When I was led to do a painting on the word, “authentic,” I knew it would be no problem for me. I thought the painting might be one of much complexity but, as you can see, it turned out to be one of much simplicity. And that is a great notion for how the word, “authentic,” shows up in my life on and off the canvas.
It might have a lot to do with being an Enneagram 4 that being authentic is so important to me. I want to be as authentic as possible with others, and I only ask for the same from them. What does that look like? It’s me telling you exactly what I am feeling and exactly what I am struggling with and hoping for. It’s you telling me exactly the same things. Why is this so hard for most of us? We don’t really want people to know what we are really going through. We think they will judge us accordingly. We think they won’t understand. We think what we are going through is something they haven’t gone through or are currently going through. And all of that is, of course, a lie! They probably won’t judge us as harshly as we judge ourselves (and if they do judge us, then that’s on them!). They probably will understand (and if they don’t understand, that’s on them!). They probably are going through the same thing or, at the very least, have gone through the same thing we are going through (and if they have or haven’t, that’s on them!). And, yes, that they and us probably won’t, will, or go, is all ego!
The painting, AUTHENTIC, for me, is the light at the end of the tunnel. So many of my paintings have this circular style to them where it’s apparent that I’m walking through a current journey where there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Since being authentic is so important to me, I do not think this journey is going to be very long to get to the light at the end of this tunnel. It will be my authenticity that I’m already aware of and accepting that IS the light ALREADY of the tunnel. And I love tunnels because there is usually, not always, a way out. There is a light that shines when we are in our tunnels that will require us “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). We can see the light but, more importantly, we can feel the light by our faith. It’s our faith that we indeed will come out the other end of each tunnel we journey through, and it will be Light and it will be Bright!
I invite you to join me today in being authentic. I know that viscous inner critic in you will tell you to hide instead of being authentic, but please know that it is a lie being told to all of us. The lie is NOT Light and Bright but rather dark and dull. There is nothing wrong at all with being authentic. There is nothing wrong with knowing that when we are authentic, we are Home in our very selves. And we have kissed the ego “goodbye” and kissed and embraced the Spirit at “hello.” If you think they will judge you for being authentic, they won’t (and if they do, that’s on them!). If you think they won’t understand, they will (and if they don’t, that’s on them!). And if you think they have not gone through what you are walking through, they have gone through and/or currently going through (and if they’re not, that’s on them!). Without the Grace of God, there is no authenticity to be had. There is only judgement, misunderstanding, and loneliness. But with God’s Grace, there is freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of togetherness in the face of loneliness. There might even be a shared-tunnel journey if that is called for. I know I walk each and every tunnel alone, but is that my choosing? Given the huge introvert I am, probably so. But I can choose to not go it alone. Might you join me today?
As I sit here typing this blog post, I am struggling with my always strongest desire to always be authentic. My eyes are looking straight ahead, and I see trees and leaves swaying and straying in the quiet wind, I see Groucho my cat sleeping, I see my neighbor’s dog, Frankie, munching on a peanut butter bone treat, but I do not see my dog, Blue, or my other cat, Conrad. I’m authentic enough to know that what I cannot see does not mean it’s not there. Oops! Blue just came walking in through the open porch door. See! Just because I couldn’t see Blue when I was typing didn’t mean he wouldn’t show up out of the blue, out of the Light and the Bright. Conrad hasn’t shown up yet but if I know Conrad like I think I know Conrad, he keeps everything in simplicity rather than complexity. Conrad is around, waiting to show up out of the blue, into the Light and the Bright, when he is darn ready! That cat has taught me so much about the simplicity in authenticity. When Conrad wants something, he lets me know and when he doesn’t want something, he lets me know that, too. He’s not like me, 24/7 love and attention (note to Blue, too), but rather he’s here when I need him and not here when he doesn’t need anything from me or anyone. Conrad is who I hope to be one day, i.e., BOTH introvert AND extrovert but ALWAYS simplicity AND authenticity (BOTH)!
What Conrad and I are together (BOTH) and what you and I are together (BOTH), BOTH are ALWAYS “for we walk by AUTHENTIC and Light and Bright (BOTH) faith, not by dark and dull (BOTH) sight.”
Love and blessings and authenticity ALWAYS,
Timothy J. Verret