Q & A: Divorce and Separation: Dealing with Disillusionment

Q. “I’m struggling with trying to understand how my husband was not the man I thought he was. His family is also really disillusioned with him. How can this happen to someone? How did I miss so much?”

A. Divorce can really warp your sense of reality. One day you’re madly in love with someone, planning your future, starting a family and deciding what you’ll do together in your golden years. Then there’s the day where you might be standing in your lawyer’s office, signing legal documents about asset division and child custody, wondering “Who the heck is this person I was married to?”

The disillusionment and disbelief you’re feeling is something many people who are separated or divorced is quite common. Sometimes you see the relationship failing, or you might be the person who initiated the divorce. But coming to grips with no longer being in an intimate, lifelong relationship with your spouse brings up all kinds of questions. How can someone I thought I loved turn out to be like this? How can it be that I missed all these signs, or had poor judgment to begin with? How do I make sure I don’t get blindsided and disappointed like this again?

The first tip I recommend to you is that love, life and relationships will always have many twists and turns. Your logical mind can easily get stuck into a repetitive loop trying to understand your ex-husband and have his actions and choices “make sense.” The truth is that sometimes things don’t make sense. People can be duplicitous, deceptive or even irrational. It can happen in the workplace just as easily in your matrimonial home. But pouring your time and energy into trying to figure out the emotional wiring of someone else is not going to get you any clarity that will make a difference for you in the long run.

The second tip is to lovingly and with a lot of compassion for yourself start to harvest the wisdom of your marriage breakup. It is so important to take the time to reflect on what we’ve learned from our past challenges so we can grow and make more aligned and empowering choices in the future. There are a lot of resources to help you choose the thrive after divorce and harvest your wisdom in my award-winning Divorce Resource Kit.

Here are a few questions to help you reflect on the soul curriculum lessons that are here for you to learn. Were there signs of incompatibility that you missed or tried to deny? Where did you stay silent, disconnect or simply tolerate any feelings that your marriage was under some stress? Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently in future relationships? Be patient and very gentle as you do these pieces of what I call “emotional homework” and you’ll start to feel more clear and grounded as you dig into it.

I wish you all the best!

Find Your Flow: 5 Life Lessons from the Dance Studio

“You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.”

Martha Graham

So you think you can dance?

Do you realize we are dancing every day? How we engage and interact with life is really a dance that shows up everywhere – in our relationships, with our clients, with our children, with our issues.

Are you in the flow of life? Or are you getting your toes stomped or being a wallflower?

Dancing is a great metaphor for how to tap into our divine flow and energy. Apply these 5 lessons and watch how your moves on the dance floor of life and business starts to shift!

Dancing has always been something I enjoyed as entertainment. Seeing the grace, strength and artistry of ballet continues to amaze me. But I never thought of myself as a dancer. Being a tall girl in grade school, a head higher than most of my peers until later in high school, I felt fairly clunky and awkward with my gangly limbs.

I decided to stretch my comfort zone and embrace my love of music and movement by taking a world music dance class. We dance to the music of African tribes, South American villages and contemporary music. Not only has it been a lot of fun, but it’s proved to be a great metaphor for creating success in life and business too!

Here are 5 lessons I learned in the dance studio that can help you find your flow and express your fullest, most joyful self!

Lesson 1 – Break Things Down

What may look effortless on the dance floor starts with breaking things down into individual steps. The polished and powerful performance is the results of hours and hours of practice, effort and commitment.

Sometimes we sabotage ourselves by thinking we should already know how to handle tragedy, or have a difficult conversation, or run a business. Start from where you are right now.  Break things into bite-sized, actionable choices you can make immediately.

Lesson 2 – Don’t Overthink Things

Thinking about changing your life in some way won’t happen if you overthink things. Pondering how to enjoy more love, money or peace in your life won’t happen until you take action. Getting concerned about whether you are doing it “right” or if others will approve just blocks your flow.

Getting out on the dance floor of your life, clunky and awkward, is where you’ll experience the polishing that helps you discover talents and strengths you may never have known you had.

