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  • Writer's pictureJill Brocklehurst

Forging an Authentic Journey

"The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already are.” (Rumi)

When I contemplate our earth and its diversity, I ask myself, “Is there anything in Nature that doesn’t belong?” Do I judge a flower budding, or the crooked, knotted growth of a tree trunk? Do I curse the bat that feeds on bugs, or any other wild interaction and expression? No. Instead, I am always in awe.

I use Nature as a reality check.

As I journey along the road of deep self-work, I am discovering my protective behaviours and habits. Underneath the Jill persona you may know, I am revealing deep sadness. I want you to understand… I once believed there were ‘good’ emotions and ‘bad’ ones. Society seemed to emphasized this, as did my mother.

For instance, my mother was clear that my father’s ‘moods’ were ‘bad’, and that any type of ‘glum’ or ‘blue’ feelings were unacceptable. I can hear her still, “Don’t be like that.” (Perhaps she, too, was fighting the demons of sadness within).

We are not alone. It has been the cultural norm to repress feelings, for centuries. Only now are we learning the hidden power in accessing all of our emotions: the art of Emotional Intelligence, or “EQ”.

Humans are emotional beings… anger, fear, joy and sadness too. When we are functioning optimally, we are living in equal measure from our heads, hearts and guts.

Let me be clear from the start: feeling emotions does not mean acting them out on any other person! (That is not EQ… that is more like weaponizing emotions to manipulate a response). Real EQ is simply noticing a physical sensation of energy moving in the body. In the book, 15 Commitments for Conscious Leadership, the authors write, “We are not our feelings any more than we are our hunger pangs or the discomfort associated with a sprained ankle. Feelings just occur.”

The challenge in developing EQ is that feelings are not linked to the language part of our brains. Putting thoughts to how we are feeling can be most difficult. I always recommend having a word list available in any given moment to assist with this recognition. (There are great smart phone apps for this). Surprisingly, when we see the associated word for the body sensation, we often seem to know right away, “That’s it!”

I realize I have been holding myself in heavy judgement about the sadness I feel… probably daily. I am afraid a lot! Like a bird in defence mode, I puff up my ‘feathers’, act tough, find a smile and soldier onward. Years of this behaviour has amounted to a journey of denial that resonates deep within these profound feelings… limiting growth and wisdom. 

I want to know more about who I am and what I have to offer the world. I want to explore the deep waters and prickly edges, and to risk approval. (Oh dear, did I say that out loud?!)

I am learning that if you don’t love me, all of me, the total me, then there was no real love there in the first place. By revealing my true self, I discover the most profound connections… with myself, and with others.

It doesn’t surprise me that I am willing to embrace this risky journey. When I was a child, I loved going to camp. In fact camp is a place that houses my fondest childhood memories.

Eventually, I became old enough to be a camp counsellor but, to me, that leadership role sucked. I didn’t want to lead in that way at all. Just because I loved being a camper didn’t mean I wanted to facilitate the experience for others. All the work I have done to understand who I am in the world (my individual purpose) is clearly defined in my “Why” statement (as developed through Simon Sinek’s work):

“To pioneer the way to joy through demonstration, so the world is a happier place for everyone together”. 

There is so much to unpack here:

First… I thought happiness meant being joyful all the time. I realize now that I can feel happy and content in my sadness. What a profound realization! It is all about self-compassion and acceptance. 

Secondly, I am a pioneer… a way-shower. I live the principles I talk about; revealing my life to you through personal discovery and honesty. You take what you want from watching and listening as I move on to more. I will always be a pioneer. 

So, as I embrace my relationship with sadness and fear I ask, “Is sadness suffering?” Only when I define it as “bad”. The society that demonstrated this “wrongness’, taught me ‘wrong’.

Now, here I go instead, in service to my soul and my unique perspective. I face my fears… the intimidating largeness of living fully in the present moment… and I show up the best way I can every day… authentically me.


Affirmations for Deep Healing:

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