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The Importance of Authenticity in Wellbeing and Healing

Updated: May 6, 2023

"I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God."

-William Butler Yeats


The natural waxing and waning of emotional tides and experiencing the borders of our capacity for resilience and responsiveness (rather than reactivity) has been amplified for many people right now because of all the change and uncertainty we are facing globally and personally. Often we find ourselves pretty steady until a lot of things converged which pushed us past the edge of our current capacities. I'm wondering if any of you are experiencing something like that AND what you did/are doing to help yourself find center again.


MINDFULNESS & YOU

A long practice in Mindfulness, developing better Self-Awareness, has now gotten me to the point that I can usually recognize "situation critical" and intervene more quickly to find my center than I used to be able to do. I'm not perfect, but I'm better than I used to be because I have made a concerted effort over the past 20 years. All that effort helped. And when I found the tools offered through the Modern Mystery School, for me, all the effort I continued to put into the new practices I learned was met with much more consistent and deeply transformative results.


I hope that you will all begin to realize the benefits of developing greater Self-Awareness. One step to start on that path is developing an effective Mindfulness practice. This will allow you to become more aware of your current state so that you are better able to discern where you would like to change and in what areas to focus in order to achieve your desired results.


From there, healings, activations and initiations you receive will take on a new meaning and you will be able to direct your energies in more effective ways.


It is so simple, really. All it takes is a little willpower motivated by the understanding that all those little moments of joyful effort ripple out to create positive changes in not only our lives but the lives of those around us.

GROWTH & RESILIENCE

It's so interesting to consider how life is constantly providing opportunities for us to grow in deeper and deeper ways. It is interesting to consider how we frame these experiences and challenges and whether we are creating a story about our life that empowers us. It is also interesting to be mindful of whether we have a tendency to recognize and utilize these opportunities or whether we, rather, allow ourselves to get dragged into the undertow of the collective emotional atmosphere or the intensity of our own experiences and give up our power.


Mindfulness opens up a well of resources to help us live in a state of greater self-awareness. Mindfulness alone will not get us to the end goal, but it is a powerful tool to support us in our process of Self-Mastery and achieving a broader perspective on our inner experiences that allows us to navigate more intentionally, rather than from a place of reactivity.


Greater self-awareness is the primary foundation for developing greater resilience. Remember, resilience is "the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties".


Resilience is NOT "never experiencing difficulties." It is important to remember that and to develop some compassion for ourselves.




THE WEATHER

"You are the sky. Everything else - it's just the weather." -Pema Chodron


This is one of my favorite quotes


SILENCE & HEALING

For me to get quiet enough to hear myself and to tune-in to what I need to adjust, I need solitude. Everyone, I would argue, needs solitude for that process, at least at the beginning: a few days of silence - no TV, no telephone, no social media, no talking. I am still surprised how many people are deeply fearful of being with themselves that way. It's so common, when I bring up the idea, for people to say "Oh! I could never do that!" This apprehension stems from a habit of avoiding "what's in there" by watching TV, spending every minute of the day distracting ourselves with "busy-ness" or gossiping or alcohol or reading books or even doing Good deeds....name your distraction. However, it is also so wonderful to see how many people face that apprehension bravely, create some time for silence and then report how rejuvenating and healing it really was. More often than not actually.


Many of you have heard me talk about doing silent retreats or short solitary retreats. This is an important part of my self-care.


I have a newfound deep appreciation for the benefit of all the effort I have put into my personal and spiritual practices over the years; how that helped me navigate the global changes that have occurred since 2020 more quickly and gracefully than I would have before. My experience being alone with myself in solitude and silent retreats, mindfulness, regular meditation, and other personal work I have done are what allowed me to surrender to what was happening for me and swiftly navigate arising emotions to find the healing and growth that was waiting for me within the experience.

When we go through significant personal changes, there is often a new foundation of steadiness that grows out of the process of breakdown and re-building. That is the blessing of learning to honor our process and being in touch with what we need, personally, to navigate "dark night of the soul" experiences. Learning what works best for us and what we really need is a process.


SHARING & HOPE

I share this in the hope it may help some of you better appreciate and respect your own processes and be gentle with yourself. I hope that it will help you feel you aren't alone, and that there is nothing "wrong" with these contracting and expanding experiences. BUT, I also hope it will encourage you to think about what your own process requires and how to help you do what you need to do in order to integrate and navigate THROUGH these experiences so you don't become stuck in them. If you haven't worked through what your process is, what you need to do, then there are many resources for you to seek help from others who can provide some perspective, suggestions and help you find yourself.


AUTHENTICITY & TRUTH

Additionally, I am acutely aware of the phenomenon of "Spiritual bypassing", and I hope this sharing also helps highlight the importance of not denying what we are experiencing. Bypassing often infiltrates spiritual communities or communities in which self-development and wellness is being enthusiastically and intensely pursued...or where people are trying to hold up a false face of perfection, or "having it all figured out", for the many reasons one might do that.


The term "spiritual bypassing" was coined by the psychotherapist John Welwood to describe when people use “spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional ‘unfinished business,’ to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, and developmental tasks” toward a claimed goal of "enlightenment" or personal perfection.


If you are interested to read more, there is a nice article here.


It is not healthy nor admirable to feign perfection or to try to convince ourselves that we are "perfectly fine" when we are not. There is a power and an indisputable necessity for being authentic with our experiences so that when turbulence rides up we can harness the power of the experience, look into the deeper issues unveiling themselves, and ride the wave until we have navigated that "weather" to it's healthy conclusion. In order to navigate those experiences well, we need to learn what works for us. And that might require us seeking out outside assistance, at least at first.



BEING HUMAN

As long as we are humans living a human life on a human world, we will experience emotions, change, a bit of chaos, and challenges. It is how we label and face these challenges that defines the degree of our self-awareness, resilience and personal fortitude. The goal in life isn't to transcend life to the point that you no longer are affected by your experiences. That is escapism and unhealthy detachment/disassociation, or at very least denial of the importance of your active participation in your life.


The goal is, in one sense, to connect with a deep sense of who you are - something True and authentic - so that you can fully engage with the world in all its varied scenarios in a way that brings the strength of your self-awareness and the blessing of your personal gifts and talents into this great game, this "Lila" as they say in Yoga.


In doing so, life becomes rich and full of Joy. Life becomes an enlightened discovery and fulfilling interplay between you and the other beautiful souls you are here "Becoming" alongside.

BECOMING

This process of "Becoming" is a lifelong journey. Along that journey we will thrive. Along that journey we will also sometimes take a tumble that invites us to look deeper at the darkness we might be carrying, acting subconsciously to limit us, that needs to be healed in order for us to step onto the next stone in the path. The flavor and intensity of those thrivings and tumblings will be unique to each of us as individuals. It is important to honor and engage with that process in a healthy and mindful way.

Life is a fertile ground for learning and expanding our gifts and talents. Life is a grand play of dark an light in which we are afforded the rewarding opportunity to discover the Truth of "Who am I" and allow that Truth to grow large and strong and to make the world a better place by offering the gift of our personal Truth in service to the betterment of humanity.

PERSONAL ALCHEMY

I want to end again with this quote for your contemplation and reflection:


"I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God."

-William Butler Yeats

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