June 22, 2024

On intuition, energy, and spirituality

Energy, intuition, and spirituality. On this page: I share about my lifetime experiences with intuition, energy, and spirituality (a personal narrative autoethnography, of sorts), illustrate how these ‘elements’ inform(ed)/influence(ed) my life/work, and provide readers with links to a variety of resources for further exploration.

Intuition, energy, and spirituality

The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning

Oxford Languages definition of intuition

In the beginning…

As a young child I was highly intuitive—unconsciously picking up on the energy of people, places, and ‘things.’

I would seemingly ‘know’ things about other people: what they were thinking, how they were feeling, and—more shockingly—I could sometimes see (and viscerally experience) what they had gone through in the past and foresee (their) possible futures.

young intuitive eric windhorst
Young Eric tuning into ‘everything everywhere all at once’

These regular experiences were intense and overwhelming; I did not know how to digest them. I also sensed that my insights were unpalatable to my immediate social milieu. So, I contained my (vast) experience and held it inside.

As I grew older, and was further domesticated (i.e., wounded, suppressed, fragmented) by familial trauma(s), religious dogma, the school system, and a wider scientific-materialist society, my intuitive awareness (together with my emotional sensitivity) began to fade. My ‘true’ self—my instinctual centre or soul—retreated into the unconscious.

Without my intuition to guide me, I was lost. I had no inner compass from which to navigate. In order to cope with this disconnect (as well as protect my tender heart/inner child(ren) from this world’s harshness), I became a master chameleon. I developed a convincing array of masks/personas to don with different people at different times in different places. Who, or what, do you want (or need) me to be?

Eventually, my ‘act,’ my scripts, became automatic. I lived on autopilot for much of the first two-and-a-half decades of my life.


My quarter-life crisis (aka: positive disintegration #1)

Fast forward: I’m 25, already married for three years [without the guidance of my true self, and in order to protect myself, I unconsciously married someone who could not see through my masks/veneer(s) (nor meet me in neurocomplex dimensionality)my first marriage was soundly safe but deeply lonely], employed as an environmental consultant (I completed my first degree in biology and chemistry with a strong environmental science focus—with my intuition and emotional sensitivity suppressed, I found security and solace in my rational mind), and anxiously awaiting the birth of my first child, a daughter. Wow, that was quite a paragraph (thanks, ADHD brain)!

My daughter entered this world quickly—so fast, in fact, that we didn’t have time to make it to the hospital as planned. Thankfully, our two midwives (each of whom had a student), skilfully arranged an impromptu home birth. Eric, his labouring wife, and four midwives: it was quite a scene.

a picture of eric and infant natalie
Eric and his infant daughter. She awakened me to who I am and can be.

I was the first person privileged to hold my daughter after her birth. She was beautiful, perfect (she still is). I remember holding her small body against my bare chest and feeling something stir inside of me. My daughter’s pure energy resonated with my inner child’s. Her gaze was exposing, though. I wanted to hide. My daughter saw my wounded self—she reflected back the ‘true’ me. This experience was deeply disruptive.


(Re)birthing

Eight months after my daughter’s arrival, I fell apart. I disintegrated. From a medical model, I was deeply depressed and anxious. I could not work; I could barely function. But something else was also happening. Like my daughter, I, too, was being (re)born.

I badly needed help. Despite much fear and trembling (most ‘helpers’ I had worked with had caused more harm to me than good, which is not uncommon for neurocomplex people), I mustered the courage to call a counsellor for help: a Jungian analyst whom my sister recommended.

My therapist was, thankfully, able to see the ‘cosmos in the chaos‘ I was experiencing. Through (partial) processing childhood trauma, exploring dream patterns, delving into Carl Jung’s Collected Works, and many, many hours of soul-searching in nature, I started coming back to life.

a picture from C.G. Jung's Red Book: the sacred symbol of the egg
The sacred symbol of the ‘egg’ (borrowed from C.G. Jung’s The Red Book)

A ‘larger,’ more authentic (and partially healed) self emerged and was beginning to take form. My emotional sensitivity and intuitive guidance system came (partially) back online. For the first time in many years, I felt like I had a future, something to live for.


