.  We live synergistically, within our environment – we do not fight it.  Clarity becomes effortless, and our world perception has such precision, that everything makes sense, and our lives begin to simply fall into place. By releasing society’s expectations and understanding that true strength means embracing vulnerability, we see the world anew for the first time.

Have you experienced whole-hearted worthiness?  Has society, your inhibitions, fear, shame or guilt, prevented you from experiencing your truth?  I look forward to reading your comments.


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