For the past few years, I’ve been choosing a word of the year to focus my intention for that year. This year, I chose two words: Joyful Authenticity. Here’s what I wrote about it back on Jan. 10 of this year:
With that, I’ve decided my Word of the Year for 2011 is JOYFUL AUTHENTICITY (I know this is two words, but I’m breaking the rules). I want to reconnect with that childlike adventure every child has. I want to play. I want to explore. I want to laugh. I want to be filled with pure happiness. I want to be silly. I want to break the rules. I want bliss. I want to be myself fully in every action and interaction I have without any judgement or worry of judgement from others. Who says being an adult means we have to let go of all these things, anyway? I want to look back when I’m 80 and have no regrets!
This authenticity thing is a tough one, but I would say it’s also probably the single most important aspect of shining our light. Why does it feel so hard sometimes to fully step into our most true and authentic selves? I definitely believe I’ve done a much better job of it this year. In my pursuit of joyful authenticity I have learned that in order to be authentic, we must first know who we are. This is hard. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of stillness. It takes a lot of awareness. It takes a lot of truthfulness. It takes a lot of getting real. It takes a lot of surrender. It takes a lot of faith & trust.
We get so many messages from others (media, family, friends, teachers, etc.) who we easily believe know who we should be and what we should do. I had an interview this week with a student who was writing a story on meditation. In my discussion with her, somehow I kept coming back to one of the biggest benefits of a yoga/meditation practice is being able to reconnect with who we truly are. It allows us to silence (if only momentarily) those outside voices, so we can know ourselves and our authentic desires.
Awareness and knowing is the first step. Then, we must take the leap to act out those desires in our daily life. And, we have to act without fear~without fear of judgement, without fear of failure, without fear of rejection, without fear of losing our old inauthentic self for who we were created to be. Yikes~that’s a lot of fear to overcome…but it’s so worth doing.
I believe the “mid-life” crisis is not so much about the aging process or being half-way through life, but instead it’s about waking up one day and wondering “How the hell did I get here…this isn’t what I really wanted or who I wanted to be.” The good news is…we can start living from a place of joyful authenticity TODAY. It’s never to late. With that being said, one of our biggest responsibilities is in helping our young people find their own authentic voices in this noisy world~not trying to create it for them. (This topic could be a whole separate post.)
The sooner we start to live from a place of joyful authenticity, the sooner we’ll be shining our light on others. This isn’t easy, but I believe it is simple. It’s something that I will continue to keep as an intention and focus long after this year is over. Want to join me?
Joyfully & Authentically,
Leslie ~Sparkling Yogini