Warning: naughty language ahead.
Years ago, a psychologist said to me, “I’m going to help you be authentic.”
And I was like, “Fuck you. I work incredibly hard at being authentic.”
And then I heard myself.
Game: changed. Also, game leveled up. I had worked incredibly hard at identifying with authenticity. It’s not at all the same thing.
The minute you try to discern who you are and subscribe to some identity, you stop being authentic. You become the identity.
Authenticity is a moving target. Authenticity is all actions and edits. All the time. My friend Janelle says that authenticity is what’s left when everything else is burned away. Authenticity is being unflinchingly honest in your self examination and personal responsibility.
Authenticity demands you stay awake.
Be lost. Be found. If you are going to try and be anything, be kind. Be forgiving. Give other people a wide berth for their imperfections and efforts.
Be clear on what doesn’t belong in your life.
Be clear on what does belong in your life.
Sometimes, authenticity means practicing being a little less clear. Authenticity does not mean windexed transparency to your guts. It isn’t vulnerability porn. Authenticity births deep discernment, and both subtle and grand empathy.
Authenticity is the strength you maintain to carry around your tenderness. It is the ability to carry all of the experience, all of the grief, and all of the eternal questions—with more grace.
It is the ability to recognize that whatever is yours, is yours to carry. For life. You cannot set things down and walk away. They must be accepted and transformed.
My yoga teacher, Sarah Trelease says that the opposite of grasping is digestion.
Digestion, you guys.
A meal in your belly isn’t that easy to haul about. A meal that has been broken down, its nutrients absorbed by your body, is really easy to transport because it’s supporting you.
A heart full of grief, regret, shame and gravity isn’t easy to carry around. Those things broken down, transformed, and absorbed by your senses will carry you.
I’ll wait while you think about that for a minute.
Since you cannot know the unknowable, or be the ineffable, you can only get better at housing them. You can only get better at digesting your experience and converting all of it into the energy and strength needed for such a task.
It’s helpful to be selective about your experiences. On account of the fact that you will have to digest them all.
It’s helpful to be selective about your food, and to keep your muscles and bones strong, so that your literal digestive system stays intact for the inevitable uncomfortable experience. Health really is preventative medicine.
When you prioritize the care of your body, participate in its feeding, and its structural and systemic maintenance you increase your ability to carry what your mind cannot, and may never, comprehend.
Some, but not all, results include: 1. The minimization of spinning, resisting, contracting, and isolating. 2. You will look, smell, and taste better.
Both of these things are aces for all of us, darling.
Now go. Drink a glass of water. Take a bath. Eat something green. Breathe. Move. Soften. Let me know if I can help. We’re better together.
The 5 Principles of Authentic Living.
Author: Meg Worden
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Shan Putnam/FLickr
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