The Purpose in My Pain – Part III

I was hurt.  

My divorce was devastating.  

The kind of devastating that makes you sit and simply wonder “Why?”  No other questions, just why?

Why me?fractured-heart

Why him?

Why us?

Why now?

It was the single defining question that has shaped my life and led me to my purpose.  

And the answer I came up with was even more gut wrenching.

“Why not you, him, us?”

Growth isn’t about making everything in your life perfect; it’s about what you do when life goes to hell on a rocket.  

I realized I’m not the only woman who’s been cheated on.

It’s not only men who cheat; women cheat too.

I’m not the only person who got divorced.

My husband was divorced too.

He was hurting too.

We were hurting.

Our family and friends were hurting, watching “us”, break apart, crumble, disintegrate.

It was no longer about what happened.  It was about what now?

And that question changed the game.

That question upgraded my thinking from victim to victor.

Hurt people, hurt people.  I didn’t want to hurt anymore, and most importantly, I didn’t want to hurt anyone. Both had consequences beyond what I was willing to pay.  I wanted to be healed.  I wanted to be loved.  I wanted to know love, attract love to become Love.

I wanted to come out of my cave; the safe comfortable cocoon I’d built for myself.  I wanted to live my life in the sunshine, in the wind, and in the rain; to move with the pulse of life, dancing in the key of life, stumbling, falling, and getting up to twirl again.  I wanted to be open, expressed, seen for all the things I am, and more importantly, accepted for the things I am not.

And, I was terrified. (Hell, I still am.)

Still it was this relationship, this ending, that gave me my beginning.  This fork in the road that put me on the path to my purpose, that ushered my own personal growth and development.  It was this defining experience, that gave me the courage to check my ego at the door and consider someone else’s challenges and issues besides my own.  It’s this healing process that had me actually consider the role I played in all the scenarios.  That made me consider that I was a not simply a supporting actor in this movie, I was in fact, a star, The Star.

When I took a look at the roles I’d played all my life with men, I didn’t like what I saw.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not justifying infidelity, cheating, affairs, emotional or otherwise.  AND, when it does happen, it’s not always about being selfish.  It’s often about the other person’s driving need for something lacking in their lives, and often times that “something” is even unknown to them.

I realized that I was so angry, so hurt, so triggered, by my own childhood wounds, I never stopped to ask questions that would have been, could have been, healing for us both.

That while monogamy, commitment, and marriage are preached, and verbally supported, so is infidelity, manipulation, and emotional vampirism.  That the no one really gives you, me us, the tools to create an intimate romantic relationship, let alone a successful marriage, and thriving family.  No one teaches you how to secure and protect your marriage from anything until the threat has already invaded the sanctity of your union.

That there is no formal education, group chat/therapy, coaching that is ingrained in the fabric of our society that teaches us how to relate to ourselves let alone a partner with Authenticity, Vulnerability, soulfully Listening and fully Witnessing.  Actually being a partner who holds space, gives or allows space for the emotions of others, good and bad, the gentle and the powerful, without taking them on, or fearfully backing away to defend, deflect, or deny.

There is no school for us to learn to allow our own humanity, and be with another’s.  We spend our whole life learning how to be better at the roles we play  child, teen, young adult, college student, employee, manager, director, wife, mother, husband, father, lover.  We do not embrace the totality of these roles as our human experience, as part of the fabric that makes us who we are each and every day.  If we cannot embrace the places within ourselves that are hurt, afraid, timid, or weary how will we know how to embrace our partners?  If we cannot forgive and accept the challenges in our own lives, how will we extend grace to our lovers?

If we want to be connected boundlessly without depth or form to one another we have to be willing give 100% to one another without the fear of judgement or shame.  We have to allow ourselves to be seen for who we are warts and all.  We have to witness the lives of others and share our own.  In short we have become love for ourselves and then allow love to and from another.

It is this evolution, this openness, this expression of humanity that I came to.  For when we can truly be ourselves, and love ourselves first and foremost, the next and easiest logical step is to love another; without expectation, attachment or obligation. We know that like ourselves, others want to allow and become love as well.  They too are on their own journey seeking and witnessing love.

