Magic Of Divorce
Finding Or Being Yourself
Divorce or separation puts our lives sideways, off balance, off our heads and out of our minds. What’s the old saying? “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down?”
This magical story is the sugar on the spoon. Yes, I know that after the sugar dissolves the bitter aftertaste comes. I encourage you to keep mixing the two, the bitter and the sweet. You will then find an elixir that is tolerable and manageable. I call it swallow-able.
My journey began with self love and a desire for freedom. I had no clue what that meant at the time. I wanted to know myself. What it is that I liked, or wanted apart from my marriage and children? When I began to explore this I thought I was doing quite well, until I discovered how much self hatred lay beneath the surface.
Your enthusiasm for freedom is a magnet for more freedom. What I mean by freedom is: Finding or being yourself.
What does freedom mean to you? When we hear of other’s freedom we can use them as role models. We can adopt new methods and systems for our freedom. We can look at what we might develop for ourselves.
Some of my dreams of freedom that weren’t successful actually led me to success in other areas.
I had a dream as an adult while in the middle of therapy that my parents held the keys to all of my validation and that they somehow could give to me everything I ever needed. I hung my soul on it. I needed it, I thought. Until I came to realize with ugly tears and overwhelming sadness that they would never be able to do this. They were flawed and incapable. They did the best they could with the tools they had. This realization propelled me to continue on my own path to find my own way. To give myself what I deeply desired. Sometimes the success of freedom means choosing differently. I have done this many times.
Sometimes we just have to delve into our own belief and definitions of freedom and how we relate to it. Your ability to change and redefine what you deem as freedom in your own soul means that you will have a great effect on your freedom.
We are all inspired when we hear stories of people’s freedom and the agony they went through to get it. We are also inspired by the setbacks, detours, and plans that didn’t work out. In fact, I don’t know how people will react or respond to my truth. What I know and what has been pressing down upon me is if my story helps one person to not feel alone or unloved I will define that as success.
For decades I hid my empathic self away under many layers of blankets in my soul. I didn’t know what an empath was, I only knew that I felt everything everyone else felt, which was very confusing. I learned early on that this was a weakness in me. I’ve been learning that my very gift of being empathic can be used as a healing balm to a weary, exhausted soul. I had to learn which people to give this to, those who could accept it and were’t afraid. These experiences have shown me that people who are free are needed now more than ever. That I can be of service to others.
Living in my freedom’s power is enormous.
Let’s share more of ourselves and light the way for others to follow.
A Gift or Something to Try:
Take a stack of note cards and by intuition write letters to yourself that only reflect your positive qualities. Write as many as you feel led to write. Don’t read them. Put each in a separate envelope and mail them to yourself. Every time I do this I am surprised and elated about how much my intuition knows about me.
For a few months I made advent calendars for myself, writing an idea or affirmation under each number so that everyday of the month I would get a message from my intuitive self every time I opened the tab. I didn’t go in any certain order. Get a scrapbook page with numbered days 1-25, these are usually found at Christmas time. Or make your own. These sweet little reminders can have a humongous impact on the way you see yourself.
Notice how it feels to do this.
I send you super awareness and realization that your story matters and when you don’t speak up it’s the ultimate betrayal of your darling self. You are an inspiration for kindnesses no matter how big or how small your stumbling and learning. For a soul that yearns for truth, growth and moving forward. Knowing that life isn’t this or that, but a myriad of this, that, and the other things. For all the tears you’ve allowed to run down those rosy cheeks and your endearing soul full of insights.
Dedication: To myself for giving myself the permission I needed to crawl through the shit show and find myself on the other side of it.
That Wiley Grief or Awakening
Let’s talk about Grief for a little bit. Divorce is a grief, which in the beginning feels like a cat o’ nine tails. Broken glass. Shards of metal. Ball bearings. Marbles attached to multiple leather whips as it metaphorically beats your body.
