Tag Archives: adversity

The Audacity of Divorce Court

Waking up this morning in this surreal state. Today is my first appearance in divorce court.  There are alot of things that cause me discomfort about this. But probably the thing that causes me the most discomfort is having to interact with my X in the forum of “divorce court.”  I have a backlog of stories to be telling you. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve recently become more verbose. Something shifted. And I have a huge backlog of stories to tell.  One thing I’ve been meaning to tell you is that I’ve realized that there is this lexicon that lives in my body. A lexicon built over 16 years with my X that tells this story of how I loved.  It is deeply engrained in the fabric of my cells.  I know it well, this lexicon of love I will call it. What my body doesn’t know as well is the lexicon of goodbye and the lexicon of separation and divorce.

My body remembers well what it feels like to lie beside him night after night for 16 years. To be held safe and warm in his arms at night. I can still feel the warmth of his front body against my back body.  How he sandwiched my feet with his legs when they got really cold at night. How he brought me a drink of water every night before bed.  How on some evenings I’d fall fast asleep on the sofa and he’d convince me to take my tired and reluctant body upstairs. My butt can still feel the push from his hands as he forced me up those stairs and how I’d lean back with all of my body weight backwards into him. It was rather comical. That was the lexicon of bedtime. Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 7.58.07 AM My body remembers well how I prepared meal and after meal for us. It remembers breakfasts. Breakfasts were huge around here when X was still here. My body remembers how it made the eggs and toasted the toast.  Pulling this that and the other thing out of the fridge and onto the table. My eyes remember the fullness of the table spread. My belly remembers the feeling of full.  How I kissed him goodbye in the back room and how he rode away up the gravel driveway to work. My ears recall the sound of the tires on the gravel. And my arms remember waving goodbye and and my throat remembers calling out to him, “I love you sweety.” (with a y of course, not to be confused with “sweetie” which was what my ears recall him referring to me). This is the lexicon of our mornings and it’s a well worn dialect in this body. My hand remembers well the feeling of being held in his hand as we walked the streets of the market. How we walked the streets of the world together. My body remembers how when we walked, he always took the position between me and the street. My ears recall him saying he did this to protect me from danger of the street.  My pinky finger remembers the way it would link through his pinky and fourth finger. This is the lexicon of how we walked through space. Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 7.54.54 AM Today my body has the awkward task of going to divorce court. Alone.  We live a few mere blocks from one another and within walking distance to the court house.  My body is considering now the awkwardness of walking there alone. On this cold and miserable November day, my body considers walking the streets to the courthouse on the same sidewalks we walked hand in hand. Walking by the place where we had our first date.  And the place where we were engaged to be married. And the place where we rented an apartment for 3 years. The awkwardness of the courthouse and the courtroom.  I’m a lawyer, I know the halls of these places well. These are war grounds. Where people go to battle it out.  How is it that after 16 years of speaking the lexicon of love,  that I come to meet him in this place of war.  My eyes still find discomfort with seeing him from a distance and my body still finds discomfort with not closing that distance.  How he will sit in one place side by side with his lawyer. How I will sit some place different by myself.  The awkwardness of having to wait like this for our turn to be called to appear before the judge. And the awkwardness of being called by the judge. How we will walk down the aisle together once again. Yet apart.   To the war tables. This very linearly arranged room. How I will stand behind one table as respondent. How he will stand at another as applicant. How we will speak to the front of the room to a strange person called a judge about how it is we sever this life we shared.  This is a lexicon my body really doesn’t know. How to be in relationship with him in these awkward ways. What do you wear to divorce court? My mind for some reason remembers now, the dressing up for our wedding day.  Everyone knows you wear a white dress to your wedding. But what do wear to divorce court? I am learning day by day this new lexicon of how I relate to this man I now call my X husband.  My eyes feel tearing and my cheek feels the tears rolling downwards.  There is another life with all kinds of new lexicon on the other side of this divorce. It’s already happening and I’m building a new language in this body to speak to that.  But today, this body goes to divorce court to speak the foreign and awkward language of divorce to a man that I held dear for 16 long years. Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 7.48.26 AM

