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The Power of Authenticity

goddess_of_war_by_toy1989820-d64duct I feel like I can finally breathe.

I have been training intensively in Non-Violent Communication (NVC) for 4 years now. One of the most powerful things that NVC teaches is authenticity. If you don’t know what authenticity is, you may not be able to understand what I am going to write about in this blog post, but it may give you a taste.

The power of authenticity is so profound, it is like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.

Many of us grow up in this culture learning to become the person that others want us to be. This is the opposite of authenticity and in the literature of psychology is often referred to a co-dependence. Our sense of self and identity, instead of being authentic, self-referential, grounded, centered, and integrated, becomes other-referential, off-centered, inauthentic, ungrounded, disintegrated or fragmented, and based primarily on projections.

Instead of owning ourselves – our light and shadow, or strengths and weaknesses — we end up projecting these qualities and traits outside of ourselves and onto others. Other people become idealized and put on a pedestal, or demonized, depending on whether we are projecting our light or our shadow.

Through the training and practice of NVC over the past 4 years, I began to own myself and reclaim my authenticity. I learned how to observe without the interpretation, evaluation, and judgement of my stories (projections). I learned how to identify my feelings and needs. I developed a vocabulary of feelings and needs so that I could identify them within myself and express them to others. And I learned how to make requests of myself and others so that my needs would have a better chance of getting met.

Over time, I began to see how my stories, my beliefs, my projections shape my reality and become self-fulfilling prophecies. I saw how, instead of communicating my “reality” in an authentic way, I would do the exact opposite. I would reflect back the “reality” I thought others wanted to see in me, but it was only partly to be “pleasing.” Really it was a way of manipulating others in the subconscious hope that by being what they wanted me to be, by being “pleasing,” I would ultimately be able to get my needs met.

Manipulation and passive-aggression are two sides of the same coin.

Subjugating one’s authenticity (the truth about what one thinks, believes, feels, needs, and values) in order to please others is a form of manipulation. It may appear to be working when others like what they see and respond to it, but in the end 95% of the time only their needs are being met by pleasing them. Unfortunately our own truth and our own needs are still getting subjugated, repressed, and ignored.

So we end up feeling anger, frustration, and resentment. Over time these feelings build up pressure until we explode — either violently or in a passive-aggressive way. Passive-aggression in many ways is actually more violent than the obvious expressions of violence because it can’t be seen. It’s a violence that hides itself, and when you can’t see it, you can’t meet it. So it clobbers you in a way that feels completely obliterating. You didn’t see it coming and you have this feeling like you don’t know what just happened.

It’s more powerful than head-on aggression because it’s “invisible.” It comes out of nowhere, obliterates you, and then disappears again.

But even more enlightening, liberating, and empowering than the realization of how I have subjugated my authenticity behind the “pleasing” masks of manipulation and passive-aggression was the realization that it went even deeper than that.

For most of my life, only up until the past year, I have unconsciously been letting other people “obliterate” my reality. I have noticed that some people I interact with (starting with my mother and father) who each have a very strong sense of their own reality are able to dominate, crush, bulldoze, and obliterate my sense of reality, replacing it with their own.

In other words, I become their projections of me, even if it’s not really who I am.

It’s only been in the past year that I have begun to have glimpses of this truth. But each time it happened, the window through which awareness and the light of consciousness could shine grew larger… until this week when the illumination exploded so vividly in my mind it was like a nuclear bomb. It blew my mind.

For the past 4 years I have been relating to a specific person in my life as his projection of me.

I have been thinking and saying for a very long time, “He doesn’t SEE me.” And to him, I have said more times than I can remember, “You don’t SEE me.”

One morning this week we woke up and had a conversation in which everything converged in my consciousness, and I finally understood. It all became so clear to me.