The Wiley Grief sneaks up and surprises me every time because it likes to show itself in the times that we are the most vulnerable. With pain so sharp our soul can feel like it’s being shredded. Flesh laid raw. Aching. Tears. Terror. And overwhelming sadness.
Eventually the pain does lessen. Becoming softer like those little pom poms of orange, red, green, and yellow that hang from a Mexican hat. They fling around. The pain becomes SMALLER, Smaller, smaller.
The pure rawness is what changes us, isn’t it? The unadulterated delving into our own contributions, fears and the realities of now what? The emotions that we can no longer stuff down inside us, under the disguise of ego, anger, overeating, drinking, spending, or sex. We attempt, feebly I might add, to keep this dragon in its cave and out of our lives. Thank you very much. If I allow everything to come to the surface will it consume me like fire? Kill me? Will I ever feel better? Am I lovable or desirable? If anyone knows my story will they find me too broken? These were my questions. Yes and no. Yes, if you do the work on yourself, not anyone else. This is self love. No, if you choose to never leave victimhood. This is not self love.
What must be done is to unlearn coping mechanisms. Many shrinks, our culture, religion, and gender teach us how to cope, not to fight and feel. How? Through pain and suffering not coping. It takes soul cooperation between a great therapist and a courageous person who wants to get well, not just talk about it. This is self love.
The passing of time does not heal your wounds. Surprise! Confronting the reality of where things are right now and letting go of unfulfilled hope. This is self love. But because I chose to make friends with my pain. I investigated it. Loved it. Even though I hated it. Asked questions of it and of myself. Like, how do I recalibrate all of this? Who am I, if not a wife? Who do I want to become? What is the legacy I want to leave? How will this change affect my almost grown children?
Gifts or Something To Try:
When the pain feels overwhelming and you find yourself in a state of inertia, breathe. The Japanese have a saying, “Life in every breath.” Focus on this breath, then the next, one little breath at a time. Pull out your journal I assume that you have one. Write with reckless abandon, no editing allowed. Just write it all out. Feel it, allow it, be present with it until you are exhausted.
Smash something inanimate like old dishes. I used to write all the things I was angry about on the plate before I threw them at a wall along with playing angry music that in some way helped me feel better and help me put my pain someplace that was not destructive, unless you’re a plate; but gave me a sense of myself and a sense of control in this horrible situation. You can create a small ritual and let the smashing release a part of yourself that is stuck or in need of expansion.
Add: Raspberry Lemonade Spritzer. 1 part Lemonade, a handful of raspberries, top off with a fizzing beverage add a cute yellow striped straw. Sip or guzzle.
Deep & Digging
Bold Love, Dan Allendar
Boundaries: When To Say Yes When To Say No To Take Charge Of Your Life; Cloud and Townsend
Light & Encouraging:
Glad No Matter What; SARK; SARKS Journal and Play Book.
Petals Papers & Pours, flower, card, and coffee shop. Boutique arrangements in ice cream cups.You can follow them on instagram.
Self care subscription at Terririchmondlee@gmail.com send me a note for more information in the subject line write “Self Care”
How About those Darn Emotions?
Your emotions are like stars in the galaxy. Vast and many, I’m here to assure you that your emotions are:
NORMAL X 5!!!!
Going through a traumatic event is scary for anyone. Divorce is no less traumatic.
I don’t know what scares you but I equate my fear to being pushed into deep water not knowing if I will sink or swim. I am not a strong swimmer so I most likely will sink in under 5 minutes. Maybe a rip tide will grab me or something creepy lurking just below the surface ready to take a nibble. Will someone throw me a life ring please?
This next statement isn’t meant to scare you, but the scary places, the thoughts, emotions and decisions you have to face will get worse before they get better. That is a guarantee.
Find yourself a life ring of support:
A great and magnificent counselor or coach, non-religious yet spiritual in nature. Someone who is willing to be straight up, look you in the face and call you out on your shit. Basically someone who won’t let you get away with the lies we tell ourselves and the ways we cope or use denial.
