Should You Escape Your Marriage?

One of my dear blogging friends is Lisa Thomson, who blogs about life after having left her  marriage. Lisa has guided thousands of women who have made the difficult decision of leaving their marriages. She left one herself and not only survived it, but is thriving after having left it.

Are you stuck in a marriage that you’re not sure about anymore? Should you stay or leave your marriage? What can you expect when you do leave your marriage?

Although Lisa’s first book published in 2012, answers many of these questions, she now has a new book out. Well, it’s not so much a book as a divorce manifesto. A Divorce Companion: The Best of the Great Escape Blog will guide you through the ups and downs of divorce. Lisa prepares you to deal with the psychological, financial, legal and parenting aspects of divorce in her new book which is a compilation of some of her best blog posts.

I chatted with Lisa recently and asked her some of the most pressing questions I had about leaving a marriage. If you enjoy the interview and are considering a divorce, pick up Lisa’s book today here.

Ok, Lisa, a few questions for you.

Thank you Vishnu, for hosting and interviewing me here at your wonderful blog!

What led you to leave your marriage?

Well, I guess you won’t be surprised when I say it was multiple things rather than one event. It was many small and big things over many years that ultimately led to the demise of my marriage. I finally accepted my unhappiness at the core of my being and gave myself permission to accept that life wasn’t turning out the way I expected. I faced the fact that it had to change. I realized too that ending a marriage, knowing what we need in our life to live authentically, is a very personal matter.

What factors should women consider before leaving a marriage?

There are many and here I will list in order of importance;

Children-your children will always be your #1 concern so, ensuring they understand what’s happening, that they are comfortable and well cared for is priority. Keep the communication open and ongoing, too. Often couples forget to talk about things after the big announcement. That is wrong—keep the conversation going and be as honest as possible while reminding them that their only job is to ‘be a kid’.

Finances-determine accounts, credit card debts, loans outstanding and actual income as a couple. Also, get your own credit card and bank account as soon as possible. If you’ve been a stay at home mom, without an income, it is reasonable to take some money from the joint account and put it into your new account.

Living arrangements/logistics-who will move out and will you sell or keep the matrimonial home? These are questions that don’t have to be answered immediately however, you should begin to think about and discuss together.

Child custody- Will you both co-parent? This is the most popular child custody arrangement and works well for the children if you are on good terms and there is no abusive patterns. Best to discuss this together and independently with lawyers. Take into consideration your special requirements and circumstances.

Division of assets-begin discussing a fair division of assets. Knowing what your assets and liabilities are as a couple and agreeing on these can make a world of difference in creating an amicable divorce.

Make all agreements binding-if you are lucky enough to agree with your soon to be ex (STBX) on important issues listed here, then make sure you have ‘consent orders’ that are written by lawyers and signed by all parties.

Family therapy-consider attending counseling as a divorcing couple. This is not something we did but I can see how it would help. Just because you’re divorcing doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to work together cooperatively (with the children and other divorce related issues).

Finally, family and friends-try not to neglect your relationships with extended family and keep them in the loop in so far as the child custody is concerned as well as living arrangements.

What was the most difficult part of leaving your marriage?

Hands down, the hardest thing about leaving my marriage was having less time with my children. It was emotionally wrenching initially. I was a full time stay at home mom (SAHM) at the time and raising them was my job from infancy. My ex-husband was a business traveler and not at home as much. I can say though, that in time, the pain and feeling of loss went away and was replaced with more gratitude for the time I do have with my children.

How do you adapt to life after separation and divorce?

Slowly LOL. It really is a personal process. One thing I can say is, I don’t know one divorced woman who hasn’t found happiness after a period of adjustment. It is hard. I won’t lie about that. It is also rewarding and a growing experience. It’s worth every tear.

What would you tell others about parenting after a divorce?

This is also a transitional period. You have to learn to parent more sensitively. Keep the communication open and don’t shut down your child’s sadness. Let them cry. Let them show you how much it hurts that mom and dad are split apart and everything is changing. Honoring your child’s feelings is one of the most validating things you can do for them as a parent. It was one of the hardest things for me to learn because every time they showed me anger or tears my guilt shot up and all I wanted to do was fix it. We can’t fix it, we can only make it easier for them.

What is your message in your latest book to women who are considering leaving and filing a divorce?

My latest book’s message overall is to embrace your individual strength as a woman. You can get through it but be prepared for frustration and anger to rear up while at the same time, finding the most joy you’ve experienced in years. It’s a real mixed bag. My book certainly covers many topics from Narcissism, financial budgeting,  re-setting your career path to dealing with anger, and letting go. It’s designed to provide companionship and practical tips to those suffering right now.

What would you advise someone who is torn between staying and leaving?

This is always a tough one. It is the hardest part, the ‘thinking about it’ stage. I advise all women the same thing at this stage; do what is best for you and your family. It’s a personal decision. No one can tell another person when to end their marriage (barring obvious situations where a person is being abused physically, mentally or is in a life threatening relationship).

I advise to read, write and really be honest with yourself at this stage. Stop the denial. Make lists. Pros and cons, list unhappy events no matter how small. Life is made up of a million small things so if those are the unhappy events, well what does that say about your life? This is a decision that is not done over night and will take some introspection.

Where can people pick up your latest book?

It’s available now on Amazon. It’s designed to provide that companionship one needs during divorce and can only find through someone who’s been there. The variety and depth of topics act as a self help tool providing much needed tips and simple solutions to common divorce problems.

