In Ed Bacon’s book, The 8 Habits of Love, through anecdotes from his own life and the lives of others, he outlines 8 habits for us to live in love rather than through fear. The third habit is the Habit of Truth. In this chapter, these words were speaking to me.
The Habit of Truth can help us ascertain which choices are truly ours–and which come from someone else’s script for us that we may be following out of fear.
Truth is not static; it represents constantly developing ideas and insights about ourselves and the world.
When I was 14, all I wanted to be was a writer. I found a page in my diary along with a bad poem,”I want to be a writer.” Here is a picture of a page in my diary.
When I was 15, I volunteered at a camp for underprivileged children called “Operation Life Enrichment.” Here I spent time with children who had few advantages. I read with them, went swimming with them, and loved them. I knew I wanted to be a teacher.
I knew at a young age what I wanted to do and be. I have kept them both a part of my life. But sometimes there are those people who come along and try to change your path. I think teachers and writers both are susceptible to other people’s expectations of who they should be.
A few years ago, I had a difficult situation in a teaching position. My administrator saw a weakness in me in the area of math. Well, yes, this is true. I am most passionate about teaching reading and writing. Math is not my thing and never will be. Sorry. No amount of remedial education will change this truth about me. I was devastated, however, that my position depended on it. If I didn’t go back to school, I did not have a job. I could’ve done it, but my instincts told me it was wrong. I cried on the shoulder of my husband.
He asked me, “What do you want to do?” What a great question! He was honoring ME. What I wanted was important!
I responded, “I want to teach writing.” That began my search for a new position. None of this was easy, but I was driven by the Habit of Truth. I had to be true to myself. With my masters in gifted, I was able to get an elementary gifted teaching position. And I do occasionally have to teach math. But they also write.
During this time, a friend gave me a poem. This poem saved me. Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese.
Mary Oliver told me I didn’t have to be good. I had to let the soft animal of my body love what it loves. I go back to this poem often remembering that I am responsible for being true to myself in the family of things.
Our Truth is not always an easy choice to make. Truth is not always evident either. It is constantly unfolding. We must listen to the voice of Truth in order to live a vital and honest life, a happy life.
What is your Truth? When have you had a difficult time choosing for yourself over what others expect of you?