Are what you do and say, and who you are, in alignment with your beliefs? For many of us, if we are honest with ourselves, the answer may be no. I believe that most people wish to live authentically, but many do not. I spoke with one of the most authentic people I know to get some ideas for how to try and capture some of that authenticity in your everyday life.
Judith Froemming – Consciousness Coachâ„¢, Master Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and Interplay Instructor – is a lovely testament to authenticity in her life. If you have the good fortune to meet, work or play with her, you will find that she really lives her talk. Judith facilitates the process of awakening in both group and individual sessions in the Twin Cities area.
I think the cultural structures that define us sometimes limit our authenticity. What do you think, Judith?
Judith Froemming: When I question my limiting beliefs, I set myself free. While it appears that cultural structures define me, what happens if I ask if this is true? What if cultural structures don’t define and limit me? What if it is my mind that defines and limits me?
When I accept limiting beliefs, I notice that I feel overwhelmed, stressed, afraid and dis-empowered. When I believe that these same cultural structures don’t define and limit me, I feel calm, peaceful, grateful and I notice the abundance of options that I actually have. I notice that it is my mind that defines me and sometimes limits my authenticity. I see now that cultural structures are neutral. They are there to create contrast so that I can see what I want to choose. I take responsibility for my choices, now.
Life in this dimension is a buffet. It is a table loaded with every conceivable dish. I can fill my plate with everything I don’t want, then complain at the checkout how terrible this buffet is, or I can fill my plate with everything I love and be grateful for all the wonderful, tasty choices I’ve made! I notice that this is a universe of contrast. I taste the pickles and I don’t like them. Good! Now I know not to take more pickles. I take the potato salad. I like it. Good! I’ll be taking more potato salad. In a free-will universe, I notice what creates suffering or what creates joy and balance for me…if I’m awake. And I can choose.
How can people break free of these limitations without alienating the people they love?
JF: Byron Katie’s humorous, and pointed statement,”Other people’s opinions of me are none of my business,” powerfully challenges the impossible expectation of the above statement. Have you ever noticed that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t please everyone? I end up exhausted and resentful. Once I give up trying to control how someone else feels or how they feel about me, I can return to being.
There is a famous bible passage, “…You shall love your neighbor as yourself…” (NAS, Mark 12:28-31). It seems to focus on loving your neighbor. But does it? If I look more deeply, I begin to realize that I’m not capable of loving anyone any better than I’m capable of loving myself. If I try to avoid alienating someone by pleasing them at my own expense, I am not true to my spirit and I’m not loving myself or them. It may look good on the surface, but it’s not authentic.
Being true to my spirit might be interpreted as egotistical. Outside of my consciousness, I do anything to avoid feeling unworthy. I shop, control, gamble, have sex, accumulate, drink, smoke, rage, and work to excess. This is what happens when I don’t believe I’m lovable enough to ask for what I want and need…until I wake up. When I love and accept myself, I can finally Love and accept you without expectations or attachment.
Can you teach people to be authentic?
JF: If I want to be authentic, I am willing to create a practice of Love. I am willing to question my limiting beliefs, belly breathe to calm myself, and be still. I listen to what my Body, Nature and Source have to teach me…be here now. I will raise my emotional intelligence, give up dualistic thinking and end war with myself. I do what gives me energy and stop doing what drains my energy…I become a formerly serious person and love that I won’t do any of this perfectly. It’s not required.
When I slow down, I cultivate awareness, which opens me to sit quietly and learn to actually live in my body. Acculturation has taught me to avoid pain, but now I lovingly observe my pain. My body teaches me as layers of tension gradually release, my neglected body heals and energy returns. I can only be authentic if I am present.
I am unattached to the outcome of my choice, I just notice the information coming to me and make the next choice. I act rather than re-act. As I remain unattached to the outcome, I’m free to be grateful for what this choice reveals to me, what it teaches me. It’s simple. I made up that it was more complicated than that.
I am my own best teacher. If I seek guidance, the wisest teacher will tell me that the answers are within. When I commit myself to the practice of Love, my mind and body open to previously unknown dimensions of life. I do not need to improve myself, I only need to remember myself. My intention to practice loving-kindness creates a life of joy and balance. It frees me from my alienation, suffering and distractions, and I’m finally able to love others as myself. An authentic life is in the moment, being true to my own spirit, my own journey.
Do you believe that self-esteem and authenticity are related?
JF: Self-esteem is rooted in accepting my original blessing or original nobility. When I am absolutely accepting of my being-ness, I love myself just as I am. My mind is quiet, my brain signals the production of healing chemistry and my body releases pain and tension and channels wisdom. I am grateful for this magnificent buffet and the opportunity to choose. Every choice I make is mine. Self-esteem allows me to own my choices…all of them. When I own my choices, I empower myself to live authentically.
The authentic heart is the spiritually mature heart. It is not a perfectionist. It has compassion for my being rather than goals for my future. It loves what is. Its only desire is to love and be free.
For more information on Judith Froemming, visit www.infinitemindhypnosis.com.