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Five years ago I was lost in a sea of darkness, completely disconnected from my authenticity. I was struggling at the end of a 20-year relationship to make it work for the sake of our children.

My throat chakra was clogged with all the things I would not say because I knew I had to “pick my battles.” I ran for miles and miles training for marathons because the only peace I could find was after mile 10. My suppressed sexuality had teamed up with inner rebellion to forge a crack for escape through my image of perfection, and I found myself addicted to one-night stands with strangers.

When the psychologist labeled me “borderline personality,” I lost all vestiges of self-worth and crumbled in shame. I was always the A student. What happened to her?

I left my marriage because the cacophony in my head was unbearable and I needed space to myself to just be. I left my marriage because I was tired of pretending to be what everyone wanted me to be, and being exposed as a complete failure. I was convinced if I got away from my husband then all the suffering would cease. In many ways, things did get easier without him — especially because I could finally see myself as I was, not myself in reaction to my surroundings.

After sitting on a therapist’s couch talking about my problems for most of my life, I refused to go to therapy anymore. I didn’t want to talk about the same story again. I wanted to heal.

My prayers were answered when I met a local shaman in Austin and received a spirit healing of the original wound, a traumatic act of sexual abuse that occurred when I was a 1 year old. This healing began an avalanche of transformation that whisked away all that I had been pretending to be, all the masks I wore to please others. I learned to step into personal responsibility for my life.

I studied under amazing spiritual teachers, including those trained by Alberto Villoldo of The Four Winds and HeatherAsh Amara, a student of Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements). I rose above the wounded stories of my life and expanded into greater possibilities, which turned out to be more true than what I had been believing about myself. As I released core negative beliefs that had been reinforced over a lifetime, the layers of falsehood peeled back and I came more and more into authenticity by witnessing what was still standing within me.

My authenticity was revealed to me much as Michelangelo says of his creations: “I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free.” I was following sweet music through the darkness, and being guided steadily home.

I began to feel an energetic chord that ran through my being from head to foot, and I realized it was my truth. When I acted and spoke according to my truth, the chord created harmony throughout me. When I spoke or acted in dissonance with this chord, my stomach would turn and I would feel out of alignment. Feeling this chord’s vibrations was how I learned to speak my truth, because it would urge me strongly to expel the words through my throat, words I was often afraid to speak. But as I learned to speak difficult words, I honored the truth of my being, and I strengthened connection to my authentic self. And so I have learned that authenticity is the ongoing act of becoming aware of your own truth, and honoring it by word and deed.

The path to authenticity requires a willingness to let go of everything you believe to be true about your life and yourself. In fact, the journey invites you to not believe 90 percent of what you think. To find your authenticity, you must fearlessly endure discomfort by stepping out of the ways your mind has been domesticated to think. You must be willing to release resentments, stop being a victim of circumstance, and let go of being “right.”

You must be an avid student of your soul’s lessons. You must become the intrepid explorer of your own truth.

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Kerri Hummingbird Lawnsby
Kerri Hummingbird Lawnsby is a life catalyst, energy medicine practitioner, and award-winning author of Awakening To Me: One Woman's Journey To Self Love. Kerri has over 20 years of experience in leading by inspiration, and a special passion for empowering women to be the artists of their lives. She is certified in energy medicine by the Four Winds Light Body school, certified as a spiritual coach by the Artist of the Spirit Coach Training Program and HeatherAsh Amara, certified in empowerment and firewalk training by Sundoor, and certified as a Warrior Goddess Facilitator. Visit www.kerrihummingbird.com and contact Kerri at kerri.hummingbird@gmail.com.

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