What Does “Ground Truth” Look Like? By Nona Jordan, The Business Yogini. Seen at Jennifer Voss site: http://truthexperience.net/
I have always had a big mouth.
As a kid, in a dysfunctional family, I remember being hissed at by my grandmother (who I dearly loved) that I was the “town crier”, which was not a compliment. She wanted me to keep my mouth shut and stop telling people what was happening in my family (which was, in fact, imploding).
As my family put itself back together, I maintained an angry honesty that cut others like a knife through my teen years and my early twenties, my language often laced with bitter sarcasm as I judged everyone and everything around me as right or wrong. But the truth was, I was hurt, scared, and lonely — I believed that if people really knew who I was, they would judge me without mercy (as I did to myself).
My tender heart and the tendrils of my longing to belong to myself were buried in a shame-filled rage disguised as honesty.
The truth (Satya) is a foundational principle of yoga.
But those yogis were so smart — they put non-harming first, before truth. When I first began my study of the principles of yoga, I started with non-harming, like my teacher suggested. First practicing with not harming myself on the yoga mat (which was ridiculously difficult — I injured myself all the time because I wasn’t actually IN my body.) The kindness I practiced and learned on the yoga mat slowly started spilling over into how I treated myself in life and at work — I was able to honestly say “No thank you” to extra projects at work if I had a vacation planned. I started taking time to move my body every day and floss my teeth. And, as a big leap, pursuing things that were interesting and exciting to me — for a year during that time, I took cello lessons as an act of kindness toward myself.
When I learned the basics of extending kindness to myself, it became natural for me to extend it to others — being compassionate with co-workers who were struggling. Listening intently to friends and offering up non-judgmental empathy. Reaching out to people who hurt. Smiling at strangers. Giving back in whatever ways I could.
And from the well of lovingkindness that I was slowly developing, I learned how to be kind AND honest. The truth stopped being a knife to wound people with. The truth became a compassionate tool to connect with the desire in my own heart, to support others in touching that tender place in themselves, and to set loving limits for myself and for others around what I wasn’t willing to tolerate.
Sometimes the truth isn’t popular.
During that time, I lost fans at work by expressing a very different opinion from everyone else at a critical juncture. I lost my boyfriend by drawing the line in the sand around what I wasn’t willing to take anymore. When I told friends about my desire to make lasting change in the world, that I wanted to teach yoga and help people heal, eyebrows raised up and some of them stopped calling. There were years that I didn’t speak to some members of my family as my own heart healed and mended from the long years of moving away from the truth of who I am.
Even when it’s scary, expressing the truth is always the best option.
If your truth is steeped in love and respect, it has the power to heal. Owning the truth of your past, and your desire for the future, is the key to your power. The parts of our story or our experience we try to hide or deny, are the very parts of us that the world really, desperately needs from us.
Our most precious gifts are often things we were shamed for as kids.
You know that big mouth of mine? My ability to see and articulate the beautiful truth of who people are and what they are longing to express is one of the superpowers I possess. That same big mouth also gently kicks women in the patootie and helps them unwind the patterns that keep them stuck in a state of fear or inaction. Hell, my husband married me because he appreciates my big mouth and how I do not pull any punches.
I rarely hear the voice in my head calling me a “big mouth” anymore. These days I think of it as being committed to the loving truth, no matter what.
And even so, there is always more to learn.
In other words, I’m far from perfect.
I still open my mouth when it would be wiser to keep it closed and wait for a different moment. I’m still discovering ways that I’ve swept things under the carpet from long, long ago that have kept me away from the truth of myself and prevented healing and honest reconciliation for everyone involved. I’ve justified keeping secrets to protect myself from the painful upheaval that can come with truth.
Denying the truth keeps us apart from the work we are truly here to do.
There is a reason that kindness and honesty are the first yogic precepts. They really do go hand in hand. It isn’t possible to heal without revealing and accepting the truth, with compassion. And it isn’t possible to put our healing in service to others without a commitment to this deep level of loving honesty. I’m not implying a need for perfection, but willingness is a prerequisite.
Even if you aren’t ready to go public, tell yourself the truth.
Take a deep breath this week and be willing to go for a deep dive into compassionate truth and see what you find. Have you hidden some key truths in the corners of your heart, your mind, or your body? Hold your tender heart and with love and kindness, tell yourself the truth of your past, of who you are, and what you are here to do so you can heal more deeply and in turn offer that to the world.
Namasté to you, business yoginis!
Nona works with women who want to turn their great inspiration into action, but are stuck in fear or overwhelm. To read more about Nona’s super powers, click here. This is not an affiliate link, nor do I get anything if you click over there