Here’s my latest published in LA Family! August 13, 2013 … I Want to Know Why!
“There’s more to getting to where you’re going then just knowing there’s a road.”
~ Joan Lowery Nixon, In the Face of Danger
I met a woman the other day whose husband recently told her that he wants a divorce. She feels as if the carpet has been pulled out from under her, and she’s still trying to keep it all together for the sake of her kids, yet she’s fearful, angry, scared, and lonely. I remember that period and I hated it. My heart breaks for her.
We talked for a couple of hours. As you can imagine, it was a circular discussion — two steps forward, one step backward, as she tried to figure out proactively what she needed to do next, yet simultaneously becoming overwhelmed by the enormity of it all and the realization that her marriage was indeed over.
“I just want to know why.” was the one statement she kept repeating over and over. “I just want to know why he left … I just want to know what happened … I just want to know what went wrong …I just want to know when he made up his mind that he was leaving.”
I remember being in that same place of wanting answer for questions that really didn’t have concrete answers. This isn’t as simple as “Why was the baseball game canceled? Because it was storming outside,” or “Why are we not going on our family vacation? Because we spent our vacation fund putting an addition on the house.” Those questions have answers. You may not like the answers, but they are answers nonetheless.
There isn’t always such a clear answer to the “I just want to know why our marriage is over” question, and I think frequently we focus too much on trying to find that answer. We get sucked into finding an answer to that question. This woman was spending so much time searching for answers to “why” that she wasn’t moving forward with “now what.” She was at an absolute standstill. At the end of the day, the “why” was that her husband was having an affair and wanted to spend the rest of his life with the other woman, but that didn’t satisfy her need to know “why” at deeper levels. Her “whys” focused more on “why did this start, why did he keep seeing her, why did he love her more, why did he lose interest in their marriage …” and on and on.
Would it be great to have answers to all these open questions when we find ourselves faced with a marriage that is ending and a pending divorce? Yes, probably! It’s always nice to be able to tie things up in a neat little bow and have everything accounted for. Is it realistic? Absolutely not! Is it dangerous to focus on getting these answers? Most likely, yes!
I asked this woman whether anything would really change if she knew the answers to her multiple questions of “I just want to know why?” Would anything truly change if her husband were able to answer these questions? Would it make her feel better? Would it soothe the hurt that she was feeling? Or, would it simply exacerbate the situation? Would she become obsessed with finding the antidote to his reasoning? Would she lay awake rehashing what she could have / would have / should have done differently?
Sometimes we really don’t need to have the answers to every question. Sometimes we just need to move forward with faith that things will get better, and we need to spend our energy focusing on moving things forward with positive momentum. Sometimes we need to find peace in our heart to accept that we aren’t always going to understand why things happen.
I pray that this woman finds the peace to let go of her search for answers as to “why” her marriage ended. Note, this is different from asking questions to learn, improve and grow from this experience. This is different from not finding your own accountability in the process of divorce (see my prior HopeAfterDivorce.com post Accountability). This is about not becoming stuck in the search for answers to unanswerable questions to the detriment of moving forward positively. This takes time; trust me, I get that. It’s all part of the healing process. But, at some point we need to stop asking 12 levels of “why,” stop focusing on the “if only” and the “what if’,” and instead begin to focus on our own healing.
What about you? Are you stuck in the “why” zone? Are you asking questions that have no real, tangible answers? Are you at a standstill because you keep telling yourself that once you find these answers then you will be ready to move forward? Do you really believe that?
Here’s my latest post for DivorcedMoms.com … Too Nice?
“Being nice to someone you have an issue with doesn’t mean you are fake … it means someone taught you how to be polite.” ~ author unknown
“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.” ~Samuel Johnson
Is anyone dealing with the challenges of co-parenting who is told by their family or friends that they are “too nice” to the other parent/former spouse? Since when was being nice considered a negative trait? And why do people think that being unfriendly is a more productive strategy?