Lisa Thomson has gone through a unique divorce and faced unusual challenges. A mom, a writer and an interior decorator, Lisa also loves to draw and paint. “My passion is to encourage women going through divorce. It doesn’t have to be “the end” but rather, a new “beginning.” You can find her latest book on Amazon here and in Canada, here. She blogs at www.lisathomsonlive.com and active on Twitter and Facebook.

Should You Stay Or Should You Go? 5 Signs on When to Leave a Bad Marriage

stay or go

Not all of us get to choose when we leave a marriage.

Sometimes, our spouses make the decision for us with a gentle nudge or by packing up all their belongings and moving out. Or if you come home and find the locks changed and a stack of suitcases with your clothing sitting in front of the garage, you’re right to believe that a divorce is coming!

Yet, often in relationships, one spouse or the other has to make the first move to leave the marriage.

How do you know when you should stay and when you should leave?

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that you’ve spoken to your astrologer, checked in with your lucky tarot deck and are mentally at your wit’s end. You literally can’t take another day with this intolerable person but you’re still not sure if leaving makes sense or not.

On one hand, you know you’ll find peace, sanity and joy by leaving.

On the other hand, you think you’ll ruin your kids’ life, disappoint everyone who loves you and fear living alone the rest of your life.

So, what do you?

In my friend Lisa Thomson’s new book, A Divorce Companion, she asks and answers this question about when to leave a marriage.

It’s one of the most common questions she gets from the readers of her blog.  In general, she believes the answer is different for each person because everyone has a unique circumstance and relationship.

But if you’re thinking about leaving your marriage, Lisa suggests these 5 signs to watch out for:

1. Your spouse is emotionally, verbally or physically abusive.

Lisa says that it may be abusive in even the slightest of ways but if you’re in an abusive relationship, the abuse is likely overt, destructive and unbearable.

2. You’ve tried marriage counseling and it hasn’t change anything.

Personally, I don’t think too much of marital counseling, as it may be way too late when you get there. In my personal experience, I found that counseling just made things worse. Our faults and dysfunction were amplified and more public with our therapist.

3. You are last on his list.

Hmmmmm, I would say this is definitely a sign. You may not be last on his list but you’re definitely not his priority. When you’re in a dysfunctional relationship, you don’t value or appreciate each other.

4. Your sex life is non-existent.

I’ll let this one speak for itself.

5. He doesn’t consult with you before making important decisions

You’re left in the dark on important decisions about parenting or finances. He might make unilateral decisions for both of you and not consult you on major decisions that affect both of you.

Lisa thinks it’s our inability to accept the truth that ultimately keeps us from moving forward and leaving our marriages.

“The truth can be easily justified with excuses,” she writes. “The truth can be replaced with false hope – hope for an improved tomorrow that never comes.”

Instead of accepting the truth and doing what is necessary, you make up excuses and justifications to stay in a marriage that kills both of you. You hold onto false hope and promises of a better day simply to avoid the pain and suffering that divorce brings with it.

Will you continue to accept a troubled marriage without taking any action about it?

Will you live a life that’s filled with false hope for a person you should have left long ago? Realizing you’re in a bad place and accepting that there may be no chance for improvement is a good first step, Lisa reminds us.

Rooting in your truth and accepting the circumstances as they are will give you more clarity and courage to do what’s necessary.

You could lie to yourself and live small while suffering through an intolerable marriage.

Or you could check in with the many external and internal signs about what’s going on in your life and practice acceptance. Not acceptance so you can get a divorce but acceptance so you can live your truth.

Living truthfully will give you clarity.

Clarity will help you guide your future decisions and actions.

If you’re looking for clarity in all aspects of your divorce, from when to get a divorce to how to get over your divorce, then Lisa’s latest book is for you. It will give you much needed hand-holding and guidance to make good decisions during a difficult time.

Pick up A Divorce Companion today on Amazon here.

Lisa Thomson is a Canadian blogger, writer and author. You can find her blog on leaving a marriage, dating and parenting here: http://www.lisathomsonlive.com/

* Photo credit Unsplash

How Do You Heal With Light Energy

Did you have a rough upbringing?

Were the people who were supposed to have loved you the very same people who hurt you and tried to tear down your self-worth?

Did you grow up in an abusive home with absent or abusive parents?

Grow up in a home with a physically abusive father?

An emotionally abusive mother?

Alcoholic parents?

Detached parents? Cruel or neglectful?

You may have thought the past is the past and you could move on and live your life. Yet, you’re likely finding that your past doesn’t just disappear. Instead, you find yourself alone to carry the pain of your past.

This could come in the form of low self-esteem. An eating disorder. A generally non-motivated and uninspired life. Combative and unhealthy relationships you find yourself in as an adult.

You didn’t have the tools to resist your parents, stand up for yourself as a child or find shelter against unhealthy parenting but you do have tools now to move past the pain.

The healing is in the light.

Sunlight.

Candle light.

Your inner light.

Divine light.

You have the inner light to weather anything life has thrown at you. When you fully immerse yourself in your light, you can no longer suffer abuse. Others can no longer trample you. They can no longer tear you down.

Here are 8 steps towards embracing your light when you feel the darkness of hurt and pain. 

1. Sit in the light of pain and loss.

Before you can heal, you must claim and sit in the pain and the loss. It’s perfectly ok to acknowledge the hurt you’ve experienced, cry over the sadness of the past and sit in the sorrow you feel.

