This is the third in a series of blogs dealing with deep inner healing. I know this may sound like my idea of the quick fix, and I apologise for that. There is no quick fix. Our memories are scattered bits of words, images and feelings that can be and will be triggered for the rest of our lives. The key is to disconnect them from the pathways that lead to pain and rewire them to positive feelings – to go from worthlessness to worthiness, self-hate to self-love, and yes, even from pain to joy. This is an on-going process that sometimes takes a lifetime
In the last two blogs, we looked at relationships with parents; today we will look at ex-spouses. When I started burning my contracts, I kept the most difficult for last, my ex-wife. I believe the relationship with an ex-spouse, especially the first spouse, the other parent of our children, is held together by strong oxytocin bonds connected by that first innocent passionate love and reinforced through the birthing of children. When the raw passion recedes, we have to move on to heart to heart love or the bond begins to die and be replaced by a set of self-centered and self-serving expectations that are suffocating and eventually may prove fatal. This is the contract. Once the bond is broken, it is broken, yet we persist. But it is not love that holds us together at the end, it is the contract.
In my own story, I had sacrificed all my own wants and desires believing that it would please her and force her to keep on loving me. I had become a shell of a man who hated himself and had embarked on a course of self-destruction. By being untrue to my Self, I had built up a massive body of unconscious resentment. I resented the contract with my ex-wife that led me to sacrifice my Self, my sexual orientation, my career choices, and even my family, on the altar of our marriage. These resentments had burst forth in gay sexual encounters as a way of escaping the pain and emptiness, placing the blame on her, and striking out against her. But in my unconscious state, the only person I was destroying was my Self.
When the man she had fallen in love with disappeared, she too had held on to the contract. When I had failed to keep my end of the bargain, it was the end of the marriage. She burned her half of the contract. When the marriage ended, I felt I was a hopeless failure. I kept this feeling of failure buried deep within my soul. Even after two years, I was still holding on to my half of the contract, believing it was the one thing that could save me from myself. I finally came to the point of accepting that the reconciliation was not going to happen; in fact, I finally understood that I could not even let it happen, because it would destroy what was left of me. I also understood why I had let the gay encounters happen; I had subconsciously forced myself out of my poisoned contractual relationship before it literally killed me. I had to burn the contract. But I realized that there was still some good there – good times, good memories, and that she was still the wonderful girl I had fallen in love with. I had to do it as an act of love for myself and for her. It took one whole sixteen hour day to write the contract. It was necessary for me to lovingly go through each positive and negative item of this contract so that I could see, remember and weep for the things I had enjoyed and lost while burning the guilt and failure.
I lit the fire and watched the written contract burn in the real fireplace as I visualized it being consumed by spiritual flames in the spiritual fireplace I had built inside my inner room. As I watched the last disintegrating pieces float up the chimney and out into the open sky, I felt the weight and guilt of having failed her lift off my shoulders. Then it all became clear. There was no failure. A marriage that dissolves is not a failure; it is merely an accepting that the bond has broken and that both need to move on in order to survive and thrive. There was no more shame; my sexual orientation was a powerful part of my body and the basic foundations of my mind. It simply demanded to be expressed; it was okay to accept these urges and enjoy the sensations of my body. There was no more guilt; I had done the best I could under the circumstances. I had held on for thirty-three years and kept my family together free of the knowledge of the struggles I was experiencing until all my children were well established adults. I did not have to apologize to anyone or forgive anyone, particularly myself and my ex-wife. It was just a matter of being conscious of the truth of the situation and then moving on to a more wholesome life.
As the last black fragments of the contract disintegrated into the final spark that floated up the chimney, the old me departed. It left a hollow feeling behind, but I was ready to begin again. I was ready to love again, perhaps really love for the first time. I was now free to be me, to enjoy wholesome relationships with men and/or women, and to reconnect with all the people I had loved, with all the people who had tried to love me But his time it would be as an honest man, free of guilt and shame, I would be true to my Self. I would just be ME.