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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oooo! Oooo! Oooo!

Teacher: “Okay class, put down your pens. We're going to have an oral pop quiz! Who can define the meaning of living an authentic life?”

Oooo! Oooo! Oooo! I feel like a kid raising my hand with the right answer. When I get full of something you know it’s going to overflow into my writing. So, here goes….

I am my authentic self and I am living an authentic life. It’s a funny term when you think of it…authentic self, authentic life. Like we’ve been offering our bodies as hosts to alien spirits. But in a way it’s true. Emotional pain can cause us to morph into damaged versions of ourselves. It can begin at a young age, and without even realizing it we can live in this state for most of our lives, often wearing a mask to hide our pain.

Or maybe we do realize that we’re feeling “off” and we commit to working on ourselves, making good progress, but then a strategic situation is placed before us to test our growth, the stakes seem higher than ever before, and we do alright for a season, but when the situation moves outside of our control, we freak out, reverting back to our unhealthy thought tracts—responding from a place of panic and desperation, until we no longer recognize ourselves. Where the hell did the real me go?

I can see myself walking into a busy pawnshop and telling the clerk that I want to pawn myself. Would he pull out a loop and look for a signature? Do a scratch test for carats? I can hear him saying, “Sorry lady, but you’re not authentic. You’re a rather sloppy copy of the rare and beautiful Leah Griffith.”

Huh? When did this happen? How could this happen? Was I the victim of a highly sophisticated heist?

If only it were that easy to detect when we’ve lost ourselves. The term authentic self may be a bit overused but the message remains mighty: You are rare and valuable. There is only one of you, and once you allow life’s circumstances to distract and overpower you, you are no longer free to be yourself. You’re living in, and acting from, a state of fear and bondage.

We mostly tie ourselves up in knots and then blame it on other people, emotionally framing them so as to shine the spotlight of suspicion elsewhere. Of course we don’t do this consciously; it’s the ego at work behind the scenes, protecting its fragile empire of half-truths, fears, and delusions in order to get its way and remain blameless and in charge. You may say, “But they wronged me! How is that tying myself up in knots?” Well, believe it or not, you gave them the rope (the power) when you placed too much importance on their roll in your life. By doing so you placed them on the throne and relinquished your power. They may not even be aware that you’ve given them your power. Or perhaps you gave your power away to drugs or alcohol. And why did you do this? Because deep down you held the erroneous belief that something outside of yourself was capable of making you happier than you ever could.

Oh Dorothy, when will you learn that you have always held the power for a happy life?

Here’s a good question: How does one go about taking back their power?

We lose our power one compromise at a time. Gaining back our power is pretty straightforward—but also a lifelong exercise. You must believe that you are a complete person possessing everything you need, both spiritually and emotionally, to live the amazing life placed before you. You must remind yourself of this every day, and when trials come you must remind yourself even more often. Of course you should welcome, love, and appreciate, the people in your life, but you mustn’t ever override your own instincts or convictions out of fear of rousing their anger or being rejected. Be brave enough to love and support yourself and quit comparing yourself to others.

Here’s the really good part about being authentic. Once you take your power back you can then use it to forgive yourself—for abandonment. Yup. You abandoned yourself. Not on purpose of course. But lets say as a child (before you had the emotional maturity to protect yourself) a parent did desert you, and then you carried that rejection into your adult life. You danced to the old tapes for years; never moving beyond the belief that you were not quite enough…something vital was missing. But now as an adult you are able to see that it is impossible to truly be abandoned by another person because only the inhabitant of a dwelling has the power of abandonment. The Free Dictionary’s
definition of abandoned is: unoccupied, empty, deserted, vacant, derelict and uninhabited. So you see, you would have to vacate (abandon) yourself in order for another person to move in. Only you can abandon yourself and give your power away to someone or something else.

Another way to use your reclaimed power is to forgive those people who have hurt you. Now that you have your power back you can see clearly that the other person was simply acting from his or her own limited view of self and life. You can stop measuring and judging them and freely offer them unconditional love. This is a divine love. Not one based on ego, (as long as they make me feel good, or agree with me, I’ll love them) but based on self-love and self-respect, both of which are divine qualities.

Being our authentic selves means fully inhabiting our lives—living from the inside out rather than the outside in, responding to life from a place of love instead of fear, and then offering the world our authenticity instead of our egos. It’s a nail-biting endeavor guaranteed to humble and test, but for those who want to live a powerful life, saturated with creativity and love, there is no substitute.

Okay, enough of my teachy mode. You do realize when I dole this chit out it’s only because I am learning it myself;)

Have I told you lately how glad I am that you’re here with me?


Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Thank you for today's lessons. I need to hear the "don't compare yourself with others" one way too often...

Cheryl said...

Oh, my dear blogging friend...finding our way through life is complicated, is it not???

I do feel that the phrase "being authentic" is overused and often used in the direction that everyone thinks they can act or do "whatever" in their quest to be "true to themselves". I have a problem with that.

I do believe I am a unique one of a kind person. I am made up of all the good and bad things that have happened in my life. I am also comprised of the inherent gifts I have been given like intelligence, empathy and rationality. I don't think of myself as rare or valuable, at least no more than anyone else on the planet.

If I went into a pawn shop, the broker would say he already has plenty unique but flawed merchandise.

While I recognize I pull enough baggage that I should be required to have CDL license, I don't blame anyone. My childhood was broken but them there are 10s of thousands that have had it worse and accomplished more. I continue to be a work in progress. To that end, I continue to try to find my way but with the love of a good family, living a nice life.

