A divorce client once said to me, “I am so tired of being tired”. I get that, and you probably do to. Ending a marriage is rarely a sudden decision. The initial feelings we experience, such as hope and love erode over time and are replaced by feelings such as despair and detachment. Other feelings grow as well; fear, resentment, betrayal, mistrust, anger and on and on. Over time the toxic emotions that we feel on a daily basis become normal. We get used to feeling that way. And the psyche is an efficient thing. Once a feeling, a perception, becomes normal, our mind supports it by filtering out information that contradicts it and draws in information that supports it. So we get used to the feelings and perceptions that lead us to divorce and we see things in a way that keeps us stuck in toxicity.
Take a moment, pick up pen & pad. Jot down the toxic emotions & perceptions that you have been feeling through the demise of your marriage. The purpose of this article is to help you stretch your perception, to make room again for empowering feelings & perceptions.
Mantras, Memories & Meditations: Why in this order?
Before we can recall healing Memories, before we can create empowering Meditations, we have to stretch beyond our filters of perception. If I feel betrayed, I learn to doubt. If I was abused in marriage, I learn to fear. If there was consistent arguing in marriage, I learn to be in conflict. The efficient filters of the psyche make these toxic feelings normal and energize them with ongoing perceptions of life filled with things that stimulate doubt, fear, and conflict.
Now a Mantra is a beautiful thing. It’s like a slogan that reshapes thinking. A Mantra redirects perception. Take a look at the list of toxic emotions & perceptions that I asked you to jot down a moment ago. For every item on your list, create a Mantra that gives you a chance to perceive things differently. I’m not suggesting that you just erase what you have learned to feel and see; history can’t be erased. Truth, no matter how painful, has a place. I am asking that you make room for balancing these things. Life over time becomes bittersweet! So be it.
A Mantra stretches perception by letting us consider alternatives. Alternatives mean I have a choice. Having a choice is empowering. What shall I choose? Having the power to choose is liberating. Just the thought of creating a Mantra relieves me of some of the toxicity that I have gotten used to!
Create Mantras that are wistful, lighthearted, directive, calming, relieving. The following are Mantras that I have created that work for me. Yours may be very different! Just create ones that guide you on a path of healing by stretching your perception!
Some of my Mantras with each one tagged to the feelings and perceptions I want to stretch:
- Expect nothing…and prepare to be delighted! Tags: Anxiety, Doubt, Despair, Minimizing Expectations.
- When I’m not getting what I need…my anger makes sure of it! Tags: Anger, Frustration, Perpetuating Conflict, Betrayal, Abandonment.
- Give what I want…and want what I give. Tags: Mindfulness of toxic filters. The power to connect with nurturing.
- The world may be my oyster…I’m just not that into slimy. Tags: Disappointment, Self-worth, Seeing the whole thing, Hubris,
- Anger is a virus. Tags: Destructive expressions. Damaging others. Pushing others away, Avoiding my needs.
- Don’t own time. Tags: Anxiety, Self-control, Humility, Letting go.
- Good enough is perfect. Tags: Self-worth, Doubt, Failure, Relief, Moving on.
- I do not trust, but risk I take. Wisdom comes by learning, and risk does learning make! Tags: Fear, Isolation, Expectation, Acquiring new information, Purpose.
- A successfully mediated divorce means that it equally sucks for both parties! Tags: Humility, Balance, Fairness, Compromise. (Note: I am a divorce mediator. This is a work Mantra!)
- Don’t own the outcome. Tags: Ego, Control, Fear, Letting go of Expectation, Acceptance.
- Who knew there were so many stars in the sky! The river runs all night. Is there no one to turn it off? Tags: Stuck in perception, Awe & wonder, Healthy limitations of personal power, Calm, Acceptance.
- That, by which all things heal, is humble, connected & graceful. Tags: Hope, Responsibility, Risk-taking, Withdrawal, Accepting Comfort, Forgiveness, Compromise.
These are some of the Mantras that stimulate me and help me manage my toxic filters of perception. Write yours!
Now that we have used Mantras to stretch a bit, let’s consider Healing Memories.
