In 2022, I became an international bestselling co-author. The book, Reclaiming Your Midlife Mojo, a woman’s anthology, was published by Inspired Living Publishing. There were 23 authors, of which I am one. I want to share that story with you today. I trust this will land with you as needed and give you more insight into who I am and why I do what I do.
The title of the story is Holy Moments:
**The giant door closed behind me as I stepped into the sunlit Barnes & Noble store. Scanning the shelves, I spot the book I am looking for—a recommendation from a friend. But something else catches my eye. Tentatively, I slide Spiritual Divorce by Debbie Ford off the shelf. I’d never thought of divorce as spiritual. It’s been eighteen months since my divorce; I should be over it. I buy the book and head home.
On the drive, I replay that painful last good-bye. Standing in the shadows, arms around each other, the familiar warmth of our bodies pressed against one other. I was relieved to call it quits. Nevertheless, as we parted, I felt my life rip into before and after. I held myself together, not wanting to let go, knowing I must. I fought back tears. Finality pressed against my chest as the door closed on thirty-five years of life together.
I also was closing the door on all those years putting everyone else first and setting my dreams aside, thinking I was selfish. I believed I was wrong to want them. I had everything: good husband, beautiful children, house, career. The dream. I should be happy. What is wrong with Me?
As my children left home, I began dusting off those dreams. At fifty-two, I returned to college to complete my degree. I started volunteering and created a community of friends who are open and curious. The more expansive I felt, the more I did things I longed for, the further apart my husband and I drifted.
At home now, I made tea and curled up on the couch with my new book. I wanted more than anything to feel whole again. As I read the introduction, I sobbed. “Divorce is a holy moment.” I’m challenged to see the gift.
My daughter is angry with me that I left her dad. My family seems indifferent to what I’m feeling. They invite my ex to a family gathering, but no one asks how I feel about it. How is this holy? Feeling lost and alone, I pretend to be okay.
Pretending is what I’m good at. I was a little girl with big emotions: smart, curious, and logical. I grew up with violence, lots of anger, and a mandate to be nice. I’d always felt different, beyond my parent’s ability to manage or understand. “Because I said so,” and “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about,” silenced my questions and feelings.
Wrong and shut down, I learned to pretend. I focused on pleasing others to avoid blame, shame, and punishment. If I could just be what they wanted, then they’ll love me. Stuffing my anger deep inside, I believed I didn’t matter. The oldest of five children, I was often left to watch my siblings while mom ran errands. When things went wrong, and they did, I was blamed. “You should know better.” It seemed my family only loved me when I was good, nice, and compliant.
As I continued reading my new book, I journaled feverishly, coming face to face with this part of me: The pretender. Pleasing. Nice. Perfect. Trying so hard never to disappoint anyone—all to avoid the pain of rejection. I began to see the pattern. Divorce is bad. I am bad. I failed to be perfect and get it right. My deepest fear is that no one will love me. This is a holy moment.
I am blessed by this divorce. I keep repeating these words again and again through the tears. I realized I am just beginning to grieve this divorce. No more pretending. Now the observer of my life, I see how each step on my life’s path has led me here, to this moment of self-insight and understanding I had no idea was available to me until now.
I journaled my life backwards. If not for divorce, I would not know these pieces of myself that have longed to be loved and accepted. I would not be reframing divorce or my life, questioning everything I’ve believed about myself until this moment. I read the chapter on forgiveness. It felt so hard letting go of blame and forgiving myself for wanting more than I believed I was worthy of.
Slowly, I touched the anger buried deep in my bones. I allowed myself to scream and punch pillows. I wrote angry letters, then forgiveness letters. I burned them all in the fire of freedom and self-worth. I surrendered to the moment and invited curiosity back into my life. Peace took the place of anger as I found myself in between who I was and who I am becoming. Becoming seems possible now as I allow compassion for the one person I have neglected most of my life: Me.
Over the next couple of months, I ride the waves of grief and possibility. I grieved the woman I was and celebrated her strength and beauty. I mustered the courage to find my way back to me. I embraced that curious, sensitive little girl and honored the strength it took to navigate her life situation. She brought me to this moment of self-acceptance.
I’ve come to see all of my life as a gift. Every moment, a holy moment. Now, instead of asking, “Why me?”, I ask more empowered questions of myself. “Does this choice or action support the life I want to live? “or “Who do I want to be, and is this in integrity with that version of myself?” I trust my intuition and choices. No matter the outcome, I know I have my own back. I no longer shame or blame myself for anything. When those feelings come up, I slow down and feel. I curiously seek the wisdom of my body to guide me, knowing I am safe to meet my needs. It is safe to be me.
I give myself permission to be the “me” I so deeply craved as a girl. I am more compassionate with myself and have greater compassion for others, including my parents. I know they did their best to love me through their own unresolved pain.
Life gives me exactly what I need to live into the fullness of who I am here to be. Sometimes it’s an unpleasant kick in the pants. It took me a while to accept the gift of divorce. Nevertheless, it has been one of the greatest gifts of my life, guiding me home to myself and the courage to make myself and my dreams my priority.
Listening to that inner voice and picking up that book changed my life. It was the beginning of transformation and adventure in my life that seemed unimaginable at the time. I continue to use curiosity to guide my life and stoke the fire of self-worth. I am committed to exploring the inner reaches of what is possible and following what feels like joy.
I never imagined this would be my life today: a midlife troublemaker, a disruptor of my status quo, breaking cycles of shame and self-abandonment in midlife. I completed my studies, claiming a bachelor’s degree at age fifty-six. In celebration, I went on a solo trip to Italy. Six months later, I exited a long corporate career intent on creating this next chapter of my life on my own terms. I took a chance on me once more, certifying as a life coach and creating my own private practice.
Stepping into more of who you are meant to be doesn’t come without fear or apprehension. I’ve found the best way to move through fear is to get curious about it, thank it for wanting to protect me, and then trust myself to know what to do with confidence and grace. That includes trusting myself to love again, and I’ve met an amazing man and together we rise in love. I’m also planning my next adventure with a mobile lifestyle.
My purpose now is to empower other women to give themselves permission to dust off their dreams and step out of the shadows of shame and self-abandonment, make themselves the priority in their life, and stand tall in the glorious nature of who they are here to be. It is a joy and blessing, and a dream awakened.
This is what that curious, sensitive little girl came here to do. This is why I am here. It is never too late to be who you truly are. **The End**
Sometimes we get stuck between here and there. I call this the liminal place. The place of transition and transformation. I love working with women in this space who are ready to move beyond what was and not quite sure how to begin anew. If this is you, allow me to be your adventure guide for the journey. I see the big picture…and can guide you to see clearly what you desire, the courage to take the first small step, and the confidence to keep going. Everything is a holy moment…including the in between.