Almost there…..


ID-100107304.num_skymanIn regard to the marital property settlement I have recently passed through some major hurdles and have almost got the whole settlement across the line. The feeling I have is that I have been lost and alone in this thick dark gloomy impenetrable forest which I have spent three years trying to hack through, seemingly getting nowhere. Then I decided to go a different route, trudging uphill through an area of dense brambles, enduring much pain and suffering to go that way, but by that route I have slowly been edging forward. At last I have come to a clearing. Even though there is still a little way to go, I can at least now see the path ahead. The way to go is easy walking for me now and, just a little bit further down at the end of the road, I can see some light.

I am almost there.



My attitudes # 9. Resilience. Bouncing back

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” Nelson Mandela.

Thanks for pointing that out to me 🙂

I thought there was supposed to be a rainbow at the top of the mountain? Is that another mountain to climb, or have I been thrown back down into the valley?

To recover from set-backs, one requires an attitude of resilience.

Resilience is more than keeping going, resilience is more than climbing a mountain, resilience is more than not quitting, resilience is more than recovering from set-backs, resilience is bouncing back.

I thought of all the ‘mountains’ I had climbed in life and have felt many times that I was over climbing mountains. I was sick of being thrown back down into the valley. I wrote about this in a very early post “No More Mountains” when I was faced with what seemed insurmountable obstacles and turmoil. In that post I resolved that instead of climbing mountains I would go along tackling things one step at a time. I would find an easier path, around the mountains. Looking back now, 18 months into the drama of this separation, I realise that I have already climbed some of those mountains that at the time seemed unconquerable; the mountain of the emotional turmoil of the separation (most of the time), the mountain of the abhorrence of the divorce process (almost), and the mountain of learning to live my life all by myself. Only one of the four mountains I wrote down that day remained – getting my finances as a single person back on track. Step by step, mountain by mountain, I am gradually getting there.

This is a list I have compiled as to the character traits that I have read help you bounce back after set-backs:

  • Positive outlook
  • Resistance in the face of failure
  • Firm moral convictions and code of ethics
  • Ability to plan ahead and problem solve
  • Ability to see adversities as challenges to overcome rather than obstacles
  • Belief that one’s own effort can change things
  • A lifetime goal or interest in developing a talent

Like the lamb in this video clip sent to me by a fellow blogger;

Yes, I think my bounce will come.

“More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resilience of a pillow, where
foam returns over and over to the same shape,
but the sinuous tenacity of a tree,
finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns to another.”
Jane Hirschfield.

My attitudes # 2 – Next comes Optimism

My attitudes # 2 Optimism

“The goal we seek, and the good we hope for, comes not as some final reward but as the hidden companion to our quest. It is not what we find, but the reason we cannot stop looking and striving, that tells us why we are here”. Madeleine Albright

In my recent post on hope I wrote of that first spark, that first light, that vision of what you desire will eventuate. Optimism, whilst similar, is different.

Optimism is the capacity to look on the bright side of life, of making the best out of any situation.
Optimism is accepting some things will not change and learning to dance despite them.
Optimism is seeing the change that you want, and propelling yourself towards it
Optimism is seeing life’s adversities as challenges to overcome, rather than as hindrances getting in your way.

In our everyday life we have set-backs. When it is raining; you can grizzle and moan; you can hope for the rain to stop; or you can bake cakes and smile. Which do you choose?
If you are kept waiting for four hours because your plane is delayed, you can shout at the stewardess, you can hope they put on an earlier plane; or you can sit and be glad of the extra time to chill. Which do you choose?

I believe looking at the brighter side of such inconveniences prepares you for larger set-backs. Optimism is a huge asset when confronted with difficulties – death, divorce, disease, disablement, displacement, distress, or disaster. In these situations optimism is more than seeing a brighter side, optimism is more than anticipating the best outcome; optimism is a confidence in oneself to be able to chart a course of action, and to propel oneself to overcome the challenges set before you.

Three weeks ago I returned from a wonderful holiday then was hit with the reality of what I am soon to face; running a business on my own, with a reduced asset base, huge debt and risk. How could I cope?

Firstly, I found hope.

Then a post on overcoming FEAR Face Everything And Respond” gave me a clear optimistic vision, with a kind response by the author Ian to a comment I made that my metaphoric vision of seeing myself wading through mud was me positively seeing adversities as challenges to overcome rather than being frozen in an “it’s not fair” mentality.

