Tag Archives: authenticity

gonna go ’round in circles

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As I gaze outside the window I see that a fresh batch of rain has left micro puddles in the creases of the patio chairs on the deck. I at once feel a sense of urgency to “get things done” (“things” not being entirely defined) and a need for continuing on with the process of self-inquiry to determine the things that I should be getting done. It sounds like a small civil war has unleashed from my son’s room down the hall, as continual gunfire from the video game he is playing pounds at my temples.

Apparently my foray into town yesterday evening and imbibing in happy hour revelry is something I am sadly out of practice with. I didn’t have that much to drink but the little was still enough to keep me from feeling fully rested after a night’s sleep and left me with a hint of a headache right behind my left eye.

The Spreecast for the book group meeting that has been an ongoing Saturday morning “thing” for the past month was canceled with short notice this morning and I’m feeling a bit adrift – I look forward to it. Clearly, I don’t get out much.

I fired off a half dozen or so job applications this morning. This process of applying remotely is a bit daunting. Yet another way we dehumanize the process of interacting with the world. I wonder if I will find work soon, and whether it will bring me the kind of satisfaction that I am hoping to find. I want to contribute saliently and also be my genuine self. It seems like the two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive but I’ve found that it often is. Why is making a decent living wage such rocket science these days? It didn’t used to be, and finding work was relatively easy.

I want to dissolve into play, or get lost in a book, yet when I try to do either I seem incapable of full absorption. Movies then. Maybe I ought to watch something and suspend the brain chatter that way. Giving the crunching a rest while it works in the background to figure things out might yield more valuable results.

So… this is a meandering post, to go with my meandering mood. The rain has started back up again, in earnest, yet the sun has broken through a parting in the clouds to illuminate the trees in the front yard. Another explosion booms from my son’s room. Today feels like it will be a very strange day.

I should vacuum. Maybe I ought to knit something. I think there’s an ibuprofen gelcap with my name on it. A donut sounds really good… fresh and chocolate dipped.

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authentic is the new “higher”

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Buzz words. They are created by virtue of their overuse in vernacular. Eventually they lose their sexiness and a new one is adapted, but until then the word pompously bombards us with it’s directive: BE THIS.

And I really didn’t want authentic to lose it’s charm… it’s punch… it’s fabulous weightiness of meaning.

Who doesn’t want to be authentic? At our core we humans all want to be seen, accepted and (gasp! even) loved for who we are at our most tender and raw. Who, then, could transform such an empowering word such as authentic into one that we have to strive toward rather than simply embrace?

Oh, again with the cult of self-improvement, we can no longer simply be ourselves, we must become our “authentic selves”.

To me, authenticity is a cyclical process. While we’d like a think that a new way of being can be somehow “downloaded” like some divine program, it is only through experiencing life and embracing all of its aspects fully that we can grow into ourselves. Just because we have a certain awareness of ourselves (and perhaps even the divine parts of ourselves) doesn’t guarantee that we will always be in alignment with that part – and that is fucking okay, see?

At twenty, I felt I was being authentic. Certainly, I knew when I wasn’t always acting from a place of authenticity. I chose my actions in accordance with imagined outcomes based on what I thought other people would say, think or feel about them. That would seem inauthentic, perhaps, but my choices propelled me toward greater learning about myself and how I operated in the world, and I would never have gleaned that wisdom without experiencing the other shite first-hand.

The thing is, we are all being authentic within ourselves, all the time – we merely perhaps lack the confidence to be ourselves at all times with others. Perhaps we must temper our behaviour to fit into certain situations because of cultural or societal expectations. We still know who we are at our core, even though it isn’t always practical to act out of that place. We don’t have to feel compelled to ram ourselves and all of the beliefs we so fervently embrace down everybody’s throats.

I’ve had many adventures so far, some I would have perhaps preferred to avoid but those seem (by far) to have been the ones I’ve gained the most from. I don’t need someone to tell me to tune in to my intuition, or show me how to listen to that small still voice that is warning me about something. On some level I am fully aware of the consequences of my choices and I make them anyway, perhaps because they are experiences my “soul” must have in order for it to get to a place where it is more receptive once again.

