Forward… with Authenticity | December 2023

Forward… with Authenticity | December 2023

If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all. — Dan Rather

It has been quite the journey… one that began way back in 2019 with Focus. I never imagined that it would have taken this long path… and when I began this year I did not know if there would be another “building block” in my journey… and as the year draws to a close, no additional “building block” word has surfaced. I am feeling like that is a very good thing. However, it is not a journey finished… it is rather a journey that will not end. I have learned incredible things about myself over the last 5 years!

And this year had some very incredible, informative, eye-opening moments as I worked through authenticity. I learned that being authentic starts with myself… to myself… for myself.

The year also had some struggles… I made an effort to take a photo of myself each month… print it out and saved in my journal. I end the year no more comfortable with “self-photography” than I was in January but that is okay… it will be a part I carry forward next year… more practice, more photos, more journaling… and hopefully more comfort!

The other “new thing” I did this year was that journal! A separate, special “log” each month of the year… not an “artistic” journal, but one that for me was more approachable… and authentic. This will be something I carry forward as well. I like being able to go back and read when I am feeling stuck… it is a delightful way to see how far I have come!

It feels so very good to move beyond this very long journey… and I am so excited for where I will go next year!

A huge thanks to Carolyn for hosting us… It feels so good to be on a journey with the camaraderie of fellow “word” friends. I always learn so much from the things everyone shares!

I will reveal my new word once I have done a bit of “year end” housekeeping next week! Happy New Year everyone!

(and a reminder, there will be no Unraveled Wednesday post this week!)

** Photo by Johannes Plenio

Authenticity, for real | November 2023

Authenticity, for real | November 2023

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

This has truly been a good year… but… during the month I did not “think” much about my word. However, I journaled quite a bit and as I sat down to pull this post together it occurs to me that authenticity has become reality for me.

I am very comfortable speaking up for myself. This is perhaps the most impressive thing I have written here! I certainly journaled about it lots this month! And I am happy to say that speaking up for myself does not mean I am offending anyone… or not being nice… or being difficult.

I embraced “not knowing” things I did not know… i.e. if someone (Steve mostly) asked me about something obscure that I did not know… I could just say, ‘I don’t know’ and it felt so good! (Likewise, I did not feel the need to know or learn about what he asked… I was entirely comfortable is my ‘I don’t know’ response and I discovered that sometimes that thing (whatever it is) that pops into his head does not need a solution or an answer. (Thank you, dearest Rilke for that invaluable ‘live the question’ advice!)

I have a very comfortable routine for my days – perhaps too comfortable. Too comfortable is one of those danger zones for me… it can become complacent, which is never, ever good. So I am shaking up my “normal” routine with a new painting class (that begins tomorrow.) This one has weekly homework, so I will ignite the “good student” inside me and break out of myself a bit!

And I am feeling very, very ready to be done with this word… in past years, I have felt some sorrow as the year ended because I really felt that I had more to learn. This year that is not the case at all and I am eager to take my authentic self into the New Year with a very clean slate!

As always, I am so thankful for Carolyn gathering us all together. Do stop and see how everyone did in their journey this month!

Happy Monday everyone! See you all back here on Wednesday for some unraveling!

 

 

 

The Habit of Authenticity | October 2023

The Habit of Authenticity | October 2023

The start of this month again found me feeling like I am done with this word. And yesterday these thoughts were firmly in my head as I sat down to try and scrabble together a blog post… and surprise, surprise! Ten months in and I found I still have things to learn in my quest for authenticity.

At least that is what I discovered when I sat down and looked back over my journal writing this month… and the month before… and the month before that…and all the way back to January when I began this journey.

Pro tip… if you are feeling done… stuck… at the end… go back and read your journey… if you think you have learned nothing this will show you clearly just how much you have learned, how much you have put into practice, how much things have changed!

Gentle Readers… it seems that I have (finally!!) cultivated the habit of authenticity. A Will Durant quote sort of fit perfectly for this month… that is once I tweaked it a bit and it will be my mantra next month!

