There are times in our lives, where nothing would feel better than curling up in a ball and disappearing. The problem with that is, that it’s an illusion. You don’t feel better, nor do your problems go away.

I have been through my own share of very tough times, from my divorce, to massive financial distress, to serious illness. All times that really had a strong impact on my emotional state. Over the course of the years I have learned some important lessons that have helped me navigate those challenging times, and I would love to share them with you.

If you are at a crossroad in your life, or dealing with a difficult situation, these tips will really help.

You are NOT the problem: At times when we experience turmoil in our life, we have a difficult time disconnecting ourselves from the problem at hand, and often internalize it. Know that you ARE NOT the problem, but rather you have a problem in your life for which you are working towards a solution. When we see ourselves as the problem, it is difficult to be solution oriented, and we start feeling crappy about ourselves. So if you are going through a rough patch in your marriage, or struggling in any other area in your life,  take a step back and know that you are not the problem, but there are some issues that need to be addressed and worked on. This approach makes solutions more attainable, and problems less overwhelming.

Set yourself FREE: The only way you will ever set yourself free is by letting go of your past. It doesn’t matter what your past was, it does NOT define you or your tomorrows. For years I was tormenting myself, punishing myself, by living in my past. When I met my current husband (best friend) he told me: “I don’t care what you did or didn’t do, your past isn’t who you are. All I care about is the woman you are, and you are your essence”. I will forever be thankful to him for saying those powerful and liberating words to me. From time to time, when I get stuck he lovingly reminds me that I am NOT my past. Let go!

Stop Worrying: Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere. Isn’t that so true? I mean think about it, if you CAN solve the problem then what is the need of worrying? And if you can’t solve it, then what is the USE of worrying? Uncertainty is one of the biggest fears we all face, but guess what, if you fear uncertainty you fear LIFE, for life is uncertain. Shift your mindset from worry to excitement towards the unknown possibilities ahead of you.

The truth about life: Most people go through life looking for that perfect magic pill, where all will be alright. The truth is there is no magic pill, nor is there perfection. The beauty of life is the counterparts it offers. How can you experience real joy if you have never felt sadness? How can you celebrate your success if you haven’t had failures. The ultimate satisfaction you will experience in life is growth, and growth comes through setbacks and failures. Your failures and imperfections are the stepping stones towards success and happiness. So stop chasing the “perfect dream” life that doesn’t exist and instead embrace the beauty of life as it is: “IMPERFECT”.

Be a friend to yourself, and a kind one: One of the things most of my clients have in common is the lack of compassion and kindness towards themselves. It is amazing to listen to someone who sits there berating or judging themselves for who they are or things they do or don’t do. When I ask them: “ what would you say to your friend who just shared this with you?”, they would say: “well I would try to comfort them and tell them to be kinder to themselves”. The irony is that when it comes to us we rarely step into the “be your own friend” state of mind. Next time you hear yourself say, “I am a bad mother”, or “I am not good enough”, challenge your inner dialogue and ask yourself if your judgement is really true and fair and rephrase it to something kinder, as if you would be talking to your friend. Example, “I was having a hard day with barely any sleep, so I wasn’t the most patient with the kids. Tomorrow is another day”. Doesn’t that sound a lot kinder?

Let go of expectations: If I asked you what are the things in your life that you are happy with, and what are the things that you are unhappy with, you will notice they have a common denominator. The things that make you happy are things that followed your blueprint, the ones that you are unhappy with didn’t. What is a blueprint? A blueprint is the way we think our life ought to be. They are expectations of who we should be, how we should be and when. For example, maybe you always wanted to have kids before you were 30, and own a house. If you have a house you are happy with that part falling into place, but if you don’t have kids you might be very sad and disappointed with not having that checked off your expectation list. The key is to work on accepting your life as it is. If your blueprint doesn’t match the reality, change your blueprint, by accepting that you are exactly where you need to be.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t have goals and dreams, you should, yet when things don’t fall into place according to your expectations, learn to embrace what is and accept that to be what is best for you right now.

