Friday, August 29, 2014

8 Must-Haves for Every Dynamic Divorcee's Recovery Toolkit

From Power Thought Cards by Louise Hay

When you're slogging your way through every single day, unsure whether life will ever get better, it really helps to inject a little fun and whimsy into the process.

With that in mind, I offer you my version of divorce recovery first aid:  8 Must-Haves for Every Dynamic Divorcee's Toolkit.

We have all five senses covered here -- and the sixth sense is even in here, too : ) .

Including all of your senses in your toolkit helps to stop your mind from playing it's endless loop of gloom and doom.

Put together this toolkit today.  Especially essential when you don't have enough love and support around you.  And, these days, who does?

8.  You might be wishing for a security blanket right now -- I did.  Here's the adult version that works so well for me:  A favorite, comforting light-weight scarf, keeping you cozy and protected, like one of these from World Market (and, bonus, some cute ways to tie them, here).

It will pick up the scent of whatever yummy fragrance you wear (more about that below), and will start to give you a soothing, relaxed and happy vibe every time you wear it.  That vibe is cumulative, so wear it often, have it on you when you attend happy, uplifting events, and it will start to remind you of the good times and the good people in your life.  (A new scarf is best.  Don't choose one that has memories associated with your ex!)

7.  A talisman that centers you whenever you hold it in your hand.  Sometimes the nicest one is the one that you pick up during a long walk.  But, if you have a local rock shop or metaphysical store, you can see which crystals or gemstones feel the best in your hand.  You don't have to research the meanings of the various gemstones.  Just choose one that feels good in your hand and makes you feel the kind of energy you need most, whether it's peace, contentment, fire, self-love, or confidence.

A practice that I like is to hold the stone in my hand every morning and intend my wish for that day.  Then, right before bedtime, I hold the stone in my hand and release everything that happened, both good and bad, into my stone for safekeeping so I can sleep peacefully.

6. Get a Pinterest account to make a virtual vision board of where you want your life to be . . . next week, next month, next year.  This is so much fun!  You can make your board visible or private, as you choose.  This is the *perfect* tool for women who have worked themselves to the bone for so long, and sacrificed so much for others that they no longer even know what they like, what they desire, or who they are.  Just visit Pinterest and start clicking.

I also think it's nice to print out some key images that really motivate you, buy a 4 x 6 purse-sized photo album (I use this one, for under $5, where one of your vision-board images can be visible on the cover) and keep your little album with you to motivate you during the day.  There's something about having images you can touch!

5. A natural, grounding scent that helps you to feel calm, positive, powerful, and relaxed.  I enjoy Karma from Lush (great if you like a patchouli/orange mix -- both grounding and mood elevating), just $10.95 US for the solid perfume -- and it's very long-lasting on the skin.

I also love the Relax synergy blend from Plant Therapy, containing lavender, marjoram, patchouli, mandarin, geranium, and chamomile -- starts at just $7.99 US for a 10ml bottle at the Plant Therapy website (but the company offers even better pricing on amazon.com).  This doesn't last long on my skin (but it may on yours).  However, I find that it's a scent that is both relaxing and energizing at the same time, and works great in a diffuser so that your home or workplace can be filled with this gentle, but recovery-supporting scent.  Works great at bedtime!

You also can get double-duty from your scent -- if you're open to the idea of creating a little magic -- when you choose a hoodoo oil from Moma Sarah at Conjured Cardea.

My favorite is her Queen of Sheba oil,which Sarah describes as a "great drawing oil to be used in glamouries, prosperity workings, or added to any spell or ritual to help conquer your goal. The Queen of Sheba, Makeda, ruled what is modern day Yemen, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Stories of her include flying carpets, talking birds, and teleportation! At the head of a caravan of riches, she visits Israel's King Solomon to test his legendary wisdom. After Solomon successfully answers her riddles, the queen showered him with 4 and a half tons of gold!

"Invoke your inner queen and exude confidence and charm. Invoke her generous spirit and be rewarded for your hard work! Contains cinnamon, rose, balm of gilead, myrrh, frankincense, spikenard root, rose oil and a few secrets."

I rub a drop of this oil into the palms of my hands and lightly press my hands to my face (and sometimes rub it on other parts of the body as well), with the invocation that I am absolutely irresistible, magnetic, and unstoppable in everything I do.

Moma Sarah also recommends, for the woman going through divorce, her Queen B*tch oil and soap,  Crucible of Courage oil, and Attraction powder because of how well these items have helped many of her clients obtain new and better lives.  You can find out more about all of it here.  If you're not familiar with the concept of magical workings, just contact Sarah for product recommendations. 

