It has been my great search for truth that led me to this kind of exercise: “authenticity hour”. And actually, being a seeker of truth, calms me down. Sinking down into my realness feels relaxing. Sinking down into my realness feels the same as rising up to my realness.  Both sinking and rising, falling and rising, become a unity, a unity beautifully encompassing a paradox. Truth is about paradox.  Being a seeker of truth I am also becoming a lover of truth. I am becoming okay with things being paradoxical, and being multi-faceted. But it’s all a process. And it’s all an elusive process – trying to catch this realness trying to catch my truth. 
My most recent practice, the one I want to share with you, is the “authenticity hour”. Every day you take time to feel the truth. To appreciate what is going on. To learn something about yourself. It’s impossible to enjoy life well unless you know yourself well. So, you take time to feel into what you are feeling, to feel into what you like about the day, the moment…or what you don’t like. What you absolutely love, or what you absolutely don’t. And the thing that matters the most in this practice is that you stay totally completely honest with yourself.  Honesty with yourself is such a marvelous experience, yet can be painful. You have to stand naked in front of the mirror of self. You are your own mirror reflecting back your own truth – for the sake of feeling, for the sake of awareness. If you know what you feel, you can choose what to do with it. Thus it means you have to decide which feelings you will grow, consciously. This conscious decision is a beautiful act and this is your power.
For example, I can catch myself feeling joy, and I can make a decision to grow that feeling, to grow my ability to feel it and thus to make practice out of feeling joy. I can catch myself feeling sadness, and thus choose to listen to it. I can catch myself feeling as a clean slate and thus breathe in this simple potential and rest in its creative pulse. I can choose to feel elation. I can choose to get depressed. Mostly, I feel that joy is my natural, and easy state, but there is so much heaviness and shadow that can pinch the chord to joy. My chord to joy – the thread that connects me to it, took me time and effort to feel. And now I am feeling myself from new perspectives, with new openeness and new knowledge. I have become more expansive and more embracing and more non-judgemental. I am feeling too big and too small for life. It’s fair to say that I am feeling everything at the same time. And yet, right beneath is stillness – the place where every need is met and every feeling is felt through, the place of complete knowledge and the absence of it.

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So, actually, there is more than one practice that I want to outline here. The first being the authenticity practice where you get to the bare honest bones of your reality at the moment. You admit and write down the truth. It can be painful, pleasant, relieving, any combination of feelings. The second practice is called “getting under the skin of your material desires” which means that you think about all the material things and experiences you want, and then going one step further, you try to focus on the feeling that fullfilling those desires would produce in you. Now, this exercise requires imagination, openness, and also concentration, because here you try to access the feeling that may be quite distant from the feelings you are used to. I ask you to stick with both exercises, and record your experiences of them. But actually, this “getting under the skin of your material desires” exercise is an organic outflow of another exercise which may be a little easier and certainly lots of fun. This one is called “ granting your desires”. Everything you have ever wanted, you can imagine giving these things to yourself or being given by others.  Every time you find a desire or a wish in your consciousness that you would like to fulfill, you say to yourself “I grant your wish”. You can get creative with the phrasing of course. The most important thing here is to focus on the emotional uplift this exercise is supposed to induce. And most of all, have fun with it.

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Ultimately, all of these exercises are working with the emotional energy and are supposed to deepen and refine the ability to feel. To learn about feelings and learn about ourselves. All of these exercises are also done in the name of love.  I didn’t even create them, they spontaneously emerged out of my practice of seeking truth, authenticity and a positive relationship with myself. It’s my honest desire that you learn something valuable from these exercises and that you find a feeling state that you love.
Anastasia.

Everyone has their own story and tends to take it as gospel of truth.
The story becomes very much truth, and the story is believed fiercely. The story takes center stage, it’s as though life itself becomes about the story and not about you. It’s your story that becomes the thing you are serving – you are trying to preserve and hide, or develop and understand, your story. Still, it’s a story, a thing built out of metaphors. You can say that you are the one creating your story – but it has so many elements which you have not chosen, which were already in the story when you were born, and since the world is a thing of co – creation, the whole story stops being just your story and becomes collective.  So, your story is not so totally yours after all.

