I’m learning that authenticity is in the eyes of the authentic. I have spent the last four years focusing on authenticity as I see it from the American perspective. In my view there’s a great need to help people see themselves and each other from the nine dimensions of authenticity and how we can ‘tweak’ our lives to step into our true selves. It’s been the focus of my work with the nine dimensions of authenticity.
Now I am quickly broadening my view of what it means to be authentic. It’s reflected in the nine dimensions and quite authentically through my visit in Barbados. I thought authenticity was one thing and I learned from Barbados that its meaning is much, much deeper. For example, I stayed at a bed and breakfast so that I could continue my practice of eating primarily raw food. My hosts took me to several Farmer’s markets where locals sold a wide variety of island fruits and vegetables. I purchased fresh cabbage, broccoli and cucumbers and my goodness, I had no idea that these vegetables could taste so good. It reminded me of when I started eating organic. The first organic tomato that I ate reminded me of the tomatoes I ate as a child in Michigan which must have been before massive pesticides and growth hormones. These tomatoes were smaller, redder and tastier and took my breath away. Just like the vegetables in Barbados. That was the best cabbage I have ever had.
Then I think about the people of Barbados. Sections of the island reminded me of other poor areas of any other ghetto whether in the US or one of the islands. There’s the really poor area and the very wealthy area. In Barbados the wealthy area is where the tourist hotels and celebrity vacation homes exist. It’s the same status quo that we see everywhere. But the difference is the people. Those in Barbados seem to have held on to the values of human dignity, enjoying God’s earth and freely sharing kindness with others much more than in the States. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in an environment where strangers smile and say ‘hi’ all the time. And I don’t think I’ve ever been in a commercial department store that plays gospel music and the employees freely sing along. It had me singing right along with them. The people of Barbados have retained the ‘heart and soul’ of what it means to be human. In the states we have lost some of this to the quest for more money, more things and more status.
So I left Barbados with a deeper understanding of authenticity and how we can learn about what it means to be authentic by interacting with the people of Barbados and other islands. As fast as we try as a society to raise the cost of living we pay the price of losing some of our humanity. When we as a society create alignment between our quest for more and our focus on humanity we will be closer to becoming an authenticity world.
Norma T. Hollis, America’s Leading Authentic Voice Doctor® helps people find, live and share their authentic voice. Norma offers various authenticity products, programs and seminars across the country focused on personal development, leadership, youth, women and professional speaking. Take Norma’s Authenticity Assessment and participate in the free Authentic Tuesday calls to live more abundantly with authenticity. These gifts are available at www.GiftsFromNorma.com.