4.  Power Thought Cards by Louise Hay.  I have such a love of this card deck that I can't even tell you.  Through all my darkest hours, it just wouldn't leave me alone.  I bought this deck during the early days when I had just separated from my husband after finding out about his secret life with another woman.  I really didn't know whether I was living or dead.  Since then, it seems that every time I forget about this wonderful, adorable set of cards, someone gives me another of the same deck!  So, seven years later, I now have three of them : ) .

This is a must-have set of 64 whimsical, brightly colored cards that reorient your thoughts toward the positive and the possible.  I use them as an oracle:  I ask a question and get clarity and a plan of action by drawing one card.  Always uplifting.  Do this rather than cast your fate to tarot cards, which can leave you feeling more depressed than when you started.

3.  Kundalini yoga DVDs by Ana Brett and Ravi Singh.  You don't even have to leave home for the gym, and most of Brett's DVDs allow you to create your own workout (even if you only have 5 or 10 minutes) from among the various segments on each DVD by using their matrix feature.   This is more than just exercise.  Flows are created to cause specific effects (stress relief, increase in energy, relaxation) and there's even a Kundalini Yoga Quick Fixes DVD that treats a host of different issues, with a series of poses/flows that each take only a few minutes.  Total lifesaver, and you feel great after just a brief practice.

2.  An uplifting (yet not preachy or saccharine) weekly podcast.  Here's my favorite that I've listened to for years -- with a unique take on manifesting.  It's called Flowdreaming, and you can access ten of creator Summer McStravick's top podcasts here.  You can also subscribe via iTunes.

1.  A go-to blog (like this one) that you can count on for a weekly infusion of attitude adjustment.  And, it really helps if the person behind the blog is available to coach you one-on-one through some of those rock-and-a-hard-place spots.  If you're interested in one-to-one work with me (you can be anywhere on Earth as long as we have English as a common language), you'll find more about that here.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Robin WIlliams: What Dreams May Come

With Robin Williams' death still on my mind, last weekend, I got around to watching some of my favorites among his films, and thought I'd include one as this week's blog post -- and your movie of the week.

It's What Dreams May Come, the 1998 after-world drama directed by Vincent Ward (Map of the Human Heart, Navigator). Williams plays the man we all wish we'd married:  loving, loyal, strong, and with all of the qualities our culture raises us to believe the good man should possess.

"What's true in our minds is true, whether some people know it or not."
The film plays with the idea that each person's perception of reality is the reality that the person lives.  It's a beautiful visual representation of this way of thinking, and it may convince you that our thoughts have more to do with our reality than we know.

I believe that the people who hold out for the kind of love that the leading couple portray in the film are the people who have the chance to find it -- so hang in there, ladies.

What Dreams May Come is the story of a couple, very much in love, who lose their two children in a car crash, and just as they are beginning to heal from that experience, the husband is killed in a second multi-vehicle accident, while trying to help the victims.  The rest of the film takes place in an often technicolor afterlife.

When Williams' widow (Annabella Sciorra) commits suicide in despair, we get a reversal of the many myths in which a woman puts her life in jeopardy to settle the accounts of a weak and incompetent father, or travels to the underworld to save her less-than-heroic spouse.  This time, the man is the hero
à la Orpheus and Eurydice.

If you've been through hell and back because your ex-husband turned out to be less than a shadow of the man you thought you married, this is a beautiful film to see.  Watch it, and remind yourself of what a stand-up guy is really all about.

Then, "name it, and claim it" for yourself, as they say.

Here's Roger Ebert's review from 1998, in which he summarizes, "Heaven, in one sense, means becoming who you want to be."

For my Dynamic Divorcées, as you envision who you want to be while still on Earth, and whom you want to be with, it helps to see some good examples of a man worth loving.

Do you have a favorite romantic film that inspires you?  Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Enough Said: Is he "good enough"?

As I wrote my July 11 post, "Are Men Really More Attractive as They Age?", in the back of my mind I was thinking about the 2013 film Enough Said, with James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

So, I'm making it my chick-flick recommendation for this weekend's viewing.

Here's why.  I have one big caveat regarding that July 11 blog post:  Like attracts like, and we're cruising for a crash (and a badly bruised ego) when we expect to attract men who are head and tails above the level we're at in our own lives. 

My previous post was about how men's feelings of entitlement are colored by a lifetime of women's petting, coddling, and abetting their shortcomings and bad behavior.  Not to mention daily media photo spreads of the much-younger conquests of middle-aged rich and famous men. 

