My passion is serving others to live the life of their dreams. I now realise this has always been my essence. Every experience I have had in life was essential training for my life.
When I choose a guide or coach I don't look for a shiny blemish free marketing guru, rather I trust a teacher's personal journey through their own long dark night of the soul into the light.
I left school at 15 and essentially retired in my 40's. It was then that a series of seismic personal events marked the unmistakable movement that is the call to awaken . . .
Even early in life during my teens I was captivated by the esoteric and the mystical. In school I read tarot cards at the school fair. In a search for meaning I explored the occult, witchcraft and hypnosis. I was to learn it would be a long journey of discovery to live from my own essence.
I left school at 15. In an attempt to win the love and approval of my father, the fake cut and thrust macho masculine world of building sites was my initiation into working life. I became an 'energy worker', well an electrician anyhow! Somehow I thought this would impress the man whom I both worshiped and was terrified of.
Little did I know till he was dying, that the 25 years he spent working with NASA on every space mission from Mercury, through Apollo to Voyager, meant nothing to him and it was his attempt to overcome his fears and his search for love that dominated his days.
In my late teens I was promoted to being a supervisor and estimator on large construction projects including the new Parliament House (I didn't know then I would end up returning to the world of politics).
It wasn’t long before I knew something wasn’t right. This was simply not me. I was already earning a good salary with my own company car, but my personal involvement in the corruption rife in the building industry (rigged contracts, faked tender documents, collusion, meetings in dark alleys and bribery) became the escape route I was looking for to discover who I was. I left to search the world for the answer. Dozens of countries from Bolivia to Botswana to Burma left my questions largely unanswered.
On my return, the University of NSW School of Philosophy, became my home. My thesis on the ego, power and desire, started to reveal some hints to the mysteries of the meaning of life.
Yet even here in this academic world I loved, I was in pain. Existential angst fuelled by my suppressed emotions gripped me to the core. Periods of deep depression dominated. How could I make sense of life?
Thoughts of suicide as a way to escape a life that appeared to me to have no meaning was often my closest friend. My unaddressed personal issues, including a fear of public speaking led me to believe I had no option but to leave behind my passion for philosophy and my dedication to understanding the mysteries of life.
To numb the pain of not following my soul’s calling, I entered a long period of sleep. While I slept for 20 years I entered the world of politics and business.
In politics I became the Chief of Staff for The Greens. Working in this pressure cooker of the ego with Premiers, Ministers and the hottest issues in the country from decriminalising homosexuality, gun law reform, the massacre at Port Arthur and the vitriolic battle for Tasmania’s natural environment, I experienced in 3D technicolour the effect of rusted on beliefs, judgment and tribalism. I was in the middle of it. I felt morally superior and looked down upon those who disagreed with me. It was a time to experience and learn from the hatred of which humans are capable, including me.
Soon life turned. My spirit and my soul had other plans. I knew it was time to leave politics but the pull of power and the empty belief in my own self importance and self righteousness amongst others with the same feelings made it difficult to follow the call of the soul I didn’t even know I had. A rigged election in which the electoral system was changed without referendum meant most of the members of Parliament I advised lost their seats . . . . and me my job. So many blessings in disguise.
Fear of the future dominated at first as I was jobless and the world I knew had been torn away. Then excitement emerged as I entered the creative world of business.
Initially I felt at home in being able to develop exciting new businesses. First it was a national chain of learning and discovery stores called …. of course, Socrates. Then a gourmet food and chocolate store, Norman & Dann; followed by IXL Design; Raw the Natural Grocer and Eco Tasmania. All were profitable and successful.
My final business creation was a major tourism development, Stewarts Bay Lodge at Port Arthur. Business had become a drug. The superficial lure was the money, the status and the freedom I believed it offered. But no matter how much I made I was left hollow, unfulfilled, still in pain and a slave to my ego.
Always something was missing. After the first year I knew business wasn’t for me and it wasn't who I was but I was addicted to the distraction from my own suppressed emotions and traumatic past.
Eventually I had no choice. There was no escaping it. The time had come. . . . . .
At the age of 47 my soul had decided I was ready to awaken . . . . In a whirlwind of personal events, crisis and conflict, first my connection to my extended family was severed then my connection to many of my closest friends. The edifice that was my ego started to crumble. Soon a woman entered the scene. Then an epiphany and a night of lucid clarity and euphoria. Wide eyed awake at 3am I saw who I was. It was all starting to make sense.
