Discover Your Authentic Self: Be You, Be Free, Be Happy - Sherrie Dillard (2016)
Chapter 1. THE INVITATION
Every moment whispers to you to explore the depth of who you are. I encourage you to accept this timeless invitation. On the journey to knowing your authentic self, you may have expectations and hopes of what you wish to experience and accomplish. Yet I encourage you to let go of your preconceived ideas. Abandon the known self and be curious, vulnerable, open, and accepting of the you that unfolds. This is the highest form of loving self.
1. Within the Mandala
Your life is a mandala, a circle of wholeness, with your authentic self in the center. We tend to view ourselves with tunnel vision. We weigh and judge our decisions and choices, rate our physical attractiveness, and view our thoughts and emotions as concrete and solid evidence of who we are. At any given time, one aspect of our being or one area of our life consumes us in its totality. We define ourselves by the current problem or issue and judge ourselves by our ability to solve or overcome it.
When you perceive your life as a mandala, all of this changes. Everything in your life—the people, the conditions, and your thoughts, emotions, desires, dreams, and soul—is part of the wider expanse of who you are. You are the smile that spreads across your face when you see someone you love. You are also the joy you feel when you look at the sun setting over the ocean and the anger that simmers when you feel as if you have been wronged. Your original and inspirational ideas and the brooding thoughts of grumpiness are a part of you. The beliefs about yourself and life that lie unnoticed in your subconscious mind, creating and attracting challenging situations, are a part of you, as is the intuitive awareness that you are here for a specific purpose. You are the kindness in your heart and the jealousy that you may feel when a loved one turns their attention to another. You are love in all its degrees and varieties. You are the soul that has come to this earth and will one day, once again, become pure spirit and essence. There is no end to you. You are finite and you are infinite. You are powerless and at the same time the source of all true power flows through you. You are life and you are death. Every day you are reborn and every day a bit of you dies. Within your mandala, you are at the center of the universe.
Your authentic self does not have an endpoint. You are an evolving and ever-changing mix of emotions, thoughts, beliefs, soul, and spirit. The work of self-awareness is to know and be true to all of who you are, even the conflicting and opposing aspects. Embrace the totality of your being and all the challenges, conditions, and circumstances that you experience. Your authentic self weaves in and out of the many layers of this mandala. Flow with the changes that come your way and accept all of who you are.
I am whole and complete within the rich mandala of my life.
2. The Call to Know Self
The journey to the authentic self often begins with the nagging, uncomfortable feeling that you are not being true to yourself. Do you ever feel that you are going about the daily motions of living but you are not truly alive? You yearn to feel passion for something, but you are not sure what it is that you long for.
For some, inner discontent haunts their relationships. You may desire to be truly known and loved by another, but you have difficulty expressing yourself and being truly intimate with another. Perhaps you do not feel valued in your career or work. You get a regular paycheck and have security, but you do not derive any purpose or meaning from your job. At one time life may have seemed simpler. The future you envisioned, what you believed would make you happy, now feels distant and unattainable.
Unfortunately, we do not always know how to dig deep into the depth of who we are. Living in our more superficial aspects, we may know our favorite restaurants, television shows, actors, sport teams, or vacation spots. We may love our partners, family members, and lovers and have fun with our friends and be active in our community. Yet until we know the inner truth of who we are, we experience a constant, undefinable inner craving and feeling of emptiness.
Feelings of discontent, frustration, or dissatisfaction may slowly creep in or they may come suddenly, with a piercing jolt. Either way, when these emotions sink deep into our heart and gut, we begin to search for something better—a more loving partner, a more satisfying job, or more interesting and exciting friends. Yet what we are really searching for can only be found within.
Resist the temptation to repress or deny feelings of dissatisfaction. Welcome and listen to them. Divine discontent is a calling card from spirit motivating you to ask deeper questions of yourself and life. Your soul is not here to waste time and go through the motions of living. There is a sacred presence within that is part of the greater mystery of self. Become comfortable with the ever-changing and evolving being that you are. Be brave and be determined to know the true you.
I make the decision to know who I am.
3. The Relief of Being Seen
Every day I work with people who desire connection, help, and guidance from the spirit realm. Some wholeheartedly believe that a psychic-medium such as myself can offer them essential guidance and direction. Others schedule a session with me out of desperation. Having sought advice and help from other sources, they may still be confused or in pain and are willing to try anything. Some are simply curious. A friend or family member may have had a session with me and they are excited, a bit fearful, but adventurous enough to come in for a reading. Whatever the initial reason may be for seeking my services, their experience is rarely what they expected.