You will never know light exists if you first didn’t realize you were in the darkness. The idea is to be aware of this place, not to live there.

2.Remind yourself that darkness and light are part of the same universe.

You’re not in an entirely different universe. You are simply in the darker parts for now. The light is on the other side. You will find your way there. Being aware of the darkness is the first step to seeing the light.

Having known the darkness, you’ll more easily find the light. Having known the darkness, you’ll have a greater appreciation of the light.  

3.Allow your light to wash your wounds.

The light can fill whatever loss you’re carrying, whatever holes you have within you and whatever voids are in your life.

You can find the light within you. It’s the ounce of hope within. It’s the flicker of inner knowing. It’s the divine spirit you might have felt while observing the redwoods or watching the majestic skies at night. It’s the moment of inspiration, hope and aliveness you feel within yourself. It’s the belief in a new day and a new dawn.

If you’ve ever seen or felt this light within you, you know it’s there. You know you can cultivate it and allow it to shine into the spaces of hurt and loss.

4.Extend the light to those people who crushed your soul.

You may want to withhold your light from the very people who hurt you, robbed you of your childhood or crushed your soul. You may never want to give them your love, affection or attention.

The very people who are hurtful and abusive need the light the most. No, you don’t have to kiss and make up like nothing happened but you can set the intention within to forgive them for all the ways they hurt you. You can extend to them the light of understanding and empathy. You can acknowledge they, too, were hurting and didn’t know what they were doing.

5.Be in communion with the divine.

Your light may come from a divine experience or a spiritual place.

You walk into your house of worship and feel the light. You see the flickering flames of candles, oil lamps and sunlight coming in through the stained-glassed windows of the church.

Whatever your house of worship is, know you can cultivate the light from a divine and spiritual place. Go within, reflect, take inspiration and inspire.

Have a communication and relationship with the divine light you experience.

Walk out of the temple or church each time with the light burning a little stronger.

6.See the light in all.

The light fills the entire world. All you must do is sit and observe it. Even in the middle of the night or when all feels dark, light is there. It fills the earth.

If light is everywhere, the light must be in you. The light must be in the people who hurt you also. The light must be in places of darkness. Learn to see the light in the dark places. Look hard for the light when it’s especially dark. Look for the light in others.

Once you see the light in others, especially the people who hurt you, you can let go of the hurt and move on. The same fabric of light composes you and the people who hurt you. You will more easily forgive and realize your oneness with all.

7.Fill your soul with light.

Spend time each day filling your soul with light.

The light may come from work that brings you joy or work that serves other people.

The light may come from your spiritual practices, like contemplation or prayer.

You may feel the light while playing with your children, cooking a meal or taking a walk.

You may find the light when you choose kindness over hatred or empathy over anger.

When you see or feel the light within you, allow it to fill you. Sit with the light.

8.Extend compassion and empathy to all those around you.

Spread the light from within to all those around you.

Set an intention that the vibration of the light you’re feeling is spreading to those around you who are in pain and hurting.

Be an example in the light. Live your life in the light every day.

If you spiral into darkness one day, seek the light the next day.

Show others it’s acceptable to live in the light, even when you’re in pain.

You can fill the void and the loss with the light.

You can substitute the hardships and struggles with the light.

You can view the misdeeds of others in the light so your anger melts into compassion.

The light allows you to turn hostility to understanding. It helps you stop judging others and instead try to see their perspective.

The light releases grudges and fosters forgiveness.

The light can remove obstacles, cut through the pain, and heal you and those around you.

*Photo credit

Love After Heartbreak

If you’ve followed my journey for some time, you’ve known the story of heartbreak and loss.

You know the story of uncertainty and change.

You know the story of darkness and gloom.

Yet, divorces I’ve concluded are not the end of the world. Nor are heartbreaks or separations or breakups.

Endings don’t necessarily have to be the worst thing that has ever happened to you! And with every ending, there is a new beginning.

With every heartbreak, you sow the seeds for new love to flourish.

Yet this doesn’t happen automatically.  Moving on is easier said than done. How do you let go of the past? How do you move on? How do you open your heart again?

In my new book, Love After Heartbreak, I’ve written a book for all of us to move forward and love again after heartbreak.

 

Who is this book for?

It’s for you if you’ve experienced heartbreak, separation or divorce and have sworn off relationships for the rest of your life.

What will you learn in this book?

You will learn how to let go of the past and heal your heart. You will learn how to reclaim and boost your self-worth after that painful breakup. You’ll learn how to trust again and overcome your fear of commitment.

Will this book guide you to finding the right partner?

Yes! It will give you tips and strategies for landing the right partner. There’s a chapter on how to find the right partner and another chapter on what you can do to increase your chances of finding the right partner.

Does it address fear and rejection?

Fears keep us from moving forward, so, definitely; there are several chapters about overcoming fears. Overcome your fear of commitment, overcome your fear of being hurt again and overcome your fear of rejection.  Learn how to see rejection in a new and more empowering light. Yes, you might confront rejection after heartbreak but learn how to see rejection in a positive light.

How will this book change your life?

This book will only do one thing: change your perspective and way of thinking about love. It will address your fears and objections. It will help you shift your perspective and look at relationships from a new angle. It will encourage you to go beyond your comfort zone, find your courage and go after that relationship that’s waiting for you.

Why this book, and why did you write it?

Honestly? This book is as much for me as it is for you. This is what I’ve learned, this is what I’m learning and this is what I’m doing in my life. Everything I write to you is everything I’m telling myself. Everything I suggest you do, I’m trying to do.

