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As I slowly came to realize over time

How important it is for me to figure out what I want,

I felt like I was living in a murky world

With everything defined by what I don’t want.

I couldn’t see through the muddy water.

I felt like I was reacting and reflecting

Life as it was around me.

I was a stranger to myself.

Clarity came slowly with my intentions

To figure out what I liked.

No one had asked me before

Until I posed the question to myself

I believe I truly woke up in the hospital

Standing in the hallway in ICU

With my daughter’s abdominal surgery behind us

The gaggle of doctors listing options

I didn’t know I wasn’t present.

I couldn’t afford to hide any more.

Cloaked in my fears and shyness

My eyes were opened

The answers were hidden in my solar plexus

What felt right; what felt wrong.

Nothing was easy at first

As I followed and began to trust myself.

I see myself as a barometer

With my solar plexus as a gauge

Guiding me with discernment

Scanning for my truth

Over time I discovered the filters

Of fear creep in fogging up my discernment

when I pay attention to other truths

and ignore my heart

Honesty builds slowly as I get to know myself

Honesty is my friend most of the time

Until I feel my honesty hurts another

And I’m at the door again standing before murkiness.

It takes courage to be honest

But the payoff is huge

For the quiet oasis within

Waits for me no matter where I’ve been

An amazing thing happens when you get honest with yourself and start doing what you love, what makes you happy. You stop wishing for the weekend. You stop merely looking forward to special events. You begin to live in each moment and you start feeling like a human being. You just ride the wave that is life, with this feeling of contentment and joy. You move fluidly, steadily, calm and grateful. A veil is lifted, and a whole new perspective is born.
—Author Unknown

Participants’ Reflections:

  • These personal sharings are so moving.

  • During the meditation, I thought of Individual honesty and cultural honesty. For personal, finally coming out at age 68 to my sister. It was hard for her; she said it was easier to suspect versus know. But it freed me and we are relating in love and in honesty now, ways we couldn’t relate before. It’ a lot easier to be honest than dishonest. For white American culture, as we get in touch with our implicit biases, we realize the importance of being honest and saying I haven’t treated others as equals. It’s time to look at that.

  • This is a powerful thing, learning to get in touch with our feelings and being true to ourselves. For myself, it’s been a journey, I’ve done a lot of stuffing growing up, trying to get along. I went down under. The time of awakening for me has been very gradual. I’ve been in a recovery program, I changed my faith affiliation, change communities as I become more aware of feelings, started doing things I love to do. Doesn’t matter if they think it’s cool or not. I’m trying to be a little more honest, setting boundaries. Fear has been a big thing that holds me back. It still holds me back. I’ve been honest with family about boundaries. It takes courage. Doing things that feed us, whether it’s gardening or being in a relationship that is authentic. So many ways. Dragonflies are a symbol of resurrection. They are light and beautiful. I’m inspired by that.

  • I have felt not able to trust things from my mouth. That’s around honesty. I got from the reading and meditation why it feels dishonest. In my past, I was different with different groups. I didn’t show all of myself. I was told I was fake. That memory reminded me that sometimes it’s okay. In some situations, it’s not okay to show all of me, and in some situations I can be more vulnerable. The other piece is like the onion, it is peeling. What I got today is that I can trust what I say is my truth, and it doesn’t mean that I’m in cement. It means that it’s part of the onion I am peeling away and getting more information. And that information may be just a shift in self to know more. It might be that I’m different tomorrow, and it doesn’t mean I’m not being honest. What I can be is have trust in myself and what I say is true today as best I understand it. To advance in the world, I am going to work towards drawing people to me who can accept that concept. If that’s their normal way, I need to ask them to not put me in concrete.

  • I have had so many causes to be honest with myself in the last year. It’s been difficult every time I’ve been honest. There have been consequences. But there has been peace afterwards, an oasis. I haven’t felt that in so long. It’s like a miracle happened. I spoke my truth to husband in February.

  • You are on the honesty pathway, it’s a hard one. You will survive it.

  • Sometimes it is easier to not say anything than say your truth, even about what nourishes you. Years ago, I joined into barbershop singing because I loved it and it nourished me. I didn’t mention it to others because they didn’t like it. I wasn’t living my truth. But now I'm old and I can say anything, even tell people how much I enjoy it.

  • Standing for our truth helps us be stronger, it’s a good feeling. Wonderful awareness, because we change. It’s important to recognize we have a right to change our opinions. That’s the beauty of being gentle with ourselves. We have that right to change.

  • Being honest unless it’s going to hurt someone is what struck me. Reminded me of the 12-step words. Think before you speak. Is it honest? Intelligent? Is it thoughtful? Is it necessary? Kind? That’s my test for honesty. The necessary part is the key thing for me.

  • Being honest unless it’s going to hurt someone is about codependency. I used to live by taking care of everyone else. When I did this meditation today sitting in silence, I had this image I was a boat, and attached to my boat is another boat, and another, and another. All the boats were hooked together, and what I do affects all those other boats. And I imagined that I unclipped each boat one after the other.

Photo: Lunaria annua, called honesty or annual honesty in English

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