How to Find Hope & Motivation after Divorce

 

There’s something about life after moving that has reminded me so much about how things were after I got divorced, 17 years ago.

There came a point when I knew what I had to do, when I couldn’t live as I had been. When I understood I’d be better off on my own than in a marriage where I was expected to bow to all his needs with no expectation of return. A marriage where I spent an awful lot of time alone, feeling like a single parent, and furious with him for landing me in that situation.

Then came the flurry of activity that is divorce – thankfully it was a relatively amicable split, but there were still legalities to work out, stuff to sort and the kids to consider and nurture in a new way.

I lay awake at night worried I’d never be able to support myself and 2 kids (albeit part-time) on my own, until life eventually settled into something I could handle. As sad and as difficult as it was, I took a certain pleasure in being able to stretch my wings more than I ever had with my parenting and the house, without judgment or accusations of being inconsiderate.

That’s when it reality hit.

There I was, 34 years old: I’d been through school and had a steady job. I’d travelled a bit, been married, had kids. All the boxes I’d wanted to tick as a girl had been ticked, or at least the ones I believed should have been ticked.

Was that it?

Will this be my life from now on?

With a few health issues no longer content to stay in the background, it started to feel like it would even start heading downhill from there.

This happens after a move or a big career shift as well as with divorce, that once the stress calms into a routine, there’s a lull.

A wise woman will recognize that lull for what it is: a well-needed break, the calm after the storm. Time to rest, rejuvenate and gather your resources for what comes next in this life on the other side.

Sometimes, we’re not so wise.

There were days when I came face to face with the same issues as before. I was alone, having to do it all on my own. Some days I wondered why I’d even bothered.

Am I really better off than before?

Did I really need to upend the kids to still be in the same place?

And I was still blaming him for it.

It was my garden that spring that taught me the lesson I needed to learn: it’s possible, even inevitable, to start over.

Every year, the flowers wither and die. Fields go fallow and leaves rot. After the snow melts, the world’s all muddy and smelly. There’s a moment when you almost doubt anything will ever actually grow. And then it does.

Look out the window and it’s all dank and colourless. The sun warms up that much more and poof! It’s orange and yellow and violet. Robins chirp. Crab apple blossoms and lilacs fill the air with their perfume. Pea shoots herald crisp green sweetness.

Something had died in my life; come to an end. That didn’t mean I needed to stagnate in the fallout.

It was time to let the seeds of what I wanted for myself to take root. It was time to notice the colours in me, and ask myself: What form of sunshine would help them to bloom?

I started to focus the warmth of my attention on just that: people and activities and food that lit me up, that excited me and nourished me to my very core.

I started to trim away the branches that were holding me down – the blame, the regret, the self-flagellation.

I had done all this, kept putting one foot in front of the other through the previous year because I needed to make me a priority. I chose this life so that my needs, my values would have space to grow in a nurturing environment. How else could I expect to be truly healthy, effectively raise my sons and be of any service in my community?

When you’ve lost motivation for what you want most, when you can’t find the hope of a better day, I beg of you to try this:

Open your senses to the world around you.

Notice:

what flavours make you swoon

which aromas make you sigh

which colours energize your mind

which music makes you dance

Remember: The most beautiful bounty grows from the humus and rot.

Don’t give up on yourself!

 

If you need more help putting self-care at the top of the list, let me know, I’d be glad to help. Click here and we’ll set up a time to talk.

 

If you know someone who’s stagnating in the fallout of the life they’ve left behind, help them to blossom using any of the share buttons below.

Stop Reading my Blog!

I mean it.

If you’re coming here for the nothing but facts. If you’ve been Googling your question for hours and want just one more opinion. If you need to add one more layer to the house of cards of conflicting information you’ve already built. Then stop right here.

I’m fed up with women coming into my office with a laundry list of products they’ve found online, wanting me to figure out how to fit them all into their day. I get annoyed when they’ve come armed with the potential downside of every possible solution. It makes my skin crawl to hear a woman tell me how she’s blindly following her doctor’s (or her naturopath’s or Dr. Oz’s) advice with no understanding of what it’s doing for her, or to her.

But I get it.

