Tag Archives: Integral Coaching

Longing to be Held

At the current time, I think we are all missing the occasional hug or kiss as we isolate ourselves to protect our families, our communities and our national health service.

I have longed to be held for many, many years and it just so happens that at this particular moment the need I have to be acknowledged is at its most acute.

I know that these feelings ebb and flow, but this current crisis of identity within my soul is severe because I have something to say to my wife and I cannot bring myself to say it.

The timing of my declaration does not feel right, and worse than that, my declaration requires from her a declaration in return, in which I am in no position to command of her.

I want to tell her that my need for the love and support of a man is enormous and yet, I can subjugate that need, even now at this darkest of hours, if she in return will promise to love and protect and acknowledge me for who I am.

I cannot thrive in an environment of emotional control which I have tried to do in recent months.

I need space and air and deep, deep understanding which allows my feelings for my own sex to be expressed in conversations and in silence which is mutual and clear between us.

I need to be able to cry, as does she, so that we can comfort and reassure each other that we are on this journey together and that we are fully invested in the needs of each other.

I have learned, rather late, that for this to be given any chance at all to work, we both need to act with integrity so that going forward all of it is open and true.

This means that in the harder moments, threats to leave her on my part, or threats to out me on hers, in the most damaging way imaginable are consigned to the past.

My longing to be held, is more than a need to be hugged, it is a need to be seen, to be understood, to be acknowledged and to be loved.

William Defoe

Be The Match

I have had a recent obsession with watching on YouTube emotional meet-ups between bone marrow and stem cell donors and the grateful recipients who are previously very sick children and adults who have been cured from blood cancers such as leukaemia and lymphoma.

Donors who gave a swab of saliva from their mouth, are called up often years later out of the blue, to be told they have the potential to save a life, often for people who live on the other side of the world.

The impact that this self-less giving has on the recipients and on their families is overwhelming and although life giving for the patient, it is also life enriching for the donor, who become connected by an incredible bond.

Under the rules of the process, they are not given information which would identify each other until at least one year after the procedure, and only then if both parties give their consent.

I think I am moved by the way in which the donor and recipient hold each other in a warm embrace which does not seem to end when they see each other for the first time.

I like the feeling I have when I see two people hold each other and when both are mutually committed to not being in a hurry to let go.

I give countless cursory hugs to family and friends, but it is a quick process which conveys to the person that they are cared for, and likewise I feel that too.

But to be held close, to be squeezed tight, to feel the weight of the other person so that their gratitude takes on a physical dimension to match their emotional weight is absolutely awesome to behold.

In those moments, being held by someone who shares your joy, or holds your pain, is to experience a feeling of rare gratitude that the deep well of suffering and endurance is measured by the body in terms of hope and love.

William Defoe

If you can, please sign up and “Be The Match” 



Safety versus Freedom

Benjamin Franklin once said “those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” 

“Piece by piece individual freedoms are chipped away and replaced by false promises and agreements.”

I have lived my life trying to accommodate my innate truth as a gay man, within the confines of my marriage.

This approach has brought me many blessings, a lovely wife, three beautiful children and in my everyday act of embracing security, I have been able to be a father through the crucial years of their lives.

I have been able to experience their love and gratitude for the material benefits which  my work has been able to provide for them,  and through my kindness and love I have been able to provide for their stability and growth and create opportunities for them to thrive.

It is hard to regret my choice to stay in the marriage and do my best, but now in my mid-fifties living in an empty nest, the pull from within to be known for who I am is intense and overwhelming.

Only the greatest love and care at this difficult period of my life will enable me to continue to live my life in the walled-courtyard in which I live my life.

It is difficult to experience that love and care, when my truth continues to be hidden from those whom I need the most to support me, and those who do know my truth either want to contain it and keep it unexpressed, or who try to link my continued anguish to a resolution to be found in prayer and faith.

If my freedom ever does come, it will come at a heavy price because I so wanted to be able to love and cherish my wife, for the whole of my life and I had so much hoped that she would allow me to continue to love her, honour her and care for her until my last breath.

I fear that in losing her. I will lose my freedom to love whilst gaining my freedom to be.

To be or not to be?…………. that is the question. The answer I know not what.

William Defoe 



When a Choice Hurts

I live my life under a strong belief that I have made a choice in respect of how I live my life, and that the choice I have made is in the very best interests of my own current and longer-term happiness.

This is because, the alternative choice, which I have thus far rejected, would be to leave my marriage and live alone, in the vague expectation that I would find a sustainable relationship as a gay man…. eventually.

Both choices are appealing to me and in some respects the opportunity to fulfill my potential as the person I was born to be is a very appealing prospect.

The difficulty for me, is that I profoundly love my wife, I have an established life with her and with that, comes in-numerous comforts and benefits which I am not in a hurry to lose.

The choice I have made causes me pain. I suffer terribly with the frustration of feeling hidden from the world and despite a wide network of family and friends, I am invisible and isolated.

I have convinced myself that the other choice, which I have thus far rejected, despite its appeal, would leave me at risk of even deeper pain and injury and a sense of loss from which I fear I would not recover.

The worst emotional pain which I experience is when my wife and I are out of balance, when we are questioning each others motives and each others love and whether I am trusted to be a good and faithful husband.

These difficult periods make my choice to remain feel even harder to bear, because layered on top of the management of my complicated self, comes a sense that I am not valued and appreciated for the sacrifice I have chosen to make.

There is a stronger temptation in these moments to flip the coin and announce to her that I can no longer sustain my life within the marriage – the weight of it and the suffering have become to much to bear.

