This is a post about personal experiences related to honesty, authenticity, writing, teaching and drinking. It is brutally honest and in some places a bit shocking. These days, honesty is the trait of the brave or the crazy. I’ll take the risk. Writing from the heart is therapeutic and helps me put things into perspective. This is not a self-help text. I wrote this to free myself from my past trauma, from my demons who are still lurking around from time to time.
For whom do we writers write?
Have you ever wondered how many of the great writers of all time wrote only for their pleasure and how many wrote always thinking what others would think about their writing? There was a time before the Internet when writers were free to create and publish whatever they felt suitable.
In the last decades, writers like me have been thinking A LOT about what readers think. Nowadays, the creation process is regulated by Yoast meta descriptions and Google key word analyses. Writing has become a business, and I confess I enjoy greatly the process of learning how to make my words more Google friendly and more appealing to the modern human brain. Writing is great, but writing to serve a purpose is even greater.
Many thinkers acknowledged through their writing that the more they knew, the less they knew. It is the first step to understanding that the best thing we can do is write about what we think we know best. There is always someone somewhere who knows more than you, and that is fine. Modesty is a virtue.
Why do teachers and gurus teach?
George Petre, the person whom I call my “spiritual guide”, told me before our first mindful meditation: “Please, I’m not a guru. I am here to do business. That is why there is a donation box at the entrance.” His honesty strikes me every time.
I remember going to a self-development workshop with a gay friend. We enjoyed it, were a bit befuddled by the aggression of the trainer, laughed and survived. A few months later, I attended a 4-day event with the same trainer. On the second morning of our training, he told me how much he liked my friend and that he noticed how noble and enlightened my friend was. I thanked him and agreed wholeheartedly. One night, during dinner, sitting with all of his students (me included) and his girlfriend on his side, the trainer said: “I think gay people are sick. There is something wrong with them in the head.” “Remember my friend who joined me to your previous workshop? My friend you liked. He is gay” I said. The silence that followed could have been cut with a knife.
After attending countless personal development sessions, trainings, etc, I can draw one conclusion: the trainers who don’t give a damn about money or selling their next product are the successful ones.
The joy of teaching with love
I have been a teacher since 1990. At 17 I started teaching, and I have enjoyed every second of every class since. I feel “at ease” teaching, not in the military sense although there is a connection there. I don’t know if it is only honesty that makes me enjoy my job. It may be a mix of empathy, dedication, and honesty. I feel I belong when I teach, just like when I write, I dance, I read, I make lists, I learn, I dress up, I clean, I cook or I meditate.
Drinking to be more “relaxed”
An ex told me sometime in 2012: “When you drink, the others are not having as much fun as you are.” I used to go out once every three months or so and drink my sadness out. In all honesty, (the subject of this article), drinking made me feel worse afterward, physically and mentally. But right then, for 2–4 hours, I could talk to men and thought I was sexy at the same time, which was sort of unusual for me. More about this later.
My honest confession is that I:
- write for my pleasure because it is jumpy and elegant
- listen to people and sometimes I tell them what I think straight away when I honestly feel they need to stand corrected
- teach with my heart
- stopped drinking (and smoking for that matter) because, honestly, there is no enlightened man ready to love the intricate me or any magic pill to solve my problems at the bottom of any bottle.
I will leave this here (for posterity, says my ego). As I have become more aware of what people (I included) talk about, I listen more and understand more. And then I write to understand things even better.
After writing this bit about writing, honesty, what other people think of us, my teaching and my drinking, I realize once again how important these things are to me.
Vivi has been writing about the process of self-realization through mindfulness and compassion since the age of six. She helps people know themselves and live their best life. Vivi has been teaching English and Romanian to 10,000 + students since 1990, and she has been blogging about the role of cooking at the intersection of food and self-mastery using simple recipes and copyright food photos.