HOW A SOLO TRAVEL TO JAPAN SAVED A MARRIAGE…

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…AND THE BOOK THAT BROUGHT ON THE DIVORCE.

By Michael Jason Sherman, MA

Our marriage was different. We were a classic case of the couple that would find a way to make it. We were a tribute to all that was right and honest and positive about a young, American marriage. We were chock full of the kind of hope and true grit that a marriage needed to survive.

Nothing would stop our mutual determination to heal and recover from our lost childhoods. Except ourselves.

We ripped each other’s hearts out with delirious fighting, grueling battles of dueling rivals trying to outclass the other with our need to play the role of victim, our right to always be right, and our desire to kick the other out of the sandbox of happiness.

“You’re ruining my life.”

“You’re making me insane.”

This was the typical discourse in our marriage. Dinner table, car ride, date-night, therapy office. Words were our weapons.

My wife was teetering on the cutting edge of this snarling beast of a partnership. She brutally understood the make or break nature of the moment. “I want a baby,” she said. “You’re either in this with me or you’re out.”

I could see in her eyes that she meant business. At the age of thirty-nine, her biological clock was roaring like a lion, and her frustration level was at a boiling point.

crying manShe had no more time to hear my complaints about being a middle-school teacher, my desire to be a great American writer, my anxiety and identity confusion, my anger and bitterness over my father’s schizophrenic suicide, and my queasy embarrassment about our infertility and the failure of expensive treatments to insert an embryo (or four) into her uterus. The decision about the marriage was mine to make alone.

Adopt a child with this woman or get divorced.

Frozen. Lost. Overwhelmed.

“I need to go somewhere,” I announced.

I played with the internet travel sites for days, addicted to the possibility that Solo Travel could somehow bring about an awakening that would propel me towards a solution. I needed to go somewhere far, far away—somewhere safe enough to get around, but weird enough to feel like an alien visiting another planet.

California? Too easy.

Jamaica? Too stoned.

France? Too French.

It was clear that I needed to visit a place that would spiritually immerse me in the ways of the Force—like Luke Skywalker learning from Yoda—a place that would soothe my body like the sweetest medicine and reboot my out-of-control mind by spinning it into some kind of normal and potentially grown-up orbit.

I was called to take a trip that would rescue me, a journey that would end this nightmare and restore order to the promise of marriage and the American Dream itself.daibutsu

I chose Japan.

Land of sushi, sake and samurai. Land of bullet trains, baseball turfs and Buddhist Temples. Land of Aikido, Bushido and Hello Kitty. Land of vending machines, video games and all-night Karaoke bars. The perfect place for a soul to get lost for a little pocket of time. No wife. No marriage. Bought the ticket. Took the ride.

Ten Days. Solo Travel. Man-trip.

Something happened there. Something wonderful.

I suggest you find out for yourself.

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An Extremely Serious Problem Called Marriage

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I remember having something of a Groundhog Day moment in my counseling office. I had heard this story again and again so many times from the person that happened to be sitting across from me. Different client, same story of marriage conflict. I couldn’t help but temporarily disappear into my own magical world. Luckily, my client didn’t notice.

Was it the one who said, “He’s so shut down. It’s like I’m not even there.”frustrated couple

Or the one who said, “You don’t understand how controlling she is. My marriage feels like a prison.”

Or perhaps it was this one: “And then he said, ‘I expect it from you every night. I work hard. I put food on the table. This is not what I signed up for in this marriage!’”

Honestly, I couldn’t remember.

Painful situations, no doubt. But whenever the moment happened for me, it felt like a tiny hit of enlightened wisdom that distracted my sensibilities, a presence of awe that there was something bigger happening in this counseling office.

I tried not to leap from my chair from the excitement I felt. My client’s story triggered a sense of professional compassion and basic human empathy, but more than that, it flooded me with the inspiration that hits a mad scientist like lightning.

I had figured out the formula. Eureka!

