How to move forward gracefully after a divorce

Divorce, and break-ups in general are very difficult to process and move on from.  For many reasons, separating from someone we love leaves us feeling lost and desperate for answers.  Many times we blame ourselves in hopes that if we take ownership of the breakup we can then fix it and not have to suffer with this pain any longer.

The pain can be so deep that it triggers other emotional issues inside us, ones that we thought we buried and would never see again.  Sometimes break-ups are the Universes’ way of getting us to deal with our issues instead of filling voids and living the day to day as if these issues do not exist.  That’s called denial.

Being divorced twice and losing both husbands in a similar and pretty traumatic way I realized the Universe was sending me a message…it was the same message both times and this time I listened.

Below are my simple tips of letting go and moving on after a divorce (or breakup):

  • Let yourself go through the stages of grief/loss – A divorce or breakup of a significant relationship is quite similar to a death.  In order to move forward you must go through the stages of grief.  The five stages are  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance and they are a critical part of the framework that makes up our learning to live without the one we lost. They help us to gain the tools we need to help us identify what we may be feeling, however there is no exact timeline when it comes to the healing process and you may bounce around from grief to anger and back to denial before you hit acceptance.   Healing is not linear.
  • Accept that healing takes time – As I stated, there is no time table and healing is not linear.  Just  know, you are where you are meant to be, healing.  The more difficult the relationship and break up the harder the hit is to your body, mind and soul.  You need to be compassionate with yourself and accept that it can take years to recover and that is OK!  Honor yourself and where you are at, at every moment.
  • Allow yourself time to heal – solo – Fix yourself and heal first before bringing someone else into your world otherwise you risk repeating the same patterns until you have learned the lesson you were meant to learn – the Universe is speaking to you so listen.  The only way over it, is through it.
  • Do not fill voids by immediately trying to replace your ex – Believe it or not, you are not ready for a new relationship!  By jumping in to a new relationship, you are trying to fill a void to escape from hurt, that never works, it delays the healing process and puts other people at risk for heartbreak.
  • Allow yourself to feel anger, fear and sorrow – These feelings are normal and are part of the healing process.  Feel every feeling until you are numb to it.  Stuffing your feelings does not work, facing them head on speeds up the healing process.
  • Fill your life with interests and activities – Now is the time to try something new (new hobby, take a class, start an exercise routine), make new friends, and start some Keystone Habits (see my blog on Improve your life with these simple Keystone Habits).  This creates a full and satisfying life.  Become a better version of yourself!
  • Make peace with your loss and try to forgive – If you focus too much on the loss and don’t let go of the story you will not get to acceptance and you will prolong the healing process.  There is a lesson in all this, take the time to learn what it is.
  • Let go of the story – Yes it was traumatic – yes you are in pain – yes you miss him or her – but if you do not let go of the story and make peace with what happened and why it happened you will delay creating a new and better story, one that doesn’t involve a traumatic breakup.  Learn the lesson and move forward.
  • Make time for yourself and figure out who you are as a person – I imagine you have spent a majority of time focused on your relationship and your significant other.  Now it is time to focus on yourself and figure out who you are and what makes you tick.  Fall in love with yourself!
  • If you want to find a happy, nurturing, compassionate relationship, look for those qualities inside yourself – Do you have those same qualities you are looking for in another person?   Remember … you are holding up your mirror so be who you wish to meet!  Its that simple.

Once you change your mindset from loss to opportunity, the healing process will be a much easier Journey to the next story of your new and wonderful life.

Namaste’

Please share this with others who you think will benefit from this article.

– what is it that you need from a relationship? –

Whether you have initiated the break up or have been broken up with it’s important to understand the lesson you are supposed to learn from the experience.

It’s so easy to focus or dwell on the good times and the things that you miss about the relationship but it is important to recognize what you didn’t get from the relationship as well.

There is a saying, a popular one that states when one door closes another one opens.  I believe in this.  Think of it this way, the door is closing for a reason and once you determine what that reason is, it can open you up to so many possibilities.

The other piece of this is, some people are just not meant to be together long term.  There may have been a short term compatibility but people do change and grow over time.  Basically because we do not stay the same person throughout our lifetime (thank God).  With that, our needs and interests change as well, drawing us to new people and experiences.

Since I am on my own personal Journey I figured I would share my list of non-negotiable’s with you in hopes that you will draft up your own list and start focusing on what you need vs. what you have lost 🙂

Here are the basic things I need from a healthy relationship, that he could not give me:

  1. Trust
  2. Respect
  3. Honesty
  4. Humility
  5. Appreciation
  6. Healthy love
  7. Patience
  8. Support
  9. Truth, always, no matter how it hurts
  10. Honest communication
  11. Conflict resolution
  12. Comprimise

In my opinion they are as basic as it gets.  There are others, but they fall into another category meant for another blog.

