The Power of Radiant Authenticity

Kangaroo Paw mandala on Dark, original artwork by Halyna Dee Creative

When I was in high school, I remember my school principal taking about authenticity (way before Instagram was a thing). He would use the analogy of a cabbage, saying that it only ever strives to be a cabbage and nothing else. In the same way, he would encourage his students to be true to themselves, and to embrace authenticity.

I have a valued friend that I have known for a number of years, through my work. Let’s call her Stella (not her real name, off course!)

Stella has been around the sun for over half a century. Her face is lined with many wrinkles, she is a bit on the tubby side, loud, and pretty much as rough as they come. Stella’s life has been no bed of roses. She is a survivor of breast cancer and has lost one breast as a result. Her brother was a victim of suicide. Stella swears like a trooper, is adorned with tattoos, and doesn’t sugarcoat anything. She says it how it is. I think you get the picture. With Stella, what you see is what you get.

Despite her rough exterior, Stella has a heart of gold. If need be, she will give you the shirt off her back. If you are her friend, you are a friend for life, and she will always be there for you. Stella is a nurse, and a very good one at that. Looking after people is what she does best. I have seen how Stella goes out of her way to make her patients feel worthy, valued and comfortable, even if it means sacrificing her own needs, even if her feet are sore, or she has gone for hours without food.

To the casual observer, Stella looks like a very rough middle-aged woman. She is not likely to win a beauty contest anytime soon. But looks can be deceptive.

Despite her outer appearance, Stella’s inner beauty shines incredibly bright. When she walks into a room, she totally lights it up. You cannot help but love Stella, even if she does swear, because that’s just how she is. She is not out to impress anyone, and she certainly doesn’t set out to light up a room, she just does. She just is…..well, she just is Stella!

What I really admire about Stella is her absolute authenticity, and this authenticity is what draws people to her. She is living life on her own terms. At a time when so many people are hiding behind filters and social media posts, it is truly refreshing and inspirational to meet someone like Stella.

We are all here to play our unique part in the drama of life, not to be like anyone else. There is power in being authentically you. May you seek it, find it and embrace it.

Maybe you know someone like Stella. Maybe you are like Stella, without realising it!

Celebrating Perfection of the Imperfect

In Japanese culture there is the concept of Wabi Sabi, celebrating the perfection of the imperfect.

For most of my life I have struggled with being a perfectionist, which any perfectionist will tell you is an uphill battle. The older I get the more I realise that perfectionism is an illusion. There is no such thing, except in the mind.

Nature is perfect in its imperfection, like the tree growing sideways, atop a windswept cliff. The imperfection of this tree is testament to its courage to grow in such a place, and its resilience to survive despite the harsh environment.

Life is like that too. Life is not always perfect. Yet this imperfection is testament to our courage and resilience.

As a yogini, it comes as no surprise that I love my regular yoga and meditation practice. In a ‘perfect’ world, I would have a dedicated space in the house for my practice. I’m envisaging a space which is light and airy, warm timber, large windows bringing in the greenery, the distinctive aroma of incense wafting through the air, with my mat and props all set and ready to go.

In reality, I practice yoga in the lounge room which I share with my family. My mat and props get put away every time. There is cheap carpet on the floor and in certain poses I end up hitting the window. At times, someone will walk through the lounge and disturb my flow.

This appears to be far removed from my ideal yoga space and yet it works. I celebrate my determination and resilience as I make it work despite the challenges. My yoga space is perfect for now.

Through the asana (physical posture) practice of yoga, I have come to accept the perfection of the imperfection of my body and being. There are certain poses which I cannot do, and that’s ok. There are days where my balance is not that great, and that’s ok. There are days when my practice is only ten minutes and that’s ok too.

Off the mat, I have come to accept that I am getting more wrinkles as I get older, my tummy will never be as flat as it was pre-children and some days I get tired more easily. That’s more than ok, because it’s testament to the fact that I have survived to my early fifties, that I have children and that I have notched up life experience and wisdom.

Acceptance of the authentic self is really about seeing the perfection in the imperfections. The more I cultivate self acceptance, the more I will be likely to accept others for their authenticity too.

If you would like to tell the people of the world to strive for authenticity rather than perfection, check out my creations at: