The Truth Doesn’t Hurt
You see, I’m someone who really wants my internal freedom,
I mean really, really.
I have tasted a profound clarity and peace, an indescribable connection and
overflowing love, and joy for life. And now, anything less than that,
feels harder and harder to bear.
I realize that might sound didactic, but it’s actually very honest for me. It’s just that I have become acutely aware of anything that stands between me and my open heart.
Acutely aware of how much that hurts me.
And so I’m willing to sound like a froo-froo airy-fairy, and I’m willing to be judged, rejected or misunderstood, if that’s what it takes to express my truth with all this. Because I have discovered there is only one person in this world I truly need the love and approval of, and that’s me.
That’s my job.
And every single time that I forget it’s my job, and try to make it your job (i.e. anyone outside of myself) it hurts. Because even if I get it at first, it might go away, so it comes with built-in stress, and who needs more of that?
Which brings me right back around to this radical thing I did, and why I wanted to do it in the first place. In thinking of my job description (being my own source of love and approval, that is) it became increasingly clear to me how absolutely, terrifyingly fragile such a thing is if you revolt against the idea of criticism.
Because then your peace and freedom is always hanging by a thin thread, that could be cut at any moment by someone’s adverse adjectives. It’s like you’re constantly living with a very very low-lying fear — at ALL times — because you NEVER know when someone might just pop up and say something that will hurt you! So your defenses go up, your heart closes-down, and it’s a general all-around sucky-ass deal.
It has been said — DEFENSE is the first act of war.
And I will not be a harbinger of war.
“As within, so without.”
If I want to stop war, it begins with me.
So I made a list.
I decided to get real or go home,
so to speak.
I asked myself, “What is the WORST THING someone could say about me?”
and I wrote it all down.
Just me, and the pen,
and the nitty-nitty-gritty.
I’m not saying this was easy, I’m not saying I didn’t CRINGE —
and flinch, and wince, and all kinds of other largely unflattering facial expressions. But I did it, just the same. Because I finally understood that as long as I held anything outside of myself, I could never fully be whole. I can never fully be at peace as long as there is anything I fear. So I would always have to run, at some time,
in some way.
I’m done running.
So I brought my courage and my clarity, I was ready to invite it all in.
Believe me, there was a time not long ago when I couldn’t have done this, but I was ready now, and I simply CANNOT tell you, how liberating and absolutely life changing this shift truly is.
And how could I not share such a gift with you? For those of you who feel you are ready to embrace it, I invite you to join me. For those of you who aren’t — I MORE than understand, as I said, I wasn’t ready for a very long time, not until I WAS. I had to learn to embrace all the good stuff first, before I could look at the shadow of the good stuff. I couldn’t invite that, until I had already invited their opposites. So no beating yourself up, if you’d rather hold off. Only you know what’s right for you and when.
So here’s what I found on my little inward adventure:
SOME OF THE WORST THINGS SOMEONE COULD SAY ABOUT ME:
this is where you write down what things you fear the MOST that people might say about you/to you, and then you go to each one and see if you can “find it” as Byron Katie says. In other words can you find ANY place where that’s true, past or present. The idea being – if you’re awake to these things, if you’ve taken a good look, then how could they possibly ever frighten you again? and what kind of peace and loving would THAT look like in your life?! When we come to love ALL OF US, we can finally be free to love ALL OF THEM, and all of this world — and THAT is true freedom. Otherwise, we run, run, run.
Here’s a few of the ones I wrote down:
So I took a good look , and here’s what I found:
SELFISH: Oh yah, I can find it. Believe me, I’ve done my work on this “selfish” idea – lots of it. But I have been SO PROGRAMMED to put others before myself (as all of you well-know in your own experience) that to me, this is probably the WORST thing someone could say about me. Ridiculous right? but true. If I don’t take care of me, I don’t have anything to give, that’s what I know for sure. What I have learned is that being selfish is the ONLY way that I can even BEGIN to care for others, but I’m not going into a whole schpeel about that, I’m just going to say HELLS YES, I can find where I am selfish, where I look out for my own needs, where I grab the last bite maybe instead of offering it to someone else, where I don’t respond to emails on time because I’m too tired and need to go to bed, and all kinds of other places. And my god, does it feel good to own that! Without a smidge of defense. Just, to say “yes, that’s true” and let it wash through me. If you’re starting to feel very agitated inside even considering this – here’s where you point out to yourself that the opposite is also just as true! In other words, are you also incredibly GENEROUS? For me, and I’m sure for you too, the answer is YES! VERY much so. And I notice that I’m especially generous when I’ve been “selfish” enough to care for myself. We are like babies here, you and me, you don’t see people going around calling babies selfish! They’re getting their needs met — no apology. And we think they’re adorable as hell! So maybe we could cut ourselves the same slack eh?
GREEDY: this one was hard too, but I found it. Of course I found it. That’s the truth. The Websters Dictionary definition of “greedy” is: Having or showing an intense or selfish desire for something. Especially in regards to wealth or power. When I read this I laughed out loud, yes, of course I’m greedy! I’m greedy for sleep, for love, for vacation time, and yes, for money. There have been times when I’ve wanted it badly, because I believed it would bring peace and security into my life. Now of course, I know that I am the only one who can bring peace and security into my life – money will never do that for me, no matter how much or how little I have. This doesn’t mean I don’t still need and want money, of course I do — I live on this planet after all! But it’s no longer tied to peace and happiness for me, I have seen that security and peace are an inner place, not paper and numbers. But I can find PLENTY of times I’ve “had an intense and/or selfish desire for something – especially in regards to wealth or power” as the dictionary definition goes. Where have I been hungry for power? When my son wouldn’t eat his veggies, or go to bed on time, or do his homework. You bet your ass I was hungry for power in that moment, the power to inflict my will upon him and get him to do what I wanted! And I can find places I’ve done that with my husband too. It is absolutely HUMBLING and beautiful to see the places we’ve done this – when we simply couldn’t have done better, because of what we were believing at the time. Greed also implies taking more than you neeeeeeed, and we have been taught that it’s ugly to take more than you need. And we as a culture have mega-beliefs both for and against that. But what it boils down to is that you might only need x amount of dollars, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for more and see what fits for the life you want to create. I trust life to show me what I can and cannot do, in that way it’s just an experiment for me. And again, my god, how good it feels to just let ALL the charge drain out of that one, and say “yes, that’s true too.” In some ways that aren’t so pretty, and in some ways that actually truly are.