I thought back to signs of this optimism in me the past sixteen months. There was evidence. I learned to enjoy each day. I looked on the value of my extra space, rather than seeing emptiness. I embraced solitude. There was my vision overcoming my fear of a mountain to climb by finding an easier path, and proceeding along that path step by step.

A poem posted by Dr Bill Wooten (copied below) earlier this week was a signal to me, a call for action. A similar sentiment was expressed in a poem by Clarabelle of finding the belief within yourself. I was now set. I knew that I had to face what I had to face. I knew that I had to do what I had to do.

So this week I have had meetings with my accountant, commercial lawyer, bank manager, and financial advisor. I have spent evenings feeding numbers into spreadsheets, making business plans, devising budgets, plotting a course of action. I believe I will overcome this challenge. I will survive. I will take the necessary steps towards and reach my own financial security.

Today you can

“Today you can choose to count your blessings
or you can count your troubles.
Today you can live each moment
or you can put in time.

Today you can take action towards your goals
or you can procrastinate.
Today you can plan for the future
or you can regret the past.

Today you can learn one new thing
or you can stay the same.
Today you can seek possibilities
or you can overwhelm yourself with the impossible.

Today you can continue to move forward
or you can quit.
Today you can take steps towards resolving your challenges
or you can procrastinate.

You see today the choices are up to you
in deciding what you do today.”

~ Catherine Pulsifer

Week 35 – Mixed emotions

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start” Nido Qubein

Week 35 –

I returned home after visiting my son in Canada – sad to leave him again, yet happy that he was in a contented place in his life – daunted by the long journey required to visit him again, yet excited by the prospect of returning next year.

I spent some time with my family – mother, siblings, best friend, children  – on the way back before returning home. This was a very mixed stirring time for me. It was great spending time with my close people to soothe and protect me, to help me off-load and pick-up. However, it made me confront the feelings of the losses I was suffering. I had to watch others in early retirement  together in a world that I would now never know. I had to see other couples giving support to each other over life’s milestones, over daily trivialities sharing life together. I had to listen to others discuss their own retirement plans without a mountain of financial stress to climb as I had. I was happy to see everyone and I enjoyed their company but I was still raw from the losses I had to confront in my own situation. I had had four weeks with the company of others but now it was time to confront the harsh reality of my own aloneness and sorting out the financial settlement with my husband. This is what I now faced. This is what i had been running away from metaphorically by ‘living in today’ and in ‘actuality‘ by disappearing the past month. Running away from it was not going to make it go away.

I had had time to do some soul-searching while I was away and it had given me a chance to think of me for myself and my self-reflection journey. It gave me a taste of what life could be once I had come out of my metamorphosis. I started my blogging in earnest while I was in Canada and now back home I was beginning to publish the posts. It gave me the confidence to reinvent myself and to keep going. When I returned home my body clock took a while to adjust to the different time zone so even though there were some day-time crash-out periods I gained some ‘night-time’ awake sessions that enabled me to find the time to write in the small hours of the morning or late at night. I kept writing. It helped me put in words what it was I had to face, what had happened, and to begin to deal with it rather than blocking it out. ……….

My husband had left me.

I came home with a new resolution of accepting and facing my situation and dealing with the whole of the fall-out instead of trying to skip over the difficult bits. The next few weeks would be significant turning points in my journey as I faced my life situation full on.

” The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain

Week 34 – Bike ride through Stanley Park

At week 34 post separation, I was in Vancouver Canada visiting my son.

On my last day we went bike-riding through Stanley Park. It was great – an easy trail.

ImageI had a fantastic time and simply lived for the moment and while I was cycling along I was taking in every part of the journey – the trees, the ground, the sky, the flowers, the people, the water, the views, the boats, the crowds, the grass… I wanted to capture it all and so – and even though I am NOT a photographer – I went click, click, click with my camera in order to capture every single moment I was enjoying.  The pictures say it all.

We started out our journey in North Vancouver where we caught a bus to Stanley Park.

The start of our day’s journey. View from window                 North Vancouver

The ride took us through a public area first with lots of pedestrians, babies in back-packs or prams, people on bikes, people roller-blading. Then we went out of this area into an initially paved trail then into a forested glen shaded by trees onto a gravel bridle trail that we were able to bike along.