Remember, in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. Focus ahead, keep your eyes on the prize!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divorce is rated among the top ten most stressful experiences in life.  A divorce can actually feel like death, and the mourning and healing process are at times similar. After all you are letting go of the person you once said forever to, and trying to come to terms that your hopes and dreams with them will never be! That being said if you are contemplating divorce you must read the TOP 100 questions to ask yourself before you actually do so.

Although I do write a lot about the healing process and how to grieve your divorce, this article is focused on getting you to think ahead and move forward. In every difficult challenge life throws at us there is also the great possibility for renewal and growth.

So here are some things that no one ever tells you about divorce:

  • It will be the best second chance you will get

If you are like many women out there, it is possible that during your marriage you may have lost your way and identity. Maybe your spouse wasn’t supportive of some of your dreams, or your children came to soon and you had to make sacrifices you weren’t ready for.  Your divorce will actually give you an opportunity to rediscover yourself.  You now have the time to try and focus on YOU, remember who you are, or who you wanted to become. This is your time to re-invent yourself and explore new possibilities.  Make a list of hobbies you once had and no longer pursue. What where some dreams that you let go of because life and marriage got in the way?  Get as clear as possible with what you want to discover about yourself and just go after it.

  • Children are incredibly resilient

One of the biggest fears mothers have when it comes to divorce is how their children will adapt. I remember during that time my greatest concern was  how my daughter would adjust to this life changing situation. I knew it was for the best, but I was still scared. I learned that children are resilient, and that they adjust to change much better then we expect. Of course you need to be mindful and pay attention to your children’s struggles, and changes in behavior or moods, but know that if you give them the proper love, support, time and attention they will turn into incredible adults.  Be sure to get them the right support, and maintain a positive, happy, healthy environment in your home.  If your kids see you adjusting well and having a positive attitude so will they.

  • You will learn not to CARE about what others think of you

My whole childhood was programmed around what others think of me, or will think of me. When I got married, it was much of a muchness. The most freeing experience I had was stopping to care about what others think of me. Yes I will admit, at first it bothered me a little that some people started treating me differently due to the divorce, but I learned soon enough that I had more important things to worry about.  Don’t waste time trying to keep up appearances or salvaging friendships you formed throughout your marriage. Some friendships are bound to end or fade naturally, or where just meant to be for a season. Focus on what is important, YOU, your emotional and financial well-being. You will see that setting yourself free from focusing on other people’s opinions of you, is the best gift the universe could have given you.

  • Nothing will stand in your way

Something remarkable happens when you experience the worst thing that you could ever imagine happening. You become less afraid of uncertainty and learn to be fearless. You got divorced, and guess what, you didn’t die. You are still here, breathing, feeling and soon will be thriving. Yes, I am sure at times you felt like your heart was so broken that you couldn’t imagine how you would get through the day, but you did and now you are here to tell the tale.  Going through adversity and challenges helps us develop a “what’s the worst that can happen” attitude, allowing us to open up our mind to take bigger chances. When you allow yourself to take risks you set a stage for growth and opportunity. Remember,  opportunity and success are on the other side of our comfort zone. And you sure as heck have been pushed out of your comfort zone.

  • A new chance at happiness

Once you have learned how to prioritize yourself and pursue what YOU want, let go of all limiting beliefs and become fearless, you will shift into a happier place. That is the beauty of this new chapter in your life. You are now free of all the fighting, painful arguments, loneliness and anxiety, and able to open yourself up to find happiness within. You now have the opportunity to take this second chance at a new life, no matter what that new life may be, and create it the way you had always wanted to. Start with small things as simple as redecorating your living room the way YOU like, join that dance class you had always wanted to try but couldn’t because your ex wasn’t supportive, buy something you never could just because you deserve to treat yourself. Prioritize you, reach out for support, heal yourself, love yourself and give yourself what you would give your best friend! It’s time for you to give yourself permission to finally love yourself and find happiness!

Remember, change is inevitable, growth is optional. Divorce can be messy, but it could also be an amazing opportunity for growth. So if you are contemplating divorce or already in the process be sure to read the TOP 100 questions you need to ask yourself at this time in your life!

