Living With Authenticity

Have you ever watched any of those reality shows about people going out into the wilderness to challenge themselves? The network series Naked and Afraid or Survivor comes to mind, and I’m thinking, “Why would anyone do that to themselves? Why put yourself in that much danger and stress?” Though I personally don’t plan to become the next survivalist, I can’t help but wonder where my own edge is…what I would be willing to do to keep my life interesting and exciting. Am I to settle for the ordinary and simply get my excitement by watching others make their lives filled with adventure?

This curious thinking was inspired after talking with one of my colleagues here at WPS, Kristina Ferguson, LMFT. Kristina has worked with me for the past 9 years. In that time she has worked remotely, living what some might call a nomadic lifestyle: moving from California to  Hawaii, to Mexico, and finally to the UK, toting her husband and three school-age children with her. In August, this brave soul will be moving to Alaska! I have dubbed her the WPS Rock Star for obvious reasons, but why does she do it? Why take the risks, push out of the comfort zone, and be vulnerable to all the unknowns?

Kristina and family on one of their many adventures!

During our candid conversation, Kristina shared her reasons. She described the 8-year adventure she’s been on as one that is full of “self-expansion, self-empowerment, daring greatly, and living an authentic life.” Come on now. I don’t know about you, but that kind of quality lifestyle seems pretty dreamy, doesn’t it? And more likely…out of reach, right? But is it? And how has she done it, taken the risks with such gusto? Finding schools, housing, friends…learning the language, figuring out the culture, and everything else that moving to a new place entails.

Kristina likens the experience to a reptile shedding its skin. “In every situation I feel afraid. There’s fear every time I am going to step into the next version of myself. But I have to trust myself, shed that old skin, trust that my Self knows this is who I am meant to become.” She also describes the metaphor of the ‘two wolves’ that live inside all of us: one full of fear and one full of growth. She adds, “You have to give value to the wolf that is inspiring growth, inspiring you to be the best version of yourself.”

Kristina’s Vision Board

So, maybe the next question is, how do we focus on finding the best version of ourselves? Kristina advises, “Trust yourself. The more you are able to have experiences grounded in trust, the more you can look back on your life and feel good about it.” I would further this idea as listening and leaning toward our inner gut or inner Self. If we do this, no matter the outcome (good, bad, or otherwise), we can feel good about the choices, the losses, the change and sacrifice because they were born of our highest sense of being. Trust. Trust your ability to do hard things. “We get to pick our ‘hard’, Kristina wisely states, “and if we do, then we are living with courage and living in the flow.”

While I know many of us will not be taking our families to live from country to country, I wonder if we can all ask ourselves what difficulty we are willing to choose to endure so that we might become the greatest version of ourselves. What adventure would you consider? What dream would you like to expand? We have but one glorious life to live and clocks never cease to tick.

Let’s follow in Kristina’s path. Live Daringly. Live with inspiration. Pick Your Hard.

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