Why I'm grateful for my divorce

If you’ve been a frequent reader of my blog, you will recall that I wrote a post about why I am grateful for my marriage a couple of weeks ago. In order to share my post today about why I was so grateful for my divorce, I needed to delve into the gratitude for my marriage. If you missed that post, you can find it here

It’s probably not something that people say - I’m grateful for my divorce. Generally, divorce is associated with pain. That’s true. There is pain in divorce, but what lies in and beyond the pain is truly amazing. 

Pain opens you up to immense beauty and light

It’s hard to believe that not very long ago, I was a crying mess on my kitchen floor. I couldn’t sleep, eat or work. I was heartbroken. Even though I had initially asked for our separation, I couldn’t believe that my marriage was actually over after close to a decade together. The pain I felt in those days and weeks following our separation was the most intense of my life. I am grateful for that pain. 

Why? 

I had a beautiful opportunity in front of me. I could sit with the pain and let it be my teacher. And that’s what I did. 

I sat with the pain. Literally, for hours. I sat in my room, on my bed, on the floor, in a chair. I sat and let tears fall and fall and fall. I honoured where the pain lived in my body. I inhaled and exhaled through the pain. I didn’t push it away. I didn’t try to cover it with anything. I’ve learned over the years that you can’t cover or hide the pain with a substance, a person or another emotion. If you do, it just comes back somewhere else in your life. It’s like a weed that will pop up where you least expect it. I wanted to feel the pain in order to have true healing. 

So I just sat. And breathed. And cried. And eventually the tears stopped. And eventually the pain in my heart lessened. And soon--sooner than I thought, I got up off the floor and began to move forward. 

Hello again, you. 

Once that initial horrible painful period had dulled, I started to feel a lightness in my heart and I began to remember who I was. I didn’t realize how far from myself I had travelled in my marriage. I wasn’t my best self anymore. I wasn’t the person that my then husband had fallen in love with. I wasn’t my true self. Where was she? I knew I had to find her. Through intense meditation, prayer, journaling and yoga, I slowly started to feel her come back to life from the dead.  

Towards the end of my marriage, I remember reflecting on the fact that I never laughed anymore. Naturally, I have a loud laugh, and I couldn’t remember the last time that I had laughed that way. I used to feel such pure joy and though I was always a positive and content person, that pure joy was nowhere to be found. 

Slowly, that feeling of joy began to creep back into my being. And just the other night, I was in a meditation class and someone made me laugh. I noticed that loud Kathleen laugh boom into the room and I knew that I had found myself again. I was back. 

Look in the mirror

I went through intense anger towards my former partner and I was lucky to move through that phase fairly quickly. But every moment of blame or anger was also an opportunity. What was it that I didn’t like in myself that I saw in him? I was able to reflect on this and see that the traits that I had a hard time with in my husband were actually in me. Not only did that help me feel compassion and love towards him, I was also able to feel compassion and love towards myself. It was a transformative lesson. 

Opening my heart 

One of the greatest gifts of my divorce was the ability for my heart to open again. Truthfully, my heart had been closed to my husband for sometime. The loss of connection, the inability to communicate properly with each other, the lack of real vulnerability between us had taken its toll on both of us. Our hearts were no longer open. 

Through the pain of our separation, the crack of light began to enter mine. Reflection, meditation and sitting with my pain had started to soften the hardness around my heart. I could feel myself opening up. What happens when your heart opens? Well, other people feel it. They want to be close to you and want to share their heart with you. This applies to friends, family and romantic partners. Dating is going to be a topic for another day but suffice to say, when your heart opens, so do the possibilities for love. 

The other day I was with my daughter and we were laughing so hard and having a great time. I thought to myself, “This has been the best and the worst summer of my life.” And then I thought, “No, this has been the best summer of my life.”

Thank you to my separation. Thank you to my ex-husband. Thank you to the pain. Thank you to the light. Thank you to the joy. Thank you to my rebirth.  I am grateful for all of it.