Discovering Authenticity

Hard to imagine that we don’t know how to be ‘authentic’ in our lives, but yet I’ve found that throughout my existence most folks I’ve met were still trying to awkwardly determine how much of themselves they felt comfortable in exposing to others—likely myself included.  

Being truly AUTHENTIC in our lives is either an ability that we were gifted at birth, or a learned skill of “letting go and just BEING” developed after years of intense introspection and personal revelation.  

This concept of authenticity is often linked with our view of spirituality—our notion of ourselves as more than this flesh and blood body that reacts and emotes, and may sometimes act inappropriately in social settings, because those group gatherings are not our main focus; so we feel that we have to guard against revealing too much of our true selves when we are around others in fear that they couldn’t possibly understand us.

And that guardedness we may adopt in social settings might make us pretend to be who we aren’t, for fear of being ridiculed or condemned for simply being ourselves.  To counter the level of ‘social inadequacy’ that we may feel in those group settings, we often create a ‘public persona’ we can easily slip into just to appear more like the others around us.  Sound familiar?  

Well actually, if you are being truly authentic, you don’t care what others think of you, so you are simply being yourself no matter where you might be. And in all honesty, most social settings wouldn’t be your normal hang out anyway. You might find that solitude and nature environments feel more comfortable to you because that’s when you feel the greatest connection to your spiritual self—connections to that amazingly harmonious inner aspect that feels greater than our physical being—connections where we feel cellularly united in an inexplicable sense of ONENESS with all. 

Kind of a paradox really, that to feel interconnected to everything and everyone, we may need to isolate ourselves to do so.  

That’s because authenticity is actually a state of BEINGness—a state where you feel totally at peace with the person that you are at any moment in time.  In fact, you feel SO at peace with yourself that you can allow others to simply witness your presence radiating this indescribable quality of simply BEING HERE NOW for all to see at any time and anywhere.  THAT is true authenticity.

It is lovely to behold, as well as being rare to find in others—at least in those I’ve met.

When I run across a totally authentic person I actually stop for a moment and simply bask, as inconspicuously as possible, in their radiance.  Authenticity is a resonance—it’s a vibrational frequency that we recognize in our own being when we feel it coming from another. We are easily attracted to it because it makes us feel instantly at peace.

If you run across someone who radiates this particular vibrational essence, you will know it immediately. Charismatic gurus tend to give off this vibe, so it’s not hard to see why they attract many followers basking in their presence. That connection to higher frequencies beyond this plane of existence simply radiates from them wherever they are. And they are either intentionally or unintentionally channeling the higher energies through their bodies, which means that all people in their immediate proximity are likely feeling it for themselves without knowing why other than it’s what they feel when they are in that guru’s presence. And they LIKE FEELING IT.

So for your own self as you grow into an expanding sense of personal TRUTH, I would say that actual authenticity is a goal that you may hope to achieve, either naturally or after years of inner work, but at some point in your self-discovery journey you will realize that you don’t have to do any particular thing to be an authentic person, you simply need to allow yourself to BE who you naturally are in your purest state.  

And that’s plenty good enough for anyone.

Exploring Archetype Theory to Better Understand Your Own Actions

Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl G. Jung theorized that you could best understand the human mind by observing a person’s focused behavior, such as determining what we pursue in life, how we pursue it, what we hold most important to us, as well as how we consider ourselves in relation to others who coexist in our sphere of influence (Are we submissive, dominant, extroverted, introverted, play well with others or not so much?).

I’ve been a fan of Carl G. Jung since I first read his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections; and of the many contributions that he made to modern psychology he developed the earliest forms of ‘archetype theory’ based on twelve recognized thinking and behavior patterns in humans, which he gave easily-understood labels or iconic references to help others comprehend how universal these behaviors were to all of us.

He subdivided those twelve behavioral icons into three specific categories that he then labeled EGO, SOUL, and SELF. These focused categories have to do with our attitude toward our life, the manner in which we approach life’s perpetual challenge, and of course, how we see ourselves in the grand scheme of collective behavior.

My suggestion for a more quick-study version of better understanding archetypes and how they might apply to YOUR life is to read Caroline Myss’ book, Sacred Contracts.  (Most libraries carry it.)

