By Andrew Cuerden
I wanted to write this blog is to give a context or better understanding of who I am and how I intend to be of service to the world in the coming days, months and years but also how my life journey has brought me to this point of being a co-creator of Soulhub.
Essentially this story is about my relationship with exploring honest self-awareness and being my fullest expression. I have thought about sharing it publicly for many years now. There are no grand “Skeletons” worth a TV show, but more just an illogical and unnecessary shame that needs to be purged.
So why share it now?
I feel that perhaps my story is not that uncommon and many people during these very challenging times are quite possibly feeling the same and perhaps me sharing my story will inspire others to speak-up or at the least self-enquire about their own story, beliefs and faith.
I have been on a very long journey of self-realisation and healing, probably since birth. But for some reason I have never felt capable or good enough to be my honest and fullest expression. I was incredibly sensitive and shy as a child and only through my dancing career was I able to dissolve some of that fear or shame of not being “enough”.
However since moving into my 40’s I am finally starting to see, believe and appreciate my own unique worth, feeling free of judgement or competition with and from others and therefore much more permission and acceptance to be my fullest unapologetically unique self, imperfections, weirdness and all! Even more so now as I move into my older years where my body is not what it was.
I am sure many things have lead me this point. But part of this realisation has only really come through learning experientially the true importance of honest self-awareness and expression. The process of getting to truly know and express myself fully and honestly, as often as I can and however I can, has meant that now I can find more moments of peace and clarity of mind, and therefore overall empowerment, freedom and healing.
Which is where I feel my service to the world lies, in helping and empowering people to know and authentically express themselves, primarily through movement but in many others ways too.
Mainstream culture is thankfully evolving more rapidly now to a point where it is more acceptable to participate in and talk about such topics as mental health, mindfulness, meditation and even…Spirituality, although that is still quite a triggering or misunderstood word for many.
If you think back only 5-10 years ago, all these topics where seen as weird fringe activities within mainstream culture. Now…Yoga, Mind-fullness, Meditation, Holistic Wellbeing, and Spiritual teachers etc are popping up all over the place. Which is wonderful because now I don’t feel like the only weirdo in the room. However much of the “Spiritual” world is becoming diluted, commercialised and fake…but that is not what I am here to share.
Growing up in a radically spiritual / metaphysical religion within a very conservative patriarchal culture of South Africa, meant I did not feel able or safe to speak about my deepest beliefs such as the metaphysical nature and meaning of life, death etc to anyone really, except my family and a few fellow religious friends. I was not even really able to share these beliefs with my life partners until I was in my 30’s. No surprise then that my marriage failed…I was not able to show up fully or connect authentically.
After my marriage ended I vowed that I would seek out like-minded people with whom I could discuss such matters with, and as always, the Universe slowly and gracefully delivered those people into my life. From then on my spiritual journey started to gain momentum and I felt a little more complete.
However, unhealed life traumas meant that this new momentum was only going to pick up speed and end up in my life crashing in a heap in 2015 with chronic depression, anxiety, skin disorders, digestive issues, full body joint pain, sleep disorders, viruses etc.
As with everything however, you can either choose to see the negative or the positive. At the time, I can honestly say I mostly saw the negative and felt like the wheels had come off my life. But looking back I see it was when that I just upgraded my wheels and went 4×4, ready for a bumpy but liberating an amazing ride of my life! I guess I will always be grateful to my ex-wife for her bravery in owning and courageously following her heart or gut instincts and leaving me as it was exactly what we both needed.
2016 at the age of 40, I got rid of 80% of my worldly belongings and went solo travelling around Cuba, US, Canada and South Africa for about 6 months. This epic journey and midlife recalibration was exactly what I needed. After running, fairly unconsciously, on life’s treadmill for 20 years since emigrating to the UK, I just stopped and slowed right down! Just like now…in this time of Lockdown, I was able to start plumbing the depths of my soul, asking and really feeling into life’s most ancient and important questions such as Who am I really, without money, without a job, without a partner or possessions? What do I deeply love? What do I deeply fear? And how can I be of best service to the world? I have since learnt that this is a never ending and evolving process.