I wrote it for all of us who are stuck in our pasts and desire to move on to new love. I wrote it for all of us who are afraid of loving and opening our hearts again.

Why love again?

You might think that your life was over after your broken heart, your breakup or your divorce. I remind you in this book that your relationship ending could be a true blessing. You have choices, you have opportunities and you have the freedom to create a new relationship from scratch. You can now do it with wisdom, experience and an open (and stronger) heart.

I want to remind you of what Hemingway said: “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

Where can you purchase this book?

You can pick it up on Kindle books at the Amazon store. If you’re open to love again, click here to pick up Love After Heartbreak today.

How to Open Your Heart to Love After Heartbreak

The last thing you want to hear about after heartbreak is love.

After your heart has been shattered, your life turned upside down and your questioning of humanity begins, you wonder if it’s all worth it.

Is it worth it to put your heart out there?

Is it worth it to trust another person again?

Is love worth all the pain that you’ve gone through?

I didn’t think it was for several years after my divorce. Yes, there were highs in marriage, but the lows after divorce were so low that I didn’t think I ever wanted to return to that place again.

I never again wanted to swim in a place of loss, vulnerability and pain.

On my own journey back from this place of darkness, I realized that love is worth it. I realized that #!*!& cliché about it being better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all is likely true!

I realized that one benefit of your heart breaking is that it breaks open. Your heart has the capacity to love bolder, stronger and deeper after loss.

Heartbreak won’t just open your heart; it can awaken your soul. There are so many parts of you that were sleeping that were likely shaken up.

Can the tsunami of the heart be your solid ground? Can the depths of despair and rejection be the seeds of new love?

I explore this topic below and at greater length in my new book, Love After Heartbreak, available on Amazon here.

Here are 5 ways to bounce back and open your heart again after heartbreak.

1. Process your emotions

You won’t be able to move on until you experience the emotions of heartbreak and loss.

You must let go of the resistance to feeling uncomfortable emotions.

You might feel denial and resistance is the way to go so you won’t feel the pain, but this will only prolong the time it will take you to heal.

If you grew up in a family that refused to experience emotions or denied emotions exist, this is going to be a life-changing process. I’ve found that emotions will not kill you.

To process your emotions, write it out (through journaling or a diary). Speak it out (to a friend or therapist).

Allow yourself to go to the darkest, most painful parts of yourself.

The intensity of your emotions will taper over time. It may feel unbearable in the beginning, but it does get better. Once you experience the emotional overwhelm, you’ll find you can sit with your emotions more easily.

2. Choose love over fear

Your grief and anger about the breakup will turn to fear at some point. You might think that one strategy to avoid this kind of pain is never to be in another relationship again. Brilliant! Except once you realize that, your colorful world turns to a black and white landscape where you’re barely living. Avoiding love is not the recipe for opening your heart to love.

You must choose love each and every time.

You have to choose to see your past relationship through a loving lens. You have to see your ex through the prism of love. You have to see your heartbreak as love.

You also choose love over fear in opening your heart. You realize that you have two choices: you can build walls and hide your heart, or you can venture out. You have a choice in every decision you make.

You can stay home or go out. You can put up a dating profile or take it down. You can speak to the Harvard woman your family wants to introduce you to or you can pretend you missed the email with her contact Information.

3. Take emotional risks

Loving someone takes a lot of emotional risk. You risk being hurt. You risk opening your life up to pain and suffering. You risk a marriage gone wrong, losing your house and splitting your kids with your ex.

Yes, a lot can go wrong with love, but there’s a lot to gain from love, too.

I’m dubious about love at first sight and loving by jumping all in. I prefer love to be more like how I enter a swimming pool. Some people say, who cares if it’s freezing cold? Just cannon ball in. Jump off the side and plunge yourself into the water. It may be freezing, it may be deep, but after 10 seconds in, you’ll adjust. I prefer not to enter a pool this way. I go in one toe at a time, until my body is immersed in the water.

You don’t have to jump all in after a broken heart. You can take it slow. You can share what you’re comfortable with. There aren’t just two degrees of relationships: superficial and committed. Take smaller risks each day.

4. Trust yourself

You are worried that you’ll make the wrong decision when you love again. You’ll wind up with someone else who breaks your confidence, betrays your trust and breaks your heart.

You have no guarantees or certainties when you open your heart to another person. You can’t trust or believe in anyone else; but oh, you can.

You have yourself. If you really think about it, you always know. When you’ve found the right person, you know. When you’ve found the wrong person, you always know.

99% of heartbreak begins before it starts. A sure recipe for disaster is to stay in a relationship with the wrong person.

You don’t have to trust anyone else. You only need to trust your judgment, your heart and your intuition.

5. Use pain as wisdom

Do you believe that your pain keeps you stuck in the past and prevents you from finding love again?

What if your greatest weakness, your pain, can be your superpower?

Your pain can be see through the prism of loss and heartache, or through the prism of wisdom.

If you survived heartbreak, you understand others and yourself better.

If you survived heartbreak, you know who’s right for you and who’s not.

If you survived heartbreak, your heart’s more attuned to what you want.

In the pain is your wisdom. In your wisdom is your strength. In your strength is your ability to love again.

You can do this.

You can read more about how to open your heart to love again in my new book, Love After Heartbreak. Learn how to let go of the past, bounce back emotionally and love again. Pick up the book on Amazon here.