Myss who is also a fan of Jung’s, quotes him on her own website:  “…For Jung, archetypes comprised psychological patterns derived from historical roles in life, such as the Mother, Child, Trickster, and Servant, as well as universal events or situations, including Initiation or Death and Rebirth. Along with our individual personal unconscious, which is unique to each of us, Jung asserted, ‘there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature that is identical in all individuals.’ This collective unconscious, he believed, was inherited rather than developed, and was composed mainly of archetypes.”

As Caroline studied Jung’s archetype system, she began to expand them into her own theory on WHY we incarnate here in this earth-plane classroom, and what iconic human behaviors and attitudes we are actually exploring during the process of living our lives here.

Pertaining to this ‘archetype theory’ in general, Caroline Myss herself lists over 70 specific archetypes on her website. If you do read the book, Sacred Contracts, you’ll easily get the gist of her theories on the REASON we may have for incarnating here, and WHY we are pursuing what we are doing with our lives in the manner that we are

I doubt that I could do justice to any explanation of either Jung’s or Myss’ archetype theories other than to say that by reading Myss’ book I learned to better recognize my own behaviors, and learned how to shift my perspective on:  1) assessing my personal attitude toward life, 2) determining how I actually viewed those other people around me, and 3) defining what manner or mode of operation I usually defaulted to when faced with a life challenge or a hardship.  It was quite revealing. (Not always pleasantly.)

So perhaps discovering your own mode-of-operation in the world might be valuable to you as well.  I will mention that for me, reading Myss was easier than reading Jung, but both are invaluable aides to better understanding your own motivations, which are key steps to take in actually finding your own truth.

Searching for LIFE’s Meaning

I mentioned earlier that I’d address ‘spirituality’ later. Well this must be the time, because the search for meaning in our lives is likely the biggest reason that you are trying to find your own truth.

As members of this expansive human species, we need to feel that we have a purpose or a reason for existing in whatever human package that we are currently wrapped.  We need a sense of meaning.

All of these strange, daily life experiences that we must explore in whatever way that they are presented to us, makes us question their reason for occurrence—question their timing in our lives—even question ourselves as to whether we’ll be able to successfully handle them without succumbing to ‘system overload’ and shutting ourselves down. 

I’m pretty sure I can’t cover in one posting all that needs to be mentioned about the importance of this ‘spirituality’ subject, or likewise, the search for our life’s meaning, but I’ll start the subject exploration by quoting myself from a previous blog now removed. (Pardon my ego, but I think it’s pertinent for further explanation of the subject matter.)

I had just discovered the chart above called “The Evolutionary Tree of Religion” by Simon E. Davies, and was absolutely fascinated by the baseline of Animism at around 40,000 years BCE, that then voluminously branched out of the main tree trunk and became the more widely-recognized world’s religions; and finally shot out again into all the subsets and idiosyncratic beliefs per each region of the world, as time advanced and the human species evolved in comprehension.  

This is how I phrased it previously:

“We are the SUM of our stories.

The world around us becomes the result of what we tell ourselves is happening.

We interpret our lives and the doings we experience within the confines of our beliefs. We make what we see and feel adhere to those beliefs.

From our first attempts at understanding all of life and our relationship to it, we created tales—myths—origins for ourselves within the context of what we saw and felt and intuited about our situations.

This chart—‘The Evolutionary Tree of Religion’ is fascinating to study and contemplate—at least fascinating to those who find it as such.

If you can’t quite make out the details, go to the Facebook address listed for HumanOdyssey.”  

(Or just do an Internet search for it—it’s still out there.)

***

 We truly are the “sum of our stories,” both as the collective human consciousness and the individual person simply trying to make some sense of his or her life.

Depending on the world location and the particular culture that you were born into, likely defined how you were raised to interpret the world around you.  

Each world region and diverse culture chose a particular way (religious philosophy) to find meaning in life—to give a sense of purpose to their existence—and to rationalize the hardships and losses that they were forever facing during any time period in human history. They needed a framework through which to view their lives, and they needed a context to help them make sense of so much seeming senselessness in the human condition.

As you are well aware, there’s a lot of senselessness in the world.  So to keep your own life from feeling that same blatant absurdity, you search for greater meaning to your existence—or to phrase it more specifically here—you go in search of your own truth.  

