“When things fall apart and we can’t get the pieces back together, when we lose something dear to us, when the whole thing is just not working and we don’t know what to do this, is the time when the natural warmth of tenderness, the warmth of empathy and kindness, are just waiting to be uncovered, just waiting to be embraced. This is our chance to come out of our self-protecting bubble and to realize that we are never alone. This is our chance to finally understand that wherever we go, everyone we meet is essentially just like us. Our own suffering, if turn toward it, can open us to a loving relationship with the world.” –Pema Chodron from her book Taking the Leap
Are you or were you like me responding to every “How are you?” with “I am fine,” “I am okay,” when you are clearly not okay, not fine, not well, and may even be falling apart inside, but to keep up the facade you simply say, “I’m fine.” What if we all chose to say the truth of how we really were? What would happen?
Saying that you are doing okay when you truly are not is trying to keep up a facade that all is nice and great, even if it’s not the truth. In the yoga, healing, and wellness communities I see this all of the time. We see bright, shiny, happy people plastered all over Facebook and in ads doing asana, meditating, etc looking like all is great. Is it the truth? If you want to attract clientele and students, you have to present yourself in such a way that you have to make it look like everything in your world is peaceful, happy, and great even if it may not be. Every time we create this “I’m okay,” “All is fabulous,” facade, we are lying to ourselves and contracting our emotional body.
The truth is one of my deeply nurtured patterns was to say that everything was okay, until it wasn’t and I could no longer lie. My students were very observant and survivalists. They knew. It was in my last year of teaching in Chelsea, and I was in the middle of my life proverbially falling apart (for the better) before me. I was trying so hard to show up everyday with a smile and pretend to be the strong, resilient teacher I had thought myself to be. I failed. I caved before them, a classroom full of teenagers. I told them I wasn’t okay, and was crying before them. It was an awesome moment. I remember their faces, their compassion, and their complete empathy, and understanding. Why did I wait so long to tell the truth? What was I so afraid of? Was it that I was actually afraid that if I admitted I wasn’t okay that somehow I’d be rejected or unloved? Then, my friend said to me, “Beth you always say everything is fine and ya know what I know you are not okay and what you are going through is not okay.” That was that.
I made a promise after some time spent falling down to not hide anymore, and to tell the truth. I can’t lie, because it hurts my heart too much. Luckily, my partner in life sees me completely and knows when I am lying. He knows when I am not okay, and makes me communicate. At times, it’s downright uncomfortable, and I want to crawl back into my hideout, but it’s not an option.
Telling the truth to myself and those I’m in relationship with has brought me peace, greater acceptance of myself and others, a deeper knowing that we are all in this together, and in telling the truth I healed what was not okay in my life.
Start with YOU. What if you simply told the truth to yourself first? Then, it may be possible to open up to those in your world in a deeper more intimate way.
May all be healed.