When things happen in life that look like destruction and everything is stripped away, you feel naked. And lots of days life feels like those awful dreams where you’re somewhere public (usually at school or work) and you look down and you’re naked. And everyone is just right there with you, looking at you, and you’re naked. And they’re laughing and taking photos and whispering and talking about you. And you’re naked. Did I mention YOU’RE NAKED? I used to have that dream a lot.
And life feels that way sometimes. You think everyone can see how naked you are, and everywhere you go, you think people are either pretending that they can’t tell you’re naked, or talking about how naked you are. Add to that a feeling that you are committing some sort of a “sin” if you show your naked body and this dream can really start messing with your head.
That’s why I write so open-heartedly, vulnerably and transparently. Sometimes it makes others cringe how much I share. Sometimes it makes ME cringe how much I share. I do it for a few reasons. One is so that I’m not a big surprise later on . . . so that others will always know that I am flawed and trying and I won’t have to live with the heartbreak I’ve felt too many times when others found my flaws and threw them in my face. I want you to know that I know I am flawed. And I know that I am magnificent too. I want you to know that I know that’s true about you too. I want to help you feel the freedom of showing up as WHO YOU ARE. Flawed and magnificent. It is thing that makes you so gorgeous.
And what is a flaw, anyway? I don’t like that I used that word so many times. I think flaws are one of the things that make us unique and interesting. They are the raw material of our greatest creative expression, the clay that we constantly get to dig our hands into and smooth away the bumps (if we want to!) What I dislike most is when flaws get framed as SINS. Because the word SIN actually got framed.
A lot of words have been hijacked throughout history and one of those words is the word “SIN.”
This word brings strong feelings out in me, so when I think about it, I have to remember what it actually means. Because like I said, over hundreds of years it has been hijacked and most people don’t even know what the true meaning of it is. And the “new” meaning of it gives it a whole lot of power to control and manipulate and shame someone into giving themselves up and to essentially be squished like a bug.
If you grew up in or around any kind of a religious culture, it might have happened to you. It was never supposed to be this way. This word might immediately bring feelings of fear and shame. But when I started studying ancient Hebrew a few years ago, one of the first words that blew my mind was SIN. Because it actually doesn’t mean anything shameful after all, it’s just part of the human experience. It’s simply what happens when we get off of our own Soul Road. We miss the mark, we get off track.
I’m not going to go into any kind of religious direction here, but here’s a quote from a famous Hebrew website, and it’s important:
“The Hebrew word for “sin” is חטאה (hhatah, Strong’s #2403) and literally means “miss the mark.” From my understanding of the Bible, there are two types of sin, accidental and deliberate. I explain it this way. The Hebrew people were a nomadic people and their language and lifestyle is wrapped around this culture. One of the aspects of a nomad is his constant journey from one watering hole to another and one pasture to another. If you are walking on a journey (literal or figurative) and find yourself “lost from the path,” which is the Hebrew word רשע (rasha, Strong’s #7563), you correct yourself and get back on the path. This was a “mistake” (accidentally missing the mark), but not deliberate. Once you are back on the right path, all is good. However, if you decide to leave the path and make your own, you are again “lost from the path”, but this time, being a deliberate act, it is a purposeful mistake (missing the mark on purpose). In the Bible God gives his “directions” (usually translated as “commands”) for the journey that his people are to be on. As long as they remain on that journey, they are tsadiq (Strong’s #6662, usually translated as “righteous,” but literally means “on the correct path”), even if they accidentally leave the path, but return (this is the Hebrew verb shuv, Strong’s #7725, usually translated as “repentance,” but literally means “to return”) back to the correct path.”
So, there are a few more words there that have been hijacked too, like the word REPENTANCE. Which, as it states, means “TO RETURN BACK TO THE CORRECT PATH.” In my estimation, this means to get back on your own Soul Road. Because each of us have different life circumstances, different strengths and weaknesses and a different sense of purpose built into us, based on what our gifts are, what our desires are and the time and place we are born and raised and choose to settle in.
So on The Road Where I/They Remembered My Sins, I learned a lot about what happens when we mistake the meanings in words and meanings in mistakes and meanings in life. I mostly learned about what can happen when you tell yourself the story that EVERYONE IS REMEMBERING MY SINS. Especially if your definition of sin is wrapped up in shame and dirtiness and punishment and deep soul debt.
We are fantastically self-centered when we are afraid, hurt, desperate, and trying to heal. For some reason we think everyone is talking about us, thinking about us and having long conversations not just about our nakedness but about every inch of cellulite, moles, lumps and bumps that can be seen in our nakedness.
Here’s the truth though, and I know that you know this . . . almost no one is having these conversations. And if others ARE having these conversations about us, they’re not the kind of people we want in our life anyway and it’s a gift to know about it when it happens because you find out who to steer clear of.
But the bottom line is that people are thinking about us and talking about us FAR LESS than we lead ourselves to believe.
AND!!!!! When we think that others ARE talking about our nakedness and we believe that they have some kind of list of our “sins,” it’s an enormous opportunity to identify the most painful stories we fear they are telling.
And then heal them. It’s a great time to tend to the fear hidden in our own “sins.” When we believe that others are remembering our sins, we are the ones who get to redirect the situation back to REMEMBERING the times when we got off of our own Soul Road.
When we can remember where we’ve turned away from our own path, and what it did to our life, we can make better plans for the next turn we take. When we can remember what happened on any of the paths we’ve been on that hurt us, we can tend to our own wounds. WE MUST remember our “sins.” BUT WE HAVE GOT TO STOP USING THIS NEW AND DESTRUCTIVE AND SHAME-FILLED definition of the human condition. We have to stop weaponizing a word that seems like it was created to communicate something helpful pertaining to the human condition and not something destructive.
