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How You Can Find Love & Peace In The Process of Divorce

Divorce doesn’t have to be messy if the decision and actions by both parties, come from a space of compassion.

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.

Katrina Bos

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Consciousness

A Spiritual Perspective On Smoking Cannabis: An Important Viewpoint To Consider

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Sadhguru shares his perspective on smoking marijuana and why it's not truly needed to achieve the feeling one may receive to do it.

  • Reflect On:

    I'm not saying there isn't medicinal value and that we should outlaw this plant, I'm saying we have a very large societal challenge, just like with alcohol, where we are not facing our inner challenges and are using substances to cover them up.

I was having a conversation yesterday about something that has always been a reflection point for me. Since I was a kid, I was never drawn to substances, even alcohol. I always felt great, high even, when just being.

As I got older and I finally tried cannabis for the first time, and then a few more times after that as years went on, I started to realize it actually brought my state of being and clarity down. The tough part was trying to explain that to others when having conversations about how these substances don’t produce a true experience of higher consciousness, but more so give you a glimpse in a sense.

Before we go on, I want to bring something up. The challenge with this topic is that we tend to get very emotional and rigid about it. Not only that, but we aggressively try to lump people into FOR or AGAINST cannabis. I’m not here to do that. I’m simply creating a reflection point as my desire is to help shift consciousness and empower us within to create a world where we can truly thrive. So for a moment, set aside your own hard coded beliefs and just be open to what this article is shining light on.

Societal Cannabis Culture

For the most part society either breaks down into people who judge cannabis as a drug that is for ‘stoners’ and are very against it. These people tend to believe there are no positives to cannabis. On the flip side are the people who feel cannabis is an amazing wonder plant that can do no wrong, and that the “highs” it provides expand the mind and we experience peace.

The truth is, cannabis has good aspects and not so good aspects to it. And while the positives can be really helpful for a very small subset of people on this planet, smoking it is one of the worst ways to use cannabis health wise. Not only that, society is using its medical benefits to turn attention away from the addiction many users have to it. This is a tough pill to swallow and makes many people aggressive and angry when I bring it up, but it’s true. In a big way, but not all the time, we are using cannabis as a society to help cope with feelings deep down that we want to shut off or hide from. As a note, we are also using food, TV and other things in the same way, but right now I want to focus on this reflection.

Cannabis can assist people with autism, people who have seizures, and in some cases it may have helped people cure cancer. There are benefits that can come from this plant being used in a proper medicinal way, but we must remember to look at the downsides that come from regular cannabis use that many simply don’t want to acknowledge.

A Note On Legalization

First off, I do not believe the plant ever needed to be illegal to begin with. In fact I’ve done much research on how it became illegal and it really had more to do with protecting an industry more than anything else.

That said, there is something to consider here that many of us aren’t looking at too clearly when it comes to what legalization really means. It means that powerful people are going to be the ones who profit most from it, that’s why it’s becoming legal. Not only that, but the reason it is taking so long is so they can get in place the many aspects required to make sure they achieve what they want: stripping medicinal aspects out of the plant profiles, controlling the seeds, and ultimately feeding society cannabis focused solely on creating a THC based ‘high’. This is no different than controlling alcohol and feeding it to society in the ways we currently do.

The cannabis industry is worth over $40 billion, making it the second-most-valuable crop in the U.S. after corn. As stated in a powerful article by GQ, “And even though weed is still federally forbidden, it sounded like whoever was behind BioTech Institute had spent the past several years surreptitiously maneuvering to grab every marijuana farmer, vendor, and scientist in the country by the balls, so that once the drug became legal, all they’d have to do to collect payment is squeeze.”

Humans should be able to make choices as to what they want to do to themselves and their bodies i.e. smoke cannabis or consume alcohol, but I believe greater education needs to be placed behind both and ultimately: we must start looking at the real reasons as to why we use both of these substances so often.

