Do you wish your relationships were more fulfilling?
- Do you find yourself resenting all you do for others?
Do you want to learn how to be more authentic so you can enjoy life and feel a powerful sense of well being?
To be authentic means to be real. You know when someone is real when you are in their presence.
Can you remember being drawn to someone because they seem so real? They aren’t afraid of living and speaking their truth. They allow you to see their weaknesses as well as their strengths. They don’t pretend to be something they are not. We are drawn to people who are authentic because we can trust them and we feel better about ourselves because of their openness and honesty.
We all strive to be our authentic selves. It’s a life long journey and it takes courage to be your authentic self. Taking off your mask and being yourself no matter what others think of you is an important step in becoming authentic.
Finding myself and what I wanted has been a journey. Learning to love, trust and value myself has brought me to places I never imagined. I went back to college at age 40, asked my husband for a divorce at ago 50, wrote my book, Simply a Woman of Faith at age 60 and left my full time job as an Alcohol and Drug therapist of 20 years to step out in faith and start my own business as an author, inspirational speaker, spiritual coach and radio talk show host.
Being the oldest in my family, I took on the role of being overly responsible and a people pleaser. I had no idea of who I was or what I felt. As I took the inward journey through therapy, prayer and meditation, I uncovered layers of low self esteem, unworthiness, inadequacy, fear and not feeling good enough.
Many women lose themselves in their various roles and have no idea who they are or what they want. They are someone’s wife, mother, friend, daughter or employee, but don’t have their own identity. They often give their power away by focusing on what others want at the expense of themselves. They can feel resentful because their needs aren’t met. They are not in touch with their feelings because they have medicated them through eating, alcohol, drugs, workaholism, staying busy, rushing, shopping and approval addiction.
Shore up your courage and slow down. It’s time to go within to find yourself and explore what‘s important—what makes you happy and fulfilled. It can feel scary at first: you don’t know what you’ll find or what will be asked of you. You may choose to take a stand and leave an unhealthy relationship or job that is no longer working and hindering your progress. When you take a risk and follow your heart, you live your authentic life with unlimited potential and possibilities.
Developing my Spirituality and finding a Power greater than myself to heal and transform me was crucial to becoming authentic. Spirituality means “connectedness.” I connect with myself, with a Power greater than myself and I connect with others. I needed to learn to trust that Power (whom I call God, but you may call nature, love, source, universe, goddess or something else) before I could trust myself and others with my true self. I needed to know that I was loved unconditionally and I didn’t have to do anything to earn that love. I was loved just because of who I was.
Prayer helped me feel safe enough to take off the mask and be myself. Facing and moving through my fear is a constant in my life. Whenever we are called to a higher level of consciousness and living our potential, our fears rise to the surface. We must do vengeance with our fears to live the authentic life. Fear is the thief of dreams.
I invite you to find a spiritual practice to “plug in” to this higher consciousness daily. It will help you feel loved and connected to Spirit and the core of who you are. It will help you joyfully discover your authentic self.
Ten Tips to Becoming Your Authentic Self
- Show up everyday for yourself, for Spirit, and the world by sharing your gifts and talents for the good of all. Embrace that you are a child of God, one with Spirit and are loved unconditionally.
- Stay focused on what you want to create in your life by staying in the moment , letting go of the past and concerns for the future.
- Speak up, say no and set a boundary, when necessary.
- Stay grateful and focus on what’s working, rather than what’s missing in your life.
- Ask for what you want and believe that you have already received it.
- Believe in yourself, love yourself, trust yourself, cherish yourself and forgive yourself.
- Face your fears and take a risk to follow your heart’s desires and intuition.
- Have courage and be honest about what you feel and think.
- Step into your greatness and magnificence knowing you are worthy of abundance and prosperity.
- Surrender: let go of control and the outcome.
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Are you a Rushaholic? Do you race around, multi-task and feel exhausted at the end of the day-and maybe even a little resentful?
Rushing was my addiction and a way of life for many years. On the outside, I looked peaceful, but there was an “inner rushing” that was pervasive and intense. I never rested or went within for my answers. I believed others had the answers for my life. I constantly raced around, going from one thing to another. If I rushed and stayed busy, I didn’t have time to feel my feelings and go within. I felt energized and powerful when I rushed. It gave me the illusion that I was in control.
Just like the alcoholic who uses alcohol to medicate painful feelings, I used rushing to medicate painful feelings from my childhood. I always pushed myself to do more and be more. I never felt good enough and didn’t know how to relax and just BE. Doing is what made me feel strong and bolstered my self esteem-what little I had. It almost killed me because I was disconnected from myself, God and the people I loved.
I read that rushing was abusive and a death wish. It’s a death wish because when you rush all the time, you disconnect from yourself and from the divine energy of God within. When you rush, you’re not respecting yourself or the God within. “Coping with speed has become the heroic journey that consumes the lifetime of the common man and woman. It is our greatest killer. Rushing puts you into adrenaline overload and drenches the body in epinephrine, a hormone stimulated by stress, anger or fear.” (Seven Whispers, Baldwin 2002.)
