467. Losing Everything Means Nothing
As a teenager, Erik delighted in mischief, surfing through his days and constantly feeling alive. Then life and responsibility happened. Remembering a teacher who had urged him to reach out and create what he wanted in life, Erik found himself at a major turning point.
Erik Newton is a former family law attorney who describes himself as someone who has been through a thousand divorces and still believes in love. Erik has a unique, real-world comprehension of what makes one marriage thrive and another fall apart. Ultimately, his calling to help couples build healthy relationships superseded his legal career, and he is now podcasting and publishing an online magazine about relationships.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“In high school, I wasn’t paying attention to academics. I was surfing. I had one teacher who was a surfer himself, a great guy, who recognized the value of the mischievousness my good friend and I had. He didn’t push us too hard to fit the academic mold, but he instilled in us this sense of responsibility for what we were creating. He often said, ‘If you don’t ask the question, the answer is an automatic no.’ He encouraged us to reach out and create or cause something, even if it’s not what we’re ‘supposed’ to be doing. His humor and appreciation for mischievousness gave me freedom to explore what I want out of life, as opposed to feeling like I had to be stuck in a box.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
After a dramatic reversal in his law practice—when he lost everything and endured a deep depression—Erik experienced a life-changing “sense of peace.” “One of the realizations that occurred to me in that very peaceful period was that everything is, in some sense, whole and complete. Everything is perfect exactly as it is, including my anger, fear, desires, happiness—everything. I really felt that in my body. I still do. I’ve never gone back to the old way of experiencing the world.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“I’ve learned not to take myself so seriously. Coming out of the depression, I began to be able to laugh at the process I had been in, even though it was simultaneously very painful and I had a lot of anger. Eventually it passed, and I felt an immense freedom and peace. I think this resulted from realizing that I had ‘lost everything,’ but none of it really mattered. Because of that, I was totally and utterly free. I could do anything! Which is true for all of us all the time. That’s the great joke of it: it’s true every single second. We are free, yet it’s impossible to see because of the Universe we build up around ourselves.”
Steps to Success from Erik Newton
1. If you’re feeling very stuck in life, that “stuckness” appears real, but it is not. You can break through it and emerge on the other side and experience a freedom you never thought possible.
2. Ask yourself what you are afraid of. Explore what’s holding you back.
3. With a trusted guide—therapist, counselor, coach—go below the fears, see what’s underneath, and face them.
On His Bookshelf
René Descartes’ writings about the nature of Being
Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D.
Your Brain on Sex: How Smarter Sex Can Change Your Life, by Stanley Siegel
Connecting With Erik Newton
Twitter: @newtonlaw and @together_show
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