Say Your Truths & Seek Them In Others
Elizabeth Lesser, TEDWomen 2016
I absolutely love listening to TED talks. Bright and brave individuals sharing something they’re passionate – or at least curious about – with deep expertise, often refreshing humility and almost always a personal story is right up my street. It’s a favourite go-to on a plane, a train, on slow Sunday afternoon or simply when in need of an inspirational reboot. Yesterday, was one of those days.
Recently I have been especially occupied by the transformative role that truth – or sometimes, lack of – plays in our world and our lives, so this particular talk by Elizabeth Lesser jumped out at me as the one to watch.
Elizabeth Lesser’s reflections are so honest and so moving. She stands on the TED stage as a powerful ambassador for authentic connection, and offers us the reasons and means to do the same.
Uncover your soul.
This advice is grounded in the belief that everybody comes into the world with their own unique essence – or soul qualities if you will. However, as time goes on, the combination of our environment, education, relationships and other conditions and challenges can cause us to diminish our truth in one way or another.
This is a perfectly understandable response to external pressures, which see us modifying our beliefs and behaviour to fit in with others.
But ultimately this can lead us to lose sight of ourselves, which inevitably affects our sense of worth and, in turn, how we relate to those around us.
The valuable message from Elizabeth’s experience is that we can all choose at any time to live from a more genuinely truthful place. Nevertheless, it is not often an easy decision. It will no doubt involve some soul-searching, frank conversations and ultimately forgiveness (both of yourself and others.) However, the consequence of this courage means you will undoubtedly rediscover a greater sense of ease with yourself; a state that has an incredibly positive ripple effect on your relationships and the wider arena of your life.
Try to stay open.
One of gifts of working as a physiotherapist is that you witness first hand the amazing capacity of people’s bodies to self correct. Even working gently with the physical body, we can help bring about significant change in levels of tension in tissues as well as the nervous system.
But, a whole other level of change is possible when we begin to cultivate an awareness about our holding patterns. At a physical level, these could be daily repetitive postures, e.g. how we sit at work or how we carry a heavy bag over one shoulder – this type of unconscious behaviour makes us prone to stubborn aches and pains from our muscles/joints.
However, just as importantly are the emotional and mental patterns we have on replay in our minds. This talk acts as a great reminder that if we are harbouring feelings and thoughts about someone or a situation, they too can have an impact on our wellness. One tip I have learned which helps in these times is to ask myself “Is this true?” It’s very simple but effective way to reframe an outdated and unhelpful belief. Thanks to that moment of reflection we gain the chance to see things in a whole new light. We very rarely offer our minds and hearts the same opportunity to change as we do our bodies, but If we want to live in greater alignment with our truth then all it all needs to be considered.
Prioritise deep time.
Elizabeth also mentions Einstein as a proponent of taking time to just be, preferably in nature. He is one of many great teachers who champion the power of nature to heal and answer our inner questionings. We have probably all experienced a sense wonder and transcendence when we spend time somewhere like a mountain, lake, beach or forest. This is when we get struck with what he calls “sacred awe”, that knowledge – or rather, wisdom – that we are part of something so much larger and greater than ourselves and our perspective can’t help but shift accordingly.
By giving ourselves the opportunity to take life’s pace down notch and quieten our minds, we are able to properly listen to our hearts. In reality, this may mean a regular walk outside and factoring time offline (even for 15 mins) to sit quietly without distraction or stimulation
When we choose to do this, we’re prioritising “being time” over “doing time”. This appreciation for what Elizabeth calls ‘deep time’ is a whole different kind of currency to what we’re used to trading with. The benefits that come from diving under the surface of everyday living are vast and limitless qualities of the human spirit rather than finite quantities of material gain.
Like for many others, it was Elizabeth’s personally confronting circumstances that gave her the opportunity to step off the hamster wheel of her life, and it alter it forever. But, we don’t need to wait for the devastating or dramatic, this relationship with truth, awe and wonder can begin in big or small ways today. Take Elizabeth Lesser as living, breathing, speaking proof that our lives – and those of everyone around us – will become richer and richer as a consequence.