A Guy Who’s Been There
Let me start out by saying: I get it.
I get what it’s like to want – dare I say it – more from this life.
Not more sex, money or power – although those things are all great, and I want you to have all of those things.
That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about what it’s like to feel an emptiness in the core of your being.
What it’s like to wonder how the hell we got here as a species.
To despair and to rage for the injustices the planet witnesses on a daily basis.
I get what it’s like to weap at the sound of drums, and to feel like if anyone saw you, they’d worry something is horribly wrong with you.
The truth is – and you have to hear me when I say this – you. are. not. alone.
You’ve found your way here because, somewhere, deep down in your soul, something in you is stirring.
Reorganizing. Shedding. Releasing. Waking up.
You might have a specific idea of what’s next for you. You might not.
You might be here because you honestly can’t take anymore of the way things have been.
You might be here because you know what you want, and you just can’t figure out how to get it.
You might have no idea why you’re here.
No matter why you’re here, you’re ready to do things differently.
You’re ready to seek answers to questions.
Questions that, as David Whyte says, have no right to go away.
What if you had the courage, the community, and the clarity to live your life from a radically more authentic place?
What if you didn’t?
Which is scarier?
What’s the one thing standing between you and more freedom in this life?
Is it money? Is it therapy? Is it love?
What if it didn’t matter?
Can you let go of what you swear you have to have in this life?
What if your destiny depended – completely – on your answer?
What would you do?
Where would you go?
Who would you be?
I struggled with the question “What do you do?” for the first 30 years of my life. I guess the reason I couldn’t answer in a single sentence is because the question itself lives so close to the question “Who are you?”
My journey to becoming my answer is who I am as a coach.
Who I am is what I believe.
I believe in the absolute necessity of an examined life.
I believe in the power of presence to open wild possibilities.
I believe in the vital role of discomfort – whether it be pain or longing – to wake us up from the lazy privilege that keeps us numb.
I believe that our losses do not define us, but that they make us who we are.
I believe in the opportunity to be claimed – beyond the smallness of our lives- if we have the courage to surrender to a life of belonging.
The Soul. A mysteriously deep conviction. An imagined future. A powerful dream. A last chance. The one life you can call your own. A Home.
That’s what I believe in.
It’s how I became who I am.
My believing made me a sucker for humans and their stories.
It made me a junky for the impossible.
A guy who’s been there.
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will
Pieter Van Winkle is a leadership coach and men’s group leader. He weaves a depth of compassion, a natural style, and a host of somatic, relational and creative technologies to guide men deeper into their truth, their soul, and their role as fathers, leaders, artists and visionaries — in a time when many people have given up on men.
Pieter gratefully resides on a farmstead home in Western Colorado with his family. He is also a farmer, ceramicist, naturalist and pilot.
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