Health

Happiness: Starting Over

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Starting over
Rebuilding a life after divorce

By Silken Laumann
First published in Chatelaine’s September 2003 issue.
© Rogers Publishing Ltd.

A sense of self

In every aspect of my life, I feel a new-found liberation–not from my ex-husband, who was always supportive and encouraging, but rather from my own fixed ideas about myself and who I am in the world. Now that I’m no longer my husband’s wife, who do I want to be? What do I want to create? The energy I once directed into the marriage I am now investing in myself. I’ve begun to speak and write about subjects I am passionate about. I’ve developed a local network of business people who are deeply committed to strengthening our community, so that we can inspire one another. I’m practising yoga and participating in a meditation group.

Exactly one year after the breakup, life is better–just as my friend Marilyn predicted. A few months ago I was walking home from an early morning row, gazing at all the splendid yellows of the blooming dogwood trees. As I turned up my driveway my walk became a skip and I acknowledged something that surprised me: I’m happy–more truly joyful–than I’ve felt in a decade.

The pain that brings me to my knees also lifts me up with possibility. It has cut to the core of my being where pain, excitement, sadness and joy live in such close proximity to one another that they can be felt in the same day, the same hour, the same moment.

Not long ago, I went to the Grand Canyon for the first time in my adult life. An elderly woman stood next to me, oohing and aahing. I ignored her. Then she turned to me, hoping to catch my attention. I didn’t look. She took a deep breath and then made what is perhaps the most profound observation I have ever heard: “Isn’t it amazing that so much beauty could be carved out of so much friction?”

“Amazing,” I said.


  • Intro
  • Searching for answers
  • Separate lives
  • Finding strength
  A sense of self
 
  • Getting a life
  • Soul Models
 
  • Talk about relationships in our Passions forum