Category Archives: Change

20 Jun

3 Important Ways to Help Yourself Through A Divorce


It’s going to come up in conversation. Take the opportunity to create healthy boundaries from the start. Preparing for these conversations can help manage the emotions that might come with it and prepare you for the responses of others. Other’s often have strong opinions about divorce with unsolicited advice to go with it. And it’s not always helpful or positive stuff.

First, decide who needs to know. As life changing an event as it might be, some people (like co-workers) may not need to know. It’s good to ask: who you would like to tell and why?

Second, decide what kind of impression you want to leave with that person you’re going to talk to. It sounds self-centered, but it’s actually fact. It takes 7 seconds to make an impression, so decide what you want that other person to remember. Facts people won’t necessarily remember, but how a person made them feel is something that will stay. Experts recommend saving the personal emotions and intimate details for those closest, a therapist or a journal. It might not matter if it’s a best friend or family member, because they’ve already seen you at your best and your worst. But if, for example, you decide to tell your boss, what do you want him/her to remember, the facts and how well you are handling it, or how upset you were about the whole thing?

Third, ask for you what you need. The process of divorcing can be stressful. It’s an important life change and people often want to help but don’t necessarily know how. Communicate what is needed, whether it’s just hanging out for a change of pace, or getting added support for the children. Don’t be afraid to at least ask.

For more information about creating healthy boundaries, check out this article: This Is What It Really Means To Have Healthy Boundaries by Kelly Coffey on


 The act of divorce isn’t exactly a positive self-esteem building experience. This process could easily hit hard. It often brings up questions of confidence and how we see ourselves. It can leave someone feeling bad, like they failed at something. Or they might become riddled with guilt, especially when they see how it is impacting their children. But not to worry, divorce is much more common now a days. And kids are very resilient. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or fun, but what is does mean is that the person asking about it probably has either been through it or knows someone who went through something similar. And research shows that the 3 years following a divorce is the most impactful time for children to heal and recover, so don’t give up hope!

Staying in the present moment and looking to the possibilities in the future is a great way move everyone forward and keep the mind clear and emotions out of the drama.  Set a goal in the future for yourself. Practice positive self-talk daily, especially positive affirmations. It might be thoughts like “I am taking action and making necessary changes in my life right now to better myself”. Or, “I am managing each situation as it comes up”. Sometimes, it’s “This is stressful and I am handling this really well!” Or it might be “this is tough right now, but it will pass, I am strong and resilient and can get through this!”

Check out the blog post Meditation Made Easy or present, in-the-moment exercises article.

Dr Pamela Blair talks about Recovering Your Self-Esteem in this article about self-esteem building.

And here on find out more Steps to improve self-esteem.


Traditionally, separation is when there is the highest level of anger and potential violence between partners. Unmanaged anger comes in many shapes and forms including words and actions, or a lack thereof. It usually presents as passive (implied, indirect or insinuated to create or maintain conflict) or aggressive (directly threatening or physically hostile). And it can be VERY destructive.  For example, when a parent or partner posts negative comments about their ex on Facebook. Or someone sends out an insult in a group text. Or a parent makes negative comments directly to the kids or another adult in ear shot range of the children. Actions like these reflect poor boundaries. Children pick up on this and it often makes them feel conflicted. Blaming is a common destructive pattern also. It’s good to remember that as intense as those emotions are in that moment, they will pass. And once something is said, it’s out there and can’t be taken back. Ongoing negative comments, blaming and criticism can have long-term negative psychological effects on everyone, especially children. They actually do not rebound as easily from this kind of behavior. Blaming and negative criticism are also polarizing for others who often feel conflicted between their loyalties and what they should do. And then it becomes one more thing that needs to be resolved. The same goes for threats to others or acts of physical violence. They can have far more serious long-term effects.  Practicing this from an emotional intelligence perspective means managing the emotions before they take over.

