There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.
For more years than I can remember, the concept of authenticity has been a keystone of my work, both personally and professionally as a public Priestess. A large part of our community’s mission is to empower women through fostering truth-speaking, authenticity, and self-confidence, as well assisting people in forming a deep, connected, and integrated understanding of their own integrity and agency.
The word “authenticity” is an enormous buzzword right now, but let’s not allow its increasing popularity to turn us off to its inherent importance. Today, let’s instead discuss why it is important to live authentically and then explore a few ways in which we as leaders can create the space for those we serve to do so as well.
Each and every one of us is a singular expression of Goddess and therefore it is both our right and our responsibility to fully live our unique and individual interpretation of the Divine.
What reason are we alive as individuals in this lifetime if not to express exactly who we are at our core? If Goddess wanted us to all be the same, Goddess would have created all of us to be the same. Instead, we were created as individuals, like snowflakes—each perfect and distinct and whole unto itself. Our individuality is the core of who we are in this particular incarnation. It is an expression of our True Self as well as the Truth of the Divine.
When we are genuinely rooted in this Truth, we are a willing participant in the dance of life, reveling in our own tune, delighted by our own drum….and then openly sharing our unique gifts with others. Living authentically is living our Truth. And our Truth is our pure, individual expression of who we are in this time and space, in this specific body and mind.
When we live in our Truth, authentically and with integrity, know who we are.
When all springs from our veracity, we are more often able to surrender to the flow instead of constantly trying to swim against the current. We are able to create, to know our own worth, to take care of ourselves, to unlock our potential, to complete our life missions. Living authentically can be scary at first because society taught us as children: “Don’t rock the boat!” “Don’t make waves!” “What will the neighbors think?” “You’re so weird!” “You need to fit in!” “Don’t stand out!”
At such young, impressionable ages, most of us were taught that being authentic and different was something to be hidden, and from that we extrapolated that there was something wrong with us. We were taught to hide our sensitive, caring, Sweet Selves away in order to remain protected. We took all of the unwarranted criticism and undeserved bullying inside of our very beings and then changed ourselves for the sake of safety and love and the approval of others.
Currently as adults we say we’re “okay” or we’re “doing great!” when we’re actually drowning. Some of us may have even forgotten who we really, truly are—tucked that child filled with wonder and joy away in the toy box with everything else we were told we didn’t need anymore. We may have even completely lost that intrinsic connection to our core beings.
Madisyn Taylor says: “Our true selves exist whether we acknowledge them or not, often buried under fears and learned behavior. When we recognize our power, our luminosity, and our divinity, we cannot help but live authentic lives of appreciation, potential, fulfillment, and grace.” Expressing ourselves authentically allows us to truly own and love our Divine innermost Selves.
In addition to all of this early programming, many of us have been taught to define and value who we are by what we do for work in order to take care of our physical needs for home, food, and clothing. In fact, the first question we are often asked when meeting a new person is, “What do you do?” This has always intensely bothered me, especially during the times where what I did for work was not at all aligned with who I really was inside, was not at all aligned with my life’s mission. Almost all of us have worked jobs to pay the rent that are not “what we do,” not what we care about, in this world.
So then how do we—as community leaders—facilitate others in discovering their True Selves? How do we facilitate others in expressing their Authentic Selves? How do we let people know that their voice matters, their thoughts matter, their feelings matter…that they matter? That they are already whole, already holy? What are the necessary elements we can provide for this? As a leader, I return again and again to these questions.
First, we can model this behavior, sharing of ourselves in the most real ways as possible in any given moment, no matter the situation or what we think others may think of us (which is actually none of our business!). Again, let us be the pebble in the pond. By giving our own Sweet Selves permission to live and express ourselves as honestly as we can, we are giving that same permission and invitation all of those around us, to all of those who come into contact with us, to meet us where we are.
Another way is through the art of holding space, the topic of my September post. This is a method of allowing people to experience their own process, a way of bearing holy witness to others without intervention, giving advice, or offering observations.
At other times, it may be more helpful to instead offer positive feedback and gratitude when people dig deep and act authentically, acknowledging that this takes incredible trust and courage!
Below, I’ve shared some potential stone, plant, and Flower Essence Allies that can help support us—and others—in the understanding and expression of authenticity. (You may wish to research further and experiment with them, and I’d love to hear back about your experiences with them if you do!)
We can also encourage living authentically with profound integrity through modelling these four keys and sharing them with others:
Aside: Perhaps we’ll explore these in further depth together in future posts.
As healthy leaders, the cultivation of these four keys is necessary for supporting both ourselves and those we are in service to.
So, what is your Truth? How do you express this authentically and with integrity? I’d love to know!
With Love, Lady Jesamyn
Potential Stone, Plant, and Flower Essences Allies:
Stones: Jade, Prasiolite, Uvarovite
Plants: Cedar, Motherwort, Neroli
Flower Essences: Goldenrod, Mountain Pride, Walnut
Art: All photos by me.