Last year I found myself in the position of supporting a very close friend who was going through an incredibly difficult and dark period in their life. I was their primary support person through this challenging chapter, and as such I would speak with them on the phone at length every day, sometimes several times. They were struggling with a serious illness, the fallout of a relationship gone awry, and ongoing financial difficulties. There was no question that I wanted to be there to support my friend in any way that I could, but as their situation progressively deteriorated, and they increasingly needed my help, I found myself beginning to unravel - my own psychological and physical health began to fold under the weight of my friend’s situation. I was taking on their trauma.
A couple of years ago I began to look at my love life, as a single man, through the lens of a single father. I don’t actually have any flesh and blood children on this earth, but as I had been delving deeper into the work of reclaiming and healing the disowned, traumatized, vulnerable (and beautiful) parts of myself, it gradually became more and more clear that there was something, or someone, very sacred within me - my inner child - who I was taking along into each and every romantic interaction I explored. That vulnerable, pure and sacred child required my conscious attention, empathy, protection and mentorship in all the ways an external, flesh-and-blood child would, and learning to listen to and honour his wisdom has allowed me to receive the riches that any profound parent-child relationship can give birth to.
Today I got an email from a woman that lit a little fire in me: In her message, this stranger asked me how, since I have such a clear and obvious passion for working with feeling and emotion (which she categorized as feminine), do I balance that with strong, masculine energy?
A little context: This woman had read a some of my work, and through that reading understood that I have spent many years diving deep into the study and practice of emotional processing, shadow work etc.
Courtship is a funny word, and not one that many of us consciously use to describe the process of winning someone's attention, interest and affection.
There's probably a good reason for that: It's kind of gross. Implicit in the whole notion of courtship is an agenda - an attachment to making someone become attracted to you, and often a kind of manipulation toward this end.
Most of you reading these words will be in some way like me: We learned very early on in life to close our vulnerability, because we were in an environment that wasn’t safe to expose such a pure part of ourselves. We were judged, shamed, ridiculed, or punished for authentically being. Given such circumstances, learning to close off certain (essential) parts of ourselves was a matter of inner survival.
I know that personally, I got so good at hiding my vulnerability that I nearly forgot I was actually doing it, and the process of first recognizing what I had lost (or buried), then excavating it, was quite intense.
Perhaps you can relate.
In the spirit of the season, today's vlog is all about the most important intimate relationship any of us can cultivate - the one we have with ourselves! Conscious single hood is a vital part of most of our journeys at one point, and today's vlog explores the importance of embracing it as such. Enjoy!
Emotional processing is absolutely fundamental.
Let me qualify that statement: I learned at a very young age that certain feelings were not okay to express, to take ownership of or maybe even to have - and that if I did express them, I would be either rejected or punished because of it.
So I developed a lot of unhealthy ways of hiding and contorting my feelings. I became a master repressor - automatically burying my feelings before I even fully recognized them consciously.
Today's post is a VLOG I recently made that I'm very excited to share with you.
In this video I share my experience with and an approach that has been a complete game changer for me in the realm of emotional processing - turning towards and integrating all of the feelings that traditionally I would have turned away from.