Moods May Swing, yet a Warrior Remains Steady

goddess_warrior_defenseJupiter is moving into conjunction with my Sun. I’d been feeling the powerful force of Jupiter’s cosmic gamma ray energy shining upon me, giving me an extra boost of confidence and adding a more gregarious expansiveness and extroversion to my personality, which I don’t normally have. I tend to be introspective and introverted, which is probably normal for a creative person like myself, yet not always helpful when it comes to the business side of things. So when I felt the force of Jupiter’s energy pouring through me, I was really enjoying it.


WarGoddess DON JUAN TAUGHT CARLOS CASTANEDA THAT UNBENDING INTENT IS A SPECIAL STATE OF MIND REQUIRING A RIGOROUS, FIERCE PURPOSE. It is a single-mindedness that a warrior-sorceress exhibits, an extremely well-defined purpose and the catalyst to trigger a warrior’s unchangeable decisions. Hence why a warrior-sorceress has power in all of her words and actions. Unbending Intent can also be the catalyst that propels one’s Assemblage Point to a new position, a position which in turn generates unbending intent.

Castaneda summed up the teaching this way, “Impeccability begins with a single act that has to be deliberate, precise and sustained. If that act is repeated long enough, one acquires a sense of unbending intent which can be applied to anything else. If that is accomplished the road is clear. One thing will lead to another until the warrior realizes his/her full potential.”

Two basic qualities of warriors are sustained effort and unbending intent.

The key is to make a decision about what your fierce purpose is and then commit to it with unbending intent.

I learned a lot this summer because I gave myself space and time to think.

Stalking Yourself & Hunting Power

Destiny as a Knight Don Juan Matus taught us that a warrior holds all possibilities in her mind and then chooses to believe and acts on that belief. We are doing that all the time whether we are conscious of it or not. Fortunately there are ways to become more aware of our core limiting beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves. This is what don Juan called “stalking yourself,” or “hunting power.” You become like a jaguar on the trail of a river rat. The “river rat” is the core limiting belief.

As an example of this, I said prior to meeting someone for a date, “I hope that regardless of the outcome, we’ll at least become friends.” My intention was to express my interest while also releasing attachment to a specific outcome. His interpretation was something like this: “If she’s settling for friendship already, she must have low self-esteem.”

When I heard that, I felt a chuckle inside me. I am always in awe of the way two human beings can experience very different realities when the observations are the same.

As a warrior, my initial response is to take that in as information. There is no need to defend a view point. It offers an opportunity to see myself more clearly and to see myself through someone else’s eyes more clearly, and to see another person more clearly. I don’t need to decide what’s true. I can hold all possibilities in my mind at once. In this way, it allows me to “stalk myself,” to see if there is truth in what this person said. After all, if he is reflecting to me some truth that he sees, wouldn’t I rather know that? Or would I prefer to live in a deluded state?

Ultimately it’s not about choosing to believe his interpretation or mine; it’s simply about holding all possibilities at once and letting them do their alchemical work. If I “choose to believe” anything, it will likely be, “I can always open my heart to giving myself more unconditional love.” There is no right or wrong. There is nothing to defend. But we can choose to be open or choose to be closed.

In another situation, I observed my mother reacting to a request to attend my new online workshop, “Unleash Your Creativity!” which is a blending of NVC and The Artist’s Way. I want her to understand the work I do, but after 8 days and 8 short You Tube videos, she said, “I think I’m lost. I seem to be missing a lot of your daily videos. I’m trying to sort them and watch them in order and can’t.”

In the same email, she talked about how she has trouble communicating in two of her most important relationships. I suspect the reason she can’t “sort them and watch them,” and is considering dropping out of the workshop, is because it’s leading her into an Initiation, a Transformation, and that scares the crap out of her.

She’s a a trained mathematician, philosopher, and computer scientist who worked for Martin Marietta for 10 years, raised two small children on her own, overcame alcoholism, did two stints in the Peace Corp, hiked the Continental Divide trail, wrote and published two hiking guides, which are still used to this day, hikes the Colorado Trail every summer, and I could list many other significant accomplishments, yet she’s telling me she can’t sort 8 videos and watch them in order.

