Brad Burchnell’s story reflects the desire to burn baggage that no longer assists his journey,
and to recover from the tragedy of his daughter’s suicide. Burning the Baggage is rarely easy,
but often necessary. Here’s Brad’s version of it.
You start taking a hard look at who you are as a person, defining what your hurts are, what you really know about you, and start identifying that, journaling, and writing. A big component of it was writing letters to those who hurt me. That really helped, especially with all my family issues, and the suicide of my daughter.
Doing that is cathartic because when you end up looking at it, you force yourself to look at who you really are, and that's a moment you'll never get back. As you look at yourself…you start reframing, rebuilding acceptance for yourself. Your healing journey comes with self-compassion, self-love, and self-forgiveness. That’s a major portion of the healing of the heart, soul, and spirit.
I was talking about this to my boss a month ago, and the first thing he said was, you know it's been about a year, how do you feel? I said I feel great, I have the most peace I've ever had. Being at peace, and being able to smile again, I feel happy almost every morning. It’s very rare that I'm unhappy.
My practice is pretty consistent: I get up, go to my basement which is also my gym, with a candle I keep a low light, and I put on some spiritual music. I meditate while walking on the treadmill for half an hour. It helps from the standpoint of starting and finishing the same way every day. I also do gratitude journaling.
It becomes a real challenge, because people fool themselves, saying I’m doing great, and doing fine. I said that for a long time. Part of the problem comes from masculinity…because we (men) have a lack of trust in vulnerability. We see it as a weakness. Exploring my core values was really understanding what makes me uniquely me. It’s been good for me going through this part where I'm by myself, especially as we're going into my least favorite time of the year in Michigan.
Every day I make a choice to be happy. I still have bad days, but they're not nearly as bad or long as they used to be. Attention-grabbing people do the floodlighting for effect to overshare, and I was doing that. Last year was bad, because I was in pain, and didn't know how to control it. Then I started journaling. If you generate it outward, and write it down, also sharing it with somebody that's worthy of sharing it with, sometimes it's not even your best friend. Sometimes it’s someone that will provide that safe space, not be judgmental. It's a difficult balance. There are people who the first thing they do is say ‘Why would you do that?’ Or which is worse. ‘oh you poor thing…’ That’s pouring gasoline on the fire.
My friend R is making decisions right now too. I told her, here's a practice I learned from a friend of mine, Mariah. R, do you look in the mirror? She goes, of course. I said, do you tell yourself affirmations? She said like what? I said, well this isn’t like little girls in a mirror saying I love my mom, I love dad, my hair looks great. It's looking in the mirror saying I appreciate you; I appreciate where you came from; I love you.
The lesson I've learned is that you’re the author of your own life. You get to choose what your ending looks like, and if you don't choose, it will be chosen for you.
Brad Burchnell is the Founder and Chief Heartset Officer/Coach of From My Heart to Yours, LLC (www.fmhtyllc.com) located in Roseville, MI, where here he provides his presence, compassion, empathy, intent, and integrity to assisting his clients to realize a renewed heartset and mindset that leads them to a deep sense of peace and joy.
Brad has a diverse background of writing, and in leadership that includes serving in the US Navy as a Chief Petty Officer in the field of Meteorology and Oceanography for 15 years, Senior positions in manufacturing that included him serving as the onsite Senior Executive of a $4.5 million operation, and also serving as a leader and assistant leader of a faith-based grief support for over seven years.
He is a graduate of Fresno State University where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Technology, Manufacturing, as well as, post-graduate work in the field of counseling from Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. He is blessed with a son-in-law married to his oldest surviving daughter and grandson,
and his youngest daughter is seeking a Master’s Degree at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.
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