How do we find our own truth? For some reason the book “Wishes, Lies and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry” came to mind as I considered this question. This book was first published in 1970. The title intrigued me and I kept the book around the house for years – I don’t know that I ever read it.
The book is meant to demonstrate ways we can help children be in touch with their creativity. I expect this idea would work for adults too.
Why did that book come to mind as I considered truth telling? I have the fantasy that the teacher, in order to engage the children’s interest, suggested they talk about lies and lying. It could be a lie that they told, or that had been told to them. Then they were encouraged to notice the images and feelings that this exercise evoked in them and only then begin to write. What a marvelous, non-judgmental way to help children see themselves and some not so pleasant truths about the world and human nature.
I believe this process is related to how I discover my truth. Sometimes I lie to myself and then listen to and feel the response the lie provokes in me. I see a connection between lying and creativity – maybe it has to do with allowing ourselves to look at and play with our lies.
I notice that when I am doing reflective writing – especially if I am hurt or angry – I can be blaming and accusing. In the process of writing, I hear myself and discern the deeper truth of my own shadow qualities. This is a creative process where I can learn my own truth and therefore follow the adage: “This is above all: To thine ownself be true, And it must follow as the night the day, Thou canst not be false to any man.” (Hamlet, Act I Scene III, William Shakespeare)