In November of this year, I will be traveling to Peru to take part in several shamanic ayahuasca ceremonies over the course of eight days. Initially I was just excited to take part in a shamanic tradition that has been part of the native Peruvian culture for hundreds, if not thousands of years. I know that there are many ways a person can experience deep connection to themselves as well as the realms beyond through meditation, journey work and other forms of energy work. Even though I’ll be shifting into high gear during these ceremonies, I know that there are really no short cuts to this process. I know that I will be processing and growing from my experiences there for months after. My goals in going were simple but I also needed to focus on what I really wanted to get out of these ceremonies that would help me propel forward in my path, so I put the request out to the Universe – “Help me discover what I need to release and show me the next steps in my path.” was the request I made about two months ago. Nothing has really come up that has given me clarity on what to focus on… that is until recently – the work has begun and the path is being illuminated before me.
In my last post (The Contradiction of This Day), I wrote about coming to terms with my feelings around celebrating my mother’s birth day and mourning my father’s death on the same day. I also wrote about the feelings of loneliness that I’ve been experiencing lately. Initially I thought that these feelings of loneliness were related to the five year anniversary of my dad passing. It seemed to make sense, but I wasn’t completely convinced. Then this morning many aspects of my life started to connect together in front of me, charting the course back through time showing me events and circumstances that have shaped as well as restricted me, until I reached one moment in time that stands out. This moment is very vivid to me and is one that I’ve gone back to many times and have released the events of that day, but what I’m seeing now is a pattern of many other events that parallel this one.
I grew up on a family farm in south-eastern North Dakota. If you’ve been so lucky to have been raised on a farm, you know that you grow up just “knowing” how to do things. Things like driving tractors, vehicles, fixing things, working with animals and having a real sense of what to do next and the satisfaction of a good day’s work done. I had all of these experiences and I also knew I was good at them all. The “good” wasn’t boastful, just a knowing that had no doubts and I felt valued and appreciated by my family – even though this appreciation was never verbally expressed. There came a day when my father decided to quite farming in 1978 and he made it clear to all of my siblings that he refused any of us to take up this vocation. So, at the age of 14 I was “out of a job” so to speak. I decided to look for work with a local farmer, but I couldn’t work at this age unless I went through special “tractor school” training to prove I could safely work on a farm, drive a tractor, backup up trailers, etc. The training days arrived and one of the challenges was to back up a four-wheel trailer into a designated area. While this kind of trailer can be challenging for some, I had full confidence in my abilities. My turn arrived and up on the small tractor I jumped, and zip-zap, the trailer was in its spot. I felt great that I achieved this easily and jumped down. On my way back to the group of boys, three of four of them came up to me and said since I had done such a great job, I was supposed to walk across the parking lot to where a man was driving a tractor to get some kind of special task to do. Thrilled that these boys talked with me and ready for the next challenge, off I went. I walked right up to this man and asked what he wanted me to do. As you might have guessed, it was a prank on me. Then I had to make the walk of shame back to the group of laughing boys with my head hanging low. This was my first real public humiliation and it came on the heels of a triumph I had just experienced.
I know that experiences like these are not uncommon for kids to experience, and in a way it’s like the many forms of bullying that kids experience every day. What I didn’t realized until this morning was the huge affect this defining moment has had on my life. From that day forward, I became very withdrawn and never did anything that would make me stand out from the crowd. Even though I knew I had the skills and know how to do many things, I never put myself out there. If I was in a group situation, I tended to let others lead – even though I would work closely with that leader giving them advice. I was always second fiddle by design and very very infrequently allowed myself to have any fun. Having fun means that I would be vulnerable to judgment and ridicule. If I did have fun, it was still measured and only in the company of very close friends.
What I’m now discovering is this defining moment has created a ripple effect in my life creating boundaries, blocks and a huge amount of low self esteem that have lead me to anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, and a tendency to be slightly obsessive to the point where I create drama where none exists. This all came out of a pattern in my life developed from a moment in time where I lost my innocence and in a way, I lost the love I had for myself. I doubted who I was and began to build an illusion that I was really not good enough for anyone, that I was really not worthy of anyone loving the true Dwight – because I was faulty. So henceforth, I created the new version of Dwight that would be safer and less likely to be hurt.
The new Dwight lost much of his strong masculine traits like confidence, daring, rebelliousness, etc. What come forth was more feminine traits like caring, nurturing, listening, protection of the self and connecting with others who were wounded. I became obsessed with females seeing them as accepting and nurturing. As I stepped more into my puberty years and on throughout college, I became preoccupied with masturbation and fantasizing about sex with women. I saw Playboy pictures and Penthouse stories as the ideal of what women wanted and expected from a man and if I cannot deliver, then I am not a real man. This rolled forward into my adult years where my expectations of what I was supposed to be able to do became sexual dysfunction and all the doubt and frustrations and self-judgment that have developed from that. The maddening part is that I still have an obsession with sex, but it won’t work for me when I want it to the most. I’ve become trapped in a catch-22 situation where I’ve sabotaged myself from enjoying sex because that means I would truly have to open up my real self to my partner. It’s much safer to do poorly and maybe they will give up and reject me proving my belief that I am not a real man, that I deserve to be alone because I’m not worthy of love since I am not capable. I can’t allow anyone into that protected space for fear that I will fail and be found out as less than adequate. The funny and rather paradoxical thing is that even though I’ve done all of these things to myself, I’ve still managed to attract women into my life in a variety of relationships. For those who have tried to get close to me or even the one I married, none of them have really ever known the true Dwight. They may have an idea of me, or even caught glimpses of me, but no one knows the truth or that playful man that is deep within me.
I have those who do love me unconditionally, but I feel unworthy – I am flawed, I am a fake – Do they truly love the real me or my puppet. I wouldn’t blame them if they left, said you’re crazy, you’re a twisted fuck who should be locked up. They can’t waste their time with me, I wouldn’t blame them, I am broken – Imperfect
I’ve been my true self and been ridiculed, bullied
The walls are up to protect
Be quiet, follow orders, don’t stand out, don’t be free
You will attract attention and be ridiculed again
Protection is paramount
Acceptance is desired
Come and find me
I am alone
Who will love me?
Don’t let them know the true self
Put up a front – fool them
Don’t let them in
You may be hurt again
My salvation is to align myself – to no longer be trapped by my illusion. I MUST come out – I must play without self-prejudice. I must release the illusions and hell that I’ve created in myself or I will surely die without true fulfillment in the life that I came here to experience.