How to make the switch to change how you feel right now.

This morning it is pouring rain outside.  I love the rain.  I absolutely love it.

I grew up with Alabama storms so the ones here in DC always pale in comparison to what I experienced growing up.  Any hard rain or thunder makes me feel alive.  It is relaxing to wake to the sounds, and all of the trees, flowers, plants outside are so gratefully getting replenished.

Because of the rain, Kate may not have the annual Field Day at her school and we will have to use umbrellas and rain gear to keep from getting wet and may get wet.  Oh, and Emily our dog will definitely get wet and probably muddy which makes our floors dirty and adds another to do to my list.

Everything that happens has consequences, effects.  And, those consequences are both good and bad, never just one or the other.

It may be difficult to see right now, but there are always positive effects to an action.

What is something that you are having a hard time with right now or something “bad” that has happened to you this week?  Think about it and write it down.

Now under where you have written what happened to you, answer these three questions :

  1. What have I learned about myself from what happened?
  2. What have I learned about others involved from what happened?
  3. What is my gift from what has happened?

We are all made up of our experiences, and the universe or god takes us through many a dark alley to help us to see better.  

It is in noticing, it is in recognizing the lesson where the miracle blossoms.  When we get trapped in the negative consequences, the negative chatter or story of what is, we are just that, trapped.

It is sometimes extremely difficult to break free from the cycle of feeling bad and sorry for ourselves.  But, when we are able to switch the chatter and notice how we are different because of what happened, what we are now able to see because of it, life turns toward the light.

Please leave a comment below telling me how you have made the switch recently.  What happened and how did you break the negative story?

This week’s interview is with Stacey Martino of http://loveandpassioncoach.com.  We talk about how to repair the relationship, even if the marriage isn’t going to last, so you can get to a place of peace, compassion and clarity to create the love affair of your dreams with your current spouse or a new future love and life partner.

Stacey Martino is the love and passion expert.  Stacey and her husband Paul are the founders of Love and Passion Coach dot com, where couples create an unshakable love and unleashed passion that lasts a lifetime! Stacey and Paul created their own magnificent love affair and together developed their proven eight step Relationship Transformation System™ for helping people to create their own unshakable love and unleashed passion!

Stacey began in personal development over 17 years ago.  She is trained and certified as a Marriage Educator, Divorce Preventionist, Strategic Interventionist and Coach by Tony Robbins and Cloe Madanes of the Robbins Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention.  Stacey and Paul are consistently sought after to help people all around the world repair and transform their intimate relationships.  They are known for achieving astounding and rapid results!  Stacey and Paul live and love happily together in Bucks County PA with their two small children!

You can find out more about Stacey and her work at loveandpassioncoach.com.

Click here to listen to our interview. 

Remember to leave me a comment about what you have turned around.

With love and light,

 

 

 

P.S. If you would like to talk with me about mediation and how it might help in your particular situation, call me (202) 587-2772 or email candace@candacesmyth.com.  I provide in-person (DC & MD) mediation sessions and skype sessions for those outside of the metro DC area.  Learn more about them here.

P.S.S. And, if you are looking for a divorce support group.  I am starting both a lunchtime and evening group June 20.  If you live in the Washington, DC area, call or email me to get on the list.  202.587-2772 or candace@candacesmyth.com.

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What you do now affects the rest.

We are all blessed with the ability to make a decision in present time.

I met with two women over the last couple of weeks who had a similar story.  They talked about how their divorce had gone relatively well.  They had children who are now thriving and close with both co-parents.  Then, they told me that their husband (second husband) and his children, however, had a very different story.  Both new husbands were still in litigation with their former spouses and co-parents.  Their children were in high school and college and both had been in litigation since the divorce when the children were much younger.  As you can imagine, they told me those children are not doing as well.

Then, another story.  A guy told me that he had recently married his wife and they are very much in love, but her former spouse will not let her move on.  And, he predicts a similar story as the ones above just beginning for him.

What I realized from listening to them is how important our decisions in the present moment are to our future.  Do you see that too?  It is easy to say, “well, if one wants to be litigious and not let go there is nothing you can do.”  But, I know you have heard me say before that it only takes one to make a change.  There are always two in conflict.

When one finds herself in conflict in divorce and possibly litigation, it is so important to have help to see through what  is truly going on.  What are the triggers? Why is she fighting so hard, why is he?  Most likely in these situations, there is a wound very deep.  If you and your ex and co-parent could have a mediated or therapeutic conversation about that wound today, it would not be able to fester into the future and affect the rest of your life and your children.

Here are some tips on how to take care of things now so you are not in litigation in 10 years.

  1. Take responsibility and shine a light on your part in the conflict.
  2. Even if you disagree with the main point, find common ground.  Try to agree with something your ex is putting out there.
  3. When you are having a conversation about something, keep on topic.  Don’t let yourself stray into old issues and hurts.  Stay on topic.
  4. Work on forgiving your spouse for the hurts you do have.  Know this takes time, but it starts with the desire to let go and forgive.
  5. Think about your kids first — before money, before your hurts and resentments.  Know that children need both parents in their lives whenever possible.
  6. Respect the other parent’s house and parenting.  They may do it in a way you do not approve of, but if you can let that go, your child will be happier and your co-parenting relationship will thrive.

Is there something that has helped you in your co-parenting relationship?

Number 6 was HUGE for me.  Once I stopped judging that Kate stayed up late to watch movies at Dad’s (and I really struggled with the judgment and worry about “routine” and whether she was getting enough sleep here), I saw the value in that, I respected him more as a Dad and for what he could give her that I would not.  Now, she loves and knows so much about film — black and white movies, etc.  She is an amazing writer and visionary.  She is making cartoons and animation videos.  I am not sure she would be doing all of that had she not had those late night experiences on the weekend with her Dad.  I credit him for instilling in her love of film.    She may have lost a couple of hours of sleep at 4, but she doesn’t remember that today at 8.  She has memories of her and her Dad and quality time.

Just let go of some things.  Watch how it changes response.

I know there are some things you can’t let go of but can you just change the way you respond to them?

Remember,

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  Viktor Frankl  

This week’s interview is with Natanya Lara.  Natanya and I met talking about the joys and challenges of co-parenting.   It is such a dance and one you learn as you move through each day.  I hope you enjoy this conversation on parenting as much as I did.

 

As an intentional parenting coach, Natanya works with parents who are struggling with parenting and are challenged and triggered by their children’s behavior.  With authenticity and compassion, she guides her clients in creating a parenting practice that is based in their values, which provides the foundation for confident, empathic parenting. Natanya has been a stay-at-home mom, full-time working mom, entrepreneur mom, married mom, and solo mom,  She has two boisterous boys, ages 5 and 7, who keep her on her toes and practicing her own work daily.  Visit her at www.natanyalara.com, to receive your free audio class, The Key to Intentional Parenting.  And, don’t miss her parenting summer camp!

http://natanyalara.com/parenting-summer-camp/

 

Here’s the link to the interview.

 

We are blessed with the ability to make a decision in the present time.

Lots of love to you,

 

 

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What do you do when your spouse hires an aggressive attorney?

There is probably nothing worse for your divorce process than when one of you hires an aggressive attorney.

And, it amazes me that there are attorneys out there that actually advertise as just that.  ”Aggressive Family Attorney” “Aggressive representation in family cases.”

Do you really want aggressive?  Please tell me how you can put the word “aggressive” and “family” in the same description.   But I digress…

It happens.  Sometimes the fear and insecurity gets the best of someone and they feel that what they need more than anything is an “aggressive” attorney to take care of them and their case.  For the other spouse and the kids (and the client too) this usually turns into months and sometimes years of a nightmare.

The consequence of one spouse hiring an aggressive divorce attorney is usually that the other spouse will in turn feel compelled to also hire an aggressive divorce attorney.  Then, the two sides begin the heated journey along an high conflict, adversarial divorce.  The family gets lost in the process.  It is no longer about the whole but about the parts of the whole.  Sometimes in these high conflict situations, the children are even appointed their own attorney.

Here are five tips for what you can do when your spouse hires the aggressive attorney :

  1. Propose mediation now before the process gets out of control.  Ask that you handle the mediation without attorneys.
  2. Find an attorney that comes with a positive recommendation.  Hire an attorney that is not aggressive but speaks to how they deal with aggressive attorneys on the other side.
  3. Ask your spouse if he or she would consider involving a family counselor to help you with the emotions of the process.
  4. Have a discussion with your spouse about what he or she needs most and how the two of you might settle outside of court and huge attorneys’ fees.
  5. Remember to not react to everything your spouse throws at you, but at the same time, protect yourself.  Find an attorney who gets this.  Talk to at least three.

Self-care is always the most important component of going through the divorce and grief process.  Without that you will find it very difficult to think clearly and to be the best mom or dad you can be. When one spouse takes the process to an aggressive place, you have no control over what she or he does.  You only have responsibility and control over your actions.  And, I have said this many times :

It only takes one to change the course of the divorce process.  It only takes one to create a more amicable process.    (Click on the link to tweet this.)

And, there is no greater reason to do this than the kids. I met a woman last week who connected me with this documentary opening in San Francisco on June 6.  (I am working on bringing it to Washington, DC.)  Watch this clip :

Split : Children’s Journeys Through Divorce

Tell me what you think.  Have you found yourself in this situation and what did you do right what do you feel went wrong?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Email me candace@candacesmyth.com.

Warmly and with love,

P.S. Don’t forget to ask about the new support group starting in DC this month.  Contact me (202) 587-2772.

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There are bright skies.

 

I have been listening to a mentor lately talk about the flip side.  Whenever there is lack, there is always abundance.  Wherever there is gray, there is bright blue.  Wherever there is a feeling that everything has gone to you know where, there is a feeling of joy and happiness.

It is how the universe works.  One day things are really low, the next they are beautiful.  Whatever goes up must come down, and whatever goes down will come up too.

We have to trust that the universe or god has a divine plan, and if we are in a difficult place, we are here to be rewarded with the lesson that will get us to the next place.  Tomorrow, next week, or next year, we will look back to here and remember how we felt and hopefully see the benefit to our feeling of hopelessness, fear, or anger.  The feelings are okay, we are blessed to be here and going through whatever it is we are going through.

When things fall apart, what do you do to help to bring yourself back — because the the fear is not real.  We have to bring ourselves back to the reality of the situation, the reality of our day.  When we let ourselves go into the worst possible places we are allowing ourselves to drift in illusion.

Here are some things I do to get myself back ::

  • I sit quietly on the floor, with my eyes closed and breathe.  I don’t time myself.  I just do it until my mind is clear and my heart feels calm.
  • yoga.  Even just legs up the wall for 5 minutes.  I like to turn myself upside down.
  • Go for a run.  And, I don’t mean 3 miles — I run for about a mile to a mile and a half.
  • Do an angel tarot card reading for myself.
  • Prayer.  I pray that god and the universe helps me to see more clearly.
  • Light incense.  I love the tiny sticks — Morning Star.
  • Organize the clutter on my desk.  Usually when my mind is cluttered, so is my desk.
  • Go do the dishes or the laundry.  It usually clears my mind a bit.
  • Go for a walk in the woods or down the street.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Water the plants.
  • Figure out something to give and make it happen.  Give a gift or sign up to give my time to a non-profit.  I volunteer.
  • Music.  I put on some spiritual chants.  Music that is created to clear the chakras.
  • Write up my gratitude list.  There are always things I am grateful for no matter how bad things get.

Most of the time, I do a combination of these.  Do whatever is going to help you to get there.  Don’t numb yourself with alcohol or other substances if you can help it.  That only puts off what can be dealt with today.

I hope these are helpful.  Please email me if I can help in any way — if you need an intuitive reading or a coaching call.

Much love and warmly,

P.S.  Check out the North Star Interviews — there must be something that you have been needing to learn about to help with the divorce process :: http://www.candacesmyth.com/north-star-session-interview-series/

P.S.S. If you are in the Washington, DC area and looking for a support group to help you through the divorce process and beyond.  Email me for the details.  We will be meeting at noon beginning May 22 at the Center for Mindful Living at Tenleytown.

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Exercise Your Compassion Muscle.

Good morning!

We had a beautiful weekend celebrating Kate’s 8th birthday.  Last week she was in a play (two shows) and had her school’s annual performance night where she sang “Who Says” and played a piano piece duet with her piano teacher.  She (and all of us) were busy to say the least.  So, on Sunday, I drank lots of tea, rested, and watched Game of Thrones.  Does anyone else love that show as much as I do?  Yesterday was my day because Kate was with her dad.  I would love to have Kate every day of my life, but it is not possible and has not been possible since her dad and I separated.  I had to find the gift in it, and I know it to be that I am given days of rest, a day to read what I want to read, to spend time alone with my husband, to garden, to have brunch, to do whatever I want (within reason, of course).

I was talking to someone not too long ago about how difficult it was when I had to “let go” of having Kate every day and night.  It had to have been one of the hardest things I ever had to do.  I could not stop thinking about all of the days and activities that I was missing of her life.  What would she do that I would miss this week?  It is still a little painful to think about — especially because she was so young at the time.  I minimized the time away as much as I could, and I believe that it all worked out in the end and that Kate is much better for it.  She is strong and loved.  She loves being home with us and she loves going and being with her Dad too.

You have to find the gift in it when what is is not how you would prefer it to be.  Let’s not be the victim, but instead, the student.    For me, I had to learn to have self-compassion and to use the time to take care of me.

What is your Game of Thrones-like gift to yourself?

We learn from our experiences — good and bad.  We grow, we learn to love more and bigger hopefully.

I want to share with you an exercise that I learned at a recent event.  It is called the Compassion Exercise and it is a very simple five step process to personal peace. Go to The Avatar Compassion Project to get more information and your own free compassion kit.

Here are the five steps.  Focus with attention on your spouse whom you are separating from or divorcing (whatever stage you may be in right now) ::

Step One :  With attention on your spouse, repeat to yourself :

Just like me, ____ is seeking some happiness for his/her life.

Step Two :  With attention on your spouse, repeat to yourself :

Just like me, ______ is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life. 

Step Three :  With attention on your spouse, repeat to yourself :

Just like me, ____ has known sadness, loneliness and despair.

Step Four :  With attention on your spouse, repeat to yourself :

Just like me, ______ is seeking to fulfill his/her needs.

Step Five :  With attention on your spouse, repeat to yourself :

Just like me, _____ is learning about life. 

Close your eyes, deep breath in, and out.

And, as we are talking about letting go and compassion, this week’s interview with Rachel Strisik gets into the physical domain.  How do you deal with your space and the accumulation of stuff in a marriage when you are going through divorce.  What do you keep, what do you give away, throw away?  How can you use your space to take care of you?  Listen to the interview below!

Rachel Strisik is an organizing extraordinaire – Rachel uses creativity, style and a little elbow grease to help clients get their homes, schedules and lives in order. A professional organizer, Rachel empowers her clients to live more organized, productive lives.  Over the course of her career, she has worked on Capitol Hill and with start-ups. Most recently, she served as Director of Operations for a national personal styling company, Style for Hire, co-founded by celebrity stylist Stacy London from TLC’s What Not to Wear.  Rachel lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and five year-old identical twin daughters.  Read more about her and how to get organized at : http://www.rachel-company.com/.

Click Here for the Interview. 

With love and light,

P.S. If you would like to talk with me about mediation and how it might help in your particular situation, call me (202) 587-2772 or email candace@candacesmyth.com.  I provide in-person (DC & MD) mediation sessions and skype sessions for those outside of the metro DC area.  Learn more about them here.

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Our Casualties of War

Good morning.

The trees are still as I look outside my windows.  It is also chilly again — in the 50s.  The weather is not something we can feel confident in at all these days.  I never know how Kate should dress for the day.  She is doing a great job at picking out her clothes lately and layering.  Layering.  I never knew about layering growing up in the South, but I have found it to be one of the most useful dressing know-how essentials.  I am thankful that Frank — having grown up in Jersey — can assist with the wisdom there for Kate and for me.

This weekend I was around a group of amazing women.  I was sitting at lunch with a couple — one of which I interviewed for the North Star Sessions almost a year ago — Teri Goetz.  Her website is http://healthybeing.com.  We had just listened to a phenomenal speaker who  I had never heard speak or heard of before.  His name is Bo Eason and he is a former pro football player turned speaker and playwright.  His play, Runt of the Litter, was just turned into a screenplay and is being directed by the director of Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile.  I was blown away by the way he presented his story.  It made me think about why I do the work I do, a little deeper.

What came to me at lunch — on the way to lunch and in the lunch is that I am driven by the pain others are going through.  I am on a mission to lead a global movement to stop and change the way divorce happens in our world.

This why goes back to being a child when my grandaddy shot himself.  I did not understand and can clearly remember the adults around me trying to deal with the pain themselves and avoiding, ignoring me and my pain.  They thought that if they just dealt with it on their own and didn’t talk about it (actually pushed it under the closet doors to never talk about again), I would be fine.  Or, I am guessing this was there thinking.  In the mean time, I was a mess and really hurting.  I became my grandaddy’s defender in every way and wanted to make sure he and his memory were clearly visible at all times.  I erected a make-shift plywood sculpture” in his honor and tried to force the adults to a strict observance of holidays “like grandaddy wanted us to do it this way.”  Any time I heard that he was an alcoholic, I would remind everyone in the room that he LOVED his grandchildren more than anything and we loved him.  The adults seemed to forget the very important and magical relationship this man had with his grandchildren.  He may have been diagnosed paranoid schitzoprhenic, had been an abuser of my Granny (who I also love more than anything), was an alcoholic and killed himself.  But, he was one of the only adults growing up who truly GOT ME.  He was able to show love like no one else and he was able to see me as a human being even when I was a child.

Children should not be treated as if they are invisible.  They are right here in front of us, and they matter.  It is also important to remember that children form their own relationships with people.  Just because we have a difficult relationship with our spouse, does not mean that their relationship will also be difficult or even abusive.

We have our very own casualties of war in this country that have nothing to do with Afghanistan or Iraq.  They are our children, and they have virtually no say in how their parents divorce.  They have no control over the effect it has on them as children.  WE as adults are the only ones who can turn this war around.  We do have the control, and we have a responsibility  to stop acting out of fear, anger, resentment, shame and start acting like adults.  Only we can take the steps necessary to change the course of our divorce.  This may be one of our greatest challenges, but it is here for us to move through and to the other side.  No, it may not fair.  But it is.

The truth is only we can let someone else’s words or behavior hurt us.  We have the power within us to be okay just as things are and to end our own suffering and the suffering our children experience.  Conflict engagement or war takes two.  If one disengages, what happens?  In most cases, the other disengages because there is no one to engage.  It only takes one to stop the war.  I say this all of the time and it really comes down to who wants the war to end most.  If one of the two feels powerless or like the other owes him, one has to ask what is most important and also learn to trust that the universe is rearranging itself for your best interest.  How can you move onto your new greatness when you are dependent?  Don’t you choose to be free?

