There is a soft, green, velvet couch in my living room. Last year, you would have found me there each morning with my hands to my heart, chanting a prayer. Every day I said the same thing through salty tears – please show me that I’m not alone. Please show me that I’m not alone.
I wish I could tell you exactly who I pray to- I could call it God, my guides, the angels, Spirit. It doesn’t really matter. Only that it helped me to do this one small thing. It didn’t take more than a few seconds for the hair on my arms to stand up, for the tears to start falling down my cheeks. It didn’t take long to feel connected to whoever and whatever was guiding me forward. As I contemplated the unraveling of my marriage, I would say, “If I’m going to do this, I need to know you’re with me. I’m not doing it alone.”
Every once in a while I would get little messages, like the day I sobbed outside a bakery in Berkeley while chatting with a friend. Where are we going to live? What am I going to do? How am I going to make it? She listened and soothed me with kind words and when I hung up, I looked down at my boots. Right below my shoe was a tiny discarded fortune from the Chinese restaurant up the street. It said, “No need to worry! You will always have everything you need.” I gasped.
I took off my ring on the Bart train when I was riding to my friend Laurie’s house. I was nervous, so I did it quickly and zipped it into the coin section of my wallet. I looked down at my bare hands, which seemed so conspicuous. They seemed to glow bright with emptiness. I half expected someone to say, “So, you’re not married, huh?” (Which of course, no one did.)
I shopped for rings for months, searching for something that felt like just the right weight, had just the right stone. I wanted a ring that would be like an anchor to ground me, so that I wouldn’t float away. I decided on turquoise. And when I looked up the meaning it rang true – power, protection, intuition, healing.
I could tell you about dating and what these connections have awakened in me. I could tell you about the way I inhabit my body now and how I never noticed that I didn’t before. I could tell you about the days when I didn’t think I would survive it – the dissolving of my marriage – how I would call my friend Brigette (sometimes hourly) and cry, “It’s too much. I don’t think I can do it…” and she’d say, “But you are. You are doing it. This is it.”
I heard on a radio interview that if someone is traumatized (like say you are kneeling next to someone who was just in a car accident) that it’s good to say things like, “You’re alive. The worst is over. Help is coming. Help is on its way.” As opposed to, “Don’t die on me!” like they do in the movies. This is apparently the worst possible thing you can say because all the person hears is “Die! Don’t die! Die, die, die!”
And so when people say, “My god. How will you manage? Are the kids going to be okay? If my partner left me I think I would die!” I want to grab their shoulders and say, “The worst is over. I’m happy. I’m alive. Help is on its way.”
And the worst thing to ask is “How are you”, but instead to ask “How are you today?” as the person adjusts to a new normal. Wishing you happiness today.
I feel a new course brewing! There are so many in this intense crossroads. I know the perfect person to create a beautiful circle and journey of support. 😉
This is such beautiful, self-caring, wisdom. These words are similar to what I say to myself when gripped in turbulence-anxiety on airplanes. “Hey, look, we’re still up in the air. The worst of it was the fear. I’m still alive.”
A year ago, just this month, I sobbed and knew I had to make a change. I took Cultivating Courage and began small steps of commitment to myself. I took Awakening Joy and keep committing to myself. My friends are very kind and my children, my adult children are beginning, just beginning to seem to understand. Friday I bought a new house in the area where I want to live. My husband is adjusting to being in independent living, and daily I thank myself for putting my own well being in the center of my life. I’ve been doing lots of very hard things on my own. The worst is over. The worst was before I made a decision. I am rebecoming.
I don’t even know you, and I love you. Thank you.
I just signed a lease on a new home.
After 20 years, my husband and I are separating and I alternate between feeling a teeny sense of excitement, and being overwhelmed by grief and loss so powerful that I am not able to breathe or see any light for the future. It’s exhausting.
I took part in an online course a long time ago – I forget what it was called now – but one of the things I kept from that class was a little piece of paper that says: “You have everything you need to begin.” This week I came across it again and carefully packed it up to take with me. The words still mean something to me, they tell me that I’ve got this – I’m capable of not just surviving, but thriving.
I know there will be many times that I will forget and the uncertainty will take over, but today, I am focused on making it true.
Thank you for sharing your story, you are far from being alone.