This is interesting to me. Sure there are hurt feelings in a divorce. That’s probably a huge understatement. In many cases, especially those involving adultery, one party typically feels incredibly violated and dishonored. It’s natural to not want to “be nice” to individuals who are disrespectful to us. And therein lies the conundrum. Since we have children together, I am going to be dealing with my ex- for the rest of my life and being mean is not going to accomplish anything positive at all.
Acting the opposite of “nice” means acting “mean.” Why in the world would I want my young kids to see me acting mean to their dad. Kids can be so black and white in their thinking. They quickly categorize things – good/bad, fun/boring, nice/mean. They don’t have the maturity to understand that some people may feel that “mean” is merited. They simply see one parent being mean to the other, and that does nothing but create guilt and confusion.
I don’t want my kids to see “mean,” and frankly “mean” is much less productive than “nice.” What’s the saying? Something like, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Being “mean” has a direct impact on the future ability of my ex- and I to make decisions and communicate about the best interests of our children. If all of our conversations are tainted with hatred, bitterness, and sarcasm, how are we going to effectively communicate about the people who are most important to us, namely, our children? Frankly, it’s stressful to be mean and condescending, and who really has the time for that?
I tell my well-meaning friends who tell me that I’m being “too nice” that being nice doesn’t mean you become a doormat and let people walk all over you. It doesn’t mean that you become a puppet at the whim of the other person. It doesn’t mean they get to take advantage of you. It does mean that regardless of what the other person has said or done, or what he will say or do moving forward, that I am going to respond with respect. If some people define that as being “too nice,” then so-be-it.
At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to picking your battles. There are times when I need to be more assertive, or more emphatic to make a point, and when I do need to go there, it’s received with more acknowledgment because every piece of communication hasn’t been rooted in “meanness.” But I’m a firm believer in the fact that even assertive and emphatic communication can still be delivered respectfully.
I’ll continue to take being “too nice” over being “too mean” as a compliment. More importantly, I’ll role-model an assertive and respectful “too nice” for my kids any day of the week.
What do you think? Have you ever been told you were “too nice?” Do you agree that “too nice” is not equivalent to “door matt?”
Here’s my latest blog post for eHarmony: What Other People Will Think
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ~ Steve Jobs
In my last post (Should You Follow Your Head or Your Heart), I talked about my friend who was falling in love with a guy she only met three months ago. Things were getting serious pretty quickly, and she felt she was walking a tight rope between following her heart (which was telling her to jump in with both feet and surrender to her emotions) and her head (which was telling her that she hasn’t known him long enough to be feeling this way).
I think my friend knew that following her heart, while not leaving her head behind, was the right answer for her situation. I think she intuitively knew that this was the right decision for her. She should move forward. She knew it was right.
But … what followed was, in my opinion, the real crux of the issue. She asked me, “But what will people think?” My response, “Who cares!?”
She was very worried about what other people might say about how quickly she was moving with this guy. Well-intentioned friends might make assumptions. People who use their head more than their heart might impose a superficial timeline of how long you should date someone before taking it to the next level. Envious friends might not be as supportive or might try to steal her joy. My friend was being cautious about introducing her “boyfriend” to others for fear of the judgments they might make about her. Ridiculous? Yes! But, also more common than we like to believe.
Why do we let what other people might think impact the decisions we make? Why should my friend care what the general masses think? Why should she be worried about what people might be saying behind her back?
I saw this recently with another friend as well. She is dating a guy and is starting to become more interested in him, but she doesn’t like how he dresses. He bought some new shoes, most likely in an attempt to please her as she is pretty fashion conscious, but “he wore them with the wrong pants.” She was really bothered by this. “So what?!,” I asked, “If he’s this great guy who is really kind, and sincere, and treats you well, who cares if he wore the wrong pants with his new shoes?” “Well,” she replied, “What will my friends think?” Again, who cares!?
