I’m going solo on this blog posting because as those who know me know, the last year of my life has been an emotional hurricane that I never saw coming. I certainly didn’t have time to evacuate. But rather than dwell on the crises, I want to talk a little bit about what they have yielded for me: a new independence that I have never known before and have come to treasure.
I’m on a Costa Cruise through the China Sea from Singapore to Shanghai with stops in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Okinawa and Taiwan. Amusingly, I’m eating spaghetti Bolognese while seeing Asia. It’s one of the greatest adventures of my life, and I’m sharing in with more than 850 other passengers (only 63 Americans), including my own incredible group of eight women and girls and two kids with disabilities. As we were passing over these waters on the Fourth of July, it occurred to me that this marvelous journey would not have been possible had I not rediscovered my own independence through the most painful emotional experience of my adult life.
In the last year, my marriage came to an abrupt, agonizing end. But even as my world was turned upside down and shaken, I slowly came to realize that this experience had the potential to become a blessing if I chose to make it so. There’s the key word: chose. That is where this comes back to my favorite topic, Inner Beauty and the Beauty-Brain Loop. Because one of the most vital aspects of Inner Beauty is choosing a healthy, self-affirming way to respond to the things that happen to us as women. We have little control over the things that will happen in our lives; we have total control over how we prepare and respond. In fact, those may be the only things we have control over.
When divorce shatters the world you knew, your Inner Beauty dictates how you respond. Do you blame yourself or sink into a self-recriminating depression? Do you lash out in anger at everyone and anyone who crosses your path? Or do you use the crisis as an opportunity for self-discovery and self-reinvention, clearly the healthiest path? If your Inner Beauty—your self-love, compassion, empathy and belief in your own strength—is robust, you can choose to make a dark time into a time of renewal.
After a natural period of anger, grief and confusion, that’s the choice I’m trying to make. I think I’m doing pretty well, and that brings me back to independence. In the past year I have tried new things and had new adventures I might never have tried before. I truly didn’t know what I was missing until I realized that the only factor limiting me…was me. In doing things like this cruise, I’m spending time in the company of loving, beautiful women and literally testing new waters. I’m free to become who I want to be at a stage of my life when many of us cannot or will not evolve. Talk about a blessing.
As you know, everything flows from Inner Beauty. I’ve tried to give some attention to every aspect of the Beauty-Brain Loop. I saw a new dermatologist and got some new skin products that I adore, exercised, saw my doctor, and made sure I got the kind of healing sleep most of us busy people deny ourselves. I gave up my occasional glass of wine and spent more time in deep talks with friends. I spent time with family, talked with my therapist, made some new friends, cleaned my house…cleaned the cobwebs out of my mind and my life. Spring cleaning for the self.
My new sense of independence and possibility has helped me focus on taking great care of my Health and my Outer Beauty, and certainly when I look around me and see the people I am with, I am deeply grateful that my Environment is starting to reflect what I feel inside. It’s been a difficult road to the deck of this ship, but it has most certainly been worth it.
Happy Independence day to us all…