Trust that everything is going to be okay.  Trust that things are happening in this process for a reason.  When you know the effect this is having on you and your children, begin making choices from a place of inner strength, not fear and insecurity.  Know that you are loved, and love yourself.  Loving yourself (i.e., taking care of yourself) may mean absolutely, positively walking away.

“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.”
― 
Byron Katie, Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

———-

Part of this struggle is getting ahold of your finances during and after divorce.  This week, I have interviewed a financial advisor to help think through some of the financial issues and planning that come up in divorce.  Information and educating yourself about the things you do not know helps to alleviate fear.  Listen to this week’s North Star Sessions interview with Chris Brasacchio.

 

 

Chris Brasacchio has been in the financial planning business for over 20 years.  He is a certified financial planner and has his own fee-based planning firm, Chart House Financial, in the Washington, DC metro area.  You can find more about Chris and his work at www.charthousefinancial.com.

 

Click here to listen to the interview.

 

 

 

With love and light,

 

 

 

P.S.      If you are struggling to find a way through this process, call me to discuss my family mediation services.  I also provide skype mediation sessions for those outside of the DC metro area.  (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S.  If you are looking for a coach to help you divorce different and do it less expensively (much less!) and with a reduction in conflict, contact me by replying to this email now or call me (202) 587-2772.

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How Mediation Helps You File for Divorce on Your Own + Heal.

Good morning!  Ahhhh, Spring!  We have so many different birds out and about now.  There is one that has the most beautiful song — three notes — dum, dum dummmmmm.  I have to find out what kind of bird this is — its tune is so beautiful and different.  This weekend, I also got into my flower bed out front and did some excavating of my poor tulips so that they can peak above the surface.  I am ashamed to say that I have been neglectful with them this past year, so taking care of them made me really happy.  Here are the beautiful colors out my front door.  Please share your’s with me!

 

Divorce can be as easy or difficult as you want to make it.  I often feel like we self-sabotage the process — I know I did — by assuming that the process is going to be terrible, that our soon-to-be former spouse is going to be a nightmare. In fact, there are so many conversations that I have experienced among women where it is expected to be supportive of others as they rant about how terrible their ex is — how vile and evil.  No doubt there are some ex spouses that just don’t know how to behave, but we are being just as negative in our behavior when we tear them down with our words.  Worse.  As we tear our ex down — so too do we tear down that other half of our children.  No matter how difficult it is at times to take in, our children are not just of ourselves, they are of two people.  And, as we tear down our ex, we tear down them and ourselves.  We are truly all one.

“Fear-based ego is nothing more than the belief that we are separate beings, . . .  Only love is real.  And when we’are not thinking with love, since only love is real, then we’re actually not thinking at all.”  – Marianne Williamson

Today, I thought I would talk a little about how mediation can really help you file for divorce pro se, self-file, file for divorce with the assistance of attorneys.

Here’s the usual way things go down :

A husband and wife may try to work things out on their own.  Things come to a stand still or worse — things get ugly.  Each of them goes out and throws down thousands of dollars in retainers to hire attorneys.  They spend months each paying for their individual attorneys who are trained to fight for the respective client’s rights and interests.  (Note:  the children don’t usually have attorneys fighting for what is best for them.)  At the end of it all, maybe the attorneys will help the couple negotiate a settlement so that they do not find themselves in litigation, but usually the couple is truly bitter at one another in the end even if they are able to settle it out of court.

The problem with the family legal system is that it views everyone as very separate with independent right and interests.  It automatically pits two people who once loved one another (and really still do on some level) against each other.

What if, however, when a couple decides settling the issues is not possible on their own, they go straight to a mediator?

In mediation, it is most often about the whole picture and working out the details as amicably as possible.  Mediation is about listening to one another respectfully even when it is difficult to hear.  It is about working out the anger and fears by looking behind them to the triggers there.  With the help of a mediator,  a couple can actually come to an agreement on their own and file the divorce paperwork with the court themselves — saving time, worry, and money.  Each party may (and is encouraged to) have an attorney review the final settlement document, but comes to a self-made agreement, hopefully and commonly more stable emotionally and financially at the end of it.

Consider these statistics taken from a study by Dr. David Emery.  Dr. Emery’s studies at the University of Virginia’s Center for Children, Families and the Law used random assignment to ensure that both divorce mediation and litigation groups included the full spectrum of couples — determined by their ways of relating to one another. Divorce or custody dispute couples evaluated as “cooperative” “distant” and “angry” were randomly distributed to both groups.

Dr. Emery’s results found that twelve (12) years later after an average of only five (5) hours of mediation at the time of the parties’ divorce 

  • 28 percent of the nonresidential parents who mediated saw their children at least once a week, in comparison with 9 percent of parents who were assigned by the study to resolve their divorce or custody dispute by litigation.
  • 36 percent of nonresidential parents who litigated had not seen their children in the last year, in comparison with 16 percent of divorcing parents who were assigned to mediation.
  • Among divorce families who mediated, fully 59 percent of nonresidential parents talked to their children weekly or more often, compared with just 14 percent of nonresidential parents who litigated.
  • Finally, in comparison with families who went to court, the residential parent of divorcing couples who mediated, consistently reported that the nonresidential parent discussed problems with them more and participated more in the children’s discipline, grooming, religious training, errands, special events, school and church functions, recreational activities, holidays and vacations.
See more of the details from Dr. Emery’s study here.  

If you are having difficulty in your process, why not contact a mediator and just see if she or he thinks it might be helpful right now?  Call a few — see what they say.  Every mediator has his or her own style.  Make sure you find the right fit because it is an important relationship, much like a couples counselor in my view.  The more information you have, the better you are going to feel.

Going through any divorce process is difficult work and most find they do not take care of themselves through the process.  This week’s interview is about giving you simple ways to stay as physically healthy as possible through difficult times.

Linda Tabach :: Easy Care of Your Body Through Divorce.

 

 

Linda Taback is a holistic health coach, blogger, writer, running coach, half marathoner, mom of two grown children.  Linda received her health coaching certification fro the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and works mainly with women going through midlife transitions.  Linda has been featured in the Huffington Post and the book Health Tipping Point.  You can find her and more information about nutrition, healing, and running at http://lindatabach.com.

 

 

Click here to listen to the recording.   With love and light,

 

P.S.      If you are struggling to find a way through this process, call me to discuss my family mediation services.  I also provide skype mediation sessions for those outside of the DC metro area.  (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S.  If you are looking for a coach to help you divorce different and do it less expensively (much less!) and with a huge reduction in conflict, contact me by replying to this email now or call me (202) 587-2772.

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Meditation in Meditation

I have the windows in my office raised this morning. Okay, it is still a little chilly, but I am loving being connected to the outdoors while I am inside again. I feel so cooped up in the winter time. I like the burrowed-in feel for a little while and then I think my body and mind go a little crazy for sun and fresh air. This winter has been WAY TOO long for me. Do you feel that way? How have the last few days been for you?

I have a couple of things happening this week that I thought I would share with you.

First, my birthday! It is on Thursday. I turn 40. I wanted to do something in honor of it, for you, so I have decided to do something really special that day. I will let you know as soon as it is ready.

The second thing is that I have opened up my office in another location two days a week. I will be holding workshops and office hours at the Insight Meditation Community of Washington’s Center for Mindful Living. This is a dream come true for me as it provides a space that truly fits what my practice is all about. With the new space, I will be opening two local 6-week group sessions in May. One for individuals going through divorce and the other for those struggling with co-parenting either in or post-divorce. I will send more details on the groups in the next week.

I say and type the word mediation so many times throughout the day. I notice that I often say meditation or type it instead of mediation. Even when I google mediation, meditation sites pop up in answer to my search. I had not really thought much about that connection, those synchronicities until right now.

The truth is, when you are mindful about your life and how you show up in the divorce process, you are in a sense meditating. We work to keep our flight or flight – amygdala or limbic brains — centered, in a calm place so that we can think and communicate rationally about the issues before us, while using our breath, and reminding ourselves that we are okay. It is not easy. In mediation sessions, I see the rise and fall of fight or flight so often throughout, but what is clear, is that when couples are given tools to use, recognize the importance of them, and want to end the divorce in a loving way — we are using meditation in mediation.

To combine the energy of a meditation center with the heart of my mediation practice is perfect. I will post photos later in the week!

I highly recommend turning to spiritual exercise when faced with divorce. Whether meditation or prayer, the centering and calming effect of spiritual practice is unmet by any other. It is not just a band-aid.

Here are some resources that I love ::

Insight Meditation Community of Washington

Tiny Buddha

Brene Brown

Danielle LaPorte

Eckhart Tolle

Email me now :: candace@candacesmyth.com for a free guided meditation centered on awakening and being centered through the divorce process.

And, what better time to listen to an interview about vulnerability, shame and what it means to dare greatly in divorce?  This week’s North Star Sessions interview is with Amy Tatsumi.  And, here’s the link to the other North Star interviews in case you missed them.

Amy Tatsumi

Amy is a licensed professional counselor, psychotherapist, and board certified art therapist in Washington, DC.  She specializes in working with women who are depressed, anxious, stressed, in transition, or who feel stuck to help them live a more balanced life with meaningful connections.  Amy is currently working with Brene Brown to Connections Certification .  To learn more about Amy and her work, go to her website : http://tatsumiandjones.com.

Click here to listen to the recording.

With love and light,

P.S. If you are looking for a coach to help you divorce different and do it less expensively (much less!) and with a huge reduction in conflict, contact me by replying to this email now or call me (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process, call me to discuss my family mediation services.  I also provide skype mediation sessions for those outside of the DC metro area.  (202) 587-2772.

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The Five Mindsets That Build Conflict

This morning the birds are chirping.  They are all back and hoping (as I am) for more sun, more Spring-like weather.  Kate and I were away for Spring Break last week down in Alabama visiting with family.  I spent some of my time just walking around the beautiful large yard where I grew up, stepping between the trees I have known since childhood and the memories they hold.  The Azaleas, the banana bloom tree, dogwoods, the pecan trees and oaks.  Walking and feeling blessed to be with nature, to be back home was very healing, meditative.  It almost helped to reset my psyche and the blessings I have in my life.  Even through the loss of my parents, many aunts and uncles, grandparents, friends, those trees still stand.  It is that sureness with which I feel centered in nature.  It is all okay.  We run around the trees with our dramas and life changes, but they stand with a stillness and strength of eternity.
My husband could not go with us on our trip last week, and I missed his presence so much.  Being away from him and spending that time being quiet brought me home feeling so grateful for our life together.  That gratefulness, that spirit comes and goes with disagreements, however.  We are so very different in how we communicate but so very passionate about our love for one another.  From my experience, passion and fire in conflict go hand in hand.  But, conflict does not have be engulfed in fire and it does not have to end the relationship.  It is possible to have communication miracles in your relationship or in your divorce negotiation.

In mediations, I so often see similar communication issues come up.  These are passionate couples — couples that are engulfed in fire.  You can tell why they fell in love with one another immediately.  And, then instead of using the fire to love one another completely and melt into the flames as one, they find themselves using the fire against the other.  I truly believe that for some of these same couples, staying together is possible.  It only takes one of the two to turn it around.  Sure, both have to want to make it work, but only one must notice, pay attention to what is going on and not react to the dynamic in the same way as before.

What does it take to be that one person? It takes love and presence.  It takes being an adult and not letting the childhood triggers run your life and relationship.  And, of course, it is not easy.

When another loves us and we feel we are in the presence of unconditional love, it repairs our childhood wound of feeling unwanted, unloved.  It is not possible, however, for the unconditional love and presence to be constant — it is not human.  And, in divorce, we as a couple are learning to separate from one another, and often the unconditional love is not present through the divorce process.  David Richo who I have talked about before in this space discusses the “five mindsets of ego” in his book : How to Be an Adult in Relationships.  Learning to acknowledge and work with these five mindsets so that you can be present in the relationship and/or conflict can truly shift your dynamic miraculously.

These are the five ego-driven mindsets that invade our mental space to disallow our presence in the moment and with the person in front of us.  They are very good at distorting reality too.  From Richo’s book:

  1. Fear :: “I perceive a threat in you or am afraid you may not like me so I am on the defensive.”
  2. Desire :: “I am trying to get something from you or this.”
  3. Judgment :: “I am caught up in my own opinion about you or this.”
  4. Control :: “I am attached to a particular outcome and am caught in the need to fix, persuade, advise or change you.”
  5. Illusion ::  ”I have a mental picture of or belief about you or this and it obscures what you are really like.”

Which of these plagues you and your relationship or divorce process?  Which of these can you vow to being mindful of so that you can stay present with your emotions and the reality of the situation?

If you are in the divorce process, be mindful of these ego-driven mindsets and know them as that.  They are there to protect you the only way they know how.  It is your job to notice them, thank them but tell them you can take care of yourself in this.  Notice them and release them so that you can deal with the present situation, argument, moment with as little ego and as much love as possible.  Presence is the key to resolving conflict.

With love and light,

P.S. If you are looking for a coach to help you divorce different and do it less expensively (much less!) and with a huge reduction in conflict, contact me by replying to this email now or call me (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process, call me to discuss my family mediation services.  (202) 587-2772.

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The Quite Possibly Worst Addiction Out There

The number one destroyer of a mediation going smoothly is the same as the number one destroyer of intimacy in close relationships.  Blame and Criticism.

Blame and criticism are costly addictions, and the truth is that when we criticize it doesn’t have anything to do with the thing we are criticizing.  When we blame someone or something, we are doing it because we are trying to weaken the flow of positive energy.  Gay Hendricks has talked about how when you go into criticizing or blame mode it is as if you are in a hypnotic trance.  When we’are in the trance, we really believe that the other person has done wrong.

 

Isn’t this so true?  When we criticize or blame haven’t we absolutely convinced ourselves that the other person has done something wrong?  They deserve to hear it and we want them to make amends.  When they don’t?  Well, that’s just more reason they should be blamed and criticized.  And, ladies, I hate to say it, but we sometimes have the most critical tongue.  ”When a woman criticizes a man, whether she does it deliberately or not, she makes it impossible for him to feel connected to her.  Where there is withdrawn or silent man, there is usually a critical woman.”  – Patricia Love and Steven Stosny

Some of you, however, right now as you read this still do not understand why blame is a negative.  Don’t they deserve some of this?  I know I have had my share of what I thought to be justified blame.  There is no truth in what we are dishing out.  What is true is our feeling about their behavior.

Here’s the thing, when we blame we are blind and choose to be so.  We remain unaware of the fact that by blaming we are telling ourselves about the other’s behavior and that stimulates our pain.  This lack of awareness causes distress and also keeps us powerless to do anything about it. Even though we attempt to reduce our distress by continuing to throw the heat on the other person by blaming and criticizing, the fire in us burns even greater.  This is because when we blame it mirrors back onto us because the truth is we are all one.  Another way to look at blame is that it is just a tragic expression of an unmet need.  If you call your spouse cold and heartless, this is more about your hurt, what you feel you were lacking in the relationship.  This is about your needs and his or her inability to meet them and our disappointment or hurt that they could not or did not.  By expressing the unmet need through blame and criticism we almost guarantee that our need will not be met.

 

So, what can we do about it?

Stop it.  (If you can’t, seek some help because it is an addiction.)

Just as blame is a protective measure based on fear and ignorance, compassion is a countermove based on courage and understanding.

So, when you start to feel the rise of the need to blame or criticize, take a moment to feel whatever it is that is bubbling up in you.  Where is the feeling located?  Is it in your stomach, your throat, your heart.  What is behind the blame you want to throw out there?  Are you scared?  Are you lonely and sad?  Are you angry because he or she is not giving to you what you need?  Can you now ask for what it is you need without blaming or criticizing.  ”I am really sad because I have wanted to be close to you.”  ”I feel scared because I don’t know how to do this alone.”

In divorce, just as in marriage, the feelings behind the blame or criticism should be discussed so that some of these age-old relationship dynamic wounds may be healed.  Divorce can be such a healing process.  And, we need that more than anything.  When we decide that the marriage must end, why do we think that it should be the biggest and meanest fight ever?  Why not wrap it up, bless it for the lessons and for the moments of kindness and joy, and send it on its way so that we may move forward to have the capacity for enjoyment, for new loves, for joy.

Amen.

 

With love and light,

 

 

P.S. If you are looking for a coach to help you divorce different and do it less expensively (much less!) and with a huge reduction in conflict, contact me by replying to this email now or call me (202) 587-2772.

 

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process and you live in Washington, DC or Maryland, call me to discuss my family mediation services.  (202) 587-2772.

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How to Know You Have Hired the Wrong Attorney in Your Divorce.

I woke up this morning needing to tell you something that shines a light on what is most important in hiring an attorney for your divorce.  You see, one of the reasons I started this business (being an attorney myself) and feel so passionate about it is because I have seen family law attorneys (and attorneys in other areas of the law) become part of the process in a not so positive way.  Some attorneys thrive on conflict, and others thrive on the power it gives them to advocate on behalf someone who cannot advocate for themselves as well.  Being a public defender, immigration attorney and GLBT advocate, I know latter syndrome really well.  It makes the attorney feel better that they are able to take the burden off the client and some become almost a caretaker.

What often happens, though, is the client is disempowered by the relationship.  The client relies and looks so up to the attorney representing him or her that the attorney becomes the client.  The client is silenced.  The client is not part of the process anymore.  In family law, this is especially detrimental, in my view, to the process because the attorney-client relationship essentially ends and one of the key people in the family is not talking for him or her anymore.  The compassion, love, memory of the relationship from that perspective no longer speaks.  Once the divorce process is over then, that client is left to his or her own abilities to co-parent successfully, to communicate with his or her ex, and be an adult in life and in another (hopefully) healthy relationship.

 

Here are three very unique ways you know you have hired the wrong attorney to handle your divorce : 

 

  1. Your attorney begins to say in negotiations or in discussions with you, “well, I could never sign something that says that” or “I would never agree to that.”  If your attorneys stops remembering that you are the one that must decide (with his or her advice, of course) whether it makes sense for you and your family to sign something, you have a red flag.  If you begin looking to your attorney for every answer and have difficulty going inside yourself, you may need to seek counsel elsewhere to break the cycle.  I don’t care how much you want to bow out of the divorce process, when you do, you are not being an adult in the process.  I will save this for a future blog post because I was there one time and can speak to the feeling very well.  But, to avoid all now only makes it worse later.
  2. Your attorney never gives you an understanding of where the other side is coming from.  There are always two sides to any case, and if you are in litigation, a court may be asked to decide.  If your attorney accepts your story wholeheartedly and goes after the other side without thinking, asking or talking with you about your spouse’s emotions and triggers and the positives of his or her case or what a court might do in this situation, you have another red flag.  This is when you end up in court having spent tens of thousands of dollars and then get surprised by the result.  (and, usually you realize that you could have had that result in the beginning just trying to work it out.)
  3. Your attorney communicates with your spouse or spouse’s attorney on something important to you without discussing it or showing you the communication.  Talk about how miscommunication happens and how it escalates conflict.  Attorney-Client communication is key to having a healthy relationship and a divorce process with the least amount of conflict and drama.  When you already have more than two people in the mix, the telephone game is bound to start.  But, if you have an attorney who clears the communications with you, you ask yourself the three questions : is this true, is this an attack or retaliation move, is this really how I want things to look in the future?, and you still feel like the communication should go out, then you are good to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember, you are wise.  You know what is right when you are quiet, still and listen to your higher self.  Love is truly the only answer here.  Only you, not your attorney, can speak to that truth.

