Tag Archives: happy life

Guilt be Gone: How to Rid Yourself of Prolonged Guilt in 6 Easy Steps

Did you ever wonder if it is possible to live a guilt free life?

Perhaps you have wondered if it is even moral to give up the guilt. After all, guilt has become so embedded in our Judeo-Christian culture that we almost take guilt for granted as an essential indicator of a “good person.”

So at the risk of sounding like a heretic, I wanted to take guilt on this week and wonder what it would be like to live without it. To wonder whether it is still possible to live a moral and ethical life without the burden of guilt. Feel free, of course to share your thoughts at the end of this article.

So let’s begin with understanding what guilt is.

One accepted definition is:

A bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong (i.e. compromised one’s own standard of conduct or violated a moral standard).

Guilt

On its face, a brief experience with a guilty feeling may actually be really helpful. Based upon the definition above, the bad feeling that arises can actually serve as a red flag of sorts to let us know that there is a reason to pause and pay attention. Perhaps we inadvertently acted in a way that hurt someone or acted upon a lapse in judgment that violated one of those moral codes. We are human, so things happen and the bad feeling that arises is like an internal mechanism that helps us to return to a state of awareness about what has happened.

The problems with guilt come in when we linger in it for hours, days, weeks, months, and dare I say even years! 

PROBLEM #1:  The first problem with prolonged guilt is that it activates our internal stress response and from a state of feeling perpetually stressed, we become compromised physically and mentally. In short, it is a waste of energy – energy that drains away from a host of other more productive and enjoyable endeavors in order to maintain this state of feeling badly.

PROBLEM #2:  The second problem I have with guilt is that sometimes we expend all this energy feeling guilty for something that did not really happen or did not actually have the negative consequences we believed it to have. Notice the definition includes things we ‘think’ we did wrong. The truth is that many times, we are wrong!  How many of us have spent days feeling guilty about doing something that we thought hurt someone only to find out later that they were never really bothered by it! Guilt without cause is certainly a waste of energy.  It is much more productive to check things out rather than to mire in guilty feelings.

PROBLEM #3:  The third problem I have with guilt is that we usually assume that if our actions or words hurt someone or caused discomfort that we are supposed to feel guilty. After all, it is wrong to hurt another person, right?  The truth is that sometimes the hurt and discomfort are essential parts of the growing process.  In fact, it is not only normal but essential to pass through periods of discomfort in order to make a change or grow in a new way. This kind of hurt does not require guilt at all because allowing someone to experience discomfort may be the most loving action you can take.

PROBLEM #4:  The fourth and biggest problem I have with prolonged guilt is the fact that it serves as a cop-out from taking productive, restorative action. It is much easier to ‘feel guilty’ about something and believe that you deserve some absolution because you are accepting the personal beating of the guilty feeling than to step up and take action to make amends or set things right if it is possible.  It is a very short road from guilt to shame and once we feel the shame, we can be stuck for a long time and then never really take action to right the situation.

So here are some easy to follow steps to rid yourself of guilt once and for all.

STEP 1:  As soon as you feel that pang of a guilty feeling, welcome it and thank the feeling for alerting you to something important that requires your attention.

STEP 2:  Be gentle with yourself and remind yourself that to err is human and that if you did make a mistake or hurt someone, this simply makes you human. (It does not make you a horrible person!)

STEP 3:  Have the courage to check out whether you actually did something wrong or hurt someone the way you believe you did. No sense in wallowing in a guilty feeling for something that may never have happened or that was not received as badly as you imagine.

STEP 4:  Apologize or do what you can to make amends. That’s all you can do and it IS enough. No matter what you did, prolonged guilt will not change it, but stepping up to sincerely apologize or make amends can radically alter things.

STEP 5:  Pause and see what lesson you can take from this experience. The truth is that any time spent feeling guilty is a total waste of time if you do not spend some of it reflecting on what you learned or what you want to do differently the next time.

STEP 6:  Let it go. Do not make your release of guilt contingent upon someone else’s acceptance of your apology. Some people accept apologies easily and others do not, and this is something you cannot change. Apologize, make amends, learn the important lesson, and let it go because much more will be lost if you resign yourself to living in a state of guilt.

