Divorce, Loss, and Gratitude: A Personal Look Back at 2014
2014 was a tough year for me.
But it was also an incredible journey in which I learnt so much and grew in ways I could never have imagined.
It was the year I had to go through the trauma of a divorce… something that I thought would never happen to me.
Aside from the hurt and pain of the separation and all of its associated complications, I have struggled to come to terms with what I initially saw as a failure. I have always considered myself to be an intelligent guy, generally able to make good decisions, based on my values and intuition. Of course nothing ever works our perfectly, but I never imagined I would end up in such an extreme situation as divorce. It was a hard lesson for me to accept that, even in spite of my supposedly “enlightened” awareness, I could still make such serious mistakes.
The experience was intense, taking me from moments of depression through to the most sublime and healing revelations, and just about every other emotion on the spectrum in between.
At first I considered it as a huge failure. I had always wanted marriage to be the lifelong commitment it’s meant to be. I doubted myself, and questioned my own self integrity. Wasn’t divorce like giving up? I thought. Maybe I hadn’t made enough effort to resolve things. It made me feel less of a man… the decision of a weak person… to be running away from the hard realities of married life.
As I journeyed through all of those emotions, I didn’t realise it at the time, but something was shifting in me. It was like the fires of this trial were transforming me from the inside. And it wasn’t until some time had passed that I was able to understand more clearly what had been going on.
The mistake was not in the divorce, but further back, in the choices that led me into that marriage in the first place. The situation had been very complicated… far more complex than any thing else I had faced in my life. Without going into all the details, suffice to say there was an unborn child involved… which was the reason why we got married, even though we both knew we weren’t suited to each other. In hindsight, I realise that the decision to commit the rest of your life to someone should never be only because there is a child involved. If the child is the only reason you are together, you will never be able to sustain a loving, stable environment in which to nourish that child.
To add to the struggles we were going through, just when we were getting used to the idea of having a child, and very much looking forward to it, my wife had a miscarriage at 13 weeks.
I will never forget the sadness and sense of loss. That was going to be my first child, and now it was gone. I had cried over the image we had from the ultrasound scan… seeing such a beautiful and innocent little life growing inside her. I could only imagine how much worse it was for my wife.
After that things just went more and more downhill for our relationship. We even went to a psychologist in a last-ditch attempt to save the marriage. However, it was becoming clear that our paths lay in different directions. Curiously, each of us was healing and growing stronger from the whole experience. I was going through the process of realising how important it is to be your true self, and not be someone you aren’t in order to please another or in an attempt to rescue the relationship.
As I became more and more true to myself, she also stepped more into who she truly was. The result was we were both able to let go of deceiving ourselves, and accept that it would be better all round to divorce.
Looking back, I have come to accept that there were no failures in this story.
I know I never made any choices without first considering carefully what I thought at the time to be the best course of action. I know that none of my actions were based on selfishness, or anger, or fear. Always in life we can only do the best we can given the current circumstances, and our level of awareness.
What we often call “mistakes” are not necessarily “bad” decisions. They are just choices that bring pain. But if we are able to let go of guilt and regret, and instead forgive ourselves through compassion and understanding, then we turn those “mistakes” into the most inspiring and amazing lessons.
While I was going through the storms of life, internally I was discovering ever deeper levels of my spirituality.
After the divorce I deliberately chose to stay single, even though I had a strong urge for an intimate relationship and romantic company. I knew I needed time to heal and re-establish the balance within myself. In addition my poor financial situation made it more difficult to start any new relationship. In a sense I was very much obliged to face the discomfort and fear of being alone. I had no choice but to go within and look for my inner strength and consolation.
The result was spectacular.
Never before, in all my years as a hindu priest in the monastery, have I felt such an acute sense of the reality of spiritual consciousness.
In the monastery I had frequently felt the amazing power and presence of the Divine. But this past year was the first time I was able to let go of my identification with this personality called “Jamie”, and actually become one with that Divine Presence.
Through the simple practice of living in the present moment, I have arrived at the understanding that this person who I thought I was, is merely like an inanimate glove, being animated by Divine Consciousness. The real “I” is without name, without a personal history. It is the Divine Presence that is always there, observing you. When you are in your thoughts, in your emotions, and in your “personality”, you are unaware of that presence. But when you live so totally in the present moment that your thoughts slow down, and almost stop, you suddenly become the immensity of the Divine Consciousness which was always there. And the funny joke is that it is so close to you… literally just a whisper from your ear.
Since I left the monastery I have been through numerous challenges and relationships, but this last year has been like a highly accelerated period of growth.
And while all this was going on I was also having to cope with moving to a foreign country, and trying to get my spiritual coaching business off the ground. I feel like I have had several years of life experience all squashed into just one year!
Well, if you have got this far in my post and are still reading, I am deeply honoured. I normally prefer to write about more practical spiritual topics with useful tips and stuff. This time, as it is the beginning of a new year, I thought I’d get a bit personal with you 😉
My idea of sharing with you my personal story of 2014, is to give you more of a glimpse of who I am, and to show you that spirituality can take many forms… even the more messy stuff. As a spiritual life coach I generally try to convey a professional impression across my website, and in my work as a whole. I use my gifts of being connected to my spirituality to inspire, and motivate others in discovering how spirituality can enhance their life.
But I am under no illusions that I also have my own shit to deal with!
And that is what makes us so wonderfully human. For me I see it as a great strength when I look back at the hard lessons in my life. Through those experiences I am able to better relate to the very same people I am here to help.
So I guess I should wrap up this rambling personal confession! I would really like to thank you so much for being with me on this journey. Thank you for being the source of inspiration for me to keep making the effort with this blog and my work in helping others. Just knowing that there are people like you out there motivates me to continue working to overcome my own limitations so that I can bring my light into the world for the service of others.
2015 holds for you the potential of infinite possibilities. May this be the year in which you make the biggest spiritual and personal breakthroughs ever.