A Shadow Belief revealed: "Women will make me look like a Fool, so I will be alone for the rest of my life in order to avoid the pain."
How does it happen? You have your stories. I have mine, so I'll tell ya that one...
Something happened to me recently. I attended the "Shadow Process Workshop" at the LAX Marriot, led by Kelley Kosow of the Ford Institute which was created by Debbie Ford, author of the #1 Bestseller, "Dark Side of the Light Chasers". I went there with the intention of uncovering buried pain within myself in order to grow and continue my quest for peace. That's a general statement and knew some specifics I wanted to work on, but I had no idea what the endgame would be like. Nor was I aware before I arrived, of the shadows I would uncover and bring into the Light.
Guys...this is directed mostly at you...us...so read on because it's about women. Relax if you're a female...this piece is actually a good thing with a positive ending.
So, I arrived with the specific intention of working on a shadow I identified in working through two of Debbie's books before I got there: "Dark Side of the Light Chasers" and "The Right Questions." The shadow was Anger. In the weeks before the workshop, I worked the exercises in the book with a passion and felt fantastic about my progress.
I even felt a bit cocky during the first session on day one. In my journal that evening I wrote:
"At first I thought in session 1: There is nothing new here. Everything Kelley is saying, I've already worked on and know from Debbie's books, so why am I here? [arrogant, know-it-all, frustrated and impatient]
During session two on day one, I had the first of many breakthroughs and continued in my journal:
"During session two after the dinner break, while we were doing a deep exercise, I had a breakthrough about Family: I have been running from them out of Shame. Getting fired back in 2003 was a horrible experience and I have been embarrassed about it ever since [although I buried the feelings for years]. I can remember an experience at a celebration for my brother:"
"One of his close friends who had known me for years, asked me what I was doing. I said, "I just got promoted to a Supervisor at The Home Depot." The look of shock and pity on his face is still with me. I felt like a complete Loser. Even though I had just gotten promoted and was excited about it, it was still a low-paying, hourly position in a retail store. My brother's friend is an attorney and my brother is "above" that. In the awkward silence, I could see the look on his face which spoke volumes, "Wow...what a loser Greg has become. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University at the top of his class, he had his own Architecture practice and later worked for large firms. Now look at him. He works at a retail store wearing an orange apron making very little money. What happened to this guy?"
[Note: All of the above was negative self-talk I made up in my head...my brother's friend never voiced any of it.]
A shadow revealed: Shame
Upon further reflection later that evening, I realized a shadow belief which fueled the shadow: "I can remember people saying to me...'Stop trying to be like your father, Greg. You'll never be as great of a hero as he was.'"
Value realized of where I was in the moment of growth as a human. Kelley was able to guide us through visualizations deep into the shadows we all have...and are kept hidden by the aspect of our minds which only wish to protect us...our ego. That night, I began another adventure...an adventure into my Soul. Reading Debbie's books and doing those exercises was a process of preparation for the adventure...a process similar to the preparations for my physical/mental sailing adventure back in 2011.
Upon the realization of a new adventure, I continued to journal that first night. Alone within the complete silence of my hotel room, without any distractions of any kind like television, computer or mobile phone, I began to see the depths of another shadow I knew I carried:
"I dislike rules put upon me by others. While working at The Home Depot for almost nine years, I worked under the pressure of rules [like most of us do...nothing new here]. Most I agreed with, but some drove me crazy to the point of anger. I would fight them from time to time. I would wonder when I would get fired again. Years later when I was promoted to a management position, the rules and pressure got more intense to the point where I wondered on a daily basis when I would get fired...every single day even while I was off work. Multiple times each day, I had so much responsibility, I could have gotten fired for doing many things...stupid things like forgetting to lock the trash compactor."
"So much CONTROL! When I freed myself and quit on April 6, 2016, I felt ultimate freedom for the first time in years since 2011 when I took to the sea alone. Two days later on April 8, 2016, I showed up here at the workshop with them putting rules upon me again...no phones, no computer, no caffeine, do not be late to any session and no connection with the outside world. Just be silent and honor the process. I actually felt anger at the Ford Institute people in between the first two sessions on the first day. So, my ego revolted by being late to session two on the first day and I am never late to anything these days...always early."
A shadow revealed: Control
For some reason, I reflected upon past relationships with women, which I allowed to exist, primarily I suppose because I was at a workshop being lead by women: "My second wife was so controlling of my time always telling me to, 'do this...don't do that...your crazy, you have to go see a psychiatrist and I demand you get on anti-depressant drugs or I will leave you. [I did exactly as she demanded, although after a couple of months of those mind-altering drugs I stopped taking them. I faked it for years by flushing the pills down the toilet in an act of revolt to control.] One of my peers from the job I just quit was constantly criticizing and controlling everything I did to the point of harassment...she bullied everyone including her boss. Everyone saw her power which created a sense of fear in everyone who worked there." I allowed these toxic relationships to exist because I was to afraid to confront them. Why?
