Authentic Self

Jim:    Ah, friends.  As I was stumbling through life on a nice, warm, sunny afternoon – looking to Fish Without Bait I stumbled upon the 100th podcast of Fishing Without Bait.  And, imagine that.  Synchronicity and serendipity combine.  We take 1+1 and we make it 3.  And, as I Fish Without Bait, quite often what we do is we walk through life looking for like-minded people.  For the longest time – perhaps you’ve tried to join a golf league when your real forte was bowling.  So, I happened to find two like-minded people, two people that I care about very much who I happen to hold in high regard.  And, perhaps you could introduce yourselves if you choose to.

Samantha:    Hi.  My name’s Samantha.

Laura:    Hi.  I’m Laura.

Jim:    And, these are two lovely young ladies, both inside and out, who are gracious enough to share some of their experiences and what perhaps full-impact mindfulness of the Fishing Without Bait – living without lifetime expectations have helped them.  And, Sam, quite often what – sometimes we get a little bit lost in life, and perhaps all the puzzle pieces don’t connect as well as we would like them to do.  However, sometimes we’re so doggone stubborn that we insist on trying to make those pieces fit.  And, however sometimes we often talk about truly finding your authentic self.  Could you say a little bit about what authentic self means to you.

Samantha:    Um, I think authentic self to me is just whenever you take away all the outside influences from the world that’s tried to shape you into someone.  It’s just who you’re really meant to be.  The person that you feel you truly are.

Jim:    And, how does it feel when you actually come face-to-face with that person?  

Samantha:    It’s a great feeling.  It’s really freeing.

Jim:    Did you know who that person was?

Samantha:    I did, at one point.  And, then I lost it a little bit.  And, then I discovered it again.

Jim:    So, sometimes I’ve heard that alluded to as being in a pitch-dark room.  Absolutely pitch-dark, and all of a sudden at some point as you’re wandering, stumbling around, you find a flashlight.  And, when you turn it on the only thing in the room is a mirror.  And, when you shine it into the mirror you see yourself.  How did that feel?  How does it feel to see yourself?

Samantha:    Um, it was a little uncomfortable at first.  It definitely wasn’t an easy process, but as I – you know, started to look at myself more I became more comfortable with who I was.  And, then I just finally grew to accept and love myself.  And, that was just a great feeling.  

Jim:    So, Laura, could you share a little bit about what your adventure is in this life?  And, perhaps what type of a guide you are?

Laura:    It’s like every day is an adventure.  So, it didn’t used to be that way, though.  Kind of along with what Samantha was saying was I had to grow into this person.  But, now it’s more about how I want to feel every day, and what makes me happy.  And, I just do those things that support who I am and what makes me happy.  So, I just like being with like-minded people like yourself – and thank you for the introduction.

Jim:    Well, I know that what you’ve done, and quite often I’ve referred some like-minded people to you, and you help them perhaps identify the cocoon that they were in, or the inside of the egg, and helped them through the process of – let’s say clarification, rebirth, epiphany, whatever.  Could you share a little bit about what your background is on that?

Laura:    Yes.  Being in the cocoon, you have to kind of figure out how and why you got there, and then figure out what you need to do to grow out of it.  And, so that’s kind of what I help people do is figure out what they were doing and how they kind of played a role in the space that they’re in, and then I help come up with a plan to figure out where they want to be, and how they want their life to look.  So, yeah, it’s kind of like going from the little worm, caterpillar, to the butterfly.

Jim:    So, what you’re doing is you’re helping people assist – and, what you’re telling us is that they have to be active participants in both the plan and the action.  

Laura:    Yes.  You have to figure out for yourself what makes you happy and define that, because no one else can do that for you.  So, I kind of ask them questions to help figure out what it is that lights them up.  And, then help them come up with a plan to follow that through.

Jim:    So, I know Sam, that quite often when people are filled full of self, and they believe that they have the answers – and don’t want to ask anybody for help.  That’s  a real difficult challenge for a lot of people is to actually ask for help, because then you have to admit that you need it.  So, and sometimes that dark place that we talk about – the inside of the egg or cocoon, although it’s dark and confining, it can be comfortable.  Can you say a little bit about that?

