Authenticity makes me happy, but you know what? It doesn’t necessarily make me financially wealthy. If anything, at times, it’s negatively affected my business’ bottom line. I’ve had losses such as people leaving my tribe by hitting the “unlike” and “unsubscribe” buttons. I’ve lost friends, acquaintances, and colleagues.
So many internet marketers and business coaches talk about how being authentic is so important in life and business. I agree with them. I do my best to really show up as the real me. I probably am not as successful (in a traditional sense) as I could be, since I don’t want to follow the formulas that work for others. Those formulas never work for me. Some will say that the formulas can be customized, which I disagree with a bit. If you paste in your information and details and even essence into a formula, it’s still a formula.
Living authentically for me means that I listen to my heart. It means that I contribute to the world in ways that feel good to me. There’s things I enjoy helping others with and I trust that the right people will find me.
I’ve not really found that authenticity pays the bills. I know that this will sound negative to some.
I’ve been on the planet for 40 some years and each year, I’ve found that my heart speaks to me louder and louder. It’s hard to ignore your heart’s messages and your callings. More and more, my definition of “success” basically is “just be happy.” I have found that when I’m happy, everything mostly falls into place. I’m not saying I’m happy all the time, but the more I am, the easier it is to be that way most of the time.
Some want me to be scowling, a depressed or dark punk rocker. That’s not me. I’m really more of a happy-go-lucky, very silly faerie. Yes, I’ve written a book about the rebel’s spiritual path. Yes, I’ve branded myself as “punk rock.” The thing is, punk rock for me has always been about being true to yourself. I don’t always listen to punk music or dress in a punk rock way. I just show up as me. Some days, it means I’m listening to Howlin’ Wolf and wearing jeans and a hoodie or yoga pants. It’s all good.
What about you? What’s your definition of authenticity? Share in the comments below.
With love and respect,
©2015 by Lisa Selow
(Photo credit: Arthaey, Flickr, Creative Commons License)
After reading the title of this post, you might be wondering, “Okay, Lisa, is this really possible?” My response is, “Hey, why not?”
I like to be my own lab rat. After recently returning from a vacation, I decided to experiment. I was so happy at sea, in the warm, sunny climates of the various ports of call. It was so nice to be disconnected from technology and to feel the cool, tropical breeze.
One day, I was sitting at a bar in the Bahamas, sipping on a pina colada, listening to a band play island music. (I rarely ever drink, especially at bars, and well, especially not drinks that cost more than $2!) I was smiling ear-to-ear, talking to nice people around me, intoxicated by the nice energies, not my beverage. I was getting ready to go back into the clear, blue waters with the soft, white sand under my feet for some swimming as a thought occurred to me.
“Why don’t I just choose to be this happy all of the time?”
Wow, that one came crashing down on me like a rogue ocean wave. My human ego responded with, “Well, duh…” My spirit giggled like a little kid on too much sugar. I felt invigorated by this idea of being happy all of the time. I saw it as a call from my spirit. Of course, being a bit hardcore with this sort of spiritual stuff, I responded internally with, “Okay, Universe, bring it on! Bring me my joy!”
Then, I heard, “Why not just BE joy, instead of asking it to be brought to you?”
Okay, I get it!
I thought about this some more as I swam in the crystal, blue sea. I decided to take one of the last tenders (boats that take you back to the main ship), so that I would have time to bask in these revelations. (Yeah, the Bahamas made it a bit easier for me to experience these moments of clarity, after leaving behind the cold weather and gloomy skies of Detroit.)
Next, I had an epiphany! The decision to be happy all of the time is very punk rock. The rest of the world is all gloom and doom–at least according to the news and popular media. I observe people in public who are all rushed, distracted, and working to acquiring more material goods. It doesn’t seem like people are truly happy often.
Of course, this decision to be happy includes other people. I have decided to shift into a place where I silently affirm happiness and love for others, even though the illusion is that they are in pain or suffering. I can’t be responsible for their happiness, but I can give them hope. Being unhappy in my own life doesn’t help anyone. I have a mission to be a spiritual teacher, so people need my light (another term for happiness). No one really wants to be around those who are grumpy, moody, unpleasant, naysaying, negative, and what I call the Downer Debbie types (remember that skit from “Saturday Night Live”?).
My silent rebellion is positive. Although I’m only one person, I still have a positive, loving effect on the world. I can’t change the world really, but I can change myself. A group of individuals being happy (and peaceful) is a force to be reckoned with, and it has even been scientifically proven via the Maharishi Effect studies (see the following link, if you want the proof: http://www.mum.edu/m_effect/)
Here’s some guidance that I received about how to live this stuff, rather than just talking about as some fluffy idea:
1. Live with the intention to be happy. Energy follows intention. If you wake up with the notion that your day will suck, it probably will. Everything starts with intention. You might need to practice this before you get there 100%. It might take a few weeks to really feel a difference, but heck, don’t you think it’s worth it? Your old programming took 20, 30, 40, 50, or more years to get into you. Making a new habit only takes 21 or 28 days, depending on the research you read. It’s such a small investment. Expect miracles each day.
