Over at the Handmade Laboratory that is ‘I am The Lab” this week’s assignment is ‘Finding Authenticity’. As my current quest de jour is digging up my authentic self, serendipity strikes again and brings the question ‘What is Authenticity’. After all I have to know what I’m looking for before I can find it – don’t want to toss it on the ‘junk’ pile unknowingly.
I bandy the word authenticity about these days as if it were some sort of holy grail. If I can only set my authentic self free then all will be right with the world – or at least my world. In the depths of a really dark depression a few years back serendipity pointed me toward a book that I have delved in and out of on this path to authenticity. Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance. (The wonders of this book deserve their very own post – perhaps another time). Suffice to say I know when I am in need of extra special guidance I find myself on the couch soaking up the words for the day.
From high school onward we are burdened with the beliefs of the ‘older and ‘wiser’’ on what we should or should not do with our lives. Albeit their intentions may be sound these allegedly wiser beings tend to forget that having done what they were advised to they are not leading a full and rewarding life, and inherently they are not you. Add to this that I was brought up in Scotland where feelings were those namby pamby things they went on about in the movies, a luxury not for the likes of us. By the time I reached puberty I was already fighting an uphill battle as my younger carefree self was engulfed in the expectations and ‘acceptance’ of everyday life.
Today’s message of Simple Abundance is to ‘Just Be’. I love the way Sarah finds quotes that resonate with the whole authentic journey, today we stumble upon “courage is the gift that life extracts for granting peace” Amelia Earhart. And immediately I am asking for the courage to find my authenticity.
And the light bulb goes on – to me authenticity is truth. It is being at peace with the life you are living. It is living the life that you know in your gut is right for you, it is line with your core values and just ‘is’. Perhaps that’s why it’s so difficult to define because it is something deep and personal to you. Only you will know when you truly find it – although I’m sure the outside world will see all the glorious signs. With all the struggles I have gone through in my adult life I truly believe that the value of authenticity should be part of the educational curriculum, ‘lest we forget.’ To hold on to the dreams of our inner child – the one who had her /his very own ideas of how their life was meant to be.
So, my definition of authenticity : It Just Is.
T o Authenticity and Beyond