ImageAfter a while we came to beaver lake where we saw some ducks and a chipmunk,



ImageThen we cycled through more wooded trails


Imageto the foreshore

Imageunder the lionsgate bridge

Imagewith Cyprus and other mountains in the background…

Imagea taste of the busy city life with cargo ships and sailing ships passing us by.

ImageThen further along the foreshore on to Enoch bay beach where there were many people enjoying the spring day.

ImageAnd what a beautiful May spring day it was ….




ImageHere we indulged in some decadent foods before heading back through the park then caught the bus back to North Vancouver.

ImageAnd while I was cycling and riding along I was thinking and planning my life’s way forward. This ride – an easy trail yet so enjoyable – was so much like my vision in December of wanting to take the easier trail through life …. no more mountains.
On this beautiful spring day i was enjoying in the northern hemisphere, I was positively sure that it was a clear message sent to me – that there is an easier way, there is a way you can manage, there is the easier trail that you can take through life ……. no more climbing mountains…….. take hold of life one manageable step at a time.


Week 28 – The second wave of pain

Six months into this divorce process and I was hit with the reality of our lost retirement plans. The financial security we would have had together that now had to be divided into less than half as costs and more costs and even more costs were added in ….or rather taken off. There was this unknown factor of starting over all by myself and whether that could be done at all. I was 58 and there were few years left for me to make it all work out.

Then the pain came again.

No-one told me about this second wave of pain. I have never read about this second wave of pain. There was firstly the emotional side; the human side; the airy-fairy living in la-la-land side. And then there was reality. I had put off thinking about reality. It was like a second grief process and it was hitting me right in the eyes. This second wave of grief began washing over me and in my scrambled brain I realized it was all the same emotions – the same stages to go through. The shock at the harsh reality of the figures – the anger at being put in this position by the one I had loved most – the yearning for a secure retirement that we would have had but now did not – the depression of wondering how I would survive, how I would manage – and the pain, the excruciating pain…….it was back again. And I am swimming now, swimming, swimming, and swimming. I am in this raging current again and unable to reach the shore. Once again, I yearn for the past. Once again, I fear the future. Once again I cannot cope in yesterday or tomorrow. Once again I survive by blocking them out. Once again I survive by living in the moment, in today.

Once again, I am sitting watching the sunrise. It does not let me down. Once again, it is magnificent.

Week 27 – Memories

Week 27 –

I went to the mountain with my son and a friend. It never fails to amaze me, inspire me. Although overcast, the air was crisp and clear, and the views spectacular. My mind flashed back to us going there on our first adventures as newly weds, our first five day walk together, when the lodge was a simple sanctuary for bush-walkers; rather than the sprawling accommodation complex it is today. I thought of the time we had there with the children, staying in the cabins, sitting around the warm cosy fire. I thought of the walks we did with them, carrying them as little ones on our backs, or later the longer walks we did there round the lake, or up the mountain, into the forest, and into the wilderness. I thought of going there with friends and extended family and by ourselves. I thought of us there in the summer and winter and autumn and spring. Whatever the season, whatever the weather, I have always enjoyed my time there.


So this was a positive reflection, the first that I have had; of thinking back to the happy memories; and instead of thinking in terms of what has been lost, I thought in terms of what has been gained. I thought of us as a family, and of how the children had a magnificent childhood, being brought up by parents who not only did things for them, they did things with them; and we gave them all a love of enjoying and appreciating “the wilds” of anywhere and everywhere that that may go. And I thought of our legacy given to them, of knowing that no matter what life brings your way, you can always return to the mountain and find peace and calmness and … for me …..happy memories………….

“So all that I will ever have is our memory,
The roller coaster fun that was you and me.

A life with a promise of a future that finally came true
Is now a memory of the family and the life I had with you”. ………………………………………………..

I found this poem written by a fellow blogger which captures the memory of family. The stanza above holds so true to me and I have copied a shortened version of the poem below of the parts relevant to me of family life. You can read the full poem and have a look at her fantastic blog-site by clicking here


Today I went to the place WE once called home
Filled with memories, though it wasn’t OUR own.
Laughter and love used to fill up the whole place
But today, all I saw was an empty space.

It’s hard to believe that we used to live there
And children’s voices just linger in the air…
Sweet yesterday, all you will be is a memory
A memory of how our lives used to be.

