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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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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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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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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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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