That is what the start of 2011 has taught me so far.
Being in this business of ‘living well’, I’ve always felt pressure to have my stuff together…or at least look like it. It’s not pressure others impose on me, but more direct pressure from myself. We are our biggest critics, right? Well, I’m certainly my own.
I realized this in December when, with a loaded schedule full of appointments, engagements and obligations, I stopped being honest with myself. I lost my clarity and my life intentions were becoming muddled. I lost IT and I beat myself up for it. I realized that I was just getting by, engaged when I needed to be, yet completely detached when I didn’t need to be ‘on.’ I was running on empty. Overwhelm set in and I started to question everything – from where we live to how we live…and the questions just kept coming.
A friend of mine mentioned one simple phrase to me that resonated so loudly, I started using in my discussions with myself, and sometimes with others….“If I’m honest” has become a phrase that reminds me to do exactly that – be honest with myself. Honest with how much I can handle, and how much I can’t. Honest about how much I can do on my own, and how much I can’t. Honest about how I really want to live my life, and honest about the fact that my aspirations in life are bigger than I’m letting them be. Honest with the fact that the only thing in my own way is: ME. It has forced me to strip down and go deeper into my Self than I’ve ever felt comfortable (or compelled) to do.
This focus and awareness has helped me get to the core – to whittle down the internal chatter, or ‘citta vritti’ (the monkey mind that drives us all crazy sometimes). It’s been a long road, but now I understand the honesty I was lacking was being covered up by trying to please everyone else. I was constantly worried about what other people would think – how other people would react to my choices or if my decisions would disappoint others. I’ve learned that I am the only one I have to answer to and as I mentioned earlier, we are our own toughest critics so even that can be a challenge. I cannot anticipate, direct, or change other people’s reactions to the things that I do, I can only be secure in the fact that I am being present in every moment and living according to my own core values.
As for all of those questions that came up back in December, they are still there. But at least now I don’t feel the overwhelming need to answer all of them right now. I’m starting to see the forest for the trees and the funkiness is finally fading. (And a trip to Costa Rica in the middle certainly helps with that!)
It’s challenging to be honest with ourselves, but as one of my brilliant teachers, Chrissy Carter, wrote in her recent blog: “It takes so much courage to be honest with ourselves, but perhaps even more to be okay with what we see.” Now that, I can relate to.