Basic needs sometimes are the hardest to have filled.  If you ever talk to someone who is in a toxic relationship they will tell you all the reasons why they are together but you learn right away their basic needs are not being met.

It has taken me nearly two years to understand that these simple and basic needs, I deserve to have them met.

Everyone deserves to have someone appreciate them, support them, communicate honestly with them, to be respected, told the truth.

I ask myself often, why would I ever accept less than this?

You cannot possibly respect yourself if you are willing to tolerate someone emotionally abusing you.  Even if they are not consciously doing it, by not treating you with respect and by not being honest with you or supporting you, they are emotionally abusing you.

This type of abuse comes in many forms that are sometimes not even recognized (i.e. talking down to you, name calling, gas lighting, crazy making, lying lying and more lying.)  Its all emotional abuse.  But this is a topic for another blog, at another time.

I digress 🙂

So as I stated before I went off on my tangent, it is important to look at why the relationship didn’t work out vs. remembering all the good times and wishing you were still together.

I read a study recently about memories and how our brains recall them, here is an excerpt:

“instead of remembering the actual memory, you’re recalling the memory of the last time you remembered it and any mistakes that might have been introduced there. Like a game of human telephone, those mistakes can build on one another over time, leaving out details and introducing mistakes.”

“a memory is not simply an image produced by time traveling back to the original event—it can be an image that is somewhat distorted because of the prior times you remembered it,”

“your memory of an event can grow less precise even to the point of being totally false with each retrieval.”

So this is why it is important that we do not live in the past and we stay in the moment as much as we can because our memories are not exactly a true depiction of what actually happened.

So break out your journal and draft a list of YOUR non-negotiable’s in a relationship.  Start with the basics like I did and then move towards specifics.

Dig deep…you find so much when you do.

Love, light and happiness always

-A

 

 

 

 

 

– be what you wish to attract –

Today is my mental – day one – in manifesting my most precious desire (notice I didn’t say..need) – a healthy, supportive and loving relationship.

For so long, like ever, I have attracted and engaged in very unhealthy relationships and yes by now we all know why…I had not healed my childhood wounds and I was completely re-enacting my childhood trauma (the horrible relationship with my father – yep “daddy issues”) by choosing these completely unavailable and unhealthy men to play the part so I could continuously try to heal my inner child stuff.

Well that tactic failed and might I say miserably so after this last traumatic episode I chose to heal those wounds once and for all.

Thanks to EMDR and a number of other healing modalities I have made it over the bridge and feel like a totally and completely different person.  In fact I know I am a different person because I hear that statement all the time.

It feels good to know that I am no longer living as that little wounded girl and I have come to peace with many things including forgiving myself for some really bad choices.

We all make mistakes, the goal is to learn from them and move on without repeating them.

Sometimes it takes something MASSIVE to happen that shakes us and spits us on out the sidewalk for us to finally get that things have to change.  Thankfully there is always time for change, no matter how old you are.

So now that I am living in the calm, as I like to call it….I am feeling like that next step in life would be to have what I have NEVER experienced and that would be a healthy loving and supportive relationship with someone who is completely capable.

WHAT A CONCEPT HUH?

So it took a series of steps to get here. Starting with breaking away from the narcissist and removing any and all toxic & unhealthy people from my life.  BRILLIANT DECISION!

Everything after that just fell into place.

So here is what I have learned:

  1.  Self love is for real and it’s awesome.  This is the FIRST and most critical step to manifesting someone healthy and capable.  If you want more info on this see my many self love posts in this blog.
  2. Be whatever it is you want to manifest.  You want someone healthy, you have to be healthy yourself, you want someone honest and loyal, be that.  You want someone interested in fitness…workout and take care of yourself.  You want someone who is emotionally available..you have to BE emotionally available and capable of intimacy.  It’s THAT FREAKIN SIMPLE.
  3. Do not settle.  Period.
  4. Make room for him/her.  Do not keep yourself so busy (one version of void filling) that you don’t have time for someone to come into your life.
  5. Be clear on the type of person you wish to share your life with.  After self love this is the most critical.  You don’t have to be too specific but know what you want in a person.  This is key in manifesting the right person.
  6. Be patient and trust in the process.  The Universe is always listening.  Sometimes we confuse her.  If one moment we are longing for love and the next minute we keep ourselves so busy we close ourselves off…she won’t know what to make of it.  Be clear.
  7. Know that what you get isn’t always what you envision but trust the Universe knows what is right for you.  Sometimes it can come in a different package than we had constructed in our minds.  That is OK.
  8. Enjoy your life.  You do not have to scour tinder and match to find your partner.  Sometimes you can just be doing something you love and they will walk into your world.  Embrace it.

