The Art of Finding Oneself

The Art of Finding Oneself
By Emma Armstrong

At the beginning of 1995 I found myself in a very strange place.  My long term relationship with a man I thought I would marry was over, my short liaison directly after that was also over and I was living in a country where I felt very alone.  I had been in Johannesburg, South Africa for just under 4 years and had had a tremendous time, but for some reason I felt it was all coming to an end.  It was at this point that I discovered personal development.

A friend at work had been trying very hard for at least 6 months to get me along to a group she had found called the Font and in January I was finally ready.  Looking back I realised the timing was perfect for me and I was at last open to change in my life.

I went along to the introductory evening with slight trepidation and met a rather larger than life man, Christopher Nevill and he appeared to see straight through me.  I found this quite disarming if I am honest as I soon realised that I would get away with absolutely nothing should I sign up for his weekend’s ‘Life Training’ course called Harlequin.  Christopher had a knack of knowing exactly what I was all about and I didn’t have a clue what made me tick!  And rather than tell me what I needed to know to make my life so much better, I had to work it out for myself which quite frankly was very annoying.  At that time I didn’t know this was the only way that it could be.

I decided to go for it and although I really had no idea what to expect, I did know that I would never be the same again.  There were 22 of us on the course; the youngest being 18 and the oldest 72.  I defy anyone who says they are too old to change.

Was the experience amazing?  At the time it was pretty scary (understatement) as I was pushed way beyond my comfort zone much of the time, but the group gelled incredibly quickly and we soon became firm friends who wanted only the best for each other.  There were many lightbulb moments for me as I began peeling back the layers and I soon began to realise what a truly awesome woman I was. 

During the weekend there were many lectures, plenty of time for discussion, many processes designed to show us how we played the game of life and why we behave like we do.  I learned that we are the product of our parents and have many of their traits; both the good ones and the bad ones.  This was fine for me, but for others this was a great issue.  To understand that what you perceive as unreasonable behaviour displayed by someone you are close to (or anyone for that matter) is a part of you that you are not willing to accept, is mind-blowing.  Yet we are all good and bad and we need to accept every part of ourselves including our shadow self (perceived bad part).  

I still catch myself judging someone for an act that I don’t believe is reasonable and then try and work out when I do something similar on occasions.  The bottom line is that our lives are created through our life experiences and not one person has had the same life as us however similar our upbringings might have been.  We perceive things very differently from one another, so our judgements and assumptions of anyone else can never be correct.  Most of us don’t know how we ourselves tick let alone trying to work out how someone else ticks. 

I learned that I needed to accept everything about myself and if I discovered a part of my behaviour that I didn’t particularly like then I had the ability to change it.  Now changing a pattern of behaviour may not be easy, but it is definitely doable and it doesn’t have to be a difficult process.  We hang on to our tough upbringing, bad relationships, etc as if our life depends on it.  It may be what we have been taught, but it isn’t necessary.  When we become aware of how we react and behave, we move into constant learning of ourselves and our surroundings and realise that both positive and negative experiences are required to make us into the best we can be.  Obviously some life experiences are tougher to get through than others, but the relief once it has been let go is a feeling like no other. When that is dealt with our perception changes and we now have the space within to create a new and much happier life story.

On the weekend I learned of integrity; when what you say, do, think and feel is in line with your conscience.  When we act in a way that we believe someone else wants us to, we are no longer being true to our core being and therefore are not living in integrity.  I asked a male friend of mine recently why some men say they will call and then do not do it.  His answer was that they believe it makes us happy to hear this!  

I explained that the hurt we feel when no call arrives is twofold as an expectation has been set and not met and we are also disappointed not to have talked.  In their mind they may have been meaning to follow through and got sidetracked, and all of us are guilty of this at various times, so therein also lies personal responsibility.  We are all responsible for our actions and words, so let’s make them mean something and learn to only say we will do something if we are sure we can follow it through.

Chalice followed Harlequin, (I can’t believe I put myself in for another round), but the results gained were worth it and it was kind of addictive.  I loved the new changed me and I just wanted to learn more.  Previously I was always fixing everyone and I soon learned that the only person I could fix was me.  What I did discover however, was that I could help people to learn about themselves and in doing this empower them, allowing them to be personally responsible for the creation of their lives.  Each one of us deserves to have a wonderful abundant life and we can only get there by clearing our stuff and getting out of our own way.

Did I learn all this on one weekend?  Most definitely not!  I listened to many concepts, but it took a long while to integrate them into my life and I am still doing it.  Since my time in Johannesburg, I have studied, read and been to many lectures on all sorts of subjects.

So where am I now?
Having gone through all this myself I decided that I wanted to help others, but felt I needed to put some structure around what I had learned in order to do it. So now I am a certified Soul Coach and Past-Life Coach and am using this and all the knowledge I have picked up along the way to help people, through my company ‘Time 2 Be Me’, giving them the time, space and support required to allow them to understand and believe in themselves, so they can create positive change in their lives.  I firmly believe that we all deserve to be happy. It is our birthright.

To find out more about Emma's work visit her website at or email

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