During the Integral European Conference this year, Integral Coach and Facilitator Maria Bailey gave an enlightening talk called “Ordinary Habits. Extraordinary Life.”
During that talk, she shared a Koan:
Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion in the East Asia Buddhist tradition (Avalokiteshvara in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition) reaches for her pillow with one of her multiple arms, strokes it and goes back to sleep.
I did not get it. It was the most mysterious thing I heard during this conference. (That is the purpose of a Koan).
Showing up 10% more authentically
Two weeks ago, that is what our lead coach asked us in a coaching group I am part of. He asked us:
How could you show up 10% more authentically?
He also asked us individually what authenticity meant.
This is what I shared:
To me, authenticity does not always mean doing “the spiritual thing”. It does not mean doing what one should do. It relates more to a feeling, to do what feels right, what feels good.
It might seem anti-spiritual, maybe even immoral, but it feels good in the moment. When it is done mindfully and from the heart, from a deep sense of compassion and love for oneself and for the other, no harm can be done.
Being authentic requires giving oneself permission.
Giving oneself permission to be a little different.
Giving oneself permission to fail.
Giving oneself permission to not do what one would usually do.
This morning for example, I woke up at 5:17am. My alarm was programmed for 6:30.
I thought: Great, I get to be a hero today, and follow the principles of the 5:00am Club. Last week it worked out great: I had woken up at 4:59 (alarm clock also programmed for 6:30), and that day was phenomenal. I usually love to wake up early.
But not today.
I first battled in my mind to know what I needed to do (running all that self-talk and self-coaching around: “If you get up early, you’ll enjoy the early hours of the Creator, you’ll win the day.” Or “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.” Or: “Are you going to listen to the part of you that is AWAKE, and wants to enjoy the day, or the small unconscious part of you that is ASLEEP, that is 30% of your psyche right now and that is trying to defeat you?”.
After this inner dialogue that went on for about 15minutes, I got up, and started my morning routine. I still was hesitating and struggling. I would not give myself permission to go back to sleep. I settled into my morning Yoga, and I couldn’t make myself do it. It didn’t feel good. I left my yoga mat, and finally gave myself permission. I went back to my bed, snuggled under the cover, and loved myself. I felt self-compassion and promised myself that I would take care of myself.
When my alarm buzzed at 6:30, I felt good. I felt ready. I was happy to WAKE UP.
That was the Koan from 14 weeks ago bearing fruits, by experience.
The Chinese name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin, which means “[The One Who] Perceives the Sounds of the World.” That is a reference to her ability to listen to the suffering of the world, and the Bodhisattva vow that she made as described in the Complete Tale of Guanyin and the Southern Seas, where it is said that Guanyin vowed to never rest until she had freed all sentient beings from saṃsāra (the cycle of rebirth).
What it looks like in practice
To me, showing up more authentically means with more sincerity, and more candor (one of the 16 commitments to Conscious Leadership).
Showing up authentically also means showing up more powerfully which means with more compassion for oneself and for others. Once you feel the low completely, (embrace when you are surfing the low of the wave), you are ready to get back up on the next wave. Showing up more authentically, even in your weakness helps you integrate your shadow (I mention shadow work in my article on Deep Inner Work), and thus become more whole and live a healthier more balanced life. Embracing your weaknesses, your true desires and aspirations, your paradoxes and idiosyncrasies, your humanity and your divinity will help you grows in ways that look more like you, authentically.
In an interview by Tony Martignetti, Miracle-making Coach and Magical Event Creator Wendy Cirello shared:
“Spend money in alignment with your values. Don’t lie to yourself when you don’t.”
My favourite part of the quote is: “Don’t lie to yourself when you don’t.”
She talks about “spiritual carwashing”. That’s pretending you want something because it’s what you’re supposed to be doing, instead of admitting (authentically) what you really want.
That is exactly what I chose when I purchased the most expensive coat I ever bought. This is making the choices that are more life-giving, rather than life-preserving.
That is a good example of authenticity.
How can you show up 10% more authentically?
What would that look like?
How could you try 10% more self-compassion? (I know it can seem hard)