Remember, being single and happy is better than being in a relationship and being miserable.  I learned this the hard way.

If your goal is to manifest someone wonderful, I encourage you to take these steps.

Good luck and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

The tapestry of life

Life is this intricate tapestry filled with many different patterns that ultimately take their own unique twists and turns to create the design, as you follow the tapestries threads from the back they look jumbled..tied together and knotted with no real purpose.  However, when you turn the tapestry over, you see exactly what each thread was meant for, the tapestry is telling a story through its design.

Just like a tapestry, life has its unique thread pattern (the Journey) and we aren’t always sure why our Journey takes those crazy and unexpected turns nor are we always prepared for them but somehow we end up adjusting to them as we navigated through life.   Some of these experiences are good, some bad, some straight up hellish, most are eventful and useful, and a majority are not worthy of noting.  Rest assured, there is always a reason for them.  This is the beauty of our Journey, the tapestry of life.

My life has not been a fairy tale story by any means, it has been crazy in more ways than I can ever share.  I can honestly say there were times when I questioned my sanity as well as my decision making and I often wonder how I survived a lot of my experiences.  There are moments where I look back and think, wow, I could have died or why I wasn’t scared?  Hence my deep dive into Spirituality and Buddhism.  I truly believe I belong here and am slowly learning my purpose.

In any event, I was fearless and restless..desperately wanting to experience life (and fear).  I would hop on a train and travel 28 hours away knowing no one was there to get me when I got off the train and having no real plan once the train stopped.  When I met my first husband, I knew him three weeks and moved to Florida with him, without a second thought.  We lived in an all male dorm (he snuck me in), I shared a bathroom with 20+ men from all over the world (so gross) and barely knew my boyfriend.  However as I look back and think…what was I thinking, my next thought is….I am so grateful for that amazing experience.  I have many stories like this…being fearless and restless can put you in some unique situations.

Today, I am 45 and am fearful.  I know too much now.  I respect my life in a much different way than I did before.  Maybe maturity changes us because but I am much more thoughtful when making life choices as I understand that I have much to lose by making bad decisions.  I understand the concept of consequences.

It is now that I look back and think without these stories….what do we have?  Without the crazy “I survived ______” stories or the dreadful dating stories, and the stories of the tough years and financial comebacks, what do we tell when we get older?  However, I have now entered the second half of my life and although I want to create more good stories, I want them to be healthier ones.

I always say…when I am sitting in the nursing home reciting tales of my crazy life I will have some pretty incredible stories to tell.  Stories of love and loss, recklessness, bad choices, great choices, good and bad moments, the people the experiences, even the smells and the sounds….this is really all we have, isn’t it?

So when you go on that bad date or you experience a crazy situation or hurdle through a tough time or significant loss know that this is all part of your story!  Not only are you supposed to learn a lesson from it…you have a very cool story to tell.  Stories of recovery, triumph, loss, happiness, sadness, grief and of course funny and happy stories.

Never settle for mediocre, never take the easy road, do something that makes you feel alive and always tell your story with passion.

Namaste

Discovery through journaling…

Journaling has been an incredible healing and development tool in my life and also for those who have mentored me.  Therapists, coaches and teachers all recommend journaling as a tool for healing from traumatic events as well as for personal development, goal setting, learning and discovering what is holding you back etc.  I fully encourage this practice with friends, family, strangers on planes, and of course with my coaching clients.  If you are seeing a therapist, or a life coach or working with a counselor one of the first things they will recommend you do when you are struggling with life is….buy yourself a journal.  However, you have to be ready to get deep.

When I was in the midst of my “trauma” and trying to bounce back from a horrible life event (the loss of my husband to mental illness, addiction and our ultimate divorce), what helped me take the first steps towards healing was when I started journaling.  There was a point where I did not go anywhere without my journal, seriously, it was like my security blanket.  Through this practice I wrote what I call my “42” list….which literally is the 42 things about my now ex-husband that I dislike. In fact what I learned through journaling is that there wasn’t much I liked about him at all.  It was also through journaling I discovered the level of emotional abuse I had experienced and how lonely and  miserable I was in that marriage despite putting on a completely different front to those around me.  Remember, perception is reality, to a point.

