“True love is us being in love with life and sharing it with other people, but not [being] dependent on them.”- Rudi Kennard
If you're curious how in the world those two words could ever possibly be in the same sentence, read on.
When many of us think about divorce the image of an episode of Judge Judy often comes to mind. We envision two people in a high-conflict, high-stress battle of the egos characterized by anger, judgement, and blame.
This is such a pervasive story and experience in our culture that it is likely you have real-world experience to back this up: maybe you have witnessed a difficult divorce within your own family or saw a friend go through a similar process with their ex.
But what if divorce didn't have to look and feel this way?
In fact, as we will see, intention backed by the power of inspiration does have the power to transform even the experience of separation and divorce.
An inspired divorce is the potential to move through the transition period of separation and divorce with grace, innovation, and imagination.
Often the inspired separations and divorces I see involve mutually beneficial terms and actually allow for reflecting on possible solutions that will truly be most helpful for everyone involved including the children. (Even though many parents cite their reasons for doing things are the children…what I actually see is that many people use children as a way to get back at their ex, although they would never admit this).
Inspired divorce is a frame from which divorce is not the end of something, rather an evolution of the relationship between two people. It is a rejuvenation of sorts, a fresh experience with the potential for deep learning to take place that can then springboard one or both of the partners into an invigorated and enlivened future
Don’t get me wrong, parts of the divorce experience are painful. It may seem unbearable at times. It may feel like the sadness or anger will never subside and the world will never feel right again.
But let’s explore people who have found peace even within the storm of divorce.
Here are three ways, the intention of inspired, has actually manifested in the lives of real people who have experienced a divorce.
Scenario A. Experiencing peace of mind, even amidst a high-conflict divorce.
After five years in court, Jeanne's ex husband keeps finding a new reason to sue her every year. In her state, it is possible for an ex-partner to continue bringing up claims against the other, as long as he or she continues to pay for the lawsuits.
Jeanne’s ex even took her to court one year on her birthday!
Most of us are mortified at this thought. We imagine what it would be like to be Jeanne and our hearts ache for her.
Yet, when you listen to Jeanne speak about her experience, she speaks from a place of deeper understanding. Inspired insight and living is so much a part of her daily living that she no longer relates to herself as a victim. It's quite simple she said, “Nothing is worth giving up my state of mind for. Nothing is worth giving up my wellbeing.”
That deep and inspired insight has become a beacon through which Jeanne and her two daughters are thriving, even in the midst of high-conflict proceedings.
For, did I also mention that during this 5 year period, Jeanne has built a 6 figure business, is a volunteer mediator, and has raised two beautiful and healthy children? Not too mention dealing with two different family members experiencing bouts with cancer during the same time frame?
Jeanne's case is inspirational, as many people in similar circumstances commonly experience continual depression, anxiety, high-stress, sleepless nights, or at the very least, harbor immense anger when dealing with such a high-conflict divorce on top of all the other logistics of living.
Jeanne reports that she was able to have her human experience and still feel connected to a wellbeing that is always available to us.
Jeanne realized her own inner power. She connected to her own capacity for inspiration and divine insight.
Scenario B. Still loving your ex even though you don't want to get back together with him or her.
“I have been able to move apart from him, but been able to fall in love with him in a whole new way. That has been amazing. So, [I am able] to say to the children that I still love Daddy….completely, truthfully, that I still love Daddy and being able to share with them that we would have two happy homes, instead of one half-happy home. [I am] able to get along with him in a way that is so much more than I could have ever hoped for.” – Julie Tant
Julie speaks about the clarity and ease with which she experienced her own divorce. The conversation was a simply one to which she stated to her now ex-husband, “I don't want to be sad anymore.” Then, the necessary logistics were figured out and Julie is experiencing a deeper, more inspired relationship with her husband now than when they were living under the same roof.
Here is the power of insight at work. The impact of taking inspired action. Julie's family has crafted a solution and living situation that works perfectly for them.
What could be better than that? It’s frankly, awesome.
Scenario C. “My ex and I are good friends. The way we relate to one another now is the most effective it has ever been in our lives.”
