Barbara, from me my magnificent self, invited me to participate in her ‘our awakening’ challenge. I have taken this as an opportunity for me to summarize the change in my thinking of me as half a couple (‘we’) and my transformation to ‘me’ after late-life divorce.
Twenty-eight months ago I found myself in the crisis of my marriage suddenly ending.
1. The Loss Of ‘WE’
I believed at the time, I had lost everything I had ever loved and cherished; my companion and soul mate, my intact family unit, stability, security, trust, truth, and my dreams for the future – it was all gone. I was thrown into a deep grief process of mourning my losses with the resultant swirling emotions of shock, anger, yearning, and constant sadness. After some time, I came to an acknowledgement of what had happened, and I was able to let go of the emotional ties to my husband, of blame, resentment and the illusion of the happy-ever-after. I gradually disentangled myself from the coupledom that was.
I was, for a while, at peace with myself. I found a wondrous place of calm in rising to watch the sunrise each morning, walking, writing and living for the joys of each day. I revelled in seeing myself as an individual with my own thoughts, opinions, feelings and needs.
2. The Loss of ‘ME’
From that magnificent state of calm, I went through a period of deep self-reflection. I affirmed my own values, beliefs, attitudes, needs, wants, responsibilities and priorities. As I reflected on my life and inner being, slowly I came to realise that, although inside I was now a strong individual with affirmed core values and a belief that I could do whatever I wanted, in my practical world I was still living our life my way. I was not living my life my way.
I had an epiphany, a sudden realisation that I wanted to change. I wanted to become the real me and live my own life. However, that change would require me to cast off the practical remnants of my old life (home, business and community); and to let go of some parts of me; the old me, and my old roles. I spiralled downwards again, this time mourning the loss of who I had been and wondering who it was that I could become. I was in extreme distress and became inconsolable. I fell into an extended period of darkness and despair. I cocooned myself into a ball of nothingness.
Then I woke up.
3. My Awakening
Unlike the sudden earlier epiphany when I made the decision to change, my awakening to making change has been a gradual realisation of the fact that I have already begun to change. Even-so, this realisation has occurred after some profound confidence-building discoveries.
Firstly, I woke up to the fact of the truth of my marriage; that it had ended long before I thought it had. Behind that truth is the fact that what I thought I had, I didn’t have. That truth, whilst painful to accept, has set me free.
Secondly, I woke up to the fact that I am a worthwhile person and always have been. Any thought that I am not, is not spoken by my own voice. I will now only listen to my voice.
Thirdly, I woke up to the fact that I matter. What I have done and what I do is worthwhile.
Fourthly, I woke up with an energy change and clarity of purpose. I feel a fire within me. I have a vision forming of what my new life will be. Moreover, I have the clarity to decide what parts of my old life to hold on to and what to let go of. Letting go of those parts that do not serve me well is crucial to free space for my new life.
An awakening is simply that, waking up.
My real challenges of planning and living my dream lie ahead of me.
Yet, how exciting it is to awaken to the opportunity of a new dream, of a new beginning.