16 November 2009

balloon 1: authenticity

if it was up to me, i do believe things would be a bit different than they are in my current reality. i would like to think my life would be more colorful. mornings would be sunshine filled and i would actually wake up when my alarm clock started making noise. this tune would play upon rising each day: "Love of an Orchestra" by Noah and the Whale. my bike ride commute would be playful and fun, not a race to make the bus on time. i would spill less and drop things less, too. work would not be about making a paycheck, but making progress. passion would be in the front of my mind at all times. i would snap pictures during my daily grind like a tourist in a brand new city. my hair would be bigger and more outrageous. i would quit when things were over, and hang strong when there was more to come. i would act mindfully, but not wait for someone else to approve my decisions. i would take more chances, be more playful, and have just a few extra handfuls of fun everyday.

to me, authenticity is central to our daily operations; its more about knowing who you are, deep down, before you every get out of bed in the morning, than it is about sticking to your guns. sometimes, we're wrong. i admit it. but deep down, knowing ourselves and expressing ourselves is the tallest of orders.

this week, as we explore the pillars of life that hold us up, and the balloons of life that lift us up, let's be sure to hang on to what is working, reflect on what has worked in the past and be open to the place that need a tiny bit more attention than usual.

authenticity is really easy to talk about. it's easy to breakdown and formulate, divide and conquer. but perhaps that's just the opposite of authenticity. i dare you to consider this: authenticity is a quiet knowing, a wisdom so deep even you have to dive to discover it; a reflection pool that you must linger beside long past sunset. authenticity is speaking your truth & following your path & braving your fears, yes, of course. but it is also about knowing who you are when the noise settles. authenticity is the tortoise.

you've heard that story right? the tortoise and the hare? you've had some slow days, some races you were afraid you had no chance at winning, but you kept on. you dug really deep and kept moving forward. it wasn't fast or eloquent at times, but it was steady, and communicated your interest, your deepest desire, your heart of hearts. well it is in that moment, in those moments of struggle, all strung together with your faith and your sweat and your persistence that you awakened your authenticity. you discovered the cistern within, the source that has been collecting experiences and collaborating with every piece of your life to prepare you for this moment. and discovering that, you took a chance. any chance.

and i would even go as far to believe you're doing that now. that some piece of your life has rubbed you raw (i won't say what running metaphor comes to mind), and you're caught thinking that maybe you weren't made for this. well i am here to remind you that maybe you are just where you need to be. and being there, being FULLY there, you're being offered the most brilliant platform for your whole self to shine. it may be quiet, or in a shadow, or bright as a lime green balloon against the backdrop of a sunsetting sky, no matter. what does matter is that you take this chance. that you trust your inner knowing and act as you know you should.

here is the catch with authenticity though: you don't always feel like you're being authentic. sometimes you feel awkward. out of place. crooked. in those moments, i have learned its possible for our authentic selves to shine without us even knowing. and when it catches back up with you, at the finish line or somewhere down the road, you will be so surprised to hear you were really seen, really known, really admired as you hoped to be.

so tortoises of the world, keep steady! find a pace that works for you, a piece that you need to work on, an example of a well-oiled process and be proud. your authenticity is seen & known & heard & admired. and quiet as it may be now, it will be as loud as an orchestra in due time.

in an effort to create play around these topics this week, i open up the forum to you. to share where you are, to deny everything i've written. to use this space to express whatever resistance or hallelujah's rise. i created a card to giveaway to one commenter. it is titled authenticity tortoise. the forum will be open all week---so you'll have the chance to comment until Friday when i'll choose winners from each day this week! have at it! xoxox


erin said...

feeling emotional today, definitely cried as i was reading this....ohhhh life

luckEseven said...

Gosh, Steffi... That was just BRILLIANT!

You truly have an incredible way with words.

I accept that nugget of wisdom and put in it my shell to keep with me as I waddle along.


hallie said... to be celebrated. Ironic that we must be reminded to be ourselves. Ironic that we must ponder what it means to be true and real. It's true, we are all turtles that soft sweet body underneath a shell. We are there all along, even when we can not see past the shell. Authenticity is when we are brave enough to poke our tender head out to see the world even before we know what to expect... The courage, the willigness to show up as our full tender selves. It's not so much that we do not know who we are, rather are we willing to allow it to shine out into the world regardless of our surroundings? I loved your post you beautiful, wise woman.

Marly said...

Great post. However, I want to point out that maybe the true authentic self is the one that spills the coffee. I think sometimes I want to be the kind of person you describe in the first paragraph, but its striving to be someone like that that keeps me from being who I truly am. I spill things. Once I was with my boss interviewing an admin assistant candidate and I dropped my pen and reached over to pick it up and my whole chair flipped over. My boss just looked at me like I was a freak. I don't want to be a freak, but I am learning to live with moments like that in my life - it is part of who I am. I'm a bit quirky that way, but then again, I think we all are. Thanks for your post. Very enlightening!

Jocy said...

Gorgeous and inspiring! This is a tough one.