Whenever I’ve told friends that my partner and I were separating, the overwhelming response was, “Oh my god! What happened? You guys were such a great couple!”
There’s an assumption that there had to be “something” that “broke us up”, but the truth was, after over 20 years, whether we wanted it or not, our paths had diverged.
It was the clearest moment when I knew that it was over. I wanted something. He didn’t want it. There was a passive power struggle (we were both peace-keepers). And the realization hit me that we now wanted different things in life. Twenty-two years ago, we wanted the same things in life and perhaps our paths had started separating years before. But we weren’t willing to look at the divergence because we both believe strongly in the institution of marriage.
It’s normal to have ups and downs, right? We were taught to take the good times with the bad, right? These sayings had kept these thoughts of separation at bay for a long time… But they just weren’t making sense anymore.
Note: Although I am now talking about this easily and objectively, I don’t want to pretend that it felt easy at the time. There was still sadness, anger, emotional pain, and real grief after we were actually living separately. We aren’t robots. We had been in love, emotionally connected, and pretty dependent on each other for a long time. This is no small thing to separate from.
The End of “Till Death Do You Part”
I realized that, besides not wanting to hurt my husband, it was actually my pride that was my greatest obstacle to leaving.
I was known as a spiritual teacher, I did marriage counselling, and I taught tantra. What would it look like to others if I ended my marriage? Would I be considered a failure? Would everything I taught suddenly not have merit? This was a massive hurdle for me to overcome.
As I wrestled with this, I picked the brains of people I respected. I researched writings on marriage. And I prayed a lot.
The ultimate answer that came was that separating was not a failure. It was simply the natural response to what the truth was between a couple. That’s all. The idea of “till death do you part” had nothing to do with what was real between the couple. Historically, it actually began as a financial agreement between two men for the caring of a daughter.
There was a time, in some cultures, when a young man would ask a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. If the answer was yes, the father would give land, money or some kind of dowry to the young man (because women couldn’t own anything) with the promise that the young man would take care of his daughter until his very last breath… makes sense. And then, at the wedding, it was (and still is) customary for the father to “give” his daughter away… Hmmm.
Many cultures have some version of this where a promise had to be made so that the legal and financial union must stay intact for life. On the positive side, this could have been since women were not able to work and therefore couldn’t be financially independent. Or, on a darker note, maybe it was due to a sense of ownership of each other or imposed for the need to control by the church and state.
The quality of the relationship was often not important at all. Difficulties, violence, control, cruelty, manipulation, sadness, depression, and extra-marital affairs were all normal – which makes sense – because although there might have been love in the beginning, it certainly wasn’t the quality of the love that was going to keep them together. We were legally bound for life. It wasn’t until the early twentieth century that divorce even became legal in North America. And in many cultures and religions today it still isn’t allowed.
So I soon began to realize that separating wasn’t actually a failure. The idea that the end of a marriage is a failure came from a previous time and an old system where you weren’t allowed out of the agreement. Leaving could have meant being destitute, disowned and the end of any kind of “decent” life. Being able to survive, even in an abusive relationship, definitely became a sign of strength and a real test of personal endurance.
But times are different now.
Staying Together While Separated
We chose to stay living together for a year even though we had agreed that we were separating. We had two of our own children plus four more teenagers living with us. The other teens were our kids’ friends who couldn’t live at home for many reasons and had chosen to move in with us. So, if we actually physically separated at that time, we had 6 teenagers to split between us or find homes for. Since they were all at the end of high-school and ready to leave the nest in a year, we chose to stay and enjoy our family of eight and see how it went.
During this time, I had two main goals with our separation. One, I wanted to really honour the 20 years we had together. And two, I wanted to be able to share my struggles that I hadn’t been able to share before, partially to have healing between us and because who are we kidding, I just really wanted him to know.
Honouring The Marriage
If you have ever been married or been in any kind of serious relationship, you know how easy it is to count the “bad” days. And unfortunately, in the process of deciding to end a marriage, it is adding up the “bad” days that give us the momentum to actually leave (and unfortunately, this is also what others want to hear about so that they know “what happened”.)
But the truth was, our marriage was really wonderful. We had been through so much together. We had milked cows and farmed together for 16 years. He was an incredible support for me when so many people including my mom and all my grandparents had died. We had wonderful children together. We shared the same favourite TV shows, we laughed and had more inside jokes together than we will ever remember.
