Healing From Within – A Conscious Loving Approach to Divorce
Host: Sheryl Glick R.M.T.
Special Guest: Tara Eisenhard
In today’s episode of Healing From Within, your host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit which shares stories of spiritual awakenings spiritual communication healing energies, miracles and ways to empower your health and joy in life, welcomes Tara Eisenhard author of The D-Word: Divorce Through a Child’s Eyes which shares an honest firsthand look at divorce its ramifications and possibilities that from life experiences families can evolve not dissolve through the process. The D-word addresses issues such as conflict, communication alienation attitudes and ultimately moving on to a new perception of Self and love. Tara believes that “Divorce isn’t about dissolution. It’s about evolution!”
Tara Eisenhard shares her views on a situation, Divorce, which impacts a large number of families in these complicated modern times and offers ways to transcend the fear and pain in the divorce process to reach a state of acceptance: allowing what is good and meaningful to lead us forward into other relationships and greater self-awareness. As Sheryl wrote in her first book Life Is No Coincidence… “I don’t believe any experience relationship or challenge is random, but part of a greater plan to help us navigate our human and soul essence for growth and ultimate success.”
Tara says in her blog that Yoga and Divorce can be compared together. She writes, “With time and perseverance, the Sweet Spot gets sweeter. With practice, we learn the art of gaining strength through surrender. We accept the necessity of continuous adjustment and relax into the flow. We go deeper and grow taller. The pose is no longer a battle, but a building block, part of a grander design. In life, we strive to find peace within ourselves. On the mat, we struggle against the laws of physics. In relationships, we struggle against others. In both cases, the recipe for success is the same: show up, find the Sweet Spot, then relax and work through it, one miniscule adjustment at a time.”
Tara says she was the daughter of cooperatively divorced parents and Sheryl remembers reading when actress Gwyneth Paltrow was separating from her husband she used a similar term, Conscious Uncoupling” to show they would still work together as parents to support their children and perhaps each other. Many think of divorce as the result of fights and anger as depicted by the media, literature and contemporary music and that it is always accompanied by deep hurt and negativity.
In the past, marriage was seen b y many religious groups and families to be unacceptable and tragic. In The Living Spirit, Sheryl has a section that helps clients heal from problems that result in intimate relationships and marriages. Many of Sheryl’s clients have expressed sadness about their inner ability to manifest and maintain loving and lasting relationships. We know there is a direct correlation between the love we saw expressed between our parents and how we follow these patterns through in our own relationships. In The Living Spirit, Sheryl writes in regard to divorce; “Once you have honestly done all you could to improve your behavior, control issues, and unrealistic expectations, it is time to offer the issue up to Spirit. We cannot have expectations of anyone other than ourselves. So if the relationship still lacks the qualities necessary for health and love, it may have simply run its course despite what your family, friends or society may believe, there is no disgrace or failure with ending a relationship. I am reminded through a message, unsolicited, and given to me by international Medium Peter Close of England, that my father, Myron, had a message for me and it was quite different from the belief that he had expressed when alive. My father believed divorce was unacceptable and tragic, but now in spirit, he realized divorce, or broken relationships were at times a necessary event of the physical life. My dad no longer had any judgment about people needing to make that decision.”
So there is a modern day and more realistic way to eliminate lot of pain, anger and frustration over events that have to play out in a families transformation learning to live with themselves and to find greater love perhaps in a variety of relationships.
Tara writes in her blog, “Years later, Greg and I met the same fate. (as Tara did with her first beloved car, Cecilia) We’d each grown as individuals, and we wanted different things. We couldn’t meet each others’ needs, and we were no longer compatible. By the end, I think we both felt like his old loafers (cue the Randy Travis song An Old Pair of Shoes), and we were relieved not to have to force another step together. Heartbreaking as it may be, there comes a time when the kindest thing you can do is to let go.”
Tara also says she loves divorce. She writes, “I love divorce because it’s been a positive factor in my life. When my parents got divorced, my life improved. When I got divorced, my life improved. Neither of those divorces was excessively painful nor costly. I love divorce because it’s a fascinating topic. I became a student of divorce shortly after separating from my ex-husband. Since then, I’ve learned about various legal strategies, alternatives to legal strategies, negotiation tactics, the team players a couple can involve, well-adjusted families, separation ceremonies, parental alienation, emotional issues and personality disorders, effective (and non-effective) communication tactics, long-term effects of anger, attachments and expectations, the importance of self-care, co-parenting, grief, parenting plans and even marriage itself. (And I’m not finished learning)
I love divorce because it’s a solution to a problem. Our culture treats divorce like it’s a problem. It’s not. Unhappy marriages are a problem. Infidelity is a problem. Abuse is a problem. Divorce is a (potential) solution. I love divorce because it opens a new door to freedom and creativity. Separation marks the end of one thing, but also the beginning of something else. Once a couple determines that divorce is the appropriate solution to their problem, they are free to re-create their relationship and individual lives as they see fit. I love divorce because many people don’t. I must admit, I’m a bit of a contrarian. I root for the underdog. I love a good cause. And finally, mostly, to sum it up…I love divorce because I believe in a better way. I believe in a world where couples don’t remain miserably married because they’re ashamed of the alternative; one where children don’t live with warring parents. I believe in a world where families remain open-hearted as they evolve, and onlookers remain open-minded while offering appropriate support. I believe in a world full of divorce ceremonies, divorce gift registries and divorce expos. Because I believe in a world where divorce is an accepted event, commemorated by family-focused rituals (not mud-slinging court battles).
