Ho’oponoponoing my way to a future Intention

Life happens when we are in the middle of a breakup. Change accelerates. The universe sends us curve balls. We get busy with a dozen other (distractions that seem to pop up).
We (seem to) lose time to process our emotions. We (seem to) lose the time we (seem to) need to chart our future. It can (seem to) be difficult to figure out how our former partner will play a role in our future. We might (seem to) choose to block it out or get to it when we can.
After all our survival is on the line here. Or so it may seem during a break up.
Notice all those seem to kind of things?
I highlighted a few. There are more than I can write where those came from.
The self work we miss today grows with the interest of time.

Become a Love Alchemist

I am working through step 4 of Conscious Uncoupling. This is the 4th step of a 5 step process from the book of the same name by Katherine Woodward Thomas.
The steps from the back book cover:
  1. Find Emotional Freedom
  2. Reclaim your Power and Your Life
  3. Break the Pattern, Heal your heart
  4. Become a Love Alchemist <- I’m here
  5. Create Your Happily-Even-After Life
My intent was to work through 1 step a week. I am about 11 days into Step 4.
Life happened.
Seven days ago I started coming down with a virus. I have a number of work projects running concurrently. I have to finish these quickly. I need to bill them so that I can have the funds I need. Then I can take over the rental of the home I share with my former girlfriend.
I am on track to do this. The work is not done yet. The invoices are not yet sent. The money is not yet in the bank.
In the middle of all of this, my ex-wife and I (previous relationship now in a coparenting stage)… We are re-negotiating an Individual Education Plan with my daughter’s school system. This is time intensive and frustrating.
The holidays are coming too.
I want to take my kids to see my family 750 miles away, a 13 hour road trip each way over a 5 day holiday. This is 2 full days of driving split amongst myself and my two children old enough to drive.
I need to return with enough energy to dive back into work and kick off a successful December too.
Life is happening!
Step 4 seems to be a chapter broken into 5 sub chapters. It might be the sickness. It might be the actual chapter.
It might be that Steps 1, 2 and 3 went smoothly for me. Now I have encountered my first real challenge in Conscious Uncoupling. It feels like its taking forever.

Why am I challenged?

Step 4 involves in part the practice of Ho’oponopono. This is a Hawaiian term for a prayer and a practice.
Ho'oponopono practice
We bring into our mind something from the relationship history that is bothering us. Then we begin…
I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
The goal is to clear the air and complete our relationship.
This leads to the next part of Step 4, evolving our relationship.
I have known this part was coming for a couple weeks. I am approaching it with a simple mind. I do not know what relationship we will have after this break up.
I am open to the not knowing. I am open to the possibilities.
I simply cannot foresee the future. I am ok with that too.
There is a paradox in this stage. We need to set an intention for how our relationship will exist (or not) in the future.
Will we talk?
Will we be friends?
Will we be acquaintances?
Something else…
I have no idea.
I am open to possibilities, and have not yet felt or known one that seems to be the answer. The puzzle piece of this jigsaw has not presented itself to me.
I feel like I am dancing around an unkown.
Sick and distracted – excuses and also real
I have literally been sick and distracted. This morning in my podcast playlist a Tony Robbins episode came up titled ‘Is it time to let go? | Making the difficult decision to end a relationship‘.
This episode also jumps right into the Ho’oponopono practice just like in Step 4 of the book. The man in this episode that is being coached by Tony Robbins resonates with me a bit.
We definitely have a lot of differences too.
His description of his own ex-wife seems resonates in my experience as a witness.
I am not saying they are the same. I do see and connect with a lesson from this example.
I am also reminded of the movie ‘The Shift‘ created by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer. A character in the movie leaves her relationship to find her own significance.
In these examples, the men in the relationships, as an individual partner…
They can not fulfill the role of significance for the women in their life.
The women have to leave the relationship to find their significance.
In these examples, the woman is not even looking for a different man to give them significance.
Note – To truly understand the context of ‘significance’ in my article here, I recommend listening to the podcast via the link above. Plus, this is one of many of my interpretations,  and I recognize my interpretations are only that. My job is to learn to ask better questions in future relationships to find areas where my values and goals better match future partners values and goals.
This is about finding the significance in their own lives. This is not about being defined by a man.
In these examples, this happens at a stage in life for the women that is in the later middle stages of life. As a witness to the #MeToo movement spreading around the world (It’s #WeToo in Japan), I feel like this is something that women are experiencing at many different ages now.
There is a zeitgeist happening. Women are re-awakening to this concept, and I am happy to live in this age and witness this happening.
I am also sad as it is one of the reasons why I am letting go of my current relationship and a woman that I love very much.
It is just one reason. There are several others.
This is one of those reasons that I can never resolve. In some of the early phases of our relationship, I attempted to help her express and connect and realize through her actions, this significance.
I could see it in her. I could see it in her potential. Everyone that encountered her and experienced her abilities, could see and feel it as well.
The Challenge
We cannot help another person feel or know their own significance just by witnessing it.
We can’t help another person see their significance for them.
We can do many other things.
I have a lot to learn here, and note this as an area for my own future development and growth.
But this is not an area where we can ‘do for’ another person.
So I am letting go with love.
I love you.
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.
My former girlfriend is also working through this book and these steps.
The ending of this relationship is as beautiful as the beginning of our relationship.
This too is a paradox. At times I feel connected, almost reconnected with her in this beautiful ending.
And I am letting go in love.
I love you.
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.
I do not know what our future might look like. I am working to find ways to make amends (an area I have a lot of work and development to do. I feel distracted by life in this area as well.)
We have had days and days of rain and cold and the start of a real fall here in the south east. I look out on a beautiful sun lit back yard.
The final yellow leaves on one of the last trees to hold leaves is lit up. The yellow is almost too bright to stare at for long.
beauty in yellow leaves
I will find this future eventually. I will create it. We might co-create it in our new roles whatever those will be.
I will be ok. She will be ok.
I’ll look forward with hope, and get myself back to work this morning as I have life to do,
and again I will let go with love….
I love you.
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.

