I know that I have written about authenticity before…but a couple of events occurred recently that brought it “front and center”. I took that as a sign that this important topic needs to be discussed…and explored…again.
First…the events. #1: I was recently very ill with the cold/flu/what-have-you with the very persistent and lingering cough that has been “going around”. When I say “very ill”…I mean several days with NO voice, a couple of weeks where I literally couldn’t talk without going into a coughing spasm, and another week or so where I was recovering, but very low energy and definitely “not myself.” As I started feeling better, I got back on Face Book, because I could communicate without having to talk/cough. Plus, I was not contagious to my FB friends! I mentioned that I had been sick, and shared now and then about oils or other treatments that were helping me get over this “bug”. One of our friends mentioned to a mutual friend that I shouldn’t get on Face Book and talk about being sick “because I am a healer”, and that “doesn’t look good.”
Event #2: A client called and wanted to come by my office to pick up some essential oils during this time. I felt awful, and really did not want to expose her to anything, not knowing the status of her immune system, so I expressed that. There was a silence, and then the comment “But, you are a healer!” I answered…”Yes, but I am also human!”
I have to say that I had a very immediate and strong reaction to both of those events. My heart-felt thought was that, more than anything…it is important that we be authentic. To those who know us and care about us, to those who are merely acquainted with us…I fell that it is hugely important that they know who we really are, how we really feel, and how we are really doing! So, to express anything but what is really going on is, at a minimum, “sugar-coating” reality; at worst, it denies our humanity and our truth, and is duplicitous…it conveys a falsehood.
This month’s issue of Vanity Fair features a series of photographs by renowned photographer, Chuck Close, who has several rules that must be followed by anyone who wishes to be photographed by him: They must wear no make up; They must not have their hair styled; They must allow sufficient time (3 hrs.) for the photo shoot. In essence, they must present their authentic selves. Brad Pitt, Oprah Winfrey, Scarlett Johansson and Kate Winslet are among those featured in the photos.
I thought it a marvelous synchronicity when I read about the Vanity Fair article…and the sensation that is being caused by these “authentic” pictures! Authenticity is something that is continually challenged and frequently forsaken in today’s times. So, why is that important?
Being something we are not…to reach some unrealistic goal or to meet someone’s expectations of takes its toll on both our health and our energy. People who cannot be their authentic selves in a relationship, or at work find that maintaining that facade often causes headaches, stress, digestive issues, including ulcers, and insomnia. How many essential oils I have suggested to clients dealing with these symptoms/consequences of inauthenticity!
Likewise, the energy it takes to maintain a “front”, to attempt to project a perfect persona, or a persona different than our natural one, robs us of vital energy, life-force, that could be so much better used for other efforts. People become depleted, exhausted when they are not operating from their authentic selves.
Finally, what is to me the greatest sacrifice, is that those who are not living an authentic life can actually become separated from who they truly are…and become unclear about their driving values, beliefs and passions. They feel truly “lost” and have lost their internal compass.
I always tell my students that something rarely talked about, but powerfully present in pure, unadulterated essences…virtually all essences…is that they bring you to your authenticity, if you use them consistently. I found that they made it imminently clear what was for me, and what was not…whether we were talking about a relationship, a job, an activity, or anything else. Indecisiveness went out the window, because I got very clear on who I was, what was important to me, and which choices would align with that.
So, there you have it…a couple of recent life lessons for me concerning authenticity, and all that they brought up for me. Thank goodness I have my Laurel Leaf, Rhododendron, Geranium and Fragonia, on literally a daily basis, to support me in speaking my truth, attracting to myself those who will support me and my path, living harmoniously with the earth and her children, and being clear….so clear…on who I truly am, and acting decisively from that clarity. Thank you plants and trees…connection with you helps so many realize their humanness…but it also helps us claim, and live life as, our authentic self.
I hope this is a reminder or a support to you to honor and express your authentic self…after all, that is the true gift of who you are. Much love, Audre