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Help! I've Made A Mess Of My Life

Advice to a Reader

Reader Question:

I left my husband for someone, and then that person left me. I carry so much sadness, anger, shame and resentment that I am unable to move forward in my life. I caused much pain to those I love. Yet I still miss the man I left my husband for, and am always thinking of him.

I sought medical care, but it did not help. What can I do to heal myself and clear this darkness? Thank you so much.

Nancy’s Answer

Pema Chodron quote
Clearly you are suffering, and I am sorry.

There is a saying I love, by the Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chodron. I think that it may be important for you:

“Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment.”

I love this saying because it is so forgiving. When I have messed up — as we all do, don’t think you’re alone in this— it helps me feel that whatever I’ve done, it’s the jumping-off point for my next stage of awareness and evolution, the opportunity to learn something that I really needed to learn. If you can view your situation in this way, it will help you forgive yourself and shift your energy so that you can move forward. It does you no good to label what you’ve done as bad, or label what your lover did as bad. Just be conscious of your actions, look at all of it as clearly as you can, with as little judgement as you can, and use it all to gain self-insight and to evolve.

Coming To Terms With Being The Cause Of Suffering

Of course there is also the issue of the suffering that we cause others, which you refer to. (And by the way, it is not possible to live and not cause some degree of suffering to other beings. So you are not alone in this, either. To some degree it’s part of the human condition. So we try to minimize the amount of suffering we cause, and when we do cause suffering, after we realize what we have done, we do what we can to ask for forgiveness and mitigate the suffering we have caused. And we try to evolve so that we cause less and less suffering and do more and more good for others and for ourselves.)

Bringing Yourself Back Into Alignment With Your Highest Self

So, in order to pull yourself back into energetic alignment with your highest vibration (or highest self), you need to repair your relationship with your children and come back into full integrity with them. This is a “do whatever it takes” situation. Your heart will never heal fully until you have healed whatever wounds were caused there. This may take time, but just keep showing up, physically and emotionally, keep being there and being consistent for them, keep having their best interests at heart, in whatever ways you can. If you do nothing else, do this. Do it for the rest of your life (the exact way you do it will change as they grow up, of course), not as a penance, but as a devotion.

You may want to try to come back into integrity with your ex-husband as well (though not to restore the relationship you had before), but this is tricky and except for being scrupulous and respectful in all your dealings with him, I wouldn’t recommend that you try this without the guidance of a good therapist.

Letting Go Of Obsessive Thoughts

As for ridding yourself of your obsessive thinking about the man you left your husband for, I think that time will be your ally in this. In the meantime, treat it as a meditation. Every time you think of him, notice, and gently, without judgment, bring your attention back to the here and now. How your body feels, what you hear around you, what you smell, what you see. It may be exhausting at first, but it will get easier as you do it. Remember not to judge yourself for thinking of him. Just notice and bring your thoughts back to the present, over and over again.

You also might actually like to take up formal mindfulness meditation. Here are some free guided mindfulness meditation: You can find many other resources on the Internet. I think that any form of meditation will be good, but mindfulness meditation might be especially good.

I also think that loving kindness meditation could be very good for you. You badly need to forgive yourself, and lovingkindness meditation, I think, could help. Here’s a place to learn about it: There are many others on the Internet.

Dealing With Depression

I would guess that you are undergoing some level of depression, as well as grief from the multiple losses you have experienced. I am glad to hear that you sought medical care, even if medication wasn’t helpful. I hope that you are also under the care of a competent mental health professional. When we dig a hole for ourselves, as nearly all of us seem to do at some point in our lives, we can’t see out of it ourselves. We’re down in the hole, and we need someone, a trustworthy person like a good counselor/therapist who has our best interests in mind and who is NOT down in the hole with us. A good therapist can give you the perspective you need to start climbing out of the hole and repairing your life and your psyche.

But there are other remedies that you can do for yourself to help shift the energy of depression and hopelessness. Whether or not you are diagnosed as having a clinical depression, I would definitely encourage you to consider doing the following things. Of course you don't have to do them all; even doing one of them regularly can help a lot.

For energy healing, I suggest the following.

  • Support your 4th (heart) chakra with activities such as those found here: The intent here is to develop more compassion and forgiveness for yourself, and allow you to connect back into the universal energies of love and healing.
  • Support your 2nd chakra with activities such as these ( It's always good to work with the 2nd chakra when there are issues of depression or hopelessness.
  • Ground and center regularly. (
  • See if you can find a local energy healer you like and trust who can help you clear your body and energy field.
  • Through meditation or other practices, train yourself to stay more in the present. You might like Eckhart Tolle, both his books and watching videos online. A lot of his teachings are about staying in the present. I find his work very helpful.
  • Try doing the Donna Eden technique called the "cross crawl." You can find videos of how to do it online. Do it every day.
  • Try some of the techniques on this page:
  • In particular, turn your attention to the service of others. If you can’t make yourself happy, make someone else happy. Or at least happier. This is an amazing energy-shifter and in time will help to, as you say, “rid the darkness from your soul.” It will also help you end your self-imposed isolation, which is very important for your recovery.

And here are some examples of practical things you can do to help shift your energy. (Once again, you don’t have to do them all. Just pick one or two and go with them.)

  • Take a daily half hour walk, rain or shine or some other outdoor exercise, such as vigorous gardening. Morning light is best if your schedule allows.
  • Get out in nature as often as possible (that half hour walk, plus a longer outing on the weekend, whenever you're able).
  • Consider taking a yoga class and establishing a regular yoga practice.
  • Do five minutes or more of belly breathing every day, plus whenever you think about it during the day.
  • Cut sugar and simple carbohydrates completely out of your diet.
  • Get regular bodywork (massage). Studies show that it's very helpful in treating depression. If you can't afford regular bodywork, try to find someone who you can trade at least face/head, hand, and foot massage with.
  • Make a list of things you enjoy doing. Divide it into things you enjoy doing in 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 hour, several hours, a day, and so on. Get at least a few ideas in each time category. Put it on your fridge or some other easy to see place. Make a commitment to do several things from that list every single day.
  • f you affirmations work for you, create a few that really resonate with you and say them multiple times every day.

In summary, I think that the key things for you to work toward are self-forgiveness, repairing your relationship with your children, service to others, and re-connecting to your community and your world. You can heal. You can move forward. You can do much good in this world.



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