To thine own self be true…

I’ve never read Hamlet in its entirety. Shakespeare was a great poet and playwright. He was able to articulate life in a way that people understood and could be entertained and that was cool. Whether we, as writers, realize it, or not, but we are attempting to accomplish the same thing.

Life happens all around us and each of us have a way of capturing these moments. Some have a strongbox memory that they can recall events of the past in great detail. Some capture life in film by taking pictures, or shooting video, of timeless moments. Still, some write. The method of detailing life isn’t important but the fact that we record it is.

One line from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene III has been quoted by both scholar and layman and that is, “to thine own self be true…” The crazy part is that even though it can be quoted, do we really know what we are asking the person to do? My mom always told me that, whenever I read the Bible, always get the full context of what was written. So, read what happened before and what happened after that one scripture that you are determined to quote. The complete phrase that was said is…

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

This was a father-son conversation and the father was telling his son not to allow his environment to determine who he was and his decisions. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:7 NIV, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” No one wants to be a slave but we create a sense of slavery and servitude by the environments that we keep and the decisions we make. There is freedom in truth, especially that truth to yourself!!

Shakespeare also placed a true/false switch in here that just screams at me… being true to you and not false to others. Did you know that each of us has two brains? Our first brain is the one between our ears. And our second brain is… No, the second brain isn’t there… get your mind outta the gutter. Our second brain is actually in our gut. Here’s a quick test…

For the next 10 seconds, stop and turn your attention to what your head is telling you…

What did you hear?

Now, let go of what you hear and trying to figure it out, turn your attention to your body. Take the same 10 seconds and ‘listen’ to your body. Rest your attention on your physical self…

What did you notice?

For most people, the two tend to be extremely different experiences. For example, when I did this exercise my head was listening to the birds outside my window, the gentle hum of the computer, thinking about going to make my breakfast shake, getting back to writing this letter, and more… But when I checked my body, I felt the need to relax and breathe, I felt the tension in my shoulders, and for some reason, I just started itching. ☺

If we stay in our head, we would never stop moving. We would be an uncontrolled freight train with tons of deliveries. But, when I did my physical ‘systems check’, I realized that I needed to slow down. Ingrid Mathieu, Ph.D. says, “In this case, I believe that “honoring myself” means leaning towards the latter. The more we practice checking in, the wiser we become about discerning what is happening and how we can best take care of ourselves.” And I agree…

Being true to yourself isn’t about having multiple personalities based on different scenarios and situations but rather listening to, and acting on, your second brain… your ‘gut’.

When you listen to your gut, you are being most true to yourself because you are listening to how you feel about a thing. Did you realize that ‘the intricate network of millions of neurons lining our guts greatly influences our mood and our thinking”? This is where we get the phrase, “butterflies in my stomach”. Our gut doesn’t do reason, it just does. Our brain will perform an analysis on a subject, taking into consideration all of the known variables and produce a reasonable response based on these variables and the perceived reaction, whereas your gut simply says, “Let’s do (or don’t) that” or “I love (or hate) that”.

Here’s the wrap-up…
Being true to yourself doesn’t have to be a long process of self examination and discovery. It really isn’t some deep theological or philosophical journey into the unknown recesses and chasms of life. It is as simple as breathing…

Listen to your heart…

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,

Emotional Sobriety
Recovering from substance addiction—without becoming addicted to spirituality.
by Ingrid Mathieu, Ph.D.
Published January 18, 2012


Word from a dying man…

Letter from 2012-11-21

There are times in our lives where we as people tend to re-evaluate ourselves. Generally, we do this during milestone events; pending graduation, marriage, childbirth, our birthdays, etc. During these times we take inventory of our lives, where we stand, completed or missed goals, accomplishments but not only the whats of life but also the whos. Who is with me today that wasn’t yesterday? Who have I spent, or wasted, my time with? What is really important in life? How do I fit into the grand scheme of things? What will I be remembered by? Who will come to my funeral? What will they say? Will it be truth or just a bunch of flowery words? Have my pursuits been fruitful or fruitless? What is my purpose in life? Who am I, really?

When my mom was preparing to leave this plain, we were serviced by an organization called Hospice. The purpose of hospice is to help the patient and family through the last six months of a person’s transition from life to death. My experience with them wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t pleasant because at some point with these people it no longer was about the person that was dying. It was a job, just another day at the office. It was another paycheck. These people performed their jobs but in all actuality they were cold, uncaring and heartless. They cared FOR the patient (my mom) but they didn’t care ABOUT her. Why? It’s a great service that they provide. But it’s about the heart of what you do. The acts are one thing but acts of the heart are something completely separate. Once your heart moves away from serving… you should move too.

Last night, my pastor spoke about being a servant and the various attributes thereof. As he spoke, the part that hurt me the most wasn’t that I didn’t carry these values but rather that I did. I’ve tried to be a servant by balancing desire over duty, caring for the feelings of others, being purposefully on fire to serve, taking the lower seat, caring deeply about others, serving joyfully, selflessly, looking for ways to serve, anticipating needs, and serving behind the scenes without seeking recognition. I’ve done all of that. But where is the reap and sow factor? I give this out. Why don’t I seem to get this back? I’ve given my heart, my love, my treasure, my all to people, places, causes and seemingly nothing… Where are those that serve the servants?

The bible tells us that we all have an appointment. Since, we don’t know the date, time or place of this appointment then we should treat every moment, not every day, every moment, as if it were our last. Do the things that matter. Do it from the heart. Not everything has a monetary value, some things are priceless. If someone is missing a smile, give them yours. Do a kind deed for someone without looking for some sort of payment. Serve someone. You never know… YOU may be serving a servant.

I want to be remembered as a servant. How do you want to be remembered?

I love you ALL
Stay Blessed,