You ask: Why am I here? What am I suppose to do with my life? Who am I beyond the physical attributes that define me one way or another? Is there more to life than this daily interactive drama with my family, or my neighbors or my workmates?

What does it all MEAN in the BIG picture, and what part do I play?

And with those few “ask yourself in your journal” questions listed, I’ll mention one other person you might check out who actually survived the monstrosities of human depravity during his internment in a German concentration camp called Auschwitz.   His name was Dr. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, whose best-known book, Man’s Search for Meaning, is definitely worth a read and directly pertains to exploring those deepest, inner-most concerns.

There will be more to later explore on this subject as it pretty well encompasses, or even defines in many ways, our lives.

Leaving a Legacy

Sounds a bit pretentious in a way to even consider the concept of “leaving a legacy,” so in my own defense here, I can truthfully say that I jotted that title down while listening today to a vlogger I regularly follow (Kapache Lescher).

To paraphrase here in a few sentences, the speaker continued by asking, “What do we stand for and who are we at our core?  What is there in us that feeds off the greed, the power trip, the nastier aspects of our species that is never satisfied—that never has enough and always wants more, more, more?”

One question that he rhetorically posed, knowing full well the answer, “Is there no end to our desires and our dissatisfaction with who we currently are and what we presently control?”

Later he talks about “giving back” to the world that we all inhabit, and “giving back” to all who share our combined space, all of which he then labeled as “leaving a legacy” for future generations.

He stated that like Buddha repeatedly described, we should focus on “building our character,” not on amassing ‘things’ in our life and or in stacking our accomplishments to feed our ego.  “What are my values?” he asked.  “What is my core essence? What do we stand for and who are we?” 

There are all key questions whose answers you must determine for yourselves as you search for your own truth.

And one last Kaypache Lescher quote from this particular December 18, 2019 vlog entry pertains to MY focus here with this current blog: “The legacy we are leaving is that by working on our own shadows, we are contributing to the evolution of the species by doing our own personal inner work.  Improving one being affects the ALL.”

Exactly!  That’s certainly how I view it, which is likely why I enjoy listening to him.

But in terms of your own inner work, I would assume that your concern may not be so focused on leaving a legacy behind, as it is about comprehending who you are at present.  It’s about defining WHO YOU TRULY ARE as a living, breathing person, and WHAT YOU TRULY WANT from this current life that you inhabit. 

The legacy aspect comes naturally in TIME.  And it usually slips silently into the background until realized by others in a distant future.

Just as it should.

Life Expectations

I mentioned in the “Finding Your Truth” starting post that there are two things you need to personally discover to actually find your truth. One of them was to determine what you really expect from LIFE; and the second was to figure out what LIFE expects from you in return.”

You might look at those two enigmatic categories of expectations and say, “What do you mean?  I KNOW what I want from life—lots of money, loving spouse, big house, nice car, a few kids, good career, compatible friends, having fun, etc. What’s so tough about determining that?” 

Well yes, as young adults those are all the normal components of what a ‘good life’ consideration often brings to mind.  But I would question that as you gain a few years/decades of actual experience in this world and during the process of doing so, ferment your hard-won personal maturity into either an aged fine wine or putrefied vinegar, whether those same ‘good life’ expectations will hold up to the passage of TIME.

And quite honestly, you may not determine the true answer to the first part of that question without better comprehending the answer to the second part prior. Think about it just a bit: “What does LIFE expect from you?”

Before the human species had such a major expansion in group consciousness, I would have answered simply that LIFE expects us to 1) personally survive at all costs, at least long enough to 2) procreate and continue our species, because that’s what assures the continuation of LIFE itself.  LIFE expects to LIVE in some way—that’s the purest and simplest likelihood of LIFE’s expectation for a living species: basic survival and species continuance.

But as soon as the early-struggling, bipedal mammal showed great promise for consciousness expansion, I believe LIFE expected us to focus more so on that aspect—meaning, focusing not so much on the sheer quantity of humans existing in the world’s limited space—but to focus more so on expanding the quality of the human comprehension capability and living experience in general.

