“You will never start living until you’ve realized
that your life is your own unique gift.”
Have you ever had a day or a period of time where everything you tried to control went awry? We slog and try to push through it. When that doesn’t work we begin to force things into place. Through sheer dint of will we attempt to fit things into predetermined slots. We might think, through our pre-conscious thoughts, that by controlling what we do and how we do it we are being authentic to ourselves.
However, authenticity is more about listening to our true selves and learning what our gifts and thoughts really are. Authenticity is also learning what we are not good at and what we don’t want in our lives. When we are able to do this, not only do we feel freer and happier and more vital, we also become more authentic.
All too often we try to be or would like to be who we are not. Maybe we would like to be taller, or have straight hair, or be famous, or write a book, or be a key note speaker. Maybe we would like to be artists but are afraid to step in that arena; or actors or teachers, but are told that we can’t do that, or we won’t make enough money, or we aren’t good enough. Maybe what really suits us is a different suit than the one we are wearing or the one we think we should choose.
I once wanted to be a dancer. I danced from the age of nine until thirty one. I even got so far as to dance with small companies, teach dance in college, and get a masters degree in dance. My dream was to make my living as a dancer and be a great dancer. I loved to dance and it made my heart and soul sing. I was good enough to accomplish the things I accomplished, but not good enough to be one of the premier dancers sought after by the larger dance companies. I also didn’t have the stamina to physically sustain a career in dance. My body and soul needed more rest time. And the reality is that I am small in stature and curvy with medium flexibility. My physical body was not what professional dancers were looking for.
As much as I loved dancing, the truth is that my authentic self is a teacher; a guide, a facilitator, and someone who loves to help ease the pain and suffering in the world, one person at a time.
When I step out of my true self, things don’t work well for me; everything is a fight and a struggle. When I step into what and who I am, things purr along, relatively speaking. I love everything about being healthy and helping others along that road. Dancing was wonderful for me personally and made me feel good but when I pushed my capabilities, not only was it hard for me, I wasn’t using my deeper gifts to help others.
What are the things that bring you joy and make your soul sing? Are there situations in your life in which you know you are forcing yourself beyond your natural capacities and gifts? In what ways can you use the month of April to explore your authentic self and begin to take steps to bring more passion and joy into your daily life?
It is hard to give up the need to control life and people in favor of following the truly authentic. Yet, when we do, marvelous things unfold for us. If you would like to explore this topic more fully, I recommend reading The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck, M.D.