A brilliant trustworthy friend who will listen to you without judgement. Basically someone who is in touch with her inner bitch. Who’s not afraid to set you straight.
A damn good attorney who isn’t afraid of a pit bull or afraid to be one. Don’t be naíve enough to think that you won’t need one. Don’t tell yourself the lie, “They will want to be fair. They would never try to take advantage of me.” Boo hoo. When it comes to possessions and money you have to negotiate hard. For all of you christians out there thinking, “Well God will take care of me,” He has. It’s called alimony. The law is there for a reason. Use it!
Light & Encouraging:
Transformation Soup, SARK
Creating Money, Sanaya Roman. If you need some nurturing she’s your woman. Although the book is all about money, it is a source of deep encouragement and gentle prompting.
Deep & Digging
Books: Healing for Damaged Emotions. David Seamands; “Every experience forms a ring of memory in us..but those memories don’t have to control us”
The Power of Neuro-Plasticity, Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. “Every thought you think rewires your brain and changes your life”
Divorce: Think Financially Not Emotionally. Jeffrey Landers. Advocates for women through divorce. Great strategies and sound financial advice. Get It!
You Are Not Crazy
If at no other time in your life, now is the time to believe in yourself.
Trust yourself. Believe what looks and feels impossible. There is a proverb which says, “A fool sets a trap in front of the bird.” Pay attention. You are the bird and that fool in your life wants to devour, control, and conquer you. Whether it’s another human, your gender, religion, culture, or critic that comes from within to stop you, to yell at you saying you can never! How dare you? What are you doing? This is my experience.
TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF. TRUST YOURSELF.
Trusting yourself means, finding,using and experimenting with your own voice. It means trusting your own decisions, regardless of how others may try to convince you otherwise.
“You’ve got the horn, so why don’t you blow it?!” Cream. by Prince
Light & Encouraging
BOOKS: Take Time for Your Life;Cheryl Richardson
The Artists Way;Julia Cameron.
Inspired Gatherings, Tracy Porter Poetic Wanderlust. (Her Instagram page is wonderful)
Joie de Vivre hotels,CA., For a boutique hotel experience. Each hotel is designed with your choice of the experience you want to have.
You don’t have to! You don’t have to live your life based on the expectations of others. Not your religion, gender, society, or your culture. This is your life and yours alone. You have to come to your own rescue. This is a “Ride or Die” situation. Ride or die, baby. I actually wear a logo t-shirt with this saying when I need a little girl power.
Use the anger you are feeling to create positive change. There is positive and negative anger. Anger needs a creative outlet. Writing books, creating works of art, cooking, or whatever makes you feel alive. Some of you may wonder if it’s easier to keep it all tucked down deep inside. Are we supposed to get angry? ”If I really let it go I may never recover. I am afraid to open this box. I’m afraid to see how deep my anger goes.” I remember thinking this when I started the process. Anger floats. It is like a beach ball that you try to hold under water.,it’s impossible and it will keep coming to the surface until you realize that trying to hold it under the water is futile.
Long walks in nature.
Flowers: Petals, Papers and Pours. Boutique flower arrangements in ice cream cups. Encouraging cards and affirmations.
Deep & Digging
Books: The Dance of the Dissident Daughter; Sue Monk Kidd
Stay or Go?
I will not tell you what to do. I don’t know your story. Even if I did, you are the only person who can decide what’s best for you anyway.
I will say this: Count the cost. You are about to take the biggest risk of your life to invest in your future. What are the risks and benefits? Talk to others who have gone before you, at least 2-3 years on the other side, listen to what they have to say. What was their experience? What is your emotional health and that of your children? Sometimes it can be beneficial to stay where you are, where your kids can be protected emotionally by you. In my case I had no help, no where to go and no resources. When they travel to the ex they will go alone and you will have to de-program them when they jettison back into your home. You need to make a plan. A clear and concise plan. I can help you with that. I can help take you from struggle to strategy. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line write: I need a plan.
