1. Loneliness can send you down one of two paths: the one of self-destruction where the pain of separation locks you to your TV, fleeting romances, or substances. You may not deteriorate into a pile of mush, or you may, but you will not grow, resentment increases, and the world of other people becomes more threatening. The other alternative leads to solitude, where one realizes that loneliness is actually a feeling, an odd uncomfortable one, and not an idea or fantasy to get lost in. Give your loneliness a fence. It is a wild animal, prone to escapism. During a wild outburst, hold strong that fence and let it tire out. Like a child on a whim, it will feel at first disappointed, but ultimately loved and contained, safe inside its boundaries.
2. Pain does not last forever. When the love of your life is no longer under the same roof, and there is no way to feel better about what might have happened differently, we simply have to take the ostrich head out of the hole and take on the sandy headwind. It may last for more than 90 seconds (unless you are a proficient meditator or are extremely active), but this whole forever thing is what got you into trouble in the first place, no? Approach pain like you would that last second before skydiving or eating a habanero pepper, with a tint of madness in the eye, and say “let’s do this.”
3. Below the hurt, the anger, the regret, and the shame, this separation is fundamentally nothing else but granting you an opportunity to live the best life you can. You may have felt snippets of this hope. They will not last unless you water them with repetition and intimacy with yourself. It’s not easy switching your focus from your wife or your kids to your own heart, but this is really what it’s all about. Logic and explanations will eventually become clear, but life is attempting to defibrillate your dreams. Everyone benefits from this work, even your ex, and especially your kids.
4. We all have a doppleganger or two roaming around. They are people who look exactly like you. But know, during the walk of your life, you will meet someone who is your opposite and antithesis (Oppolganger). They may know you better than you know yourself at times. They may never be able to see the love and effort you give to them. There is a chance they will always think you are a terrible person. They have an astounding ability to feign empathy for others, except you. This person may be your ex. Count it the greatest blessing in the world, for none other than they, will afford you the depth of inner work and self-reflection, and the opportunity to love yourself as they challenge that inflow at every turn. Your self love infuriates them, because they are unable to match it in themselves. They think it’s selfish. They make spiritual practice and inner work an imperative (deep bow of gratitude) rather than a hobby.
5. Spiritual practice, exercise (yoga!), retreat, diet, and creative expressions are veritably the corner stones of a blooming man. Divorce has sent ripples through the fabric of what I believe a man to be. Without a connection to my source, a radical awareness and devotion to my body, and an outlet for the Typhon-sized emotions that accumulate, the soul withers, the body becomes ill, and future relationships don’t receive the nurturance they require.
6. Fathers are just as important as mothers. Do not let any belief deter you from being as fully engaged in your dreams and work, as you are with your children. There is no partiality in the parental title. Father’s are not an intrusion to the mother-child relationship (except in situations of abuse, etc, but that goes both ways). For some father’s, it may take time to work in a constant presence with their children due to the nature of their divorce. Everything does not need to happen right away.
7. Despite divorce, the marriage actually endures. Part of healing from divorce involves recognition that our partners are never really separated from us. hey will live on in the faces of the people we meet, in memories of the places we visit, and in the gaze of our children. They come back in the attitudes and behaviors of our future partners. We must come to peace with the fact that as much as life is happening outside of us, much of what we encounter in the physical world is an opportunity to heal the past; to love through the past into the present.
8. Honesty is an investment. As you peer out from your grief-cave, and begin to meet other people, perhaps other lovers, you will notice that a good deal of time is required to heal from your divorce. That does not mean you have to sit alone everyday. Rebounding and exploring the scents of others is normal and healthy. Big but here. We must be honest that our healing process is in effect, and state what arenas of intimacy we are comfortable with at this time (physical, emotional, mental, friendship). We don’t need to come out and reveal our wounded wing, but we can be honest with just how much that wing can handle. Just because you are grieving does not mean you should not explore, just as long as you are not avoiding your grief by rebounding.
9. Fallowness. Fallowness describes farmland soil that is left broken for a long period of time, to ensure maximum yield of a future crop. Divorce may seem like an explosion of destructive forces. What they don’t tell you is that divorce is more like a plough, harrowing our path to ensure the fertility of the soul. Without this period of brokenness, any new seed that comes along will have less a chance to grow robust. It’s okay to sit, wait, and be broken for long periods of time, without the need to do.
“Really? I’ve been doing that?”
Few realizations render as much guilt and shame than recognizing how we hold our heart back from vitality and thriving.
