The Risk of Authenticity


Being authentic for some people appears to be easy and natural. Many of the people I know who are what I consider authentic are unselfish, kind and humble. Since I have tended to be a people pleaser for much of my life, authenticity doesn’t always come easy.

A friend asked me if I wanted to attend a Christmas concert with her. My stomach did a little flip-flop, telling me that the truth was that I don’t particularly enjoy Christmas concerts. My tendency in the past had been to tell people what I thought they wanted to hear. Yet, I have been practicing a different response in these situations: “You know, I actually don’t particularly enjoy Christmas concerts. I would like to see what else is playing, okay? I would love to get together with you for a night out!”

A friend of my husband once was excited to invite us to a football game, for which he had tickets. My husband said (good naturedly), “Mike, you would have to pay me to go to that game.” He didn’t find the offer attractive, so he simply and emphatically said so! It bowled me over.

Sometimes it feels like being authentic is a big risk. Having made a decision many years ago to leave my fundamentalist Christian religion, I found it difficult to be honest with many of my friends and most of my family. When I “came clean” about my spiritual life — when I was true to myself, when I was willing to be my authentic self — my life did not fall apart. A few people worry about my soul, but for the most part, relationships remain lovingly intact.

It is important to me to be an authentic person. To remind myself of what is really important to me, I have created a personal Mission Statement and a personal Vision Statement. As part of my daily practice, I repeat them aloud. It reinforces keeping my priorities straight. It makes it easier to stay true to myself, to be authentic.

My Vision Statement is: “My life is Joy-filled. All is well and Good with my family, friends, and Mind & Body Spiritual Center. As I live my life with passion, I radiate an aura of calm strength and love. Enjoyment of life is second nature to me. I am true to myself and follow Divine Wisdom. I support others and lift the hearts of others. I use my imagination to create a beautiful life for myself, everything and everyone.”

My Mission Statement (which is more of an action step) is: “I place myself in the middle of the stream of Power and Wisdom, which flows into me as Life (Ralph Waldo Emerson). With a light heart, I follow my calling to be a blessing in all the roles in my life.”

It is my belief that we all have the potential to fulfill our desires. One of the big challenges seems to be remembering that we do have that power within to succeed at truly being our authentic selves. Being among others who have a positive attitude toward all the possibilities we are offered seems to be a good way to stay aware of who we are. That is why I choose to attend a weekly gathering where we celebrate that there is One Power in the universe, which is greater than we are, and we can use It for our good. When I am open to the idea of being one with that One Power (I like to think of It as the Big Bang Power), when I remember that my authentic self is a reflection of that Power within me, it becomes more natural to actually be that authentic self.

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Rev. Joanne Biewald
Rev. Joanne Biewald began studying the Science of Mind philosophy over 30 years ago while working in her 34-year career as a stockbroker. Before getting her ministerial license from Emerson Institute in 2006, she became a Licensed Practitioner through Emerson. She then worked as an assistant minister for a couple years at Our Spiritual Center in Minneapolis, and then became ordained through Centers for Spiritual Living, headquartered in Golden CO. In 2013 she helped to create Mind & Body Spiritual Center, where she has since served as Spiritual Leader (minister). Visit


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