6 Steps To Releasing Pain From The Untethered Soul

unthetheredsoul

I didn’t want it.

I didn’t welcome the pain that came along with heartbreak.

I would have done anything to stay together just so I wouldn’t feel the soul-crushing breaking of my heart. I had never experienced profound loss before and didn’t think I could take it.

So, I avoided feeling the heavy, overwhelming and life-consuming pain.

For some time, I pretended the breakup wasn’t happening. Later, I imagined that it was all a bad dream and I would wake up from it soon. I wanted to disappear from the world all together so I wouldn’t have to face this heaviness.

Little did I know that I waiting for me in my life’s greatest pain was my life’s greatest lessons.

In my heartbreak was the peace and freedom of my untethered soul.  In Michael Singer’s book, the Untethered Soul, I learn that my inner thorns were really the guide and source to inner awakening.

You can remove the prick of the inner thorns and learn that it’s acceptable to feel inner disturbances. In fact, getting through the pain and landing on the other side is the key to freedom of your innermost being.

Here are 6 practical and actionable from the Unthethered Soul to melt the pain and embrace your inner freedom

1. Know that you have two choices.

Just like being pricked by a thorn, you have experiences which prick and disturb you.  This thorn is a constant source of disturbance and your choices are to make sure nothing touches the thorn to avoid all pain or to take out the thorn.

If you do nothing about it, the thorn will run your life. You will have trouble sleeping because of it, you will have trouble staying focused on your job and trouble with everyday interactions. As people, we have so many sensitivities that can be triggered at any time. One way to go about life is to make sure that no one triggers these sensitivities.

If you’re lonely, you must avoid going to places where couples tend to be. If you’re afraid of rejection, you must avoid getting too close to people,” Singer advises. Of course, this becomes life-consuming and takes work!

The alternative? You notice this inner disturbance and realize that YOU and the inner disturbance are not one in the same. You don’t want the weakest parts of you running your life.

Realize that your consciousness is separate and that you can be aware of these things.

2. You are not your pain

Wake up and realized that you are in there, and you have a sensitive person in there with you. Simply watch the sensitive part of you feel disturbance. See it feel jealousy, need and fear,” Singer suggests.

As you experience pain, become aware of the pain without interfering with it. See it, feel it, pay attention to it and observe it. You are having the experience of a human being when you experience this pain.

If you pay attention,” Singer counsels, “you will see that they are not you; they are just something that you’re feeling and experiencing. You are the indwelling being that is aware of all of this.

Once you realize that you and your pain are separate, you will start feeling a different energy within you, called Shakti or spirit.

This deeper, wiser part of you is the inner wisdom or the greater divine, what you decide to perceive it as. It is your inner being who realizes that it’s not the same as the pain that’s passing through your body.

Once you learn that it’s okay to feel inner disturbances, and that they can no longer disturb your seat of consciousness, you will be free.

3. Your pain is temporary.

A way to see that you and your pain are not one, is to see pain as something transient that will pass through your body.

You can view pain as a temporary shift in energy.

You are pained every day in small and big ways. You are pained by your heartbreak and you are pained by seeing your ex with someone else. You are pained by loneliness and you’re pained by your favorite ice cream flavor being out of stock at Movenpick.

So many things can cause you pain on a daily basis. It becomes less of a problem when you realize that pain passes. It’s a temporary feeling that you’re experiencing.

You can actually learn to get comfortable with it. All the feelings that come up are just feelings. You can handle feelings that are a normal part of life.

Feelings are just things that are passing through your system like a cold, for example. You notice the cold, you experience the cold and you know that once your body processes the col, you’ll be relieved of the cold.

Have fun with the temporariness of your feelings.

Laugh at it, have fun with it, but don’t be afraid of it. It cannot touch you unless you touch it,” Michael Singer writes in the Untethered Soul.

4. End the addiction to your mind.

Your mind is a great contributor to avoiding pain and being a misleading guide to safe places.

Your mind is always telling you something isn’t right, how to fix something or how to do something differently the next time so you avoid pain. It concocts a book to read, a course to take or a life change you need to make. It tells you it’s the external things that matters.

That is why people have so much trouble with relationships,” Singer explains. “You begin with a problem inside yourself, and you tried to solve it by getting involved with somebody else. That relationship will have problems because your problems are what caused the relationship.”

If you didn’t have neurotic, continuous replaying of thoughts inside your mind, you could live and experience life without thinking about what’s wrong.

Singer makes a funny and outrageous claim that we have to end the addiction to our minds. You have to stop listening to all the problems it comes up with, which don’t really exist.

Stop asking your mind to fix what’s wrong. Don’t even ask it what the problem is!!

“The mind is simply a computer, a tool. It can be used to ponder great thoughts, solve scientific problems and serve humanity. But you in your lost state, told it to spend its time conjuring up outer solutions for your very personal inner problems.”

Get quiet and watch the mind do it’s mental gymnastics, trickery and quackery. Watch your thoughts. Don’t become aware of the thinking mind but observe the thinking mind.

You are just in there, aware that you are aware.”

So when someone doesn’t say “hi” to you that you know or you don’t get invited to a party, don’t allow your mind to hijack your being and your life. Watch the melodrama of your mind instead of becoming an actor in this bizarre movie. Your mind doesn’t need an Oscar!

Don’t let your mind drive you crazy over nothing.

5. Welcome in pain by opening your heart

No, not welcome in pain like you would welcome a stroll down the Champs Elysses in Paris or a weekend of skiing in the northern Sierras.