Another shadow revealed: Coward
My mind was reeling that first night. I had to know why and then it hit me like a baseball bat in the face swung by a 'roided up professional baseball player [oops...judgement...another shadow...LOL]: "I have always felt like I needed to prove my fearlessness to others. I jump out of airplanes. I've owned and ridden motorcycles. I've surfed huge waves during hurricanes. And the biggest one of all, I took off alone on a thirty foot sailboat in the Atlantic Ocean during the hurricane season of 2011 and battled my demons at sea. I was scared. I felt like a weak looser before I took off but would not admit that to myself or others. I ran like a coward even though I ran towards the scariest thing I could think of at the time".
Bizarre realization of the formulation of another shadow belief which is related to the one about my father: "In order to prove I am not a coward, loser and controlled p-whipped-wimp, I have to do the scariest thing I can find." Prove to who? WTF?
End of day one and I slept like a baby that night with some wild-ass dreams. I could not wait for day two. LOL.
If day one was a deep dive into the sub-conscious, then day two can only be described as diving even deeper beyond the limited mind, into the Soul with an upward push of Light in order to bring even deeper shadows to the surface with only a hint of the Light seen from the ego. Day two was finding out what we are angry about. From early in the morning until late that night, we dove into who, why and how it affects us in the present moment. We all carry it...Anger. Mine rose to the surface that day in a powerfully healing way.
From my journal late at night on day two while now lovingly holding the rules of the process:
"I didn't think [or admit to myself] I carried grudges anymore. I didn't think [or admit to myself] I carried deep anger within me against people from my past anymore. I thought I had released it years ago and through meditation, released the tiny bit that was still there. [I'm smiling at myself as I write this...it's as if the guy I'm talking about was someone I met and he's no longer here...interesting.]
During the day, I realized there was intense anger directed at [not disclosing her name. In my book, "Path of Three Hundred," her name is Bastethany], my second wife [who will remain nameless], my peer at the job I recently quit [who also will remain nameless] and less intense anger at seven others who were mostly women.
My anger towards Bastethany was the greatest [which blew my mind since I thought I had forgiven her while alone at sea back in 2011]. During a blind-folded exercise, I screamed violently and pounded my fists against the doormat I saw myself as for being a fool. Thus, the anger was actually more at myself for allowing the humiliation to grow and exist. I used Bastethany as my sounding board and found my weakness. I was a coward while I was around her...when I was with her. I rarely spoke my truth around her. How I really felt was buried deep within me. I felt sorry for her. I tried to fix that little broken child within her. I thought by outwardly loving her and her outwardly loving me back, she would heal. Like a typical male, I tried to fix her. There was little I liked about her personality actually. She was beautiful on the outside and I lusted after that. She used me and I used her." [Using any other human in any form or fashion is abuse, which is an act of cruelty.]
You're probably wondering to yourself right now, "Dude, why in the hell would you dwell on past shit like that? Get over it. Move on," and all the other old paradigm thoughts on covering up the past. "Take a pill, go seek medical help, go to church...blah, blah, blah." Working on something in order to grow from the experience is quite a different thing than merely wallowing in self-pity, getting drunk because your bummed out and hiding under the covers due to the cowardly act of trying to forget and push your pain out of your mind. Your crap will always be there and haunt you if you do that.
Yet, here is where it gets juicy. After I wrote that, I kept going deeper and hit on a shadow which was a common thread going back decades. I read through the notes I had taken during the day about the other nine people I had anger towards. In all of them, the common thread and new shadow came into the Light: Humiliation.
Humiliation because of the way the final days went down with Bastethany and I. I was her secret. She disavowed any relationship with me at all. The lies she told to others was beyond belief even though some knew the truth and kept silent. I became a fool in the eyes of most on the periphery with powerful humiliation in the knowing I was a complete and utter fool.
Humiliation because of how I allowed the personal, professional and family relationships to develop and flourish. I cannot blame any other human for something I allowed to happen. In fact, not only did I allow them to happen, I enabled them to grow in the way that they did because of the exponential affect of one act of shame building upon another out of fear...thus the coward in me.