As I have journeyed through life “The Universe”, “God”, an “Infinite Higher Power” or whatever you want to call it has brought the most incredible teachers, guides, angels, mentors and experiences into my life that it has not only deepened my faith in such an Infinite Higher Power but I have come to deeply experience the Godliness or Christ Consciousness within us all.
I don’t follow any one religion or faith but endeavour to curiously and compassionately explore many gnostic paths to find the common golden thread that unites them all. With these golden threads I weave a metaphoric net with which to gather, understand and appreciate life’s moment to moment contrasts of Ying and Yang, light and dark. Again looking back, Dance has also been one my greatest life / spiritual teachers and why now it is one of my greatest practical tools for living and teaching.
Humans are always very quick to use difference to create division and hierarchy. “My beliefs or my God, or my skin or hair colour, my country, my education, my career or whatever is, is better or more right than yours.” There is always a ‘them’ and ‘us’ and one always needs to have the power. Which I now find absolutely absurd!! I know it is built into our reptilian or cavemen brains that Stranger = Danger…but COME ON PEOPLE it’s 2021 and we have the internet in the age of data overload….can we please GET OVER our petty contextual intellectual differences and unite through our human hearts and earth based commonality?? It is exactly through interconnected diversity of everything, that this planet will find its strength, evolution and health.
I remember growing up and learning that around the dinner table with “Strangers” one should never talk about religion, politics or sex…well SCREW THAT! For if we cannot peacefully and compassionately sit around the table with others, of potentially differing views, and discuss such powerful matters, then the human species is doomed. Our thoughts, beliefs, CULT-ures, languages, sports teams etc are NOT who we really are at the core of our identity. They just form our egotistical personalities which are constantly changing. Yet we are always so quick to condemn or kill others for theirs!
So just when I had almost fully healed from all my chronic dis-eases and life seemed to be getting back on track, 2020 happened. Except this time, living day by day in the “uncontrollable-unknown” and losing everything was not my first Rodeo, so from the start of this pandemic I vowed to myself that no matter what happened, I was NOT going to follow or serve that slippery slope that is FEAR. But instead trust and have faith in that higher power which I had come to know experientially, which meant I vowed to deliberately and practically serve Love and Honesty.
That meant even more open-minded and heart self-exploration of myself and how I can be of service.
The Universe/God, then introduced to me, Carmen, a truly incredible, loving, wise and inspirational being into my life. Who has effortlessly become my best friend, soulmate and co-creator in life and business. Through her open heartedness, has allowed me the space to be whoever I am or want to be. We have many deep, honest and challenging conversations which are not always enjoyable but ultimately healing.
Like me, Carmen has also chosen the road less travelled, following her heart, soul and passions. She left the safety of corporate employment life to travel the world, climb mountains, sail oceans, get married, get divorced, retrain and become an entrepreneur and basically choosing to live life freely on the edge. As result lockdown with her has been a truly magical and blessed time despite the social and economic challenges induced by Lockdown.
It is really no surprise or accident then that our paths have crossed. Carmen and I see and navigate life in very similar ways as well as share many similar goals. We gain as much fulfilment from supporting and championing each other’s personal goals as we do in joyfully co-creating our joint dreams of Soulhub.
No one ever truly knows the full picture or can control what tomorrow brings. But with a slightly clearer understanding of who I am, what I deeply love and fear and how I can be of unique service. I look forward to enthusiastically and humbly serving the world by inspiring and encouraging, in myself and others, greater awareness, presence and compassionate connection, whilst supporting authentic self-expression, healing and empowerment for all.
This will gently manifest in a variety of ways, such as how I interact on social media, some new and exciting business offerings now as a metaphysical / spiritual / life / dance teacher but also just being a person with whom anyone can feel safe to share their story with, in non-judgemental or “you need fixing” way but just a fellow human who is happy to listen with an open heart and mind. So don’t be shy, be honest, be brave and reach out either to me or someone you trust.
With sincerest appreciation for you kind attention. I wish you all a wonderful 2021 during which I hope to connect with you either online or in person.
Be honest, be kind and be well.