Samantha:    It is comfortable.  When you get into this habit of – like Laura was saying how you put forth that action, you’ve gotten yourself in the cocoon, and it becomes comfortable.  It’s warm, and it’s just like a nice little place that you just want to stay.  You don’t want to step outside of that. But, I think to truly find your authentic self, you need to step out of that cocoon and kind of go out into the world.  And, like she was saying, find what – you know, lights you up.  And, find what really makes you your true self.  And, how you were actually meant to be for this world.  

Jim:    So, when we talk about lighting yourself up, I love that term.  I love that term that you two have used here, because that’s one of the focuses and emphases behind full-impact mindfulness is to not only light yourself up, but to light up the world.  It’s not only what we can take away from the world, it’s what we can add to it.  What we can add to the world.  And, my hope is that we all can make some positive impacts on every single person that we meet.  Whether it’s a smile or merely a wave.  We model behavior.  So, Sam, tell us a little bit about what your life’s like now.  You don’t have to go into personal details, however, what is it like?  Now, what is it like to get up in the morning now?

Samantha:    It’s actually, it’s great.  I wake up, and you know, I’m just thankful to be alive, and to have another day.  And, I look in the mirror and I’m happy with the person that I see for the first time in a really long time.  And, it’s just – it’s comforting to know that, you know, whatever steps I’m going to take that day are – you know, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.  And, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.  And, you know, at the end of the day I can just again, like look in the mirror before I’m going to bed and just be proud of who I am and have acceptance of the person that I am.  

Jim:    You touched on a lot of great points there.  You wake up in the morning with gratitude.  So, say a little bit about how an attitude of gratitude has changed your life.  

Samantha:    Oh my.  Whenever I’m grateful I, you know, it’s really hard to have a bad day.  It’s really hard to be in a bad mood whenever I’m, you know, looking at everything that I’m grateful for and grateful about.  It’s, you know, it just lifts my spirit.  And, it’s – like I said, it’s really hard to have a bad day whenever you’re looking at everything that you’re grateful for instead of dwelling on the things that you wish you could change or that you wish were a little bit different.

Jim:    Wishes and hopes.  So, what you’re talking about is rather than getting up in the morning and looking at the back-end of the horse you chose to move around to the front of the horse and look at the smiling aspect of the horse – and in this case, life.  And, what do I have to be grateful for?  And, you talked about looking in the mirror.  Tell us about looking in the mirror.

Samantha:    It’s something I never liked to do before.  But, one of the big things was becoming my authentic self – you know, I was thinking about that today, is you know this world wants to shape people, especially women, into something that – this ideal that they have.  And, one of the big things that I did – I just stopped wearing as much make-up.  And, just seeing my true – my face.  My natural face.  Was just something that, you know, I began to appreciate, you know, that natural beauty that I had.  And, just not being needed to be shaped into anything else.  And, just seeing my inner light.  And, you know, that was just a great feeling.

Jim:    That’s beautiful.  That’s much better than I could have ever dreamed that up.  And, that came from your soul, and that comes from your heart.  How do you feel when you hear something like that, Laura?

Laura:    I agree.  The same thing happened with me.  I used to wear a lot of make-up, and as I became happier with myself, that kind of like – I still love to do that, and get dressed up and things, but it’s from a different intention than how it was before.  And, yeah, you just feel like – you feel good from within that you don’t need all of that.  And, you just feel better in your skin, I feel like.  

Jim:    Sure.  And, could you say about what Sam talked about was being able to look in the mirror and like what you see – not necessarily the physical appearance, however the other important things.

Laura:    Yeah, like the – I don’t know what you want to call them, but the – like characteristics or traits that are unique to yourself kind of come through instead of just looking at the physical.  So, you feel better from the inside.  And, when you look in the mirror, you can feel beauty instead of just seeing it.  So, it’s like taking everything that’s unique to you and expanding it and feeling good about it instead of trying to hide it and be like everybody else.

