It’s Easy To Lose Your Way (and Find It, Too)

About 3 years ago, I began losing my way.

Even as I was finally finding it.

It was summer 2015, and my blog was exploding. Three million people would visit my website in just 3 days while I finished writing my 2nd book in a mountain cabin nestled at the edge of a meadow in middle Idaho. My email list and my social media doubled, quadrupled … blew up. My coaching practice – and my income – jumped exponentially within a few weeks.

I was finally able to afford an exclusive, expensive retreat in the Australian Outback with my own life coach at that time. I could finally afford to study in person with David Deida, the man whose work changed how I see not just relationships, but the world entire.

The professional success I’d dreamed of was finally coalescing around me.

Silvy came to me that summer, too. I found her in a Facebook message while I was at that mountain cabin. In fact, the very night before we first chatted, I sat alone in a steamy hottub sipping champagne, celebrating what was now unfolding. I looked up to the stars and spoke aloud into a crisp night sky my desire – and my readiness – to share this magical life with someone extraordinary. I vowed this would be my last solo adventure without a beloved to share it.

Two months later, Silvy and I finally met in a cafe in Los Angeles, and I was immediately slayed.

Everything I’d ached decades for was coming to me fast.

Soon after, it all began to fall apart.

Just 6 months later, Silvy would break up with me and insist I let her go.

At precisely the same time, the coach I paid over $40,000 to work with – we were also partnering in business and writing a book together – was betraying my trust and abusing my boundaries, repeatedly, in devastating ways. And then she fired me as her client in a bizarre public fit of facebook fury after I failed to perfectly follow some vague guidance she believed she’d given me precisely.

But I was finally realizing how much I’d given my power over to this coach, and how gladly and mercilessly she’d taken it (I can’t tell you how much this painful lesson has informed how I coach my own clients). So I breathed and began letting her go, too.

My life was unraveling as quickly as it had come together.

Here’s the worst part:

During this time, I stopped writing.

I stopped creating.

Even as Silvy and I got back together a few weeks later and our relationship took on an exciting new dimension, which would fuel a new world of insight that could serve my writing and creativity, I was shaken to my core.

I was loathe to ever hurt Silvy (again). She’s far more private than I, and my provocative, tell-all style, which it seemed had brought me so much success, made it challenging to write in ways that would thrill and fulfill me, yet still honor her boundaries. You can’t even imagine what she’s been through to create healthy boundaries for herself; but do so she must, for without ‘em she takes on the whole world’s pain.

So it’s been essential I learn how to honor her boundaries, of course in ways that honor mine, too. (this was a major source of inspiration for our online program, Boundaries: Relationships Suck Without ‘Em!)

Also – and I didn’t realize this then – but the success that had suddenly overtaken me in that mountain cabin was also paralyzing me.

The demands of an exploding coaching practice and readership were overwhelming me. I felt enslaved to the insatiable appetite of the social media beast, which my previous business team had created without my permission (because I never wanted it).

I had also become more fearful about writing what my newfound fans wouldn’t want to read. Like every blogger who hunts the sacred white whale of massive readership, I didn’t want to see my swollen email list or bloated social media losing weight, though the weight of it all was crushing my creative spirit.

So I mostly just stopped writing.

I certainly stopped writing what I really wanted to write about.

I stopped doing the art I most loved; giving the gift that had made me so successful, and so deeply fulfilled, in fear of losing fame, fortune, family.

Yet despite having most everything I wanted, I would often feel painfully diminished inside.

My trip to west Ireland in early 2018 was an attempt to get that creative spark back. But like a flaccid garden hose that hasn’t been turned on for some time, I could only sputter and spit out mostly undrinkable brown filth.

But I am finding my groove again.

The universe has been sending me reminders, both subtle and blaring, that I’ve got to focus again on what deeply moves my spirit.

The richness of my life depends on it.

I love Silvy. I love coaching people.

But when I don’t write, I die inside. I may as well put myself back in the military, bound by duty to shut down the uniqueness of my wild spirit.

Shut down, I’m no good to anyone.

Not my family. Not my friends. Not my readers nor my clients, who come to me for support to live powerfully in their own lives and relationships, too.

Certainly not Silvy.

Silvy needs (wants) a man lit up and courageous, not scared and shut down, even if that man by his nature is confronting to her own comfort zone.

So I’m committed to writing again.

Not for social media. Not for business. Not to please some (imagined) “fanbase.” Not for Silvy’s approval, either, though I am now always mindful of her boundaries, and I do my best to make sincere repairs when I inevitably violate them.

I write because it is my art, my joy, and because I love serving to awaken and inspire any who read my words, in my unattached hope that they/you will get something profound – some insight, lesson, new practice – that can forever change your life for the massive better.

I commit to writing again because I find a simple, genuine bliss in clicking “publish” after an intense labor of hours, days – sometimes weeks even months – spent crafting carefully chosen words into sentences, paragraphs, pages that tell my stories, spill my secrets, reveal my maps to others, perhaps you, may then move through life with a bit more courage and confidence no matter how ugly or uncertain things may appear, because through my art, your eyes, your heart, are now more keenly attuned to the immense beauty always surrounding you.

Truth: It never matters to me whether 1 or 1 million people read what I write.

Oh, perhaps it matters to my bank account. But it never matters to my bones.

I find I can always die well at the end of any day I committed to writing out my heart, knowing I gave my gift to the world, regardless what she does with it.

