Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Who I Am (Pt. 1)

I recently asked my good friend Bob for some support around writing regular blog posts.  He wrote back and said, “Before you tell them about the vision quest or anything else, people want to know who you are and where you’ve come from.”

To begin with, I am a man with a deep reverence for Nature and the healing power of a willing heart.  I am a man who was trained as an artist and found my way to carpentry, finish work and becoming a set builder on films and tv shows for more than twenty years.  And I am a man who is now in the mystery- I have loved being here, experiencing life in all its excitement, power and magic; I have loved ritual and transformation; and I have loved to witness myself and others arc, grow and emerge into whole new forms of liberated being.  The question is, am I willing to step forward to liberate myself, and my life, in a whole new way, a way I may not fully understand?

When I made art in college, I didn't fully understand where the pieces were 'going' most of the time, but it turned me on like nobody’s business.  I loved the adventure of following my instincts, learning to be intuitive and enjoying the visceral dance of bringing something new to life.  Sculpture, in particular, gave me a context to unleash a lot of raw, pent-up emotion in positive, uplifting and inspiring ways, and my work earned many awards.  Those were great for my ego, but what I loved most was the simplicity of my whole self at play having raw, wild fun.  I was lost, and found, in the ecstatic oneness of all creation.

When I lived in New York City, a few years after college, I began to think too much while making art.  I may have been afraid of learning a new way to work, or I didn't understand what the changes brought.  Either way, in the transition to becoming a carpenter, I began to lose the sense of spontaneity I had loved with sculpture.  While I may not have regularly manifested that intensity of passion since, I've still been blessed.  I have experienced ecstatic moments of creation and oneness building sets on films, traveling, making improvisational theater performances and videos and co-creating my wedding ritual with my wife and our officiants.

The search for oneness and spontaneity also meant a search for how best to express my whole self professionally.  As a result, I have also been an art teacher and an elementary school teacher; I have been a Reiki practitioner and four years ago became a Certified Reiki Master; I have been a writer, a facilitator, a sometime life coach, a leader of Men’s Groups and a shamanic poet of sacred space; and, along the way, I have expanded my awareness of what it is to be human in numerous self-discovery and personal transformation trainings and seminars.

All of these have been nourishing life experiences, yet the most eye-opening and powerfully sobering discoveries of who I am have come through being in intimate relationships.   Most often, they showed me my resistance and where I was choosing safety over surrender.  So it is through the blessing of my nearly two-year marriage that core, long dormant and unresolved issues from very early in my childhood are coming to the surface, hopefully to be transformed and moved beyond.  And when I say "early," I mean perinatal- from conception to just after birth.

Inspired by my wife, Christina, and by study with Elena Tonetti-Vladmirova and my mentors Gay & Katie Hendricks, I am meeting a sobering truth. Perhaps, for me to move forward again into that "ecstatic oneness of creation," I must let go of the stories around my earliest birth traumas; I must grow past my addiction to believing those stories to be true; and I must learn to overcome the amnesiatic 'brain fog' that rises often as an echo from the birth experience.  And, I might lighten my load by remembering a lot of what I internalized was there before I was actually born!

Which is to say, there are also hangovers and vibrational echoes of old, unconscious, ancestral behaviors that do not serve me.  There are the ripples from generations of men who were unaware and afraid of how to manage and transform their full emotions into passionate, conscious creation.  And there are the imprints of those who were afraid to take full responsibility for their true, authentic emotion and share it; who were afraid to be vulnerable and find power in that.

Sharing who I am and where I've come from is a story based on facts, events and personal perception, but it is not the whole story.  Perhaps part of my writing here is to tell the rest of the story; for I've grown attached to the facts and personal spins, in sometimes unhealthy ways.  I am now confronting how I've allowed that attachment to run my life; how I've played it safe and kept myself small by hiding out in my story; and how, story or otherwise, I am in the proverbial birth canal, seeking to give life to a new ecstasy for being.

One way or another, I am heading toward the light.


  1. I love this Richard! And I love you as well! Can't wait to read more!

  2. It's good to see you here Richard. Beautifully written. I look forward to reading more.
    Many Blessings

  3. Thank you, Elly! I feel regally welcomed by you and your light!
    Blessings to you as well!

  4. My regal friend. The second to last paragraph has me speechless - read it twice and still finding and breathing into its full landing in my marrow. Powerful reflections and potent with transformation - at least for me and dare I say other men. Your words speak from a deeper place Richard - a place that is beckoning you (I'm guessing) to support the authenticity and liberation of men. Thank you - I feel blessed.

  5. Wow---how lovely this is! And a real inspiration for men and women. I am with Ruin about the second to last paragraph. How profound.

    I am really loving your healing process. What a beautiful couple you and Christina are. What an inspiration.

    Blessings, Elizabeth