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 © David Sutcliffe 2019

Some of you may know me as an actor from TV shows like Gilmore Girls and Private Practice. 

 

For twenty years I had the good fortune to work with some of the most talented people in Hollywood. It was a dream come true.

 

But at the height of my success in 2006, I had a subtle but lingering feeling of dissatisfaction. It was hard to reconcile, because on the surface I had it all — a TV series, two movies coming out, a beautiful home, and an amazing girlfriend. What did I possibly have to be unhappy about?

 

Then my girlfriend dumped me. And my TV series was canceled.

 

I’d faced heartbreak and disappointment before, but for some reason this time it floored me. All my doubts and fears came rising to the surface, overwhelming me. I couldn’t make sense of it, couldn’t find my way out. I spiraled into a depression, questioning everything about my life. 

A friend suggested I attend a “Radical Aliveness” workshop at the Esalen Institute, the famous retreat center in Big Sur, California. I’d done my share of therapy, but nothing could have prepared me for the experience I was about to have. For six days, with a group of twenty people, I dove head-first into my most intense emotions, uncovering a world of feeling buried inside me since I was boy

I felt how painful was the impact of my parent's divorce when I was six, and the fear and anxiety it left me with. I felt my anger toward my mother for leaving my father, and how much I longed for his presence and love.   

 

I saw how I'd disowned these feelings, putting on a front for the world to see, and how this self-denial was manifesting in resentment, isolation, and self-loathing.

 

And I saw how these unresolved emotions were influencing the choices I was making in my career and relationships. I was acting out a script written in my childhood, replaying an old story. I was trapped in cycle, defending myself from pain. 

 

It was revelation. I saw myself and everything around me in a completely new way, and was filled with hope for the healing I only now realized I needed. 

 

This began a twelve-year journey of deep self-exploration that's become my life’s work. 

I attended Radical Aliveness workshops as often as I could, ultimately graduating from the four-year certification program for practitioners. 

 

I studied mediation, yoga, breath work, hypnosis, dreams, and shamanism.

 

I read everything I could on psychology, consciousness, and human optimization.

 

I produced a documentary series about a group therapy retreat like the one I attended. I wanted everyone to see and experience this ground-breaking work.  

 

During this time I continued to act, but as I began to facilitate workshops of my own, I realized my heart was no longer in it.  

And so I’ve shifted my focus. My mission now is to share what I’ve learned, to create and inspire, and contribute what I can toward healing and empowerment through my workshops, coaching, and creative projects. 

 

I still have my moments of doubt and fear, but I’ve developed a set of guiding principles and practical tools that keep me grounded and focused through life’s inevitable challenges. And most importantly, I reach out for support when I need it. 

 

None of us can do it alone. We all need friends, family, coaches, and mentors to help guide us through, and remind us of our beauty and brilliance when we forget to see it in ourselves.

 

We all have something unique and powerful to give to the world; and a deep longing to express our gifts fully, make a contribution, and fulfill our highest potential.

 

If you’ve been waiting to commit to yourself -- to your mission, to your life — the time is now. If you feel the call to something greater, please answer it. The world needs you.

 

You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going or how you’ll get there. You just have to trust the wisdom of the voice inside you whispering there’s something more to all this -- there’s something more inside you -- and trust that everything you want is on the other side of saying yes.