WHERE DOES FAITH COME FROM?

The words blind faith or trust are often referred to in the context of religion however noted atheist Richard Dawkins’ view of faith states that ‘blind trust is the absence of evidence,’ conversely W.H. Griffith-Thomas states that faith is ‘not blind, but intelligent’ and that it commences with the conviction of the mind based on adequate evidence.

I believe that it is both of these things in different contexts, yes the absence of evidence in many situations and also intelligent in those situations where you have past references that support and guide you through this new experience.

HOW DOES IT SERVE US?

Placing our faith or trust in another person or situation means that we must suspend our need to control an outcome to be able to move toward achieving something important to us. Whether that be a new career transition, relocating to a new town or country to live, navigation our way through the divorce process or deciding to take that next very big step toward finding love again. There are no guarantees that it will be a smooth or enjoyable ride but if be are firm in our belief that it is the right thing for us to do then faith and trust are required for us to continue.

WHAT STOPS US BELIEVING OR TRUSTING?

Life gives us plenty of experiences that will at times completely shatter our beliefs and trust not only in other people or situations but in ourselves as well.

Divorce is right up there with the most challenging for so many people.

People let us down, betray us and treat us in ways that we never imagined possible and these factors are highlighted in separation and divorce situations. We ourselves respond in ways that in some situations we don’t even recognise who we are and we violate our own values in our struggle to make sense of what is happening around us.

HOW DO YOU FIND FAITH IN TIMES OF STRUGGLE AND CHANGE?

This is where I might appear to be putting myself firmly in the ‘faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing or belief not based on facts or proof. In fact, I live much of my life in this space and I refer to it as ‘a knowing that all will be well.’ When I have been at rock bottom in different periods throughout my life the phrase ‘this too shall pass’ have become my mantra and never, ever failed to be true.

Keeping at the forefront of your mind what it is that you want, knowing what sort of person you want to be and how you want to respond to difficult situations, doing what you can to put one foot in front of the other to continue to move forward, accepting that there will be times when you will fall down and struggle to get back up again and always remember that we are stronger than we think we are, we are braver and bolder than we think we are and that within each and everyone of us we have what we need to help us through difficult times.

And finally but most importantly surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who see you for who you are and who will be there to support you through your times of struggle and change.

Share your comments or personal story I would love to hear from you.

The best way to reach me is via email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOUR PARTNER IS NAMED ON ASHLEY MADISON

Before I address the question, what do you do if your partner is named on Ashley Madison, or any other website hack for that matter, I have to say that once again the media has shown it’s very ugly side. Completely disrespecting peoples privacy with little or absolutely no regard for the hundreds if not thousands of men, women and children who will have their lives turned upside down because of the way this whole situation has been managed.

As part of my research for writing this blog I did listen to the radio interview of the woman who volunteered to find out if her husband was on the list as he was acting ‘funny’ about the news of the hack. My guess is that her own intuition had been alerting her to ‘something’ beforehand as well and she willingly volunteered her husbands’ details to these radio jocks. They searched for his name and told her ‘yes’ he was on this site. She left herself wide open to hear the worst thing that any women would ever want to hear, let alone so publicly. Private information that was stolen by criminals used to contribute to destroying the lives and relationships of so many people by thoughtless, ignorant pieces of shit! And yes, people willing gave their personal information to an obviously risqué site with obviously no thought of the possible consequences.

I’m not going to be all ‘fluffly’ about how you might be able to work through this, or everyone makes mistakes and deserves another chance and some such crap because as I try to imagine myself in this situation I see it as a very different experience from someone’s husband who becomes infatuated with a younger woman in the office or at the gym or number of other reasons that infidelity results in the end of a relationship.

If anyone reading this blog has found themselves caught up in this whole nightmare, or knows someone who has, here are a few of my thoughts on how to handle this as best you can.

  • Only speak to the people closest to you who you know you can trust.
  • Don’t take any calls from other family and friends for several weeks and never from the media. The gossipmongers will be out in force and happily feed you more and more drama.
  • Call a ‘timeout’ with your partner, perhaps a week or two, for you to recover from the shock and anger that will be raging through your veins.
  • You will be asking yourself all sorts of questions that start with ‘Why,’ and you will be feeling ashamed and embarrassed to seen in public by your friends and family.
  • Then it comes time to sit down with your partner and get the facts on exactly what has and has not taken place, leaving no room for further lies or deceit from them. The game is up anyway so they have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain by being honest and forthcoming by providing you with as much information as you need.