Go to therapy. I guess I am telling you what to do a little bit.
Something to consider. There is always the concern that I will fuck up the kids. Here’s a hint: we all do to some degree. We are humans with suitcases and steamer trunks dragging behind us, filled with sadness, brokenness, and unfulfilled dreams. It’s just a matter of how long and to what degree. To help me keep a perspective my counselor used to say, it’s about, “frequency, intensity, duration.”
Talk and listen lots! Did I say listen? Listen to yourself and your spiritual non religious counselor. You need all of your feelings validated, sometimes all day every day, especially at the beginning. Any of us can get through anything if we feel we are being heard and validated with gentle non judgmental listening. This is not the time to talk to your family. Because family won’t give us the straight up and they don’t have the skill set or the emotional bandwidth to see it clearly.
I send you a red velvet cloak covered with words of affirmation that hugs you with gentleness, softness, and a sense of safety.
Light & Encouraging
Books: You Are a Badass, Jen Sincero.
The Bodacious Book of Succulence, Daring to Live Your Succulent Wild Life. SARK
Finding Your Way In A New Wild World;Martha Beck
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It; Kamal Ravikant.
A Gift of Something to Try
Visit a card shop, choose some cards that you are attracted to. Buy them. Sign them, from your authentic self. Address them to yourself. When you get them in the mail you most likely have forgotten about them and their message. What a fun surprise! Enjoy the experience.
Deep & Digging
Appetites: Why Women Want; Caroline Knapp
Explores the pressures that a woman can feel in American society.
The Truth of You Owning It
Who are you? Did you know that when you speak your own deepest truth something magical happens? You bump into others along the road called life who will respect, honor, validate and love you. A divorce, you unloveable does not make.
Divorce or separation or whatever you’ve decided to do is a gift and opportunity to redefine yourself. This does not make you irrelevant. Quite the opposite. Ask questions. Who am I going to be now? Can I love myself in the messiness, uncertainty, and overwhelming place in my soul? Can you say I am a lovable human being worthy to be loved, honored and respected because I am? Because of my birth, because it is my birthright? Sometimes we have to look at why we hate ourselves. What I mean here is, can I look in the mirror and say I love me? All of me, cellulite, nose or waist size? What are the negatives spinning around in your brain? What are the words that immediately come to mind when thinking about who you are? Are they kind and loving like the words you would say to your best friend?
I found that I had to reprogram my thoughts and beliefs down to my very core. I was not taught these kind of things, these truths. These truths were inborn, yet many traumas that happened to me put my gifts to sleep. I slept many years.
When I spoke of coping earlier, this is a place where it could easily happen. We can minimize by telling ourselves this was an isolated incidence. He loves me. 99% of us cannot tell our families because they will minimize it as well. Most of us were taught to stay safe and small. This is why I went to therapy. A therapist can help us to see the truth of what just happened.
Light & Encouraging
O Magazine, oprah.com
Books: Life Makeovers, Cheryl Richardson
Deep & Digging
Books: Healing The Shame That Binds You, John Bradshaw
Bold Love or anything written by Dr. Dan Allender
He is a Christian therapist, author and speaker focusing on sexual abuse and trauma recovery.
Be tender with yourself.
Sleeping And Walking
Many times, most of the time, we humans are asleep. Asleep at the wheel of our soul, our lives, our marriages. We hope to find life through our kids, work, bingeing shows, sports, gambling, food, pills, drinks, debt, parties, shopping, sex. Sometimes we get spouses who will be glad to define for us who we are. They know better, right?
A story: I recently went to a garage sale at a gorgeous mansion. It was a massive sale. A half acre yard and two large portable storage bins filled with whatever you could imagine. New and used. When I was telling the host how beautiful her items were she responded, “I didn’t realize how much stuff we had until I started pulling it all out. When my kids left home I would go shopping.” Her life was not fulfilling. Her disposable income proved that. My heart went out to her. We long for something, anything to fill that void that can occur when we are sleeping.