Each time I encountered my former husband, I was confronted.  It wasn’t just about who he was or what he did, it was about who I was, how I felt, and responded.  And each time there was tension or upset, I was forced to go back and sit with the dark places I didn’t love within myself.  

Anyplace there was a wound, a dark secret, a shame, an unfelt or unearthed belief I held about myself, his comments, even the positive ones could occur like a slap in the face.  Not because he was trying to hurt me, but because I was already hurting.  

Today, my daughter’s dad and I have a great relationship.  No bullsh*t!  It’s not perfect.  Far from it.  I still unearth wounds in his presence that I didn’t know were there.  But with each new discovery, I get closer and closer to the real Ivy.  And that is why my divorced saved my life.  It revealed the Real Ivy; the beauty of me and the ugliness that I’ve denied or hidden.

I realized that he is still the soul of kindness, tenderness, and gentleness.  He is protective and patient.  And although no longer a lover, he is still a partner and co-parent of my 15-year-old daughter.  I have come to believe we aren’t meant to be soul-mates in the romantic sense, but soul-mates on the journey through life as parents, friends.  

Through the years we’ve created this rich tapestry of learning, healing, growing, and evolving with one another, through the pain of our divorce and in the joy of parenting our child.  Each interaction is filled with emotions ranging from pain to joy and many feelings in between.  And it is this process, this relationship that has defined me in immeasurable ways. When you have someone in your life that triggers a range of human reactions, pay attention.  These are the relationship that have your see yourself; the good, the bad, and the galactically f-ugly.

There is magic in your misery; transformation in your tears; a purpose in to your pain.  

When I saw the whole of me, I realized what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I wanted to help other see the whole of them.  I wanted to be an usher, a guide to those who are in, or were in that same dark place of coming face to face with their real selves. I want to be a catalyst for healing, for exposing and revealing your highest good, my highest good, our highest expression of love in the world.  I want to help people heal their wounds so they don’t create sores and bruises for others. I want to help parents get past their need to punish former lovers and partners for not being the person they wanted them to be; to stop punishing their children because their marriage ended in divorce.  More importantly I want to help people stop punishing themselves for their failures; to drop the victim stories and emerge a victor; to let go of the trials and embrace their triumphs.

Eckart Tolle said it best.  “Relationships aren’t meant to make you happy.  They are meant to make you conscious.”  Even the best relationships drive up the worst in us.  Even the most loving husband or wife has made mistakes, has done things, been someone, they are not proud of.  The question is, when this happens, what are you prepared to do?  Who do you become when life tests your commitment to your marriage, your word, your vision?  

People always ask why I divorced. I tell them because we choose ourselves and not the marriage.  That is the truth.  We would have suffocated one another had we stayed married.  Never realized our full potential because we were too busy becoming someone we hoped would make the other person happy rather than evolving into who we were born to be.

I’m not advocating divorce.  I am advocating self-awareness, growth, and wholeness.  It’s not your status, but your interaction lover that causes your true nature to be revealed to you, and others.  

I am a Coach.  I didn’t become one, I was always one.  It just took this experience to reveal to me in no uncertain terms who I am, and what I stand for.  I am the person who advocates for the highest good in all interactions.  I am the person who encourages all to commit to their own vision of life; to deal with others with compassion and to act with integrity in all relationships. I advocate win-win-win in all of life.  Your win, is my win, is our win; and our win, is a win for our children, our children’s children, and therefore the world.  

I am stand for the people to do what it takes to be whole, healed, healthy contributions to the world community using their gifts and talents to further our human existence. I am your wing (wo-)man, your number 2, your cheerleader, your prayer warrior, your healer, a believer the fulfillment of your dreams, and unequivocal belief in value of your vision.  In short, I got your back, because I am the coach that stands for you to confront, to evolve, to embrace the real you.

Losing the relationship, doesn’t mean you have to lose the lesson.


