Our episode is on the concept of deliberately breaking contracts. Inspired by two of my clients who are in a deep, intimate friendship and relationship and business partnership and how they did the work in a coaching session to let go of the past and the process I took them through, and how it has enriched their process and their relationship and who they are in the world today. I also talked about my own personal breaking of contracts with myself really in my relationship to Morgan about open relationships and a really big insight I had on a recent journey.
We then invite Toni and she shares with us her life, what’s going on, her pain and how she’s, on some level, given up but she still longs for a partner, that person to spend the rest of her life. We go through all the things she’s done and she’s done a lot of things. I give her one more shot, one more concept from me. It might work, it might not, but I’m so grateful she came on the show. For more shows, please visit us at ToughLove.live. Please if you feel so inclined, visit iTunes and give Tough Love a nice little rating, a little review, just send a little love back to me and Tough Love. Thank you so much. Now, let’s start the show.
Listen to the podcast here:
Breaking Contracts Deliberately
As I was writing the script for the show, I wrote, “It’s going to be a good show.” Just like that feeling you get like, “I like this show.” It’s going to go on a few different directions. Two things I’d like to announce much to the chagrin of my loving partner, Morgan, is that we are getting married on December 5th and I’m very excited about that. It’s been underground and I’ve just been thrilled to announce that this truly amazing person and I are going to tie the knot. Marriage means a lot to me. I don’t even know what it means yet because all I know is what it was when I was a mere slip of a youth, and yet I’m really excited for that piece.
The second thing is Morgan will be coming on to the show on December 7th and she’s very happy about that. Don’t worry, I figured out the show. I got the show, Morgan, it’s going to be super fun. If you want to come on live, put that on your calendar and come on and wish us a happy wedding. There will be a lot of room for Q&A on the December 7th show as we talk about our relationship and the growth of it, and just the beauty of all it’s given me and how grateful I am for it.
This show is called Breaking Old Contracts. This show was inspired by two of my clients. I have two clients, a man and a woman, that have employed me to help them with business consulting but also help them get their business off the ground and just to do the thing I do. I had a session with them that really inspired this show and also a lot inside of me. In fact, I didn’t even really know how much it inspired me until I started writing the script for the show. It was around breaking old contracts. I’m going to be obviously very deliberately vague, not mention their names, not mention any of the circumstances, but give you a flavor of what happened.
They’ve been friends for three or four years. They’ve been in relationship of various forms. They’ve been in business and they got to a point where their old stuff, the old history was getting in the way of their forward motion. You could just hear it in their frustration and the depth of their frustration of how much they wanted to be related and how much they wanted to be connected, and there was something in the way. There was a contract. There was a history. They were so frustrated. All I saw was love, connection and power between them, and what was arising was the old bullshit, just to call a spade a spade. Their old stuff, their baggage was really getting in the way.
I listened and I talked and I got them to write and then I had them on the phone. The thing about coaching is it’s really a mixture of present time relating and improvisation and using old tools and using new tools. That’s the thing I love. It’s like this show. This show, I plan it and I think about it but on some level, it’s very improvised. I listened to them talk and I pulled a tool from one of my other clients, Andrew Bartzis. He’s the Galactic Historian, cool dude. He has this thing called revocations. Basically, they’re somewhere 27 pages and you sit and you read the revocations. They’re very dramatic because Andrew is a high-level thinker. It’s like, “I call in the sacred something to break the sacred something and I deny the green mile light.” It’s really weird. All in all, it feels powerful. It feels good in my body. Morgan has been reading it. I went to a three-day conference up in Seattle for the conference with him where all these people are reading their revocations with such gusto, and he influenced me.