Through journaling I discovered how amazing and free it felt to be able to openly express my thoughts without shame and work through them in my own private world and in my own time.  I also learned how critical those thoughts are when you start the healing process in therapy.  Journaling can take therapy to a whole new level and accelerate the healing process.

Amazing how the thoughts that end up on paper were sitting in your head taking up so much head space.  What a tremendous amount of pressure that is on your mind to hold all that information in there and carry it around, in some cases, forever.  No wonder people have so much anxiety….seeing as though humans are believed to have over 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts a day…how exhausting!

So this article is for those of you who need inspiration to start journaling, today.

Below are some starter journaling topics to get you thinking and writing….which ultimately leads to so much more (see How to start Journaling – Keystone Habit)


  1. Who are you, really?
  2. What person do you put out into the world?
  3. What are you passionate about?
  4. What are the achievements you are most proud of?
  5. What are you most grateful for in life?
  6. What are the most important things to you in life?
  7. How would you describe yourself?
  8. What are your values?
  9. Do you love yourself?
  10. … Why or Why not?
  11. How can you love yourself more today?
  12.  What does it mean to be your highest self?
  13. Look at your life now. Are you living the life of your dreams?
  14. If you have one year left to live what would you do first?
  15. What would you do today if there is no more tomorrow?
  16. What are the biggest things you’ve learned in life to date?
  17. What advice would you give to your younger self?
  18. Who inspires you?
  19. Is there something you’re still holding on to?
  20. What do you need to let go of?
  21. What is taking up too much headspace?
  22. What are your biggest goals and dreams?
  23. What would you do if you cannot fail; if there are no limitations in money, resources, time or networks?
  24. What do you want to achieve 1 year from now?
  25. What limiting beliefs are you holding on to?
  26. What bad habits do you want to break?
  27. Are you living your life to the fullest right now?
  28. What drives you?
  29. How can you change someone’s life for the better today?
  30. Who have been the most influential people in your life?
  31. Are these people enabling you or holding you back?
  32. What is your ideal life partner like?
  33. Are you afraid of of letting others get close to you?
  34. What is one thing you’re going to do differently after reading this article?

Things to do while you are single..

I have always been in long term relationships or at least long term dating.  I grew up in a dysfunctional home therefore I had no concept of what a “healthy relationship” was, I just knew I was happiest when I was in a relationship, even if it wasn’t good for me.

I used to call myself a serial monogamous.  If I met someone and we started dating that was it for me, we were a couple.  Instead of taking the time to get to know someone and even date (not sleep with) multiple people at a time to determine what type of person is right for me, I just went 100mph into a long term relationship, even marriage..twice.

I missed and even ignored many red flags, my favorite men were the “emotionally unavailable ones” that allowed me to chase them.  I fought for relationships that any healthy person would have let go of way before the relationship began.  I was always the person that saw the potential but not the actual person.  To me, all this was worth it because it was better than being single.  You see, being in a relationship defined me.  I felt less than if I wasn’t partnered up.

So, two failed marriages later…one of them quite toxic, I decided after my second divorce to stay single until I was truly ready for a healthy relationship.  I can tell you its like anything else, in the beginning it feels lonely and dreadful.  However, over time something magical happened……. I started focusing on myself.   All that energy I spent focusing on a partner, all that energy I used trying to establish my place in relationships or trying to make my partner happy (even when I knew it was impossible) I started using on myself.  I would rely on myself to make decisions, I started taking better care of myself (yoga, morning facials, meditation, hot baths, eating better), I started focusing on the things I liked vs. what I thought he liked, I started reading and writing in my journal daily.  Through this Journey I am getting to know me and through this experience I am learning that I have been in the wrong relationships my entire life.  These lessons I have experienced with these breaks up pushed me to stay true to myself, work on myself and learn who I am.  What I like, what I don’t and what I really want from myself, life, and a relationship.

I have discovered there is no timeline for anything in life, especially healing.  I am so grateful for this time with myself as it has allowed me to know me and I really like who I am, who I am becoming and I am so excited for this next phase in my life.


Below is a list of things that I think are crucial to do while you are single:

  1. Find yourself
  2. Remove unhealthy people from your life
  3. Invite new people into your life
  4. Reconnect with old friends
  5. Spend time with happily married people
  6. Get in shape
  7. Travel, solo
  8. Take yourself out to dinner at least once
  9. Reclaim your virginity
  10. Learn something new
  11. Take a class
  12. Start therapy
  13. Find a LifeCoach
  14. Get healthy (start a personal wellness plan)
  15. Meditate
  16. Read, all the time
  17. Binge watch Netflix
  18. Figure out what you want in a person and journal it, often
  19. Set standards, be picky and don’t settle, ever
  20. Spend time with family
  21. Start a keystone habit
  22. Treat yourself with kindness

This list is my “single life guide” and will probably add to it as time goes on.  I plan to enjoy this solo Journey as long as it lasts knowing that when the time is right, the most amazing person is going to walk into my life and it is just going to fit and I will be ready (that is the important part).