I think Steve Jobs nailed it in the quote above: “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Why do we worry more about what other people will think about us, or the relationships we are in? Why don’t we focus more on what we think about our relationships and how we are being treated? We need to listen to our inner voice more and follow our intuition. We shouldn’t be doing things like entering into relationships for the approval of others. We should be doing things like entering into relationships for our own approval (and love, and joy, and all that good stuff).
What about the flip side? Are you the friend who judges and tries to impose your beliefs and ideals on someone else, or do you support them in following their heart (as long as they are bringing their head along with them)? Do you try to impose your opinion so loudly that you are successful in drowning out their inner voice?
I had to deal with some of this same stuff when I started dating my boyfriend (now husband) several years ago. Some people thought we were moving too quickly. Others thought it was “too good to be true” and cautioned me about pending disaster. Even I had some consternation about telling people how serious our relationship was becoming for fear of what they might think and say.
But, my heart knew it was right. My intuition told me to go for it. My head found nothing to reject. I had to tell certain friends that I appreciated their concern because I knew it came from a place of love, but then I also had to ask them to stop trying to “steal my joy!” That worked!
What about you? Do you worry more about what other people will think, or do you follow your own intuition? Are you a friend who is supportive or who steals others’ joy?
My latest blog post from DivorcedMoms.com … Be Strong!
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Say someone has done something that you don’t like. You get angry. You get mad. You think about it constantly. It keeps you up at night. You can’t seem to let it go. You brood about it. You may turn to vices to help you get through it. You remember every detail of the ‘infraction’ and you relive it and rehash it over and over. All this serves to do is create stress and strife in your life. It affects your health. It affects your emotions. Is it worth it?
Can you think of a similar scenario in your life? I am willing to bet you can and it has something to do with your divorce. Am I right?
You Have the Power to Forgive:
Forgiveness is a selfish act. Think about it. When YOU choose to forgive someone, it’s a decision that YOU make, and then YOU feel better. The other person doesn’t have to give YOU permission to forgive. The other person doesn’t have to accept YOUR forgiveness. YOU alone are in control of having the power to decide to forgive. How awesome is that?
People say to me, “I’m not ready to forgive yet because I don’t want that person to get away with it (whatever ‘it’ might be).” There is a popular misconception that if you forgive someone that it means he isn’t going to be held accountable for his actions. That is actually irrelevant.
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you aren’t going to hold that person accountable.
It doesn’t mean that you are going to let that person walk all over you.
It doesn’t mean that there won’t be consequences for his actions.
It does mean that you are choosing to not dwell on it every day and let anger consume your every thought.
We all know how difficult it can be to say those three little words, “I am sorry.” Anyone with children knows how difficult it can be to get one sibling to apologize to the other for the normal acts of sibling rivalry.
As parents, we also need to teach our kids a different set of three words: “I forgive you.” Our kids need to learn and understand the power of forgiveness early on so that they learn to not hold anger inside. Teaching your kids about forgiveness is an amazing gift you can role model for them. Teaching them about forgiveness by role-modeling it in the context of your own divorce (and perhaps in the context of co-parenting these same kids for which you are being a role-model).
How to Forgive:
I am repeatedly asked, “Please teach me how to forgive.” I don’t know how to do that. I wish I did. I want everyone to feel the liberation and peace that comes with forgiveness. Some people like to “own” their anger. They make it a part of their life story and frankly enjoy carrying the burden. I think that’s a crazy load to carry. I tell people that forgiveness will happen if they are open to dropping some of the anger and looking forward to the future, instead of dwelling on the past.
Arguably the best-known scholar on forgiveness is Lewis Smedes (1921-2002). Smedes was a professor of Theology and a renowned Christian author who wrote the incredibly popular book, “Forgive and Forget.” He said, “Forgiving is love’s toughest work, and love’s biggest risk. If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator. Forgiving seems almost unnatural. Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do. But forgiving is love’s power to break nature’s rule.”
A more modern-day quote on forgiveness came from Tyler Perry when he said, “It’s simple: when you haven’t forgiven those who’ve hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward.”
