I Am Everything I Came Here to Be
Our job is to become who we have always been. ~Jo Anna Dane
In 1989, I was in an Insight Seminar doing an exercise called a “Stretch”. The assignment for each of us was to do a short speech, a skit, or express something, to the group of 50 people in the room, that would stretch us – take us out of our comfort zone, but not put us into a frozen state of panic. For my stretch, I dressed up like a fairy godmother. I wore a lilac, poofy-sleeved bridesmaid dress and bought a Toys ‘R’ Us fairy wand. I stood at the front of the room, closed my eyes to connect with my heart, and called my energy into the present moment. Slowly, softly and deliberately, I walked around the circle of people pausing to bless each person. Holding eye contact, I sent them love. Tapping them on the shoulder, I blessed them. In that moment I was everything I came here to be. They received my blessing, my presence, my power, and it opened the door for me to be more of me. When the facilitators asked me why that was a stretch for me, I shared that I rarely acknowledged how much personal power I have. I kept it hidden even from myself, and I rarely stood in a group and let people see it.
Two years earlier I had left an abusive marriage and at the time of the Insight Seminar, I was still fighting my husband in court for custody of our children. At times I felt quite powerless. The experience in the Stretch gave me a touchstone. I had felt my quiet strength. I had seen the look in the eyes of each participant and I knew that I was transmitting something. I could see it in their faces.
Finding my authentic voice in new situations is a process that requires slowing down, asking questions, listening for the answers, feeling the feelings in my body. Thinking with my head is easy. Authenticity requires slowing down to ask questions, reflect and to feel.
How do I feel about this interaction?
Is there a better way for me to communicate?
What am I really feeling in this moment?
Is this my idea or a habit or expectation that I learned from my parents or society?
Am I responding or reacting?
Does it fit with the intention I have set around parenting, running a business, coaching clients or relating to my family and friends?
Is this who I really am or am I hiding or holding back?
Authentic sharing comes from the examination of what I believe to be true with the experience and information I have at this time. Tuning in to the body wisdom, there is always a moment where I can feel the truth click in. It is a visceral feeling of I “know.” My authentic voice requires consciousness, and a willingness to change and learn and grow. It is fluid and evolving. There are always opportunities that require time and patience to find my authentic voice in new experiences, in each decade of life, and with the evolution of the people around me. To hear and connect with my authentic voice, I slow down to taste and savor my life. Then, the authenticity speaks to me. I hear it. I feel it. I know it. The pace quickens, and I speak.