Andrea, I have been following your blog, business and life experiences that you have bravely shared. With the world for over 14 years now. I have also gone through these same traumatic experiences you are now going through- twice in fact. Please know you are not alone, it will get better, and now is the time to rely on the safety net of your friends and spirit. You are such a luminous spirit and the ground will return beneath your feet. These scary and sometimes seemingly impossible changes and challenges have grown me in such amazing positive ways and I hope the same for you. Much love as always, Jennifer
You are brave. You are stronger, and now so is your heart. It is why we all admire you. I can completely relate to your story in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing. <3
I am in complete awe of your strength and ability to see so clearly within yourself. I am struggling with letting go of a marriage I know should have ended a long time ago. In fact we were going to get divorced( a week away, we stopped it) I know I need to pull the plug but, somehow, I don’t, won’t. Reading your words helps. It makes me realize that what ever fear is holding me back, doesn’t have to with the knowledge that in my future I can say: “The worst is over. I’m happy. I’m alive. Help is on its way.”
To echo what these other lovely readers are saying…..you are most certainly not alone. It may sound sad but I found that the end of my marriage was a demarcation of time – there is the “before” time and the “after” time. My best friend and I have often been known to say that life is better “after.”
You are beautiful. I see your heart. we are with you. Spirit is with you. May you be happy and free each day.
You guys are making my heart swell several sizes today. Thank you!!! XO Andrea
Andrea, as always, you have reached right through and uncovered the heart of the thing. I am 7 years past my own divorce, but these beautiful words took me right back to those moments of grief and bewilderment and pain. I can hold them more lightly now, and that’s the good news – you wil all be OK. Life will move forward, it will get easier. The bad news is there is no way through but through, and the middle is a hard place to stand. So much love from me to you, my friend.
Not sure what to say except that I really drank your words. The truth and courage you show forth, as well as the vulnerability, are the reason I come back to this blog since the beginning.
I think you know it but I will repeat it anyways: we all appreciate and love you so much and hold you in our heart. I know I do. 🙂
I’ve been there. My husband was killed in an automobile accident and I was badly injured. I don’t know how I managed to recover but I did. Little by little. It’s been a while now and while I’m doing really well ~ I can’t help but think what my life could have been like if he’d have lived.
You have great courage. I’m so inspired by your story. Thank you!
Another amazing story. More amazing accounts of love and grace and G-d and friends and laughter and mystery showing up in your life.
And another image that shows you growing more and more beautiful with each passing year. Wow, girl. You are stunning, aglow. You, my dear, are so alive, and showing us what is possible when the worst is happening and after the worst has passed.
Thank you for sharing. Thank you so much.
Wow! Thanks for sharing that. I made the same decision 4 years ago almost exactly now. So scary and disorienting. Never knew how much my view of the future was wrapped up with my husband… It was also the most free I had felt in years. And, although there was so much pain and still some ugliness- the growth and wisdom and love that I received and cultivated makes it all worth it. You are most definitely not alone- in your pain, your courage and on this journey 🙂
This is beautiful and elegant and brave. Thank you so much for sharing. You are creating community and that is what we all need to heal. Thank you!
You are not alone! You are surrounding by love. Glad to know the worst is over. Thank you so much for being brave and sharing.
Hugs and rainbow fairy dust!
you’re so cool. I write that with utmost sincerity. keep rocking your journey, brave toaster! xoxo
So much love to you, dear Andrea. I am on the same path this year – the dissolving of my marriage, the finding of myself. I so love and appreciate your bravery and sharing.
My heart is with you. I have been there. You will make it. XOXO
sweet Andrea…everyday you are stronger and further in this journey. as always you share your heart so openly and I send you love
I have always admired you Andrea! After reading this post…I must say that I am in awe! You are so strong and beautiful. xoxo
Oh Andrea, you don’t know me but I’ve been reading your blog for 10 years and this is so weird but I’ve always sensed that this may happen. And I am so sorry it had to happen to you because you are such a beautiful soul. But I have to tell you, if your photo on this post is anything to go by then I see such aliveness, knowing and peace. Does this make sense? Heartbreak is so universal yet so personal and you are definitely not alone. And I love that last paragraph, so true, so wise. When I went through a traumatic separation many years ago I found a lot of comfort in a book by a German therapist and it helped me so much that I translated it into English and developed a workshop from it! May your wonderful spirit keep shining and find true happiness xo
thank you for writing this. I will be sharing it widely. We all need to be reminded of our own power and strength and that we are never alone. May you know that we are all connected and you are not alone xxx
You are not alone… Your words ring true for me as well as so many other women who find courage…sometimes by way of baby steps…then press forward. Two steps forward, one step back, but in a a direction. For me… It feels so much better than the months I spent sitting still. I would love a course/support circle on the topic of new beginnings….”I am doing it.” … I find so much inspiration in those words.
Hi! It has been quite awhile since I have been around here – so much of your post came as new news to me. The reason I mention this, and the reason I wanted to comment is this…. I just wanted to say that before I read the post, I looked at your photo and thought, “wow she looks fantastic, younger than any other photo I have seen, more light, more alive, more happy….I wonder what she’s done…..” Apparently finding this new you has done you wonders.
