Sunday, December 30, 2012

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Authenticity in the Office

Authenticity in the Office

I had a conversation on Christmas day with three people who have experienced what I would call “inauthenticity” in the office.

One said at her office the cubicles are no longer to be referred to as that. They must be called “productivity pods.”
The second said that the audit in her office had become SO picky (How picky was it?, you may ask?) as to require the sixth page of a bank statement (the same bank they work for) on which was printed, “This page left intentionally blank.”

The third shared something about an attorney she is working with on a big account, requiring language for a simple notice of acceptance that could be simply left knee contusion, yet required something like the anterior aspect of the left tibial plateau and perhaps several other large words.

Utter ridiculousness. We agreed these mandates seem to be coming from parties that either 1) have way too much time on their hands or 2) strongly need to prove their own value. We did get a good laugh over the whole conversation.

Yet we can remain authentic in the midst of the ridiculousness, by recognizing it, breathing, and saying this lovely Ho'oponopono prayer: I love you, I am sorry, please forgive me, thank you. It works even if you don’t mean it! Our souls recognize the message. It’s very powerful.

Happy New Year!

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Authenticity and Music

Authenticity and Music

Music has been a huge part of my life my whole life. I seem to have been singing since I could speak, took piano lessons from second grade through my senior year in high school. Played clarinet in concert band, the bells (they hurt) in marching band, electric piano in jazz band, and was in pretty much every singing group I could be in, including an “award-winning” girls’ trio called The Cadets.

This is a newspaper clipping Grandma Handke had saved from the Clark County Courier. You may not be able to read the caption: Winning the right to compete in the talent portion at the State Snow Queen Festival were three smiling and uniformed CHS girls. Performing “Bugle Boy of Company B” were Ruth Danekas (left), LeeAnn Fitterer and Laura Handke.

I worked so hard in swing choir to learn the dance moves, and to learn the vocal parts for The Cadets. This was before the digital age, so I would use an old-fashioned tape recorder to record each of the three part harmonies, so I could learn my alto part while singing with the two soprano parts when I was rehearsing at home.

Learning an instrument, whether it be wind, brass, string, keys, or our vocal instrument, which is our body, is not an easy thing to do. It takes commitment and practice, but most of all - passion.

I didn’t even start to understand what musicianship truly means (or that my authentic voice is actually dramatic coloratura soprano, not alto) until I became an apprentice voice teacher with the Transformational Voice Institute ( in 2010, at the age of 46! I completed an 18 month apprenticeship program, while working a new full time day job, being at the voice studio three evenings a week after work, and completing regular homework assignments and assessments. I completely gave up on dating during this period, because I simply didn’t have the time.
But I simply knew that I “must” do this. Music is such a huge part of who I am in the deepest, most authentic part of myself.  

Here is a photo of my new “baby.” Finally, a full-sized keyboard that looks like a piano! I was so tired of running out of keys at the top of my mini-keyboard and needing to drop down an octave when I was playing, say, Mozart’s Sonata in C, that one evening I simply said – this is it. Going keyboard shopping tomorrow.

Fortunately, I had saved the money. But it was still a big decision. This is the most money I have spent since I bought my previously loved car for $7100 in 2010. We went to Classic Pianos in Portland and heard and played keyboards ranging in price from $1200 up to $16,000. I went with one for $1800 (usual price $2200) and have been thrilled with it. I made an investment in my authentic self, a wise and relatively frugal one.

Gina Williams said in a previous post, “I concluded that art will always be a hugely important part of my life – as critical to my survival as oxygen. Without it, I am broken.”  I said in a previous post to my 13-year-old self, “If you have a burning desire in your heart to create or do something, create or do it. Don’t worry about anything beyond that, just do the creating part and the rest will take care of itself.”

That is the way I feel about music, and about creating whatever is in our authentic hearts.

I wish you very happy creating.

Joy to the World this Christmas and holiday season! May the energy of Jesus Christ be within your heart today and throughout the coming year. I hope this doesn’t sound disrespectful…Jesus is a rock star. I think He would like my saying that. J

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling: Get Out of Your Own Way!

Get out of your own way!

For those of you who don’t know, I’m in a relatively new, passionate and unconditionally loving relationship with a man named George. G said something I want to share with you. He said it more amuzingly, but neither of us can remember his exact verbiage, so this is paraphrased. "It seems to me this relationship has a life of it's own, and it's creating itself despite us." And then later that day, "I've noticed as long as I get out of my own way, our relationship unfolds naturally without my having to do anything." Or something like that.

It just struck me what an awesome metaphor this is not just for my relationship with G, but life. Just get out of our own frickin’ way! Know what I'm saying? I know you do!!! We create our own problems, so just stop already!

