I have been going through a bit of a transformation of late.
I fought against this for a while and tried to carry on as usual. But for the last several months, I’ve done my best to give it the space it needs, withdrawing from Dark Ascent for the most part while the process took its course.
Too often before now, I had taken action I “thought” was right in the moment, but was in truth premature and uninspired.
This post will in part be self-reflective, and in part future-looking. I’d certainly love if you’d stick around for the self-reflective part, especially if you’ve been around for a while, but understand if you jump to the future-looking part. But, in truth, I don’t think either section makes sense without the other.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when my transformation began. It’s certainly been going on for the last year, since the pandemic began. One could almost say the pandemic was a much-needed worldwide transformation, and I certainly wasn’t immune to that.
You could also say it started back in late 2018 when I renamed this site to Dark Ascent. That’s when I first started seriously exploring the left-hand path.
But if I’m really honest, I think it started all the way back in late 2017.
To give some context, I had been working at my first ever 9-5 job. True, it was a remote position, and I had a good bit of flexibility, but there was still more-or-less a schedule I needed to stick to.
However, I resented it. I never saw myself working for someone else: my dream was to start my own business and become massively successful while not needing to answer to anyone else.
So almost as soon as I started this job, I began my exit plan. I started working with a business coach, and planned to take this site (which was at the time called Co-Creation Coaching) to a place where it could support both Christine and me.
In October of 2017, I quit that job and started coaching full time. And we lived happily ever after, right?
*record scratching noise* NOPE!
I pretty soon came to hate and resent the coaching just as much as the job. Surprise, surprise: taking action didn’t magically fix my vibration. Because, I had a vibrational problem, not a manifestational problem. If only someone who knew the law of attraction could have told me…
Basically, I got stressed out by the process of constantly needing to find new clients. I felt like I was on a treadmill, needing to constantly pump out new posts to drive new traffic to my site. And while I had a few good clients, most of them I just didn’t really enjoy working with. It was, well, just another job.
And I got bored. I no longer had programming to engage my intellectual side, though I wouldn’t admit the need for this back then.
You can almost see the moment I lost my inspiration if you look at my posting history. In November 2017 I made 36 posts. In December, I made 11 posts. And in January 2018, I made a grand total of 1 post.
So guess what happened? The moment the inspiration left, the money dried up, and pretty soon I found myself in need of a job again. Oops, talk about a failed experiment.
Why am I pointing all the way back to 2017-2018? Because in a very real way, this struggle would last all the way up until very recently. I wanted to be free, believed on a deep level that money didn’t have to be tied to a job, especially a job I hated. And for a long time, coaching was supposed to be the answer, but in reality, it just wasn’t.
So that left me feeling very lost. I hated the job, and I hated the coaching. What did that leave me with?
I’ll tell you. It left me with a lot of depression and very little direction.
Late in 2018 I took another job with a massive pay raise, but a far worse environment which left me hating it even more. For the next year and a half I was driven to the depths of depression that I quite often couldn’t see a way out of. I thought I was stuck with this way of living and just had to make the most of it.
It’s no wonder then that that’s just about the time I started Dark Ascent. In the attempt to gain some sort of control over my life, I looked to the darkness, which seemed to promise power and control.
And I don’t regret walking that path at all. I think it was a very valuable time of exploration for me. But hint: it didn’t give me anymore real power or control. Sure I could make stuff happen, but again, without fixing my vibration first, it was just more of the same.
That takes us to early 2020 when I quit that job. I mean it was either that or have a mental breakdown, so, you know. Quitting seemed the better choice. I was lucky enough to have an amazing wife who supported me in quitting my job without having any concrete plans.
So from $75,000 per year to nothing, overnight. Woohoo, this should be interesting.
But I actually made it work for quite a while. It was a bit of an experiment for me: could I make it work without a job? Could I still get the money I needed?
For around 7 months I did just that. It was pretty magical. We had no reduction in lifestyle whatsoever.
But then the fear started to creep in. I call it my “Peter” moment. There’s a story in the gospels where Jesus goes out walking on the water, and calls Peter out of the boat. Peter tentatively steps out, trusting Jesus at first, and successfully walks on the water, too. Then he looks down, realizes the impossibility of what he’s doing, and immediately begins sinking.