So, no matter how big or how small the feeling of guilt or the source of the guilt may seem, there is no benefit to holding onto it for a prolonged period of time. Let the feeling help make you aware of what has happened, and then follow the steps above and let it go.


Adina T. Laver, MBA, M.Ed., CPC, is a Consciousness Coach who specializes in helping people develop consciousness mastery so they can achieve the goals and life they want. Adina is the founder of two companies, Divorce Essentials which specializes in working with individuals and couples who are considering or navigating divorce to have a healthy experience and Courage to be Curious, a company dedicated to cultivating consciousness mastery for those who are committed to the path of self-awareness in all matters of life, love and leadership.  

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Negotiating with Power

The Key to Negotiating with Power About Money

I recently had the great privilege of interviewing Maggie Baker, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Crazy About Money.  Our call, entitled Negotiating with Power (part of a series on Preparing for Divorce), dove in deep to explore how our personal money stories affect our negotiating power and our lives. Whether you are creating a divorce settlement agreement, negotiating a salary increase, bargaining for a new house, or navigating money conversations with your spouse, understanding your money script is critical to gaining strength and confidence.

What is a ‘Money Script?’

Simply put, your ‘Money Script’ is your money story – what your mind tells you at the subconscious level about what money symbolizes for you. These stories begin developing early in life at home. Regardless of how much money you had growing up, your script was informed Negotiating with Powerby the ways in which people around you interacted with and related to money. If you lived in the ‘land of lack,’ where people always perceived there was not enough, this affected the story you created around money. If you lived in an environment where money was a means of control, then this affected your story around money. For a quick example:  If you grew up in an environment of ‘lack,’ while you may want to have more money, your fear around not having enough may cause you to make choices around money that perpetuate powerlessness rather than strength. No matter how much money someone has, everyone has a money script because everyone interacts with money. Understanding what story your mind tells you about money is critical to developing a relationship with money that is aligned with what you most want and with your ability to negotiate with power.

Negotiating with power is all about knowing your ‘Money Script’

Whether you are negotiating a divorce settlement agreement, a raise at work, or with your child who is requesting spending, money, your money script is going to kick in and impact how you negotiate. If you related to money as a source of power, then you will assume that the person in the negotiation that has more money is more powerful. If you associate money with love or approval, you may feel personally disregarded or slighted in a negotiation for money. If you believe that money is correlated to hard work, you may feel that you need to prove yourself as having worked long hours in order to negotiate. I think you get the idea. The fascinating thing is that we always assume that the person on the other side of the negotiating table thinks about money in the same way as we do when most of the time, this is not true! People often lose power in negotiation because they are so stuck in their own money story that they don’t attend to the money story of the person on the other side of the negotiation – and this is the point of view that really matters!

4 Steps to figuring out your ‘Money Script’

So if you want to negotiate from a place of power, you need to figure out your own money script. Here is a step by step process:

– Study your money habits

Get a journal or use your phone and begin keeping track of how you spend your money for 30 days. There are great apps for your phone to help you do this. Mint.com offers one. You must write everything down since our mind will trick us if we rely on memory alone.

Use the same journal and keep track of what you consciously chose not to spend your money on. What did you forego because “it felt like too much money” or “not the right time?”

Finally, listen to the language you use when you talk about money. Do you talk about ‘not enough?’ Do you talk about ‘needing to be careful?’ Do you ‘not care’ about money? Do you ‘not know how to manage it?’ Do you ‘feel overwhelmed by it?’

– Analyze your money habits

Once you have the data collected above, sit down alone or preferably with a friend, family member, counselor or coach and review. What patterns do you notice? What seems curious to you? To the other person? Seek to understand the reasons behind your expenditures and your non-expenditures.

– Link your habits to your upbringing

Now think about where these patterns and habits may have come from. How do they relate to your family of origin? How do they connect to any significant life events that have occurred? How have they been supported by the language people in your family used around money?

– Name your story

Once you have completed steps #1-3, you are ready to write your money story. It can be one paragraph to one page. It describes what you believe about money, the choices you make around money, and how those choices have served you and not served you over time. And I do realize that this can be difficult, so for additional support, I highly recommend Maggie Baker, Ph.D.’s book, Crazy About Money for language that will help you understand and interpret your money script.