I think our life offers us the gift of adventure. Those who are naturally inclined toward self-inquiry will inevitably be delving deeper into finding a higher purpose or calling, even as we each stumble along our very human journeys on our road toward that ultimate fulfillment. Sometimes the strongest of convictions can lead us down a path that ultimately doesn’t truly serve us (or the ones we were hoping to serve).

In some ways we will never really know what our purpose in this life is – not until we are done and the fruit of our legacy is observed in hindsight. I don’t think one needs a blueprint to figure out what we are here to accomplish (individually or collectively), certainly not one proposed to us by someone other than ourselves. I think we must merely live our best lives, in whatever capacity that encompasses at each moment that we find ourselves in, and embrace all parts of our humanly imperfect journey.

Maybe it would make all of us just a little kinder, a little more compassionate and allow the journey to be a little bit more of a joyous one.

With love,
Adriane xo

Not-so-MORNING PAGES

Less than a half hour away from my final creativity group coaching session with Jill – at least for the time being.

I haven’t written since Friday. I guess I took the weekend off, and now it’s Tuesday and I’m lagging. The story gnaws at me, pulling at my edges while I continue to fumble my way through it. It is never far from my thoughts, but no words have come through yet.

I’ve been great with distracting myself. I spent the morning listening to Eminem and Pink on my iTunes, sifting through emails and multiple cups of coffee… I suppose I will graduate to a cup of tea – to be made before the call begins. That, and void my bladder.  (Yes, TMI.)

I’m still dispirited. I don’t really know what ails me. It’s back to gray and rainy again, though the last week has been quite bright and sunny and I haven’t gone outside since my birthday (or maybe it was the day after… but it’s been at least a week since I’ve presented myself to the world, fully dressed).

This morning I am doing the no-pants dance (literally… you should have seen me grooving in the kitchen while I was waiting for water to boil and my toast to brown), sitting in my t-shirt and striped underwear as I type this out. Eventually I’ll shower and dress – Rob Brezsny said that I should make my hair and face as shiny as can be… my best self. I’m sure he doesn’t mean the kind of shiny my hair is, in its current state (which is just greasy from skipping a day or two of shampooing). Damn overactive sebum glands. It keeps me young looking but more slick than I’d like.

I have been thinking that I really miss having a relationship. I miss the complicity. I miss the bodily contact, the comfortable familiarity of colliding atoms with another person, in good (at times pleasurable) ways. I miss another’s touch on my body – the tentative exploration, seeking visceral knowledge of pleasure and connection. The tangible feel of affection and love as it flows out of a hand.

I miss it but not enough to do anything about it.

So by virtue of these distracting thoughts, I’ve been struggling with writing on the story this morning (what else is new?). You’d think that desire fades with time, but it’s not true; not yet, anyway. I suppose fifty is still too young for it not to still be alive and well.

I “found” an old boyfriend on Facebook the other day. The mind is always curious about what has become of people we have known but not seen in a long while. He was my first mad love. We were crazy about each other, and also just plain crazy.

We didn’t know who we were, or how to be, and certainly we weren’t in a healthy relationship (because we didn’t even know what that looked like), but man, were we ever in love. At least I was. I think he was too. It seems so long ago… thirty years. We’ve both been married and divorced. He has been in another long term relationship with someone and is afraid to accept my friend request because it may make her jealous. So still, perhaps, not so healthy, relationship-wise.

Jealousy. What an interesting emotion it is; so detrimental, and yet so prevalent – and consuming. Thinking that permanent possession of something or someone is possible, and fearing its loss – the lesson of impermanence not yet gleaned. Nor the understanding that even when people stay together, things change and evolve – and different doesn’t necessarily mean bad.

Jealousy rears itself on its hind quarters like a spooked horse when one feels insecure in oneself or a relationship (or a situation). It takes gentle self-compassion (and for the other person likewise to show compassionate awareness) to move past it. Of being truthful, kind and transparent… and that level of exposure is fearsome and hard.