That was me. I walked on the water (read: lived without a job) for 7 months. Then I realized how crazy that was, and “reality” set in. Pretty soon, that dried up.
In all that time I still hadn’t resolved the underlying problem. What did I want to do with my life?
Actually I sort of did, in a way. I realized my fascination with finance and decided I wanted to be an investment advisor. So I spent the summer of 2020 studying for the Series 65 exam, and successfully passed the exam in September. But, I’m still working on the goal of actually getting everything registered and that business started up.
Several times I attempted to leave Dark Ascent behind. I would write an email saying I was shutting everything down. But each time, the Universe wouldn’t allow me to follow through. But, it was in this state of limbo where I couldn’t quite leave it behind, but didn’t know exactly what to do with it. So, my posting rate over the last year has been anemic at best. Nevertheless, I knew some process of transformation was taking place that would leave things better than when they started.
So picking up the story again, it was August 2020, and I was quickly running out of money. But I didn’t want just another repeat of my last job, where I stubbornly stuck with something I hated.
This period was in a way one of the darkest of my life. I felt utterly lost with no clear idea of what I should do. There are some crazy miracles that happened around this time though, which I won’t get into in this post. If you’ve been in my classes then you’ve probably heard these stories anyway.
But basically, I had nothing left, financially but more importantly, emotionally and spiritually. I had nothing left in me but to surrender entirely and to call out for help.
Long story short, through a series of crazy synchronicities, that first job I left back in 2017 accepted me back yet again (yeah, I don’t know why either). But they asked me a difficult and yet important question: essentially, they said they wanted to make sure I was in it for the long-run this time. I had quit that job after only 6 or 7 months after all (twice actually), so they were understandably wary.
My first inclination was just to say whatever I had to to secure the job. After all, I had maybe a few hundred dollars left to my name and no plan for where more would come from.
But I wanted to do better than that. I figured they deserved better than that.
So I looked within very deeply and asked myself what life would look like if I were to stay at this job for the long-term. That didn’t necessarily mean forever, but certainly longer than 6 months. What would it look like if I weren’t making an exit plan immediately after getting hired?
That’s I think where the openness came from that programming was a vital part of my life. I did get hired again, and while it was still a struggle at first, my willingness to look at myself and actually change my own vibration made a world of difference. I’ve now been there for 9 months and have no plans on leaving. I’m enjoying it more every day.
And I realized, I can be a programmer, and do whatever else excites and inspires me. I’m a multifaceted person with many different interests. So what if I wanted to be a programmer, a coach, and an investment advisor all at the same time? Who said I couldn’t?
That integration of the different aspects of my personality, where I could reconcile it all instead of being at war with myself, did a lot to complete this transformation.
The Fate of Dark Ascent
But I still didn’t know what to do with Dark Ascent. I honestly didn’t know where I stood spiritually. Obviously, I teach the law of attraction. But, there just wasn’t a whole lot of inspiration there. Something was missing.
I did some masterclasses on the side, had a client that insisted on continuing to work with me through all this, and then just recently was inspired to start a 12-week group coaching program which has been more successful than I could’ve hoped.
But, for the most part, I just let it languish. I no longer had a clear vision for Dark Ascent. And as you know from what I’ve taught in the past, a clear vision is absolutely vital.
So I just let it go to the Universe. So many times before now I had done what I “thought” was best in the moment, but in truth acted prematurely and without inspiration. So, I would wait for the Universe to show me very clearly the best path to take. It knows all of my intentions already, so if I just let go, things would become clear.
In a sense it was yet another identity issue. Who was I spiritually?
I had explored the left-hand path for 3 years or so. But in that time, I also became a bit disillusioned about the will.
It goes back again to last August, 2020. As I described above, things were starting to fall apart.
For a while, I had been holding things together through sheer will. But, that got tiring, very fast. And then, it was only in letting go and totally surrendering that things actually started to resolve themselves. It was only in me admitting I didn’t have the power to do anything, that life got better.
I think I described it well in a musing I posted last December. I said there were two basic forces: will vs. alignment. And, either one without the other would be problematic. Alignment without will is overly passive and aimless. But will without alignment is too forceful and not easily sustained.
