Two ideas I've come across lately are stretching my brain.
On the blog Zero Waste Home, Bea said she doesn't keep loads of books and artwork in the house because she realised she was keeping these things to show people what kind of person she is. (She also says she stores her books at the library, which is a neat way of looking at it.) Bea was an exhibiting artist when she decided to go zero waste. She said being zero waste has fuelled her creatively. She no longer has a workshop of art supplies calling on her to make something, and causing her to feel guilty when she doesn't. She can be creative where ever and how ever she wants. But she's got me thinking.
Do I keep lots of books in the house because I want people to think of me as an intellectual person? Do I keep artwork (most of it I have made myself) because I want to prove to people that I'm creative? Do I have lots of recorded music in the house because I want people to think I'm cultured?
The other idea is from something Richard Fidler said on his interview program on 702. He has an hour long interview with someone each weekday. He has interviewed a lot of people.
He said that people who have gone through a hardship (serious illness, serious car accidents, being left for dead at the side of the road and surviving) seem to then scrape away the artifice of modern life to live a more authentic life.
I wanted to ask him what he means. What does it mean to live an authentic life? Does it mean not using hair colour? Does it mean not bothering to make your bed? Does it mean being the person you see yourself as, even if that means applying artifice to do that? How do you know you are living an authentic life? Do you need to live with few possessions to live an authentic life? Do you need to be constantly confronting yourself to find out who you are? (Bear Grylls?) Does being authentic mean you say the awful things you may think even if it may hurt someone else, or can you be authentic and try to be kind? Is an authentic life one of service to others?
What if my authentic self has blonde hair? Is slimmer and has bigger breasts? Lives with lots of books and artwork and music? What if my authentic self is constantly on the phone or FB? Or really loves shoes? What if I really care that people think of me as intelligent, creative and cultured?
Will my daughter who is very attached to her long blonde hair - it is part of her identity - not become her authentic self until we cut off her hair and she confronts who she really is?
Does being authentic change as you grow up? Are we most authentic as children? Is that something we should hold on to? Am I more authentic when I'm tired? Or stressed because I have an assignment due? Or most authentic when I am well and happy?
Or is living an authentic life just one of those wishy washy things that sound good to say but we don't really think it through and know what it means?
Right, I'm off to get my nose pierced as a reminder to myself to live a more authentic life.