Negotiating with Power

By now, it is probably clear that in order to negotiate with power, you need to (a) know how you think about money and (b) understand the basics of how the person you are negotiating with thinks about money.  People leave evidence all over the place if we choose to pay attention so it is not always as difficult as it may seem. And if you are negotiating with your spouse or child, you likely already have all the information you need to understand their money story. Once you do, then negotiating with power is all about languaging your position to help the other see how there is a win-win available in which both sides can obtain a good deal of what is most important to them.

Conclusion

The biggest reason why we lose power in negotiations is that we operate from inside our own heads which are filled with fear, anxiety and anger and don’t pay enough attention as to how the person on the other side is thinking. Get out of your own head or get the support of someone who will not get wrapped up in the fear, anxiety or anger who can help you find your place of strength and clarity.

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Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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hire a divorce lawyer

4 Critical Things to Know Before You Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Choosing who will represent you in your divorce is a big decision. While it makes sense to ask people you know for recommendations or even to engage the ‘free’ services of a friend of family member to help you, here are 4 critical things you should know before you hire a divorce lawyer:

What kind of support is best suited for your case. Not every divorce is handled by an attorney litigator. Many people are unaware that there are divorce mediators, collaborative attorneys as well as litigators. Some mediators are attorneys and others are not. With a number of options available, the first important thing to understand is what kind of representation or support is best suited for your situation.

Who your partner’s attorney is if they have already hired one. One of the most significant wastes hire a divorce lawyerof money in divorce is spending money on attorneys who have a track record of battling it out rather than finding ways to help a couple settle. While it may feel counter-intuitive to hire two separate lawyers who know each other and have a track record of working with one another, this can actually be one of the best things you do for your case. The healthiest thing for any couple and family is a quick and fair settlement so hiring attorneys who can help you achieve this while protecting your personal rights is a smart choice.

Who you really need on your team. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have is that their attorney can help them with every part of their divorce. They bring all their issues – legal, emotional and financial directly to their lawyer. Your lawyer is your legal expert only and there are other professionals such as certified divorce financial planners, divorce coaches and therapists who can help you address other issues more effectively and in a more cost efficient way.

The family court culture in your county. One of the most overlooked factors in hiring an attorney is how well they are recognized and known within the family court system in which they will be operating. While hiring the top rated attorney can feel like great protection, if they are unknown or not well regarded within your local court system, you may be at a disadvantage. 

Deciding how you will divorce and who will represent you is a critical decision that can have significant financial and emotional ramifications. It is important to make this decision thoughtfully before you hire a divorce lawyer.

 

For a complete step-by-step guide to hiring an attorney and navigating your divorce, visit www.divorcecompanion.com.

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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Talking to your partner about divorce

Talking to Your Partner About Divorce – 5 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Initiating a conversation with your partner about divorce is one of the most important conversations you will ever have. Not only is this typically an emotionally charged time, but the way in which you navigate this conversation often sets the tone for the rest of the divorce process. Given the significance of this moment, here are 5 mistakes you don’t want to make when talking to your partner about divorce:


Talking to your partner about divorceDon’t spring the news on your partner in the middle of a heated argument.
While it makes sense that one person may reach the breaking point during an argument, holding your tongue and waiting until things have cooled down to raise the topic of divorce can help prevent a snowball effect of anger and emotionally driven reactive behaviors.

Don’t hope or expect that your partner will make the process easy. Many people hold off having the conversation about divorce much too long because they are waiting for their reluctant partner to come around and see how parting will really be better for both of them. The truth is that if one person does not what the relationship to end (for whatever reason), they are not going to give permission or make things easy. Stepping forward with a clear, concise and definitive message is the most compassionate way to share the news.

Do not try to be the one to comfort your partner when you talk about divorce. No one likes to hurt someone else’s feelings, but if you have just shared with your partner that you want a divorce, you cannot be the one to then try and comfort them. Leaning in to try and help your partner feel better is very confusing and this is a role best served by a friend, family member, coach or counselor.

Don’t plan to share the news in a public space. While it may feel easier for you to share the news in a public place where your partner is likely to not express their genuine response, this can make for a very uncomfortable situation all around. Your partner needs a safe space to have their reaction and placing them in a public situation can be humiliating and unnecessarily challenging. (Note: this applies as long as you are not at a threat for physical abuse.)