 

Invest in the Process not the Result

This morning I watched Srikumar Rao’s Ted Talk – Plug into your hard-wired happiness.

This was a terrific talk and stands the test of time very well, and it has a title that did nothing for me.

Side lark… – Sometimes, I wonder if there are Ted Talk Editor Elves. They might have the job of editing titles to insure that they are descriptive and do not give away any spoilers, no answers in the title. The end result is that I often see amazing Ted Talks and feel that the title was by far the worst part about the talk!

The amazing core of this message is that we should invest in the process and not the result.

What does that mean?

Srikumar works through the backdrop that we can never be happy if we focus on attaining, acquiring or being something.  Winning the lottery, earning a promotion, being someone that we are not.

Instead, he talks through the concept that it is the process that gets us to these things, to these ‘purposes’. That process is the thing that we have to do, day in and day out.

The fallacy that we should do a job/profession that we are passionate about

Many times people refer to do the thing that you are passionate about. They often mistake that for a job or a profession. Attain the job and then you can do the thing you are passionate about.

Other times, people say that we should find a purpose in life and that in and of itself will be fulfilling.

Well, they both always sort of miss the point, or part of it.

Srikumar comes super close to putting these together in a new model.

First, he guides us that we need to get rid of our old brain model,

Bad Model -> If I get/do/have/be  this, Then I will be happy.

He instead, guides us to let that thing we want to get or do or have or be, let those things maybe be our guiding purpose, or at least our next purpose.

The key is in the process, our mental model of how we create the formula of doing/being/living.

If we only strive for a thing, it will never be fulfilling. Once we have it, we have it, nothing else to do there.

A process, a way of doing/being/living can constantly be improved, changed, adapted and this can be done for different stages of our lives, careers, relationships etc.

Now, last week I was working through the concept that

Happiness can be measure in our Progress

When we are making progress, improving ourselves, or can see and measure the progress, we feel a sense of accomplishment and capability and ability and growth and more.

This would be as opposed to be stuck or losing ability after ability.

If I go to school and learn how to code or how to write or how to communicate better with the people whom I love, I can measure my progress in new abilities.

That’s definitely part of the happiness forumula.

The thing is that if I only learn a better way to communicate with the people I love and I do nothing else, I don’t have much of a process for my life.

I need communications to improve. That gets applied to one part of my life, the thing that is the processes I engage in.

I am more than just a communicator.

I solve problems, and build websites, and work with business models, and practice yoga, and raise children, and coach and mentor people and many, many other things.

All those things I do are part of a process, and break down into little processes too.

Improve the processes, be happier with an improved life

And that’s the main concept of his talk. Invest in the process, not on buying stuff.

