Do you want more happiness in your life? Do you want more joy? Do you want better connection with your kids, your partner, yourself? These are some of the things which an Insight Seminar promises. As for me, a born sceptic, although the ad grabbed my intention, I was dubious, to say the least. That was back in the summer of 2000. A time, when I was a successful barrister, earning plenty of money with a husband and no shortage of friends. No reason to complain and certainly plenty to be grateful for. And yet there was something missing. Something which was hard to define though I knew, somewhere in my heart, I would recognise it if I found it.

And so I found myself at an Insight I Seminar. I was resistant. I was defensive. I hung at the back of the room, like some truculent teenager, where I passed the time double guessing the two facilitators and participants. By the second day I knew I had had enough. It was high summer and sitting with friends drinking a bottle of chilled white wine seemed a much better option. I was not coming back the next day, or indeed any day. Or so I thought, because that evening, before I got a chance to throw the towel in, something happened. As I listened to peoples’ stories, sometimes reticent often nervous, as I listened to their hopes, their fears, their dreams, something inside of me stirred. What it was, I learnt later, was that emotional baggage I had lugged round, often without realising, had begun to loosen and as it loosened my attitude towards the seminar began slowly to change. I found that my resistance was less, my defensiveness lowered. I don’t now remember whether I stood up and shared that night though my guess is I didn’t.

The next day, much to my surprise, I found that without actually doing anything, I was eager and enthusiastic to go back for more. Despite my best intentions however, I was delayed by a clothes crisis as to what to wear and arrived late. Although rarely, if ever, late for work I was regularly late in my personal life. No surprises there then. What did surprise me was my reaction. I was furious with myself.
‘What was I making more important than being on time?’ the cool dude facilitator asked me in his rather sexy, American accent. ‘Did I make work and others more important than myself?’ And then, turning to the group he said:
‘There are people who I love with all my heart and soul and I have no idea who the hell they are.’
Those words stopped me in my tracks. They hit me with a force, a recognition, a knowing that although I was nearly forty years old, I had no idea who the hell I was. The pain of that realisation was both sharp and liberating. Yes, I, the hard bitten criminal defence lawyer, broke down and cried and cried some more and then I laughed. The release of old stuck emotions felt so good! And what’s more, I continued to laugh for the rest of the seminar. I enjoyed myself. And I connected with people in a way that was new and exciting.

That, in short, was my experience of Insight I. For you, it may well be different. What I do know, though, is that if you participate and are willing to take the risk you will not be disappointed. What is so amazing about this seminar is that because the processes are experiential, your experience and learning will be unique to you. You may leave the seminar with new eyes viewing everything afresh. Or you may find the process is more gradual and that over time your awareness deepens until suddenly one day you realise how far you’ve come. Whatever your experience, it will certainly be life-changing.

164111903Mary Mckeone was a practising barrister for 25 years. For the first 10 years of her career she practised in London before moving to Manchester in late1999. She is married with one daughter and is currently pursuing her lifelong dream of writing as a career.