The best way to manage anger is to develop awareness around it and learn specific techniques to help manage the emotions. Steps like:

  1. Identify the comments or actions of others that lead to feelings of anger or rage. Take note of the person or situations that create strong feelings, like fear or feelings of powerlessness. Notice how angry you get and how you respond. Then take not how long it took to calm down.
  2. Use strategies to calm yourself down before the anger turns into regretful words or actions. A “trigger” might be discussing a certain topic with an ex-partner or seeing repeated behavior that is perceived as threatening. Once this happens, take action to manage the anger. This could be the act of stopping the conversation in that moment and taking a break for a few minutes to get a handle on the intense feelings.
  3. Revisit the conversation when everyone is calm and level headed.
  4. Try an anger Journal: An anger journal is a great way to start creating that awareness. Questions include recording how many times a person gets angry in a day, what happened leading up to a change in emotions, and recording how the person responded when the anger took over.
  5. Utilize techniques even after the anger hits. Breathing techniques area common way address things immediately. (check out or try an app on your phone). And time-outs are great ways to handle “in-the-moment” emotions. So is exercise. It’s ok to put a stop to what ever is escalating and switch gears for a bit. Meditation and yoga are great practices to incorporate, especially before a stressful meeting. Studies show that people think more logically and make better decisions when their minds and bodies are in a resting state, not a raging state. Breathing exercises are the fastest and easiest way to calm down. Too much anger becomes self-defeating. Avoid mean or threatening language or physical violence. They are psychologically very harmful to children. Practicing positive self-talk, is another tool that helps decrease anger. Learning to stay calm and express emotions in a healthy way is a great way to model emotions for children and decrease unnecessary stress. If it becomes an ongoing problem, talking to a specialist, like a counselor or psychiatrist can be very beneficial.

A note about exercise:  a good amount of cardio exercise can change the balance of serotonin, endorphins and other hormones to help balance the mind and body.  Like the mind, the body can be changed too. This is one area many people utilize.

References and Resources:

Books –

From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life, A Woman’s Journey Through Divorce by Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC.

Something Gained: 7 Shifts to be Stronger, Smarter and Happier after a Divorce, by Deb Purdy.

Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Blog Posts –

How to Tell Others You’re Getting Divorced from

Divorce Etiquette 101: What to Say from

Tips on Communicating With Your Spouse During a Divorce from

Facing a Tough Divorce Transition? Create Positive Moments from

Working it out from

Types of Anger from

4 Tips for Effective Communication During Divorce from

5 Ways for Better Communication During a Divorce from

Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper from

The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: A review of the literature from


26 May

Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 3

How do you move forward?

Much of the movement and change in my life has subsided. There is a wonderful stillness in my life today. I see that all of the transitions I was resisting against actually brought me to this point, here, where I sit more comfortably. Things are easy in many ways. Where I am at now is much better energetically for my soul’s purpose and work. And it’s much better for my family.

I could not have told you this would have been the outcome a few years ago. The changes seemed for a while to just keep coming and at times I felt like a wave rolling back and forth onto a beach. Sometimes you have to just roll with it. At some point during all the rolling, I surrendered, into all the changes.

If someone were to look at the flow of my life today, in a simple context, they might not think I have anything to resist to. Today, I have the luxury to have my own business, better myself, help others and spend time with my family. This is a win/win for me. I get the luxury to do it all.

What’s not to like about that? And still I find resistance lurking around corners. Like so many of us that are practitioners in mental health, I have been trained to pathologize things, even my own experience.

What do you think about your own resistance? Is this a part of yourself you need to get to know better? Do you judge it?

I know it’s not angry or depressed energy because when I sit in the resistance, when I embrace it, invite and feel it flow through me, it’s pure natural energy. It might feel uncomfortable but it’s not dysfunctional. It’s a natural tension we carry in us as human beings. Some of it may be unconscious stuff, just waiting for a voice. For me, often it’s my creative spirit, wanting to be free and create. Sometimes it’s a child in me that just wants to play. If I accept that part of myself, it’s much easier to embrace it and utilize that energy. There’s nothing wrong with that. Actually some might say the opposite -that this part of oneself is needed in order to be truly alive.