Invest in the things you do so that you can improve your process or processes.  Might be one part here, might be another part there.

You might work on several at a time, or you might hit them one at a time.

Know your Process

I think this might be where the next step for me might be.

I have become more conscious of many things in my life. Sometimes, I model these out in a diagram, like the one with this blog post, a diagram symbolizing my need to automate certain basic functions of my WordPress Agency. I need to simplify and streamline things so that the business can be more nimble, and to spare me tedium.

That required digging in and learning what in my business process could be better.

Recently, I’ve begun the process of Consciously Uncoupling from my love of three years.

It’s time I rework some of the processes that I choose a person for a relationship and engage and grow the relationship too.

I have done a great deal of that over the last three years, and this was an amazing relationship that I am now coming out of and…

I can do work on myself. I can improve my abilities, my communications skills, my ability to set and maintain healthy boundaries, my abilities to know my values and find someone’s who has values that align with mine, even if they approach life through a very different set of processes, a different way of making a living or even of having fun.

If we align in our values, the things we want to ‘process’ towards, we can bring synergy to a relationship and build something together, even if we are going about it in somewhat different ways.

I have some shit to work. That’s ok. I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect. Perfect is something that no one can attain.

I can improve me by improving my methods, my processes, and I can find love and happiness with someone that chooses to do the same, even if very differently.

Life is better with love

As I sit staring at the flowers on the table, sipping some ‘Sleep’ tea because I’m not sleeping, I glance up and see a plaque on my wall.

life is better with love

About 3 years back, I bought that plaque for $10. I think I got it at Big Lots or maybe it was Aldis?

I brought it back to my new apartment, the post separation apartment after a 23 year marriage, evaporated in an evening initiated by a drunken stranger in an out of control truck on two wheels.

The plaque conveyed my sentiments, my intention, my aspiration and my belief system.

There is judgement in those words.  It happens when ever that tricky be verb is used to create a sentence.

It most definitely gets judgey when the word ‘better’ gets thrown in there too!

Better implies worse. Better implies comparison. Better implies someone looking around and seeing worse and comparing it to something else that gets labeled as better.

All that judging is why it is part of my belief system. I recognize that now. I was not conscious of it then.

Some might claim that it is also a value of mine.

I value love.

I want or desire love in my life. And for me, when I have love in my life, life is better.

It wasn’t too long after I bought that plaque, that love came into my life. I met a wonderful woman. We experienced a perfect date. It was a confirming of love as much as it was also a falling in love.  We had already fallen in love before the first date.

The date was more of a chemistry check. Did we have chemistry to match the love?

Oh, yeah! We most definitely had chemistry.

We were off to the races and it was wonderful.

We had our wounds. We had our scars.

We were in love and we healed a whole lot of those wounds and worked out those scars and made ourselves into something new.

Happily Even After…

We got quite far on love and chemistry. We started to bond and grow in new ways trying to find ways to grow into our new relationship.

  • We traveled a bit here or there; it was not enough.
  • We attempted to co-create a business together; it was not quite… I do not know what.
  • We made a beautiful home together; and it was not enough either.

That relationship ended a week ago and this is a small coming to terms with that end.

And I look up and see the plaque. Life is better with love.

It was amazingly better with love.

And here’s the rub…

Since we decided to end the relationship, it feels as if a balloon of tension simply disappeared.

It didn’t pop. It didn’t zip away in noisy, squealing loop-de-loops.

It just vanished.

It is early in this split up. We are just starting in the Step 1 or something of Conscious Uncoupling, a 5 step process, a way to mindfully, compassionately end a relationship and shift into a life of “Happily Even after” ~ quote from the book.

I am very happy with the new directions opening up in my life. Things feel easier.

I love witnessing the energy and vitality in my ex-girlfriend as well.

There are many reminders at this stage, reminders of why and how I fell so deeply in love with her.

I am not going to get into the ‘why’ of the ending. She and I have discussed this and for now have decided not to write about that. In my memory, this was more her idea than mine, and with a week of hindsight, it feels very wise to me in this current moment.

I remember why and how I fell in love with her. I could do it all over again, but I also remember why and how the relationship wasn’t working for either of us.

In balance, the scales tipped away from there being an ‘us’.

A week ago, it did not look like we could be friends for much longer. Maybe that was the heat of the moment, the fuel of the ending.