Jim:    Right.  You would be like everybody else.  So, one of the purposes of me having you two in particular on here was that we often deal with – particularly young ladies, who have lost their self-concept.  They’ve lost their self-esteem, identity formation, and their ability to make conscious choices.  So, it’s rather unfortunate that young ladies begin to lose their self-identity and self-esteem around the age of nine, and try to conform with what you both talked about – is what the media society believes that we should be.  So, my challenge to both of you is to be role-models for particularly young ladies.  To be mentors to folks like that.  And, as you two have uniquely qualified yourselves – not only to how it was, but what happened and what it’s like now.  So, what would you say to my challenge to you, Sam, about being a mentor, a role-model, and modeling behavior for younger women?

Samantha:    I think the most astonishing part is that I actually believe that I can do that now.  And, part of the thing that you were saying about looking in the mirror in the morning, I look in the mirror and I see someone that I’m proud of and I see someone that, you know, can make a difference in the lives of other people.  And, that’s one of the things that, you know, I think that’s a purpose of my authentic self is to go out there and support other people – especially young women, and help them overcome the obstacles that they face, just like I have.  And, because it’s just like I said before, it’s very freeing. And, it’s just – it’s a great experience.  

Jim:    It would be impossible for me – being a male, to tell a young girl of eight, or nine, or ten years old, what she should do with her life, and to tell her that I know how she feels.  That’s false.  That’s a lie.  I could help her – ask her to help me understand how she feels, but it’s so much more impactful when she can look at one of her peers – when she can look at someone and say hey, I was there – here’s what I did about it.  Have you ever had a chance to participate in any of that yet, Sam?

Samantha:    I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, but just casual encounters with people, just – you know, even people that are my age that you know, aren’t younger than me – just telling them that hey I’ve been there.  Just the other week someone was going through a rough time.  I said hey, I’ve been there.  Like, you know, I’ve been through it.  I’m better than I ever have been, and just stay strong.  Because you know, that’ll pass for you, too.  

Jim:    And, at times what we view as casual encounters may be a casual encounter to us, but may be an impactful moment in that person’s life.  So, we never know what type of seeds we’re planting.  We never know what type of impact we’re having on a person’s life.  What would you comment on that, Laura?  Particularly about modeling behavior, mentoring for younger ladies?

Laura:    I love that.  And, thank you for having us here to be models for that, and I think that’s a good way to put it, like you don’t really know the impact that you’re going to have in someone’s life.  So, a lot of the stuff that I’ve been through was a while back, so I know what it feels like, but since I’m not in it anymore, I can kind of talk pretty freely about it – like before I wouldn’t be able to even open up to people about it. So, like now when I’m talking I think it’s good to remember that people are listening, and that you’re impacting people, and that you can help people and just to remember that your words have power, and people can benefit from that.  

Jim:    And, again, those power words – I choose, and I am.  

Laura:    Yeah.

Jim:    The modeling behavior.  People do not want to hear lectures.  They do not want to hear straighten up.  They do not want to hear act right.  What they want to hear – they want to hear real stories, something with substance behind it.  Here’s what happened to me.  Here’s how I was.  Here’s what I did about it. 

Laura:    Right.

Jim:    Real life stories.  And, both of you have that life experience, which make you both uniquely qualified to share that with others.  I’m so proud to know you both.  I hold you both in the highest regard.  And, as I always said, I do tell the truth.  I do not fib, and that’s why I had you on here today.  So, you both are great examples of mentors and modeling behavior – not only particularly for young ladies, however human beings in general.

Laura:    Thank you.  You are, too, Jim.  

Samantha:    Yeah.  Thank you for having us.  

Jim:    Yes.  Yes.  So, if you had a final word for anyone out there, what would it be, Sam?

Samantha:    Just keep going.  You’ll find yourself eventually if you haven’t already.  And, if you have – then just keep working toward that path.  And, just do good things.  Be a good person in this world.

Jim:    So, what you’re asking is keep looking.  Do kindnesses for others.

Samantha:    Exactly.

Jim:    Beautiful.  And, Laura?

Laura:    Just to be honest.  You know, don’t feel bad about being yourself.  And, just be true to who you are, and don’t care if other people are going to like it or not.

Jim:    So, as we leave here, these two are going to morph into their butterfly selves into technicolor, fly across the sky out into the world.  Thank you so much for joining us.  Fish Without Bait, impact someone’s life today in a positive way.  Do a kindness for yourself.  Do a kindness for another.  Namaste.