When she wants to through-hike a trail, she is phenomenally capable and competent. It’s simply a choice.

Without rejecting anything off-hand, we can look deeply at what we choose to tell ourselves. We can look deeply at what we choose to do.

That is how we stalk ourselves, stalk our river rats, and hunt power.

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Welcome to the Game!

White Winged Warrior GoddessThis is a very special game. It’s the game of life. You are participating in the most amazing game. You are a warrior-goddess. It’s true! Now matter where you are in life, you are already incarnating the goddess and you are a warrior in training.

I am inviting you into this game. You don’t really need an invitation, nor do you need permission. You can give that to yourself at any time. But as your warrior-comrade, I am offering an invitation just in case you didn’t quite feel safe.

So, as I invite you into this game, I invite you to visualize yourself walking into a virtual reality game room. Put on the head gear (close your eyes). Visualize what you want your life to look like. What do you look like? Your hair, your face, your body? What are you wearing? Let your imagination run wild. That’s one of the funnest parts of this game… the design phase. In this phase you can design it any way you want it to be. There are no limits here.

Lest you think I am “full of it,” let me tell you something about myself and my own journey of awakening as a participant in this game. When I was a child, I went through a very painful and traumatic time for a few years. I won’t go into all the details here, but I will say that it had a very damaging effect on me. It lead to years of depression, then alcoholism, then thoughts of dying. But in one of my worst moments in life, when I was in so much pain I could barely withstand it, a little voice deep inside whispered to me, “You chose this experience for what it would teach you. Let yourself be changed by it. If you do not complete this stretch of the journey, you will have to return and repeat it.”

Something about that voice helped me to detach momentarily from the pain and see the experience from a greater height. I knew it would pass. And it did. At a later time in my life when I was experiencing incredible joy, it occurred to me that if I had given up, I never would have felt such joy. I would have missed out on so many extraordinary experiences and I would have missed out on knowing and loving some extraordinary people.

I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to suspect that I am simply a Pollyanna. I know what excruciating pain feels like. I have felt depression, despair, rage, and powerlessness. And yet I find myself today living in a state of consciousness that can still feel sadness and mourning, but can never be undone by it. I truly am a warrior-goddess. I know my inner strength, my courage, my self-love, my beauty, my power. I want you to know yours as well.

Perhaps it is because of the deep level of pain I have experienced and overcome that I am able to have such a playful and joyous attitude toward life now. My journey has taught me everything I needed to know, and your journey is teaching you everything you need to know.

The fact that you are reading these words is not a random coincidence. It means that on some level, you are ready to hear this message.

I used to live in a game I now call “The Master Plan.” It was a prison… a gilded prison… but a prison none-the-less. It was a game in which I forgot that I was a spiritual being having a human experience. I was fully trapped in the fleshy suit, terrified that if I didn’t do everything according to the Plan, I would suffer. I would end up homeless, hungry, and penniless. I was also afraid that others would reject me if I didn’t please them. I was afraid I would never be loved. I would end up alone, outcasted. I was powerless. Even though I had a good job and other “stuff” to shore up my frightened, powerless self, I lived a mostly stressed-out, tired, angry, sad existence with only brief moments of relief. I was easily hurt and insulted. I took everything personally. I focused on what other people were doing “wrong.” If only they would change, my life would work.

Even though I had heard the message of spiritual masters to let go or to change oneself, I didn’t really “get it.” It took a long time for that message to sink in, and it was usually because I had reached the point of giving up… surrendering. What people don’t understand is that there is power in letting go of control and surrendering. It seems so counter-intuitive, yet it is true.

I am inviting you to join me on the other side. You’ll still be in your fleshy body, but on the other side, you will trust in Abundance and Providence. You will know that all your needs will be met easily and effortlessly. You will learn to walk on water. Just believe!

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