Lost and Found

Today I woke up in utter tears for the beauty and wisdom that I witnessed yesterday. It started out with little tears and then I was weeping.  I’m following this thread of engaging in conversations with strangers. And really listening to their stories. Yesterday evening I did a short speech on “lost and found” and in preparing for that I asked my Facebook Community for input here. I ended up speaking to 3 wise women yesterday.  I want to speak to what it is I heard. And I want to speak to how very much it all moved me in another blog. But for now I want to leave you with my Facebook posting from yesterday asking for input from others.  I am blown away by the wisdom of strangers. What comes rushing in when you ask the questions and make space for the answers. It is nothing short of pure grace.

Posted on Facebook yesterday morning:

This morning I’m thinking about what it is to be LOST. And what it is to be FOUND. I’m doing a speech on it tonight. And I am meeting with two people today who offered to speak to their experience. One is a friend and one is a stranger who is about to become less “strange” to me. 

And I remember being lost at the grocery store and being found by a worker who called my name over the sound system, and my really worried father coming to greet me there.

And I remember being lost as a late teen. Pregnant. Betrayed. Remembering somehow that finding myself then had much to do with my posse of girlfriends, and dancing to new age music.

And the crushing loss after the death of a soul mate a few years back. How that started something that I’m still following.

And I remember being lost after he left. Holding a baby in the arms of this body. And the abundance that filled the emptiness. And how that all happened.

I am a story teller and a listener of stories. Today I look forward to the enrichment of my life by the stories of two others. How they were lost. How they were found. And the space in between.

May you be lost. And may you be found. Over and over and over again.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 7.09.31 AM

The River Amstel

Waking up in the Dam in a cosy corner in De Pipe (dutch for “the pipe”). Hosted by a lovely Aussie bearing delicious food and affectionately referring to me as his “mate” and “sweetheart.” Running along side the contours and curves of the river Amstel this morning. My mind meandering and wondering …

Will I live aboard a boat? In a house low to the ground, or high above, will I be found? Will I live in Amsterdam, Ottawa, Barcelona or far off lands? Will I marry for love, will I be on my own? Will I just jump from lover to lover, the story is yet to be shown. Will my life be neat and in time, like poetry and rhyme? Or messy and ugly and never in time?  What I know for sure is this view that I see, what I feel in my feet, what I sense that is me. Are those ashes on my feet, from the burning of past?  Are those wings on my arms, am I phoenixing at last?

It matters little to me what the future can see. I want as much now as this moment allows. So bring it on universe, I’m soft yet alert, with strength in these bones, and rooted in dirt. Listening dearly with hands held out plain. To serve and to welcome and reach out for the same.

What matters the most is the space where I stand. The landscape may sway but it’s in this body I land. Come to me river, come to me sand, come to me princes and frogs and far off lands. I run and smile as my feet hit the ground. My life is my practice. Reality. Found.

photo

Sunday’s at Lansdowne

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 4.04.14 PMFor several years now I’ve been going to Lansdowne Park Farmer’s Market (temporarily moved to Brewers Park) on Sunday’s.   There’s something as sweet as honey about that place.  Family oriented. Good local healthy eats. An atmosphere of ease. People move a little slower. They smile and take the time to connect with one another.

I was there this past Sunday and was reflecting on my history with Lansdowne Market and how it tells and sweet meandering story.  I used to go there with my X husband and our dogs.  Some of my most cherished moments with my X are these simple and easy times we shared together. There’s a reason my blog is titled “Everyday Inspiration.” It’s because I adore the simplicity and comfort of the everyday experience. In looking back on my marriage it’s these simple times that I look back on most fondly and miss the most.  It’s when he shined as a husband and we shined as a couple.  These moments when no one was really looking and nothing really mattered.  We’d buy garlic, organic veggies, fresh farm eggs.  We’d get delicious wood fired pizza and enjoy it on the lawn under the trees and talk about how it reminded us of the best pizza we ever had in Naples and reminisce about our adventures in southern Italy.