So, recognizing that a couple may have given their all to improve their troubled relationship, Sheryl wonders when might divorce be a foreseen conclusion to a challenged relationship and when might there be signs of the necessary breakup and/or ways to proceed to either save a marriage and family or to move towards divorce?
According to a Huffington Post article, entitled: Divorce Signs: 10 Signs Your Marriage is in Trouble, 1. You become a one-woman consulting firm. You used to ask your partner for their opinions on a variety of subjects. Everything from what you should do about your difficult boss to what plans you’ll make for the weekend. Those days are gone, and you find yourself making decisions without consideration for your spouse’s feelings or how it might affect him. 2. You pull out your scorecard and start tallying. The ease of give and take has been replaced with playing “Tit for Tat”, and you actively keep mental notes on how much you are contributing versus how much your partner isn’t. 3. You anoint yourself king/queen of the castle. In a successful relationship, no one person’s needs are more important. Your desires are equally considered and equal attempts are made to bring them to fruition. However, now that there is stress, resentment and tension, you make your needs priority one. 4. You move from teammates to roommates. Teammates work in tandem to accomplish goals. They share ideas for how to succeed and envision home and life plans together. Roommates take on singular projects with no respect or thought towards the other person in the house. They clean their space. They do their laundry.Their separate plans become your separate lives. 5. You pull out your needle and start jabbing. Anyone in a long-term relationship knows their partner well enough to have a keen awareness of their hot buttons. In days past, you accidentally pressed them, learned from your mistakes and vowed not to repeat them. Today, you press them with full awareness, and you like it. 6. You stop dating. When you two were happy and in love, you “dated” each other. You did all the little things that kept the romance alive. You sent the sweet text in the middle of the day. You brought home the dessert from that little café you know they love. You made an effort to keep up your appearance. Now, you see your mate as a ball and chain instead of the hot date you used to roll out the red carpet for. 7. You move your love tank to someone else’s truck. Whether it’s emotional or physical, you are reaching out to anyone and everyone other than your mate to connect with and feel connected to. 8. You kidnapped cupid and you’re holding him for ransom. People joke that you stop having sex when you get married because you no longer “have to.” But the truth is that often times, people stop having sex when they start losing the positive feelings towards their mate. No one wants to have sex with the person they see as an impediment to their happiness. Even if you still have sexual feelings, you stop pursuing them to punish, play games or make a point to your partner. 9. Words are saved for scrabble. Gone are the days of staying up late, talking. Conversations with your mate seem futile and exhausting. Instead, you use as few words as possible to convey your sentiments and conversations devolve into what needs to get done around the house or who is running carpool tomorrow. 10. You checked out of your relationship and into your mental hotel. In happier times, your partner was your refuge because they were your best friend, your comfort and your joy. As tension sets in, you blindly interact with your mate without giving them your presence of mind. Your mindfulness has been replaced with fantasies of your new life, away from your partner.
Sheryl wonders what role grandparents play during the process of a divorce? How might their opinions, like that of my dad when he was alive, severely hurt the process and cause more damage than necessary and how can grandparents help the family and grandchildren experience the sorrow and loss without guilt and further trauma? According to Lillian Carson, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and grandmother of 10 who wrote The Essential Grandparents’ Guide to Divorce: Making a Difference in the Family “Time with grandparents can be a relief for grandchildren who may be caught in the middle of two parents. Your home should be a neutral zone.” Keep the focus on your growing relationship with your grandchildren, not their parents’ disintegrating one. “Don’t try to be your grandchild’s therapist,” advises Carson. “That’s not your job. Only when your grandchildren mention the divorce, should you address it with them.” “Try not to stir things up,” says Carson. “A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, ‘What would be the value of passing on this information? Would it be helpful to my grandchild?'” Although grand parenting through a divorce can be a challenge, the role you play in your grandchild’s life may also become more crucial.
According to Kidshealth.com, The discussion (of divorce) should fit the child’s age, maturity, and temperament. But it should always include this message: What happened is between mom and dad and is not the child’s fault. Most kids will feel they’re to blame even after parents have said that they’re not. So it’s vital for parents to keep giving this reassurance. Tell your kids that sometimes adults change the way they love each other or can’t agree on things and so they have to live apart. But remind them that kids and parents are tied together for life, by birth or adoption. Parents and kids often don’t agree on things, but that is part of the circle of life — parents and kids don’t stop loving each other or get divorced from each other. Give kids enough information to prepare them for the upcoming changes in their lives. Try to answer their questions as truthfully as possible. Remember that kids don’t need to know all the reasons behind a divorce (especially if it involves blaming the other parent). It’s enough for them to understand what will change in their daily routine — and, just as important, what will not. Susan Orlins, a writer from the Huffington Post, says “All kinds of things go through kids’ minds. Some think, If only I had been better-behaved, mom and dad would still be together, especially if they have ever heard you arguing about them. Look each of your children in the eye and let them know they could not have caused the divorce, nor could they have prevented it. Let the kids know that you are not divorcing them.