Do not tell friends and family members before you tell your spouse.  Receiving the news that your spouse wants a divorce is difficult enough, you do not want to run the risk that they may hear it from someone else before they hear it from you. A spouse who feels like they are ‘the last to know’ is much more likely to become contentious and adversarial in the divorce process.

The way in which you conduct yourself while talking to your partner about divorce will communicate a lot about who you are and will have a significant impact on how each of the next steps will unfold.

For additional support in planning this conversation, please check out the Divorce Companion: A Step by Step Guide to Your Healthy  Divorce.

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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Love on Valentine's Day

How to GUARANTEE Love on Valentine’s Day

Love on Valentine's DayValentine’s Day is tomorrow and even though I am truly not one to be swept up in the frenzy of a Hallmark enhanced holiday, there is simply no denying that all of us experience at least some pang of anticipation around this day.

 

  • Will someone bring me flowers or chocolates?
  • Better yet, will I have the story to tell about receiving the most creative lover’s gift?
  • What will I be doing when ‘everyone else‘ is experiencing the most romantic night of the year?

 

Really?

 

With these as our mental expectations, it is no wonder why there is a statistically significant spike in calls to divorce attorneys on February 15th!

 

But do you notice a pattern in all the stories the mind tells about this holiday? Look carefully….

 

In each of these cases, we are waiting on the receiving end to be validated by someone else that we are loved in order to FEEL love.

 

We are basically telling ourselves that the only real measure of how lovable we are is what someone else does for us on that day. And if we are considering, in the midst of or post divorce, what do we do with that? And even if we are married, if we live in the ‘real’ word, how likely is this day ever to meet our expectations? Are we just setting our partners up for failure and ourselves up for disappointment?

 

Well, when you put it that way, Adina…

 

Two days ago I hosted my monthly support call on Preparing for Divorce with guest Anna Balfour who is a licensed psychologist in Wayne, PA. (It was an amazing call and if you want a copy of the recording, just e-mail me with “call recording” in the subject line.)

 

In any case, one of the things we talked about on the call is how to GURANTEE love on Valentine’s Day, and here are our top two suggestions:

 

Love Yourself! Yes…The most important source of love in your life is actually your love for yourself. If we cultivate it, it is always there for us. Do something wonderful for yourself, plan a special time during the day just for you, and …really do this… make yourself a card where you remind yourself of 25 things you love about you. Twenty five is a big number and I GUARANTEE that you will feel something extraordinary inside when you take the time to list 25 things you love about yourself. I beg you to try it.

 

Give as much love as you can. Yes, GIVE love to others. There is no better way to experience an abudance of love than to pour out love for others. This can be volunteering somewhere and helping others you do not know feel cared for. This can be choosing 1-3 people in your life that you adore and planning to do something special for them. This can be spending your day engaging in random acts of kindness anywhere you go. Seriously, you will never experience as much joy and love on the receiving end as you will experience by being on the giving end, GUARANTEED!

 

So this Valentine’s Day, no matter who you are or what your relationship status is, be a source of love.

Love Yourself Dearly

Love Others Generously

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

 

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runaway story train

STOP the Runaway Story Train

Remember the last time you saw a movie that kept you on the edge of your seat? For me, James Bond and Indiana Joes feel like classics, but any movie that kept you mesmerized with anticipation about how things would unfold will do.runaway story train

 

What keeps us so engaged for 2+ hours in the theatre? The story. And there is a basic story arc that goes something like this: Get us connected to and identifying with key characters, create some conflict or disequilibrium, add twists and turns to keep us wondering about how the conflict will be resolved, and then bring it to some resolution. And if you are anything like me, you may feel as though the resolution is the hardest part to pull off well because it is so easy to feel let down after engaging so deeply in the rising action and climax of the story.

 

I bring up stories because my own mind became so consumed with them this past week that I felt like I was in a non-stop movie loop with a story line about how my future was not going to bring me the things I most wanted. I had become very attached to certain visions of the future, and in my obsession, I was scanning for – and of course finding – evidence everywhere that things were not heading in the right direction and never would! In my fixated state, I kept feeding my stories with more thoughts, more evidence of their truth, and heightened levels of emotion.

 

The end result – a complete blockbuster hit featuring my own unfulfilled dreams!