Leah Griffith said...

Cheryl, my dear soul sister, we are all one of a kind like snowflakes, and gifted in our own unique ways. Created to create, and love, and be just who we are....rare (one of a kind) and valuable. No one is more valuable than the other. We are all part of the same spirit.

Every movement has its over zealous crowd. Those who do "whatever" in their quest to be authentic, without considering the feelings of others; they are missing the point.

I love the image of you truckin' on down the road with your baggage. I have a truckload too. And like you, and millions like us, I am a work in progress. It never ends does it? I'm so glad that you're here with me Cheryl. I love your attitude and spirit.

Big hugs!

Leah Griffith said...

I need to hear it all, several times a day, Karen;)

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

Oh, and I am so glad to be here with you, dear Leah! You have so perfectly described my own personal journey here. I am more authentic and alive at this point in my life than ever before, and it is all due to accepting that God loves me unconditionally and has a plan for my life.
May what you've written here be an inspiration to all those not yet comfortable or at ease in their own skins.
Blessings and love!

Leah Griffith said...

Martha, I believe that most of us have spells when we lose ourselves. Some of us have had tough beginnings which means the spells start early in life before you have the maturity to navigate through them in a healthy way. But as you said, knowing that the creator of all things loves us unconditionally gives us a bold starting point doesn't it.
Love you lady!

Stephen Hayes said...

Excellent post. I need to come back and read it again because there's so much in it.

Anonymous said...

Leah, I was just in that pawn shop today...and, yup....that was his response to me...he told me to come back tomorrow after a good night's sleep...well, I won't need to go back was the challenge. Thanks for the lesson...Kathy

JANU said...

Wow! A wonderful message here teacher! I have been on the reclaiming mode of myself...slow steps but, sure one.
Thanks Leah, your posts always inspire.

Jessica M said...

Loved this post! Very motivating!I definitely think digging through the illusory layers of false self to get to our real self buried below is a process..but not impossible..and certainly liberating!

Dangerous Linda said...

Hi, Leah! ~

yup. yup. yup. xoxoxoxoxoxo

Leah Griffith said...

LOL! Okay Stephen. See ya later!

Leah Griffith said...

Hey Kathy, I thought I saw you there;) Thanks for the visit my friend.

Leah Griffith said...

Hey Janu, we all are on the reclaiming mode. Each day offers us challenges to lose or gain bits and pieces of ourselves. So glad you were inspired.

Leah Griffith said...

Jessica, I believe that it is a process that never ends. Our humanity is constantly being challenged. I am beginning to understand that this is how life rolls and this brings me great comfort.

Leah Griffith said...

Linda, thanks for the big fat smile you just put on my face.

Corinne Rodrigues said...

And who told you that you could write about me without my permission, Leah? ;) I found myself nodding away. I'm taking myself back, forgiving myself and others and trying to be authentic ME. Thank you for walking alongside!

Jayne said...

Oooo, beautiful Leah! This is a divine love, indeed! (You really should have your own syndicated column. You inspire, my friend.)

While at Bennington, I was introduced to the amazing poet, Lyrae Van-Clief Stefanon. (Look her up.) She gave the MFA class of Jan. 2013 commencement speech. In it, she said, among so many other enlightening words: You are to be loved. YOU are to be loved!

I think she meant this in several way, one of them being: You are to give yourself permission to be loved for who you truly are.

I think Lyrae would love this post. And you ARE to be loved. Yes, over and over again. xo

jan neel said...

This deserves more concentration than I can give right now, I am going to bookmark and return.

Leah Griffith said...

Corrine, I'm honored to walk beside you. Most people are walking with us, although some don't like to admit it. LOL! LOVE!

Leah Griffith said...

Corinne.... There that's better;)

Leah Griffith said...

Jayne, you always lift me high with your comments. I like that about you;)

I looked up Lyrae, and at once felt an urge to join a poetry class. I love her earthy poetry, so natural and alive with pulsating imagery!

My oh my Jayne, you will be meeting so many interesting people. I intend to live vicariously my dear.

From a loved one to a loved one.

Julia said...

First, I just want to say how much I love the above photo of you--beautiful!

How I would love to sit with you & have a real conversation about all of this important stuff...there's so much to say! I feel such resonance with you/your writing, dear Leah. You are such a light.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom & love, dear person. You are so appreciated.

The Loerzels said...

"Only you can abandon yourself and give your power away to someone or something else." Brilliant! And why have I done this so many times?

Leah Griffith said...

Good question Marie. One I continually ask myself. I think women tend to do it more than men. Yup!

melissa said...

Oh, I give you the permission to speak to my heart that way~ I love you and I love that I'm journeying with you...

I gave myself to my sickness half of my life that I've forgotten how to live. I think authenticity is more than admitting who we truly are because that's based on how we see ourselves... I guess it's being truly 'naked' before God...

Lots of love to you always!

Tameka said...

Leah I have been feeling all kinds of off lately so this is very timely for me. You are my cyber guide. Thank you so much!!!

My latest blog feature:

Leah Griffith said...

Melissa, I love that you are journeying with me. I'm so grateful that we never walk alone and the deity inhabits our very beings, drawing us closer to home with each step.
Love to you sister <3

Leah Griffith said...

Tameka, I'm so glad that you came here. I think of you often and imagine you plowing through all that stands in your way. You are such a strong woman with so much to offer your sisters. Sending cyber hugs Ms. Tameka. Love!

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