Men and women who come to COB experience, on their Celebration of Woman, Noble Man, or Power of Love weekend, a rite of passage, an absolutely unique, deeply transforming experience that’s an initiation into a new way of being. Most people who stay with COB and continue the process of personal growth discover their rite of passage is also something else: an invitation.
If that first initiation on a COB weekend is immediately valuable because it creates an impression in the body, heart, and mind of what it feels like to live from the healthy self, then the rest of life provides the opportunity to deepen, solidify and grow in that experience. It’s not a “one and done” scenario, as all of us know who experienced the transforming power of a COB weekend and then struggled to bring sustained change into our lives. There are thousands of opportunities to grow as a Noble Man. Everyday is an invitation to initiation.
I’m currently being reminded of this by that seemingly universal trigger: going home. I’m in my childhood hometown in Virginia at the moment, helping my Mom readjust to life back in her house after nearly a year in rehab following multiple hip surgeries. I love my mom, but our relationship hasn’t been an easy one. My mother, like many mothers, has a unique ability to invite me to an awareness of all three of my Selves – Healthy, Wounded, and Defended. All three of “me” have shown up on this trip in full color. It hasn’t always been pretty. It has, however, been an invitation and a gift.
Yesterday, I had a moment with my Mom that had all the hallmarks of an initiation. I took a risk and asked for something from my Mom that was really important to me, something that would have been a sign of love I would have really appreciated and something I thought it would be easy for her to give. She refused, and it hurt. I discovered that my wounded boy still expects something from Mama that she can’t or won’t give. If I’m not attentive that boy leads the way.
After hearing her “no” I stepped out of her home and sat in my car and fully expressed my anger. I expressed everything I wanted to say to her without the angst caused by thinking “I shouldn’t say or think these things.” I let the expletives and judgments flow with full permission and full volume. I let it rip.
Finally, I laughed at my own colorful language, my freedom of expression and at my RELIEF. That was a new experience! As soon as I laughed, I sensed I had gone from wounded to healthy self. It’s like the adult me, the Noble MAN rather than the scared BOY, really heard her “no.” That little boy let go of the expectation of Mom showing up in a particular way. Or perhaps, more accurately, the Man gathered up the little boy and said “I’ll tend to you. Your pain is welcome and understandable.” It was a big shift and many years in coming. I wasn’t expecting this particular shift on this particular day, but life handed me the opportunity and through it I went.
A kind of peace came over me, a kind of detachment, a kind of growing up and invitation to love my mother just as she is. Love always invites us to love “as is.” I allowed my pain, my disappointment, my need and my fierce desire to love my mother. My heart began to open to her in a new, adult way…
This was another initiation in the many I’ve had so far in my life. Like all initiations, it was a step into the mystery, a passage through pain, and an arrival at a new place. It was marked by fear, my mind going crazy with story and self-doubt. It required masculine purpose, undefended love as well as feminine surrender to the moment and the Divine. It caused something to break in me and birthed a new perspective. And it was years in the making. I feel it in my body. What a gift!
Every COB Initiation gives us the experience of our true selves so we can no longer say “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when life presents us with the next initiation, the daily initiation. We “do know,” if we’re willing to be present with it. Once our eyes are opened we have the awesome responsibility – and opportunity – of not going back, but forward.
My hope for all of you Noble Men and Fully Empowered Women is that you accept the initiation that life hands you today.