What does Authenticity mean to you? Don’t look it up, and don’t google it – look inside.
How do you know when you are being truly Authentic with yourself and with others? When your thoughts, words and actions are congruent? When you strive to live in alignment with the truth of who you are? Can you feel the inauthenticity in that word “strive”? As soon as I say it, I know that I’ve put up a barrier to authenticity. Being who you are requires NO effort… or does it?
I have the privilege of spending weekly time with a group of people who truly ARE the most authentic group of people I’ve ever had the honor of calling my friends. I find myself feeling deep gratitude for their unconditional love, acceptance and support and it’s become easier and easier to remove the masks and simply to show up.
When I first formed this group, I had a plan. I came with an outline and at least a loose structure for each meet up. There were a few meetings that I rushed to with no time to plan and was concerned about what others would think, worried about sitting there with everyone staring at one another, feeling uncomfortable. That never happened. It soon became apparent that the less structured and planned a meeting was, the more insightful and amazing it turned out to be.
People often say to just “get out of the way” and trust that you will say and do exactly what you are supposed to; what is perfect in the moment. This requires deep trust…in yourself, in the universe, in God. Our biggest fear is often the judgment of others, and of being made a fool. So what does it take to get to this level of trust, to the point at which you literally can just SHOW UP and TRUST that it’ll be perfect? In my experience, it starts with just trying it out and noticing what is going on for you when you do that. Believe me, despite all the beautiful opportunities I have been getting to practice this, there are certain things, especially the unfamiliar, with new people where I definitely over-plan and manage to stress myself out imagining every possible undesirable outcome you can fathom.
Here is the self talk that I now go through whenever I feel that familiar excitement/ fear welling up inside me:
“Breathe fully and deeply into your BEing. Feel the excitement (some would call it “fear”) as the breath reaches and awakens every cell of your body. Close your eyes and “ground” yourself… imagine a grounding cord or roots, like that of a tree, extending down from your feet (or ground chakra, at the base of your spine) clear into the center of mother Earth. With each exhale, release any resistance, tension and negative energy from your body down through the roots and into the Earth (to be composted). Breathe while the Earth sends up her light, love and grounding energy which you gratefully receive and allow it to fill up your entire being. Breathe it in. Open your crown chakra – (the top of your head) and see a beautiful beam of white light flowing down from the heavens above, through your body , filling your body up with powerful white, healing light, with love… Connecting you to the divine, to source, to universal wisdom, to the truth of who you are, to your divinity. Breathe and allow the love and light to expand from your heart, filling every organ, tissue and cell of your body and slowly expanding out, enveloping you in this beautiful white healing and unconditionally loving light. Breathe. Smile. (Now go out there and kick some butt!)
“ So what is it to BE Authentic? It is to drop all the masks, the facade, and the shields built up from childhood in order to keep ourselves “safe”. It is to release the EFFORT, no more striving to BE a certain way, to impress, to show or prove anything to anyone…ourselves included. It requires full love and full acceptance of all that is, all that we think, feel and do – whether we deem it to be negative or positive. When we are able to be fully present, in the moment; releasing any past regrets and experiences, letting go of the fears and worrying about what the future holds…and simply to BE…HERE, NOW.
I focus on my heart beat and feel fully whatever it is I am feeling –good or bad. When I share openly and honestly with others, I invite them to do the same and they can FEEL that it is truly safe. This is a place of acceptance and love. Truthfully, I cannot say that judgments don’t come up, but I can truthfully say that I am open to recognizing when that happens and to letting them go as they come up…bringing myself back to the PRESENT. I breathe in love to myself and breathe out love to others, knowing that we are all connected, we are one… and in healing myself and stepping into my authentic BEing, I open the door for others to do the same, or not.
Thank you for showing up for you and for me and for all.
©Jeri Tourand, Living from Heart Center – June 2012