Authenticity is the Only Path

I write this blog with an open heart not because I think I cannot be hurt – that no one may target me for cruelty.  It is rather that I cannot let the possibility of pain stop me.  I can no longer let the cruelty I’ve suffered – and will most certainly suffer again – keep me cowering and silent in the dark.  I must live and speak from love with authenticity, for how can I hope to share that path with others if I don’t have the courage to follow it myself.

 I am encouraged by Anaïs Nin who wrote:

It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before, to test your limits, to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

 And by Dawna Markova who declared:

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

And by Marianne Williamson whose inspiring poem Nelson Mandela made famous in his 1994 Inauguration Speech:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

To Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s invitation, I reply, “Yes, with Grace, it is my intention to live this way each moment of every day for the rest of my life”: 

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

When the cruelty comes, may my handling of  it and all of life’s challenges – a range of responses both graceful and deeply flawed – only provide additional opportunities for me to share openly to help others.  Because in a life fully lived we will encounter love and cruelty, pain and joy, hope and despair, victory and defeat.  All that matters is what we choose to make of it.  And I choose love, compassion and authenticity.

Fellow Travelers, may you speak from your heart, stand in the face of adversity and love yourself even when you are able to do neither.  For we are, after all, only human.
And that is more than enough.

You are loved and loving.  You are blessed and a blessing.  Namaste.

© Copyright 2010 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

About djwlifecoach

As a retired board-certified coach, author and Reiki master teacher, I continue to share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. What's love got to do with minimizing stress and getting unstuck? Everything! My book, "Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!" (Hay House/Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework. During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world's largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll. My recovery from burnout, including a sustained 80-pound weight loss and freedom from 10 years of debilitating depression, led to finding my purpose sharing hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. Through healing and self-exploration, I discovered that loving yourself unconditionally is the key to transforming your personal life, your work and the world. With attention and intention, I learned to live in alignment with love through a wealth of energy-shifting tools and techniques that help me reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm by releasing limiting beliefs, emotions and habits. My books, blog and radio episodes help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. Learn more and access FREE resources at For fun, I love singing, reading, sewing, knitting, golfing and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my husband, Wilson, and the coaching cats who manage my life—SiddhaLee and Maisy Jane.
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2 Responses to Authenticity is the Only Path

  1. Iris von Gustedt-Gonda says:

    I so much like the mountain dreamer invitation – I first heard it in my yoga studio in Houston. There I had the best yoga teacher ever (Steve took classes as well). She is deeply spiritual but also a most amazing woman in other respects. Her husband was a band player, smoker, and died in an accident 2 years ago. She is incredibly strong. She works closely with John Friend who developed the Anusara Yoga style. We once had a speaker @ PUUC who talked about that type of yoga. She travels all over giving workshops and still maintains 2 studios in Houston. In other words, doing it all in spite of incredible personal pain. Those were my (our) best yoga experiences; alas, no more. And you know what – I am o.k. with it. I do not need to do yoga, triathlons, dancing, massage and all the other things I did in my “previous lives” any more. It has taken me some time to accept these limitations but now I have and can move on.

    Every day is a gift and I am exactly where I am meant to be, whether I understand it or not. It’s the resistance to that which makes life so difficult.

    Take care, grasshopper.

  2. This post is a gift I will come back to again and again. You have knitted together brilliantly colored threads that combine to make up a manifesto of courage, and sewn them close at the edges. Wonderful!

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