Put a lot of effort into GaneshFest and what an incredible gathering it was!! I still am high from all the love, vibrations, prana and soul-sweetness that I felt there. So eternally grateful for my co-creators and collaborators, and in fact, just spent much of this last week sitting in gratitude. Letting it settle in, make sense, feel good - oh, and yes, some deep long naps, and some crazy number-crunching to bring it all to close!
I wouldn't trade that experience for the world! In fact, I'm super buoyed by the amount of positive feedback and buy-in... so many folks, both those who attended and those who created, are asking 'what's next?'. I am as well! I think this community and the work we can do is clear; now we need to focus on how to continue that service, and how to uplift our entire group! I'm excited for the challenge!
One pleasure of the weekend was watching such a diverse group of folks, who really share so much in common, connect, share, get real, and be authentic. We had Asthangis, Flowers, Kundalinis, and of course, the ever popular 'yoga mutts' - just breathing, hanging, practicing and being together. That resonance, and the conversations I had, lead me to this post - a post on 'authenticity'.
If you read me much, by now you know I love language and linguistics. Not only because I see so much of the PIE (Proto Indo-European) cognates run from Sanskrit to both the Romance and the Teutonic/Norse language groups, but also because words are like asanas. They contain so much inherent information; if we simply explore the foundations, then the expressions mean so much more.
Authenticity - being yourself, being true to yourself, being authentic... ok, let's go deeper.
authentic (adj.) mid-14th century first usage, meaning "authoritative"
This comes down from the Old French root, autentique - then, down from the 14th century into Modern French authentique.
The word came into Old French via the words "authentic; canonical," which are directly from Middle Latin - authenticus. This comes to Latin, from the Greek word authentikos meaning "original, genuine, principal," which itself is a conjugate of authentes, or "one acting on one's own authority,"
This breaks down really directly, from autos "self" + hentes "doer, being,". Like I mentioned before, go back far enough and you get to PIE, where we have the root *sene- "to accomplish, achieve."
Ok, so you're 'self-being' and that makes you some level of acting from one's own authority; let's look at that.
authority (noun) from the Old French auctorité "authority, prestige, right, permission, dignity, gravity". I like that! From the Old French of the 12th century down to Modern French, the word is autorité. This was influenced from the Latin - auctoritatem (the nominative is auctoritas) and means "invention, advice, opinion, influence, command,". From this same root, we get the Latin auctor or "master, leader, author".
Authentic also indicates "accomplishment" and "achievement", so let's dive into those, briefly:
accomplish (verb) from the late 14th century word in Old French - acompliss-, the stem of acomplir "to fulfill, fill up, complete". This was refined from the 12th century Vulgate Latin word *accomplere. This is formed via the Latin ad- "to" + complere "fill up" (think of "complete").
achieve (verb) from the early 12th century word in Old French - achever, "to finish, accomplish, complete". This comes from the phrase à chef (venir) "at an end, finished". We also see this in the Vulgate Latin - *accapare, from Late Latin - ad caput (venire); both the French and Late Latin phrases share the literal meaning "to come to a head," from stem of Latin caput "head" (think cap, as in ballcap; think Capitol, as in the head of government; think Kapala Bhati as in "Skull Shining!).
The way I read it, authenticity is taking responsibility for being exactly who we are, and acting from that sense of purpose. It means we should find dignity and gravity in our composure, and that we should become leaders - either to self, or to those who may need guidance.
It also contains the principle of fulfillment; of the joy that is found in truly being the self. In allowing others to love your entirety, rather than deciding what to share with whom, from guilt, shame or concern of judgment. Simply to be, and to be fulfilled - to be complete, to come to a head.
This is a noble goal, and kinda scary. That means maybe you find out your yoga teacher loves a beer now and again... that's ok, if they're authentic - but if there are shame games, or "do as I say, not as I do", or even subterfuge, that is denying our wholeness, our self, our divinity - the nature of our authenticity.
And, as a friend reminded me - being authentic is like being bald and accepting it... which means, you don't worry about which 'hat you are wearing' or when to switch them. You don't have to be this person, then that, and then one in the middle when two worlds collide. You don't have to remember what language and words to use, if you don't edit yourself to the occasion.
It's a tough mission; I've seen some incredible examples in the past two weeks and I'm renewed in my desires and emboldened in my actions to come to a place that is authentic ,caring and sharing. I just gotta be me, wouldn't wish it on anyone else!! And, if I'm gonna be me, I've gotta get better at it, everyday! That's the plan!
How are you feeling about that? Do you notice authentic folks in your life, or on the contrary, have you begun to notice when it doesn't feel solid? When folks don't seem to be who they are?
Do you notice the tendency in your own life to 'become someone else' in an alternate situation? Are you one way with friends, one with family, one with co-workers? Just think on it, notice what it might be about...
Then, give thanks and praise - feel complete and bring it to a head!