Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011: The Year of Living Authentically

Authenticity Rising, Everything Else Falls Away

I've noticed something so far in 2011. I think it actually started just after the Winter Solstice. I've noticed it in my own life, but also in those around me.

For many people, the parts of ourselves and our lives that are not "Authentic" are falling away. For example, I see it in our career and job-hunting struggles. A conversation I've witnessed many times lately:

"I got laid off, and I can't find another job."

"Are you looking?"


"What do you want to do?"

"Well, I dunno. I really don't want to go back to what I was doing before..."

And no job appears. No job is going to appear, either. Because the work is not in sufficient alignment with this hypothetical person's highest purpose.

It's no longer a matter of "making money" - those kinds of jobs are both unavailable and unbearable. The economy is shifting underneath us, driving us (now, ever more ruthlessly) to our true purpose. We struggle (and have been, for some time now) to work at jobs that contribute to the illusions in our lives. We can no longer bear to feed those illusions. Our whole culture is desperate. But we're not desperate for a job - we're desperate for meaning, for wholeness, and for our personal truth. The whole economy is convulsing - wretching - from an overdose of illusion. The jobs we are looking for are jobs that feed the illusion. And the illusion is no longer sustainable.

This is the year many of us will have no choice but to drop our illusions. I sense that our illusions will be vomited out, purged, and, if necessary, violently wrenched from our lives.

All around me, I see this in the realm of relationships as well. The ability to stay in a relationship that is not authentic is quickly becoming unbearable. Wherever and whatever we have hidden from our lovers, family, or business partners, wherever we have allowed them to hide from us, wherever the real truth of who we are, what we REALLY want, and what we're willing (or unwilling) to give has been purposely (consciously or unconsciously) hidden, wherever there is this subtle form of deceit - that is becoming unbearable.

We have really only two courses of action here. We can continue to live in an illusion as it becomes more and more painful, leading to the unavoidable destruction of the relationship. Or we can stop reinforcing the illusion, and begin the hard, embarrassing, and painful work of telling the truth, while trying to avoid judgment. The relationship may still end, but there's a chance that it can transform into one based on authentic needs and honest, unapologetic service to those needs. But it will be irrevocably changed.

I am finding that the work of embracing authenticity is hard; devilishly subtle at times. And yet it's extremely rewarding. I've developed some techniques, some questions, that illuminate the illusions. They make me uncomfortable. They make me want to run away. Sometimes, they make me confused about what I really want and who I really am.

But staying with the discomfort and gutting it out is actually the least painful way to move. And it's the only way to move forward.


  1. Embracing authenticity IS hard. We judge ourselves in so many ways. For example- I love fabrics and looking at clothes; I think I would have fun designing clothes as wearable art. But that is not a respectable past time in my circles. Even I don't even consider it a useful or worthwhile thing to do.
    Luckily, I am "good" at more than one thing.

  2. That is lucky. But I know that I'm missing something in my life because you are missing something in yours. To be able to witness and savor your creativity would make life richer for all of us, and you would probably bloom richly in the process.

    When will you design your first piece? I wager you'd be surprised by how powerful the work could be, and how it would impact (positively) your esteemed colleagues. There is nothing more powerful, and more beautiful, than the full expression of our authentic selves.