Who are you, really?
Your Authentic Self is the person you were born as. It is the unique qualities and traits that only you possess. Why is it important? Because your Authentic Self and your Soul Gift work together much like aiming a basketball or skiing down a mountain. When we aim for the corner painted on the backboard, we make the shot. When you turn your head while skiing down a mountain your body turns after it. When you aim for and look to fully expressing your Authentic Self, your Soul Gift flows naturally, powerfully and without effort.
When you strive to be your Authentic Self, a sense of purpose and a feeling of happiness follow not because you are trying to do anything or achieve anything, but because it is being who you really are that creates meaningful impact in the world.
Your Soul Gift is not something you have to try and do. Throwing a baseball or writing cursive is something you “do.” A Soul Gift, on the other hand, is an intrinsic part of who you really are and what you really want. Your Soul Gift is the meaningful contribution that changes people around you for the better and all that you have to try to “do” is be you!
A Soul Gift flows through you and it is able to do so with greater intensity and impact the more you focus your attention on being and exuding the natural traits of your compassionate, curious Authentic Self.
Remembering Authentic Self
For this exercise you will need a pen and paper and about 15 to 20 minutes of uninterrupted time. You do not have to do this exercise right now, but you will be using it though out this book and while discovering and practicing your Soul Gift.
Now let’s find the traits and qualities of your Authentic Self!
- Recall a moment where you felt alive, connected, passionate, loved, or curious. You do not necessarily need to remember who you were as a child or before Banishment occurred, but the younger you are in these moments, the better.
- Write a list of everything that you felt and experienced in those moments, jotting down whatever comes to mind. Start each line with "I am..." Your list may include: I am free; I am young; I am happy; I am wild; I am strong; etc. Give yourself enough time to capture a complete list, only finishing when your answers do not come as easily.
- When you have finished your list, go through each entry and cross off anything that is temporary. This includes your physical appearance, job, duties, relationships, age, and position in the family, and even some emotional states (So “I felt sad” or “I was wearing blue shoes” would be temporary and wouldn’t be relevant).
- Finally, cross off everything that you cannot take with you when you die. We are searching for those lasting blueprints of our unique soul, those qualities that make you feel like you and endure throughout all of life. It is okay to alter or adjust some of your sentences to fit this structure (For example: “I am being funny” may be something more like “I am good natured” or “I am accepting” or “I am silly”).
- You'll want to end up with a list of three to five characteristics. If you have more than five qualities listed, some of your words might overlap. For example, loving and compassionate might mean the same thing. Try combining traits until you have a final list that feels good to you.
If the exercise is causing some trouble, try asking someone who knew you before the age of 4 (and before any trauma occurred if possible) what you were like as a small child. Write the list of qualities and traits as they describe you or have them write out the list. Then, repeat the steps 3-5 above: crossing off anything impermanent, anything you cannot take with you when you die and finally, combining similar words until you have a list of three to five traits.
These three to five characteristics provide a glimpse, in microcosm, of your Authentic Self. For example, my Authentic Self is wild, sensual, and playful. These three qualities help define who I am when I am most alive, and paying attention to them allows my Soul Gift to flow effortlessly. Your qualities may be similar or entirely different, what is important is that the words you find from this exercise give you a starting place.
Implementing Authentic Self
Take your list of authentic self qualities and look for them in your daily activities. For example, while eating breakfast or driving to work, see if your qualities are present. Ask yourself, “Am I experiencing wildness, curiosity, joy, etc.?”
Implementing Authentic Self is primarily about paying attention to how your Authentic Self feels. We are looking for areas and circumstances when you are being unapologetically and beautifully you. When you are acting as your Authentic Self, you are free and safe but it may feel vulnerable. The scariest place to be is present time but is also where we are the most powerful. The more you open yourself to vulnerability, the more you will experience healing, and the more you will allow your true self to emerge and that is what makes your Soul Gift truly powerful.