One of the key issues I see when mentoring thought leaders is that there is usually a deep underlying system that involves striving to be like someone else. Erasing parts of themselves they don’t see align to a ‘vision’ of what they think success looks like. An idea of what they should be and then governing their behaviour to fit that. And we all do it, to varying degrees. When I first became a meditation teacher, I would yoyo between being truly authentic and then freaking out and trying to be more ‘calm and Zen’ and ‘seem like a compassionate-loving-kindness-Buddhist-like-person’.
Now deep down I am kind and loving and compassionate, but naturally calm and Zen – I am not. Sweary, big hand movements, overexcited and ADHD are all a part of me. And authenticity is a full embrace of it all and dropping the pretence. It is also a far more graceful life to live. Imagine our souls sighing and eye-rolling inward at the game we are playing for the world and the sense of relief and connection we feel when we drop this game.
The most unlikely people open up to me once they hear I am a meditation teacher, speaking of profoundly deep inner experiences and truths they have discovered. Practices and spiritual techniques they said no one really knows they do, because they worry what others would think. We all have a tendency to naturally protect what others might mock. That’s okay.
I heard Tara Brach talk of this when describing a film My Dinner with Andre. “A man asks Andre about writing and he responds with a story about his wife. She was going into surgery and after she had anesthesia, he realized he hadn’t said what he needed to. He said that from then on, he dedicated himself to speaking his heart as if for the last time, not taking the risk of not being real. And then he told the man: “Write like that, write like it is the last time, like this is it. And live your life like that, from that wholeheartedness.”
Today though I want you to imagine what life might feel like if you stepped fully into who you are, your wholeheartedness, with no excuses and no apologies.
Written with love,