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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Why Rock Bottom is a Powerful Place

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Rock Bottom.

A place that brings dread.

That no one would choose to visit.

And yet it is also a place of mysterious power.

That allows us to tap into the power within ourselves.

Because when you’re at Rock Bottom you have…

Nothing to Lose

In one moment, I lost my husband, my money, my dogs, my home, my health and almost my sanity. I went from a middle class suburbanite to someone who was technically homeless (at least according to the 2010 census) and could fit all of her belongings in her car.

I realized during that period how much I had become attached to those things in my life. And how, in many cases, I had assigned them more weight than they actually carried.

Rock Bottom is a time of non-attachment. Of acceptance of the non-permanence of life and our own locus of control.

Nothing to Fear

My biggest fear in life was always losing my husband. So when I eventually did lose him, it was actually kind of a relief. Not because I wanted him gone (not at first), but because I had lost my main reason to fear.

And that was incredibly freeing.

I found myself taking risks that I would not have taken earlier, exchanging the “sure thing” for a “let’s try this and see what happens.” I worried less and lived more.

When you’re at Rock Bottom, you’re not worried about falling. After all, that’s already happened and you’re still breathing.

Nothing to Hide From Yourself

I spent years confusing desire with belief, wanting so badly for certain things to be true that I convinced myself that they were. And refusing to look too closely when something whispered otherwise.

I believed on some level that I couldn’t handle the truth and so I operated to protect myself. Until I couldn’t any longer. And once on that cold, hard floor, I had two realizations: 1) I was facing it head on and 2) I was strong enough to do so.

When you fall to Rock Bottom, the lenses of your rose-colored glasses shatter. At first, the world may seem harsh. But eventually, you’ll realize that clarity provides you with a sense of peace.

Nothing But Opportunity 

I spent so much of my adult life reacting without much thought to what I wanted. He needed to move in order to work? I dropped everything and relocated after living alone for a year. He lost his job and I needed to find steady employment? Teaching career, check.

I stopped thinking about what I wanted, put my head down and barreled through. And I didn’t stop until I hit the earth, stunned into silence.

We spend much of our lives simply taking one step in front of the other after we’ve decided which direction to go. Rock Bottom is a pause. An opportunity for reassessment. Do you still want to follow your same path or is it time for something new? This is your chance.

Your stay at Rock Bottom will be fleeting.

Make the most of it.

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15 thoughts on “Why Rock Bottom is a Powerful Place

  1. I took a handful of clothes. It was then l truly realized that ‘stuff’ is just stuff. We really need very little. I don’t attach meaning to my belongings anymore. I was fortunate to have family and friends who helped with the basics… Don’t think lve recovered very well but at least l value the basics in life. I try not to attach myself.

  2. What a beautiful testimony to your inner strength! i think it is the times of adversity that allow the most growth, but who wants to go there?! Kudos and thank you for sharing.

  3. Reblogged this on Old Black Waters and commented:
    “It’s easy for me to have an opinion, it’s not my pain.” – A True Friend

    The struggle is not to allow others to define the bottom, or solution, in terms of their own experiences. Everyone brings their own biases, predjudices, ignorance, and experience to other people’s pain.
    Arrogance tries to convince us we have some special insight into the inner workings of other people. All too often we make value judgements about what should be the consequences and punishment in situations we are only tangenially involved with. We’re all experts in someone else’s pain and motivations.
    Someone recently suggested, I need to take responsibility for what I did, but when pressed for what that means, because I’m willing to listen to their ideas, they had nothing to offer but ghost stories.
    One of the most difficult aspects of my life today is not to let other people’s ignorance, fears, or anger define my identity.
    I have great qualities and bring great passions to my relationships. I’m curious about people and places. I like to explore and encourage people. I also have flaws. I’m not perfect and that means I’m human.
    For some people that will never be enough.

  4. So here we are 11 years later after our own war, when we were at rock bottom. You are right there is nowhere else to go but up and you learn so much along the way. If someone were to ask us if we could go back and for it not to happen would we? The answer would be no! Because we learned so much and it changed our lives for the better in so many ways; not least I am writing a book about ‘The War’ with reflections on how we got where we are today – In France, living a simple life and happy. I won’t be telling others what they need to do, just our story and what I did – then what we did – and for some people some of it may resonate and help.

    Keep going……

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