Looking At Cannabis Differently

I see that in many ways the use of cannabis is making the average user numb, in the same way alcohol does. I’ve used cannabis before, in a number of ways -smoking, edibles etc. I’m not saying the feeling is the same for every single user, but I’ve also been around thousands of cannabis users in my lifetime while they were high and you notice the same ‘vibe’ virtually every time. Perhaps there are varying degrees, but for the most part it numbs us out and sometimes quiets the thoughts to create a calmness. Is this like meditation? No, but it can be confused as that. I know, I’ve been there too.

Below is a video of a perspective on cannabis I feel is very important for us to consider. Let me be clear, I’m not saying there isn’t medicinal value and that we should outlaw this plant, I’m saying we have a very large societal challenge, just like with alcohol, where we are not facing our inner challenges and are using substances to cover them up. I am inspired to help create a world where we can truly empower ourselves form within, move beyond our mind and egoic challenges that help us grow and do just that – grow. But if we continually bury our challenges in substance, we won’t.

I believe it’s time we come to the uncomfortable truth and face the fact that as a society we have not done the greatest job in encouraging one another to truly explore, express and move beyond many of the emotional challenges life’s experiences have provided us, that are there for our growth. Think about it, do we want to just cope through life? Or do we want to truly move beyond our stuff? There is SO much suffering we can prevent by making it a societal norm to work through our challenges on a deep level. This is where I believe we must go.

Note: You can try meditation to help calm the mind and move more clearly through challenges. Here are more tools as well.

Lost relationships, divorces, losing jobs, feeling unloved, lack of confidence, depression etc. All of these things are not here so that we can use bandaids everyday to cover them up and get through them, they are here for us to learn more about ourselves, grow and evolve as people and as a society. To create a world where we can truly thrive. To get there, we must begin to face our challenges.

I made this choice 10 years ago when I started to discover meditation and inner reflection, and although I wasn’t a user of substances like alcohol or cannabis, I would use food to cover up my emotions or I would distract myself with TV, whatever worked. But I can share from experience, the incredible changes that come from shifting those stories within and gaining true empowerment will change everything in your life, and everyone can do it.

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Consciousness

New Moon In Virgo: Efficiency & Practicality

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We are having a New Moon in Virgo on September 17th. This is initiating a 29.5 day lunar cycle and new wave of energy for the coming month; however, the astrological configurations mentioned in this article will be more prominent over the following two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Aries on October 1st/2nd.

Virgo season began on August 22nd/23rd, nearly a month prior to this Lunation, and will end on September 22nd/23rd when Libra season begins. However, his New Moon will still carry some of its Virgo themes into the first eight days of Libra season prior to the Full Moon.

This is a good period of working with and co-creating with the energies of this sign. Virgo is associated with productivity, duties, service, health, cleanliness, and purity. It is organized, adaptable, conscientious, skillful, orderly, punctual, diligent, efficient, analytical, detailed, discerning, precise, and practical.

Virgo is about problem solving, adjusting to changing conditions, and coming up with solutions. Negatively, this energy can be cynical, fussy, high strung, and perfectionistic. It can also be exorbitantly mentally oriented as well as overly critical and discriminating.

Mars began its retrograde a week prior to this New Moon which will last until mid-November. This energy is a significant part of the current astrological backdrop. Generally it is a time that can ultimately help to facilitate a change in how we apply ourselves in certain areas of life, however, the retrograde period itself can bring frustrations and challenges that help with that process. You can read more about this Mars Retrograde here.

New Moon Trine Saturn & Quincunx Mars Retrograde

This New Moon is in a tight trine with Saturn in Capricorn which is transitioning out of its retrograde at the end of the month. This can be a good period for operating in a responsible, cautious, orderly, productive, realistic and practical way. However, considering that Saturn is finishing up its backwards motion, these next couple of weeks are generally better for getting things sorted out and prepared as well as perhaps focusing on tasks that you have already been working on.

It is possible that in late September and in early October, we can experience some sort of shift, or change in gears, that can take things into a different direction. Saturn will be in a square with Mars Retrograde at that time, and we may have to contend with limitations and obstacles that can affect how certain things move forward.

