Travelling home from work earlier this evening, I switched off the radio, my mind craving silence. It was a hectic day and I was drained and just needed some peace and quiet for the 20-minute drive home. As a drove, the words ‘live your truth’ played around and around in my thoughts. I realised then that these same words have been whispering to me for days now, just barely audible, beneath the surface, but there all the same, calling to me and vying for my attention. I allowed my mind to absorb the words. Live. Your. Truth.
What did they mean? What is my truth?
I thought back to the weekend, yesterday especially jumped out at me. Sunday morning I woke at 7. Hopped out of bed and grabbed a quick shower and a banana for breakfast. I got ready to join the first session of Freedom Runners, an outdoors training group organised by the gorgeous couple Hollie and Tim at Freedom Retreats. It was a crisp, dry morning out and I tiptoed out of the house while everyone else continued to snore, enjoying a nice lie-in. As I met with the other early-bird seekers of freedom and wellness the sun rose and we were bathed in a perfect light. There was stillness in the air and a sense of calm washed over me as we stretched and ran and occasionally chit-chatted. It was a glorious start to the day and I returned home feeling energised and refocused after a tiring week.
The chores waiting to be done jumped out at me from every direction when I re-entered the house. I loaded the washing machine. Put out the recycling. Washed the dishes. Made beds. Folded towels. Picked up Nerf bullets. Fed the cats. I could have kept on like this all day because it seems to be never-ending with things to do around the house! I could feel my calm being washed away and when my eldest son appeared downstairs for his breakfast and asked me if I wanted to go for a hike with him while the two youngest boys went to their rugby tournament I thought over my to-do list, which seemed to be growing in my mind by the second, and I looked at my son. ‘Yes,’ I said, Let’s do it. Where do you want to go?’
So, walking boots on, off we went together to Cregagh Glen in East Belfast. It’s not too far from home but is a great walk uphill along the river surrounded by woodland and waterfalls too. Our walk started in silence. It’s unusual for me to get one-to-one time with my kids and as our strides synchronised I realised just how delighted I was to be getting the opportunity to have this time together. Soon, my son began to chat. Just general stuff about school, friends, cars and what-not and as I listened I was struck by how grown up he had become since starting secondary school only a few months ago. It’s amazing how life seems to pass by, the days all seeming the same and nothing ever seeming to change that much and yet when you look back and compare the past and present everything has changed without you even realising it! Before long, we had emerged from the forest and were in a clearing at the top of the trail. The sun shone so brightly and the view over Belfast was perfectly clear. It felt so good to be there in that moment. Nothing else seemed to matter. I wasn’t thinking about housework or things I needed to do. I was fully present and fully aware of how much I was enjoying my son’s company. There was nowhere else I would have preferred to have been in that instant and I was suddenly overcome with gratitude for the invite my son had given me that morning. It would have been so easy to reply with the words ‘I’m too busy’ or ‘I’ve got too much to do’ and stayed preoccupied with my tasks while he lay on the sofa whiling away the hours with TV repeats, not communicating, not connecting. Just passing the time of day. I thanked him and told him how much I was enjoying being with him. He put his arms around me and said he was enjoying it too and we sat in the sunshine together for a while.
Walking back down the hill he started to tell me how important his family are to him, how he wants to travel when he’s older and see as many countries as possible. He started to tell me in more detail about his friendships. He asked about my life. What makes me happy and it felt like such a meaningful and special conversation. I realised as we walked and talked that my firstborn boy has become this really cool young man with his own thoughts, ideas and passions and I was learning from him as we spent time together.
Live your truth. Three small words that carry so much weight and power. What makes us tick? What drives us? Makes us get up in the morning? What ignites the flame within us? For me, that connection with my loved ones is my motivation. My reason. My truth is made up of several components: Authenticity. Simplicity. Nature. Connection. Calm. It’s so easy to be false in this era, to lose oneself in the many voices trying to get our attention. But we all have a truth at our core, a reason for being. Sometimes we lose sight of it along the path of life due to busyness, illness, tiredness or distraction. Yet, it is still there, whispering to us, trying to draw us back to who we are in essence.
I smiled as I drove home in the silence tonight. Yesterday was a beautiful moment in my pursuit for my own truth. Being outdoors on a chilly but bright winter Sunday afternoon with my son was the highlight of my weekend and those few precious hours together served to remind me about my truth and what matters to me. There’s still dishes in my sink, towels in the drier, nothing in the fridge for tomorrow night’s dinner and the house is strewn with even more Nerf bullets. Am I stressed? Not even a bit. Are my head and heart happy? Definitely!