In other words, I believe that LIFE wants us to not only be alert and aware of the safety/hazards of everything around us, but also to become self-aware as well to understand that while we seem to be independent units of hormonally-driven behaviors, we are also interconnected beings of swiftly advancing intelligence and empathic resonances. 

Even more specifically than that, I don’t think that we are as truly independent or individual as we believe ourselves to be. I think we are far more interdependent and covertly communal than we might choose to imagine.  What that means is that the ‘doings’ of one of us automatically affects the ‘doings’ (and maybe even the ‘beings’) of ALL of us. One person’s expansion of consciousness affects all connected conscious beings by minutely expanding their consciousness as well. 

That’s the assumed collective “resonance” aspect; that we may affect each other intentionally and non-intentionally by the sheer strength of our minds.  Even the thoughts that we may hold daily affect not only ourselves, but may also affect the greater collective consciousness to which we all belong in the process.  That’s called “morphic resonance,” coined by Rupert Sheldrake’s research into how broadly dispersed members of a species intellectually advances without being in direct contact with each other at the time.

So while you might believe that you’re just ‘doing your own thing in your own way,’ and it doesn’t matter to anyone but you, in a broader sense it matters to ALL of us in some subtle aspects, as well as more tangible ways.

And because of that mutually-affecting consideration, as you search for your own TRUTH, know also that you are helping the rest of us in finding our own truth as well, because believe it or don’t, we’re ALL in this world together.

Assessing Your Life

Here we go, jumping into the deep end of the pool. Do you know how to swim?

That is a key question LIFE asks you from the very beginning. Can you keep your head above water during an unexpected dunking?

Sometimes you get the chance to slowly test your bob-ability in life, but other times someone/something just grabs you out of that comfortable deckchair where you were so serenely lounging—soaking in the sunshine and quietude, and tosses you into the cold, dark water, yelling, “Sink or swim!”

To carry that analogy a little bit further, for many of us, our parents did their best to “drown-proof” us with swimming lessons and floatation devices, but LIFE has a way of bypassing the safeguards set in place with the best of parental intentions.

And sometimes, if we are being honest, not all kids had the helicoptering ‘protective parent’ to rely on, so some children were forced early on to save themselves as best they could.

Whichever  ‘deep-end dunk-ee’ you might be, what matters most now is to determine what your current situation is—are you safe and secure on a solid foundation or are you still treading water with the fear of drowning in your every conscious thought?

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed with meeting daily, essential needs and fulfilling our responsibilities to our families, to our jobs, to our friends, and lastly, to ourselves.  There may be no water involved at all in our actual scenarios, but we still FEEL like we are slowly drowning.

If you are actually feeling that way, then be honest and acknowledge it—to yourself—to those you care about—and especially to those who may be able to help you in some way.  Sometimes we all need a different perspective on our personal situations because we can’t see beyond the end of our noses when LIFE is so overwhelming to us.  Counselors, therapists, support groups, etc., offer that ‘other perspective’ to help us assess the problems we may face and to suggest possible solutions that we might not be aware of, that could change our current situation for the better. Sometimes you just need someone to listen and someone to say, “Hey, what about this?”

This is the first step in assessing your life.  Ask yourself to honestly define where you are at present? What are you experiencing physically, mentally, and emotionally?   

‘Spiritually’ is a whole other consideration, so we’re not going there right now, and that’s also why I didn’t mention ‘clergy’ in the listener/advisor consideration. It’s better to have someone listening to you who won’t push their own tainted perspective/agenda.  In truth, sometimes a listener’s ‘tainted perspectives’ may clash with our own deepest psychological needs to express the truth of our being, and it may prevent us from being absolutely honest with that person and or even with ourselves.

More questions to consider:  Are you sure of yourself and your future intentions—your proposed life direction? Does that seem to be working well for you?  What aspect isn’t working so well for you?

Are you confused about your life’s path and how the terrain around you doesn’t look exactly like you had thought that it would by now? What is different about where you thought you would be by this age and where you actually are?

Day to day, hour to hour, do you feel happy most of the time?  Or do you feel sad, or disheartened, or disappointed, or resentful, or even angry, and you may have no idea why you feel that way?  When someone would ask me how I was doing at any time, I would always immediately say, “I’m fine.”

