I first heard the phrase “conscious uncoupling” about a year ago when I read the book “The Future of Love” by Daphne Rose Kingman. The short version of what “conscious uncoupling” means is honoring the love you had with a person, completing what needs to be completed in the relationship, and releasing each other with grace.
In my experience, conscious uncoupling is typically exactly the opposite of what happens during a romantic break up in our society today, which often involves blame, hurt, and grudges.
If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that me moving away from Iowa has been in the works for the last while. The transition phase has begun – I am currently house sitting in beautiful Colorado!
The week before my drive out here was an interesting one back in Iowa. All the stuff I hate about Iowa seemed to be up in my face. The weather got hot and humid again. Bleh. I could tell the farmers in the area were spraying their fields with chemicals, I felt sick breathing the air outside and didn’t want to leave (or open the windows to) the house. Football season started and was fucking up the traffic at the exact moment I wanted to go do something. Ugh.
All I could see was the negative shit, and all I wanted to do was run away as fast as possible.
“Get me out of Iowa! No! This is not heaven, despite all the propaganda as to otherwise!” my mind kept saying to me in the background.
Three times within the span of about 10 days I saw people wearing shirts with the same slogan on it: “Iowa – Love it or Leave It.” Yeah, what the hell was I was doing here? I don’t love Iowa, it’s time for me to leave it.
Seeing those shirts really riled me up. It made me want to say “Fuck You!” to Iowa and stomp off in a huff. “You don’t want me, well, hey, I don’t want you either!”
When I mentioned some of these things to some girlfriends, one of them asked, “What if you were to approach leaving Iowa as if it were a conscious uncoupling?”
BAM! Oh yeah, why WASN’T I doing that? Here I was miring in all the negative stuff, wanting to push Iowa away like a lover who’d I’d caught cheating on me when I could have been approaching things in a totally different way.
I realized part of my work was already done though. Last year when my husband and I were preparing to separate for a time, I knew that it was possible that when I left the house I had lived in for nearly 8 years it might be the last time I called that place “Home.”
It was a grief-filled time for me. I found myself wandering from room to room, gathering back my own personal energy that felt attached to the home. I found myself thanking each room for the experiences it allowed me to have and honoring the home as a whole for the time it had sheltered me and kept me safe. I didn’t have a specific plan or ritual in mind when I did this, it simply felt like the right thing to do at the time.
When I returned about three months later, the house was still there for me, but I had released my attachment to it. I still felt sheltered and safe, but the way I felt about the house was not graspy as it had been before I left.
At this point, for me, it’s about my relationship with Iowa and Iowa City that I need to release my energetic bonds with, not my house in particular. This year marks 20 years since I first moved to Iowa City. I was so enamored with her when I first moved there, and we really had a torrid love affair, me and Iowa City. So many good times, so many bad times.
I find myself asking, what is it that I need to honor and acknowledge, release and complete to consciously end my long-term relationship with Iowa and Iowa City as I know it?
I have been making mental notes at this point, but my plan is to work through the steps outlined in the Grief Recovery Handbook. I have done this method for a number of relationships and have found it extremely useful for completing what needs to be complete, for releasing and saying goodbye.
Moving is a big deal. No matter whether you’re moving across the way or across the world, it’s a major transition.
I’m curious to know how you have released your own attachments to your home or the land when you were moving. Let me know in the comments below what kind of rituals, ceremonies, or other special processes you have used to release the old and move into a new home and how they worked for you.