Why did we divorce anyway? Hint: it wasn’t about sex, power or money

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Today I am honoured to share a guest post from a truly amazing teacher, spirit and guide, therapist Michael Talbot-Kelly.

I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Michael (or MTK, as he’s known) at a retreat this Spring and his unique brand of wholistic psychotherapy, spiritual storytelling and compassion helped me through a challenging time. He encouraged me to look deeply at my previous relationships especially my marriage – identify and take ownership of the mistakes I felt that I had made, forgive myself with kindness, and set goals and boundaries for new relationships.  I hope you enjoy this guest post and if you are challenged or struggling in your current relationship, I would encourage you call or email MTK today to arrange for a free 15 minute conversation in person or via Skype: 604-317-1613 or [email protected]

More information about MTK, his background and services can be found michaeltalbotkelly.com

Why did we divorce anyway: Was is about sex, power or money? Or did we lose the plot: deepening our love, care and acknowledgement for each other?

Perhaps it was the mean-spirited roadside house that we found ourselves in – resentment-filled stories came between us, compulsive relationship patterns became the norm, or a bitter tone of condescension and disdain robbed us of our marriage?

“I wasn’t the one with a 24/7 headache” you remember screaming. Or, “You always lost it whenever we tried to talk about money” a husband recalled.” Or, now revisiting a classic, “I am not your mother who picks up after you”!

How did things deteriorate so quickly?

We both actually participated – unknowingly – in allowing either your own “inner” challenges or life’s “outer” perfect storms to erode the intimacy and resilience in our relationship.

Conscious words, unconscious behaviours and the march of time slowly but surely ganged up on us and whittled away at the well intended commitment vows

But now, NOW we can lean in and learn to steal back this power and energy from these old residual patterns – inside each of us – that still occupy rental space in the back of our minds in the “X” file.

And we can do this long before we make the same mistake – unconsciously falling asleep at the wheel of a marriage.

And we can do this long before we, once again, enter into a genuine, sustainable and deeper “second marriage”

This “second marriage” ( 1+1=3 ) insists that we do things very differently than the “first marriage” ( 1/2+1/2=1 ) and unless you want to repeat the same old story, pattern or compulsions of the first marriage in the second marriage, we need to upgrade your perspective – and NOW!

The Celts of old Ireland had this same idea of a second marriage – but this second chance took place once a year. Let me explain.

Once a year, on February 1st, all the village couples would take turns walking to the top of the hill closest by the village where Paddy and Mary would have a “dam good chat” about the past years comings and goings, the troubles and shinnaniggins that presented itself, blew through the home and all the resilience – including the deepening of love and acknowledgements – that survived.

If that private conversation at the top of the hill talking about all the positives and all the negatives went well, the couple walked down together for another year of their “second marriage”

But if the conversation went badly on account of the last years poor behaviours, the excessive drinking of Guinness or Starbucks lattes and the addictive shopping sprees gone wild, the couple walked down separately. Everyone of the other couples witnessing this annual event at the base of this hill accepted that their would be no second marriage for them – that perhaps they needed more upgrading or “how to really lean in and show up for the second marriage” training over this next year.

We, the first marriage refugees, can start our second marriage training right now – long before we march down the isle again – or the other side of the hill alone!

Here’s how it works:

  1. First we need to decide that we are going to do things differently in our relationships. After all, we are deciders more than we are doers – and once we truly decide, all manner of unseen resources become available
  2. Then make your “X” your teacher – a teacher of how to recover the joy and vitality that you unconsciously offered up to them years ago. Why? Because now you are in the business of insisting on stealing back your joy and vitality from your “X”
  3. Now, with eyes wide open, start to notice the who, what, why, when and where of where it is that you get disproportionately hooked, irrationally attached – even outraged – with your “X”s criticisms, words and behaviours.

I am talking about the times when she/he criticizes you, she/he looks at you with disdain, or they passive-aggressively humiliate you in public.

It’s a familiar feeling, tone – and you have this feeling that you want to do something destructive to get even.

THAT sticky, volatile sudden feeling is what the Tibetian’s call “Shenpa” – and it has a lot of your joy and vitality wrapped up in it

  1. When you catch Shenpa early enough you can give yourself permission to experience this high voltage energy in your body but without reacting to it. When you fully acknowledge that this same old pattern and challenge has erupted – in YOU – you notice that there is this sharp charge that now permeates your blood, emotions and thinking.
  2. You get to do anything but what you would normally do at this point. Let your body process and express this inner charge by biting your tongue, deep breathing, pacing, doing 25 push ups, all of the above if necessary – ANYTHING but same old, same old!

And that’s the heavy lifting: leaning into these alternative actions until the feeling in your body is calm, like the calm that comes after the storm has passed

  1. Notice this calm feeling in your body, mind, soul “system” – this is the reclaimed joy and vitality that you gave to your “X” each and every time you “got on the mat” and fought.
  2. The Dalai Lama calls this reclaimed joy and vitality “Lungta” or wind horse energy – and it comes from transformed Shenpa. When you are able to do this LIFE/spiritual practice well, you literally feel like you have this wild and free wind horse energy running through your system

This shenpa is usually available throughout our day in the form of various contractions, irritations, angers, shutting downs that happen in our ordinary lives but especially with our “X”s – which is why you make them your teacher.

Decide to make your “X” – or your WHOLE LIFE if you are feeling energetically ambitious – your teacher and watch how much of this freeing wind horse energy comes back into your system and life

This energy is the very energy you need to reclaim and re-allocate to building your new relationships – but especially if you want a genuine, sustainable and deep second marriage

Michael Talbot-Kelly, BPE, MH, MA, RCC is a wholistic psychotherapist and spiritual mentor in private practice in Vancouver, BC

He believe that all our symptoms – in your mind, body, soul, relationships or finances – are purpose-driven to bring you back into alignment with your “Life of Deep Beauty,” of genuine vitality, intimacy and meaningful prosperity.

Michael believes that it is his job to do whatever it takes to empower, train and support you in delivering every ounce of your best life to your relationships – no matter where you live in the local/global village.

Call/email Michael now to arrange a FREE 15 minute Consultation in person or on Skype. 604-317-1613 or


About Pamela

I’m a Vancouver-based divorced mother of two awesome boys embarking on a respectful, amicable and often humorous co-parenting adventure with their father. By day, I'm a publicist for good causes + companies at ElevatedPR.com

One Response to Why did we divorce anyway? Hint: it wasn’t about sex, power or money

  1. MOM May 9, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

    very well written with oh so many great ideas of how to move forward with an old or a new relationship

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