ID-100151952.arturIn my writing on this blog I have, in an attempt to boost up my confidence, focussed on my positive traits. In case you all think I am a therefore a virtuous saint (I am not), I thought I would let you know that I do have vices. One of these – which I hate to admit to – is / was being a bit of a lead-foot. In fact I have collected quite a few speeding fines over the years.

Of course, I was never really speeding. I was always caught on the outskirts of towns, where it is not built up and it is safe to drive faster but where the speed limit is still the lower speed limit of a built-up area. Annoyingly, for revenue-raising purposes, that is where the boys in blue or their speed cameras would invariably hide and I would get caught out. Then, irritatingly, there would be lost time having a ticket written out for me. Generally the only reason I was speeding in the first place was because I was late for something really important to get to and this would make me later still. I repeat, I was never really speeding. I do not and did not drive fast. Sometimes though, I just had to get to places quickly.

In the days after my husband left me, for the first time ever, I was caught really speeding. At the time, three of my four children lived a four hour drive away and, anxious to see them, I got in the car and drove there. This time, when I was pulled over, I was driving 18 kilometres over the speed limit, on the open road and in a completely distressed state. I should not have been given a licence to cook eggs that day, let alone be put behind the wheel of a car. What on earth was I thinking?.

I had a chat with the nice policeman (who somehow managed to decipher some sense from all my tears) and he suggested he would record my speed as only 14 km over (so I would only lose two demerit points, not three) in return for my promising that I would have a break for a while before continuing on my way to see my children.

Later I wrote in my diary ‘I simply has to drive to see and hug the children. I had to get to see them as soon as I could. After I was pulled over I realised that I was in a completely distressed state and I should never have been driving. I was terrified that I may have had a car accident, being so distraught. I suddenly realised that I did not want to die, I wanted to live, I wanted to survive.”  I determined that I would never ever again let my feelings govern my actions and lead me into the gross stupidity that governed my actions that day.

Whilst that day was extreme, it was really no different than all the innumerable other days with all my innumerable other excuses I had had in the past for getting somewhere quickly, for no other reason than I had to get there.

I am happy to report that in the over two years since that date I have not received any more speeding tickets. More importantly, I no longer speed – ever. Not on the open road, not through the outskirts of town, not in the towns. Moreover, I changed my attitude to speed in general and am no longer in such a rush to get anywhere. I no longer feel that whatever I need to get done or whatever I need to get to is so important that I have to rush to get to it. “It” can wait until I get there and then when I arrive – safe and well – “it” will benefit from my slower calmer frame of mind.

To all my readers: I wish you all a safe slow calm and joyous Christmas.
I am having a break from blogging and will return in about three weeks and will ‘see’ you in the new year.


Image  courtesy- [artur84]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net


“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr


Following on from the fact that I have now become wise (see my last post), I thought that I would return to a favourite quote and see whether I think differently now than before.

A. The things that I now know I cannot change

  1. My marriage ended and I did not choose to end it.
  2. There is a period from a marriage’s end until complete resolution of its ending.
  3. My personality.
  4. My age and gender.

B. The things that I now know that I can change

  1. What I choose do now.
  2. To always act with grace and dignity even when I don’t feel like it.
  3. My character.
  4. In fact everything else, except # 1 – 4 in part A above.

C. The difference

  1. I thought my choices were taken away and they were not.
  2. I cannot help how I feel but I can always change how I act.
  3. Character is what counts.
  4. There is almost nothing that is not within my power to change.

D. The serenity

  1. See point 2 in Part B above. Try it. The calming effect is contagious.

E. The courage

  1. See point 2 in Part B above. As I have done it (most of the time), then that proves I have courage.

F. The wisdom

  1. .See point 2 in all the above. That ‘period’ may take me a long time and maybe all my life but I will not let it define my life or destroy my life.




Image  courtesy- [Nongpimmy]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Out of my cocoon

In the depth of my winter of divorce settlement despair I had cocooned myself away from the world and went through a reflective journey remembering who I had been, discovering who I had become and imagining who I wanted to change into. I saw this as an opportunity and a place to heal. I had been that frightened, aimless caterpillar, but I became safe in my cocoon. Here I would undergo a metamorphosis, transform into a beautiful butterfly, shake my wings and, come spring, would fly away from the darkness.


.However, at some stage I became distracted.



..Then the metamorphosis process got a little bit out of sync.


And so here I am.




Image  courtesy- Bookworm[Nirots]; Owl [Simon Howden]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Springtime after divorce


When I started this blog I named it Almost Spring. I felt by my marriage ending, I was falling into the despair of winter. I pushed myself to focus towards spring, towards hope and a rebirth of me. After a while, I reached a state of forgiveness and was ready to let go of myself as half a couple. I fully embraced my individuality and felt that spring had arrived. Little did I know I had simply reached the end of autumn, my grieving over the decay and death of my marriage.

I have had for a long time an image in my head of the circle of life. The spring of youth, the summer of middle age and raising children, the harvesting period of autumn when one enjoys the fruits of summer, and the winter of old age.

In reality, life is not one circle from birth to death. There are transitions of letting go of old ways (autumn), reflecting on them (winter), before regrouping (spring) and celebrating (summer). For example, when our eldest son left home, I initially mourned having the six of us together before readjusting and embracing his life as an adult. I thought of my life as a tree. His leaves were lost in autumn; but in spring his own branch emerged. As a family, we had grown. And so to, with all the other milestones of my life, I went through the gentle rhythmical pattern of autumn, winter, spring and the joyous celebration of summer.

