A Powerful Lens For Self-Love And Inspiring Vulnerability A Powerful Lens For Self-Love And Inspiring Vulnerability

A Powerful Lens For Self-Love And Inspiring Vulnerability

There are so many great topics and thought-leaders yet, on occasion, something, or someone touches us so deeply that we feel compelled to showcase their work in a series of articles.

The man is Andy Chaleff. We meet on the ship deck of a cruise liner at an event called “Summit as Sea“, a series that gathers some of today’s leaders and creators on a voyage to foster creativity and connection. From John Legend to Eric Schmidt, and a ton of startup CEOs – it was a wild cruise.

Andy Inspire Vulnerability Tour Fox News @KTVU

Summit at Sea 2015

The Summit At Sea Event – Photo Credit Loic Le Meur

Summit at Sea 2015

Summit at Sea- Talks- Esther Perel. credit: Loic Le Meur

I met Andy at a small breakout group that invites spiritually-minded people to come together. Although the boat has a few thousand passengers, there are only 4 of us that show up. 

He dresses in a solid polo shirt and cargo pants. He is well kept and clearly not too fussed about his outward appearance. It’s hard to tell his age as his attitude gives the impression that he may be younger than his grey hair makes him appear. At first glance, I am not drawn to him, as he does not fit the free-spirited souls that I tend to be drawn towards. But that quickly changes. 

Photo Credit AndyChaleff.com

He asks, “what makes you come to this group?”

I answer, “I’m looking for like-minded people to share some time with. It appears that there are not many of us.”

Our talk goes from the common to a deep discussion around some of my most private life experiences. In a matter of minutes, we are sharing a deeply connected space. Although this is not unheard of in my life, there was a quality to our interaction that could best be described as “other.” I feel a bit like I’ve consumed a drug without having taken anything. It was as if Andy was wearing a pair of glasses with a certain filter that I could only see when he gave them to me for a while to try on. It was a contact high. 

Andy’s lens had so many apparent contradictions that I could not make sense of it. He was irreverent and loving. He was playful and deadly serious. He was a walking contradiction. And all with no pretense. Just a person fully comfortable being himself. 

Photo Credit Andy’s #InspireVulnerability Work

Photo Credit Andy’s #InspireVulnerability Work

Photo Credit Andy’s #InspireVulnerability Work

Photo Credit Andy’s #InspireVulnerability Work

The one thing that I took away from our first talk was acceptance and love. He showed me in no uncertain terms that my life was a projection that I was not completely reflecting upon. Don’t get me wrong, I had done a relatively healthy amount of internal work, but Andy was asking me to take one more step into oblivion. I was accepting my stories as true without looking through them with a different lens. 

One of those lenses was the relationship with my father. Andy has a similar father to that of my own, a bit loud and inappropriate. A bit aggressive and unconcerned about the impact of that aggression on his environment. Although we both shared similar fathers, it was apparent that Andy had made not only peace with the situation, but an acceptance that went well beyond that.

His words hit me in a way that I could not ignore that I was not yet able to make such peace with my own father. This took me on a journey, not only with my father but with a new friend that I had made in the most unlikely of places. 

When I asked him about it, he said, “I did not forgive my dad. I forgave myself for never truly seeing him. His way of living was something that I could not embrace as a child and I judged him. I later learned how to love him even more for the things I once judged him for.” 

We parted and did not speak for about a year but his wisdom stayed with me. When we met the next time, we were both at different points in our lives. He had just finished writing a book, The Last Letter”, and I had just begun the next phase of work.

Photo Credit TheLastLetter.com

He told me about the book, which was featured on Buzzworthy. After one of our talks, he told me, “I’m dropping everything and driving across America for 3 months to invite people to write letters to loved ones.”

Photo Credit: Article Image – Alexander Milov Burning Man Sculpture

If I had heard this plan to devotedly tour the nation from any other person, I might have questioned their capacity to put something like this into the world, but I was quite sure that he would find a way to turn this dream into a reality.

Photo Credit Roadtrippers.com

Photo Credit AndyChaleff.com

Photo Credit AndyChaleff.com

On the last leg of this journey, he came to the Buzzworthy offices, where he held a Last Letter session for about 20 close friends and associates. 

Photo Credit AndyChaleff.com

He shared his life story with such honesty and grace, I could not have imagined that he had hosted 40 such sessions over the 2 months prior to our meeting.

Photo Credit TheLastLetter.com

And now one year later he comes to me with his next project, another book, The Wounded Healer. It is based on his 3-month journey through the US and powerful practice that he has done with me for years, “Projection and Reclamation work.”

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See What Experts Are Saying Below About “The Wounded Healer: A Journey in Radical Self-Love, Now Available on Amazon.

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His message is quite strange for someone in the personal development space, “If you need me, then I’m doing something wrong. If we work together it is all about you embracing everything that you judge about others, and therefore yourself.”

And as Andy does not mix words he starts with the one person he already knows that I judge, my father.

He starts, as he almost always does, by asking me what it is about his behavior I judge.

He sees me resist and move to soften all the words that are floating around in my head. He smiles, as he often does, and twists my words into a statement that although might be true, verges on the aggressive. Exactly the aggression that I tend to avoid. The way that I don’t want to be like my father. 

“You don’t like your dad. You hate him.” He sees me squirm as I try to lessen his words to make them more socially acceptable. 

He continues. “Simply acknowledge it. You hate your dad. Do me a favor and say it. ‘I hate my dad.’”

Even though I protest, he insists and I hear myself say the words, “ I hate my dad” 

He asks me to repeat it a few times and end it with and it’s okay. I repeat the same phrase a few times ending it with “and it’s okay.” I feel my body soften as I make peace with the thought. Andy smiles as he sees me relax. He says,” you tell yourself a lie so that you can feel the deeper truth.”

I feel the deeper truth. In saying that I hate my father and that’s okay I’m giving the thought permission to live in my head. I’m not fighting it anymore and thereby it loses the control it has over me. I see my aversion to being perceivably confrontational with others lighten.

We play with thought after thought and Andy catches any time that I try to shortcut the exercise through rationality. In essence, he helps me see through my own thoughts. As if he’s a Geiger counter and each time a radioactive thought comes into my mind, he points it out with a laser like precision. As he invites me to reclaim one phrase after another, I begin to see the peace that comes to one’s mind when they are so accepting of everything around them. I begin to see the filter that Andy is looking through life and realize that that is what pure love looks like. It does not expect and then act. It acts and then is surprised with gratitude. 

In this second book, The Wounded Healer, Andy shares story after story of people as they overcome the pain, fear and self-doubt that we all face. There is even a story where I am the lead protagonist, the chapter entitled “my unreliable friend.”

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Andy is offering his exceptional coaching as a gift to experience this body of work and new book. Join any of the 4 free digital workshop dates below: Become Your Own Healer Workshop: making peace with your emotional trigger

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It’s individuals like him that are an example of what they teach and it’s exactly that reason that I spend this time celebrating his work in the world. If you have the opportunity to pick up The Wounded Healer, you won’t be disappointed. As its tagline suggests, it’s a journey in radical self-love. 

As a gift to Buzzworthy readers, Andy is sharing 20 stories from his new book over the next 5 months. There are all stories of individuals that have found radical self-love in situations that many of us can identify with. The series is called “20 Wondrous Self-Love Stores.”