 

Wow! I can only write this article now that I have found my way out of this trance-like obsessed state. My hope in doing so is to provide support to anyone else whose mind is speeding out of control like a runaway train with a story. And to take a lesson from the movie industry, the higher the stakes in our story, the more likely we are to become consumed. If the story affects our marriage, our dreams, our happiness, our well-being, or our security, it is likely to have a HUGE charge for us.

 

How to know if your mind has been hijacked by the ‘runaway story train’?

 

Before you can do anything else, you need to become aware of the fact that your mind has been hijacked by the runaway story train. And in fact, it is not that hard to tell. If you constantly find your mind and attention returning to the same thing again and again – upon rising in the morning, multiple times during the day, and when preparing for sleep – your mind has been hijacked. If the story telling persists for weeks or even months, you story train is likely speeding way out of control. And here is the thing, the longer your mind has been listening to and feeding the story, the stronger is has become and the more undeniable is feels. This is the power of the mind.

 

5 Steps to Stopping the ‘Runaway Story Train?’

 

Step #1: Take up a pen and paper or your journal and write the story down. This is an important step of awareness and owning the fact that your mind has become consumed with a story. (Yes, you perceptive readers, writing this article is a piece of this for me!)

 

Step #2: Make a commitment to stopping the runaway story. Remember that the climax, conflict and twists and turns are way more engaging to the brain than the resolution. This is the reason why movie producers spend way more time on the rising action, conflict and twists and turns than the ending of the story. Our mind likes the excitement. However, while high conflict and tension are great for box-office ticket sales, they are not great for relationships and for living a balanced and healthy life. Commit to letting go of the high-energy engagement of conflict.

 

Step #3: Imagine the positive possibilities that could arise from letting go of the story. On your paper or in your journal, begin to write down a list of all the positive things that could come once you let go of the story. Part of what makes the story so engaging is that it projects doom and gloom and the mind love tragedy. And, like most of Hollywood’s tragedies, most are not based in reality. In fact, most things work out much better than we expect. So challenge yourself and make a list of at least 5 good things that could result from letting go of your story.

 

Step #4: Create a new story that matches a reality you would like to experience. There is no greater influence over how our lives turn out than the story we tell about how it will turn out.

  • Do you tell that story that your ex is out to get you and you can never trust them or do you tell the story that you and your ex are both hurt but as the hurt subsides, you will build a healthy co-parenting relationship?
  • Do you tell the story that your partner’s affair is undeniable evidence that they can never be trusted again and that you need a divorce or do you tell the story that your marriage hit a difficult place and there is an opportunity to build something even stronger than before?
  • Do you tell yourself that life will be lonely and miserable after divorce because this isn’t what you wanted and you have no means to support yourself or do you tell yourself that divorce is a crossroad in life and can open doors to exploring opportunities, relationships and experiences that were never possible in the course of your marriage?

 

Step #5: Begin to live the new story. Once you construct your new story, begin to live it. Sometimes in life we need to ‘fake it till we make it.’ The new story may not feel very powerful at the start because the old story has gotten, days, weeks, months or even years of your undivided attention and old story will not want to give this up! But you can choose.

 

Make a commitment to the story you wish to live, train your mind to ‘think’ the new story, and then choose to live it!

 

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.  ~Brian Tracy

 

And if you are seeking support in creating a new story, training your mind, and/or figuring out how to live it, contact me. Let’s do this together.

 

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

 

 

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Gratitude in Difficult Times

Gratitude During Difficult Times

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more you will have even more to express gratitude for. 

~Zig Ziglar

Gratitude in Difficult Times

 

Thanksgiving is the holiday when we are specifically invited to focus our hearts and minds on gratitude. However, when something difficult is going on in life, it can sometimes feel challenging to access gratitude. In my personal world, I lost two people who were very dear to me right before Thanksgiving, my aunt last year and my father-in-law five years ago and I know how easy it was to become so absorbed in my own experience that it feels hard to do anything else. For anyone navigating divorce, separation or any other kind of transition, feelings of loss, sadness, anger or hurt can be so strong that they can seem like a barrier to gratitude. In fact, we may even wonder if we should focus on gratitude when there is so much loss and pain.

