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The word came in a flash – “authenticity”. The word is my barometer to my thoughts, actions and beliefs. Authenticity holds the essence of honesty. My first priority with authenticity is to myself. When I feel lost, I pose the question to myself, what do I need? My answer may come back “chocolate” and I know I must dig deeper. What do I need? “Life’s not fair.” What do I need? It’s important to have patience with myself.

It’s my responsibility to give myself what I need. The true problem is figuring out what I want. Am I looking to fulfill my need from others? Maybe. I encourage myself to be honest, look deeper. What do I need? I want to feel loved. That’s the bottom line. I want to know I am loved.

I have been working on my father issues for over 40 years now. This work has been a journey in itself – creating strong boundaries, mourning the loss of a protective father, writing, crying, accepting, more crying, letting go, and the list goes on. I got angry, sad, begged, depressed and accepted and still the shame, the pain and the weight of my struggle still held on tight. Until I started saying the mantra, “Dad I forgive you for forsaking your light in my life.” Dad I forgive you for abandoning yourself in my life.” “Dad I forgive you for forgetting about your heart when being my father.”

It started loosening the hold I had on my hurting heart. I felt I was getting closer to me. Through yesterday’s meditation, I experienced the stern, stoic, tyrannical father turn into a warm, protective presence inside that I can stand behind and feel comforted. I palpably experienced the change. Silent meditation was the arena for this healing.

In some ways it’s easier to be helpless. I don’t have to take responsibility for my needs. I can blame others for not paying attention. I used to do this around my birthday which is tomorrow. I would create the perfect scenario for what I wanted to happen but not tell anyone because they should know, if they really loved me, what I want. Perfect setup. I was always disappointed and this disappointment completely supported my helplessness.

The reins are in my hands. The first step is to discover what I need and the next step is to grant it to myself. Then I hit the barrier once I discover what I need. My barrier was the belief I didn’t deserve to get what I needed. It’s like skiing down a hill full of moguls. You maneuver over one and come up to another. Patience with yourself. Awareness of the moguls. Asking for guidance within when you’re wondering. Trust it will come and more patience.

Over time I found I was becoming an expert skier on the hill of life. Sometimes it felt like an advanced course and the moguls were coming fast and furious. And I realized there was a familiarity to the course. Of course life takes on a momentum of growth and learning so I’m actually skiing, not thinking about it. Of course there are going to be big bumps and little bumps, but the bumps are expected. I’ll handle what comes. Maybe I’ll fall down but I’ll get up. I’ll cry and I’ll laugh. I’ll mourn and I’ll celebrate. Life is building up and breaking down of everything inside and outside. We live life like a metaphor to nature.

We’re in the blooming stage now against the backdrop of this pandemic. Life is teeming with newness and yet we are unsure of what’s next. As was mentioned yesterday, the miracle of sturdy flowers to withstand the spring snow is a reminder of our sturdiness, our resiliency, our essence of authenticity. We are very adaptable and resourceful. We are living in a time of redefining and re-discovering our authenticity. This is an opportunity to brush off the stagnant routines and refreshing our outlook, prioritizing what is important and moving forward discovering what we need and providing it with the help of our inner world and the love the universe is.

Participants' reflections:

• Through therapy have tried to forgive mother. Today I tried "I pity you for not being in your light." Couldn’t say “I forgive you.” Inching along. And the word "yet"

• Forgiveness for self helps forgiveness for parents. Picture of mother at 18 with joy and expectancy. I hold onto that image.

• Accept thyself, be thyself

• It’s up to me to give self what I need. Mother taught my needs don't matter. Selfish to give to self. But have to replenish self

• Authenticity is a journey, not a place

• This stillness helps me accept the dark side of me (sitting in my dirty diaper of feeling unloved). When I accept, I can see the beauty of small things

• Love the mogul image. Feels to me uphill

• Being in blooming stage for me personally. I am in a blooming stage, a rich time

I was not raised to be authentic. I was taught to be codependent. It's been a process to be authentic.

• When I'm with authentic people, helps me. I get in fear.

• My father said one thing, did another. I did the same with my kids. Had to learn to be authentic

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