But can women's expectations be a little off the mark, too?  For sure.

I decided to write about Enough Said because of a couple of recent coaching calls with Dynamic Divorcee clients.

One particular lady in her late 40s, without a decent job, floating while looking for a lifesaver, expressed her goal to find a professional man to support her and her three children so she could stay home and pursue her clothing design hobby.

There's nothing wrong with hoping that a man can help better a woman's financial situation.  Men and women often bring different gifts to the table in a relationship.  So I asked this client to take a look at what she is bringing to the table. What does she have to offer to the mythical Prince Charming?

In Enough Said, Louis-Dreyfus' character Eva, a massage therapist and divorced, single mother, begins dating a regular guy, a self-described "slob" who is actually a person at her own level, and, with this, she immediately begins to find fault.  Should she settle for him?  Should she deserve better?  Intruigued?  Watch and find out what happens.

Back to real life:  What's the best way to meet a great man (and have the greatest amount of choice and power in the relationship)?  Bring to the table exactly what you hope he will bring to you.  Ever notice that the moment you're no longer white-knuckling a situation, you immediately get what you've been longing for?  Same thing here.

Get your financial house in order.  It's way easier to do this yourself than to expect someone else to do it for you.  Show the man you like that you're not expecting him to provide you with the basics.  Let him see that you have your own life, a great circle of friends.  That your life is already full of interests and yummy goodness that you may be willing to share with him, if he's willing to try hard enough to show you that he is the one.

That's an attitude much more likely to meet with success than for a middle-aged woman to expect to find a man willing to do all the up-leveling for her. And, way more fun.  And . . . now you deserve to be picky : ) .

Friday, August 8, 2014

It's summertime again: Forget about dating, and just make new friends : )


When May arrives each year, if there's no one super-special in my life, I can start feeling lonely and disconnected, wanting someone really fun to date for the all-too-short warm-weather months.

So, at about that time, I start paying attention to my online dating site again.  I start taking a look at the available guys, trying to determine which ones aren't quite as old and decrepit as the others, not too deadly dull, and of those, which are not sooo disastrously focused on women much much younger than they.

Heading off the summertime blues
Last year, I wasted the better part of a year going against my own advice -- giving try after try to someone whom I felt was the best of what was available.  And, it wasn't a bad summer.  Fall not so great.  Winter even worse.   

He told me, on one of the first dates, that he had zero emotional intelligence.  I wasn't sure what that meant, but I came to find out. And I was immediately much happier without him. 

When May arrived this year, I, once again, did check in with the dating site, and I did go on a couple of go-see coffee dates.  Meh to the 9s.  (Or, hell to the no!)

I began to consider my motives.  What did I want from this?

Well, shallow as it sounds, I really just wanted to meet someone nice whose eyes sparkled at the sight of me.  I wanted to dine outdoors in balmy weather, and get dressed up for someone who would appreciate it.  I wanted to laugh, drink some wine, share stories both silly and sad.  Go on long walks.  See new things together.  Stuff like that.

It finally occurred to me:  I don't need a man for those things.  I need girlfriends!

This is a job for girlfriends
If you've been reading this blog from the early posts, you know that it started as a 40+ single girl's guide to navigating the weekends solo.  That's because, post-divorce, all of my girlfriends were happily married or in relationships.  They were busy on the weekends, and I would have felt out of place being a third wheel or hanging out with their families.

I had a few things to sort out for myself anyway.  So I spent a couple of somewhat lonely summers
getting comfortable with my own company.

But now, it's different.  And I need to take the same advice that I give my Dynamic Divorcee coaching clients.  It's pretty easy to make new friends and get closer with old ones:  We single ladies just have to make the first move, and make it a few times in a row.

Schedule weeknight dinners for some one-on-one time with girlfriends who are married.  Saturday night out with a couple of lifelong friends who are now single, too.  And sometimes, even a night out with a married couple.

So far, this summer, I've had a lot of fun, and hardly noticed that I'm unattached.  (Well, actually, I'm not completely unattached.  But there's no one in my life right now who has my undivided attention, and certainly no one in town who is anywhere near as much fun as my friends.)


All it takes is a text or a phone call
A couple of my Dynamic Divorcee clients are a little chagrined that it takes so much effort to engineer these social events.  That is, that we are the ones who have to do the calling and occasion-making.  But is that so bad?  How much effort is that, really?

Much less effort than going on boring coffee dates, and even more boring and disappointing second dates, while feeling like maybe you should really try to make this lackluster thing work.  More fun to get dressed up for friends who appreciate it rather than to be looking pretty for a guy who shows up in a t-shirt and shorts.