What do you think about your own resistive energy? Are you willing to take a closer look at it?

I must say, that it’s taken a long time to get to know the more fiery resistive part of myself. That resistive wild energy in me is connected not only to my spirit, but my feelings, my thoughts and my experiences, which all lead back to my career house and my soul’s work. I’ve learned that it’s not a thing outside of myself, but rather part of who I am.

I no longer judge it, and choose to embrace it. I bring it out more when I play with my kids, I surrender to it when I meditate or wax philosophical. I check in with it when I suffer. I accept it, in all of it’s shapes and forms.

How can you utilize your own resistance?

When I am open to my resistance, it doesn’t go away nor does it simply make things better. It’s not a symptom that when given a pill or insightful thought disappears. As much as I want to read an inspirational quote and in that moment have an “ah ha!” experience, it probably isn’t going to happen. And it’s fair to say, that resistance also isn’t just going to go away. It’s part of the human experience. But acknowledging it, bringing it into my awareness and accepting it, makes it easier because I’ve acknowledged that part of myself.

Which direction do you want to go?

Every person has their own process of self discovery and understanding. The good news and the bad new is: there is no tried and true way for me or anyone else to make this easier for you. The even better news is that you know yourself the best. You’re the driver behind the wheel, so what you choose to look at and/or work on will guide you on the path you are heading.

So, as my father would say, what are you going to do about it?

I visit with it or check-in. Sometimes I check in with myself daily. I wait for a quiet moment and then ask myself “where am on this project?” “oh I’m still resisting it, ok”. I sometimes journal about it, or talk about it. This is where I have found my therapy and coaching invaluable. Personally I need to explore it and bounce if off of someone.

Sometimes I invite that part of myself into my work. Sometimes I even surrender to it. When I surrender, that means that I also let go of the outcome for that particular situation or project. And then I move on. Into the next place my spirit needs to go. This helps me keep a balance in my mind and stay in a fluid engagement with life.

Read the full series on Understanding Your Own Resistance:
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 1
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 2
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 3

18 May

Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 2

For the second part of this blog series on understanding your own resistance, I encourage you to grab a pen and paper and jot down answers to the questions that come up in the blog.

What is your resistance related to?

I find part of my own resistance to change is because sometimes I get hung up on the past. And I still tell my story from there.

Think of a situation where resistance has kept you from getting something done or achieving something.

When you think about it now, which perspective do you tell your story from? The present? The past? The future?

There was a time when I was a comfortable in my life. The things that the world is asking of me now, were things that came easily during that time of my life. I liked where I was and it matched my identity of who I wanted to be as a career woman, a wife, daughter and mother. Then a lot of change happened. I see now that I was being directed to move, from a comfortable place in my life to a place with a lot of transitions, transitions that would effect all areas of my life. I was being asked to grow and the growth was coming fast through this series of changes. Some I initiated, some I kind of just had to adjust to. Boy did I have resistance to this.

Is your resistance related to change? Do you have a fear around change?

They were not all changes I wanted or initiated. Some brought a lot of fear with them. Fear of the unknown. I see now that Life was leading me – to a place where things are easier. There is a flow I have never experienced before, both inside and out. The transitions in my life brought a lot of growth. I just had to learn to be with it. All of it.

Is there an outcome expected or attached to the thing you are resisting? Or is there a loss associated with it?

Often times resistance is related directly to outcome or to fear about the outcome.

How can you overcome this?

Read the full series on Understanding Your Own Resistance:
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 1
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 2
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 3

07 May

Understanding Your Own Resistance-Getting at what is uncomfortable

Why is it so hard to do something sometimes? Like start something new? Or end something? As human beings, even though our minds and bodies are in a constant state of change on so many levels- cellular, psychologically, physically and spiritually. For better or worse, we naturally fight against it.

So what happens when what you are doing is not working? You’re taking all the right steps, but it just doesn’t feel right? Or you just can’t get to that task? What is that about?

[This post is one of a three-part series about resistance.]

