Coping With Divorce: Too many changes, too fast.

<<Welcome to a series of world-class master coach videos I’m sharing on topics that are key to emotional healing after divorce. Brené Brown is an American scholar, author, and public speaker, who is currently a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Over the last fifteen years she has been involved in research on a range of topics, including vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy. She is the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection (2010), Daring Greatly (2012), and Rising Strong (2015).>>

During divorce, and sometimes, long afterwards, women can be a little bit preoccupied with trying to feel safe.  So many changes have happened. So many things we thought were incontrovertibly true vanish in a puff of smoke. It can seem there’s no solid ground under our feet, and we have to keep shifting our balance, never quite knowing where we’ll end up.

Here’s a little video snip on the subject of vulnerability, and how to take a tiny step toward feeling safe again.

Scroll down past the video for top divorcée takeaways on feeling too vulnerable after divorce, in case you'd like an idea of what's covered before watching. (And, in the bullet points, I include some of my own secret sauce to tie things together, specific to divorce recovery.)

Divorcée takeaways on feeling safe again:

  • How to know if you’re “armoring” (that is, trying to protect yourself from pain, or from the next bad thing that’s sure to happen).

  • Perfectionism: Trying to control events, situations, and your own behavior in an almost talismanic way.  (Rosetta’s explanation:  As if, by being perfect, or requiring others to be so, you can subvert impending disaster and keep yourself safe.)

  • Numbing the pain: food, drugs, drinks, gossip, social media.

  • Social media support is different from personal 1:1 support because when you ask a friend to take ten minutes to talk with you about what you’re going through, it’s an act of vulnerability to ask for that support.  We protect ourselves from rejection by not asking, and relying on social media support instead.

  • Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience. If you cannot tolerate joy, you start dress-rehearsing tragedy.  When something joyous happens, it can trigger you to expect tragedy to follow in its wake. (Rosetta’s Hint: It can feel safer to just cultivate the habit of expecting the worst, but this can lead to a spiral of depression and a mindset of “What’s the use? I’ll only be disappointed. The rug will be pulled out, and I’ll be left with nothing again. If something good happens, it will only set me up for an even bigger fall.”)

  • People who are comfortable with vulnerability, also feel fear that blessings can be taken away, but Instead of using that feeling as a warning to practice disaster, they use it as a reminder to practice gratitude.

  • (Rosetta’s Hint: For some women, practicing gratitude can make them even more aware of everything that’s still left for them to lose. An alternative way of dealing with the fear of greater loss is to strengthen your positive mindset as a human being. Feed the feeling that, no matter what you’ve been through, you’ve survived it. You are competent, you can learn what you need to know in order to keep growing and keep changing for the better.  It may be difficult, right now, to have confidence in a benevolent Universe, but you can cultivate confidence in yourself -- not the Universe -- based on the fact that you’re still here!)

Would you like more help around too many changes and how to develop the confidence to handle them?

If you feel you’re sinking or stuck in dealing with your emotions (as you navigate separation and divorce, or as you try to heal emotionally after divorce) why not schedule a 30-minute virtual coffee date with me? You'll get immediate help and techniques to feel better from the moment you get on the call. (And if, after our call, you don't feel our time together was helpful, your $25 payment will be auto-refunded. There is nothing to lose, and you will feel better fast.)

Click this link to learn more.

Divorcée goddess guidance for the week

Choose one of the three cards above.

Choose one of the three cards above.

To start off this week with a little bit of goddess guidance, here's a quick reading for you all.

Take a look at the first photo (to the left), meditate on a question you have for this coming week, and mentally choose one of the three cards.

Do be sure to choose a card before scrolling down to see the reveal and the meanings of all three cards. (Unless otherwise stated, the card messages and information on the goddesses come from the Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards available from Hay House.)

Card to the left: SIGE (Quiet Time) 

Message: "Quiet your mind. Breathe and let go of words, worry, and plans. Go into that space of silence deep within you, that vortex of peace where the world doesn't enter. Now is the time to retreat in silence and spend time alone. I'll lovingly help you rejuvenate and recenter yourself. Don't try to make any decisions now. Just allow your mind to be at rest. You'll know soon enough when it's time to take action. But for now, quiet your mind. Rest."

Rosetta's Interpretation: Be careful not to jump to conclusions about what is upsetting you right now. Listen to learn more about the situation. Ask yourself, "Is there a reason I have to allow myself to fan the flames of the bad vibes I'm feeling?" All will be clear and come clean soon, if you don't allow yourself to become emotionally dragged into the drama. (And, of course, don't allow yourself to escalate the drama, either.)

