“Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit…”
Almost 365 days have passed since becoming the Motherhood Empowerment contributor for Phoenix Shine, The Phoenix Rising Collective’s blog. My, my, my (long inhale and exhale) so much has happened within the past year. Through all the laughter with family and friends, financial challenges, job hopping, difficult living arrangements, tears of depression, and watching my boys grow up and out in height, personality, identity, hobbies, and intellectual capabilities – I’m STILL standing. I’m STILL here!
This is a major declaration because there have been some pivotal moments these past few months, moments when I thought life was playing a miserably absurd joke on me and had left me in the great wilderness to be eaten alive by self-loathing, debilitating mental illness, anxiety attacks, and voices of conditioning. But alas, my Guardian Angels and Spirit Guides gave me a swift kick in the (now very sore) posterior (I’ll explain the soreness later!) and challenged me to begin living a life solely dedicated to unabashed authenticity. I was forcefully nudged to do the following:
- Speak honestly to myself, first and foremost; and then share my truth with others.
- Create the balance of listening AND adhering to the messages from my passionate heart and my rational mind.
- Completely surrender to the notion of living to fulfill my life’s purpose.
“…Nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are.”
So, in mid-July, one early Sunday morning, after a long sleepless night of tossing, turning, and deep inhalations of the Houston, Texas humidity, pollen, and dew, I began the initial phases of doing…well, more so…BE-ing all of the above.
I spent the last $237 in my account (reserved for partial payment on a bill) for a round trip ticket to Michigan with the intention of seeing my honorary mother (stepmother) and best friends. I separated from my significant other of eight years. I went to work the next day and quit my job with no other prospects anywhere close to the horizon. A few weeks later, I finally communicated some deep and dark feelings to my biological mother – feelings that had been churning inside me since I could recall my earliest memories as a toddler. This led to a healing breakthrough for us.
Let me tell you, after all that, not only did I feel like I had lost 100 pounds. For the first time ever, I felt serenity, excitement, unrelenting strength, joy, and absolute readiness to create the rest of my life exactly how I want!
In recent weeks, doors I didn’t know existed have widely and enthusiastically flung open, ushering me into the greatness that is my purpose. I was awarded a scholarship to complete my Yoga Instructor certification (which I’ve begun preparing for; hence the soreness in practically every muscle in my body). I’m writing programs and developing a curriculum for a non-profit organization committed to youth empowerment. I teach English as a second language to Spanish speaking and Vietnamese adult learners. And I’m the new Program Coordinator for the Houston Center for Literacy which is dedicated to improving the literacy landscape of the city.
Talk about LEAPS of faith toward living an authentic life! Based on what I’ve experienced these past few months, I’d like to share five signs that you’re living authentically:
- Fearless: You fear less; thus, welcoming the vulnerability that comes with the discomfort and uncertainty of not having every single detail of your life planned. You find solace in knowing the heavens and earth are conspiring in your favor to bring forth what you really want. You express gratitude because all that you’ve prayed long and hard for (plus even more) comes to fruition. You simply say,“Thank you,” and pay it forward.
- Honesty: Speak the truth and nothing but the TRUTH so help you! According to Neale Donald Walsch, honesty is one of the highest manifestations of love, so if the intention is to love ourselves, let’s start by being honest. How do you want to feel each day that you wake? What’s your ideal career? How can you make a lucrative income pursuing the one or two or several things that bring you great joy and passion? What does optimal health look like on you? What are some non-negotiable and/or areas of flexibility within an intimate, committed relationship for you? In what area(s) can you improve your parenting skills? I dare you greatly to answer all of these questions, honestly. And don’t judge your answers!
- Clarity: A book that really helped me gain clarity in my personal and professional life is The Passion Test by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood. Without giving away all the details (because I hope you’ll do your research and grab a copy for yourself) the book provides a very precise formula for helping you gain significant clarity on the who, what, when, where, and how of pursuing your passion(s).
- Life Flows Easily: When you’re living what you love, life flows easily. You’re so swept up in the new routine of fearlessness and honesty (and with a brand new vision for pursuing your goals) that you become much less concerned about doubt, judgment of others, and the drama of “Who Shot John.” Now, this is not to say there won’t be hiccups and challenges along the way; ideally, you’ll feel more inclined to be aware of the now (or present continuous, as I’m teaching my students) and the power you have to create it exactly how you wish it to be.
- Attracting Goodness: Like INergy attracts Like INergy. The thoughts, words, and behaviors you set your intentions on will always return to you. Your intention will reflect either ugliness or beauty, so create beauty, Goddesses!
“Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving – even when it’s hard…mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.”
I’d like to especially dedicate this to Brene Brown. I’ve used quotes from her glorious masterpiece Daring Greatly throughout this article. I’d like to extend an extra special THANK YOU to Ayanna Jordan for inviting me to The PRC family, embracing my writing, compassionately supporting me, and encouraging me to continue to strive towards my own GREATNESS! Also, Traci Evadne Currie, gratitude, gratitude, gratitude and more gratitude for operating in your greatness and inspiring me to do the same!
About the Contributing Writer:
W. KaNeesha Allen is The Phoenix Rising Collective’s Motherhood Empowerment contributor. She is an educator with extensive project management, student support services, and community outreach experience in K-12 and higher education institutions. She is also the mother of two extremely rambunctious and fun loving boys – Ausar and Mikah. While often seeking to master the balance between being a highly engaged mother and taking time to BE with herself in the divine energy of the universe, KaNeesha finds peace, solace, and regeneration through meditation, Vinyasa yoga, and her “Sistah Circle”. As the Motherhood Empowerment contributor, she welcomes mothers from everywhere to join her on a journey of self-discovery and evolution towards harnessing, embodying, and emoting the Goddess power within. Read her latest posts.