My Divorce Saved My Life

Part II – Divorce

I never met a man that both pulled me out of my introverted cave and made me want to run into it all at once.  He was the soul of kindness, tenderness, and gentleness.  He was protective and patient.  I felt safe and scared all at the same time.  It was exhilarating.

I not only trusted him with my body, I trusted him with my secrets.  My fears.  The stories that haunted me.  Deep wounds of being molested, ignored, unappreciated, unseen, unheard, desperate, and haunting tales of a little girl struggling to become a woman, to find her place in this world.  He listened, and he gave me a place in his world.  That was all It was the best feeling in the world.

I had a solid definition of myself then.  Not because of him, because of me.  I remember being clear about what was important to me, standing for what I wanted, and committed to the fact that nothing would interfere with that.  Over time, the grip I had on my dreams loosened, and little by the dreams I’d held as individual, as a woman, floated away.  Dreams of a home, family surfaced.  It became the dream for which I was willing to give up all other dreams.  It was the thing, the vision I held in my heart as tightly as I held on to this man, this relationship.  For all that I wanted hinged on his wanting me and wanting this vision too.  

I never really asked if he wanted it, I just assumed that he did.  He never said he didn’t. But he never said he did either.  So we coasted along creating the life I thought we both wanted, the life we were “supposed” to create.   

Then one day, all of what we built was destroyed, like the ocean crashing down on castles built in the sand.  I felt the current pull me under and I was drowning.  In sorrow, in loss, in betrayal.  In the pain of “again”?  In the question of “Is this really happening?”  In the anger of “Why is this happening?” And like being caught in the current, I closed my eyes and held my breath and hoped that the sand swirling around me would subside, that the waters would recede and that I’d be able breath again.  

When the waters finally receded, the sand settled, and I finally could breathe, it hurt.  It hurt to simply take in fresh air.  It hurt to get up and move on.  It hurt to know I’d once again opened, trusted, loved, and been betrayed, reduced.  I retreated back to my cave and I hid.  I hid from friends, from family, from work, from life.  The only person I didn’t hide from was my daughter.  But of course there’s no risk in loving kids, right?  Children instinctively love their parents unconditionally and with vigor and fervor.  She was the new love of my life, the only light in this dim cave of my existence.  I felt physically and mentally exhausted.  All the hard work, prayer, wishing, and willing couldn’t change the fact that my friend, my lover, my husband had betrayed me. Friendship, commitment, in fact love, had betrayed me yet again.  My marriage was over.  My dream was dead.  And the flower that I had become wilted and over the next four years, until it dried up and died.

It remains the most painful experience I’ve had to this day.

And was likely the very thing that saved me from myself.

Stay tuned . . .

What do Infidelity and Divorce Have to do with Purpose?

Part I – Infidelity

I felt like I had been kicked in the gut.

He’d had sex with her.  

Bragged about it.  

He told all of our friends.

And he’d lied to me.

He was my friend.

He was my lover.

And he betrayed me.

We grew up together.  I’d known him since I was a kid, a child.  I thought that would protect me.  I thought the bonds of friendship would override biology.  I thought his sense of right and wrong would compel him beyond his sense of need and want.  I thought his love would override the ego’s need for lust.

I was wrong.

It was the first time I’d been cheated on.  I was a young girl.  Little did I know, it wouldn’t be the last.  And the pain would feel the same.  Everytime.

Most of us have been in this place.  Know this feeling of numbness.  The vortex of feelings hurt and anger cloaked in gut wrenching betrayal.  For some deeper feelings like depression, rage and revenge surface.  

It’s not so much the act as it is the lies, the feeling of being abandoned.  All this time you think he’s got my back.  (All the while someone is blowing his front).   Even at a young age I knew the power of a man’s word.  You lean into it, trust it, cling to it when things get rough, in the relationship, in life. And when I can’t believe what you say, it’s hard to believe anything else about you.

This was my introduction to relationship.  This was the first man (boy) I trusted.  So much so, I trusted him beyond friendship, I trusted him with my body.  He was my lover, my first lover.  I thought being trusted with such a gift would inspire commitment beyond biology.  