Life is too short to be spending it on not wearing yourself on your sleeve, though. Not doing so robs everyone of your best self, including you.

Transparency is important, I think. I learned that the hard way, over many relationships and many years of trial and error.

My last one was the hardest. It stretched me further than I had ever stretched before; it made me grow in ways I didn’t think I had to grow or didn’t know that I wanted to. It was at once one of the most intense and most terrifying relationships that I’d ever had.

It still saddens me that the experience wasn’t a reciprocal one – that the power of it was diminished because we weren’t equally open and present to each other. It taught me a lot about releasing expectation and what the meaning of responsibility was in the context of a relationship. It also taught me to be mindful of my instincts – my body knew what was happening even before things became known – the body knows; trust the body. It also taught me to trust my worth. I am worthy. I am worthy. I am worthy.

I think that the only way to evolve in this world is through relationship – to enjoy the process while growing in awareness. It is like walking in two worlds, really, one foot in the sacred, and one foot in the profane.

I miss it but not enough to do anything about it.

morning pages… thoughts on sharing…

InnerWindow
(collage-in-progress)

Bam! Bam! Bam!

The sound of metal hitting metal permeates the house. It is relentless. They are driving steel rods into the earth for the Skytrain station being built across the street, and the construction noise is nerve-wracking.

When the banging stops the silence in the wake of the noise is so loud that it almost hurts. I’ve been drowning it out with music but I want to write and I can’t focus as well on the writing when I am listening to music, so the unsilent silence is what I will have to live with.

Somewhere in there is a metaphor for my present moment, I’m sure.

I awoke late this morning, at a few minutes short of ten, and by the time I’d gotten the coffee making, breakfast eating sorted out, personal hygiene and other things done, it is now twenty-five after eleven. I want to work on my Cauliflower story. I have a group coaching call with Jill at noon and so there isn’t much time to get into the momentum of writing – it will have to wait until afterwards. I’ve written my dream log (first thing, upon waking) and I’ve checked my email, flicked and unsubscribed from the endless sea of spam messages as they came in, and went to the Esso station to pick up a half litre of half & half so I can have my coffee. I’ve eaten some yogurt and granola and I’ve showered. I’ve cleaned out the cat’s litter box and swept the entryway.

The days are flowing by more quickly than I’d like them to, although I am also anxiously awaiting the arrival of some money which will not be for another couple of weeks yet. It’s been difficult, but I am learning to sink into ease despite the discomfort. I’ve been creatively productive, though, if I have to dig around for a silver lining.

*oh! the mail… through the mail slot… always makes me jump…*

Well, the mail brought a bill for our health coverage services and I am unable to pay it, so I called them and they’ve put a temporary hold on collection services and I can also apply for the waiving of the fees during my unemployment. Which is a relief because I don’t want to have to choose between food and healthcare coverage, or rather be forced to pay for the coverage at the expense of having food.

Well. So here I am again in this really uncomfortable place of not having. And it sucks. And I’m tired of being here over and over and over again.

And I’m also trying to not feel sorry for myself. I’m trying to be optimistic while sharing my story.

And I’m noting that I am in constant struggle with my inner critic who says things like “I have not been doing anything constructive”, which is something that is mirrored by others around me. “WHAT have you been doing with your time?” they ask. “WHY haven’t you found work yet?” “You need a job – stop being so picky.”

All sort of true things. True in that it is obvious that I must work again (or generate an income in some way), but also not true in that I must be hasty in my selection of the work I choose. Yes, there is a sense of urgency but I have to trust that the steps I am taking, in concert, will yield the results that I wish to gain. And I’m figuring it out as I am going along. New territory is always tough to breach. I don’t have a map, really. Just some landmarks to follow as I stumble across the terrain, trying to get to the other side, to where I really want to be. Today that would be a nice sunny soft sand oceanside beach, with a good book and a picnic basket. With wine. LOTS of wine.

I know there are other people that are way worse off than I am or are having some insane life challenges that are way beyond my little woes (like a woman from one of our online art groups who had to go in to surgery yesterday to have her tongue removed because of the big “C” … or … after looking at the photo essay by Lisa Kristine on Modern Day Slavery, my life looks like a cake walk in comparison). So much courage out there and I feel laughably ridiculous with my little woes. First World Problems. But problems nonetheless.

