Posted in Essay, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

Naming Your Sacred Truth

Gloriously Pink by Terri Stewart
Dazzling Pink

Recently, I took a personality test that was required for a program I am participating in. Sometimes, I feel like the most tested person in the world! Meyers Brigg, Gary Smalley, MMPI, an actual interview with a therapist—and I think there were other tests. My organization really, really wants their people to be healthy!

The unique thing about the most recent test – called the DISC – is that it created a public and private personality profile. My “two” personalities were not far off of each other, but they were different. Most significantly, my “D” or dominance trait is very high publicly and only moderately high privately. Meaning, I am bossy.

What a surprise!

Privately, though, my bossiness is exactly balanced with my expressive part of my personality. Meaning, I can be obnoxiously loud! Loud and bossy!

An even bigger surprise!


Those are just the harsh ways of looking at my personality. Really, I am the head of an organization – if I can’t provide direction, the organization will not succeed. And the expressive + directing can equal playful and silly. Or dramatic. That is the private me.

Question: What does this have to do with spiritual practices or sacred space?

Everything! There is the old adage, “Know thyself.” But it is also, “Know Your Story!” And “Tell Your Story!” (The whole expressive personality thing = exclamation points.)

I am reading a book called Your Mythic Journey by Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox. They go into a discussion of public and private personas. Sometimes we think about our authentic selves like it is only possible to be fulfilled if we are 100% “authentic.” Maybe. The questions that spring to my mind are: “Who is your authentic self?” “Is your public self any less important than your private self?” “Are we allowed to protect our fragile bits and keep them private?” “Can we hold personas these in dialogue?” “Is the private self always the healthy self?”

And on, and on.

Today, I’d like to encourage you to glimpse your public and private self through creating a fill-in-the-blank scenarios and then looking at all the words you accumulate to create a revelatory product that illumines the sacred being that we all are.

Pen and paper in hand, sit back and follow the prompts.

Your Public Self

  • Make a list of 10 words or phrases that best describe you using the prompt, “I am ______________ .”
  • Now rank the words/phrases in order of importance
  • Now cross them out one at a time until you are left with your most important trait.
  1. I am playful.
  2. I am smart.
  3. I am disorganized.
  4. I am also organized.
  5. I am faith-filled.
  6. I am compassionate.
  7. I am loud.
  8. I am wise.
  9. I am filled with ideas.
  10. I am creative.

  1. I am compassionate.
  2. I am playful.
  3. I am creative.
  4. I am filled with ideas.
  5. I am faith-filled.
  6. I am smart.
  7. I am loud.
  8. I am wise.
  9. I am also organized.
  10. I am disorganized.

What is your revelatory word? Please leave your word in the comments section to share.

If you would like to take this one step further, I encourage to take your 10 words/phrases and use them as word prompts to create a micro-poem (using as many or as few of the words as you like).

playful love

spatters life dripping

with painted ideas


dazzling pinks, blues, and yellows.

swarming compassionately

and loudly causing


while held together


sophic faith.

i. am.

Of course, my private self is not quite so lovey-dovey, dazzling pink, or wise. Often the chaos is on the rise internally or the struggles I have with health are masked out. But that will be a post for another day. Today, embrace the sacred space that you present to the world. I believe that when we don’t have enough faith in our own abilities to be compassionate or loving or wise, we can live into that reality until our inner space matches our outer space.

Shalom and Amen.


P.S. I’d love to invite you over for a quick look at the Advent reflections that have been offered at

Thursday, 11/28, The Tipping Point, Essay by Jamie Dedes (The Bardo Group)
Friday, 11/29, Simple Truths, Poem by Kathleen Tenpas
Saturday, 11/30, I Didn’t Want to Move, Essay by David Orendorff
Sunday, 12/1, World AIDS Day, Essay by Tracy Daugherty
Monday, 12/2, Fowler’s Snare, Collage by Judy Alkema
Tuesday, 12/3, An Advent Prayer, Prayer by Mark Sandlin
Wednesday, 12/4, An Angel Came Near, Essay by Tracy Daugherty
Thursday, 12/5, Washed, Poem by Terri Stewart
Friday, 12/6, Zoom In, Zoom Out, Essay by Catherine MacDonald
Saturday, 12/7, The Word Stands, Collage by Laura Esculcas
Sunday, 12/8, The Wolf, Storytelling by Jim Cyr

© 2013, post and photo , Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

terriREV. TERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at ,, and  To reach her for conversation, send a note to


I am a monk disguised as a passionate prophet. My true loves are God, family, and the creative arts. And maybe just a little bit of politics too. (PS My photo is by Eric Lyons Photography).

2 thoughts on “Naming Your Sacred Truth

  1. Such a fun post, Terri. I will come back to it (have an article due tomorrow). I confess that I am addicted to personality tests…guess I could start the list with I am INTROSPECTIVE. But we’ll see. Thanks for this.


  2. This was an interesting and fun exercise, which I think could even be used as a warm-up for a workshop or maybe even as a party game. I won’t bore you the results I got. Suffice it to say, it turns out after all that I do have a personality. Phew! 🙂

    Thanks for such a lovely post, Terri. Much appreciated.


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