A Journey of Self-Creation
Author: Jeff Brown
North Atlantic Books
It is correct to say that this is not a self-help book. It is not a template for good behavior, for finding the inner self, or for finding your bliss. It is an autobiographical story about a gentleman who trained to be a trial lawyer – the archetypal “male warrior” – only to find that this in not what his life was meant to be.
It is interesting to note in his “Gratitude” section (where he thanks all the people that have helped him to bring this book to fruition) he gives thanks to those who have attempted, in word or deed, to force his light under a bushel. It was because of them that he was gifted with the painful lessons that he needed to learn.
We follow Brown through a very difficult childhood that is woven through the story, rather than being set down in front of our faces at the beginning of the story. In his preface, Brown tells us that this book – his story – took six years to write, under difficult economic and personal challenges. He actually turned down the first publishing contract, because it did not seem right to him. He self-published (soul-published) the first edition of this book in 2007.
From his childhood, Brown brings two perspectives with him – false-path (outer life) and true-path (inner life). The true-path voice became clearer in his college years – telling him that he was not who he thought he was. Brown talks about the disguises we wear to “fit in”. He talks about the warrior disguise he adopted as a child – a “bad boy” image that he put on for protection.
In his first year at university, another persona was born – the Huckster. This little “salesman” persona that was to keep Brown going financially, and it was the face that he adopted to show to the world.
Brown’s first year of law school saw him delving into therapy. He was attending a prestigious school, and not feeling “good enough”. He was also involved in a destructive love relationship. An inner voice came out of all of this turmoil – a voice that he called Little Missy. She would do many battles with his Warrior persona, to try to get him to be authentic and do what felt right to him.
After he graduated from law school Brown began an apprenticeship with Eddie Greenspan. At the end of that apprenticeship, he began to feel not true to himself, and he began a journey that would take up many years of his life. He would study Bioenergetics, practiced as a body-centered psychotherapist, completed an AM in Psychology at Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco (after walking away once), and co-founded the Open Heart Gang (a benevolent gang with a heartfelt intention). He also became a successful entrepreneur.
His biggest work was his inner work – his journey to see who he really was. He calls this his journey in the “School of Heart Knocks” (School of Hard Knocks – life experiences). Currently he and the Open Heart Gang are finishing a documentary about Bhagavan Das, featuring talks with Brown and other spiritual leaders.
Each of us will see parts of ourselves mirrored in this book. Each of us can take from Brown’s journey something to make our own journey that much easier.
© December 2009 Bonnie Cehovet