They are my woes, and I still have to deal with them, and it still feels … hard. By honouring that I am allowed to find things difficult validates me in a way that I have not been able to find validation from any other source: it gives me courage to dig deeper and go just a little beyond myself.

Being vulnerable is often considered a character flaw. I don’t mean vulnerable in the sense of being at risk of injury but the kind that is to authentically share what it feels like being you, including the nasty bits that make you (and possibly other people) uncomfortable. Scary.

I have very little idea who reads this blog or how it is received. I don’t want to further burden an already over-burdened world. I do want to share, though, my unadulterated journey because I’m sure that there are others who feel exactly the same way I do about something but they feel isolated and marginalized in some way, and UNHEARD.

So this is what I want to create, I suppose … a vehicle to hear and to be heard.

I choose to do it by writing my own story. I open up a window for others to peer in to – sometimes that simple act allows others to create their own opening and show just a little more of themselves.

I consider the showing and the witnessing a sacred act.
And I consider that unfolding to be a victory.

Peace. xo

an unfinished human

I’ve been on a bit of a downward spiral lately, and though there are some specific reasons for it, I don’t really feel that I should address them here. I will, however, talk about what I am (and have, for many, many years been) doing to get through to the other side.

Caveat: this works for me; I am an individual and we all have different ways of processing things. Take what resonates with you, and leave the rest; offer insight if you think it might be helpful, to me or anyone else.

Double-edged sword: I’ve been feeling creative lately, and writing more. What that means is that I am having to go into vulnerable places in order to access the meaty stuff that makes for good writing. On the flip side of that, things have been happening in my exterior world that are directly affecting my interior one. Things like news of possible lay-offs and general unrest at the workplace; financial issues with potential court room drama that come at a time when I am still in a tenuous financial situation; increased expenses without an increase in salary (for instance my rent went from $1100 a month to $1665 a month with utilities; that’s a slightly more than a 50% increase in rental costs alone); an old relationship resurfacing when the healing process had still not yet been completed. I could go on.

This is a small sampling, but there is an added amount of stress, real or imagined, that is pushing me into a kind of frantic state that I have a hard time dealing with, especially on my own. If you ask me about a support system (the kind that we normally look to: family, friends, etc.), I can say that I can’t really rely on any since I don’t have one in place, not really. This is, however, something I’m quite used to, so I have learnt that I have to reach out and find solutions because, contrary to popular believe, “going it alone” doesn’t ever work very well, and “sucking it up” doesn’t resolve the issues nor does it provide any relief for the anxiety. I’ve tried both, even recently, and it only ends up manifesting in physical ailment. Hint: it’s not a good course of action.

So enter the “self-help queen” – I must have one of the most extensive motivational, inspirational and self-help libraries around, but there are always new books (i.e., tools) that come out that I am (until the moment when I’m having a quasi-meltdown) unaware of. So I purchase more, because over the long haul, even a handful of books costs less than sitting through weeks and months of therapy. I’m not saying that therapy isn’t helpful, with the right counsellor, but the costs are quite prohibitive and it would behoove me to become proactive in my own getting out of my mire process. If all else fails and I’m still not able to find some mending, I would of course get some external assistance.

At the moment I’ve begun reading a couple of books:

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown; and
The Muse Is In: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity by Jill Badonsky

I was already reading:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain; and
Women Who Run With The Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

So… I read slowly, bits of whichever of these happen to resonate at any given moment, over a period of time.

Well, that’s not quite true. I am reading Women Who Run With The Wolves with an online group and we are reading through a chapter every couple weeks, which, since the content is really dense and the exercises we are working through quite deep, it’s a bit of a crawling along (though rewarding) process.

The Gifts of Imperfection will be needed for an online workshop I signed up for with Brené, and similarly, I signed up for an online month-long teleconference/remote coaching group session with Jill Badonsky to help deal with some of my creativity issues, which essentially just boil down to the more basic issues that are the foundation of many of the other things that keep me from living as someone who is (as Brené calls it) Wholehearted.