With any addiction, you need to stay vigilant. The old behaviors of rushing and staying busy often show up when you’re stressed, feel afraid or are triggered by something outside of yourself. It may be unfinished business from your childhood that needs to be healed and dealt with. The first step is to recognize the old behaviors and admit to yourself and God what’s going on. It is important not to beat up on yourself. What you need to do is to love and be compassionate with yourself. The second step is to ask for God’s help.
God often speaks to me through symbols; one of them being the turtle. I have them all over my house as a reminder of what is important in my life and what I need to do to maintain peace and Godliness. Turtles teach me about patience – which I wanted yesterday!
Slow and steady, the turtle knows when to move and when to stay still and rest. Turtles go within for their answers because they know the truth is within. As the turtle knows when to go in, I’m learning to go inside and trust myself, my intuition and my gut.
When you go inside, ask yourelf “What am I feeling and thinking?” You may need to change your stinking thinking. It’s so easy to take things personally or jump to conclusions and be negative. When you stick your head out, like the turtle, ask yourelf, “What action do I need to take?” It may be that you need to speak up, set a boundary, say “no,” forgive someone or let go of a resentment.
If you want peace and Godliness in your life, you must be willing to change. It only takes one person to change your life – you. You must be awake and practice slowing down, relaxing and living in the moment. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not here yet. Make a commitment to yourself and God to connect/plug into the Power on a daily basis and ask for help and healing. I guarantee it will change your life and you are worth it. It’s your choice. Each morning, I get on my knees and ask for help. My intention is to love, be peaceful and to serve.
Have you been affected by someone else’s drinking or drugging? Do you stay up at night worrying about someone you love? Are you frustrated that your efforts of trying to control haven’t worked?
What does Spirituality have to do with addiction? It has everything to do with it. Addiction is a family disease that affects the person abusing as well as family members. It is a Spiritual disease and the way to recover is through developing Spirituality. This disease has been likened to as having a “hole in the soul.”
Spirituality is the life of the spirit and an awareness of a presence sometimes alone in stillness and sometimes with others. It is a “connectedness” with self, others and a Power greater than yourself. That Power may be referred to as Higher Power, God, Source, Universe – whatever is comfortable for you. It’s important to understand Spirituality is not religion. Unfortunately, many people have been turned off by organized religion and think Spirituality is religion. You can be religious and not spiritual and spiritual and not religious
When someone is actively drinking or drugging, they are disconnected from themselves, from others and from their Source. They are lonely, scared and confused. Often their lives are out of control and they’ve lost family members, jobs, homes due to their addiction. It is devastating for the person who is addicted as well as for family members.
Family members often blame themselves, try to control their loved one and in the end lose themselves. Being involved with an addicted person for any length of time and trying to reason with them can be discouraging. Children suffer because they think that if the parent really loved them, they would stop using. Many have turned to Al-anon and Al-ateen to cope with this devastating and life threatening disease. In Al-anon you learn the three C’s. You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it.
The stress of living with someone who is addicted can have numerous effects:
Physical: You may develop health problems, such as headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, upset stomach, colitis, or heart problems
Emotional: You may feel angry, resentful, irritable, lonely, guilty or depressed
Social: In relating to others, you may be withdrawn, aloof, isolated, embarrassed, aggressive, or controlling
Spiritual: Your outlook on life may become bitter, despairing, helpless, hopeless or lacking in faith
As family members, we learn we can’t “fix” the addicted person. We need to allow addicts the dignity to recover at their own pace. Learning to detach with love is a skill that must be learned and practiced on a daily basis.
Detachment is regaining your identity and taking responsibility for your own life – and admitting you cannot control the life of another person. Detaching does not mean that you stop caring. It means that you stop trying to control someone else. You need to focus on yourself and make changes in you.
Tips on how to develop Spirituality and live in peace
- Detach and stop enabling – the chemically dependent person must be responsible for their behavior. You can no longer step in and pick up the pieces. It’s important to stop lying, making excuses and covering up for the person’s actions.
- Accept – that changes you make may cause others to be angry and resentful. Expect that. Expect them to react to the healthy changes you are making.
- Do not threaten – Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.
- Focus on yourself and what you can change – Discover what you like to do and what gives you pleasure. Do little things for yourself each day that you enjoy; going for a walk, listening to music, starting a hobby, going out to lunch with a friend.
- “Show up” everyday and develop a spiritual practice of sitting down for 5 minutes and being quiet. Journal and meditating are wonderful tools to incorporate.
- Identify your feelings and share them with someone you trust.
- Practice an attitude of gratitude by focusing on what you do have, rather than what’s missing.
- Have faith that you have everything you need and you are in the presence of a loving presence and you are not alone.
- Change your thinking and your life will change
- Join a recovery group.
- Work with a Spiritual Counselor/Coach
I entered religious life when I turned 18 and right out of high school. I loved being a nun and being in the community. I came home on weekends and had a friend who invited me to attend a prayer meeting at St. Patrick’s church. I was blown away by what I witnessed – here were people loving and hugging one another. I was skeptical and afraid at first because we were taught in the convent not to show emotions or affection.