 

The truth is that based upon gratitude research, this is precisely when we can benefit most from stretching towards gratitude. The holiday of Thanksgiving was originally celebrated after nearly half of all the Pilgrims died from a difficult winter. It officially became a holiday during the Civil War and was moved to its current date in the 1930’s following the depression. It is when times are most difficult that gratitude can help us to gain a perspective on the expansive nature of life and relationships so that we do not become consumed or overwhelmed by our own circumstances.

 

Gratitude is not only a healthy perspective perspective, but it also has great benefit in helping us to cope with crisis as well. According to gratitude research expert, Robert Emmons, “Consciously cultivating an attitude of gratitude builds up a sort of psychological immune system that can cushion us when we fall. There is scientific evidence that grateful people are more resilient to stress, whether minor everyday hassles or major personal upheavals.” Rather than trying to pretend as though the difficult situation does not exist or isn’t happening, gratitude gives us the capacity to acknowledge where we are and then notice how far we have come, those who are helping and supporting us, what unexpected connections are being created, what we are learning, and how we are growing. This acknowledgement actively builds our personal strength and resilience.

 

So this Thanksgiving, I invite you to stretch even further into gratitude. Here are some ideas to support you in this practice. And as I prepare for my own Thanksgiving holiday, I truly want to thank you for being on this journey we call life with me. We all become stronger and happier through the connections we make and I am gratitude to have you as part of my community.

 

How to reach for gratitude during difficult times:

 

  • Begin to keep a gratitude journal (or dust off the one that you began before). Make time over the next 5 days to write for 10 minutes per day in your journal. According to the research, one of the most effective ways to journal about gratitude (and some of this is new for me) is to take a few things you are grateful for and write five sentences about each. For example, if you are grateful for your job, then write five reasons why you are grateful for your job. In the detail, you will feel how deep this gratitude actually is.
  • Choose three people in your life for whom you are particularly grateful and write them a note – handwritten, text or e-mail – letting them know. Be sure to include those 3-5 details (mentioned above) about why you are grateful to have them in your life.
  • Take on a practice for the next 4-5 days of stopping three times each day to say what you feel grateful for in the moment. Say it out loud and pause after each one to experience how the gratitude feels in your body.
  • If you are hosting people for Thanksgiving, create a stack of gratitude notes that you place around the house that people can run into and experience all weekend long.
  • Whether you have kids or want to connect with your inner child, make a gratitude collage. Put together pictures and images of people and things you feel grateful for and add quotes about gratitude. Frame it and hang it somewhere o serve as a daily reminder of the power of gratitude.

 

Finally, let’s begin a list here. What are you grateful for? Please add your comment below.

 

Warmest wishes for a holiday filled with grace and connection.

 

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every moment with love, grace, and gratitude.

~Denis Waitley

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

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Show up for the Journey

How to Show Up for the Journey

One of the gravest deceptions of the mind is that there is a ‘there’ there in which the to do list is complete, there are no conflicts to be resolved, nothing to be repaired, and we have the solution to every challenging affecting our lives. In fact, we can work so hard toward this unattainable goal that we lose sight of the most profound reality of life… That meaning, love and happiness exist in choosing to be present to the journey, not in reaching the destination.

 

This week I am reminded that happiness is not a destination but a daily pursuit. It is our practices as well as our willingness to live consciously and be present to the unfolding of each day’s events with curiosity, openness and awe that enable us to live an extraordinary life.

 

So my offering to you this week is to choose one of the quotes below and allow it to inspire you to be become more conscious about and present to your life. Take the quote and post it someplace prominent, write about it in your journal, discuss it with a friend or family member, and hold it close to your heart when you wake up on the morning and go to sleep at night… and then see what happens.

 

If you are inspired, please share your reflections below or send me an e-mail.

 

Show up for the JourneyQuotes on ‘Showing Up For the Journey’

 

The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.

~Ernest Hemmingway

 

 

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.

~Charles Swindoll

 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost

 

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.

~Amelia Earhart

 

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

~Alice Walker

 

The mind is everything. What you think you become.

~Buddha

 

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

~Stephen Covey

 

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. ~Christopher Columbus

 

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

~Anais Nin

 

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

~George Addair

 

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.