Frank was initially shocked when his wife came to him one day and stated she didn't want to be together anymore.
However, the guiding voice inside of him knew enough that it was important to let himself experience whatever emotions he had as they bubbled up.
He recounted one particularly difficult day where all the painful memories: his mistakes and his regrets, as well as the immense sadness that he could never be with his wife and children in the same way again hit him all at once. He happened to be only 2 hours into an 8 hour work shift. So, he did what he had done for most of his adult life, he stifled the painful feelings. He pulled himself up by the bootstraps and “grinned and beared” it.
When he got out from work, he reported that he was a wreck. He felt the most out of control he had ever felt in his life.
He had thoughts of wanting to drive his car off the road. Again, an inspired insight struck him that he should pull over.
He did. Then he let go. He sobbed uncontrollably. He stated it was the worst pain he had felt in his life and then, oddly enough, he told me that he experienced a peak performance moment right then and there.
In retrospect, he said this shocked him. Peak performance is usually associated with being in flow, a state of mental euphoria. Abraham Maslow in 1964, described peak experiences as “rare, exciting, oceanic, deeply moving, exhilarating, elevating experiences that generate an advanced form of perceiving reality, and are even mystic and magical in their effect upon the experimenter.” (Encyclopedia of Psychology, 1998 Edition)
What is so remarkable about this account is that Frank experienced a peak performance moment in the midst of great pain. That experience became the catalyst for healing and moving forward.
He now states that his wife and him are good friends still, that their communication is the best it has ever been, and that they work better as a parenting unit now.
So, how are the scenarios above possible?
(Aren't these cases just flukes?)
In my work and research with couples, I have seen common themes emerge which create a healthy platform from which the intention of inspired relationships can thrive from.
A common theme I hear when speaking with people who have experienced inspiration even in the midst of divorce is that it is not the end per se, rather an evolution of the relationship.
Here are five things that seem to separate those I speak with who experience immense resilience in the face of divorce from those who are still struggling with anguish, bitterness, resentment, or regret.
1. They experience their emotions fully.
Every person in this article allowed themselves to experience their emotions without trying to constantly manage, numb, control, or escape their feelings (at least, most of the time–they are human after all). I can't help but be curious if it was their lack of making so much meaning out of feeling bad that allowed the negative emotions to pass so quickly?
2. They acknowledge the stillness in spite of…
This can be tricky to articulate, but all of the case examples in this article when I interviewed them, they spoke of feeling a peaceful presence even when they were feeling at their absolute worst. It is like a wiser part of them knew they would get through this.
3. They know other people do not dictate their happiness.
This is huge! Each person understood deeply that their experience of happiness, love, and healing is generated inside themselves. This could be a reason why they were more resilient to the actions of their exes and could establish more effective communication channels when it was appropriate to do so.
4. They stopped pulling memories through time or replaying their expectations for the future.
Each person stated that there was a time when he or she did dwell on the past. They also experienced sadness when thinking about what the relationship could have been. Yet, invariably, every person at some point saw that reliving the past or focusing on their shattered expectations was not relevant to solving their real-world, present-day problems. They saw the connection between what they were thinking in the moment and how they were feeling. Whatever they thought…good, bad, or indifferent…they noticed they would experience a corresponding feeling immediately. Every time. No exceptions.
5. Willingness to be open to the unknown and to learn something new.
Essentially, there was an air of humility in each person I spoke with. Throughout each person's journey through separation and divorce, he or she realized that he or she didn't have all the answers. They all acknowledged at times, they had no idea what to do next. Instead of being afraid of that, they leaned into it and let their creative intuition guide them to do new things, take different actions, read different books, and essentially learn new things about the human experience.
Here is the truth behind this entire article though. There is nothing inherently special about Jeanne, Julie, or Frank. Even though I categorized their actions into five themes that promote a more inspiring lifestyle, the potential for inspired insight is available to every single human being on this planet. Insight, i.e. the capacity for fresh thought, is a birthright of being human.
With that in mind…
What area(s) of your life could you create an inspired intention for? Is it relationships or some other “sticky” area that you'd like to see transform?