On being Authentic - How Real are You?

Being real, honest and genuine? Surely we all want to be truthful? None of us would want to be insincere?

What does the word Authentic mean for you?

Being real, honest and genuine? Surely we all want to be truthful? None of us would want to be insincere?

I am Chinese and a big part of my and other Asian cultures is the concept of ‘losing face’. Chinese families are always keen to impress upon their peers how successful they are, how well their children are doing, showing off their golden assets at special occasions. In English terms we could perhaps compare it to ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. Part of my traditional culture also very much involves our outward image. In the past I have been told in no uncertain terms that it is more ‘polite’ to be wearing make-up, as if showing my bare unadulterated face may be deemed as offensive ?

This make-up or mask wearing is a façade that we all don for certain situations. No matter which culture we are from, in the modern first world of our existence we all have certain personas that appear for work, family and formal/informal social occasions. We don’t live in isolation, and now with the rise of the internet, there is even more pressure for the younger generation to portray the right image or ‘persona’.

Oh for the bliss of childhood innocence. Babies are wonderfully spontaneous and real. They do not hide their emotions or their feelings; it all gets expressed in no uncertain times. We lose this spontaneity way too soon. When I lived in Japan I worked at several international kindergartens. While there I was struck by how clearly how at two years old, the children were the most care-free, uninhibited happy-go-lucky beings you could imagine. Giggling and euphorically happy for no apparent reason. Yet by age three, their light had been dimmed; weighted down by the burden of carrying heaving rucksacs full of books, and wearing a restrictive uniform. One time a child brought in lollipops for her birthday. As I dutifully handed them out, one little boy started crying. When questioned why he replied that he wasn’t allowed to eat them. I felt his pain so deeply.

When we are authentic, and standing in our truth we feel an alignment of purpose within us. When we speak, there is a congruence between how our minds, our hearts and our bellies feel. Lie detectors or polygraph machines work by measuring the changes in a person’s heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate, when they answer certain questions. The machines monitor things like whether their body temperature suddenly changes, or if their palms get sweaty. If a person is not telling the truth then the body goes through an underlying stress that triggers these physiological changes.

If we are not being authentic, then we are also continually subjecting ourselves to low level underlying stress, which puts strain on our nervous system, not to mention our intrinsic sense of wholeness and wellbeing.

When we are being authentic we get a sense of being fully present in the moment, and in that moment there is a real clarity of state of being. We are in the fullness and aliveness of our felt sense body – the tissue of our blood, cells, muscles and organs. We feel an inner sense of surety, peace and calm. We can feel this deep calm in the presence of monks who have spent many years in meditation; their energy is very clear and still, with a pure, grounded presence.

In Taoist belief we sense and feel before we think and analyse and direct experiencing comes before reasoning. That’s why I love dance so much. When we dance we have full permission to express our emotions because they are a part of the dance. We can even detach our identity from the dance, making the dance have an emotional identity of its own.

We can also be a fly on the wall to our own interiority, taking a metaphorical step back to observe how we are, staying detached. The freedom of expression and non attachment to identity is liberating. And yet when we are moving and dancing we are fully in our bodies, being in them and being total – feeling fully present, vital and alive.

Do you give yourself the permission to be fully real, expressive and authentic in your body? Do you give yourself the opportunity for ease of movement in your body and to enjoy the freedom of dance?

Come join me in FREE taster sessions next Monday and Tuesday evening of Niio Dance Flow. NIIO stands for New Integrated and Inspired Openings, a dance journey that dives into the realness, flesh and blood of our living bodies.

Register for classes here: https://www.niiodanceonline.com/classes

If you would like a beginners intro to moving and dancing, then join the FREE mini course: Get out of your head and into your Body