2.14.2009

Tune In to Turn On! Speak Your Truth.

When it comes to authenticity, speaking your truth seems like a no-brainer. But it’s not as simple as being honest. My version of speaking your truth encompasses two primary intentions: to (1) find and (2) liberate your inner voice.

When you speak your truth, dormant parts of yourself are activated and you come alive! Like the rainbow revealed by the fusion of light and water, our lives are more vibrant and beautiful when we express the full spectrum of our selves and our potentials.

This process is rooted in wholeness and integrity. Integrity requires acknowledgment, acceptance, and activation of ALL parts of our selves—not just the “good” and “acceptable” parts. Too often, comfort zones and external expectations steer us toward certain comfortable ways of being.

I’m referring to those times we take the path of least resistance, when we smile through a gloomy mood or answer the obligatory “How’s it going?” with an obligatory “Fine!” Sadly, by falling into routine we miss many opportunities to be authentic and genuine. Our quirky, spontaneous, vulnerable parts fall quietly into disuse. But these dormant parts deserve to live! They’re also crucial to a sense of balance.

How do we get in touch with this neglected inner world? The key is to “tune in” to our bodies and emotional responses. It’s easy to ignore thoughts (and even feelings), but the body cannot be ignored. Our bodies sometimes use physical symptoms to get our attention when we neglect a part of ourselves that is aching to be expressed.

Sometimes the signals are obvious, like a terrible flu or depression; other times they are more subtle, like persistent hunger. Fatigue, muscle pain, and digestive upset were my clues that something was off kilter; craving for sweets, fidgeting, nail-biting, or back pain might be yours.

For example, my default setting is extraversion—plenty to say, always ready with an opinion or a joke. This served me well in the academic and professional worlds, because I appeared competent and confident, maybe even charming (on my better days). But on a spiritual level, my softer, sensitive side got trampled underneath all that intellectual swagger.

It wasn’t a healthy trade-off. I saw doctors and tried medications to rid myself of my symptoms, but outward solutions didn’t work. So I took a different approach. I sought and applied whatever tools I could to tune in(-ward) and embrace the symptoms instead!

I used a variety of means to be present with my body’s messages: exercise, journaling, reflective talks with friends, mindfulness practice, and meditation. Most of these practices engendered a sense of quiet and release. As I let go of resistance in favor of being present and aware, a chorus of inner voices broke the silence to speak their truths.

Because I had promised myself not to judge or resist them, it was safe for the more vulnerable, timid parts of my self to emerge. And incredibly, as this happened my symptoms started to dissipate. Setting out the welcome mat for my symptoms eliminated my internal struggle. I wasn’t fighting myself any more.

My “tuning in” tools operated as both process and outcome, an end in themselves. Because the practices contributed to an overall state of self-acceptance, peace, and flexibility, I started to recognize and respond to my needs with less effort. I didn’t have to power through the day.

My newfound balance let me trust myself to exist in novel ways. Formerly dichotomized blends of traits (like competence/warmth, drive/suppleness) harmonized. People still saw me as competent and witty—but also trustworthy, kind, and caring. I felt more open to giving and receiving love. After all, who wants to hug a rock when they can hug a teddy bear?

It’s risky to listen to and speak your truth because by doing so you enter the realm of the unknown. But it gets easier with practice and the rewards are astounding. When I allow expression of my softer (yet POWERFUL) voices of truth, I forge connections with others and between exiled pieces of my self.

Now, this is only relevant for my color spectrum and how I speak MY truth. Yours may be different, and it may change over time. My truth brought out my inner teddy bear; the best thing for you may be to voice your inner rock! It’s a process of discovery, and the joy is in the process of seeking and speaking your truth.

To jump-start your process of tuning in, I’ve posted an assessment that can guide you to discover which parts of your self are more or less active and to consider how you do or can nurture these parts of yourself. The chart also leaves space to make notes about the truths each dimension holds for you. I’d love to hear your comments about what you discover!

Next time in Life Is Now, “Let Go of the Outcome,” the final post in the mindfulness and authenticity series inspired by Pat Korb and the Gestalt Center of Gainesville.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like this one. It is making me reflect; I need to come back and read it again after I do the assessment. I have been practicing mindfulness meditation too.