~Helen Keller

 

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

~Lao Tzu

 

Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

~Joshua J. Marine

 

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

~Norman Vincent Peale

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

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Get a Divorce

Stay Married or Get a Divorce

As a Divorce and Relationship Coach, many of the calls I get are from people who are stuck, trying to decide if they should stay married or get a divorce. All relationships hit bumps in the road, so how do you know if what you’ve encountered is a speed bump designed to get you to slow down and pay more attention or a road closure that means it is time to go in a new direction?

 

I have been doing some research on this question since it is so pertinent for many of my clients and consults. This is not as much a question about marriage as it is about how to make a hard choice.Get a Divorce

 

As part of my research, I watched Ruth Chang’s Ted Talk on How to Make Hard Choices.

Ruth offers a perspective that I have found consistent with my experience in coaching people who are grappling with this hard choice. She illustrates the fact that what often makes a choice between two options so difficult is that there is no clear better choice. For example, As Ruth explains, (and I am choosing a very simplistic example here to make the point), if my choice is between a doughnut for breakfast and a high fiber cereal and I place very high value on my health, the choice is easy. If, however, I equally care about taste and health, even this insignificant choice can become difficult. Applying each interest leads to a different outcome, potentially leaving me at a stalemate. I could make the cereal healthier by adding flaxseeds or the doughnut better tasking by adding a filling, and none of this would change my dilemma. There is still no clear better choice since I still equally care about health and taste.

 

Now lets apply this to the marriage situation. Let’s assume I value seeing my kids everyday (which I get to do if I stay married). I value being happy (which I am not feeling in my marriage). I value security (which I perceive I will have if I stay married). I love my home (which I will probably lose if I get divorced). Even if we could attribute numeric value amounts to all of these choices (which we can’t), the pull between the happiness and the other factors would still feel unresolvable.

 

Additionally, there is also the problem of uncertainty. How do I know if I will be happier if I get divorced? How will I know there is true security if I stay married? How do I know if my partner may change and things will improve? Or get worse? What if this is a speed bump and not a road closure and I misread the sign? What we default to, Chang suggests, is to thinking that there really is one right choice and that we, because of some personal failing or inadequacy, are just incapable of figuring it out. Since we could be wrong, many people take the safer route or choose the status quo for fear of making a big mistake.

 

But what if it is our approach that is faulty, not our intelligence or decision-making capabilities? What if we assume a new stance in looking at the situation?

 

Difficult decisions are not a test of how smart or wise you are but rather an opportunity to actively write the story of your life. Difficult decisions, Chang suggests, serve as forks in the road that enable us to look back at the path we have traveled, recognize that there are options for moving forward, and then take an active role in choosing who we want to be. In choosing, we can stand FOR something and declare, “This is who I am.” If we don’t actively choose, we become drifters and allow the world to dictate the unfolding of our life.

 

In my personal experience, once I discovered I was gay, the initial question became whether or not to stay married until the kids were done high school. There might have been a long list of pros and cons. However, I didn’t stay with this question very long. Rather, I asked myself what do I want my kids to learn from the choice that is in front of me at this moment. I was FOR my kids confidently choosing to pursue their authentic lives, so I knew it was time for me to pursue mine.

 

Let’s assume now that you totally get this, but you are now struggling with one of the following questions:

  • What if I am not sure what I stand for?
  • What if I am not exactly sure who I am?
  • What if I don’t know if I can be who I am in the context of this marriage?

 

If these are your questions, then you have just identified your next step. In working with both individuals and couples, I have found that many of us have ‘drifted’ a lot, allowing the current of life to carry us along. Even if we wanted to have an honest conversation with our partner about what we want (to see if we could pursue it together), we stay stuck because we are not sure what to say or how to say it.

 

So,

  • If you are considering divorce because you are unhappy but you don’t really know what will make you happy, OR
  • You are staying put because you do not really know who you are and can’t imagine who you would be if you were not married, OR
  • You know who you are and what you want but you have not been able to talk about it with your partner in a meaningful or effective way

 

…then your next step is to get support in figuring these things out. Your primary question is not whether you should stay married or get a divorce, it is who am I and what does it mean to be me?

 

These questions are the essence of my work and life purpose – to inspire and encourage people to act courageously and live authentically – and I have found that pursuing them wholeheartedly makes all the difference.

 

What makes difficult choices so difficult is the fact that we are often operating without the key information we need to make the decision. Once we become clearer about who we are and what it means to live in alignment with our truth, the next steps become clearer and easier to pursue. When you are ready to jump in to figure these things out, contact me. I look forward to journeying with you.

