I chose the metaphorical backseat rather than speaking upfront, or talking too loud. In a crusade for more personal “consciousness,” I’d cover conflict with kindness and disguise misdemeanors with doublespeak. In the quest for what I thought was more compassion, I’d re-package reality and straight-up dodge from discomfort. In a world of karma, all-organic, and a yogi-like mindset, I was the queen: I could bend, shape shift, and contort any truth.
And yet, aching for what I thought was evolution, I felt stuck between my truth and what was expected of me by the world I wanted to be a part of.
Had I chosen so-called “spirituality” at the cost of authenticity?
One day, I found myself struggling to connect my own dots in an attempt to explain to my best friend why my last relationship had not worked out. With eyebrows raised, she watched as I haplessly danced around the truth in a choreography of carefully constructed clichés. I pulled out every spiritually-savvy saying I could think of. I exhausted every bumper-sticker maxim. Finally, before I could get into the lexicon of giftstore magnets my friend cut me off:
“You realize you’re editing yourself? You can put silver linings on this or use smoke-and-mirrors as much as you want. But, basically, what you’re trying to say is this dude was being a jerk.”
Her words stopped my verbal niceties right in their tracks. My face froze for a millisecond before splitting into the best belly laugh I’d had in months. With 30-going-on-13 acuity, she had cut right to the quick: Her character assessment was both razor-sharp and deeply satisfying.
When I later went home I began to reflect more and realized something deeply troubling: I was editing myself. I had self-censored for so long in a misguided attempt to be "spiritual" that I was beginning to believe my own spiritual-bypasses and balderdashes. Worse yet, I was hiding behind so-called “spiritual-enlightenment” to do it.
Was all this gobbledygook gunking up my growth? Had I chosen so-called “spirituality” at the cost of authenticity? Did I really care about more about external perception than my own internal connection? I began to see the hefty price of constant hedging and evading: It was costing me my fullest expression.
I’m no advocate for name-calling (as silly and satisfying as uttering some of the choicer phrases may feel) but I am a strong believer in truth-speaking. So, with this newfound awareness, a subtle shift began to take place. It began gently and then gave way to a boldness as I excavated my true voice—a voice that grew from a whisper to a loud roar as I returned more and more to myself.
This voice declared:
So should you approach me and play ambiguous namby-pamby, forgive me if I’m not entirely understanding.