Welcome in pain so that you’re not afraid to experience in. No one likes pain but doesn’t mean you have to spend your life running from pain.

Your heart regularly wants to pull away and avoid the pain once you’ve been hurt by something once.

If life does something that causes a disturbance inside of you, instead of pulling away, let it pass through you like the wind.

You might want to avoid feeling anger, fear, insecurity and embarrassment. You might want to run away from heartbreak or the sadness from losing a loved one. You might never want to feel rejected again so what do you do?

Run. Avoid. Build walls and keep the pain out. You tell yourself that you’ll never ever do x,y, or z and stay far away from so and so.

As your heart is trying to push all this away, do the opposite of closing your heart. Relax and release towards the unthethered soul.

Stay open and receptive so you can be present right where the tension is. You must be willing to be present right at the place of the tightness and pain and then relax and go deeper.”

“Let go and give room for the pain to pass through you,” suggests Singer. “It’s just energy. Just see it as energy and let it go.

6. On the other side of pain

If you can endure, experience and feel pain, without running away from it, you’ll become free.

Everything you want is on the other side of pain: ecstasy, peace, freedom, joy, beauty, love.

As the pain goes through you, you could feel hot and uncomfortable. You might feel breathless and experience unwanted feelings.

Yet, you go through this pain, by relaxing into the energy, knowing that there are good things coming out on the other side.

This is how the work of spirituality becomes a reality. This is what the works look like. This is what freedom of the untethered soul looks like.

When you are comfortable with pain passing through you, you’ll be free…You will then be able to walk through this world more vibrant and alive than ever before.

There is an ocean of love under the pain.  Getting through the pain is how you reach this oasis that’s waiting for you of the untethered and free soul.

On the other side of the pain is the life of freedom and awakening waiting for you.

Pick up a copy of the Untethered Soul here.

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How Do You Keep Going When You Want To Give Up?

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My handwriting, Rupi’s wisdom.

Has it been years since you had hope?

You keep hoping that things will improve but it doesn’t.

Everyone seems to be getting ahead but you seem stuck in the past. The catastrophic breakup or divorce seems to be holding you back and you can’t seem to shake it.

You want to come up for air but you feel like you’re just pulled in too deep under water.

Life doesn’t seem fair.

You just want to disappear and give up.

What’s the point after all? Some people are lucky and get what they want. Some people live their dreams, travel the world, marry their soulmates and have smart children.

Life can be so frustrating for those of us who are waiting on the sidelines of life. We watch the game of life passing us by while everyone we know is doing so much better than us.

Others making their families proud.

Others doing what they’re “supposed” to be doing with their lives.

Others are achieving success and recognition.

It can be frustrating and demoralizing to be behind and to wonder when life will fall in place for you.  When will life push you ahead?

When will you meet the man of your dreams? When will you have children? When will you buy your dream home? When will you bring home a fury companion? When can you post a happy moment on Facebook?

When can you feel joy and happiness again?

It’s been a long struggle. It may seem like your entire life has been a struggle. Why is it so easy for some people and so difficult for you?

I get it. I know it. I hear every word you’re saying because I’ve traveled the same path as you.

So, how do you keep going when you want to give up?

Well, first take a deep breath and then another. Take another breath. Breathe in and breathe out. Don’t let the unfairness or injustice of life weigh you down. As heavy as it is, a simple breath can help you feel lighter. A simple breath can release the tension and help you get more present. Take as many breaths as you need to relax.

Next, remind yourself of where you’ve been. You’ve gone through some hard times. Unlike many others, you’ve struggled and come back from places others can’t imagine.  You’ve grown as a person, you’ve learned lessons, you’ve gotten life experience that you can’t pay for or buy.

While it may seem like you’re drifting backwards in the ways of the world, you’re actually a lot further than you think. You may feel like you’re behind your peers and family but look at how far you’ve come.

You’ve stood strong in the face of hardship and challenge. You got up and left the house when you didn’t feel like it. You showed up at work when you didn’t want to.  You got out of bed when you feel like you couldn’t. You helped others when it felt like you couldn’t help yourself. Value these small steps you’ve taken.

No, you may not have love and family. No, you may not have achieved your careers and dreams. No, your life may feel unsettled and uncertain but here’s what you do have: self-knowledge, self-resilience, wisdom, compassion, kindness, empathy and understanding.  You have skills and tools that people will never acquire in their lifetimes.

Because you’ve gone through struggle, you know how to be there for someone else who is suffering.

Because you’ve found yourself on the bathroom floor, you know what it takes to get up from your life’s worst moments.

Because you’ve sat in church pews wondering if there was a God, you know where to find truth and wisdom. You know how to access the divine.

Take some time to count the small blessings that you do have in your life. Yes, your old life is gone and the past you cherished no longer exists but what have you welcomed in? Did you find freedom? Did you find resilience? Did you find achievement? Did you find spirituality? Did you find friendship?

Look at all the small things in your life that you’re grateful for. Be thankful for home, warmth, food, family, neighbors, work that pays you and transportation to get you there. Be thankful for small acts of kindness, big acts of courage and giant acts of love that you’ve shown over the years.

Acknowledge how far you’ve come as a person – how you picked yourself up and became a new “you”.

You have fallen so many times and fallen hard but unlike many others, you’ll bounce back. You’ll rise each time you fall. Remind yourself how many times you’ve done it. Take comfort in your resilience and find courage in your strength. Yeah, you did it! You got back each time and you know how to get back up every time life throws something worse at you.

