The Process of Authenticity

by Sara Ness

After 3 years of leading communities, and encountering every sort of capital-T bolded-letters you’re-wrong-if-you-don’t-agree TRUTH, I’ve discovered that authenticity – as in, “my TRUTH is paramount for me to bring to the world” – is itself a subjective idea. I love discovering what’s true for me, through my body, emotions, mind, and environment. But I no longer assume that TRUTH is such a permanent state.

What I feel, experience, want, and believe changes moment by moment and day by day. How I communicate it is also a process in flux. There is no Wrong or Right. The most pain I see is when people attach to their TRUTH as an identity, and die a little death every time it’s questioned.

Authenticity and relating are both parts of a wider whole. In this world, there is no definitive Right or Wrong; there is no ground. This is terrifying. No ground? No certainty by which to know even my own...

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The Pain of Presence

authentic relating May 27, 2014

by Sara Ness

I never know how to start an article.

I have practiced authenticity and transformational work for years now, and I still don’t know how to begin a sentence that will touch people to their bones.  I don’t know what to say when a friend tells me that their parents have passed away, or when somebody I love tells me that they don’t feel the same.

I started doing Authentic Relating – like so many people do – looking for a “solution”. I didn’t feel broken, but… there were things in my life that I knew could be improved.  I was in a fairly dysfunctional relationship.  I felt uncertain about my major in college, and my life beyond that.  I didn’t have much connection with my body or the physical experience of being me.  I wanted to fix all of that.

Well, two years later, I can successfully say that nothing about me has been fixed.

Some days it drives me crazy.  After all the work...

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Life Hack #3: “I Can’t Say That!”

connection May 20, 2014

by Sara Ness

A few weeks ago, my roommate and I threw a party at our apartment.  We hosted two local food-artisans – a maker of raw chocolates, and a master of imported Chinese tea.  At some point somebody picked up a drum, and then there was music going; ecstatic dancers started to dance; the Integral group started talking philosophy in a corner; and people were massaging and cuddling each other all over the carpet.  The party was a resounding success.

Towards the end of the evening, a friend of mine texted to ask if things were still going, and if he and some buddies could come join in.  I said sure.  When he showed up, he brought with him two of the most attractive men I’d ever seen.  One of the two I knew vaguely from Authentic Relating Games, and other events around town – a tall, muscular, highly successful guy who did nonprofit work, and was involved in mens’ groups, and cooperatives, and probably gave to charity . . ....

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Life Hack #2: Living Without Hate

connection May 05, 2014

By Sara Ness

Last week, I attended an event called the “InPresence Experience”, guided by the prodigiously talented facilitator Micah Sutton.  InPresence is similar to our own practices of Authentic Relating and Circling.  It focuses on what happens in the now – with myself, between you and me, and in the “moments between experience and reaction”, as Micah puts it.  I’ll cover the idea of presence more in a future post.  Today, however, I want to share one of the greatest life hacks that I’ve learned from my work in Authentic Relating:

How to live without hate.

In one of the exercises at InPresence, we were asked to stand, one by one, in front of the group (which was seated), and given 3 minutes to express whatever came up for us.  The group applauded at the beginning and end of each person’s share.  I am used to standing in front of rooms.  But, I am usually in the role of teacher, not receiving this...

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Life Hack #1: The Elephant in the Room

connection Apr 25, 2014

By Sara Ness

A facilitator with Authentic World recently asked me to post about any tips, tricks, or stories I have around bringing Authentic Relating into life.  I thought this could be a cool series to include on Connection Corps!  So, here’s one of my favorite tips on bringing a conversation deeper.

One thing that’s worked for me is to speak what’s happening in the connection between myself and somebody else, or ask for what I’m wanting in that connection.

For example – I was meeting a few weeks ago with a guy who wanted to collaborate on an event around coaching women. It was an informal meeting, happening at a co-working space in central Austin, and I vaguely knew the guy through mutual friends and mutual interest in each others’ activities (he runs improv classes and is a life coach; I lead Authentic Relating and circling events). Given our connections, I would have expected the meeting to feel intimate and exciting. Yet . . ....

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