And it went like this:

The first moments of a relationship sets the tone for the rest of its existence. How it begins is how it always will be.

Whatever happens in those early text messages, Match.com emails going back and forth, late-night phone conversations, foot rubs and mixed drinks ­— the dynamic is set in stone from the beginning, growing like a virus, till death do us part.

The love is there. But the power struggle is there too. Look closely. You’ll find it.

“We had sex on the first date,” said a different client on a different day. “Then we went to Vegas and tied the knot. We decided to just go for it after three hours on the craps table and like forty margaritas. I just don’t understand why things are always so bad in our marriage now…”

Go figure.

The case above may be a more severe example, but upon reflection, the theory seemed to be taking shape, in terms of all I had witnessed as a counselor.

The trouble you are facing now was there right from the very first date.

What happens at the beginning creates a context for all that is to come.

Michael in Black Hat

Michael Jason Sherman, Creator of THE SOLO TRAVEL SOLUTION Program

A power struggle is planted in ignorance like an innocent little seed, right at the first meeting between two lovers, waiting to bear fruit years later in the marriage.

It’s not your fault. But you will have an extremely serious problem if you don’t grow conscious.

The problems of marriage are never cut and dry. But the if you can see some value in this theory, then consider the idea rooted within it: people have a tendency to get married to someone else before they are marrying themselves – or at least before getting to know their inner truth on a spiritual level.

Therefore, if they are not fully conscious in those early moments of a relationship, they are likely to be absorbed and consumed by a theme and variation of disappointments and denial, war and withdrawal, all of which started in some small (and sometimes not so small way) at the very first moment you met your sweetie.

Not that this conundrum can’t be moved through and mastered. In fact, if you become conscious to the core energies that were present in the initial moments of your relationship, you can look at this condition as a puzzle filling with mysteries that move your life forward into a spiritual awakening, whether the marriage comes with you or not. In this way, the marriage is giving birth to the real you.

However, if you don’t get conscious, if you don’t notice how the core issues of your relationship were there right from the very beginning, then that lack of consciousness will take root and leave you with an extremely serious problem.

Otherwise known as being trapped in a power struggle called marriage.

So, what’s next? Counseling? Sure. Divorce? Maybe. But what is my personal prescription?

plane and sunsetA Solo Travel Journey. A pocket of time where you temporarily leave everything in your life behind (including your marriage). An adventure where you set forth into motion, awakening to the wisdom that is waiting for you on the road. A feeling of aliveness that will allow you to meet up with the being you have always been, that perhaps your marriage has not allowed you to be.

A breakaway that guarantees a breakthrough. A voyage of personal discovery that enlivens your spirit and brings you back to your essence. A trip that cleans the palette of your mind, refreshes your body and resets your soul, allowing you the inner peace and personal power to return to a new relationship with the same partner.

When you return, you may feel a deeper level of acceptance. Or you may initiate profound change in the dynamics of your marriage. It also may mean that you are finally ready to move on.

Only you will know.  But the answers about you, your relationships and your life direction are waiting for you out there on the journey. They will meet you along the way, in a meaningful meditation of motion.

Always remember to keep it moving….

– Michael Jason Sherman / 10-14-13

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THE CURSE IS OVER

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Hello, reader.

My name is Michael Jason Sherman. I am a father, I am a Jew and I am the author of the book, “The Zen of Solo Travel.” It feels really good to say that.daibutsu

I’ve been wrestling with this project for two and a half years, but really it’s been eight years, however, it has in fact been thirty-five years.

The two and a half years ago began when it seemed like everything in my world was falling apart, and after a powerful, private journey with a counselor, I awakened to the fact that I really am a writer at heart and it was truly time to get a project out into the world.

Amongst the piles of unfinished manuscripts laying around, I chose this one because I thought it would only take me a month to complete. Thirty months later, and thirty plus Solo Travel Journeys later (a few taken by me, most taken by my counseling clients, some traveling to the other side of the globe), the manuscript is done and ready for initial release (first E-book, later real book — join the email list below to get updates).