Were there also things that weren’t so hot? Sure.
We all come into relationships with our “stuff”. We have patterns that we learned from our parents, past-lives, karma, “sins of the forefathers”, etc. Sometimes I think that it is such a blessing to have so much love (and passionate sex) in the beginning because it helps smooth out the difficulties of bringing so many challenges into such an intimate relationship.
Plus, we were in our early 20s when we got married. We’d never done it before and so, we truly did the best we could.
In the end, I really wanted us to remember all of the good times. I didn’t want us to forget how wonderful all those years had been too. Because if you’re going to remember anything, those are the memories worth bringing forward.
Being Honest About My Struggles
In no way do I blame my ex-husband (A term I really dislike, I wish there was a nicer word for this) because I too, came into our marriage with “stuff”.
One of my greatest issues was being an eternal peace-keeper. Of course, that is the nice way to put it. The other way to say it is that I avoided conflict at all cost. If I was angry about something and nothing got resolved, well, I just let it go. I didn’t want to stay angry. I understood where he was coming from. So, I swept it under the rug. I kind of let it go.
But after 20 years, I had swept a lot under the rug. (Or maybe I’d swept a couple of things under the rug a thousand times.) Was he a part of it? Sure. Was I a part of it? Yes. But now, since I had no reason to “keep the peace”, I was able to stand stronger about the things that had been bothering me. We had to have difficult conversations because there was no longer a rug to sweep anything under. That time had passed.
But we were as kind as possible. And truthfully, we resolved a lot. We were very lucky for the healing and closure that we got.
But You Teach Tantra. Couldn’t Tantra Heal your Relationship?
This is the million-dollar question. The answer is yes, and no.
We had explored a lot of tantra together. We had had incredible tantric intimacy and amazing healing times (lots of detail about this in my book: Tantric Intimacy). Tantra had deepened the loving connection between us. But that doesn’t mean that we were meant to still live together.
The foundation of tantra is about being fully spiritual in a very physical world. In a relationship, this directly affects the quality of the love connection between you. Both of these aspects of tantra were in full expression throughout our separation (and continues today).
During our separation, there were many days that were really hard. I didn’t want to talk about splitting the money. I didn’t want to talk about the kids. Each one of these conversations felt so painful. I would have preferred avoiding them altogether, which of course is impossible.
And so I would pray. I would meditate. I would ask inside for the kind words to broach these really hard topics. I would ask for the right timing, “would we talk about the money today? Or tomorrow? Or next week? How should we split the finances?” Etc. I sat in silence a lot, waiting for the answers to find the most loving, peaceful way through.
And the answers always came. Perhaps today was the day. And so I would ask him if we could talk about it, and the answer was yes. And the discussion would go flawlessly, not without tears, but it was smooth. And this is how all the issues were resolved.
In terms of a “tantric connection”, we simply had it. We maintained a loving connection throughout the process. Choosing to live together has nothing to do with whether we had a loving connection. We can have loving connections with thousands of people that we don’t live with. And we can always choose kindness.
Once, we had worked out how to split the finances and what it would look like with the kids, we walked over to the courthouse and asked if we could fill out the paperwork so that we could get a divorce. We were smiling and giggling and joking with each other. The woman behind the desk just stared at us.
Eventually she said that were weren’t allowed to get a divorce without lawyers because we owned properties and had children. Oh.
So, I asked around and found a lawyer who was well-known for taking care of amicable divorces. I showed her our agreement, she wrote it up, assigned a lawyer to look at it on my husband’s behalf, and very soon, the paperwork was complete. The separation and divorce was final. And we were still hanging out with our six kids at home.
It was quite a surreal time.
Today, we are still great friends. His girlfriend is a woman whom I’ve been friends with for a long time. There’s no fighting about the kids because we all just stay together for Christmas and holidays. They come to my family functions, we hang out and it’s actually really, really wonderful.
Is This Possible For Everyone?
Unfortunately, no. For the two of us, our deepest desire was to still be loving towards each other. So, that is exactly what happened.
But for many people, being loving isn’t their deepest desire. They want to hurt the other. There are power struggles. There is history to “make the other pay for”. There is no desire to be kind. The divorce is as messy as the marriage was as well– at least under the surface.
I only tell this story as a possibility. To share my struggle with feeling like I had failed – when in fact, I hadn’t.