Life takes time, sometimes much longer than you would have ever wanted it to take.

Instead of demanding life deliver for you or blaming life for not coming through, trust that your life will fall into place at the right time.

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Remember the story of the rabbit and tortoise?  The speedy rabbit hops off to a promising victory only to be passed by the steadfast tortoise who puts one leg in front of the other and keeps going until she crosses the finish line first.

It may feel like you’re inching away at your life but you’re going to get there. Slow and steady patience always wins the day.

You’re not going look around you and see what others are doing with their lives. There’s no point in comparison and you don’t win by playing someone else’s game. Focus on how to keep going until you win your game.

Society defines success for everyone in the same way. You don’t have to play by those rules of success.

Success doesn’t have to be marriage by 30, having kids a couple years later, buying a house a couple years later, and sending your kids off to college even a few more years later.

Yes, that’s the story they tell us but that isn’t the story you have to live.

You can create your own story. You can remain true to yourself. You can show up in the world as who you are. You don’t have to compare yourself to others or strive to be someone you’re not.

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Remind yourself where you’ve been
  3. Count your blessings
  4. Be patient
  5. Trust life
  6. Surrender
  7. Ignore those around you
  8. Don’t play by society’s rules
  9. Stay true to yourself

You’ve done this so many times – over and over and over.

Walk on your own path. Take your own time.  One day in it’s own way, life will smile down upon you.

In an instant, you will see your scars as the very thing that prepared you for your success.

Your success may come next year or the year after.

You just have to treasure this moment in front of you.

* Looking for more inspiration for 2017? Check out my books on Amazon here.

Make a Promise to a New Life

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Do you ever wonder if you’re being lied to by society?

Does it feel like you’re being hoodwinked to live a certain kind of life and it just doesn’t feel right to you?

I sure did and when my life fell apart after my divorce, I was able to wake up and come out my deep metaphorical coma.

I came to the profound realization that my whole life was premised on societal expectations. Everything from work and school to relationships and what I should be doing with my life was created by society’s demands.

This past year, I put all my thoughts about this topic into  a book called, Seven Sacred Promises.

Why do I call these promises sacred? What are these promises? What will living these promises mean to your life?

If you’d like to hear more about the book and my first podcast interview with my friend, A.G. Billig, check out the podcast below.

Pick up this book to learn how to build up courage, discover your calling, find your courage and live your truth. Read this book only if you’re ready to wake up and start living from a sacred space.

If you’re interested in reading the Seven Sacred Promises, you can pick up the e-book on Amazon here or pickup the paperback book here.

5 Steps to Bounce Back Emotionally

Life can be a paradox.

Life on the outside can seem like you have everything going for you.

You could be a professional in a lucrative dental practice with speaking opportunities all over the world. You could have a six-figure Bollywod wedding and a million dollar dream home.

Your life appears to be sailing along exactly as your high-expectation Asian parents would have wanted you to live it.

Yet while the external parts of your life are going well and it appears you’ve achieved worldly success, your life could be completely falling apart.

Neeta Bushan’s story that the world couldn’t see is one of pain, challenges and loss. Specifically, losing both her parents and one of her brothers through separate health issues by the time she was 19 years old.

As a child of Indian-Filipino parents who grew up in the U.S., Neeta found herself having to deal with high expectations and academic excellence which took her to dental school and a successful dentistry practice.

Yet, 3 members of her immediate family (including her parents) passed away in her teenage years and she later found herself getting divorced after a physically and emotionally abusive relationship.

For someone who has experienced so much pain and overcoming what seems like insurmountable life experiences, Neeta has captured her life lessons and shares her wisdom in her book, Emotional Grit.

While the book is focused on leadership and building emotional grit in the workplace, I was able to pick out nuggets of wisdom on how she overcame loss, divorce and suffering in her own life.

Here are  5 ways to help you build emotional resiliency when you’re confronting your life’s biggest struggles:

1. Understanding and accepting your emotions.

So much of your life is spent on running away from your emotions because your emotions make you feel uncomfortable and you have been taught to suppress them your whole life. To move forward, you have to be willing to recognize, affirm and apply emotional intelligence to the emotions you’re experiencing. You have to learn to process emotions and learn tools to master the feelings that show up when life challenges that come your way.

2. Positivity and gratitude.

Neeta encourages you to surround yourself with positive messages and daily reminders. “From cards and magazines to picture and clippings, fill your surrounding with images and words that inspire your confidence and enrich your soul,” she writes. Not only does positivity help with keeping your perspective in life but so does gratitude. Waking up to another day is a gift that you can’t take for granted. Remind yourself every day of all those things that you’re grateful for in your life. There are many small and wonderful things in your life that you’re likely not noticing. Wake up each morning and take stock of what you’re thankful for.

3. Be proactive with your mental wellbeing.

In addition to your emotional wellbeing, your mental health is just as important to your wellbeing. Being able to manage stress and being proactive about your mental health are important. You can’t take care of yourself or others when you’re in mental turmoil. You can’t move on or move forward in your life without clearing the mental blocks you face. Reach out to a team of professionals like therapists and counselors if you need one. Otherwise, have a solid community and friendships to listen to you and create space for you.

