You know the moment. You have probably experienced it before. That moment when your heart can no longer be silent.

Perhaps it was a moment when, if you were going to remain in integrity with yourself, you could no longer hold back. You could no longer hide. In that moment, you knew the truth of who you are and what you must bring to the world, and you knew you had to live it. The moment had come to stand tall and shine your light.

Or maybe it was a moment when every fiber of your being was screaming because something was happening that was against everything you believe in. It was against who you are. What was happening was so out of integrity with your soul, or the soul of humanity, or the soul of the Earth, that you could no longer be silent. You had to stand up.

It is written in the Gospel of Thomas:

If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.

If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

In the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Our lives begin to end the day we become
silent about things that matter.

In those moments when your heart can no longer be silent, something within you breaks open. The energy of what you know you must say or bring is suddenly bigger than your fear, doubt, or resistance. Who you are at your essence and in your truth is bigger than what is happening.

Caribbean-American writer, poet, and activist Audre Lord wrote:

When I dare to be powerful—
to use my strength in the service of my vision—
then it becomes less and less important
whether I am afraid.

To paraphrase her words:

When I dare to be true to my soul—
to use my strength in the service of that truth—
then it becomes less and less important
whether I am afraid.

While fear might have held you back in the past, in those moments when your heart can no longer be silent, the fear no longer matters. It’s no longer about fear. It’s about integrity and truth. Something in your spirit breaks free. Some part of you is suddenly alive as never before. And if you remain committed to what has just broken open, the chances are good that you will never go back to where you were before.

How can you be sure that these moments are responsive rather than reactive?

I can only speak about how this distinction becomes clear for me. When I am in reaction, I am more likely to act without awareness and without consideration of consequences. I am in motion before I realize what I am doing. I have no conscious awareness of choice. Therefore, I practice being in response.

Being in response feels different. I recognize that I am in response when I become very still inside, and in my inner awareness, everything slows down. Sometimes, in an eerie kind of way, what is happening on the outside seems to shift into slow motion as well. Images of various possible outcomes flash in my awareness and I sense how each possibility might feel. After a few short moments, the action that I will take becomes crystal clear. That clarity takes over and guides me.

There have only been a few of these “truth” moments in my life. Yet each time, there was a breaking open in me. I learned something important and I grew in awareness and presence. At the same time, something broke open in the situation and within others involved as well.

I won’t say that these moments are without stress. Yet I’ve learned that if I listen, sense, and feel into the truth, authenticity, and integrity both within me and within the situation, the moment of action is not hard. Something bigger than me takes over and carries both me and the unfolding situation.

How about for you? When have you experienced such a moment of truth? A moment when your heart could no longer be silent. What broke open within you? What broke open within others or within the situation because you took that step? What has been different since then?

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