I’ve felt absolutely frozen with indecision after doing similar research, like a tightrope walker over a ravine, fearing any step I make could be the wrong one. I’ve wanted someone to just come along and tell me what to do.

Tightrope of indecision

This isn’t all about health either. Even buying a car or a decent pair of hiking boots can snowball into an overwhelming task in light of too many facts.

The mindboggling amount of stuff you can find out online has made self-education incredibly accessible to anyone with computer access. It can turn into a bad case of google-itis. The beauty of so much knowledge comes into play when you use it for empowerment. It nourishes your sense of safety while giving you the facts you need to make an informed decision.

Fact of the matter is, it’s still your decision. Beyond all the textbooks and averages and generalizations – some of which you may fall into, for sure – you are an individual person, with quirks, anomalies, opinions and feelings of your own.

When was the last time, however, that you checked in with the one expert who matters most? YOU.

YOU need to be comfortable with your choice.

YOU need to be the one who feels it’s the best solution for you. The decision has to come from the inside.

In the end, you’re the one who has to live with the decision: you’re the one who must take the medication, pop 12 supplements throughout the day, drive the car or wear the shoes.

The credo on my homepage states,

“Give a woman a diet, you may improve her body for now. Teach a woman to listen to her body, you’ll improve her health for life.”

Tea wisdom

Wisdom from my cup of tea: “When we practice listening we become intuitive.”

Here’s how to do just that.

As part of a {free} series called Spring into Celebrating YOU, the first step is all about building a relationship with yourself. Like you would when getting to know new man or the funky woman at work, you sit down and have a conversation with your body.

As much as I tout the benefits of listening to your body, it’s not something that was so obvious to me. I’m the first one to admit that I spend far too much time in my head, letting the stressful tailspin of thoughts get the better of me. I still call on my homeopath to talk me off the ledge with a dose of objectivity. I still lie on my acupressurist’s table and let her ask my body the questions I avoid.

More and more, I remember that the answer is right here with me. All I have to do is ask.

This is all part of my campaign to get you more fully engaged with who you are, celebrate you, so you can blossom fully into the rest of your life.

I want to make this easy for you.

I’ve made an audio to walk you through the basics of tuning into your body and hearing the advice of your personal health coach. (Enter your info in the box below to have a listen.)

With this one true ally on your side, you’ll never have to get lost in a sea of information again.

Tell us your experience of something you’ve learned when you listened deeply to yourself. Or that time you kicked yourself for not heeding your inner wisdom. When you share in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.

Share these insights with anyone else you know with google-itis, by using any (or all!) of these social share buttons.

tightrope image by klsmith77 via freeimages.com

How the Garden Saved my Soul

There’s nothing I love more, on a summer Sunday morning, than to take my cup of herbal tea outside to putter around the garden. Maybe pick some raspberries or today’s lettuce; sometimes just sit and enjoy the peace.

Far from Home & Garden worthy – it’s actually more of a haphazard wilderness – the joy I derive from my garden stems from the direct contact with Nature. No longer a regular church-goer, I get spiritually nourished and receive quiet wisdom when I experience the natural world in my backyard.

I first felt the comforting arms of this connection when my first marriage was falling apart. The teacup in the yard was a way to take a break from the kids (both under 6 at the time), even if they were running about as well. It was a place to go as I processed whatever turmoil was brewing inside me from the relationship.

My frustration and sadness turned into endless hours of weeding, cutting, digging and hauling rocks. It was meditative, it was physical. It was necessary.

PansiesEach time, I’d step back and be amazed at the transformation to the patch I’d been working on that day. Infinitely cheaper than a therapist, the time in my garden cleared my head as I was literally grounded into my own needs, feelings and sense of self.

I’ll keep this brief so we can both spend more time outside. Read more specific life lessons I received from my garden in this MindBodyGreen post from last summer.

This is the path that shared all that nourishment:

Path 1

Looking back, I understand that I wrote it as I was rediscovering my own edges and re-committing to conscious self-care, after years of taking my health (and my self) for granted.

Share your own experiences of rejuvenation from Nature below. When you share in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.

Have a friend who could use the gentle grounding of Nature? Send her this post using any (or all!) of the buttons below.

