It was long suspected that the bulked-up McGwire -- an Incredible Hulk in a baseball uniform -- doped to achieve what he did, and so when he finally broke his silence, it was no big surprise. But it did further damage his chances to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame and destroyed much of the good will he had built up during that historic season.
What was more disturbing were his excuses for "juicing." In various interviews, he's blamed it on the sports culture he was part of, he's suggested he only did it for his health, that the doping did not improve his performance or give him a competitive edge, and that he only used illegal substances in small doses, which somehow makes it okay. Lastly, he contends, he would have hit all those homeruns anyway, regardless of the steroids.
Now aside from the fact that baseball and steroid use is one big illusion inside the bigger illusion of life, there is a larger point -- -- that our illusions are more resistant than a yeast infection.
Perhaps that is why this story has resonated with me so much.
I'm not a major league slugger. I was a pro in the relationship game. But it was only in the past few weeks that I came to understand the breadth and depth of illusion I have energized around relationships, and around one in particular, with my most recent ex, Liz. She is the female "aspect" I created and became romantically involved with for five years, before breaking up more than a year ago.
I realize that like McGwire what I've succeeded in doing is building bigger and stronger illusions, because that is part of the game of denying who we really are.
I didn't just one day wake up and start this pattern. It took years. I went from being a heartsick and depressed victim of breakups, to understanding and addressing the co-dependence beneath it all, to experiencing these events as important spiritual lessons. In my mind, it's been an interesting, healthy and natural progression.
Then a strange thing happened. Busting Loose came into my life -- via Liz -- and suddenly I was hooked on performance-enhancing spirituality.
I would like to tell you that I only did Busting Loose for my emotional health. But I would be fabricating. i was able to twist the spiritual principles of Busting Loose around to justify continuing a relationship with Liz, long after I probably should have gone on my merry way. (To all my friends, you can stop snickering now.)
I want to be clear. I am in full support of Busting Loose. It's not the fault of Robert Scheinfeld that I took the path I did. It has transformed my life in many positive ways. But as we know, anything can be used for good or bad purposes -- except maybe chicken-fried steak. I still haven't discovered the upside for that one.
That said, I don't regret any aspect of our relationship or the fact that I forced it to continue well after its expiration date. I just have a different perspective on what it was all about. I'm glad it helped me discover eggs and begin to drain them. I know that confronting the fears reflected by Liz moved me through this transition in a more transformative way. Many things really have changed for me, including losing the need to actually be in a relationship.
And to be honest, there were some fun times in the aftermath. But I realize I also expended a lot of effort injecting myself with rationalizations to bulk up my illusions.
I reached my Alcoholic's Anonymous epiphany around Christmas. I had visited Liz over the holidays and it became painfully clear that I was not having fun being with this aspect and the well of discomfort was seemingly without bottom. In other words, she continued to perfectly perform the role my Expanded Self had scripted for her, namely that of reflecting something I thought or felt about myself (I'll take self-loathing for $100, Alex), giving me a gift of insight, and setting something in motion that supports me on my journey.
I won't bore you with what I think about myself and I have no idea exactly what has been set in motion, but I do have some insight into my illusions and illusory beliefs. So that's where I'll start.
I created the belief that we must remain friends. I created the beIief that remaining friends would be the noble and spiritual thing to do and that it was important to see myself that way. I created the illusion at various times that there was some interest on her part in becoming "involved" again. I created the belief that no matter what, we were spiritual companions and always would be. I created the illusion that she was wiser than I was when it came to spiritual issues and that no one could ever replace her as my spiritual guide.
I created the belief that only by going back again and again to experience the discomfort of being with her would I ever drain this relationship egg -- and that I wasn't really Busting Loose if I didn't bring on the discomfort.
To further pervert the intent of Busting Loose, I created the belief that if I changed my consciousness, she would fall in love with me again. Ouch.
In other words, instead of simply processing, I focused on a lot of things that were none of my damned business as a human player in Phase 2.
Talk about a McGwire moment. I get it, though. That's the difference between me and Mark. So, I'm fessin' up. I still love her to death and appreciate her tremendous support, and Liz and I, are in truth, one in consciousness. I imagine some day when I'm firmly ensconced in Phase 2, we will create a lovely, unconditionally loving and joyful experience of relationship. Or neither of us will exist in the other's hologram. Until then, who knows?
Either way, I accept the possibility that I may not get accepted into the Relationship Hall of Fame. But today, I am clear, and so is the purpose of Busting Loose.