Today, I’m starting a new series and I’d like you to meet Lora. Lora and her husband were together for 20 years, married for 18. They divorced when Lora was 40, nine years ago. At the time their two daughters were five and nine.
Lora says her most significant accomplishment since then is becoming authentic. It was a theme that was interwoven through our conversation and you’ll see that thread in these posts. Let’s start with the beginning of her journey, a journey that Lora says she didn’t understand she was on. Here’s Lora:
About a year before I got divorced, I remember driving close to home, coming over a peak and seeing the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide. I had this moment where I said this prayer. I wanted to turn over every rock in my life and shine light on the shadows. I didn’t really understand what I was saying, I just knew everything had to change. I was asking for a vision quest, no matter what the consequences.
A vision quest is a Native American rite of passage. They go out in solitude for a few days when they are about 12. I don’t know why I asked for whatever I asked for but it was like I knew I wanted to come to a new level spiritually. I wanted to be at this other place and I realize now it’s related to authenticity.
It wasn’t a dark marriage – there was no abuse or alcoholism but I just knew I had to get out. I knew I was going to die within the marriage. There was a lot of trauma around the ending of my marriage because my ex asked that I tell the children that the divorce was my choice and after that I developed pneumonia because I was punishing myself.
I did go to a traditional counselor for a year after the divorce. He used techniques that really took a lot of the trauma away. I also saw a spiritual mentor. What I learned from her was that we spend a long time in our lives in our egos and I think I was very controlling – things came from my head. I justified who I was by my degree, my professional training. She taught me to trust my heart instead and I think ultimately that led me to be more connected with other people.
I had a friend say once she felt I was behind glass – she could see me and hear me but there was a barrier. I think that was about not knowing who I was and not having developed the vulnerability to really connect with people.
Now, I feel so much lighter. I’m playful, I’m younger, I’m more creative. I went back to dancing, started training again and now I’m performing with companies.
Had I gotten to that peak and been told what I’d have to go through on this vision quest, I probably wouldn’t have done it but I’ve become more authentic and that’s been my greatest accomplishment.
I don’t know if it’s being in a long term marriage or reaching forty or both, but lots of women whose marriages end, speak of losing themselves and the journey after divorce to find their true selves again. I felt the same way … somewhere along the way, I lost my sense of humor, lost my sociable nature and my sense of fun – I’m still working to find them all again – it’s a gradual process. Jessica Bram talks about the same in her book Happily Ever After Divorce.
Does this sound like a familiar story to you? How are you staying true to yourself now?