27 August 2008


Brutal honesty is one of the keys to satisfaction in life. But not the kind of honesty where you tell everyone what you think, no holds barred. No, true honesty is the honesty you have with yourself, your ability to take responsibility for your own feelings, thoughts, and reactions. And without that, honesty in relationships with others is almost impossible.

Often, we are very afraid to be honest with ourselves; it feels as if the sky will come falling down if we admit that we know in our heart of hearts that we really did mean what we said at dinner the other night. The difference in responsible honesty is that we are able to admit that yes, we meant what we said, but also, that we were saying it out of hurt feelings or anger or ...?

This kind of honesty can only happen in a safe environment. Couples often come to counseling in order to find that environment, to work on "communication and trust". These two things are completely intertwined, and cannot exist without the other. But we are talking about communication from the heart, realness. Not about what you're going to do, but about how you feel.

Sometimes we don't communicate how we're truly feeling to our partner because we are, in fact, being responsible. We realize that our partner does not deserve to hear or experience the wrath that we feel inside, that it has nothing to do with them. But we must reach beyond that type of holding in, if what we want is intimacy and connection. We must admit our own difficult emotions, but in a responsible way.

"You're right, I was being sarcastic. I guess it's because everytime you talk to him, I feel like you don't want me around, and that hurts my feelings."

Honesty requires trust, trust requires honesty. It is the circle of life, and we have to be willing to take some risks if we want to find that reward, that safe place of love that we long for.

07 August 2008

Summer's sweet recline

It's hard to think of getting anything done this time of year, the days seem to be only for moving slowly through the thick air of late summer. We've had such a lack-of-summer in the northwest this year, that every day with the heat seems even more important to cherish and savor, as difficult as it may be sometimes. Like a sweet summer romance that got started too late, and must end all too soon.

It's harvest time, a time for taking stock of gains and being grateful for what the year has brought. Soon we will enter into the winding path of Fall, inevitably leading towards Winter, and then off to Spring and Summer again. The rhythmic nature of the seasons is such a comfort, when we allow it to be so.

So as we lay on the hammock of late summer--whether actually or just emotionally--let's remember that one of the biggest holidays of the year in China is for the August Moon. That now is a great time to take stock of a year of productivity, to see how far we've come, and where we still want to go.
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