The power of forgiveness allows you to feel peace. It doesn’t mean you aren’t still going to face noise, trouble or hard work. It does mean you can be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.
Are you ready to forgive and start walking forward? Why not? What is stopping you? Don’t you want to be calm in your hear? It’s life-changing, and you can do it!
Here is my latest post for HopeAfterDivorce.com (April 20, 2013) …
Moving forward is often easier said than done! Finding forgiveness is often easier said than done! Focusing on the future is often easier said than done!
And, all three are imperative if you are going to get out from behind the wall of emotions that divorce brings, and move on towards whatever awaits you in your life story!
I found when I was going through my own divorce I started using the F-word. A lot. That wasn’t my natural style. But, the range of negative emotions that I found myself sorting through left me with a mouth. I was angry, hurt, sad, and back to angry again. The F-word seemed fitting.
However, I soon discovered lots of other really good F-words that were a whole lot more productive. I stopped dropping the F-bomb, and began focusing on new F-words like forgiveness and future.
I think I innately knew that getting stuck in that world of negativity and F-bombs was only hurting me, and while I fully believe in dealing with those emotions head on, I also knew that there was a time to move forward. I had a few people in my life who had gotten stuck, and decades later, it seemed as if they were still treading in that tailspin of anger and hurt. I wondered what made the difference between those who got out of the muck, and those who got stuck in it.
When I was stuck in my negativity, I had two different friends send me cards in the same week. In both cards, each friend referenced the Bible verse from Jeremiah 29:11. I wasn’t familiar with the verse, but found it resonated with me tremendously. It has become my go-to verse and says, ““For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I realized that God did indeed have a plan for me – for my future – and that my getting stuck in my present tense of negativity and swirl was going to prevent that plan from unfolding. I needed to turn my eyes to the future to embrace whatever plan lay ahead of me, and stop looking backwards. That was pivotal for me.
The other thing I realized was that finding forgiveness was absolutely necessary to moving forward and focusing on the future. Finding forgiveness was the key to getting rid of the anger and the resentment that kept me treading in one place, and allowed me to look forward and move forward with positive momentum. Forgiveness is an amazing thing. Tyler Perry said, “It’s simple: when you haven’t forgiven those who’ve hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward.” Those are some powerful words, and so incredibly true!
If you find yourself in a situation where you are dropping the F-bomb, where you are stuck in a swirl of negativity, and where you are looking backwards more than you are focusing forward, I encourage you to find new F-words. Start to move forward, find forgiveness in your heart, and focus on the plans for your future. Trust me, it’s a whole lot more invigorating to do all of that than to continue to drop the F-bombs of negativity. Who knows what your future will bring you? It could be a plan much better than one you could ever think of on your own!
Here’s my latest blog post for HopeAfterDivorce.com … I’m Sorry
Here’s my question: Why is it so difficult to say something, anything, even just an, “I’m sorry” not when we personally did anything wrong to someone else, but when that someone else is going through something difficult?
Why do some people hear of someone else going through a rough patch and decide to disappear for a while. Suddenly, they are too busy for a phone call, too busy to stop by, too busy to write a quick email!What’s going on here?
Does this look familiar? My friend, Lisa, was recently told by her company that her job was being eliminated. She has four weeks to wrap-up what she is working and transition out of her role. She understands. She’s not bitter. In fact, she has an incredibly positive attitude about the whole thing.What she is devastated by, however, are the number of “friends” she has at work who have stopped communicating with her.People whom she used to speak with daily (in person, via phone, or email) have suddenly disappeared. She hasn’t heard from them … at all. She asked me why I thought this was. All I could come up with is a comparison to my own experience when I was going through my divorce.
I found when word got out that I was going through my divorce that some people rallied around me in full force, while other friends seemed to pull back. I don’t think that old adage of “ you find out who your friends are” holds true necessarily.I don’t think that some people intentionally decide, “You don’t have a job (or a husband) anymore, and I’m not going to be your friend.” Rather, I think that some people have what I’ll call “survivor guilt.” Perhaps they wonder why you lost your job, or lost your marriage, and not them. They feel guilty talking with you and worry about complaining about how much work they have to do, or how frustrated they became with their husband last night.This seems cruel, they think, when you don’t even have a job or a husband.
