Discover Your Authentic Self

  • Horsetail in the forest

“Tell me, what is it that you plan on doing with your one wild and precious life?”

A few years ago, I came across this passage by poet Mary Oliver. Her words profoundly impacted my thoughts and have become somewhat of an interior anthem in my life.

This passage is rich with implications. As I have sat with it over the years and offered it to others in my therapy work and in workshop settings, I have continually seen its wisdom and value. The passage seems to open us to something greater than ourselves. It invites us to re-imagine how we want to live in the world. It also sparks a remembering of how we are wild and free. Often when we explore our inner landscape in this way we find ourselves on an edge of our authentic expression. Through this blog I will explore authenticity and how you can cultivate your true authentic expression through the practice of wandering.

What is Authentic Expression?

Only you know what your authentic expression is, because, it is truly unique, real, and genuine. Fashioning a social presence within the world that is both authentic and socially acceptable can be challenging. Often, when we embody our authentic true expression we come in conflict with the norms of family, society, and culture. On the other hand, when we behave in a way that is socially acceptable, we often compromise our true authenticity. It is this time that our inner critic, judge, or skeptic points out our flaws and defects as a way to keep us safe and small in the world. This harsh gaze from these inner parts causes our soul to retreat and derails from being authentic.

Cultivating your authentic expression is a process of growing into wholeness as a way to live the life of your soul. Eco-depth psychologist Bill Plotkin tells us that, “Wisdom traditions worldwide say there’s no greater blessing than to live the life of your soul, the source of your deepest personal fulfillment and of your greatest service to others.” However, before you can live a life of soul you must embody your true authentic expression. By being in a certain kind of relationship with the animate natural world you can learn to embody your authenticity.

Cultivating Authentic Expression through Wandering

One of the core practices that I encourage my clients to use for cultivating your true authentic expression is wandering through nature. Every animate being in the natural world expresses its true authenticity. Wandering through a landscape being solely led by curiosity and open eyes is fertile ground for you to truly discover yourself. As Jon Young tells us, “Wandering without aim opens us to what nature wants to teach. In terms of brain patterning, wandering is the quintessential practice, a habit to break habits, an essential skill for allowing each person to connect with nature according to their own special gifts.” Wandering allows us to be in relationship with our authenticity, which enables ourselves to embody our true essence as healthy and whole adults. The practice of wandering also allows us to give space to integrate the fragmented parts of our psyche such as the inner critic, judge, and skeptic.

Start Your Own Practice of Wandering

FREE Download: Wandering for Authentic Expression

We have prepared a FREE Beginner’s Guide to Wandering – specifically designed to help individuals explore and discover their authentic expression through encounters with nature. Wandering for Authentic Expression provides a series of guided exercises — exercises that create fertile ground for you to truly discover yourself.

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By |2017-03-30T17:22:54+00:00March 7th, 2017|Categories: Inner Life, Practice|Tags: , |

About the Author:

Joseph Paul McCaffrey is an Ecopsychologist and Soulcentric Guide working out of Prescott, Arizona. He has an M.S. in Counseling and Ecopsychology, and an M.A. in Educational Psychology.