No, I'm no a lying piece of garbage. But I learned the value of speaking less and thinking more.
Reflections on living according to Satya:
I turned 41 this month, and I'm seeing my life more as having entered the 2nd half of it. I spent the first half keeping quiet and trying not to rock any boats, offend or upset anyone, or get into conflicts. Perhaps for the 2nd half I should approach my communication with others with more truth and with the idea that I have nothing to lose. Keeping everything bottled up my entire life and allowing some important relationships to drift apart rather than say how I feel has only resulted in less satisfying (or ended) relationships, and bad feelings on my part that didn't have an appropriate outlet.
I just don't really know where or how to start living my life in this entirely different way.
I thoroughly enjoyed this month of study; it was challenging in ways that I truly feel will help me develop as a person, as well as strengthen all of my interactions and relationships.
Here are some ways in which I fulfilled my intentions set forth in week one, and some specific ways in which I carried out the weekly challenges. :
1. I didn't really need to watch my white lies because I didn't tell any. If anything, I need to watch being overly honest, especially in giving my unsolicited input. In being more open and honest this month, I didn't really accomplish anything major other than making doing so a little less scary. It's a work in endless progress.
2. Slowing down to do it right the first time:
---As always, I worked at slowing down my teaching and got positive feedback from 2 new students that said my pace was "perfect". Usually I just say that I'm always trying to slow my pace, but this month I actually did!
---I had two brief conversations with acquaintances in which I realized afterward that my intended meaning was not conveyed with my words. I didn't think before I spoke, and I felt that my words may have had a negative impact on the recipient. Instead of just letting it go, knowing that I wound't even see these people again for a while, I sought each of them out to apologize and to tell them what I meant by what I said. It felt incredibly good to take responsibility for my words and their impact, like I was living with integrity, instead of lazily dismissing these situations as being no big deal. And they weren't a big deal to the people, but they were to me, because it was important that my meaning was clear and true. What I learned in having to go back and fix it was to speak less and to think more before I do.
3. Examining self-denial and cutting back on booze: I cut down my alcohol consumption by two-thirds! And I felt fucking fantastic: clear-headed, less anxious and moody, far more focused, and I lost the last remaining 4lbs of baby weight that I hadn't been able to budge for the last two years. Total success, enough to encourage me to stick with it and maybe cut it out entirely.
--I finally checked on my student loan payoff progress and was SHOCKED to discover that I paid it all off last January! It feels incredible and still hard to believe, as I never thought I'd get to this day. Seeking out truth in the state of my personal finances turned out to be a great relief. I haven't checked my credit card balance yet, though...
I visited my parents this month and am genuinely grateful that we've begun having a much more open and honest relationship. I was raised in a house that put a strong value on privacy. Many items, places, and topics were simply off-limits, resulting in tall walls built around individuals that we all respect, but the result is that I've never felt close to either of my parents. Since I was taught not to ask personal questions, we don't connect on deeper levels. But we are intentionally working on this and getting more honest with each other, especially my mother and I. It's been wild learning 'family secrets' and realizing my view of my family dynamics were so off, but it's also a huge relief to get these things out in the open and feel like we're going forward in our relationships in a more authentic, connected manner. I'm optimistic.
A pretty major issue I'm contending with in starting this blog is how open and honest I can be with what I'm writing. I know that raw authenticity is what makes someone's story compelling, but I have always been a very private person, protecting both my own personal life as well as the details of my relationships and people in my life. So it's quite appropriate that I am forced to face this dilemma in the month studying truth: If I am to continue writing about this experiment, I have to be brutally open and honest in order to connect with readers; that's how memoir writing works. If I leave out the dirty details, what's the point of sharing it publicly? Why am I doing this? It's not solely for self-development; it's to create a piece of written work based on my journey living the Yamas & Niyamas, maybe for publication one day.
What is there to lose? Plenty. I could lose the love of people close to me to gain the admiration of people I don't even know.
The thing is, what I truly admire and love about people is when they open up to me, privately or publicly, and with brutal honesty reveal themselves--their weaknesses, failures, insecurities, desires, shame, etc. This is what creates connection, and if I'm not revealing myself, whether in a blog or in personal interactions, then I'm not only being untruthful, I'm also not truly being me or living my one human experience fully.
This week I told a few people about this project, and it felt very real, a little scary, and a little invigorating.
Overall, Satya was a doozie to delve into this month and I'm ready to take everything I've been forced to ponder and move on to Asteya.