I also think this group lacks a certain amount of social etiquette or emotional intelligence.They can’t quite comprehend that “ignoring” a situation doesn’t make it go away.In the case of my divorce, it wasn’t going to go away no matter how many friends chose to ignore it or ignore me. Furthermore, ignoring me in my time of “need” doesn’t make me feel any better. “Bad” things happen to people every day. We can’t ignore them and pretend they don’t exist.
I have heard people rationalize their behavior by saying, “I know I wouldn’t want to talk about it over and over again, so I’m not going to bring it up … at all!”I’ll concede that is a valid point … except there is a difference between bringing it up, acknowledging it, and moving the conversation forward to a different place, and bringing it up, belaboring it, and leading the person to a place of negativity.
What’s a person to do? What’s the right answer? Here’s my advice. When you have a friend going through a tough time, address it head-on, let them know you are here for them, then move on. Be mindful to the clues the person gives off. Do they want to talk about it, or would they rather not, and be open to either.
If a friend or co-worker has a parent who passes away, just say, “I’m sorry to hear about your mom,” and move on. If a friend or co-worker loses her job, just say, “I’m sorry to hear about your job … and I’m happy to refer you to a recruiter I know if you want an introduction,” and move on. If a friend or co-worker is going through a divorce, just say, “I’m sorry you are going through that. Please let me know if I can help you with your schedule (or something like that),” and move on.
The point is this: address it; don’t ignore it. As human beings, we want to feel connected to others. We want to feel recognized and understood. For our friends or colleagues to suddenly ignore us because of what we are going through becomes the tremendous “elephant in the room.”The consequences persist.It can become difficult to re-establish a friendship and the former level of communication without an obvious awkwardness over the gap that existed.
I think Mahatma Gandhi had some incredible things to say. This is one of them: “A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.” Don’t be a coward. Be brave. Just say those two little words, “I’m sorry,” and be a good friend, colleague and co-worker. Be capable of showing love. Let people know you are aware of what they are going through. Acknowledge it. Support them through their valley. Letting them know you are thinking of them is so much more powerful than ignoring them and the situation at hand.
What do you think? What is your experience with saying, “I’m sorry” when you have done nothing wrong?
Here is my latest article written for Womenetics.com.
Many years ago, I was climbing the corporate ladder – rapidly! I loved my role, loved supporting my client organization, loved the people with whom I worked. I had great responsibilities and teams relying on me to get things done. A normal day at the office was challenging, hectic and invigorating. Then, all hell broke loose at home when I got the news that my dad had cancer and only a few months to live.
Several years ago, I was in the midst of executing on a strategic plan to grow my business. I had just brought on two business partners. We were poised for growth, then we started to feel the rumblings of the economic downturn. We turned up the heat. We maintained our focus on generating new clients and expanding our service offerings with current clients. Then the rumblings turned into a full-scale economic downturn. Still, we pressed on. Then, all hell broke loose at home when my husband announced he was leaving me.
As women, we are used to multi-tasking, taking care of everyone else and keeping it all together professionally. But what happens when all hell is breaking loose at home? What happens in our professional world when our personal world begins to unravel?
It is so easy to lose your footing in that moment of personal crisis. Suddenly, the path on which you felt so firmly and deeply rooted becomes completely unstable. I know I felt as if I was hanging on for dear life to a rope ladder perched between two sides of a raging river. Every cliché seemed to fit. I felt as if the rug had been pulled completely from under me personally, and I felt as if all the balls I was balancing in the air in my professional world were about to come clattering to the ground.
It’s virtually impossible to separate the personal from the professional. And, as women, I think we naturally tend to carry the stress with us. It tends to consume us 24/7 as we figure out how we are going to solve the problem.