 

 “When we turn on light, the darkness disappears; and when we turn on love, the ego disappears.” — Marianne Williamson

 

I hope this is helpful to you.  Please let me know what you think by replying to this email, leaving a comment on the blog http://www.candacesmyth.com/blog/ or on the facebook page.

 

I hope you have a blessed day today.
With love and light,

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. If you are looking for a coach to help you divorce different and do it less expensively (much less!) and with a huge reduction in conflict, contact me by replying to this email now or call me (202) 587-2772.

 

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process and you live in Washington, DC or Maryland, call me to discuss my family mediation services.  (202) 587-2772.

 

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How To Make A Light Shift In Your Communication

This morning, I am up in New Jersey visiting my mother-in-law who has been in the hospital now for almost two months.  She has not walked since she went into the hospital, and to say she has had a major life change is really a disservice to her.  I am in her empty house this morning thinking about all of the routines that have been a blessed part of her life all of these years.  We are not sure how much longer it will be before she is able to come home or even if she will be able to resume life in this house.  So many unknowns, but she is dealing with them with such strength.Divorce is one of those traumas not unlike aging and realizing that things are going to have to be very different moving forward.   Your life, your family’s life changes very suddenly most times.  There are those who see it coming and those who don’t.  Those who make the decision and those who feel abandoned.
A constant refrain in these times is the communication in your head about every single change or decision.  Usually when we are in high fear times like living with many unknowns, the voice in our head is very negative.  I am sure you can think up many that go through your own mind each day. Here are some that went through my head when I was in the middle of my own divorce:He never loved me.
We are going to live destitute without two incomes.
He doesn’t really care how anything makes me feel.
He doesn’t love me so could care less about working anything out.Or my worries about my mother-in-law :She is never going to walk again.
What are we going to do about when she gets out of the hospital?
We are going to have to live in New Jersey to get everything done.It is so easy to go the way of negativity and worry isn’t it?  There are probably many worse thoughts that have come to mind. What is important is not to disregard the thoughts totally.  Acknowledge they are there and coming up for you.  What is important, however, is that you turn them around whenever possible to a positive thought.  What do I mean? For example, let’s use the thought or worry that he never loved me.Thought :  He never really loved me.Now I can skillfully argue this case and present evidence for it — or I could have at that time.  I would have been very emotional about it, actually, and sure of it. But what happens when you present all of your evidence?  You stop, right?  And, that’s it.  Your mind then believes it to be so and thinks it true.  But, it is an illusion.  What happens when your mind believes this negative thought is that your body feels awful.  You feel depressed, angry, just plain down.  And, the thought is only half true anyway.  The other half true is the new thought.New thought : He always really loved me.I can find examples and evidence to back up both of these statements (and could have even back then — although more difficult, absolutely possible), but the new thought makes me feel so much better and helps me to be more loving towards him.  It saves me from attack and him from attack.This exercise may not change the situation.  You are still getting a divorce, but it changes the energy of your divorce.  It will.

Only you have the choice.  The one who sees it is the one who must act.  (Who cares if you are the one who always comes around and helps to bring a halt to the conflict.  That is okay.  Embrace your role, don’t feel resentful about it.)

I hope you have a blessed day today.

With love and light,

P.S. TODAY is the final day to register for the North Star Sessions.  You have to register here to be a part of them : http://www.candacesmyth.com/the-north-star-sessions/
Call me if you have any questions about the program : (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process and you live in Washington, DC or Maryland, call me to discuss my family mediation services.  (202) 587-2772.

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What’s V-Day Got To Do With It?

First of all, I just want to let you all know how blessed I feel this morning to be here with you.

These last couple of weeks have been the scariest of my life, I think.  My daughter has always been healthy, but we found ourselves in Children’s Hospital last week with a bone infection.  If you know the symptoms of such an infection, you know how painful and debilitating it is for anyone, much less a little one.  I found myself thinking some dark thoughts several times, but I always meandered my way back with the tools I have learned on my life journey and that I share with you each week and with my clients.  Kate is really okay now.  We had to get the antibiotics going and after a week in the hospital we are home.  After a few doctor’s appointments, she will be back to school full-time.  Grateful and feeling blessed beyond measure.

Life, the universe, god sends you these times for a reason.  If we were never tested, we would not know much.  We would not grow into the next us.  They are reminders of our human-ness, our inability to make it through this life with trust of a more powerful source than ourselves.

Divorce is one of these.

In so many ways, divorce is a gift of spirit.  It is here to help guide us into the next phase of our lives, however painful, it is here to guide us into a more joy-filled destiny.  One in which we are even more present that we were before.

So, that brings me to Valentine’s Day.  This Thursday.  Do you have a plan?  Having a plan changes everything, it helps you to feel empowered because you are deciding affirmatively what you are going to do.  There is no way for you to be sad and alone (and feeling like a victim) on Valentine’s Day when you choose and take actionable steps to have the day you desire.

Here are some great ideas on what to do on Thursday to make this Valentine’s Day a happy, nurturing one :

  1. Give to others – Go to a local nursing home or Children’s Hospital, soup kitchen, where others need you.  Find a cause you like and spend some time helping others.  The true, time tested elixer for getting us out of our own pain-bodies, get up and give to someone else in need.
  2. Host a party – invite all your friends over to celebrate with you.  Nothing keeps us busier than cooking, decorating and hosting a party for others.  Relax with a few other friends, drink some wine and be together.
  3. Pamper yourself – treat yourself to something you love.  Get a massage, a 95+ points bottle of wine, dark dark dark chocolate, bath bombs, a pedicure, restorative yoga.  Spend some time and money on yourself.  Or, just get cozy in bed with that book you haven’t had time to open up lately.
  4. Write yourself a love letter – make a list of all the things you love about yourself, why not? You deserve it!
  5. Limit your exposure to romantic movies or love songs, doing so might only make you feel worse.  So give yourself a break.
  6. Be creative – Start that painting you have been thinking about, go on a photography shoot of your neighborhood, local graffiti or nature, go hiking, try out a rock climbing class or trapeze.  Do something daring!
  7. Go out with friends – enjoy the evening with other friends who appreciate you and what you have to offer.

Let me know what you planned!

Why don’t you give me a call between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. ET?  I am holding office hours again.  So, just call me at (202) 587-2772.  I would love to talk with you!

With love and light,

P.S. Let’s keep this work going.  I am getting ready to open up a new North Star Sessions group.  The Sessions are beginning on February 19.  You have to register here to be a part of them : http://www.candacesmyth.com/the-north-star-sessions/
And, remember the EARLY BIRD discount ends on Valentine’s Day.  So, you need to go ahead and get in there before midnight on Thursday.  Here’s the link again.  Call me if you have any questions about the program : (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process and you live in Washington, DC or Maryland, call me to discuss my family mediation services.  (202) 587-2772.

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Sometimes life happens and you don’t know what to do

Sometimes life happens and you don’t know what to do.

My family was all in various doctors offices all day yesterday — with Kate.  I am still so worried about how she is going to be.  She has been complaining with butt pain and she can’t walk very well.  We seem to have figured it out, but we go back to the doctor today.

Times like these though make everything stop still for me.

I am triggered big time.  I hold it together for Kate and then I lose it.  I have lost so many people I loved tragically and suddenly and to have Kate suffering from something unknown throes me into trauma-panic mode.  I am definitely mother bear and hen and all.

What has helped me is to repeat over and over what I am grateful for.  I am grateful for so many things in my life right now.  So many.

A repeating list of gratefulness is a huge part of holding it together.

My constant rose quartz stone is always with me.  It gives me grounding and love.

My breath continues to work too.

We all fall on difficult times.  Things do fall apart or seem to.  This is what it is to be human.  Things that go up, must come down.  Things that go down, must come up.  It is the fluidity of life.  So, I try, I work on myself, on my trust of the universe, god.  I pray, meditate, hold onto my rose quartz and breathe.  I have been here before.  And, I know that I have the tools to not let my negative (let’s go into the dark ravine) mind take over.  That is what I teach, after all.

I am here.  I am grateful.  You and I are loved.  I promise to check back in at the end of the week.

With love and light,

P.S.  I would truly be honored to have you in the North Star Sessions.  I can’t wait to go through the program with you myself.  Its a six week program.   Here ‘s the link for more information and to register : http://www.candacesmyth.com/the-north-star-sessions/  Remember, if you are in the DC area, we will be holding two in-person group workshops.  I am so looking forward to having you there.

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On Being Non-Violent and How to do it

There are a few things being celebrated here in our nation’s capital today: Martin Luther King’s birthday celebration and President Obama’s second inauguration.  It is a special day here and a busy one.  My daughter Kate recited this quote in the car the other day when she said how difficult it was for her to understand most of King’s speeches, except for this one, and she recited it in its entirety.  I cried, of course :

I have been thinking lately about non-violent communication and how very important it is in the divorce process. So, with today being in honor of one of THE non-violence ministers and advocates, I think it is the right time to talk about it. It is also something that I plan to really dive into on the call this week. Have you registered yet? If you haven’t yet, do that through this link. Spots are limited for the live call, so make sure you register early.

As I practice mindfulness everyday in my own life, there come times when I fall. I get so angry, fearful, insecure in my relationship that I begin to attack (a bit passive aggressively, I might add). I throw out words that mean nothing and probably would not sting me but hurt him badly. Even though I am not hitting — something you would easily think of as violent — I am throwing violent word punches. Oh, the damage words can do. You can’t be perfect and that’s okay. But, what you can do, is try and keep moving forward (not backward).

This is why, even though you have decided the relationship is over, taking a class or reminding yourself how to nonviolently communicate can make a world of difference in the divorce process (and beyond). This is one of the things that to me makes the North Star Sessions™ so different and so valuable. I didn’t have this information when I went through my divorce. I had some innate ability sometimes to communicate but I mostly just muddled through and made lots of “violent” mistakes. It took almost two years to work through a settlement. That takes a lot of energy and money. By using some of these tools, you can save yourself thousands (I mean it) of dollars and worry and anxiety and time. And, that goes for work you must do post-divorce too.

To start, here are five nonviolent communication techniques to help you through your next negotiation debacle :

  1. Stop. Breathe. Notice the communication situation. What is really going on here? Step back and look at the situation without judgment. Step back from your own emotion and look at it.
  2. Look at your own judgmental thoughts. What judgment have you been tossing at the other person? Just notice it.
  3. Now that you have separated yourself from the judgmental thoughts and words, express how this conversation has made you feel or how you feel about what it is you are arguing about. For example, instead of saying “I feel like you never really listen to me!” say “I feel alone and misunderstood because when I speak you often talk over me.”
  4. Identify for yourself what you need from the other person. In the example above, the need would be, I need him to listen to what I have to say.
  5. Express that need and ask for what it is you need with your whole heart. For example, “Can you please give me some uninterrupted time to finish and then please tell me what you heard me say?” In this example, one is not feeling like the other is listening and needs some reflection of what she is saying. Often, it is working both ways. Meaning, if one of the two feel like they are not being heard, the other feels the same. Once you begin this process, it changes the dynamic completely. It slows down the conflict and helps you to see one another as beautiful human beings again. To end, after the requester receives what she or he has asked for, thank them for listening, acknowledge what they have done. Appreciate (one of the five A’s of an adult relationship).

Try them out and let me know how it went. Please email me your questions and insights. I would love to hear from you. Just hit reply to this email.

With love and light,

 

P.S. Let’s keep this work going. I am getting ready to open up a new North Star Sessions group. I am giving a free one hour tele-class on January 24, 2013 from 2pm – 3 pm ET. Click here for the link to register. And, if you miss it, no worries because there will be an encore call on Friday, January 26 (Saturday) and I am recording it. I will be sending more details, so keep watching for more information!

You must click here to register for the call on Thursday.

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process and you live in Washington, DC or Maryland, call me to discuss my family mediation services. (202) 587-2772.

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Have you reset for 2013?

Can you believe we are still in the first month of 2013?  I have to say that I am truly grateful to have a few more weeks here.  January of every year is so important for the rest of the year.  It is also a big month of change.  Those who are unhappy in their marriage or relationship find the new year the exact right time to take affirmative action in their situation — whether to leave the marriage, decide to start couples counseling, begin to take time for themselves to figure things out.  January is a great time to make a move.  I feel hopeful because I am finding more and more people who want to end their marriages in a more loving, peaceful way.

We all have the capacity to make a loving divorce and co-parenting relationship work. We do. And, many times it is our life path to work on our part in the conflict with our spouse or former partner. It is the work the universe or god has blessed us with. And, with each step through this work, we find ourselves wise, more healed, and better able to deal with the next great lesson.

So, with all this work, I want to give you a gift today for your January 2013.

This worksheet is part of the material for the very last week of the North Star Sessions. It is a worksheet to get you thinking more about what it is you want to do over the next six months. Get your gift here.

Now, right now, take five to ten minutes to free write, brainstorm, just let yourself go with 50 things you will do in the next six months. That is January through June. (And, in June, I will post the worksheet again for you so you can do it again.)

I love this exercise! I do it every year and sometimes more than once. Sometimes I get to 100.

Here are a few things on my list for the next six months : start rock climbing classes, take Kate to a museum every two weeks, finally complete that work of art (about my grandmother) that has been on my list for awhile, green juice daily, yoga three times a week, calendar time for writing my book.

Let me know what is on your list!

With love and light,

P.S. Let’s keep this work going. I am getting ready to open up a new North Star Sessions group. I am giving a free one hour tele-class on January 24, 2013 from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. And, if you miss it, no worries because there will be an encore call on Friday, January 26 (Saturday) and I am recording it. I will be sending more details, so keep watching for more information!

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process and you live in Washington, DC or Maryland, call me to discuss my family mediation services. (202) 587-2772 .

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Happy New Year!

Let’s be grateful for what 2012 brought to us — even the difficult times are there to bring us to new places, new beginnings.

I truly believe in the goodness of this new year. The universe is always rearranging itself for our best interest. And, I am only ever expecting positive results, no matter what is in front of me. (thanks to Fabienne Fredrickson, this has definitely become one of my new mantras!).

Last week, I was taking a hot bath with one of my new Lush bath bombs (Christmas present from Frank). A memory came to me about how often I saw falling stars as a child and teenager living in Alabama. I thought about how much I wish I could see stars more here in the city. I want to see more stars…… (but that’s another subject that takes us to how much I need the country and Colorado mountains in my life :) I was thinking about one memory in particular. I was spending the night with my best friend, Amanda, I must have been 14 or so. And, she was having a spend the night party or something because there were quite a few girls around. We were walking down the dirt road she lived on and looking up at the sky and all the stars. And, we saw a falling star and I wished on it — like always, the same wish — I wish that I will forever be happy. I want to be happy. Others were wishing for things, for wealth, for particular boyfriends. I wished to be happy.

There is probably much you can take from this story. At the time, I truthfully did not think of myself as happy. I was having a rough time of it. I grew up in an ultra conservative environment in Alabama — and adolescence and my pushing the social mores — proved to be a really difficult time for me. So, I became a dreamer. I dreamed of leaving Alabama (which I later did), I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed and most of all I dreamed of one day being happy.

So, my wish on the star that night and those many falling stars I saw growing up in Alabama made me today think of HAPPINESS and our new year.

Is happiness on your list? Do you wish for it, have you ever?

The lesson I have learned over many years of healing, exploring my own depths as a human being and reading book after book about it is — you can wish to be happy all you want, but it is in choosing to be happy that makes it so. Happy conditions do not make us happy, being happy causes happy conditions. So, no more wishing on stars to be happy. I choose it period. No more questions. Happiness is not out there……… Happiness is right here and it has been here all along. We all have the same capacity, the same ability, the same happiness opportunity. We just have to notice it and choose it. That simple.

Being just is. It takes no time at all.

So, it’s your choice — as it always is. You can either try to get happiness, try to do things to make you happy, or you can right now, this instant decide to be happy. Which do you choose this 2013?

How are you this January 2013? Where are you in the divorce process and how does this MML help you today? Please write to me.

With love and light,

P.S. Let’s keep this work going. I am getting ready to open up a new North Star Sessions group. Keep watching for the details! February 2013 — North Star Sessions, a new way to divorce different.

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process and you live in Washington, DC or Maryland, call me to discuss my family mediation services. (202) 587-2772 .

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How Busy Are You?

To begin, I just want to stop for a minute to pray for the families and friends of those beautiful little ones and big ones we lost this week.  May their love and spirits carry us all into a much better world, into our higher selves.  May we find more love and peace, may we come together like never before in love.  Amen.

—————

I have to be honest.  My to do list right now is longer than I can handle.  I have been recovering from bronchitis for going on three weeks now.  My mother-in-law is in the hospital this morning for an angiogram.  School is out on Friday.   I have to get holiday cards out — still not done.  And, those last minute gifts have to be bought too.

Realizing there are still unknowns and curve balls thrown at times, how do I want this week and next week to be?  What would be the ideal way these next two weeks can turn out?  How do I want to feel?

 Joyful, Nurturing, Loving, Peaceful, Grateful, Magical, Calm, Rested, Wonder-full, Beautiful, Loved, All is Well, Healthy, Ease, Plentiful, Whole.

Take a moment to write down how you want to feel these next couple of weeks.  Now, look at your calendar (I am looking at mine right now).  Of the things you have scheduled, delete or mark through those activities that do not make you feel one of your ideal emotions.  Figure out a substitute, just don’t do it or ask someone else to do it for you.

You are the decider.  You are responsible for how things will be for you.  I am responsible for my next week too.

Ahhhhhhh.  Thank you for being here this Monday morning.  I need you to keep me straight too.  You help remind me to take care of myself just as I remind you.

So, tell me what comes off your calendar this week?  Send me an email.  Let me know.  And, I will let you know what is coming off mine!

Finally, this quote begins Marianne Williamson’s newest book The Law of Divine Compensation.  I wanted to share it with you today.  It is powerful.

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or a hostile universe.”  – Albert Einstein

With love and light,

 

 

 

P.S. Let’s keep this work going.  I am getting ready to open up a new North Star Sessions group.  Keep watching for the details!

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process and you live in Washington, DC or Maryland, call me to discuss my family mediation services.  (202) 587-2772.

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What Are You Choosing?

The universe or god supports every thought we choose to think and believe.  We have a gazillion+ choices about what we think.  The abundance, freedom from suffering is in the choosing.  If we choose balance, harmony, peace and we allow those thoughts to permeate, our life expresses those thoughts.