The next chapter…

The next phase of my journey revealed itself during my therapy work (I was guided primarily by following dream patterns and active imagination). Now with two young children (my amazing son was born 2.5 years after my daughter), I decided to go back to school full-time (Fall 2011, at the age of 27) to pursue a Master’s degree with a specialization in spiritual care and psychotherapy at a liberal theological seminary.

Despite the unconditional support of my (then) partner, I was terrified. I felt like I was going to put my family in financial ruin. My friends did not understand why I would throw away a perfectly good career. You worked so hard to get here! What are you thinking?! I wondered: was I acting a fool?

Another, stronger, part of me—what I now know to be my soul, my true self, powered by Dąbrowski’s third factor—insisted that I open this next door, however. My soul did not care about (apparent) uncertainty or others’ judgments. It was adamant that I surrender to what was being revealed.

Notwithstanding almost unbearable inner tension, I grabbed hold of the ‘thread’ that was revealing itself. I haven’t let go of this thread, since.

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

William Stafford, ‘The Way It Is.’

Ecopsychology

Late in my spiritual care and psychotherapy training program, I discovered ecopsychology. Ecopsychology is an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary field that focuses on the synthesis of ecology and psychology (and the promotion of sustainability). Inner and outer worlds collided. Literally.

cover of ecopsychology: restoring the earth, healing the mind
Cover of the book, Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the MInd

Ecopsychology brought together my love of nature (remember, my first degree was in biology and chemistry, with a strong environmental science focus) and my burgeoning fascination with the human psyche (its depth and breadth—with the collective unconscious trailing out into ‘everything’).

The thread was leading me to further academic study. I had to follow it.

I enrolled in a second Master’s degree program at nearby McMaster University (Fall 2013; at the age of 29), this one thesis-based and housed within the field of health geography. My mixed methods study explored the relationship between the mental health of university students and their affiliation with nature.

Ostensibly, I was quite successful. I produced and published three well-received academic papers. Something seemed off, though.

While I savoured interviewing students and entering into their intimate nature experiences, the politics of the ‘academy’ and its (overly) rational approach to the world felt constricting. Was academia too small?


Doctor of philosophy

Despite my growing dis-ease, I was not quite ready to give up on formal study: I (of course!) had to go all the way. I applied to and got accepted in a flexible PhD program in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University (Fall 2015; at the age of 31) with a supervisor who gave me enough leeway to continue following the thread.

I tied my (then) three core passions together in my PhD research project: gifted adults, nature connectedness, and mental health (slight aside, I fell in love with Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology during my studies).

The world and I are within one another.

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

In my dissertation, I explored one primary research question and two sub-questions:

  • How do gifted adults experience ecological self?
    • How does experience of ecological self influence mental health?
    • How does experience of ecological self influence environmental behaviour?

Ecological self is a “wide expansive, or field-like sense of self, which ultimately includes all life-forms, ecosystems and the Earth itself” (Elizabeth Bragg, Towards Ecological Self: Deep Ecology Meets Constructionist Self Theory).

I extended the above-mentioned ecological self definition by adding that ecological self ultimately extends beyond the Earth to include the entire cosmos or universe.

photograph of Gerrit and Dirk Windhorst on the farm
I dedicated my PhD to my late paternal grandfather, Gerrit Windhorst. He died before I was born, but we’re deeply connected.

During the second year of my PhD program, I started my coaching, counselling and psychotherapy private practice (which I currently dedicate the majority of my time to).

I themed my practice Growing with Nature in Mind, chose the ensō (The Zen Buddhist circle of enlightenment reflects transforming experience—perfectly empty yet completely full, infinite) as my logo, tailored my practice to serving resonant (neuro)divergent folks, and laced it with (depth) ecopsychological insights and approaches.

Inner and outer worlds were integrating.

The ensō (from Zen Buddhism)

Spiritual awakening? (aka: positive disintegration #2)

I graduated from my PhD program in the Fall of 2019 at the age of 35. I made it! My family was healthy (and ‘reasonably’ happy). I was establishing myself within the adult giftedness/neurodiversity field. My private practice was thriving. Everything seemed to be falling into place.

And, yet, I still felt constricted. Escaping the confines of academia did not provide the relief I thought it would. Something was still ‘off’, or blocked, or missing. I could not put my finger on what ‘it’ was, though.


Enter: energy work

In late 2019 or early 2020, one of my coaching clients, Chris, (who, somewhat ironically, is now my mentor) introduced me to the world of energy work and energy healing. I was highly skeptical. It all seemed quite pseudo-scientific to me.