Yet many of us realize we can no longer sleep. There is something like a splinter in our souls that keep speaking to us, bothering us. We all have this moment which defines us. A place where we come alive. We then have the opportunity to take out our flashlights to peer into this place with curiosity, through the fogginess, into a place that feels surreal. We know and have the feeling that we’ve been here before. Something inside of us begins to whisper until it becomes any one of the atrocities that I described above.
What will you do with your wake up? Trust yourself and listen? Once you lean your ear down to your soul and begin listening it won’t let up. It is like ambient noise. It is faint, but annoying.
Light and Encouraging
Alice in Wonderland; Tim Burton. A great depiction of trusting oneself
Take Time For Your Life. Cheryl Richardson.
Boundaries: When To Say Yes, When T oSay No To Take Charge Of Your Life. Cloud and Townsend.
I send you …
Delicious Belgium chocolate and fresh strawberries on a silver pedestal serving dish complete with homemade whipped cream. It magically appears at your doorstep with a note of love attached.
There are no calories.
A picnic for you and all the friends that love and adore you, in your favorite place. A luxury basket filled with watermelon mint and coconut Popsicles that never melt. Avocado roses on dark rye bread with pickled ginger. Bacon, cheeses and meats and delicious fresh baked bread and any other snack that you could ever want. Shortbread cookies with edible flowers to eat and nourishing liquids to drink. “If you take a nap, time stands still until you return so you never miss anything. You fill a large journal with photos, drawings and descriptions of your day to take with you when you leave this place. You can go to this place anytime.” SARK
Gifts or Something to Try
A discovery walk in the park with yourself through a forest, mountains or beach. Can you smell the air and feel the life all around you through the birds, wind and rustling of leaves? It’s a fantastic way to be present with you. Nature is so good at helping to ground us.
Peruse a lovely used book store, or any other shop that fills you just by being there. You gotta get out of your space to breathe and get another perspective. I realize that we can travel many places through Pinterest and Instagram, it’s just not the same as using all of our senses.
When I was going through it, a friend invited me to a county fair. I hadn’t ridden a Ferris wheel in years, I thought why not? I went and had the best day of my life. We rode the Ferris wheel, got into a hamster tube on the water and tried to balance all the while laughing until my stomach hurt. We ate all of the delicious not good for you fair fare: caramel apples, cotton candy, walking tacos, fried candy bars, beer and cokes. It was just what I needed. I’m forever grateful for that phone call and that day.
It’s those thoughtful actions of others who advocate on our behalf and help us to know, “You’ve Got This!!”
Deep & Digging
The Matrix, explores getting your mind free from the conditioning that comes from culture, religion, gender, and counselors.
Shawshank Redemption, explores the concepts of freedom.
You might try an Al-anon meeting. They are fantastic at helping you learn more about yourself, by helping you get some answers to your why’s.
CoDependent No More; Melody Battie.
Why would I recommend anything that has the word codependent in it? You may be asking what does that even mean? There is a place in all of us that has enabled the type of relationships that bring us to the heartbreaking reality of divorce.
There are many reasons we get divorced. There are many ways we don’t want to acknowledge the pain of our reality. I get it. It took me eight years to get to the final wake up. But I got there. It’s not about how long or how short the time is. It’s about waking up and then waking up again and again. Our waking comes in spirals and layers.
This story that I have been telling you I wrote in three hours from a download from the Universe one early morning. You are reading this now because it has taken me five years to find the courage and the belief that someone, somewhere could benefit from it. A friend of mine recently said, “Stop being so Precious!” The meaning behind this is sometimes we just gotta say what we gotta say regardless of the response we may get.
