When I was in sixth grade, a group of other sixth grade girls just like me decided that they weren’t like me at all. To set me apart from them, they began a daily practice of pointing out my flaws, name calling, and mimicking my every move.
While I do not remember many of the names I was called, I do remember the feelings that accompanied the words.
More vividly, I remember the response of my sixth grade teacher. I remember her eyes, and every word of the conversation, because it sparked a thought process that I would grow to actively engage in throughout my life. When I told her what the other girls had been doing, she didn’t act dismissive and tell me to “just ignore them.”
She didn’t immediately punish them. She paused. She really listened and processed what I was expressing. Then after a few moments, she presented me with a question: “Are you those things that they’re saying you are? Do YOU believe what they are saying about you?”
Expansion Through Internal Dialogue
The space between those questions and their answers, this internal dialogue is where our expansion occurs. Very often, certain exchanges with others can ignite a spark within our hearts that offers a different perspective, guiding us through the process of becoming the person we know ourselves to be.
I think that this was the beginning of my becoming a word junkie—a relentless seeker of words that can penetrate the soul, words that smack us into awareness of the messy complications and beauty of our human existence.
Here are 5 quotes (along with the words of my sixth grade teacher) that are forever imprinted on my heart for when I need to remember who it is that I truly know myself to be:
1. “There's No One Thing That's True. It's All True.” ~ Ernest Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls
We often, especially in conflict, seek one universal truth. We evaluate a situation and we then decide on “the truth.” In reality, we’ve decided on “a truth.” We all experience our world through the prism of our own unique perspective stemming from our own unique experiences.
Maybe, just for one day we can stop evaluating in search of “the truth” and simply observe what we find as “a truth.” Doesn’t that make…it all true? This quote often rests gently in the back of my monkey mind as I swing through my thoughts. It serves as a comforting, resting place.
2. "Remember, The Entrance Door To The Sanctuary Is Inside You." ~ Rumi
If the last quote rests gently in the back of my mind, this is the one that is always at the forefront of it. There is a deep reservoir of love, peace, and kindness inside of every being. The simple act of closing our eyes and taking a few deep, cleansing breaths is proof that these virtues are readily available to us in a given moment.
We do not need to travel the world, attend an expensive retreat or get a luxurious spa treatment to feel at peace. Our awareness and practice in accessing this space of peace is a vital component in helping us to remember our true nature. If we think about the ancient practice of Yoga and how popular it has become, a meditation practice that is always linking back to the breath, we’ll understand this exactly.
3. “If You Knew Who Walked Beside You At All Times, On The Path That You Have Chosen, You Could Never Experience Fear Or Doubt Again.” ~ Wayne W. Dyer
This is a quote by Dr. Wayne Dyer, which he adopted from A Course In Miracles. I first heard this at a yoga retreat and it instantly became a personal mantra.
Fear and doubt are our greatest challenges even on the most rigorous spiritual path. Implicit in our human condition is how we grow and change, moving in one direction than another. If we really think of our darkest moments, the ones that seemed hopeless…we emerged somehow. We managed to ascend from the darkness.
Once more—If you knew who walked beside you at all times, on this path you have chosen, you could never experience fear or doubt again.
4. “Tell Me, What Is It You Plan To Do With Your One Wild And Precious Life?” ~ Mary Oliver
We create our lives, don’t we? However, all too often, we end up on autopilot living a default life. We forget the power that lies within us. We are powerful creators who have been given the gift of a human physical existence.
Are we enjoying this gift? Are we experiencing it and expressing it with people who elevate us and who we feel truly alive with? Are we living consciously in our choices? This quote serves as a pulling challenge for me as I begin to grow habitual and comfortable. It has both taunted and nourished me.
5. “Speak Your Truth, Even If Your Voice Shakes.” ~ Maggie Kuhn
We are taught from a very young age (especially women) to be “nice.” We over-apologize. How has that worked out for us?
Speaking our truth can transform all of our relationships, but most importantly, it can transform our primary relationship—the one we have with ourselves. Expressing our deepest desires, telling our untold stories, releasing our truth out into the universe, and not pretending that we are doing great all of the time…these are all not only healing, but it also places us in a state of allowing.
Where Our Freedom Lies
Allowing ourselves to feel, to receive, and to be authentic in our messy, uncomfortable truth—THAT is where our freedom lies. We are free from the mask of having it all together. We may tremble as we set our truth free, but go ahead and tremble. The quake will become a quiet rumbling as we learn that we are tethered to something far greater.
Our innate connection to all beings can only serve to improve a deeper understanding of our journey. Very often, the synchronicity of our exchanges with people or in reading someone’s words provides us with EXACTLY what we need in a given moment.
What is a quote that has become your mantra? Please post below to inspire others. It might be just what they need in this very moment.