I was hurt.
My divorce was devastating.
The kind of devastating that makes you sit and simply wonder “Why?” No other questions, just why?
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.