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Authenticity, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Yes, I think this is the month that authenticity has become a habit! And that is such a very good thing. The biggest thing I noted was the absence of the “fake it until you make it” attitude with myself… i.e. those days when I am not authentic with myself.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I do not think there is anything wrong with “faking it until you make it”… it works for so many things! But there is something very wrong with it if my modus operandi is faking it to myself… I have found that being authentic does not have a negative effect on my attitude, but rather a profoundly positive impact. It means taking Rilke’s idea of living the question… and actually doing that. No fake answers… being okay with just authentically living… and maybe… just maybe I will discover, as Rilke did, that I will eventually live into the answers…uncertainty and all!


I would like to thank Carolyn for holding this space for us. Please stop by and see how everyone did this month!

I will see you all back here on Wednesday for some unraveling.

Practicing Authenticity | September 2023

Practicing Authenticity | September 2023

Nine months in with my word and some days I feel really ready to move on… others… well, the many more other days I feel like the struggle is real.

Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Thank you, Ann Voskamp for that quote to remind me that practicing is indeed the hardest part of learning… but it is necessary to changing/learning/growing/being.

So this month, I have been practicing… and it has not been easy at all.

I went back and pulled out my Authenticity Manifesto and looked at it to see if I could find my struggles… and almost instantly I did.

Less-Controlling Kat, where are you?

Defining one’s struggles this easily should mean it would be easy to move past them, to let go of them, to release them… but no, I am living proof it is not.

So this month… I stumbled… and I struggled more… and I reacquainted myself with my word and my goals…but it was a challenging month and I will absolutely keep practicing!

As always, I want to thank Carolyn for providing us all a space to share our progress!

See you all back here on Wednesday!

 

The Habit of Authenticity | August 2023

The Habit of Authenticity | August 2023

Progress requires unlearning. Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity. — Jame Clear

August has always been my least favorite month of the year. The heat. The humidity. The end of summer break (at least when my kids were little!) The wishing for the next season. I wanted to break those habits this year… habits of dislike. Of wallowing in the misery of August (most of which was self-made misery!)

So this month I took a step back and looked back on all I have discovered about authenticity this year and set about unlearning of what August always has been… and to find a new outlook.

I started with a list of all that I have learned… a Road Map to Authenticity of sorts. And I embraced the silence versus trying to fill my day with noise. (Thanks Kym for this brilliant inspiration!) I leaned into the quietude this month… and it was amazing! In the silence I found so much to love about August!

And pairing a list with the silence… well, that has been the winning combination! My gift to myself this month will be taking my list and putting it on a bookmark to use in my calendar/journal… a reminder every day of where I am heading… what I want to be… and that, my friends, might be the best gift I will ever give myself – a gentle nudge to keep myself on the path.

And I am departing August with a new-found love for all things late summer…okay maybe not the humidity! But I have appreciated how my tomatoes have loved all that heat and humidity… and those tomatoes have provided August with the best thing ever about late summer… an abundance I can share!

As always, I would like to thank Carolyn for providing us the space to share our journeys! I will see you all back here on Wednesday!

 

 

(E)merging Authenticity | 7.31.23

(E)merging Authenticity | 7.31.23

Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by your past. Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn’t what you get for it, but what you become for it. 
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Last month I coasted with my word, this month a merger happened. The merger of the previous collection of my words into authenticity.

Or… that moment when the lightbulb finally switched ON!

That’s right authenticity burned brightly this month when I really focused, releasing the baggage I don’t need to carry any longer, anl to live my days intentionally full and authentic. Not being defined by my past, my (often poor) choices, my at times endless what if’s.. but rather to take the sum of all of that and allow myself to enjoy the me of all of those things!

Ali Edwards gave us the suggestion of writing a post card to ourself (from or word) or writing a card to our word (from ourselves)… that suggestion was the starting point for the month long conversation I have been having with myself about being more accepting of myself… and yes, more work on loving myself for who I am.

As always, poetry played a part in this…early in the month I stumbled across a poem by the brilliant David Whyte, which has been part of my morning meditation time every day since then… especially these lines: “the visible and the invisible working together in common cause, to produce the miraculous.” Yes, yes, yes!

Is there more work to do? Of course there is, but I very much feel like I moved beyond so much this month… and that, my friends, is a very good thing!

A huge thanks to Carolyn for providing us the space to share our progress.

See you all back here on Wednesday with some NEW projects!

 

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