The Truth of Us: Evoking Qualities of Our “Best” Selves
Our best selves are waiting to be grown. We are the garden and the gardener.
Posted September 30, 2020
In a world that seems to be spinning out of control, we may find ourselves asking who we are, what we should be doing, where we are going. These are great questions, as long as the “who” that answers is the “best” who that we are. Because so many other parts of us will want to answer. There’s the old reliable “should” answer; the scared answer; the confused answer; and so many more! “Hide-under-the bed” often seems like the right answer! But we know ourselves well enough to know when the answer is closer to the Truth of us, the Best of us and that is the answer we really seek. And there is no right answer, no single best path, no certainty. But there is an invitation.
What do I really need? What is my Truth? What is Calling me? What is purposeful, for me right now? This invitation towards our Truth pulls us towards a larger way of knowing, of growing, of being and acting in these difficult times (and in all times).
The invitation is not only to do our best, it is to be our best. And to be, we need to work with qualitative experience, not just with visible actions; to know ourselves through the qualities of our being, rather than the outcomes of our doing. To enhance and strengthen inner qualities of wholeness, goodness, and spiritual connection, is an invitation that will serve us now, in the face of huge social, ecological, and health crises… and it will serve us in whatever tomorrow brings. And each internalized and strengthened quality of being positively impacts our ways of doing. Being and doing are allied expressions of our Best Self.
What are these Qualities of Being? There is not a limited list, but they all point to ways of being, internally and externally, that represent the best of us, the truth of us, the Call of our Highest Self. Here’s a list just to inspire some realization of what might be Calling you. But you can double that list and add new words, or images or combinations that tell you what is important for you. And you can (and should) drop the ones that don’t resonate for you.
These have been called “evocative” words because they invite us to internalize the very quality they represent. Like the well-known experience that if we smile, we are likely to evoke happiness, and if we “fake it,” we are likely to make it, we are evoking the very quality that we are feeling drawn to, by writing the word, seeing the word, drawing the word, meditating on the word, journaling about the word and more. We are building into our ownership of this very quality that is calling us. Read the list again and notice what words wake you up a bit, which ones stir a meaningful sensation in you, which ones feel like an invitation you want to say yes to.
As you find a few words that feel true to you as invitations for next steps in your own growth, let them settle into your body, mind, and spirit. Some words may be familiar and well-loved aspects of how you know yourself. Some may be seeds that are growing, with a blossom waiting right around the bend. Some words may be stretches that ask you to go as far as you can towards a way of being that is not easy, known, or comfortable. That’s ok. This is a life’s work. We never get to the end of growth, but each expansion into our truer Self is the evolution towards our truth’s unfolding.
If you choose a word that feels like an important invitation right now, make a sign, color it, hang it on the fridge next to the pictures the kids drew or the shopping list! Put it in a journal and expand your knowing of it through writing or drawing. Hold it in your meditation as a seed thought. Dance it. Practice it as action… but start small. Compassion, for instance, may be hard right this minute in such a fraught world, so don’t start by trying to have compassion for everything or everyone. Start Close in, as David Whyte, says in his poem of the same name (worth looking up!) Try compassion for a single person with whom you have some difficulty. Turn compassion inwards and give some to yourself. Read a not-too-horrifying news story and see if you can feel compassion for the people involved. Practice makes perfect, so the more we build the field of any quality (or many qualities) the deeper they will be in us, the more natural they will become, and finally, they will be the truth of us.
While many words may feel important, start with one and give it some time. Add another in a few weeks. Remember that you are growing your garden and no critics are needed, just your own loving hand helping nurture the quality that is already in you, already seeking the light. Have fun with this. It’s like learning to ride a bike. Sure, we’ll fall off a few times, but see down the road to a time, when patience, or love, or courage, are as natural to you as riding a bike may be.
May the truth of us, in our inner world and our outer actions, truly and deeply be the best of us.