What Does It Mean To Be Authentic

The one thing I remember about Michael Jordan from his days as a North Carolina Tar Heel was how he could really perform under pressure. He was able to block out all of the noise and distractions, find his center of peace, and “Bam!” hit his shot as time ticked down to one second. He tapped into his center of peace, strength, love, purpose, courage, determination, confidence, and creativity to fully inspire (bring Spirit in) his way of playing the game. It is interesting to read reports that his acceptance speech into the NBA Hall of Fame was void of all of the above greatness and authenticity.

I am a huge sports fan like my friend and fellow blogger Victoria. I have probably been watching sports since the day I was born since my dad was a huge sports fan and player when he was young. I loved watching basketball almost all my life. Of course, being from Chicago, the Bulls was one of my favorite teams although they were not much of winning team back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. When Michael Jordan was drafted, I anticipated and prayed for the Chicago Bulls’ rise but never imagined just how far they would go! Not only was Michael able to achieve greatness in his own performance, he inspired those around him to tap into their hidden talents and gifts to be as great as they could possibly be in their game play. He was an authentic player, leader, and team mate.

Authenticity (from the root authentic) comes from the Greek word authentikos and, when broken down, is a combination of autos, self, and entea, instruments. Translated into a understandable meaning, we might say authenticity is “the instrument of Self” or “the true, original, and genuine Self as expressed in an instrument (the body).” Wow! What a wonderful phrase that expresses exactly who we are to be in all aspects of our lives, everything we do, and every second of our lives.

There are areas in our lives when we see our authentic selves in expression. We may be fabulous cooks, great teachers, prolific writers, gifted healers, or wonderful parents; these things come easy to us just like basketball came easy to Michael. We may also be petty, vindictive, stingy, resentful, bitter, negative, unforgiving and cruel in other areas of our lives thus expressing our inauthentic selves. Part of our journey is to rid ourselves of our negative expression in order to reach the highest expression of positivity and authenticity.

Is it challenging? Of course! Can we reach it? Of course we can! About three years ago, I had a situation where two friends gossiped about something I did that they thought was “awful and hypocritical.” What did I do? I participated in an Ayuhasca ceremony with a shaman in Peru. This type of guided ceremony is designed to help you reach higher levels of consciousness in order to receive messages from your guides and, some say, it helps you purge negative energies out of the body so you can experience peace and love.

The negative reputation of using this ceremony is that you are using a drug.
Well, I got angry with my friends for saying negative things about me and the ceremony and confronted them about it. They pointed fingers at each other and neither admitted to what they had said. I was angry, resentful, unforgiving and negative and decided not to talk to them for a while. I was definitely not expressing my authentic self! After clearing the energy and gaining a lot of understanding of why this situation happened, why I reacted the way I did, and how to accept myself and others with greater love and compassion, I reconnected with my friends. I regained my authentic balance in order to resolve the situation.

Of course, the universe will test us to see if we have really learned our lessons about integrating our authentic selves into all aspect of our lives. Right now another situation is happening in which my actions, supporting someone who is going through a divorce, are being judged by these same two people. Once again, they do not know the whole story and are quick to point fingers. However instead of reacting negatively, I am being my Authentic Self. Like Michael at the most critical moment in the game, I am tapping into my center of peace while blocking out noise and distractions, stepping up and ‘Bam!’ hittin’ my Love Shot.

The universe tested Michael on Friday to see if he learned his lessons about integrating his on court Authentic Self into the off court areas of his life. He missed his Love Shot on Friday but if he is aware and willing to learn his lessons, I’m sure Michael will be stepping up and next time doing his Air Jordan move and slam dunking his lessons with authority, making all of us and the universe smile, yell and cheer his greatness once again!

Copyright © 2009 by Shirlyn Wright