This week, I feel differently about that. I do not know where this friend might fit in my future life, and that’s ok. These things never get figured out in 7 days, maybe not 7 weeks or 7 months.

In this moment, I can mourn the passing of our relationship, and I think there is still love there. It’s not relationship level love. It’s a love of our own selves. Its a love for what we experienced maybe. It might be a love for what could have been, if only xyz.

Its a love for this other person that meant the world to me for a few, important years of my life.

I have loved as deeply for a far shorter amount of time.

I have loved as deeply for a longer amount of time.

The measurement is not important.

The love is the important part, whether its for three weeks or 3 years or 3 decades, a rough approximation of the three most influential loves of my life.

I do not measure these loves against each other. This is not how love works for me.

I loved them each with everything I had while I was with them. I love each one of them still and will not stop.

I learned and confirmed three years ago, that I could grow my heart larger. I did this in part as there was a massive hole in it. That hole was not filled or healed or anything. The hole will always be there.

My heart simply got larger. My capacity to love grew infinitely more, and I fell in love using that newish, great big heart.

My heart is not dead yet. Some day I will do this again. This is not something I need to learn nor confirm anymore. I have gained a new level of knowing, an intense new level of wisdom about myself.

I paid for that wisdom with blood and sweat and tears, and I’d pay it all over again, and I probably will.

The bottom of my tea cup still has some tea left. I neglected to throw out the tea bag and the lavender/chamomile  blend is turning the water sour. The tea was calming and helpful to calm my mind as I started writing this.

Now I think, I can get that rest I need, preparing for an amazing day tomorrow working on myself, working on my business, working to build an amazingly beautiful end to my relationship with an amazingly beautiful person, as we take slow, gradual steps to not be with each other anymore, and with luck and good fortune and compassion and even love, I hope we grow as friends.

Grief Feeding Anxiety & Depression Feeding Life Sabotage

Its late in the morning on Sunday. I’m sitting on my porch after a rainy night, a rainy week. The sun is out and its windy, but not yet warm. The sun and the wind are blowing away the last of the rainy weather in preparation to start up the pre-Memorial Day weekend roaster.
I’m feeling …. Too much this morning, but none of it heavily. I’m feeling a bit depressed, a bit anxious. I’m feeling a bit depressed looking back at the past of a long marriage that ended just over a year ago. I’ve had lots of reminders of this the last week, many interactions with my ex-wife, the mother of my children. These were positive interactions and some of the best examples of our potential to be co-parents in the future. This is something that I want, but it does not come quickly nor easily.
We do not get training in life in how to be a good divorced coparent. Some people, I hesitate to call them lucky, might have been able to see their own parents become good coparents and set an example. Even when this happens no one wants this for their future, because that infers that we have to get married and then get divorced and then become good coparents.For what its worth, I do think there is a big difference between being ‘coparents’ verses being ‘divorced parents’. In my mind, coparents work together to raise their kids. Divorced parents in my mind are single parents that individually take care of their children, sometimes alternating and sometimes negotiating or through lawyers organize some things. 

The difference I suppose is working together for the good of the children verses working individually or working together out of forced legal obligation.

The Conscious Uncoupling movement offers up a way to help make coparenting and ending relationships more positive and more healthy for everyone involved, but its very new and through the ever snarky media has been much maligned without any actual critical evaluation of what is involved.

Today, this morning for myself, I have not gone through a conscious uncoupling experience. I’m doing my best to try and move from being a divorced single parent to a coparent someday.

As I started going through the detachment from my ex-spouse, whom I still loved, I worked to detach with love. I was codependent and didn’t realize it until after we decided to divorce, but I did need to detach for my own health and well being. 

I did not want to detach using anger to fuel my break away from her. I did not feel that would serve me well and I definitely did not feel that it would serve my children. I did not feel that it would be healthy for them to see their father go through a process of ‘hating’ their mother. I do not hate their mother. I never have. I never will. She is a wonderful person. She is not perfect, but I have never dwelled on her negatives. We all have our negatives. I am no where near perfect. 

I do not think I am very bad either. I like myself. I am happy with who I am. I am happy with where I am going. I am happy with how I am getting there. To use a rock climbing analogy I feel like I am part way up a mountain, climbing up a cliff at the moment. A year ago as I climbed, I suffered a bad fall and injured myself. I am still healing from that and part of that healing involves the fear of the fall or the event itself. But I am on this cliff now, climbing and when I look back that takes my focus away from the handholds I need to maintain now. I can see this cliff that I dangle from is very difficult, but I can also see another section higher up that is inverted and even more difficult!  

