I took a trip down the virtual rabbit hole over the weekend to revisit one of my favorite blogs of all time, Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. The depth and breadth of her offering astounds me every time I – ahem – take the time to read it.

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I ended up landing on Adrienne Rich, whose poetry and prose shift something in me every time I read her. In this post, Maria Popova shares Adrienne Rich’s deep contemplation of lying and what truth really means. 

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I think I’ll be ordering her book On Lies, Secrets, and Silence as soon as I finish this post! Ms. Rich says: 

Lies are usually attempts to make everything simpler — for the liar — than it really is, or ought to be. Truthfulness anywhere means a heightened complexity. But it’s a movement into evolution.

I talk a lot about truth. And yet, I see all the ways I have lied to myself, to others, to the world to “make it simpler than it ought to be.” 

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Maybe that’s why the practice of yoga – the inner exploration of it, the self-realization part of it – has become a thread almost as strong as my writing practice. Both modalities uncover truths we may or may not want to see.

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But uncover we must.

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Ms. Rich goes on to say:

Women have often felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience. Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other.

We do this every time we show up, not glossing over our pain, not “over-helping” to take the focus off of ourselves.

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We do it when we replace all “nice-nice” with transparency. We do this every time we vulnerably we sigh and say, “Yeah…me, too.”

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We do this when we take breaks for rest in yoga class or when we go a little further into a pose (even when no one else in the room is doing it) because it feels TRUE.

Vintage Yoginis

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We do this when we step into the writing room and let the pen fly. We dive even deeper into the vulnerable yet so powerful truth when we are daring enough to share what we have written…even if it makes us cringe.

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Or, to take some baby steps, why not read a  good memoir? Why not choose one from this list? I’d also say anything by Anne Lamott will do. Or get scandalous (as I am right now) with The Diaries of Anais Nin.

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Truth is subjective, a quality that has not been valued by the “now, settle down and think rationally” masculine energy of our dominant culture. The truth, so often, can be inconvenient.

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Sometimes, the truth is mad. Sometimes the truth is horrifying. Sometimes the truth is so hard it makes you want to crawl into a hole and never come out again.

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But we must not hide!

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Please, take stock. Where do you lie to yourself? Where do you lie to others? Yes, we all do it. But the practice is to do it less, to trust that our whole, real, forever broken selves are capable of surviving all this “realness.” 

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You wanna get real with me? Yoga for Grown-Ups starts next Tuesday, August 20. Hatha Yoga + Sound continues every Thursday and Sunday at Ritual. And if you haven’t taken the deep dive yet, Word Gathering meets again on Friday, August 30.

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Supporting your truth and mine,

Holly


The Nature and Complexity of Telling the Truth

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