One thing I really used to be was a regular guy. My friend Mark put it this way when I would complain to him that I had trouble even feeling my feelings. He'd say, "That's because you are a guy." Doh.
But here is my problem. There was a sensitive person inside me who really wanted to come out. I yearned for love. I desired connection. I needed to be known and accepted. I longed to be open to others and to really be able to take them in and appreciate them for who they were. I couldn't have told anyone any of this. My emotional life was completely foreign to me. Talking about it was even more remote. All I knew was that I was dissatisfied a lot. I had a business that did OK, loyal employees, steady friends and intact family connections but I was pissed off much of the time. I was frustrated regularly. And even these difficult feelings I suppressed, ignored and had another cigarette to help stuff down. I was a hard case.
Luckily, I did manage to get girls. Keeping my anger in check and leading with my adventurous spirit and sense of humor I attracted the ladies. Unfortunately, the relationships typically lasted between 1 and 3 months. My marriage was a notable exception. It lasted 5 years and I was with my ex all told for 7. When it ended I had perhaps a dozen relationships of the shorter variety before I really started wondering what was wrong with me. I was blessed by hearing a common complaint from the women I had gotten closest to, though I did not know it was a blessing at the time. I was told that I didn't talk about my feelings. These gals felt like they didn't know me.
I protested. I would say, "I like Yankee Baseball and the color blue and hate deer who dart out into traffic and cilantro. Now you know that about me! Isn't that talking about my feelings?" I was told I didn't have a clue. This was really frustrating for me. I'd decide that this woman who was my latest complainant wouldn't know a feeling if it bit her in the leg. I'd get pissed off that our relationship wasn't working and that my girlfriend didn't really like me. So, I would move on and try again with the next willing victim.
Eventually, hearing the same thing from enough women and feeling frustrated by my inability to stay in a relationship, I sought help to find out what the heck they were talking about. It took years but with determination, the gentle guidance of a counselor and the focus of a yogi I learned how numb I was and little by little how rich my interior life is if I just give it a little attention.
Today I'm the kind of guy who cries when he hears sad songs on the radio or bad news from friends, who savors his own and other peoples accomplishments and revels in intimate connections, who is in touch with a broad range of rich and full emotions and who likes very much to share about them and to hear from others about theirs. I feel much more connected with myself and really known by family and friends. Right now I'm in the sixth month of a relationship where me and my girl can share deeply and also just have fun. It took a long time to find a woman who could really meet me at a place where both our feelings are expressed and important. No one complains about me not sharing about my feelings anymore. Sometimes I think they wish I'd stop. And this genie is having too much fun to go back in the bottle.
Jokingly I tell people that I used to be "macho-psychotic". Now I've learned to be a girl. But the truth is I'm just much happier as a more fully conscious entity than I ever was when I was shutting so much stuff out. This is the fruit of my lifetime as a yogi and it is delicious. Go know.