Facing the Truth

June 19, 2023

I woke up this morning in partial shock, suddenly realizing I didn’t send out my weekly blog as I always do on Saturdays or Sundays. 😱

It’s been interesting to track the various emotions that have been whirling about in my brain since then: embarrassment, a little elevated stress, mild amusement… I’m happy to report that my negative, deprecating self-talk has definitely diminished.  Even as recently as a few years ago, I’d sometimes ruminate for days over a mistake; in addition to mentally pummeling myself with harsh criticism, I’d make all kinds of assumptions about the judgment I believed I’d receive for my appalling screw-up.  If I were to imagine an image suggesting my inner torment during such times, I’d picture myself in a prison cell of my own creation.

But as I review my life, I also recognize I haven’t made as much progress when I’ve refused to take personal inventory & acknowledge my missteps.  My refusal & denial have kept me trapped in that same self-imposed confinement.

I recently read a quote by Dr. Marisela Gomez in anticipation of today’s new federal holiday: “Juneteenth”– commemorating the end of slavery in America.

“People experienced enslavement in their bodies and their minds. They felt Juneteenth was the day to celebrate as a kind of self-proclamation that the spirit of enslavement as it was then known was over. The deeper question is, how do we emancipate ourselves from mental enslavement?”

We enslave ourselves in so many ways, don’t we?  Not only with relentless self-condemnation but also refusal to address uncomfortable self-truths.  And it seems to me we can perpetuate our own self-imposed enslavement as a country as well. 

The Emancipation Proclamation, commemorating the “end of slavery” in the U.S., was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1st, 1863, but slaves in Texas didn’t learn of this until June 19th, 1865– 2-1/2 years later!  After 156 more years, our country only recently officially recognized “Juneteenth” after President Biden signed a bill to this effect into law.  He said at that signing:

“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments.  Great nations don’t walk away. We come to terms with the mistakes we made. And remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger.”

It takes courage & integrity to confront the uncomfortable truths about ourselves as individuals & as Americans.  Acknowledging our wrongdoing doesn’t equate with total denunciation: it invites appropriate & redemptive shame, deeper understanding, forgiveness & genuine connection moving forward.  It enables transformation for the better; & all those outcomes accelerate healing.

May I, we, & all beings, summon our better, freer nature & continue to embrace truth & transformation.



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