______________________________________________

Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

 

 

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Mind Full of Mines

A Mind Full of Mines

Two nights ago I gave a presentation to a group of attorneys and judges on Understanding the Divorcing Mind. Yes, I finally took my neuroscience fascination for a public speaking spin!

 

One of the images I had on my PPT presentation was of a man walking blindfolded through a minefield. This, I shared with the audience, is what it is often like for both attorney and client during the consult and throughout the divorce process. Two people walking blindfolded through a mind full of mines, fearing and experiencing explosion after explosion with no idea how quickly they will land on safe ground.

 

Well, you don’t have to be going through a divorce to experience the sudden detonation of a Mind Full of Minesland mine in the mind. Last night, after an otherwise lovely day, a simple e-mail detonated one of mine and I was overcome with a sadness and sense of vulnerability that was very old and painfully familiar. The author of the e-mail would have no idea that this simple communication would impact me the way it did, but the effect lingers with me, even fueling the writing of this article.

 

Each of us (simply because we are human) has a childhood and lifetime of vulnerabilities and fears that stem from our experience of being in this world. For most people, our deepest pains stem from events that happened within the first 8-10 years of our lives when the neural structure of our brain was first being shaped. Seemingly small things like the way someone reacted when we showed emotion or the jokes people made when we struggled with something new, all created an imprint in the brain that shaped how we experience the world. Of course traumas that occurred at older ages also have a powerful impact.

 

The thing is that once this memory and the visceral experience of this memory are embedded in our brain, it can be re-triggered at any time. Last night with this simple e-mail, I was suddenly transported back to a time when I was about 8 years old and felt extremely socially vulnerable. In an instant, I felt like a child again, helpless and rejected.

 

As vulnerable as I feel in sharing this when the experience is still saw raw for me, I bring it forth for a few reasons:

 

  • To encourage self-compassion. Even as I was feeling so badly, my first response was to berate myself for being sucked into the vortex of this old story. I was upset with myself for still feeling so weak and vulnerable to a story that is so old. As I write this now, I am still feeling vulnerable but I am practicing much greater self-compassion and recognizing that it is through our shared experience of vulnerability that we are all linked to one another.

 

  • To encourage us to be mindful in how we care for each other. With an average of 15,000 verbal communications every day and a much larger number of non-verbal communications every day, it is almost daunting to imagine the impact that we can have on others each and every day. EVERY interaction we have with another person has the potential to build their strength or trigger their vulnerability, make them feel valued or make them feel dejected. What is the impact of smiling or not smiling when someone enters the room? What is the impact of sending the quick e-mail reply versus taking the time to be engaged with the communication in a full way? What is the impact of giving someone our full attention or splitting our attention between them and our phone?

 

  • To encourage us to pursue forgiveness and compassion. We all respond differently when we get triggered and feel vulnerable or afraid. We can get angry and volatile, we can get shy and pull away, we can learn to become invisible or learn to preemptively strike out against others as a means of self-protection. By design, human beings are wired to seek connection. Therefore, whenever someone engages in behavior that seemingly breaks down or interferes with connection, it is always because of things rooted inside. Knowing this can perhaps help us pursue forgiveness and compassion with greater openness.

 

  • To encourage the pursuit of self-awareness. As painful as it is to be aware of my childhood story and re-live it, it is much more painful and disorienting to be impacted by the childhood story without awareness of it. It would seem logical that if we don’t want to face the hard stuff of our past, that we can just close ourselves to it and keep on moving. The problem is that the hard stuff affects us with or without our awareness, and it is much more likely to come out in ways that lead to addiction, the breakdown of relationships, self –destructive patterns, and so on when we try to pretend it isn’t there. It is with the awareness that we can assert a conscious and healthy response.

 

From this month’s featured teacher, Pema Chödrön:

 

“When you wake up in the morning and out of nowhere comes the heartache of alienation and loneliness, could you use that as a golden opportunity? Rather than persecuting yourself or feeling like something terribly wrong is happening, right there in the moment of sadness and longing, could you relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart? The next time you get the chance, experiment with this.”  

 

This article is my way of experimenting.

Namaste

______________________________________________

Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

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