The Drama of Authenticity


“When do I feel most authentic?” This is the question I have been asking myself over the last week, in preparation for a workshop I am presenting tomorrow (Feb 1st, in Central London) with Ben Renshaw and Avril Carson called Authentic Success. Each day, for the last seven days, I have set aside 15 minutes to stop, be still, and sit with the question, “When do I feel most authentic?” Each time, I found the first five minutes or so to be very difficult: my mind would go blank, my heart wouldn’t register any feelings, and my body would get fidgety. I noticed I’d try to convince myself to cut short the fifteen minutes. Maybe I could read some inspirational quotations on authenticity instead. Someone else can do this for me.

Authenticity feels so natural, so why isn’t it easy? As I continued to sit with my inquiry, I gradually made contact with myself. It’s like I’d been away from myself, but I didn’t know it, not until just now: caught up in the habits of my personality; thinking thoughts all day long; busily trying to be someone; and putting on a face for all the other faces out there. Who is the real me? Not the personality that is manufactured in the world. The real me. Not the empty self that always wants something. The real me. Not a tinned version of a soul. The real me.

I kept sitting. I did not leave myself. I wanted to know my real thoughts. I wanted to feel my heart. I wanted to breathe more deeply again. My inquiry into “When do I feel most authentic?” felt frustrating and delightful; mysterious and illuminating; healing and joyful. I have long believed that being authentic is the key to success, happiness, love and all good things; but I have also experienced the fear of authenticity and so on. Such is the drama of authenticity. Such Is our daily challenge; and our daily choice. Success is recognizing who you really are; and happiness is letting yourself be you.

I hand the inquiry over to you now. When do you feel most authentic? Don’t let anyone else do your homework for you. Take fifteen minutes to stop, be still, and make contact with yourself.
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