The world that I perceive as a psychic is a bit bigger, broader, and more inclusive than the world we live in with our five senses. When the layers of falsities and superficiality are peeled away through intuitive insight, the heart opens in welcome gratitude, relieved to be seen and acknowledged. Even though we live behind our safe masks, according to what is accepted and external, we yearn to be truly known.
When another sees us, we know that we exist. It is a welcome relief when our soul and spirit, our passions and potential, our beauty and boundless self, are reflected back to us. Even our struggles, challenges, and the angst and suffering we feel seem more worthy when another acknowledges them.
The journey to knowing your authentic self offers this kind of relief. Since childhood, most of us have been indoctrinated to seek security and safety. Over time, our adherence to external expectations and compliance with accepted norms blind us to our authentic self. We become superficial and numb and do what is expected. When our inner self cries out in stifled yearning, we seek external gratification in an attempt to quiet our discontent. We turn to things like eating, alcohol, sex, shopping, or improving our social status. All the while, the unsettling sense that there is something more continues to reverberate from the depths of our heart and soul.
If you acknowledge and listen to this inner longing, your path separates from the pack. A restlessness and desire to know, feel, and experience something that cannot be fully grasped calls to you. Once you begin to question who you are and what life is, something alive in your soul and in the soul of the world comes and grabs you by the hand.
Be the fool and the adventurer that seeks your truth. Take hold of the elusive wisp of your soul when it extends itself to you and let yourself loose. There will be challenges, risks, and tests on your way to laying claim to your authentic self, all of which will awaken, strengthen, and enlighten you. Unfurl your glorious banner.
I am ready for the adventure of knowing me.
4. Go Easy
When we begin the journey of self-awareness, we often approach it in the same way that we tackle other areas of our lives. We are so accustomed to pushing ourselves to finish all that we need to get done. We may take the same unrelenting approach to knowing self. We may want to follow a plan, ask the right questions, and achieve clear and understandable results. Yet, to truly know yourself is a nonlogical process. From moment to moment, our moods, opinions, thoughts, and feelings change. As much as we may want to take charge of this journey, it is more important to listen, be patient and nonjudgmental, and allow for surprises.
To better connect with your own pure essence, you may need to shift gears, slow down, and take your time. If you find yourself constantly busy, rushing and trying to get everything done, give yourself permission to take a break. You do not need to be a perfectionist on this journey of self-discovery. There are no standards that you need to live up to. Do what feels right to you. Let your preferences, inclinations, and feelings guide you. Think for yourself and notice when you unconsciously go along with what others expect or want from you.
For instance, if your parents kept their home in a pristine state, it does not mean that you need to. If your neighbors buy a hot tub or keep their lawn green and well mowed and win the yard of the year award, it does not mean that you have to compete. Discover what feels right for you—what gives you a sense of satisfaction and peace. Aim to live your life in a way that supports your inner serenity.
The world is not going to give you permission to get off the merry-
go-round of constant busyness and activity. You need to do this for yourself. Your authentic self will not be found on a to-do list. Knowing the rich inner depth of who you are requires an attentive but gentle awareness. When you listen within and follow your inner direction, it may sometimes feel as if you are walking in circles. Compared to the strategy of getting as much accomplished as possible, knowing self may seem to move you backward and away from your goal. It does not always feel productive.
Redefine what it means to get a lot done. You will discover that there is magic and a sense of wholeness in this process.
I slow down and take it easy.
5. Begin the Journey with Intent
The juncture between you and the divine is your most powerful spot in the universe. This meeting place is your authentic self. When you are flowing in this current, you are unstoppable. Even in the midst of problems, challenges, and uncertainty, your strength and stability come from the powerful presence within. Yet for all of its positive benefits, embracing your authentic truth often takes courage and devotion. Although the payoffs are high, we all experience some inner resistance when we seek to change. There will be times when you will want to turn away and instead live in the haze of comfortable inertia.
To keep yourself motivated on the long and sometimes arduous journey to discovering your true self, state an intent. An intent is a concise, positive statement of what you want to create and experience. It focuses your energy toward a specific goal. It is a proclamation to yourself and the universe of what you want to devote your time, attention, and energy to.
Create an intention that will support the aspects of your true self that you would most like to experience. This can be a simple statement, such as I allow my truth and goodness to emerge. I am living my truth. Or I experience, manifest, and express my truth. Make your intention worthy of the most loving and wise part of you.
Write down your intent and continually repeat it to yourself. The more attention you give it, the sooner you will experience it manifesting in your life. Take action on your intent whenever possible. In this way, you align yourself with the universal flow of vital life force energy. Be aware of any doubt, fear, or frustration that surfaces, and reaffirm your intent through writing and speaking it and through positive thought and action.
