On the first of November 2006, I walked into the Ciampino terminal (Rome) from the plane that carried me from Australia. I was going to be living in Italy for 10 months with the sole intention of writing a book. I had packed up my life, gathered all of my savings, and possessing maybe two words of Italian (ciao and quando from the song ‘Quando, Quando, Quando’). I was going to live in the small southern mountain village called Monte San Biagio. As I walked across the tarmac something totally unexpected happened, I had an overwhelming sensation that I had come home! The roots of my family are Celt and so in terms of DNA there was no rationale, but the feeling was deep and antiquated.
Two weeks later, on the recommendation of the Aussie owners of my new Italian residence, I travelled to Monte Cassio to visit it’s famous abbey to witness Gregorian Chanting. As the mass was about to commence, I sought a position of vantage in the congregation so I could take in all of the elements of this experience, both visual and auditory. The cathedral was hushed as parishioners and visitors sat redundant, awaiting the commencement of the mass. I was seated a few moments, listening to the first few stanzas of chanting, when a swell of feeling filled my heart. As it expanded through my chest I became aware of tears blurring my vision, which immediately began to trickle down my cheeks. Within moments the sensation diffused through my whole body, culminating in awareness that I would simply call joy.
At that point I heard a voice and I turned thinking someone was talking to me. But, it was an inner voice. “Welcome back. You have chosen to return to complete a work you previously began, but never finished, and you have been drawn to the place where it commenced. You were ready to share this knowledge and understanding at another time, but it was premature and your work was befittingly interrupted. It is appropriate that you return to this place to recommence the work.” Ten months later I completed the first draft of the manuscript that I self-published in 2009, Metanoia, Renovating the House of Your Spirit.
In 2010 I went into quite a deep depression. My book wasn’t a run away bestseller. In fact, most of the 1000 copies I had self-published were still sitting in my garage. I recall one particular day where I ‘wrestled with God’ about the fact that I thought this had been divinely inspired, and as such wanted to know quando, when would it be successful. That night I had a dream where I was told to focus on just four chapters in my book, and that its real purpose would be revealed from there. A few days later a call for help came from a friend in New Zealand, and that was the birth of the Enhances Awareness Program.
Those four chapters became the foundation of a mindfulness mentoring program that I went on to develop. One that over the next ten years would profoundly touch the lives of hundreds of people in ways that just reading my book never would have done. It’s true, God works in mysterious ways!
Russell Sturgess is a thought leader in Western Mindfulness. Russell’s vision is to have as many people as possible being aligned with a reality in which peace and healing pervades the world. He invites you to share in his vision, either by participating in one of his programs or by becoming an EAP Mentor.
Phone: (+61) 405 711 771