You are not alone! I have 4 years of divorce behind me it can feel like you are alone at times, but your spirit, and connectedness to the world is apparent in every word and photo you take. If you ever feel alone try online dating, it will make alone feel glorious! Sorry I had to add that for some levity!
I am surrounding you with strength and peace and hope and love. Thank you for all the good you have put into this world. I hope that it continues to return to you twentyfold. You are not alone. You are so loved.
Oh my goodness, I felt this so hard. Thank you for your beautiful vulnerability. Much love and peace to you. You are worthy of happiness, joy and all good things. Bless you.
What bravery and beauty there is here. I’ve been wanting to read your post all day and just now found the time and the funny thing is, just before I clicked over to your blog, I started singing Here Comes the Sun. Just started coming on out of my mouth and my heart. It’s like that fortune under your boot. The worst is over, here comes the sun.
Brave woman, I am in awe that you have taken steps that hurt in order to live your truth.
The hurt might stay or it may dissipate with time.
But you are doing it, and you are going to be so ok.
Some women stay. I know many of them. That to me is so sad that they cannot find the courage to say ‘this is no longer working.’ Your story inspires and one day you’ll look back to see your strength and how it affected others. Love to you.
Believe me the worst is over, and a new chapter and adventure await. I got divorced about 6 years ago. I thought how am I going to get through this? It was a mess of a marriage, and a drawn out divorce. But it was the best thing I could do for me and my kids. I’m glad I took that step as hard and scary as it was. I ended up meeting the man of my dreams, my best friend, and my soul mate (and a fantastic step father.) But best of all I found me and realized I really like me!
Andrea, I have been reading your blog for years and I don’t think that I have ever posted a comment.
Woman, you have inspired many of my days, you have thought provoked them, you have injected creativity into them, and as I am writing this on the fly in an impulsive manner I realize this might not be the most articulate of comments… Here’s what I’m trying to say… Andrea, you are a woman of great substance, creative genius, compassion, courage and a lover of the world and you are meant to feel supported and loved. Please know that you are both- even by nice strangers in another state! You are not alone girl.
Dear Andrea ,
I also went through this 4 years ago (after 30 years of marriage) and am figuring out how to be happy and alive in my new world. I love the quote from Leonard Cohen-“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” This still rings true for me. I know you are going to thrive because you are amazing, and authentic, and you have so many people who love you and who will lift you up. It definitely seems like there are enough of us who could do one of your fabulous classes around the theme of rebuilding- I’m in! Sending you love and courage for this next part of the journey…
“I could tell you about dating and what these connections have awakened in me.” Oo la la! Tell us! Tell us! 😉
Sending you much love, Andrea. xo
There is a place inside each of us that knows…and sees all that is in front of us~ even when we cannot or do not want to see~ a part of you can always sense when something is dying…or being born…you are brave to face this place and share it…I can feel your heart break and open all at once…true raw beauty…I know that this is not easy…I feel as if I want to reach out and virtually hug you…I guess that was my intent all along with this post~ be kind~ be patient~ ~you beautiful soul…xxxxooo
You are strong. You are gorgeous. You are powerful. You are Andrea, truly defining what it means to live a super hero life. Thank you for being you.
Lovely and talented Andrea, you are most certainly not alone. Your writing always reaches straight to the heart and soul. xo
I am so touched reading this… I have been there! I am here now, life keeps changing, evolving, growng… help is on its way. You are not alone and never will be. SO much love to you….
It’s such an act of bravery, for women to buy their own rings after their marriage ends. Ten years ago, I bought myself an amber ring to wear on the middle finger of my left hand. It was my “I will survive” ring and I wore it every day for 10 years. I got re-married 4 years ago, but switched my amber ring to the middle finger of my right hand, just to remind myself of my own strength and capabilities, no matter what. And then, just a month ago, I lost my amber ring. I was bereft. (Still am, a little, to be honest.) I have slowly decided that The Universe is sending me a sign to finally look forward, not backward, any more. I also tell myself that the ring has really good mojo, and I hope that some other woman found it and gets strength from it. I went digging in my jewelry box and found a turquoise ring, purchased even longer ago, that I’m wearing now, on my right pointer finger, just like you. Here’s to your own strength. (And thanks for listening to my story.)
i was feeling incredibly weighed down this morning and looking for something to keep me afloat. for some reason i googled “a plea to the universe”, this popped up in my results, and was exactly what i needed to read. oddly enough there was a fortune i happened to find not too long ago, in the same exact manner that held much the same sentiment for me as yours did.
thank you for sharing this, your story, and yourself.
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