Saturday, 9 April 2016

Taking Responsibility For Your Divorce?

Are you taking responsibility for your divorce? 

Recently I have found myself in the company of several couples whose marriages are not so happy .... they haven’t been happy for a long time. 

As good married couples they have trundled along...through the the long sleepless deprived stage of small children and mortgage payments, career influence and possible mid-life crises. This all interspersed with sporadic extra efforts, be it in the marital bedroom or maybe kitchen, 'team together' life happenings and well ... just because, well, being with someone you know and are unhappy with is easier and less scary than leaving.... 

And so my question is this... 

To what level of unhappiness, loneliness and I am sad to say, abuse, do we each tolerate in order to see this unsatisfying life of ours through?  What is acceptable to us as couples, that we give ourselves an easier, permissible acceptance to be miserable, lonely and at times sexually frustrated that we stay in such legal agreement? And surely if we are feeling this, are not our partners on some level feeling the same?  

Why then is there such surprise when that clear divorce gunshot rings out of the marital blue?  At what point do we start to take some personal responsibility for the demise of our relationship? Is it easier surely, to vilify ourselves by apportioning blame elsewhere for our failure to truly prescribe to the sanctified promise of forever?  Is it not right and proper that we equally take responsibility for our personal actions, thoughts and conduct whilst in our marriage? 

So is it the sadness of disappointment, the inability to take responsibility for the end of a marriage or the easier blame game that makes it so hard for so many to forgive and move on?  At what point did we choose to ignore our inner voice nudging us to pull our socks up, to work less, spend less, laugh more, kiss more…. the list of infinite life possibilities…. 

Forgiveness

In mindfulness there is the idea that you can forgive the person, but their actions are borne out of how they are feeling at the time. You know them to be a good person so is it not worth looking at why the marriage has ended? Could it be that your partner's actions were due to unhappiness, loneliness or simply that they had fallen out of love? If this is the case, is our extraordinary life worth time with someone who feels this way?  

So I hear cries of what about the children? Yes the children... I agree - so what about our responsibility as a committed married couple who are able to show our children how we can laugh, hug, kiss and talk to each other? Rather than comfortably letting the children be the no-man's land buffer zone for those that cannot speak or make love, cherish or respect each other any more? 

So with cries of incredulity and pain, fear and guilt that the marital horse has bolted, are we ready yet to begin to take responsibility?

Who are we most angry with? 

Anon
Is it our marital other, a third party or is it ourselves? Are we prepared to have a look? To understand those decisions we made for the long days or nights worked, forfeiting time snuggling down with our loved one for financial gain. Or wishing we had worn our birthday sexy underwear a little more, or not chosen to live our lives through our children so we did not need to look at the up close and personal reality?  

Marriage is hard, we have the good times and the bad times, for the majority it balances out, for so many though the scales silently do dip to a private undeniable low. How then can we move on if we choose to continue standing blameless, but so wounded, waving the pained victim flag or self-righteous pointy finger at everyone but ourselves?
  
It is HARD having a closer look at ourselves...
 


It’s brutal, thinking we were so assuming that our marriage vows were water tight when so clearly they were not.  

Personally looking at the marital breakdown, it is ultimately taking responsibility for our part of the process.  It’s the jolt life hands to us sometimes, as our wake up call of what we need to look at in ourselves, be it setting boundaries, acceptance, self-worth, inner peace, truth, happiness, intuition….


Maybe tough food for thought …. and with it a wonderful poem....

With love x

PICK MORE DAISIES

If I had my life to live over again,

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax.
I’d limber up.
I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances,
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones.
you see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane,
hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments.

If I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else- just moments,
one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live my life over,

I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances,
I would ride more merry-go-rounds,
I would pick more daisies.


– Nadine Stair 85 years old

Friday, 25 March 2016

Easter Bunny Has Spring in Her Divorced Step

Reasons to be cheerful on a wet afternoon waiting for my children to return home, school’s out and I am writing a blog... yayyyy, I have Easter eggs a plenty for my children in the cupboard and thoughts of spring sunshine and the beauty of nature’s seasonal revealing is to behold.... 

So where am I going with this one ... it is about the post-divorce spring in our step, the sky being blue beyond the clouds, the bouncing back point that happens when you are ready .... and doesn't it take some time after our relationships and marriages have ended? 

So like the cold, hard unforgiving frost that finally relents on those dark winter dawns giving way to the bright, crisp and sunshine filled mornings, we begin to pick ourselves up ... as so ably demonstrated by my beautiful spring daffodils in these photos here - 2 hours of magic sunshine!


And the thing is, we humans aren’t really that much different... it doesn't take much for us to feel a little better. Be it a stranger’s kind smile, great customer service or the delight in the new buds poking their fluffy noses out of their winter protection.  With a little kindness we can all of a sudden have our little inner funny back with a belly laugh or that warm fuzzy feeling… it’s those little touches of sunshine in our lives that make the difference to tough days, grey days and days touched with world news sadness. 

Is it not a time to show each other the joy and gratitude that comes with being blessed with a little love, gentleness and perhaps a little chocolate to help us all grow richer in community, support and with love for each other …. 

Spring for me is about growth, new seeds, change and opportunities to just 'let go' of the greyer, more incumbent parts of lives, the winter layers of protection.  Fresh mornings, clearer thoughts, breathing, meditating helps us leave the anxious and fearful ruminations, the worries and the “what ifs” and allowing ourselves to be more present.

Divorce is a seasonal plant in many ways beginning with its summer of unexpected disappointments and discontent.  The storms, the washouts or the unexpected languishing in hot sunshine until the decision of autumnal shedding of the tired, faded and letting go of the marital rings begins to draw in. To the winter of discontent, the facing of our inner fears, reality and darkness maybe coupled with anger, bitterness and grief.  

