11. Big Love, Big Wounds, Big Change, and Big Gratitude


“The good news is you love very deeply,” said my friend Linda over a glass of Brunello. “The bad news is, you love very deeply.”

It certainly wasn’t how I imagined my life in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico would turn out. Then again, life rarely does. After 15 months of a long distance relationship, I moved south of the border for love. While I was still three hours away from where she lived in Mexico City, at least it was better than 2,300 miles away from my home in Seattle, Washington. Before the first month was out, however, the relationship imploded, leaving me exiled in a foreign country and grieving over an imagined future that would never be.  “Big love reveals big wounds,” my friend Beth Bell says.

The thing with relationships is that they are about a shared frequency, time, and place during the evolution of our soul’s journey. Very often we begin in the same frequency as our lover, but sometimes the soul’s journey moves one or both into a different frequency; not necessarily higher or lower, just different. I had to accept that the greater aspect of our soul’s intersection was to put each of us on a new soul path and journey. As Dr. Joe Dispenza says, “When you remove the emotional charge from a painful experience, it becomes wisdom.”

When the relationship ended I fell into a deep hole, a hole from which it was hard to see the light. As a result, I stopped doing the things that were loving to me; writing, exercising, creating, meditating, being social, and so on. The thing is, when you fall into these holes, from your subterranean vantage point, you can’t see what’s around you—and if you can’t see what’s around you, then you forget how much there is to be grateful for.   

One recent evening on a walk through my beautiful, adopted Mexican town, I experienced a vivid moment of clarity. I realized that long before the relationship ended, my life had been shifting—and all along I had been desperately resisting it. Whether I liked it or not, the tectonic plates of my life were recalibrating beneath my feet, rearranging and restructuring the intersection of my internal and external world. As a result, I was desperately holding my life in a vice grip, and it was desperately struggling to breath. It finally took the dismantling of this relationship to realize I was in one of my life’s greatest initiations. When you’re in these spaces of initiation, what I am learning is that it’s not so much about embracing change as it is allowing it.

I am a work in progress.

I have been in this space of the unknown countless times in my life, in fact, I even wrote a book about being in the unknown. Theoretically you’d think I would feel comfortable in this space, but I’d be lying if I said I did. To jump into the unknown, to do the deep work of the soul is to find yourself in an endless labyrinth where you are not only called upon to make decisions, but to trust that those decisions are in alignment with your highest self.

Our external life is always going to shake us up, this is after all what life is all about—to rattle us out of our slumber. But it’s how we meet these external shakeups from an internal perspective that determines the duration and degree of our disorientation and discomfort. Personally speaking, I am in one of the greatest unknowns in my life, and I am so wide open and so far out in the unknown that there’s nothing left to shelter me—not a tree nor a toadstool. I’m on a lifeboat in the center of a vast ocean of the unknown, and the only thing I have to protect myself is a LifeVest made of surrender and trust.

When you’re in these spaces, it seems like a time of action—to start rowing, planning, plotting, or reading the stars for direction—but instead I believe it’s a time to go inward and be still. It is a time to take the remaining disparate pieces of what you knew as your former life and begin to shape matter and our external experience through consciousness and intention. It’s also a time to look closely at why these shakeups happened, because when we’re paying attention, shakeups lead to awakenings.

Part of what I have awakened to is the fact that for most of my life I’ve been holding on to dormant pains from the past. Like an old t-shirt you can’t throw away, for reasons you can’t name, this pain had become incredibly familiar and comfortable, and yet I know I have outgrown it and that it’s not really who I am. I’ve been so wrapped up in this pain—what I call in my book a soul ache—that I haven’t actually been able to see what I have before me, who I have become, and how I’m living the dream of my 17-year-old self. That dream was a dream dedicated to the pursuit of art and the freedom of my soul’s expression. It was a dream where I was free to roam the world, meet fascinating people, have experiences that caused my soul to grow, expand, and evolve, and to be able to express those experiences so that hopefully others would be able to see their own lives in the reflection of my own.

While by no means is my life perfect, in most regards I have managed to create the life I’ve always wanted to live. I’ve managed to express in a book what I’ve been trying to articulate since I was 17 years old, a journey that took more than 20 years. It was only through the experiences provided by time and space that I would have enough life experience to paint a picture in words of the intangible thoughts, feelings, and emotions of my soul’s journey.


Surrounded by a rim of mountains, the spires of grandiose gothic churches, calles lined with colorful facades, and rickety cobblestone streets, I live a life of freedom in one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. I am constantly surrounded by and meeting interesting artists, creatives, and masters of energy and consciousness from all over the world. But most importantly, I am free to create the life I want to live, and this is one of the most important things I’ve forgotten during my current iteration and initiation of self.

Know that I don’t say this to be braggadocios, dear reader. In fact, the truth is I am giving myself a pep talk, and in doing so, I hope to be giving you one as well (if you are in a similar space). If you are going through an initiation in your life—and if some days you find yourself wondering how much longer you can last in this initiation, as well as dreaming of how much easier it would be to go back to the old, familiar self—I want to encourage you to look around you with awakened eyes at the abundance of blessings that surround you. Know that the pain and discomfort you are experiencing now will in fact become one of your greatest teachers and gifts in the future.

I also want to say that if you too are suspended in the anxiety of the unknown and living in a state of resistance, identify what you are resisting, release the resistance, and allow for the new to come forth. We are, after all, energy organized as matter, and we exist in an infinite field of energy, energy that calls us to become more coherent energy, for it’s that coherence that brings us closer to the truth of who we are as wholeness and oneness. It is the nature of energy to flow, so be the conduit for whatever this new thing is within you that is trying to be born. And remember, this is the time and space when we are called on the most to create, surrender, and trust. When you experience a great loss in your life, no matter what it is, our natural inclination is to lament the loss and close our hearts, but instead, as the poet Dylan Thomas said, “Do not go gently into that good night…Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”

I think the best way to do that is through gratitude, so I am going to call on you to do the same. For the next 21 days I am going to practice gratitude. Why? Because gratitude is one of the highest frequencies, frequency alters matter, and our physical existence is made of matter. You can practice gratitude however you feel fit, but one of the structural elements of my book, and a practice I have used since 2010, is to write down five things you are grateful for and five things you want to create.  

If you too are carrying around pain from the past, I will also ask you to leave it by the side of the road. It may be comfortable, and you may have some nostalgic feelings towards it, but it’s no longer you. It is only in surrendering this part of yourself that you can allow a new aspect or dimension within you to be birthed.

Finally, I want to leave you with one of my favorite poems by the mystic, poet, paleontologist, geologist, philosopher, and French Jesuit priests, Teilhard de Chardin. It’s about being suspended in the unknown and the value of patience and trust.

Should you decide to take up this practice, feel free to comment below or drop me a line throughout your journey of gratitude. Thank you for reading and grace, love, and blessings to you.

Have you check out the book trailer to A Curious Year in the Great Vivarium Experiment?