Sunday, December 20, 2009


Truth-telling is a universal value that collapses patterns of denial and indulgence. Leslie Gray, from Oneida, Powattant, and Seminole lineage, who bridges the disciplines of Native Ethnic studies and psychology, says that in some native cultures, speaking the truth is called "speaking with spirit tongue." Author William Schutz, in The Truth Option, states that communication of truth makes for interpersonal richness. To fully present ourselves to each other, "and have the most satisfying human relations, we must be both aware and honest."

To tell the truth without blame or judgement is the capacity to say what is so.The following examples illustrate how we can say what is so without adandoning our ideas or feelings. Each statement carries no blame or judgement, and each reflects ways to "speak with spirit tongue."

"I'm jealous and afraid of losing you."

"I feel so judgmental and critical right now that I don't trust what will come out of my mouth."

I'm disappointed with the situation because I had unrealistic expectations."

"I'm feeling insecure right now and need your reassurance."

"I'm so angry and upset right now that I need to take space."

"I don't know where I stand with you."

"This mode of communication doesn't work for me."

"I'm really excited about this new job, but I need more clarification on these tasks."

Communication that carries integrity always considers timing and context before the delivery of content. So often we know exactly what we want to say, but we do not consider whether it is the right time or the right place to deliver the content of our communication. Direct communication-giving voice to what we see without blame or judgement--means we must consider the alignment of appropriate word choice, tone of voice, and body posture.

*from the The Four-Fold Way*

DPC Note: Within internet relationships, or long distance communications devoid of web cams or phone conversations lending an audio or visual feed to the relational dynamic, there are added pressures and complexities which must be considered... For instance, without being able to hear someone's voice, we may misinterpret their mood or the severity and meaning of their written words. The same goes for not being able to see their expressions or read their bodily posture. And certainly without being able to touch one another, give a hug, or sit near one another, the intensity of possible negativities being aroused only increases...

Added patience and understanding is certainly needed in order to gain clarity about misunderstandings, and most importantly, a groundation of love and compassion in general is essential to hold space for truth-telling in any relational dynamic. Without this love and compassion, holding space for another's truth is nearly impossible. We must care to witness another's pain, care to process with them, care to seek to understand and heal and grow with them... We may need to hold ourselves accountable for inspiring their feelings with our own behaviors of carelessness or unawareness, or we may need to speak our truth of what we are experiencing in relating to them, and so the dance of truth begins... Whatever the case, in holding space for some-one's truth-telling without caring/wanting to, we are not in our own truth, and so it may be that we need to do some truth-telling of our own. Thus the task is to do so with the same intention of speaking of our personal experience without blame or judgment. In this way we explore together the mystery of self and the richness of relationships wrought in a love for authentic self.

If all human communication were true in this sense, the world would be a far different place....

{Programming by DPC}

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