I continued to go to the meetings when I came home on the weekends and really began to love the community. I knew there was something there that I didn’t have. I can truly say that I met God at St. Patrick’s. I knew God in books and philosophy, but not in my heart. Now God was in my heart and I had a personal relationship with him.
After awhile, I knew I had to be there-that this is where I was going to grow closer to God. I approached the provincial of my religious order and asked if I could work in this parish and still remain a nun. This had never been done before so it was a huge leap of faith for me to even ask this. Much to my surprise, they said yes and I had their blessing.
I moved into Manna House (a group of dedicated women working for the parish) and worked as the Religious Education Coodinator for 7 years. As I grew and changed, I knew in my heart that I could no longer stay in the religious life. After much discernment and prayer I decided to leave the order after 20 years. Another step in faith because being in a religious order gave me safety and security. I got a job as a waitress in the neighborhood. I now needed to find a place of my own to live. I didn’t know what I was going to do and I had nothing to start a new life. I was terrified and the flood gates opened up. I cried out to God, please help me. I have no place else to turn. You have to help me.
The very next day, a woman approached me from the parish and told me that she heard I had left the convent. She proceeded to tell me that her father-in-law had just passed away and there was a house full of stuff that I could have it I wanted it. I went to the house that afternoon and couldn’t believe my eyes. A bedroom set, dining room set, kitchen stuff – everything I needed to start my new life.
What I learned in my heart that day was that God knew me better than I knew myself, that He wanted me to be happy and that he would provide for me in every aspect of my life. God has been faithful and He still provides for me and I am always in awe and gratitude for his faithfulness.
My friend Ed and I were driving to Gregg’s restaurant for their famous desserts after a meditation service last week. As the car on my left whizzed by me, I heard Ed exclaim, “Look at the 435 on that license plate” as a big smile came across his face. I asked curiously, “What does that mean to you?” He then proceeded to tell me his story as I listened intently.
“The license plate on my family’s car was ET534. My father’s name was Ed Tanzi. After his transition 30 years ago, my mother began driving the family car. You can imagine being the only child and a boy of an Italian mother, we were very close. She died 6 years ago and I still miss her so. For whatever reason, that license plate was important to me and I kept it after her transition.
I very much know she is with me and I feel her presence and energy all the time. I am especially aware of her presence when she “shows up” by allowing me to see the number when I am going through a difficult time in my life or making an important life decision. I see the number on license plates, on telephone numbers and the clock radio in my bedroom. I love it when I wake up and the clock radio is flashing 435. My day starts off on such a positive note and it is like I am carried through the day. I feel supported and loved. Even though she is no longer with me in physical form, her spirit and energy are with me.”
“I know exactly what you mean” I said. I also believe our loved ones want to communicate with us and let us know they are ok and still with us. Sometimes, you may not recognize the subtle messages because you are too busy. When you slow down, meditate and practice staying in the moment, you will give yourself the opportunity for your loved one to communicate with you.
“I am calling you, I am calling you, I am calling you” is what I heard almost 3 years ago while meditating and listening to an instrumental CD. I wasn’t expecting to hear the man’s voice and the only words on the CD. “I am calling you.”
I knew in my spirit that it was God calling me to step out in faith and leave my job of 20 years as an Alcohol and Drug therapist to start my own business as a Spiritual Coach, Inspirational Speaker and Retreat/Workshop leader. This calling came one month after Simply a Woman of Faith was published. I prayed for 1 year and meditated to make sure it was God’s will and then took the leap in faith.
A call is God’s invitation to use your gifts and talents for the good of all involved.
- What is God calling you to do?
- What is God inviting you to do?
- What are your gifts and talents?
I believe God is calling each one of us to be His/Her hands, feet and mouth. The world needs you and your special gifts and talents. God has a plan for your life and for my life, but we must say YES.
That calling may show up as a persistent nagging feeling that you need to do something and make a difference in the world. It may be fighting for a cause, helping someone, working with children, animals, the elderly or writing a book about your life experiences. And the list goes on.
What I didn’t expect was God to shine his flashlight into my life and bring to light false unconscious beliefs that were limiting me and keeping me a prisoner. There was much inner work of changing my thinking that needed to be done. It was sometimes painful looking at myself and the story I created (that was not true.) I didn’t always like what I saw and kicked and screamed at times. During this pruning process of old beliefs, I have learned to ask for help, be vulnerable and be authentic and real.
It has been almost 2 years since I left my job. It has been exciting, fulfilling, scary, challenging, growth provoking and a time to trust myself and God deeper. Doors have opened that I never expected to open and many people have helped me along the way.
We must be willing to allow the work of Spirit, no matter how painful or overwhelming. Saying YES to God’s calling means showing up daily and plugging into the power and trusting the process. It’s following God wherever you are led and using your gifts for the good of others. It’s the only way to live a joyful, fulfilling life. Face your fears and walk tall in your own truth.
Will you say YES to God and use your gifts for the world? The world needs you and your talents. It is time! Are you ready?
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