My past fall and the setback it caused, represents my occasional depression. Some of that depression is something I am feeling this morning. As I dangle from my handhold now and wonder whether I can keep hanging on and move further up, this represents a piece of my anxiety about my future. Will I slip and fall?

As I look to the inverted ledge that I have to navigate in my future, that too adds to my anxiety about the future. 

Will I be able to do something even more difficult than what I have already done?

Sabotage

I need to do some basic things today. I need to do some work. I need to move myself up and forward. I have no time to reflect and dwell on the past and feed my depression. I have no time to be distracted by my anxiety over what might happen in the future.

Yet, these are real feelings. They are in touch with real pain that I have. Shutting this pain and these feelings out is a mistake as well. If I attempt to simply block them, this is the seed of a problem… I’ve done this before, ignoring this type of pain and it came back to bite me in the form of divorce.

We have to deal with these feelings and emotions and pain. Otherwise when we are trying to live, these things might creep up on us and surprise us and cause us to slip or trip or fall very hard right when we needed to move safely.

So that’s what I am doing right now. I’m raising this up in my consciousness. I’m dealing with it in part by writing about it. I’m chasing away my inner storm by casting light on it with my inner sunshine just as the sun outside is burning off the storm clouds from last night. Each breath I take and each word I write helps to blow the remaining clouds even further away.

I am working through the grief cycle. Its been over a year since this started for me. The grief cycle takes as long as it takes. I was married and in love for twenty three years. It might take me twenty three years to fully put all this grief behind me. It might take twenty three more days, or twenty three months or however long it takes. In the meantime, this does not stop me from living, from moving on.

I fell in love again this last winter. I did not stop loving my ex-wife, but that relationship was not my love. The relationship burned up over night (from my perspective) but the love did not. I fell in love this winter with a new person in my life named Sharon. We have been building a new relationship with each other every since. 

I view these two relationships of mine like growing a forest. In the first case, I grew a beautiful forest for twenty-three years. It burned down in a forest fire and there are only smoldering remains of tree stumps left.

Near that forest, I am growing a new forest with Sharon. It is full of beautiful new growth, new trees and plants and is full of light and good things. 

The two forests exist near each other in my heart. I can even look upon both at the same time. I can love the beauty of the old forest before it burned and the grief of that destruction for what was lost will be with me for a long long time. I can love the beauty of the new forest and the hope that it represents and the beauty of all the good it offers in the present.

Getting Through the Day

Each day I work through these feelings. Somedays I have to work through them more than others. Some days I am so busy as a single parent that I can barely focus on putting my shoes on and other days I the emotions or feelings build up to the point where I have no choice but to confront them, to work through them and deal with them. I have to raise them up and take them on and clean the wounds and dress the wounds and allow them to heal. I have to work my soul through physical therapy, through psychic therapy. It takes effort.

In the meantime, I also have to rebuild my life around me. That is what I have to do next. I have work to do for my clients. I have work to do on my business as a WordPress Consultant and Web Presentation Architect and as a Writer. I have work to do on my household and with my family, with my children and parents and brother and my wonderful friends and clients, all of which are part of the family that I am growing in yet another forest in my heart.

I can only do one of these things at a time. I can gaze out from my cliff at the vast collections of forest around me, all the relationships. I can walk through those forests and care for them pruning and weeding and watering and growing them each.

I can rarely work on them all at the same time, but I can care for them. I do care for them.

Writing this warms my heart, just as the sun is finally starting to rise to a point where its rays now touch my skin, starting to warm my shoulder and back. In the reflection of my iPad I can see the wind chimes that my son purchased for me for my birthday. I am reminded that his language of love is spoke with gifts. My language of love is spoken by doing things together. I need to remember to consciously speak his language of love back to him. This is part of the way that I can help care for this section of forest.

So many forests to care for. So much life sustaining beauty and purpose that can be added to my life when I do these things well….

I breath in deeply and out again, blowing away more of the minor depression and anxiety whisps that were in my system when I first put my fingertips to my keyboard. I feel infinitely better. I’m ready to move higher up this cliff as I reach for another handhold and lock my fingers on it.

This is going to be a very good day. I’m going to make it a very good day. I trust that you will make your own day very good and care for the forests in your own heart!

🙂