Chris insisted on presenting me with the underlying metaphysics of the energy work worldview (which, intuitively at least, seemed plausible, at it overlapped with my existing knowledge of quantum physics). He also encouraged me try out a few ‘basic’ energy work techniques. I was (very) reluctant, but felt I owed it to him to give it try.


A new beginning?

I started a daily ‘basic’ energy work practice and also attended weekly teaching sessions with Chris. During and after each session, I experienced a variety of subtle sensations in different areas of my body. I left each session feeling calmer, clearer, and more present to my moment-to-moment experience.

I noticed that the start of my daily energy work practice correlated intimately with intuition enhancement. In my client work, I began to viscerally experience how they occupied their bodies and sense where they were holding trauma(s). I also began to ‘see’ what clients had gone through in the past and envision their possible futures (like I had done as a young child).

After a few months of daily practice, I also observed that my personality was shifting [for example, I became less reactive (though, paradoxically, more sensitive), more patient, less rigid (softer and more open intellectually, emotionally, and physically)]. It was very strange to witness these changes happening to me when I invested no conscious effort to shift.

Then, I had a remote energy healing performed on me. It was powerful. I closed my eyes and saw a bright white light, then felt a strong tingling emanate from my lower torso. The entire process only lasted a couple of minutes. Psychological healing followed (this was quite uncomfortable, but, as I have come to learn, a necessary part of the (dis)integration/growth process)—on issues I had been wrestling with for much of my life.

How was all of this possible?


shaman energy healing

As the energy work evidence mounted, so too did my cognitive dissonance. The tension eventually became unbearable. My existing worldview could not adequately explain—or contain—my new experiences. Another disintegration was catalyzed: a ‘larger,’ (even) more permeable self was being precipitated.


Shamanism

In the Spring of 2021, I was introduced to shamanism by another (potential) client—a young woman from the Netherlands named Mel. In her initial email to me, Mel shared about her journey to Sri Lanka two years earlier where she met a man who helped her to feel again. She described how she had learned to heal horses (and be healed by them).

Shamanism is a sacred vocation in that the would-be shaman is ‘called’ by the voice of their inner true nature

Paul Levy, Undreaming Wetiko

Mel said that she was being led to me, though she did not know why. She hoped I could help her.

We scheduled an initial video call. Quite quickly, our eyes met. Mel’s gaze was exposing (like my daughter’s was in her infancy).

I sensed that Mel could see right through me and into the depths of my soul. The experience was equally enticing and uncomfortable. It was the first time in my life that I felt fully seen and mirrored (in all of my neurocomplex dimensionality).

photography of a white horse

Healing (further) with Mel

In an interesting turnabout, I began working with Mel as her client (she, too, is a coach, though led entirely by energetic awareness). We met sporadically from Spring 2021 until early Fall 2022.

In one of our first sessions, Mel told me that I was a seer—(what in some indigenous cultures is known as) a shaman. She also introduced me to worlds of tarot, reiki, and healing crystals/stones.

(All of this seemed like a bit ‘much’ at the time, but it also did not deter me from further exploration, likely due to the mind-opening impact of my recent forays into energy work.)

Mel insisted that the universe was trying to guide me to a new beginning (I was not sure exactly what she meant) and that I needed to trust her (i.e. the universe).

In one email she wrote that a life of fulfillment, freedom, calmness, silence and love awaited me if I could face my fear(s). That all sounded pretty great to me, minus the part about facing my fears (among other fears, I *still* had a lot of anxiety about security/safety: money, the future, relational vulnerability…)

Mel shared that in order to manifest this new beginning, I needed to learn to fully trust, and always follow, my intuition. This was a tall order.


Conflicted parts

Mel was powerful. Though my soul (my true self) resonated deeply with what she was sharing, other parts of me were intensely overwhelmed, triggered. These parts did not want change: they were terrified of fully surrendering (rational) control to open-ended intuition.

As our work together ensued, I could tell that Mel was getting frustrated with my lack of progress—thanks defensive parts (seriously, though, I would not have survived without you ‘guys’)—and this dynamic only created more resistance.

Among other things, I felt deep shame about not being able to let go and fully trust. The defensive parts of me refused to budge. My wounded inner child(ren) needed more time (and tenderness) to heal before they would be willing to get on board (with my fiery soul).