I have moments of being in this state, so I know what I’m missing out on when I’m not. And I can tell you that it is wonderful. But like anything that’s worth working for, it takes some effort to maintain, and (clearly) I have many times that I downright fall right off the wagon.

So I’ve come to the meat of this post; the reason I wanted to write about this in the first place.

I know I am not alone.

YOU are not alone.

If there is ever a moment of inquiry that you pause in and wonder how you could be doing ‘this’ better, not because you are inadequate at doing whatever it is that you are doing, but because there is perhaps another way that might yield better results, you are drawing on your courage, and that is remarkable.

It is often said that happiness is a state of mind; I believe this to be true – it *is* a state of mind, and not dependent upon many of the things that we associate with happiness – money, success, love, sex, material acquisitions – because I have seen so many people with so much and yet they are not happy.

Truthfully, we all long for connection, and how we individually interpret that differs tremendously, but the more we can come to understand ourselves and what connection really means to us, the further along the path we can move to becoming a slightly less unfinished human.

Tangents… and the journey to my essential self…

So much has changed in such little time, in my little insignificant life… and yet here I am, at the cresting of this new year (and also an approaching birthday) and find that the path that I’d been walking on has summarily disappeared… my marriage is dissolving… I have been fired from my (deplorably boring, yet vexing) job… and I am at a crossroads… a place where I can hopefully reinvent my life in such a way as to be pleasing to myself, but also in alignment with the larger-than-myself task I feel I’ve come here to accomplish.

Oftentimes I feel like I’ve squandered precious time, meandering through what seems like endless tangents on my way to some mysterious, inscrutable place, and yet that is the beauty of it, I think. Every moment that I have lived and experienced has only been wasted if I did not take notice of it, and revere it for what it was. Gathering up pieces of myself, and leaving some behind, as I trudge onward in my journey, I can say that each moment has brought me closer to the essence of who I am… the essential me… and whether arms opened to receive me, or by others was pushed away, each has given me a greater understanding of my Self. And for that I am grateful.

Beginnings and secrets…

Vyasa: There’s something secret about beginning. I don’t know how to start.

Ganesha: As you claim to be the author of the poem, how about beginning with yourself?

– Jean-Claude Carriere, The Mahabharata: A Play Based Upon the Indian Classic Epic, trans. Peter Brook, (New York: Harper & Row, 1987)

Shake ups are good… I’m finding that when stuff is really not feeling right, it’s the best remedy, and more welcome than rued… at least at this point in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever welcomed change as much as I do now. I feel like one of those crazy base jumpers, fearlessly launching myself off of the top of a cliff (woo-hoo!!!) while yet another part of me stares slack-jawed at my falling form, awestruck at my courage and yet quietly confident that after the exhilarating adrenaline rush, my feet will gently touch down onto the earth once again, unscathed and radiant in my afterglow.

Trust… trusting in self is something that is an acquired… trait. It certainly doesn’t come naturally to me, especially when for much of my young life it was something that was systematically dismantled by anyone whose grasp I fell into.  Conditioned to be a sheep when really I just wanted to be a wolf and howl at the moon… or something.  Mostly I’d complacently follow along until I’d just had it with the being pushed around thing, and revolted in less-than-subtle (and not always constructive) ways.  It is a long and arduous journey toward our authentic self, and sometimes even the concept of authenticity of the self becomes the allure. I can usually tell that I’m on the right track by how my body feels… is there a knot in the pit of my stomach or not? Am I basking in the flow of sheer pleasure or am I chewing the skin off of the surface of my lips (I’d been asked once… “Why are you eating yourself?”). It seems self-cannibalism occurs when I am not on the right track.

So… on secrets and beginnings (which effectively also implies an ending), I have some projects in the works that I am excited about. Some of them involve Creativity Coaching (and creative resources) while others involve creative endeavors, one of which is a story that I’ve had brewing for quite some time, which I am once again ready to turn my attention to. I hope you will be complicit to their unfolding.