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Divorcing Toxicity: What I Have Learned About My Lifein180.

In September of 2018, after seven years in my 3rd marriage, I left my home and filed for a divorce. Our marriage was toxic. At the time of separation, there was no ability to dialogue. No listening. Even therapy became one sided finger pointing sessions without a resolution in sight. It was all emotionally charged and every piece of baggage we had was in play. I knew the process would be difficult for my two young boys but protecting them from the shrapnel was growing impossible. I made my decision.

Just a few weeks later, on October 1st, I signed a lease on a new house for myself and my two boys that I share custody of. I began the process of building a life the way I envisioned it for myself and my boys. Free of drama. I would use the time previously spent on fighting with their mom to engage with my boys on a much deeper level and create a healthier me.

I never would have imagined how excruciating the next year and a half would be and how many lessons I would have to process in order to get to where I am today. Most of my lessons were centered around the same theme. You would think this would make it easier to get a grasp on what it was all about but, it did just the opposite. It brought me to my knees, stripped me of what I thought I knew and slammed me down to rock bottom. There was nobody but myself to be with. Nobody else in the mirror. Just me, with all of my new responsibilities piled on top of my old habits and excuses. It was an opportunity, more than I realized, to learn something life changing.

I am far from perfect. In fact, some days I feel so imperfect that I don’t recognize myself. I am often unhappy with my “performance” because I act in a way that is opposite to what my goal is. This has been frustrating for me because I know what I know about myself. I have been passionate and honest in my search for the truth all of my life. I have always been “working” on myself. I have experienced my own emotional and spiritual evolution but still get confused. Forgetting where I have come from, I get the feeling that something is not right about me. Like something is still missing. That I have missed the mark and will never be enough.

Thankfully, I am beginning to understand what this has all been about for me. It’s not about missing my X-Spouse(s), houses, money or not accomplishing some task I set out to do. Deep down, I was not truly worried for my kids because I knew what I was leaving was broken and what I could build would be much better. Don’t get me wrong, I often wish I had a re-do button. I spend countless hours and days caught up in the past even though I understand it is the past and I can do nothing to change it.

I was forced to do something completely different than I had been doing. I had been going in circles, doing the same things and expecting different results. Going in circles is easy and habit forming. A circle is 360. It’s safe, requires little thinking and no pressure to move out of my comfort zone into vulnerability. It repeats itself over and over. I realized I had the opportunity to do something different. A 180. This would be completely different. Something new and empowering.

A 360 life beats the hell out of my back again and again. Like a task master with a stick, it reminds me of my failures and encourages me to keep hidden “who I really am” because I fear I will be rejected. I realized this is bullshit. I was running in circles. It could never be different if I continued. Instead, I began to think, what if I can do this? What if I could be happy, give the kind of love I wanted to get and be honest about who I am at the same time? What if each thought were not exclusive and could co-exist?

This past year and a half brought amazing blessings. It also brought excruciatingly painful lessons. I have a hard head and a lot of baggage. I’m embarrassed to say that I still drag a lot of it around. At times, it has been difficult to keep it together. I kept resisting and didn’t realize that Life was extending Its hand to me. I resisted lessons that required vulnerability and opening up to others. I would not step out because I wasn’t sure where my foot would land.

I started to understand and realize now more than ever, that Life is a loving teacher, a Force that It is for me and not against me. This realization has been a major shift in my life. My 180. I am beginning to embrace imperfection as a blessing. I can shout out and exploit my lessons learned to the world and offer understanding and support to others. Sometimes, just knowing we are not alone in our struggle is enough to carry us through. I can shine my light brightly on the truth and declare from my own experience, that my imperfections are beautiful. They add spice and color to my life. They allow me to appreciate, rather than push away my story. Worrying about what others may think has never worked out well for me. If I start with myself and accept and love who I am, this will reflect back to the people I choose to be around. In turn, they can choose if they want to be around me.

This all starts by acknowledging who you are, accepting and embracing where you are on your journey towards your true self. This is love. This is self-love. By acknowledging who we are (our past), we allow the light of day to shine on any areas that were hidden by the night. This is never forced on us. It is nothing to be afraid of. It creates more space and clears out the cob-webs from our past. Accepting and embracing where you are, is about the present. It’s not about settling. It’s about being OK with yourself as you are, right now. This requires empathy, love and patience with yourself. I am learning that Life, (God, Buddha, Elijah) whatever you choose to call Him or Her, is always for you and never against you. It’s not about things happening for a reason and what we must learn. At our core, it is impossible to separate ourselves from Life. When you attempt to separate by not accepting who you are, you hide from and reject yourself. This rejection creates a disconnect between yourself and Life. Because you cannot truly separate the two, this rejection is the ultimate denial of love. As we grow and allow Love into our lives, we are able to give and receive in ways that are deeper and more satisfying than we ever imagined. We become greater than we could ever wish to be because we are greater than we could ever understand on our own. You got this! You are enough and you are never alone! Acknowledge, Accept and Embrace all of who you are on your journey towards becoming who you want to be. This is Lifein180. Peace.


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