Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Learning to Forgive Yourself After a Breakup or Divorce

Jeff Buckley's album Grace is probably the only CD that could carry me through the rest of my life. It's timeless. When Jeff Buckley accidentally died in 1997, it was such a shock. In the aftermath, his mother and record label published tunes for his second album called Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk. It was controversial because many people felt Jeff Buckley wouldn't have shared what was his personal sketchbook with the public.

Nevertheless, I found myself drawn to hear his last thoughts recorded raw and free from perfection. Sometimes the album is hard to listen to because it feels like the beginning of something not quite fully realized, but buried amongst the confusion is this incredibly beautiful and haunting chant called New Year's Prayer -- a sort of Persian poem -- about loving and forgiving everything about yourself.

After breaking up or getting a divorce you may start to examine all the dark and loathsome parts of yourself. You many even employ a form of self-punishment so as to keep yourself safe from engaging in new forms of love and relationship. I particularly love Jeff Buckley's insight that we can spend inordinate amount of energy creating our own electric chairs so as to destroy ourselves over and over again as a way to cope with shame instead of engaging in the process of forgiving oneself.

I've always found this song a comfort, a call to consciously forgive yourself for your past actions, and an invitation to accept your life so as to create anew. To learn how to forgive yourself and your ex, download my free ebook Be Forgiveness by clicking here.  

New Year's Prayer
by Jeff Buckley

Ooh, fall in light, fall in light, fall in light, fall in light
Feel no shame for what you are

Feel no shame for what you are

Feel no shame for what you are

Feel no shame for what you are

Feel no shame for what you are
As you now are in your blood, fall in light

Feel no shame for what you are

Feel no shame for what you are

Feel it as a water fall, fall in light

Ooh, fall in light, fall in light, fall in light

Ooh, fall in light, fall in light, fall in light

Grow in light

Stand absolved

Behind your electric chair, dancing

Stand absolved

Behind your electric chair, dancing
Past the sound within the sound

Past the voice within the voice

Leave your office, run past your funeral

Leave your home, car, leave your pulpit

Join us in the streets where we
Join us in the streets where we

Don't belong, don't belong

You and the stars, throwing light

Ooh, fall, fall

Ooh, fall in light, fall in light, fall in light

Ooh, fall in light, fall in light, fall in light

Grow in light 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Healing from Your Codependent Relationship after a Breakup or Divorce

Last year a friend sent me the book The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency as a gift. Wow, am I ever grateful that someone else was able to see the thing I needed most in my life and sent it to me like a life raft during the chaos of the holiday season.

Having read and benefited greatly from Melody Beattie's book Codependent No More in my twenties, this group of meditations came at just the right time when I was ready to own up to everything I had created from my marriage, subsequent divorce, and the codependent behavior I exhibited in my relationship.

If you are unfamiliar with codependency, checkout this Codependency for Dummies Cheat Sheet.

If you suspect you were acting out codependent behavior in your previous relationship or marriage, I recommend both these books by Melody Beattie. Codependent No More is a basic guide for healing and the meditation book is wonderful daily support.

I discovered my codependency twenty years ago and attended a 12-step group for help. I remember looking around the room and thinking, "I'm going to kick this habit and cure myself in a couple years." It was only after several years of therapy and various support groups that I realized codependency is a life long lesson. It's with you until the end, and it's up to you to choose how you dance with it. The Language of Letting Go honors this process and helps you realize that every day you can greet your codependent behavior afresh, without shame, and grateful for the opportunity to make new decisions.

Other Tools for Codependency

Loving Kindness Meditation
Lemonade Mantras
Gratitude Journal 
Develop a Spiritual Practice
Physical Exercise
Support Groups
Focus on a Hobby

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Film Divorce Corp

A new documentary about the legal and financial ramifications of divorce just hit the theaters this week.

Divorce Corp explores the system of family law, and how it's "designed to create conflict" so as to fuel a 50 billion dollar business, preying on people's deepest needs for love, family, and security.

Here are some interesting quotes from the trailer:

What you have is a tinder box and the lawyers are throwing gasoline on that fire. 

Family court results in more violence than any other area of law.

More than ever it seems important to seek conflict resolution whenever possible outside the justice system for divorce. If you are facing divorce, consider the alternatives such as doing your own dissolution which I outline in this other post or engage in the mediation process.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Breakup or Divorce: Imagining the Highest Good for Your Ex

Breakup or Divorce Imagining the Highest Good for Your Ex by Beth Hemmila of Breakup Care Package

You might not be ready for this exercise. So if my suggestion rubs you the wrong way, be kind and gentle with yourself. Give yourself a hug. Know you are in the best place possible for you right now and your feelings may change over the coming months and years until some day this idea might seem possible.

After your breakup or divorce, there may come a time when you have truly let go and accepted the loss of a love relationship. You've taken responsibility for your actions, learned new things, and have turned adversity into a gift.

Nevertheless, you and your ex may continue to have a challenging relationship because you share custody of the kids and live and work in proximity to each other. Or alternatively, you are ready to move forward in a new direction.

One of the best ways for creating your own personal freedom in the face of any challenging relationship is to imagine the other person experiencing their highest good.

Ask yourself, "What does my ex need in their life to experience their highest good? What would help my ex be their best self?"

  • Do they need a new job that helps them grow and excel?
  • Do they need to be free from body pain or illness?
  • Do they need healing for deep emotional wounds?
  • Do they need adventure and play?
  • Do they need community?
  • Do they need reconciliation?
  • Do they need love and relationship?

Use your imagination and picture your ex experiencing their highest good. What does their life look like? What do they look like? What kinds of expressions do you see on their face? What emotions are they feeling? How do they relate with other people?

Let your imagination give generously to your ex all the things that would help them shine their light in the world. Be like a fly on the wall and secretly observe their happiness. Feel as intensely as you can their feelings of peace, joy, and love without wanting anything in return for yourself. Just be an witness, quietly celebrating the life of your ex.

The most important thing to realize during this exercise is that you are not trying to fix your ex or make them better rather you are simply trying to energetically see them afresh. See in your mind what life could be like for them and have compassion that for right now they might not be experiencing their highest good. It's not your responsibility to help this person be at their best; however, through your thoughts, a form of meditation or prayer, you are sending out your loving support for their highest good.

More importantly, by dropping a fixed perception of your ex, you are setting yourself free from your own relentless cycle of thoughts and perhaps the desire to change this person so as to fulfill your own needs.

What are the Benefits?
  • Your energy that was trapped in a cycle of wanting someone else to change is free to enhance your life in creative ways.
  • You stop being a victim in a relationship out of your control and empower yourself to behave differently.
  • You will have emotional freedom for seeking your own highest good.
  • You will think in terms of the big picture. By not focusing on what you need from your ex but on how the whole world can benefit from this human being and their path, you appreciate how we are all interconnected. You become conscious of our unity.

Combine with Other Practices