Let the Love In

Inspired by Judy Chicago, I’ve created a virtual dinner party: One category of my blog will be dedicated to honouring women who I want as a part of my soul community. Each woman at my virtual table has a lesson to teach, even if it’s simply to inspire us with her ability to hold greater aspirations for ourselves than we’d ever thought possible. Each one will be a manifestation of the Goddess, a Wise Woman, a pilgrim on the road of the Sacred Feminine. I want to share the wisdom of these women as part of my community of support.

No matter how many times I watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it remains one of my favourite movies. No matter how old I’ve been at each viewing, there’s always some aspect that speaks to me. Holly Golightly embodies so many facets of who I’ve been/ wanted to be/ am:

Holly G

  • The carefree party girl.
  • The barefoot dreamer,
  • The spontaneous mischief make,
  • The gold-digger,
  • Or the scared & lonely girl inside.

Plus, she rocks those Givenchy dresses like nobody’s business.

 

It would be such a treat to have her (as played by Audrey Hepburn) at my virtual Dinner Party, to remind us all of the lessons of life & love she learns every time we watch.

The first time you see Holly, you’d think she’d read Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map. Even though she’s not sure what exactly she’s seeking in life, she knows what it feels like: quiet & proud (like Tiffany’s). If she “could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany’s”, she’d lay down some roots and call it home.

Tiffany's 2

But like so many of us, by looking for that sense of home in the arms (and wallets) of ratty, rich men – in the externals – she bypasses what’s most important, and frankly, what’s right in front of her face.

Yet, despite her feelings, she just keeps letting her fear of going hungry or being trapped in a cage drive her decisions.

Sound familiar?

It takes a great deal of hard knocks, and some harsh words from the one man who wants nothing more than to love her, for Holly to realize that she’s “already in that cage.” Built herself as she runs from preconceived notions she holds true.

A cage built by beliefs that no longer serve her.

Lately, I’ve likened it to being a rat stuck in the same spot in a maze. No matter how many new techniques, different doors, or changes of mindset I try, in the end, I’m right back in the same damn dead-end.

It’s got a big blaring label called “I’m not enough”.

At any given time in my life, the maze might have been my weight or another health issue, work, a love relationship, or my relationship to money. Inevitably I’d get stuck in a rut of poor discipline, energy or motivation…frustrated by a lack of tools, or not sure how to use them. Like standing outside Tiffany’s with my nose pressed to the glass, but unable to grasp what I want.

As Jack tells Holly, “No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”

Fact is, I keep ending up in the same place because I’m like those flies in the experiment who don’t realize the cap’s been removed. Somewhere along the way, I was told to stay in a certain box, and so I made darn sure to keep myself folded just so. To fit some old, irrelevant, outdated, false expectations I’ve held for myself, others have had for me…or that I’ve assumed others have had.

So, Life just keeps bringing moments and people and situations, in an attempt to show us that the lid’s been removed, the box is disintegrated, the maze has an escape route. They show up again and again, telling us to lift our heads slightly and have a look around.

For Holly, it was Jack. Constant, devoted, and carrying a Tiffany’s box in his pocket for months.

All she had to do was open the door to the cage and let the love in.

Holly & Jack

Where do you get stuck?

If you were to peer outside your own sense of confinement, what would Love be there telling you is true?

If you had a hand to guide you over the threshold, where would it lead?

(When you share your thoughts in the comments, you open the door of possibilities for others.)

If you’re ready, I can be that hand for you. Show yourself a little Love for the month of February: book a free 30-minute Free Initial Consult so I can show you what the world outside the jar is like.

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Taking Action in 2014

You ever feel like you know what to do, but nothing seems to work out the way you think it should?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 2013, it’s that theory only gets you so far.

May seem obvious, but for a girl who gets stuck in her head the way I do, it’s not necessarily so.

I love learning. I love getting to know how things work. How people work. I love listening, observing, understanding dynamics, linking common threads. But after a while, the theory gets ingrained, and I’m still in the same rut, no further ahead, other than to be aware that there’s something else I don’t know how to do.

From the first time I picked up The Road Less Travelled (Scott Peck), somewhere back in my mid-20s, I’ve had an ongoing obsession with self-help books. I read them, underline passages that point to a truth I’m trying to grasp, copy out my favourite quotes to post on the fridge.

Somewhere, in the last 5 years, I’ve started to wonder when all these books will start to do some good. (OK, I know this is the perfectionist in me not looking at the progress – but you know how that feels, don’t you?) These days, the litany of wisdom comes in blog posts & videos & teleseminars – lots of truth hitting home to my brain, and yet I can still find myself stuck in the same corner of an emotional rat’s maze.

I’m a thinker, an idealist. A perfectionist.  I get frozen into inaction by fear that the reality won’t match up to the picture in my head. And I’ll be the first to admit, I can be guilty of not walking the talk.

Turns out, reading the books & listening to the webinars is only the 1st step.

Shift requires movement

I need to take action if I actually want to effect a change.

“Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.”

Do you know how many times I heard these words from Marie Forleo while studying at B-School last spring?

Here I was, surrounded by videos & blogs that urged me to “Take action now!” and it still took a few months for the message to fully sink in. But, slowly, through trial and error, it did.

Whether it was related to work, or my health, or my relationships, as soon as I actually did something, my reality indeed started to look different. Sure, some steps were forward, and some went waaaay back – but as long as I kept placing one foot in front of the other, the momentum snowballed.

Sitting here today, I’m amazed at how much I’ve grown from a year ago. This time last year, I was sitting on the knowledge that my teaching would come to an end when the institute I worked at closed. On a personal level, I was feeling colourless from having lost touch with myself out of habit & neglect. Even though I still get stuck now, the rut’s not as deep and I know how to get myself out of it.

This past summer, when I picked up self-improvement books, it was a whole new ballgame. I journalled, I did the exercises (to greater or lesser degree, I’ll admit) and I engaged in the online community support that goes along with the work.

So rather than being dug more deeply into my theoretical hole, my engagement in the process has breathed new life into my relationship with money (Money, A Love Story), my relationship to the Divine (Reveal), and ultimately, my relationship with my self.

Even when it came to business, I had a couple of ideas and jumped on them. Some of them, like the talk series I’d launched in the fall, didn’t do so well financially because my marketing could use some care & feeding. Somehow that’s ok. My point is that I achieved something because I tried something.

And now that I’ve put this experiential “theory” into practice, I’m excited for how I’ll be moving forward into the coming year.

In the spirit of walking the talk, my word for 2014 is Sustainable Expansion.

Because I’ll continue to spout my beliefs in caring for yourself first, I’m re-committing to my own self-care.

The focus of my year will be on my continued growth – as a person, as a practitioner, as a business woman – from a solid foundation. I know from having learned the hard way that if I attempt to reach too far without those roots, my limbs come crashing down pretty quickly.

My husband & family: schedule my workday so that I’m available to be more fully present to our time together.

My health: listen more deeply to the little messages that my body’s sending me – book an osteopathy appointment for that nagging twinge in my sacrum, sign up for another round of yoga classes.

My desires! I’ll be exploring those with the help of the newest book I just got for Christmas (The Desire Map).

The plan for the year also includes setting up a way to give back.

My broadest intention is to expand on my dream to empower women (you!) with the tools and support you need to live life with your own best self forward.

I’ve touched on the idea of a dinner party, on the importance of community.

And that is exactly where I’m compelled to go with this next level. The details are still a bit hazy – and for the first time in my life, it’s ok to say something out loud that’s not perfect yet – but I’m working my way towards creating events to build a community of support and shared experiences, while continuing to hold the space for your individual needs.

For the individual part, I’ve opened up 10 free 30-minute consults for the month of January. If you’ve been thinking of working with me privately, starting that initial conversation is the way to go!

Make sure you’re on the Guest List to stay apprised of where this all goes in the coming weeks and months.

Closing the year with a heart filled with Gratitude for all the trials & tribulations that taught me the lessons, and for the support that has kept me afloat.

I wish you a 2014 filled with Joy, Abundance and Peace.

Middle Left Green

How are you moving forward into 2014? Take action and tell me in the comments below.

If you like this post, be sure to Like and Share it with your Friends & Followers!


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