For The Love Of My Son
Life as it stands for me now consists of this... I live in Coffs Harbour, a thriving regional town on the New South Wales Mid North Coast in Australia. I have a successful business as a coach and mentor doing something I am so passionate about. I train and play football every week with a great community and family focused club. I practice yoga once or twice a week, box and go to the gym. I meditate most days. Add to all this weekly bike rides, swims in the lush ocean. So yes, life is pretty sweet in many ways, ever evolving, revolving, expanding and full of flow.
The journey to this place though is what makes me value where I am, the personal challenges I encountered, succumbed to, looked straight in the eye, faced and ultimately attacked head on. These challenges gave me the tools to expand and see life from a totally different perspective, to move past my old stories.
So let's back track 3.5 years, I had a great business, totally immersed in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and educator. I'd train, motivate, guide and mentor about 35 clients one-on-one per week at my busiest. I also managed a local fitness college where I taught, coached and coaxed 100 students. I had a great income, lifestyle, friends, and family. So I was living the dream so to speak, but behind the scenes things where not so good.
Things were triggered when I separated from my partner, the mother of our five year old son. I moved out of the family home and I was overtaken by profound grief. Grief of losing my partner and howling grief of not having daily contact with my son who I adore with a love which has inexplicable depths. This is where my world came crashing in, and I did not have the tools to handle it.
Through these events, I lost all motivation for work, exercise, self regard, regard for others and started doing things that where not in alignment with the person I once was.
I was going out a lot, drinking more, worrying more, exercising less, not eating properly and coming apart at the seams. The total opposite to everything I had been living and teaching. I wandered into a dark fog of depression and became disconnected from my heart, my life and others, losing all sense of reason, of purpose.
I knew what I had to do, but had no firepower to shift out of where I was. I could just not function effectively. The pain associated with not seeing my son was gut wrenchingly devastating, triggering me back in time to my own issues of abandonment. My own parents had separated and I had always hoped to not re create that in my own life, but here I was now living exactly that.
I remember sitting on rocks near the ocean in a place called Macauleys Headland in Coffs, thinking how ending it all would just make the pain, the constant ache go away. I felt no concept of hope, nor strength to get through what was going on.
I remember sitting there devastated and then suddenly tears poured freely down my cheeks onto my shirt at the thought of my son not knowing me, that if I took the easy road and ended this suffering I was feeling, he would never know me, and that right there was the catalyst for these thoughts to end.
As painful as those moments were, through my clouded haze I had enough realization that although it felt like my own world was falling apart it could not and would not ever end my relationship with my son. It was just a redefinition and it was up to me how he would see it going forward. It was up to me to create the best life that I could muster for myself and for him. It was this love for my boy and for my own self, which shifted things dramatically.
Obviously I had to get some help and do the required inner work on myself something had to give, and it did.
The separation had triggered massive amounts of old issues buried deep inside my core from my own experiences as a child, which sent me into a spiral of reactive and abusive behaviour, to myself and others. I remember telling myself that “This is not the father nor the man I want to be to my beautiful son!”
There are no excuses for not showing self regard, and regard to others, the hardest yet ultimately best thing to do is to own it, step up, take action and do the work.
I embarked on daily meditation and consistent sessions with those who could help me clear resistance to moving past old patterns. I am a determined character and knew I had what it took to get back into my heart, and into my life, as that was always my truth, as it is with us all. At the core of our beings is our beautiful heart, and when we come from there, we are free and at our best.
So began my journey into my heart again, something I had dabbled in, but totally committed to this time. I'd get up earlier, sometimes 4.30am before work to meditate, then again each night before bed. First for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, then more as I became better, some days where amazing, some where hard, but that's not the point. It had to be done.
I made it a priority in my life to start training hard again 5 days a week, eating the foods which nourished my body and mind, swam in the ocean daily, drank a whole lot less alcohol and watched amazed as the worry started to lift and I started feeling more calm again.
Through my daily meditation I started manifesting what life I wanted, and the life I wanted to create, from the kind of work I wanted, to where I lived, to the people I attracted in my life and the experiences I wanted to have.
In my two years in Byron I would also drive the 500km back to Coffs every fortnight to spend a day or two with my son, and would call him on the phone on the other weekend. In that time I only missed out on that trip twice due to illness. Those two years helped me release my attachment to co dependency and my abandonment issues and I created my own beautiful little studio apartment right on one of the most amazing beaches in Byron Bay.
Together with meditation, exercise, yoga, regular self mastery and healing sessions with mentors, my own self love, a voracious appetite for reading, the love, support and understanding of some amazing friends and family, and the ever present unconditional love of my boy, I shifted and lifted my vibration and came out the other side of the crash that began when my relationship ended.
It is such a priority to me to be as good a role model and mentor to my son as I possibly can, and I now am more confident, and trust myself more than ever to handle anything that comes before me. I cannot begin to tell you how good that feels - to trust yourself.
Everything passes on this earth, pain, events, the good, the bad, even us...so it’s all part of the human process. We are so programmed as men to expect things to be a certain way, so much so that when they suddenly are not the same, we become fearful and reactive. We don’t learn how to handle big change, these important life skills are not taught at school. If they were, there would be far less male suicide.
I guess what I see now is that without sounding flaky, everything is so temporary. A relationship breakdown does not have to define you, your life nor your value in this world, it’s really a small dust particle of your life in the bigger schemes of things, and will pass. To see challenges like this as opportunities now makes a lot more sense to me.
I still make mistakes, (just this week actually!) but hey, shit always happens. Triggers, escapism and imperfections are part of our human experience and I don’t beat myself up about that so much anymore.
My meditation practice along with my determined integration of what I am constantly learning about myself and the world around me offers me the tools, capacity and confidence to know that I am able to channel my energy and thoughts and know that when the darkness surfaces, as it always will, I can watch it, allow it, let it pass without reaction, then find my way back to the light, often thinking, “Wow, that was interesting!”
Another gift that I can take from my journey is that I know I am going to help other single fathers and men in general, who struggle with depression, abuse, alienation from society and their children, to help them find a different way of thinking, the way of self love, through exercise and mindset, this is now a calling for me.
What I would say to them is this –
Don't be afraid. What is scaring you is only as potent as the energy you give it – so put your energy into moving yourself and your body in ways that grow you into a better person.
Knowing this myself along with the deep love of my son brought me back to my life. I chose the tough road forward – to deeply see inside myself and it has brought me back home, into my heart.
An excerpt from Steve's story for the new book in the series "Made by Scars - the men's series" expected 2017
Copyright Made Beautiful by Scars 2016 All rights reserved.