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From here, I would like to talk to you about two things. The first is obsession with responsibility. I am not saying that we are not responsible for the story. It’s partly ours, and partly collective. The extent to which we are responsible for the story is how much we actually can be responsible for it. The part we are responsible for is the part which you can take care of. You can care about your body to your best ability. You can take care of your mind to the best of your ability. You can take care of your emotions the best you can. It all goes to the extent you can go, to the kind of depth you can go at the moment.

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But there is this tendency to obsess over things that go according to their own plan. We can plan things but they don’t go this way – in many, many cases. Things can go smoother than anticipated or more ruggedly, but there should be a dose of allowing in us, a dose of letting go, and a dose of trust. This is the element of unknown, and the level of responsibility which we cannot analyse and take. There is some responsibility we can take – to the best of our ability and on top of that, there can only be trust. It’s a deep and profound trust that certainly takes time and discipline and dropping into allowing to develop.
That’s one thing.  The other thing I feel inspired to talk about (and I love this feeling of inspiration) is that our story is built out of metaphors. All my involvement with language, all my love and experience of it, led me to this realization:
Life is built out of language and language is built out of metaphors, words are metaphors for what we feel and don’t feel
Things are indeed very, very metaphorical.
Of course, language cannot be the single most important element of life, but it is widely and deeply embracing, it is the practice that everyone engages in, out of which connections are woven, language is connection. Language is not only words. It is also feelings, it is also thoughts, it is also dreams. Language is that which connects. Language is that which builds. Language is that which reaches out and touches.
This is the power of language. It is what connects. And all love is about connection and inclusion.
So, I have decided to build my life on love. To have it saturated with love. It’s difficult for me to understand love without conditions, with few conditions. When I see it manifested, say in a parent-child relationship, I cannot understand it. I find it hard how one being would be so totally completely dedicated to the well-being of another, In my story, nobody has done this for me yet. And yet, paradoxically, that is exactly what I feel I am called to do. And doing.What I want to become. What I want to embrace and be embraced by – this feeling of unconditional, abundant, full, wealthy love. I want to have everything. I want to give everything.
So, I am working with metaphors. They are in every word, in every thought, and every feeling. It’s all about exercising choice. Choice, choice, is your power.
I am choosing a fantastic life. Fantastic is a metaphor – this is an example. Since our whole life story is crafted out of metaphors, and then believed in fiercely, we can collect and weave metaphors of our own choosing into a different story, listen…into a beautiful story.
I am choosing to have a wealthy life, a fullfilled life. Both wealthy and fullfilled are metaphors. This means I no longer choose empty and dark and lost places. Even though I have had them in my story before and I feel kindness toward them – I simply don’t choose them anymore. Fullfilled, wealthy life. Fullfilled with light, and more light, and yet more light. Light in its manifestation which presupposes connection to my highest potential for this life. And I even want to tap beyond, I want to puncture the veil of ordinary abilities of what’s possible. And I choose to unfold more fully, more beautifully, and more intensely than I have ever, ever felt possible. I also choose the metaphor of stability and diversity. As stable as the beautiful elements of nature. I want my life to be as stable as that in terms of light that I feel, love that I feel, wealth that I have,
Another metaphor is certainly movement. I want to move, so natural it is for me  to move, to expand, to unfold, to feel speed, to feel rhythm. I love movement – and this is what I choose, and of course, experiences which will deepen me further, which will be deepening for others who come in contact with me. Everyone I meet, I want to uplift.  Uplift is another metaphor. I want them to feel uplifted to the degree it’s possible for them – to the degree where they feel good and hopeful and light, but not uncomfortably intense. I want to beautifully uplift everyone I meet. I choose for my presence to be uplifting, to inject light. I choose for my presence to be delicious. I want to do be this way for myself but also for the benefit of everyone else.

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So think about the metaphors you can choose for your life, think about them now.