 

Relaxation and breathing was a completely foreign concept to me years ago.  I was going through a particularly stressful time during my divorce, when my therapist suggested I try Yoga. I had never joined a yoga class, nor did I think it was something I would potentially get into. The idea of sitting in one place, breathing, and relaxing my mind was very challenging for me, and took a tremendous amount of work. I tried it on and off, but couldn’t really bring myself to fully commit. Then my back start acting up, I was in and out of the hospital with terrible painful attacks due to herniated discs and trapped nerves,  and once again, the doctors suggested yoga. It seemed like as much as I was trying to run away from it, it just wouldn’t let go. There is one thing I learned over the course of my life, when the universe keeps sending you the same messages it’s time to listen.

Today my sanity and salvation is YOGA, breathing and meditating. From being a super high strung crazy woman with a lot of inner stress and anxiety I went to being able to allow myself to enter into complete Zen state of minds anytime I choose.  I think I would have never been able to stay as strong as I have without it, and that is why I am so passionate about it and want to share my love for it with you.

Whether you are going through a hard time in your marriage, or are in the process of a divorce I am sure you are experiencing insane amounts of stress. Your body and mind can only take that much, so even if you don’t have a lot of time try and take a few minutes every day to focus on you and your sanity. It will be your lifeline trust me.

If you are new to this here are some things I learned along the way.

Take small steps: When I first started out I watched others and was in awe of how incredibly flexible they were, or how long they were able to stay in a meditative state. I was also frustrated that I couldn’t do the same. Take baby steps, start out with easy practices and don’t compare yourself to others. The main purpose of yoga and meditation is to truly feel you and get in touch with your body and mind. If you are trying to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, start really small, 3-5 minutes is a perfect time. Close your eyes, notice the soothing feeling of choosing to close your eyes yet consciously letting go of everything around you, and just breath, and breath deep. That’s all!

Meditate with purpose: Some people think meditating is doing nothing, which is actually the furthest thing from the truth. Meditation is a very active process. It is an art to be able to just focus your attention on one single point, and can at times actually be quite difficult. It could be just focusing on your breathing, or on an intention you are setting for yourself that day.  It doesn’t have to be anything specific, just something you need or want that day. One that I really like to set for myself often, is to allow myself to relax (which is hard for me) and allow myself to “love me”.  I also do this at the beginning of every yoga session and from time to time I bring my attention back to what my intention for the practice was. It’s a great way to realign your thoughts.

Notice your attention: One of the biggest challenges for me was to stay focused in the moment or on my intention. I used to find my mind racing into a million different directions, except for being present in the moment. The good news is that we CAN control our minds. It will take practice, but whenever you find your mind wandering off, bring it back to the present moment by focusing on your breath.  Feel your inhalations deeply taking in positive energy, and release any negative or stressful emotions or thoughts through your exhalations.

Be patient and kind to yourself: Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. I am still struggling with many poses during my sessions, and something I get thrown off course in middle of a meditation session. It is important that you remain patient and kind towards yourself. It is calling practice for a reason, don’t give up, just keep doing your best and be grateful for what each session gives you.

I always finish my sessions, thanking myself for getting myself there and thanking God for blessing me with the gift of yoga and meditation.

Try it, I promise you it will change your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You can’t start the next chapter in your life if you keep re-reading the last one”. If you are thinking of trying to reconcile with your husband and are working on trying things again, regardless if you were separated or not, you will have to get to a point of leaving the past behind. It is normal to go through a period of time during counseling where you will want to talk about your pain and the events that transpired that got you where you are, but at some point you have to make a decision that you are going to forgive and focus on the future.

I had a couple that kept on going back in time, and it was stifling the progress. At one point I told them that what was is in the past, and they both sincerely apologized for their wrongdoings, so now it was time to let it go. Once they did, things started to fall into place much faster.

No matter what has happened between you and your spouse, if you are both willing to forgive, let go of the past, and learn new and positive patterns of relating to one another you can both look forward to a much happier future. You just might one day look back and see the time of your separation as a blessing in disguise and the turning point in your relationship.

