“I used to think that divorce meant failure, but now I see it more as a step along the path of self-realization and growth.” Alana Stewart, actress
“Wiley was an average kind of guy…!”
Wiley arrived for his first consultation agitated and angry. Wiley was a 38 years old guy who developed software for IT companies. He was what he called a “freelancer,” those people who like their independence, so only work for themselves, renting out their skills when they need the money to support their lifestyle, which is often exotic.
Wiley’s unique lifestyle centred around flying drones. He loved learning about, playing with and finding ways to reprogram them. He said he considered drones the future of warfare and he wanted to be on the bleeding edge.
And, Wiley was married to Whitney for the past ten years. They had no children which was just as well because Whitney was divorcing him. She had found a new partner and was moving on and was doing it quickly…she wanted out ASAP.
Wiley was an average kind of guy…average looking, of average height and average weight. There was nothing unique or distinctive about his dress or appearance. Even his voice was kind of bland and nondescript.
“Divorce is always terrible, but I haven’t met anyone who went through it and isn’t happier now.”
– Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, actor
“Now, she’s leaving me…she’s divorcing me!”
When I asked Wiley what had been the best part of his marriage to Whitney, he said,
“I always felt she was in my corner, she had my back. I guess I felt safe with her!”
“Why was feeling safe so important to you in your relationship?” I asked him.
He paused momentarily before saying,
“Ken, I have always been kind of shy. I’m not big in the self confidence department! So, I guess I have relied on her to protect me in some way.”
“Protect you from what, Wiley?”
“That’s a good question! I’m not really sure! I guess from pain!” he replied.
“What kind of pain, Wiley?” I asked, wondering where this would lead.
“I guess the pain of loss…loss of myself…loss of my identity…of who I am!” he said, his voice rising in frustration.
“So, you perceive Whitney protected you and enabled you to be your own person, is that what you mean, Wiley?” I asked to be sure I was on track.
“Yes, that’s it exactly. Ken, I spend most of my spare time on my drone hobby. I fly them, I redesign them and I’m on the internet with my friends who share my passion for them. Whitney was very understanding about it and let me be me. Now, she’s leaving me…she’s divorcing me!” he said, his feelings of abandonment rising to the top of his awareness.
“Divorce, and broken marriages, are all around us, but they’re not frequently depicted on screen, or if they are, they’re often depicted in ways that have very little to do with reality.” – Katie Hafner, journalist
“… fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce.”
“Wiley, I can help with this situation if you are willing to learn. And, I think your hobby is a great tool to accelerate your learning. Let me first offer you some information. OK?”
“OK!” he replied cautiously.
“Wiley, fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. Of the fifty percent of all those who divorce, twenty-five percent remarry and the twenty five percent stay single.” I started with.
“OK!” he replied with an air of curiosity.
Then I added, “Fifty percent of those who stay in a marriage do so because it honours one or more of their highest ‘internal’ personal values like self worth or self confidence. The other fifty percent stay in the marriage because of their highest ‘external’ personal values like financial security, welfare of the children, or their religion’s rules.”
“So, you’re saying it’s a half and half thing…like 50/50, eh? But, why is that, Ken?” he asked.
“You don’t sign up for a divorce when you get married. It’s very painful. But it’s taught me a great deal about myself.” – Dwayne Johnson, actor
“…I’m certainly willing to consider the possibility.”
“Wiley, marriage is a social contract between two people and so it follows the natural law of symmetry or balance! This simply means, like all natural systems, it has a balance of up and down, left and right, in and out, over and under, continue and discontinue.”
“So, you’re saying it’s a natural process for every marriage to have a 50% likelihood of continuing into the future…is that what you mean?”
“Exactly! And, the same law applies to the amount of pain and pleasure in every divorce, too!” I said, seeing if he was ready to take his understanding to a new level.
“Are you saying my divorce from Whitney has just as much pleasure as pain in it, Ken?” he asked with a raised eyebrow of skepticism.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying Wiley! Are you ready to find it because it has to be there!” I replied.
He hesitated before saying, “I really don’t see it but I’m certainly willing to consider the possibility.”
“Half the bloody world is going through a divorce; more than that are having children. All of us have parents who are dying or have died. It’s just the life cycle.” – Sarah McLachlan, musician
“… I’ll probably never forget it.”
“Wiley, that is simply one of your blind spots, which we all have! For example, I bet you haven’t noticed the colour of my office rug even though you have had your feet on it for the last hour. You didn’t notice it because it is outside your focus which is whatever supports your highest values.” I offered.
“I never noticed your green rug before you mentioned it. So, that suggests I have missed other things in my life…like, for example, the benefits of Whitney dumping me!” he said raising that right eyebrow of his again.
“You’ve got the idea now! So, let’s start uncovering the truth of your divorce. Would you go to the specific time and place when you first found out that Whitney had decided to end your marriage. How long ago was this and where were you exactly, Wiley?”
“That’s easy enough to remember…in fact, I’ll probably never forget it. Ken, she walked into the kitchen where I was tossing a salad for our supper and said to me in this calm, calculated voice, ‘I want a divorce…I’ve found someone else!’ Then, she turned around and walked into the living room and turned on the television.”
“… get present with that moment in your life…”
“Wiley, I want you to freeze that moment in your mind’s eye and focus on it carefully. At that very moment, the balance law was working. At that very moment, your were perceiving the pain of the end of your marriage. But, you weren’t noticing the pleasure of the end of your marriage. Let’s find it right now!”
“Are you trying to tell me I was experiencing pleasure at that very same moment? Are you saying 50% of that experience was pleasurable for me? …For me?” he said with both eyebrows shooting skyward in shock.
