A short journey into my spiritual life
In my coaching work with people over the years I have seen a majority of people go through their personal growth crisis in their early thirties. I as well found myself at an intense turning point at 30 yrs. old.
Here is a snapshot into what I was experiencing:
* My marriage of over 10 years had ended.
This unhealthy and destructive relationship had taken a huge toll on me. I was suffering greatly. I was confused and unclear about what to do with my life.
And I had a son and stepson that I was partially responsible for.
* I was stressed out as my two businesses were failing and crashing.
* My life as a musician and trying to “make it” was no longer appealing to me. Playing in bars and clubs had lost the “sexy” appeal.
* The beautiful (post-divorce) relationship I was in ended. That was the final push into my unavoidable tailspin.
You could say I was a wreck. Everything that I had cultivated in my life was burning.
In my suffering and loneliness I had suicidal thoughts plaguing me often. I would spend hours alone in tears and self-hatred. I did not like my life, nor did I like myself and the ways I acted.
As I sit here writing this and feeling into the devastation I felt at that time, I can sense into the darkness that was slowly trying to swallow me whole.
I had a choice. Break down or break wide open. It is the common crossroads we all face when going through major crises.
For me, the relief that I found was in spiritual practices I was slowly acquainting myself with.
And sitting in circle with other conscious Men.
The more I suffered, the more I wanted relief and the more I committed myself to personal evolution. And honestly, the reason I did this is because I would feel little glimpses of grace each time I was engaged in my growth practices. But I still didn’t know how to affect greater change; I was lost in the intensity of the storm.
My Teacher Arrives
I was very clear I needed more intensive help to transform myself. My wish for authentic teachings very quickly brought my first teacher to me. I can remember sitting at home wishing for help, and the next day running into someone that invited me to a yoga and healing retreat.
It was there that I met my first teacher there. I was ready, so I dove in and within a month I had put all my belongings into storage and moved into a crazy wisdom spiritual community. I began to learn about Tantric Buddhism, Sufism, Taoism, meditation and other traditions. I had no idea what I was in for, not at all!
The first and last teaching
The first teaching I was given was to cultivate a prayer that “my longing for growth would be the greatest desire of my life”.
I focused on that prayer daily and it became the energy that fueled me through the very rough times. The desire for growth was stronger than my want to quit and return to an unhealthy lifestyle. I still use it to this day.
I began intensive practice in yoga, meditation, and breath practice. I also employed just about every conceivable personal growth tool: communication, shadow work, belief reprogramming, conscious speech and visualization practice and many more.
Things get worse before it gets better
As I began to deepen in serious personal/spiritual growth practices, my anger and fear increased as well as my confusion about my purpose in life. My constant longing for relief felt like a fire burning me up.
Through my deep wish to grow, my neurotic, and previously unconscious habitual tendencies were brought to the surface. By entering into the teachings I began to see how my own mind worked. It wasn’t long before I was thrust into what the Sufi’s call the “Tunnel of Madness”.
The thing that created the most change for me was the un-conventional practices and guidance my teacher gave me. I was experiencing the power of changing who I thought I was from the inside out.
(I was with that teacher for a few years, and I am going on 17 yrs with my 2nd teacher)
Staying the course
On this journey I began the deconstruction of all my habits and patterns, I began to break down the old identity I had. Breaking down our identity (who we think we are) happens through tearing down our conditioning. The conditioning I speak of is everything you’ve ever been told about how, what and when you should eat and sleep, the what and how of sex, every concept of how you think you should live and all the life habits that work on auto pilot.
I entered full on into this deconstructing process. I was in a no-mans land of living in spiritual/cult community. This, I thought is real spiritual training and it was. I was breaking down my conditioning of my entire male upbringing.
I am very grateful that I had this unique and extraordinary experience.
My life is now amazing
The one thing I can tell you is that things do get better.
I now have the loving intimate conscious relationship that I have always wanted. I have total freedom being an entrepreneur. I love the work I do in the world; it deeply feeds me and is so aligned with lifestyle.
I live in a beautiful house surrounded by nature. My longtime dream of being a father again has manifested. But mostly I feel more relaxed, and in a good and loving relationship with myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have plenty of personal issues and challenges that I continue to work on. My life isn’t a storybook fantasy filled with only rainbows.
It is through the consistency of being on the path of personal/spiritual growth that my life changed for the better. I also recognize that it is with the help of my loving partner and community that I am held and supported to find grace in the intensity of life.
I think the most important thing is having support on the path. I could not have done it alone. Seek support, pray for guidance, surrender to how things are and do not quit your practices if you don’t see immediate results.
I am so grateful for all my teachers and guides on this unending journey into love.