So, who am I to be talking about authentic integrity and transparency?
This is a good question, and one that’s bound to bubble up to the surface for anyone who may like to take a closer look at who I am to dare to say these high-sounding words out loud.
To Set This Stage
I’ve been blessed to be an integral part of a Sacred social experiment. One that is some 5+ years in the making. This essence of this social experiment was in the creation of a safe and Sacred space for people to gather virtually, on the internet, to commune with one another and communicate authentically, from the heart. (1)
The magic of being involved on a daily basis in such an environment is that I’m invited, formally, to be mindful of the Sacred nature of the space itself.
Therefore, I ask myself to come forth with the real deal about what I perceive is so, and what is true for me. I challenge myself to take ownership of my perceptions and share them openly.
What is authentic for me? Owning my own truths is essential for this sort of interaction. This daily practice has honed and shaped me in ways that are surprising, enlightening and illuminating.
What we see, in contrast, all over the planet, makes it only more understandable for those of us who’ve had this magical opportunity to see what it’s like to share our truths safely, without the attacking, blaming and shaming that goes on elsewhere in such community forums, and in media presentations as well.
The ability to find what is deeply authentic to share is enhanced in a safe environment. Too bad such environments aren’t more wide-spread and accessible. However, regardless of what the environment is like, such choices are always available.
Into the Personal
For a person like me, who’s come through a lifespan of extremities and long-term sojourns of dark territories, my authentic compassion is also present at all times.
I’m the survivor of what was called a ‘terminal’ cancer in my mid-twenties. (2) This scrape with death, the near-death experiences of crossing of the veil, and the long climb back to health and wholeness again; all this has freed me of the primary fear of death that afflicts most people. One of the biggest blessings of my life was to ditch this threat, by the way. Highly recommended.
I was born into a addiction-oriented family dynamic, with addictions prevalent on both sides of my family tree. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, excessive promiscuity and sexual obsessions, and more. Oh yea, if some is good, then it follows that more must be better, right?
Some 30 years of hard-core drug addictions are a major portion of my life saga. For those who missed out on a personal portion of this, I’m here to tell you how you didn’t miss anything good.
In middle age (40 to 45 years old), I spent about 5 years living in a legalized prostitution establishment, both as management aide and as a boots on the ground specialist in sexual activities for pay.
The personal revelations coming out of these experiences are another story. Ones that are better shared another time. I’m simply modeling how one may drop the masks and smoke screens and still survive it. How this isn’t even the threat it pretends to be. Once the truth is out, what a relief it is to go on without all the excessive falsities and omissions.
The truth is that anyone may come with pitchforks and torches to burn a cross on my lawn at any time. No one, in fact, needs such real life details to do so, if they like they could just make something up. Let me make this easy. These are some of the milestones of my journey. Now what?
Regardless of the personal details, my life path has brought me into association with plenty of unsavory characters. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to explore being unsavory too. For good or for ill, I now know fairly intimately what this is all about, and how to practice these skills if I should like to choose them.
As far as I’m concerned, there is no possibility for any real authenticity to come out of me to share with others if I’m spending all the immense and endless amount of energy it takes to hold such things as secrets, based in the fear of being judged by them, and/or misunderstood.
Of course, I’ve been judged and misunderstood many, many times, as we all have, bar none. Still, the most brutal and unfair instances of this have been done by me towards myself. So, truly, it’s fair to say the personal shadow projections which others may sling upon me about who or what I am, are, by a long margin, way short of the savagery I’ve felt that I could treat myself with.
At this stage, it’s almost laughable when anyone attempts to hook me into such interactions. Sorry, I wore that pathway out a long time back now. Nothing left for you, you’re too late. I used it up. It’s worn through, broken, leaving no access across that abysmal chasm into my personal survival zone.
Who I am in any given moment is decided by me. I own this. I’m the sovereign being that assigns meaning and value to whatever is here for me to perceive and experience. The buck stops here, and so do the excuses.
Which brings me back around to my authentic compassion.
I find it hard to imagine anyone with more compassion based on their life experiences of how to take the long way home. In hindsight, I look at my life path and it looks to me like I’ve modeled the way to do pretty much everything the difficult and stupid way. It frankly looks like one long slow-motion train wreck.
Is this harsh? Yes, perhaps it is. Yet this is my authentic perception of my own history. The gems in this path have been about how intimately I know the territory, and the triumphs of coming out of the end of that tunnel whole and intact, essentially untarnished, unsullied and vindicated in every single way I can imagine.
At some point, all the fearful reasons for being less than authentic and spending intense amounts of energy holding secrets for self-protection and survival simply revealed themselves as excuses to be less than authentically me.
The truer truth is that none of that hedging the truth business enhances my safety at all. The biggest threat to my well-being was always me, and never anyone else and what they think or feel anyway.
Finding My Inspiration and Passion in Integrity
To wind this up, what’s real and true for me now is how little of life interests me if it doesn’t give me inspiration and arouse my passion. Anything less than this is less than being in my own integrity, and though my compassion is present, my compassion is limited as well.
My passion is to transmute what is limiting me. This may be my attachment and identification with my messy past, or my messy emotional tangle inside that only I can access.
Regardless of what is limiting my ability to recreate something MORE than all the uninspiring less-than scenarios available, my true and most deeply authentic passion and compassion is reserved, for the most part, for what I deem worthy of it. Again, this is my personal integrity I’m talking about.
So, it is without embarrassment, and without worrying too much about how this plays out internally for anyone else, I take ownership of how this is for me. This is the essence, as I see it, of authenticity and transparency and how personal integrity is about owning up to how it is for me personally.
(1) The current incarnation of this is called Gaia Scene. It’s our community forum, a private space with strict guidelines about rules of engagement. Essentially, these guidelines ask for good manners, and our moderators really do moderate.
(2) Diagnosed as Stage 3B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Written for Gaia Scenics’ View