And that’s what it is. The human condition. Sometimes we get off track, and we learn A LOT. And then we get back on track. And then we are on track for as long as we can be, doing the very best we can do. And then sometimes we get off track again. And then we get back on. And IT IS SO PERSONAL. No one can see our Soul Road the way we can. In fact, no one can see it at all except our own self and our Truthteller. So it does not matter IN THE LEAST when/if others are remembering or talking about when we got off track. Because they can’t even know what our track is.
That is why I’ve learned it’s so critically important to:
- Not care what others think or perceive about our path
- Make sure we are paying attention to what WE think and feel and know about our own path
People aren’t thinking of us as much as we think they are.
People aren’t talking about us as much as we think they are.
But if they were, what are we so afraid of?
I have found that there’s another weird thing that humans do both to themselves and each other, and it’s this generalized sorting. We sort ourselves and others into piles and then we have to prove that we are right, or that they are wrong. We sometimes want to prove that someone should be in the bad pile who everyone else thinks is the in the good pile. Or we go to the ends of the earth to help the underdog or the accused and prove that they should be in the good pile and not the bad pile.
I really don’t like sorting humans. I don’t like piles. I don’t like generalizing.
On this road, and on the next one about REMEMBERING MY MAGNIFICENCE, I want to share the lessons with you that I’ve learned from the excruciating pain of being sorted into a pile, or the painful sting I’ve felt after I’ve sorted someone else into a pile.
Here are two sentences that are truer than true for me and for all of us, especially when we are being sorted into piles of GOOD or BAD:
- I am probably not as good as you think I am.
- I am probably not as bad as you think I am.
They’re both true, depending on the context, depending on who is doing the “thinking,” and like I said, others are not thinking about us nearly as much we think they are so we HAVE TO tell ourselves THE TRUTH if we’re all wrapped up in feeling like we have to be perfect everyday, lest we commit the sin that will finally make us worthless and unlovable.
It would be really great if we made merciful room for each other to figure out how to get back on track and if we cheered for each other instead of ridiculing and scrutinizing each other.
Oh, here I go….talking like others talk about each other more than they do. So let’s reword the sentence: It would be really great if I made merciful room for myself to figure out how to get back on track instead of ridiculing and scrutinizing myself. It would be really great if you would do that too, beloved.
Two more things that are truer than true, and a much more productive way to look at things:
- I don’t NEED TO BE nearly as good as I think I need to be, it’s okay if I’m flawed and doing my best simultaneously.
- There’s no way I could ever be so bad that I am not worthy of love and belonging, and there is NOTHING that can take my value away.
I learned on this road that when I sort myself into a pile of being either MAGNIFICENT or HORRIBLE, I suffer so greatly. I suffer so greatly when I think that it’s the point of life, to always be magnificent. Sometimes we learn and grow the best in the most horrible situations. Sometimes we grow the most during the temporary periods when we are totally off-track. And then once we get back on track, we are millions of miles ahead because of the growth we experienced. AND we are SO HAPPY because we now appreciate the peace that comes when we are walking on our own path.
This doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to deliberately get yourself off track, it just means that it’s never wasted. Getting off of your own road is a devastating and terrifying experience, that can quickly put you to sleep in such a powerful way that you don’t even remember your own road anymore. BUT it is an experience that is never wasted. The pain helps you remember it forever.
It helps me so much more when I remember my own “sins” than when I focus ANY amount of attention to wondering if others do. Because there’s really no way they can ever be right. They don’t know my soul road, they don’t know what happened on the road where I got off track, they can’t see where I’m headed, they don’t know much of anything at all as a mere observer. So even when I think they are thinking about me, what I am really doing is projecting that they are remembering my sins BECAUSE THERE IS SOMETHING IN ME THAT BELIEVES THAT’S HOW IT WORKS. And even if they are, it’s none of my business.
My Soul Road is between me and my Truthteller. Yours is between you and yours.
So friends, as crazy as this might sound, I love to remember my sins. Because it means I was moving forward. It means I was LIVING. It means I was DOING SOMETHING. And I always did my best. And I always got back on track. I love remembering my own sins because I can see how much help I got from my Truthteller and all sorts of other unexplainable help from other sparkly divine places. And I love remembering the pain of those times because it makes the exquisite feeling of peace on my own Soul Road even more exquisite.
And it sure beats hiding it. It sure beats pretending it didn’t happen. It sure beats hiding behind a blinged-out perfect cardboard cutout of the person I want to be seen as. This road, every time you travel it, reminds you not to hide your true self behind anything at all. Just show up as you are, as you make your way back to your own Soul Road.
I am dedicated to staying on my own path. But sometimes I miss the mark. Sometimes I get off track. So I get to try again. Isn’t that amazing that we get to try again and again and again?
I will live into my next try at hitting the mark, staying on the path, acing the plan, and getting to the destination as best I can. I have no idea from day to day what that destination will be, but as long as I’m on my own Soul Road, and not the path of another, I know it will be breathtaking. I hold hands with my Truthteller and trust the whole journey and it helps me stay on my own path. When I miss the mark, my Truthteller hands me another arrow and says “wow, you’re getting better and better at this!”
But when I keep my eyes on the path of another, or the target of another, that’s usually when I miss my own mark. You gotta stay focused on the mark to hit the mark. And the mark you’re focused on has got to be your own.
Life is a wild and wonderful ride. I’m here for it.
So, daring soul,
When have you gotten off your own Soul Road and sorted yourself into the BAD PILE for it? AND
What did it feel like when you got back on your own path?
Thanks for going down yet another awkwardly beautiful path with me, next I’m gonna take you on The Road Where I Remembered My Magnificence.
I love you. You are good. So good. Believe it.