Thursday, June 25, 2009

#50 The Gates of Speech

When my son was about 8 years old, I told a lie. It was a white lie, but boy did it snowball. I was supposed to take my son and his friend to a birthday party. It wasn't until I received a phone call from the boy's mom that I realized I had not only forgotten to pick up her son, I had forgotten about the party. It would have been so easy to tell her the truth, that I had forgotten about the party and would be over in a second to pick up her son, but I didn't say this because when the boys were in kindergarten I had left them stranded at school because I had forgotten it was my turn to drive. See, my record wasn't pearly white with this family and I lied so that they wouldn't think that forgetting [specifically their child] was my norm. We each ended up taking our own children to the party, and when I received a call from the mom later on saying she would bring the boys home, I was happily surprised -- thank goodness, no hard feelings. You're thinking end of story, right? Wrong. This is where my nightmare begins, but also a life transforming moment.

To continue the story - My son gets dropped off after the party and I ask him if everything was ok on the ride home. He says, "yeah, I told them the truth". I nervously looked at him and said, "what truth?". He said, "I told them that you lied". Oh--my--goodness, my 8 year old outed me!!! I was so angry and embarrassed and humiliated and did I say angry already? I started yelling at him and telling him he had a big mouth [which is sorta true] and so on and so on. My husband came into the room, asked what was going on, and intervened by saying that Logan had told the truth and isn't that what we want from our children? Ok, that penetrated, which made me stop my tirade and apologize. The next morning when I was feeling no better, but calmer, I explained to Logan what a white lie was and how because of this experience, I would never again tell one. I quoted the saying, "oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive", and explained what it meant. I apologized to him again and that was the end of that....well sort of. Most people grow up using white lies so as not to hurt the feelings of others, but whenever I think of telling one, I remind myself of the above experience and the shame I felt -- so ashamed that I lost my appetite for days. Losing my appetite is something that I had never experienced before, nor since.

Oh, I wish I knew then what I know now. During one of my yoga classes, my ears perked up when I heard my instructor talk about mindful speaking. While we moved from pose to pose, she shared The Gates of Speech with us. She started by telling us that being aware of what we say and how we say things are equally important. By asking ourselves if what we are saying is truthful, kind, necessary, and timely, we learn to "really" think before speaking.

I think the Gates of Speech is a powerful tool. Since the focus of my blog is: "thoughts on life, living and and the pursuit of the perfect body," and of course mindful eating, " I thought I would try to ask these 4 questions as they relate to these topics.

1. Is this true hunger?
2. Are you being kind to yourself by eating this particular food?
3. Is eating this particular food necessary?
4. Do you need to eat this particular food right now?

I've been known to be a little impulsive when it comes to speaking. Training myself to pause and go through the gates of speech is something I want to incorporate into my life. Being a compulsive eater, I will also incorporate those 4 questions above -- my own 'Gates of Eat' into my life.

This may seem difficult or daunting, but when did self improvement and/or personal growth become easy? Even baby steps hurt when you fall on your rump. So, I say to you and me: Be aware of what goes in your mouth and what comes out. Install a comfortable, but sturdy set of gates, and remember to close them for your own protection.

Quote of the day: "A mistake is simply another way of doing things" Katherine Graham

1 comment:

Chris H said...

not much makes me lose my appetite.. SADLY.
Though I did lose it last week when I crashed my brand new car... SADLY.

I'm ova it now.. yeee haa!
I think this post was very funny.. and informative. I do know that it is not WISE to lie in front of one's kids though.. been there, done that a few times, and been caught out too! ha ha ha

Your 'Gates of speech' is an awesome idea, particularly in relation to food.. I must try that!