A person trying to prove himself is, by definition, a person who believes that he is “not good enough.” Hence the necessity to prove that I am good enough.

When I was living in San Francisco, I was making good money. I was financially set for life.

But then I started to wake up emotionally. It became more important to connect with my heart. It became more important to feel.

That led to a 10 year journey of emotional and spiritual awakening during which I made a million dollars, I lost a million dollars, filed for bankruptcy, got divorced twice, had ten lovers and moved ten times.

You’re right. That does sound like a rough ride.

On the other hand, I could do it all over again. You could say that I’ve developed a muscle for being on the journey. But now I am able to keep my heart open and feel along the way.

By the way, it seems to be that at approximately 42 years of age many of us are scheduled for a life change. There are names for this process but best to just say that your life gets turned upside down on its head. emotionally and spiritually.

For some of us, the first 40 years can be about doing what we are “supposed to” (or the exact opposite) and the second 40 years are about, finally, going our own way. The second half of life is about truly following the guidance of our own spirit.

It was complicated for me about following my passion. My dad was in the construction industry. He laid brick and blocks. He built a lot of brick fireplaces. Sometimes he remodeled houses.

Growing up, I learned that if I wanted to connect with my dad, the best way was to go with him to the construction site. I learned that the best way to get my dad’s attention was to work harder and smarter than any of the other construction workers. This was a way that I could “prove myself” to my dad.

Even after I went to college, I really still only wanted to go to the construction site. I still wanted to connect with my dad. Later, I worked my way up to buying and flipping houses and made great money. I was doing what dad did but “better”.

When my dad had his big stroke, he became partially paralyzed and was unable to speak anymore. I remember how the “fun” of remodeling old houses just sort of disappeared for me. At the unconscious level, I had still been working at a construction site to connect with dad. But now I couldn’t really connect with him like that again.

I made great money in San Francisco renovating old houses. I was successful by the standards of my peers. But I was no longer passionate about old house renovation. My passion had been, deep down, about trying to connect with my dad.

Also, like my dad, I was sullen, stoic and I hid out in my working. My dad smoked cigarettes. I smoked pot. I did not feel my feelings. I was not connected to my heart. Just like dad, I was emotionally numb.

Once my dad had his major stroke, the cracks began to appear in the foundation of my life. Even though he was still alive, I couldn’t really “prove myself” to him anymore with construction. Remodeling old houses was no longer a way to fulfill my passion of connecting with dad. That dad was actually no longer here.

The journey of emotional and spiritual awakening began, for real, a couple of years later.

Now I write and I coach other people to free themselves up. I am an emotional freedom coach. Its a little scary sometimes. This life of my dreams doesn’t yet come with the financial freedom of my earlier life. I am still in the beginning of a professional writing career.

At 52 years old, some of my peers are close to being financially set for life. Whereas, I have started over.

On the other hand, I get ripped out of bed in the morning excited to see what I might write. Sometimes I wake up at 3:30am ready to go. I get to help other people connect with their own passion and to take the courageous leap to live it. I get to write, coach, teach and live emotional freedom.

When I was flipping old houses, I would get ripped out of bed early in the morning also. But, often, there was an anxiety about it. It was about me doing battle with the physical world. That passion was about “proving myself” and being stronger willed than the physical problems that come with old house renovation.

When I am in my element writing or coaching, I am in a deeply peaceful place. I am in the flow. For the most part, I just step out of the way and let some sort of higher power flow through me. Its not always easy. Sometimes it is.

This state of being in the flow is another topic that I love to write and teach about. I get to be in the flow, teaching the flow. Yo!

A conscious shift is occurring within me. At an earlier time, life was about survival, my own. Then I had a daughter and my life became about her survival, too. But still, the underlying operating principle of my life was about what I could get, what I could take, in life. Now I am shifting towards a view for what can I give.

I am not driven by having ”to prove” any more. True, I am aware that hidden unconsciously in my deep emotional world, “not good enough” lurks waiting to lunge out at me at any time. I know that “indecision” also lingers down in the dark recesses hidden inside.

But that is the point, I am awake now. I feel my feelings. I know much of my inner world. My inner demons are now a part of a well explored inner terrain that I have visited and told the truth about many times. I continue to do “the work” of inner exploration.

Emotional freedom requires daily work just like being in good running shape does. Maybe I went for a run yesterday. But I will need to go for a run again today and, probably, again tomorrow if I really want to stay in top shape. “The Work” of emotional freedom is a daily discipline.

I still like to do construction projects from time to time. As a labor of love, not as a way to prove myself.

rough framing of a hexagon gazebo

nygren_gazebo

 

(A gazebo I built in Montecito.)