In traumas — such as divorce, losing a loved one, losing a job — it is very difficult for our thoughts not to be negative and downward spiraling. But if we know that we have the power to take back our minds, that we want to feel abundant, loving, free from suffering, then we choose to do it. Knowing we can choose yet deciding to remain in the suffering, remaining a victim of circumstance, choosing to be the victim because it is all we know that brings us some validation, this is not the path out.

Divorce, just like anything else, can be a mindset jumble. It is supposed to be hard — on the couple, the kids, the finances.

But what if we choose to step out of that way of thinking?

It doesn’t have to be all those things. Sure, emotionally we must still walk along the path to healing and that is going to take some time. But, we have a choice to make the divorce process — more enlightened or darker.

And, we hold, each of us, that responsibility. We hold the key to a loving new co-parenting relationship for a children to thrive in. We hold the key to release of heavy, angry emotions so that we can move forward into new loving relationships.

Every day, I am positively expecting loving movement forward in my divorce, no matter what I see in front of me.
The universe is rearranging itself for my best interest right now.

Close your eyes. Breathe deeply in. And out. Three long deep breaths. Write this down. Put it in a place you will see every day. And, say it aloud.

You hold the key. The power is within you. Every moment, you have a choice to make. When you know, the choice is with you and you hold that love and responsibility.

I would love to support you through this time. Let me know how I can do that.

With love and light,

 

P.S. Let’s keep this work going. I am getting ready to open up a new North Star Sessions group. Keep watching for the details!

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process and you live in Washington, DC or Maryland, call me to discuss my mediation services. (202) 587-2772 .

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I am eating oysters for Thanksgiving. What are you doing?

Life ebbs and it flows. Especially during the holidays. I wake up this morning full of life and strength. I can feel the new year peeping around the corner and it is winking, smiling. All of the hard work you are doing now is for you and your future.

I have to be honest about something though…. I am feeling a little bit lonely this Thanksgiving. I have my beautiful family — my husband and Kate, our two cats — Max and Oliver, our one year old puppy, Emily. But, I miss my big family in Alabama. I miss my sister and all my cousins. I miss my parents who are no longer living, my grandparents too, the food. My husband doesn’t really understand it. He didn’t grow up in a large family or with a deeply held culture around Thanksgiving. There was a routine. I knew every year what we would eat, who we would see, where we would go. It was loving and relaxing, warm and filled with connection. The smells were the same, the hugs, the couches, the football on TV.

This is what we feel when we experience loss. Loss of anything.
Those memories do not go away, they have helped to make you who you are.
And, although it does get easier each year without someone or without a particular routine, the pang of sadness can sometimes creep in. Instead of brushing it away, we sit with it. If you are feeling lonely or a lot of sadness during the holidays, here are a few things you can do to have a beautiful Thanksgiving.

  • Cry a little.
  • Feel the love inside. Just be with that feeling for a minute.
  • Know you are loved. Affirm : I am loved because I exist, and the universe (or god) totally supports me.
  • Remind yourself of all that is right in front of you. Get present with the abundance here and now. Breathe deeply. Tap the middle of your forward with your eyes closed.
  • Give yourself a real hug for at least 10 seconds. Even rub your shoulders with your hands as you would another person. This feels amazing. You have to try it. You may feel weird about it at first, but if you do it, you will see the power in it.
  • Call 3 people who you haven’t talked to in a long time but with whom you share a deep connection and love. Openly receive the boost you need.
  • Ask yourself right now what you want to add to your current experience from those experiences that you have lost. For example, I will make my Granny’s very special Thanksgiving dressing (email me if you want the recipe). I may go out and buy some oysters to shuck out on the deck. We plan on getting our Christmas tree this weekend (which is really early for people where we live in DC), and I will turn on the little TV we have just so the sounds of football will be playing through the house — kind of like a candle that is lit.

What will you do that is different, the same, that will help you feel loved and supported this Thanksgiving?

Lots of love to everyone today and through this week. Please share your insights and stories with me. Let me know how I can support you further along your journey. I am holding office hours this coming Thursday from 2-3 p.m. Call me about anything on your mind.

With love and light,

 

P.S. Let’s keep this work going.  I am getting ready to open up a new North Star Sessions group.  Keep watching for the details!

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You Determine Your Wake Up Call.

I was thinking yesterday about how much of a wake up call divorce really is.  Wake up calls come in tiny packages, big packages, packages that take up a room.  From losing a parent to losing a job, they force us to be present here, now and to look at our lives.  What of that which we have been doing do we want to continue to do.  Are our friends really our friends?  How much of our life was honest?  Where were we needy?  What areas of our life did we fail to look at because we just did not think we were strong enough?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wake up calls are really godsends.  Marianne Williamson calls relationships “laboratories of the Holy Spirit.”   And, an ending to a relationship is no different.  They are godsends because they force us to keep going.  They push us onto higher ground, making us stronger and more alive.  No more going through the motions and struggling to make a relationship work.  Now, you have the opportunity to be loved by yourself more than ever before.  What happens when you don’t feel you can handle the wake up call though?  It truly is a process whereby you either choose ego or spirit.  The ego is going to speak the loudest because you have been hurt.  The ego believes it is there to serve you, to protect you.  Spirit is there to serve the highest good, god, the Universe.  And, so we must turn to spirit wherever we can to help spirit prevail over ego.

Here are five things you can do to move forward :

  1. Find an activity that gets you moving and do it every week — often, consistently.  I recommend yoga, rock climbing, hiking alone, tai chi.  Something that can quiet the ego which moving your body.  You have red blood cells pumping healing oxygen to your body and quieting your mind.
  2. Talk to spiritual people.  Those people you strive to be like.  The ones who don’t judge and don’t want to be part of any drama.  Let them help you ground yourself, let go and forgive.
  3. Develop a meditation practice or practice of prayer.  Bless the day every morning and every night before bed.
  4. Write down 5 things you are grateful for every single day.
  5. Whenever an unloving thought arises about your spouse or partner, imagine him or her as a child.  When children are young we do not judge their actions so harshly because we see they are growing.  Human beings are always growing — both children and adults — and as both we stumble and fall.

I have a gift for you today.  It is a visualization/meditation.  See if it speaks to you, helps you through something.  Email me about your experiences this week.

Lots of love to everyone today and through this week.  Please share your insights and stories with me.  Let me know how I can support you further along your journey.  I am holding office hours this coming Thursday from 2-3 p.m. Call me about anything on your mind.

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What Do You Believe About Divorce?

I hope you had a beautiful fall weekend.  It is finally here, it seems.  Chilly weather — Kate is already in her coat and saying she needs her gloves.  And, we received the gift of time yesterday — an hour back.  I love when daylight savings time ends.  It is almost a holiday in my book because I am such an early riser.  I love that extra hour to myself in the morning!

I have been thinking a bit over the last couple of weeks about why I am a mediator for couples going through divorce. I feel like it is something that I have been called to do all my life, as I see both sides to everything and always look at the big picture. I always question, who is this really hurting? In my own divorce, although I tried to step back and look at everything from a different perspective. I was so raw from the pain that it was really difficult to do. I also felt justified because of that pain. Over the years, I worked hard to heal myself and take responsibility for my own actions. I also let go of the anger, resentment and judgment of my co-parent’s parenting skills. I also acknowledge all of the work he must have done as well.

At the time, though, I had never seen a loving divorce. I did not have that in my memory bank such that I could pull it up as a reference. In fact, I was ashamed I was even getting divorced at all. So, of course, I had to work on that energy as well. But, initially, I just could not see how a divorce could not be painful, how my daughter could not be sad and negatively affected, how life would ever be “normal” again. I wanted a loving divorce, but I did not see it as a true possibility. I limited the experience. It was only from opening, forgiving, letting go and believing that a positive, loving co-parenting relationship was possible that it began to happen.

Your divorce process and co-parenting relationship is only fixed by your beliefs and your desire.  Tweet this

 

Here are four techniques to work on your limiting beliefs and get back on track :

  1. Journal, make a list, brainstorm how you would like your life to be once the divorce is final. Take the givens, include how you would like most to interact with your co-parent. How would you like your child or children to be? Where do you want to be living? A key here is to just go with it and get it all down and out of you.
  2. From that brainstorm, make a list of what you hope to resolve and how you would like the divorce to end. This is a list of your divorce goals. Stretch yourself but be a bit realistic at the same time. And, then, add a phrase about how this makes you and others feel (i.e., one might be : Our children are with me every weekday with alternating weekends and with two nights during the week for dinner with their dad, and he, the children and I find it works well for all of us.)
  3. List at least 5 negative responses or issues that could arise from every one hope, wish or goal on your list. These are some of the limiting beliefs that are holding you back. For example, your belief might be : I am going to miss out on so much of our children’s development (I am a bad mom.). or I am again the one responsible for most of the work and he gets recreation time with the kids (No one cares about me.). Whatever comes up, write it down.
  4. Now, say to yourself with your hand over your heart — Even though (negative response or belief), I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

Continue to do this clearing exercise to help get you on the road to a loving divorce or post-divorce. Work on those beliefs that hold you back and watch the shifts happen. Please email me about them to candace@candacesmyth.com.

Lots of love to everyone today and through this week. Please share your insights and stories with me. Let me know how I can support you further along your journey.

With love and light,

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Endings are the Lessons of Impermanence

We are hunkered down with plenty of food, electronics charged, batteries galore, candles and headlamps at the ready, plenty of firewood too. We have been able to prepare, yet we still have no idea what is to come.

The weather, the universe, our moods and the complicated human psyche and human heart are constantly shifting. We change. We ebb and flow. We seek stillness and then move again. We move and then are still.

That nothing is static or permanent but fleeting and impermanent is the first great mark of existence, life.

We don’t always like to hear that or accept it. We want to control what happens, to make life better. This basic truth, however, means that life is not always going to go our way. It means there is always loss, always gain. It doesn’t feel good to the human ego. We don’t like it. We seek permanence and security. It is only with relaxing into the impermanence that we can accept the simple, yet obvious truth of change.

I really don’t want flooding, or a tree through our roof (we have had trees falling all around us these last two much smaller wind storms), I want us to be safe, and I really don’t want to be without electricity for days. But, what can I do? It is not up to me. So, what I know to be true is that although we may receive rain, wind, and damage in these next three days, the sun will be shining again later this week. I know it. I know that we should just be here now, in this moment, because our family doesn’t have the opportunity to hunker down together very often.

All relationships end (just as everything else in this world ends). We go through romance, struggle, commitment, and then end with separation or death. What is important to recognize is that it is all part of our evolution. Just as the hurricanes come into our universe to shift the oceans and shorelines for some divine plan, relationships end as they do so that we can unfold into the greater mystery, a higher spiritual peak that comes with letting go and moving forward.

In acknowledging that life is ever-changing and nothing is permanent, we take the first step to letting go. We also must sit with our suffering and not fight it or reach out to fight another because the suffering inside hurts so deeply. Just sit with ourselves as we are, in our suffering  It may be a dark place now, but soon you will see the sun. And, to be honest with ourselves and learn our own responsibility in an ending is the greatest gift we could give to ourselves, to our families.

Lots of love to everyone today and through this week. Take good care if you are on the East Coast, and I look forward to reaching out to you again next Monday. Please share your insights and stories with me. Let me know how I can support you further along your journey.

With love and light,

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Stop Overwhelm Now

 

 

 

Back away from overwhelm. Because when you just utter that word, you cast doubt on your capacity to rise. — Danielle LaPorte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why overwhelm kicks our butt every time and what we can do about it.

What is overwhelm? The human brain was created and evolved to focus on one thing at a time. We may think we are excellent mult-taskers but in reality, we are not present with any one thing. Think about it. Say, you are making a pot of coffee, talking on the phone, and stirring some soup on the stove. The minute your friend on the other end of the phone says something crazy, or exciting, or jaw-dropping, you stop doing those other two activities. In today’s world, we are working in an office, worrying about what time to pick up the kids, how to pay the bills on time, what we will make for dinner, and a multitude of other “emergency” issues. This pushes our brain into overdrive, literally. And, there is no way the rest of us — our senses, our physical body — can catch up with where we have gotten our brain off to. Then, we begin to enter into what I call the overwhelm funnel.

The overwhelm funnel wants only for you to suffer and continue to suffer. It’s the creative ego trap. Once we have gotten ourselves all worked up with everything we have to get done. Our ego comes in to tell us, ever so kindly, how awful we are that we can’t get it all done and now. How lazy, irresponsible, worthless, ridiculous, bad with money, stupid, and selfish we are. hmmph!

Now what? Well, now we are usually crying our eyes out, maybe screaming, maybe in fetal position with a few pillows around us.

So, what can we do about it? STOP. Danielle Laporte says this about overwhelm, “Back away from overwhelm. Because when you just utter that word, you cast doubt on your capacity to rise. You let angst flop on your couch. You fret that you might not have the resources to surmount obstacles or to seal the deal on your dream.” I love it. Just back away from it. Tell it no. It does not own you.

There is a relationship between being overwhelmed and being a victim. Notice it and stop.

4 Proven Ways to Kick Overwhelm to the Curb Right Now.

1. Focus right now on one thing. Your breath. Close your eyes and breathe deeply five times. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Do it. If you are so far in overwhelm mode, you may even want to take a nap. Go take care of yourself and relax. Then, go to number two:

2. Target one mission and complete it. First, make a short list of all that is in your head causing the confusion, crowding. What on that list needs to be done right now? Focus on exactly what needs to be done. Dishes? Walk into the kitchen, turn on the hot water and focus only on getting the dishes clean.

3. Start saying no and stop thinking you have to do it all yourself. Insisting on doing everything yourself burdens you and prevents others from feeling like they are valued and needed. Delegate more at home and at work, and free more of your own time. This is essential to stepping out of overwhelm. As part of this, forgive yourself for not being perfect. You are not perfect and no one else is either. It does not exist. Remember that by not asking others for help and feeling like you have to do it all yourself is a sign you are delving into feeling like a victim. Check yourself. Empower.

4. Write down 5 things you are grateful for today. Make it a habit to do this every day. I promise this pulls you little by little out of feeling like a victim and being handcuffed by overwhelm.

If you want to work even more on striking the word overwhelm from your vocabulary and especially as it comes up in separation and divorce, look into joining us in the North Star Sessions program where we dive even deeper and help you break the habits that have bound you before :
http://www.candacesmyth.com/the-north-star-sessions/

Love and light,

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Your Fall Prescription – Nurture Yourself

Fall is here. Along with the pumpkin carving, hay rides and butternut squash come the colds, the flu, those pesky little bacterial and viral infections that knock us down. Our family spent the day yesterday at a Harvest Festival — slides galore, hayride, apple cider, kettle corn, and a corn maze. And, then last night, Kate complained for the first time in many months of a scratchy throat. She ended up crawling in bed with us in the middle of the night not able to sleep. So, I thought it would be good for me and for you to review our immune system boosters and make extra sure we are all taking care of ourselves and our family during this season.

Every Fall, we should take an inventory of our health habits and do things to boost our immune system which sometimes needs a little extra help. Here are a few tools to do just that :

(1) Immunity Boosters (Of course, be sure to check with your own physician or naturopath before taking any of the below suggestions.):

  • Greens and lots of them. Have you tried juicing yet? Greens are loaded with chlorophyll and eating lots of greens and juicing them is like “bathing our inner organs with sunshine.” No joke.
  • Drink lots of water with lemon. (Detox and hydrate)
  • Multi-vitamin supplement
  • Probiotics – by pill form with live strains (such as Jarro), yogurt, Kombucha
  • 1 Tbsp. of omega 3 oil supplement each day. (Because Fall is so drying, the moisture will nurture your internal organs).
  • 1 Tbsp. of Royal Jelly each day. Secreted from the heads of worker bees and fed for 3-4 days to bee larvae, it is also known as the “milk of the bees.” Royal Jelly has an extraordinarily high concentration of vitamins B5, B6 and amino acides believed to be a potent antioxident and rejuvenating for tissue growth, muscle and cell regernation.
  • ginger – natural anti-inflammatory which is great for Fall when you are not feeling very well. Use in foods, throw into your green juice or smoothie.
  • garlic – use in foods, throw into your green juice, use the garlic oil for ear ailments.
  • elderberry – antioxident and immune booster. Try this elderberry syrup and keep it on hand through the winter.

(2) Vata Season Tea and Ayuveda techniques. Here is a cheat sheet complete with a Fall Tea for soothing and nurturing you through the Fall.

Fall is dry and cool. That is why it is super important to make sure you are nurturing your physical body this season. Eat lots of warm foods — soups, stews, roasted pots full of veggies, meat if you are not vegetarian. Get out and move with the winds — exercise is really important. So, keep moving but stay grounded with warm and nurturing foods. Also, use an oil on your skin. Find an organic sesame oil and use it all over your skin before you shower. You skin is the largest organ of your body, so make sure you protect it from the dryness of the season. Your bones may feel more crackly, achy. This is natural but you want to make sure you are taking in enough fats to moisturize your internal organs, muscles and ligaments. See the cod liver oil — omega 3 supplement above, for an example of a way to receive oil internally. Use an extra virgin olive oil, flax seed oil, hemp oil in foods. If you eat salads in the Fall (salads are very dry, light, and cooling; therefore, vata aggravating), combine it with a soup or something warming and make sure to use an oil with the salad.

(3) Recipe to try :

Roasted Ayurvedic Vegetables for Fall

1 red bell pepper, cut
1 whole butternut squash, halved, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
2 zucchini, cut
1 fennel bulb, cut and steamed for 10 minutes
2 parsnips, peeled and cut
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp ground fenel seeds
2 tsp asafetida (find at banyan.com)
juice of 1 lime
fresh ground sea salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a deep baking dish, spread the vegetables and cover with the olive oil, sprinkle with the fennel seeds, basil, asafetida, lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss. Bake for about 45-55 minutes.

Sauce : Cilantro

Combine in a blender or processor : 2 cups cilantro; 2 pitted dates, 4 tsps fresh ginger, 3- 4 tblsp olive oil, Juice of 1 lemon, 2 tsp maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the veggies.

Combine the veggies with a brown rice, quinoa, or barley.

 

I hope this helps you through the Fall and into Winter Season. You need all of your energy for the emotional issues that come up for you these days. Take care of YOU. You are all you’ve got. And, if you take care of yourself, your kids will learn to take care of themselves too. Be that example. What an example that is and so often we forget.

Sending you pumpkin-spiced goodness and love,

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Why Buying More Bras Matters

I am up early this morning. Our dog, Emily, didn’t sleep all night. I am wondering if it was that pair of my absolute favorite — never before have had a pair of shoes like these — shoes she ate last night. Maybe it was time for them to go, but I am having a really hard time letting go of them.
But I digress because I wanted to say is that I am up so early this morning the light is not even here. I am about to see the sun rise.

But those shoes.