Cards revealed.

Cards revealed.

About Sige: The Gnostic goddess Sige is considered to be the great silence or void from which all creation sprang. Sige is the mother of Sophia, the goddess of wisdom. Sige teaches that our roots are in the silent void of the universe, and that it's important for us to reconnect with silence regularly.

Sige card interpretation from the Land of Goddesses website: Because it is the silence which surrounds Sige herself, it is difficult to find any information about her. However, her message in the card decks is very clear: Be aware of the fact that silence is a great force.  It is wise to decide when it is better not to speak or not to answer.

Experience the creative silence of concentration before you start acting. This is the goddess of contemplation who convinces us to slow down, to ponder and to rest. Remember that when you are alone and you do not communicate with environment, you contact your true self. We often crave love and acceptance so much that we suppress our real needs. Our civilization pushes us to live in the community and therefore being alone and silent may cause anxiety in us. Drawing the card of Sige helps us find the power to confront ourselves.

. . . She reminds us that the word can both heal and kill and once it is said, it cannot be unsaid. If Logos was born from Silence, it means that Silence is creative by nature and it incorporates the element of searching for knowledge and understanding. Because of its feminine aspect, this knowledge is intuitive and subconscious but without searching we shall not attain the enlightenment. The power of silence is within each of us and each of us must confront it at some point of life. If we do listen, the silence and focus can speak loudly and clearly but when we try to ignore them, they begin to scream and to demand attention.

Center card: MAWU (Mother Earth)

Message: "There's no greater cause today than giving back to your mother and rekindling a friendship with the soil, air, and water. The Earth is the life force for material life. You make a huge difference in this planet's welfare through small and simple changes in how you operate. I will help you accomplish this goal in all ways."

Rosetta's Interpretation: You, too, are a creator -- but, in order to create, it's essential to stay in touch with nature and Creation. Get outside your home and office -- especially if you feel you hardly do anything except shuttle back and forth between places you have to be. Find a place you want to be, a place that helps you remember who you are. Find your happy place this week.

About Mawu: She is the West African moon goddess who's believed to have created all life, with her husband the sun god, Lisa. Mawu helps those who call upon her to learn how to live in harmony with nature, and to respect its resources. She ensures that our needs are abundantly supplied without causing harm to the planet.

About Mawu from Wikipedia: Mawu (alternately: Mahu) is a creator goddess, associated with the sun and moon in Dahomey mythology. After creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, she became concerned that it might be too heavy, so she asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and thrust it up in the sky. When she asked Awe, a monkey she had also created, to help out and make some more animals out of clay, he boasted to the other animals and challenged Mawu.

Gbadu, the first woman Mawu had created, saw all the chaos on Earth and told her children to go out among the people and remind them that only Mawu can give Sekpoli - the breath of life. Gbadu instructed her daughter, Minona, to go out among the people and teach them about the use of palm kernels as omens from Mawu. When Awe, the arrogant monkey climbed up to the heavens to try to show Mawu that he too could give life, he failed miserably. Mawu made him a bowl of porridge with the seed of death in it and reminded him that only she could give life and that she could also take it away.

Card to the right: VESTA (Home)

Message: "There's an undying flame within your soul, and it's the light, seed, and spark of your consciousness. Your outer world reflects your inner world. Take a look around your home. Does it reflect warmth? If not, this is easily remedied and so important to do. It's a simple task of using your creative imagination to add warm energy to your household. By warming up your outer world, your inner flame responds to meet it. This increases your energy level, which automatically shifts all outward appearances toward the better. Watch how these simple steps recharge the flame within everyone in your household. This flame cleanses away negativity and brings in the new with vigor and irresistible invitation."

Rosetta's Interpretation: Light the fire within. Look for ways to bring warmth and light to the dark corners in your life. Don't be afraid to look at areas of your life that have been scaring you. Take a look in order to get a feeling for what needs to change in order to bring light into areas you may have completely given up on ever being able to change. This has nothing to do with anyone else in your life changing. It's about experiencing the power that you have, on your own, to bring health and happiness into your life. If you do something different, and it feels warm, welcoming, and good, you're heading in the right direction.

About Vesta: Vesta is the Roman goddess of home and hearth. Vesta is a fire goddess who brings warmth to households, both as a temperature and as an emotion. In ancient Rome, a temple in her honor bore a flame that burned continually. Call upon Vesta to oversee any changes you'd like to make in your living situation.

