Credit: NBC Michelle Chamuel performing on "The Voice"
Credit: NBC
Michelle Chamuel performing on “The Voice”

QUITE SOME TIME ago I traveled solo by bus and train across England to a retreat center, a bed-and-breakfast, in Glastonbury. Arriving at the same time was a group of guests who had signed up for a crystal and meditation workshop. One morning, a few of us were sitting around the kitchen table when one of the guys picked up a switcher and said the TV can be a spiritual experience. In the same vein as picking random paragraphs to read from a shelf of books, he told me that he often made amazing discoveries by randomly switching channels and discovering what happened to come out of the television.

He spoke the truth, for our external world is quite prepared to astonish us if we give it a chance.

For as much as I decry a lot of what is on the tube, I am constantly discovering new and surprising insights while watching people in relationship with each other, and some shows really know how to tug at the heartstrings. Some astound you when you least expect it.

The other day, I was watching “The Voice,” NBC’s singing competition, which just concluded its fourth season. Usher — one of four star judges — found himself with only one contestant left on his team after elimination rounds: Michelle Chamuel, a short, young woman with a distinctive voice, a body that never stops moving and a trademark lunge when she is hitting the big notes. Her large, black-framed glasses endeared her to her fans.

What she proved as the second-place finisher this season was her ability to touch the soul with her voice. Certainly not a favorite early on in the competition, Michelle proved increasingly each week that she was something special.

Then, during a routine comment after one of her performances, her coach Usher said this: “The standard changes every time someone steps out and does something different.”

That spoke to me.

I thought about the 7 billion people living together on this blue marble of a planet, how interconnected we all are, and how one of us can change the vibration for all of us when we choose to be who we truly are.

Authenticity is a current catchphrase, but it’s not just a synonym for honesty. It’s brutal honesty down to the soul, about who we are and what we feel. No more going through the motions. No more doing something while knowing it holds no spark of aliveness for us. No more white lies or deception, especially if you’re the only one who knows.

Usher’s sentiments towards Michelle reminded me that there is no greater act of bravery than stepping out and expressing our soul to the world.

How would the world be different if every human being was authentic, 100 percent of the time? Would we even recognize where we were? Or would it seem like a science fiction story in which idealism becomes the norm, and when the TV is turned off, our reality pales in comparison?

I, for one, feel the path of authenticity is the beginning of great change for all of us.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Tim, I really liked your editor’s comments, both about finding interesting and
    inspiration in watching TV and about authenticity. As you know from my articles
    you’ve published that being authentic is one of my favorites. In checking out
    different channels I have discovered someone who builds treehouses, including
    one as a “spirit house” and a most interesting and long interview with Hugh Jackman discussing “Les Mis”. I think we find what we are looking for and if we want inspiration, beauty, etc. we will find it. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. How would the world be different if every human being was authentic, 100 percent of the time?

    Hey Tim!
    Here is a thought! At the Core of Self, “Authentic/Authenticity” is a constant! Being Authentic is not difficult! Doing Authentic IS!!! Within the Human Experience on Planet Earth and even in the larger unseen Universe. Authentic actions and words often require being vulnerable and susceptible to the criticism, ridicule, judgment and abuse of those who do not “do” authentic very well at all and are not interested in Authentic! Authentic generally flows from the Core Heart of Self. Un-Authentic generally flows from the limited and controlling mind energy we witness through the actions and words that do not exhibit BEing connected in any way to the Core Heart of Self.

    BEing “Authentic” does not translate automatically into DOing “Authentic”. But Doing Authentic translates immediately into BEing “Authentic”! Except for when it does not!!

    Had you ever considered that concept?

    Here is one more simple thought!
    An authentic action does not always translate into an authentic result. So for “whom” is it then to determine and define “Authentic/Authenticity”?

    “Authentic/Authenticity” is a very slippery slope to stand on!
    Maybe, just BE YOU, and let the “Authentic/Authenticity” idea play in the minds of other’s! From what you shared about Usher, you identified authentic and described how you saw it came through Usher’s words. How many did not see Usher as BEing authentic, but rather corny or ……..?

    So is “Authentic/Authenticity” a judge-able quality or action?
    So then is “Un-Authenticy” not also a judge-able quality or action?

    How about a revision to your statement: How would the world be different if every human being was (Attempting to BE) authentic, 100 percent of the time?

    Your original statement is “Unrealistic”!
    The revised statement is currently more feasible, although still presently improbable! Yet then if one does not know the Core Heart of Self of another, how can anyone be sure?

    YEP! “Authentic/Authenticity” is a very slippery slope to stand on!

    The Authentic Self is one of those catch phrases that will be used for a while, then it will slowly slip away and another catch phrase will take it’s place!

    Just BE YOU!! No judgment there……YOU JUST ARE YOU!!
    We are not the actions we take as Human’s or the words we use to express!

    “Authentic/Authenticity” are not a part of my vocabulary! But I know Authentic is catching on with many! But as most human’s do, a person does not really LOOK at what they are saying…..they just say it because someone else is!

    Just Me!
    Authentic or Un-Authentic…..You decide!!
    I AM Just ME!

  3. To me, Michelle and Usher made the word “authentic” into an alive reality by just being their best selves which made the term goes beyond a mere catch-phrase. No attempt. Just being. They supported each other and brought out the best from each other. They became the teacher for each other and both of them realized this. They had a gut connection which they were able to transmit to the world via television. To those who did not follow through these two at The Voice 4 US from the start, they might simply have the faintest idea of what I am talking about. One can just argue “authentic” from a conceptual level. Not even me knew before that such inspiring authenticity is ever possible to really happen. But for avid followers who have closely watched, appreciated and experienced their raw emotions, spontaneity, unfolding awareness, depth, wisdom, growth in their relationships, etc., the experience is heart felt and genuine. It’s been truly a rare and golden opportunity to celebrate the beauty of an authentic life. I know because that was their impact on me – so inspiring. I thank them forever. For others, the experience may be different and that is fine.

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