What I didn’t know then was how much I had it all collapsed into one big emotional soup.  My trust, our friendship, biology, betrayal, his love, my love, my definition of my femininity, sexuality, attractiveness, and self esteem were all coupled together, tangled in a mess of hormones, and the angst of young love.

Too much was riding on his ability to be faithful, my ability to handle it maturely.  What I know now is that some things change and some things never do.  

Men will always been men, and women women.  It’s not so much that we need to trust one another, it’s that we need to learn to trust ourselves without relying on the definitions of one another, without allowing the relationship define who we are as individuals.  So many times, cheating hurts so much because we make it mean something about the cheatee, not the cheater.  That’s not to imply that I or anyone who’s been cheated on is perfect.  But if someone breaks their commitment to you, that has little to do with you and everything to do with them.

We should always seek to take responsibility in relationship and own our actions or lack thereof when it comes to creating a health relationship.

And we can never allow the actions of someone else to define how we feel about ourselves, to change our character, who we know ourselves to be at our core.

A lesson I learned all too well in the next chapter of my love life



7 Tips to Attract Better Applicants for your Relationship Vacancy

Ladies are you sick of dating?Application

Gentlemen are you tired of the hunt?

I hear this ALOT!  Even more than the catch all “There are not good men/women out there.”  

As an HR Consultant, one of the things I work with companies to improve is their strategy around recruiting and selection.  

As a Coach I work with men and women to improve the quality of their dating and relationships.  After speaking at several Group functions for both men and women, one of the things I kept hearing was how frustrated everyone was with “the whole thing” – the dating thing.  

I believe “the whole thing” people are referring to was the dating process!  Online or offline people seem to feel like it’s a drag, a drain, a demoralizing drama that has you contemplate staying single the rest of your life, or settling for the quarterly conjugal visit with your FWB.  I used to think it had to do with the age of the “dater/datee”.  Then I kept hearing the same complaints from over 40, under 40, even peeps just getting started in their 20’s.

I think what’s really happening is that people feel like they aren’t getting “quality” candidates for their romantic relationship “vacancy”.

I used to respond to this complaint with a bit of sass, stating perhaps you need to consider “taking a better application.”  Then one day, I realized there’s meat on that bone.

A vacancy is a vacancy in life.  And, because we are human beings, we use “a process” consciously or unconsciously to fill the voids in our lives.  

Whether your process is find-kill-destroy (to rectify all the crimes against women), or snag- em-bag-em (to rectify all the crimes against men) , love-for-sex, sex-for-love, friends-then-benefits-then-relationship, or hook-ups-only, it’s still a process.  You still have a relationship intention, selection criteria, an “interview” process, and an offer is extended.

Human beings are always communicating verbally, behaviorally, intellectually, spiritually what we want.  The question is:

Do you actually know what you are communicating?  

Do you know what relationship vacancy you are ‘advertising”?  

And moreover, are you aware of the process by which you are choosing your “applicants”.  

Yes, ladies (and gentlemen) we choose our candidates.   We smile and make eye contact across the room, we send emails, reply to texts, and make/return calls to people.  These people have now become a part of your candidate pool.

People always say dating is a game.

Dating isn’t a game.  

If we want to get technical dating is a process.

It is a socially engineered process designed to help you make an informed decision about who you choose to share your life with and for how long.

Most of us go through this process on autopilot, believing what we’ve seen on tv or heard from friends, family, books, religion, and social norms.  You can be informed by all of these, and at the end of the day, you much choose what your process will be.

There is great information out there.  AND, you must still do your work, do your part to actively participate in filling your romantic vacancy.  Or, you can 1)leave the entire process up to someone else (the datee); or 2) remain on auto-pilot and allow your subconscious wants, needs, and wishes to play out in your dating life over and over again i.e., you date that same type of guy/gal over and over again.

So how do we “take a better application?”


Here are 7 Steps to help you attract and retain high quality applicants for your relationship vacancy.