About the Vestal Virgins from Wikipedia: The Vestals were committed to the priestesshood before puberty (when 6–10 years old) and sworn to celibacy for a period of 30 years. These 30 years were divided in turn into decade-long periods during which Vestals were respectively students, servants, and teachers. 

Their tasks included the maintenance of the fire sacred to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth and home, collecting water from a sacred spring, preparation of food used in rituals and caring for sacred objects in the temple's sanctuary. By maintaining Vesta's sacred fire, from which anyone could receive fire for household use, they functioned as "surrogate housekeepers", in a religious sense, for all of Rome. Their sacred fire was treated, in Imperial times, as the emperor's household fire.

Afterwards, they were retired and replaced by a new inductee. Once retired, a former Vestal was given a pension and allowed to marry. The Pontifex Maximus, acting as the father of the bride, would typically arrange a marriage with a suitable Roman nobleman. A marriage to a former Vestal was highly honoured, and – more importantly in ancient Rome – thought to bring good luck, as well as a comfortable pension.

Would you like more help around the challenges you face this week?

If you feel you’re sinking or stuck in dealing with your emotions (as you navigate separation and divorce, or as you try to heal emotionally after divorce) why not schedule a 30-minute virtual coffee date with me? You'll get immediate help and techniques to feel better from the moment you get on the call. If you'd like a card reading or oracle reading to be part of that process, we can do that in addition to my other divorce recovery coaching techniques. (And if, after our call, you don't feel our time together was helpful, your $25 payment will be auto-refunded. There is nothing to lose, and you will feel better fast.)

Click this link to learn more.

8 mistakes women make when trying to heal from divorce

I've been coaching separated, divorcing, and divorced women for years now, and thought it would be helpful to share some of the things that most women tend to do before they meet me -- things that seem to be smart choices to get back on track with life, but -- often tend to hurt rather than help.

See if any of these resonate with you.  (I've listed them in the order of the frequency that most of my divorcees mention them.)

#1 Asking for, and getting, too much conflicting advice

You're overwhelmed by all of the advice you've been receiving from all of the people in your life about how to move on.  You're trying to implement all the suggestions, and none of them stick.  It's just information overload.

What to do instead:  Find an emotional healing method that's specific to divorce, and that resonates with you.  Then, follow it, step by step.

#2  Burning out your sounding boards

You need to talk to someone -- and your family and friends are your only sounding board.  You know they're getting tired of hearing it, but you keep talking to them about your divorce or your ex, anyway.

What to do instead:  Get someone in your corner who is an expert at diffusing the sadness, anger, pain, and agony of divorce -- and can actually help lift you out of it.  Make it one person, whose actual job is to work with you to reach a clearly stated outcome in a clearly stated period of time.  Even at their best, friends and family may tend to fan the flames, and make you second-guess your choices (for example, you should have done x, y, and z to save your marriage).  You'll tend to feel worse by rehashing your relationship over and over, and trying to implement all the conflicting advice.

#3  Retail therapy

You've been using retail therapy to put a band-aid on the pain, and you have nothing to show for it but the credit card bills.

What to do instead:  Take back those expensive impulse buys:  Return whatever you can.  And next time the urge to spend strikes, channel the shopping impulse into investing in something that can truly change your life for the better:  an experience that educates you instead of binging on just more stuff, or cocktails, or spa services, or hair highlights.  Think about whether the things you're about to buy have the ability to truly transform your life in the long run, and spend accordingly.  You'll feel so much stronger and more in control when you do this.

#4  Obsession with the ex

You're obsessed with what your ex is doing, who he's doing it with, and what he's spending money on -- as if being angry and continuing to vent on him will somehow change things.

What to do instead:  Every time you start turning your ex over and over in your mind, use those thoughts as a cue that you're hurting yourself, not him.  He's not thinking about you; he's getting on with his life.  He may be disrespecting you, but right now, by wasting your thoughts on him, you're disrespecting yourself, too.  And that's not okay.  Be your own biggest fan, and only allow yourself to think thoughts that benefit and strengthen you, The Queen of your own life.  As they say, "Slay, Queen, slay" those evil thoughts that make you feel less than.

#5  Running on empty

You've come up with a manageable, short to-do list of ways to get back on track with your life, but -- even though the list is doable -- you lack the motivation to keep going past the first few days.  This is just killing you, and now you're judging yourself for the inability to stick with it.  You're starting to think that all those things your ex has been saying about you are really true.

What to do instead:  Just keep getting back on track.  Know that you are amazing for getting this far, and for making a doable plan.  Maybe you want to simplify it even further, or get it down to just one item.  Yes, one item on your divorce recovery to-do list is okay.  In fact, it's great.  If you feel like you've hit a wall, maybe you need a little accountability from a coach who works only with divorcees.

#6  Hoping that time will heal all wounds

You realize that the sadness, depression, anger, or anxiety isn't getting better with time, but keep putting off doing anything about it.  You're busy with work, the new logistics of your life, and handling your children's needs first.  Besides, you truly don't know what to do.  Everyone tells you that the grieving and healing process can take years.  The problem is:  The downward spiral slowly sucks you in, and it becomes harder and harder to pull yourself out.

What to do instead:  If this is a manifestation of chronic depression or anxiety that you've been experiencing long-term during other challenging times in your life, it's now time to get in touch with a professional, and this is usually covered by your health insurance.  Don't keep putting it off.  It's commendable that you've been trying to handle this on your own, but it's time to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable.  If you're pretty sure that the feelings you're having are a one-time situation related only to your divorce, maybe a coach is all you need.  Here's a checklist, if you're wondering what a divorce healing coach does. 

#7  Therapy goes on and on, and is just an expensive chance to vent

You've been in therapy for over a year now, and the listening ear is nice, but you're wondering why your therapist isn't giving you more input and step-by-step guidance.  In fact, you've even asked her about this, without answers that convince you that you're on the right track.  You're beginning to wonder whether you're being helped by this open-ended therapy arrangement, and you hate it that you have the sinking feeling that it's in your therapist's interest to keep you as a client forever.

What to do instead:  If you're frustrated with lack of progress, and are starving for a more structured approach, I would love you to check out my 7-step system, which leads you through a unique proven, logical, step-by-step method.  It's a method that is also infused with ways to get hold of your power as a woman and use it as a dynamic force to craft your life into a path that you're thrilled with and proud of.  Many women take my 7-step coaching in addition to work with a therapist, if they're attending therapy as management of a chronic experience of depression and/or anxiety.

#8  Your support group is too much of a pity party

Your church- or community-based support group is a nice place to go each week, but it always ends up being more of a kvetch session than giving you techniques for emotional healing.  Yes, it's helpful to get together and hear everyone's story, but after a while, you notice that it's just an escape (and an escape that, oddly, keeps reinforcing the negative emotions that you want to work through and heal from).

What to do instead:  You may want to stay in your group for the social element, but it sounds like you are ready for change.  Why not have a talk with a coach or two who specializes in guiding women through true healing and transformation using divorce as the key.  Many coaches, including myself, offer an appointment at a reduced rate that's more than just a getting-to-know-you session: actual coaching is done. I call mine Virtual Coffee Dates where we do more than just chat about where you are and what you need. You get to judge whether the 30 minutes was worth your time (because there's a money-back guarantee), and it gives you a very solid idea of whether there is rapport, and whether you really do feel movement in the right direction -- from the very first call.

Top 6 Divorce Movie Picks from The Dynamic Divorcee

I've never done a divorce movie list, and I'm kind of not thrilled about other lists I've seen . . . so it's about time to share a few girl power movies about starting over and/or waking up from a life that's become a bad dream.

Let's start with a few starting-over films that were written and directed by women:

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)  There's no divorce in this movie, but there is a young woman who boxed herself into a suburban lifestyle too soon, pursues a random fascination with a different lifestyle, and changes everything in the process.  The divorce will come after the credits roll.  I also love this movie because it's about what I consider regular people:  suburban middle-class and scruffy bohemians.  Rosanna Arquette, Madonna, and Aidan Quinn.

Something's Gotta Give (2003) I can't imagine that there's any over-40 woman who hasn't seen this film, but it's one of my favorites, and grows on me the older I get.  If you're a single woman of a certain age, you'll recognize the Jack Nicholson character as someone you've encountered on innumerable dates, and from innumerable online dating profiles (you know, the ones where old, paunchy guys photograph themselves on speedboats and next to sports cars).  Perfect solo weekend viewing -- reminding yourself why enjoying a weekend pursuing your interests at home can be way more rewarding than a coffee date (or, worse, dinner) with that silver, not-so-foxy old fox.  Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

Enough Said (2013)  Years ago, when I was offering weekend-at-home movie picks on this blog, I wrote a whole blog post about this film.  A massage therapist, divorced mom begins dating a regular guy, a self-described "slob" who is actually a person at her own level, and, with this, she immediately begins to find fault.  Should she settle for him?  Should she deserve better?  Intruigued?  Watch and find out what happens.  James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. 
 

