Any of you that have been around the An Intense Life blog for a while, or listened to me speak in any venue, know that authenticity is a value I hold dear. It is at the core of who I am and something I’ve dedicated my life to helping others find. Defined as living in a way that is congruent with our inner beliefs and values, despite external pressures to be something else, living an authentic life demands awareness – awareness of self, of the barriers we put in our lives when faced with difficult situation, and of our fear.
There are many exercises that can help you get in touch with your inner self, including the destructive patterns of behavior that have become “go to” habits whenever life gets overwhelming. Below are just a few of the exercises that I have found most helpful in my life. I will explore these in more detail in the weeks to come:
- Journal – every morning, before you start your day, write 2-3 pages in a journal by hand. Write whatever is on your mind. These pages will become a road map to your authentic self.
- Excuses, excuses – an exercise in exploring the best of our excuses for NOT doing/getting/being what we envision for ourselves.
- “I Don’t Know” busters – an exercise in discovery what you “don’t” know about your dreams/desires
- My Imagined Life – Remember when you were a kid and you were willing to have fantastical dreams? Time to reconnect with that spirit.
- Expectations – Part of cultivating an authentic life relates to understanding all of your barriers – those you created on your own, and those created by the world around you.
- Who am I? – reach beyond the typical definitions that come to mind, you know the ones that inform other of “what” you do, and wrestle the BIG question…WHO are you?
Henry David Thoreau recognized the lack of congruence between his inner and outer selves when he decided to live a solitary life on Walden Pond. Speaking of his experience he stated this: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” I remember reading this quote when I was 17, during my first weeks away from home. It resonated with me as much then as it does now. And it is what I wish for myself – a path of authenticity to define myself by.
I will be working through these six lessons of authenticity over the next six weeks. Will you join me?