It’s not the same anymore…
Just when I walked through the door,
Time passed by, I wonder where it went.
It felt so weird, it felt so different…

Just yesterday, we all had each other…
a family, an extraordinary family
Who would have thought it won’t be forever
And all that we have is a memory to remember.

Water splashing, barking dogs, keyboards clicking, toy choppers fly
Children playing and the never ending of asking why…
What I would give to hear the sound….
Of a memory of what it was like to have them around…

Today  when I walked in, I am not like the one who used to live there
Today, I faced a battle I thought I couldn’t bear
I fought back the tears, I fought back the heart ache
I stood tall, smiled and did not allow myself to break.

It wasn’t just the memory that was there to haunt me
It was the yearning and longing for the “normalcy”
I’ve let go of my lost love, and have already moved on
When I finally stopped asking what went wrong…


So all that I will ever have is our memory
The roller coaster fun that was you and me.
A life with a promise of a future that finally came true
Is now a memory of the family and the life I had with you.

by True Love Junkie May 23, 2011

Week 25 – Less soul searching – More panic

Week 25 – 16 March 2012

I have felt busy and rushed again, back to the days of too much to do and not enough time to do it, juggling too many balls in the air and almost dropping half of them; with regular business things, setting-up things, domestic chores, shopping, forgetting to shop and running out of things, financial figures, working figures out for the split, drive four hours to see the children, looking after grand-daughter, drive back home again, being by myself, not being by myself.

I felt overwhelmed. I felt that it is all too much. What did I do to deserve all this stress? I was in a constant state of flux and uncertainty – on top of what I had already had to go through – and with my husband seemingly just walking away from it all to an easier life; leaving me with all the mess to clean up.

So, from a state of positiveness and place of contentment I had reached a few weeks before, I now fell back down into glumness. I suppose for me it was ‘more of the same’ (life’s difficulties – all by myself) rather than ‘great, let’s do something new and different and love it’. I had been inspired to write earlier in the year but that had gone a bit flat and the business seemed like a huge mountain to climb again. And even though I knew that I would not get anywhere with “attitude = glum”, I was transfixed and incapable of moving. I missed three appointments in the previous week because of my mind being total mush and my ‘baby-boomer’ brain not quite deciding whether to have a paper diary or electronic diary and relying for the beep on my phone to remind me of appointments I had written in a paper diary that I never open. How dumb is that?

And last week-end I had a very red and swollen foot and so for something I would not normally even look at, let alone panic about; but with no-one else to confirm that and say ‘that looks Ok to me’, I took myself off to the ER only to completely lose it when they asked me ‘who is your next of kin?’. I suddenly thought, well who IS my next of kin? As a married person all those warm fuzzy things of just belonging automatically to each other and the thought constantly in the background of always having someone to take care of you, and now that is gone. That thought. That person. That one and only.

Now what will I do? Who will look after me? Why am I left to clean up all the mess? What will I do? Is there someone out there who can help me? Where can I draw some positiveness from?

In the midst of all the glumness and panic of life on my own and feeling overwhelmed again, I decided to make myself some ‘chicken soup for the soul’. It is invigorating to the soul making a ‘slow-food’ meal for me, just for me, for my good health and taste, and to know that even though I am alone I can still participate in the joys of life. I sat down and enjoyed my soup as I have never enjoyed a bowl of soup before ever in my entire life. To think that I could ever get such pleasure out of such a simple thing as a bowl of soup.

Then I went and bought some flowers for myself. And each day for a week as I came home after work they greeted me with a ‘hello, how are you today’ and filled my spirit with joy and aliveness.