In this coaching call, when I’m trying to figure out what the fuck to do, I may look cool, calm and collected, but it’s often like, “What the fuck do I do now?” I was like, “I’m going to create a revocation on the fly.” They’re like, “What do we do, Rob? What do we do? Tell us, Rob, wise one.” I’m like, “I don’t know what the fuck to do. Oh, revocation.” What I did was I said to them, “Do you have two pieces of paper, two pens, a match and something to burn with?” They’re like, “Yes, we do.” I’m like, “Go get it.” They come back a couple of minutes later. During that time, I’m planning and then in Zoom chat, I write down the following: “I, insert your name, agree that our past relationship has been a glorious ride. I release, other name, of old contracts, agreements and resentments. I agree and acknowledge that we are creating a massive organization that will impact the world and our relationship is the core of said organization. I know that we will have experiences, positive and negative, and agree to stay connected, be honest and support each other through these experiences. I commit to be my best self, be vulnerable and commit to our own and each other’s expansion.”
It came up on the fly and they’re reading it and then you just felt the energy. You know that buzz or that feeling when the rain is coming and you can feel it in your bones, that’s what the coaching session felt like. I knew I was on to something. I don’t always know that but in that moment, I was like, “I’m on to something.” I put it up on the chat and I said, “This is what I want you to write. You have the freedom to change words, put your own words in, add, etc.” I gave them the freedom. About five or ten minutes later, they’re writing and they’re crying and they’re emoting because they’re breaking the old contract. They’re taking what they had and acknowledging the beauty of it, acknowledging the importance and the power of it, and then they’re releasing each other of those contracts, agreements and resentments.
This may sound like a really easy thing to do but when you get the depth, when you get the power of what this is, this can be a little nerve-racking because if you’re truly believing in this process and you’re truly believing in yourself inside the process, then saying these things are important. It’s like when I decided to leave OneTaste this really hard Saturday night in July 2013, I had to admit to myself that I was done. I had to say to myself, “I’m going to move on to the rest of my life.” I was 43 years old. I didn’t have a lot of money. I had this belief in my system. My entire future was planned in the direction of that company and my life and the community and all that was entwined. I had to say to myself, “I don’t want to live this way anymore. I’m breaking my old contract. I’m going to set myself up with a new agreement.”
Be careful when you do this. What do you do in that stuck place? The present is you’re mired in mud. I actually heard this in a book. It’s like trying to climb a hill full of pennies. You can imagine that, a big mountain of pennies, and you’re trying to climb the top of it and just how frustrating and challenging that would be. The presence is really stuck. The past is behind. It might look really pretty or it might look really great or awful or somewhere in between, but the past is the past and the future is there and it’s unknown. For all our great plotting and planning and concepts, the future really is truly unknown. What do you do? Do you stay in the stuck security of your present time and your comfortable yet annoying contracts? Or do you make the choice to deliberately break and end your old contracts?
I had them write this down. Then what they did is they wrote it down and they said how they felt and then they burnt it. They had an Altoid box and they had a match and they lit it and they burnt it. They were done and then we were silent for a good two minutes. You know those two-minute silences that are really long? That’s the way this thing felt. It was just a long 120-second silence of it.
There was that experience. That happened on Thursday. On Saturday night, I did a deep meditation on a lot of things. I did that with Morgan and she really helped me in the process of really going to explore my mind. In this meditation, I was thinking about our sex life, which I’m sure she’s happy I’m thrilled I’m talking about it. Talking about our sex life, again I’m going to be a little vague. The point was I was looking at where I was in my relationship to the parts of our sex life that weren’t working. What I realized in this deep meditation was that I was holding on to the past, some agreement or some vision, some longing of the past. You know that feeling when you think of a high school girlfriend that you made out with once and didn’t make out with again? Or a show you really wanted to see then the show closed? Or this vacation you went to and you had the most amazing time and then you grew up and it’s in the past? You have that deep, deep longing not only for the experience of the make out or the class or the show or the vacation, but who you were in relationship to that experience.
I often think that when we miss the past, it’s more often we miss who we were in reference to that past. A lot of people say, “I think about this boyfriend or I think about this partner. Why do I keep holding on to it?” What I often say is, “Perhaps you actually miss who you were in that relationship, not so much the guy, because the guy was a jerk, right?” “Yeah, he was a total jerk.” “He didn’t treat you really well, right?” “No, he treated me like shit.” Maybe you miss your youth or your power or something in there that you miss.
