The A in Authentic

May 30, 2014

Many years ago when I lived in Kansas City, I spent some time with an art therapist who helped me with some life struggles I was experiencing.  I don’t remember much about what troubled me, for thankfully, I have freed up the bandwidth previously known as my “angst space”, and have moved on from said turmoils.

What I do remember about that time is the therapist herself.  She was in her 50’s, had short gray hair, a large build, and a strong, clear voice.  An amazing artist, to boot.  The first time I met her and shook her hand, I thought, “this woman is completely at home in her own skin.”  Though I had no experience with such a state of being, I could recognize it in another.  She had such presence!  I was in awe of how calming she felt.  I wanted to sit on her lap and be wrapped in the safety of her energy.  I wanted what she had… for myself.  I wanted this peace, this *knowing* that the person I was, inside and out, was completely and utterly OK.  Somehow she had achieved such grace, and I wanted it as well.

Something rather inane got me thinking about my old art therapist today.  I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror as I was driving home, and I saw an older face, devoid of makeup, surrounded by graying curls blowing in the breeze from the window.  And, lo and behold, that face staring back at me was simply, a face. The usual litany of harassing thoughts did not follow.  You know, the ones like, “maybe I should color my hair, gray hair is aging,” “maybe I should put on makeup before I go out in public, otherwise I look all washed out, ” and on and on, ad nauseum.  I was simply a gal driving down the road in her car.

This scenario may seem like a superficial spin on the deeper subject of self security, yet to me it seemed like a huge deal to realize I no longer have the barrage of nasty thoughts in the ready when I spy myself in the mirror.  Somewhere along the way down this road we call living, I have become OK with all that I am, inside and out.  I am finally comfortable in my own skin.  How did this happen?  I remember making it a ‘goal’ to find this sense of peace , yet I never really thought it was possible.

It has taken me years to get here.  I’m pretty sure I’ve just stumbled to this spot.  Truth is, I think I just stopped listening to the judgmental diatribe in my head.  Such a ridiculously simple thing, yet so difficult to offer ourselves.

Now I think I know why Avis, the therapist, felt so amazing to me.  She was authentic, uncluttered, and utterly present.  She was yummy artistic energy wrapped in wisdom and kindness.  She was what I wanted to be.

Thank you, Avis.  I know what it feels like now…







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