At the start of every life coaching session, I invite my clients to take a few mindful breaths and to set an intention for our work that day. It’s a moment for clients to connect with themselves and remember why they are showing up for this journey.
I set an intention at the start of every session as well, to remember my purpose in this coaching work. My intention sometimes varies, but lately it’s taken the form of a simple prayer: “May we find our way to the truth.”
At the heart of any deep self-work is always a search for truth.
Your real, deep, raw, painful, joyous, unvarnished TRUTH.
It seems so simple on the surface. Just tell the truth. How hard is that? And yet, NOTHING is harder sometimes than knowing our truth, speaking our truth, and acting our truth in the world.
So much of our suffering grows out of a lack of connection with our truth: how we truly feel, what we truly think, how we are truly living. We tell all sorts of lies, wear all kinds of masks, all in an effort to hide the reality of what’s going on inside.
We post smiling selfies to cover up the depression. We tell our friends “I’m fine, everything’s great” when our inner house is on fire. We keep calm & carry on when we really want to be screaming from the rooftops.
But here is one of the difficult truths of human growth: it is only by telling the truth about our suffering that frees us to know the truth of our dreams, our joys, our inner gold.
Here’s my story of learning to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
When I went through a divorce four years ago, I did much of my suffering in silence, hiding my hurt in the shadows. I was terrified to open up the floodgates of my real truth. The hurt was so painful, the wound so deep, that I was certain I would drown in the truth.
When friends asked how I was doing, I had a whole chorus of sweet-sounding self-deceptions:
I’m doing great.
The divorce is really for the best.
It’s fun being single and meeting new people.
I’m really happy for her.
Here’s how I REALLY felt: I was miserable.
The divorce was soul-crushing.
Being single again was terrifying.
And I sure as fuck wasn’t happy for her
and her goddamn new boyfriend
with his giant fucking hipster beard.
THAT was my truth.
But I rarely spoke a word of it. Even to the people I loved the most. Even to myself.
I didn’t want to seem angry or bitter. I didn’t want to be the sad divorced guy that my friends started to pity. I didn’t want to admit that I felt like a failure. I didn’t want to own up to the sense of shame & abandonment I felt.
So I hid from the truth, hoping that it would hide me from the pain.
It would take me a full three years to finally open up to a therapist. In that counseling room, I learned to own up to it all: the hurt, the rage, the shame, the guilt, the wounded inner boy who felt rejected to the core.
I opened up those dangerous floodgates of truth. But I didn’t drown. Instead, I learned to swim. The truth began to strengthen me, filling me with a power and a resilience I barely knew I had. The truth was no longer my enemy. The truth was my ally, my sword & shield, helping me fight my way to freedom.
I began working with a spiritual life coach at the same time. Together we explored my goals, my life purpose, my spiritual calling. I spoke for the first time of my wildest dreams, the ones I had denied for so long, the ones that seemed so impossible. Once again, I spoke my truth. Within a few months, I was on my way to making that impossible dream a reality… starting a business as a spiritual life coach myself.
Through all of this, I learned a powerful lesson:
Being honest about our pain is what finally frees us to become honest about our dreams.
This is the gift I want to share with each of my coaching clients.
At the start of a new coaching journey with a client, one of my first priorities is to empower them to begin knowing & speaking their truth… their real, deep, raw, painful, joyous, unvarnished truth.
Simple practices like journaling and meditation are powerful tools for reconnecting & reclaiming our truth.
Through journaling, we can learn to give voice to our true thoughts & feelings on the page without censor, without fear, without worry of how someone else might react to or judge our truth.
In meditation, we allow our thoughts and feelings to arise within the mind without becoming attached to them, without judging them. Instead, we learn to let our experiences simply BE - just as they are.
And in each coaching session, my goal is to create a space for radical truth-telling - the pain, the joy, the fear, the dreams, the darkness, the light. All of it. All your truth is welcome here.
That is my promise to every client.
By simply watching, writing down, and speaking what we actually think, feel, and experience, we begin our journey towards reclaiming our truth.
And the truth shall set us free.