This topic has been rolling around in my head for some time now, no doubt inspired by a big milestone in my life. I just stepped over that threshold of time known as half a century. Yep, I just turned the big 5-0. Some people approach fifty with great dread, but I'm finding that, for the most part, I like where I'm at. I'm no longer in a place where I worry about what other people think of my life choices, and it's very freeing.
I'm in the middle of some life changes that are very exciting, a little frightening, and greatly liberating. I'm transitioning to living the creative life I've always been drawn towards, devoting more time to blogging, photography, and painting. In essence, I will finally be living my authentic life.
Steps to Living Your Authentic Life
Listen to your soul. In this loud, crazy world we sometimes get caught up listening to someone else's voice, or we mistake the voice in our head as wiser than the voice in our heart. But that heart voice is the voice of your soul. It's where passion, cosmic connection, and the things that make us unique reside. Yet, we are told that voice doesn't hold as much value as the voice of reasoning, status, and wealth. However, you can never live an authentic life if you do not listen to your soul.
Rethink wealth. Living an authentic life is not a vow to live in poverty, nor is it being surrounded by gold. In fact, the greatest wealth is not associated with money at all. When you begin to think of wealth as quality relationships and experiences your perspective changes and you find you are able to live a more enjoyable life on less money.
Embrace minimalism. Surround yourself with things that only bring you joy or that you find to be useful. You are not being authentic to yourself keeping gifts out of guilty obligation, books you really didn't enjoy reading, the carved sculpture that reminds you of your ex, or the bulky microwave you never use. Get rid of it and create space in your life, physically and metaphorically. Then, refrain from filling that space.
Practice non attachment. Even a highly authentic life is going to go through some horrible lows. People we care about leave us or disappoint us. Unexpected illness invades our bodies. Natural disasters beyond our control destroy homes and lives. Living an authentic life means walking through the fire regardless of our fear. Even if we lose our path, even when we find ourselves in agony, acknowledge this authentic, human moment in your life and trust that it is just a moment. Accept that everything in life is impermanent and trust that voice in your soul to get you back on your path once again.
Do what you love. Or love what you do. Many of us do neither. Put love into your work, regardless if it's your calling or not. Put love into caring for your home, your family, your self. You do this by being kind and expressing gratitude. Be grateful for every dish you wash. Extend kindness to the custodian. Stop and really listen to your child chatting at you about his day.
And finally, slow down. You can't live an authentic life if you get caught in an avalanche of busyness. Give your mind time for quiet contemplation. Allow conversations to flow into the night. Walk slower, drive slower. Be aware of your surroundings. Quit running from one thing to the next and you might just catch up with yourself.