Think of your private or subjective voice being your authentic self. It is the voice of a self that is easily compromised or lost, unfortunately. You may not know exactly when this subjective voice started but no doubt you were very young — just beginning to think. And it's a voice whose narrative of hope and fear and desire has continued every day since.
It travels with you over your lifetime. It's a record of your subjective journey — capturing your thoughts and feelings. It includes your expectations and what you imagined. It includes memories about what's happened to you. It includes what you saw and listened to, what you witnessed and what you heard yourself say.
And it's a voice of knowing and a unity of experience containing what you've thought about and studied and the impressions you've absorbed. At any time, the theme of the narrative may be romantic or wishful. Or pessimistic. Or ambitious. Or ambivalent. Or maybe angry. Everyone's subjective experience is unique and subject to temperament.
What's also interesting about an authentic subjective voice is how seldom it gets to be publicly expressed. Most of the time, you are fulfilling your roles. Each of these roles has conditions that must be met, conditions that may not match your authentic sensibilities, thoughts and feelings or your pictures about how life should be.
In other words, to succeed at the many roles you must enact all day long, conventional expectations must be met. You must be a parent, or a friend, or a mate, or an employee or a boss, according to the role's functionary standards.
To meet your responsibilities, you adapt, accommodate and adjust because that's what's required. Some of the necessary conformity goes down easily. Some probably does not. In either case, you're expected to metabolize the challenges and frustrations and let your private thoughts about the conformity stay behind the scenes. Of course, your authentic voice — its narrative thinking — is at play while you're doing the roles. How well you recover from loss and adjust to good or bad fortune and up the ante when challenged by competitors depends in large part upon the quality of the control you have over your authentic subjective experience.
Authenticity is also the underpinnings and joy — alive, vibrant and spontaneous — when you experience intimacy and belonging. It's what's at play when you love, when you're connected, when you pitch in, when you have the experience that who you are and how you're living your life is making a difference.
The quality of this journey, how you can create a life of your own authentic design, is the focus of these podcasts. Of course, your journey won't change the confrontational nature of the world we live in. But the ability to grasp, own and drive the narrative of your authentic voice is crucial to your ability to deal with the struggle.
Each of us and all of us must make sure that our authentic subjective journey includes the acquisition of intellectual and emotional resources to deal with the antagonism, rivalry and loss common in human relations. We need the subjective skill-set to address stress, anxiety and discontent, to transcend self-doubt and pessimism, and to extend ourselves generously and compassionately to those who depend on us for performance, leadership and stability. We need the wherewithal to create and enact the objectives that match our authentic hopes for substance and for meaning.
There is something exquisite, profound and luminous about the self-awareness that connects us with the bittersweet experience that has shaped our own unique journey and the transcendent possibilities of who we might yet become.
Autonomy and Life:
Arnold Siegel is the founder of Autonomy and Life and leader of the Retreat Workshops. In 1985, after a career in business and a lifelong inquiry into the substance of life – the material, heartful and humane values and skills on the leading edge of human possibility, he set aside all other professional commitments and began to teach these classes on a personally rewarding life.
Newport Beach, CA
June 22, 23, 24
November 9, 10, 11
Newport Beach, CA
November 30, December 1, 2
An invitation and a promise from Arnold
Many of you who read or listen to my blog have not been in a Retreat with me. I want to speak to you about it today because it has been — for more than 25 years — a unique and meaningful experience for those who participate. There's a Retreat Workshop in June in Southern California and I'm inviting you to join me. But first I'll answer the questions you're likely to have.
In the Retreat workshop with me, you'll learn the discipline for creating a life of your own design. Many of the points that I address in my posts and podcasts will be covered in greater depth, and you'll learn how to apply them to your life.
For example, in the current series on the proverbial bear, we looked at how difficult life is and how challenging it will always be. During the Retreat we will describe the challenges that the environment and other people present and identify the human bear that resides in each of us. Then we will work on specific strategies and substantive skill-sets that meet the challenges that come from our circumstances and those that weigh on us personally.
As you come to recognize how history, language and nature have shaped you, you'll find yourself ready and eager to acquire new habits, practices and ways of being that are a better match for your vision and hopes for yourself and for those who depend on you.
We address how to get over disappointment, loss and failure and how to temper the aggression, antagonism and rivalry that are common in most human relations. You'll have an opportunity to set aside for the moment what Scoreboard wants you to want and to take a good look at what you really want.
As a result of your participation, you can expect to have a much stronger experience of intimacy, connection and belonging and the confidence to take hold of and drive a remarkable and creative control of your life.
During these three days you will get in touch with your subjective narrative — the thoughts and feelings that have been running through your head since you first noticed yourself thinking. You'll find yourself better equipped to deal with the oftentimes pressure-filled and corrupt opportunism so prevalent in the environment we live in. The Retreat will inspire you to take up or strengthen your participation in the good fight.
The good fight, eons-old with religious, philosophical and artistic roots, has always been about improving the quality and experience of life for more people. Yet it's easy to lose sight of amid the competing claims for our attention. I've spent the last 30 years of my life addressing this topic and the Retreat I teach offers a structure that supports this big-picture purpose and is relevant and meaningful to how you are living your life.
I can promise you that being in the Retreat with me will have a lasting effect on your ability to see a bigger picture and have a bigger life, on your ability to address stress and anxiety and on your ability to design a plan for your life and put it into action.
Call Jean at 800 818 7818 for more details and to register.
Visit arnoldsiegel.com for more information.