It is the spring of 2003. I am 62 years old and going through my very first bout of extended deep sadness. I sleep for long periods of time, can’t seem to get myself motivated to do much of anything, and have lost at least 25 pounds. I don’t feel like eating, and I have to force myself to get outside and continue my daily running practice. People close to me often ask if I have some sort of illness that I don’t want to talk about. I know I am in a state of depression.
My wife and I separated almost two years ago. She is involved in a relationship with a man she loves very much, and I am essentially in a state of shock. I never imagined that at the age of 62 I would be experiencing the emotional effects of a separation. Marcelene and I have seven beautiful children, and we both love them very dearly. There is no fault to assign here. I take full responsibility for my role in the breakup of this marriage. It’s just that I can’t seem to bring myself out of this funk.
Several of my children are concerned about my health and try to help in their conversations with me. They’ve often suggested lovingly, “You seem so depressed . . . maybe you should try writing to bring you some peace of mind.” I am deeply grateful for their concern, and at the same time Marcie and I are doing everything we can to keep the children out of this separation anxiety that we both feel.
A year or so ago I came across some words while reading Carlos Castaneda’s book The Power of Silence that struck a chord deep within me. I had the statement copied and laminated on a card so that I could carry it with me. From the moment I read these words, I knew the direction my writing could take, yet this separation and semi-breakup of our family has kept me from even thinking about taking on such a gigantic project as planning and writing an entire book.
Today I remove the laminated card from my shirt pocket and read Castaneda’s words softly to myself: “In the universe there is an unmeasurable, indescribable force which sorcerers call intent, and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link.” I am enthralled by this idea of intention not being something that we do, but rather an energy that we are connected to.
I put the card back in my front pocket, feeling the impact of these words. We are all connected to an indescribable, invisible field called intent—all I have to do to heal myself is cleanse myself of the numbness that I feel, and my connecting link to this great Source called intent will be once again whole.
I begin to see that I have been wallowing in my ego, and I’m filled with deep sadness because I retreated to an ordinary level of consciousness. I temporarily lost my connection to God—to the field Castaneda is calling intent. I have an epiphany right on the spot. I am going to take the advice of my children and begin doing what I love the most—that is, writing. I will cleanse my own connecting link to intent, and I will write a book that will help millions of others to do the same.
I spend the better part of the next year writing every day; in the process, I come out of the sadness that enveloped me the past two years. I find that my state of despondency over my new marital status of “separated” is changing the complexion of my writing. I have more compassion for myself as a result of actively doing what makes me feel purposeful, which is writing. This compassion is reflected in what I write, and my writing is flowing in a way that is entirely new to me.
I feel that the presence of God—the field of intent, if you will—is doing the writing here. I realize that the pain of my separation from my wife is actually making me a more tender and empathetic writer. I notice that my public lectures are a bit softer, laced more with kindness and love rather than being witty and maybe even a tad hard-hearted. My broken heart is healing; my relationship to Marcie and her new love has improved significantly.
Fast-forward to the following spring. Three years have passed since the shock of the separation, and my newest book, The Power of Intention, is about to be released. I have contacted Niki Vettel, and she is going to be the executive producer of my new PBS special to be filmed at Emerson College in Boston.
When I hold The Power of Intention in my hand, I have the paradoxical awareness that it was my own deep grief that allowed me to write from a new place of compassion and empathy. I consider that I truly needed to go to the lowest point in my life in order to advance to the next stage of my own Divine mission. No accidents here, I realize. I needed this jolt in order to understand and write this highly spiritual book on learning how to co-create one’s own life.
As I look back, I am in a profound state of gratitude for all of the storms of my life, especially for that Category Five hurricane that showed up to keep me on the path of teaching and living Divine love and higher awareness.