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How young do you need to be to start living authentically? It sounds like a stupid question. Surely you should be living authentically all your life. Well that depends on whether you are allowed to or not. The case of the 16 year old Dutch girl Laura Dekker highlights this issue. Ever since she was a toddler she wanted to sail alone around the world. This was no pipe dream. Laura was born on a yacht during her parents seven year round the world voyage before their divorce. She was more comfortable on a boat than on dry land so her dream was grounded in practical reality.
When she was 13 she took her fathers yacht and sailed it single handed from Holland to England encountering bad weather but arriving safely. Her reward was to be arrested by the British police. When she announced that she would sail around the world on her own the Dutch authorities made her a ward of the State and forbade her to sail. Her mother was vehemently against the plan but her father, at first reluctant, eventually supported her. With the help of a friendly lawyer they beat the Dutch authorities and Laura completed her 518 day solo voyage sound the world (the youngest person ever at 16) when she landed at the Caribbean island of St Maarten in January 2012.
This remarkable story told in The Sunday Times highlights the courage and tenacity required in Being You – becoming and remaining truly authentic. Laura’s journey told with elegant simplicity on her blog is summed up in her own words: “I did it just for myself.”
Her experience neatly follows the structure of the 7 Pillars of the Freedom Code – the implementation path of Adaptive Freedom. Laura was acutely attentive and aware of her needs and what she wanted to achieve (1. Perceptive Awareness). This included conscious attention while on board. She wrote: “In tricky moments, such as stormy weather, I just focus on what needs to be done to control the situation, step by step.”
She was clearly aligned in mind and body with the elemental forces that contrived to bring her dream to reality (2. Alignment with Universal Energy). To fulfil your potential requires more than just dreaming: it must be backed up with concrete plans, detailed preparation and action (3. Pursue Purposive Action).
Though alone she remained in constant contact with her family, friends and supporters, and felt deeply connected to them despite the distance. She was also intimately connected with the sun, wind and sea and all the creatures around her – not to mention her closest companion, her boat ‘Guppy’ (4. Connect and Communicate).
Laura has a strong acceptance of her self, her life and her moment in that life. However, she has not so far been able to accept the way she was treated by Dutch officialdom though she has been reconciled again with her mother (5. Acceptance). To be a solo circumnavigator on a small yacht requires a ready willingness to adapt to change at every opportunity (6. Adaptability) and her blog is full of the delight she found in every day at sea—even doing her school work (7. Animation and Appreciation). She wrote “I look back with joy at the adventures of the past year.
Read Laura’s Blog

The movie Senna is a striking and somber essay on the high octane sport of Formula 1 motor racing. It is infused with the youth, beauty and vigour of the great Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna who died while racing in 1994 aged 32. What is surprising is the character of Senna that emerges in his own words and the thoughts of his family and friends. He was a truly authentic person who lived life in the fastest lane on earth but did so with deep awareness of what it took to stay at the pinnacle of his sport and stay grounded in the realities of ordinary life.

In many ways his life typified the 7 Qualities of Authenticity which are at the core of the philosophy of Adaptive Freedom. The Quality of Congruence is found is how he described the role of the unconscious mind in taking him around the Monte Carlo circuit at break-neck speed only to crash when he became incongruent as a message on his radio brought him out of the zone and into his conscious mind again.

The Quality of Control is shown in his remarkable ability to maintain control of his vehicle at such speeds, especially in the wet, which is an example of exceptional focused and attentive awareness. The Quality of Compassion is shown in the deep acceptance of what life threw at him or what Artyon saw as God's will in his life.  His strong, simple and unaffected spirituality permeates the movie.

The Qualities of Commitment and Competence shine forther in his courage, honesty and transparency. He never hesitated to stand up for his values even when it cost him to do so. The profound identity he shared with his fellow Brazilians and the close and happy relationship he had with almost everyone he came in contact with typify the Qualities of Connection and Congeniality.

Ayrton Senna may have felt freedom most profoundly at 200mph but his authentic free spirit shone true off the track as well in his battle with officialdom to be treated fairly and in the loyalty and support he showed for his fellow Brazilians. This movie has profound messages on spirituality, the power of the nonconscious and what it takes to live authentically.

You are not made up exclusively from either your genes or from your environment. Nor are your decisions based exclusively on instincts, emotions, or intuitions; neither exclusively from the nonconscious nor the conscious mind.
True freedom requires the courage to trust your intuition, honor your convictions and stay grounded in a continuous process of reflection and choice through social interaction. In this way freedom can itself create for you the elements of a new environment, a new and more authentic life. Freedom is born in the process of considering real conditions, of weighing and choosing between alternatives of action in your life as lived in the here and now.
Experiencing life through the prism of freedom puts things in perspective and reduces the gap between appearance and reality. Becoming more aware of your conditioned thinking and behavior patterns creates genuine freedom, though it is also challenging. The lens of perception of a free person is clear and unclouded so that the pain of life is as plain to see as its joys.
At a fundamental level freedom is a love of life, a life where feeling, experience and purpose form part of a unified whole. The mind, body, spirit and environment combine in an original, undistorted and complete whole that is you. Your perspective on life deepens and expands and you see it as part of a much larger context. You begin to understand that you are what the psychologist B.F. Skinner described as an individual but one that is merely a stage in a process that began a long time before you came into existence and will continue long after you have gone.
Freedom therefore entails three interrelated concepts: First, the ability to decide and act in any situation in complete harmony with your values and in proportion to the demands of the situation—free will. Second, the capacity to act in a way that is entirely conducive to your wellbeing, while considering the needs of others; and, finally the willingness to accept complete responsibility for your decisions and actions and be able to adapt to the demands and opportunities of life.
The freedom you seek is the highest degree of human fulfillment from which all our other wants and needs flow with ease and grace like ‘nectar from the gods.’ That is the freedom to Be You—to be your authentic self.
Freedom is the greatest desire of humankind and the most cherished of all universal values. Personal Freedom is not only an inalienable human right it is the most fundamental of all human needs. Freedom is a powerful motivating drive though it still remains a mystery for many, “a paradox ungraspable by our reason, yet the deepest thirst of our heart.”
Freedom in Adaptive Freedom is the capacity to decide and act in any situation in complete harmony with your values and in proportion to the demands of the situation. It means the opportunity to act in a manner that is entirely conducive to your well-being, while considering the needs of others and with complete responsibility for your decisions and actions.
Adaptive Freedom implies being able to adapt yourself to the demands and opportunities of life. It presumes an ability to exercise choice and make decisions in a responsible way. Choice is the essence of freedom and freedom is all about making choices. The ultimate measure of freedom is that you are fully responsible for yourself and the choices you make.
This implies acting out of a sense of your values rather than your passions or desires, and achieving balance and equilibrium through a continuing process of self-fulfillment.
This type of freedom is epitomized by peace of mind which is essentially the absence of distress. This is a freedom to live a life of meaning and purpose, a life of happiness and contentment—the freedom to live well.
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