2. Refuse to allow anything to affect your peace of mind. I used to have a difficult time with maintaining my happiness when others around me were angry, unhappy, or otherwise negative. It took me years to realize how ridiculous I was behaving around these people. I’d freeze up, walk on eggshells, or try to make myself disappear energetically. This was a cause for much of my own suffering for most of my life. When you’re strong and confident in your happiness, negative people will affect you less and less. Your energy will become much like the air freshener spray that killed the Shit Demon in the movie, “Dogma.” It repels them. You won’t need to shield yourself hardly either. Just choose to be happy instead of buying into their egos’ drama. You can just listen with objectivity as the Observer, allowing others to rant, while you don’t allow it to drag you down.
3. Yes, happiness is a choice. I can hear you saying, “But, Lisa, I’m unemployed/about to lose my home/about to file for bankruptcy/getting divorced/physically ill/grieving/fat/depressed/afraid…yadda yadda yadda.” Well, I’ve given readings to people with all of these so-called challenges. I’ve given readings to people who lost their house to a fire or who had incarcerated family members. I could go on, but I don’t want to beat the drum of human suffering.
So many times, I heard people who suffered through tremendous adversity say, “I never knew how strong I was until this happened.” Inside, I’d say, “Holy crap! This makes me feel silly for worrying about my stuff.” I once gave a reading to a woman who was fighting cancer, going through a divorce, and about to lose her kids and house. She smiled as she sat down. The thing is that I didn’t even see those things in her energy. I just saw changes and that she was happy. The client waited until the end of our session to tell me what was going on in her life. I almost fell to my knees in humility. I heard my guides and angels say, “See, you can be happy no matter what!”
4. To increase your happiness, help others to be happy. I don’t want to get all Buddhist on you, but it is considered good karma to help others to plant the seeds for your own good. Of course, you don’t do things for others with the intention that your good will come to you. Your happiness will naturally result from the love you feel in your heart from doing good deeds. Practice random acts of kindness. Do one small thing each day to help uplift another. It does matter and make a difference.
I once felt so much anxiety that it was incredibly hard to focus on much of anything. I felt so much stress to the degree of making myself physically ill (an ulcer). I could hardly peel myself off the couch to go to work, but I did. I tried the experiment of doing one nice thing per day for someone else. At first, I didn’t feel anything, but eventually, I started to feel so happy. This happiness I felt, even though I had worries over money and my marriage. Soon, things healed in both my financial and relationship sectors.
Wow, this stuff works.
5. Don’t poison your mind with negativity. I refuse to watch the news on television any longer. I refuse to listen to commercials that talk about dis-ease and horrible side effects that are worse than the actual dis-ease.
I don’t want to pollute my mind since it’s a powerful tool to create my reality.
I also abstain from gossip magazines or shows that exploit celebrity drama. I refuse to look at popular fashion magazines that have anorexic, air-brushed models simultaneously with recipes for chocolate cake in the same issue. I refuse to engage in negative conversations about other people.
Instead, I rebel. Instead, I fill my life with objects of beauty, good books, healthy food, exercise, affirmations, positive people, and a mindset that is happy.
6. Fake it ’til you make it. Try pretending to be happy. Tell your ego you’re doing an experiment. See how long it takes for the pretending to become real. Happiness is a choice. Choices and habits are closely related. So, why not make happiness a healthy habit? Speaking of choices, you’ll notice that you will select much different things when you’re in a happy place. You might order a salad at a restaurant. Or, you decide to go to the bookstore, instead of the bar. You might finally sign up for those guitar lessons that have called to you since you were 10 years old. And, you might find yourself giggling for no reason.
7. Happiness is an internal thing. External things do not make you happy or sad. You make yourself happy or sad. It’s a choice, as I mentioned. I’m sure you could find scores of books in which people went through hell and back, but still managed to be happy, in spite of all of it. Your happiness doesn’t depend on how much money you make or where you live. Your happiness doesn’t have to be earned. Your happiness doesn’t depend on how others feel about you.
The nice thing is that you can create happiness for yourself. What a joyous freedom to be able to do this kind act of self-love.
8. Be okay with the so-called bad times. Yeah, you’re human. You might have a bad day now and then. You will experience heartache, loss, and sadness. You might feel stuck. The key is to not dwell in negativity. Do your best to take care of yourself.
