Telling the kids about the divorce required an enormous amount of courage. I was motivated, though, by wanting to move forward; and not wanting any upcoming holidays to be completely tainted with learning about their parents divorce. The time had to be just right: Nov 7th. I decided it was going to be like pulling off a bandaid. Quick, a bit painful, but necessary. And it was, sorta. My daughter cried, my son stormed off. After we reminded them how much we loved them, the questions came in. Most were about where they were going to live. Then they watched a silly cartoon, had smiles on their faces and things seemed normal by that evening. There were questions over the next weeks, but it was, admittedly, more of a gradual pulling off of the bandaid, where you slowly adapt to the uncomfortable feeling and uncertain outcome. It is much like Yin Yoga – where you stay in the posture, stay with the discomfort, breathe through it, look for where you might relax and appreciate the results in the moment or know they will come in the near future. If we pause in the gap of our breath, in moments of our day, then as Pema Chodron says, we will see there is much more space around us; much more room to settle in and see what the journey is all about. On the other side of the Yin coin, is Vinyasa Yoga, where the interest rests on the transitions between the postures, rather than the postures alone. This is also a part of divorce – these transitions, knowing that you will move through them and get to the other side. Yin and Vinyasa perspectives give us tools to become more balanced, more adaptable, more compassionate for the all the parts that show up in these transitions; or in the held spaces, where discomfort and release can simultaneously coexist.
Adobe – Safety and the Sense of Home
Have you ever pondered: what is the True Self, really? How do you know you have seen or felt connected to it? That is something I cannot quite answer for you. But what I can tell you is to notice the things that are happening that are pulling you toward whatever makes you feel the most at home. Maybe that is a place, a memory, a smell or a taste. For me it is ‘cinnamon toast’ which is something I grew up on. Simply mix some cinnamon with sugar well, coat some sandwich bread with soft butter, sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture on it and place in a toaster oven for a few minutes as crispy as you desire. It is delightful. I hadn’t noticed until recently, that I had been making cinnamon toast alot more lately for me and the kids.
My ex and I had been at the brink of divorce several times, so unfortunately, I am familiar with my need to ‘go back home’ – like literately move back to the place I grew up. After several attempts to understand this, it finally hit me during a weekly phone call with my mom. The sense of home, of stability, of soaking my roots, was so profound that it most literately pulled me toward wanting to move to the place where I had roots so long ago, even when there was no logistical or practical reason to move back. I would not recommend placing any deposits on a house just yet though. But rather, consider the Abode. In the southwest where I grew up, Adobe is the dwelling, the home, the place where you feel stable, grounded, supported, and rooted. The home that gives you a sense of peace and well being. Visiting my mom in my hometown really helped me get some grounding. Eating, smelling, reminiscing about things you enjoy in the far past can also be momentarily blissful. A very wonderful chant reminds me of this Om Mani Padme Hum – the jewel in the lotus of the heart. Where the home is always here. Meditation, Reiki, introspection, spiritual guidance, religion, all can help us tap back into our sense of Home and Self.
The Heart & Opening Wounds
When we are on this path of divorce and dissolution, many wounds get reopened. Quite literally, and ironically, I had a physical wound right at the place of the Heart Chakra. I had some precancer skin issues the year before we divorced, that were related to fair skin and living in the southwest sun for half my life. (I never baked in the sun for tanning purposes but I did enjoy outdoor activities and didn’t sunscreen enough.) As a result of strong topical medication, what remained were the remnants of a scabby wound. Because of this, for a while, I could only wear high necked shirts; my morning, evening, showering, getting dressed, were all consumed by this wound. I would have to bandage it, try not to irritate it, and all the while it itches and hurts even when I slept. I was blatantly reminded day and night during these months of working through the dissolution process, that my ‘heart’ was being wounded over and over again, physically and metaphorically.
The Heart Chakra, called Anahata, means the unstruck, literately indestructible Self and represents unconditional love. I had two sides to look at this heart wound. On one side, were the wounds of marriage, small or big betrayals, thinking you knew someone, thinking you knew yourself, but finding much of it an illusion. The second side were the wounds you caused yourself by holding up walls or placing up armor in the quest to mimic boundaries for yourself, so you wouldn’t get hurt any longer. This is the place where compassion and unconditional love for yourself is paramount. (Eventually, this allows you to find compassion for the other person too.) Maitri is the word that reminds me of this – compassion, friendliness, benevolence. We must bandage and heal our own wounds allowing us to recenter and find our way back to the home in our heart.
There are just a few more chapters written for this series. Wherever you are on your yogic journey or dissolution of sorts, I hope you find ways to find peace with the things that are uncomfortable, transition through them with grace, and find home within your own compassionate heart space.