Five and a half years ago my life as I knew it exploded. Tensions that had been present in my marriage finally reached a point where something snapped and it was over. My wife left.
At the time I couldn't understand why. I was crushed and felt like there had to be something I could do to fix it and make it better. It took me several weeks to move to a place of acceptance. Several surreal, confusing, and painful weeks.
Even when I found acceptance there was a feeling of rebellion and resistance in it. Kind of like "ok fine, you really want it to be over then I'll stop trying to fix it. Let's see how you like THAT!"
Didn't matter. My wife had grown tired of my controlling and judgmental nature and was done. Now, looking back after all this time, I totally get it. As a matter of fact, there are things that happened in my marriage - things that I did, judgmental nasty things - that now cause me great grief and elicit quite a bit of pain and regret.
The things is, I didn't know at the time how much of a monster I was.
How could I not have known?
Conditioning. Adaptive survival conditioning that happened when I was very, very young. Unconscious somatically embodied conditioning.
How do I know that? I found a way out and became conscious of it.
How did that happen? Well that's a bit of a long story. It started with a bit of luck and a desperate attempt to end the pain resulting from the end of my marriage. I went searching for a therapist. I had decided that I could fix myself and not only end my own pain, but I could become what I needed to be to make others (like my wife) happy and love me again.
I did an online search for a therapist in Yucaipa/Redlands. I ended up on Psychology Today magazine's referral page. There was one man in Yucaipa (I lived there at the time) that looked great. I called and left a message. I also found a man in Redlands named Michael Sieck. He got back to me first and we set up an appointment. This was the beginning of a journey of awakening that I had no idea was even possible at the time and am still to this day quite amazed with. (And it never ends.)
What I found in Michael was not only an incredible Western therapist that was able to help me intellectually understand my "issues", but a deep, non judgmental, spiritual, and witnessing presence that allowed me to finally, over the course of several years, let down and find some awareness of my conditioned "self".
My progress was aided by my participating in a retreat group that met every 3 months. This was a "process" group that involved an instructional component at the beginning and then group work for the remainder. Every participant got about an hour to bring up their "stuff" and then work through it in the group.
As profoundly effective as the personal therapy with Mike was, the group work was absolutely transformative. I'm not going to get too deeply into the details here, but there was one weekend in particular that revealed to me how subconscious the need to be loved (exalted really, from the perspective of the very narcissistic adaptive self) had twisted my way of being into a nervous performance designed to "be" what I perceived the other wanted and needed. I really had no idea of the degree to which it affected me until my anxiety was pointed out to me and I was invited to believe that I didn't have to "be" anything other than myself. Or that I was ok and loved even if I revealed horrible and shameful things that I had done.
Essentially, I didn't "need" to be anything other than my true self. I suppose this could sound really weird and quite possibly not make any sense.
But if it does make sense to you on some level then I invite you to start your own journey of self discovery. I invite you to learn about a Way and a place and some amazing people that can help you find awareness of those unconscious ways of being that bring pain and frustration and impede your dreams and desires. I invite you to begin a process of discovery of your true underlying self. I invite you to find that self and allow it to come forth into the world.
You can start here - www.threefoldway.com. This is the brand new website for the Three Fold Way, which is the system that I so luckily stumbled into when I found Michael Sieck in my moment of panic and pain. I have very involved in putting this site together and am even interviewed in one of the videos on the "personal growth" page. I am honored to be a part of it and share it with you now.
Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have about all this. I'll do the best I can to help and provide answers, if I have them, given my available time.
I plan to have more writings about my journey of self discovery soon. In particular I'm currently taking singing lessons and am learning a LOT about how my self emerges or is constrained in the voice. My personal path is deeply related and intertwined with music and I think there is much that may be of value to many of my musical friends. So much to share.
Thanks for your time.