The Challenge of Change
Adjusting to your life after the end of a relationship, marriage/partnership is different for each person but it rarely all falls magically into place. There will be a period that feels unsettling. Remind yourself that this is perfectly normal.
Whether you are trying to nurture the love in a challenging marriage, going through the stages of divorce, or coping with long-term healing after a breakup, meditation can play an incredibly helpful role. Meditations and exercises that address stress and provide relaxation techniques are particularly beneficial. Here we combine awareness of your body in the present, letting go of tension, and concentrating on love – no matter how many contrary feelings come up – to use as a guidepost for your journey through difficult times.
Find a quiet, peaceful setting and 10-15 minutes that you are free of any task or expectation. Even five minutes is worthwhile. If there’s a lot of chaos going on in your life, and you think you don’t have time to meditate, remember that is one of the very reasons it’s important to do it! Your mind is probably very busy, and your body is at a heightened state of anxiety. Make an announcement to your mind and body that it is time for a pause.
Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor or a chair. Close your eyes. Keep your back straight and think of a string coming up from your spine, holding your head tall. Take three deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Continue to breathe slowly and deeply, with awareness.
Starting with your feet, feel the energy that exists inside and around them. Release any tension you are feeling there. Once your feet are relaxed, slowly move up your body and focus on each part – your shins, your knees, your thighs, your stomach/torso, up to your chest, neck, and head, up to the top. Feel all the energy that flows through your body, along with the energy around it.
Now bring your concentration back to your chest and settle it in your heart. Visualize the energy as the love that resides inside of you. Sit with that feeling. Introduce, in your mind, the person or situation that you are struggling to see in a loving light. It can be your spouse/ex. It might be a financial situation or child custody complication that is causing negative or dark feelings. It could be an upcoming event, such as a visit to a lawyer or a conversation with your partner/ex that you are hesitant about.
Continue to visualize the person or situation, then come back to your heart where you have cultivated a loving light. Send that light out to the person or problem. It may be difficult to feel what you perceive as love in that moment, but think of love as energy and light. It is there to help you most of all. The love that you surround a person or situation with, that is causing you anxiety, is self-love that can become compassion even in the most adversarial of dynamics. If you are experiencing hurt and/or anger, that can make this meditation seem very challenging. Acknowledge what you feel, then let it go, if only for a few minutes. Know that time will change and heal feelings, in whatever way it is meant to be. Project to the future where there will be more peace of mind.
Sit with the mind of love, clear of other emotions, for the rest of your meditation. If thoughts or feelings come up, greet them and then envelope them in the light. When you are ready to end your meditation, bring your concentration back to your breath and open your eyes.
Along with sitting meditations like the one above, mindful meditation, which you can practice as you go about your day, keeps you focused on the present and on your feelings. When we are mindful of our surroundings and feelings, we are better able to cope with trials and tribulations.
Remember – take care of yourself! Exercising, eating healthy food/regular meals, and getting plenty of sleep are all so important during stressful times. Please seek out counseling or therapy if you feel overwhelmed, along with friends who love you and can be supportive. Though marriage issues, divorce/breakups, and adjustment to being single can feel very isolating, know that you are truly not alone. Above all, be kind, compassionate, and patient with yourself.
Derek O’Neill, fondly referred to as the Celtic Sage, inspires and uplifts people from all walks of life, offering guidance to influential world leaders, businesses, celebrities, athletes and everyday people alike. Distilled from his life work in psychotherapy, a martial arts career and study with wise yogis and Indian and Tibetan masters, Derek translates ancient wisdom into modern day teachings to address the biggest challenges facing humanity today. For additional insights listen to his free radio archives or order his books on Love/Divorce, Grief, Mindfulness, Anxiety, Stress and Depression.
Image courtesy of Yoann Boyer.