Your particular situation and what happens next will of course be decided by one or both or you and no-one else, only you can ever know what is right for you and for your family.

This is going to be one hell of a journey so please ensure that you have only the very best people around you. People who will help you maintain your equilibrium and will always have your best interests a heart.

Share your comments or personal story I would love to hear from you.

The best way to reach me is via email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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THE TOP TEN PARENTING CONSIDERATIONS FOR A LESS STRESSFUL DIVORCE

Most separating parents are very concerned about how divorce affects their kids whoever far too many underestimate the real impact of divorce on children, teenagers and adult children as well.

In Australia nearly half of divorces involve children under the age of 18 years of age and these are the ones who suffer the most into adulthood.

Anyone who believes that their children will be unaffected by their divorce may be surprised to know that ALL children of divorce suffer emotional wounds. The question is never whether they will be hurt the question is how badly will they be hurt?

The responsibility for how badly they will be hurt comes back to the people who love and care for them the most – their parents! Are they prepared to put their differences to one side, avoid having heated discussions within earshot of their kids, talk openly about the divorce giving their kids reassurances that they haven’t done anything wrong, that it’s not their fault and speaking respectfully about the other parent in front of the children.

In an ideal world separating parents would finalise the divorce quickly and amicably to avoid dragging their children through an emotional battleground and have plans in place to keep any major upheavals, like living arrangements, school routines and social activities to a minimum. Of course we don’t live in an ideal world and the reality is that many kids are involved, not just in the separation and divorce phase but the ongoing disputes, arguments and conflicts that many parents engage in as co-parents giving very little thought to how this is impacting on their children. They get blinded by anger, resentment, hatred and revenge and are hell bent on hurting, harming or demeaning their former spouse.

When couples are really struggling with their own issues and concerns about the future, how they will divide property, possessions and finances it becomes all consuming and emotionally charged.

As the adults in this situation you do have the power to put your differences to one side and focus on giving your children the reassurances they need so desperately need. They are loved, this is not their fault and that they will still be a family but doing it differently from how it used to be.

Before I share my tips to help parents make the separation and divorce process less stressful please don’t assume that your kids will OK with the whole thing because they just want you to be happy! I have heard that said so many times and if thinking that makes you feel better and that your kids won’t have any problems with the family splitting then think again. Yes our kids want us to be happy, but what they really what is for their parents to be happy together and the family unit to stay the same. I’m not suggesting for one minute that couples stay together just for the kids, what I am saying is look at this massive change in their lives through the eyes of a child, teenager or adult it doesn’t matter how old they are.

Here are my top ten parenting considerations for a less stressful divorce

    1. At least one parent, preferably both, is prepared to put aside personal issues and focus on discussing and agreeing on the wellbeing of their children in the short and long term
    2. Seek help from professionals to get advice and guidance when there is conflict around decisions or arrangements that will affect your children. An independent third party will provide a different perspective and allow you to find solutions you hadn’t previously considered
    3. Sit down with your children together on a regular basis to reassure them that although there are going to be changes in their lives you will always be there for them. They will want details of what is happening and how it will affect them
    4. Be honest with them about any changes as they arise so they have time to talk about them with you both and express any fears and concerns they might have
    5. Accept that you will not always agree with how your ex parents ‘your’ kids or like the fact that a new partner now has a role in parenting you kids. This is one of the most difficult challenges for many separated parents
    6. If possible both parents attend special events like birthdays, school and social activities, and other events together. Your kids will love that you are both there ‘for them.’ There will come a time when they will be getting married and having children themselves and it is what you do now that will ensure it’s a very special part of their lives that you can both share
    7. Just because you and your partner are divorcing from each other does not mean that your children are too. They have a right to love and spend time equally with both parents, their grandparents and extended families as well
    8. Be careful how you speak about your former partner in front of your children. Take some time to think about how you would like your ex to speak about you in front of your kids and even if that is not happening, then remember that you are role models for your kids, and your behaviour and actions will always speak louder than anything else you will ever do
    9. Never use your kids as a means to get revenge for hurts inflicted on you by your former partner. All too often kids are used as bargaining tools in situations where there is absolutely no winner
    10. Life is constantly changing, often challenging and rarely goes according to plan but when we remember the good times we shared as a family and cherish these memories it might just make a difference in how we write the next chapter in our lives

Share your comments or personal story I would love to hear from you.

