The bare bones of an honest life

Perhaps you look to other lives for the permission to live your own, perhaps you want to glean a handful of seed to plant within the borders of your own life, thinking that this will make what you have enough.

Already you have made breakfast for another breathing being, wiped a nose that won’t stop running, and now you are curating a day filled with laundry, and other things that never seem to stop needing to be cleaned.

It is hard to do hard things if there is no honesty. If it is difficult, say so—if your voice won’t let you, then write it down.

If you have lost sight of yourself, then start finding your way back.

All you have is what you have right now in this moment hanging in the still morning air.

You may yearn for more, do not stop, keep feeding the hunger for something bigger, something different—your bones will know what they want—feed it by looking for the curious, the beautiful, the hidden, and holding it up to your face, inhale its fragrance and then, eat.

Do this more than many times in a day, but also know that before anything else you need an honest life, one in which all your desires are bones on a cloth, bones that ask to be counted.

If your life is an honest one, one that does not look to be dressed up as something it is not, you can live it well, even in the harshest season you can make something with an honest life, you will give someone else the courage to do so as well.

Perhaps you do not realise the profound gift this is? That others will know they do not have to dress it up as something it is not, because your presence is real and open and uncovered.

And what of the things that you have been handed down?

Do they fit?

Be careful with what you are given, what you have inherited from your mother and from your father and in-this-family-we-always-do-things-this-way.

Be careful.

Walk the spine of your life with great tenderness.

With great extravagance love the ones you are with, even as you carve your name on the flank of your own life.

You will disappoint some when you look to your own true North—there, it has been said. There will always be someone whose expectations you will outgrow.

What will you do with this fear of another’s disappointment?

Will you sit with it for the rest of your one, short life?

Let it be. Be kind, always, but relentlessly let-it-be what it is.

You have a responsibility to your own breath.

And in the end it might look like nothing you imagined, and like nobody else’s—that’s when it will taste like a life that you can sit with in silence, in peace.

Strip away, pare away, give away—be willing to lose things, but hold your hands out for more.

No more dressing up, no more filters, no more pretending what you have is what you want.

Open it up and let it speak, let your life tell you what she is, let her tell you where you have tried to fill the holes with things that are not important.

Find them.
Strip away.

This is what you have right now. If what you have makes you happy, speaks with an honest voice—how beautiful a life you hold.

If it doesn’t, then start drawing a map, mark your waypoints, put on your boots, allow honesty to burn as the wick in your lantern, and let’s walk.

© Liezel Graham 2021.

{Image by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash}

4 thoughts on “The bare bones of an honest life

  1. As always, beautifully inspiring message. With your permission, this will be presented in my zoom session tomorrow, and of course with your signature. I am receiving so much from your words expression, and I pass these butterflies to the garden of the living. Upon whomever they land, they bring light into the heart of darkness. Thank you a thousand times, for the gift of your expression. Gitty

    Liked by 1 person

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