G and I both shared how we have tendencies to offer help, compliments, assistance, etc., way more easily than we accept them.

Two examples: G has offered before to feed my cats. In the morning, especially, this requires sweeping up all the kitty litter that has been kicked on the kitchen floor, 'cause you really don't want to step on that and track it around. Once he offered the third time I took him up on it.

And then it dawned on me. "You just gave me three extra minutes to read!" I grabbed a cup of tea and went back to bed, reading for more like five minutes. I keep inspirational, spiritual reading materials on the dresser by my bed - almost done with both Richard Bach's RUNNING FROM SAFETY and Don Miguel Ruiz' THE VOICE OF KNOWLEDGE. OMG, what a start to my work week!

So, G took my offer of the travel pillow and blow-dryer when he traveled recently, but when I offered to water plants, pick up his mail, maybe do some light cleaning before he got back, his answer was - of course - no. (He lives a one minute walk from me.) Then he re-thought it, and said, "Of course. If that is something you would like to do, I would be grateful." Getting the art of receiving. We both are.
The art of authenticity requires allowing yourself to receive, with sincere gratitude in your heart.

Have fun receiving – not just this holiday season – but all throughout the year. Notice what you are receiving – really pay attention to all the wonderful things you are given. A smile, someone waving you over in heavy traffic, an expected note or card. With all of the violence in the world, it can be a very good thing to simply remember where, when, how and from whom we are so incredibly blessed.

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Synchronicity: Archetypes & Collage

Acknowledging Synchronicity: Archetypes & Collage

Several years ago I read or heard something about archetypes, and was struck by a strong feeling that I had started reading a book by someone, at some point, that had something to do with archetypes, but I couldn’t remember the book or the author.

About the same time, I had purchased Seena B. Frost’s SOULCOLLAGE book, prior to hosting a Wishweavers workshop dedicated to collage work.

The forgotten book about archetypes literally, serendipitously, fell out of my bookshelf one day. I am telling you…I don’t remember even touching that particular shelf, or the bookshelf at all…but as soon as I saw the cover, I knew that was the book I had been trying to remember. Caroline Myss’ SACRED CONTRACTS.

What is an archetype? I will quote Caroline here. “Carl Jung believed that archetypes live in a collective unconscious through which all souls are connected. The collective unconscious holds the energy of all who have participated in an archetype through the ages—the stories, myths, legends and prototypes.”

That doesn’t sound very specific now, does it? says an archetype is 1) the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype. 2) (in Jungian psychology) a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches.

I can’t say that sounds any more specific! I’ll let you come up with your own definition or conclusions, if the idea of archetypes interests you at all.

It did for me, that particular day, so I picked up the book again and slowly read it over the following weeks, highlighting certain sections and doing certain exercises.

And, then, I realized I could create collage cards representing my different archetypes. What a concept!

Here they are:

Source Card

Victim Card

Hermit Card

Addict Card

Nature Child Card

Visionary Card

Queen Card

I’m not saying you need to explore your archetypes or create collages to honor your authenticity. I’m just saying it worked for me at that time, in exploring all the layers to this complex, basically fun, authentic-as-I-can-be-in-any-given-moment, person that I am and am constantly becoming.

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. That Is So Funny

That Is So Funny

I work with a woman in her mid-twenties named Jodi.

Jodi has a great sense of humor and is quite a light in the office.
She said something a few weeks ago that had us in hysterics, and was wise and utterly…authentic. She was making a joke of sorts, but wisdom nonetheless rang true in her words.

This is one of those “you had to be there” moments; it isn’t going to come across in written words as if you had been there to overhear or take part in the conversation. But I’ll do my best!

In a nutshell, Jodi said one of her pet peeves is when people say, “That is so funny,” when they aren’t laughing. She said, “That is so funny,” with a complete dead-pan, unsmiling expression on her face, hence the hysterical element. It has become a joke in the office ever since. Well, at least for me! Every once in a while I make my face completely straight and un-smiling, and say, “That is so funny.” Which brings about laughter.

Yet, I can’t escape the thought process Jodi’s joke brought to me about authenticity. To be honest, there have been times since then I have found myself laughing to be “polite,” or perhaps to defuse a potentially uncomfortable situation.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

For the most part, I smile and laugh easily and often, probably over things other people wouldn’t even find funny. And things other people find funny, I don’t find funny at all!

Friend Ginger and I laughing with white wine and Italian food at Riccardo's, Lake Oswego, summer of this year  

Laughter is soooo good for the mind, body and soul. I would say as long as it’s authentic.

Here’s to authentic, belly-busting laughter. That is SO funny!


Feel free to share your favorite joke!

Authentically Yours, Laura