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This is the final article in a four-part series. Read part one here, two here, and three here.
I was a serial cheater.
My behavior caused pain—both to others and to myself. Eventually, I had to stop hiding—both from others and from myself. And my journey of recovery led me to clarity, purpose, and an authentic inner power I didn’t know I had.
After my relationship at the time broke down, I launched myself into healing. I devoured multiple books weekly, meditated deeply, sought spiritual guidance, went to therapy (multiple times per week). I spent time in nature, recovering from the trauma of the situation and the trauma of what I was unearthing within, nurturing myself, connecting to self. I went all in.
I exercised deliberately in order to release. I spent time in solitude. I lost…
I lost the layers of self that I identified with. I experienced multiple egoic and psycho-emotional deaths—all of them purposeful, deliberate, and deep. I spent time with wise practitioners, healers, and medicine people. I journeyed with the sacred plant medicine—but first spent ample time exploring my fears, darkness, and pain in familiar states of consciousness through deepened meditation and breathwork.
I would walk for hours, weeping, thinking, and feeling. I drew out the demons, one by one, revering them for the role they played in helping me cope with the pain of isolation as a young person. After acknowledging them, I gave them permission to leave.
One of the greatest things I did was working with an energy healer to shift my mental, somatic, and emotional ties to all previous sexual partners. This took months and, coupled with the inner child work and trauma-specific work I did, was deeply healing and liberating.
I let go of dear friends. Not because they were bad people, but because our values no longer aligned. I felt the spectrum of emotions that needed to be felt, rather than denied, isolated, and fractured. I completely reconstructed myself. But before I could rebuild, I had to destroy. I spent hours and hours daily for months and, ultimately, years deep-diving into the core and essence of my own self, masculinity and actions, inner world, and who I wanted to be. This is a practice I continue to do, just not from a broken and unconscious place now, but rather a conscious and connected place.
Focusing on my own growth did not come without challenge. I often contemplated suicide.
In hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt and with my self-image in shambles, I felt so isolated at times that I did not know who or what I was. So, the ending of my physical life looked like a legitimate option. As men, we experience this often. It happens when we cannot see our own inherent value. Though I walked this fine line too often, somewhere within my being I also knew two things:
This is all temporary: it cannot and will not last. I am destined for greater experiences and a life of service.
During this time, I chose celibacy. I chose to go within and be mindful of who I spent intimate time with. It was a double-edged sword, for I wanted to feel how I was different in the context of sexual intimacy, but I also realized that I needed to be alone. However, the real test for me would come later…
Having lost what I thought of as nearly everything—my maternal grandparents, my relationship, my puppies, my identity, my friends—I still somehow felt this loss to be empowering, albeit deeply challenging.
Though loss was not new to me, I had never really mourned before. I was always too busy being strong for others, arranging logistics, surviving, and “being a man.” What I was beginning to learn was the power of vulnerability.
As men, we are generally seen to be powerful, self-sustaining, leaders, yet what I discovered is that most of us fear true leadership. True leadership can only come from wholeness, which means we must love all of our parts, even the ones we hate or hide from. We must touch upon and swim in the deep end of all that we are—something I neglected for so long. I discounted myself, polarised my being, separated my behaviors, isolated my truth, and deprived the world, myself, and those I actually loved of the greatness of my authenticity.
As I began to reconnect these disparate parts of myself, I uncovered a set of new fears. I was fragile. I was traumatized, yet revitalized. I recognized my fears around freedom, commitment (common fears men are plagued with), and being seen—but still had deep work to do around fully shifting them.
It was at this point that I created models for being in the world, living life, treating self and others with reverence, leadership, relationships, healthy masculinity, and so much more. I harnessed the creative energy of my transformation and threw it into service. I created tenaciously, feeling a sense of purpose in every fiber of my being. My world shifted massively, and I began to feel expansion and abundance in all areas of my life.
I began to see women differently. I began to revere them.
I cleared myself (physically and energetically) of past relationships, sexual encounters, and unhealthy fantasies.
I grew to trust my intentions and be transparent with them, legitimately earning the trust of those I spent time with. I had to rebuild from the ground up. I still had fears about being loved and expressing love. Could I be trusted and cared for? What would a woman entering my life feel and think about the person I used to be?
It is said that only once we become clear vessels of truth, once we truly equilibrate our pain…then and only then will we draw in our match.
When men can get to this place, they have no need to hide and cheat. When men accept themselves and meet themselves with compassion and care, something special happens.
As I opened my heart, I began to attract experiences and people who could meet me where I was. I moved with greater humility, far less aggression, and a more connected sense of self. However, I still had much unraveling to do.
I attracted another woman in my life, and we bonded in a way I had never felt before. I showed up differently for her, and it felt beautiful to offer her this level of certainty and honesty. Our dynamic was open and communicative. I still had an ego, but it was tempered. I still got angry and scared, but I was open with my feelings and moved through them. As good as it felt, we were ultimately out of alignment in terms of where we were in our journeys and, in the end, we consciously uncoupled.
I was fine for some time…then something interesting and strange occurred. I felt emotions simultaneously that I had never felt before. This threw me in a spin with so many conflicting ideas about life, my relationship, and myself. Once again, I chose to go down the rabbit hole, deeper than ever before. I felt all the feels, cried, screamed, got out of control, became delusional, and drifted from what I thought was strength. But this was beyond simply wanting my partner back. I was once again rebirthing myself, even more painfully than before. I was stepping into the next level.
With the guidance of a loving mentor, I came to understand masculine and feminine polarity more deeply, and this allowed me to connect to a fuller, more complete version of self. In order to embrace my inner healthy feminine, I had to allow my healthy masculine to shine and be solid.
I came face-to-face with the feeling of not being enough as a man.
This road was long, treacherous, and confronting. I shifted deeply in this time and became unrecognizable to many who loved and cared for me. I expressed wisdom I had never known before. It wasn’t that I suddenly “knew it all.” I was simply at peace in my authentic self. I was had been reborn as a healthy man.
I was finally ready for the next chapter: sacred union with another. So, I called her in, consciously. And, within days, I was introduced to the greatest love I have ever known.
Now, I truly felt at home and whole as we moved into conscious relationship with one another. There was a knowing and clarity between us…such crispness! Ah, so this is what it means to carry true masculine discernment. To not second-guess myself. To leave societal constructs behind and follow my inner guidance without fear or doubt.
Christine helped me to step further into my fullness and for this, I cherish her and the sacred bond we share. I also acknowledge the role of every person and partnership in my life, for they have taught me so much about myself and my path. My relationships with others have improved—my brother and I are like never before and I share a deep intimacy with my friends.
My story is not the story. My path is not the path of healthy masculinity, but it is an insight into the world of men. And the journey is never over.
Am I “perfect?” No. But I am committed.
I teach men to be men—not by telling them how to be me, but by teaching them to view themselves from a healthier place. To do this, we need to clear up our trauma—both conscious and unconscious. We must live through our darkness. We must embrace all of life for what it is. We must be kind to ourselves even as we traverse pain and suffering.
Men: we are here to support, hold, grow and feel…fully.
Women: if we, as a society, are to evolve, we must nurture and embrace our healthy masculine.
Together, we stand at the precipice.
One is glad to be of service,
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