After sixteen years of self-discovery and learning, after nearly dying, I started Zenpowerment. I have spent the last two years coaching executives and finishing my first book (to be released soon). The results to date that I have seen from my clients have been amazing. One key aspect that I have noticed is that it almost seems like people are looking for outside permission to be their authentic selves. If you are one of those people, here you go:
You have permission to be your authentic self!
There, now you can be who you’ve always dreamed of being.
Recently, I wrote an ebook, “A Practical Guide For The Closet Hippie” and started the Closet Hippie Club, to help others discover their authenticity and more fully empower themselves. While this applies to me coming out of the hippie closet, it also applies to whatever closet you are currently hiding in.
I thought I’d share a little of my journey in hope of inspiring you to take your own steps along your path. I’m nobody special, and yet I am. See if any of this resonates with you.
I grew up in a traditional (or not so traditional any longer) two-parent home. I had four other siblings. I was the second oldest. I was adopted as a baby, and always knew I was adopted. I was raised Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), where we went to church every week and lived a pretty conservative lifestyle. We were in the mid-to-lower income bracket, so we didn’t have a ton, but we never went without. We moved around a bit (at least 13 different houses before I graduated high school), so learned to quickly adjust to new environments and friends.
Growing up, I always had this feeling that I was going to die when I was 33 years old. I’m not sure why I had that feeling, but it was always there. When I was younger, the thought would show up every so often, but I didn’t think about it much.
At age 19, I served an LDS service mission for two years in Argentina. It was a great opportunity for service and growth. About a year after I returned, at age 22, I got married. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks… I only had 11 years left to live. It scared the hell out of me. I decided I was going to make it the best 11 years of my life, so I put together my bucket list…. have kids, finish college, travel the world, live in other countries, go skydiving, buy an airplane, etc.
By the time I was 33, I had accomplished all of the things on my bucket list. I had four kids, I had traveled the world and lived in Switzerland and Singapore. I had even bought my airplane.
Then, when I was 33, in the fall of 1999, I totalled a motorcycle, coming down a canyon. I thought I was a goner, but I wasn’t. I was still here.
So, I fumbled around for a couple years. I went through a deep depression, I quit a job that I had been at for over a decade. I got divorced. I started drinking. It was not pretty.
Since I no longer feared death, I decided to figure out for myself what this life really meant for me. It was like I had a second chance. I started studying science, spirituality, psychology, and anything else that called me. I even studies with Native American medicine men and Shamans in Peru. It was fascinating.
After about eight years of research, studying and pondering, I decided to put what I had learned into practice. I realized that I had lived a lot of my life in fear, so I chose to face them, instead of run from them. I realized I had tons of programming from my brain that didn’t serve. I realized I had a lot of attachment. There were many things that I was ready to let go of.
I slowly started changing. One of my big fears was the fear of what others think of me, so I started working on that. I decided that it was more authentic to me to grow out my hair and a beard. I also enjoyed drinking mate (a South American tea that uses a special cup and straw that looks like a bong), so I took that to work and started drinking it in my office and in some meetings. I liked walking around without shoes, so I started doing that. I even had a yoga mat and incence in my office. I felt like I had come out of the closet.
What was interesting is that all the fears that I had never came to pass. In fact, it was just the opposite. People felt at peace around me. They felt like they could tell me anything. I was warmly accepted. I even had one of the executives where I worked dress up like me for Halloween. He had thought about it for a while, because he had no facial hair, and grew it out so he could look like me.
Since that time, I decided to leave corporate world and share my Zenpowerment message with the world. I have seen it completely change the way people see themselves and the world. Manaul Maurice said it best.
“Breakthroughs happen not because of startling new facts, but because of a change in the overall way that the universe is seen. Nothing is more exciting than to see the world in a new way, because we don’t see one new thing — we see everything in a new way.”
This journey is ongoing and never ends. While I am more hippie than ever, there are still parts of me hiding away in the closet. As I stay in a space of awareness, and continue the internal journey of the soul, I’ll keep coming out, one piece at a time.