The best way to reach me is to via email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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HOW DO YOU COPE WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR BEST FRIEND?

GIRLFRIENDS ARE THE BEST FRIENDS EVER, UNTIL THEY’RE NOT!

Relationships can be tricky to maintain and I’m not talking about romantic relationships here, I’m talking about relationships with our girlfriends. Those very special people in our lives who are always there to listen to us prattle on about a new boyfriend, help us decide what to wear on a date, a shoulder to cry on when we have a fight with a husband or boyfriend, jump in without question at a minutes notice to help us out, talk on the phone for hours about ‘everything,’ share the bottle of wine and take our phones of us when we break up with a boyfriend to avoid making a complete idiot of ourselves, in other words they are there for us no matter what!

Hangovers after a friend break-up: eating the whole post-drinking pizza by yourself and holding your own hair back while you’re sick

They are our confidants, our soul sisters, our very best friends! They are also the ones who will tell us some harsh truths about ourselves when that is what we need to hear. That is really what a true friend is!

But what do we do when we fall out with a girlfriend, when this very special relationship comes to an end.

There can be hundreds of different reasons why a friendship comes to an end, from changes in our own values and beliefs, violation of our trust, or the fact that the relationship has simply run it’s natural course.

Welcome to the brutal reality of friendship breakups.

Women can be real bitches, I think that little trait is in most of us and when we are hurt we really want to hurt back. How do we cope with the loss, with the empty hollow feeling inside us when all we want to do is pick up the phone and talk like we used to.

As humans we are constantly evolving, growing and changing, people come and go throughout our lives and the friends that remain close right to the end are very few by comparison.

Coping with this loss is no different to coping with any loss and to put it simply.

Tears and time!

  • It is incredibly painful to break up with a bestie, it’s much harder to explain the loss you feel and how hurt you feel
  • Give yourself time to grieve, the heart and soul need time to heal
  • Avoid checking up on what they are doing and who they are hanging out with, it only adds to the pain and will keep you stuck
  • Keep a journal, writing can be therapy in it’s own way
  • If the breakup was because of something that you contributed to, send a card and apologise
  • Accept the fact that things will never be the same as they were
  • Stalking on social media or interrogating your friends will prolong the healing, stop you moving forward and more than likely annoy your friends

Rebounding after a friend break-up: drinking the whole bottle of shit wine you used to share and watching your favourite Sex and The City episodes all alone.

Where to from here?

  • Get out and about and make the effort to meet new people.
  • Think about some new interests you might like to explore
  • Go to dance classes, art classes or other creative activity
  • Exercise! It’s a natural way to heal and have you feeling alive

Tears and time!

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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ARE YOU A NUMB SPECTATOR TO THIS GAME CALLED ‘LIFE’?

This is a subject that is so very close to my heart!

I lived my life as a numb spectator for many years. On the surface it appeared to everyone that all was right in my world, I had the house, great kids, a good husband, and all the while I was slowly dying inside and I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT!

Sadly this is not an experience that was unique to me. I know that far, far too many women continue to simply exist from day to day, going through the motions of the ‘daily grind.’ Housework, meals on the table, raising kids, holding down a job, physical and emotional distance between themselves and their partner, completely numb to their feelings and crawling into bed at night exhausted, only to wake the next morning and begin the daily cycle all over again and silently hearing a inner voice asking “is this it, is this really what life is all about?”

Living like this is of course a recipe for physical and emotional disaster and no matter how hard, or for how long we continue to bury and ignore the internal messages that our body is sending us there will be a point when there will be an eruption and much like a volcano once it starts there is no turning back.  All the anger, resentment, grief, guilt and hurt will begin to spew out with a force that scares the most hardened of us.

