I quietly swooned in the front row as Russell Brand gave a talk about his experience of the 12-step programme at St Mary’s University in Twickenham last night. What a man. How wonderful it was to listen to someone who is slightly more insane than I am!
All joking aside, his story resonates with me. In case you didn’t know, he was a drug, alcohol, sex and food addict who found salvation in the 12-step programme, which in essence is about rigorous self-enquiry, taking responsibility for your actions and surrendering to a higher power. It is exactly what Marion is asking us to do during our year-long spiritual mentoring course.
You could hear a pin drop in that hall in-between the laughter. It is refreshing to hear a celebrity being so real. Trust me, in the 30+ years I spent interviewing stars of the big and small screen, I can count the number of people who were truly authentic on one hand. It was all PR darling.
During his talk, Russell gave us an example of the level of self-enquiry required for a person to unfuck themselves. He wrote down the most recent thing that had narked him – the fact that he was late for the talk, it was only by 18 minutes and I don’t know about everyone else, but I thought it was very rock ‘n’ roll.
He said it was his assistant Charlie’s fault, but looking deeper, he realised he had to take responsibility. Why was he outsourcing so much of his life? Shouldn’t he be in charge of his diary and why didn’t he check the time? The event was listed online, so it wouldn’t have been difficult.
After digging deeper, he realised that the underlying emotion driving his irritation was fear, a fear that his career might end. ‘Who am I without it?’ he asked. Russell recognised his attachment to his career and how it gives him a feeling of self-worth. A truly enlightened person is not attached to anyone or anything. They don’t look outside for recognition, it is all within.
And that is how Russell lives his life on a daily basis, by taking responsibility for his actions, looking at his negative behaviours and asking: ‘What lies beneath this?’
If you are a fan of Russell’s, you’ll know that he has dabbled in politics, but he’s had enough of that. Instead, he wants to create a new way of being, of living. A society where we see the beauty in one another and it’s not all ‘me, me, me’. His hope is that capitalism as it stands, will wither and die on the branch. Anyway, I’m in. I want to be part of that movement.
I was really buoyed by the event. It confirmed to me that yes, I am on the right path, even though right now, it feels treacherous and full of pot holes. What’s more, I went along with a fellow traveller from the year-long mentoring group. I had meant to go home early, but we had such a fabulous chat in a snug pub by the river, the hours melted away.
This morning I had an interview with someone from The Hoxby Collective and am keeping my fingers-crossed as I would love to be a part of it. They stand for everything I believe in – loving your work and doing it your way, ie not in a rigid 9-5 fashion. PR is not my future, copywriting is. My intention is set and from now on, I will look for opportunities and inspiration that takes me a step closer to that goal.
Even better, I’ve found a microphone that works with my new iPad Pro. Thank-you Apogee! This means I can start adding podcasts to this blog and I intend to begin by interviewing Marion. I’m not sure she’s looking forward to it, but I will be gentle with her (ish).
As for you know who, he is still there, but a little faded this morning. I’ve experienced pinpricks of joy in the last 24-hours and hope this means that the sun is about to rise on my dark night of the soul.
PS The picture accompanying this post is the biscuit you get at Russell’s talks. Ironic as my own personal addiction is sugar. I even ate my friend’s biscuit! Ooops.