Holistic Divorce Counseling

Holistic Divorce Counseling Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM, LMHC. Free support, resources, and comfort for all life's issues and transitions.

Inner Conflict Resolution: How Not Acting Can Be A Path To Peace December 31, 2013

Filed under: Inner Conflict Resolution — chocophile @ 7:51 pm

“Faust complained about having two souls in his breast, but I harbor a whole crowd of them and they quarrel. It is like being in a republic.”
Otto von Bismarck

Every day, you are faced with conflicts. Have a donut or a yogurt? Take a few minutes to meditate or vacuum? Save your money or give in to that new iPhone? Such is the banality and ubiquity of inner conflict. You might think all that practice navigating choices while considering the emotional valence of each one would make it easier, but it doesn’t.

When the conflict is whether to take out the garbage or have another cup of tea, it is not such a big deal. But, when the raging ambivalence is whether to stay married, or some other equally big decision, it can feel torturous. If your inner conflict is like a tornado picking up all your emotional detritus on its path, it is best to aggressively do nothing. While doing nothing behaviorally is your safest option, this is a wonderful time to practice being with what is. Just sitting with the confusion, conflict, and urge to make a decision. Of course, it is not easy to be mindful when your mind feels like a blender. It is far more natural to desire ending the pain and limbo of not knowing, which is why forcing a decision can be quite compelling. Yet, allowing yourself to be with the discomfort is truly the path to greater peace.

This can be quite challenging if you are in the habit of scratching every itch and getting immediate gratification. By giving in to the call to decide, so the inner tumult of polarized parts abates, you “Act in haste and repent at leisure.” As seductive as it is, choosing short-term relief ultimately produces long-term pain.

Sitting with discomfort actually strengthens your emotional muscles, especially the one for higher frustration tolerance. Our brains are wired to avoid pain, so allowing yourself to sit with indecision can feel very awkward and unpleasant. With a little practice you will find you can handle it better, and may even start to feel some joy at being able to be with what is, especially when you don’t like it.

Allow yourself to be curious. What does it feel like to surrender to what is? Letting go of the urge to control your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors while settling in to the initial discomfort can be scary. It can also be a portal to a different kind of joy. The bliss that comes from believing you don’t have to do anything. Of course, there are times when you must make a decision, but mostly the pull to decide feels like a huge pressure because the ego wants to feel in control and intensely dislikes not taking action nor having the answers. If you can park your ego outside the door, even for a few minutes, you allow yourself to explore the peace that comes from letting everything be as it is.

It also helps to resist the urge to rate your experience and your reactions to it. Seek out any negative self talk that might be sabotaging your happiness. Not only will it harsh your mellow, it will trigger a flight or flight response from your sympathetic nervous system, making you feel even worse and creating a stronger desire for immediate resolution.

Are you thinking: “If only I could come to some decision and know what I really want, then I would be happy.” There will always be “if only…then” ideas trampolining through your cranium. When you notice them, think back to another time you believed you would be happy if only X, Y, or Z happened. Either it happened, or didn’t. Either you were happier or not; but, that emotion didn’t last. It never does. Feelings come and go. Here you are, again, magically thinking that solving this conundrum is so crucial it has the ability to make or break your joy for the foreseeable future. (Studies have shown humans have a set point for happiness. No matter what happens to us, we usually revert to whatever level of joy we are wired for within about five months.) Think of “if only…then” as idea sirens luring you to the rocks of dissatisfaction. As long as you find them beguiling you will risk your emotional balance. By lashing yourself to the mast of allowing things to be as they are you can successfully bypass the sirens’ call, switch from your sympathetic (fight, flight, or freeze) to parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), and wait for the right answer to come. It will, just be patient with the process. The concept may sound simple, but it is far from easy, or quick to learn.

Begin by challenging your old notions that:

Immediate resolution is best.

You can’t stand what you don’t like.

You must not vacillate.

Not knowing is a sign of weakness.

You are wasting precious time being in limbo.

It’s awful to be indecisive.

You are too afraid to take the plunge.

This decision determines the course of your future, so you better choose correctly.

Remember this:

It takes great courage to face your demons (see chapter on Facing Your Demons).

Only brave souls even attempt to sit with what is, let alone embrace it.

The very thing you try to shun is the source of your emotional freedom.

Forcing yourself to make a decision before you are ready often leads to unhappiness later on.

The pressure you feel to do something is usually an illusion. There is time, take it.

Whatever the outcome of your decision, you will make the best of it, even if it is just to choose differently next time.

Patience is an incredibly useful, and often underrated, skill. Trust that clarity will come, and wait for it.

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


Shanti, Shakti, Prema, Bhakti Meditation For Centering

This is a very short, restorative, centering meditation you can do sitting on the floor, sitting in a chair, or even lying down.

To start, center yourself with a few deep diaphragmatic breaths, making each one a bit slower and more relaxed than the last.

With your hands in prayer, and thumbs touching at the third eye, quietly whisper or think the Sanskrit word SHANTI which means peace. Do this a few times while you focus your attention at the third eye, a little above and between the eyebrows.