They were not only comfortable (I walked all over DC with them.) but cute. Is it okay for me to realize that I want and need good shoes? Miz Mooz recommended, beyond highly. So, I think my lesson here is that I need to take a little better care of myself. It is not okay for me to rely on one pair of shoes to get me through a third Fall season (I am not joking.). It is not okay for me to try to get through another year with three total bras (Emily also destroyed two of my three bras this weekend.). I need to buy what I need. I should give myself a little more of a cushion.

And, I bet, so do you.

No one else can make you feel secure and nurtured.

It all comes from you, from the inside. I don’t buy myself bras because my mom always bought them for me. And, every time I buy one for myself, I feel sad because she is no longer here to buy them for me. I know this sounds silly, but it is true. And, I think so often I mix up not taking care of myself with feeling sad that my mom is not here to take care of me. Does that make sense? I have a choice each day. I can choose to be sad she is gone and let it prevent me from doing what I know needs to be done for me, or I can choose to step into my own care.

So, how can you make yourself feel nurtured, taken care of, secure this week? Make a list of 3 things. I’ll do it with you. (1. Buy myself some new shoes. Maybe even go over to DSW and buy a few pair. 2. Buy myself some bras :) 3. Schedule in and go to yoga three times this week.)

The light is coming up, but I still see the moon. The sky is that color crayon from a crayola set — midnight blue. Do you remember it? It used to be my favorite. I would select it every time to color my sky. I liked the name as much as the color. What a beautiful morning. When you are watching every detail, you tend to appreciate so much more. As I look at my to do list, instead of feeling the fears that come up, the resistance, the worry, I feel more whole and that quiet stillness that the sky and moon and morning light give to me.

I hope you too will take a moment this morning to look up and out into the sky, onto the trees. Be still. Go inward and know you are blessed, taken care of, and that all is well.

Amen.

With love and light,

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We Can Always Get Back to the Moon

I was in a quiet, contemplative state this weekend. Sometimes, I reach back into my ethnography training from studying anthropology in grad school and spend some time observing others. I don’t really plan it, it just happens. And, by observing, I witness what I am supposed to witness for my own growth and to share here with you.

Out and about this weekend, I noticed two different couples. One, young and separate, resentful. One, older and angry, lifeless. What they had in common — besides being unhappy — was they did not look at each other. They did not touch one another. There was no joy in the fact that he was sitting right across from her. Threre was no joy in the hour they sat together to eat breakfast. One ignored the other’s breathing. She eats at the table with a ghost. He eats at the table with a stranger. No symphony wrapped them in warmth. It was cold. And, it was apparent that somewhere along the way — they stopped liking one another.

After seeing both couples, I said to my husband, “I never want to be like that. I am so grateful we are here, together, and I love you.” I seized the moment in fear. I glimpsed what could be. I glimpsed what is for so many couples. And, I saw the sadness, the lifelessness.

Having paid their check, as they were getting up to leave, she said, “Oh – just a minute. I need to put on my lipstick.” She said it authoritatively, like don’t you know, you dufus? He slowly took his seat again. Head down. Quiet. She picked up three different sticks and slowly painted as she watched her lips purse in the small compact mirror. Every few seconds, he lifted his head, to see if maybe she had completed her lip mission, to find her still at work. It took a few minutes. He lifted his head four times and down again. He could not stand to look at her for long. He was annoyed. And, she was absent.

I don’t ever want to be like that. I wish I could have thrown a life preserver. A raft. Something to get their attention.

So, how do you want to be?

I want to be dancing at 93, swimming in the dark at 85, beaming at my husband for eternity. I want to always remember to look into his eyes and see him there.

No matter where you are in life, whether you are trying to work things out with your partner, have decided it is over and grieving, are post-divorce and starting a new relationship, wherever you are remember to live and love. Let’s wake up. Be awake. Embrace light and dark and fear and love and your divineness and others’ divinity. Deal with the issues, don’t hide from them. Or else we fall into a slumber of sorts.

“Most of the time, we fall in love but can’t remain there. The world then calls the state we were in a delusion or infatuation. But we were not deluded. We were not just infatuated. We merely lacked, or someone else lacked, the emotional skills to hold on to the magic when the morning came. Later we would tell ourselves that that moment of magic had not been real, but that analysis is just a collective lie. We invented the lie as a way to face the disappointment of having been to the moon on a starlit night, and then fallen back down to what can seem like such barren earth.

That lie is little more than a social conspiracy. It gives its adherents a perverse kind of comfort to think that our basic lack of courage is some form of psychological health. In truth, we can go to the moon and retain its magic for a lifetime. We can breathe in its spirit and never exhale. We can own the powers of romantic enchantment and experience all of life as a glistening adventure. We can enter the temple and receive a new heart, forever aglow with orange heat. Having gone to the moon, and believed in what we saw there, we can return with a ticket that will always take us back.”

– Marianne Williamson in Enchanted Love

We can always return to the moon and enter the temple. Always. We just have to let go and believe in love.

With love and light,

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Getting Back Up

Good morning beautiful ones,

So, I just had to take a moment to tell you a little about my last night and how it helped me to connect again with the pain of divorce.

I went to see Madonna with one of my best friends — a BFF for sure. One that you can tell anything to and know she gets you, understands and loves you for you. You know that kind of friend? She won an online contest two days before she flew here to go to the concert. Two tickets in Madonna’s Golden Circle. We were right by the stage.

What I didn’t realize about this show and MDNA 2012 is how much of it was about her divorce. She was angry angry angry (maybe still a little). She was hurt hurt hurt (and probably always will be a little) and is vulnerable. It was my own anger that I had not connected with for a long time. That back breaking hurt that almost drives us to hate. I’ve been there. But, last night, I was reminded of just how important that piece — the anger, resentment, the hurt, the pain — is to growing, healing and moving on. We should not hide it or try to not feel it. It’s there.

From “I Don’t Give A” : You were so made at me / who’s got custody / lawyers / suck it up / didn’t have a prenup,” followed by “tried to be a good girl / tried to be your wife / diminish myself / swallowed my life.”

It takes so much to get back up. But, Madonna is back up (even after paying up a reported $92 million to Guy Ritichie http://articles.nydailynews.com/2008-12-15/gossip/17913304_1_ashcombe-liz-rosenberg-divorce-settlement). And, so will we all.

With pain, there is an ebb and flow. It is part of the fluidity of the universe. We can’t fight it or struggle with it, even though we want to, we must fly along side of it for awhile. And, as Madonna demonstrates, it helps to have an outlet — art, journaling, boxing, running. Get it out. Feel it.

I believe every one of us can work through the pain, the hurt, the anger. We can find a way to forgiveness, to let love in.

Join the North Star Sessions. This is the Madonna special :) I am going to keep the offers up — coaching, ayurveda — because I believe they are powerful beyond measure.

Think of it as church or a spiritual space for just us. I really want you there with me.

Lots of love,

Candace

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One Sure Way to Get What You Need.

This morning, the air is really crisp and cool.  Fall is here!  I have all of the windows open, and the birds are all chirping.  I even have on my comfy socks this morning — I love this weather!  With it, for me, comes a new time.  I have an impetus to wake up earlier and feel more like going for a run.  I feel more alive somehow with this change in season most especially.  So, I have committed to some new things for me.  And, today is the beginning.

 

What new committments can you make?

Here are some possibilities :

  • A daily giving ritual – (1) Give to yourself first : spiritual practice, reflection time, and daily nourishment for your body.  (2) Give to another one super intentional thing a day.  (3) At night before bed, write down the gifts you received that day.
  • Make your green juice every day and drink 1 to 2 glasses of it each day.
  • Begin each day with an affirmation and end each day with one.
  • Go to a yoga class three times a week.
  • Wake up earlier so you can have some alone time.
  • Create a new vision board.

Only you know what you really need.  Take this morning to commit to inviting this change of habit into your life.

 

You will notice that I started the possibilities with the daily giving ritual.  I was in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida last week and heard Cynthia Kersey speak.  At that event, we gave enough to provide for five new schools and water supply system for five villages in Africa.  Read about Cynthia’s Unstoppable Foundation here.  I realized that I needed very much to give back more in my community and to other issues on which I care deeply.  I have been stagnate lately – concentrating on my business and my family but knowing I can give even more.

 

It is when we are at our darkest too, as in going through divorce, that we become so focused on ourselves and the mess of our own situation.  By giving, you are able to step out of that mindset.  When you give frequently, you are in a steady flow and there is no stagnation.

 

If you want to receive more, give more.  More time, energy, a smile, help with the groceries, it can be money too.  Whatever is before you right now.  Where you see the need.

 

Can this apply in the divorce process itself?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Do you notice how the principle of flow shows up in divorce?  When neither you nor your partner want to give on anything, you stay in a space of stagnate anger and resentment.  You are both pulling and no movement can occur.  It is only when one gives that movement happens.  Only when one gives can the other receive, then with receiving the other may give or the universe will give back in some other way.  But, we must let go to the universal way.  When you stop the flow, you don’t receive.  If you want to squelch the flames of anger, make a different and unexpected move.  Be giving.  Give something you have been fighting tooth and nail for (something that you realize you were fighting for to make a point or fighting for it to help heal the hurts deep within).  Take the road less traveled.  Test it.  Give.  Receive.

 

With love and light,


P.S.  With this new season, I want to make sure everyone is taking care of themselves.  I am offering a 45 minute ayurveda consultation for $49 (regular $200).  Go here to schedule your session.  The consultation will go through the specifics of your dosha type and give you insights into your vedic astrology chart as well.  If you are separating or divorcing, we can also talk about your partner’s dosha and how to use the knowledge in the divorce process itself.  This is the first time I have offered this and I will only be offering it at this price for two weeks.  If you have ever wanted to know more about Ayurveda, this is the time to learn.  Fall is the perfect time to make changes and fall into the rhythms of the universe.  Here’s the link again.

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Responsible Manifesting

Happy Labor Day! Having just returned from a very relaxing, perfect vacation with Frank and Kate, Frank’s mom, and a couple of friends, I am actually working today.

Here’s a photo of one of our sunsets from the deck (I am going to miss these so much):

Today, it is back to work for me. I have so many more things to share with you : things I experienced over these last couple of weeks, things I read, things I realized. This is part of what vacation is for, right? To rejuvenate and to reignite. Love.

If you are available tonight between 8 and 9 p.m., I will be interviewed by Paula Bisacre for the Stepmom’s Toolbox Works Radio Show. You can find it here :

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thestepmomstoolbox/2012/09/04/remarriageworks-stress-free-co-parenting-is-possible

Believe, know, trust that today is going to be beautiful and exactly what it is supposed to be for you and your growth.

Today’s Affirmation

Look in a mirror this morning and affirm:
“I am beautiful and everyone loves me. I radiate acceptance, and I am deeply loved by others. Love surrounds me and protects me.”

Say this to yourself, looking at yourself in the mirror (I’m serious), at least 3 times. Tape it to your bathroom mirror and refer to it every morning you wake up.

Journal Prompts

1. If you are still in a difficult relationship, think and write about if and how you are receiving the five A’s from your partner : Affection, Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, and Allowing. (Here’s a link to my post that describes these : http://candacesmyth.com/blog/is-divorce-the-right-decision-for-you). If you have left the relationship, think about how and why you feel you were not receiving these. Also, consider and journal about how you were not able to give these to your partner. If you are still in the relationship, can you attempt to give more to try to salvage the relationship? Journal about what it would mean for you to look only at your own behavior for a week or two (remember that we only have control over ourselves).

2. Write about your ideal relationship. What qualities, personality do you need, want, hope for. How many of these were in your current partner when you first met? What happened, be honest about your own behavior and also life’s own strains.

Action Step

After journaling about how you honestly feel about your current or past relationship, take one small step toward either : (1) take responsibility for one behavior that you can change so that you are giving one of the five A’s to your partner and see if that changes anything (no matter how angry or hurt you are, just try it), or (2) take responsibility for past behavior that may have withdrawn one of the five A’s, acknowledge your part in the relationship, forgive yourself and let it go.

Make sure to stop by and chat on the Facebook page. I will be supporting you with more discussion on the five A’s, when to leave, and letting go once its over. http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. Have you signed up yet for The North Star Sessions? If you want to feel calm, restored, and assured of the decisions you are making during or after separation or divorce, join the North Star Sessions.  This is a four week program that you can move through at your own pace.  It is here for you, along with a 15 minute one-on-one lasering-in session with me and a secret Facebook group of women going through the same issues, for support.

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Tips on how to Prepare for the Transitions of Back to School.

I know many of you are back to school today. Some, like me, start next Tuesday after Labor Day. I don’t know about you, but neither Kate nor I are ever ready for it. I think it brings back those feelings from my same childhood. The Summers were when I was closest to my mom. We shucked corn, sold watermelons, made the freshest and most beautiful salads to eat together for lunch (with lots of onions and ranch dressing), we shelled and “put up” peas, I read books and ran barefoot to my grandparents house and played under the sprinkler. Ah, Summer. Time and memories are precious. And, I miss Kate when she goes back to school. That being said, I am also grateful for school being here because it means I have more time to work on helping more people and getting my message out there.

Also, with going back to school, the routine changes. Schedules for drop off and pick up change, after school activities begin again. With another transition, children can be a bit thrown off. Make sure you continue to have smooth transitions with the other parent. Here are some tips to help ensure the transitions remain smooth ones :

  • Make sure you have a schedule month by month that take into account the school’s calendar (teacher in service days, holidays, etc.) so there can be no misunderstanding. Make sure every single day is accounted for drop off and pick up. You know when you are responsible and the other parent knows his or her responsibility as well. Go over the schedule with your children if they are old enough. Even at two years old, the child benefits so much by a daily reminder of who is picking her up and when she will see the other parent next. Always communicate how long the child will be with the other parent and when she will be back with you. This helps them so much with the anxiety of the back and forth.
  • Confirm by email when and where “switchovers” will occur if it is not a school drop off, pick up. This should be on the schedule as well. Who is driving to where?
  • When you are transitioning from one parent to another in person, make sure to take time before that to ground yourself. It is super imperative that you keep tensions low when you transition your children to the other parent.
  • If your child is going to be picked up from school by the other parent for an overnight, make sure their special cuddly animal or toy is packed appropriately and tucked into the backpack. Speak with their teachers ahead of time about the importance of this to your child. Just make sure to communicate with your child about not bringing it out at school or to abide by the teacher’s rule about toys to be able to continue the practice.
  • Realize that the schedule may change because of activities and stay flexible and open to change for the child’s sake.
  •  Never make your child responsible or feel bad for any changes to the schedule.
  • Don’t be late for pick up. If it happens often, your child may begin to feel you do not care about him.
  • Meet with the new teachers to talk about the schedule so that they are aware of what is going on for your child and how you are working out the arrangements of drop off and pick up. This is a good time to tell the teacher about the stuffed animal or transition toy that your child will be bringing to school at times.

I realize the list above is mainly for parents of younger children, but even college age and adult children need constant communication about your divorce. Leaving for college or going back to college can bring up difficult emotions. They still need to know that you both love them and that they are not responsible for what is happening in your marriage. They need love, reassurance, and constant honest communication. Never talk badly about the other parent, even if they are 40 years old and you think they can handle it. They will always be your children and need the parental relationship with you.

I hope you have a great week! Please let me know if I can help you transition in any way.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it. Please leave a comment here. I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week. Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. Get ready for some amazing resources! Not only do I post a weekly interview with a divorce-related professional or divorce story to learn from, but I am also about to give you a few key legal resource sites for each of your states. I will let you know when you can grab your local resource kit! Go here for the weekly interviews.

This article is not legal advice. You should consult an attorney if you have legal questions that relate to your specific divorce.

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Know what you need so you can ask for it.

This morning, we are three days into our much-needed family vacation at the beach.

Have you taken time to be joyful this Summer. Relaxed? No matter where you are in the journey of separation or divorce, taking time out for yourself and your family is one of the most important things you can do.

So, what does that look like for you or what kind of vacation do you need?

To answer that question, ask yourself what you are feeling deprived of right now? Here is a list of examples. Actually, why don’t you print out this post and grab a pencil and do some work with me this morning.

Sleep

physical energy

time to yourself

emotional support

peace and harmony

touch, feeling close to someone

creative stimulation

fun and adventure

pleasure

soul-nourishing friendships

companionship

quiet time to read

time out with friends

Circle the ones above that resonate with you and add your own personal list next to these. Are there are things you feel deprived of right now? Be specific. For instance, you might say that you are feeling deprived of emotional support because your family has not been there for you through these last few months. Or, that you are in need of creative stimulation because you never have time to paint which is something you love to do but you feel compelled to work longer hours because of the financial strain the divorce has put on you.

This exercise really helps you to gain greater clarity about what it is you feel deprived of and how you can go about meeting your needs so that you no longer feel the deprivation. So, now turn around your answers above. Turn them around to say how that need can be met. For instance, take the first example I gave above about emotional support. We would turn that around to say : I need to express my disappointment to my family for their lack of support and look for support from friends and work on my own inner support system. The second example might go : I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself and know that all is going to be okay. I will be a better mom and employee when I take care of myself, and that includes scheduling time to do my art.

I know for myself this Summer what I needed most was true quiet time. I needed to focus 100% on my family and myself. I needed to read books and cook fresh fish, scallops, shrimp, and local veggies (and make lots of tomato sandwiches for lunch). My intention for this vacation is set — to be relaxed, happy, joyful, content with where I am in the moment, kayaking on the sound, fishing, running on the beach, to feel blessed with time to be with everyone and time to be alone with my books. And, I know all of this because I have felt deprived of quiet time, reading time, fun and adventure, and relaxation.

You gotta know what you need to ask for it. And, by asking for what you need, you are so much closer to living a beautiful, happy life. Take care of yourself this week.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it. Please leave a comment here. I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week. Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. Have you checked out the amazing interviews I have been recording? Go here to check out the North Star Sessions™ Interview Series. So far, a specialist on step-families, when to know you are ready for a new relationship, the spousal buyout, and healing through divorce with affirmations.

This article is not legal advice. You should consult an attorney if you have legal questions that relate to your specific divorce.

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The Power of Your Heart.

One week until we are at the beach for a real, relaxing vacation. I can hardly believe it or wait! Frank’s mom comes in on Thursday and we are off to the Outer Banks on Friday. Joy, pure joy. To just have my feet and hands in the sand and watch the waves come and go will be enough. I have a friend who is an amazing Tarot Card reader, Therea Reed, and she draws a card for us all every day. You can find her at http://thetarotlady.com. Today’s card was The World, and I thought I might share that with you :

Card for the Day: The World – A cycle comes to an end at last. Completion. Every last loose end gets tied up. Chapter closed. Closure. Success. A new beginning is on the horizon.

I’ll sure tell you that resonated with me on so many beautiful levels. And, it is absolutely in line with what I woke up this morning wanting to share with you. Because tarot, god, the universe, spirituality is not about the brain and coming up with rational answers. It is about the heart and soul.