One time two summers ago when I was very pregnant, I was at Lansdowne with my girlfriend M, and I looked longingly at where the musicians would set up for the kids. I turned to my friend M and said I have fantasies of sitting in the grass with my husband and son to be, and watching the musicians play.  Somehow that being a perfect picture of family for me.

And once again that same pregnant summer, I remember being there with my X and wearing a big puffy blue tutu. This woman at one of the vendor stands whom I saw frequently told me that she would notice my outfits from week to week. That she would tell her young girls about this woman who dared to wear a tutu to the market. Conveying that she wanted her girls to understand that growing older doesn’t mean giving up the child in us.

Then there was last summer. Newly separated from X,  I would go to the market with my son who at that time wasn’t even a year old.  I remember the first time I went to the market last summer with my son and my girlfriend M and felt inundated with scene after scene of happy couples with their newborn babies. The dad’s proudly toting the baby around in a carrier while the mom’s happily went about their shopping.   These dad’s, so in and engaged felt like a personal affront to me.  It felt impossible to reconcile the joy I’d felt coming to Landsdowne with X,  pregnant even,  with the fact that he had been unfaithful for much of that time. It felt utterly impossible to wrap my mind around the fact I was now a single mom.

I remember in that first visit, passing the musician’s area and saying to M,  “why did I think it was a “fantasy” to be enjoying the music with my X and my son?”  As if I was foreshadowing the fragility of my marriage and the separation to come.

Another time last summer,  I remember in particular seeing this one dad proudly holding his newborn baby in a carrier. Lovestruck he was.  This dad was not at all my type.  He was a farmer. A country guy.  Not someone I found physically attractive at all. But I remember turning to the friend I was with and saying, “I NEED that man.”  I needed a man that was that in love. And that engaged. And that devoted to his family and his child.

Then there was this past Sunday.   I biked to Lansdowne towing my son in a trailer along Colonel By. He fell asleep en route and woke up just as we were nearing the market and I told him of the excitement to come. Music, veggies, date squares, bipimbop (a yummy Korean dish sold there).   I got some bipibop,  and a date square and we headed to the musicians area. There was a most talented young guitar player there this time.  He playfully improvised his music and lyrics with inspiration he elicited from the children.  He’d say something like, “what’s your favourite animals.”  Then he’d ask, “what should we name these animals?” And then he would elicit suggestions for what kind of adventure could they go on.  Then he’d improvise the funnest quirkiest songs, peppering in inspiration from all around him.  One dad had snap peas which he shared with all the kids there. All us parents got inspired and left our kids with that one dad while we all picked up a box of these snap peas for ourselves. Then all us parents and children, we all snacked on snap peas (and bipimbop and date squares) and enjoyed the music, under the big blue sky.

IMG_5052

My first mother’s day with S last year.  Improvising a new story of a mom in a tutu, and a charming newborn in a lilac jumper, and how love & devotion carried them to solid ground.

In looking back on this past Sunday I smile at the simple ease of that brilliant sunny day.  The everyday inspiration of it. I smile to myself in recalling the contrast of increasingly easeful moments like this past Sunday,  to the impossible pain and hardship of last summer.   Like the musician this past Sunday, I improvise this life of mine.  I take this woman Dodie, and this cute as a button young toddler S, and this silly dog Ruby.   And I ask myself, “what fun and quirky adventures can the three of us go on today?”  And I keep my eyes open and available for inspiration to find me.  And I watch as a semblance of family unfolds before me. It’s not the fantasy that I’d envisioned years ago, but like the story of the farmer guy I saw last year, my story is one full of love and engagement and devotion.  Unlike fantasy, this story is real and sturdy.   And like that mom who went home to tell her young daughters about me in my tutu,  I hold dear my sense of childlike wonder as I continue to improvise from moment to moment, the story of my life.