Perhaps we should discuss the many positive factors of a good marriage and home life and ways to bring those factors into a single parent family as much as possible…Every child deserves a feeling of stability and safety and to be loved which is often lost during the time of separation and divorce. It has also been documented that children of single parent homes often develop addictive problems as there is less support emotionally and financially…how can divorced parents deal with this serious issue.
Tara writes, “The message is clear: it doesn’t matter what a family looks like; what matters is love.”
Love makes a family. Not biology.
Love makes a family. Not country of origin.
Love makes a family. Not the number of people.
Love makes a family. Not gender or sexual orientation.
Love makes a family. Not legal documentation.
Love makes a family. Not a common address.
Although the piece didn’t address divorce specifically*, the wisdom within can (hopefully) assuage much of the guilt and shame so often endured by those who’ve chosen to live apart from a partner.
Personal Rant: Divorce is about the dissolution of a marriage; not a family. Why is that concept so difficult for our culture to embrace? Don’t we all have countless family members to whom we are not married?
As a child of divorce, I saw my parents’ relationship improve as a result of their separation. When my mom and dad entered new relationships, I benefited as my family expanded in new ways.
As a divorced adult, I’ve cultivated a far more enjoyable relationship with my now-ex. I’ve learned and grown in a manner I wouldn’t have if I’d remained married. My family continues to evolve in new ways, and (for the most part)I’m grateful for this fluidity.
Regardless of the prescribed structure we grasped from black-and-white TV shows, each family is as unique as its members. And that’s OK, especially in the age of multi-colored, multi-cultural media.”
Tara goes on to tell us about the Good Divorce Philosophy that is used for counseling or helping people going through a divorce. Tara says, “My parents had a good divorce. My ex-husband and I had a good divorce. But, what does that mean? For years, I’ve been writing about the importance of a good divorce, and I realize it means something a little different to everyone who goes through the process. Recently, I considered the common elements of a good divorce. How can I address this topic in a more effective and efficient manner? The answer came to me a few weeks ago.”
I present to you the GOOD Divorce™ Philosophy:
G is for Goals. As you enter the Land of the Unknown, think about how you want the process to unfold and what kind of life you’d like to have on the other side. Consider your children: Would you like to set a goal to keep them out of the middle? Do you want to ensure they spend a certain amount of time with each parent? Consider your finances: How much money do you plan to spend on attorneys, fees, etc? How about family relations? Are you committed to maintaining civil relationships with your ex’s family? If possible, it’s best to discuss these matters with your ex and see where your goals overlap. If you can both commit to the same goals, you can support each other in reaching them. I personally believe that the divorce itself is a shared goal between two people looking to part ways.
O is for Observation (without judgment). In the dramatic throes of divorce, it’s all-too-easy to attach to negative emotions and retaliate after every perceived attack. If possible, take a step back and simply witness the situations that arise. Without acting on them, observe the multitude of emotions that broil up inside you. Without immediate reaction, observe the actions of your ex and consider his/her own pain that could be driving such hurtful outbursts. Observe, wait for the dust to settle and then choose a response instead of reacting in the heat of the moment.
O is for also Options. Recognize the plethora of options available to you. You can choose between a variety of options pertaining to your attitude, your actions and your future. Because the separation process can involve many twists and turns, it’s important to keep an open mind. Too often, couples decide what they want and then hire lawyers to go to battle for them. This can be a stressful and expensive experience. Instead, can you step outside your comfort zone to consider more creative solutions that will best meet everyone’s needs?
D is for Dignity. If you’re able to follow the previous steps toward a good divorce, the preservation of your own dignity will be a natural outcome. As you proceed down this new path, remember that the troubles of each moment will pass and you can always choose a dignified, as opposed to dirty, approach. It’s worth noting here that your dignity should not come at the expense of another. If you have children, remember that your ex is their parent and creator. Shaming him/her in front of your children means you are denigrating their DNA, thus disparaging them as individuals. As a parent, you have a responsibility to uphold your children’s dignity as well.
Tara and Sheryl would have you explore the realm of marriage and relationships and value the way they offer us insights about life, love, and self growth. All relationships are valuable and if we think in terms of having a two- sided approach to situations we can see benefits in the negative aspects of every event, rather than having a one sided approach allowing a limited vision and seeing only our own personal reality which may lead to anger fear and resentment. Remember that love and greater compassion lead to forgiveness, eventually to happiness and a greater sense of the Divine within you.