Ten years ago, I went on a long trek into the country of Nepal to the bottom of Mount Everest. The highest elevation that I have ever been to is the bottom of that mountain.
The trek was a journey away from my home and away from a relationship that had spanned twenty-one years. That marriage was about to come to an end. The trek was the final chance to think about that marriage before beginning the slow process of separation and divorce.
It looked like the process of divorce was all about me disconnecting from this woman and getting rid of her.
Eventually, the divorce was really all about me dissolving the identity that I had had for myself.
The divorce led me into a long ten year journey to find my true essence and to really come to know myself. The divorce was not so much about ending the relationship with the woman in my life, the divorce was all about me ending the relationship with the small version of myself that I was ready to outgrow.
My ten year journey spans two divorces, nine moves of household, eight lovers, making a million dollars, losing a million dollars, moving far away from my teenage daughter, watching my dad die slowly, and watching a best friend commit suicide after giving up slowly. Along the way, I have learned a few things about good communication and relationships that work. I have learned a few things about telling the truth to myself about myself.
I had wanted to start dating. The relationship with this woman had gone on for two decades. I was ready to go out and meet some new women. But I needed to do some work on myself first before I could start dating. Some weekend workshops helped me to open up, become more self-expressive, and become much more playful. It was the start of a long journey. There were weekend workshops on topics like: love, intimacy and sexuality. There was a week long workshop designed to disconnect myself from unconscious patterns and behaviors that I had learned from my mother and my father. I began waking up, doing deep emotional work, and freeing myself from old habits and patterns.
I had no idea that the work of healing old emotional wounds from childhood would turn into such a long drawn out journey.
Reinventing yourself into something different than the person that you put together for decades takes some patience and some work.
You can spend four decades building yourself into some kind of identity character based upon maybe the twenty people who had the most impact on you in your life. I can think that this person who I call “myself” is my true identity. But really this identity that I had created is not me at all but rather some character that I invented along the way.
If you dig into yourself and do the work faithfully, eventually you discover the hidden motivations and agenda for your habits, beliefs and patterns. You discover why you sleep with the people that are your lovers. You learn why your financial situation looks like it does. And you find the source of your happiness or sorrow on a daily basis. It is all programmed into you over the course of a lifetime. But you are the programmer.
Deep emotional work involves digging in deeply, taking an honest look and telling the truth about yourself to yourself. But without that deep excavation, the things that have run your life, your entire life, will keep running you. By telling the truth about what is deep inside of you, eventually you can let it go. True emotional freedom is a work in progress. It is work but the truth does set you free.
There was another divorce. This one occurred recently. I am still processing out some of the emotional debris from that. Seen from this viewpoint, it has been a ten year long journey of dealing with the old emotions that were running my life.
Oddly enough, the first marriage and divorce seems to have been about me working out old childhood issues with my father. This time around, the second divorce was about working out and letting go of old childhood issues with my mother.
Stuff that has been running me for almost five decades has begun to dissolve and I am learning how to be a man free from the way I learned to deal with women as a child. I am free now to be a man, standing on my own two feet. I am free to find out, finally, what it is really like to be really me.