Opening Myself to Love
by Fred Kluth
A decade ago, Dhyana and I were experiencing a difficult time. We were new parents, navigating life with a toddler. We were blessed to own a cozy one bedroom apartment but it was too small for four of us to grow in and due to the bursting real estate bubble we couldn’t sell the place at a profit. We needed to move and thoughts of having to short sell our home filled my mind and worried me. Our immediate future was uncertain. And our marriage was in crisis...
How did we get here? I'll give you some background of what was going on in my life at the time. After the financial meltdown of 2008, my freelance work slowed and we found ourselves saddled with a great deal of debt. I needed to walk away from a creative career and pivot into a project management job. My emotional state was consumed with stress and fear. I was processing a lot of feelings of failure. I had always dreamed of being a lead creator of an animated series or comic book and I failed to make that manifest in any sort of financially viable way. Truth be told, really in anyway at all. Even though I’m a very creative person, all the pieces failed to come together in any sort of way that would support me or my family. In time it became very clear that it was not my soul’s path. But I couldn't see clearly then.
The job market was so unstable that as I was navigating a career change I went through three jobs during the time when Dhyana became pregnant with our second child. For many years prior to this, Dhyana was making a number of sacrifices in order to financially support us and later our family while I worked on developing creative projects. Any money I was making was going back into the business. I knew for a while that it was time for me to change my work situation. I was frozen. Things were not flowing easily. Each new job was a stepping stone yet I found it really difficult to work, not to mention thrive, in the fast-paced market of advertising where I found my career going.
At home, Dhyana was angry with me. We fought. We were exhausted having a toddler and we were resentful towards each other. Dhyana would get upset with the fact that I was not emotionally present and our fighting filled our home with depression and rage. This dynamic caused her to feel that our unborn child was being bathed in this angry disconnected hopeless energy, and this caused her additional despair.
I had a difficult time adjusting to the sacrifice it takes to have a child. The idea of having a second child was overwhelming when compounded with my struggle of trying to manage a career change, financial challenges, and mourning a failed creative career. All of these things are understandable in hindsight with almost a decade-long perspective, but at the time it was like a white noise of depression. I was completely shut-down. I found myself unable to act and unable to really get to the core of why I was frozen.
While Dhyana was carrying our baby, I was laid off from one production when the clients had a fist fight at their Christmas party, putting the website I was producing on hold. I was hired as Director of Production at Estée Lauder. Apparently, I don’t know anything about makeup and the politics of the company were very difficult for me to manage. This challenging new job, compounded with my emotional state, made it very difficult to succeed.
Once Charlotte was born things naturally began to shift subtly. Her home birth was a beautiful experience and Dhyana was so filled with love for this child that she responded almost immediately by expressing her longing to have a third child. Yet I was still experiencing consciousness from such a place of lack back then that the idea of having another child when I was so worried about supporting our current family was too much for me. I felt I was unable to support my family financially and emotionally. It was a difficult time for me when it should have been a time for celebration of the birth of a wonderful healthy child.
Things got worse, I got fired from my job at Estee Lauder. The universe takes over when you’re too frozen to walk your own path. When I was going over my unemployment package, the woman who ran the HR department acknowledged that though this wasn’t a good fit for me and she asked, what happened? I admitted I was really overwhelmed with having another child. She didn’t understand, I already had one child what was the big deal? I felt even more disconnected.
Now, almost a decade later, Dhyana and I are more connected and happier than ever before. We have challenges with raising two sensitive and highly spirited children and with financial management as people often do, but we are closer and happier than ever before which makes everything easier to manage. There is more trust in the flow of our lives. I can embrace the unknown more easily and willingly enter into new adventures together.
How did we do it? How did we go from being on the brink of our relationship collapsing to where we are now? It wasn’t a straight line and there were times when things got difficult maybe even worse, but there was a pivotal shift that occurred about a year later when a catalyst that quickened the healing process.
About a year or so later, Dhyana and I were introduced to Womb Awakening and Seren and Azra Bertrand. They taught and offered online courses and in-person teacher training retreats at the time and first course we did was a deeply spiritual 40-day process with guided meditations and extended yoga positions. This started the process of bringing Dhyana and me into a loving relationship. We would do the exercises together. This helped us not only align our patterns together, but much of the teaching is oriented around the sacred feminine and the sacred union of the masculine and feminine energies we all express within our bodies. The work centered us in our bodies and helped open our hearts and energetic centers to ourselves and each other.
The self-incriminations, the anger and rage I was feeling towards everything started to shift. When Dhyana worked with Carol-Marie, our friend and mentor for this womb awakening work, Dhyana spoke about our arguments and Carol suggested that during these times that perhaps she can choose to soften to me, to open her heart to me. This shift of attitude and this softening, was the beginning of a huge process of healing for us.
One of the practices was partner eye gazing, where you stare into the eyes of your partner for an extended amount of time. This can go from holding a loving gaze to some difficult moments of shame and hurt being revealed. Holding a safe space for your partner’s vulnerability is really difficult especially when you are hurting but ultimately you can end up in a place of healing, a place of being seen and seeing your partner. The exercises were often themed around a return to innocence, an opening of the heart and a softness that was missing not only from our relationship but more importantly of how I was treating myself.
