|Welcome to Triple M. This free monthly e-zine
is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in
If a waiter
asks you if you’re pleased with the meal
that was served, and your head shakes “no” by
moving from side to side, but your voice says “oh yes,
it’s fine,” and your insides say “it’s
so-so, but good enough given that I only had a budget of
$10.00 for dinner,” you might be having an incongruent
moment. If your only association with the word, congruent,
takes you back to geometry class, you might be scratching
your head right now so let me offer this definition: Personal
congruence is present when the outer matches the inner … when
what you say with words or with your body matches what you
truly feel inside. Why is this important to know? Congruence
seems to have a fairly strong correlation to joy. Why else
would a variety of traditions prescribe an emphasis on saying
what you mean, and meaning what you say?
Miguel Ruiz distilled ancient Toltec Wisdom in his book,
The Four Agreements, and guess what the First Agreement
is? “Be impeccable with your word.”
- Cultural anthropologist and award-winning author
Angeles Arrien wrote in The Fourfold Way about four archetypes
that can guide us to rich, creative lives. For the Visionary
archetype, the task is to tell the truth without blame or
- Psychologist Rolllo May said “If you do not
express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to
your own being, then you will have betrayed yourself.” On
the topic of joy, he wrote that “it is based on the
experience of one's identity as a being of worth and dignity.”
- Werner Erhard’s (in)famous est Training, highly
popular in the 80’s, placed great emphasis on acting
with integrity in pursuit of personal transformation. While
his reputation took many hits, even some of his critics acknowledged
that Erhard boldly told the truth.
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a non-denominational
12-step fellowship for those with a desire to stop drinking,
encourages the practice of rigorous honesty.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “A little integrity
is better than any career.”
the waiter who asked about your meal: your body says one
thing, your words say another. How do you know which part
of you is telling the truth? Perhaps the voice that says “oh yes, it’s fine” really
believes that the meal is good, or good enough. Or maybe
that voice is steered by what you learned about good manners
or a preference for avoiding conflict?
the body doesn’t lie, so perhaps the body’s
language is the most reliable. Striving for congruence in
this example, you have a body signal sending data to further
inform your truth. And to complicate matters further, there
isn’t really any absolute truth, is there?
take a black and white (see September’s
newsletter!) stance. For example, there’s the often-quoted
line from the Bible: “the truth shall make you free.” In
most cases, greater freedom translates into greater joy,
but not always.
are times and situations when to be congruent, you run
the risk of harm. The phrase in one of AA’s 12
Steps comes to mind: “except when to do so would injure
them or others.”
If it’s not safe for you to tell your truth such that
the inner matches the outer, I see no point in endangering
or hurting yourself or someone else.
of an instance where you may have been incongruent. Ask
yourself if being congruent would have seriously injured
you or others. If the answer is no, consider the possibility
of telling your truth … even if only to yourself.
"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." -
2) If you
want to stir the creative juices (always ultimately a path
to joy, if you ask me), I challenge you to Name My Newsletter!
Right now, Triple M stands for Martha’s
Monthly Missive … but that’s boooooooring! Come
up with a better one, and you’ll win a prize!
Going Once, Going Twice …
Network’s Online Auction (www.transitionsworkshops.cmarket.com)
runs from October 15th to November 5th.
Please browse the auction website for some early holiday
shopping, or to find a special treat for yourself. I’d
like to personally recommend the books of poetry by Barbara
Crooker, or Ellen Bass, or Jana McBurney-Lin’s beautiful
novel, My Half of the Sky. Roberta Gelt’s hand-crafted
jewelry is pretty darned special, too. If you are the highest
bidder on any of the items, you will be helping LTN support
its workshop scholarship fund. Workshops focus compassionately
on the traumas of loss, abuse, illness, dying and death
with a combination of teachings, personal sharing, creative
processes and deep emotional release work (Externalization
Process). For more info on LTN: www.transitionsworkshops.com.
Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •