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bouquet-of-roses-1246490_960_720Happiness via Divorce:  A Journey in Conscious Awareness

There was this moment…where I sat in the driveway contemplating whether my life was worth living.  I was losing everything I thought I loved and valued and I had to find a reason to go on.  That “moment” lasted a few hours and it ended with me deciding that I had to stay alive so as not to leave my kids without a mother.  The simple choice to go on existing, in that moment, would mark the beginning of a change of course for me.  One week later, I would find the courage to leave my marriage and that is where a new story would begin. This time with me as the author.

Well now, hmm…there is a lovely starter for a writing on happiness no?

The best thing that I probably had going for me was that I had begun exploring consciousness about 14 months before my personal life imploded.    I work with a Consciousness Coach who has an affinity for taking my experiences and using them as a kind of sculpting clay to foster a personal evolution to higher levels of consciousness.  In terms of my personal life my divorce was nothing short of absolute destruction.  In terms of conscious growth, it was a golden ticket to higher levels of living.

Some people compare divorce to death.  Personally, having been through both, I think Divorce is worse.   Divorce wasn’t just the loss of someone I loved and it wasn’t just a break up.   After 15 years of marriage, a lot of things were wound up in my marriage.  It was an identity crisis, a theological crisis, it was the loss of every dream I thought I had.  Every one of my personal weaknesses felt like it was tossed up on the table and exposed.   I would have to rethink career and finances.  And, I had to find the strength to take on the responsibilities that come with being the “custodial parent” on my own. I felt broken sexually and I felt worthless as a woman especially as woman of “faith” who taught communication classes for living.

I am not sure that I would really understand happiness had I not found a way to rise from the pitt of ashes that was my life in November of 2012.


The first step I had to make was one of survival. I wasn’t in a situation where I had to fear for me physical safety or survival but I was most definitely in an emotionally toxic environment.   To be fair, it was also an environment that I was co-creating.  I literally came to a place where I realized I could not survive emotionally and I had to value myself enough to take the keys to my life and drive away.   I had to leave because it was the only way I could end the chaos we were creating.   I took marriage very seriously and I had very young children. I had never imagined raising them in a broken home.  When I made the decision to leave it was with deep foreboding trepidation, but I felt like I had to do it to save myself. That choice, to take care of me and not just go on with something that was unhealthy for me, was the first decision I had made ever been made to that end.   I was far more inclined to sacrifice my “self” for another than to make a decision in this direction.

As hard as it was to change my direction, once I took that first step, it became easier for me to make decisions that originate from a place of self-worth.  Up until that moment I decided to leave, my concept of my personal worth was a shattered mess.


Once I began to discover that I am a human being of some value and worth, I needed to learn how to approach life as a more integrated person.  There were two major players in my personality dynamic that I would have to learn to identify:  my ego and my soul.

I would learn over time that my soul is pretty calm.  It exists in peace. It feels love but not fear. It speaks from a place of wisdom and I believe it connects in oneness to the divine energy that many people perceive as God.   Although I had a very active prayer life, when things unfolded I needed to how to explore meditative forms of prayer.  I had to learn sit in solitude and silence.  I had to learn to tap into that quiet whisper of spiritual awareness from which I could find comfort and a sense of solid direction.

This was a little difficult because the voice that was speaking much louder and more explicitly was my ego.  My consciousness coach compares the ego to a wild monkey.  It goes after what it thinks it wants with no real concern for what it is doing.   My ego-monkey has a strong tendency to be defensive and reactive.   Fear and anger seem to drive it into full gear.  I feel like my ego is a total problem and I have often insisted on annihilating it.  My coach reminds me in these moments that without the ego we couldn’t survive.  Its pleasure seeking tendencies motivate us to eat and sleep and do the things we need to do take care of ourselves.  Without its ability to sense and react to danger we would be subject to attack and we would die.

The problem seemed to be that my ego didn’t seem to know the difference between a tiger attack and a simple issue of conflict.  I wanted to attack my ex with the kind of vengeance that one would need to defeat Godzilla!  I was reactive and I was triggering almost constantly and everyone around me was experiencing nothing but intense reactive anger and attack. Inwardly, this was shocking to learn because what I was feeling (and thought I was expressing) was fear.

It took a significant amount of practice to sit in silence and learn to tap into my soul when my ego wanted to go club my ex’s “girlfriend” and roast her for supper.  Gradually, over time, and with extended practice I began to tap into my soul and listen to it.  As I did so, I was slowly able to convince my ego that I was safe.  Eventually, after several months, I was able to live more from my soul than my ego and as I did so, I began to be less consumed by fear and anger.  As fear and anger began to take a back seat I was able to become aware of new ways to use the energy that was driving my ego.  I began to become an author of my own destiny.


Gradually, over time and with much practice, I began to see life in a different way. As I became less driven by fear and anger, I became much more approachable to my ex. We were able to communicate through things.  We were actually very quickly able to find some common ground in putting our kids first.  Our divorce was very amicable and it was settled through mediation for less than what my friends commonly pay for divorce lawyer consultations.

As my sense of self-worth grew, I was able to see that I was worth loving and I realized that my identity was not dependent on his value for me or the wholeness of my family.  As I learned to connect with God through my soul, I began to be able to sit and absorb love and peace and fill myself with that instead of fear and anger.  The peace I finally found was the birthplace of greater awareness.   This gave me the courage to really start looking at how I was writing the story of my life.

In “Rising Strong” Brene Brown talks about self-perception and how it is created when she discusses story writing.  Her suggestion is that we all begin to put together stories about ourselves and the world around us based on incomplete observations about our lives.  When we do not have all of the data, we seem to be hard wired to fill it in with our own stories.  Many times we are unaware that we are doing so, and yet these stories are very defining for us as we move through life.  However, until we own what we are doing and separate it from the truth of what is actually happening we create trouble for ourselves.  She encourages her readers to take a hard look at their lives and actually articulate what the base line stories are that we are writing about ourselves and the world around us. As an author, she makes it clear that when you have written a story you don’t begin in the editing process.  You have to give yourself permission to own your imperfections and be honest and free about what you are creating. From there you can edit, revise and make something of beauty.  However, the first draft, it is messy. In fact, she uses the term “Shitty” she calls these initial stories we use “Shitty First Drafts” or SFD’s.

Over time, through sitting with my soul, silencing my ego and taking daily steps that acknowledged my sense of self- worth, I began to realize that I had written an epic SFD.  My story pretty much was that I had no control over what happens to me. I had been sent into the world only for the use of others and if they did not find me useful I had no self-worth. I had added some theology to this story that positioned me as an Eve/Jezebel who had messed up her family’s life and had failed not only them but also God.   My only worth came through what I could do which was creating a continual cycle of over-commitment in the interest of seeking approval.  I rarely told anyone “no” because I wanted to be found approved and worthy.

Through the act of journaling, I became aware of my SFD over time. I also had the privilege of hashing out my thoughts and perceptions with my coach who was quite often standing by ready to challenge the reality that I was constructing in the interest of getting me to think more critically.  It took a very long time to realize that life was not happening to me.  Instead, most of the time, I began to see that I was the primary creator of everything I experience.

This realization was frustrating at first because it required me to move from a place of victimhood to a place of responsibility. However, to the degree that I was able to do so, I discovered that my heart was being set free.  I very quickly realized that I could change and that I had enough power over the reality that I was creating that could also elicit the kind of results I wanted to create.

My ex did a lot of growing through this experience as well and we were able to find some common ground as singles we had not found in marriage. In our decision to put our children first, we decided to continue having a family night once a week.  We decided holidays for the time being would be spent as a foursome.  We went to school conferences together and we even took the kids on camping trips and family vacations together.   We refused to bad mouth the other parent and we continued to actively co-parent by sharing ideas and concerns with one another.

I remember as the divorce was finalizing that I realized something else.  I realized that I still had this deep love for my ex…or maybe it was even a new love.  My coach had challenged me about my perceptions of love throughout the process because he said that love does not have expectations and It was not the source of pain. I discovered when I finally let go of my expectations about my ex that I was able to appreciate and love him in a whole new way.

By taking responsibility for creating my own reality, I also created better results than I could have imagined.  The losses of divorce were very much mitigated for me.  I decided that to the degree it was possible on my end, I wanted my children to feel like they had a cohesive family.  We explained our divorce to them by saying that we had been best friends a long time ago and that because we had been fighting so much it was time to change it back to friendship so we could take care of them better. There were a few tears but not as many as I expected.  As we discovered that we could put our own concerns aside and still do “family time”, the sense of family cohesiveness grew stronger.  In many ways, I think our relationship is better than it has ever been and I still feel like I am raising my kids in their family of origin.

The results that I have created are different than the results I was living with before.  They have also come at a great cost. My ex and I have both had to put off certain romantic relationships because others have a hard time understanding our new dynamic. When that kind of thing happens I have to remind myself that this is a temporary season in my life and one I want to cherish because I almost lost it completely.  I remind myself that the time is coming all too quickly when my kids won’t want family nights and will be too busy for family vacations.    I also remind myself that I have this season right now to grow as a person and to face the things about my life that make me hard to live with.  I am doing everything I can to transform and I know that if I embrace it I will have a much better chance of creating a fresh new reality if/when I pursue a romantic relationship in the future.


Today, when I think of happiness, I think most often of my immediate family which now includes my two boys (ages 8 and 9 at the time of this writing) and my ex-husband.   In fact, unlike when we were married, I don’t take the time we spend together as family for granted.  I don’t assume that we are always going to have tomorrow as a four-some.   The results that we have created to give each other space and freedom we need has meant letting go of the certainties that come with a committed marriage.  I remember the moment when my ex left my house after we had just finished writing our divorce decree together.  It was a tough situation and we had both given up things we wanted for the other person but we had come up with a cohesive agreement.  I called my coach right after he left and I will never forget what he told me.  He said, “Well…you may have not been able to save your marriage but I think you may have just saved your relationship.”

Thus far, after four years, I think his statement was quite prophetic.

I do not take my relationship with my ex for granted. I know that at any moment one of us could meet someone and things might have to adjust.  Knowing that this is a time limited season makes me grateful for each and every moment that we do get to share as a family. My children seem to be doing very well too.  They tell me that they feel like we are family and I can not put into words how much that makes every difficult decision worth it.

I do recognize that our relationship is quite confusing to many but it makes sense to me because I had to learn to consciously create what we have.   The divorce was probably the most transformative experience I could have imaged and in my case, it was used as a tool to raise my consciousness.

The pain of my divorce allowed me to feel things that were intensive enough to make what might otherwise be esoteric conventions very tangible and pragmatic.  All of the things that I learned have had applications to reality in other arenas of life too.  So what I learned has very much “spilled over” into almost every other aspect of life.

I know from watching others walk through divorce that my story is uncommon.  I know that I could very well still be festering in anger and self-hatred and shame.  By choosing to embrace the process and use it as a tool for transformation, I now have the gift of living life in completely different vibration.  There are certainly hard days but I have to say that overall I am very happy.

I am happy and grateful for my family.

I am happy about the friendship I still have with my ex.

I am happy about the career I am engaged in which I was “forced” to pursue when singlehood hit.

There are still areas of my life where I want to see change.  However, this experience has taught me to face down fear and rewrite stories of victimhood.  When I see those things at work in my psyche I now have the tools to deal with them and create a new reality.

I really feel like I am living from a completely different perspective than I was living prior to my divorce.  I am very grateful for the life I have and I am truly discovering happiness every day.  I have come to love this new life that I have created and at this point in time, I really wouldn’t have it any other way .