Recovery is sobering, the walls of denial tumble, and lay waste my life-long illusions. Enabling has supported a construct built to honor my arrogance. My need to be needed is fully exposed to the harsh light of reality.

I have pulled the needle out of my own arm, as I discover that care taking is not love, it is a hook and a hole every bit as dark as a drug den. The anger, fear, guilt, shame, and unending grief come rushing out of my body like sweat and stink from a fever. I quiver in my own weakness, still thinking that this disease is my fault.

Alas, to realize the disease is really the arrogant belief that everything is my fault. Fused at conception, imprinted into the limbic brain, practiced over the years, it has become my art-form. Without it, who am I? Truly, who am I now?

So I take my tiny candle, and wrap the cloak around my shoulders, and take my first few steps out into the dark howling night. Frightened and alone, I cherish the idea that each step I take is toward freedom. Deeper than my terror … a drop of gratitude, one at a time.

The Water From Men’s Eyes

Years ago, when I was in the mountains outside Tucson, I had a transformative dream. “Men stood in line, waiting to  see Mary Magdalene. When they got to her, they jerked their seed into a large gourd from which she drank, washed her hair, and made her adorning colors. The scene sharply shifted to men standing in line waiting to approach the altar. As they got to the apex, they knelt and spilled the water from their eyes into the baptismal pool.”

I was 9 when I gave up my tears to the Old Masculine. It took me 20 years to reclaim them, and I have cherished them ever since. Through my own deep emotional experience, I have come to the belief that they are ESSENTIAL for a man’s evolution, particularly as he moves through the middle of his life and learns to kneel before the Sacred Feminine. The New Masculine does not fear surrendering to Her, for She has great blessing for him in his movement toward maturity.

We have metaphors throughout the archetypal world that show us the necessity of this act of surrender. The Old oak clings tenaciously to where it stands upon the earth, eventually to be cracked open in its brittleness. The New bamboo bends and flexes, its moisture creating the space and capacity.

The Warrior returns home, needing to immerse his “sword” into the cool waters. The Old warrior does that in an unconscious way, engaging the feminine in hurtful and dangerous ways, asking neither for permission nor blessing. The New Warrior … sooner or later in his own evolution … learns how to bend his knee, surrendering his heart without surrendering his power. For indeed, it is the Lady of the Lake who blesses the King.

My grief is palpable these days. Falling into “the slew of despond” is tricky business. If I stay too long, I will drown. If I do not stay long enough, I will emerge unclean and unfinished. How is a man to know how much?

The heart contains both fire and water. It always knows when either is too much. The fires dies when nothing fans its flame, the water empties when the heart stops aching, each finding its own level of stillness. A mature man has learned to trust his anger and his grief, for his heart always knows the truth.