The way to living an authentic life begins very simply. It has to.  there is a lot of BS you have to sort through.  But start, you must.

Authenticity is not about fear.  fear, even the smallest niggling fear of how the neighbors might interpret your intense love of plaid as being WEIRD, so you hesitate buying plaid wall paper because you think other people think you are crazy to want or like that.  This is not authentic. A big part of being authentic is not being fearful or letting your reflecting on what other people think get in the way of what you do, how you feel, who you are, and what you ultimately become.

But it’s also not about rebelling and taking a giant machete to your surroundings.  You don’t hack off arms and the limbs of those hanging out in your plaid-less jungle.  No.  You change. If those who were there before the change do not like it, they will move on. It could be a very peaceful transition.  Most often, it isn’t.  People want to hurt you or say things to hurt you because they are simply so dysfunctionaly cast into their memes that they can’t honor that it’s not plaid-ville (or whatever it is that you need to do to change your life for the better, for the more authentic).

Second, don’t expect the authentic life to be some granite edifice to your unwavering greatness.  Your authentic life will change.  Perhaps

Image © Stafford Artglass, Parker Stafford

Image © Stafford Artglass, Parker Stafford

day-to-day.  Week to week. Maybe it changes once and NEVER changes (okay, you are an unusual dinosaur bird and welcome to the 21st century, we want to study you….from a distance!)  Give yourself the flexibility to do whatever changes you need to do.  Allow yourself to be wrong.  Allow yourself to be right.  Don’t pretend to know everything that is in this enchilada because that, too, will change.  All of it.  Tomorrow we might be eating kabob or something.  Lamb.  Quail.  Cactus fruit.  Tangerine and coconut.

Authenticity lies in you.  I can tell you all sorts of things but unless you find it, you haven’t found it.  You are always seeking it if you are indeed seeking it.  Otherwise, maybe not so much.  What I am saying is that this is a constant state of becoming, so be ready for that. Be ready for what that means.  It means not taking yourself so seriously.  Besides, it makes you look stiff and that kind of brittleness does not look good on you (holds up a different colored suit and dress to compare and ushers you into the dressing room quietly to try on the new pair of clothes).

Be ready for people not liking you and not seeing what you are doing as anything worthy.  However, those that matter will see that what you are and who you are as being authentic is a good thing not because you are somehow different but simply because you are being you.  For you.  And the people who are attracted to that kind of person for that kind of reason are a rare breed of animal, different from the vast masses of followers and pretenders.  Lost children.  Angry.  Frustrated.  The people who like you for you….who do not feel any need to change you but to see you be all the more you are more of the same.  Authentic.  Not everyone is ready for the awesomeness of this.  Don’t let it trouble you. I have people who wont speak to me because of this.  Too bad, but really, if I spent my time pacing the halls and weeping, where would that get me?  Nowhere.

Life is not a popularity contest.  Any great artist who was ahead of his or her time will tell you this, each of them from the grave.  Its not about being recognized for your greatness, its just being YOU as the greatness that you are. So maybe that means plaid wallpaper and maybe it doesn’t.  I am hoping maybe it doesn’t, but then, that shouldn’t matter to you, right?  Your greatness will not be because of any other reason than you are THAT.  Don’t go looking for recognition because you have already recognized it in the only way that really matters.  the world, what does it know?  When does the world know cool when it sees it, or awesome, or marvelous, or beautiful or handsome? As soon as the world has caught on, its like disco was in the 70’s.  It was so yesterday.  If we worry about a trend or catching on, we wont every really authentically live in the moment.  Most recognition, then, comes at the very tail end of an era just as those who were there in plaid (or whatever else they were being authentic about) was getting ready to change.  That’s why you really can’t go chasing things.  No chase.  BE.  Butterfly come to you, not you chase butterfly. Wax on, wax off.

If you follow this and not worry about outcomes, you are going to find yourself and really that is all that matters.  When you can find yourself, you will find others who have also found themselves.  You do not find the found amongst the lost.  Are you lost?  You aren’t going to find those who have found themselves in the sea of lost swimmers.  Their time will come when it occurs to them to give up whatever it is they are doing that is keeping them from authentically swimming or living in this vast sea of everything.  I know; it is simple: just be yourself.  Be ready to watch as vast skeins of yarn comes unraveling off of you.  It has to.  It no longer fits….and now must be rewound or chucked completely. So much stuff that you thought was you….sitting like the old objects in your attic that you could never bring yourself to get rid of.  And yet, in chucking them, they are never missed.  Really, why were you carrying all that baggage anyway?

Oh, and I almost forgot; this authenticity thing, it is also a path toward self-love.  Not selfish love, not narcissism, but rather honoring the self you are in the very best way it deserves.  Okay, you can now take off the plaid and try on this new suit to see if it suits you….

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