I’ve been shifting roles from therapist to Life Coach in my career house over the past few years. It’s been a difficult transition because a divorce happened in the middle of it, throwing us as a family into a serious transition, and then a death followed, which impacted us even more. The result is that now I a single full-time mom, and sole provider, so my lifestyle is busy. There are frequently many balls in the air for me to juggle.

I don’t think a lot about my job title. I’m still a healer and teacher regardless of what my business card says. That’s my calling and my soul’s work. I’m comfortable with that. It’s also where my values sit, so it works. But pragmatism in our real world, along with the instinctive way many human beings interact is forcing me to become more specific about my work identity. I have to be clear how I present myself to the world – right down to the language I use on a website. Who am I really? What am I offering exactly?

“Get specific,” they say. “Be clear on the services you offer . . .” I read things that say: “The industry trend is . . .” And off I go, lost in things about verbiage and standards to “grow and develop your business”.

Honestly, I have zero interest in that. So I naturally resist that part of developing my business (I think I’d rather play golf!) And while we are on topic, creating business cards is about as boring to me as taking out the garbage. Where did the administrator in me go? Can’t I just pay someone to do this stuff? I just want to coach. Can we move on please to something interesting?

I notice as I attend to these various tasks, my enthusiasm and passion starts to wane. Procrastination kicks in. Suddenly I take on new interests (anything but this right?) But I love coaching, what happened? Why can’t I get those stupid business cards made?

The advice I’m getting is actually good advice. It’s solid. It turns out that that’s just not how I want to spend my time. . . My passion is in the creating, it’s in the relationship between coach and client. It’s in the sitting with the clients in their process. That is where I thrive. It’s in writing, exploring, learning and understanding, not creating documents or good marketing techniques. I enjoy the relationship human beings have with life, in hearing other’s stories, learning about their struggles, celebrating their successes; supporting them on their path towards growth and self discovery.

So how do I overcome this resistance and actually get this stuff done?

Some ways to work with resistance

Clearly I can speak from personal experience. So this blog is about my own process around this. With a background in psychology and having had years of my own therapy, I am naturally introspective so it’s easy for me to identify the resistance. But that’s not true for everyone. Below are a couple examples of how I work with resistance.

QUIET TIME: Sometimes sitting quietly can help. My resistance comes into my awareness in the early morning hours, when things inside and outside are at their quietest. When do you find yourself thinking about your resistance to something? Struggling with it? Is there a time when you can find some quiet contemplation around this?

INVITE AWARENESS: It’s ok to invite the resistance into your awareness. It’s already there anyways, just waiting to be explored. This is your opportunity. I like visualizing it. I find an image that encapsulates how it looks and feels to me. It might be a free flow of thought while journaling, a meditation exercise, and a quiet walk alone. How can you invite it into your awareness?

ACCEPT IT: I can be the first to criticize myself. I get it. We are a culture that celebrates action and achievement. Resistance is not part of the formula. But acknowledging and accepting that you have resistance to something is important. And it’s ok to be in that space. You’re where you are for a reason. It’s important in your process of self-discovery. So don’t push it away, judge it or bury it. Be with it. What would it feel like if you just accepted it?

OPEN A DIALOGUE UP AROUND IT: This can be done with yourself, with another person, with a coach, a therapist, a pastor, a manger, anyone that can listen and support you in an honest and positive way. That’s means with no judgment. Observations and feedback are ok, but someone poking holes in your identity when you’re sharing a personal struggle is not ok. Who can you talk to? What do you have to say about this resistance stuff?

WRITE ABOUT IT: Writing is a great tool, especially as an exercise for exploration. They say writing is a great way to bring the unconscious and conscious together. Why not give yourself a leg up in the process? Start a journal, write a blog (hey!) read about it, start to get a better understanding of what resistance means to you personally. How does it show up in your life? in relationships? In your work? What insight can you keep in this exercise of self-discovery? And what can you let go of?

