The journey back to the garden

“Truth first, love second, for the truth is love’s doorway.” — Kyle King

by Scott Kalechstein — 

I am an entertainer. Performing for people is very fulfilling work, especially when I remember to get off the stage when the show is over. Becoming an entertainer was, in part, a strategy to overcompensate for the belief that simply being who I am was not enough. If I performed, my young mind reasoned, I would be able to charm others into loving me.

Being myself didn’t work all that well in my family unit, so I learned other ways to get my needs met. Performance, which started as a childhood coping mechanism, evolved into a successful career. I have seen it time and time again in others, as well … our wounds become the doorway for our larger gifts to emerge. The name of the game for me these days is authenticity, both on and off the stage. It is pretty scary stuff. Transparency has never been the main tool in my toolbox of life. A few weeks ago when talking with a new friend, she asked me what it was in my relationship history that women have not “gotten” about me.

I had trouble answering, and after watching me squirm for a few moments, she volunteered a guess. “Scott, you lead with your sensitivity, and all the men I’ve ever met who do that have some rage in their shadow. I think what women haven’t understood is that you can be a real angry son-of-a-bitch sometimes.”

I laughed uproariously, and told her she was right-on. It felt so freeing — and frightening! — to know that someone could see past my New Age Sensitive Guy façade and was inviting me to acknowledge my wider range of expression.

Trying to be nice and gentle all the time (a New Age guy) is like stocking your kitchen only with sweets. What about cooking spicy once in a while? I have been in several relationships where my fears of loss and abandonment were stronger than my commitment to expressing my truth and taking care of myself. I put my partner’s feelings before my own, and we both suffered because of it.

Yes, there are ways of adding spice that can damage the delicate blend of intimate relationships, but there are also ways that will likely contribute to connection. Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication work is helping me learn both the consciousness and the language of self-responsibility, emotional honesty and compassion. More information can be found by visiting

Lately I have been observing how much the seeking of approval and validation from others has cost me in my adult life. I have kept all that fairly hidden from people, including myself, because I was embarrassed to always be wanting something I judged as so unspiritual.

My emotional evolution requires that I ask people for what I want openly instead of manipulatively. I also am learning to look at my thirst for external acceptance as a signal. It is time for some internal loving, a time to flood my inner landscape with positive self-talk. Instead of judging myself for being needy, I am practicing meeting my needs by appreciating myself from within.

Pretending to be someone I am not in order to be accepted and liked by others has been a full-time job, and most of my life I was not even conscious that I was working at it. Now I can see what I am doing when I hide behind a façade, seducing others with my talent or charm, or when I withhold a truth so as not to rock the boat. Like dolphins in captivity, I learned to pass through hoops to get the fish. Only now am I beginning to realize I don’t have to live my life in captivity. And the first step toward claiming my freedom is awareness.

When I become aware that I am acting out old patterns, I can celebrate. What was once unconscious is becoming conscious. Soon, in God’s perfect timing, the inspiration will arise in me to leave behind the old and step into something new. If I beat myself up, I slow the process down and suffer my guilt.

But if I simply observe the pattern from a neutral place, the light of my nonjudgmental awareness begins to transform it. Modern physics has rediscovered that the observer changes the observed just by witnessing it. This is also the alchemical solution to dissolving old, unwanted beliefs and behaviors: observation without the judgment.

In addition to celebration, I choose to grieve what the lack of authenticity has cost me — loss of self-esteem, loss of connection with others and being out of harmony with my own values. I offer myself compassion for my deep longing to be liked by others, and to avoid being criticized and abandoned. I also affirm in gentle tones that I can survive and even thrive without the validation of others, that I no longer have to perform to be loved and that I am worthy of love just for who I am. In other words, I stop abandoning myself.

Unworthiness has got to be the ultimate state of pretending. When I believe there is something about me that renders me unlovable, I am suffering from a profound case of mistaken identity. We are all innocent children of God. Part of what makes children so pure is that they are transparent, with no hidden agendas.

Authenticity, then, is a pathway back to our true identity. We remove the fig leaf we donned ages ago when we allowed the serpent (shame) to convince us that we had something to hide, and we journey together, back to the garden.


Scott Kalechstein is a counselor, coach, minister, inspirational speaker, recording artist and modern-day troubadour who can be found sharing his musical, ministerial, speaking, comedic and healing gifts with conferences, businesses, churches and individuals around the world. Scott’s songs are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or medical condition. If while listening you laugh your head off and your heart opens and symptoms still persist, please see your doctor. or


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