Practice Makes Permanent: Reactive Thinking and the Promise of Rewiring our Brains Through Mindfulness During Divorce!
Divorce Hardwiring Can Be Toxic, And It Can Be Overcome!
Jennifer Kresge, M.A., L.M.F.T. and attorney Nina Meierding put on an excellent institute at the 2010 AFCC convention in Denver last week entitled "How the Brain Reacts to Conflict." I wanted to share of few of their pointers as they relate to the importance of mindfulness, because considering them might be helpful in dialing back reactivity for people in relationship transition.
But first a seeming digression.
As my profile indicates, I'm not a lawyer. I'm a twice divorced mom who speaks to parents about the benefits of mindful divorce and guides them on that journey -- a journey which I champion through Collaborative Practice and Mediation. I don't focus on the process, I focus on the parent's mindset - reminding them to turn inward and to take control of their actions and their thoughts. This then opens them to divorced-parenting that nurtures their child's spirit.
at 11:01 in the audio:
What is the biggest challenge facing parents after divorce? It's nurturing their child's spirit through the new array of divorced-parenting situations. Visitation, holidays, public occasions, extended family, behavior issues, and finances - a host of new situations that leave parents, and their children, grasping for the right way. How is a parent to proceed?
When faced with a divorced parenting situation, parents can take the time to mindfully guide their child through a nurturing solution instead of blindly pushing through their first reaction. Mindful divorced parenting is for parents who wish to do more than "just get through it", but rather wish to nurture their child's spirit in the process.
“When you come to each moment cleanly, without a previous thought about it, you can create who you are, rather than re-enact who you once were.” Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh book 2, chapter 2
This was my experience 12 years ago, as I stepped into the world of separation parenting. I was shocked. It was all so new and unfamiliar. I always knew that I’d be a mom. I always knew that I’d care for and nurture my child. But I wasn’t expecting it to be through divorce. As the first separation parenting situation unfolded, all I could think was: I don’t know what to do. And in that moment, instead of reacting, I chose to create.
In a split moment, I put together a full analysis of what it meant to be Me, a mom who fully loved her daughter; weighed against what I observed around me: tabloid filled accounts of children’s lives ripped apart by divorce.
NPR Affiliate Radio Interview of Author Ellen Kellner ("The Pro-Child Way: Parenting With an Ex") and Atty Thurman Arnold
Here a link to a Smart Talk radio interview on January 13, 2010, with Author Ellen Kellner and Collaborative Attorney Thurman Arnold discussing her new book, "The Pro-Child Way: Parenting with an Ex" within the context of collaborative process and divorce.
The link might be useful to pass on to highly reactive individuals suffering custody and visitation issues, and could also be helpful audio to listen to for people who are considering learning about CP, or who may wish to give their spouse or partner something to aid in their investigation of this alternative.
I am a family law and divorce attorney in Palm Springs, California, and a Masters student of Family Life Education at Loma Linda University. I bumped into Ms. Kellner’s book while investigating resources to support parents involved in custody disputes, in order to help my own clients to make choices that facilitate their childrens’ best interests rather than playing out the natural reactivity of the competing agendas of many divorcing couples.