It is easy to jump from one relationship to another to avoid being alone and focusing on ourselves but there is no true benefit to it.  Staying solo, working on yourself and discovering who you are is priceless.

I empower you to take time for you and discover your true self!

Namaste’

 

8 Critical Tips for Self-Love and Healing

I know what you are thinking, what is self-love and where do I even begin.

If you Google self-love there will be many articles and blogs that will help you on this topic.  I have read every single one of them, ok maybe not every single one, and now I am a self proclaimed expert on the topic.

We read it, we hear about it and everyone says it...you can’t experience true love and vulnerability until you love yourself.  On the outside so many of us appear to be happy and love ourselves.  However, deep down we struggle with anxiety, we lack a sense of purpose, maybe even suffer from a bit of sadness.  As a result a number of us look to outside sources for comfort or validation.  We live our lives through our children, we focus on our husbands and our families, we over-eat, drink too much, exercise too much, work too much, or we do just the opposite and can’t get out of or own way.

Outside perceptions are not always our reality. I know in my life, looking in the window from the front porch everything appeared “pretty”.  Reality is, that was so far from the truth.  We all have our story and we all know our “truths”.

Self-love for me came after an extremely traumatic event.  Everyone consoling me would say “you have to take care of yourself” or “you need to love yourself” and I had no idea what any of this meant.  Once I discovered the true meaning of self-love I couldn’t believe how I was living in my previous life.  I would say I was functioning but not living.

Self-love takes work.  It is beyond getting your hair done, a nice pedicure and good clothes.  It is beyond what you post on Facebook (GET OFF FACEBOOK if you want to be truly happy).  Self-love is truly getting to know yourself, discovering who you are, honoring that person and always putting that person first above all else, yes even your husband and children.  If you are not living as your highest self, what good are you to those who need and love you.

I encourage you to read some of my older blogs that will give you ideas on how to create a morning or an evening ritual which is such an important catalyst to self-love and living your as your Highest Self.


Below are some tips on how to start loving yourself, today!

Start by honoring who you are today and where you are at this moment. 

Maybe you have anxiety, are suffering from depression, are unhappy at your job, have family life stressors, aren’t happy with your appearance or your marriage.  Wherever you are in your life right now….honor it knowing that with each and every day you have the opportunity to make a change.  Buddha says “every day we are born again”.  What a beautiful concept.

Evaluate where you find your worth and where you look for validation. 

Do you look to external sources – do you thrive off the attention you receive from other people? – does your productivity or your accomplishments define you? – are you a people pleaser?  Self-love comes from validating and pleasing yourself.  If you are always looking for someone else to validate you, you will be continuously spinning on a wheel seeking validation and will feel empty until you receive it.  That love, that feeling of accomplishment, the ability to soothe yourself during a tough time, comes from you.

Know, right now, no matter what you are going through, that you are enough! 

You have everything in you to be enough!

Be kind to yourself, your body and your soul! 

Watch the words you use when you talk to yourself or about yourself.

Exercise:  grab your journal and describe yourself as if you were describing a friend of yours.  Don’t focus or plan what to write, just grab your journal and a pen and start writing and see what comes out.  Are you mostly positive or negative?  Remember how you view yourself is what you are putting out into the Universe.  You will find from this exercise what you need to change with regard to your own beliefs about yourself.

Practice things that bring out your inner calm. 

Gardening, yoga, journaling, blogging, cooking, crafting, singing, meditation.  Your mind and soul need a break from our every day circus.  Soothe yourself with a calming activity.

Allow yourself to heal. 

We all have a story and unfortunately its not always a pretty one.  If you have dealt with any sort of trauma (death, divorce, illness, family dysfunction, childhood “stuff”) and have never really dealt with it.  I encourage you to allow yourself to heal and to forgive yourself and those who have hurt you.  There is nothing more freeing than letting go of the bond that ties you to your trauma.

Let it go. 

Whatever you are holding on to that is no longer serving you, let it go.

My strongest advice is to start a morning/evening self-care ritual. 

See How do you start your day? for ideas.


Commit to self-love and your life with start to change.  Keystone Habits are also a must and we will talk about this in my next blog.

Grab your Journal, put todays date on it and enjoy your Journey to self-love.

Until soon!

Namaste’