real life

This Melbourne couple rejected divorce in favour of a 'completion ceremony'.

When Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin ‘consciously uncoupled’ way back in 2014, we all scoffed.

“Yeah, right,” we said. “Conscious uncoupling. As if that’s going to work.”

But two years on and we’re eating our words: the celebrity couple is often seen together looking very amicable. Happy, even. And perhaps with this precedence in mind, we all became a little less convinced that breakups had to be the gut-wrenching, awful, hideous experiences that we accepted them to be.

And if we weren’t already convinced, Erin and Jen Kyna might just finish the job.

• we are complete • On Friday night, Jen and I had the most beautiful completion ceremony, to mark the end of our 12 years together, and our 10 years of marriage. The day we became Kyna’s, we became family for life. You have been the greatest gift in this life, my darling Jen. You loved me back to life. I am so grateful, so damn grateful, for everything we have created, experienced, and achieved together. This is not an ending. This is a beginning of something new, a new way of loving and supporting each other, as best friends, not partners, and a new way of learning about ourselves in the world. I am so proud of us baby. So proud of who we have become, and how we’ve chosen to do this, with open hearts and a commitment to love. Thank you for the greatest gift I’ve ever received in this life: being loved by you. I love you, my bestie. Kyna’s for life ????????

A photo posted by Erin Kyna ☽❍☾ (@erinkyna) on

The former flight attendants have been together for 12 years, and married for a decade. When they married in 2006, they adopted the last name ‘Kyna’, meaning ‘kin’.

This February, they split up. But rather than fall down the wormhole of ugly divorce proceedings, the couple decided to try a different tack – yesterday, they posted about their ‘completion ceremony’ online.

“We are complete,” started the post.

“On Friday night, Jen and I had the most beautiful completion ceremony, to mark the end of our 12 years together, and our 10 years of marriage. The day we became Kyna’s, we became family for life.”


(Read the full post here.)

Erin is a life coach and yoga/meditation teacher;  ex-wife Jen is a qualified yoga teacher and the founder of their joint charity, Kindling Foundation. Through their shared values of growth and service, they made a commitment to ‘finish strong’ and not to end the relationship with any ugliness.

“Both of us are from families who had difficulties as a result of divorce,” Erin told Mamamia this morning.

“We knew it didnt have to be like that.”

With the help of a good friend – a healer – the ‘completion ceremony’ consisted of Erin and Jen making crystal mandalas, and releasing their marriage vows. Vows, says Erin, that were replaced with new vows of commitment – this time not as a wife, but as a best friend and family.


Like most couples who have been together for this long, Erin and Jen share a lot together – including their charity, Kindling Foundation, working with various groups across the world helping the less fortunate. As testament to their commitment to remaining best friends, they’ll continue to run the charity together.

“This work is about others and the greater good,” says Erin, “so it’s easy to put any of our personal differences aside.”

Speaking with Erin, it’s hard to understand how they managed to circumvent the inevitable pain that comes with a break-up. 

“As Jen says, we’re breaking the rules of breaking up!” laughs Erin. Struggles with jealousy and ownership are the usual battles of letting go – but not with these two. They are ready for a new life not as lovers, but as family.


Today, Erin gets on a plane and returns to Hawaii where she spent the first eight months following their split back in February. The physical distance will help, she says, but they want to remain a big part in each other’s life.

Last night, they had friends around and spent the night reminiscing about their time together. It sounded equal parts happy and sad – almost like a wake for a relationship past. A time to think about the happy times together, and mentally move forward.

But is this kind of enlightened break-up possible for us mere mortals? Or is ‘conscious uncoupling’ the domain of celebrities and life coaches only?

❤️ #ankasbigday

A photo posted by J E N K Y N A (@the_conscious_traveller) on

“Everyone has the capacity for more awareness. Everyone has the capacity for more love, and to care more,” says Erin.”This is possible for anyone.”

The key, she says, is to remain focussed on the amazing things that bought you together in the first place. Jen’s commitment was to always come back to love, even in the pain. She says that she is filled with gratitude and pride for how she and Jen have handled their break-up, and hopes it will inspire other couples moving through a similar transition.


“You need to take personal responsibility,” she says, encouraging all couples to think outside what is expected from splitting up. 

Inspiring? Yes. Confusing? Yes, that too. A completion ceremony might not be for everyone (especially for the plate throwing type), but it would be an amazing thing to let go of the negativity that comes part and parcel with a break-up.

What if, like Erin and Jen, we were able to turn it into something happy – a new beginning? It would certainly save a lot of heartache. And hangovers.

In a modern world of social media echoing out our ex-partner’s lives for the rest of our days – please, Facebook, stop showing me my ex-boyfriend’s new wife – this kind of relationship rejig could be a good thing. After all, staying friends with your ex generally comes down to how you parted ways. So, if you split with joy – maybe there’s a chance you could stay in each other’s lives. Maybe.

Completion ceremonies. You heard it here first.

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