It appears, as far as I can tell, that humanity has been endowed with particular blindspots. Inheritance is a tricky thing. Hey, Welcome to Earth. You’ve been given, along with original sin, the following:
-a dying body
-physical traits that may not be seen as attractive, and if they are, people will forget about other parts of you
-emotions to go with every occasion, some of which might stick for years like cooked rice to the side of a pot.
-patterns that will develop through childhood, then go under your awareness and bleed out into the rest of your life without you knowing about it (until you take proper steps to become self-conscious)
-and last, but not least, a stark raving mad ability to avoid what is best for you, to sabotage the interests of the self based on the above inheritances and more …
Self-Sabotage arrives when:
We are in a mind storm. Thoughts are uprooting our ability to stay present and we end up in a cigar shop, needling through porn, or going back to an abusive partner while our body is clearly running for the hills to safety. When caught in the mind, we ignore even the strongest pulls of the body. After a while, the body tries to follow suit. When eventually we want to do something for ourselves, the body will feel tired, agitated, or anxiety at the thought of self-improvement.
Our ideas of success are tangled in the appeasement of others. We feel like we need to make others happy at our own expense. When someone who we think cares about us (but actually doesn’t) puts us down, the momentum of that insult can funnel our own anger deep inside. Internalizing negativity ends up another excuse to become couch-tied and bed-ridden. Contributing to the happiness of others is a by-product of self-enhancement. If the vestiges of your self-worth disappear in certain ongoing relationships, those relationships are not healthy.
We use substances. Alcohol and constant use of drugs can veer us toward getting a dopamine increase rather than the natural thing from doing what we love. While there are many incredible uses for drugs, even to help us wake us, the mainstream attitude is one of escapism rather than immersion. Many narcotics give us ideas that feel good, but when we come down, those same ideas fall by the wayside because of the alteration of brain chemistry. That same high can be achieved naturally, by giving your gift.
We burn out before we flame. Ever have a candle that lights for a few moments, then recedes into the wax that ought to keep it ablaze? We are about to do something we love, maybe even feel somewhat excited about it, then all of the temptations, addictions, and distractions we have entertained in the past, come swooping in like ravens on a carcass.
We are not ready to admit what our gift is. I’ve worked with many people who say they do not know what they want to or like to do in life. Within a few minutes we will locate several things and their eyes go to the floor, and they say something like “ya I guess.” It may be weeks or months before they actually pick up a pen or brush to write or paint. We all know what we need to do at some level, and perhaps this is even accentuated in childhood, but we all may not be ready for the knowing.
I’m not sure if Adam and Eve ever found a way back to paradise, but I believe the way out is the same way in. We go out wild eyed and distracted. We must go in the same way. Here are the ways I have found to sabotage self-sabotage.
Don’t plan to do something you want to do. When the urge or even thought rises, move your body and do it quickly without thinking. Put a twinge of madness in your eye and a goofy grin on your face. In much the same impulsive way we dodder off into a self-destructive tendency or avoidance of our dreams, do the same when returning to them.
Hold up the incense of your inner standard to vampiric criticism. When the burning fire of criticism lands in your lap, when someone is mean to you or invalidates your existence, use that opportunity as life’s alarm clock telling you to take care of yourself. These criticisms are fuel for manifesting what you want. The greatest in the world see criticism as fuel. This does not mean we learn to love it, it means we learn to make it work to our advantage. The first few attempts are very hard, but hey, if we can follow our path when we are feeling lowest, we can certainly do it any other time.
Destroy Routine. Despite this counter-intuition, and with great respect consistent behavior in the right direction, routines will have taken from us much more than we have gained, until we imbue them with conscious certainty. When we destroy routine, we allow fresh magma to surface, the light of our inner world to flash open to the surface. Do not be concerned. New routine will be established. We are creatures of it, after all.
Allow emotions to do their work. Loneliness, fear, anger, sadness, and grief are serious gamechangers—if we let them be. I curl up in my bed or on my couch and let these emotions lather me up. I will not move until they’ve made their way through my system. Usually, this takes about 10-15 minutes. If I sit up and meditate on them, breathe into them, sometimes it takes little more than thirty seconds. Whatever energetic patterns we have in us, which keep us in a self-sabotaging circuit, they cannot be modified without a proper electrical blast. The above emotions are audacious enough to break down emotional patterns and recycle them anew.
Indulge. Rather than fighting our distractions, or subvert to them automatically and unconsciously, go into them with full awareness that you are indeed avoiding what you really like to do, and indulging in a golorified procrastination of your soul’s unfolding. Then, refer to the last suggestion, allowing all these feelings to surface. Allow them to do their work. Finally, in the blink of an eye, with the extra room created, slip onto your path of self-awesomeness.