Was I really FINE?  Probably not, but I was doing the best that I could at that time.  Is that how you truly feel?  Are you FINE, until you aren’t?  What does FINE really feel like for you?

So my suggestion here is to first determine where you really are, and what you are actually feeling at your most honest, heart-centered emotion.  And if you don’t have a professional ‘listener’ like a counselor or a therapist to hear you explain your feelings and to make you dig for the deepest stuff you’ve long ago buried in your most-secret, childhood memories, then buy a thick blank notebook, and start writing it down—write down the questions I’ve mentioned here, then write down your most honest, heart-felt answers to follow them.

In other words, start a JOURNAL!

Journaling has helped me to better understand myself in more ways than I could have ever imagined.  Sometimes I would have no prior idea what was going on in my troubled head until it flowed out of the pen and onto the paper under my hand.  I have journaled for thirty years. It helps tremendously to clear your mind.

I view journaling as a critical step in assessing where you are in your life. So take the time. Get what’s bothering you out of your head and onto the page under your hand.

You might be pleasantly surprised or maybe a little shocked, because it really helps clear the brain-fog and sort through stifled emotions.  Certainly works for me.

Survival of the Bendable

Tree analogies aside, (i.e., strength of the oak vs. the pliability of the ash or willow) when it comes to surviving LIFE’s harsher realities in general, you need a game plan.  And usually early in school, those types of LIFE STRATEGIES aren’t stressed because few teachers want to discuss these personally difficult subjects—probably because they witness daily too many students already experiencing them at their young ages.

What I would most like to do in this blog is to provide perspectives that offer options for you—strategies NOT for “coping” with whatever you must face down in your life, but for successfully “dealing with and progressively moving past” whatever challenges LIFE throws your way because that is how you learn to bend, without breaking.

When your life falls apart for whatever reason that it does due to deaths, Illness, accidents, disappointments, lost loves, career jolts, etc., you simply stop for a moment or a day or a week—whatever time you need—and acknowledge that no matter what awful thing has just occurred in your life, you are still here in this world and you have to somehow move forward from this point onward. Your simple task now is to figure out how to do it. That is what I call defining/adopting your “moving forward” LIFE strategy.

I strongly dislike the often-touted, employee-manipulation slogan that corporate America uses to encourage their workers to “develop better coping abilities” for their lives, because “coping” means to pretend that the awful thing you are currently enduring is acceptable to the human condition if you can just anesthetize yourself in some way to the awfulness that it actually represents, directly or indirectly, in your life.  

There are numerous pills, booze, drugs, etc., all designed to COPE with LIFE’s unfairness or unpleasantness in general.  None of them will actually move you out of an untenable situation.  They will simply make you stew longer in your own desperation and despair.  

The insidiousness of coping strategies is the more frequently that you use them, the longer they make you feel more helpless and beyond hope for a better solution to the dilemma you are now facing; which means that if you are too distracted or numb inside to think about the horrible state of affairs that you are currently enduring, then maybe the awful mess that you are working so hard to suppress from your consciousness, will magically go away. 

Except it won’t; and it doesn’t.  Coping strategies feed on our own self-delusions and our tendencies toward avoiding problems or life’s unpleasantness because we don’t like thinking about them.

Coping gets you nowhere other than exactly where you last were when you first tried to blot out the horrid situation or circumstances from your mind.

That is NOT successfully surviving the difficult challenge that you might be currently facing, nor is it demonstrating the essential bendability necessary for you to move beyond the awfulness of your present moment.  All coping succeeds in doing is to delude yourself that those pills, drugs, booze or whatever else you might use to pretend this unpleasantness isn’t happening to you, can help you endure the situation until circumstances magically change for the better in the future.  It’s like believing that if you are patient enough FATE will eventually smile on you and suddenly right the current wrong on your behalf that you are feeling. 

I would hate to guess the statistics in your favor on waiting for FATE to shift things to your benefit.  FATE has its own timeline, and sometimes it doesn’t match up to ours.  While you might eventually wait out an unpleasant situation, you can’t outlast a hazardous-to-your-health one; and stress can be an insidious killer.

