Divorce is one of life’s most stressful and life-changing events. It shakes the foundations of the family, upending living situations, wreaking havoc on emotions, and shattering seemingly-secure lives in a matter of minutes.
Many divorced moms stay stuck in regret and resentment or just keep doing what they’ve always done out of habit or because of the demands of everyday living or because they don’t know things could be different. Old behaviors such as self-sacrifice and putting others’ needs first get in the way, and life stays “on hold,” waiting till the kids are older, there’s more money in the bank, or a new man comes along.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
Divorce can be a catalyst:
It creates an opportunity to transform frustration, anger, disappointment, guilt, regret, or numbness into joy and passion for living. When your foundations are shaken, you may become more willing to take risks and explore opportunities you wouldn’t have considered when life was more stable and seemingly secure.
If you’ve been in a holding pattern in your post-divorce life, or if you’re stuck in feelings that are no longer serving you, it’s time to build a new foundation – one that will work for you now and that will support you in creating a life you can enjoy after divorce. From my interviews with divorced moms who have lives they love today, and my own personal experience, the key to a strong foundation is spiritual.
Establishing or strengthening a spiritual connection after divorce can help you find a healthy perspective on life and lessen the false belief that you’re on your own. The spiritual foundation provides a strong base from which you can rebuild the rest of your life.
What is a Spiritual Foundation?
A “spiritual foundation” as used in this article does not refer to a specific religion or practice. Instead it refers to the fundamental notion of something larger than our individual selves, something that connects us to the universal, the spirit that is part of all living beings. Some divorced moms recognize that power as the God of their religious tradition. Others use a more generalized concept such as Universe, Spirit, or Higher Power. And some find their spiritual foundation in nature, a divine pattern, art, or breath. Use whatever feels right to you. It will likely grow and change as you do anyway.
Developing a spiritual foundation allows you to trust the path and let go of the need to understand and control. This gets you out of traps common to many divorced moms, such as working harder and harder, trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it, or trying to manage, manipulate, and control life circumstances to prevent further suffering for themselves or their children. These actions lead mainly to resentment, anger, self-pity and exhaustion whereas a spiritual foundation can lead to new ways of seeing. Inner knowing, wisdom, peace and serenity can grow as your spiritual connection deepens. That leads to a smoother flow to life and, ultimately, more joy.
In my own experience, and in talking with other divorced moms, those who are happiest after divorce are those who have created or strengthened their own spiritual foundations and keep them growing through regular spiritual practices. The first step is finding your spiritual connection. Trusting that deep down inside is a spark of the Divine that, if you are willing, will lead you to your own answers.
To help you get started, here are a few examples of the different ways divorced moms I interviewed developed their spiritual foundations:
- Rebecca imagines her Higher Power as oxygen, something as close as the next breath. When things get tough, such as an interaction with her former husband, a few breaths are all it takes to bring her Higher Power to the situation and restore calm.
- Jan turned to the religion she was raised in when her marriage became unbearable, developing an adult relationship with God and focusing on the practices that allowed her to find support while ignoring those that she found unhealthy.
- Mary left the church she was raised in but found a spiritual foundation through a 12-step recovery program. Attending meetings and practicing the principles of the program in her everyday life helps her in raising a teenage daughter on her own.
- Linda takes a daily walk outside and connects spiritually through nature. Now remarried, she finds this practice gives her the patience and serenity to handle her husband’s health issues and accompanying mood swings.
Spend a little quiet time and invite your inner spirit to reveal what you need to know. See what happens as you create a strong foundation for life after divorce. As your spiritual connection strengthens, so will you, and life will flow more easily despite its certain challenges.