Authentic Power: Being Authentic and Genuine

“The spring wakes us, nurtures us and revitalizes us. How often does your spring come? If you are a prisoner of the calendar, it comes once a year. If you are creating authentic power, it comes frequently, or very frequently.”

An interesting perspective from Gary Zukav—someone I’d never heard of before I Googled “quotes about springtime.” According to Wikipedia, he is an American spiritual teacher, writer, and public speaker, and by “authentic power,” he means “consciously choosing intentions that create consequences for which the chooser is willing to assume responsibility.”

I ought to be more careful about that.

Springtime, as illustrated by the quote, is typically associated with freshness, rebirth, optimism. Wakefulness after a winter hibernation—figuratively, of course, unless you’re a bear, a bee, a groundhog, etc. Spring cleaning. Spring graduations—which, I’ve just learned, my own will take place next May and not this December like I thought. That’s okay—the greater disappointment for me was learning I’m on track to graduate magna cum laude rather than summa cum laude. I know, I know—I should be proud of myself regardless, right, because I’ve come so far, done so well, blah, blah. And I am. But if I’m being totally honest, the overachieving perfectionist in me was just a bit disappointed.

And that’s something else, too—perfectionism, and, in a vein similar to “authentic power,” just…authenticity. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what I would rather be: perfect, or flawed. Let’s deepen that—perfect and fake and boring, or flawed and genuine and authentic. When you put it that way, is there even a question?

I think society kind of goes back and forth about it as well, with media portrayal of especially celebrities, after whom so many people like to model their lives. Who are you fascinated with lately? For me, it’s Kate Middleton, Amal Clooney, Taylor Swift. A sophisticated, polished princess, an admirable, worldly human rights international lawyer, and a pop superstar with the ability to poeticize the most complex emotions. But who else is there? More and more lately I see people like Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer, and Anna Kendrick being celebrated by the media for not being perfect, but for being outspoken and unafraid to be laughed at and to laugh at themselves. Unafraid to be genuineAuthentic.

I’m not saying that I want to be like these people, or that you should. I’m saying that I want to be as authentic to myself as they seem to be—which in itself might be a bad example there because, they seem to be. But think about who you seem to be to others, and how you feel about that. Are you authentically you? Do you even want to be?

During this time of year, a season of awakening and rebirth and of creating authentic power, I want to be consciously creating and being the most authentic and genuine version of myself, and, of course, to make the mistakes and the intentions for which I’ll assume responsibility (whether I’m inherently willing to or not). What about you?



  • Gary Zukav” @  Wikipedia
  • “I had to learn a long time ago to not let my feelings about not being perfect stand in the way of enjoying my life.” —Actress Anne Hathaway on not being a perfect
  • Latin honors” @ Wikipedia

“I Create Myself.”

For Christmas, Nonnie gave me the subscription to Bella Grace magazine that I’ve wanted for months. The winter issue is sitting on my nightstand, waiting to be turned over in my hands and enjoyed. And it’s easy to want my life to line up like those presented in the pages, in the words and pictures that different women submit for publication. The same with the different people introduced and interviewed in episodes of the Tranquility du Jour podcast. It’s easy to want to be like those people, in all the ways they are similar and the ways they are different, what they take from the world and what they give back. But if I were, would that really be me, or would that be more me just being like everyone else?

What about who I am versus who I want to be? Can I fully become the person I want to be?

I wondered if I’d touched on this before, and I don’t think I really have, so I’ll play with it now. When I think about the person I want to be, I’m not really sure what I see.

I walked into the Cougar Grounds coffee shop on campus a few weeks ago, and I caught my reflection in the window, and I remember thinking, “looking for all the world like a basic white chick” because I was wearing white skinny jeans tucked into a pair of expensive “premium” rain boots, a Hollister chambray button-down with silver fabric paint and costume gems sewn on the collar, carrying an umbrella and a Vera Bradley backpack. Yes, basic white chick. Something I’ve known for a while, and first I was okay with it, and then it kind of bothered me, and now I’m okay with it again. I took a quiz recently, actually, and the result was that I have basic white girl tendencies, which makes more sense because I hate Starbucks coffee (though their food and Frappuccinos are delicious) and I don’t own a single pair of UGG boots. But more than that, I realized, I feel pretty comfortable this way.

Another thing I realized recently, I should stop saying “I want to be a writer” because I am one. No matter whether I write every day, or not for six months, that does not change the fact that inherently I am one. I will always want to write. I will always want to create. I will always find journaling therapeutic, and I will always be engaged in a love affair with words and caffeine.

That doesn’t mean that where I am right now is enough. I think it’s still a journey: toward more tranquility, toward more maturity, more worldliness, more independence. More mysteriousness—by which I mean simply being a more private person. Keeping things closer to the vest, the way I used to, the way my junior-high Social Studies teacher commented on when I was in sixth or seventh grade. I liked how it sounded then, and I like how it sounds now, and that is what I want. But even through all of this, who I already am does not disappear, and does not have to be lost in translation. Something to be aware of as I go along.

If you drop a pebble into a pond, it creates a ripple effect. Chaos Theory says that if a butterfly takes flight in Tokyo, eventually, the air current caused by the wings can lead to a hurricane in Florida. Maybe exactly that is hard to believe, but consider that your choices continue to affect your life and to shape you long after they are made. You make those choices; you create the long-term effect. I do, too, and I think in this way, I create myself. I create who I am, and I have the potential to create who I want to be, through my choices, my attitudes, my perspectives, every day.

Who will you be today? Tomorrow?