Several years ago, we lived where there was a large backyard and fenced deck next to a breezeway. On warm, sunny days my children played in these spaces. One summer morning we noticed a rancid smell that permeated the entire house. This putrid odor made all of us gag a bit. I had never smelled anything like this.
After investigating, my husband, at the time, found a decomposing possum underneath the deck. Amazed that the pungent, indescribable odor could permeate our entire home from the outside, I felt grateful he had found the source. He wore a mask and struggled not to toss his cookies as he cleared away the remains.
I regularly share that the conditions of our spaces are metaphors for our lives. I know signs come in all kinds of packages, sometimes nasty ones. I looked up possum in my Power Animal book. These creatures pretend to be dead as a coping strategy. Predators want live possum. The decomposers obviously relish the actual dead ones.
I laughed as I read this. I reflected on my life up to that moment. I realized I no longer needed to pretend about anything. Now, it took me years of bumbling along the path towards living true to myself, to living in greater alignment. I still sometimes notice I’m pretending about something. I’m better at catching this quickly as it often makes me irritable.
What are you pretending? Do you pretend to be sick when you are well? Do you pretend to be well when you are sick? Do you pretend to be in love when you are “meh”? Do you pretend to be happy, kind, blissful when you want to growl, snap, and roar? Do you pretend to be brave when you are petrified? Do you pretend you are poor when you are rich? Do you pretend to be rich when you have debts? Do you pretend that you are not addicted when you have a serious addiction? Do you pretend all is “fine” when all hell is breaking loose everywhere around you? Do you wait for others to tell you about your authenticity and have no clue what that actually feels like in your own body? And how would others really know the “real” you unless they were inside of your mind, heart, body, and soul 24/7 and maybe you can hardly be inside yourself 24/7?
The process of becoming yourself, of living true to your life purpose takes time, practice, and focus. Becoming whole and integrated involves becoming vulnerable enough, to tell the truth about what’s going on inside of your heart, your gut, your soul, and maybe, lastly, your mind that can actually begin to learn from your body.
Daily meditation or time for quiet reflection, movement, mindfulness, and gratitude practice can support you in meaningful ways with this shift. Listening to podcasts, reading books, attending transformational trainings, or asking your closest friends for honest feedback can help, too.
Telling the truth to yourself can be such a brave step forward. Telling the truth, you discovered about yourself to others becomes an additional bold action.
Being willing to hold a compassionate, safe space of non-judgment and deeply listen often allows others to reveal their deeper truths. Holding this sacred space can free others from pretending. What a profound gift your presence becomes for your colleagues and beloved ones. Living in a state of greater wholeness, alignment, and integration brings great joy. May the death of pretending enter your life in a less noxious sign than a decomposing, stinking possum. May you honor the gift of your life by breathing fresh air and exhaling your honesty, your beauty, and your grace.