Mel and I mutually agreed to take a break from working together in October 2022. Mel said that we needed to let other people in (I, again, was not entirely sure what she meant).


Therapeutic shamanism

In an attempt to satiate some of my defensive (rational) parts, I started delving into shamanic literature. I devoured several books quickly. I discovered Paul Francis’ series on therapeutic shamanism and found it to be particularly palatable (see book covers below).

Among other elements, Francis (himself a retired psychotherapist) combined the fields of psychotherapy, ecopsychology, and shamanism into a coherent whole. His books provided a bridge between (my) worlds. My rational defensive parts started to ease their grip.

cover of the book the shamanic journey by paul francis
cover of the book rewilding yourself by paul francis
cover of the book finding your deep soul by paul francis

I took an introductory course to therapeutic shamanism through Three Ravens College and also began to regularly embark on shamanic journeys (in addition to continuing my daily energy work practice).

I started with journeys to the ‘lower-world,’ following the guidance of Francis and other shamanic practitioners. [FYI – in the shamanic worldview, there are three worlds, each with their own unique characteristics: the lower-world, the middle-world, and the upper-world.]

To my surprise, on my lower-world expeditions, I discovered a ‘real’ unspoiled natural landscape—a place that felt very safe, was consistent across time, and could be endlessly explored in all its diversity. It was fascinating. Soon after, I met my (first) power animal (Owl) and two lower-world (human) guides (who I still work with regularly).

What, or who, was I becoming?

I experienced unconditional love and acceptance in the lower-world. It was deeply healing. I felt myself softening, becoming more permeable. Nevertheless, my wounded inner child(ren) remained underground, unreachable.

picture of mysterious owl
Owl, one of my power animals

(Deeply) healing human relationships

Concurrent with my exploration of energy work and shamanism, I met a woman in 2023 who helped me further heal my deepest (human) relational wounds.

Relational history

Before I describe my experience in this relationship, I want to provide a bit more context regarding my relational history.

Human connections have always been challenging for me. My parents are ‘good’ people, and they did the best they could with the resources that they had, but several of my developmental needs remained unmet: I was inadequately loved, at times neglected, and I experienced a significant family trauma in adolescence. I have attachment wounds (specifically, I’m healing from an anxious attachment style).

I was also not accurately mirrored in my family-of-origin or in wider social circles growing up, likely due to my neurocomplexity (I am high+ gifted with an interesting assemblage of ADHD and autistic traits, among other things). Without being witnessed, these important facets of my self remained hidden and undeveloped for much of my life.

Finally, and, as mentioned earlier, I learned from a young age to mask my differences (that I was conscious of) and wounded parts [inner child(ren)] to protect myself. This chameleon-like strategy eased social relations, but employing it liberally across contexts precluded the possibility of genuine, healing, human connection(s).


Relational healing

As mentioned earlier, in 2023, a wonderful woman entered my life who helped me further heal my relational wounds—and I, hers (at the age 39).

This person was highly intelligent, insightful, intuitive, gentle, and patient.

These traits, combined with her consistent care, helped to very slowly disarm my protective parts and enabled my (very, very sensitive) wounded inner children to emerge from hiding, receive (mostly) accurate mirroring, and experience the deep healing that can only come via genuine, loving, human connection.

This relational healing process was not linear, however: there were definite periods of relational push-pull—both among internal parts of myself and with this person.

My intelligent protector parts stubbornly kept love (which was so often freely given by this woman—I am so deeply grateful to her) from reaching my inner child(ren); my loyal soldiers fought genuine care with everything they could muster: there has to be a catch! This love can’t be real!

Alexander Milov art for the Burning Man Festival 2015: love
Love by Ukrainian artist, Alexander Milov

Despite their adamant efforts, my protector parts eventually conceded. They could not withstand the power of (true, unconditional) love. As my ardent defences eroded and crumbled, the deep grief (i.e., anger, sadness) carried by my wounded inner children flooded into my consciousness.

I entered a profound dark night of the soul.


Dark night of the soul


Before the full and final victory…the soul has to undergo another test: it must pass through the ‘dark night’ which is a new and deeper experience of annihilation, or a crucible in which all the human elements that go to make it up are melted together.