Our human brain, our ration, our mind can only do so much. It is not half as powerful as the heart. This is why just hiring an attorney for your divorce or a doctor to look over your health is not enough to heal our wounds. The universe is made up of a multitude of energies. Our hearts are 100 times stronger electrically and 5000 times stronger magnetically, and it is the electric and magnetic that create electromagnetic fields. These electromagnetic fields of the heart can be so powerful when certain emotions are present (and especially when people come together with the same emotion or intention) that the electromagnetic field will extend outside of ourselves and into the physical world. What does this mean? It means the human heart is made to change atoms, fields, the physical world, the way things are in response to the emotions we create between our heart and our brain. When we choose “coherence” in our bodies (bringing together the mind and body) by experiencing appreciation, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion — these emotions are mirrored in the physical field outside of ourselves and everyone benefits. If we can change the magnetic or electrical field of an atom, we change the way things are.

This is why I truly believe that strict law or mediation to get to an agreement, to set up a co-parenting schedule or a financial transfer is not enough in divorce. It takes more, a combination that includes: intuition, allowing love to come through, supporting emotions that are present, consciously creating a new relationship form that works for both parties. By using the heart in divorce, we heal ourselves, each other, our children, and the world around us.

One tool to transform your own energy each day is to use the white light visualization. Every night before you go to bed and every morning when you wake up, close your eyes and visualize that a shower of white light is falling all over you. Just visualize this waterfall (cachoeira in Portuguese — I love the word) of white light and allow it to cleanse your energy. Breathe it in and out with five slow, deep breaths. This is a very simple tool that you can even teach your kids.

I hope this is helpful today. I send out postive healing energy to you all.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it. Please leave a comment here. I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week. Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. My telephone number is (202) 587-2772 .

P.S.S. Get ready for some amazing resources! Not only do I post a weekly interview with a divorce-related professional or divorce story to learn from, but I am also about to give you a few key legal resource sites for each of your states. I will let you know when you can grab your local resource kit! Go here for the weekly interviews.

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Love Just Happens

After the interview with Diana Dorell last week, I have been thinking alot about love. Where does it come from? Why do some people fall in love easily and others don’t? How soon is too soon after divorce?

Wherever you are in the process of separation or divorce, these questions and the idea of going out with others, relationships are going to come up at some point. Diana gave us some great tips on how to know you are ready to get out there again, to meet people and begin new relationships. There are some clients who believe or worry they will never find someone with a toddler and small child attached at the hip. It is this very belief that keeps us closed. We close off our ability to be loved by another. It is a choice we have to be open or closed to love. To be open to love, we really do have to prepare. By nurturing ourselves and healing the wounded parts of us, we are preparing for what is next.

Talking about it also made me think of my own story and how Frank and I found one another. I am still so grateful that our love was permitted to grow just as it did. And, the truth is, as most say, it just happened. I had been preparing, in some ways. I was practicing yoga three times a week, going to therapy once a week, had been dropping to my knees crying for months. I was still very raw, actually, when I made a phone call to him late one evening. It had only been four months since my separation. I was drinking a glass of red wine sitting and looking out the front window of the apartment where I lived. It was my magical spot there. I would sit there for hours thinking and looking out on the forest across the street. I called him, my old very good friend, because recently someone had told me he had been doing yoga and meditating. Frank? Yes, Frank. So, I called him to talk, to catch up, to find out about his transformation. I had no intention of falling in love or even going out with him. I just had a very clear, beautiful interest in his life at that moment and wanted to talk. The next day we were off to the beach together as friends. It took a few hours of the beach for us to hopelessly fall into (I can still remember how that felt — we really fell into) each other, into love. And, so here we are now — over two years married, five years together, and absolutely in love with one another.

I share all of this to say, just work on taking care of yourself. Don’t try to rush anything, control anything. Don’t look for the perfect time, because there isn’t one. Don’t wait because someone has told you to either. Follow your own inner guidance system. It knows. You know. Take the time you need. Trust. Expand. Open. Allow.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it. Please leave a comment here. I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week. Let’s talk on the Facebook page or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. Get ready for some amazing resources! Not only do I post a weekly interview with a divorce-related professional or divorce story to learn from, but I am also about to give you a few key legal resource sites for each of your states. I will let you know when you can grab your local resource kit! Go here for the weekly interviews.

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3 Tips to Turn You Around and Get You Going Again.

This is my view this morning, up in the hills of Berkeley, California. I am the first one up, even here, and it is so very quiet and still. It’s balmy, chilly, and feels like I am in a treehouse with the birds. My family is on our first week of Summer vacation, visiting dear friends. There is truly nothing better and I just feel blessed and grateful to be here and to have time with our friends. Where are you this morning? What are 5 things you’re grateful for this morning?

Here are mine:

  1. I am almost completely over the cold I came down with after last week’s travel.
  2. Being here, with our friends.
  3. Being able to spend quality time with my husband and daughter this week.
  4. These views and the sunsets we have been witness to these last few nights.
  5. This amazing cup of Peet’s coffee.

This exercise is an easy way to train your mind to see the positive and live the life you deserve to live. Just find 5 things each morning that you are grateful for. Be specific.

Now, pick three words to describe yourself or your best self. This is an exercise I learned recently from Brendon Burchard. Go ahead. Choose three words. For example, these are mine: present, loving, strong. Three more that I love: real, inspiring, dynamic. This next part takes a bit more focus: several times throughout your day, run those three words through what Brendon calls your “consciousness dashboard.” So, for example, I would ask myself, “How present am I? How loving am I? How strong am IThis will keep your goals at the forefront of your mind and will keep you moving in the right direction.

At the end of your day, maybe just before closing your eyes to sleep, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Did I live?
  2. Did I love?
  3. Did I matter?

These three exercises, one in the morning, one throughout the day, and one just before bed, will help to keep you very clear about your life, where you are now, and where you are going. Will you do it with me for one week? I’d love it if you would join me and tell me about it in the comments below, on Facebook, or via email.
The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S., My new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia is located at 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. You can call me there at (202) 587-2772.

P.P.S., Get ready for some amazing resources!  I think you’ll find these hugely supportive, and I’ll send you a note when they’re are up on the site!

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Having the Win, Win Mindset.

Wow, what a week!  Our family was completely split up this week — traveling every which way.  I was in Portland for the World Domination Summit and then in Dallas for the eWomen Network Conference.  Frank was in Brazil for work and Kate was with her Dad visiting cousins and her grandparents in Ohio.  Kate and I were reunited yesterday and Frank just got back this morning (so sorry for the delay in getting this to you today).

Here’s a photo of Kate and me playing yesterday — it is so good to be home!

 So that’s that.  We are all home.  I am so happy I could cry!  This is what life is all about.  And, when you have been away and you come back, it intensifies so much how important being present with Kate and Frank is to me. To stop the busyness cycle and savor the minutes I have with them each day.  To set clear boundaries for myself around e-mail, computer time, appointments so that when I am with Kate and Frank, I am with Kate and Frank completely.

While we were all in our separate places this week, Kate lost her first tooth.  I have to admit my first feeling was sadness — “I missed it.”  There have been a few moments of her early life that “I missed” so to speak.  Funny things she said at 2 or her first experience with Santa clause.  Divorce splits up the time, and it has been something I have had to work through emotionally over the years.  So, whereas my first feeling was of sadness because I was not there, I took a moment to go deeper with myself.  Where did that sadness really come from?  I realized that I was feeling this sadness as an extension of all of the “missed” experiences from her life.

It’s all loss, but I experienced it more intensely because the separation, the divorce was a choice I made.  I have felt responsible at times for the fact that we are not together some holidays or every night of the week.

From that moment when I found out she lost her tooth, I decided to choose to think about all that I did get to see and experience with her.  In fact, it’s not about the experience itself really, it’s about the time you do have and how present you are in that time.  When I talked to her the next day, she told me she wanted me to see her tooth before she put it under her pillow for the tooth fairy.  She brought it all the way home in a personally decorated jewelry box labeled “Kate’s first tooth.”  It took my letting go of my own feeling of loss of the experience and Kate’s dad’s letting go of being the tooth fairy for Kate to have the experience she most wanted and needed.  We both give and receive as her parents and it works best when we are able to stop, take notice of the feeling, and let go.  I am so grateful she had time with her Dad and family last week and that they all experienced the loss of her first tooth with her.  It’s not about me.  We are all in this together.  And, I love seeing life as a win, win, win!  No more of the win, lose because I believe with that mindset and structure everyone really loses.

With a win, lose mindset and custody structure, no one really wins.

Go out there and have a wonderful week!  Lots of love from me!

Click here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  Please leave a comment here.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week.  Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

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Can Tom and Katie Be Heroes?

This weekend I was reading the newspapers (we still get three a day, that’s what it is like being married to a journalist) and I could not get enough about the break up and divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.  I know, it’s tabloid stuff and why do I care?

 

I care because I looked to them and their happiness, their giddiness when I was going through my own divorce five years ago.  They were beyond the moon, they were in love.  I did not then and still don’t doubt their love.  Sure she is a lot younger and talked about how she had dreamed of marrying him since she was a little girl and all of that.  There were many reasons to think this relationship would not last.  But, at the time, when Tom Cruise lept up onto Oprah’s couch on international television to profess this love, it was a big love.

 

Like a castle surrounded by a deep, imprenetrable forest, an enchanted love is as forbidding as it is inviting.  The forest is full of magical dragons that assault the causal passerby.  Not just anybody gets to stroll through the castle gates, play around inside the courtyard, and get out of there alive.  It takes a prince to make his way through the forest and deal with all those dragons.  Then, even if he has the cajones to do that, he needs to find the sleeping princess and kiss her so perfectly that she actually wakes up.  That he can only do if his sword and shield are with him.  Otherwise, the dragons of love will chew him up and spit him out, and the princess will grieve that, one more time, someone tried but could not rescue her.  

 

That is where most us–princes and princesses alike– usually are, when we wander into the therapists’s office or support group, looking for comfort after doing some time in the battlefields of love.  Millions of us, lie naive soldiers singing songs at the beginning of a war, thinking this was going to be an easy enough time and then coming home in body bags — that is our psychic history of love.  – Marianne Williamson

 

Love is a hero’s journey and so is divorce.

 

I believe in love.  I also believe in the power of love and the importance of love in divorce.  To love someone so powerfully, deeply and then transforming all of that energy into anger, hate, spite, revenge is one of our time’s great wars.  There are so many wounded soldiers aren’t there?  Why are there not more peacemakers?  Love is a hero’s journey, and the hero’s journey is a noble but difficult path.  Be the hero of your divorce.

 

Perhaps because of the stigma divorce still has in our society, we adults do not feel we can step up and be the hero because society has informed us that divorce itself is not heroic.  But, that is not true.

 

Some divorces must happen.  Sometimes divorce must happen to further the growth of everyone in the family.  Divorce is a part of many evolutionary journeys.  What is missing are the heroes of those stories.  What is missing are the warriors, the ones who decide they will not lose this battle to the dragons (anger, revenge, fighting, violence, taking him for all he/she’s worth).  The ones who decide that they will stand for that love even as it has ended, those who will stand for separating the human forms, dividing the stuff without violently taking, attacking and wounding are the heroes.

 

Let’s take back divorce.  Stop the adversarial nature of divorce in your own life.  Think of the energy it is already draining from you and your kids.  Healing the wounds of divorce as you move through it will not only help you now through this process, but it will also help you move into your new future.  The law should only be there if protection is needed — it should not be the first thing you lean into.  The law is not love.  It does not understand.  The law is rational, not heart-centered.  It is blind to emotion.  How then or why then do we think the law can solve our family issue, problems, divide up everything fairly?  It can’t.  It is not its strength.

 

Tweet this : The law is not love.  It does not understand it.  How then can law solve our family problems?  It can’t.

 

4 Ways You Can Be a Hero of Your Divorce:

  1. Seek out a committed mediator, parenting coach, financial advisor and/or a collaboratively trained attorney for counseling only.
  2. Sit down together, the two of you, to talk about what should happen.  What is fair in your relationship?  What should your lives look like after divorce?  What is going to be best for your children?  How can you suture the wounds together?  If you can’t talk about these things together, hire a mediator or a couples counselor to help you talk about this ending of your love, division of property, child custody.  Seek out help together.
  3. A hero must be strong, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  That means, you must take care of yourself through this.  It should be your number one priority to make sure you are taken care of right now.  You can’t be the best mom or dad to your children when you are depleted in every way.  And, there is no way you can be strong against the triggers that arise in divorce if you are not taking care of yourself.
  4. Ask yourself constantly, this question:

Would you rather be right or free?

and

Remind yourself of this:  The one who sees is the one who must act consciously, in service to your greater good.

To Tom and Katie : Bless that love.  Find a way for Suri, for you both to be heroes for all of us.  You have it in you.  You do not need to look very far.  End this marriage, if that is what is to be done, with love.

Affirmation

I am strong.  I can do this.  I am a hero.

One More Thing

Do you want to learn more about how to be a hero in your divorce?  Join us in the North Star Sessions.  It is going to be an experience you need to be a part of.

It starts again on July 16. http://candacesmyth.com/the-north-star-sessions.   
Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  Please leave a comment here.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week.  Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.
The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

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Add this to your toolkit – for your divorce and your life.

Let’s drop down into your heart for a minute. Take 3 really deep breaths with me. Inhale 1……2……3….. and Exhale 3…….2…….1……. Often in my practice I like to say that when you breathe in, you are breathing in healing energy. Take it in. And, as you breathe out, you are breathing out all that does not serve you. To visualize breath intentionally working for your highest good is beautiful. And, on every level it is true.

When you are in your heart and out of your head, you can be more gentle with yourself and others. The heart is accepting. When we dwell in the rational mind, we experience others as obstacles, we don’t see ourselves as good enough or doing what we need to do to further our goals. With the heart, we see that all of us are on the path. We are doing just what we need to do. We are exactly where we are supposed to be.

“The natural law and order of this world is not “for” or “against.” Fundamentally, there is nothing that either threatens or promotes our point of view.” — Chogyam Trungpa


So it is with our heart that we find stillness. Try to take a moment each day to sit and breathe. Start there. If you can, close your eyes or focus your eyes on a point outward and downward. Just breathe and experience the quiet stillness that is at your core. If you can do this for even two minutes a day, your world expands. To begin your morning this way can change the way your day will unfold for you. Beginning in our hearts each morning, we set the groundwork for loving thoughts. Remember it is our thoughts that become our experience of each day.

You can do this also before your mediation begins or before a discussion with your attorney. Do this before you respond to an erratic email from your ex. Clear your mind. Find stillness in your heart. Breathe in healing energy, breathe all that is not serving your highest good. It is very simple. Keep it in your toolkit.

Affirmation

I am safe. Life supports me and I trust it.

Action Steps

Take action now.

1. Make a goal to take two minutes a day to sit in stillness and breathe. Notice how it makes you feel. Journal about what comes up for you in sitting, being alone with your gentle self.

2. Leave a comment here about the post, the film, what you think.

One More Thing

Register for the North Star Sessions. It is going to be an experience you need to be a part of.
It starts again on July 16.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it. Please leave a comment here. I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week. Let’s talk on the Facebook page or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. North Star Sessions is beginning again on July 16, 2012. I am adding some new content on financial planning and division, plus weekly calls with experts on divorce, communication, relationships, kids and divorce etc.

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How mediation helps you to smoothly transition to life after divorce.

It’s raining this morning and the sky has luminous pink tones making all of the houses around glow. Kate is starting a summer day camp today, her first of the Summer. And, I begin a busy week.

This morning, I am preparing for an interview for a series with Teri Goetz of http://HealthyBeing.com. It’s her Summer Transformation series, and I am talking about the 3 Reasons Mediation is a Key to Smoothly Transitioning After Divorce. I get to talk about what I believe in and why. I will send you more information about the series as it starts up.

I thought I would share my thoughts with you here, first.

In divorce, communication is key. Mediation cuts down on the chances there will be any miscommunications. You are there in the room sitting next to or across from one another with a witness. And, it helps set the stage for post-divorce co-parenting. In preparing for my interview, however, what’s on my mind this morning is communication.

Mediation gives you flexibility and control over the divorce process. You design the agreement based on what will work best for you and your children. One side doesn’t write the agreement for the other’s review, therefore, setting up a power imbalance from the start. The two mutually create and review the agreements.

Mediation saves you money, time, energy. There are numerous studies of the amount spent on attorneys fees in divorce cases versus the amount spent on mediation which demonstrate that you will spend much more on an adversarial divorce versus a mediation. And, you not only spend money, but time and energy. Your’s and your kids.

Even if these three points are givens,

what comes up for you or what came up for you when you were considering the alternatives?

I know what came up for me. I worked with an attorney for over a year and finally decided to hire a mediator.

  • Fear of losing everything.
  • Worry that I would miss something.
  • I couldn’t be strategic.
  • I felt like a victim and worried I couldn’t speak up for myself.

For these reasons, it is super important that you pick a good mediator. Not just someone who looks good on paper, but someone who can talk about her philosophy with you. Someone who will meet with you ahead of time, and you connect with that person. Someone you intuitively know is a good fit. Choose a mediator who gets not only the practical work but the emotional work too, and someone who can tell you what tools he uses to help couples through what can be a difficult process. If you feel like or your spouse has been diagnosed with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, find out how the mediator might deal with issues that come up.

Affirmation

I release the need to blame anyone, including myself. We are all doing the best we can with the understanding, knowledge and awareness that is here.

Action Steps

Take action now.

1. If you are in the beginning of the divorce process, search on line for two mediators that interest you. Call them today and set up an intial consultation.

2. Leave a comment here about the post, the film, what you think.

One More Thing

Register for the North Star Sessions. It is going to be an experience you need to be a part of.
It starts again on July 16.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it. Please leave a comment here. I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week. Let’s talk on the Facebook page or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. North Star Sessions is beginning again on July 16, 2012. I am adding some new content on financial planning and division, plus weekly calls with experts on divorce, communication, relationships, kids and divorce etc.

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How to use a little divinity to think outside the box.

Talking about money. Why does money have to be such a stressful conversation? Money is an absolute fiction yet often feels as if it holds so much power over us.

In divorce, we have to divide up not just physically but financially. For most of my clients, it is the financial piece along with the child custody piece that cause the most anxiety and stress in divorce. These two issues are the most contentious and bring up the most fear, insecurity, and anger.

When you are stressed out about money though, you tend not to be able to think with your creative right brain. It’s difficult, so difficult, for you to think outside the box. Unfortunately, most attorneys aren’t going to do that either. I have worked in the family law world enough to have met attorneys who really just want the answers to come from the clients. From there, they go out and try to negotiate. But, what if your worry overtakes any real ability to give answers?

Let’s do what I call some Centered Brainstorming. The first thing you should do when you need to figure out how to divide up the finances is slow down. Take in three deep breaths. Go sit somewhere out of sight if you can and take a notebook with you.

Say this to yourself : I live in abundance. I have all I need.

Now take out your notebook and pen, and write down the first issue you need to deal with. For example, write down what is usually the big one — the house. Now before you get into how much equity there is or the numbers, just start writing down every possible scenario of how you could divide up the house. Include everything that comes to mind, even renting out the garage to an artist or selling it and moving to Italy. Whatever. Just write it all down. You should have at least 25 ideas of what can be done.