Move your hands, still in prayer, to your lips and whisper or think the Sanskrit word SHAKTI meaning power. As you breathe, allow yourself to feel your own power and commitment to what you want in life.


Now, with your hands in prayer at your heart whisper or think the Sanskrit word PREMA, for love. Breathing slowly and mindfully, focus your energy on your heart and your intention to deepen your compassion for yourself and others.


When you are ready, with your hands at navel height, place the back of your dominant hand in the palm of your non-dominant one, cradling it. Whisper or think the Sanskrit word BHAKTI, for devotion. As you breathe calmly and slowly, remind yourself where you want your energy to flow by asking: “To what am I devoted?”

Rest your hands in your lap, or if you are lying down, on your lower abdomen, and feel the effects of this soothing practice on your body, mind, and spirit.

If you would like some music in the background, I recommend the GRACE CD by Snatam Kaur, especially her track: LONG TIME SUN, a classic Kundalini chant, in English; or, the LOVE IS SPACE CD by Deva Premal.



I made a six minute audio version of this meditation that anyone is welcome to have by emailing me at: info@nicoleurdang.com.

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


Tame the Blame and Shame To Encourage Positive Growth & Change December 3, 2013

Whether we talk of warring nations or wounded spouses, the one thing that maintains antagonism and distance is the tendency to blame and shame. To make matters worse, continuous fault-finding often leads to holding a grudge which can turn into damning the other so vehemently the chances for reconciliation become slim.

So, why do we humans persist in this behavior? Blaming serves deep psychological desires: to feel blameless oneself, to scapegoat another, to switch from a defensive to offensive position, to play god and punish people who hurt or disappoint us, and, last but not least, to protect one’s ego.

The common phrase: “Someone must be to blame for this” neatly addresses our society’s penchant to punish undesirable behaviors, even though that rarely increases the desirable ones.

The proliferation of prisons and recidivism among criminals are perfect examples of how blaming, shaming, and punishing usually create more bad behavior.

The urge to blame is typically triggered when you don’t get what you want, or feel entitled to. This knee jerk response may feel satisfying at first because it exonerates us from any responsibility and punishes another; however, it only hinders any chances for reconciliation and rapprochement. Most people intuitively know that, but assigning blame and meting out punishment are hard habits to break as both deeply satisfy the ego’s love of basking in self-righteousness. Unfortunately, the potential long-term gains get sacrificed for the short-term ego boost.

Here are some ways to tame the blame:

Watch how easy it is to rush to judgment. Then, take a minute to focus your energy on your heart center and gather up some compassion. Remind yourself: People who behave badly are usually just acting out their suffering. By remembering this and sending them some compassion, you can soften your heart. It softens towards them and you, for who never does hurtful, thoughtless, inconsiderate, or selfish things? By cultivating understanding when others miss the mark, you will find yourself lavishing more kindness on yourself, too.

Notice any demands you might have made of this person, situation, or of life. Any “shoulds, musts, or have-tos” you are generating in response to something you did not like or agree with. Ask yourself: “What law of the universe says people should behave the way I want them to?” or “Must life always be easy and fair?” or “What law of the universe says I must get what I want simply because I want it?” or “Must people who disappoint me be punished?”

On the other hand, if you find yourself full of self-blame, or guilt, please read the chapter on this site called: “Guilt, The Useless Emotion.” If you apply its suggestions and philosophy, your guilt will evaporate.

When you blame others you are effectively saying, “You are bad.” When you blame yourself, the internal message is “I’m bad.” Both can easily escalate to blaming and shaming, neither of which help anyone change for the better. But, worse than that, they entrench the thought that someone is a huge screw-up and deserves to feel lower than a snake’s wiggle. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter much whether that someone is you or another because when anyone feels unworthy, or ashamed, it hurts everyone.

When you feel ashamed it effects every aspect of your life: your relationships with friends, family, mates, co-workers, bosses, and yourself. Its tendrils reach deep down into your sense of who you are, what you can accomplish, and even your dreams. Lodged in shame is the kernel of unworthiness that blocks you from being your truest, most developed self as it saps your energy and enthusiasm for life. There is absolutely no upside in feeling shame. If you think your sense of shame comes from ideas instilled in childhood consider getting professional help. You can feel better. Everyone is born with a capacity for joy and wholeness, don’t let shame keep stealing yours.

Naturally, there are times when you will miss the mark. Taking responsibility never equals assuming blame or larding on the guilt. Paradoxically, by taking responsibility it is less likely you will ruminate over your lapses in judgment or behavior. Instead, you are likely to make amends and change some ineffective or insensitive behaviors.

On an energetic level, guilt and blame deplete your energy as they fuel negativity towards yourself and others. Emotionally, guilt and blame either make you feel depressed or angry. Behaviorally, they often lead to isolation, resentment, fights, shunning others, and a host of physical symptoms born from all that anger and tension.

Imagine how different you would feel if you ditched the blame and shame. What burdens would be lifted, and how much more easily you would flow through those inevitable times when people, life, or even you, disappoint you.

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


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