My husband Brian and I are separating after 28 years together and raising 2 lovely teen daughters.
Next week I’m moving into a beautiful new apartment — and into the next phase of my life. As you might imagine, I feel a complicated mix of emotions: excitement, grief, gratitude, fear, joy. But mainly relief and peace.
Yesterday Brian and I sat down with our wedding rings, which we’d removed last week with our daughters. (Still feels weird to have ‘naked’ fingers…) We talked about what the rings mean to us, and what we’ll each do with ours now.
We found ourselves holding hands as we talked, remembering the good times, appreciating each other, tearing up (me), speculating about future partners and new directions, smiling… It was very sweet.
So if it’s very sweet, why are we separating?
In some ways, the seed of this separation was there from the beginning, back when I was 23 and subconsciously decided that to be with funny, brilliant, super-rational Brian, I had to bury the part of me that yearns for God and deep connection.
For 20 years it stayed buried as we traveled, worked, wrote books and ‘unschooled’ our daughters. Then it suddenly re-emerged one April day 8 years ago, when I did a transformational program called The Landmark Forum. A period of tremendous growth and change began, as I kept following that powerful inner urging into new realms and discovered my calling and gifts I never knew I had.
In the process I also became someone Brian would never have married… and someone who could not be happy with him. That has greatly pained us both.
Over these past 8 years, we’ve both worked really hard on our marriage. So when we finally realized, “We’re done,” we also realized “It’s no one’s fault.” (Which was a huge relief after processing much resentment and pain…) We created the intention to separate with love, honor, and mutual respect – and always be good friends and partners in parenting our girls.
I have to say, even though we’d worked toward this point for 8 years and knew it was the right decision, the prospect of actually ending our marriage NOW was really scary and sad.
I had so many fears (like “I’ll be ALONE!” “How will the $$ work out?!” “I can’t take care of myself!”) and doubts (“he’s a good man, a great dad, and we get along well – what am I doing leaving?!”) and guilt (“I’m so selfish, prioritizing my calling and my happiness over my family!” “I’m a bad mom, and a bad partner”). The worst part for both me and Brian was worrying about how our daughters would react to the news…
These fears and doubts were so strong they kept waking me up at night.
Fortunately I knew how to do deep work with my trusted guidance and the fearful, doubting parts of me. And ever since Brian and I agreed to separate, I’ve done a LOT of that work — much of it in the middle of the night. 😉
The results have been almost miraculous:
- The painful arguments that Brian and I had for years simply disappeared.
- We became generous and compassionate with each other (Brian led the way), even in dividing up our belongings and deciding who’d pay for what. No lawyers or mediators needed; it was easy.
I made a long list of everything I wanted in an ideal apartment. (Thanks for the idea, Danielle!) The first — and only — apartment I looked at met every one of my criteria.
- The apt. lease started Sept. 1, but I didn’t want to move in until Nov. 1… Signed the lease anyway because the place is PERFECT and I didn’t want to lose it. Then the landlord ended up making so many improvements for me that the apt. won’t be ready until Nov. 1… So no Sept. & Oct. rent after all. 🙂
- Shortly after we decided to separate, Brian unexpectedly inherited a houseful of furniture and kitchen supplies, which he generously shared with me to furnish the apartment. Pretty amazing timing…
- Brian and I really worried about how to tell our daughters that we were separating. We tried to prepare for anger, grief, upset, drama… But when we finally told them, it was anti-climatic: they just weren’t that upset. They asked questions, we answered, and then they started joking: “Whatever you do, you’d better not marry [x and y, obnoxious acquaintances]!” We all ended up laughing and hugging.
- Brian’s expanding too — clearing out decades of junk from our house (now his), going out more, getting more writing done, even taking up ballet. (Go Brian!)
In short: the entire separation process has turned out to be much easier and happier for our whole family than I ever imagined it could be.
What I’ve learned:
- Whenever I feel fear & doubt, I need to check it out right away with my trusted guidance and the subconscious parts of me that create anxiety. The more I’ve faced all my fears and done the inner work needed to feel safe and confident, the more whole I’ve become – a deep healing within that’s allowed me to be my highest self even in challenging situations and to let go of the need to control. (I’ve never really been in control anyway…)
- The more I’ve connected with, trusted and followed my inner guidance, the more the way has opened up before me, providing all I need to step into the next phase of my life. For example:
- I’ve been very quiet in my business, yet I’m attracting my ideal clients – we happen to meet at yoga, or in a parking lot, or they’re referred by former clients, or an old acquaintance suddenly reaches out from another continent… It’s effortless. (And it used to be hard work!)
- attracted a business ‘assistant’ who’s so much more – Marisa is a visionary catalyst, soul friend, workhorse, and true partner in expanding my business. What a blessing to have her on board!
- hired my friend Martha Jane, a design genius, who’s helping me create a magically beautiful environment in my new apartment. I can already feel how expansive it will be to live in such beauty, comfort, and full self-expression…
- gained deep clarity and confidence about who I am, what I’m here to do, who I serve, and what my message is. The increased power of the work is reflected in my clients’ transformations – and my own. (Recently a highly capable client asked to become my apprentice… which tells me I’ve reached a new level of mastery in my work.)
Above all, I’ve learned that the divine in us is real and will not be denied. We’re all waking up to this more and more… The awakening for many, including me, is painful – our deep desire to be authentic conflicts with our ego’s strong need for safety and control. But there is no greater safety than to rest in God (or whatever you call your guidance) and surrender to your destiny. What is essential will be preserved through any trial.
Right now many of us are casting off what no longer works — in relationships, business, politics — everywhere. That’s the calling now, to tune in to our own trusted guidance and cast off what no longer serves, so we can step into doing what we’re here to do and be our highest selves.
For me, it’s been both scary and beautiful to ‘cast off’ a marriage that no longer serves.
The beauty and the fear were in my perception – the reality is simply that it was necessary. To resist any longer would have prolonged and deepened unnecessary suffering. Once I accepted this truth, it opened doors I could not open any other way.
Now I’m walking through those doors. Finally free to fly…
I’m so grateful for all of it!
Next week I’ll be sharing how you can access YOUR trusted guidance more deeply. It’s the single most important thing you can do to be happier, healthier, more peaceful, more fulfilled, and have ‘magical’ and ‘miraculous’ outcomes in your life.
Love and blessings,