Updated: Jan 1, 2019
Authenticity is such a buzzword these days that people are beginning to dismiss it as a myth. Most of the material world is probably screaming at you at every turn to live your most authentic life. Meanwhile, running parallel to that scream, in a pair of brand-new sweatshop sneakers, is the demand that you buy innumerable products in order to reach this coveted authenticity. It's no wonder the idea has become so profane with the purchasing power it carries. After all, many goods and services rely on the instability of your sense of self in order to successfully market to you.
Authenticity boils down to a simple set of actions: observing, considering, releasing. In our poisonously stimulating world, there are too many demands on our attention. People lament how busy they always seem to be, but feel bored and lost if they leave their phone at home. The first step in returning to a calm, genuine place within our hearts is to relearn how to observe our thoughts and re-align them.
I offer advice from a meditation teacher. Imagine that you are sitting on the bank of a river. It's a beautiful day, and the river is flowing smoothly. You are sitting, taking it all in, enjoying it, when a leaf comes sailing down the water. You see the leaf, but you have no desire to wade out, grab it, and examine it in minute detail. You know it's a leaf. You can imagine what it looks like from the vague details you can see from the bank. It goes past, and once it is out of your sight, you forget it.
Your mind is the river, and the leaf is a thought. When you have a thought, there is no reason to try to block it from your mind, or feel bad about it, but neither should you fight the current to grab it, wring it out, get emotionally attached to it. This is observation without grasping. Perhaps you have noticed, in your anxiety, that things get magnified. Remember, small worries often cast a large shadow.
We're going to try something today that will help you set intentions for this year and re-wire your brain in a positive way.
Think of something that is a negative trigger for you, and find the word that goes with it. I personally do not like to go to crowded places, so for me, my word is "crowd"--just hearing about having to go somewhere where there is a "crowd" will make me start sweating, make my heart beat faster, and make me feel dizzy and weak. (These symptoms are all bio-reactions indicative of anxiety.) For you, it might be a person--"father", "sister"--or a place--"the mall", "the dentist". Once you have the word solidified in your mind, I want you to gently allow yourself to feel the anxiety the word triggers.
Now, I want you to pick a positive adjective--the feeling you'd rather have toward the trigger word. Make that into a present-tense sentence. For me, the word "relax" was the opposite of the word "crowd", emotionally, so I made my sentence into, "I feel relaxed around a crowd." Some other examples based on the previous words would be "I feel love for my sister" or "I enjoy going to the dentist". The point is a positive word pairing with a negative trigger. Doing it the opposite way is terrible for your mental health. Do not use meditation and self-hypnosis to deepen self-hatred.
Now, get yourself in a nice meditative state. Sit somewhere quiet, without jarring interruptions. Play music without words, if you need something to occupy the back of your mind. Sit somewhere comfortable with your legs uncrossed and spend a few minutes taking deep, slow breaths. It helps to "lull" yourself by counting in your head as you breathe in and out. Doing this for about five minutes will cause your brain to naturally start focusing on your breaths, and you may find the counting stops on its own as you focus.
Once you are focused and your brain is a little calmer, say your sentence out loud to yourself, firmly, with conviction, like you're answering someone's question about it. Repeat it out loud, and in your head. Repeat it over and over for as long as you like. The more repetition, the more the suggestion will take root in your head.
If you'd like, you can pair mental images with your words. For my purpose, I pictured myself standing calmly in a subway car, or a concert venue. A friend who used hypnosis to quit smoking would go into a room where his own personal cigarette machine stood, and unplug it.
When you're ready to come out of your meditation, start counting backward from 10, imagining that with each number you're getting more and more awake. When you come to 1, your brain, body and muscles have reconnected in consciousness.
Living your most "authentic" life is a practice, not an end goal. It was in this spirit that Skin and Sky entered the beauty market. We knew that bodycare products had plenty of room for improvement, but so did the language surrounding them. It's time that bodycare consumers stand up and recognize that they are intelligent people worthy of exceptional products. In that spirit, we will be expanding our content beyond the basics of our brand, and publishing articles on topics we feel are worthy of your time and energy. If you have any ideas or would like to hear our perspective on something, feel free to drop us a line.