A Journey Into Authenticity: By Beth Terrence (Guest Blogger)

Day 7 of 100 Days of Blogging 

GUEST BLOGGER FRIDAY!

A Journey Into Authenticity 
by Beth Terrence
I came across this poem attributed to Charlie Chaplin this Saturday as I was preparing to lead a workshop on Transforming Your Inner Critic Into Your Cheerleader at a women’s recovery retreat.  I often share on Loving Ourselves as a key to healing and transformation  - this is my personal path and one I bring into my work with others.  I googled “loving yourself poem” and Chaplin’s poem was the first one that popped up.  I was surprised as I had never seen or heard of it before and tend to search for that topic from time to time.  That’s kind of how serendipity works – you find what you need when you need it.
I printed the poem, intending to read it at the end of my workshop, but we ended up going a bit over with the material – the conclusion of which is to “invite your inner cheerleader to emerge by loving yourself! “  As I was preparing for a gathering the next day of my writing circle, I felt a pull to bring the poem to share there.  As I read the poem, the energy in our group was palpable.  The words really touched everyone in a deep way, reaching into to the heart and the wisdom that comes through the journey of life. 
Instantly, it became clear that this was something we wanted to explore further and as a group we decided to work with one stanza each week as a prompt for our writing and for life.  So here I am – writing and exploring life!  Here is the first stanza of the poem entitled, “As I Began To Love Myself” by Charlie Chaplin:
“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”. ~ Charlie Chaplin
Funny, because at that gathering, I was sharing about an experience I have been having come up lately.  It is finding myself somewhere or on my way to somewhere or to meet someone, when I feel my eyes welling up with tears and my heart just melting.  There’s a gentle sadness there, but as I connect with it, I recognize it as the feeling that I am in deep alignment with my soul purpose.  At different times in my life, I have had glimpses of this, but in some of the transitions and shifts of the past year, I felt I was in more of a seeking place and not exactly where I am supposed to be just yet.  That’s the feeling!  When this warm, teary feeling bubbles up in me, I see that – “I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment!” 
When this feeling comes in, there is a fullness to it that moves through all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.  It is an alignment within myself, my soul and the universe.  What a joy it is when that feeling comes and I recognize it for what it is.  This is part of knowing myself that comes from a willingness to be present to the moment and to what is arising.
As I have been sitting with Charlie Chaplin’s words, I realized there is a strong correlation between the idea he shares about anguish and emotional suffering being a warning sign that we are living against our truths; andmy feeling of contentment, warmth and a happy sadness that is an indicator of alignment with our truths. 
One of the tools I work with in my practice is the Bach Flower Remedies.  There are many reasons why I find them to be one of the most potent transformational tools.   A large part of that is how the remedies themselves actually work and effect well-being, but a lot has to do with the teachings of Dr. Edward Bach, creator of the remedies.  He speaks of illness or disease as being a sign that there is some disharmony between our personality and our soul.  
This is not a new idea, and really, one that had been at the heart of healing for millennia, but we seem to have lost this awareness in our modern world and hopefully, we are slowly returning to it. The Bach System creates a strong structure for working with this disease model, through looking at our personality traits and emotional state to find where our healing and transformational work lies.  As we begin to transmute those areas where we are out of alignment with our soul, we begin to heal and return to wholeness.
This feels very similar to what Chaplin speaks of and what I believe is at the heart of healing.  Everything we experience is an indicator of where our consciousness lies.  When we are feeling uncomfortable, out of balance, ungrounded, discontent and so on, we are in some way out of alignment or harmony with our truth and with our soul purpose.  When we are feeling content, peaceful, joyful, and grounded, we are in a place of greater alignment with all of who we are. 
Learning our own personal guidance system is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.  And, for me I have found, this is the journey of a lifetime.  We are not static beings, but constantly changing ones and this seems to be accelerating in our present time.  I am finding that what is emerging this week through my exploration of the poem and my own self-reflection is a simple practice that can be a very powerful indicator of alignment.
So the essence of my exploration for this week is to really tune into how I am “feeling” as I go about my day, being as conscious as I can with all of the various experiences and people I am interacting with.  The questions I am asking myself are”
Am I feeling uncomfortable, out of balance, ungrounded, discontent?  Are difficulty feelings arising?  Am I feeling disconnected to myself? Others? The Universe?
Am I feeling content, peaceful, joyful, and grounded?  Am I feeling balanced? Am I feeling connected to myself? Others? The Universe?
One of things I sense about Chaplin’s poem is that he is not really talking about changing things, but noticing.  He labels this “Authenticity”.  And, this is not about being different than who we are or where we are, but just noticing, honoring and accepting what is arising for us in this very moment.  I find it is in this acceptance of the truth of the moment that we become able to recognize the vastness of our true nature and the interconnectedness of all creation.
Another layer of this that is emerging through my own exploration relates to the choice that comes with the awareness of what being in alignment “feels” like.   Developing this awareness on a feeling level is a process that helps us to move more fully in the truth of who we are and our soul purpose.  It is part of the walk of being a spiritual being having a human experience.  And, in some ways, it’s like working out or building muscles – we need to practice, we need to give ourselves the experiences that allow us to know what alignment feels like and to deepen in that experience. 
Recognizing the experiences, connections and relationships that support alignment is a step in choosing to be in greater authenticity and truth; this also opens the door to create more of those experiences in our lives.  Recognizing the experiences, connections and relationships that take us out of alignment is important, too; this teaches us where our inner work lies.  We may not be able to avoid each of certain situations, but by being open and in awareness, we can learn how to care for ourselves and incorporate practices and tools, which can help us to hold our truth in any moment.
I see this as a creative exploration in living in authenticity and truth.
I hope you will join me in this exploration as your heart guides you to.  And, would love to hear thoughts, feelings and reflections.
I’d like to close with another poem, which is one of my all time favorites and actually was the one I would have brought to my workshop had I not come across Chaplin’s poem.  I feel it speaks to this topic strongly as well.  It is called by “A Ritual To Read To Each Other” by William Stafford:
A Ritual To Read To Each Other
If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Beth Terrence is a Shaman, Facilitator & Holistic Practitioner.  With over 17 years of experience in the field of holistic healing and transformation, she is leader in supporting others in living heart-centered, balanced and joyful lives through discovering the healer within.  She offers Integrative Transformational Sessions for individuals, which incorporate Shamanic Healing, Bach Flower Remedies, Zero Balancing, Meditation, Holistic Self-Care and other Body/Energy Therapies.  She offers classes & workshops in the MD/DC area and by teleseminar.   Her story, “Lost & Found: The Birth Of A Shaman” is a part of the Heal My Voice book, Inspiring Voices: True Stories Of Visionary Women.  Beth also offers online transformational resources and explorations through her blog, The Heart Of Awakening: Searching For A New Paradigm.  To learn more about Beth, explore Integrative Transformational Sessions or find upcoming classes & workshops, visit www.bethterrence.com.

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