The sky is sublime this morning. An ombre dip dye ranging from deep violet to pewter gray to softest blue with a bright crescent moon infused throughout. Loveliness.

I simply stopped, breathed and stared for quite awhile while walking Kintsugi Pup, who let me sleep in a reasonable amount of time before gently pawing me awake and bathing my face with kisses, announcing his happiness that once again a new day is upon us. It doesn’t seem to matter that he spent the entire night scrunched up in a little ball by my face, his good morning greeting says he still missed me while sleeping.

Dogs are refreshingly honest like that. They make no pretense with their hearts, love and affections. They are very different from people who often hide their true intent under layers of pretense and defense and who struggle to speak their truth.

Sometimes I think this is because they fear how that truth will be received, but more so, I think it’s because many times they themselves do not know their own truth. There is a lack of sincerity and alignment to how they navigate life, because how can you speak and act in accordance with what you do no know?

I declared 2014 the Year of Sincerity, wanting to be more mindful that the intent of my heart match the intent of my actions and speech. When those line up, I find I feel like an arrow whose aim is straight and pure, a life lived in connection and communion with my True North.

My insides match my outsides.

When that arrow starts missing the mark and my desires become out of sync with my actions, I find life becomes messy. Chaotic. Confusing. I start to lose track of myself, which is usually followed by a sense of low grade depression and existential anxiety over things like life purpose and identity.

It’s around these times where I will start to hear the age old wisdom of The Lion King echo through my mind as the voice of James Earl Jones resonates in reminder “Remember Who You Are,” and I feel the call to return to that space of aiming my life straight and pure.

I have found that it is incredibly hard to do this in a world whose pervasive culture doesn’t support this kind of journey. Authenticity, honesty, sincerity, integrity… so many of us have forgotten what it means to be human, to be real.

Lives are lived out of sync, the intent of an individual’s heart- that authentic craving for more beating deep inside- not matching their actions and external image. People go to great lengths to avoid facing the depths of their own soul. Sometimes I start to feel lost in all the chatter.

Lately I am learning, continually learning, to turn off the chatter that pulls me away from the place of self-knowledge and to listen carefully to the intent of my heart. To take the time to discern my own truth so I can act in alignment with those truths. To take brave steps that carve out the path of an authentic journey.

Even when it’s unpopular. Even when it’s misunderstood. Even when it’s lonely. Even when it looks weird. Even when, especially when, the only validation I receive is my own.

To live a life of sincerity that is refreshingly honest. With no pretense to my heart, love and affections.

Like Kintsugi Pup. Not even two years old, and he already has all this figured out. This is why we need our animal friends. They are nothing but authentic and sincere in their actions. They remind us to do the same, to move in a direction where our inner intent matches our external actions. They remind us of the things we sometimes forget.

They help us remember who we are. Remind us to try and keep our arrows, straight and real and true.