Everyone will move through this period in their own way and in their own time as reaching this turning point begins the struggle to unleash the real ‘us’ that has been buried deep inside for far too long and as much it creates fear and confusion at the time everyone who has already been through this period of transition will acknowledge that it was also the beginning of their journey of personal discovery and self-awareness.

It is not however a journey without its challenges.

Creating any significant change in our lives will mean that there will be opposition and resistance from the people around us.

As we begin to make the conscious decision to discard all the beliefs that we have created or those that have been past on to us as we allowed the influence of our family and society to shape us into a clone of other peoples expectations those closest to us will feel threatened and fearful.

But …….

  • What if reaching the point of no return was exactly what needed to happen?
  • What if we were doing the very best we could with the resources we currently had available to us?
  • What if all the heartache and pain we had buried for so long was actually helping us to survive?
  • What if the eruption of the volcano meant the complete destruction of the road we were currently travelling?
  • What if it meant that for the very first time we could see a new road ahead, new horizons with a sign post that read ‘The real you, 100 miles in this direction?’
  • What if we discovered that with every single step we took we began to explore and discover our deep inner wisdom and new found belief in ourselves
  • What if we discovered our voice, our passion for life and began to live with a sense of peace, contentment and joy?

I firmly believe that this is our birthright.

In the words of Nora Ephron “Above all, be the heroine of your own life, not the victim.”

What are you waiting for?
To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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REBUILDING YOUR LIFE AFTER DIVORCE

For many people the signs that a relationship is over or a least in big trouble have been hanging around for some time and to some degree the emotional disconnect if not physical distance doesn’t make the process that has to be completed any easier.

However for the women who just didn’t see it coming and would describe the relationship as great, compatible, happy and still enjoying a great sex life, are absolutely shaken to the very core especially when they discover that there has been another women behind the scenes for quite some time.

Regardless of the circumstances the first two to three years particularly when there are kids involved can be extremely difficult. Your lives are so deeply intertwined and to begin to unravel and separate from each other is a challenge.

For the first 3-6 months of separation and up to 12 months or more there are so many issues that just have to be dealt with to bring things to some sort of conclusion.

There will be countless moments and weeks of feeling overwhelmed with so many emotions ranging from betrayal, anger, rage, confusion, hurt, resentment, despair, fear you name it and I can guarantee that many people will be moving from one thing to the next and then recycling. The tears will come, sometimes for days at a time and sometimes at the most ‘inappropriate times.’

In the middle of all of this there are major life changing decisions to be made when we are probably in our least resourceful state to be even deciding what to wear and what to eat.

Who’s moving out, who is keeping the cat or dog, the record collection, the photos, worrying about the financial side of things, how to tell your family and friends, having some family and friends cutting themselves off from you, and if you have kids – well how do we make this work so that the impact on the kids is kept to a minimum.

It is a traumatic and confusing time.

There are things you can do to help you throughout this process.

Pull together a breakup support team.

  1. Seek professional help as soon as possible to know where you stand legally and financially. The better informed you are the better decisions you will make with money, property settlement and knowing your legal rights
  2. Seek out a trusted friend who will support you emotionally without buying into the situation
  3. Seek out a counsellor or divorce coach who will give you the tools and resources to move through the process much more quickly. Help you create a clear plan of action for moving forward and be on call for those times when you hit the wall to get you back on track quickly
  4. Get a kids coach to help them be able to express their fears and concerns
  5. Self-care is critical to your wellbeing. Get active, walking, hitting the gym, yoga, having a massage, or healing work. This is a time for you to make you and your emotional and physical wellbeing your top priority.
  6. Be careful with any making any major life decisions until you are really ready to do so.
  7. Remember that your relationship with your partner might be ending but their relationship with your kids is not. Work together to make this as beneficial as possible for all concerned. How you both manage sharing this responsibility will impact your children in some way, make it as amicable as you possibly can

REBUILDING YOUR LIFE

Everything in life has a season, it’s a law of nature.

Much like a tree that has now withered and died it’s time to let go of the old life so we can allow the new life to enter.

Rebuilding our lives after separation is a gradual process as we find ourselves cut adrift from what was familiar.

Some people naturally handle change more easily than others and for those relationships that have been 15- 20 years long it can be a struggle to find yourself outside of the relationship.