The downside is that carrying those emotions to work can interfere with our ability to execute successfully on our professional responsibilities. This can damage what may have taken us years to create. I worked for years to build my reputation and brand inside corporate America. I worked for years to build a successful and growing company. The question becomes, “What can we do to minimize the impact of all hell breaking loose at home when we are at work?”
I found I needed help with my children. When friends would say, “Let me know what I can do to help,” I would say, “It would be great if you could watch my kids for two hours while I get some errands done (or went for a run – see #1 above!). They were only too happy to be able to do something to help!
From personal experience, I can tell you that having a professional outlet can be a saving grace when all hell is breaking loose at home. It gave me something to focus on and become immersed in besides the personal problems at hand. I have witnessed other women, who don’t have this outlet, become all consumed by their chaos at home.
There is something to be said for having a professional life to add balance, add contrast and add perspective. At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping your head in the game and being where you are needed, when you are needed! Isn’t that what we do best – prioritize and juggle our competing priorities?
More from Monique Honaman:
Find out what drives Honaman, what differentiates her company from other leadership consulting firms and the best piece of advice she’s ever been given.
Is no marriage entirely “divorce-proof”? Though she’s happily remarried, Honaman offers her perspective on taking the high road during the trying process of separating from a spouse.
Honaman and her partners are redefining what “coaching” means. With their GUIDE appraoch, they give business leaders the tools to help their employees grow.
Monique Honaman is the founder of ISHR Group which provides leadership assessment, development, and coaching services to Fortune 500 clients globally. This article is based upon the book, Guide Coaching: Building Alignment and Engagement in the Workplace written by Honaman, and her two business partners, Stacy Sollenberger and Ellen Dotts. The book is schedule to be published later this year.
I am absolutely thrilled to have a guest post this week from my new friend Laura Campbell. Laura and I “met” a few months ago when we discovered we both have a passion for helping women survive, and thrive, after divorce. Laura is the founder of a really cool organization called ‘the d spot, llc’ where she consults as a divorce and life reinvention expert with a tagline of “helping women regroup, renew and reinvent themselves before, during and after divorce.” How cool is that? Check out Laura’s website at www.discoverthedspot.com and her blog at www.discoverthedspot.com/blog. Like me, Laura is also a contributor for The Huffington Post, and the author of “The Ultimate Divorce Organizer: The Complete, Interactive Guide to Achieving the Best Legal, Financial, and Personal Divorce.”
Love this post that Laura wrote for High Road Less Traffic!
Bringing Sexy Back After Divorce
Do you know where your D Spot is? Better yet, do you even know what the D Spot is?
When I first began my business, I defined the D Spot as the point at which your divorce ends and your destiny begins.
Awesome, right? I love this definition and all of the principles I speak, teach and write about as well as coach clients with are built on its foundation.
However, I have recently begun to add-on to this definition as I don’t feel that it speaks strongly enough to the beauty, excitement and seduction of the journey during and after divorce.
As I move along my own journey through and after divorce, I am reminded all the time that the D Spot is far more than that. The D Spot is really about creating a sexy, juicy life as you move forward after divorce.
It is the spot within you that may have lay dormant during your marriage and even immediately following, and is now ready to reclaim its position in your life.
The D Spot is the place within you that you sometimes pretend isn’t there. That piece of you that wants to do, be and experience things that you tell yourself you don’t deserve, and can’t have. It is also the piece of you that knows what you really want…and that you CAN have it all.
As you move through and after divorce, you will find yourself on a journey to discover your D Spot. The authenticity of who you are…the reality of what you want. This is at the core of what your new life will look like and will become the foundation on which it is built. It is the force within you that wants to play, touch, feel and experience uninhibited joy, desire and fulfillment.
It is possible that along this journey you will feel the greatest discomfort. However, with this discomfort will come your greatest growth.
The key is to focus your attention and energy on what will be instead of what was. Take a few minutes to reflect on who you really are at your core…who you know you are meant to be! To all of the things that make you feel good, that make you giggle, that make you feel sexy, silly and strong.