4. Forgive and Release

Forgiveness may be difficult for you but it’s essential to be able to move forward. Forgiving is saying out loud that you’re letting go of the emotions you’re holding about a particular person or experience.  When you forgive, you release all the pent-up energy and emotions about the person and gain your power back but as you know, forgiveness is no easy task.  You have to find the courage to forgive and remind yourself of all the benefits of forgiveness. Forgiveness contributes to healthier relationships, less stress and anxiety and higher self-esteem. Not forgiving is like moving through life with a ripped and heavy paper bag, which keeps ripping and things fall out. Forgiveness is putting down the bag and moving forward with more ease.

5. Choose Courage

When you confront difficult circumstances, your fears and anxiety about the past pop up.  There are patterns that you grew up with that cause you to act a certain way when dealing with new or challenging circumstances.

When we choose to be ruled by fear, and specifically when we allow the not-yet-happened to subsume our personal power, we’ve given up the only freedom we have: the freedom to choose,” writes Neeta in the chapter about having the courage to feel your fears.

The way to practice courage is to be more aware your patterns of fear. She encourages you to write down the things that scare you each day and then write down steps to unmask or deconstruct that fear.  Even the tiniest of steps in breaking through your fear can lead to more steps of courage.

While emotional intelligence and courage can be helpful in facing personal life challenges, it can also be helpful to your work life. Much of Neeta’s book, Emotional Grit, can guide you to be more authentic, courageous and emotionally resilient in the workplace.

Neeta Bhushan is an emotional intelligence advocate, speaker,  and founder of the Global Grit Institute. You can follow her blog here and pick up her book, Emotional Grit here

Why Is This Happening To You?

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When you’ve experienced a massive breakup or divorce, you start asking a lot of questions, and many of them are not very helpful.

You’ll ask why this is happening to you.

What happened to your life.

You might ask what you did to deserve this.

You’ll ask why God isn’t listening to you and wonder if God even exists.

Actually, some of us tend to ask these questions and then end up writing books about them! I wrote Is God Listening? asking these types of questions (you can find it here).

While writing books may be productive and helpful, asking disempowering questions of yourself is not. There’s no sufficient answer as to why this is happening. If this was a natural disaster, a tsunami, or an earthquake, what can you do? What answers will satisfy you?

Tragedies, natural disasters, and yes, even divorce, happen. Yes, divorce involves feelings and people, but ultimately they occur. Relationships start and end. It is a natural cycle of life. In all of life, we want answers to questions so we can understand the world better. “Why me?” you may ask.

It’s natural and human to ask questions like this of ourselves, but it is not healthy or helpful to healing. A couple of different ways to think about this is to believe that things happen, and sometimes for no reason at all.

There’s no positive result that comes out of repeatedly asking why certain things are happening to you because some of these questions won’t have answers.

The divorce happened because you weren’t compatible, because you married the wrong partner, because you didn’t put the time into the relationship, because of an affair, etc.

It happened for any number of contributing reasons, but the big question of “why you” has no answer.

Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.

No point in holding the universe responsible or blaming life itself for a sequence of events that resulted in divorce. You’ll just keep swirling negative thoughts in your mind, and wasting emotional and mental energy trying to understand why this happened to you.

One way to view your divorce is that nothing happened for this to happen to you.

Your divorce happened for any variety of reasons, but there will be no answer to why it’s happening to you. Like rivers and oceans and life for billions of years, nature and human experiences is just running its course. There is no reason or explanations needed.

You didn’t cause it, your karma didn’t create it, and God isn’t after you.

Sure, you might have done things that contributed to the divorce in your life, but there’s no good answer to “why you.” Divorce happened like it rained yesterday afternoon; there’s no rhyme or reason other than possibly it’s the rainy season.

There’s no particular reason why you were singled out in life to experience divorce.

Earthquakes happen. Tsunamis happen. Forest fires happens.

Your sixteen-year-old son wants to back out of the garage and drives into your house instead.

Natural disasters and life happens.

It’s not fate, karma, voodoo dolls, or anything else that has it in for you. Life happens like nature happens.

You’re a tiny speckle of the universe who has come into it for eighty-some years and will be leaving it.

Demanding to know what your role is in the universal scheme of things or having the knowledge of why your divorce happened as it did is not going to help any.

If you look at it from a billion-year view or take a meta-view (step ten thousand feet away from your situation), your divorce is just one set of events that unfold.

It’s a small part of a much larger picture. It will be a small part of your life when you look at it globally.

You don’t have to know why it happened.

If you insist on knowing why it happened, choose this message: Your divorce is happening for your greatest good. It’s happening for your spiritual growth. It’s happening to help you become the best version of yourself. It’s helping you become the person you’re capable of being so you can attract the right partner into your life.

If this isn’t a sufficient answer for explaining why you are divorced, then I challenge you to ask yourself more empowering questions instead.

Don’t ask yourself why this happened; instead, ask yourself what lessons you can learn from this experience. What is the divorce trying to teach you? How is this going to prepare you for the future? What is this teaching you about life?

If you start viewing the end of your marriage as a teaching experience and a period of growth, your mind will start focusing on more helpful and empowering answers.

You’ll be looking for lessons and insights to help improve your life.

Another way to focus on the situation is to think about what you can do now. Yes, this happened, but now what? What’s in your control? What can you change? How can you move forward? How can you rebuild a new life for yourself?

By letting go of one set of questions and focusing on more positive ones, you’ll help focus your mind on empowering questions that will lead to growth, learning and moving on.

Don’t like my answer? Want to know where God is and if God’s listening to you? Click here to pick up my book, Is God Listening?

*Photo credit unsplash