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The Transcending Divorce Journal: Exploring the Ten Essential Touchstones
     

The Transcending Divorce Journal: Exploring the Ten Essential Touchstones

by Alan D. Wolfelt
 

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An aide for the challenging emotional process that follows a divorce, this companion journal to Transcending Divorce explores the 10 crucial touchstones for finding hope and healing the mourning heart, including dispelling misconceptions about divorce, seeking reconciliation, and appreciating the transformation. Highlights from the companion book are provided

Overview

An aide for the challenging emotional process that follows a divorce, this companion journal to Transcending Divorce explores the 10 crucial touchstones for finding hope and healing the mourning heart, including dispelling misconceptions about divorce, seeking reconciliation, and appreciating the transformation. Highlights from the companion book are provided throughout as well as corresponding questions regarding the grief journey. Private and independent, this compassionate journal provides ample space to unburden the heart and soul.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781617220036
Publisher:
Companion Press
Publication date:
09/01/2008
Series:
Transcending Divorce
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
150
Sales rank:
1,177,087
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

The Transcending Divorce Journal

Exploring the Ten Essential Touchstones


By Alan D. Wolfelt

Center for Loss and Life Transition

Copyright © 2008 Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-879651-54-8



CHAPTER 1

Touchstone One


Open to the Presence of Your Loss


In the companion text....

We discussed the necessity of opening to the presence of the pain of your divorce experience. To heal in grief, you must honor — not avoid — the pain. One way to embrace the pain while at the same time maintaining hope for the future is by setting your intention to heal. Even as you "dose" your pain and set your intention to heal and transcend, remember that healing in grief does not happen quickly or efficiently. Also remember that the common perception of "doing well" in divorce grief is erroneous. To "do well" with your grief, you must not be strong and silent, but rather mourn all that you have lost openly and honestly.

As you were reading Transcending Divorce, you discovered that honoring your grief means "recognizing the value of" and "respecting" your grief. You learned that while it is not instinctive to view grief and the need to openly mourn as something to honor, the end of your marriage requires that you mourn. You also learned that to honor the grief surrounding your divorce is not self-destructive or harmful. It is self-sustaining and life-giving!

Describe the ways in which you have honored the grief that accompanies your divorce experience. If you feel you have not been honoring your divorce grief, write about ways you could begin to do so.

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Dosing Your Pain

You have learned that the pain of your divorce grief will keep trying to get your attention until you have the courage to gently, and in small doses, embrace it. How is the pain of your divorce grief trying to get your attention?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Soul Work and Spirit Work

You have learned that there is an important distinction between "soul work" and "spirit work." In addition, you now realize that "soul work" precedes "spirit work" on the path to transcendence. Where do you see yourself right now in this process that you are now aware you must honor?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Setting Your Intention to Heal and Transcend

When you set your intention to heal, you make a true commitment to positively influence the course of your divorce journey. You choose between being what I call a "passive witness" or an "active participant" in your divorce experience.

Describe below your understanding of the difference between being a "passive witness" to your experience or an "active participant."

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

You learned that when you set your intention to heal and eventually transcend your divorce experience, you make a commitment to positively influence the course of your life. Use the space below to explore your intention or intentions to integrate this divorce into your life and ultimately heal and experience "integration."

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Integrating Your Divorce Grief

Integrating your divorce into your life does not happen quickly or efficiently. How do you feel about your capacity to go slow and be patient with yourself as you journey through this experience?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


No Reward for Speed

Do you see yourself having the capacity to both "work at" and "surrender" to your grief surrounding your divorce? If so, why? If not, why not?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Face Any Inappropriate Expectations


Sometimes people around you give you messages that tell you to "be strong" in the face of your divorce. Has this happened to you? If so, write about it below.

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Sometimes people who openly mourn the loss of their marriage feel ashamed of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Do you feel any sense of shame or embarrassment about how you are mourning? If so, write about it below.

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Staying Open to the Ripple Effects of Divorce

What ripple effects of loss apply to your unique experience? Review this list and see which ones you identify with the most. Write about the ones you have placed checkmarks beside. What additional losses would you add to your list?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Divorce Grief is Not a Disease

While divorce grief is a powerful experience, so too is your ability to help yourself heal. Write about any steps you've taken (even baby steps) to help you begin to heal.

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Free Write

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

CHAPTER 2

Touchstone Two

Dispel the Misconceptions About Divorce and Grief


In the companion text....

We discovered that many of the perceptions we may have — and society often teaches us — about divorce and grief aren't true at all. For example, grieving and mourning your divorce are NOT the same thing. Getting a divorce does NOT mean you are a failure. Many misconceptions color our experience of divorce. The trick is to sort out fact from fiction. I hope this section of this journal will help you do just that!

Misconception 1: Grief and mourning are the same thing.


Did you believe that grieving the loss of your marriage and mourning the loss of your marriage were the same thing? If so, how has this misconception affected you?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Now that we've explored the difference between grief and mourning, in what ways do you see yourself mourning the loss of your marriage — that is, openly and honestly expressing your grief outside of yourself and in the presence of compassionate others?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Do you see yourself having difficulty expressing your grief outside of yourself (mourning) in any ways? If so, what is difficult about this and why do you think this is the case? Note anything you might be able to do about expressing your grief outwardly.