Yes, for a while, you may have to be the one who calls a certain friend (or someone you would like to have as a friend) over and over.  She's not calling you, and you're the one making the effort.  But, after a few rounds of this, you can ask:  How about you call me next time?

It's good practice to be proactive and go for what you want -- even in friendship.

Give it a try:
1.  Make a short list of some people who make you feel good.  People you'd like to see more of.  These should be people who are upbeat, positive, and encourage you.  People who think you're great.
2.  This week, contact at least three of them.  Suggest a get-together:  Coffee, a drink, lunch, something that doesn't take a huge time-commitment.
3.  Schedule it.
4.  See how you feel after your date. You had fun, didn't you?  Way more fun than responding to messages on OK Cupid.
5.  Repeat.  I have a list of my favorite people in my city whom I may not get to see often.  My goal is to engineer a chance to see each one at least four times a year.
6.  Enlarge your list of friends/potential friends.  Notice when you meet someone in the course of your life whom you'd like to know better.  Then, start with step 2.

Have fun with the rest of the summer!  And let me know how it goes : )

Friday, August 1, 2014

Ruth Gordon: No matter what -- never face the facts

A young Ruth Gordon
As some of you may know, I have an imaginary mastermind group of great women who inspire me.  When I'm facing a difficult situation, I sit down and meditate, surrounded by my roundtable of kick-ass women, and imagine how they would advise me.

Eleanor Roosevelt is at my roundtable.  And so is Ruth Gordon.

So who was Ruth Gordon, and why should you care?

Those of us still residing on planet Earth remember her most for her roles after age 65, in the late 1960s and early '70s.  She was Natalie Wood's grandmother in Inside Daisy Clover, the satanic priestess in Rosemary's Baby, and as the almost-octogenarian who shakes up Bud Cort's world in Harold and Maude.

But that still doesn't tell you why you should care about this highly eccentric actress, screenwriter, and playwright whose first film appearance was in 1915.

Ruth Gordon in a still from cult classic Harold and Maude
What makes me often ask myself WWRGD is her spirit, her energy, and her love of life as a senior woman.  The fact that she actually appeared to become younger as she aged.  If you check out the link to her 1971 appearance on the tv program This Is Your Life at age 75, it's shocking how much younger she appears than her contemporaries.

She did not let life beat her down.  And she didn't take to heart what anyone else had to say about her.  Instead, she viewed life as a continuous, exciting learning experience -- and had her greatest professional successes after the age of 70.


And, there's this:  Her long-standing and happy marriage to a man 14 years her junior (some sources say 16 years younger) -- and they married in 1942, long before anyone coined the stupid and distasteful epithet "cougar". 

Do you love Tracy-Hepburn comedies?  Gordon and husband Garson Kanin wrote two of the best, Adam's Rib and Pat and Mike.  (Interested to know more about Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin, and their relationship?  Read this very interesting People magazine interview from 1980.)

But, I digress (as I so often do).

Here's another reason that Gordon is one of my guardian angels:  She is just so wise and full of pith and vinegar.  Here are a couple of my favorites among her quotes:

  • "Never give up; and never -- under any circumstances, no matter what -- never face the facts."
  • "If you believe, then you hang on. If you believe, it means you've got imagination, you don't need stuff thrown out on a blueprint.  And don't face facts -- what can stop you? If I don't make it today, I'll come in tomorrow."
  • [As a winner on Oscar night, 1969] "My husband told me if I didn't win this time he wouldn't bring me again. But I figured even if I didn't win I'd get a new dress out of it. I feel absolutely groovy."
With a point of view like this, how can you ever lose?

Yes, I do believe that sometimes it is time to give up.  But not because someone else tells you you're crazy.  Not because someone else tells you you're too old.  Not because you read a piece of research telling you that all the good ones are taken, or that women are past their prime at 35 or 40 or 50.  Who says these things, anyway?  Men.

There's only one person who can rule your world:  You.  (And, I'm sending you along a big kiss along with that.) 

If you click just one link in this blog post, please click this one, to a wonderful interview of Ruth Gordon by James Grissom.  The interview was in 1984, the year before Gordon's death.  The quotes directly above this paragraph are from his interview, and there's so much more that will inspire you in his full interview.  Among the topics are how to live life, how to intend outcomes in your life, and how to say "yes." 

For a little more about Ruth Gordon, here's the Wikipedia entry for her

And here's Ruth Gordon's appearance in a 1971 episode of This Is Your Life, recapping her life and promoting Harold and Maude.  It's pure tacky early 1970s tv, but worth a view if you're a fan.