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an anniversary with Truth

seven years ago today, i resigned my job at the University of Cincinnati where i had worked for thirteen years. my resignation came in response to institutional bullshit and dishonesty that i refused to participate in any longer. the decision was part protest and part self-preservation. i chose the truth. i chose my Self.

i remember hearing about how a body is completely changed in seven years, each cell different. whether this is actually true biologically, on this day i find the story deeply resonant.

in the seven years since i chose Truth, i’ve learned and grown and stand here now, a wholly different woman. it’s been a journey to grow in relationship with the Truth.

Truth. as an eighteen year old college student, my desire to seek the truth led me to declare a philosophy major, pouring over and writing and studying theories of truth. it led me to the scholarship of women’s studies and the practice of feminist activism, seeking and fighting for the truth often hidden away by dominant, oppressive narratives/structures. it called me to train as a counselor and trauma healer, working with the dark and hidden truths that wound and hurt, and offer healing and medicine.

and i’ve also hidden and disconnected and denied and lied–to others, and most of all, to myself.

as i’ve grown in courage to be with the Truth–the good, the bad, the ugly–the truth has revealed itself to me as love, liberation, and protection.

Truth has been a LOUD theme the past several weeks.

the saturday after hannah died, i was to depart for alburquerque, new mexico for the first in-person teaching with the Living School. i had been preparing and the timing of hannah’s death felt very much connected. i thought at the time that hannah died on thursday to clearly release me for the pilgrimage.

that was true. just not in the way i imagined.

in the wee hours of that saturday morning, with a heavy and grieving heart, i boarded my flight. grief had emptied me and i recognized that i no longer cared about the week in alburquerque or the faculty’s teachings or any of it. i only hurt for hannah. turns out, the plane arrived in chicago and then announced that due to weather we’d be turning around to return to cincinnati. (as i often say, you can’t make this shit up!). as we made the trip back, i realized the relief that came with the reality of coming home. and then, the reality that home was where i wanted to be. and then, the remembrance of the core teaching of the Living School that our very life is the primary sacred text. and then, the truth of how attached i’d become to the idea of being in alburquerque with my teachers and how the idea of being in the Living School was actually pulling me away from The Living School, from my present life. and then finally, the question of whether i was actually going to get off the plane and after all of the planning/preparing/waiting, choose Truth. would i, could i, be with Truth?

i did. because while i know it is actually a choice–God gave us free will and we can’t screw it up–there are also consequences that come with our choices. i know the cost of denying the Truth, of looking the other way. i came home, took to the bed in grief and relished being among my beloveds during such a tender time.

turns out, the theme of the Living School teaching that week was Prophecy, the practice of listening for, opening to, and acting on the Truth. even more, on being the Truth. also, on grief as a portal to access Truth. (i’ll say it again: you cannot make this shit up!).

Truth. i am not talking about facts. Truth is more than this. i am talking about a knowing, wisdom. and also a journey in becoming faithful to our particular way of knowing.

last weekend, Quanita and i hosted a Feminine Wisdom Retreat drawing on the wisdom of Jamie Sams’ 13 Original Clan Mothers. the Clan Mothers are connected to each lunar cycle, offering a unique teaching on Truth. the ancient wisdom focuses on the Journey of Truth as the Journey of Transformation and includes teachings on How to Listen to the Truth; How to Honor the Truth; How to Accept the Truth; How to See the Truth; How to Hear the Truth; How to Speak the Truth; How to Love the Truth; How to Serve the Truth; How to Live the Truth; How to Work with the Truth; How to Walk the Truth; How to be Grateful for the Truth; How to Be the Truth.

today, on this seven year anniversary of my stand for truth, i can heartfully say i know the meaning of Jesus’ wisdom in John 8:31-23: “the truth will set you free.”

twisting and spinning and dodging and hiding so to not fully face the Truth is to turn away from life and living. it is to choose death and dying.

the Truth ain’t easy. it includes both shadow and light, parts that tempt shame and blame and guilt. and yet, when we can be with Truth, the sting of it dissipates. as James Finley so beautifully put it, “when love touches suffering, suffering becomes mercy.” love…because to be with truth both requires love and also bears love.

Truth asks of us to open ourselves to the in-flow and out-flow of an ever-present love that at times feels like a soft ember and at other times rages like a blazing fire.

in these seven years of healing and learning and practice, i’ve learned to be in relationship with Truth, to trust and respect my own unique truth and allow more and more space for other truths to join with that knowing. i’ve grown in my appreciation for grief and her movement and allowance for more of the story: the presence of others’ truths and for parts of my own that were still unconscious to me. i’ve grown in my practice of truth-telling not as a self-righteous act or a slap in the face or as an imposed threat with accompanying expectations but as a sacred act of integrity, alignment with the Divine, a sacrament to Self.

i’ve experienced Truth as protection, liberation, love. and on this, my anniversary with Truth, i renew my vow with her.

with a deep bow,

~a

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