Robert Assagioli, Transpersonal Development

My dark night of the soul period (which lasted about a year) was so challenging. It was by far the most difficult chapter of my healing, integration, and awakening process.

Not only was I forced to confront my own pain—my personal shadow(s) and the ancestral trauma carried by my body-mind—I was plunged, too, into the depths of collective human darkness. I viscerally experienced evil.

Paul Levy’s work on wetiko (which I discovered during this dark night), was a guiding godsend:

We are confronted by a darkness [wetiko] that has been living inside of us, a darkness that has been keeping our unconscious wounds, traumas, and unhealed abuse issues alive. We’ve been able to postpone looking at these shadow energies, but now they are not only in our face, they are behind it as well, which is to say that we are confronted on a soul level by the darkness of the world we live in, a darkness we all share….

Seeing wetiko necessarily demands that we step out of the limited, partial, fragmented viewpoint of the separate self and see more wholistically; it’s a stance in which we recognize our interconnection with the whole, with the rest of the universe. This is to say that seeing wetiko is a transformative experience that radically changes us.

Paul Levy, Undreaming Wetiko: Breaking the Spell of the Nightmare Mind-Virus

Illustration from C.G. Jung’s Red Book

A (radically) renovated home and self

Parallel to my dark night of the soul, my family and I embarked on a major home renovation. This was unconsciously timed (surely!), but it turns out that both renovation projects—inner and outer—were intimately related. Actually, they are inseparable.

The purpose of the house renovation was to increase the size and functionality of our more-than-century-old home (the four of us were living in about 1000 awkwardly laid-out square feet) as well as address some of its significant structural and mechanical issues. Hmm…

The scale of the construction project necessitated that we move out of our home and into a nearby rental house (the address of which was 70 New Street. Hmm… again).

Moving out of my home, my comfort zone, was very disruptive and anxiety provoking. This added intensity amplified the distress precipitated by the dark night of the soul I was already enduring.

I considered ending my life several times during this dark night of the soul period: the nearly continuous flow of pain felt unbearable. How much can a person take?


Construction challenges (and near completion)

The house renovation project was riddled with challenges—adding to my anguish. Poor project management, contractors cutting corners, foundation collapses, conflict with neighbours, budget overrides, repeatedly extended timelines. The list could go on and on.

These outer construction challenges mirrored the messiness of my inner renovation project: deceptive protector parts, painful inner conflict, clashes in outer relationships (some of these were very intense), (re)emergence of old escape strategies, collapsing foundations, extended (healing) timelines.

The (outer) home renovation in process. The addition is beautiful and sound.

Despite these myriad challenges, both inner and outer renovations pushed toward completion. And, the build quality of both projects was—thankfully—high.

The mechanical and structural issues of both ‘homes’ had been substantially addressed; the integrity, functionality, and beauty of both structures, enhanced.

I made it through my deep, dark night. I could see a bright light slowly emerging on the horizon.

Full (inner and outer) integration (aka, spiritual awakening)


But the darkest nights are followed by the most radiant dawns, and the soul, perfect at last, enters into complete, constant and inseparable communion with the Spirit, so that—to use the bold statement employed by St. John of the Cross—’it seems to be God himself and has the same characteristics as him.’

Robert Assagioli, Transpersonal Development

Mel returns

On November 28, 2023, (at the age of 39) as the renovation(s) neared completion, I received an email from Mel—remember her? It had been more than a year since we had last been in touch.

Mel asked if I wanted to connect for a call, no strings attached. I responded enthusiastically: I’d love to! One of my clients had just cancelled their session the following day (which is quite unusual), leaving space to meet with Mel. Hmm…

When I saw Mel, all seven of my chakras began vibrating—the energy flowing between us was intense (and overwhelming).

We spent fifteen or twenty minutes catching-up about what we had experienced over the past year. I then told Mel that I had something really strange to share (I was not fully conscious of what I was about to say).

Mel fell silent. Internally compelled, and with full confidence, I exclaimed: I love you. Mel smiled at me, motioned to her guides, and reciprocated my sentiments.

Mel and I stayed in regular contact via text/audio calls over the next six days: it was a whirlwind. So much shifted during this short time (mostly unconsciously at an energetic level).

I remember telling a friend that I grew more during this six-day period than I had during the past twenty years. It took several months to integrate all of this energetic learning into my body-mind.