To share a possibility of a graceful way to lovingly separate.
Of course, there are always a few couples out there who have been happily married for 65 years and their beaming faces show us just how in love they are after all these years.
This too, is a possibility. And it is certainly a success in some ways.
But it’s just one possibility. There are many kinds of success.
To be loving in all circumstances.
To be honest in each moment.
And to always choose kindness.
These are the greatest successes.
Why Vegan and not Vegetarian? Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh Answers The Question
- The Facts:
Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh explains why he chooses not to consume any meat or dairy products, and points towards the overwhelmingly cruel food industry.
- Reflect On:
What gives us the right to torture animals, steal their babies, abuse them simply for our consumption? Where is our compassion, morality and empathy? Have we been made and brainwashed to believe that it's ok?
The most heartbreaking thing to see and to witness is an innocent benevolent being getting tortured and suffering. This is the realty of eating animal products today. Billions of animals are raised for slaughter every single year, and the overwhelmingly large majority of them go through horrific and terrifying experiences. It’s hard to imagine how anybody could eat or wear the clothes of diseased animals knowing what they went through. It’s also hard to believe that anybody who does eat or purchase products that have used animals in their manufacturing process would do that kind of “labour” themselves.
The truth is that many people still don’t know what these beings are going through. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, immoral, and unethical. Morality, empathy, and love are all emotions that need to return to planet Earth, and as long as we have multiple industries exploiting animals, that can’t happen.
If you’re unaware of what these animals are going through on a daily basis, a recent PETA investigation on two of the world’s top cashmere exporters revealed extreme cruelty, including the violent killing of cashmere goats. You can read more about it and see some footage of that here, if you’re interested.
You can view more examples of graphic footage in the trailer of “The Buddha Bowl,” a documentary in the making featuring personalities and some of the most influential and renowned spiritual leaders from all over the world sharing their perspectives on veganism. These include viewpoints from Buddha himself and from spiritual leaders from the past and present, totalling about 30 interviews on animal rights, environmental issues and health.
One of the people in that documentary is Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who is recognized as a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist. The video below is not part of the documentary listed above, but from an interview taken a few years ago at a conference.
Are We Even Designed To Eat Meat?
There is no doubt our world is becoming more awake, aware, and compassionate. Millions of people around the world have transitioned towards a plant-based diet. This represents the kind of compassion and empathy our world needs more of, and this diet can do nothing but benefit human health, the planet, and the animals.
It’s no secret that eating meat and animal products is destroying the Earth, as clearing land for animal grazing and slaughter is one of the leading causes of deforestation, and factory farms are an environmental disaster.
More people are also starting to become aware of plant-based diets and their health benefits.
A recent study conducted by researchers in California and France found that meat protein is associated with a very sharp increased risk of heart disease, while protein from nuts and seeds is actually beneficial for the human heart. The study is titled “Patterns of plant and animal protein intake are strongly associated with cardiovascular mortality: The Adventist Health Study-2 cohort,”
It’s one of many studies that’ve emerged over the years showing the benefits of plant-based diets and their ability to reverse diseases. On the other hand, many studies published have shown how the consumption of meat has the exact opposite effect.
Below is a clip from a recent CETV episode where CE founder Joe Martino and I go into the discussion a little deeper, with a specific focus on plant-based protein compared to meat protein. If interested, you can watch the full episode here by signing up for your free trial. CETV is a platform that we created to combat the censorship we’ve experienced over the past couple of years.
I also go into this type of discussion, if you’re interested in reading about it, in an article I recently published: “Another Study Suggests Humans Are Not Designed To Eat Meat.”
Human beings are born with compassion and empathy. What we are doing to animals on our planet today, and how many continue to ignore it and be unaffected by it, is simply as a result of mass brainwashing and marketing by big food corporations. The truth is that we’ve been taught to ignore it, we’ve been taught to believe that it’s OK and it’s our right to do this to others who share the planet with us. No child would ever stand for such a thing unless they were taught to do so. It’s the same thing as racism, we are not born with it, we are taught it. I urge all those who are reading this to do their research into where the vast majority of our food and clothes are coming from, watch what these animals are going through, look into their eyes and and feel what they are feeling.
The ability to feel and understand the emotions of others, animal or human, is a HUGE and VITAL step towards creating a better world and a better overall human experience.