Take a look at the ideas and choose the top 3 for you. Can you take those to your attorney with a straight face? Do they feel right to you?
Do this with each and every financial issue you have in the divorce and notice all of the ideas that come to you. You can do it with any contentious issue. It gets you out of the emotional brain, the anxiety brain that keeps you stuck.

“And, when you want something, all of the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paulo Coehlo

Next week, I will send you some worksheets to help you further with financial division.

Journal Prompt

Take a minute and journal for two pages about what the most contentious issues are right now for you in this divorce, and why.

Action Steps

Take action now.

1. Try some Centered Brainstorming for at least two of your current divorce issues.
2. Leave a comment here about the post, the film, what you think.

One More Thing

Register for the North Star Sessions. It is going to be an experience you need to be a part of.
It starts again on July 16.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it. Please leave a comment here. I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week. Let’s talk on the Facebook page or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. North Star Sessions is beginning again on July 16, 2012. I am adding some new content on financial planning and division, plus weekly calls with experts on divorce, communication, relationships, kids and divorce etc.

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Are you strong enough? On rattlesnakes and the third chakra.

Hello again!  I missed you all last week.  I was on the Alabama-Florida line actually with my Granny on Monday morning.  She still lives in the woods and doesn’t have any internet service or wifi.  In fact, my iPhone had no reception.  I always wake up on Monday morning to write, but last week I couldn’t do it.  I needed the time with her, my Granny.  The strongest woman I know.

What does it mean to be strong?

My Granny at 85 still kills rattlesnakes that come through her yard with a hoe.  She even killed an alligator once a few years ago.  She lives on the edge of Alabama in Florida between two swamps so her yard is a swamp freeway, reptilian highway, road between.  But, that’s not what makes her strong.  She lived through some hard years with my grandaddy, an alcoholic with a multitude of health problems included some mental illness.  (I absolutely adored him.)  And, then, he committed suicide when she was just in her early 50s.  After he was gone, she turned down at least two marriage proposals.  Then, she lost two of her children — one, my mom, in a car accident and my uncle to cancer.  She still keeps going and that’s an understatement.

To me, strength is in the getting back up and putting one step in front of the other.  Strength is in the waking up and moving forward.  It’s in the experiencing of grief and still saying your prayers.  It’s in not quitting.  Strength is held in our hearts and bellies, and it is always there for us to tap into.  You can tap into it for your children or for others you love, but the true strength, the strength that will really get you back up after the most traumatic experience is what you do for yourself.

Mona Lisa Schulz says this of the third chakra, ” Your third chakra — which includes the digestive tract, liver, gall bladder, and kidneys — is your intuitive advisor that lets you know whether or not you’re strong enough to both fulfill your responsibility to others and fuel your self-esteem.”  So it is in this third chakra that we learn whether we are strong enough for what’s next.  She suggests focusing on the following mantra to get you back on track if you are having third chakra related health issues : “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, you’ll get what you need.”

The truth is, the universe always gives us exactly what we need.

If something has appeared along your road between, your own swamp freeway, it is here to teach you a lesson and to reveal to you a power that is within, a power to fix what’s broken and to heal what hurts, a power to get you beyond seeing just with your eyes but to lift you to seeing with something more.  It is here or was there to show you just how strong you are.

The universe also never gives us something we can’t handle.

By getting up and continuing in this life we are examples of the truth of that statement.

Journal Prompt

Make a list of all of the traumas you have dealt with this year.  List accomplishments.  List those mountains you did not think you would ever be able to climb, but did.  Journal about where you were six months ago and where you are now.  Notice the strength in you.

Action Steps

Take action now.

1. Do something physical this week.  Try a new physical activity.  Build your physical strength.  Work on a yoga pose, go for a 2 mile run,

2.  Leave a comment here about the post, the film, what you think.

One More Thing

Register for the North Star Sessions.  It is going to be an experience you need to be a part of.

If you register today, I will give you a free 30 minute one-on-one session to talk about the most pressing issue you are dealing with right now, plus I will send you a free divorce organizer.  http://candacesmyth.com/the-north-star-sessions.  Today only.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  Please leave a comment here.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week.  Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.  My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

 

P.S.S. North Star Sessions is beginning again on June 8, 2012.  I am adding some new content on financial planning and division, plus weekly calls with experts on divorce, communication, relationships, kids and divorce etc.  http://candacesmyth.com/the-north-star-sessions

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The Unintentional Bliss of Life.

Betrayal.

To betray : 1. To be disloyal to.  2. To fail or desert especially when one is in need. 3. To disclose in violation of confidence.  4. To show or indicate, to reveal uninentionally.

Wow.  The word betray can mean “to show or indicate, to reveal unintentionally.”  This is a definition from the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

I was just thinking yesterday about betrayal.  About how many clients and friends I talk to each week who feel betrayed.  How I myself have had to work through healing my own ability to trust others because of past hurts, betrayals.  Especially in marriage, where we have vowed to commit to one another, to our marriage, dishonesty really hurts at the very core of our being because it’s a promise.  With promises come a sense of entitlement.  Whether it is infidelity or a truth about oneself revealed after marriage, the trust between us is depleted.  But what of this fourth definition?  Isn’t this the reality of what betrayal is — to reveal a truth, unintentionally?

One of my favorite authors on relationships, David Riccho, says this about infidelity,

Infidelity is a state-of-the-union address, forcing us to see the truth about our relationship.

As the partner taking that in, what do we do with that information?  We have two choices.  We can react with resentment, anger and retaliation or we can react by leaning into the fear.  We can admit that we feel abandoned by our partner, allow and live there for awhile and work on these feelings.       “[I]nstead of acting out or repressing — use the situation as an opportunity to feel your heart, to feel the wound.  Use it as an opportunity to touch that soft spot.  Underneath all that craving or aversion or jealousy or feeling wretched about yourself, underneath all that hopelessness and despair and depression, there’s something extremely soft . . . Feel the wounded heart that ‘s underneath the addiction, self-loathing, or anger.  If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person.  It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart and to relate to that wound.”  – Pema Chodron in Start Where You Are.

And, finally, you have to go out and see this movie.  It is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and it is potentially life changing.

I had already been thinking about this post yesterday, and then I found myself in a movie theater watching this film.  Perfect.  Exactly what I needed to see to bookend this for myself, for you.  Go out and see this film, and then tell me if the word betrayal does not take on a new meaning for you.  Through one’s betrayal, we are given another chance at joy, at life?  We must be grateful for those moments when the truth is revealed unintentionally.  Yes, it would be much better if everyone could always be truthful to us, to themselves, but for a multitude of reasons along the human trail, we can’t.  Thank god and the universe that truth is revealed — however that may be!  May it be sooner rather than later for each and all of us!

Have a beautiful week.  Enjoy this life we have been given!

Journal Prompt

How have you been betrayed?  What did you learn from it or where did it take you from there?  If it is a recent betrayal, what could it mean?  What is the truth that has been revealed?

Action Steps

Take action now.

1.  Go out and watch this film.  How did it make you feel?  What did you learn about betrayal?
2.  Leave a comment here about the post, the film, what you think.

One More Thing

If there’s anything I can do on my end to help you, in any capacity, please let me know.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  Please leave a comment here.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week.  Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.  My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. North Star Sessions is beginning again on June 8, 2012.  I am adding some new content on financial planning and division, plus weekly calls with experts on divorce, communication, relationships, kids and divorce etc.  Get on the list to find out how you can become a part.  Here’s the link to get on the list for a free workshop and to be the first to hear about the special discounted sign up period : http://eepurl.com/lr-OD

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This is Your Life.

I was having lunch with a family law attorney the other day and one of the interesting topics that came up was how clients so often just want their attorney to take care of the divorce, how clients don’t want to be involved.  I have also spoken with some of my own clients and many discuss the divorce process as if it is beyond their own control. They feel the process takes off without them and has a life of its own.

I remember in my own mediation feeling like the process, the divorce, was so outside of myself that it hurt.  Yes, I was angry and I was avoiding things and emotions like you wouldn’t believe.  I remember feeling like I just wanted the paperwork done and didn’t want to have to go back in that room again.  I remember being exhausted in every way possible.  But, it did come to an end.  And, then that part was over and we had to adjust to an agreement that became a part of our daily lives.  The truth is though, I wasn’t thinking very clearly.  And, I didn’t really take the time I needed to get grounded on what was best for me and our daughter all the way through.  It felt like fingernails on a chalkboard any time I picked up that draft.  I just didn’t want to look at it.

All of this leads me to what I wanted to share this morning.

You are not alone.  And, divorce is not just a legal process that you get through or that someone can take care of for you.  If you want to heal and to thrive after the end of a marriage, and you want an agreeement that makes the most sense for moving forward, you must remain an active and present human being.  Stay grounded using whichever tools you use.  Keep an eye towards the future and how you want your life to be.  You must feel the anger and the pain and work with it.  You must not let the divorce take off on its own.

divorce takes you somewhere new

No, it’s not easy.  It’s damn hard.  It’s not fair.  I know.  It’s all of those things.  But, this is your life.  And, you have been placed ever so gently on this Earth to go through this right now.  You are here to learn so much in such a short time.  Take it in.  Learn the lessons you have been brought here to learn.  No matter how difficult, try right now to think of divorce as a sacred process.  It is one of life’s most difficult transitions, maybe second to death or a disappearing.  There is a coming together always, and always a coming apart.

One of the most important things you walk away with is an agreement that works for you so that you can move forward into your best life.  Amen.

Journal Prompt 

Take 5-10 minutes and write about how you have avoided some communication or resisted knowing all you might have needed to know during this process.  How are you handling and how do you feel about all of the relationships involved in the divorce process?  Your relationship to your spouse, your relationship to your children, to your attorney, financial advisor, therapist, spouse’s attorney, mediator, judge?  How do each of them make you feel?

Take action now.

1.  No matter how much you are resisting knowing, make sure you have all of the information you need to divorce right now.  Hire a financial advisor, get a divorce coach, fire your attorney and get a new one if you don’t feel right about the relationship.

2.  Take a hard look at all of the paperwork you have, line by line.  Try each line on to see how it fits.  If there is something that is really bothering you, deal with it now.  If you don’t now, you will most likely revisit it in the future in a much bigger and more difficult way.

One More Thing.

If there’s anything I can do on my end to help you, in any capacity, please let me know.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  Please leave a comment below.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week.  Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email : candace at candacesmyth dot com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.  My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. North Star Sessions is beginning again on June 8, 2012.  I am adding some new content on financial planning and division, plus weekly calls with experts on divorce, communication, relationships, kids and divorce etc.  Get on the list to find out how you can become a part.  Here’s the link to get on the list for a free workshop and to be the first to hear about the special discounted sign up period : http://eepurl.com/lr-OD

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When Things Don’t Fall Apart

This morning, I am just grateful for such a beautiful and loving birthday celebration for Kate this weekend.  Her Dad’s parents drove to DC from Ohio, her step Dad’s (Frank’s) mom took the train down from New Jersey, and all of Kate’s girlfriends came over.   I think we had 15 girls here, to be exact, crazy fun (ok and chaotic too)!  And, for me, to have so much of her circle of family here with her was important — for her, for all of us.  What a blessing.  So much work has gone into making sure we can all be together for her, that we all respect each other, love one another, and can really just be together without the drama.  And, for Kate, this family will circle around her again and again throughout her life and not in a combative way, but a loving one.  Granted, we are still working on it and probably always will be, but the structure is in place and this is good.

Healing the wounds created by our human dramas takes time.  Some people never go there.  Some think it’s just too hard.  And, the truth?  It probably is true that the “road less traveled” is not as easy as the road that takes you into blame, division, separation.  The ego loves to play there and stay there.  When you step out of that mindset, though, and practice and commit to that life, you open to what is possible.

At a certain point, we forgive because we decide to forgive.  Healing occurs in the present, not the past.  We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present.  – Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love)

What do you want for you and your family after the divorce or separation?  Really get clear about it.  What would be best for your kids?  What would be best for YOU?

Journal Prompt

Write on a sheet of paper how you would like a future gathering to look (your daughter’s wedding, your son’s graduation).  Include whether you have a new relationship, whether your ex does.  What about extended family?  What would be the absolute best coming together for everyone?

Action Steps

Take action now.

1)  If you are still working on forgiveness, get support this week to help you heal that wound.
2)  Have a short loving conversation with your ex or someone in the family.  A very short, small token.  Whatevery you are able to give.  You be the one extending the love today.
3)  Let me know how you feel.  Leave me a comment below, send me an email.  I want to hear how you are doing.

One More Thing

If there’s anything I can do on my end to help you, in any capacity, please let me know.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  Please leave a comment here.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week.  Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.  My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

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Visioning Realities for Real.

In the year 2000, I was in my late 20s and blissfully crazy and single.  I took off for about 10 days in April of that year to the Amazon region of Brazil.  One of my best friends in law school had just had a baby, and I went to both visit her and for some adventure.  I headed south.  Flew into Caracas without a concrete plan on how to the northermost part of Brazil — through the country ov Venezuela (and right after a devastaing mudslide).  I stayed in small hotels, trusted everyone who wanted to help me find my way, I figured out my way bus by bus and town by town.  I made it to Brazil in about two days.  

 

 

The three joys that I remember most about my trip, other than being with my friend and her beautiful baby girl, were the monsoons (I think rain and rivers are just part of me), the hammocks, and the Venezuelan coffee in the train stations and airports (I still have not had any better).  While in Boa Vista, I bought a hammock of my own to bring back with me.  It’s beautiful, and I love it.  

Until yesterday, my hammock lay folded in a box.  12 years ago this month, I bought this hammock.  Frank and I found a place to hang it yesterday, he took a trip to the hardware store to get the right equipment after one failed attempt, and, then, I lay in that beautiful memory for a couple of hours.  

 

I had a vision.  It may have taken 12 years, but my vision became a reality yesterday.  What is your vision today?  It can be as simple as having a hammock to lie in and read.  Or, it can be as large as finding your true love and having another child.  What is it?

Action Steps

Take action now.  

  • Write down four things you would like to create in your life.
  • Send me an email now to tell me what those are.

One More Thing

If there’s anything I can do on my end to help you, in any capacity, please let me know.  And, don’t forget  a new North Star Sessions is forming. Sign up for the online workshop on May 2, 2012.  Once you are in, you are in for as long as you need.  Join us!  



Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  Please leave a comment here.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken action this week.  Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.  

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,  



P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.  My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.  

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Feelings over To-do Lists

Welcome this morning’s light with all your love and strength.

I received my copy of Danielle LaPorte’s The Fire Starter Sessions this week and have been soaking it up.  If you have not checked her out, you should buy the book and go to her website now.  (Take that as one of your action items for the week.)

One of the changes I have made in my life this week is to think about how I want to feel instead of thinking of my to do list.

Here’s how it works, as you think about your week ahead on this beautiful Monday, ask yourself, “How do I want to feel when I look at the things I have to do this week?”  “How do I want to feel at work?” “How do I want to feel as I negotiate with my ex about custody this week?”  “How do I want to feel once the divorce is final?” “How do I want to feel about myself and my decisions in this separation?”

After you have done some real contemplating on those questions, take a moment and make a list of how you want to feel.

Action Steps

Take Action Now.

  • Really think about how you want to feel in every scenario that comes up for you, especially those that usually really stress you out.
  • Make a list of how you want to feel.
  • Get out sticky notes and put these positive feelings in your planner, or on your computer screen at work.  Remember them as you go about your day.
  • Make any to do list keeping how you want to feel in mind.  If it makes you feel crumby, truly rethink putting it on your to do list.  Is your still, small, wise voice trying to tell you something?
  • Check out http://daniellelaporte.com.
  • Send me an email now to tell me how you want to feel.

One More Thing

Don’t forget  a new North Star Sessions is forming.  It will begin on May 2, 2012.  Once you are in, you are in for as long as you need.  Join us!

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  Please leave a comment below.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken that action step this week.  Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

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What you need to know about divorce, life.

Good Morning!

Welcome this morning’s light with all your love and strength.

Wow.  So much to say to you all this morning.  My daughter, Kate’s, Spring Break began two weeks ago today.  The family headed to the Shenandoah River for some country living, fishing, canoeing, (ok, and there was a huge indoor water park on the list).  We took our now 6 month old rescue puppy, Emily.  We had family time.  We all got to know one another a little better (not that we don’t already), but the adults laid off the work and Kate laid off the play dates and school.  And, we just kind of hung out for five days.

Then, we all got back and I flew out to Seattle for a 2 day workshop/retreat with the amazing Dyana Valentine.  It was her Woke Up Knowing Anniversary week in Walla Walla, Washington.  And, I felt in my soul of souls that I needed to be there, if only for a couple of days.  I flew out to Seattle and then drove (I love road trips) through the Snoqualmie pass, 4 1/2 hours to Walla Walla.

 

My BIG take away from the weekend?  Do only what you are available to do.  I am and love being a mom.  I love being a partner to my husband.  I love going grocery shopping and taking care of things around the house.  This is one of my superconditions for being on this planet, and it comes first for me.  So, my work, what I do in this world and why I do it has to always wrap around or fit into the availability my spririt has for those other circumstances.

So, all this to say that I have a hard time standing still.  (In Ayurveda, I am very Vata — air, movement, creativitiy, my mind never stops. Don’t I sounds breathless to you?)

So sometimes, the Universe forces it.  

I drove back to Seattle after the retreat.  I knew I wanted to eat a huge sushi dinner before jumping on the red eye back to DC.  I consulted yelp for the best sushi in Belltown.  I found a place, and I ordered the Omakase.  I ate really well.

And, then I got home and spent the week in bed with what I think is salmonella food poisoning.  There is an outbreak in the U.S., please read about it here.  (I wish I could go on a quick rant about the food crisis in this country, but I won’t here.)

So, what God and the Universe wanted for me last week was bed rest.  (Oh, I almost forgot to say that it was also my birthday last week.)

I am back this morning with a tender heart, reminded how vulnerable I am without my health.  Happy to be getting healthy again.  I start my friend Lisa Consiglio-Ryan’s Spring detox tomorrow.  (You should too!)

I also turn my intentions, my heart, my energy towards making our home run smoothly, to you all here, and my mediation practice.

One thing that I realized while I was away either in form or in my spacey bed state dealing with the effects of the salmonella in my tummy is that I want to know what you need and want here.   Please take a minute to tell me what you need most by filling out this survey.  Those who complete it, will receive a free gift from me.  I have some unique handmade, Fair Trade farmer’s market baskets from Ghana and would love to send you one.  Or, based on your survey, I may send you a book that speaks to me and says you need it.

Survey

Action Step

Take action now.

  • Notice where you are right now in your life.  Ask yourself what you need, and listen.  Then, make a plan to get what you need.
  • What are you available for right now in your life?