I was birthing. This was not my physical birth as I left the safe environment of my mothers' womb but a spiritual birth. I was to learn it would be no less painful. I soon realised that as part of my birthing I had to revisit the pain and emotions I had suppressed for so long. The pain I had suppressed, denied and distracted myself from for a lifetime. It was the trauma of my childhood. I had no alternative.
It was forty years earlier when as a small five-year old boy my mother got sick. It will be OK I was told. Don’t worry it will be fine. People always get better they said. But she didn’t. For months she lay in her hospital bed dying. For months I visited her but she was always out of reach. She was dying. Then I wasn't allowed to visit. Too grave a scene for a young boy they believed. I didn’t understand what was happening. I knew it was something bad and there was nothing I could do. I was helpless. Out of control of events that would leave an indelible mark on my life. Then I began to ask "What had I done to cause this"?
Finally one day when I was seven I was told she had gone. Where had she gone I wondered? Everyone was crying but what about? Buried in their own anguish no one bothered to explain. I was too young to understand I was told. I was left in my room all alone. I wasn’t allowed to go to the funeral and her name was never mentioned again. ‘Mummy’ became a dirty word. No pictures of her hung in our house, which was no longer a home. Too painful for all. I wasn’t allowed to feel. I wasn’t allowed to grieve. I visited her grave for the first time when I was 35 but by then I was too scarred to feel and had built defences I didn’t understand or even knew existed. But the trauma and pain remained buried inside of me.
My father's life of hardship and the loss of his own father at the same age meant he was an emotional wreck. Absorbed in his own pain, gripping fear and his own inner trauma, he had no idea what this meant for me and he had no tools to help. I was alone.
In the months leading up to her death our family had moved house. Gone was the warm inviting home I had known where my mum had nursed me. A new sterile house in a barren subdivision was to be our house. With a new school, gone too were my friends. Inside I was cold, scared, confused and in pain. I stopped breathing. I stopped feeling.
It took forty years for my soul to mature and be ready to feel again. For forty years I was frozen. Forty years to be ready to thaw. Forty years for my soul to grow strong enough to be birthed into the world.
I had searched everywhere for what I believed I was missing. But year in and year out there was one place I dared not venture. There was one place I dared not look. It was my dark side, my own shadow that terrified me so much that held the key. Little did I know then that in the blackness was my own light.
Some where in me I knew that if I went to that place into the blackness there was no turning back and my life would never be the same. But I had no choice.
It was a journey filled with feeling and emotion. Elation and suppressed sadness. Surrender and letting go.
But above all it was the journey home. Little did I know that buried under the shame, the guilt, the fear, the anger, the sadness and the beliefs that I was bad and rotten to the core, was . . . . . my soul. The very Source Of Unconditional Love that I am. My own divine being. My essence.
Slowly I bought wonder and curiosity to my own life. The victimhood, guilt, blame and judgement of most of my life were replaced by awe and amazement.
As this alchemical process continues to transform who I am, a deep and profound gratitude for my life permeates my being. All of it. The bliss and the sadness. The love and the loneliness. The acceptance and the anger. This astonishing, amazing, wondrous, incredible, extraordinary and inspiring thing called our existence.
The principles and practices of The Way are the steps I took on my healing journey. They are the key to living our essence. While I often have resistance and sometimes take extraordinary measures to avoid my own growth and healing, I always return to these essential practices.
Every time I take responsibility for my own life, surrender to my own suppressed emotions and examine my beliefs, I am richly rewarded. Each time I embrace my fear and act on my desire, my life is transformed. Slowly the nexus of the bundle of energy and the beliefs at the core of my ego dissolved. Slowly I emerged from my chrysalis to be who I truly am.
I hope you will join me by becoming who you really are. The world is waiting for you. I would love to help. Nothing gives my life more meaning.
My service is my gift of gratitude to Spirit for holding me in perfect love as I found the courage to heal and to correct my own relationship with my soul. It is both a mystical understanding and a practical pathway through the living energies of life that I know will help guide you home to your own essence.
Live your essence, true to your self and all else will be given to you.
© Rod West - Live Your Essence