In my deep, deep mediation, I came up with a couple of thoughts. I was like, “I’ve been a little whiny around relating to Morgan around the past. I’ve been a little snotty, whiny.” That’s a little embarrassing to say, but I was a little full of myself, snotty, whiny. I was a whiny boy. I was like, “That’s good to acknowledge.” I’ve been longing for this past that didn’t really happen. What’s happening in present time, I’m in the sticky mud of wanting something in the past that’s not happening. What’s happening is because I’m stuck in the mud of the whiny past, I’m not exploring the brilliant and expansive future. I am not putting my intention. It’s like that awful hackneyed saying that’s so awesome, “Be the change you want to be.” I’m not being the change I want to be. I was being snotty, whiny. In the snotty, whiny, I wasn’t creating any motion in the present time.
The next morning when I talked to Morgan, I said, “I apologize for being snotty, whiny,” hopefully to the extent where she received my apology. What happened was I said, “I realized a couple of things. One is I want to be your protector. I want to be the protector of who you are. In my snotty, whininess, I haven’t been that. Second, I want to put my attention on expanding our future and actually getting more and putting my attention into the expansion rather than to the whining.” This is a little less dramatic than the first one, though it’s very dramatic in my mind during this process. The point is that if you’re stuck in that place where you’re not happy or you feel stuck in the mud, look at what contracts you have and look at what’s happening for you in terms of where you’re holding yourself back or where you have the foot on the brake because, really, that’s what’s been happening with our sex life.
Third thing to talk about is my body. For some of you who’ve been following me, I’ve talked about my body, I did a show on body image, I talked about the fat kid growing up and all the effect it’s had my entire life. I’ve been just recently talking about this extra 20 to 25 pounds that I’ve been carrying. I look good, I feel good and there’s a part of me that just knows I got a belly, I got a gut, I got a little extra, I got the spare tire. Whatever colloquial term, I got an extra twenty pounds. It’s not from a lack of trying. To the point that I did 60 yoga classes in 80 days and ate well and still kept the gut. In my naïve mind, in my uneducated mind, if you work out hard and eat well, you will lose weight. That’s part of the system. I proved it over a three-month period, didn’t happen. I still went to Lightning in a Bottle with that extra twenty pounds.
We started doing some more investigative reporting. We went to get blood tests and started to look at the mind-body connection, and started looking at some forms of revocations. It’s more like your body holds weight to hold the toxins in your body. It’s actually something to be safe. You keep the extra weight to ensure that those toxins don’t flood in, the toxins get stored in the fat. There were actually some biological reasons. We get into some thoughts about my mental connections, my connections to my dad. My dad’s been overweight my entire life. Maybe it’s a subtle unconscious allegiance to my father to carry on this extra weight. Maybe it’s the shame of my sexuality. Maybe it’s something to do with my mom’s relationship with food. It can go on forever. The point is that there are a lot of things that are going on that I’m not aware of.
I’ve been working with this woman who’s been doing muscle testing remotely. Basically, she taps into my energy and then she pulls on her muscles to see, she asks questions and she’s talking to my body, testing her body to find direction. In that process, she said, “What about grains? Your body doesn’t like grains.” To up the ante, we’re doing this ten-day cleanse, taking it to the next level, which I’m really having fun with. Believe it or not, I’m having fun on a cleanse. Words that don’t often go together: fun, cleanse. I’m on day two and I’m already feeling the physical process of it. Deeper, I’m feeling the contract I have with my body and my relationship and my vision of my body. Regardless of how cool I act and who I present myself, there still is that inner fat kid inside of me that hates with a passion those extra twenty pounds. It is like a hate of movie epic conditions. It is like a creative, gooey hate.
I have to break the contract with myself that doesn’t approve of my body. I have to break the contract with my dad to say, “I’m not going to hold this weight anymore to be connected to you. I’m going to find a new way to be connected, a more intimate way.” He might not even be involved in that, but it’s my own process of figuring out who I can be in that process. I need to find a new way to look at when I go for food that’s not great for me. I’m a pretty good eater. It’s like looking at, “Why am I going for the grains?” The point is that I’m breaking the contract with myself that I’ve had for 47 years. In that, I think there’s so much more room for growth
I’ve given you three pragmatic examples. The point is I really want you to look at where are the places you feel stuck and what contracts you have. Some of these contracts are so overtly clear and some of them are so subtly unclear, covert, under the surface, not seen. Maybe visit that therapist, go to that twelve-step program, find that coach, talk to your partner. Find what it takes to find out what they perceive. In my deep meditation, Morgan added so much value to me and my process because she showed me that there was stuff going on underneath the surface.
