Chicago Western Suburbs Edition

Four Steps to Authentic Living

How to Live a Deeply Joyful Life

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1. Connect with the inner voice.

Uncovering authenticity comes from within. We learn to discern and heed the inner voice of wisdom through daily silence, a still space that allows messages to resonate. This ever-present guidance system is always spot on.

The key is to connect often. Be grateful for the fruits of quiet moments. Maybe they occur during prayer and meditation, in the shower, walking in solitude without earphones or driving with the radio off. Breathe deeply, cherishing an open heart. Gut feelings often presage inner knowing.

2. Realize the difference between soul and ego.

Connected with our soul—the seat of everything positive, the venue of all potential and light—we experience spaciousness, unconditional love and complete support.

If accusations, blame or heavy judgment arise, it’s just the ego trying to maintain the status quo. By dismissing its raging, it dissipates.

3. Reconnect with authentic selfhood.

We must banish every misconception and lie we tell about ourselves. Falsehoods define us just like the things that are true.

Take a good, long look in the mirror and ask, “Who is this person? What has made me who I am today? What experiences have created this unique divine work? Are my eyes alight or dim? What am I feeling? Am I weighed down by burdens, exhausted by current choices?” Simply ask the questions; don’t look for answers, but be wary of the ego’s vote
for falsehoods.

4. Find some crazy joy.

Beginning today, do one new thing daily that brings joy. Temporary happiness builds and reinforces joy, but soul-deep joy weaves a base of strength within. It’s an attitude—an outlook.

When we are flourishing spiritually, emotionally and physically, it evokes joy in how we live and feel. Move out of familiar comfort zones and do something unexpected. Pursue a heartfelt desire long delayed. Watch a comedy with friends. Take a dance class. Call an old friend. Volunteer somewhere nurturing.

Be in this moment. Understand that this is what life will feel like when living authentically, free of masks and pretense—when each day is meaningful and suffused with joy.

Remember, authentic living is about the journey, not the destination.


Jan Desai is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and visionary who transformed her life at age 50 by breaking with conventions. She shares her lifetime of learning at JanDesai.com.


This article appears in the July 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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