1 – Your Relationship Intention aka. The Job Description/Posting:  Know what you want and what you don’t want.  Most of us just want a “relationship”.  Well that’s a pretty vague description.  If you were hiring for anything else you wouldn’t just post “Receptionist” would you?  This may not be something you put online (it could be) but it’s definitely something you hold in your heart.  You gotta know what you are a yes to, so you can be clear about your no.

2 – Taking Applications/Reviewing Resumes:  Online or offline this is the process by which you are getting to know someone.  If this is online, you have quite a bit of information at your fingertips.  When recruiting, I am looking for 5-7 key things before I even consider the candidate any further.  This works offline too if you ask your 5-7 key questions during the course of your interaction. It should provide you enough information to know if this person actually fits into your relationship intention.  These questions ideally go beyond chemistry and attraction. Things that have them discuss goals, views, wants, needs, and wishes they have for their life and their relationship intention.  You aren’t looking for perfection, but someone you can connect with.

3 – Connecting Offline/Phone Screening:  Talk. On. The. Phone.  Have a conversation, that is not text or email.  Actually know what he/she sounds like.  One better, get bold and face-time.  You can find out a lot about a person in a 15-30 minute conversation.  Don’t underestimate the power of the sound of someone’s voice and their ability to communicate and connect with you in a powerful way.  And if you’re not feeling it, you just saved yourself, time, money, and make up by not meeting this person for that coffee “interview.”

4 – The Date/Interviews:  Ok, yes, I’m using hiring as a metaphor but that said, This should not feel like an interrogation or an interview, rather a really engaging conversation.  Let your curiosity lead the way.  There should be a natural flow between you two if you let your interests lead rather than your need to complete your checklist.  If you are interested, the checklist gets completed naturally.  If you are not, who cares.  Just like in the real world, you end the date/interview early and thank the person for their time.  And just like the best interviews, they don’t feel Q&A sessions, but rather great conversations.

5 – Courting/Dating/The 2nd Interview(s): Hopefully, you are feeling the presence of possibility with this person.  So a second date may actually be comprised of some experiential exercises, i.e. you do something together where you two are not the sole focus.  This allows you to see how they interact with others and handle themselves in a variety of situations.

6 – Meeting My Peeps/Team Interview:  Before you get too far down this road, you should have them meet a few key players in your life.  People who you love and trust, and most importantly people who can and will tell you the truth.  They already love you and have your best interest at heart.  They are objective and haven’t had sex with this person so they aren’t attached to any outcome except your happiness.  Invite the person to a social group activity.  Don’t prep anyone just go out and have fun.  After the date is over, ask them for their honest opinion.   Find out what they think about the person, and then about him/her in your life as a mate.  Hey, if your peeps aren’t interested in your happiness, then you have bigger problems than dating.

7 – Job Offer/Exclusive Dating – AKA The FB Status Change:  Presuming all is well and you’ve had “the talk”, and you are now in a relationship or at least discussing what that looks like, basically you’ve made and/or accepted a job offer or relationship agreement and are moving ahead.  Just like in a real world, when you have a new role/position, the first 90-days are really crucial.  Most of what you experience at this point will likely be new.  This is where you will really get to know the person and either fall madly in love (if you haven’t already) or become completely disenchanted with them or the relationship.  This is where you really gotta ask yourself the tough question, “Is this what I want?”  “Is he/she what I want?”  “If nothing changed am I happy with who they are and what we have?”  And before you get too far down the road of the 90 days or beyond, if it isn’t ringing your bells, trust your gut, and cut bait.  Don’t waste time trying to make something or someone fit into your life when it just doesn’t.  It’s work for you, and painful for them.

Make the grown up decision.  Let them go; and set yourself free.  People aren’t likely to change who they are, and what they are up to.  What you are seeing in this phase is the real deal.  So if it’s not working for you, wonderful!  You gave it a shot.  Played full out, followed a conscious process, and this one didn’t make the cut.  That’s ok.  But you are making a more informed choice, and able to stay in it giving it a real chance before, rather than some vague excuse like well he’s not over six feet, or she doesn’t cook.


