As the New Year settles in, I, like many, am setting intentions for the year ahead. This year I seem to have difficulty reigning my thoughts in. As life's responsibilities increase, focus becomes more delicate yet more important. To help gain clarity, I used a process for life reflection and goal setting which I had been shown a few years ago. It forced me to stop and think critically about where I am on my life journey and where I desire to place my attention and intention in 2018. I focused on areas that bring meaning to my life experience as I know it: personal well-being, relationships, career, community engagement and leadership.
The overarching word that came up for me during this introspective process was authenticity.
As a collective, being true to our most authentic self is not always the easiest route to take. Our friends, family, community, society, social media, television and ad campaigns send us conscious and subliminal messages about who we should be and/or how we should live.
My invitation is that you connect with your true self. Show up, listen, and let your focus be on what YOU (the deepest and maybe scariest depths of you) truly desire to cultivate this year. This honest process begins by being authentic with yourself.
Let us define authenticity as to uncover the meaning and relationship of the word to you. Authenticity is the act of being authentic. According to Merriam-Webster, authentic is "not false or an imitation". It is being "true to one's own personality, spirit, or character".
The bigger questions: What does authentic mean to you? What does authenticity look and feel like for you? How do you show up in your life with your unique spirit?
When thinking about resolutions, intentions, goals, etc. for the new year: Do you set them because you want to accomplish X,Y,Z? Or do you set them because you think you should accomplish X,Y,Z?
It's subtle, but different. Understanding this distinction helps you clearly see the way you look at yourself and how you maintain a relationship with your authentic self. Are you showing up to your life in the way that your higher self knows you should? The authentic you is not concerned with your ego or the ego of others. That same you is not preoccupied with what others think about you or how you should exist.
I believe the higher self is deeply intelligent and connected to all beings and existence. The higher self understands that all obstacles you face are an invitation to grow in ways that your unique soul needs to evolve in this lifetime. It is intuitive and knows what's right, but you have to listen.
How do you get connected to your higher self?
The path we take to get there looks different for all of us, but I believe that the feeling of connection to our higher self is similar for everyone. For me, the path to my higher self looks a few different ways: My yoga practice is where I get real and clear with myself; Meditation and reflection is valuable to uncover and accept my deeper desires; Hardships and tough times expose me to where I feel most vulnerable; The outdoors connect me to spirit.
When do you feel most authentic, real and raw? What do you do to become clear about a messy situation or decompress after a difficult conversation? These inquires will help you connect to your highest self.
The actions we take day in and day out bring us closer to connection or disconnection with our true self. I invite you to keep taking the actions that lead you closer to YOU. Only you know when you are being truly authentic and when you are not.
Now, invite yourself to cultivate intentions, resolutions and goals for 2018 that serve your true self. If you already have intentions, then reevaluate. Do they really feel authentic? Write them down, and share your intentions with passion and love. Authenticity is contagious. Let your walls down, and invite people to see who you really are. They can drop their armor. Let's help each other heal and build from the inside-out in 2018.
I see you and honor you. Namaste!
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