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“Nothing is sudden. Not an explosion—planned, timed, wired carefully—not the burst door. Just as the earth invisibly prepares is cataclysms, so history is the gradual instant.” ~ Anne Michaels

Last week, a client realized he’d been fooling himself for a long time about someone and something he thought had been settled long ago.

He had a hard time accepting that he’d “been so blind for so long.”

Like a tiger, truth often sneaks up on you.

Change can be stealthy that way.

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Yesterday, Saturday, President Biden once again stated the U.S. position regarding Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine—that it was imminent and a dangerous threat.

Today, on a political news show, I watched the Russian Ambassador contradict him, saying that his country had no such intentions despite the 150,000 troops gathered on Ukraine’s border.

An hour later, it was reported, Russia issued an order to invade.

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When did we become so good at lying?

As a species, when did we decide to forsake integrity for inclusion or approval or money or power or a host of other soul-sucking motivations?

In her brilliant book, Fugitive Pieces, author Anne Michaels writes, “There’s a precise moment when we reject contradiction. The moment of choice is the lie we will live by. What is dearest to us is often dearer to us than the truth.”

I have had clients who know that moment; I know that moment. Facing up to the lie accepted for the sake of survival can take a lifetime—or generations. Take slavery, for example.

And it would be so easy to leave it there, out there, a thing separate, apart, in the collective.

But on an individual level—the one where I can best garner a glimpse of hope for our species’ survival—our personal contradictions, our own lies, demand our attention:

  • The places where we sold out or sucked up.
  • The times we risked or resented.
  • The people we lifted up or left behind.

Because change is built on a willingness to tell the truth.

And nothing happens in a sudden instant, not broken relationships, or illness, or injustice, or poverty.

And certainly not war.

Not if we’ve been paying attention.

“Truth grows gradually in us, like a musician who plays a piece again and again until suddenly he hears it for the first time.” ~Anne Michaels


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