Expanding Joy: Authenticity through Let Your Yoga Dance, and inSPIRED Positive Psychology
A few months ago, I was interviewed on a telesummit about AUTHENTICITY. I chose to look through the lens of my work with Let Your Yoga Dance and the chakras, along with VIA (Values in Action) strengths, and the SPIRE anagram of Positive Psychology. SPIRE was created by WholeBeing Institute co-founders, Megan McDonough and Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar. This is a three part blog, focusing on Authenticity. The third section is an excerpt from my new book, Expanding Joy: Let Your Yoga Dance, Embodying Positive Psychology.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with SPIRE, this anagram stands for
Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Relational, Emotional. Later in this series, I will unpack these 5 words, and demonstrate the ways I am using them (and you can too) to create a more congruent, authentic life.
Meanwhile…What is Authenticity?
There are many articles and books on the topic, the most recent book being Karissa Thatcher’s hot-off-the-press Authentic Leadership. Another good read is Brian Little’s Me, Myself, and Us, published in 2014.
For me, authenticity is synonymous with being congruent, genuine, real, walking my talk – dancing my walk. I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but for me authenticity also means, being as creative as humanly possible. Maybe that’s my artist talking.
I’m definitely my most real and genuine when my creative juices are flowing; in my world, that can only happen when I am in a special kind of environment, and / or in the water. I have some of my best ideas, designs, choreography, insights either in the bathtub, the ocean, the pool, or a lake. Maybe that’s due to my July Cancer-the-Crab nature.
Quotes, Poetry, Scripture
I use poetry to help me remain congruent. Poets like Mary Oliver, Shakespeare, Hafiz, David Whyte, Rumi sizzle for me. I gather quotes from around the world, and use scripture to ground me into being and teaching from the deepest part of whom I am. In Indian scripture the ancient text, the Bhagavad Gita, teaches about the Atma, the Soul, or true Self. In yogic philosophy, it is taught that we mistakenly assume we’re merely mind and body. We stubborn humans believe in our superficial labels: Caucasian, extrovert, feminist, introvert, dancer, ambivert, New England liberal. Atma goes deeper than the personality traits of extro-, intro-, or ambi-version. Atma refers to eternal consciousness (spirit, or soul) within each of us. I know that my core is Infinite, Eternal, and Whole, I just forget much of the time.
When I read the following quotes and prose, my heart, along with my brain, remembers.
Jeff Brown writes:
A great door opens every time we walk our own way. Not the way of the world, not the way of the other, but the way that is encoded in the bones of our being. It is not easy to open the great door in an inauthentic world, but open it we must. On the other side of the door, our real life awaits. There are many great doors to come as we shed our cloaks of falsity and embrace our deepest truths. Walk with your head high and your heart open. The universe responds to authentic transformation. Nothing false will do.
Out with the old, in with the true…
Gloria Steinem, in her new and beautiful book, My Life on the Road, quotes from Native American Elders:
You cannot think yourself into right living.
You live yourself into right thinking.
From Martin Luther King:
Our lives begin to End
The day we become silent about things that matter.
From Joseph Campbell:
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you truly are.
Quotes and poems are an integral part of my quest for authenticity. When I look up and see a strong quote on my wall, I am uplifted, inspired, graced.
This series will contain three unique inquiries on the topic of authenticity:
- Part 1 explores authenticity through the chakras of Let Your Yoga Dance.
- Part 2 looks at Authenticity through the lens of VIA (Values in Action).
- Part 3 brings inSPIRED Let Your Yoga Dance into the authentic mix.
The blog concludes with a guided visualization on authentic, inSPIRED choices.
Megha-Nancy Buttenheim, M.A., is the founder of Let Your Yoga Dance: Grace in Motion®. An international presenter and corporate trainer, Megha is a 27 year teacher-trainer at Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She is also a faculty member at the Nosara Yoga Institute in Guanacaste, Costa Rica and Kind Yoga School in Cape Cod, MA. She brings her passion and expertise as a lifelong dancer, actress, singer, yogi, and educator in experiential learning to all her workshops and trainings.