Authenticity

::Being Here::

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Real Is The Only Way

::SHINE::

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SHINE MEME

There are some things I’ve had noodling around in my brain lately. Mostly when I’m doing random things; driving to the bank, or cleaning the bathroom sink, or walking down the driveway from the mailbox.

I think about growing up, and how excited I felt−even in my earliest memories−to be here. I mean, here, on this earth, experiencing life. Every morning I woke up, it was like Christmas, just to see the sun shining. Or the rain, or snow. I was ready, I was eager, and loved everything and everyone so big, I often wonder … is it possible that I’ve always been too much?

I was in one of the counseling sessions after divorcing my husband, when my counselor stopped and looked at me.

“Cece, I believe you’ve spent your entire life, and certainly your marriage, thinking you’re not enough. Am I right?” His statement made me think a minute, and I came to the realization that yes.
“Yes. I guess so. I think that’s correct.” I could think of thousands of times when it felt like in some way I hadn’t measured up.

“Well, let me make something clear to you right now: it’s never been that you’re not enough. It’s that you’re too much.” Oh. Okay, I’d gotten it wrong, but not in the way I thought.

He saw the look on my face, and said, “What I mean is, the people you’re trying to please, you’ll never satisfy. Not because you’re not up to par. It’s because you’re so far above what they’re capable of, that they are jealous of you. Why do you think they’ve always taken the opportunities to tear you down? Trust me, if you were of marginal stuff, there would be no need to do that. But you’re not.”

He sat back in his chair, and said, “Cece, you are more connected to the Creator than most; you are far more Spiritual than you realize.” I dropped my head. I had worked for so long to find and glue all the pieces of myself back together; I was tired. And this sounded like a whole other kind of work.

“Okay. What does that mean? What do I need to do?” He laughed and shook his head.

“No! No work; it’s who you are! It means that, when you enter a room, you bring the Light with you. That makes people in darkness very uncomfortable. Now, think about things that don’t like the light.” He stopped.

“Let me ask you a question. Throughout your life, do you remember dealing with people who were jealous of you?” I felt my face flush as memories flooded my brain and fought for attention. Yes. Yes, I had.

“When we moved to Nashville, I made myself a promise. I decided I would let people know of one thing I could do, but not all the things I do.”

“What does that mean? And why did you do that?”

“I mean, I’m a writer, and a singer. I design and make clothes. I design spaces. I paint portraits. I’ve won awards for pretty much all of that, at different points in my life.”

“Okay. So, you decided to keep all that a secret?”

“Yes. Most of it. All but one. Or two.”

“Which ones did you choose to take public?”

The writing. And singing.”

“And why did you decide to hide the other things?” I paused a moment.

“Because. I wanted friends.”

When I said that, it was like a tidal wave washed over me. It was then I realized what I’d been doing for the past twenty years. I had put the girl I was born to be in a locked room. I let her out in private, but she was my little secret. I had made myself “small enough” so that I would fit into the lives of those who claimed to love me. That day, that session, changed my perspective. And my life.

But now, back to what’s been noodling in my brain lately. I get up every day fully present, almost as eager as when I was that little girl. I thank God for the days, and the nights, and all the things in them. My Light is turned on fully, and I’m not shy about showing the world who I am, in every way.

But one of my thoughts is, I wonder how many others are playing “small enough.” How many others are waiting for that magic moment when they can finally shine like a klieg light? Are they like I was, thinking that one special moment will arrive, and be more magical than this moment they’re in? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get any more magical than right now.

I’m still figuring all this out, but I want everyone to know this: all it takes is for us to say “YES” to our own magic; the yearning in our hearts to be our very own hysterical, outrageous, tender, heartbroken, furious, authentic, vulnerable, brilliant, frustrating selves. And, you know, the list goes on. The awesome thing is, we get to wake up every day and say “YES” to it all over again.

And I don’t have the friends I used to think I wanted, but I’m good with that. The people who show up in my life now are the ones who are happy with the Light. In fact, they bring their own.

So, if I had one word of advice to offer anyone, it would be: “SHINE!”

::TRUTH LIVES HERE::

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Hand World

Truth is something I think most claim to be aligned with. Many people swear they are always on a quest for truth. But I wonder: does anyone know what they’re saying? And if they do, do they really mean what they say?

I go through deliberate periods of brutal self-examination. I’ll confess, I don’t do it as often as I should. But when I’m in the process of it, I have a “no bullshit” rule; I force myself to face the true things about me and how I view life. It’s not fun. It can be exhausting, and humbling. But to live authentically, or “in truth,” isn’t it crucial? For me, the answer is yes.