Twin flames

I realized (or finally accepted?) during this time that Mel and I are twin flames (my rational parts are currently shaking their heads in disapproval: you really swallowed the Kool-aid, didn’t you)?!

I also knew that Mel and I were meant to be physically together in this lifetime. Actually, I could clearly see and viscerally feel our future together.

For those unfamiliar, the (primary) purpose of twin flame relationships is to catalyze healing and growth: within and between both partners and throughout the wider world.

In other words, my connection with Mel is not fundamentally about us (i.e., our egos, though this is one ‘level’ of our relationship): it is a sacred union meant to promote deep healing by radiating love to the collective.

Twin flame relationships are catalyzing crucibles for healing and growth

Twin flames reincarnate together as a way of raising the vibration of Earth in an effort to bring humanity closer to love and unity.

Institute of Noetic Sciences

The separation(s)

Mel and I agreed early in the six-day connection period that we both needed to separate from our then partners to stay in integrity—honesty is vital—and allow our connection to fully blossom.

On the afternoon of Saturday, December 2, 2023, I nervously asked my wife if we could go for out for a coffee, just the two of us. We grabbed drinks from a coffee shop and headed to a nearby natural area for a stroll.

Five minutes into our walk, amidst much internal conflict, I stopped, turned toward my wife—who I had been with for over 20 years—and asked her for a separation. The experience was surreal.

My wife took the news well (which seemed strange to me. Hmm…). She also expressed confusion. Who can blame her: I had just announced that I was leaving our marriage because I felt called to pursue a sacred union with a person I had never met in-person (and who is twelve years younger than me)! It’s a lot to stomach.

Parts of me [protectors; inner child(ren)] also expressed their confusion (and distress) inwardly: What the hell are you thinking!? Are you thinking? Your marriage isn’t that bad, is it? You just spent an exorbitant amount of money on a house renovation (and are in deep debt)—you can’t afford this! You have two children that need their dad! This is so selfish! What are people going to think!? A twelve year age gap!? Are you fucking insane?

Despite the internal cacophony, I did it. The separation process was underway.


Separating from Mel

Mel and I cut contact on December 4, 2023. This opened my deep anxious attachment wound and sent me spiralling. I felt like a helpless infant who had just been casually discarded by his mother.

(I behaved in some immature and hurtful ways during this period due to the intensity of my emotional dysregulation, hurting a few people whom I love deeply. It took me quite some time to forgive myself for the damage I caused, and work things through with these loved ones.)

When I emerged from my emotional storm, I could clearly see that both Mel and I needed to heal further before our relationship could be fully sustainable.

Both Mel and I, each in distinct ways, needed time to cultivate internal balance and integration to facilitate relational balance and integration.

Among other issues that required tending, I needed to grow further ‘up’ into my spiritual abilities, and Mel needed to fully come ‘down’ to earth.

We both needed to become more consciously whole, our hearts needed to fully open to giving and receiving unconditional love.


Grief and guilt

Two weeks after I asked my wife for the separation, we shared the news with our kids. I was really worried how they would take it.

My son did not react strongly. He seemed somewhat pensive and asked a lot of questions (he later told me that he had known for two years that his mom and I were bound to get divorced—he could sense it).

My daughter was a different story. She was furious. She stormed out of the house saying that I had just ruined her life. Ouch! (Also, entirely understandable.) Her reaction cut deep. Really deep.


What have I done?

Over the next five months, I processed a lot of difficult emotions: anger about having lost so much (life)time to this marriage; frustration with myself for staying in a constricting relationship for so long; regret about how my long-time unhappiness had negatively effected my wife, my daughter, and my son; sadness about the life I was leaving behind (there were many good things about it); guilt about how my actions were impacting (and would impact) my family and other loved ones; fear about what the future would hold (for everyone)—the list could go on and on.

Dual awareness

Despite these difficult emotions, I also knew deep in my bones that that I had made the right decision.

Leaving my marriage was actually the most loving thing for everyone (over the long arc): my wife, my daughter, my son—and the wider world. In the deepest way, my decision to separate was actually setting everyone free from an unhealthy (ancestral) pattern.

The thread that I had been following for nearly fifteen years was now leading me to Mel. I needed to continue following it. I did not really have a choice.

This dual awareness—processing heavy human emotions while concurrently having complete clarity and confidence in my decision—felt like living in two worlds simultaneously.