If you don’t have the results you want, the relationship you want, it is likely that you are not clear about the intention and the process you are using to get there.  

Dating is a process.  There is no getting around this.  Like weight loss, you gotta put in the time and effort to get the results.

Is it possible to meet your soul-mate and things escalate quickly?


Is that the norm?

Not usually!

If you are truly wanting to be in a relationship with depth and substance, that takes time.  It takes being open to sharing yourself and getting to know someone.  

Contrary to popular belief dating and relationships are a process, not a moment, or a weekend, or even a game.  That defining moment, the actual “click” may never come, if you aren’t taking the time, making time, for you and the person to actually connect – beyond the profile, beyond texting, beyond email, in other words beyond the resume.

Gain Power through Pleasure and Passion – 5 Ways to Boost Your Confidence Without Beating Yourself Up

My birthday is my new year.  This is when I set my goals, and decide what kind year I want to have going forward.  Generally I create a theme based upon what I want, more specifically how I want to feel. Personal Power

This year, I want to explode!  Specifically, I want more pleasure, passion, and power.  Not power as in “world domination.”  Power as in the ability to see it, believe it, and achieve it within one year, no excuses or exceptions!  

As I woman I know I am most open, most receptive in life when we are in the thoroughs of pleasure and passion. When I am giving someone, or some-thing, my all.  When I am simply a wide open channel, totally surrendering to the moment. That happens when we are 100% confident in ourselves – not just our skills and ability, but our look, our walk, our talk, our femininity, our ability to deliver.  If you feel confident about yours skills, but not your shoes, you do not deliver with as much power or passion at the podium, so to speak — too busy making sure the your shoes are hidden.  That’s not to say you don’t do well.  But regardless of the results when we don’t feel good, feel confident, the results ultimately don’t matter.  

How many women (and men) got it going on and no matter how much you say it, they do not feel it, believe it, live it.  Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence are the building blocks of poor relationships and abuse, both giving and receiving, to self and others.

Think about a time when you felt the most free, not worried about anything.  It was likely at some point when you were having a good time.  When your face was turned to the sun, you were laughing, dancing, playing, giggling, perhaps even climaxing (had to throw that in there it counts!).  No one is thinking about their “shoes,” i.e. their education, career path, weight, or makeup, in the midst of unbridled joy, ecstasy, or pleasure.  You are open, receptive, all in for all the moment has to offer.   Continue Reading

All The Single Mommies . . . 5 Simple Ways to Bring Your Sexy Back!

As a single-mom, we often get so caught up in playing mommy (and for some of us daddy too) that we don’t take time to see ourselves as anything other than a mom. We are very in touch with the nurturing, maternal side of our femininity, but not the womanly, sensual, sexy side of our femininity. Part of being an empowered woman, an irresistible woman, is taking the time to acknowledge your femininity outside of motherhood.

Sexy Silhoettes

It’s hard for us to be the provider, the cook, the maid, the secretary, the chauffer, the soccer-mom, and the mommy who kisses boo-boos all in one day; for some of us all in one hour! It can get crazy sometimes – Ask me how I know this?!  And then, turn around and be the vixen, the goddess, the fem-fatal, who looks like Venus, and seduces men with just one glance.  And in all honesty, who are we kidding, most women are just too tired to even thing about any of that.  Even women I know who are married, say their favorite activity is sleep when they do not have their children — and by sleep they do not mean “sex with their husbands.”  They mean sleep for hours at a time no interruption and no one to tell them when they have to wake up.

The first thing is as acknowledge that you want it and on some level we actually need it. Dr. Phil once stated that children are meant to leave us.  We are responsible for their total care when they are first born and then they gradually begin to care for themselves as they grow older.  If we’ve done our jobs well, this is a seamless transition for the child and for ourselves.  We’ve given enough attention to their care and development and harmonized with our own as they grow older.

There are some women who have no identity, no sense of femininity, Continue Reading