It’s coming on December 31st. We’ve got a good six weeks before the end of the year. I’m not sure if you’re one of those people that like to make goals for the New Year or you use December 31st where you just go out and drink and do drugs, God bless you. Either way, any way you want it, go for it. For me and for you, I do recommend, think about what contracts do you want to break in the New Year? Who do you want to be when you let go of these old agreements? What do you find and where do you want to grow? That is this week’s rants.
I’m going to invite my friend, Toni. How are you?
Hi. I’m okay.
Thanks so much for being on the show. How can we make this optimal? How can I best serve you?
I don’t even know where to begin. I think all the things you’re talking about, about self-commitments and agreements, I can’t seem to get over my divorce. It was really brutal. There’s really nothing that I haven’t done or tried. I’m just hopeless. I’m just never going to be able to get past it, I don’t think. It was just too traumatic. I had trauma in my earlier life. I’m just living my life but I’m not fully living my life. I don’t really want to be alive, to tell you the truth. I have a daughter. I’m not going to do anything about that. I’ve just never really found the way to happiness. I have a really hard time. The only thing I haven’t done is go to twelve-step meetings for like CoDA or love addiction. I just don’t have space. I’m a single mom. It’s the moments like, “That’s definitely the thing,” and then I’ll deal with that and so many things and then I do them and they cost time and money. I think I’m just hopeless. I told you I was a tough client.
My first volley back is I just want to surround you with love. That’s the first and foremost. I want to validate your experience. I want to validate your feelings. I want to just let you know that I truly hear how much pain and trauma you’re in. I wish space and awareness and freedom for you. Before we do that, I really hear how much pain you’re in. I have so many questions. The first question is before the divorce, did you feel happy and joy or has this dark, negative feeling been pervasive throughout your life?
I wouldn’t say I felt happy and joy. I felt secure and I felt safe and I felt anchored. I wasn’t always happy. I spent a lot of my life in a lot of pain and meeting Paul and being married and being oriented in that way didn’t make anything better than it was. It didn’t turn me positive. I definitely wasn’t depressed. I definitely wasn’t wishing that I wasn’t here. I felt safe and secure.
I have three different doors. The first door is you say you’ve done a bunch of stuff. Have you done somatic therapy?
I’m doing that right now.
My opinion of somatic therapy is very, very, very positive. I’ve been doing it for over three years now with the same guy and continue to release. EMDR inside the somatic therapy?
Not with this practitioner. I did EMDR a couple of times with a therapist that I was working with and she said it wasn’t going to work. I don’t know why.
Check that out again. Maybe talk to your therapist. Obviously, you’re not doing what your therapist says no to, but I would check that up. Check on door number one. Door number two is I want to talk to you about twelve-step. I want to tell you about my experience. I’m not trying to prescribe this to you but I want to give you what the value was for me.
I was married to my first wife. She was a drinker and she had her experiences. My experience was that I didn’t know who I was in relationship to a drinker. There was this huge blind spot that I had. I first went to Al-Anon, which was a four-year experience and really got to my relationship to being the savior, to being the person who got actually enjoyment or power out of her behavior. She could be the person in the front making a mess and I could actually sit in the distance, look like the cool, collected guy and actually get enjoyment. That was a really rich experience. I excised alcohol off my life and then was at a program for a year or two and then I went to SLAA, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, for probably about three years. I can tell you that I was surrounded by a community. I was surrounded by some really amazing people with great insight. I was doing a lot of self-work in that. Going to SLAA taught me some deeper hurts, some deeper parts of me that were just unseen. I learned some great language, the concept of intrigue for me. Intrigue is possibility, the selling and buying of intrigue from women. I didn’t really want to make out with women. I did but it was more about I wanted a possibility and that’s what intrigue was. That’s what that taught me. I was spending so much energy just knowing that there was a possibility of a nooky.
