Yet for me the vulnerability of being authentic is that I can be seen. When I can be seen, I can be touched. And when who I truly am can be touched, I can be hurt. In my life I’ve used elaborate ways of looking as if I’m showing up authentically but not. Like only allowing the so-called ‘professional’ parts of me to arrive at the office with all the ‘messy’ parts left at home. Or by using my spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid my emotional pain, to turn away from my anger, to overemphasise the positive, to feel superior and to hide from the inner work I needed to do. On the outside it looked like I had it all. I worked in Marketing and Advertising for over 30 years in top leadership roles in Toronto, New York and Sydney Australia. On the inside I was quickly forgetting who I truly was and living a divided life. It was a huge drain on my energy, my confidence, and my connection with myself. And it drained the meaning and joy from my life and relationships. My corporate life always rode alongside a deep interest in what makes a life meaningful, which took me to ashrams in India, extended meditation retreats in Asia and spending time with teachers from many different wisdom traditions and schools of psychology. I’ve often joked with friends that I feel ‘too hippie for the corporate world and too corporate for the hippie world’. Behind this I’ve felt a lot of confusion about where I fit and who I truly am. For me Compassionate Self-awareness has been the most transformative path for living a deeply integrated, meaningful and authentic life. It hasn’t been easy, yet it’s truly been and continues to be the most real and rewarding path of my life.
With great warmth Heather