I realize this chapter can be hard to swallow. Everything I have written is a glimpse into my journey. If it can help you in any way then all of what I have struggled through to get to the other side was worth it. I realize that “getting to the other side” doesn’t mean that I am all better or that my life is perfect. What it means to me is I struggled through and am learning to thrive rather than survive. I know you hear people say this all of the time. I don’t say this lightly, as you’ve previously read it has taken me many years to realize the value of my story. Telling our story is for us. To get it out of our selves. When we hold things inside of us they can become a distortion, distraction and a trap for self hatred and self blame. Haven’t we spent enough time here already?
Logs, Splinters, Finger Pointing and other Maladies. Ugh! Or all of the things we don’t want to admit.
“Love is the absence of judgement” Dalai Lama
Did you ever notice that when we point one finger that here are three pointing back at us? Yes, we’ve all heard this analogy before, blah. What I have learned through the process of separation and eventually divorce, or whatever you decide to do is, I had to keep asking myself the question: How have I contributed to this break down, break up, blown up disaster? Where have I loved myself, where have I not?
Maybe you’ve stayed silent and become passive aggressive. They were my best friends for most of my life. Hell I was trained from a very young age to be this way. I needed these companions for good reason in regard to my safety.
Maybe you are always right? Maybe you don’t allow any emotion or opinion about how your relationship is doing? Maybe you are a driven, obsessive compulsive who can’t concede to the point of view of the other person? I don’t know your story and you are the only one who can answers these questions.
We all justify, deny, sanctify, criticize, blame, shame, accuse… but in the end we all have a part we have played in our orchestral composition. I will ask you now, which are you? Are you willing to look into this and ask tough questions of yourself? This is only a question, please do not hear judgment. This was my journey and pretty much every one else’s that I’ve interviewed. This questioning and exploring can be your first healthy step on your path to you and your freedom.
Can we hold hands and journey together while we discover all of the ways to love ourselves? I don’t mean that I walk around all day looking in the mirror or hugging myself (how boring) or how many times I get my nails done, hair colored or visit the bakery. I’m talking about things we’ve denied that we know would make us feel alive and awake , or ways we haven’t listened to ourselves, trusting the opinion of others, or questioning ourselves over and again. Only you can define this for your own lovely life.
Story: I used to believe that I was terrible with money because my spouse said so and the bank account would be dry at the end of the month. I thought, I don’t think so. I know how to manage money. I had a budget. I knew what’s what, yet I didn’t trust that little voice within that told me I knew what I was doing. Post separation I was reading old bank statements only to discover that my spouse would withdraw large amounts of cash on the weekends. My intuition was right all along. I tell you this story because the longer we practice not listening to and trusting our intuition the harder it becomes to hear it.
Ru Paul says, “thoughts are precious but action is drop dead gorgeous.” Let’s go gorgeous!
I love you and I adore your courage.
Light & Encouraging
Fresh Flowers Get some! I keep telling you this mostly because I love flowers, all day every day. Do you have a favorite? Mine is a Peony. I grew up with a huge garden full of them in every color. As a kid I would sit amongst them loving their smell and their sweet flower faces.
A writing Prompt: Imagine that you’re living the life that you have always imagined and it’s in full bloom. Write a detailed description of you living this life. What does it look, feel, smell and sound like? Where are you living? What are you doing? Who is there? From: Make Your Creative Dreams Real, SARK
Funny stuff: Jim Gaffigan vids. His stand up will have you rolling on the floor crying from laughter.
Deep & Digging
Watch if you can, “Big Little Lies, HBO it tells the complicated and many layered roles that women have and how they support and bond with one another.
Book: Women Who Run With The Wolves, Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Achetype. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miguel Ruiz.
Update:I have been divorced five years now. My children are grown and gone.
After my divorce and my last two sons flew the coop. I thought, what am I going to do now? I could sit here in my home and rot, waiting for them to visit me (I have four kids) or I could do something different that is totally for myself.
I could create a new truly innovative and inspired life.
So I did. I sold all my possessions except some boxes of memories. Packed my backpack and a tiny carry on. I left for the Caribbean, then Europe. I define myself as a lover of unmet people, untasted food and unseen sights. As of this writing I am in Miami, FL.
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