I think we want to believe we are who we claim to be. But pretty much always, in many ways (sometimes most ways) we’re just not; it’s very easy to get off track and not even know it. And to not even think about that possibility.

We often choose positions and embrace opinions about things, and then “back the information in” that will support what we’ve already decided. It’s true. We all do it.

And we gravitate to others who agree, because it’s so much easier to surround ourselves with people on every strata who reaffirm our stories. … Then we can convince ourselves that what we’ve chosen to believe is authoritative; good, and noble. Being a member of such a group renders us reassuringly superior. It’s great to feel so right.

With the best of intentions, we dress our parsing, our denial, in beautiful stories … stories of bravery and justification; stories of righteousness and independence.

And yet, truth just sits there. It does not shout. It does not defend itself or try to convince. Nor does truth move, or shrink, or change, based on our opinion about it, or our unwillingness to acknowledge it.

Every night, when the darkness comes, and we lay our heads down on our pillows, that truth … that quiet, unassuming truth that lives at the center of every good thing … revisits our hearts. We know. In that deepest part, we all know.

And every night, in each of these quiet, private moments shimmers an opening; the chance to say “yes” to the rattling of our tidy preconceptions. Relaxing our hold is the willingness through which we can climb, into a world fraught with things that were, things that are; a vast universe of open-ended questions and limitless possibilities. The mysterious and miraculous are waiting for us there.

It only takes one brave, courageous moment to let it pull us out of our defensive rightness.

Just once, let’s refuse to roll over, turn our backs to it; let’s refuse to continue the nurturing of our own self contempt.

This one small choice; this different choice – when applied in enough hearts – is sure to transform this weary, broken world.

::PEACE, AND WHERE IT’S HIDING::

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Woman Arms Outstretched

Y’know, I have my phases or *periods*, sort of like Picasso. Maybe we all do, I can’t really say. But mine usually include the following:

*Reflective (can get preachy, but means well);

*Outrageous (some would call this one “obnoxious with fits of long, deep laughter” … );

*Tenderhearted (the part who wants to scoop up every hurting baby/child/person);

*Pragmatic (the “let’s just get this crap done and behind us” part);

*Maria Von Trapp (the part that wants to organize all of civilization into groups, make their clothing out of drapes, and have everybody sing in three part harmony, and in rounds)… I’m sure there are others, these are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head.

And so … *FAIR WARNING* … I’m in *reflective* mode today, and have been thinkin about this for awhile now:

When all’s said and done, I truly believe that all people, everywhere, want fundamentally the same thing. We all want to be loved, to be heard, to feel like our presence on earth matters. We all want to be safe, to live a happy and a peaceful life; we long to use our gifts to express our celebration of life.

When asked what they want, many celebrities state that they want an end to war, to have peace in the land. They speak for us all, really. We all want that. But I believe that we are blinded to the path that will lead us there. We have come to believe, many of us, that governments, or ideologies, will “give us” that. That if we vote for the right political candidates, they will bring this peace about. They, quite simply, cannot. But here’s the interesting truth:
They don’t have to “give” this to us. We already have it.

See, here’s the deal: Inside each of us, buried deeply at our core, beneath the belief of our absolute unworthiness, in there snuggled up next to our burgeoning self-contempt … there lives our truth: a thriving, pulsating, everlasting *light* … the very light we crave shines and waits inside of us; it was restored to perfection by our Redeemer’s purchase. But we live our lives in shadowy darkness, as if the gift was never given; like it never arrived.

And let me tell ya, the ego has worked one heck of an insidious job, convincing us that it is noble when we beat our breasts and declare our own revolting state. This is a self-manifesting prophecy … and it is the one that breeds envy, resentment, covetousness, greed, anger, jealousy … all the “deadlies” (and they are fatal) … ultimately the sense that we must “fight for what is rightfully mine.” This all comes from that seed of “lack.” These elements are at the center of every war, every murder, every scam, every betrayal … every corrupt company, government; every violation of real peace comes from fundamental self contempt.

And notice this: the beliefs we hold about ourselves are reflected perfectly in how we treat others. It can be no other way. When you see someone behaving negatively to others, or when you see someone relating with gentle kindness, think about that one. *Profound* truth.

It is the brave Spirit who awakens to their own authenticity and is willing, in the midst of naysayers, to reveal that to the world.

And it will continue to be a brave thing, until it is not. Until enough people start digging internally, determined to live a “self-examined life.” Then it will become the *norm*, and we will have returned to the Garden. But we go there by conscious choice, and one by one.

May each individual find the courage to *live* from their Spirit.
This is how we will change the world. ~ ♥ ~