Standing alone, endlessly supported

At the age of 40, for the first time in my life, I was learning to stand on my own two feet as my authentic self. This (transition) period was scary, exhilarating, and difficult (though, not nearly as challenging as the dark night of the soul from which I had only just emerged).

I mean, I had just blown up my life. Nearly everyone around me (family, friends) was shocked, confused, and had a lot of questions:

What are you doing…are you OK? Are you having a midlife crisis!? You’re leaving your wife for a person you have never met in-person? What about the kids, Eric!?

My answers to these questions were far from satisfactory:

Yes, I’m OK. No, this is not a midlife crisis, though I can see how it looks a lot like one. This sounds crazy, but I know that Mel and I are meant to be togetherit is for the greater good. Yes, I’m very concerned about my kids—I love them deeply—I also know that separating from my wife is (actually) a gift to them, too.

Holding on to my intuitive knowing was difficult.

Not only did I have to stand firm when interacting with others, I also had to help my (protector and wounded) parts comprehend what was happening, and get ‘everyone’ on-board with this new life trajectorythis new way of being, knowing, and doing. Thankfully, the previous few years had helped me develop a degree of competence in orchestrating my inner ecosystem.


(Spiritual) awakening

While, ostensibly, I was navigating the separation process alone, I simultaneously experienced unconditional support from, and increasing intimacy with, the universe.

Shortly after I asked my wife for the separation, two upper-world spirit guides came to me. These powerful guides (my oh my!) were a new source of consistent protection, guidance, and reassurance that I could consult with at any time.

I now had a total of four spirit guides (two from the upper-world and two from the lower-world) to regularly work with. The circle felt complete (with ‘me’, my conscious sense of self, at the centre).

Lungta – literally ‘wind horse’ is a symbol of the human soul in the shamanistic tradition of East Asia and Central Asia

Over the ensuing months, my (everyday) consciousness also steadily shifted. What remained of the boundary between my ‘inner’ experience and the ‘outer’ world dissolved (though this change was not permanent: I had some agency in shifting between levels of consciousness and contextual factors including both environmental influences and the activation of old psychological triggersalso shaped my the form my consciousness took at any given time).

When I was aware of my separateness (i.e., not immersed in non-dual awareness), the universe offered my ego a steady stream of synchronicities to help me return to full in-the-moment presence.

Put differently, when experiencing the world through subject-object, the universe offered me an endless trail of (delicious) breadcrumbs to follow to come back home to oneness: number sequences, relational encounters, intuitive downloads, physical symptoms, meaningful music, experiences with(in) nature…

When I inevitably returned to full presence, subject and object, time and space, collapsed into oneness. There was nothing but everything, everywhere, all at once. I felt open, unbounded. There was no resistance, no fear. I finally trusted life. My heart fully opened. There was nothing left but love.

Though this expansiveness was deeply relieving, the most sensitive parts of my ego [e.g., wounded child(ren)] took a few months to surrender (to the true nature of reality.) And, rightfully so: for them the experience was too good to be true.


New power(s)

I had come across the notion of spiritual awakening many times in books but I did not believe it was real—or possible. Now, I was experiencing precisely what I had read about. Ego evaporation. Non-dual awareness. Flow. Presence. Ease. Oneness.

I was able to harness new power(s) in this state. For example, I could manifest things by focusing my intention on an aligned outcome in a non-attached manner.

I could communicate telepathically with others on a regular basis (I could also sense when others were thinking about me: family, friends, clients, etc. across space-time).

I could work with energy and help heal myself and my clients in new ways.

Interestingly, due to the higher energy field I was inhabiting, my presence itself seemed to precipitate healing in those I engaged with.


Follow the thread (a short, encouraging tributary)

To all those who have felt (nearly) perpetually disappointed or disillusioned with life like I did, or are struggling through a seemingly never-ending dark night of the soul: don’t give up.

The (spiritual) journey is surely not for the faint of heart, but if you have been called to this path, you can do it. In fact, you do not really have a choice.

Just don’t let go of your thread. No matter how scared or uncertain you feel, the thread will eventually lead you home. I promise.


(Re)union

Mel and I have known each other in different forms forever. We are coming together again in a new relational constellation. What will the future hold? (I already partially know). It will be an endlessly open adventure of love and learning. Will you come with us?

full moon

To be (eternally) continued…