Preserving the Authentic EssenceBy Sylvia Poareo
November 13, 2008
Reflections on how we can support full and free expression in our children and ourselves.
A few months ago, I attended an amazing dance workshop led by Vinn Marti, focused on helping us reconnect with our authentic selves through the flow of dance. Over and over we were called to step back from our ego self, the masks we wear, the mind that goes in circles… back into who we are: the still knowing, peaceful heart-centered presence.
We were reminded to maintain a soft gaze, not looking directly at each other but using our peripheral vision to see the essence of each other. When we look directly at things, our mind is processing “WHAT is this, WHAT is going on here?” trying to figure it all out in the mind. When we use our peripheral vision, our body roots and grounds into the earth, asking “WHERE am I?” which reminds us to be present and centered in this moment.
More and more as I responded to this call to return to my authentic self, I found there are still many layers of “who am I supposed to be” which I step back from to remember my true authentic essence. We are all dancing together, a group of humans whose sensitivity and desire to be free, brings us here, dancing our souls back into their place as first expression in our life. Dancing ourselves back into ourselves.
I kept returning to the image of Mayela, my daughter who at age 2 loves to be naked. Having her father’s temperature, she is always hot, so she strips off her clothes at any time of day. She then revels, no, exults in the freedom of her essence, unencumbered. Everything she does has an added feeling of freedom, and when she just lies there, her sensuality is obvious. She is a little goddess, purely present in her full self-expression. There is not a drop of self-consciousness.
My son also revels in being “nakey” though he has adopted more social expectations having been on the planet longer. But as most mamas know and some may remember from personal experience, children light up at the opportunity to take it all off. Just as most children do until they are shamed into self-consciousness with our subtle and well meaning adherence to society’s norms.
I am not meaning that we all need to start a nudist colony, I am simply pondering how we can hold onto this authenticity, this freedom and feeling right in your own skin.
I am saddened by what our media culture does to this free spirit. Many little girls are transformed around age 10 (and earlier and earlier, wherever there are strong peer/media influences) into self-conscious, fashion/trend driven, eating disorder ridden little souls.
I saw us all at this workshop trying to get back to freedom and authenticity and I am wondering how do we help our children stay here?
For today, I know that I can continue to nurture the desire to be literally and figuratively naked, or authentic, supporting it whenever possible, while also lovingly equipping my children with an understanding of society’s boundaries. I can continue to spend time with those who are on the path of authenticity. I can consider myself a protector of my child’s essence and teach them to protect their own essence. And above all, I can model stepping back from the “clothes and masks” we wear in fear, and allow my own soul to be “nakey,” fearless and free.
I can’t change the way the world works, but I must trust that my children are here for the challenge. They will know the difference between superficial freedom, and the freedom and deep joy that arises from true connection, because they will have experienced it. And I trust that, even though they may stray from this, they will come home to themselves much easier and sooner, because the road will have been prepared and the journey modeled.
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Physical expression of affection is as comparable to sexuality as the dancer is to the prostitute. It is a matter for the heart.
By Dr. Erika Chopich