On the fortnight of launching the first Alpha Initiation program of 2018, I'm reflecting back on the last year and why this program has always come from the core of who I am + what I believe.
When I was 15, I experienced my first loss of someone I could count on. I considered him a father figure, and I looked up to him. I felt safe when he was around. I admired who he was.
He was funny and charismatic. A marathoner. Rode Triumph motorcycles and drove a red Mustang Cobra. A recipient of a Bronze Star. A Marine. He was the first Alpha I knew.
So when he took his own life, it shook my world as well as the ones of everyone who knew and loved him.
The invincible Marine who could do anything was gone. It was on a Tuesday afternoon. It was the beginning of my first reconciliation of a hero and his demons.
It threw me into learning about grief through my own and the grief of those around me. It lead me to learn about PTSD, the (hidden, quiet) signs of depression, the layered, complexity of the human experience, the subtle nuance of brain chemistry that can completely alter one's experience of the world, and many other deep considerations.
I certainly went through an existential crisis of: What does it all mean in the end?
While this period of time was one of the most difficult of my life, it was also a period of massive personal discovery. It led me to my love for photography. I bonded more deeply with my best friend who had lost her father when she was young. I got to be alone and in community with grief. The experience changed me to my core.
So when I fast forward 13 years, it's of little surprise that I began coaching men whose relationships were suffering. The pain their pain caused the women they loved would lead them to look in the mirror. Most often their issues tied back to not having a workable model of masculinity.
Now we refer to this as toxic masculinity. We're feeling the effects not only within ourselves, but also in our relationships, our societies, our countries, and in the world.
The problem is that the topic is typically focused on its effect on men, but not also, the effects on women.
It was in realizing the mental, emotional, and physical toll unchecked, uninitiated, toxic masculinity takes on all of us that I expanded The Alpha Initiation program (initially created for men) to also give women the tools to address and heal the effects and collateral damage of the broader masculine crisis. And thus, an Alpha Initiation for everybody was born.
Then, about a year ago, I was working through the residual pain from my last relationship when I decided to set my professional work aside, and commit to being my own VIP client for 2 months. After all, to lead the work is to do the work is to lead the work. It was a daily commitment. I walked through it all (540,571 physical steps through the emotions, the stories, the memories...feeling what I hadn't allowed myself to fully feel, and letting go of what no longer served me). By the end I lost physical, mental, and emotional weight. I laid down past baggage that I no longer needed to carry. I had put myself through The Alpha Initiation program (a rendition of a modern-day hero's journey), and it changed my life.
I allowed myself to feel the depths of the pain, heartbreak, and disappointment. Eventually, like a phoenix rises from the ashes, I started to feel like myself again, only better. I stepped more fully into the life I truly wanted (of which the criteria was: to be unfuckwithably happy).
By the end of the process, I was more myself than ever, and more open to extraordinary love than ever before.
I chose to let my past pain open me up rather than shut me down. I chose to see how my pain also brought deeper awareness. I learned that if I was willing to listen, my pain would teach me how to heal.
I chose to honor myself and the men I've loved and lost by living the best life I am capable of.
And mostly, I accepted that these experiences led to my own initiation, which opened the doors to guide and hold space for others as they do the same.
I speak about this now to call in others who are looking for a lighthouse in this space. It's not for yelling, shaming, and blaming; it's for reconciliation. It's an invitation for each of us to take the time to reconcile with ourselves, and to remember how powerful, resilient, and remarkable we are, so we continuously live from that place.
There are dreams to be made, love to experience, and versions of ourselves that are nudging us to claim them and live what we're fully capable of, so here's to honoring them + to the pain that leads to our awakening xx
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