Good morning! Did you try meditating? Did you feel a difference? You will, rest assured!
For today's Wellness Wednesday post (and I think the first of 2016?!), let's talk about authenticity and being genuine. I remember in high school and in college learning about Existentialism (click here for more on the philosophical part of it) and, although I myself fear death, found comfort and understanding in this type of psychology. If I acknowledge death, I will live my life more fully. And to live my life more fully, I must live as my authentic self. It is about my experience as my own self, I, not me within the context of others.
So how does one experience one's self, how does one live authentically? We've touched on some of this before. To be genuine, we allow ourselves to live as we please, to engage in the things that make us feel happy and fulfilled. We must find meaning and fulfillment in our lives, and engage in tasks that enrich our souls.
Throughout my life I have had many passions; I have always appreciated fashion and design, but it never really fully clicked for me. I always felt odd and awkward and as if I could never fully understand it or be accepted into that kind of world. As I've mentioned before, time and again I reconnect with yoga, and only within the past year or so have I truly fallen back into it wholeheartedly. I love learning about the many different layers of yoga, the history, about how I can live as a householder and not just as someone who does asanas for fitness-sake (which, yeah that is certainly part of it, but only a small part). I don't feel self-conscious when submerged in a workshop or yoga class, I feel confident in my ability to retain the knowledge and also share it when appropriate. I feel fulfilled having yoga as a part of my life. I find meaning in my practice, on and off the mat.
Connecting with this hobby, this passion of mine, has allowed me to live my authentic self. I do it for me, because I enjoy it. I am able to pause, take a moment, and assess if I am being genuine in any given moment. I've learned to pause, slow down, take a breath, ease that sense of urgency so instilled by our society.
Think about it. Allow yourself that time to engage in something that provides pleasure, and allow yourself to be fully present with it. Be fully immersed in the task or hobby, remind yourself what you like about it. You'll be surprised, because maybe that day or a day later you'll catch yourself in a different mindset. Just as meditating can provide a few minutes of peace in one day that ends up seeping into the rest of our week, engaging in something [even for one day] that makes us feel fulfilled allows that peace to seep into the rest of our week.
At this point you're either thinking, "yeah that's all well and good but I have to make a living..." or "but I don't even know what I find fulfilling..." Start with simply identifying and connecting with what gives you pleasure, what makes you feel positive and good about yourself. Don't force it though, as that basically leaves you stagnate and unable to progress. Connect with your friends and peers, take time to figure out what hobbies you have and what you enjoy. Make a list of hobbies you enjoy or something you've been meaning to do. It can be as simple as reading: not only is it a mindful activity, but you're also gaining knowledge.
Remember, there's no pressure and this is just for you.