Three of my girlfriends and I road-tripped to Santa Fe a couple of weekends ago, and I brought back something unexpected–a truer version of myself.
The desert-y landscape of New Mexico has always felt healing. Although Santa Fe is technically not high desert (it’s semi-arid steppe) there is an openness to the land and sky there that seduces me. It feels vast and vulnerable at the same time, like a dancing woman slowly removing her clothing. Like the truth.
Our truth-telling began before we left Colorado. At a lunch stop in Pueblo, for some reason we got into a conversation about parts of our bodies that we did not like. After a ridiculous discussion about chin lines, height and hair, we decided that stressing over appearance is a complete waste of whatever precious time we have left on this earth.
Later in the trip, we delved deeper. Maybe it was the full moon, the endless sky or the honest land we were on that persuaded each of us to reveal the real stuff–fears, struggles, shame, heartbreak. Then, we released our attachments to old stories about these truths by writing them on slips of paper and burning them in a chimenea.
Rochelle Schieck, the founder of Qoya, says that whenever we come together to tell the truth about our lives, we are creating sacred space. She’s right. The truth is sacred. So why is it generally so hard to tell?
I think it’s because we believe that truth-telling threatens our sense of belonging. Speaking our truth can feel like exposing that part of our body we believe is unattractive. The truth is powerful, and power can feel scary. Sometimes we fear that our truth will disappoint someone we love, and that can be particularly sticky. But sometimes the price of being authentic is that other people will not approve.
I believe that if we are serious about ushering our world into a new, more beautiful paradigm then we must be brave enough to tell our truth. We must move past our fears about not fitting in or what others might think or feel. We must unapologetically be our most genuine, open selves. If we don’t, we can’t expect the truth from others, but we can expect the status quo.
I must admit this has been a challenge for me. I, like many of you, have been conditioned to fit in, to be “nice”. I’m working on that. I’m inspired this week by Olympian Simone Biles who bravely stayed true to herself when she pulled out of some of the competitions because she struggled with the “twisties”. I was particularly impressed with this quote: “I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first.” Her truth offered unapologetically. Yes!
Another thing that culture conditions us, and particularly women, to do is to hide the truth of our brightness. We are sold countless ways to “improve” ourselves and we’re viewed as braggarts if we admit our brilliance, so we often hide our true beauty. We need to burn that in the fire for sure!
On our last night in Santa Fe, our gals group decided that each of us should name one of our superpowers. It felt a bit awkward at first, but once we got going, we spoke about our strong minds, our curiosity, our compassionate hearts, our loyalty, our generosity. We told the truth and it felt vast and deliciously naked. It felt like freedom.