A tarot client called me recently asking for a reading that she could not afford. I love to help out people in need (when I have the time and resources), but when the energetic exchange is unbalanced I have to trust my gut. I said no, but I didn’t leave the woman on the phone empty handed.
The call was regarding a devastating break-up. The aftermath had left this woman in pieces and she kept telling me she didn’t know what to do. Recognizing a version of my former self in her, I left her with a few of the most powerful tools I’ve used during some of the hardest break-ups I’ve experienced. I’ve decided to share them with you all as well. These tools are the tips that I’ve divided into “phases,” which very lightly reflect the way your focus will shift throughout the healing process- from past, through present, towards the future, then away from time completely.
Using these tips wisely and moving through each phase only when you feel ready, could truly help you transform your break-up into one of the best things that’s ever happened to you.
PHASE ONE- Ex Removal
In this phase you’re slowly moving from the past to the present, by focusing on activities that allow you to reflect on the past in a healthy way and developing techniques to keep you from “living in the past,” in an obsessive and unhealthy way.
Distraction Game: This activity helps with the obsessive over-thinking that often accompanies a powerful break-up. Every time you think of your ex, get out your journal (or a sheet of paper). In your journal begin a list. For every thought you have of him or her write down one activity or task you can accomplish that takes you no more than 20 minutes to complete. These can be productive or silly. Write down as many tasks as the thoughts you have of your ex until you can write no more.
Write a Haiku
Make a PB & J
Do push-ups (for 10 minutes)
15 minutes of yoga
Update my Computer
Build a crystal grid
Fold my laundry
Do my makeup
Call my best friend
Make my bed
Rearrange my furniture
You get the picture. A blend of fun things with productive things is your best bet!
Journal: Journaling may not be for everyone, but it’s a powerful tool to use while dealing with emotional distress.
I recommend making it a point to journal for 5-10 minutes after you wake-up and then again before you go to bed each day–daily would be ideal, but journaling is especially helpful during a break-up. The reason being that, writing is a great way to achieve clarity.
In the morning you’ll clear out anything you’ve dug up during the dream state. Journaling at night will help you to dump out any garbage you’ve been collecting throughout the day The obsessive thinking, the guilt, the sadness- pour it out into your journal so you can get a good night’s sleep. Keeping a record of your healing process also has extended benefits in that your journal can become a tool for continued healing. Reading about your healing process after the fact can remind you of why you broke up with your ex (or why you’re glad you’re not with him or her) and offer you continued strength as you move forward on your path.
PHASE TWO: Solo Activities
This phase takes you into the present moment with “activity” and “productivity.” It also uses mantras as a form of mindfulness meditation to keep you in the moment.
Tackle the To-dos: Eventually you’ll run out of little tasks to write down in your journal, so for every time you think of your ex during this phase–do one of the activities on your list (see step one). If you have created an incredibly productive to-do list you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish during this phase.
Satnam: This is a mantra I like to use a lot. To me it’s more powerful than the idea of “letting go.” Satnam is a word I discovered through the Kundalini yoga tradition. From what I understand it loosely means, “I am who I am.”
It has also been said to mean, “I am truth” or “Truth is my identity.” When we feel deep down that we are living out our “truth,” whether good or bad–it is harder to feel sorry for ourselves or remain in sadness too long. “Satnam” is like a strong warrior that you can bring to battle with you during the really tough moments. It’s a reminder that things work themselves out eventually and it acts as a magnet to attract what you truly need into your life.
PHASE THREE: Future Living
This phase is all about setting goals–using the tension created from your past and present to propel you forward.
Set Solo Goals: After a break-up it can be really empowering to set new goals for yourself. Every relationship carries a certain energy and ridding ourselves of that energy is not as simple as just saying goodbye. Sometimes it is easier to energetically change our lives in other ways as well. Allow the crazy storm that is taking over your life to hurl you in a completely new direction.
Start welcoming these new possibilities by brainstorming and setting some new goals for yourself. Make some of them easy and others more difficult to achieve, but pursue all of them with equal gusto and have confidence in yourself no matter how lofty the goal. Anything is possible even if it isn’t probable.
Reflect on Your Needs: I’ve written more intensely about this activity here.
If you know that eventually you would like to be in a relationship again, I find it helpful to think about qualities you are actually looking in a man or a woman. Think about the qualities you really want and not just surface level details. Here are some common substitutions to make for traits I’ve seen haphazardly scribbled onto “soulmate lists”:
Generous > Rich
I find her attractive > She is beautiful
He is a great cook < He knows how to cook all of my favorite foods
She likes having sex < We have a sexual satisfying and love relationship
You get the picture.
Be very careful about how you’re wording things and realize when it would be better to ask for some qualities from yourself. For instance, maybe it is time to spoil yourself rather than wait for a man to spoil you.
Once you make your list, forget about the search for your new soulmate and focus on the goals that you were writing down earlier (see step five). Breaking up is tough, but it can be just the momentum you need to get to the next phase of your life. And who knows, that phase could very well include your ex! Which is why phase 4 is simply…
PHASE FOUR: Keep An Open Mind
This phase is timeless and requires you to simply “be” an act often correlated with the present moment. Instead detach yourself from time completely and let life flow out in its limitless directions. Begin to feel your own limitlessness.
You never know what the future holds. Be open so that you can make the most of any opportunities that are destined to come your way. Whether in love or in other areas of your life.