When the divorce is final, everyone has his or her own unique way of handling the experience. My friend, Mary Beth is someone who has gone through many life transitions. Mary Beth, a 60 year-old successful business executive said that when her life is undergoing a significant change, she turns to rituals for the purpose of honoring and letting go of what was, in order to embrace and welcome what will be. So, a couple of weeks ago, when her divorce was about to be final, Mary Beth did just that.
Mary Beth shared her story with me:
Three days before our divorce, I gave my husband a metta prayer I created
for the ending of our marriage and my wish for us. A metta prayer is a type
of meditation practice where one recites a set of phrases that are designed
to open the heart and cultivate a compassionate attitude toward oneself and
Since I know I will be on an emotional roller coaster during
this transition, this metta prayer will serve as an anchor. And I hope it
will do the same for my husband.
Here is the prayer she wrote. I thought it was just beautiful:
May we recall the best in each other and hold our marriage as a precious gift.
May the memories we shared be with us always.
May we not see the ending of our marriage as a failure.
May the struggles between us come to rest.
May we have inner peace, good health and fulfillment.
I find that during the time when the divorce is final, some people are still very bitter, angry, and resentful, and therefore not in a place to write something like Mary Beth did, or even think it. The pain of those emotions is just too raw.
You might be thinking, ‘To be able to write these words, Mary Beth must have had a really good marriage, why is she even getting divorced?’ Don’t think for a second that divorce was an easy decision for her, or that she and her ex have some kind of magical divorce where there’s no negative feelings. No one WANTS to get divorced, so if Mary Beth got divorced, there must have been plenty of pain and suffering in the marriage.
But what’s so beautiful about Mary Beth’s prayer, and what separates her from people who have so much negative energy when a divorce is final, is that she is focused on now and starting to create the next chapter of her life. Mary Beth shared that she lives her life by intention and believes things manifest when our intentions are clear. Her intention was to keep her divorce amicable and have compassion for both herself and her ex. I couldn’t agree more that the universe will bring you what you set your intention on.
Here’s what Mary Beth did after her zoom divorce:
Later in the day of our divorce, alone in my home, I held a cleansing
ceremony to lay a loving foundation for my future. I sat quiet, closing my
eyes with an open heart, allowing tears to flow for expectations I had that
were not met, for memories I hoped for but were never created, and for the
emotional intimacy that was not to be. I allowed tears to flow and allowed my body to move through emotions and stay clear of anger and resentment. I then lit a white candle and gazed into it watching the flame and releasing any negative thoughts and emotions around my marriage that was ending.
When that felt complete, I lit the smudge stick, fanning the smoke
with a feather as I washed around my body. Smudge sticks are a Native
American tradition that wards off negative energy or cleanses a space or a
person. Dipping my fingers into a bowl of water, I released any negative
energy that did not serve me and I cleansed any remnants of the bonds of my
marriage to my husband so that I could embark on a new chapter of my life
with compassion, confidence and wonder.
That evening, Mary Beth and I had a glass of wine together over Zoom. We weren’t drinking to celebrate, and we weren’t drinking to drown Mary Beth’s sorrows. The drink was to mark the occasion, and to toast to Mary Beth’s future: to health, to new beginnings, to happiness, and to love; love that Mary Beth and every divorced woman should hold sacred.
Because even if your heart is broken, the love inside you will nurse it back to health. The love you have for your children, your pets, your family, your friends, and even your ex has healing powers and the strength to launch you into anything you want to do from this point on. Also, let’s not forget the promise of the people you could meet and fall in love with in this next chapter of your life.
While we were on the Zoom call, Mary Beth’s doorbell rang. It was a floral delivery guy with not one, but two bouquets of flowers. One gift was from her dear friend in California, the other from her two sisters. It was the loveliest way to end what Mary Beth thought could end up being one of the worst days of her life.
I don’t know what happened to Mary Beth after we hung up. I hope she didn’t cry when she went to bed, but if she did, that’s perfectly understandable and OK. I know she’ll be fine. My wish for her when her head finally rested on her pillow, is that despite all the emotions which came with the day the divorce was final, she was able to find some hope within.
Like a strong ray of sunshine that beams into a kitchen window gifting light and warmth, hope comes in and out of our souls. I pray that in the coming days, weeks and months, that Mary Beth’s kitchen is so bright that it forces her to go buy a shade!
In closing, I’m not going to lie. The day the divorce is final is a rough one. It’s stressful, emotional, and unpredictable. But while you can’t control how things in court will go, you can control how you decide to view things. In other words, I encourage you to choose your own rituals, write your own words, drink your own drink, and cry, laugh or punch your pillow when you go to bed. Just know that when you wake up the next day, one fact will remain: the divorce is final. A new book is opening and you get to fill its pages.
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