“Yes I am! But you often need to be present in the experience to see the other side. So, just close your eyes and get present with that moment in your life, that memory. Look around carefully and find out how it served you, benefitted you or enhanced you to be there hearing Whitney say those things.”
Wiley cautiously closed his eyes and sat back in his chair. A few moments passed! I sat quietly letting his mind uncover the information he needed to go forward in his life, the information he needed to be in control of his future, the information he needed to empower himself.
“I decided after my last divorce to marry myself.” – Nell Carter, actress
“Just one thought…I’m free!”
“You know what keeps surfacing in my awareness, Ken?” he asked, opening his eyes.
“What keeps surfacing, Wiley?”
“Just one thought…I’m free!” he said slowly and carefully with a hint of self satisfaction.
“Free from what?” I asked.
“It’s not free from what! It’s free to be…free to be me…free to be whatever, whoever I choose!”
“Why is that idea so important to you Wiley?” I ask to understand the depth of this new awareness he was sharing with me.
“Ken, I’m an only child, no siblings! My parents were older, Mom in her late forties and Dad in his early fifties, when I was born. So, they were doting parents when I was born and ever since have always tried to run my life. I felt so limited, restricted and restrained my entire life…but I was safe. I married Whitney to maintain that safety. But, at the moment she told me, she freed me from my self imposed jail. Wow! What a thought!” he said tears filling his eyes.
“I knew my parents would be pleased because…”
I waited quietly while he processed this new awareness and it implications. After a few minutes I asked him,
“If her announcement freed you, how did it do that? What specifically are the benefits to you of being free to be yourself, Wiley?”
“It freed my spirit which felt smothered in our relationship. It actually reduced my stress level because I actually also felt relieved. I knew my parents would be pleased because they never really felt she was there for me the way they had tried to be.” he said.
“Are there any other specific benefits at that moment?” I asked encouraging his dash to awareness and appreciation.
“My closest friend, William, had been trying for years to get me to end it. And, I realized I could spend money on what I wanted without needing her OK. I could buy as many drones as I could afford for the first time in my life.”
“Anything else?” I asked.
“And, even at work, I have felt more focused and productive since she told me. Ken, at that moment, it’s like I experienced all this, simultaneously.” he added with a sense of wonder to his voice.
“Divorce is a declaration of independence with only two signers.” – Gerald F. Lieberman, writer
“…ended your marriage and started your life…”
“It sounds like you ended your marriage and started your life, Wiley!” I said by way of a summary of his insights.
“That’s really true! I feel liberated. I feel empowered! I feel like I’m in control of my life again. But, I guess I did have to pay for it with the pain of her rejection and the pain of her betrayal.” he said.
“Wiley, that’s in keeping with the natural law. Let me ask you one more question to see if you have really understood what has happened to you. Would you give up all these benefits to be back in the marriage with Whitney?” I asked slowly and carefully.
He stared off into space and his eyes seemed to defocus for a few seconds. Then, he refocused and turned to me and said,
“I couldn’t go back to that relationship, Ken. I won’t go back to denying who I am…I refuse!”
“That would have been my best guess your response would be.” I said.
“How come?” he asked, surprised.
“Divorce is hard and painful and complicated, and something you have to grow through.”
– Sharon Stone, actress
“…I needed this divorce to learn who I am…”
“Because we don’t get dumber, only smarter in life. Every day we live we get smarter to ensure our survival. To go back to that old relationship would be to deny who you are, to deny your values and to deny your dreams.” I suggested.
“Ken, do you mean I needed this divorce to learn who I am?”
“What do you think, Wiley?”
“I guess I did need this divorce to be the real Wiley, didn’t I?” he replied with that turn up in his voice emphasizing his question.
“Maybe the primary purpose of every divorce is for each person to grow themselves and their sense of self esteem, self worth and so, self-confidence,eh?
“It certainly applies to me…for sure! But you mentioned earlier, this might be all connected to my love of drones. How so, Ken?”
“Why are you so fascinated by drones? What is it about them that intrigues you and so many others, Wiley?”
“I think, for me, it the high perspective you get when they have a good camera in them. You can see so far and see so many things.” he said, his enthusiasm raising as he started talking about them.
“There are no mistakes in nature, so you really can’t waste your time…”
“I wonder if perhaps you were searching for the bigger picture of your life, the biggest perspective you could get?” I suggested to him.
“There may be some truth to that, Ken. I certainly have been interested in droning, flying and skydiving for a long time. But why would that be?”
“I think we are all seeking to understand our life and the laws which govern it. Well, the laws which govern our life are the natural laws of nature. So, you’ve uncovered one of these laws already and it has had a profound influence on how you see yourself and your future.”
“So, droning has not been a waste of my time, eh?”
“There are no mistakes in nature, so you really can’t waste your time, Wiley. You just need to uncover the learning that is going on which you need for your future.”
“So, my marriage to Whitney wasn’t a waste, it was an important time of learning for me…is that what was going on?”
“Now, you have begun understanding the perfection of your life…just as it is! Congratulation Wiley!”
“Divorce is one of nature’s most powerful, personal, empowerment tools.” – King Ayles, writer
Until Next time…
Now you know, every relationship prepares you for the next one. And each relationship prepares you to be you, doing what you need to do, to be who you need to be, so you can have what you need to have, to be true to yourself. There are no mistakes in this lifelong learning process. So, start finding the perfect duality of every second of your life, so you can create the gratitude that reflects your wisdom of the laws of the natural universe.
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Our next seminar is entitled, “How to Bring balance to Life and Purpose to Work!” It will be on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016. Details are available at ww.kenpiercepsychologist.com
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Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
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