Here we are, a fourth of the way through the shortest month of the year, and you might be overwhelmed with thoughts of, “Where’s your declaration of intent, Audrey? How are you enhancing your actions and words through the wisdom of the yamas and niyamas? What are you committed to in the dawn of this new era?” My short answer is… meh. In light of recent events, I decided to go a little easier on myself during these 28 days — let’s call it a yama-lite month. Don’t get me wrong, I am still focused on following the second ethical constraint according to yoga philosophy — satya, or truthfulness. But in contrast to (and also in conjunction with) last month’s ambitious intention, I am approaching this succeeding yama with more kindness and less fanaticism.
Instead of picking ONE BIG intention for February, I decided to focus a little bit, every day on practicing satya. Again, like most of the yamas and niyamas, non-lying — or, to be more proactive, truthfulness — seems easy peasy at first. JUST DON’T LIE. But alas, when we really pay attention to our daily actions, words, and thoughts through the lens of maintaining total truthfulness, little fibs suddenly seem to pop up everywhere. Did I really hold headstand for the prescribed 15 breaths upright and 8 breaths half way down? When I told my friend I had a head/belly/foot ache and couldn’t go out, was I actually waist-deep in sweatpants and Season 3 of The Office (again)? What about that time I said I wasn’t going to drink during the week, but had a half-glass of wine on Tuesday… and Wednesday… and maybe Thursday? These questions may seem silly and inconsequential, but in my heart of hearts, I know the truth, and too much of that internal controversy gets really exhausting.
So, let’s just be honest. Can we please do away with the bullshit, the little white lies, and the cordial politenesses that get in the way of real, raw, and naked honesty? Yes, ahimsa is the first yama for a reason, and kindness always trumps *gag* truthfulness. But there comes a point when non-violence turns into delusion — of ourselves and each other. We (er, some us) get so wrapped up in not hurting anyone’s feelings and saving face that the entire essence of our communication gets misconstrued. YOU GUYS. We are way stronger and more resilient than we give ourselves credit for, and if your skin hasn’t grown a little thicker over the past, oh, two years, you may be living under a rock (but good for you!). Whatever your side, stance, or beliefs, it can only behoove us all to move forward with a truthful tongue and an open mind.
And another thing! In a space and time where the very foundation of our “leadership” is steeped in deception, evasion, and facade, it’s easy to consider our own pretty little lies trivial. But just the opposite is — wait for it — true. As we know, tiny fibs snowball into blatant fiction, which compound into a full blown fabricated, disastrous, and destructive
administration situation. So let’s lead by example, start small, and conduct ourselves with the candor, kindness, and respect we all deserve. A handful of cliches apply — “Honesty is the best policy.” “Be the change you want to see in the world.” “If not you, then who?” Pick your poison, swallow that shit, transform it into words and actions ripe with truthfulness, and spread it like wildfire. Because you know, someone is always watching / listening — even if it’s just you.