Marianne Williamson Admits “The System Is More Corrupt Than I Knew”
- The Facts:
Marianne Williamson stated in an interview on Fox and Friends that she did not realize the political system was as corrupt as it is.
- Reflect On:
This is an important revelation of how leaders often don't quite see the full truth of our system at hand. Through them and their experience, we can learn a lot about what is truly going on. Is it time to let go of the systems we have?
About a week ago Marianne Williamson told the New Yorker, I know this sounds naïve, but I didn’t think the left was so mean. I didn’t think the left lied like this.” In a segment I did on CETV, I discussed the fact that Williamson is doing a great job of bringing a bit more of a conscious conversation into the mix here, which is very important, but seems to not quite understand what politics is really about and how things function in our world.
In my article about this statement I stated:
Some have suggested that Marianne already knows these truths, and she may, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she is only uncovering these things now. I say this as I belong to a group that communicates regularly that contains many high profile conscious industry leaders like Williamson and other big authors, speakers etc. Many of them are great with spirituality but seem to struggle to see how politics truly functions. I have witnessed this first hand and this is why I’m so passionate about what I do as I feel bringing together both personal transformation and hard truth is imperative.
Some felt that my analysis was off and that Williamson is just ‘playing naive,’ but to me, this did not feel true nor did it seem to be the case. While some might view this as an unimportant detail, it’s very important as for society to truly begin to shift we must not only personally transform but also realize the true nature of the world we live in.
As outlined in the CE Protocol, the formula I built to help awaken and shift the masses, the very first step is Breaking The Illusion about our programmed reality and understand what’s truly going on. From there, personal transformation becomes key.
Williamson Admits She Was Unaware
Here we are a week later and Williamson has stated what I observed in my previous segment, she did not quite realize how corrupt our political system truly is. In an interview on Fox and Friends Williamson stated:
“I would say that I feel that I’ve learned that the system is even more corrupt than I knew and people are even more wonderful than I hoped,
I want to state this isn’t about picking on anyone as much as it is about understanding the importance behind seeing the full picture of the change that needs to take place here. For 10 years now I have built CE to include both personal transformation and truth seeking for the reason that either one of those topics on their own doesn’t create the change we all know is possible in our hearts.
I’ve seen many ‘spiritual leaders’ still deeply support the dysfunctional nature of our systems because they believe there is truth to them when in reality they belong to a consciousness we are shifting away from.
Our political system is built and exists within a system designed for a very limited state of consciousness, some call this 3D consciousness. The goal isn’t to shift our political system, it’s to let it go. Collectively we are shifting and the new state of consciousness emerging doesn’t support the political system at hand. Hence why the chaos around it is increasing, because it’s acting as a mirror for us to see how it doesn’t resonate with our emerging consciousness.
It’s like trying to install Windows on a Mac or vice versa, the systems aren’t designed for the operating system. Humanity is faced with a challenge of ‘letting go of the old,’ not trying to fix the old.
In a brand new segment of The CE Show I did on YouTube and CETV, I discuss Marianne’s latest comments and what I feel we all must realize as we move forward in this journey of shifting ourselves and our world.
The CE Show airs multiple times per week on CETV. Membership proceeds from CETV go towards supporting our journalism and future broadcasts. You can start a free 7 day trial here.
I feel that we have become addicted to the systems of a state of consciousness that we are moving away from. The choice is up to us, we stop resisting and holding onto things of the old, move through the process of watching these old systems fall away, or we continue to fight tooth and nail under the belief that we must hold up the old systems, and suffer along the way.
Ask yourself within, do you truly feel that this is about changing our current political system to be more open and evolved? Or is it about letting go of the rigidity of our current systems and creating new ones that are birthed from a new state of consciousness, not one that is centuries old…
Full Moon In Pisces: Navigating Ideals
We are having a Full Moon in Pisces which will be exact at 4:33am Universal Time on September 14th 2019. It will appear the fullest on the night of the 13th for most of the world and on the night of the 14th for the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand.
This is the peak of the Lunar cycle which began two weeks prior with a New Moon in Virgo. The energies of it build up as the Moon increases its light and are strongest in the days before and after. However, it will still be a part of the backdrop over the following two weeks.
Full Moon’s are a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Pisces and Sun in Virgo. It can reflect either a conflict or integration of both signs. We can feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Virgo side and others expressing the Pisces side.