Moving on is not a one size fits all process and people will move through this at their own pace. It is however a much easier transition for the women who decide to take some control and get on with their lives, no matter how hard that may be, and those who choose to hang on to the past, unable to face an unknown future are often divorcing themselves from life. Little realising that an unknown future is essentially what everyone is moving into, we might have plans and goals we are working towards, but life can and does change in an instant.

We can choose to use this life-changing event as a positive situation to discover more about ourselves than we may ever have done within the relationship. Renew interests that have been lost along the way! Create a new circle of friends, new experiences, learn new skills, and even take belly dancing classes.

There is so much joy to be had when we not only embrace change, but we grab it by the neck and give it a bloody good shake.

When you are beginning to settle into living life more on your terms it will be the simple things that have new meaning, add real value to your life and life is good.

To read more blogs I have written on this topic pop on over to visit my website www.divorcedwomensclub.com.au/blogs

If you would like to connect with me personally and/or join our Private Members Lounge please email me directly jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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COPING WITH LOSS

The dictionary describes grief as sadness, anguish, heartache, regret, remorse, sorrow and suffering.

Grief is everyone single one of these words and I think it needs all of these words to illustrate the extend of what it is to experience.

Grief is one of the key emotions that women going through divorce and loss experience and takes a considerable amount of time to move through.

It may seem strange that the function of grief is to heal.

Sorrow can make you feel as though you are being torn apart, cell from little tiny cell.

People who follow grief through its whole course emerge stronger and healthier, more able to cope with the inevitable losses that affect every human life.

In the end they become sources of wisdom and compassion for themselves and everyone around them.

Sorrow is heavy, hard work.
It stalls all your systems in order to force you toward a very, very painful task, coping with loss.  And loss always lies at the root of grief.  Every time you lose something you hold dear, you must grieve, and every time you feel grief-stricken you can be sure you have lost something dear.  We are stunned and devastated by things like separation, aging and death as though these aren’t the very constants sure to affect every single one of us.

Whatever the reason, loss is hard for us and healing from it takes a lot of energy.  Grief pushes us into ‘deep rest’ weighing down our muscles, wringing tears from our eyes and sobs from our bellies.  It isn’t pretty but it is natures way.

Our deepest grief is reserved for things that have no acceptable substitutes: loved ones, relationships, health, hopes and dreams.  Trying to replace someone special to you, or something you once were is actually useless. There is nothing to do but mourn and the pain will disappear a whole lot faster if you lean into it.

1. Find Or Make a Safe Place to Grieve
At a bare minimum you have to have a safe place for mourning, privacy and quiet.  Maybe wrapping yourself in a blanket, have a pen and paper at hand to express your feelings in writing.  Some good old sad songs are also useful.  Any song that helps you cry will access your grief, move it through you and help you release it.

2. Reserve Time to Grieve
Sadness slows you down, give yourself more time than you think to finish tasks like cleaning your house or finishing projects.  The more love and support you give yourself, and get from others, the more energy you will have for the tasks of everyday life.

3. Maximise Comforting Activities
This means doing things that gladden your heart. Walking along the beach or in nature, listening to music, enjoying your children or your pets, whatever works best for you.

One of the Four Noble Truths taught by the Buddha was that any permanence we perceive, in ourselves or the world around us, is an illusion.
Clinging to that illusion, trying to force things to stay as they are, leads inevitably to suffering.  Accepting impermanence means embracing the world as it is, complete with loss.  Refusing to accept change doesn’t mean that the pain of losing something you love will never start, it only means that the pain will never stop.  As they say in coaching, the only way out is through.

    • Losing the illusion of permanence means that you will accept your losses.
    • It means that you will become well acquainted with sorrow.
    • It also means that you will realise the infinite sources of healing and joy that are available to an open heart.
    • People who don’t resist grief, who let if flow through them, come out more resilient on the other side.
    • They are less afraid of loss, more able to soften the pain of those around them and quicker to appreciate whatever happiness life brings.
    • Ironically, it is those who have accepted the most terrible grief who are capable of the greatest joy.

Thank you to ‘Martha Beck’ for permission to use some content from her book ‘Finding Your Own North Star’.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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