Are you ready to step back into your truth and own your part? Be super honest with yourself and get very clear if you sincerely want to save your marriage and get back together. If you are sure that you want to save your marriage and are ready to take the necessary steps, commit yourself to invest everything you possibly can. Your heart, your mind, soul and energy. It will take some work, and a strong will to stay committed, but with the guidance of a professional and your willpower you will be able to develop a healthy and intimate connection with your partner again.

Some important things you really need to commit yourself to:

Be patient: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you will both need to work out your own stuff till you get it right. Don’t lose your patience because your spouse did something he has done in the past and think he or she will never change. And hey, don’t bring up the past all over again! You WILL both make mistakes, hurt one another and mess up from time to time, so expect for things to sometimes go wrong. The world isn’t coming to an end. You are both human and are learning new skills, while getting to know yourself and each other better. Don’t wait for him or her to mess up so you can prove that they aren’t really committed to make things work. Have an accepting and open mind and heart, and be as patient as you would with a child that is learning to ride a bike.

Make your relationship a Priority: You met, fell in love, got married, and then life happened. Things where said that hurt, and somehow your life spiraled out of control. It lead to a separation, to lonely sleepless nights, to pillows soaked in tears, and finally to a reconciliation. After all that pain and anguish you MUST make your relationship a priority! If you got to this point, and you have a second chance to potentially save this marriage, you have to give it ALL you have GOT and then some! This is the most important thing in your life, more important than your job, friends, family, hobbies, or egos. Imagine that your life depended on it, wouldn’t you give it your all?

Learn to Respect your partner:  It wasn’t love letter and roses that got you to this point, nor was it the actions your spouse did to push you away. You might have feelings of hurt, or anger in your heart, but you will have to let them go. It is CRUCIAL that you learn to respect your spouse all over again. Respect is the necessary foundation in every relationship, and every person has some qualities we can respect them for. Learn to love and respect your partner for who they are, and don’t try and change them. (remember change comes from within).

Be kind:  Kindness goes a long way. Treat others like you would like to be treated, so act with kindness and compassion towards your spouse at all times. No matter what the situation may be, take the high road and exhibit kindness, patience and respect. Be sure to stir clear of criticism which is the venom that kills relationships.  Learn how to express yourself in ways that your spouse doesn’t feel attacked, berated, judged or criticized. You will notice that you are getting your message across and getting the results you want. If you are too angry and you know you will come across aggressive or condescending wait till you have calmed down and have found the right words to say. The simple act of being compassionate, caring and kind can actually save your marriage. It is better to lose the little battles in order to win the war. Choose kindness over winning or being right, because being right does not guarantee happiness.

Learn how to express yourself: Opening up about your emotions is often very hard for couples who are getting back together after a separation. You have both been hurt and afraid to be vulnerable. But if you want to rekindle your marriage you will have to allow yourself to be vulnerable and trust the process. The only thing that keeps a marriage alive and thriving is real deep intimacy.  As scared as you are, share intimate moments, by expressing your emotions, and being physically affectionate. Stop and just look deeply into each other eyes for a few long seconds, and remember what it was that you fell in love with in the first place. Share your world and your life with your partner, from the daily mundane events, to important experiences or issues. Talk, touch and connect.

Just have some Fun:  Having been separated can make it challenging to go back to having some simple fun, but it is so important for you two have some fun again. Life is hard, and working on your marriage isn’t a piece of pie either, so bring some fun and light moments into your relationship. Play a fun game, watch a comedy show, and simply laugh a little.

Yes, separation makes things complicated, sometimes very complicated, but making your relationship a priority, giving it your all, and bringing a little fun into it is your unique way to show how much you still care.

“Nobody said it would be easy, but nothing in life worth having ever is.” If your relationship is sacred to you, and you don’t want it to fall apart again, take the initiative to overcome your problems so that you and your partner can rekindle the love again!

If you are struggling after a separation and feel lost and overwhelmed by the process, feel free to reach out for your complimentary Breakthrough complementary session. Click here to schedule your appointment.