Debbie Ford, the bestselling author known for Dark Side of the Light Chasers, published Spiritual Divorce | Divorce As A Catalyst for An Extraordinary Life in 2001.
Divorce is one of those events that make someone question everything in life. It is not an easy time, and can deepen and ramp up our negative internal dialogue. Debbie’s own parents separated when she was 13 and “it took me more than ten years of therapy and too many tears to count to come to terms with the pain of my parents’ divorce”.
The breakdown of her own marriage led to this book. She saw it as two choices – “beat myself up or I could choose to see my divorce as a spiritual process, a journey to wholeness.”
In the book, Debbie outlines the Seven Laws of Spiritual Divorce – the laws of Acceptance, Surrender, Divine Guidance, Responsibility, Choice, Forgiveness, and Creation. These laws are not easy to truly understand and to live by. For most people, it is a paradigm shift, and for most people, a paradigm shift is needed. Taking time to read all the chapters, being open to what Debbie presents, will help make sense the seven laws.
Every divorce is different and how a person deals with it depends on many factors. Because Debbie herself has faced the gamut of feelings that can come up, these feelings are addressed and honoured in the book. She goes into great depths to explain each of the laws, using both her own story and her clients’.
Some of the topics Debbie covers include our defense mechanism, the “trance of denial”, finding support, releasing toxic emotions, and taking back our projections. She draws wisdom from many traditions. This book is full of information to expand our perspective, plus each chapter ends with “Healing Action Steps” to help move us forward.
These seven laws are not only for those facing a divorce; they act as a guide for anyone wanting to heal and return to wholeness. We all have wounds to heal and old patterns to release. We can choose to see pain and painful events as punishment or as opportunities to decode the transformative information within our wounds.
It is often impossible to see the entire mountain when you are claiming it. While you’re struggling over each ledge , you’re thinking, This is crazy. Why am I here? Who got me into this mess? Why am I doing this? But once you get to the top, you can look down and see how far you’ve come and how great your accomplishment is.
The way Debbie understands it is that her story of divorce began early, even before she met and married her husband Dan. She believes this marriage was necessary, to come full circle to unearth the pattern and heal the underlying wounds. Unless someone has done some self-discovery and shadow work, it is probably not so likely that someone will feel this way when first reading the book, fresh from separation and in the throes of divorce procedures.
It is easy, especially when we are unsure and scared, to fall back onto the old and default way to deal with pain. And resist. We must honour the feelings that come up, rather than suppress them. Along with working through this book, it is a good idea to build your support network, within and without.
The best way to get out of a difficult place is often to let go. “Divorce is a process of letting go.” There is great power in surrender. It takes as long as it takes. Let go and also take responsibility for what we have created.
The idea is that by taking the time and the dedication to work through your divorce with a new approach, rather than just through rejection, anger, and the triggering of childhood and other wounds, you not only heal from the divorce itself. It is so much more. This process asks us to step out of our comfort zone, when we are already feeling out of our depths. Trust the process.
The question is – Are you willing to heal?
Debbie reminds us that “I can’t” is a lie.
“I can’t” is a cover for an unwillingness to admit that they are not ready. They won’t, not that they can’t.
Taking responsibility is not always easy; for this, we must acknowledge what we feel and the pain we are in.
The moment you have the life you’ve dreamed of you will thank God for your divorce experience, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
You will naturally honour your ex-partner and support those around you in accepting your divorce. You will choose to keep your heart soft at times when you would have hardened it. Falling into the softness of your heart means slowing down, dropping your expectations, and looking and living in the moment.
When we are quiet enough, we reconnect with our inner knowing that life is progressing as it should. We can then breathe in the scent of a new beginning and open up to the magical gifts that life brings.