I create a positive intent.
6. Accept It All
It is not always easy to know what is true and right for us and what is not. Those things, attitudes, beliefs, and opportunities that will ultimately not bring us joy or speak to our soul can at times be difficult to spot. These false temptations do not always come marching up to us and look us in the eye. They are much too clever and insidious. Instead, the false often hides behind feelings of desire, excitement, and hopes of fulfillment and comes our way in a lovely package all neatly tied up with a big bow. Yet, despite our past disappointments, we all too often fall into the same trap and allow ourselves to be led by appearances and false hopes.
Sometimes we blame ourselves and our inadequacies when what comes our way does not bring us the happiness that we thought it would. Sometimes we blame others or life. Yet we have to know the false and what does not work for us in order to recognize the real and true.
The journey to knowing and embracing your true and authentic self begins by recognizing what feels right for you and what does not. Accept all that you experience as valuable information. Resist the inclination to become a victim and take on feelings of low self-esteem and shame when you encounter challenges and disappointments. Allow your experiences to be a guide that can lead you to better know who you are. Be present to the moment. Don’t turn away; listen to and learn from all that comes your way.
I learn from all that I experience.
7. The World Needs Your Genius
Since the beginning of time, self-sacrifice has been ingrained within our consciousness. Like herd animals, we have huddled together throughout the centuries to keep safe, claim our territory, and ensure our longevity. Conforming and adhering to what was best for the group, the leaders, and those with power was expected and enforced. Suppressing our individuality and being overly compliant is an ingrained pattern that can be traced back through history. Sometimes it can feel as if we do not have a choice. We unconsciously give away our pure authenticity without knowing it.
In varying degrees, we have all experienced an inner resentment when we feel we cannot be who we are meant to be. We work at jobs that we do not necessarily like or enjoy. We stay in unsatisfying relationships that do not speak to our heartfelt needs. Meanwhile, debt piles up to pay for the home, cars, clothing, and other gadgets that we hope will help us feel accepted and good about ourselves. The resentment builds and our truth sinks deeper and deeper into a silent inner prison.
Conformity and compromising your authentic self is a dead end. The world no longer needs complacency and the safe and predictable. It needs your ideas and your genius. We have lost our individuality and uniqueness, and we suffer, individually and culturally. Nothing in this world will be solved through conformity. In the all-important and crucial areas of medicine, the environment, our energy needs, world hunger, politics, poverty, war, and conflict, we need new ideas, inventions, risk takers, out-of-the-box thinkers, and those who are willing to tell the truth.
Be the most that you can be. Find what makes you unique and shout it out to the world. Every day there is the opportunity to approach the traditional and accepted with curiosity and clear vision. Begin with yourself. Challenge your thoughts and your patterned way of relating to life. See the original within yourself and in others and express it in everything you do. You are your security. There is no outside corporation, government, or cultural support that is more reliable than you. Keep one hand in the heavens, always feeling around for the pure and magical. Plant your feet firmly on the earth and do what you came here to do.
I value my uniqueness.
8. The Beginning
Every day we are offered renewal and a new start. The dawn heralds a reawakening for all of life to begin anew. The first faint bird song and rustle in the leaves of the morning breeze invites you to begin again.
There is no better time than right now to let go of the past. You are not what you have experienced. You are not what you have said, thought, felt, heard, or done. Within the truth of who you are, there is constant renewal and purity.
Breathe and let go. Close your eyes and greet the sunrise of your soul. Let it awaken within you an awareness of the new journey awaiting you. Breathe and let go and imagine a beautiful place in nature. It may be in the mountains, near the sea, or in a lush valley. Smell the fragrant breeze and feel the touch of sunlight or dew on your face. This is your place of safety, love, and comfort. This is where you can go, at any time, to begin again. The slate is clean. Breathe and let go of anything that you no longer need. Let go of the worries and concerns that keep you in a hyper state of anxiety. Breathe and let go. Forgive yourself and forgive all others for any conscious or inadvertent acts, words, and thoughts that did not honor who you really are.
Breathe and settle into your safe place. Imagine a clean and pure stream, river, or fountain in this special spot where you can relax and rest. Feel the energy of this place within. Breathe in the invigorating energy of love. Open your heart and let go of any sadness or pain that may still linger. Release any negativity and past hurts into the water’s flow, where they will be transformed into positive energy.
Breathe, relax, and hear the true you calling. Make the intent to be the person that you know you are. In your mind’s eye, see yourself living authentically and joyously.
I breathe, let go, and begin anew.