Moving on to the next stage of a new life awakening, being in the present with acceptance, rather than resignation of what life holds is an incredibly powerful tool. And if we divorcees finally ‘get it’ we do become spring like, venturing out gingerly, perhaps a little fearful of those unexpected spring frosts that come along and send us back a few steps on our newly found life path.  We then wait a while until the sun begins to melt our outer frostiness, we raise our expectant excited cheeks a little higher towards the sun, feeling the birdsong of spring excitement in our nervous ‘learning to fly’ once again hearts… 

Since my marriage ended Spring has indeed become my most favourite season, I feel very bouncy, alive and open to the changes that this growing season gives me… 

I am looking forward to our Easter weekend, celebrating with my children, my love, friends and family, hunting for chocolate eggs, eating and dining, laughing and thankful for the joy and growth that is in my life.....

Happy Easter everyone x

Saturday, 5 March 2016

A Mother's Day Perspective After Divorce

Photo from Yours Tastefully
As a Mum of two beautiful, funny and generous hearted children Mother's Day this year has something a little different coming up for us.... we are here together, our little gang of three and this year we are not just celebrating me....

These little people are the part of Mother's Day which is the melt in the mouth butter icing royale on the cake of 'Mum's' lives..... with the rainbow layers, children bring with pure hearted goodness.

For me, Mother's Day is a celebration of all our complicated little intricacies we have as a mum with our children, which is the interwoven emotional tapestry of extraordinary love... from the moment children enter our lives....

As Kahlil Gibran wrote... 

"Your children are not your children. 
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. 
They come through you but not from you, 
And although they are with you yet they belong not to you.       

You give them your love but not your thoughts, 
For they have their own thoughts, 
You may house their bodies but not their souls, 
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. 
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. 
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.  
You are the bows from which your children are living arrows are sent forth.  
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. 
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; 
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.  

My lovely children have helped me be the Mum I am today and on Mother's Day, we three will celebrate with loving kindness the gift of each other, to each other ....

This blog is with love, support and honouring all those wonderful,strong, incredible hearted women in the world who are 'Mothers', who have had mums, who miss their mums and as a reminder to those who forget ....to call your mums often...

With grace and love to you all xxxx

Friday, 26 February 2016

Judging the Judged - Is Divorce Really the "Scourge of Society?"

So I wanted to write about an opportunity I had a couple of weeks ago of joining (in the Green Room and then on a BBC studio sofa) an esteemed and honoured gentleman of ex legal profession and spearheading an organisation in support of marriage...

I have found myself pondering the ever so judgemental "Divorce is the scourge of society" line this gentleman has adopted... and decided I needed to put fingers to the keys so to speak ....So here are my thoughts as a letter to the said Gentleman...

Dear Sir

Thank you for being the face of an institution supporting marriage and helping me to feel so much better about the 16 years or so that I was married. I feel better for knowing I have been in the good, the well behaved and responsible collective and realise my existence there for so long especially in this time of 'divorceness' does indeed merit recognition. 

Happily and with a healthy degree of self preservation I would like you to be aware that I ticked the "good girl" box, by working hard at my marriage, attending many sessions of marriage counselling, read lots of positive “You Can Do It” books on marriage and made huge life changes to absorb and calm the potential divorce storm on the horizon.  As well in support of my continued belief to be kind, adult and helpful throughout my divorce I have written a heartfelt blog sharing my experiences and thoughts to help others, their children, families and "society". I made a deliberate intention to not let those influential in the divorce world guide me down the path of pain and messy family fallout, but to seek supportive legal advice and mediation thus avoiding a court case. 

So where am I going with this ....  I listened to your words that seemed to come so easily to you. You of all people having overseen so much pain, distress and anger over the years as a judge in a family court?  The divorcing "scourge" being down there apparently with tobacco, alcohol and goodness knows what else of societal grubbiness and disorder that the good financial tax payers of the UK are shoring up....Did you think the analogy of taxable "unhealthy" substances would be truly helpful when applied to the "appalling problem" of divorce in our society?  I feel a right VAT'ing on my head in the next budget .... 

This brings me on to definitions of the word "scourge"....Are we as divorcees, a section of society, now regrouped to embody those that cause 'great trouble'? Or as scourge was quoted elsewhere, as being 'devastation similarly to war'? 

Do you not think that we, our children and families have not had enough taste of destruction in our lives and marriages before we even are shown through to the well-used "appalling problem" Room 101? 

I would suggest that sadly as divorce is a steadily growing state of affairs, perhaps instead of throwing an unhelpful gauntlet into such a well-attended battlefield, building a more constructive divorce acknowledgement office would be better suited. One with even more supportive and forgiving measures to really prevent further divorce battle crises developing. Rather than standing in your safe foundational place lobbing in the judgemental grenades to really ramp up the guilt and shame...

What I do know Sir, is that marriage is a good institution for so many, whilst it works. As with all good things they can indeed frequently come to an end in life. Why marriages fail is not always about the lack of fortitude of the couples who are separating. It can be due to life pressures such as a lonelier society, modern financial 'strappings' and working commitments that our fragile and precious lives are interspersed with - as you may appreciate.

I would like to add that none of us are infallible to what life throws up and we do not consciously set out to be a source of any such expensive and sad problem.  We are humans, just finding our way for the most part of our lives with a one size fits all guide book. We are all responsible for our actions and divorce never ever leaves you, whether you return to a marriage with the same person as was shown by the lovely lady on the sofa with us.... or not.

With kindness...

video
Natasha x