Honestly, this doesn’t even really do it justice though.
On the left-hand path, I believed I was responsible for making the things I wanted come about. If I didn’t do it, no one else would. It was a sort of antagonistic relationship with reality: I had to force it to give me what I want.
But what I realized in that experience was that the change actually happened when I fully surrendered, and out of a place of trust and vulnerability, asked for what I wanted.
It became more of a dance with the Infinite. The Universe always wanted to give me what I wanted, but I just hadn’t been letting it in. But, it was still up to me to ask, to decide on the specifics. It is a co-creative relationship between us and the Divine.
This took a while to fully flesh itself out. That whole experience left me reeling, because it showed me for the first time the weakness of sheer will. And, it also showed me that there is a greater Intelligence that has my good at heart — that is purely interested in my happiness.
That was the beginning of the end of Dark Ascent. It made no sense to forcefully extract what we want from the Universe, when the Universe is always approaching us with an open hand.
I thought about redefining what darkness meant, but the name just lost its resonance for me and I knew there had to be a change if I was going to do this work long-term.
There was an experience recently that really served as the catalyst of this final change.
I had recently been reading A Course In Miracles. There is so much that is beautiful in that book: it definitely has a lot of truth in it.
But I realized that as I was reading it, it was influencing me to be suspicious of my own desires. It teaches that all we need is to realize the Oneness that we are, and the world will fall away.
In fact, it is very negative about the world. It teaches that this physical world is a mere dream. I can accept that, but it goes further, teaching that this world is actually a creation not of God, but of the ego. Everything we experience,, including the wonders of nature, the beauty of music, the mysteries of the night sky, are all a false creation of the ego, attempting to run away from God.
I just couldn’t accept that. But it hit me on a deep level, to the point that I asked very fervently for the answer. Was this world something to be transcended, or was it something to be enjoyed?
Then I had the most beautiful experience. About a month ago, a bird decided to build a nest in the awning over our door. It must have laid eggs, because some weeks later, we started to hear very high-pitched chirping.
Long story short, we were privileged to experience a nest of baby birds growing up right in front of our house. Every day we heard as they excitedly chirped away, all in unison. I can’t really express it in words, but it was the cutest thing I think I’ve ever experienced. And I felt immensely privileged to have this gift of life unfolding right in front of our house.
It felt like an answer to my asking. Like God was saying, “You think you’re meant to transcend the world? Well, what do you think of this? Does this need to be transcended?”
It felt like a gift, an immeasurable blessing. It opened me up to the beauty all around us.
And then I realized, this is all for us. This whole world — the entire universe even — is here for us. In a meditation the other day, I heard the words, “What if the world is a love letter from God?” And those 10 simple words literally left me speechless, sent me reeling for about 15 minutes where I just could not think of anything else. And I knew, like I’ve known nothing else, this is true.
This world is a playground. For whom? For us. But who are we? We are expressions of the Infinite, the Divine, the Universe, God, whatever you want to call it. We are embodied divinity. Just as God creates, so do we create.
We sometimes take this all so seriously. How to create your own reality. How to get what you want. How to overcome resistance.
But the Universe just wants us to play, to dance, to express.
And so the name finally popped into my head on Sunday: this is the Play of Infinity.
And that was it: the culmination of all of my realizations, of all the Universe has been trying to show me. This world, why we are here, is for the play of Infinity.
What to Expect
I honestly don’t know what’s coming next. I have some ideas, but I just know this step had to take place. Heck, I don’t even have a proper logo for it yet: that’ll come later. But this felt important.
I just know that if I was to continue this work, it had to be redefined — it had to match where I am now.
I doubt my own transformation is quite finished yet. But I do think my period of withdrawal is coming to an end.
I’ve gone through a lot I never really went public with. It seemed fair to share that journey with you, because in a very real way, this change doesn’t really make sense apart from the context of my journey.
I will only do what brings me joy. I will not force myself to market heavily, to post when I don’t want to, or even to see clients if I don’t want to. I want to keep my intention light and playful, much as the name of this site is light and playful.
And I thank you for co-creating this with me. Certainly if you are still sticking around, there is a reason. Your own asking has resulted in this change, just as much as my own asking has.
I look forward to seeing how our co-creation evolves in the future!
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