For close to 50 years of my life, I lived with a whole lot of bottled up truth in my body. Too afraid to speak it for fear of being rejected. Way too focused on projecting an image of perfection and on adapting who I was to be accepted by others. Fortunately, the closer to 50 I got the more dissatisfied I became with living this shadow of a life. I was finally ready to spread my wings and show my truest self to the world. And it was, and still is, scary as hell each and every time. Living and speaking your truth is raw, it is vulnerable, and oh so liberating.
Each and every day I am grateful to have found my voice, even on the days that speaking and living my truth has caused life to become uncomfortable or temporarily painful. In her latest book, Untamed, Glennon Dolyle speaks of letting go of the idea that life is supposed to be happy all the time. That instead, she is looking for real. That resonates with me big time. For too long I spent my life telling people who'd ask how I was, "Oh I'm great!!". "I'm fabulous." When really on the inside I was feeling lost, or sad, or pissed off. Having found my voice and my willingness to share my truth allows me to be with the darker side of myself and to not be scared to share it. What makes you feel most vulnerable, also makes you REAL and approachable. My bonds with the people in my life are so much more authentic and meaningful now. And it means so much to me to hear that in speaking and living my truth, that I have in some way inspired a friend or a student of mine to do the same.
This truth journey has also led to losses and pain. Not everyone who is in your life can handle your truth. They much prefer you in your neat little package with the shiny bow on top. Your truth might scare them, or show them something about themselves that they know to be either false or true. Your truth might cause you to shed relationships like a snake who must shed its skin. That processes is both difficult and freeing.
As Glennon says in Untamed, "The truest, most beautiful life never promises to be an easy one. We need to let go of the lie that it's supposed to be."
Even on the painful days, I can find beauty in that pain. In the truth of feeling it all. Feeling the feels as I like to say. I have learned through my teacher, Tara Brach, to process these feelings with her R.A.I.N. practice. Giving myself plenty of grace and time to nurture how I am feeling (check out her book, Radical Compassion for all the details). And I have learned from Gabby Bernstein to face my fears with an open and loving heart of acceptance. Her book, The Universe Has Your Back, was an absolute life changer for me on my truth journey and I return to it over and over when I feel myself slipping back into my old habits.
As I approach my 52nd birthday this month, I know that my life is just going to continue to get sweeter, fuller, and richer as I continue to follow my truest path. I know that each and every day when I go to bed I can say to myself, "Good job for living a real and true life today. You are brave. You are strong. And even if today wasn't your best effort, you made it through. I am grateful to be me."
Mary Baker - ERYT-500 yoga teacher, adventure lover, fitness junkie, doughnut snob, whiskey & wine sipper