I had broken away from my old life and was busy forging a new one. Was this a new life or was it just a repeat of the same old pattern? Was I changing and renewing myself or was I just regressing to childhood and starting all over again?
I had burnt my boats behind me, there was no going back. I had divorced my wife, sold my house and had taken on large debts that I had no foreseeable way of paying back. I was travelling and not pursuing my lighting design work so my income was shrinking. The situation was getting difficult, to say the least.
I had met this amazing woman and was spending time with her around the world. We went on a powerful road trip through the south west corner of the US. We drove in a Mustang from San Diego to San Francisco via the Grand Canyon and Death Valley. This trip brought us together and made me think that we could have a fabulous future.
We had a synergy that excited me, and we had a great deal in common. We were both divorced and had been in long marriages with addictive partners. We were both renewing our lives and re-forging our relationships with our selves and with the world.
We spent time together in Fiji and in the US, so I invited her to the cottage I now rented up in the Derbyshire hills. This was going to be an interesting new departure.
In the relative isolation of my cottage I spent time talking to Urmila. I was helping her to see what a great relationship and life we could create together. We had so much in common and so much we would be able to do together. We were a perfect match, the answer to both our needs.
The answer devastated me and sent me back wondering what on earth I was doing. “I don’t need another girlfriend,” she said, “I can make my own mind up, thank you very much.” That was pretty final.
I was in a spin and did not know what to do. She did not agree with me, and she was on the verge of moving on, leaving me behind.
We talked and talked and everything she said just hurt more. She was putting me in my place and being told I could not change her view and it was time I accepted that.
I went on a trip to Seattle for a meeting connected with my lighting design business, which was still limping along, on its last legs. We talked by text on Skype throughout the weekend. I was trying come to terms with what was going on, trying to find out what she wanted. My well developing skills of persuasion has gone down the plughole, ineffective with her.
On the last day she was on the verge of calling it all off. In exasperation she told me to look at myself and become a man! The connection disappeared and we did not speak again till I got home the next day.
On the flight back I thought about what she said and realised it spoke to what had been going on throughout my life. I had been trying to create the life I wanted around me rather than just being me and living my life. I had decided what my life should be like and persuaded the world to fit in to that. It had not worked, yet here I was doing the same thing again.
I decided to make a simple but profound shift: to become me, to become a man, to live life as came to me. I let go of having a relationship and decided that I was either right for her or not. The best thing I could do was to stand up and just be myself.
What happened when I got back to Derbyshire was life-changing, and not just for me.