One day, about 12 years ago, I woke up, looked at my girlfriend of 11 years, and suddenly, it was clear we had broken up long ago, but just hadn’t had the courage to admit it. I was confused and despondent for almost a year. My tears flowed freely, shame and recrimination came easily and in equal measure. Our friends all thought we were the perfect couple, and apparently, we had fooled ourselves as well. I moved out of the house we had bought together, and ended up selling it to her for $1. How did this happen?
This was the beginning of the most amazing decade of my life.
Looking deep inside, I realized I had been unhappy for a long, long time — far longer than 11 years. I found a men’s group which gave me a solid grounding in uncovering the mystery of my emotions, moved to California, started swing dancing 4 nights a week, got in shape for the first time in my life, lived on the beach, discovered the many secrets of San Francisco, attracted teachers of astonishing wisdom, climbed mountains, started writing poetry, and faced down my deepest fears one by one.
I saw a talented therapist that first year after breaking up. She told me a great secret. Human beings like to create systems. Systems simplify the tasks of dealing with the world. We want to believe they will last forever, but, usually, they only last for about 10 to 20 years.
It’s kind of like this:
You’re 8 years old, and one day, you eat everything on your plate, and your mother says, quite innocently “what a good boy,” and touches you, lovingly on the head. So, after 8 long years on planet earth, you have finally discovered the meaning of life. Eat everything on your plate, and your mommy will love you. You test the theory when you are 9, and again when you are 10. Sure enough, the principle holds; this is the meaning of life. Whew, that was hard, but now that you figured it out, you ain’t never opening that can of worms again. Fast forward. You are 30 years old, live 3,000 miles away, and weigh 300 pounds. You are shoveling down everything on your plate, and suddenly you stop, catch yourself, and ask “why am I doing this?”
There is nothing wrong with you. It was a really good strategy for getting vital acknowledgement when you were young. It’s just time to shift the conversation.
For me, it was time to learn that I am a creature who feels, and it would be several more painful ends-to-relationships before I grasped that lesson. As Mary Oliver says,“You only need to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” My girlfriend had tried to tell me, but I couldn’t hear her. I had become exceptionally good at logic — which has served me well in my life — but did not realize I was also using it to avoid feeling. That was a good strategy for avoiding intolerable feelings when I was young, but it doesn’t help a whole lot when trying to create a satisfying relationship, based on love, or when discovering what excites me about getting up in the morning.
My teachers are poets, shamans, coaches, therapists, artists, leaders among men, dancers, masters of love and self-determination.
This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.
~ David Whyte
After over a decade of searching, it is astonishing to realize, I have arrived. I have the life I love, and have sought for so long. The process of getting here has been so breathtakingly beautiful, there is nothing I would rather do with my life than help you do the same. Now I am using the tool-sets I have taken so many years to learn to help you come alive, and discover the life of your dreams.