Week 13 – No more mountains

Week 13 – December 19, 2011
One step at a time

Taking the easier path

Yesterday I had a vision. It was one of those crazy visions. It was one of me climbing up a mountain faced with all these obstacles that were preventing me reaching the top of the mountain. It stressed me.
There was a previous reflection that my husband had had of us as a couple climbing the mountain of life together. He put this down in a drawing to me. It appeared to him that each time we felt we were near the top of the mountain, obstacles would come along and get in the way (family illnesses, crises, financial strains etc) and these would drag us both back down the mountain a bit or into the valley and then when we turned around we would find that there was another mountain to climb before we could realize our journey’s end of peace and happiness. His reflection was more specific and continued that I – the optimistic and determined one – after being faced with each adversity, would take a deep breath, then take his hand and keep going, I would keep climbing the mountain.
Then as our relationship ended, I found a further reflective drawing he left behind, one of him walking down into the valley – by an easier path – while he left me to trudge up the mountain on my own. In the distance for me, at the very top of the mountain, instead a glorious view there was yet another mountain to climb – the inference being that I would always find another mountain to climb, that we would never get to our destination.
Since our separation my vision kept returning to his drawings and the vision of the mountains. Yes – there was now another mountain I had to climb (the emotional turmoil of the separation). Yes –  there was another mountain I had to climb (the abhorrence of the divorce process). Yes – there was another mountain I had to climb (getting my finances as a single person back on track). Yes – there was another mountain I had to climb – (learning to live my life all by myself).
My thoughts kept returning again and again to the mountains I had already climbed and that now there was yet another  one – or two – to climb. Again and again I kept thinking about the mountain. Again and again, I felt that I could not face it. I had already been through so much. I felt that I was now done with climbing mountains, of coping through life’s adversities. Life was just proving too difficult. Like him, it felt easier for me to take my chances down in the valley. To run away.
I tried to think positively. I tried to think how great it would feel when I reached the top of the mountain. I tried to think of the view that I would get from the top, how I could look back and see from where I had come and think – “Yes, I have done this, I have reached the top of the mountain”. I even thought that maybe I could write a book when I reached the top. I would call it “Climb Every Mountain – reaching your goals despite setbacks and trauma”. That was a great vision to have, to strive for. But always, always there was this vision of the mountain. Always, always there was trudging up a mountain. And here I was, yet again at the bottom, yet again looking up and dreading the climb, yet again my spirits weighed down by the dread of having to trudge all the way to the top – and this time – all by myself.
All by myself. What did that mean?
I thought of what I had done in the three months since our separation and how far my life had come. What had I achieved? Initially, I thought that I had achieved nothing. Then I thought of the house. The house had been tidied out and spring cleaned and there had been the “spring-cleaning” of the sheds and the block. In the first weeks after separation – during my most bleakest of days – I decided I wanted the house to be readjusted as MY space, as my home. I needed to take it to a place that felt better for me.  When I had first looked at what needed doing, it seemed like a huge mountain. Thirty seven years of accumulated “stuff”. Thirty seven years of half- finished plans and now discarded dreams. Then I decided to tackle it. And in doing it, I did it my way – one step at a time. First one box, then another. First one cupboard, then another. First one room, then another. First one shed, then another. First the backyard, then the front, then the area up the top, then the paddock down near the dam. Asking my children and other people to assist when required. One thing to sort, tidy, clean, paint or consider at a time. Tackling it as I could – one step at a time. Before I knew it – it was done. The mountain of frustration of the huge house and block that needed attention was conquered – without stress – one step at a time.
Then today another vision came to me in a blinding flash. It was my vision. The vision of the mountain, that life is always difficult, that achieving your goals is stressful and hard. That was his vision. This new vision was my vision and my vision was different.
My vision that came to me was how my life in front of me could be. In my vision there was no mountain to climb. Instead there was a long winding path along an easy track going through fields and meadows. In my vision it was sunny. Sometimes the path went through forests where the track was not so clearly defined or where the path ahead was obscured and sometimes it passed through some boggy ground where stepping stones were placed to take me over. Sometimes I would reach a river where there would be a bridge to cross or someone’s hand held out to lead me through the stormy water. And sometimes there were obstacles in the way that I would have to climb over or walk around or that I would need to figure out how to dismantle before I could continue. And sometimes I needed to rest a little while before I could continue. But in this new vision, in my vision, the vision of MY life, there was no mountain to climb, there was me finding an easy path through the forest or across the water or around the next bend – one step at a time.
And in my vision, as I went along the path, I was looking at the sky, I was smelling the flowers, I was enjoying the sunshine – and the occasional rain – and I was singing.


Songwriter: Nicks, Stevie;

Took my love and I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well, the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes bolder, children get older
I’m getting older too, well

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes bolder, children get older
I’m getting older too, well, I’m getting older too

So take this love and take it down
Yeah, and if you climb a mountain and you turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well, the landslide brought down

And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe, well maybe, well maybe
The landslide will bring you down