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C. Simone Rivers






Pearly Gates Publishing LLC

P.O. Box 62287

Houston, TX 77205




Authenticity Matters

A Guide to Purpose, Power, and Possibility



Copyright © 2017

C. Simone Rivers



All Rights Reserved.

No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any electronic system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise) without written permission from the publisher. Brief quotations may be used in literary reviews.


Scriptures are used by permission from Zondervan via Biblegateway.com.


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Published by Pearly Gates Publishing LLC at Smashwords. This book is available in print at most online retailers.





DEDICATION


To my amazing man, Victor, and my handsome sons, Joshua and Jameson, thank you for every story we wrote together that led to this moment. I love you.


This book is dedicated to the memory of Rev. Dr. Arthur T. Jones, Harrison Goddard, and Ricky Thomas. You each have taught me that impossible really is a lie!




INTRODUCTION


I believe there are no coincidences in life. It is not by happenstance that this book was brought to your awareness or that you are reading it right now. There is a reason for this particular connection at this specific moment in time. I call it "divine intersection"—spiritually orchestrated paths crossing day in and day out.


The thing I've found interesting is that we don't always pay attention to those intersections—those souls who cross our paths from day to day. We don't pay attention to what they might be carrying just for us. Quite frankly, we ignore a lot!


How many times has someone asked how you were, and you responded with a random thought like, "Thank you! You, too!"? You were not listening to that person at all. Your conversation was with yourself, or perhaps some past thought or future hope, but you were not present.


However, there are those times when our Spirit reminds us that our specific personalities are absolutely necessary. The individuals that we are—we are necessary. Our authentic selves matter!


I want to share a story with you that was a sort of impetus and lifeblood for this book. For those of you battling with self-esteem, self-value, or self-identity, just keep reading. I believe this will change your life, as it showed up in my experience and changed me.


I want you to know that you are special. You have been designed by the Divine with a specific narrative that only you can convey to the world. If you don't fit the description of one who battles in those areas listed above, are you masking your truth with the perception of power? Are you continuing to be who others say you should be versus who you really are or really want to be?


I would like to introduce you to a path that will lead you to who you were meant to be.


Doesn't everyone really want to be themselves? It is exhausting keeping up with the stories we tell the world about who we are. My mom used to say, "Baby, if you don't lie, you don't have to remember so much". The masks get heavy. I am a living witness to the fact that authenticity breeds peace—a peace that surpasses all understanding.


**********


I lived in Europe for more than a decade and had some awesome intersections with the divinity of other people.


One particular instance, I was "people-watching" while in a mall in Germany (something I really enjoy doing). There was this woman trying to find something to wear on what I thought was a date. She seemed incredibly frustrated. So, being my normal, deliciously-fabulous self, I asked if I could help. She appeared genuinely happy for the attention, and I was overjoyed to offer it. We became best friends for about two and a half hours! I found outfit after outfit for her to try on, and she bought several of them. I even gifted her some accessories just to bless her forward. It was so much fun!


We parted ways with a hug and "Gotte segne dich" ("God bless you" in German). I never got her name and don't recall giving her mine. That didn't matter. It was just a normal day for me. It's who I am. It's what I do. It's my personality expressing itself.


I had no idea she was describing me to people in our community and trying to find me…


A few weeks later, I received a phone call. The person on the other end of the line introduced herself as "Silke" and began to remind me of how we met in the mall.


"Ja. Ja. Wie geht es dir? I remember. Did you find a place to wear your new clothes?"


She paused for a moment, and what she shared next is something I will never forget. She wanted to thank me for being kind to her and making her laugh that day. She said I had no idea how despondent she really was.


You see, Silke had just lost her only son in an accident on the autobahn a few days prior to our encounter in the mall. She felt like life was over for her as well. She couldn't find any reasons for waking up in the morning. That day, she was shopping for what she wanted people to find her in when they found her body.


I gasped inside, but I didn't speak. I just listened as tears began to roll down my face.


What I know is that I have worn every mask you can imagine in my life, trying to make myself fit in to what others said I should be. I dimmed my light just a little because others thought it was too bright. I shrank so others could feel bigger around me.


But, on that day, in that store, with that stranger, I was the most authentic I had ever been. We giggled, shopped, and had a big, old, loud, bright good time! Just that simple expression of who I truly am saved her life. I was overwhelmed! I remain overwhelmed knowing that God desires to change a few of my behaviors, but finds my personality absolutely necessary!


I'm saying to you right now, as you turn the pages of this book, you are more than enough. You are absolutely necessary!


Who you are matters.


Who I am matters.


Puppets are the expressions of others. Their strings are being pulled to create movement, versus their independent movement in the world, which (in my view) is a key part of being authentic. When you embrace the energy of your true self, there is a power you tap into. There is the opportunity to maximize your life's potential as you discover your real purpose. And, there are even people who organically find you and make your experience so much better. They begin to fan the sparks of possibility and create a raging fire of significance.


