Tackling Transitions

By Alice Inoue Posted in: Go Ask AliceImprove

Change can be difficult, and taking the first step in moving on can be even harder. These proactive tips help free you to positively face forward

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I am going through a difficult period of transition and hoping you can help me. My husband and I are getting a divorce, and at the time we made that decision I insisted that I wanted to leave. I took the things I needed (some furniture, dishes and other household items) and found myself an apartment. It was a very painful parting, and I didn’t realize that it would be so difficult. I’m ready to move on, but somehow I still feel stuck. What can I do?

Everything in our lives happens for a reason — a bigger picture, an underlying pattern or an overlying order. Yet when a longtime relationship comes to an end, knowing there’s a bigger picture makes it no easier. When we are over the denial, shock and grief, and accept our new circumstance, it behooves us to create a supportive environment for “moving on.”

Whenever someone is going through a life transition or feels stuck in the past in some way, it is important to shift the energy by making changes to help let go of the old emotional and mental energy so that you can more easily transition into a new life. In your case, the same advice applies. It may be difficult, but do your best to trust that you will eventually have a new and happier future. Whether or not you move out of your marriage domicile, you can do certain things in your home that will help you heal emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Fear of the future

In the midst of change, we often have an unconscious fear of the future, clinging to the old and familiar for stability. Everything in your home has “an energy,” or a “vibe.” Keeping items associated with your past brings that energy into the present, making it harder to move on. Consciously create a new beginning by taking affirmative steps to clear out the past.

How do I move on?

I had a client, Joline (not her real name), who had gone through a divorce about three years prior to our appointment. Her main complaint was that even though she had purchased a new condominium soon after her divorce and her ex-husband had since remarried, she couldn’t get herself into the “present,” let alone on a path to create a new life for herself. How could she move on?

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Holding on to the past

When I walked through her home with her, I noted the following:

• The condo came with a dedicated dining area, yet half of her living room was taken up by a formal dining set from her old life.

• Her ornate four-poster bed was the same bed she and her ex-husband shared for 20 years.

• The boxes stacked in the guest room were filled with her ex-husband’s things that she “accidentally” brought with her.

• She placed a chair in every clear corner or wall space.

• The only images on her walls were a few photos of her and her daughters taken when they were younger.

My advice

More than 90 percent of her furnishings and artwork were from her “old” life. While I understood the financial challenges that come with a life change and the desire to save money by keeping old furniture, I suggested that she implement the following:

• Donate or sell all furniture you aren’t using. She did what people commonly do when they move into a smaller space — kept as much of the furniture as possible, whether or not it was useful or matched in style or size. In her case, it was all a constant reminder of her old married life.

• Save money to purchase a new bed. The bed is most intimately connected to your personal energy. After a divorce, a new bed makes perfect sense for a fresh start.

• Return or get rid of her ex-husband’s things, as they kept his energy in the space. The sooner she got them out of her space, the lighter her space would feel.

• Commit to your home by painting it so that it better supports and nurtures you. Colors found in nature work best.

• Hang artwork and display current photos that support the vision of what you want to create in your life.

How can you use this story?

From what you shared, you feel stuck and want to move forward. Check your environment for what you can donate, sell or give away, including any “clutter” you brought with you. Dishes can be easily replaced. You can change your furniture over time, especially the pieces that remind you of your marriage or the past.

I ran into Joline at the supermarket recently. She told me she followed all my suggestions and within a month felt a huge weight lift. She finally feels as if she is on a new path. While she hasn’t ventured into the dating world, she said that she feels hope for her life. Making conscious changes in her environment really helped her move forward.

Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly educational establishment at Na Lama Kukui (formerly known as Gentry Pacific Design Center) on Nimitz Highway. At Happiness U you’ll find dozens of inspiring classes all geared toward personal growth, helping you live a more purposeful and ease-filled life. Visit www.YourHappinessU.com.