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Let’s Get Real

Self-awareness is the antidote to self-consciousness.

What do you love, today? What still voice speaks soft and low within your ear? What energy coils like a snake burrowing for Winter, deep in your belly? What feeling rises from this?

Becoming self-aware is the key to magical success. It is the key to opening our lives to our destiny, our soul’s work, and to what we truly love. The work of our hands and minds becomes also, the work of our hearts. The more we live from the place of self-awareness, the less we ratchet between self-absorption and its cousin, self-consciousness. We just are present with our full selves and therefore have no need to be self-referencing in every moment. She who is self-aware is more decisive, and he who is self-aware has access to greater generosity. Everyone gains.

But we start, here, now, by finding our center. We start, here, now, by sitting in self-observation, by getting to know our patterns, by spending time with ourselves in ways that form actual intimacy rather than assumptions about who we are based upon our old stories, wounds, or triumphs. This form of self-observation is not psychologizing about what we think we are, it is learning to be present with who we actually are, in all our parts.

True self-awareness is the antithesis of solipsism. When we have done a measure of work toward knowing ourselves, we generate energy from our essence, our being, and live, move, talk, and laugh from that. Everything around us begins to fall into place, because we are living a truly authentic life.

I want to write for a moment on that word, “authentic”. Usually, when I hear people use it, I cringe. Why? Because it gets bandied about with little definition, and can mean whatever an individual wants it to mean in the moment. It could mean, “I need to show you my vulnerable underbelly so you see how sensitive I truly am.” Or “I can express my anger and irritation because that is how I really feel right now.” In these cases, the word “authentic” comes to mean “I am acting out whatever emotion feels most present to me in the moment.” In other cases, the word “authentic” means, “That’s how I roll: I wear these clothes, listen to this music, hold that opinion, and you can’t change me.”

None of these uses of the word “authentic” show me that a person has done the hard work of sitting with herself on a daily basis, observing her thoughts and emotions as they go, watching his responses to outside stimuli, gauging action or reaction over time, facing demons and shadows and desires, coming to know what he truly wants. They just show me a person who is still trapped in the dream of her own making. This dream includes the concept of authenticity. When used in these cases, the phrase “authentic self” often becomes a stand in for true authenticity, and a pointer toward solipsism or self-consciousness, or on the flip side, unconsciousness: eg “I don’t know why you are so upset about my behavior at last night’s party. I was just being myself.” But which self was I being?

To be truly authentic we need to be in touch with as many of our parts as we are able. We need to have examined the ways in which they work with and against one another. Most of all, we need to have contact with our Genius, our God Soul, our Holy Guardian Angel, with the part that is connected both to our smallest inner spaces and to the vast reaches outside of our particular selves. This is holistic, and holism is what I think people are trying to point to when using the phrase “authentic self.” It can mean, “This is truly who I am, all of me, animal, human, and divine. This is me, connected to Source, and to Core, whether in the midst of grief, joy, anger, or quietude. There is something inside of me that simply Is.”

That is self-awareness. That is authenticity. That is something I can work with, and want to keep working toward. Self-possession is within our reach.

May it be so.

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