SPOILED: oh hell yes! I have fought this one in my mind tooth and nail, and when I finally dropped my defenses and just took a look, I was stunned, and started literally leaping for joy inside, and here’s why: I saw that I AM spoiled, and have been spoiled since the day I was born. I was fed, clothed, I had a place to sleep, I had people who loved me, and cared for me, I got to camp in the woods, and play outside, I had sunshine on my face and wind in my hair, I had water to swim in, sticks to play with (and toys of course!) and all kinds of wonderful things. I have had money (no matter HOW LITTLE I HAD – we’re talking .50 cents in the bank at certain times in my past) I have ALWAYS had money, and provision, and some way to get around, I’ve had a home, warmth, legs to stand on, eyes to see the beauty, and so much more. I’ve had success in my business, travel to amazing amazing places, and little luxuries that blew my mind at times. I saw that life has been pampering and spoiling me rotten since I set foot on this planet, and oh how I took that for granted for SO MANY YEARS. And when I finally started to see the incredible gift of “spoils” that I was receiving, I received even more. So yah baby, I am one spoiled human being! We all are, each in our own way. The “spoils” may be different, but the reward is the same — Joy. And P.S. one of the dictionary definitions of spoiled is: to treat with great or excessive kindness, consideration, or generosity. I mean c’mon! When did this become a “bad” thing?!
UNKIND: as painful as it is, yes, yes I can find it. It is here that I desperately want to defend my kindness, but something tells me I don’t need to with you. There have been times in my life when I was less than kind, plenty of times, when I was hurting so so much inside that I couldn’t possibly see what someone else needed. I was too lost in my own pain. Or times when I might have said something without thinking it through, or times when my own insecurities and self-loathing dictated what I said or did. I have checked in with the people in my life and they all tell me I was always kind to them, but I can find places where I was thoughtless or careless, or maybe even that I wasn’t kind IN MY MIND. But yes, most definitely, and most regrettably, I have been unkind – largely to myself, and also to others at times. And it is a relief to just let that BE, to drop all defenses against it, because otherwise we HOLD ONTO IT, we don’t allow it to pass as part of all life experience, and it festers. No festering here please. I also now realize that nobody would EVER be unkind if they were not believing what they are believing at the time of the unkindness, and we can’t help what we believe, until we know a better way. It’s like taking someone and putting a black blindfold over there eyes, and then wondering why they only see black. Our thoughts and beliefs work in the same way. They are like a blindfold, or a lens we try to look through. In this way, we are all innocent, we can’t see a different color, until the blindfold is taken off, or changed.
STUPID: um, yes. This is really silly actually. The Webster’s dictionary definition of Stupid is this: lacking intelligence or common sense. Dazed and unable to think clearly. Ummm, yes, oh dear, yes. Have I ever lacked intelligence and common sense? Oh hell yes I have. Have I ever been dazed and unable to think clearly? Does it occasionally still happen? Oh my yes! Yes it does. When it comes to worldly smarts – I know some things, and other things, I just don’t know. Simple right? And yet we expect ourselves to know everything! It’s insanity! So yes, I can find all of that. And I can also find the opposite. Just two halves of the whole, that’s all. Put them together – and you have a one heck of a beautiful human experience. Don’t you think?
CARELESS: yes, yes of course I can find this. I was careless with my own life on many occasions growing up, in my rebellious stage, and the entire time through my eating disorder. Careless with my life, and therefor careless with the life of my family — because they love me, and they’d like to have me around. I have done a lot of work on forgiving myself here, and I am now in a place where I see that I simply could not have done better with what I was believing at the time. I was doing the best I possibly could, there was a time for that, and there was a time for my healing — and I’m so glad I got to have both. It has made my heart so big, and my compassion for others SO deep, and I would not trade that for anything. So yes, I was careless, and there are STILL times when I might be careless from time to time — like forgetting to buy a birthday gift until the last second, or not leaving the last cup of coffee for Kenny, or accidentally pulling out in front of someone in traffic, or not calling someone back on time. So yes, it’s true that I’m careless, and it’s also true that I’m care-FULL. I can find just as many, and many many more examples to that end. There is a balance, a perfectly imperfect human experience that culminates in this body and personality called “Sunni”, and I love that there’s room in me for ALL OF IT!
So to me, the truth DOESN’T hurt.
What hurts is trying to constantly run from, and dodge and DEFEND against the truth.
THAT is what hurts.
When I open wide and be the space for all of this, I can be the space for all of this in you. In the world.
I become a safe place for myself, and for others.
This is unconditional love my friends.
There is nothing it will not hold.
There is nothing it will turn away,
it opens its arms to ALL.
This is our essential bigness, our essential nature,
this is WHO WE ARE. The vast divine goodness of you
does not run from anything.
This is where true peace and freedom begins,
this is where all war ends.
You don’t have to wait for the world,
you can give it to you,
you can give it to us,