I did that for three years. I had a sponsor. I took the steps a couple of times. The thing I like most about twelve-step, and I did my CoDA but I liked SLAA, was when I felt accepted and I didn’t feel alone. I didn’t feel stuck in my terminal uniqueness. Two, it was $1 a session or $2 a session. If you’re talking about money, it’s like you go in and you feel embraced for a very low cost. The third was that I really felt listening to other people’s stories gave me clues, little tips, just little insights. Sometimes they were really small and sometimes they were really big. This guy gave me Harville Hendrix’s book, Getting the Love You Want. That was ten years ago or eight years ago. The point was I got little tips from twelve-step. I know it’s a tough commitment. Of all the things, I say just check it out. Go to six meetings and just see if it fits.
Third door and then I’m going to turn it over to you. With Paul, you said yourself, safe, anchored and secure. My riddle and concept for you would just be the question: How did he provide that for you? What actions, feelings, emotions did he provide that? Can you ignite your inner Paul, your inner masculine, your inner safe space so you can be that for yourself?
That would be great but I would say that it was more about having Paul. It was more about not being on this journey alone. Paul is super stable and very calm and very grounded but withholding as well and whatever. It had its pros and cons having that energy that it would be so stable. What really made me feel calm and secure and all of that was just not being alone in the world and having someone who was committed to me and having a family. I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around what I needed internally that I don’t have. It really does seem to me that no matter how much work I do, no matter how grounded I get or how much self-love or how much attention or care I put to my own self and learn how to be home alone, that’s fine, but I can’t be a partner to myself. There’s just no one who has ever been able to convince me that that’s possible or could create the thing that I’m actually needing.
I need to not feel alone in life. It’s just a lot to carry. There is just the reality of that. Anybody who says it’s not usually has a partner. They don’t really understand, in my opinion, what it’s like to just year after year, just be in that. The Paul and Molly story is just a comparison. He had an affair, he left, they have a new baby. That causes a ton of suffering but I try to just say like, “At this point, that doesn’t really matter,” but it still does. I have been trying for seven years and they’re just great over there, or it seems like. Again I try not to focus on that. It doesn’t matter. The real issue is that I’m alone and have been for a very long time.
I don’t know if you know my story. I had a boyfriend after Paul who died on his way home one night. It was two events in a row. Now I just feel powerless. I feel like I can’t make a partner. I can keep working on myself and be a better communicator, which I definitely am than I used to be. I can keep my life afloat and I wrote a book and I’m trying to get that published. Sometimes it just feels like, “Why? I don’t want to do this. I’m just alone anyway. What’s the point?” Nothing feels like it matters. My daughter matters but nothing else really feels like it matters. It’s really bad. I was on a plane coming home from LA and I used to be really afraid of planes crashing. I was sitting on my seat and I was like, “What would it really be like if this plane was crashing right now?” I’m thinking about people screaming and all that. I’m like, “I’ll just close my eyes and I hope I’m dead and not injured.”
I’m not going to be one of those guys who convince you that it’s daisies and rainbows and unicorns being alone. I’m not here to convince people of anything, by the way. That’s not my job and that shouldn’t be anyone’s job. I really hear that you’re doing a lot of work and you are doing the internal work. I’m going to offer something off the cuff. Do you think that you’re looking for the intimacy, connection you want and the only form that could come in is with a romantic partner?
Yes, because I have a lot of really close friends. I would say yes. It’s not just the intimacy. It’s the lack of aloneness. It’s the being in it together. People are really busy here.
From your close friends, you don’t feel the same sense of touch and intimacy?
I can feel a sense of touch and intimacy while I’m with them but then we go home alone. That’s not the part that I need. The part that I need is to not come home alone. It works when I’m in it.
Do you ever think of a form of communal living?