Read the full series on Understanding Your Own Resistance:
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 1
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 2
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 3

25 Jan

The Habits of Change, Part 4: Prioritizing

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”

Lao Tzu

PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST: When I read this phrase I automatically think of prioritizing. Prioritizing can help immensely in goal setting. Some people do it automatically. I am not one of those people. I have to sort things out in my mind and get organized first mentally.

Especially for those of us that are multi-taskers and have various things going on all at the same time on a regular basis. It’s hard to get organized at times, and be ok with chaos or be ok with delaying outcome because we are prioritizing something else. But If you truly begin with the end in mind, you can prioritize accordingly and prioritizing can be the process to help you get things accomplished.

I recently had a friend over who helped me reorganize my office. It was on my mind but I wasn’t sure how to do it and when she walked into the room and started offering suggestions, it led to an immediate re-prioritizing and the organizational piece of my office was completed. Just like that. That simple task, as a result, has led me to wanting to spend more time in my office and be more at ease while working on my business and training. Something so simple can sometimes make such a difference. For me it was getting rid of clutter. What is holding you back from prioritizing? How can you over come this hurdle?

Sometimes it’s a matter of figuring out what is more important and why. For example, if you want to launch your home business and the kids have commitments after school every day, and your partner is traveling, is now really the time to perfect your golf game? Golf is great and so is having a hobby. Good stuff, healthy in many ways. But what is more important? Where do you want your limited precious time to be spent? Prioritizing sometimes means acknowledging what has to come first and what needs to be sacrificed.

Often when I have a conflict of interest (in this case it might be wanting to play golf vs working on my business) I first have to understand what each goal will achieve. Things like feeding the kids, picking someone up, appointments and contract deadlines are kind of “no brainers”. They automatically go to the top of the list. And yes, I almost always have a list. I am a big fan of lists and post-its. Writing things out helps with organizing and prioritizing. And you can check them off when done. The basic “core” tasks like those mentioned above come first. And I don’t fight it, even if something comes up and I need to reprioritize and rewrite that list 10 times.

Perhaps I am burned out and need a break. In that case I might need to take time off and rejuvenate my energy by playing lots of golf to be able to come back to my other goal, my business and focus on that. Perhaps I need to suspend the items on the list and take a day off. I may not be able to complete one goal with out completing the other first. If it’s just a case of wanting to do both, and I can do both, I’ll try, but if one is time limited or deadline driven, I might prioritize that as the first order of business. It’s ok to not get everything done at once, and it’s ok to put things off for a while.

Sometimes there is a rhythm that automatically prioritizes for you and gives you the space to get through the tasks and objectives in a more orderly way. For example, waiting on someone else. When my web person goes on vacation, I have learned that that’s automatic down time for me for any web page projects I hope to achieve. My website is always a priority, and I am so committed to my website and my business that when I get a moment to take automatic time off, I have learned to take it. Her vacation time automatically repriotizes my goals and tasks. It’s turned out to be a nice break for both of us. For those of us that have home based businesses, learning to take time off or take a break is skilled practice which I am still learning about.

Having a realistic sense of time is also necessary to prioritize. If I wanted to play golf more, I would acknowledge that I need to get out on the course more, and then set a goal for myself. That way, when I achieve it, I get to acknowledge the achievement and also get a reward I already definitely want. In this example this goal is not income generating, it’s not time or deadline based and it’s definitely not going anywhere, so it’s an easy goal to move around. I know, realistically, when I can set a golf time, I might need to set up more times to get my “fix” and work my schedule differently to achieve this particular goal for a while. This kind of prioritizing gives you time to achieve it and a chance to enjoy the reward of something earned, often well deserved.

Questions: Are your goals aligned with your priorities and current time commitments? How can you align them better?

For more on my thoughts on The Habits of Change please read this series of posts.

Recommended Reading:The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Related Posts:

The Habits of Change, Part 3: Picture Your Goal

The Habits of Change, Part 2: Be Proactive

Habits of Change, Part 1: Intro to Series

18 Jan

The Habits of Change, Part 3: Picture Your Goal

There is nothing permanent except change.


BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND: Visualizing is a fantastic way to find the goal you have in mind and achieve it. Getting a job might be a simpler way to think about it but in actuality we know that each of us has a different idea about what “getting a job” means. Getting clear about what the job is, where the position is located, what type of industry it’s in, how much you’d like to get paid, what type of people you’ll be working with, and figuring out what you really want to be doing is helpful in achieving the task of “finding a job”. These are things, for example, that are easy to visualize. Visualizing helps get to the real end goal. Experts say when visualizing, be specific. The clearer the idea, the clearer the image, the goal and the outcome, the better chance you have at manifesting it. Change happens all the time, but how you influence and direct it is up to you. What is it that you really want?

To me, this part of the process is the most creative part and the most frequently bypassed. Sometimes we just want the end result but we don’t see what is needed to get there. Sometimes getting clear on what you really want it scary, so it’s easy to bypass. Then disappointment sets in as a new goal comes into the picture but it’s still not quite what you were looking for. This is a critical piece and a critical time.

Give yourself time in this part of the process. Take time to explore, fantasize and think up all the things you want, even if you know some of them won’t happen. Authentic freedom of expression helps with visualizing and creating ideas, goals or projects. It also helps with identifying your true values, desires and abilities. Give yourself permission to explore your mind and get to know your ideas. Get to know yourself and your values. Is what you are picturing, the end product what you truly want? Without placing judgment around it, why or why not is it? If you let go of expectation, judgment and fear, what does your goal look like? Really look like? Is that goal really ok with you? Allowing creativity in this process is important for visualizing and important in getting clear on what you hope to achieve. Visualize it. Think about it, write about it ,and manifest it.

Questions: Can you picture your goal? Is your goal in line with your values?

For more on my thoughts on The Habits of Change please read this series of posts.

Recommended Reading:The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Related Posts:

The Habits of Change, Part 2: Be Proactive

Habits of Change, Part 1: Intro to Series

07 Jan

The Habits of Change, Part 2: Be Proactive

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

BE PROACTIVE: One of the most productive and powerful things a person can do when facing a change is to take action. Action that is specific to eliciting a different outcome. It’s often several small steps which lead to the end result. For example, finding a job. It may mean updating a resume, networking, applying for the position and interviewing, then accepting the offer. All together these actions lead to one end result, finding a new job. We know this is easier said than done but the keys are the action steps to get there.

Sometimes taking action is hard to do. We get stuck in our heads or familiar with a routine. We fear change, so we justify all the things that don’t work just to avoid the change that will invite things that do work. Human beings can be silly like this. You have to ask yourself: are you happy? Is this where you want to be? If the answers aren’t what you really want to hear then you ask the next question: so what are you going to do about it? You have to decide on action. You have to be willing to make a change and then make a commitment to the change. Are you willing to take the risk and move towards change and something better or stay feeling stuck and in mediocrity? It’s all up to you. Your thoughts and how you approach the idea of change is what will lead to taking action and will form the shape of what your success looks like.

Questions: What is it that you really want? What steps can you take to get there?
Recommended Reading: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

For more on my thoughts on The Habits of Change please read this series of posts.

02 Jan

Habits of Change, Part 1: Intro to Series


Change in all things is sweet.


Stephen Covey wrote a famous book a while back called “7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons in Personal Change”. It’s a beautiful exercise in understanding human behavior and also how to achieve success.

This book is definitely a “must read” on my personal list of referrals. It led to him writing a series of other really wonderful books, which you’ll see, mentioned on this site. I am a huge fan of his work, mainly because his ideas have profoundly influenced how I see the world and have helped me achieve success in my own life.

The concepts in the book are interrelated and more complex, much more than this blog. For the sake of blogging, for the next few posts, I am focusing on a lighter “fare” of the first 3 habits he outlines. This is what comes to my mind when I hear these phrases, especially in the context of transition and change.

*Stephen Covey defined “habits” as a culmination and inner working of knowledge, skill and desire, (pg. 47).

Recommended Reading:  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

For more on my thoughts on The Habits of Change please read this series of posts.

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