Relative Evolutions - Evolve, Don't Dissolve
Oct 18, 2016 - divorce    1 Comment

Before Letting Go, Do This

Trees preparing to let go

Fall Drive

This afternoon, I took a drive. It was a gorgeous day featuring unseasonably warm temperatures, so I opened the sun roof, cranked up some Ani DiFranco tunes and hit the back roads. As I drove, a few leaves floated into my car, and I thought about the beauty of autumn and the lessons the trees teach us about letting go.

And I realized, for as long as I’ve appreciated nature’s release of that-which-no-longer serves, there’s an element of the process that I overlooked. A rather important element:

Before the trees release their leaves, they stop feeding them.

It’s a simple fact that’s easily overlooked in nature, yet when it comes to letting go of things in our lives, the factor becomes much more important. When a relationship ends, the natural progression is to feel, then release and move on.

We hear it all the time (and, I say it all the time):  just let go.  Let go of anger. Let go of sadness. Let go of him/her. Let go of the past.

It’s absolutely true that the act of letting go is freeing and feels fabulous. But there’s a process behind the release. You can’t simply let go of something you’re actively nourishing. That’s why green leaves don’t fall from trees unless they’re ripped away by an external force.

What does it mean to stop feeding an old relationship? It’s a little different for everyone. But some common elements include:

Stop replaying old events in your mind.
Stop trying to understand.
Stop imagining how things could’ve been different.
Stop stalking your ex (on social media, via the children or friends, etc).
Stop nurturing an intimate connection.

Quite simply:  don’t direct your energy toward the past. What might you do instead?

Focus on self care.
Imagine your new future and work to create it.
Nurture other relationships.

The act of letting go won’t happen immediately after we stop feeding remnants of the old partnership. Like the trees, we continue to carry that which was a part of us. Throughout the process, we change. We become lighter… more vibrant… and then, when the time is right, when it’s clear there’s no point in holding on, and we have nothing to lose, we let go, allowing the past to crumble at our feet. What was once our burden becomes our strength as we stand tall to face a new season.

Oct 6, 2016 - Uncategorized    No Comments

The Brangelina Divorce Broke My Heart

I was never a huge fan of Brangelina, though there were elements about the couple that I found charming. I liked the fact that they’d adopted children. I thought it was cool that Shiloh was born in Africa and later they were so accepting of her desire to be called “John.” I found their wedding story to be incredibly sweet. They’d been together a long time (especially in Hollywood Years) and they’d weathered plenty of tabloid storms.

Still, I never quite fell under their spell. I knew they weren’t especially special nor magical. Brad and Angelina were simply two human beings sharing their lives. And sometimes the day comes when such arrangements are no longer appropriate.

Brangelina Divorce

Breaking Brangelina News

I read about the divorce on September 20, around 11 o’clock in the morning. I only know this because I shared the news with my sister via text. For the rest of the day, I followed the headlines as they appeared in my Facebook feed. I clicked on a few articles, but most said the same thing:  papers had been filed, their first concern is the children and they’d appreciate some privacy. And then there was that one deliciously satirical piece about Jennifer Anniston’s reaction, which put everything in perspective.

Truth be told, I was a bit excited. Not because Brangelina was breaking up, but because I was sure Brad and Angelina would do so in a respectful and responsible way. I looked forward to an announcement about consciously uncoupling. I fantasized about the family continuing to vacation together on occasion. I… I just knew that The Perfect Couple would execute The Perfect Divorce, one that anyone at the end of a partnership would aspire to emulate.

Boy am I disappointed.

I’ve not been following the saga on purpose, but I don’t have to. Over the past two weeks, I’ve passively learned that Angelina has temporary full physical custody and Brad is currently entitled to supervised visitation. Apparently this is due to allegations of child abuse and excessive alcohol consumption. Meanwhile an old video of Angelina discussing some Illuminati sex rituals of her past has surfaced. And Melissa Etheridge has spoken out to support Brad and disclose Angelina’s nasty side.


And though there is hope that the drama will decrease, the stage has already been set. The public has been given reason to blame and the media is free to shame. Friends are taking sides. Children are suffering. What I’m seeing is the beginning of a typical, traditional, angry, nasty divorce.

My hopes have been shattered. …But then, what did I expect? I’ve always known they were just regular people operating under a spotlight. Regular people, no matter how beautiful they are, have shadows and uncomfortable emotions. They see the world through their own filters, just like the rest of us. It was unfair of others to expect their marriage to last, and it was unfair of me to assume they’d display a wonderful divorce.

Divorce is a human process, and humans are messy creatures. As the Brangelina Train evolves toward separateness, I wish all passengers peace and perspective. They are, now and forever, still a family.

Sep 19, 2016 - divorce    No Comments

I Thought It Was Love…

Time for love

Time for love

I thought it was love. In the moment, I was sure of it.

Time stood still as I fantasized about the two of us on the couch, on the beach and in the bathtub. It was a glorious vision that filled me with warmth and contentment. Gently, I reached out to caress the shiny cover of the book that beckoned to me. It seemed to be gleaming with sparkles of divinity. I held it and flipped through the pages, captivated by the words that kissed my gaze.

I must have this, I thought.

I pulled it closer and began to pivot toward the cashier who’d been waiting for me to pay for the cacao powder I’d placed between us. “And…” I started to speak as I turned the book over, but stopped with a sigh when I saw the price tag.

Confronted with the stark reality of the situation, I asked myself, Am I willing to pay that price?

I was not.

“No,” I said aloud as I returned the book to its display station. I turned back to the cashier and nodded toward the cacao powder. “Just this.”

“Good for you,” she told me. “Buy food. We have libraries full of books you can read.”

