Jordan Kozey takes us into the mind of man finding his way post-marriage.
1. Loneliness can send you down one of two paths: the one of self-destruction where the pain of separation locks you to your TV, fleeting romances, or substances. You may not deteriorate into a pile of mush, or you may, but you will not grow, resentment increases, and the world of other people becomes more threatening. The other alternative leads to solitude, where one realizes that loneliness is actually a feeling, an odd uncomfortable one, and not an idea or fantasy to get lost in. Give your loneliness a fence. It is a wild animal, prone to escapism. During a wild outburst, hold strong that fence and let it tire out. Like a child on a whim, it will feel at first disappointed, but ultimately loved and contained, safe inside its boundaries.
2. Pain does not last forever. When the love of your life is no longer under the same roof, and there is no way to feel better about what might have happened differently, we simply have to take the ostrich head out of the hole and take on the sandy headwind. It may last for more than 90 seconds (unless you are a proficient meditator or are extremely active), but this whole forever thing is what got you into trouble in the first place, no? Approach pain like you would that last second before skydiving or eating a habanero pepper, with a tint of madness in the eye, and say “let’s do this.”
3. Below the hurt, the anger, the regret, and the shame, this separation is fundamentally nothing else but granting you an opportunity to live the best life you can. You may have felt snippets of this hope. They will not last unless you water them with repetition and intimacy with yourself. It’s not easy switching your focus from your wife or your kids to your own heart, but this is really what it’s all about. Logic and explanations will eventually become clear, but life is attempting to defibrillate your dreams. Everyone benefits from this work, even your ex, and especially your kids.
4. We all have a doppleganger or two roaming around. They are people who look exactly like you. But know, during the walk of your life, you will meet someone who is your opposite and antithesis (Oppolganger). They may know you better than you know yourself at times. They may never be able to see the love and effort you give to them. There is a chance they will always think you are a terrible person. They have an astounding ability to feign empathy for others, except you. This person may be your ex. Count it the greatest blessing in the world, for none other than they, will afford you the depth of inner work and self-reflection, and the opportunity to love yourself as they challenge that inflow at every turn. Your self love infuriates them, because they are unable to match it in themselves. They think it’s selfish. They make spiritual practice and inner work an imperative (deep bow of gratitude) rather than a hobby.
5. Spiritual practice, exercise (yoga!), retreat, diet, and creative expressions are veritably the corner stones of a blooming man. Divorce has sent ripples through the fabric of what I believe a man to be. Without a connection to my source, a radical awareness and devotion to my body, and an outlet for the Typhon-sized emotions that accumulate, the soul withers, the body becomes ill, and future relationships don’t receive the nurturance they require.
6. Fathers are just as important as mothers. Do not let any belief deter you from being as fully engaged in your dreams and work, as you are with your children. There is no partiality in the parental title. Father’s are not an intrusion to the mother-child relationship (except in situations of abuse, etc, but that goes both ways). For some father’s, it may take time to work in a constant presence with their children due to the nature of their divorce. Everything does not need to happen right away.
7. Despite divorce, the marriage actually endures. Part of healing from divorce involves recognition that our partners are never really separated from us. hey will live on in the faces of the people we meet, in memories of the places we visit, and in the gaze of our children. They come back in the attitudes and behaviors of our future partners. We must come to peace with the fact that as much as life is happening outside of us, much of what we encounter in the physical world is an opportunity to heal the past; to love through the past into the present.
8. Honesty is an investment. As you peer out from your grief-cave, and begin to meet other people, perhaps other lovers, you will notice that a good deal of time is required to heal from your divorce. That does not mean you have to sit alone everyday. Rebounding and exploring the scents of others is normal and healthy. Big but here. We must be honest that our healing process is in effect, and state what arenas of intimacy we are comfortable with at this time (physical, emotional, mental, friendship). We don’t need to come out and reveal our wounded wing, but we can be honest with just how much that wing can handle. Just because you are grieving does not mean you should not explore, just as long as you are not avoiding your grief by rebounding.
9. Fallowness. Fallowness describes farmland soil that is left broken for a long period of time, to ensure maximum yield of a future crop. Divorce may seem like an explosion of destructive forces. What they don’t tell you is that divorce is more like a plough, harrowing our path to ensure the fertility of the soul. Without this period of brokenness, any new seed that comes along will have less a chance to grow robust. It’s okay to sit, wait, and be broken for long periods of time, without the need to do.