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Speaking from the ‘I’: Jean-Felix Callens

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Programme.

Jean-Felix Callens attended The Quest Workshop in November 2014…..

What brought you to The Quest Programme?

Firstly, it was recommended by my psychotherapist. Secondly, it was recommended by two close friends.

What was your experience of The Quest Programme?

It was life affirming and life changing. I experienced “a before and an after” The Quest. I had done a lot of work on myself prior to attending the programme and The Quest did not only consolidate this work, but it also took it much further. Darren and Ade have designed a solid and powerful programme that took me on a challenging and supportive journey of self-discovery in a diverse group of gay man who are all, included myself, learning to love and accept ourselves on a deeper level.

Was it what you expected? Tell us how

IMG_2547It was, and much more. I was expecting a programme that explored how growing up gay, in straight family, had impacted my life. I did get that, but I got a lot more as well. Before The Quest, I had explored what being congruent and connected to myself was all about. However, Ade, Peter and Darren, through creating a caring, supportive and challenging environment, also helped me understand the importance, and the necessity, of being authentic and what this implied. It’s not that this was completely new to me, but it felt new because I got a real sense of the impact this could have on my life, and on the life of the people I interact with. I’m still working on this, and will be for the rest of my life.

What did you get from the programme?

The most valuable thing I got out of the programme was the realization that I still held homophobic views about being gay and that this was accompanied by a consequential amount of shame. This learning was important and the programme gave me a safe place to explore how these feelings of shame impacted my life and the unhelpful strategies that I put in place to compensate. I am now able to recognized when some of them quick in, and why they do, and this helps to let go of these unhelpful strategies and achieve more authenticity. Of course, this is still work in progress but, at least, I am on the right path thanks to exploring them during The Quest.

What difference has the workshop made to your life now?

I feel like I belong to a community, the gay community, and I feel happy and content with this. This helps me feel more comfortable when I am among heterosexual people as I can accept myself on a deeper level and don’t feel the need to advertise or to hide my sexuality – I can share it if it feels relevant. This is a precious gift and I am grateful that Ade and Darren created The Quest and that I was able to take part in it.

To find out more about The Quest Workshop or to register, click here.

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