Do your best to see the lessons that your soul is wanting you to learn through the hardships. Don’t take it so personally. You are strong and you can get through anything. Remember the times you’ve been through the ringer and got out alive. Be grateful, even for the hard lessons.
It’s how you respond to hardship that matters. Don’t allow it to make you go into panic mode. Take a deep breath and ask the Universe to smooth your way. Be okay with being happy, even when others are not. Most of all, remember, this is temporary. This too shall pass.
9. Honor your full range of emotions. Of course, happiness is not the only state of being. There are other emotions and feelings. I categorize all of them into 2 areas: love or fear. When you start to go into the fear end of the spectrum, just remember that something is off. Your emotions and feelings are simply a guidance system trying to get your attention. See what needs to be adjusted, but don’t allow the fears or negativity to pull you down.
Again, this too shall pass.
Find a way to process and release your emotions. Again, take care of yourself.
You will find your way back to happiness. It never really went anyplace though. It’s always there because your true nature is LOVE.
Sending you happy blessings,
©2011, Lisa, Punk Rock Psychic™
Many wise spiritual teachers, scientists, and other revolutionaries have talked about how change is the only constant in life. Change is the only thing that you can really count on in life. Living life as a human on planet earth (Earth School) is not for the faint of heart. You have your own changes and others’ changes to deal with–it’s not easy. Often, it’s how you handle change that determines your level of happiness.
I’m a big advocate of just loving who you are right now. The divine doesn’t make junk. You’re awesome. You’re meant to be on the planet living a wonderful life with purpose, love, success, and most importantly happiness. Some spiritual teachers say that we’re divinely perfect. On the human level, it may not feel like you are perfect. So, chances are, if you are alive and breathing, you’ve worked on making positive life changes.
So…how did it go? Did you really change? Did the changes stick? Are you happier?
Did it really work?
If not, who cares? You have time to get things right in your life. Only you know what is right for you. Only your own definition of happiness is right for you.
Sometimes, people think that transformation turns out all pretty. I’m sure you’ve heard of the nauseating butterfly analogies.
(photo by Vicki's Nature, Flickr, Creative Commons License)
You will cocoon yourself from the outside world and then, once spring comes, you’ll emerge as this pretty butterfly.
Did you know that the caterpillar totally turns into liquid while in that cocoon?
Did you know that if someone tries to rush the process of the butterfly kicking its way out that the butterfly won’t survive?
Just some food for thought for you.
It’s not all pretty. Life is that way. So is enacting changes or working on your transformation. It usually requires a step-by-step process. Just ask anyone who has tried to quit smoking. You can’t quit overnight. You have to wean yourself off. If health is your goal, then, great–most likely, you’ll be a success in quitting. If it’s to please someone else, you might be more likely to fail. You’re not invested in your outcome personally. You have to do it for you, no one else.
Sometimes, you desire to make quick changes. Have you ever done that before? You reach a certain point and you can’t take it any more. So, you decide to tear the whole damn thing down. You light it up and start over. I’ve done this with articles or books I was writing. I’ve burned bridges with employers, friends, and even family at times. It felt right in the moment. It may not have resulted in the best outcomes for me, but hey, I’m human. I’m learning. I learned things for sure, in hindsight.
I think of the legend of the phoenix, the mythic bird who burns up and rises from the ashes even stronger than before. I resonate highly with this legend. Actually, I think it’s a perfect metaphor for the level of change sometimes required in life, especially during these times of massive changes on the planet.
(photo by sally monster, Flickr, Creative Commons License)
Sometimes, you desire quick change. So, you decide one morning to quit your job–without notice. Or, you have taken enough of your living situation, so you just move out. Or, maybe you donate all of your clothes because they don’t appeal to you any longer. I’ve known people to just get up one morning and move to their favorite place.
Change can be gradual or sudden. There is no best way. It’s up to you. You have to do what feels right in the moment. There are really no mistakes. There are just lessons. So, let go of the guilt or self-blame. Let it all go.
Are you a butterfly or a phoenix? Which symbol for change or transformation resonates with you? (Feel free to comment here.)
Chances are, y0u’ve turned around some major challenges in your life. You’ve learned so much from moving past obstacles and other hardships. Honor yourself for how far you’ve come. Your path is right for you and no one else has walked it. No one else has walked in your shoes.
The thing is that change doesn’t have to involve the hard lessons. Major religions and other spiritual traditions sometimes have taught that lessons have to be learned the hard way. I can’t imagine that the divine would desire for you or me to suffer. Why not learn life’s lessons through enjoyment, fun, laughter, and love? I decided to rebel against the old notions of having to walk through fire to grow as a person or to grow spiritually. I’m done with that.
Here’s to change in ways that feel right for you. Here’s to transformation that is fun and easy.
Blessings on your path,
© 2010 by Lisa, the Punk Rock Psychic™