In Part One, we investigated what it means to be our authentic self; more specifically we discovered what our Authentic Self is not.
- Our Authentic Self is not what we are, it is who we are.
- Being our Authentic Self is an advantage in life.
- Being our Authentic Self is accepting ourselves as we are; the good and bad, the ugly and the beautiful.
- Our Authentic Self is Ordinarily Perfect.
- Our Authentic Self is discovered by listening to our Small voice. Being our Authentic Self means listening to our intuition.
In Part Two, we will take a look at how to begin to live our Authentic Life.
A poor baby tiger wandered around for some time, looking for his mommy and came upon a flock of sheep. Now, this little baby tiger was not threatening to these sheep. So, they took in the tiger and raised it as their own.
This tiger grew large, as tiger’s are want to do. But, instead of feasting on food that other tigers eat, it ate grass…just like the sheep.
One day, a big male adult tiger was hunting and came upon the sheep. Its eyes, sticking just above the grass, the big male scanned the flock, looking for the tastiest meal and what did this hungry tiger see? He saw a big adolescent tiger eating grass and when this adolescent tiger paused, it would lift up its head and say, “BAaAaaaAAAaaa”.
“Oh no”, thought the adult tiger. At once, he pounced into the herd, as though having come from a cannon filled with springs. The adult cat easily nabbed two sheep at once! The junior tiger looked up at the adult and…gulp, swallowed his grass.
The big male sauntered over to the cat and said, “Kid. What happened”? All the young tiger could respond with was, “BAaAaaaAAAaaa”.
The adult male thought to himself, “This is totally unacceptable” and he took that young tiger back to his cave. First thing he did upon arrival, was to open up one of the sheep he had nabbed. The adult tiger shoved a paw full of meat into the young tiger’s mouth. Having never tasted meat in his whole tiger life, do you know what he did? He threw up all over the cave floor.
Well, in time, our young friend grew accustom to the taste of the Tiger’s diet. He ate meat hardily and happily. He learned to silently hunt, to be still, and to attack with ferocity and suddenness. Perhaps most impressive, our big tiger friend learned to open up his jaws and roar, a roar that could reverberate throughout the fullness of the jungle and shake every animal to its core. In time, that young tiger grew into a very large adult and roamed and ruled its territory as every tiger so desires.
This story describes perfectly how to live an authentic live. The metaphor should be obvious; we have been tigers living among sheep. We have been eating food for sheep not food for tigers. The food we need to feast upon is the truth! The truth of our lives, and of ourselves and like the tiger when we discover the truth is difficult to keep it down.
How do we begin to live as our Authentic Self?
- We must discover what we have learned to be.
- We must discover the obstacles that are holding us back.
- We must begin seeking the new.
- We must mature into the flow of life.
What we have learned to be!
First we must be honest about what our life is now. Our families, friends, enemies and culture have defined for us what we should be. ‘What?’ is a wonderfully descriptive question that allows us to understand the present moment. When we normally ask who we are we answer with a ‘what’. It is our habitual way of thinking. So let’s use our habit to our advantage.
What is your life like now? Be honest. Be brutally honest. Be so honest with yourself about what your life is that it makes you cry. Discover what is there.
What we find there is fear; the fear of seeing our lives clearly. But do not despair! You have just made the first step on a journey and you can’t go on a journey by staying in one place. What your life is now is only the starting point.
Do your ‘whats’ make you fulfilled? Does the description of your life leave you feeling free and at peace? What is getting in your way of feeling these things? Look over your whole life and ask yourself what are the obstacles that are stopping you from feeling free, at peace and fulfilled?
The obstacles in our life are often the very path we must tread. So often we seek ways to avoid the obstacles or go around them. When we avoid the very things we must overcome we create anxiety. Think about going to the dentist. Most people hate the dentist and put it off for as long as possible. The more we avoid going the more anxious we become until when finally have no choice. What is the obstacle?
Once we can begin to discover the obstacles that are holding us back we can begin to look at what we need to do to overcome these obstacles. Typically we haven’t overcome these obstacles because we have yet to change anything about our lives. Discovering and overcoming obstacle is all about change. It takes action to transform our lives so we can overcome our obstacles.
What do you wish to transform in your life? Transformation in this respect is similar to fire; it is the turning of one thing into another. What in your life do you wish to transform? What are you going to transform it into? How are you actually going to make this transformation happen? But beware, with transformation comes chaos as we begin to take action. Chaos is a prelude to order. As we destroy the things in our life that no longer serve us we create chaos. Our world can seem to unravel, but it is in this unraveling that we begin to see the obstacles we need to overcome. It is the chaos of intentional action.
Seeking the New!
In seeking the new we must put away the old. We must put to death that which no longer works for us, but this is not a violent death. It is not a sudden death. It is a death in its own time and in its own way. It is kind and comfortable death. Remembering that what we are putting away has in many ways served us up to this point. We need to honor this but also accept that the time has come to move past them.
But to simple but to death that which no longer serves can leave us feeling adrift and alone. The feeling of being adrift is what stops so many people and keeps many more from living an Authentic Life. We must ground ourselves. We must find a life raft to cling to in this difficult time. The best crafted raft can be constructed from things we already have. We can craft a sanctuary from the things we value most in life. Construct you raft by listing the 6 things you value most in life; the 6 things that you absolutely cannot do without, the 6 things that if you can engage in make you day worthwhile.
Find the 6 things you value most in life and engage in at least one of them every single day! Allow your desire to engage in these things to pull you through your fear of change.
Into the Flow!
When we begin to intentionally letting go of that which no longer supports us, engage in the things we value most in life we come to a place of wisdom. When we begin to see the obstacle not as walls but as the path we come to a place of wisdom and internal stability. This stability is like the ice on a frozen river. It is clear allowing us to see the raging chaos of life but lifts us above it. We become of the world without being in the world. No longer are we affected by the vagaries of life, the distractions of the world or the opinions of others.
As we give up the life we have lived we begin to face the unknown and we must embrace the unknown. H.P. Lovecraft said “the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown.” Yet, if we can embrace the unknown we can escape the prisons we have placed ourselves in by embracing the ‘whats’ we have used to describe ourselves. The unknown is only scary because we so often only see the negatives. However, the unknown contains every possible outcome, every potential. The unknown holds the potential for every possible positive outcome. When we embrace the unknown we embrace our own potential to be anything and to do anything.
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us”
What are you capable of? What are you truly capable given time and effort? I don’t know and neither do you and that is the beauty of it. When we embrace our unknown potential we unlock the divine in ourselves and can truly begin living an Authentic Life!