I have come to realise however, that these testing moments are an important indicator of the depths of my love for her. They show me the extraordinary lengths I have been prepared to go to, to keep us safe, in the full knowledge that these periods of unhappiness and uncertainty pass as quickly as they have arrived.

A much better approach to a change of choice, would be to arrive at such a moment when I am not in a cycle of pain and doubt, but when my mind is alert and calm and open to what truly is in the long-term interests of us both.

William Defoe


Forced to Dry

Yesterday morning, after alighting from my bed I looked out of the window and noticed a soggy glove on the road at the side of my wife’s car.

The previous evening she had given me a lift to a local beer festival and as we arrived I decided to relieve myself of the burden of carrying my coat, scarf and gloves for the duration of the long evening ahead of me, so I quickly took them off and placed them on the front passenger seat of her car.

My wife, had picked these items up as she arrived home after dropping me off, but she had not noticed that my gloves were loosely placed on top of the coat and so one of them had dropped into the foot-well of her car, and the other onto the roadside exposed all night to the inclement rain.

I retrieved the glove and rung it through in the sink and then placed it onto the radiator where it was forced to dry over the next few hours.

This morning, on taking it from its very warm and cosy spot, I placed the fluffy, supple warm glove onto my hand and all its dampness and sogginess and smelliness had been dissipated from its apparel.

If only our lives could be thus cured of the sogginess, longings and confusion which are thrown up by our hearts and minds.

It made me think of the people who turn to rehabilitation centres to dry-out a drug or alcohol problem – or to a christian or other religious retreat centres where matters of the soul are explored under spiritual guidance in periods of reflection, silence, solitude and prayer – or to specialist centres for restoration from severe mental or physical trauma when strenuous efforts are made to bring us back to health and happiness.

My life is punctuated with periods of intense mental pain caused by the isolation and frustration of choosing to be faithful to my marriage whilst often feeling conflicted over my gay sexuality which is hidden and isolated from those whom I love.

There are small oases in my life where I can go and dry out my suffering and soothe my anxieties  – for example when I speak to my coach or visit her – or speak with my brother who is supportive and sympathetic to my ongoing struggle.

These interventions give me a respite from the damp and soggy harshness of my own mental anguish, and the practices and the intellectual guidance I derive from books and blogs on living in the present and living a holistic life of many parts are accessible to me more fully when I am calm thanks to them.

William Defoe 

The Weight of Life

At the present time, the weight of life is heavy upon my mind.

The stars seem to be aligned to make my life have all the symptoms of being unbearable to manage.

I am out of balance and the practices which sustain me are not currently established in my life’s routine.

It is not a good time to make choices or decisions which would seem to me to be a gateway to liberation from these feelings of being completely overwhelmed.

It is a time to be alert to the opportunities to thrive. To reconnect with those experiences which bring joy into my life. It is a time to focus my thoughts away from self onto those on whom my life has meaning, in the context of their life, and in doing so to feel positive about the contribution I make in a broad range of situations.

I am often healed by the words and actions of others, particularly the writings of Justin Wise in his blog “On Living and Working” which constantly calls on me to segregate the aspects of my life into meaningful pockets of acceptance and understanding and in so doing, contextualizes these feelings I hold of  washed out days, into parts or elements on which to focus, explore and manage.

At this time, I just crave to be seen, to be understood and to be held by someone who can appreciate the depths of my constant struggle to be calm.

I have achieved and accomplished a great deal (in a provincial and local sense of my life) rather than in the public sphere, and now I need to be able to articulate my inner beauty and my true self in a way which does not suppress and isolate my intellect but rather illuminates and projects it as a force for good.

I am sure that over time, and with the right mindset to the difficulties which I carry with me each day, the weight of my life will transform from being a heavy burden to something more akin to an aluminium or titanium frame  – light  – yes, but strong too!

William Defoe


A Loss of Trust

Two years ago, after a period of unhappiness in my marriage, I made a decision to socialise my sexuality by visiting bars frequented by gay men.

I had endured many years of suffering the isolation and the guilt and shame which I had previously associated with being married and gay, and I had felt that I needed to connect with people who would understand me for who I am.

At the end of a 6 month period of visiting these bars occasionally, predominantly as an observer and largely ignored, my wife insisted that I stop these visits or she would leave me and our 32 year marriage.

By this time, I had arrived at a conclusion that despite all our difficulties, and all my frustrations and isolation, I loved my wife and I did not want my marriage to end.

My wife, however had lost trust in me and so I volunteered to send her a video message from work each evening to prove to her that I was at work and that I was setting off to come home to her.

At the same time, my wife has tracked my movements (subversively) through monitoring the google maps app on my phone.

At first, these controls on my freedom to move freely about my business felt justified, after the break down in trust and the emotional distress I had caused to her by visiting these bars.

However, in recent months, the control has felt like an assault on my health and well-being. I have no intention of re-visiting those bars, but I need to be trusted now not to do so.

The calls and the tracking give my wife the assurance she requires, but she has no concept that 18 months on, these tools are having the effect on me of something akin to covert abuse.

I want to be able to move on, as she does from the past, but these measures, imposed upon me mean that I am condemned to be the criminal and she the probation officer for the foreseeable future.

My worry has become that this approach to maintaining our safety in the marriage is unsustainable because whereas it gives my wife some assurance of my movements, it signifies an ongoing loss of trust which despite all my efforts to alleviate, are not being recognised and accepted as permanent.

All I can do, is wait for a moment to raise with her my hope that she will drop the surveillance and trust in our love, and for me the greatest signal of our healing would be for us to talk to her about how it feels to be gay whilst loving and respecting her as deeply as I do.

William Defoe