By Vanessa Fleming, Summersalt Yoga teacher
Today, I sat down with my journal and started to write. Whenever I feel any sort of internal turmoil or confusion that I can’t seem to answer or understand, I turn to my journal. I haven’t properly turned to my journal in some time now, but this morning, I turned to my dear old friend.
As the words started to flow, I kept noticing one word coming up – truth. What is the truth? What is MY truth? What truth in any sort of terms? How does one live in truth? How does one be true?
I’ve struggled with the definition and concept of truth for a long time. I’m not talking the dictionary definition of truth. I’m referring to the abstract concept, the depth of its being, the many layers that need to be peeled back to discover the truth.
So I spent the better part of the morning, long after I closed my journal, contemplating truth. Some of what I came up with was this…
I’ve spent a better part of my life in a daze. A daydreamer I have always been. Easily, I slip away to my created world where if I just make it this far, or make it that far, or try this one thing, or accomplish this one goal…I’ll no longer daze. The effort I have to put in to staying present and not get too far ahead of myself is magnificent. It doesn’t always work.
And lately, I’ve really been unkind to myself, partially because of this. It seems the harder I try, the harder it is. It also seems the more I examine myself, the more I’m uncomfortable with who I am, how I am being, what I am thinking and doing. I put my weaknesses and flaws under a magnifying glass out in the sun, hoping those weaknesses and flaws will disappear and fade if I just burn them out from the sun’s rays. But what I’ve found is exactly the opposite…the fire ignites from the magnifying glass and I soon have a blaze that’s quickly going out of control, taking over my actions, my mind, my presence. I try to put the blaze out by doing seemingly innocuous things – texting my best friend, and another friend, and my parents, and someone else, and an old flame, all to start a conversation about fears, worries, contemplations, and all things under the umbrella “Ethereal.” The effort is to make myself feel better in my unease, but I end up feeling so, so, so much worse.
And this does nothing but take me out of the present, put me behind on my ever-growing list of tasks, and makes me sad.
So under all this, I start to examine my truth. Do I know what my “truth” is? Nope. Not a clue. But I think I have discovered some key concepts on my way to the answer, and I still ask some important questions:
Being true. What does it really mean? Acceptance? Tenacity? Could, in some twisted life or reality, mean denial? How do I rise above denial and naïveté to reach “truth”? I’m not the best at really anything, and that’s okay – but how do I accept that without becoming defeatist? How do I make that work FOR me and not against me? How do I make my weaknesses work for me and not against me?
Does the truth lie in this ability? Is this where strength and greatness come from?
I don’t know that I’ll ever know the answer to this. But all I can do…is try. And to contemplate further, but not too much. Practice benevolence to myself, because who else will be my friend if I can’t be a friend to myself? Who else will take care of me, if I can’t take care of my own heart?
But most importantly…how can I take care of others, if I can’t listen to my own self?
It won’t be easy. But I have learned a small part along the way, even as a write this post. It’s so easy to get caught up in what you are and what you aren’t.
What I do know is this – I could continue to be mad at myself for miscalculating numbers or losing my (expensive!) sunglasses, I could continue to be uncomfortable and scared because of self-created prophecies that could become fulfilled, I could continue to walk on eggshells around myself so that I don’t create inner turmoil, or I could…
not. I could just not do any of that, and just…be.
And in that, somewhere, I’m convinced! is where the truth lies. Defeat the defeatist, live the best I can, even the flawed, the cranky, the forgetful, the moody…all of it. Because all of that…is me. But it’s not all of me. They are just small parts that are inclusive of this being, and all of what does make me who I am. And maybe I ain’t so bad after all?!