What Is an Authentic Antenna?

04/23/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

In certain cultures people thrive on conformity. A party line is formulated and chosen. Citizens are expected to enunciate and articulate the party line. For some this is a comfort, to follow what is prescribed and expected. It takes the choice out of one's own hands. Especially easy if one can give in, without too much disagreement within the soul.

There are others of us who thrive in a more individualized world, a culture that encourages artists to flourish.

Early on in life I learned what was necessary to get along, fit in, and succeed. I sought and won awards. But the awards were empty for me because no matter whether it was Best Dressed, Most Friendly, Most Likely to Succeed, or Hall of Fame -- any adulation or public pat on the back never filled me up. Just like a desired toy, the minute I'd acquired the longed for product, something else on the horizon was more necessary than what was shiny and new in my own hands. When it came to the real internal job of loving, encouraging, accepting and applauding my own self, I didn't have it, and I didn't do it.

On the outside it might have looked like I did, but the more I walked the path of not only conforming but showing an example of one who conformed well with only slight modifications, the more internally uncomfortable I got while standing on the pedestal, stuck to the spot where I was expected to perform.

I've tracked my life in a diary. In the many pages of my life, there has been constant communication with the internal depth core part of myself, which is my soul, which connects me to my source. Even during the busiest and most successful moments in my life, when writing quietly off in a corner was difficult and rushed; there was an obvious and often frustrated hunger for depth I wasn't living externally.

When I look back in old diaries and read old dreams I was fortunate enough to capture on paper, I see that many of them were prophetic. What I caught and described from less conscious parts of myself, surprisingly and often, unfolded and came true.

I intend to blog about my experience and exploration denying instinct versus accepting it. When I'm not hearing my own instinct, I constantly seek external advice.

It's not easy to listen within, especially as loud as life has gotten. It surprises and frustrates me how hard it is to find quiet spaces, to listen to that very quiet voice within. It's hard to listen internally when the noise outside is ever present and overpowering. Yet much of modern life is that.

Driving on our roads, it's hard to escape noise. Most stores and restaurants bombard us. Marketing experts advise loud music to hype people up into consuming more. Often in living environments, rude unconscious neighbors think nothing of slamming doors, expressing their rage via their power physically release steam.

Some people can tune this out, but those people are often the same ones who can tune out their own internal guidance and listen only to what is expected of them. That's not me. It's taken me a long time to learn to trust this process within.

After finishing four years at UC Berkeley with an inspired focus on Political Psychology, I thought I'd work in Conflict Resolution. My excuse for not going back to grad school was practical. I couldn't resolve my own conflicts, why think I could resolve anyone else's? Now I see that was a cop out, but what a ride it has been!

I've since found the field of stress reduction. It's such a simple focus in life, but one that is so highly overlooked. Stress starts within our own self-concepts. What we think, believe and feel about ourselves. It's that basic and fairly simple to heal, even in these toughest of economic times. In every moment we have the opportunity to alter our attitude. That's a start. It's also a constant challenge because life does not usually deliver to us what we want in the moment we want it. Being grateful is a key as is recognizing that every challenge provides a lesson and a healing if one is open to such depth of awareness.

For me, being an Authentic Antenna speaks of the need to be honest and upfront. For me, writing deeply about my process helps me clarify personal identity and social responsibility. Capturing momentary prods flowing through me necessitates my being real instead of artificial.

The Antenna part? Sending and receiving. I do both and so can you. The antenna is an instinct. What goes ahead of me? What checks out the situation? What gives me a sense whether a situation is safe? Whether a person is on the level? Whether an experience is necessary? It's about knowing self, being realistic, and having boundaries. Being an Authentic Antenna in one's own life. Join me.