Men are so often told to man up, told from a young age that we shouldn’t cry. For me, most of the time when I felt anything negative, all I allowed myself to express was anger. Having Dhyana soften to me was incredible healing. It allowed me to soften to myself - despite the norms of a dysfunctional mainstream culture. Allowing myself to be witnessed and seen was a very healing experience for me.
What I mean by soften is to have compassion for your partner’s suffering and to lower your guard and be there for each other in a meaningful and kind way. This can a be a big challenge when you are being asked to put your own suffering aside and hold space for your partner - as it was for Dhyana. In a very triggered moment this might be too much to ask. It is in the returning to connection, continually, that you develop the ability to hold space for your partner, to help grow trust and love. As we heal, we can reciprocate this compassion for each other.
The Womb Awakening experience helped me reframe my role in the family, as a Father, husband and lover. One of the roles I have embraced is one of the Grail Knight. The purpose of the Grail Knight is to be one who supports the divine feminine. In the legend, a Grail Knight was on a quest for the Holy Grail which is a symbol of the Divine Womb. A Grail Knight lives to protect and support the divine feminine in the world and in that role, allows for the sacred feminine to bloom. Through this love and devotion, the Grail Knight can drop his armor and receive the love he has been lacking. It’s a relationship of ever renewing love which completely matches what I was intuitively looking for and what I needed. This archetype provides me with direction, definition and purpose.
It also makes sense to me on a physical level. Here I am, a man who needs to provide for his family - a wife and two beautiful daughters. By tuning into this role in a divine sense, it also provided me with clarity on what I was being called to do as a Father and a husband. It doesn't make me a doting slave to my family, but allows me to understand that by providing the love and physical support that is needed as a Father, I help create more love in my life and in the world.
I started to change the way I was thinking and started to ask additional questions of myself during moments of mindfulness. I asked about the choices I was making, “Will this bring me closer to love? Will this bring me closer to my beloved?” This small choice in my everyday actions, made a large change in my life. This created a resonance in my lifestyle that was more peaceful and loving.
As I have grown closer to myself, I think it is essential for me to have my partner mirror me. Sometimes that mirror can be difficult to see. I don't always like what I am shown. Like many people I have an ego and my personality self doesn’t like to be challenged. Questions about my actions and words, and calling out my shadows, can be very challenging but it is an essential process for self-growth. Facing myselves with love and compassion helps me create a more peaceful life and a world where I can explore my creativity and imagination.
Do you need to take a course on Womb Awakening in order to grow closer to your beloved? Perhaps not and the barrier of entry for this type of work for men seems to be very high. But transformation in relationships can be made in smaller ways. Shared experiences which help build connection and affection can help. Radical honesty and deep heartfelt connection are difficult to create and maintain at first. Sometimes these things only happen at pinnacle moments of your life. But living in an honest way, as a true partner to your beloved, one where their personal growth and your connection to them is as much a priority as your own personal growth, is a key. And that's an imperative point: making your own personal growth a priority is important. Doing the work on yourself so you are working with the unexpressed shadow parts of your personality is essential to any growth as a person. It’s the first step toward growth as a couple. Doing this work so that you have a greater capacity to love a person and yourself is of essential importance.
Lately I have often found myself re-examining this period of time when Dhyana was carrying my youngest daughter. As a result, we were able to talk with each other and then had a talk with our daughter about it. We shared with her about what it was like when she was in-utero. Talking about many of the things we were going through as a couple. She's been going through her own process as an eight-year old. She's discovering her voice and through that she's discovering that she's really angry about a lot of things and she's feeling very vulnerable and sensitive at the same time. Are her felt experiences connected to what we were going through when she was being carried? They could be. I believe so. I also believe that she has a right to know about the energy that was surrounding her when she came into this world. I believe as a spirit she made her choice. She chose us as parents and the life lessons she has been called to face. We are all working together on our souls’ evolution.
As I re-examine that period of my life, it has given me an opportunity to really appreciate all the work my wife and I have done on our relationship and how we are closer now. Our trust in each other is very strong, we love each other deeply and recommit to our relationship constantly. I have gotten much better at communicating my needs and I think that's an essential skill as a human to develop, the identification and communication of needs.
I have learned through my actions to turn towards love. I work to develop myself in order to be kinder and gentler. By making choices in my life that increases my capacity to love and be loved, I have no doubt this helps make the world a better place.
Together we are Reverends Kluth ~ Lovers of life committed to tending the garden of this sacred earth; dedicated to living in joy, continually engaging the unpleasant shadow work to keep it real and integrate into wholeness truth and authenticity, to be present for self and other, family, friends, community and nurture all relationships.
Listen to our Working Together to Liberate Joy podcast interview on An Emerging Forest here: https://youtu.be/0HXuk4FrNTw
And feel free to reach out to me or my partner about support with your relationship or personal healing process.
Leave a Reply.
SHAKTI is the primordial cosmic energy of creation, the living liquid energy that moves through the entire universe and animates all life and matter. May we all allow our feminine energy to flourish with its vulnerable strength to ignite the birthing fire within each of us!
Dhyana and Fred Kluth share experiences, insights, inspiration and resources as they continue their dance with the awakening elemental dragons and navigate the sometimes clear and sometimes murky waters of their lives, in symbiotic relationship with each other and all life on this planet.