She was right, of course. I walked out of the store and contemplated the priorities in my life.

“Buy food,” the cashier had said.

Yes… food is important. And what is food? It’s not merely something to eat… it’s not entertainment…not a momentary gratification…real food is nourishment with a long-term payoff.

As I continued to meditate on the merits of physical, spiritual and emotional nourishment, I thought again about the shiny little book that I didn’t buy. I thought about the shelves in my house that are heavy with similar shiny books I haven’t read. And I recalled how much I thought I loved each one of those when I made the purchase.

(I loved them, yet never read them? Hmmm…. no long-term nourishment, there.)

I didn’t yearn to know them. I only wanted to possess them.

That wasn’t love. It was lust.

And what about the books I do truly love? Some sit on shelves in my home. Others don’t. Owning them is a convenience, but not a priority. Many times, I’ve purchased copies of my favorite titles only to give them away. Of the ones I’ve kept, many are worn ragged.

True love isn’t sparkly. It’s not intended for display. It doesn’t require acquisition and proprietorship. Love is not a contract.

Love requires the investment of time, not money. It’s about reading the book, not buying the book. Love intensifies between the covers. And, in some capacity, it lingers after the story ends.

I didn’t love the shiny little book at the health food store.

I do, to some degree, love my ex-husband.






Ex Loves …Why Don’t We Speak of Them?

Do you ever mention your ex loves? I’m asking because a few days ago, I witnessed the following exchange:

Husband (to a group of people):  Someone once threw me a surprise party…

Wife (with genuine curiosity):  Who was it that threw the party?

Husband (hesitates): it… well, that was a long time ago.

I assumed the party-thrower was an ex. In the moment, the group laughed and made jokes about the event happening in another era. The conversation moved forward without another glitch.

Later, I gave the scenario more thought. I wondered why the husband was so hesitant to speak the name of someone who once cared enough to plan a party in his honor. Would his wife have been upset because he loved someone else before they met?

ex loves

me… and an ex love from a previous millennium

I realize this man’s action/intention isn’t uncommon, but I don’t subscribe to the same ideal. If it’s pertinent to the current conversation, I don’t hesitate to speak the name of someone from my past. Why should I? Those I’ve known and loved continue to be a part of me. They put wrinkles in my brain, scars on my body and light in my eyes. How could I pretend those relationships didn’t happen? And why should anyone else?

But this issue isn’t all about me.

Beyond my own personal preference, I also think the practice of suppressing the past presents a barrier to healing after a divorce. The final stage in the Grief Process is Acceptance. Refusing to name ex loves is more an act of Denial (and that’s the first stage). Call me crazy, but I think we should all strive to say his/her name without shame, blame and pain.

Furthermore, failing to speak the Ex’s Name can create an acute hardship for children of divorced parents. How can a child feel secure in his family if his parents are trying to erase each other? Not to mention… a child is biologically comprised of both parents, so how can he feel self-confident when he must consistently deny a part of himself depending on which parent is present?

I get it:  Separation can suck. And people change. And 20/20 hindsight has a way of igniting some not-so-pleasant emotions when we think about days-gone-by. But ending a relationship isn’t about dissolving the past. It’s about evolving toward a new future. Naturally, as time goes by, memories of ex loves will fade into the distance, but they won’t disappear. And we shouldn’t attempt to eliminate them, because who we were holds the key to who we are.




Interview with Christina Vinters, J.D., Family Law Mediator

Pathways to Amicable Divorce

Pathways to Amicable Divorce

Earlier in the summer, I was delighted to learn about a new book about divorce. The book was called Pathways to Amicable Divorce, and it was written by Family Law Mediator, Christina Vinters. At the time, the book was being offered for free as part of a launch promotion, so I quickly clicked and added it to my digital library.

As you probably know, I’m highly passionate about productive, mindful, respectful (amicable) divorce processes. I’ve read a lot of books about divorce, and they can be a bit clinical (really boring), especially the how-to guides. But Pathways to Amicable Divorce was different. It was simple and succinct. Truly, an easy read.

Vinters begins by discussing the culture of divorce: traditionally, it’s an adversarial process that takes a long time and drains resources from families. She illustrates the cultural negativity, the “war” mentality and the jokes that serve to dehumanize the humans we once cherished. She also points to studies and statistics to show why adversarial divorces are detrimental to individuals and children. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As Vinters states, “You and your partner have the ability to shift your mindset from divorce as a combat at the cost of the family to divorce as a respectful re-structuring for the benefit of the family.” (Yes, yes, yes!!!  A benefit to the family. I love it!)

Deeper into the book, readers receive an overview of the process as well as lessons in cooperative alternatives. One thing I was delighted to see was the inclusion of “kitchen table negotiation” as a process for reaching an amicable agreement (Chapter 5). The number one key in having an amicable divorce is for exes to talk to each other, and encouraging them to connect one-on-one is priceless. After all, the relationship doesn’t end with a divorce decree. Coparents will have to communicate in some way for as long as they share children.

While I was hooked on the book from the beginning, the suggestion that STBXs speak to each other without a professional middleman impressed me to no end. Soon after I finished Pathways to Amicable Divorce, I asked Christina if she’d be willing to record an interview with me and she said yes. Check out our chat below to hear more about the book and Christina’s work as a mediator.

I’m grateful to Christina Vinters for sharing her wisdom with the masses. Her experience as an attorney, combined with her intentions as a human have come together in a easy-to-read, inspirational companion for healthy progress. And I was delighted to read, at the end of her book, that she’d made the choice to focus fully on productive processes instead of litigation. Countless families stand to benefit from her work.

Pathways to Amicable Divorce is available on Amazon. And you can learn more about Christina on her web site,