I spent years trying to find a situation that was right. I don’t know, people just don’t want to live with me or I have a daughter. I spent years trying to do that. I actually had a really amazing house in Berkeley. I don’t know, I just feel like there’s something against me. There just is. I lived in an amazing house in Berkeley, the price was amazing. All I needed was two roommates and I just couldn’t figure it out and I lost the house. Whenever I see a house that looked like a reasonable fit, it’s also hard because I would need two bedrooms, not one, because of my daughter. It just doesn’t happen. I have tried that. At this point, I don’t even know if that would be best for me now that I’ve been living alone for so long. There’s something about having my own space at this point that I gave up on community living. Also I need some stability in this apartment that I’m in, I can afford and my daughter can get through high school. At this point, I’m just trying to stay stable until she gets through high school, which is four more years after this year.
I hear the depth. I’m just trying to pop ideas that have popped in my head from my experience.
Everyone thinks I should go to SLAA and the truth is I’m not a sex addict. I’m a love addict. I’m sure I could find meetings that were just for that. There’s one in Oakland that I’ve been to. There are not many meetings that don’t combine the two.
I can tell you, I went for three years and I’m not a sex addict. Really, in my experience with meetings, I mostly went to San Francisco based meetings, they were actually very little around sex and more about love. SAA, Sex Addicts Anonymous, are hardcore sex addicts. Don’t go there. I went to that meeting and I was scared. I really think it might just be something. I really appreciate how much challenge this has been in seven years and losing two partners. I can feel it. If you’ve given up, if you say, “Why bother?” I guarantee you it’s not going to happen. I don’t like to do the law of attraction but it’s really your internal state will magnetize people towards you. If not for you, for your daughter, to find that hope and that energy to think, “It’s really challenging but it’s possible.” SLAA really helped me to think a lot of my relationship issues could be resolved and was possible. I really owe a lot to them.
Saturday night meeting in San Francisco in this church on 26th Street, I used to go, I used to take a bus there. I would go there on a half-hour meeting and I’d walk home two hours back to South of Market listening to books on tape and stopping and eating good food. It was a magical time for me because I wasn’t looking for a partner, I was just looking to find myself. I’m really grateful for that meeting in those times.
I think that’s actually the next step, is to find one over here. I’ll never make it to the city. It seems like that is the next step. There is always possibility, I know that. There’s something that happens, people actually break.
If that happens, that happens. I wish for you some resolution if that has happened. If it has happened, then let’s keep going. I’ve been married to my weight for my entire life, 47 years. There are times I haven’t had it, but for the majority of my life, I’ve had this fucking twenty pounds. I’m not quitting. I know it’s a significant difference from where you’re at and I’m not trying to compare. I’m saying if I quit and just let it go, then I know that part of me will never be resolved. My hope for you is you find that one extra step and to go to that meeting and maybe find one friend or something that sparks. I don’t want to make this, “Everything works out in the end.”
Please stay in touch and if you ever want to talk more about twelve steps, please just PM me. We can chat. I would love to be of service to you.
Thank you so much.
Toni, have a good day.
This feels very intense over here but I’m very grateful as always that this is where I get to spend my Thursday mornings. Hopefully, people listening will just get a little hope. That’s really what it’s about. Look at your contracts. I just am a firm believer that anything is possible. Maybe that’s naïve or optimistic, and I’m not letting go of that. That’s just who I am. If you don’t feel the optimism, you can listen to the sound of my voice and just hear, “It’s possible.” You can have the life you wanted. You might have to give up some of your bullshit and some of your contracts, you just have to give up some stuff and it is possible. Go forth and find out what you want to break and make a practice around it. I wish all of you well on your journeys.
Thank you so much. It’s a really deep, rich show. I’m really grateful as always to the people who come on the show and wave their hands and push me to be my best. Thank you so much. Thank you for all the people who download. I’ll say one more thing. There’s this guy named Lewis Howes. He came out with a book called The Mask of Masculinity. It’s one new book from him that I’ve seen out there. Beyond the book, which I haven’t fully read and beyond who he is, he’s a really good guy. I’m really inspired by his dedication and his ability to spread the word. I got inspired again to really take this to the next level with the book, with the podcast. Look out 2018, it’s going to be exciting as I plan for the New Year.
That’s it. Go forth, make your plans. Thank you so much. Go be nice to each other. Be nice to yourselves. Get some nooky. Think of me. I’ll be thinking of you and I love you. Take care. Bye.