The eight years ago began when it seemed like everything in my world was falling apart, and I took private, powerful Solo Travel Journey to Japan. I returned bursting with renewed energy, ready to become the adoptive father of a Chinese girl (my sweet and adoring Twyla — the girl from two worlds), ready to quit my safe and tenured middle school teaching job, ready to help heal others, and more than ready to write every single composition bookminute of my journey into four, black, bound, college-ruled, composition notebooks with one pen. 

Fingers hurt. Ouch.

The thirty-five years ago began when I it seemed like everything in my world was falling apart, and my father was developing what would become a permanent mental illness that would eventually force him to end it all, and having just taken me to see the opening night of Star Wars in the summer of 1977, and me being inspired to use an electric  typewriter for the first time, and this young child feeling the fever of the word, busting out his first story called “Space Adventures” in a private, powerful journey of writing only a little boy can go on, only to be condemned and by the big grown up Darth Vader Dad who used words like “half-assed” and “never make it in the real world.”

So right then and there, I decided — “No problem, Dad. I won’t finish anything.” And so I didn’t. Until today. It feels really good to say that.

The words are written, but now the finishing process really begins. It’s one thing to slave away at a project and turn it into the book that you were always meant to write. It’s another thing to put on the publishing hat and help this infant learn to walk and find its waiting audience.

In this way, I am announcing today (7/9/13) as the day where the Curse is Over.  The manuscript will be ready for E-book release in a few short weeks.  At which time, I will have finally finished what I started, and the book will belong to you, the reader.

And you are:

* A spiritual being having a human experience on a Solo Travel Journey through life.

* An adventurer who loves the feeling of motion in other lands and spaces.

* A man or a woman facing a crisis in your marriage, or coming out the other side of it.

* Someone who has experienced trauma in your life and has tried everything to heal it.

* A young adult who hasn’t fully settled on a life direction or a relationship you really want.

* An empty-nester or baby-boomer who sees the horizon and is ready for a new chapter of life.

* An entrepreneur or corporate who loves the creative process and is ready for a spiritual experience.

* A professional healer or spiritual teacher who is fascinated by journeys of courage and awakening.

* Someone who longs to experience your inner truth and discover the authenticity of your life’s work.

You are my audience.

Michael in Black Hat

Michael Jason Sherman, Author of “The Zen of Solo Travel”

The book is called, “The Zen of Solo Travel: A Journey from Anxiety to Enlightenment.” It is a philosophical memoir of a 10 day journey to Japan, where I took life in my own hands and came out the other side starting a revolution that I haven’t stopped.

The program attached to it is called “The Solo Travel Solution,” which is explained in this website.  I teach people to deal with their relationships, their mindset, and then set them forth on Solo Travel Journeys where they have an awakening of wisdom that lets them feel alive.

The book will be out in E-Book form in the coming weeks. The program of healing and transformation is ready to go.  If you fit into any of the above categories (or even if you don’t), I encourage you to join the mailing list (below), that you may stay connected and dip your toe in this magnificent pool.

Thank you, reader. It feels good to say that.

 

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“I’VE HAD ENOUGH” – A 7 Minute Solution Interview with Personal Development Coach, Darshan Shanti

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THE 7-MINUTE SOLUTION:

Solo Travel Solution Audio Blog Posts and Interviews with Experts

One of the key elements in experiencing a successful Solo Travel Journey is the idea that you are leaving everything behind. No matter how far or for how long you go, you’ve got to feel that sensation of letting go of everything and everyone in order to allow for an awakening while out there in motion.

In the audio below, Darshan Shanti, the author of the book, The 24 Hour Champion, discusses his thoughts about the edge that we need to get to in order to take responsibility for starting a revolution in our lives.  Learn about him at www.The24HourChampion.com.

PLEASE LISTEN!