Change. The only constant.
I closed my eyes for a moment to rest and was lulled into a dream. Months later I awoke to discover that I was a different man and far from home. The journey brought me to where it all began. Where I began. My origin.
Last year was a whirlwind. I was immersed in a profoundly transformative relationship, though I didn’t fully appreciate the beauty and significance of the experience while in it; I was too often triggered or caught up in my own story. Meeting her coincided with losing my job through a layoff at the startup that consumed much of my life for nearly five years. It was one of the most fun and interesting jobs of my life, yet I felt total peace when it ended. It presented an invitation to launch my coaching business; I asked in earnest (and for the first time was ready to meet the challenge of the response), “What am I really supposed to be doing during my time on this piece of cosmic space dust called Earth?” Walk Your Path was born. The year ended with me at a healing center outside of Iquitos, Peru on a traditional plant dieta. After purging body and soul for ten days, I came face to face with the depression I had struggled with throughout my life. Then it left. I haven’t seen it since. It was an intense year. 2018.
No more change, please. No more transformation. Not for a while at least. Surely that was enough to earn me a long break and a solid year (or at least a few months) of ease, right? Why then did I feel that a lot more change was on the horizon? There wasn’t anything in my life hinting at what was coming, why, or from where. It was just a, I don’t know, a nagging feeling in my gut. A knowing. Do you ever feel that?
January 2019. I’m in Las Vegas (a place I used to feel a lot of judgment toward) at a week-long ISTA Level 1 training with a motley crew of roughly 30 truth seekers determined to embody more powerful versions of themselves. ISTA stands for the International School of Temple Arts. I ended up here because of a vision I had in the Peruvian jungle the month prior. And, well, that knowing I mentioned earlier telling me that I had to be there. ISTA is many things. I’ll do my best to share what it is to me.
It’s about healing our relationship with ourselves as physical beings existing in this imperfect, messy world and learning to wholeheartedly embrace all of being human; in healthy relation with ourselves and ultimately with others and the world around us. A core part of the training involves working with sexual energy and honoring and embracing it as a powerful force for healing, creation, transformation, and manifestation. Many of us (I would argue that it’s really most of us) carry some degree of shame, guilt, trauma, limiting belief, or other baggage in regards to ourselves as sexual beings. It’s a vitally important, exciting and pleasurable part of our human experience, yet few of us are taught to fully embody it—worse yet, we suppress it—resulting in suffering.
As I grew deeper in my spiritual path, I felt conflicted between my spiritual self and my sexual self, and because of that, I suffered. I held a misguided notion that I could be one or the other, but not both. The truth is, being human is spiritual and everything about the world we inhabit—everything—is spiritual.
I came out of the weekend feeling lighter, freer, and more in touch with myself. I saw every person in that room through new eyes of compassion, respect, and admiration, including myself. Each of us is doing our best, always and in all ways. Once you understand that, you have a little more compassion, a little more patience.
I returned to my home in Oakland and stepped through the front door. Something was different. I was different. It wasn’t my home anymore. That’s how my year began.
When our inner world changes our outer world follows.
Deep at sea, alone on my small boat, wave after wave came. I braced myself, threw my head back and laughed, “Bring it!!” Because I knew—I asked for all of it. The next wave crashed, I blinked, and in that instant, a lifetime passed.
I lift my head above the surface of the turbulent sea, fill my burning lungs with air, and slowly exhale. With each slowing breath, the surface of the waters begin to settle, and in that stillness, I once again see with profound clarity.
I am the sea.
To be continued…