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To Divorce Or Not To Divorce: That Is the Question.

There is an unwritten rule in our culture that to divorce someone means that we no longer love them.

Yet, I am convinced the question we should be asking ourselves in the face of divorce is not whether we still love this person, but rather HOW CAN I LOVE THIS PERSON MORE.

About 5 years ago, I was lying face up on a therapy table at a continuing education workshop while my partner dialogued with my body about where I was blocked spiritually.

She turned to me abruptly and said “your beliefs about divorce are holding you back?”

I stammered out a flabbergasted, “huh?” before our teacher announced that our time was up.

I didn’t understand it at the time, but in those words that woman broke something loose in me that would catapult me into one of the most difficult periods of growth, humility, and surrender of my life.

On paper, my life was amazing. I had an awesome job that I (mostly) loved, 2 wonderful kids, a husband who prepared most of our meals and took care of the kids, a beautiful home.... This paper version of me concluded that I “should” be happy.

The truth was that I felt a deep sense of imbalance in my life. And I felt shame around the fact that I was not more at peace. I felt guilt because I didn’t feel happy. I resented my husband believing that he was creating all of my problems.

It took me four years of unraveling myself from the entangled energetic mess that we had created together in our marriage for me to see clearly the path ahead.

As I embarked on this journey, I vowed that whatever happened I would not be taking shame, guilt, or resentment with me. That I was going to find a way to love him and myself more.

Peace became my barometer, joy my compass, and faith the antidote to my fear.

The question I asked myself the most was this -- what is required for my evolution? If my goal is to continually evolve into higher states of consciousness, what is the next right word, action, or behavior that keeps me on the path?

Evolution does not require easy things of us. It requires us to say and do hard things that ignite the flames of fear from deep within the core of our being.

I started to realize that the more I ignited these flames, the more peace I would discover. In the process of facing my fears and speaking my truth, I realized that I was not fanning fear….I was stoking the embers of love.

Then I started to get curious about all the ways I had abandoned myself in the past in order to experience the illusion of safety that was created by the prison of my marriage.

The little things like telling him I didn’t mind listening to punk music when we first dated or how I told my best friend that he talked too much on our first date and that I didn’t think I wanted to go out with him again, but did anyway. The way I joked with my mother that he was no fun and that I would have to have at least 3 children in order to have people to “play” with. The way I stopped visiting the water, because it wasn’t of interest to him. The way I learned to abandon and feel shame around my feelings because he couldn’t understand them.

I realized that I didn’t resent him. I resented the fact that I had abandoned myself. The truth was that I was angry at myself. Slowly I learned how to honor my own feelings and make choices that aligned with my soul. As I learned to come back to myself, my resentment faded because I no longer needed it.

I remember feeling like he was holding me back. One day I sat in meditation and asked Buddha if it were true that he was holding me back.

The response from Buddha shook me to my core. I heard the words “it is you who are holding him back.” I began to see that my self-abandonment was a form of manipulation to keep him in relationship with me so that I would feel safe. By avoiding and abandoning my feelings, I was keeping him trapped in a marriage that wasn’t serving him either.

A new paradigm for divorce

Then I had to deconstruct all the belief systems I held about divorce. That divorce is a bad thing or that it is justified if and only if one or both parties does something “bad”. That my children would be forever scarred. That because it was my choice, I was also to blame. That I deserved to be hated by him and my children.

I was paralyzed by these feelings of guilt and shame. I could not move forward while simultaneously holding on to these fears. I started putting each belief under a microscope and painstakingly searched for the truth that I carried in MY own heart.

Slowly my own paradigm about divorce emerged...

I started to wonder if divorce was the best way for me to love him more. What if in choosing divorce, I was truly loving him for the first time in my life? What if in choosing divorce, I was not damaging my children? What if I was in fact setting them free to make choices that would cultivate their own inner peace and happiness? What if it were possible for our entire family to experience greater happiness as a result of this decision?

I came to the conclusion that the choices we make don’t matter near as much as the way in which we feel about them. For me, I could not access feelings of peace or love with the thought of staying in the marriage. Whether this was due to delusion or destiny, I am still not sure.

What I am sure of is that I have liberated feelings of peace and love within me. And that has made me a better mom, therapist, friend, and even ex-wife.

The wisdom in this that I have come to understand is that peace and love are not liberated because we make the right decision. They are liberated because we are willing to look within and release the guilt, shame, resentment, anger, and grief that is clouding our clear sky.

Albert Einstein said, “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” Your path to peace is your journey. I guarantee that it won’t be the same as mine, but I do know it will require you to evolve.

Wisdom Healing is the path that bridges the gap between where you are and where you want to be. It is the path that takes you from shame and fear to peace and love. In the space between we walk through and surrender to feelings of courage, willingness, gratitude, forgiveness, and acceptance. This is the rite of passage to peace. There is no other way but through.

May we all seek a deeper understanding of ourselves, our relationships, and our path forward in this world.

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