After my divorce, I thought my life was over. Like literally. I almost had a nervous breakdown, I spent countless hours in therapy, I thought I was going to live in a cardboard box (not literally), and I thought my children would never talk to me again.
I was fortunate, many women are not as fortunate.
My luck was due to a really good, albeit expensive lawyer, an amazing therapist, a strong family connection, a sister-in-law who was divorcing my Ex’s brother at the same time, all of my amazing friends, and a strong backbone.
My divorce was ugly, mean and dirty.
It didn’t need to be that way. We could have divorced in a friendly manner if it hadn’t been for the lack of living from a place of love and truthfulness.
My last blog entry was on Ahimsa, a philosophical yoga teaching about living from a place of love and not harming ourselves or others.
Living from a place of love cannot be talked about without understanding the second spiritual guideline, Satya, or truthfulness. The act of being truthful in what you say, what you think, and how you act.
When those two guidelines are combined, they are very powerful. Truthfulness and love. If practiced consistently throughout your life, you will have the most wonderful life imagined. Truth really will set you free; every time, all the time.
And yet the lack of honesty and love seem to be what is spiraling our world out of control. Two simple concepts gone completely awry.
I used to spend countless hours trying to figure out how I had somehow caused my Ex to leave me. I thought, and was told, the divorce was my fault. He said he was 50% responsible but could never think of an actual reason that he could take responsibility for.
It took me years of therapy, reading many spiritual books, countless hours talking to friends and spending hours on great blogs to make me understand I was not the reason my Ex left.
It wasn’t about me, or anything I had done.
The one and only reason my Ex did what he did was because he was not practicing love and truthfulness to others or himself. Our family was broken apart because there was a lack of love and honesty.
Our culture teaches us it takes two to tango, that both parties are responsible for one person leaving. One must have done something to the other or vice versa to make them so unhappy.
Factually, it does not take two people to betray another in a committed relationship, it only takes one.
No matter if I was an ogre, a bitch, threw pots and pans at him (I didn’t), called him names (I didn’t), or withheld sex (in my opinion, I didn’t), none of MY actions directly created HIS reaction. I was not, nor will ever be, responsible for someone else’s happiness.
I treated my Ex with honesty, and what I thought was love. I never acted in a dishonest way. I did not purposefully harm him. I never thought of harming him.
I did wonder how I was going to stay married to him. I knew, through feelings I didn’t understand, that there was something wrong in our marriage. But I tried to love and honor the commitment I made in front of the eyes of God. I stayed true to honoring love and honesty.
He was on his own in his decision to betray the commitment and leave. It was his unhappiness that created his unhappiness, not me or my actions. Happiness is an inside job.
Love in action, or loving yourself so you can be open to loving another, combined with truthfulness, which is being honest with yourself and others, if practiced every moment, would never allow the practitioner to be dishonorable.
Think of that for a moment, it’s hard to grasp. People who love and honor other human beings do not treat them unjustly. They can’t. It’s impossible. Betrayal is not an act of loving another person. Loving another person does not entail betrayal. Betrayal is to be false or disloyal. Loyal is to be faithful. Love and truth cannot be disloyal. They can’t go hand in hand.
When a person practicing love and truth tells a lie, they feel bad. It bothers their conscience. Good people know when they lie. Usually, they don’t like the feeling so they take responsibility for the lie, apologize and stop doing it. They change their behavior. In our society, lying seems to be promoted and accepted. These days it’s called justification. We just look the other way and disassociate from the lies we tell.
When a lie is told, the liar eventually suffers. A lie builds a false version of reality that increasingly distances them from who they really are, or were. After repeatedly lying, as Michael Jackson so succinctly put it “the lie becomes the truth” making their reality change. They actually change into someone else. Really.
When someone lies to you, and you know they are lying, the lie makes you question everything about you and them. It makes you question your ability to make informed decisions, your ability to know who and what is real and honest, and makes you question the commitment in the relationship. People who are lied to eventually lose their self confidence because they stop believing in themselves.
Lack of love (Ahimsa) and truth (Satya) hurt everyone.
I see our culture without love and truth spiraling into anarchy. We cannot sustain a culture where those who communicate to each other ignore telling the truth and showing love. When that happens we all become desperate for survival and all love will be lost. If this becomes the prevailing behavior, then the laws of anarchy will soon emerge.
How you think sets the stage for how you act. How you act is defined by how you think. If we could all start to practice thinking and acting from a place of love and truth, maybe we could start turning our world into a place we all want to live, where happiness is an actual reality.
Ahimsa and Satya. Two simple words we should all practice. Every day, all day, in how we think, how we act and what we say.