Who am I? I mean really...who am I?
A question we all ask ourselves at some point. In a world of "fake everything". This is a huge question.
After years of being told, "you are too much", "you need to tone it down", "don't say this or don't do that", "You really aren't good enough", etc, I have finally reached an age and have experienced enough of life to truly be comfortable in my own skin, with who I am and to live unapologetically. At the same time it can be exhausting and sometimes defeating to hear these words. Most especially when I KNOW I am a really good person. So, It really is so wonderful to have people in my life who allow me to be...me. Am I perfect...not even close...that is another series of blog post to come...
Recently I have had the privilege of meeting and enjoying the company of 2 women who have confirmed my personal belief to be authentically me. A yoga teacher at Aura Aerial & Yoga, Alma Largey, recently had a bracelet made for me. The creator of the bracelet asked her to describe me. When recounting the story to me, this yoga teacher looked at me with genuine joy and a big smile and said, "she has a big aura!" This affected me so wonderfully! I have always been told I was too much. Now here was this beautiful soul telling me it is ok to have a big aura!
We were so lucky to host Lux ATL at Aura Aerial & Yoga in March. I attended her Strip Craft workshops and I can truly say they are life changing events, I totally dig her! Her tag line for these workshops is "no shame, no fear, no apologies, just love'. This woman lives this and empowers everyone she meets to live this way. Again, I was affected in a way that said, "hell yes!"
So what does it really mean to be authentically you? To live comfortably with who you are, what you have and not allow what is happening around you to change what you know to be true, right and good? To be unaffected with social, economic and environmental status?
First, we must ask ourselves these questions:
1. Are you following your passion?
If you love what you do, you will never work another day of your life. Ask yourself...Do I enjoy my job? Does my job give back? Am I working to achieve status or more stuff? Do I live to work or work to live? Pretty self explanatory...
2. Take time to slow down.
It is a crazy, busy world. Consumerism around us tells us if we can only obtain this car, or buy this house or wear certain clothing...we will find contentment. As a yoga teacher, I am finally learning that contentment is not found in "stuff" or "status" or "being recognized". One aspect of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra Niyamas is Samtosia: Contentment. This does not mean we should not grow and aspire. This means we should appreciate what we have and find a place of peace with who we are.
Oh dear...this is a hard one. In my family we call Facebook "crackbook". Seriously addicting. Unplugging is one of the hardest things for me. However, when I take a moment to truly unplug, it allows me time to connect with what I truly enjoy, not what consumerism or the internet says I should enjoy. It allows time to enjoy those around me, not constantly looking for greener grass. It allows time for meditation and self reflection, loving who I am, not buying into the next cosmetic miracle that will erase the scars, stretch marks and cellulite. Erase my life story...
4. Be fearless.
If I had a dime for every comment..."I am afraid to do yoga. I am not flexible. I can't do pole dance! I would fall on my head!" Or worse..."my family would freak out if they knew I practiced yoga." Or, "my husband would divorce me if I pole danced!"
Ask yourself, how many lives do I have? Who am I living for? What am I really afraid of?
Reasonable fear- Someone walks in with a gun and begins shooting...you duck behind shelter. This is reasonable fear!
Unreasonable Fear - Come to the gym with me! No, I am afraid. Of????? Is there real physical danger? Or are you afraid of confronting the real you?
Understanding the difference between reasonable vs. unreasonable fear can be cathartic!
Definition of catharsis by Merriam Webster https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/catharsis
1 : purgation
2a : purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through artb : a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension
Folks...this is the real journey. A scary, fulfilling, gratifying, giving back and self loving journey. Are you really authentically YOU?
Thank you to those that have allowed me to be me, inspired me and loved me no matter what: Chris, Carmen, Charlie, Abby, Dorette, Lynn, Kelly, Anne, Connie, Dawn, Alma, Sheila, Lisa, Lux Atl, all my yoga, pole and fitness students, all those that have allowed me to train, teach, inspire and mentor you through AFAA, Yoga, Aura Pole Fitness and more...you have played an integral role in allowing me to be ME.
Shannon is Co-Owner of Aura Aerial & Yoga Co-Creator of Aura Pole Dance Fitness AFAA & ACE Certified, mother of 3 gorgeous children and lover of Chris Flowers