In the section on Mantras, I mentioned that Truth, no matter how painful, has a place. This is as true for happy memories and affirming memories as it is for more recent memories that have led to the demise of your marriage. When there has been a bit too much bitter and not enough sweet, the filters of perception adjust to block out memories that balance perception. And filters designed by toxic emotions and perceptions are defensive in nature. So they resist that which seeks to balance them. They make it really tough to recall positive experiences in a deeply satisfying way.
A child rushes to the Christmas tree and grabs a present meant for them. They tear the wrapping off and shout with glee at what they have been given! A grown-up opens a present, maybe it’s an expensive present…and they look at the giver and say “You shouldn’t have…” What has life taught the grown-up?
Tarnished self-worth minimizes affirming memories. Betrayal minimizes trust memories. And so it goes. Thankfully, well used Healing Mantras help stretch the filters of perception so that we can re-empower Healing Memories. Let’s get started!
Stretching the Perception of Safety & Love:
There is a scripture that says; “Hope deferred makes the heart sick. But a longing fulfilled is a tree of life”. A longing fulfilled is an experience that empowers hope. It is a personal and irrevocable truth. It’s tough for a defensive filter of perception to refute a truth! So we begin with an exercise that stretches a defensive filter.
The Safety & Love Journal:
Perceptions become a habit. Ben Franklin said that it takes two weeks to break a bad habit. I trust the guy. If I want to see the things that balance my perception, I have to look for them. And that’s what the Safety & Love Journal helps me do. Every day for two weeks, jot down the following:
1) An observation of someone protecting someone else. Maybe you hear a workmate defending another workmate. Maybe you see a stranger holding someone back on the curb before they step into the cross walk oblivious to an oncoming car. Look every day for some evidence of protection. These are what make life safe. Jot at least one example down in your journal each day.
2) An observation of love being expressed. Maybe you see a parent comforting a child. Maybe you see an old couple walking hand in hand. Whatever it is you see that represents love being expressed, jot at least one example down in your Safety & Love Journal each day.
At the end of each day, read your Journal. At the end of two weeks, start a new two week Journal focusing on the following;
The Longings Fulfilled Journal:
1) Think of a time when someone protected you. Start with your most recent available memory. Briefly jot it down. Dwell on the memory. What happened? Who protected you? How old were you? Remember the surroundings. Where were you? What time of the year was it? What time of the day? The more details you recall, the easier it is for the feelings at that time to come back to you. As you consider a most recent memory, let that channel of perception lead you to others further back. Dwell on these as well and jot them down. Make a few entries every day.
2) Think of a time when someone expressed love for you and didn’t want anything in return.Maybe it was an Aunt or an Uncle, A grandparent or a dear friend, your Mom or Dad. Maybe your Grandmother surprised you with something she made for you. Maybe a parent taught you to ride a bike and cheered for you when you managed to stay upright after they let go. Maybe a close friend stuck to you like glue when you were feeling down. Start with your most recent available memory. Briefly jot it down. Dwell on the memory. What happened? Who loved you? How old were you? Remember the surroundings. Where were you? What time of the year was it? What time of the day? As you consider a most recent memory, let that channel of perception lead you to others further back. Dwell on these as well and jot them down. Make a few entries every day.
As with the first Journal, write in this one for two weeks. Read every entry every day. Now we are ready to create Healing Meditations.
We started with Mantras to stretch perception. We considered Memories that affirm Safety & Love. Well guess what? While you were jotting down Healing Memories and dwelling on them, you created Healing Meditations!
Take each Healing Memory and transpose it to an index card. Tag the Memory for the perception that you want to balance out. If you are anxious about an upcoming event, pull the indexed Memory of a time when you were similarly anxious but the outcome was delightful! Whatever toxic perception is troubling you, find the Healing Memory that applies.
Meditations are like a mental massage. They serve us well when we can clear our mind, breathe mindfully and stretch. Practice yoga… and as you expand your being dwell on the Healing Memories that sooth your soul. Inhale deeply as you receive the Healing Memory. Hold your breath in. Think of a Mantra that you created that tags to the toxic feelings or perception that you want to stretch. Exhale deeply and recite the Healing Mantra as you do.
Repeat the process until your kids start screaming for breakfast.
Keep writing in both Journals every day!
Namaste for the Spirit & Blessings for the Soul.