In coming here, I didn't expect to deal with what I have dealt with. I did not intend to focus on anything but releasing whatever it was that needed to be released. I thought anger was a simple thing to let go of. Man-o-man, was I wrong about that one. My ego has done the job it was designed to do: Cover up past hurts until I was ready to deal with them. Bastethany and the humiliation I felt from all that happened in the public eye the way that it did profoundly hurt my ego. I covered all of that up.
Running to California a couple of years later was a continuation of running to the sea, which is at its depth, the act of a coward even though I was running fearlessly into the unknown. What a lesson. Instead of facing my humiliation, I covered it up by running away.
So, why go through all of this? To learn lessons. Lessons which can be filed away in order to create a positive and loving future. The lesson learned from Bastethany is a beautiful one: Let the physical attract, but go deep quickly and find out if there is a true Soul connection after realizing the commonalities shared. Knowing and experiencing humiliation in that way creates a strength if we allow it to come forth. Burying something like that will only fuel the shadow belief of "Women will make me look like a Fool, so I will be alone for the rest of my life in order to avoid the pain." I know this to be true, because it has. I've not been in a relationship which lasted more than a couple of months since 2010. I've tried a couple of times, but my fear of this happening again has kept the thick stone door to my cave, locked and closed, which was my choice and I own it.
I ended up writing forgiveness letters to several people, never intending to send them. But the most powerful forgiveness letter I wrote was to myself. Powerful healing and a surrounding of Light ensued after the realization of my shadows which I can now use as the fuel for my spiritual fire. I physically felt lighter as I left the workshop. I am in deep Gratitude to Kelley Kosow and the entire staff of the Ford Institute.
I Am an artist...
I create my life in a forward direction from the composite of all lessons learned thus far...
I look with ease at what the future will teach me while I live each day as if it is my first day breathing...
Humiliation was my Shadow.
In a classically cowardly mindset, I ran to the sea because there was no one out there to hurt me, judge me or affect me in any way. I was the Master. It was "safe"...even though it wasn't.
The next time I take to the sea...and I will...I will go with my mate, whoever she is. I Am out of my cave forever. I have the "selfish" self work of the past six years as my internal guidance system which got me to the destination of Love.
Take back your Power!
No, you don't have to be mean...just the opposite. By being honest with everything including your emotions, you will feel lighter because you will not have to hide anything. Hiding your crap takes energy and that's just plain stupid as well as cowardly. I know...I've done it for decades...that shit don't work. :)
By being completely honest with everything, you will become more loving and increase positivity in all your relationships...including the most important one...the one with your Self.
Truth. It's the only way. I'm not talking about partial truth, for there is no such thing. I am talking about the only Truth which is total and complete. Truth will create a Lightness of Being when released.
For More Information about "The Shadow Process" Workshop, led by Kelley Kosow of the Ford Institute, click the button below.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of the Ford Institute, I am not an Integrated Life Coach with the Ford Institute [although I will become one] and will receive compensation if you decide to attend their workshop. I am shouting them out because I know from personal experience the workshop is life-changing.
My outlook on life, including women, family and all relationships has morphed into something lovingly positive. I highly recommend Kelley Kosow and the Ford Institute. Even though Debbie Ford passed on from this world back in 2013, Kelley is obviously guided by the one who taught her and brings her own personal story to the process.
An interesting note: So, as stated above, I had all of those "negative" (quote marks, because I no longer see them as negative since they are lessons...and lessons are never negative) issues with women. I ended up at a workshop where only about ten percent of us were men...I was surrounded by, led by and coached mostly by women. Thus, whatever our shadows are, they will come back to us as we stare into the mirror of life until we begin to and successfully work them out. I'm not saying I'm done, nor am I complete with dealing with my shadow belief about relationships with females...that one guys and gals...will always be a work in progress. The cool thing is that now, I am emerging from my cave.
A final note: Debbie Ford speaks about judging others with a clear visualization: We accuse others everyday of things. I've done it in this piece and have called myself out on doing it. The next time you accuse another human being of something, imagine pointing at them even if you do not actually point. Look at your hand. One finger is pointing at the person you are judging. Three fingers are pointing back at you. What you accuse another human being of doing is actually one of your shadows which perhaps is buried deep within your subconscious. Think about it the next time you judge. Perhaps you are judging me right now. :)
And one more shout out: On April 14, 2016, I attended a Mastermind session a few days after the Shadow Process Workshop ended. The “Conscious Business Dolphin Entrepreneur Mastermind Dinner Network” with Christopher Sherrod, Nan Akasha, Alain Torres, Sky Blossoms, Katherine Gerardi and Tracey Thompson. It was their intense and loving feedback about what I desired which helped give me the focus to write this piece in the way I did. I am in Gratitude to them.