Week 5, Day 5 – Honesty

The choices for today were:

1.                  Write about five situations in which you’ve observed honesty that you admired. What can you learn from these?

2.                  What does it mean to you when someone says they hold two truths? How could this represent you at times? How have you expressed this duality?

Not sure that I can remember five situations in which I’ve observed honesty that I admired. One was when my father and I were planning his funeral service. He requested that I paint a realistic picture of him when I spoke about him. He said please tell them I had some noble moments in my life, but for a good part of my life I was a shit. It really struck me how he owned his stuff and did not want to be portrayed as anything other then what he was.  

A second moment I can remember was actually an action, not a word. Zoë was preparing for surgery and the nurse asked if she wore dentures. Before Zoë could answer, she told her if she did, she would have to take them out. For the first time in our relationship, which at that time was about 3 years, I saw her without her teeth. Funny, but I never knew she had dentures. It was humbling because she made herself vulnerable with me in a way she never had before. It is a moment I will always remember. There was this real honesty that she allowed me to see and experience with her in this moment that transcends description. 

Sadly, only two moments really come to my mind. Maybe there are others, but none that makes me go oh I so need to talk about. That is sad. If you asked me dishonesty, I could probably write pages on that one. But honesty, sometimes I wonder if we know how to be honest anymore. And that makes me sad.

Nobody has ever told me they hold two truths, but I can understand the phrase. The example Moon offers in her book of the person who says they love their wife and their mistress made sense to me. It reminds me of how we say people talk out of both sides of their mouth. I love teaching at Brockport for example. Actually, I love teaching. It is a gift to be with my students and to grow, learn, explore, and understand together. At the same time, it is also true that I do not appreciate the way adjuncts are devalued in higher education. I love what I do and where I do it. I also do not like how our work is undercompensated. So for me those are two truths. I used to express this duality more often then I do anymore. Part of what silenced me is the lack of response and the systemic barriers to bringing about change. My current chair would change things if she could, this I believe. At the same time, I also know she has been told we are already spending too much on adjuncts. Not sure I see this as a battle that I want to invest my time and energy into.

I struggle with this whole concept of honesty. I think part of this struggle comes from my belief that all that I know is based on what I have learned read, and what other people have taught me. So how do I know what is true and what is not. I have learned to be skeptical of everything I hear and read, yet at the same listen for what resonates with my spirit. I ingest that which my body seems to be telling me is good for me and pushing away that which my body tells me is not. It is kind of like my parents used to tell me, “don’t throw the baby away with the bath water.” There are some things I have heard people say which has made me stop and go wow. For example, Louis Farrakhan once said something to the effect that it is not uncommon for dogs to bark at the moon, but it is not common for the moon to bark back. This piece of wisdom resonated with my spirit and seemed to echo two of the teachings of Toltec Wisdom about not taking things personally and being impeccable with ones words. 

Sometimes I think I am being honest, but what I believe to be honest is about where I am in my own journey at that moment. It is like when I made the decision to leave my pastorate. My truth about why I was leaving at that time was expressed in one way. When I explained my decision to others was I being honest. Yes. However, I am at a different place in my journey, healing, and evolution now. So the way, I reflect on it now is different. So even my ability to be honest is evolving. Does that mean I was lying before or is honesty, like everything else in life dynamic and evolving?