I'm in prison all day today.
Relationship Thursdays! lol I wrote this a couple of years back. I was looking at it this morning and made a few changes, but I like it. Try the exercise at the end with a lover or friend...
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Relationship is like a dance floor. Anytime you don't tell the truth, it's like putting a gob of well-chewed bubble gum on the floor. Your foot sticks to it, and you can't quite participate in the dance until you handle that
-- Gay Hendricks
I am going to submit that the vast majority of people, especially those who claim to be "truth tellers," wouldn't know what honesty is if it bit them on the arse.
Period. Punto y final -- No qualification.
Intention is everything. And honesty (or any other trait, for that matter) is dependent on intention and not mere words. Shit, even a monkey can point out that the Emperor has no clothes, that's not such a big thing. In fact, in my line of work, I have come across some intensely cruel people who shrug away their cruelty as "honesty." It's the same with humor: for many people, humor is a flimsy dress for their anger or lack of self-esteem. You see this type of humor when people use others as the butt of their jokes.
In the hands of a murderer, the knife becomes a weapon, in the hands of surgeon, that same knife becomes an instrument for healing.
People, do not be mistaken, the most powerful gift we can bring to relating is the conscious practice of honesty. Under the spell of our small ego -- what I call the "Mini Me" -- honesty becomes a weapon. To be sure, there are conflicting reactions to truth telling. Some people attempt to be honest in order to protect an image of being morally superior; to prevent another from leaving us; to avoid guilt; or to conform to a socially dictated moral system of values. On the other hand, we may avoid being honest in order to look good, protect another from hurt feelings, or to rebel against conventional moral conditioning.
Whatever the case may be, if we adopt honesty as a discipline to deepen our conscious heart, we can begin to expose and evaporate everything we carry within us that interferes with love. It can be a spiritual practice done with the intention to unite rather than separate. Honesty begins with you. Point one finger, three more point back at you -- go ahead, make my day, point:
Honesty is not just a moral principle. When we avoid telling the truth, we are cut off from ourselves. When you lie to another, you've also created a wall between you and yourself. For one psychologist, Brad Blanton, honesty is being completely present and describing your experience as it is: "You take the whole range of awareness and divide it into three parts. Notice what is going on right now outside of you in the world, what is going on within the confines of your own skin, and what is going through the mind right now, and that's all there is... "
According to Blanton, the three biggest rationalizations for lying are, "I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings," "I don't want to offend anyobody," and, "I don't want to make a fool of myself." He recommends that you do all three! LOL! I don't agree with him, but I like his take on honesty not as a moral virtue, but as a spiritual practice.
When I first joined singles sites, for example, it was the rare profile that didn't state honesty as something valued in a relationship. The thing is that very few are honest even with ourselves, so how can we claim a higher moral ground? You doubt me, I think. Then let's look at the best foot forward approach, or the importance we stress on first impressions: how truthful are those? What about our photos? How truthful are those? Half the time a successful relationship may mean coming back to who we really are without losing each other in the fuckin process. So don't fuckin tell me about honesty. Apply it to yourself first, and then come back.
Here is what I see as honesty:
It's the quality of describing what is going on in any given moment in a way that doesn't blame anybody. It entails a whole set of skills: being able to pay attention, to actually notice what is going on, and then to describe what is going on in a way that matches the occurrence. All done with compassion.
True honesty is an act of liberation and it will flush out all the old dirt and grime, emotional and physical, you carry inside of you. It will create a sense of aliveness. You discover another dimension of being, a deeper intimacy, more genuine laughter, and fun.
And a lot more trouble! LMAO!
However, the trade-off of more trouble for more presence is a good one, trust me.
But genuine honesty has to exist without our eternal habit of judgment. In the same way we attach our personal "novelas" (soap operas -- drama) to our feelings, we attach them to our version of the truth. That's not honesty, that's judgment. But that's for another day, another time.
(To be done with a partner)
Sit opposite one another. Breathe. Maintain soft eye contact.
Partner A, you will only listen. No interrupting, no commentary, no reaction at all
Partner B, you will tell the truth about this moment by describing body sensations, feelings, sounds you hear, things you see. When you notice a thought or a judgment, you can include it but label it as what it is. For example, "Now I'm having a thought that this is stupid," or "Now I'm having a judgment that you have a terrible haircut."
Keep coming back to now, and tell the truth about it. Be careful of words and phrases such as why, because, you made me feel. None of that nonsense is true right now; they are all interpretations of experience, not the real deal.
After a few minutes, switch roles. When you are both done, find out if you still feel any separation remaining between you. If you do, take another five minutes each.
During this exercise, you are both practicing skills that are at the core of conscious relating. One of you is learning to tell the truth about what is real in this moment, free of explanations, history, and blame. The other is practicing an equally valuable skill: the capacity to be still and listen, free of defense, free of giving advice or evaluating.
Try it, it might set your ass free, or at least help you attract that person you've been looking for.
Who luvs ya? LOL!!!