Living in Our Own Blindspot

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 9.55.46 PM

When I think back on my marriage of 16 years to X there is an image that so often comes to mind.  Countless meals sitting across the table from him.  I’d be there, ready and present, sharing the joys and pains and challenges of my life. Yet somehow, especially in the last few years we were together, he just simply wasn’t there. He was checked out and who knows where. Somehow, and sadly, I became his blindspot.  Somehow, I became invisible to him.

X and I didn’t really fight a lot. But when we did, they were the same three arguments. The chief among them being this fight to be seen. To be heard. To be valued. To feel that what I had to say was important and meant something to him.  I fought long and hard in this place.  I stayed in this fight because I felt that the extent to which I was invisible to him,  I wasn’t fully alive. I felt like I was literally fighting for my life. All those years, all I really wanted from X was to look up from whatever it was that had his attention. To look up from across the table and really see me.

Just yesterday I sent a text to a most dear and remarkable lover. Parting words as we drift away from one another:

Include

Yourself

You deserve it.

And the extent to which you do is all you really have to offer of any meaning.

What I was addressing in this text was what I perceived to be his inability to fully value is own worthiness.  Finding various reasons to numb out to his own tremendous potential.   Together we had this practice. To include the excluded. To question the many ways we box ourselves in and challenge the worthiness of these boundaries.

What occurred to me at the time I sent this text was how often in this quest to include the excluded, we can overlook to include ourselves. I was at a yoga training this morning and each student was to blindly choose an inspirational saying from several that our teacher had placed in an envelope. The saying I chose was so perfect for me and pointed to so much of what matters to me these days.

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.

 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

After coming through the fucking shit storm I just came through, I can tell you with great certainty what true bravery means to me.  So much of what I’ve gone through has taken immense bravery. The night X left me, after 16 years of marriage,  blindsiding me after dinner (ironically enough while sitting at our dining table across from me), abandoning me  with a 6 month old baby. What it took to get through that first night.  Or the day I found out he had been unfaithful to me.  The countless days of having to solider forward as a single mom, reclaiming my life. All these things have tested my sense of courage and bravery.  But what I want to tell you is that despite all this, what I’ve come to believe is that the greatest act of bravery is to be present and honest and real with ourselves. And braver yet, to stay present, honest and real despite the fact that the person across the table doesn’t see you.

What I have come to believe is that this ability to hold, value and love ourselves is everything. That the quality of our ability to step outwards in this world is a direct reflection of the quality to which we are able to step inwards.  That the strength to which we are able to step out with is only as strong as the strength to which we are able to step in.  That our ability to be real and present with others is only as strong as our willingness to be real and present with ourselves.  That we can’t truly love another until we’re willing to lay it on the line for ourselves.

For me it hasn’t been easy to get out of my own blindspot. Being so undervalued in my marriage to X took a beating on my own sense of worth. Marriage is funny that way.  The opinions and beliefs of our spouse become a reference point of truth and reality for us. When our spouses turn on us it’s very disorienting.   Consciousness of this pattern helps.   Finding the people that see and and value us helps a great deal.  Probably the thing that helped the very most was a simple commitment to stay in love with myself despite all the despites. And time. Lots and lots of time.

Sure, there are times when we all fall out of love with ourselves, when we become our own blindspot. But the question then becomes, can we keep falling back in love with ourselves.   Can we stay alive and devoted? Patient and compassionate?  Can we keep singing our song regardless of whether or not anyone else is listening?  Can we be brave enough to include ourselves?

As I sit here alone at my dining room table, across from the empty chair that X used to sit in, I think well of my journey this last year.  This is MY voice. This is MY story.  It is dear. It is precious. And it is worth telling.