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.

There Is No One Right Way To Live May 2, 2013



“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
Friedrich Nietzsche



There is no one right way to live. There is only your way in this moment. Whether you are experiencing abject misery, overwhelming joy, or numbness, this is your minute. Claim it as part of your unique experience on this earth. After all, since you are only a visitor, why not approach everything as fascinating? If you really feel like raising the bar, you could even consider all aspects of your life sacred. Should you choose to adopt that world view, you might find yourself more comfortable riding the seas of unpredictability that show up daily.


Of course, it is natural to get caught up in an emotion or experience and think it will never end. Whether it is physical pain, euphoria, or something else entirely it is all too easy to lose sight of the fact that everything, yes, everything, ends. Clinging to the joys and shunning the difficulties only makes life harder.


What if you adopted a completely different view, one that embraces everything as part of your adventure on planet earth? Each moment would be a portal into understanding the varieties of experience. Not judging, comparing, or getting lost along the spectrum of discerning whether something brings joy or grief. Just being. Right now. In this moment. No story line to keep you company, no drama to create, only awareness and curiosity.


How differently would you think?

What might your new attitude feel like?

How would you approach what arises?

What effect would that openness and acceptance have on your relationship with yourself and others?


This is not about spiritual perfectionism, but gently, lovingly, coaxing yourself back into an appreciation of the moment, whatever it feels like. Not every moment, just those you want to fully experience.


While there is no emotional terra firma, you can anchor yourself in the present, allow all thoughts and feelings to flow through you, and cultivate genuine wonder. Empowered with joy, openness, and curiosity you can truly inhabit the fullness of your life.


An exercise that grounds you in the moment while tapping into your ability to appreciate the most mundane, yet potentially bliss-inducing, aspects of your environment, is the 5-4-3-2-1 meditation. It is quite simple, yet profound.


Wherever you are, notice 5 things you can see, then 5 things you can hear, and then 5 things you can physically feel. Continue with four things in each category, then 3 things in each category, then 2 and, finally, 1. Give yourself about 15 minutes to complete one full cycle. It is preferable to find new things, but not necessary.


Even simpler, just consciously allow whatever your experience is right now. Stop reading, take a breath, and assess how you are processing this moment. Are you being critical? Angry? Stoic? Resigned? Numb? Perhaps, you are grateful, joyful, accepting, open, or unconditionally self-accepting. The more you pay attention and do these mini check-ins, the more you will notice the emotional vicissitudes of life as they occur. Once you allow your ever-changing, full range of thoughts and feelings, and agree to being present and human for whatever crosses your path, life will feel more manageable and interesting.



Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


Deconstructing Divorce: Understanding What Happened March 8, 2009


It’s natural to try to make sense of things.  As time passes your perspective on your relationship will shift like quicksand.  One day you may look at the past through rose colored lenses and the next as if through a black veil.  It’s all OK.   No doubt, years from now, your view will be different from what it is today.  But what is for you this moment is your truth. Allow it to be just as it is.


If you have been keeping a journal, you have the opportunity to go back through the years and read (in your own words) how you viewed your marriage.  This can be quite an eye-opening experience.  I have kept a journal since I was 13.  Nothing prepared me for the shock of reading entries from almost 15 years ago.  Life, with its distractions of work and raising a family, had obliterated any negative thoughts and feelings I felt. I knew there had been challenges.  When the children left, and it was just the two of us, those became more obvious.


If you have not been keeping a journal, you may find it helpful to talk to friends and family and ask them what they noticed about you (your level of happiness, stress, anxiety, depression, etc.). They will probably be quite candid, once they know you are open to hearing their thoughts; so, be careful.  If you are not ready don’t ask.  You may never want to go back and deconstruct things.  We are all different.  There’s no one right way of processing your break-up.


I find it validating and emotionally satisfying to understand as much as I can.  When I look back and see cracks, or fissures, that I had been ignoring it makes my decision easier to assimilate. If everything I read in my journal was peachy I would wonder if I had taken leave of my senses.


You may prefer to accept life as it is now and move on.  Great, whatever makes you feel better. The only right way is the right way for you right now.  It doesn’t matter what works for someone else.


You may choose one of the above and change your mind later.  It really is OK.  Life is a process. None of us is stagnating.  We’re all in a state of flux and growth, even if it doesn’t feel that way. The dissolution of a relationship is an enormous shift on all levels, so being as accepting and gentle with yourself as you can be, and taking the time to let the emotional fallout settle, is a prerequisite for moving forward.


You may also notice your tolerance for deconstructing your divorce changes depending on your mood.  One day you want to understand what led up to this life-changing event, and the next you would rather eat dirt.  Allow yourself the luxury of honoring where you are.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”  You are free to think and feel whatever is right for you, even if it contradicts something you thought or felt 10 seconds earlier.  The minute you allow yourself this emotional latitude and flexibility the sooner buried material will float into your conscious awareness.  A dream fragment, a fragrance, or a photograph might send a cascade of previously unconscious reveries flowing, and suddenly you have an epiphany.  It is impossible to predict what will catalyze inner leaps into a deeper understanding of what happened, so you can’t plan for it, or fabricate it.  However, the more open and attentive you can be the more likely you will make connections.


As you get stronger and more grounded in your new life your unconscious mind will need to filter less and less.  At some point, not only will the past make sense, you will see how it paved the way for a better present. By cultivating faith in yourself, and working to patiently trust the process, you fertilize the ground of your future happiness.


Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


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