James Stanfield - Man of Substance
LOCATION: Queensland, Australia
“How tall are you?” and “how’s the weather up there?” are two of the most common questions I hear. So, to clear the air I am 198cm or 6’6”. My height has always been a talking point which gives people an entry into starting up a conversation which far outweighs the repeated questions.
I struggled throughout my primary school years at a Catholic School where I was bullied due to my gentle nature and above average height. I never really felt comfortable smashing my body up in the playground with games like British Bulldog or Red Rover and I knew deep down that the religion aspect had a true foundation however the teachings never felt that way.
When I started high school, I had the opportunity to turn this all around so I seized it with both hands. I started calling myself Jim and would not back down if confronted. Growing six inches in year nine ensured I was no longer an easy target. During the years that followed I excelled in hurdles, high jump and AFL, for obvious reasons, and was named Sportsman of the Year in my senior year.
I went on to play semi-professional AFL in my early twenties, supporting myself by working full time as a Trainee Cartographer for a surveying company in Brisbane Queensland, where I have lived my whole life, and as the cherry on top I also studied cartography at the Queensland University of Technology at night. Needless to say, I had huge support from my parents enabling me to live at home while I was juggling life. However, with this support I was not only able to work and train hard but to play even harder as I didn’t have to take responsibility for any household duties. I received excellent marks and an academic prize for my studies, I won numerous trophies for my football skills including a Best and Fairest Award and was quickly promoted through the ranks at work once I finished my studies.
On the partying side of things, I also excelled, I would destroy my body whenever there was down time and would pick up girls to fuel my ego.
I had successfully shut down that gentle natured boy that I was from my primary school years.
I married in 1988 at the age of 24 and within 4 years had two daughters, had renovated our first home and moved to our second, as well as establishing a drafting business. I was working 50-70 hours a week, binge drinking on weekends and not discerning anything I ate. Along with the pressures of perfection I placed on myself with work and other projects, it was a recipe for disaster. I was in pure drive, kidding myself I had to provide a good life for my family. Many years of hangovers and wasted days of recovery culminated, at the age of 45, spending a night in hospital after a New Year’s Eve party.
My body was screaming at me and I had to start to listen.
On the outside it looked like I had it all, status, money, an attractive family, loads of friends, all from which I would take solace, thinking that life was pretty good. To be totally honest if I wasn’t on a high I was always feeling pretty down.
I would have moments of happiness when attending an event or party where I could drink, but overall I was bogged down in a world I had created, one that kept me shut down and stopped me from truly loving myself or anyone else in my life.
Everything I had created was a distraction from getting to know who I truly was and stopped me from being able to love or be loved.
My wife Anita was also looking for something that made life make sense when she found the teachings of Serge Benhayon. She knew immediately this was her new path to understanding life and herself. Being a bit of a sceptic and having a religious upbringing, it took me a few more years of observing and listening to align to what Serge was delivering. He once quoted the Dalai Lama in saying something along the lines of, before you study my teachings study the way I live. So, this I did and during this period I changed my diet and gave up drinking alcohol
Serge Benhayon makes life make sense, he delivers the truth and exposes what is not truth effortlessly without preaching. He lives his life with an equality for all and never demands or commands that you should or shouldn’t live a certain way of life but instead presents the cause and effect of choices.
I have now been married for over 30 years and have more clarity of who I am and what difference I can make in the world by being everything I can be. Over the years my diet has refined and I am not only gluten, dairy and alcohol free but also free of sugar and caffeine, for as my body healed from the rubbish I had polluted it with I was able to feel the effects on my body of everything I consumed, no matter how healthy it had been deemed.
My relationships with my wife and daughters has gone to a deeper level and we are spending more time together than I could ever have imagined
I am no longer stressed at work or with life in general; instead of having high and lows my days are well balanced, calm and constantly joyous. I am now not living a life orientated around myself and what that may look like to others; instead I am aware of what I can offer others by being all I can be.
By making my own choices and not being dictated to by society I am feeling more vital in my mid-fifties than I have ever felt and can say that each day is a joy to live.
I know that by taking responsibility and committing to making better choices that this not only benefits myself but everyone around me.