This kind of journey requires you to show up, to be open and loving and free in ways you haven’t been before.
It was a typical weekday routine.
After lunch, I pulled on my well-worn tennis shoes and slipped out the front door.
Like nearly every day, I went on a walk around the neighborhood. A cool, Southern winter breeze swirled down the street. I wished I hadn’t trimmed my beard so short this time.
A few more paces, then I started up a podcast.
Podcasts have become my walking companion, apart from the days I go with my wife or listen to articles or enjoy the quiet solitude of suburbia. So many intelligent conversations of cultural analysis, communicating practical truths, and humorous banter give walks around the neighborhood a rich texture of contemplation and personal learning.
Worst Foot Forward
The podcast episode I listened to this day, however, was different.
Just in the introduction, the host shared really personal struggles he’s faced, and he explained why it’s so important to admit our own weaknesses instead of hide them from ourselves or others.
It reminded me of a quote I found:
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people.” – Carl Jung
It’s no secret nobody’s perfect.
Why do we pretend everything is good, fine, OK?
We’re all so good at hiding our faults and fighting our demons behind closed doors. So rarely do we speak openly about our darknesses, because it might cost us something. People might think we’re really screwed up, unworthy, incapable. The people we love might abandon us because we turn out to be someone different than they expected.
Those are real and valid concerns. It’s also possible others might realize they’re not the only screwed up ones. A few of us might gather and say “me, too” when we talk about our depression, our fear of rejection, our crutches called alcohol or food, our parenting and career failures, or our lackluster relationships. [That’s one of the reasons I wrote The Variable Life: Finding Clarity and Confidence in a World of Choices.] Life isn’t all pretty and easy, but our inner darknesses don’t tell the whole story.
Like all forms of conflict, there’s a hidden payoff if we learn to transform it.
Brutal honesty can lead to self-aware humility.
As Brené Brown puts it:
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
There’s so much to learn about emotional health, spiritual formation, and personal progress. It’s difficult to choose vulnerability in the moments and relationships we need it most. I’m grateful for others who lead the way and model vulnerability and responsibility for the rest of us.
A Different Kind of Journey
There is a powerful, untamed force hiding at the intersection of your mind, body, and spirit. That’s the real you.
To fully become who you are, you must take the journey through your emotions, thoughts, senses, and spiritual awareness to grow into a holistic and loving person.
It’s never easy to go on such an excursion, because you’ll have to face your fears, doubts, lies you’ve been told, relationships that failed, assumptions you’ve made, pain you’ve experienced, and all the forms of darkness that keep you from moving forward. This kind of journey requires you to show up, to be open and loving and free in ways you haven’t been before.
The good news is that my friend Ben Coleman is on this journey with you.
Exploring Life’s Big Questions, Up Close and Personal
Over the past couple years, I’ve learned a lot from Ben and gained tools to make necessary changes in my own life.
He’s loaned books that deepened my understanding of love, healthy relationships, and seeking what’s true. He’s shared bottles of wine and food around the table with me and Kati, and he’s listened to our frustrations and dreams without judgment. He’s known by his circle of friends for his sharp perception and sarcastic wit, but even more as a kind counselor, mythology buff, graphic designer, prolific reader, Enneagram aficionado, Manchester United fan—and now, podcast host.
With Ben’s brand new podcast, The Explorer’s Club, I have no doubt we’ll gain much-needed courage and perspective in exploring who we are, what we’re doing here, and how to align our inner selves and outer actions as healthy and whole humans. Here’s how he describes it:
“Humans have always been explorers. We’ve mapped the globe, summited the highest mountains, and travelled to the stars. Exploring our world helps us make sense of the big questions, who we are and what we’re doing here. The Explorer’s Club podcast tackles those questions through a different kind of journey–the examination of the inner self.”
I hope this becomes a challenging yet stabilizing guide on your journey. I’ll be along for the ride, too.