One More Thing

I am going to hold a free 1 hour live yoga, ayurveda, self-care workshop on Thursday, April 27 at 3 p.m. EST.  I will send around a link with the details on how you can get on the list and sign up.  If you can’t make it, you will get the recording.

And, please don’t forget  a new North Star Sessions is forming.  It will begin on May 2, 2012.  Once you are in, you are in for as long as you need.  Join us!

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  Please leave a comment below.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken that action step this week.  Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

P.S. If you live in the Washington, DC area, here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.  My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

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What are you dreaming about?

Good Morning!

Welcome this morning’s light with all your love and strength.

Our soul’s longing calls forth truth.  

Have you had any interesting dreams lately?  Tell me about them.

I love to interpret dreams. I also truly believe in the gift of them.  Two nights ago, I had a very vivid dream of a tornado coming through what looked like a hotel room with two twin beds.  I didn’t see it coming and it hit me on the back of my head.  I jumped into the open area between the two beds while it blew over.  I was okay but terrified and the backof my head really hurt.  It was so real.

Interpreting dreams is very personal so I won’t get too much into the interpretation of my dream.  Tornados are harbingers of change.  They are beautiful metaphors for life changes that we sense in our heart of hearts, are necessary, and upon us.   These divine forces of nature are among us but rare, and if they touch us — rarer still.

To have something like a tornado — massive wind, water, and energy rotating and in contact with both the surface of the Earth and air — come together in my dream is not a small statement.  It is a huge one.  And, my journaling about its significance helped spiral (literally) me into a new life shift.  It helped me to clarify some things in my own life.

 

Journal Prompt

  • Keep a journal by your bedside this week, and write about every dream you have.  First write what you remember from the dream and then journal about what you think it could mean.  Make sure to write a few notes down about your dream when you first wake from them so that you don’t lose the details.  Write down the colors, if there are any, the items — from the carpet to the lamp to the plate of grapes — and what is communicated.  If you are able to write a few notes down when you wake up, they will help you to journal about the entire dream in the morning.

Action Step

Take action now.

  • Explore your dreams, for at least this week.
  • Contact me to talk through some of your dreams and how they may relate to the part of the divorce or grief process you are going through.  Here’s my appointment calendar for next week.  Grab a free 15 minute dream spot by entering your email in the upper right of the page.   I will send you an email with the details!

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.

Please leave a comment here.

I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken those action steps this week.

Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

In light,

P.S. Here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Washington, DC : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.  My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. A new North Star Sessions is forming.  It will begin on May 2, 2012.  Join us!

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Fill up. Say no.

Good morning!

Welcome this morning’s light with all your love and strength.  

We have been busy planning our Spring break and the month of April.  April is possibly my favorite month of the year — beautiful weather, sunny days, birds chirping, blossoms everywhere, tulips popping out of the ground, my birthday.  We have found ourselves this April, though, really busy with travel and business plans.  All really good, but busy.  What I like to do most in the Spring is sit out in the backyard and just listen to all the sounds of nature.  It is such a quieting safety that comes with those sounds, for me.  So, in any negotiation of to dos, I have had to stay very present with the fact that my soul needs this quiet nature time.  No one else has to completely understand it, its just something I need for me.  

Our soul’s longing calls forth truth.   

I want to know if you can see beauty,
even when it’s not pretty,
every day,
and if you can source your own life
from its presence. 
  — Oriah 

My 6 1/2 year old daughter, Kate, drew this recently.  I keep it on my computer screen now.  And, I think it pretty well sums it all up : 

Drawing by my daughter, Kate.  This pretty well sums it all up for me.

To be able to have the time to do more of the activities we need for ourselves, that our soul needs, we have to say “no” more often.  This is no a small task is it?   Saying yes to those moments our soul is craving and asking for at the expense of saying no to draining tasks is absolutely necessary.  It is only in filling up ourselves that we are able to function in the world.  Yes, we are all busy, but unless we fill up our own cups, the well is dry and everyone suffers.
Journal Prompts

  • What are some of the places in your life that you can say, “I no longer …..”  In other words, what activities or beliefs can you say no to?  Write them down.  Think about them energetically and write down those things that you have to do each day that drains your energy, your soul.  Make a NO list. This does not mean that they won’t get done necessarily, but it may mean that you need to give the task to someone else.  Does doing your taxes drain you?  Give them to your accountant or hire a virtual assistant to go through your expenses and put them in a spreadsheet for you.
  • Now, what are some things that light you up?  What lights up your soul, soothes your spirit, makes you come alive?  Make a list — just write for 3 minutes.  Go!  Let them flow.  If you are having trouble, it is probably because you haven’t felt that beauty, that happiness in a long time.  Think back in time, what has made you feel complete?  Now, with your list, let’s go to the action step.

Action Steps

Take action now.  

  • Take 3 things from your no list and quit doing them now.  Make a committment.
  • Take 3 things from your “what lights me up” list and schedule to do them in your calendar.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  

Please leave a comment below.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken that action step this week.  

Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.  

Honoring your divine light,  

P.S. Here is the information on my new office for mediation clients in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.  My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.  

P.S.S. A new North Star Sessions is forming.  It will begin on May 2, 2012.  Join us!  

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Monday Morning Light: Bring in the Spring

So often, one of the fears that comes up for people is “will I ever be loved again?”  Once I am divorced and single, how can I go through that again?  Will I ever fall in love with someone new?

That fear gets us outside of ourselves.  When we allow that thought to penetrate, take us over, we are no longer present and we are no longer strong in ourselves.  Read this aloud :

For in blooming, we attract others; in being so thoroughly who we are, an inner fragrance is released that calls others to eat of our nectar.  And we are loved, by friends and partners alike.  — Mark Nepo

We as human beings are still very much a creation just like the honey bee.  We intuitively know when someone is open to love, open to getting to know someone.  At the same time, we know when there is no nectar.  We work to build up the love we have for ourselves so that we are strong enough to handle anything that comes our way.  And, we are.   We are each placed ever so gently and perfectly on this planet to endure what we have endured.  We have each been blessed with a particular story and the ability to overcome exactly what we have overcome.

 

The more we build up our own nectar, so to speak, the stronger, more vibrant, sexy, beautiful we become.  The less we think about attracting love but just concentrate on our own goodness, the more love comes.  (Does the flower really do anything but blossom and wait patiently? The bee just comes.)  As with the bee, there are so many hungry potential partners looking for someone just like you — wise, beautiful, soulful you.

Journal Prompt

  1. Has this been a fear you have been stressing about lately?  If so, journal about the fear.  Where does it come from, how can you notice when it comes up and redirect the energy?

Action Step

Take action now.

  1. Come up with an action plan for yourself in dealing with this fear.  Whenever the fear comes up, do something for yourself to build up your strength such as:  meditate to clear the mind, do some yoga (or just do a forward fold to clear the mind — breathe), breathe breathe breathe, pray that you will see what you need to see, give the worry up to the universe.

Go here for more resources on going through divorce and healing your way through it.  Please leave a comment below.  I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken that action step this week.  Let’s talk on the Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,

 

P.S. And, with this energy of Spring, I have to announce to you all that I have opened up my new office for mediation clients in Washington, DC : 1425 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.  My telephone number is (202) 587-2772.  More to come on this as well!

P.S.S. A new North Star Sessions is forming.  It will begin on May 2, 2012.  Join us!

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Monday Morning Light: This is your brain on divorce.

I spent the weekend at Luminous Warrior in DC.  This workshop was the first of 9 levels in the Path of Power program, and the next level is being taught April 23-34 (check it out, powerful!). 

Over this weekend, we learned about empowering the mind.  I have two things to share about the weekend.  First of all, since I have lived in this city, I have always held the thought that everyone is more conservative or not interested in healing — (judgment? yes.  And, I know how ridiculous it sounds).  I just did not believe I could find a community of like-minded people.  Part of it is having worked as an attorney in corporate and government law for much of that time, but what I realize is I was limiting myself by the thought.  

That thought was blown out of the water this weekend, and I realized that by judging and believing in the limitations of my city, I had closed myself off to the possibilities.  So grateful for that lesson learned.  

Secondly, I want to share just a little about what I learned on how the brain works, something I had heard before but not quite like this.  

There are four brains at work within each of us :

  • The Reptilian brain : our survival or automatic functioning brain, procreation.  It measures time by the last time you ate.
  • The Mammalian (or Limbic) brain : emotions, fight – flight – freeze brain, fornication.  It measures time by ecstatic events.
  • Neocortex : science or rational brain.  It measures time linearly.
  • Pre-Frontal : universal brain, brain of the third eye.  There is no time.
4 brains

We mostly live in the Mammalian and Reptilian brains.  We should strive to live in all 4.  When we feel high anxiety, depression, loneliness, we are in the Limbic brain.  We can SO get stuck there, can’t we?  This is the place we feel hurt, feel trampled, feel angry.  All of our feelings are there.  When we get stuck it is beyond helpful to have tools in place to get us unstuck.  You want to move into the Neocortex brain to calm the parasympathetic nervous system.  

To move into the Neocortex, you can start to do some simple math.  (i.e., 2+2=4, 2+5=7)  Or, count.  

These exercises are comparable to the “I’m back” technique that Josh Pais taught and I mentioned in a previous MML from his Committed Impulse program.

The pre-frontal lobes, the god brain so to speak, is only recently coming into our knowledge stream.  We can go there by gently tapping at our third eye.  Kris Karr has raved about the benefits of tapping.  Carol Look also provides tons of resources on the subject of tapping.  You can also do ceremony, read wisdom cards, tarot, stones, connect with nature to get there.  It is our universal brain where there is unconditional love and abundance.  Here are a couple of audios with Dr. David Perlmutter, a board certified neurologist, and Alberto Villoldo Ph.D., a psychologist and medical anthropologist, on the neuroscience of enlightenment.

Journal Prompts

  1. Where in your life have you noticed getting stuck in the Mammalian or Limbic brain?  
  2. Have you experienced the pre-frontal lobe? And, what were you doing when you were there?

Action Steps



Take action now.  

  1. Set an intention for yourself to notice next time you get into your emotional stuckness or Mammalian brain, and create a go to action plan for stepping into your Neocortex.  
  2. Do it.  Practice it.  Make it part of your routine self-care work. 

 

I want to hear about what you think and how you have taken that action step this week.  Please talk with me on my Facebook page http://facebook.com/candacesmyth/ or send me an email at candace@candacesmyth.com.  

 

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,  

 

 

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The biggest step in the road to healing after divorce.

” Setting others free means setting yourself free.”  – Emmett Fox

When you hold resentment and fail to forgive your ex, you are bound to him by a cosmic link of sorts.  So, the relationship and the pain of it does not go away.  It stays as a part of your world, your life.  Holding on to blame and anger only holds you back.

You may feel in the moment that it makes you feel better to know that you are in the right, that he has hurt you.  But, the uncanny reality is that the opposite happens.  You disempower yourself and by holding on to the resentment, you tie yourself to him (the very person you are trying to get over and move on from), you carry him on your back.

Forgiveness is not simple, but it is a choice.

It is a choice that you make at the shore of your own happiness.

And, I do believe at a very deep level that it is the most important choice we make as we begin a life in divorce or post-divorce.  Forgiveness.  Acceptance of the loss.  And, a decision to move forward with our new big life.  Without it, we will forever be chained to our failed marriages, imprisoned by the captors of our hearts and minds even after physically released.

How do you forgive?  These are four ways that helped me and I hope will you too:

(1)  Use prayer, meditation, tap into your spirit.  Forgiveness honors the heart’s greatest dignity.  With forgiveness, we choose love.  We choose the higher ground.  Pray for or meditate for forgiveness from others, for help in forgiving others and in forgiving ourselves.

(2) Let go.  By letting go of the hopes, the pictures we had painted of our lives and what our lives would be … together, we release the energy those stories hold.  We quiet our mind in the reality of our circumstance.

If you let go a little
you will have a little happiness.
If you let go a lot
you will have a lot of happiness.
If you let go completely
you will be free. — Ajahn Chah

(3) Grieve.  We must see divorce as a loss, just as if a death has happened.  We must let our heart move through the natural grief process.  We must experience and move with and through the pain of our losses.  and

(4) Seek reconciliation.  We do not have to actually speak to the other or have an active relationship (but if we have kids, it is inevitable that the relationship continues).  What is important, though, is that we plant a seed of reconciliation in our hearts so that we hope only good for our ex.  We hold the intention of non-suffering for him and for harmony among us.  The simple gesture of expressing the heart’s desire for reconciliation navigates our lives toward more peace.

 

As always, I welcome your comments below and on our Facebook page.

Don’t forget to sign up for Monday Morning Light (our weekly newsletter of meditations, journal prompts and action items) in the top right corner of the page above.

 

With open heart.

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This is all your fault!

Who is responsible for all the pain you are feeling right now?

It is a natural human response to blame some circumstance or person when things go wrong.  When my mom was killed in a car accident, I blamed the car company for not installing side air bags.  I blamed the weather.  I wondered why Mom was driving so fast, why she or Dad hadn’t put new tires on the car.  Why she had to get in the car on a stormy day to drive to someone else’s anniversary celebration.  Was it really that important?  When I was going through my divorce, I blamed him over and over.  It was all his fault that the marriage had ended.

It is a natural part of grief recovery to get angry and blame something outside ourselves.  If, however, we make others responsible for causing our feelings, we also make them responsible for ending them.  There is no power in that.

We have been brought up to believe that we are victims of situations and often helpless in our responses to those events.  If only we could just “let go.”  But, our human hearts do not work that way either.  You can’t change until you can take responsibility for your own recovery.

When we were children, we really did not have power to change our circumstances nor the actions of the adults in our lives.  We are now adults and when we sustain and recreate our own disempowered memories, we remain stuck in that pain.

In The Grief Recovery Handbook, John W. James and Russell Friedman advise that you just take 1% responsibility for what has happened and for your feelings.  This is a small but absolutely necessary step to moving away from being a victim of loss and into the next stage of grief recovery, healing, empowerment.

Action Item : Take your 1% responsibility.  What are you responsible for?   How did you contribute to the breakdown of your marriage or the loss you are grieving?  Journal about it for two pages.  

Remember, this is not an exercise so that you can beat yourself up or feel bad about what you did.  This is an exercise in honesty.  Be honest with yourself and forgive yourself.  Do you feel more open?  How do you feel?

I would love to respond to your comments and/or questions below.

Namaste, Candace

 

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Is Divorce the Right Decision for You?

The true theme this week has been something I too once struggled with.  How do you know that divorce is right for you?  Since I launched the site last week, all of my interactions with clients have dealt with some variation of this question.  So, I am giving you a little here about what I know to be true.

The Five A’s :

In David Richo’s, How To Be An Adult in Relationships, he describes in detail the “Five A’s” that are necessary for any relationship to survive.  Briefly, they are:

Attention – Mutual focusing on each other with respect, not contempt.  ”When you are given attention, your intuitions are treated as if they matter.  You are taken seriously.  You are given credit when it is due.”  You do not harbor secret anger but open the communication lines between you with mutual respect and not contempt.   Your partner hears and notices you.

Acceptance – Unconditional validation of someone’s choices.  Approval.  ”In acceptance, you are embraced as worthy, not compared . . . but trusted, empowered, understood, and fully approved of as you are in your uniqueness.”  Your partner embraces you for you.

Appreciation – To affirm continually.  To show the depth of your acceptance of someone.  Gratitude for your partner.  Your partner delights in you, acknowledges you and all your potential.

Affection – A loving touch, hug, or look.  Reassurance of love through physical action of some kind.  Being lovingly present.  Your partner is committed to being beside you often and compassionate in response to your pain.

Allowing – The freedom to pursue our own deepest needs as an individual in the relationship.

Your partner makes you feel safe to be yourself.

Interestingly, what happens when we are not happy in our marriage is that five other emotions come into play : fear, desire, judgment, control and illusion.   In a relationship, we are not able to give the five A’s if we are stuck in these emotions.  When we come to our partner with the five A’s, we get closer to them and better understand the reality of the relationship.  When we come at our partner instead with the 5 other emotions, we are distanced further from them.

 

To further explore these emotions and how to escape from their hold on you, I definitely recommend getting Dr. Richo’s book, go here (it is in my carousel) to purchase it from Amazon.

I include all of this for one reason.  I think one of the important questions we must ask ourselves when we are facing the divorce decision is Have I done all I can do here? This is why it is the first question below.

The Five Questions:

Ask yourself these five questions.  Take three minutes to freely journal to yourself about each one.   

(1) Do you believe you have the right to happiness, and have you done all you could do in this relationship?  Go internal for this one.  Really go deep and think about how you feel about yourself, and then ask yourself if you have really tried to move towards

your partner using the five A’s.

(2) Do you and your partner show one another love, respect and support by giving and receiving attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowing?

(3) Do you feel safe in your partner’s company?

(4) Has your partner said yes to counseling or does he/she participate in ongoing counseling, and are you able to discuss with your partner making changes together to work on the relationship?

(5) Does your inner trio – heart, head, gut  - say yes to continuing the relationship?

After answering and journaling about these three questions, you should already have a gut feeling about what is right for you.  If you answered no to most of these questions — 3 out of 5, then you know that you need to start making plans that are right for you and the rest of your life.

Letting Go:  Pigeon Pose

Because of all of the emotions we tend to store up and hold onto in our hips, the pigeon has been the most healing yoga pose for me. It is the act of being present with all that you are holding onto and then deliberately (without forcing) letting it go.  In fact, it was a hip opener workshop I did at my yoga studio with Kimberly Wilson almost five years ago that helped me to finally let go and wish happiness for my former partner.  Kimberly who is so intuitively wonderful in her yoga classes combined yoga with journaling and lavender aromatherapy that day.  I wrote on a piece of paper in front of me – “I release you and wish you happiness.”

Salamba Kapotasana

1.  Begin in a downward facing dog position.  Pedal your feet, really breathe here and relax into the pose.  Do some warming up of the legs and hips before entering into pigeon.

2.  Lift your right leg up bend you, downward dog split.  And, then gently place your knee between your hands, the right ankle is near the left wrist, and you are perched on your outer right buttock and hip.

3.  Square your hips and shoulders.

4.  Stretch your left leg back, knee and top of the foot on the mat.

5.  Puff up like a pigeon, open your heart, do a slight back bend and fold yourself forward coming onto your elbows.  You can fall even further forward resting your third eye on the mat and arms out-stretched.  Hold for 15 breaths.  Really breath in all that serves you, your power, your truth that you are an amazing goddess.  Breathe out all that does not serve you and with it just let everything go.  Make sure that with your out breath, you are releasing all of the tension in your body (your shoulders, your facial muscles, your jaw).  Just let it all go.

6.  Repeat on the left side.

Two Affirmations for the Week Ahead:

I deserve and accept the best now.

I let go of all that does not serve my highest good.

 

I hope all of this is helpful in some way as you continue on your own journey.  Please let me know how you are doing and what all of this brought up for you.

If you would like to work with me one-on-one, please go here and click the button for the payment plan that works best for you.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Namaste,

Candace

 

 

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