Authenticity; Be Who You Are
By Reverend Betsy Stang, on behalf of all our relations and all sentient beings.
We live in a sales pitch world. We are constantly bombarded by should – you should look like this, you should live like this, you should want that.
From the time we are young we are programmed to stifle our impulses. We should behave properly. We should sit quietly in school and get good grades, never mind that our young bodies are aching to move and express. Never mind that there are subjects that, somewhere, in the core of our being, we know, will never be relevant to whom we are destined to become.
We are told, over and over, that our dreams, myths and visions are unrealistic. Worse than that, they are dangerous, and they will make us too odd, too different.
“Be good, be appropriate. You need to get a good job, wear the right clothes, find the right partner, get the right house or apartment. Present yourself appropriately. People should like you. You need approval.”
From whom? From them! Who are they? The ones who know better, the ones who play the dominant culture game the best, the ones who hold the money and power, the ones who run the media. The ones who are on the covers of the shiny magazines.
Who are you to look elsewhere for your validation? Who are you to stand up and say your dreams are OK? You are too young, unrealistic, uneducated or underfunded. Look like they want you to look. Act like they want you to act. Live like they want you to act and all will be OK.
“Because that’s the way the world is, because otherwise you will wind up on the street alone. Because you can’t buck the system. Because I said so!”
“Stop asking so many questions and do as you are told.”
“If you don’t you will not get love and approval.”
“From the world, from me. You are being unreasonable, too much trouble, do as you are told.
What about my soul? What about my dreams? What about what I see that is not real, is not kind and is not good in this dominant society, in this world, on this planet?”
What about it?
What about it?
What is it about our authentic feelings, knowing, and myths that stir up so much trouble?
People that live by their authentic voices are known variously as saints, geniuses or fools, depending on how the story turns out and who is writing it.
Bill Gates dropped out of college to pursue a dream. Foolish. Then he made a gazillion dollars. Genius. Then he gave most of it away. Huh?
Martin Luther King had a dream of all people being equal, no matter what the color of their skin. He was killed for it. What was he?
Depends on who is writing the story.
The Dalai Lama fights to keep his culture alive and to work towards a day when his people can return to their homeland. Fool or saint? Depends on who is writing.
Every vision that has changed how the world thinks has been labeled foolish at one time. Any strong visions , especially by those who are dark skinned or indigenous, or by people who want to preserve the planet and want to change the current paradigm are labeled foolish or unworthy.
And yet, time is not over and evolution is not done.
We all have to face our own mortality and at the end of our days, look at what we have given our lives and our energy to. Was it worth it?
If we can say yes, then we have kept our authenticity. We have pleased something greater than the advertisers. We have given our gifts. It is never too late.
Start now and say yes to your visions, to the purpose you were born for, whatever that is, however humble or foolish. You were given gifts for a reason. Honor them be using them and when someone else says you are a fool, just smile.
This blog is dedicated to Rabbi Joseph Gelberman and Grandfather William Commanda who have used their lives well to teach others in the face of tremendous odds. Don’t know who they are. Google them and open up some new worlds.
Betsy Stang is an Interfaith Minister, spiritual counselor and Earth Activist. She is is the Founder and Executive Director of The Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources in Bearsville, NY.
For more information please go to www.wittenbergcenter.org or www.betsystang.com