Revel in the darkness to find the light – Vishnu
Our guest for this episode of Shooting The Breeze is Vishnu. He is an author of several highly sought after books, been featured on some of the biggest, bad ass blogs around, including Mind Body Green, Your Tango, The Good Men Project, and is the CEO and founder of vishnusvirtues.com – a blog dedicated to helping people rise from the ashes.
Thanks for taking part in our interview series, Vishnu. I like to start with the tough questions first. How does one go from a litigation and divorce lawyer to blogger/author? What does that journey look like?
Thanks for having me Michael! Ha, ha. How does one go from a litigation and divorce lawyer to blogger/author -Very slowly and carefully! You know, it just took many, many small steps. The first thing was figuring out what I wanted to do. The hours, conflict and adversarial nature of law practice was not for me. Although leaving was a very difficult choice (financially and professionally) I’m a million times happier I did it. Leaving was an admission and getting comfortable with admitting that I had made some wrong carer choices. It was a way to get closer to the life that I wanted.
The journey looks like taking many small steps. It looks like leaving my legal career and looking for different careers. It looked like changing many jobs. It looked like waking up early every morning and working on my writing on the weekends. It looked like saving up funds and taking time off to write. It looked like going in and out of the labour force. It looked like getting uncomfortable with uncertainty. I was writing most of last year but came back to the workforce and am working now, and doing my writing around my job. The work I do has set hours, is less stressful and brings me a lot of fulfilment. In a way, this is the ideal situation: to work on your dreams while doing work that fulfils you.
You mention you got out of a marriage that wasn’t serving you. Can you share bit more about that? What was the turning point in your marriage where you said enough is enough? And what have you learned from the experience?
I had gotten marriage so wrong. It isn’t that my marriage wasn’t serving me. It was that I wasn’t serving my marriage. Huh? You know how when you’re dating people or meet someone new that you’re excited to be with? Think about all the things you do, all the compromises you make and all the time you put into the relationship. You come out as your best self and go way out of your way to be the best and most attractive partner you can be to the partner you’re trying to impress. Unfortunately, after you’re in the relationship, you drop all of that and show up as your worst self. Consciously or unconsciously, I was not putting very much effort into the marriage and was insistent there was nothing wrong with how I was showing up. When you can’t accept faults or become aware of your unhealthy behaviours, it becomes difficult to maintain a relationship.
I have learned that we do the best we can under the circumstances. I also learned that sometimes you have to hit an all-time low to wake up. I’ve learned that endings create new beginnings. I’ve learned to accept and come to terms with change. I’ve learned to live with uncertainty. I’ve learned that one can survive divorce and come out a whole new person on the other side. We go through the fire and what do they say, become gold or diamond or some kind of newer, shinier version of ourselves on the other side.
You went through some dark times after your divorce, and ended up losing your business? How did you get through that period?
I was running a law practice online, helping people around the world. The financial challenges of the business plus the divorce made me want to close it. Unlike the divorce which brought heavy emotional and mental anguish, closing the business was relatively straight-forward. With closing things like businesses, you take steps to sell off things you not longer need. You stop using services you no longer need. You end contracts and give up rental space. You look for alternative means of employment. You let your clients know you’re closing down. So, I took steps daily to close the business and find work through other means.
The bigger question was how I got through my divorce! That I’ve written several books on. Seriously. For me, divorce was not an easy or welcoming process. The weight seemed too heavy to carry and I felt like throwing in the towel many times. I didn’t think I could handle the emotional heaviness of divorce but I did. Some of the many tools that I used were self-development, spirituality, emotional resilience and holding onto hope. Knowing somewhere in me that getting this dark period in my life would lead to sunrise again. I could literally write several books on this topic and I have.
What one piece of advice would you give someone who is stuck in a relationship that is not serving them?
Interestingly, I would not say much about the relationship. What I’ve found is that it all had to do with me at the end of the day. I would say stop focusing on the relationship and focus on yourself. Stop asking what you’re getting or not getting out of the relationship and ask yourself what it is you want. What do you want out of your life? What kind of person do you want to be? What changes do YOU need to make? What kind of tools do you need for better relationships? What changes, coaching, therapy, discoveries, insights, wisdom do you need J ?
You don’t believe time heals all wounds. I’m curious to know more as many people believe that time does heal all wounds?
If you’re on your sofa or snuggled in your bed for years after you’re breakup, things are not going to get better. You have to process grief. For some time, I resisted grief. I resisted believing the relationship was over, and wanting the marriage to end. This was because I didn’t want to feel the pain and go through the heartbreak. What you need to heal the wounds is to feel the pain, to sit with it, process it and then let go of the it. It’s to find the tools and methods that help you deal with each aspect of grieving. Time by itself won’t heal wounds. You have to proactively work on your own healing.
If you were a billboard what would your message say?
Rock bottom is where you discover your life purpose and wake up to life!
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Create the life you want, one day at a time. Do something every day that pushes you towards the life you desire.
How do you manage fear?
I remind myself how I’ve overcome fear every single time in my life. If I’ve done it before, I can certainly do it again now. I also accept fear and realize it has messages for me. I try to listen to fear, soothe fear and take action while the fear is still there.
Who are your biggest influencers?
Leo Babauta helped me build habits in my life. Marianne Williamson helped me shift my perspective on love. Eckhart Tolle reminded me to live for today. The Dalai Lama showed me how to find happiness now.
What are three life events you recall that have had the greatest impact on your self-growth?
Being a lawyer, Working with other lawyers (haha), and running a business.
What book are you currently reading?
Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. Also, loving this audio book by Jen Sincero called You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living
What books would you recommend?
I like the Untethered Soul by Michael Singer and the Surrender Experiment. The Power of Now helped me get out of living in the past and brought me back to my life today!
What is the legacy you want to leave behind?
I want leave behind a legacy of serving and helping make other’s lives better, and one of hope and healing after traumatic events. I want to let others know to revel in the darkness cause that’s where you find the light. You know, this cartoon image by Mari Andrew really speaks to me.
What’s next for you?
Continue doing what I’m doing today, and to continue to do work that helps people find emotional healing so they can move on, live their purpose, and serve others.
If people are interested in learning more about Vishnu, they can sign up at vishnusvirtues for weekly posts on rebuilding your life from rock bottom. You can also pick up one his many books on Amazon.