Thus, day by day, I courageously find my way, coming ever more alive in the finding of it.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
~ Ernest Hemingway~

What is the gift you know in your bones you must give, regardless what the world does with it?

What happens for you when you don’t give it?

What happens when you do?

Please share your experience in the comments below. (I read ’em all)

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  • Love this Bryan! So spot on and speaks to me deeply, as I navigate through and alchemical process I unknowingly put myself on when I created the Alchemy of Sex Summit. Whewww, it’s been a ride. The gift I know I must continue to give or my soul will perish is the medicine of sexual vitality for optimal health and wealth. I must Write it, film it, teach it, live it and be it! So I am…. sometimes more gracefully than other times….

    • Hi Willow, thank you for taking a moment to share your own experience. I know you’re up to big things in the world, as well, and I know the challenges that come with that! I admire you for your willingness to KEEP GOING 🙂

  • Oooph this got me in the heart. Thank you for giving your gift. Mine is painting and words. If i’m not courageous enough to make time for art daily, or to show it to the world, i just torture myself and people around me. When i do create – i show them how beautiful life can be when you’re in love with it. When you’re creating out of love. No matter what else is going on, when i create i’m joy. I need to remember…this is how i want to start living. I don’t want to keep hurting others because i’m not living my best life and frustrated at not feeling alive. Your words helped me. Glad to be reading your work, and so looking forward to more of whatever truth you want to tell. Thanks for these reminders of aliveness.

    • Right where I was aiming! 🙂

      “When I create, I’m joy” … #theothermetoo 🙂

      Thank you for sharing your inspiration, Dariya.

  • im glad i found you. my gift is my love, when i dont give it i am stressed and bothered. when i share it i feel relief and happiness. currently i feel stifled because the few friends i have are not returning that love so i must learn how to give it without worrying about getting it back. thank u for your words so very much

    • Hi Joni, I totally get how frustrating it can be to give out so much and not receive in return. I also know how important it is – especially for women – to learn how to give MASSIVELY TO YOURSELF first, and let the FULLNESS that results from your commitment to giving to you first, be the overflow that then allows you to give to others. In fact, seems to me, that’s the only way you even CAN give without worrying about giving it back. 🙂

  • I am grateful you got back to writing. I always look forward to your next message. So thank you for sharing some of you with us.
    My gift is love and patience. Sometimes it scares people when they are not use to get so much of it from one person but it is part of who I am.
    I believe kindness and calm with one another does indeed make life better/more colorful. Well it makes mine feel like I am looking through rainbow glasses. I believe good and love is meant to be shared not hold up inside like in a cage to somehow “protect” us from pain. It only brings more pain.
    That’s my humble opinion 😊
    Have a day that means something!

  • I stopped journaling years ago because my household was not respecting my privacy. I recently participated in a 30 days of writing prompts exercise. I realized how much I missed writing, and I was surprised by the insights I gained.

  • Yes…….Just minutes before reading your post I was feeling into what is arising in my life as an artist who is just days into a whole new way of moving with my art making. I have been able to create a lot more space and time to make art over the next year and so excited to commit to doing what is “in my bones”.

    And yet…and yet… I am realizing, in these early days here, that there are old and habitualized resistances which come into play – quite strong they can be, ( all that not good enough, no time, who am I to bullshit ), which are showing up as too many distractions, pressure around “producing” something NOW, working on one piece while thinking about another… a generalized anxiety around the whole thing….ya know?

    What I was feeling into – and your post clarified for me, was the artist, writer, creator etc is only one part of the creative relationship. There is me – artist and Her – the art. She has boundaries of her own, needs to be able to trust that I will show up as I say I will, has her own rhythm that cannot be forced. This art thing, as with relationship with another human, is a dance….. I have been stepping on HER toes a bit these days…. .The lesson is to to dance in concert…..

    Hope this make sense.Your post came at such a perfect time, with just the right words, to allow me to drop into, “Oh yeah – I get what is going on now” So … thank you…..

  • This one made me cry, I soo miss my creative part. I used to paint, write, saw cloth, cut and paste, make things in clay…and somewhere along life and time. I dont do it as much as I need to. Too much overthinking – I know I’m good so there is always this inside pressure of make a perfect image. Need to let that go and just create…

    So spot on this plog, thank you for it <3

  • Writing Bryan, writing ! I went to school, to university, I cared about husband and kids, I divorced, I raised my two boys alone and both are about to be doctors right now. I cared and I paid, and I was the happiest woman in the world ! But I still didn’t write what I want to write. It’s time now as years go by… Thanks for reminding me that…

  • This is exactly what I was yearning to read and to tell my self confidently. I have not been writing, or not as much as I yearn, lost in the speed of commitments and work, and my fears of over-disclosing or analysing my life. Thanks for sharing your journey so transparently and in doing so, to also inspire me to do the same, and to show up to my art, and my mission, making it a priority so I can also shine through.

  • What is the gift you know in your bones you must give, regardless what the world does with it?
    -Being myself as sincerely as honestly as possible. Do what I love most which is expanding consciousness work on myself & for others. (also writing and speaking too!)

    What happens for you when you don’t give it?
    -I feel bored, stuck, and confused.

    What happens when you do?
    -I feel alive! Thrilled. Excited. Aware. Awake. Sometimes terrified and uncomfortable.

    Thanks Bryan! I enjoyed reading your experience, can relate to the internal pressures!

  • Thank you Bryan. I am so deeply touched by your honest confession. That’s what I always pray for – the pure heart, and to follow it. My big big thanks!

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