February 28, 2024

A Dark Night—& a Bright Morning.

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The last few months have been a phenomenal journey full of learnings, emotional breakdowns, change, and surrender.

Late in November of 2023, my mind, body, and soul were suffering.

Some might call this a dark night of the soul, burnout period, or midlife crisis. I looked at it as an opportunity to overcome all that was plaguing me.

From sitting around the house feeling sorry for myself for being overweight or my body hurting, to procrastination and a general lack of personal growth, I was stagnant in life. No presence, no learning, no hearing, no seeing, no listening, no doing, and no time dedicated to challenging myself to be the best version of myself, for myself.

Many things contributed to the realization of my patterns, habits, and where my path was leading, only a few standout as catalysts.

My partner has never shied away from pushing and challenging growth in me, however, I wasn’t listening. Her attempts weren’t futile though; her words found a place deep in my subconscious over the years and became a mountain of wisdom ready to be heard. A fire deep inside of me began to burn, a desire for something more finally arrived, and my passion for life once again lit.

I was recommended a book titled No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover. A quick and easy read and I learned an overwhelming plethora of information about myself, my traumas, defense mechanisms, survival mechanisms, and poor habits that were holding me back from becoming who I really was.

My partner, a book, and my own will to be the best version of myself kick-started the biggest transformation of my life. I began yoga daily, I quit drinking, I started working out and reading every day, and I started connecting to my own spirituality, which had laid dormant for most of my adult life. I made these decisions for myself, which empowered me further. Where there is a will, there is a way, and anyone can do this.

I started small, a 10-minute morning yoga routine, an Epsom salt bath for my “old aching muscles and bones,” 20 minutes of reading, and a short HIIT workout. As the weeks went by, I upped the workout intensity and picked up more reading time and self-care. I integrated a to-do list and daily affirmations of encouragement. Even the smallest tasks, like taking out the trash or cleaning underneath the kitchen sink. I said affirmations like, “Today will be an amazing journey into the unknown, it will be a great day” and “I am a strong and successful man.”

As my mind, body, and soul became more aware of these changes, I began to feel more energized, more present, and more focused. Each day became easier and easier as I worked toward personal growth, health, and overall well-being. I could start feeling a shift in my life on a daily basis and yet another challenge was on the horizon.

Big changes in my life were occurring and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. My partner and I have been facing modern day family issues. As a single full-time father to my 11-year-old son, this pushed some parenting responsibility onto her part when she moved in with us and has since put our relationship into a confusing place. My personal career and entrepreneurial projects seemed to be at a turning point. Lots of bills and the lull of winter in Montana putting financial stressors on full blast. Both vehicles decided to cease working at the same time. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs until I had nothing left in me, so I did. Everything, all…at…once…please!

Now the real storm hit. Once I really decided to start changing, peeling back each layer of the onion, looking at myself, and holding myself accountable, the real journey began.

The difficulty of this journey tests me continuously. I remember my affirmations and a quote I read months ago, “The universe doesn’t want to break you, it wants you to break free.”

Staying on the path I am destined for through all of the change, personal growth, and added stressors of daily life in our culture is an ebb and flow practice. I find my center in the morning, wake up grateful to the universe, god, the divine, and myself for everything I have in this life. I go straight into my routine of self-care, hygiene, reading, working out, yoga, and then prepare for the day to begin while practicing affirmations and self-talk. This eliminates the opportunity for the old habits and negative self-talk to come in.

Counteracting every negative thought with positive self-talk and my affirmations is a daily, even hourly, struggle. I see and feel the difference it’s making though. I can feel the change happening and feel the energy shifting in my body.

When it feels like the universe is pulling us apart from every possible angle, it’s overwhelming. Some days, it feels like there’s no way out.

This is when my demons come on strong. My fears and insecurities about my life, my relationships, my professional life, and my self-image try to envelop this new purpose coming to life. I have to summon every ounce of strength, will power, and courage to sit with it and not allow it to run my day. Deep breathing and total surrender and trust in myself, the universe, the divine and/or god brings me back to center.

The old habits insist on testing my new boundaries through emotional turmoil within my mind and body. I hold on to my affirmations and sit with these emotions so I may better understand them.

Learning from myself has been a great tool for my growth. Finding a way to be able to observe my choices and actions as if I am watching myself in a movie has been an exceptional way for me to purge the old habits and form new healthy habits. Finding peace and quiet for self-reflection has been important to being able to logically reason with myself to be open to all the self-talk and self-awareness.

The deeper I look within, it sometimes becomes more difficult, and other times it becomes easier. Allowing myself the patience and time to process my findings has helped tremendously through this transformation. I am new to spiritual awakenings and spiritual transformations, and with the help and support of my partner, family, and even reads on the Elephant Journal, other blogs, media, and books, I have really begun to trust this process and the universe. The path I am on is the right one and everything is as it should be.

In November, I was 208 pounds, addicted to alcohol, addicted to overeating, addicted to mindless scrolling on the internet, addicted to pornography, and always looking for instant gratification. Since December 11th, I have abstained from all those things. I am 175 pounds, and I feel better than I have ever felt in my life at 40 years of age.

I am practicing being present with my partner, my kids, my family, and my friends more than ever and continuing to challenge my old habits and create new, safe, healthy habits with purpose and intention. It all started with a decision to stop feeling sorry for myself and a culmination of knowledge given to me by my partner, my family, and a few books. I keep telling myself every day that I’m finally on the right track, and nothing is going to stop me.

A few of the books and blogs that have helped me along this journey: No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Yes to Life by Viktor Frankl, Elephant Journal, We The Urban on Instagram, and UNFU*K YOURSELF a day-to-day calendar by Gary John Bishop.


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