You are meant to and CAN live a happy, healthy, juicy, sexy, vibrant, exciting, passionate, meaningful, curious and colorful life!
So, let me ask again…do you know where your D Spot is? What would it mean if you found it?!
Laura Campbell, CEO and founder of The D Spot, LLC, www.discoverthedspot.com, is dedicated to helping women regroup, renew and reinvent themselves before, during and after divorce. She is a Divorce Expert and Life Reinvention Consultant, and the author of The Ultimate Divorce Organizer: The Complete, Interactive Guide to Achieving the Best Legal, Financial, and Personal Divorce. Laura helps women in transition manage their emotions, face their financial situation, and create balance in their life to maintain a healthy mind, body and soul. Through her support and guidance, women maintain the highest level of performance in both their personal and professional lives. Laura believes every woman deserves to be the champion of her own destiny and live an extraordinary life.
Please join me this Friday, January 21! Ellen Love and I will be co-facilitating “Relationship Roadmaps: honest advice on the path through love and divorce” at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta from 9:30AM – 2:30PM. The registration fee includes all workshop materials, Ellen’s book, my book, and lunch.
To register, simply visit:
We are both so excited to lead this session and have some great, intense, eye-opening, and hopefully life-changing dialogue about relationships, forgiveness, and finding happiness and intention in our lives …whether in a relationship that’s hitting some bumps, divorcing, divorced, or who knows what else! I’ve attached the link to the flyer above.
As posted in The Huffington Post on December 23, 2010:
Last year was the first time I woke up on Christmas morning and didn’t have my kids with me. It sucked. Nothing else I can say about it. That pretty much sums it up. When I became a parent, I certainly didn’t intend to spend any Christmas morning away from my kids … not for years and years … perhaps not until they were on their own, married, and balancing that careful dance of compromise of where to spend the holidays. But life happens, and as it happened, I found myself ‘kidless’ last Christmas morning.
I distinctly recall waking up and thinking how quiet it was. The kids hadn’t barged into my room at 5:30 a.m. asking if it was too early to get up and race downstairs to see if Santa had arrived. I missed that. I got a little sad. I got a little angry.
And then I thought to myself, “You can choose to be sad and angry and have a bad day, or you can accept the hand you’ve been dealt and carry on.” I think Groucho Marx said it better when he said, “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
I decided I was going to take my Christmas Day and be happy in it. I could have grumbled and moaned all day about the unfairness of not having my kids on Christmas Day, and when I’m honest, I do still think it’s unfair, but I also know that life doesn’t always appear to be fair. I’m blessed and fortunate. I have been able to spend every single Christmas Day of my entire life with my mom. That’s over 40 Christmas Days if you’re counting! My daughter will never be able to say the same thing. Through circumstances beyond her control, she stopped spending every single Christmas Day with her mom at age 10.
And so it goes. No, it’s not fair for my kids to be punished and not be able to spend Christmas Day with both of their parents. It’s not fair for their father not to be able to spend every Christmas Day with them. Frankly, my mother doesn’t think it’s fair either. Since her grandkids have been born, she has spent every Christmas with “us.” Now, through no fault of her own, every other year, that “us” doesn’t include her grandchildren. No, life isn’t always fair. But, we have to learn to roll with the punches and make the most of each day and just “be happy in it.”
This Christmas morning, I will be awakened by my kids (hopefully not at 5:30 a.m.) wondering if Santa has arrived. They actually don’t believe in Santa anymore, but still, it’s all part of the tradition. And, while some traditions have had to change since our divorce, others still remain the same. For example, my mom will be here; we’ll start with the stockings; we’ll take a breakfast break half-way through openings the gifts; and Santa always brings underwear!
The positive attitude side of me relishes knowing that we are also creating new traditions to be cherished. The realistic side of me realizes that those traditions will remain intact only until such time that life evolves and those traditions so too come to an end. And so the cycle continues!