Pisces is associated with sensitivity, compassion, creativity, and oneness. It is spiritually conductive, mystical, energy oriented, dreamy, flowy, imaginative, idealistic, and empathic. Negatively, it can be delusional, lazy, intoxicated, deceptive, confused/confusing, elusive, flaky, and lack critical thinking. Pisces energy is the least compatible with the mundane world and is associated with escapism in its many forms.
Virgo is about productivity, duties, service, physical health, cleanliness, and purity. It is organized, conscientious, skillful, diligent, efficient, analytical, detailed, and practical. Negatively, Virgo energy can also be overly critical, too cautious, fault-finding, irritable, discriminating, and overly perfectionist.
Full Moon Aligned with Neptune in T-Square with Jupiter and Mars
This Full Moon is close to Neptune which has many of the same qualities of Pisces that were mentioned above. It is viewed as a modern ruler of that sign and it amplifies its energies even more so during this period. Neptune is also associated with glamour, romance, and addiction. It has a dissolving, flooding, and watery energy that doesn’t comprehend boundaries.
Neptune is completing its last of three squares with Jupiter in Sagittarius which will be exact on September 21st and will be strong into the following week. It began last January and peaked again this past June. At best, this can be an expansive period in a spiritual, creative, or compassionate way.
However, it can also be a time of confusion or lack of discernment around beliefs, ideologies, education, and teachers. It can also be a time in which we become aware of us being like that previously. We can be more excessive when it comes to how we express Piscean/Neptunian energies mentioned above.
At the time of the Full Moon, Mars in Virgo is also involved in this configuration along with the opposition of the Sun and Moon, forming a T-square aspect. This can be good for asserting ourselves towards our ideals or with a different Jupiter-Neptune approach (mentioned above). However this can also make our actions scattered, less assertive/direct, and make it harder to apply ourselves with practicality.
Full Moon Sextile Pluto Near Saturn and South Node, Saturn Going Direct
This Full Moon is in a tight sextile with Pluto which is near Saturn and the South Node. This could trigger some of the themes of the previous Lunar Eclipse (that is still reflecting this period) in a more harmonious way. Purging aspects of our past that are getting in the way of us moving forward. This can help to facilitate empowerment through some sort of release or transformation.
Saturn will be finishing its retrograde on September 18th and will move towards its final conjunction with the South Node which will peak at the end of the month and early October. This energy was also strong in mid Spring and part of it in early Summer.
Saturnian themes get amplified and we can be dealing with limitations, obstacles, restrictions, or perhaps issues around boundaries. We may feel a need to make changes around responsibilities, commitments, career, and structures in our lives. Similarly to the last Lunar Eclipse, there can be a sort of ending playing out around how an area of our lives is being expressed.
Full Moon Opposing Mercury and Venus Conjunction As They Change Signs
At the time of this Full Moon, Mercury and Venus are in a conjunction at the very end of Virgo, (Mercury’s sign). They will then be moving into Libra (Venus’ sign) in the hours following with the Full Moon triggering after it begins to wane.
This can be a time of heightened interactions, catching up with friends and other relationships. While it is in Virgo it could lean more towards its themes connected to work, service, fault finding, etc. For some people there can be a feeling of some sort of urgency.
After this conjunction moves into Libra, especially a day after the Full Moon, it becomes more pleasant, social, and creative. Our interactions can be more harmonious, diplomatic, and less critical. We can more easily see both sides to something, find balance, and a great time to discuss relationship matters.
As a result of both of these planets transitioning near the same time, some people may experience some sort of significant shift in other areas of their lives within a few days following the Full Moon.
Things To Consider During This Period
How can you better balance the mundane aspects of life with your ideals, creativity, or spirituality? How have your beliefs been impacted this year and what is the conclusion to your experiences? Is it possible that you may have been confused about some aspects of newly or previously acquired perspectives?
What themes are coming up for you now that have been playing out since last April? What do you need to release? What changes do you need to make when it comes to your work, responsibilities, commitments, structures, or boundaries?
These are just some examples of what could come up during this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out. If you wish to do any sort of intentional release connected to what has come up at this Full Moon, it is best to do so anytime after the peak of the Full Moon when it begins to wane until the next New Moon in two weeks. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on September 14th at 4:33am Universal Time. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.
Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order.
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