However, this particular autumn (divorce), not only had I felt I had been denied my expected bountiful harvest; not only had all my leaves withered, dropped off and decayed; but someone had cut down my whole tree.

It was with that realisation winter set in.

Winter became for me a period of deep reflection. I cocooned myself and examined my inner most thoughts, values, beliefs, attitudes, needs and responsibilities.  The storm of winter raged around me while I remained protected by my shell of hibernation. This ended abruptly with an epiphany, and a strong desire to move away from my old life completely. Now out of my protective shell, I began burning the remnants of my old life, and felt the intense pain of the loss of my old self in the burning process. It was not a transition I was now experiencing, it was a complete transformation.

Today I see green shoots emerging all around me. Spring has finally arrived and I realise:

1. Although my tree was cut down, I still have my roots (close family, friends, my inner soul) and those roots have received nourishment by the reaffirming of my values and beliefs.

2. My tree trunk is in intact, sustained by strengths of my education, talents and experience. Those have survived the cutting down (by my husband) and the burning (by myself) of my marriage and previous life. .

3. New greenery is emerging in the branches of my life (health, career, relationships, community).

4. The fire was a necessity because I am Australian. Many Australian trees are not only resistant to fire, they require fire to survive into the next generation. Some of those trees become giants-

” Giant eucalypts ….. [have] a particular dependence on fire for regeneration.”
“While fire may kill the trees, their seeds are protected in aerial capsules, which are then released on to the scorched earth. The fire not only clears away potential seed predators and any forest canopy which may block sunlight; it also releases nutrients in the soil which encourages seed growth.”

6. It was my marriage tree or branch that decayed and died, not my tree of life. Whilst I may have missed the expected harvesting of the fruit from my silver years, I managed to rescue some of its seeds. My dilemma for a while became whether to savour them (by nurturing me) or plant them. I now do not see a simple re-growing or nurturing of my old tree or even a growing of a new tree. What I now see is the emergence of a whole forest.


Image  courtesy[digitalart]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1.D.Y.P.Tng, G.J.Williamson, G.J.Jordan, D.M.J.S.Bowman. Giant eucalypts – globally unique fire-adapted rain-forest trees? New Phytologist, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04359.x

2.Science News Nov1, 2012. with reference attributed to #1

Peace, fairness and divorce

“Peace involves inevitable righteousness, justice, wholesomeness, fullness of life, participation in decision making, goodness, laughter, joy, compassion, sharing and reconciliation. “ Desmond Tutu

ID-100129604In a recent post, I listed resources I felt I needed in order to move forward. I left out peace. When I read Desmond Tutu on peace in the quote above, I realised I was trying to race to joy, fulfillment and reconciliation without addressing justice. My last post outlined my struggle between justice (fairness) and mercy (forgiveness/compassion). Nowhere has that been more apparent than in the ending of my marriage.

I considered myself an equal partner in marriage right up to the moment my husband said he was leaving. In that instant he became judge, jury and executioner. I became the victim who was denied just reward, denied a fair trial, and who received punishment. My ‘punishment’ included an emotional crisis, a legal and financial mess (together with the burden of sorting it out), and an uncertain future.

When you become a victim, you can either stay there and become bitter, or you can work through things to get to a better place. This may mean moving forward, taking corrective action, or simply letting some things go.

Just reward (my marriage)

See the picture of the girl plucking grapes from the vine? That is the child within me, believing if I became well educated, if I worked hard, if I sowed the seeds of love and care with my partner; then I would reap rewards. For a long time, I felt I was denied my just reward. I was denied my time in the sunshine, with my partner of forty years caring for each other, with a comfortably secure retirement.

I have now let that go by looking kindly towards a different, yet exciting future for me.

Turning ‘punishment’ into ‘opportunity’ (my divorce)

ID-100200640I was thrust into the horrors of grief/trauma and the overwhelming burden of our financial disentanglement processes.  Whilst I felt otherwise for a long time, I believe handling this with grace and dignity has become a signature strength of mine which will serve me well in the future. I have become a stronger better person for what happened and how I handled this unexpected “opportunity” for personal growth.

Compassion (my life)

In keeping with the topic at hand (peace), I had to resolve within me my attitude towards my partner of forty years, the father of my children. Deep inside I am a caring person unable to intentionally hurt anyone. When I am wronged, although harder, I keep acting on that deep-seated value. That is, no matter what cruelty is shown to me, I cannot go against my own values by being cruel back. Therefore relatively early, I allowed myself to forgive my husband, and let go of any need for revenge. I continued showing him respect.

I believe I have acted by my own values of forgiveness and compassion.


Big failure.

Fair trial (the decision)

When your partner of forty years leaves you suddenly with no discussion, to begin with you believe that somehow you deserved it. You think there must have been something that you did or did not do to warrant that action.

Now I believe this: regardless of any issues that did or did not exist in our marriage, fairness would have allowed me equal participation in the decision, fairness would have allowed me some discussion, fairness would have allowed our marriage to resolve or dissolve on its own merits before he became entangled in another relationship.

I have let forgiveness, compassion and being “nice” overrun that need of fairness to me. In the over two years since separation, I have never expressed to him my feelings on our marriage’s end, or the manner in which it ended. By showing compassion to him, yet falling silent on my own feelings, I may have allowed him to think that I felt his actions were fair and reasonable.

Whilst I cannot undo what was done, I can begin to speak up for myself. I can find the courage to say “I too deserve fairness, consideration, compassion and respect.”



Thanks to Louise, x2, Jolyn and coastalmom for recent posts and comments on this topic. You have helped enormously.