Authenticity It’s A Journey and who better than Mary Oliver to inspire us,
“One day you finally knew what you had to do and began
though the voices around you kept shouting
their bad advice-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life.”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what yo had to do,
though the wind pried
with it’s stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life that you could save.”
The authentic journey begins as Oliver so beautifully describes the,
“one day you finally knew what to do and began…”
Perhaps I missed it, but most of my life the prevailing message seems to have been; fall in step, do what’s expected, don’t make waves, fit in, conform, socialize.
Today, 47 years, to the day after my birth I’ve come to a much different understanding, a different motto, belief, philosophy. I tell my clients, my friends, myself, kids, anyone who will listen and even people that won’t;
Don’t get a job… a partner or a new house….
Create a Life. Create a journey that is wildly, uniquely, authentically yours…
And ‘save the only life you can’, yours. Dare to fall headlong into living with passion and courage. Listen to your own truth. Align your heart, soul and the small voice within to be -YOU. Life it is meant to be lived, not endured. Engage in the most authentic journey possible, the journey of becoming you, because it’s true, when you have the courage to be you- you inspire me- to be me.
I can’t quite tell you when, but I can still remember where I was when suddenly I knew.
I was driving down the freeway, with tears flowing. Something had to change. Suddenly my truth was clear. My beliefs obvious. I knew something I hadn’t before. And this moment ‘has made all the difference.” .
In a twinkling I saw the 60-80 hour, traveling, workaholic I had become as a stranger inhabiting my body. My schedule controlled by business, the goals, and the tasks that I was engaged in an ‘outworn way of being,’ inauthentic, not me, not my truth. It was time for me to shed what no longer was true for me, to head down a path that was more representative of who I was now. Driving down the freeway that dressed in business suit and heels I listened to my heart and soul, they were calling me to live more authentically.
It wasn’t enough for me to know. I had to begin, step out, believe.
The authentic journey, is one in which we come to understand that there are ‘rules’ that don’t work for us, ways of being that aren’t true for us. Authenticity understands that prepackaged lives, jobs and security are nothing more than plastic wrap and fantasy. Roger Housden explains, “a new life requires a death of some sort…what we die to is our worn out way of being…”
Authenticity takes courage and faith.
Faith is that knowing, not of the specifics, mind you, but rather that knowing that what you now know, you know you must do.
Courage is required because there are no handbooks or easy recipes for living your best life.
Living our uniqueness enriches community. As you ‘little by little’ listen to your new voice’ which you recognize as you, you inspire others to pursue their own authentic journey. The most powerful communities are those alive with authentic individuals engaging in interdependency.
As I turn another year older I am reminding myself,
“it is already late enough, and it’s been a wild night, and the road is full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little as we leave the other voices behind the stars will begin to burn through the sheets of clouds and there will be a new voice…a new voice we recognize as our own.” (adapted):)
Here’s to letting your light shine, to liberating ourselves to live wildly, authentic lives.