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Misconception 2: If you get a divorce, you are a failure.

Have you ever heard someone say or imply, "If you get a divorce, you are a failure"? If so, how do you feel about that?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Is there any part of you that feels like you are a failure because of your divorce? If so, how do you see that belief influencing you right now?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

What can you do to remind yourself that you are not a failure because you have experienced a divorce?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Misconception 3: When you marry, you must stay committed to the thought that love is forever.

When you got married, did you think it would be forever? If so, where did this belief come from? What are your thoughts and feelings about this now?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

What are you doing to make sure you are not punishing yourself because your marriage didn't last forever?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Misconception 4: Divorce is a modern affliction.

Have you had the impression that divorce is a relatively recent phenomenon? Write about what it is like to acknowledge that divorce has been with us since marriage has been with us. How can you use this awareness to help you avoid feeling as if you are the only one to experience a divorce?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Misconception 5: If you get a divorce, you will never marry again.

Do you have any thoughts or fears that you may never again be in a committed love relationship? Write out your thoughts and feelings about this common misconception.

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Misconception 6: The grief and mourning of divorce loss progress in predictable, orderly stages.

Have you heard about the "stages of grief"? If so, what is or was your opinion about this popular model of grief and loss?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

The loss and grief that result from the divorce experience are sometimes a "one step forward, two steps backward" process. How could you help yourself during those inevitable times when you think you are moving backwards instead of forward?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Misconception 7: You should try not to think or feel about the person you are divorcing or have divorced on holidays, anniversaries, or birthdays.

Since your divorce, have you encountered a holiday, anniversary date, or birthday? Describe the thoughts and feelings you have had on these days.

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

How have your friends and family responded to you on these special days? What has been helpful to you? What has not been helpful?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

What is the next upcoming holiday, anniversary, or birthday connected to your divorce? What expectations do you have about how you will feel and how you will cope during these days?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Can you identify the people you can turn to for support, compassion and understanding during these naturally difficult times?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Misconception 8: After you get a divorce, the goal should be to "get over it" and "move on" as quickly as possible.

Have you felt pressured to "get over" your divorce and "move on"? If so, how and why do you think this is the case?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Are you thinking or hoping that you should "get over" your divorce? If so, why? If not, why not?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

How do you (or could you) respond to friends, family, coworkers, etc. who encourage you, either outright or implicitly, to "move on" from your divorce?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Have you found yourself crying at times in this process? If so, what have you done to help yourself understand that tears are a normal, even necessary, form of mourning your lost relationship?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

How do you feel about the reality that you do not "get over" your divorce, but instead learn to integrate it into your life?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Misconception 9: Nobody can help you with your divorce transition.

Are you normally an independent person who does everything for yourself (and does not ask for help or support) or are you an interdependent person who relies on others for help with some things? Explain.


___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Have you had anyone say things to you like, "You have to do this on your own." If so, what does this make you think and feel?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

You will need to reach out to others to help you at this difficult time in your life. Do you believe this to be true? Why or why not?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

List several people who are, or would be, naturally good support companions for you at this time. Also, are there any friends or family whom you realize cannot be supportive to you? If so, who are they and what are some of the reasons they are not able to be supportive to you?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Misconception 10: When the grief and mourning of your divorce are integrated into your life, they will never come up again.

You have just read about how sometimes when you least suspect it, huge waves of grief, or "griefbursts," can come rolling in. Have you had any experiences with griefbursts you can write about?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Do you have any "divorce-survivor role models" in your life — people who have openly mourned their lost marriages, and went on to rekindle meaning and purpose in their lives? If so, who are they? How do these people continue to acknowledge times when they have griefbursts?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

What do you do when you have griefbursts? Do you have people you can get support from when you experience these? If so, who are they, and what do you need from them during these naturally difficult times?

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________


Additional Misconceptions About Divorce and Grief

Use the space below to write out any additional misconceptions you have experienced or observed and the ways in which you feel they have influenced your divorce journey.

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Free Write

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

CHAPTER 3

Touchstone Three

Understanding the Uniqueness of Your Divorce Experience


In the companion text ...

We developed an understanding that each person's divorce experience is unique. We also explored many influences that make your divorce wilderness experience unique to you and not exactly like anyone else's.

Influence #1: The circumstances of the divorce

Recognizing there are often aspects of divorce we do not ever totally "understand," describe what you believe are the circumstances of your divorce:

___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Did you see this divorce coming or was it sudden and unexpected? How did this affect you and the grief you are experiencing?


___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________

Are there particular aspects of your divorce that have been difficult for you to openly acknowledge? If so, be gentle with yourself, but try to explore those aspects below. Remember — you don't have to share this information with anyone else unless you choose to do so.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Transcending Divorce Journal by Alan D. Wolfelt. Copyright © 2008 Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.. Excerpted by permission of Center for Loss and Life Transition.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD, is a grief counselor and the director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition. He is the author of Healing Your Grieving Heart, The Journey Through Grief, Transcending Divorce, and Understanding Your Grief. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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