This New Moon is also in a quincunx with Mars retrograde which can reflect annoyances, tension, or conflicts that may require adjustments and adaptability. Issues that come up may be at odds with our needs or the way we want to express ourselves. This energy is the strongest on the 19th/20th but can also be more noticeable on the day of the New Moon.

New Moon Square Lunar Nodes, Mercury Square Jupiter

This New Moon is also in a close square to the North Node in Gemini opposing the South Node in Sagittarius. We may be at odds between the past (South Node) and the future (North Node), beliefs (Sagittarius) and facts (Gemini), our immediate aspects of life (Gemini) and the world at large (Sagittarius).

However, the focal point should be the North Node in Gemini and expressions of the South Node in Sagittarius energy should be serving that focal point and not be the emphasis. The rulers of the Nodes, Mercury (Gemini) and Jupiter (Sagittarius) are also in a tight square with each other at the time of this New Moon. This can reflect tension between these two sides and potentially conflicts between ideas, viewpoints, and opinions.

Jupiter is in the limiting Saturnian sign of Capricorn while Mercury is better placed in Libra, the sign of diplomacy, seeking common ground, considering different needs/perspectives, and fairness. Mercury square Jupiter can be good for learning but it can also be excessive when it comes to information and we can more easily be mentally scattered.

Mercury Quincunx Neptune, Then Square Pluto, Saturn & Opposing Mars

Mercury is in a quincunx with Neptune which is strongest on the 18th/19th. This energy makes it harder to integrate or juggle our intuitive, creative, imaginative, compassionate or spiritual expression with our mind, communication, tasks, and thought process. Issues pertaining to lack of boundaries, flakiness, delusion, escapism, intoxication, may come up.

Mercury moves towards a square with Pluto which is strongest on the 20th/21st. Our thoughts and communications can be deep, powerful, penetrating, investigative, raw, real, and potentially intense. This can also reflect obsessive or compulsive behavior, suspicion, fears, anxiety, or conflicts pertaining to power or authority.

Mercury then moves to a square with Saturn (22nd/23rd) followed by an opposition to Mars retrograde (23rd/24th), creating a t-square formation in that time period with the separating Pluto energy (20th/21st, mentioned above) tied into it a bit. This can be a time of obstacles, delays, communication issues, pessimism, and conflicts while we can get more easily irritated or angered. Circumstances may come up that can be pushing us to be more cautious, realistic, or responsible.

This period is the beginning of Mercury’s pre-shadow period in which it will be returning to another square with Saturn. Some of the issues or developments that occur at this time may be connected to things that will play out during the retrograde (October 13th/14th until November 3rd/4th) and weeks surrounding that period. It will also be the Equinox and therefore this energy is imprinted into the following three months in which it can manifest in other ways/areas separate from this initial period.

Making Intentions & Things To Consider

What can you do to be more practical, productive, and efficient? Is there anything you can or should implement to improve your health and functionality? What have the circumstances, developments, or challenges over the last week (leading up to this New Moon) shown you in how you should be applying yourself? Do you need to implement stronger boundaries? Do you need to be more adaptable? Are you clinging to the past or are you willing to take steps to help you grow? What aspects or details of your immediate life, surroundings, or relationships do you need to focus on more and what excesses or broad aspects of your life are getting in the way of that?

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 11:00am Universal Time on September 17th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Consciousness

Why We Get Into Fights When Sharing Information

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We’re in a time when mainstream media and traditional conversations are failing to address a number of important topics within society, anything from current events to politics and so on, and this is birthing a great deal of ‘alternative conversation’ that often stems from alternative media.

But with this, comes to the common ‘fight’ between various ideas and ideologies that is much more avoidable than we often realize. I wanted to share a quick tid bit from a recent episode discussing how we can reflect to develop better communication and connection faculties that can make a big difference in how we communicate important ideas that are emerging without creating such huge divides ad tension.

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