The most important aspect of the second Yama, Satya, is that it works in partnership with the first, Ahimsa: be truthful, but do no harm. "Truthfulness keeps nonviolence from being a wimpy cop-out, while nonviolence keeps truthfulness from being a brutal weapon" --so important to remember! Adele continues, "When there is cause for disharmony or confusion between the two, truthfulness bows to nonviolence." That makes it seem easy, right? Maybe.
Like Ahimsa, Satya seems pretty straightforward: don't lie. But it's much more than that; it's about being authentic, with others and ourselves, which both demands and creates integrity.
Authenticity is a bit of a hot topic in this age of social media and reality tv. Are any of us really being authentic? Are we projecting what we think others will approve of or be jealous of? Even those personalities who use their platform to self-deprecate or display their shortcomings, what is the real reason behind doing this? To have thousands of followers praise you for your "realness"? To have them contradict your view of your flaws and tell you how great you are? I honestly don't know. I can see how oversharing one's faults publicly could get just as addictive as sharing a seemingly perfect version of oneself.
Personally, I hate social media. I think it's making our society shallow, needy, cowardly, and out-of-touch with real human connectedness. It also burdens us with more feelings of inadequacy and stress than we already have. I can't even imagine growing up in this alter-reality with all the bullying, pressure to be popular and perfect, enforced FOMO, delusions of and desire for fame, etc.
But that's just one shallow (hopefully temporary) issue that comes to mind regarding Satya. Adele is really making me dig deep and confront myself this month and honestly, I'm a little scared and not sure I can rise to the call. We'll see.
My Intentions for the month (different from Adele's Challenges):
--Watch the little white lies and lies by omission of truth. When am I not being honest with others?
I'm not much of a liar, it's just too much work. But I am guilty of liberal omission, whether to spare myself, others, or just to avoid conflict. Where it bites me in the ass is when I keep all of my feelings pent up and just run away from the situation (or person) rather than contend with it. So that will be interesting to examine this month.
--Watch self-denial. Am I fooling myself? Am I not seeing the whole truth so that I don't have to face something difficult? The answer: absolutely. Constantly. It's a hobby.
--Have a difficult, honest conversation with people I love and desire truth with. I think this will be with my parents regarding my sister, as I still haven't filled them in on our latest, disastrous visit or the revelations resulting from it. Or I may tackle a potentially uncomfortable conversation with my husband about the state of our union.
--Watch how I present myself--is it accurate? Am I hiding behind an image?
--Check my credit card balances and APR, as well as my school loan balance. This is one of those things that I avoid ever checking on and now never have to because they're automatically paid. But I should know the state of my finances always, not ignore them because it's unpleasant.
--But the biggest Satya elephant on the blog this month is:
How honest/real am I being in this blog? And if I want to reveal more of myself, how do I protect people in my life, in the name of Ahimsa, who don't want their private issues made public? How do I avoid depicting someone in a negative light while still revealing the complexities of our relationship? I guess this is where the real challenge begins...if I'm willing to take it. And I'm still not sure if I am. I know that for a personal piece of writing to be compelling it has to be totally naked in its honestly; this is why I love memoirs so much--they're juicy and real. But I've always been a very private person, so wouldn't keeping my readers at arm's length be authentic to who I truly am?? I DON'T KNOW. But damn, I'm probably going to be SO wise by the end of this year of asking and attempting to answer such questions!
My mantra this month: Be kind, but be honest.
Week one: Am I being nice or real? Am I seeking approval or trying to keep the peace? If so, is this dictating whether I am being 'nice' or 'real'?
Why is this worth examining? Because when we are always being 'nice', we're usually holding all of our emotions in until we explode in possibly inappropriate or harmful ways. By being 'real', we are able to "live from a place where there is nothing to defend and nothing to manage. It is a contact with the moment that is not superimposed or prepackaged." That sounds nice. But for me, probably difficult.
I have a life-long habit of deferring to 'nice' over 'real' because I strive to avoid conflict at any cost. I always have, from the time I was a little girl. I don't have a ton of experience bringing up anything 'real' with people that I have issue with, I either just let things go or let people go, rather than deal with difficult conflicts that arise in relationships.
But in the name of Satya I tried:
1. I attempted to be 'real' with my husband when we were at dinner without the kid. I told him I had two things to talk about. Neither of them worked out. The first issue (increasing daycare a 3rd day per week) got squashed quickly and without discussion. The second one I honestly don't even remember as I write this 2 weeks later, but I know it was a much bigger, more serious and personal issue I had with us and there was more at stake. I backed out of bringing it up because the first one didn't go well (=no actual conversation, just his verdict). So, fail. Fail, fail, fail, fail, faaaaaaaiiiiillllll.
Maybe the rest of the month will allow me some wins as I try to live according to Satya.