Don't look for this book to be some complicated approach to an esoteric life. Authenticity has become esoteric, I think, because we have lost sight of the fact that we are enough.


Perhaps my hair is shorter than hers; but my hair, for me, is enough. Perhaps my home is larger or smaller than the next; but my home is enough, and its size absolutely necessary for my life.


It's in the comparison game that we find fault in who we are intended and purposed to be, and we connect and find a need to be someone or something else. The advent of social media has made this phenomenon multiply exponentially. What we seem to disconnect from is this truth. People only post the best of their lives on social media. They show you the new baby, but they don't share the dirty diapers, sleepless nights, or fear of not being able to feed the child. They post their new car photos, but neglect to share how much the car note is and just how much they had to sacrifice to get it.


The point is, you can't compare your worst day to someone else's best and call it fair! In fact, all comparison starts out unfair. You have not equal. We are all unique expressions of a loving Creator.


I make a daily practice of "turning off". I turn off my computer, my phone, log out of social media, and I sit in silence. Some call it meditation. That's fine, but I prefer to call it sitting in silence because I've never really understood how to meditate. This ignorance created a space for me to compare myself to those who can, like Deepak Chopra. Yes, I compared my meditation ability to the guru himself! I told you that comparing is unfair! How do you think I know? Because I have done it, too.


What I chose to do is just be quiet for a while every day and allow inspiration to speak to me and guide me. I used to be so afraid to do this. Silence was deafening to me at one time in my life! I needed noise—or so I thought. When I allowed myself to actually listen to the silence, I heard the most beautiful sound; the sound of my own Voice, my Source, my Spirit, God. It offered me comfort in the midst of the chaos of my life. It offered me a knowing that I want to share with the world. I know for sure that who I am is exactly who I was meant to be, and without a single doubt, I am enough. I have enough. I will always be enough.


Defining Authenticity


What exactly is authenticity? I define authenticity as the closest version to the truth of who you are and who you were meant to be. It's accuracy, truth, and fidelity to who you really are. Sometimes, we need help finding our true selves because there are layers and layers of masks we've found to protect that vulnerable person.


Don't be upset with yourself because you still have masks. Our brains are wired to protect us, to build mechanisms to guard us from hurt, harm, and danger. It makes sense that we would have masks. Some of our brains even create stories to help us cope with our reality.


When I was a very young girl, I created a story about my father. I told everyone who would listen that my father died when I was 12 years old. As I grew into my teen years and early into college, that story grew legs that carried me.


My father died when I was 12. He named me after Nina Simone because he had seen her in France.


I told the story so well, I actually believed it! It helped me survive the truth that I was not equipped to face at such a young age. The truth is father passed away when I was just four years old. The story I created gave me the love of my dad and allowed me to grow up experiencing that love. I was in my early 30s when I ran across his death certificate in my mom's house. At that age, even though it was extremely painful for me, I was able to handle the truth of his death and accept that I had created his life to care for the four-year-old me.


So, don't beat yourself up for carrying your bag of masks. I get it. This book is offered to help you unpack your bags and show the world YOU!


Hello Eternal Loving Presence


That is what "HELP" is—a greeting and acknowledgment of the eternal, loving presence of God. I snatched this concept from Michael Bernard Beckwith. I think it is an awesome example of the place from which all of our help comes. Asking for help is a prayer. So, for those of you asking how to find and live in your authenticity, that's my answer, HELP!


I'm living in my purpose by offering help in the pages of this book.


This book will guide you to the knowing that you are enough. You have enough. You will always be enough. Oh yeah, and you are necessary!




TABLE OF CONTENTS


DEDICATION

DON'T FIGHT THE POWER

LET IT SHINE

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

TAKE IT ALL OFF!

LINKED IN

SHE CAN'T READ!

IN LIVING COLOR

LIFELINE

EPILOGUE

APPENDIX

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR




Don't Fight the Power






"The power of your authenticity offers access to every desire tattooed on your soul."

~ C. Simone Rivers ~





Often, I hear people use words that are commonsensical for most of the world, but I just feel like I can't relate. POWER is one of those words. I've always either been trying to get some or increase what I thought I had, only to discover I never had it in the first place.


Is that confusing? Well, let me explain.


I grew up in a small town called Eatonville in the central part of Florida, about six miles north of Orlando. My family moved there when I was seven years old. This is the earliest memory I have of a home and what it looked like. My father passed away, leaving my mom alone with six children. She bought a home for us in Eatonville. It was an African-American town. In fact, it is an historical town where Zora Neale Hurston shared herself during the Renaissance, and it was the very first African-American incorporated town in the United States.


We lived at the end of a dirt road and had orange groves across from us and to the right of our house. When I was seven, I remember having a telephone and talking to a boy down the street who I thought I was madly in love with at the ripe, old age of seven!


I remember having electricity in the house, taking baths at night before bed, and brushing my teeth in the morning before school. However, that is the only time I recall those things being in place, when I was seven.


I also remember having no telephone and being the object of ridicule and mean-spirited comments from the kids in my school because we didn't have a working phone line in our home.


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