But consider this option instead: Rather than simply ‘coping’ with a bad set of circumstances, shift your perspective on what you are actually experiencing to better see ALL the choices that might be available to you IF you simply changed your current behaviors in one or two important ways.

Being bendable means to reassess the stressful condition that you are facing from a more rational (less emotional) perspective to truly understand:  1) why you are facing it at present, 2) to determine what you must do to move beyond the current situation and its horrid effect on your life, and 3) determine how you can develop a strategy for either moving around or climbing over the boulder now blocking your path to happiness and a better life.  

Being bendable means to be strategic, but not stupid.

Assess your true options. Ask for input from counselors or professional advisors on how to improve your choices for a better life. Then strategize a way to move beyond the limitations of your current situation by taking solid steps to your personal improvement, and by listing a future goal that would signify your success once achieved.  It could involve additional training or further education in a field of choice more appealing than your present employment.  (Example: I went back to grad school at age 40 to get my Masters in English. I worked my regular Graphic Artist job full time while attending classes at night and weekends, and gave up vacations for two-week intensives on certain subjects. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t cheap with my limited income, but I did eventually achieve my goal.  So I know it is possible to do this and change your life for the better with some extra personal effort and the determination to do so.)

And yes, there will always be some type of challenge to your happiness, present or future, because that is simply LIFE. LIFE is meant to challenge us—because creatively meeting that challenge is how we grow.

Your choice is to decide what core essentials you truly want in your LIFE and what type of person do you truly wish to be, then determine how best you can make your life count to not only help yourself to a better life, but also help make ALL of our lives better in some way by improving your own outlook and attitude, because actually we’re all in this LIFE together, even though we may feel isolated and alone much of the time.

Making your life and ALL of our lives better in some way, is what finding your truth means, and that is WHY we are here.  Together.

Finding Your Truth

I could have easily titled this blog “Finding MY Truth” but that’s not what this written effort is about.  This blog’s focus is to help others in finding their own truth.

In reality, your TRUTH might not be the same as MY truth; but what I’d like others to know is that I compassionately encourage you in your explorations to find your personal truth because I know how arduous that search can be—how rocky the terrain that lies ahead—how tedious the extended journey awaiting you, simply to uncover those deeply-hidden secrets of YOU. 

And I also know how life can change in an instant when the winding, mountainous path that you were so confidently traveling suddenly crumbles beneath your feet—tossing you screaming off the cliff and out into space.

Having faced some of that unexpected “air time” myself, I know how shocking it can be when your life suddenly falls apart, forcing you to see how quickly you either learn to fly, or how well you can bounce once you do hit the canyon floor.  

Also from my own experiences in personal TRUTH finding (as well as surviving LIFE’s challenges), I know how rare it is to find others willing to offer emotional support or encouragement to get you back on your feet again without a ‘profit motive’ involved.  True, we all have to make a living, but there are times when you should compassionately look to help others without first considering what they can offer you in return.   

So up front here: I don’t want your money—in fact I don’t want anything from you other than some deep soul-searching to determine what you really expect from LIFE and what LIFE expects from you in return.

If you can answer those two key questions to your own satisfaction, then that’s plenty reciprocal reward for me.

Remember, MY truth may not be YOUR truth, but I know MY truth better than I know yours, so that is likely what I will write about the most and hope you can see parallels or divergences by which to gauge your own truth. 

Life is an adventure—one we may never truly understand in this plane of existence—but one we have to navigate all the same.  So good luck!  As you journey ever forward, stay alert to avoid sudden pitfalls and just watch where you step in general, because it’s one big ‘cow pasture’ out there.*   

* (I’m from Iowa: If you think dogs leave an unappreciated ‘pile’ behind in walkways, imagine what a bunch of cows might leave behind during your pastoral wandering.)

Rebecca A. Holdorf

Rebecca A. Holdorf, has a Masters in English, and is a certified hypnotist, specializing in Past-Life and Spirit World Exploration; as well as a Usui and Karuna REIKI Master Teacher presently located near Davenport, Iowa. Author of five books, she also conducts workshops and training in Self-empowerment, True-self Actualization and REIKI. Her company is Foundations of Light, LLC, web address is http://www.lightfoundations.com . Contact her at reiki@lightfoundations.com . View more posts

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