Untangling the Knot — a guide to conscious divorce and ‘happy ever after’
“What if your karma together is over?” she simply asked.
I had a life-changing moment on the side of a mountain in Boulder, Colorado, one windy September afternoon. I was in deep discussion about my troubled marriage with someone who had become my spiritual guide. She entered into my life the prior year, when I had found myself at rock bottom in a marriage that was slowly destroying me. I had been spinning my wheels for far too long trying to decide whether or not I should end it. If I did decide that leaving was the right answer, did I even have the courage or strength to go? With two small children, it’s a paralyzing choice. What if I destroyed their lives by ending this marriage? I walked her through my list of all of the reasons to stay, and to go, all of the fears, doubts, and what-ifs about what it would mean to divorce. Her simple response: “What if your karma together is over?”
At first, I had no idea what she meant. She elaborated further by posing the theory that my husband and I had come together for reasons I may not understand — to bring my children into this world, to heal each other’s wounds, or to learn other lessons that may not be obvious to me now. Our souls had come together for a special and important reason. However, perhaps now their journey together was over. The children are alive and well, the healing we could offer each other had been completed, and the lessons had been learned. The spiritual perspective on the ending of a relationship was a profound shift for me as well as being incredibly liberating.
A marriage isn’t a failure simply because it doesn’t last forever.
It took another year before I finally had the strength and courage to move forward with ending my 13-year marriage. My husband wasn’t any happier than I, but he hadn’t been ready to give up the picture- perfect family on the Christmas card. We finally acknowledged it was time to part ways. All I wanted was for us to part respectfully, amicably, and easily, as we each moved on with our lives and into a strong co-parenting partnership.
From the very beginning, I set my intention for our divorce to be different from others I had witnessed. I knew divorce didn’t have to be contentious and laced with spite, anger, and vengeful behavior. I stayed on the high road, approached the process with integrity, operated from a place of empowerment, and so we were able to achieve the peaceful parting I had believed was possible.
At the time, I had a management consulting practice with my business partner, Seth Wright. He had a front-row seat to the day-to-day activities surrounding my divorce because of our close working relationship and because he is a dear friend. He was my rock during that time and the years that followed. We both have an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep passion for helping others, and when the dust settled after my divorce, inspiration struck us both in such a powerful way that we had to pay attention. Believing I had moved through my divorce very positively through my mindset and approach, we saw an opportunity to meaningfully impact the lives of others going through this difficult life transition. With that, we poured ourselves into bringing Untangle the Knot to life.
Untangle the Knot is a comprehensive online resource designed to support you through the practicalities of divorce and every other area of life divorce touches. We provide information and tools to handle the legal and financial aspects of divorce, support your children through the transition and into their new lives, and to take care of your overall mental, spiritual, and physical wellness, since that is for the foundation of a peaceful divorce. In addition to the online resource, I offer personalized divorce consulting to guide you through your journey.
As inevitably painful as divorce is, you have the power to make choices that will determine just how difficult your divorce will be for you and everyone involved. You can choose to divorce in a way that honors your relationship, allows for a respectful parting, and creates a solid foundation to transition into your new lives.
I encourage you to take these empowered actions:
1. Set an intention for how you desire to move through your divorce.
This very well may be one of the most emotionally painful and stressful experiences of your life. As such, divorce can bring out the worst in even the most grounded person. Set a conscious intention for how you want to divorce and the behaviors you’ll need to exhibit to achieve that. Choose grace, integrity, empowerment, and staying on the high road, even when circumstances are trying to pull you down.
2. Practice unwavering self-care.
This is the time to prioritize taking care of yourself. Create a set routine to incorporate self-care into each day, doing whatever will serve you best. Prioritize nutrition and exercise, and add other helpful activities such as walks in the sunshine, meditation, journaling, and taking hot baths. Most important, treat yourself with the same level of compassion you would show to your best friend.
3. Create your support system.
Identify the one or two people in your life that will pick up the phone when you call at 3:00 am and offer you positive support — the people who will be truly supportive by providing you comfort and compassion and encourage you to remain on the high road even when things get rough. Your support system may include friends, family, a divorce coach, a therapist, or all of the above.
With your new perspective in place, be sure to cover the basics.
- Consult with an attorney. Divorce could be the largest financial transaction of your life, and you are now designing your children’s lives in two homes. The stakes are too high to not have expert legal advice. At a minimum, consult with an attorney as you begin the process and to review final documents.
- Secure and copy important documents. Copy statements for all financial accounts, including checking, savings, mortgage, investments, and credit cards. You’ll also want three years of tax returns. Gather passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, and any other important documents. Secure everything in a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend.
- Open a checking account and credit card in your name. Deposit paychecks into your new account and transfer half of the joint funds from your checking account. Be sure to have enough money in your name to pay the monthly bills.
With all of your highest-serving practices and intentions, it’s important to note that divorce still may not unfold as you hope — you can only control your half of the equation. Learning to accept how things play out and make peace, at least for yourself, in the process will be one of the greatest challenges. Divorce will break you open, offering many lessons. View these lessons as a gift, as they present you with the doors to a transformational journey into your next chapter, where you truly have the opportunity to become your best self and live the life you desire.
You may also enjoy Podcast: Sunny Joy McMillan | A Divorce Made In Heaven by Best Self Magazine