Lesson 3 – Let Your Spirit Move You

Dancing and other forms of creative expression are such a great way to have your creative, intuitive side partner up with your linear, analytic side of your brain. Immersing yourself in the dance will allow you to bust some moves that are part of your signature style. For example, before you sit down to have that difficult conversation with someone you might know exactly what you want to say. But you need to stay present to what is happening in the moment of the conversation itself, so you can truly listen, respond and create a solution to the conflict. Structure is great to get you started, but tapping into your own spirit and wisdom is where the magic happens.

Lesson 4 – Be Willing to Laugh

Life is too short to take everything, including ourselves, so seriously. The wall-to-wall mirror in the dance studio offers me glimpses of all of me –the dorky beginner, the lithe graceful dancer, the goofball, the committed student doing her best to learn a new move. Having a sense of humor when we take on a challenge or hit a bump in the road keeps us on the dance floor.

Lesson 5 – Celebrate the Stretch

One thing I love most about live performances, particularly dance or theater, is that the performers are giving it their all. They are spreading their wings and celebrating the stretch. Their blood, sweat and tears are right there for the audience to see.

The stretch isn’t comfortable as we are literally lengthened toughened sinews and muscles in our body. But out of the stretch, we get more mobility, flexibility and strength that can last a lifetime.

Leave a Legacy: 3 Ways You Can Make a Difference Today

Debbie Ford, one of my formative teachers and the woman who trained me to be a coach, passed away at the shockingly young age of 57. While she had been battling cancer for a few years, hearing that she had succumbed was nonetheless a shock to me. She was such a vibrant woman.

Debbie shared wisdom that impacted millions around the world through her books, courses and workshops. When I first met Debbie I was in the midst of a divorce and all the emotional and logistical upheaval that is part of that process. For several years I trained as a Master Coach and eventually helped to train coaches in her organization.

Her passing raises some important questions for all of us.

What legacy do you wish to leave behind?

What would be possible if you lived each day as if it was your last?

Mortality isn’t a popular subject, yet it’s an inevitable part of our journey.

After all, planning to leave something behind implies that you’re no longer here. This thought doesn’t make most of us comfortable, but it is a reality…

Debbie Ford made a difference in the lives of others. That someone so vibrant, fiery and committed to helping people find their own wholeness would suddenly fall silent seemed incomprehensible to me.

Yet Debbie Ford has left a very rich legacy behind her. There is tangible proof of the difference she has made in so many ways –  with her dedicated coaches, her staff, the people whose lives she touched in ways large and small, and with her son. I feel the difference she made in my life every day, and I am eternally grateful to her for that.

Life is indeed precious. To make your choices each day with a healthy appreciation for the gift of having one more day on the planet adds an urgency and context to the piddly, day-to-day distractions than can entangle us. Choosing to live life full-out helps set your priorities, drop the doubt and fear, and makes it easier to muster up the courage to go after your dreams and make a difference to others.

Whether you want to make a difference by becoming a world-renowned author and teacher, or by raising loving and responsible children, the world yearns for the difference only YOU can make. By following these 3 strategies, you can get started on leaving your legacy right now.

1.    Know Your Heart’s Bottom Line

What is truly important to you? What are your core values that drive you and have you willing to take a stand? When you tap into your heart’s bottom line, you ignite your passion. Feeling your passion, values and truth allows people to feel you and be moved by you. It is not about the information you are here to share, but leaving a legacy is about the vibrational impact you have on others that inspires them to shift their perspective and make a different choice for their highest good.

2. Feel Your Burning Why

Having a vision that inspires and motivates you is important to helping you get through the daily challenges and setbacks that are an inevitable part of life. Having a burning why gives you the fuel to keep going when you want to quit or coast. For Debbie Ford, a single mom, her son was her motivation to go out and help others learn to heal their inner wounds.

3.      Take One Bite at a Time

To leave a legacy doesn’t require you to become a best-selling author, public figure or Hollywood star. You can make a difference today by offering a smile to a stranger in the check-out line, or giving your child an extra word of encouragement. You can leave a legacy by choosing compassion for yourself instead of criticism.

Don’t let your ego minimize the difference you make when it judges your dreams as inconsequential or not big enough. If each of us consistently took one small step every day to commit to living with love and peace within ourselves we would melt away the violence and struggles that challenge our society.