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    inspired choice?

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    and start your journey.

    Go!
  • Uh Oh! It’s the Holidays and We’re Getting Divorced!

    Along with all the joy the holidays bring there is often a lot of discussion about the challenges and stresses of being with family. All the holiday hype can make it difficult to get to those warm feelings of home, the deep connection we have with our loved ones, and the joy of being together. When we add divorce to the mix all sorts of difficult questions and stresses show up.

    But despite the to-be-expected potential irritations of being thrown together for a yearly visit with family, I think this time of year gives us a unique opportunity to have a really great holiday outcome, whatever form your family may be in at the time.

    Specifically, we have the opportunity to choose to see the good that is possible by having a vision for the kind of holiday and family experience we want to have.

    That said, when people are in the middle of what some might call a family crisis – a separation or divorce – there can be even more obstacles to seizing that opportunity. So here’s how it tends to go in the typical divorce or separation. It starts with assumptions like:

    “It’s going to be awful or stressful.”
    “We’re going to fight about where the kids go.”
    “It’s going to be heartbreaking.”
    “We’re not going to agree on what to do.”
    “This is going to be really artificial.”

    These are only a few of the stressful thoughts we might encounter. Some of these end up as self-fulfilling prophecies:

    We are so on edge, we end up responding to things we think will happen instead of creating what we hope can happen.

    So, how can we make the shift from just getting through the holidays to actually enjoying aspects of them without a full load of stress?

    Even though the stages of uncoupling can be difficult – and even though everyone’s situation is different, and even if you might prefer to simply escape – there is much you can do to make things better.

    Those of you who’ve worked with me on divorcing differently know that putting your vision first, and making inspired choices that bring you a better outcome, is key to not just surviving, but to thriving during a separation or divorce.

    Here are a few tips that will help you create a peaceful and hopefully joyful holiday, despite all the challenges you might be facing. Use them as a your guide to approaching divorce differently this holiday season.

    1) Be prepared for that rise in your emotions. Being prepared can actually help you stay more balanced.

    2) Consider how you can keep your usual holiday routine – especially if separation or divorce is new to you. For example, if going to that great vacation spot is what you’ve always done, figure out how you can still do just that.

    3) Think about what you really cherish about the holidays and present it clearly and simply with “I” statements in order to begin a discussion about options for how to celebrate. If you’re making a request, be ready to suggest a compromise or alternative. For instance, you might say, “Christmas Eve has always been the most special time in my family and I would like to take Sally to see her grandparents that night. How would you feel about taking her to be with your parents on Christmas afternoon?”

    4) If your focus is keeping the family together, find a way to keep the continuity of family by planning a special, time-limited event. You can also design certain guidelines regarding behavior if you’re concerned that tension will cause emotions to erupt. Example: Decide together that provokers of bad feelings (sarcasm, criticism, harsh tone, petty arguments) are off limits for the event – and remember to think creatively: you can take separate cars or decide together what topics to avoid. Essentially, you are making an agreement to keep things agreeable for those moments or events, which is a great way to build a foundation for going forward when children are involved.

    5) Envision what is meaningful to you while also considering what’s meaningful to others: What do you know about what is important to your soon-to-be ex partner, or your children, about the holidays, and how can their wishes be incorporated?

    6) Know when it’s best not to try to be together and plan accordingly.

    7) Breathe!

    There is no one correct way to do this – and there is no rule that says this new way of doing the holidays has to be terrible.

    Most importantly:

    There is no rule that says your way has to be typical, traditional, or the way it was.

    This is a time to create new traditions. Traditions that fit your personal circumstances and that bring a new and different focus into the holiday mix.

    And, certainly, there may also be sadness and a yearning for what you thought would be wonderful for a very long time. So, allow yourself to honor that sadness and begin to create something that you are comfortable with for this year.

    You may change how you do things next year, but listen to yourself regarding what you need this season – YOUR VISION – and have a heartfelt holiday.

    Wising you the best in the New Year,

    Liz Goll Lerner
    Your Inspired Choices

    P.S. Be the first to get my new Divorce Well & Thrive webinar for more on what it means to divorce well and how to begin to create YOUR OWN PERSONAL VISION for a very different kind of separation or divorce. It will arrive in your in-box as soon as it is ready!

    Don’t Do It Alone

    Colorful Hands Forming Heart Shape

    Fall is a time of transition. The sunny days give way to cooler breezes and beautiful colors. The cycle of life is before our eyes. There are many transitions in life. Some involve simply adjusting to the days getting a bit shorter and others are more complex.

    On the surface, we move into task mode. What does this change mean and how do we take action or cope with it? Underneath the surface, many emotions may arise.

    When big changes take place, like loss of a loved one, aging, assisting someone who is aging, divorce or even a child leaving for college, we see them concretely in tasks that arise, often involving de-cluttering, or moving furniture or even moving to another residence. Underneath, our own tectonic plates are moving. Not only are we navigating the external world, we are navigating how to metabolize these changes internally. How are we making sense of our world as it is changing shape? How do we steer the ship in unknown waters?

    I was working on clearing out my computer the other day, when I came across sets of varied instructions I had given to the home health aide who was caring for my mother who lived in another state. I realized anew that I had been managing every aspect of my mother’s life from a physical standpoint and at times emotional as well. That meant in addition to caring for my family and working, I had another full time job.

    From an external view, it was about priorities, love and managing all the balls in the air as best I could. Did things slip through the cracks? Yes. But everyone’s health and safety stayed afloat. In addition, huge questions and role transitions were taking place.

    Every day in my practice, I speak with or see someone going through a major life transition. There is no rulebook, but there are guides. It is important to hire people, when you can, to help sort out the complexities. My colleague, Penny Catterall of Order Your Life, who I use for help with organizing my life, has been indispensable to those going through these kinds of transitions from moves, to downsizing, to helping with the paperwork (medical forms, bill payment, culling files, etc.) that there just isn’t time to do when you are focused on major unexpected and sometimes expected life events.

    Whether it’s divorce, a child leaving for college or being an adult parent in a care-giving situation learning how to be a respectful advocate, remember to reach out and get the help you need whether it is coaching, counseling, geriatric consulting or organizing and administrative. Don’t do it alone.

    Getting to the YOU without the GOO!

     

    Getting to the YOU_4_final
    I am so pleased to share my new website with you – and it wasn’t easy to get here!  In fact, creating a new website was a very different experience from what I imagined. I thought it would just be taking what was there and tweaking a few things, but it turned into a complete re-think of what I wanted to offer to you.

    I kept coming back to the fact that Getting to the YOU without the GOO! is more than just a catchy, fun phrase to make a point. It is what we are all going for whether we’re in a small stuck place or a big one, and whether our Goo is related to work or relationships or anything else.

    So, with this new website, I’m finding more ways to include you in the how of Getting to the YOU without the GOO! I know that we all get stuck sometimes and the stuff that gets us stuck is often quite hard to unglue. I believe that ungluing is the name of the game.

    Most often, it doesn’t take very long to get to the heart of the matter and to free the YOU! – and there are so many ways to get to that true expression of who you are. That is the part I love – helping you find the route to expressing your true nature in the way YOU want to express it.

    So take a minute and explore the website and find out more – and if you especially want to hear more about GOO and getting out of it, click here.

    Also, help me support you better by sharing the challenge you most want to tackle right now and how you like to receive support by filling out my super short survey. Your input is invaluable to me and you’ll be helping me create programs that are perfect for you!

    Let me know what you think and let’s be in touch,

    Liz