Now, for a few girl power films written and directed by men (but feel like they were channeled by a female muse):

An Unmarried Woman (1978)  If you only watch one of my six picks, make it this one.  I know . . . 1978 . . . how relevant could it possibly be?  Except for the excellent 1970s fashions and silly disco music, this could have been made today.  I love this woman.  She figures out what she wants, on a day-to-day basis, and doesn't get sucked into anyone else's world.  An inspiring filmic role model for navigating the divorce year.  Bonuses:  Vintage New York, the sexy Alan Bates as love-interest, and if you're a fan of Gilmore Girls, check out Kelly Bishop (Emily Gilmore) as one of the lead's gal pals.  Jill Clayburgh and Alan Bates.

Educating Rita (1983) As I've sought out movies about divorce over the past ten years, it's surprising that most of them feature upper-middle-class people, living lifestyles that most of us don't even dare to dream of.  Here's one about a working-class girl who feels the walls closing in and wants a bigger life.  And, I also love that there's no Prince Charming or relationship-centered happy ending.  Julie Walters and Michael Caine.

Begin Again (2013) The most nuanced separation/betrayal/breakup film among these picks.  The story is structured around some of the most beautiful songs about loneliness and despair ever.  A girl who gives away too much to the wrong person, but knows what's she's doing and stays true to herself.  Deep, a little tangled, and full of quirky hope.  Bonus:  Keira Knightley sings.  Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, and the adorable James Corden.

Where to view these attitude-shifting divorce slash breakup films:

All of my women-directed picks are available for streaming on Amazon.  As of this writing, An Unmarried Women and Begin Again are streaming on Netflix; Educating Rita is available on Putlocker and other hosted file sites.

Do you have a favorite divorce- or breakup-related film that doesn't involve rich, white Californians or similarly privileged New Yorkers?  Films with a more diverse cast of characters, while staying free from ethnic stereotypes?  I would love to hear about and share your recommendations.  Please tell me about it in the comments!

Wish you could have a card reading right now? Here you go!

Occasionally, I do card readings for my coaching clients, and it's often a way to break through to a solution or to a new way of thinking about a stubborn issue or problem.  I have a unique way of doing this:  I use a bunch of my favorite card decks all at once.

I thought that maybe you'd enjoy this process, too.

Here's how it works: I pull one card from each of five beloved card decks. Square card at the top of each spread is from one of several Louise Hay decks. Next card down comes from the Art of Kundalini deck. Third card from the top is drawn from the Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards.  Fourth card is from one of several Abraham Hicks card decks.  And the final card is from The Chakra Deck.

I don't labor over this process, I just focus, shuffle, and lay down the cards.  They may or may not form a consistent theme among them, but my intention is that they give you not only a message, but some thoughts and techniques to work with.

Want to receive your own insightful reading?  Focus on the image below, while feeling into a question, issue, or problem you've been facing lately.  When you're ready, choose the vertical column that speaks most to you.

Want to receive your own insightful reading?  Focus on the image above, while feeling into a question, issue, or problem you've been facing lately.  When you're ready, choose the vertical column that speaks most to you. Column #1 (purple card at the top), Column #2 (green card at the top), or Column #3 (orange card at the top).  Keep scrolling down for your messages to be revealed.

Choose your reading by the color of the card at the top.  (Purple, green, or orange.)
Purple:  I am willing to let go.
Green: I am at peace.
Orange: My life works beautifully.

When you've chosen a column, scroll down to see all of your cards right face up, and receive your messages.


Purple (Column #1 in the original photo):

Keep reading below for card interpretations.
  • Louise Hay affirmation (top): I release others to experience whatever is meaningful to them, and I am free to create that which is meaningful to me.
  • Art of Kundalini (right): In perfect alignment, you are crystal.  (To me, this means that when you are consistent with your own truths and personal ethics, the path to take becomes clear.)
  • Goddess Guidance Cards (center): Brigit/Don't Back Down: Stand up for what you believe is right.  Be assertive. Don't worry about what others think. Trust that your actions will work out fine. Speak your truth. Stick to your opinions. Put your foot down.
  • Abraham Hicks affirmation (left): I can make a career of living happily ever after: A very good career choice would be to gravitate toward those activities and to embrace those desires that harmonize with your core intentions, which are freedom and growth -- and joy. Make a "career" of living a happy life rather than trying to find work that will produce enough income that you can do things with your money that will then make you happy. When feeling happy is of paramount importance to you -- and what you do "for a living" makes you happy -- you have found the best of all combinations.
  • Chakra Yoga (bottom): Thunderbolt/Rock pose.  This pose helps you to digest emotions as well as to strengthen your digestion in general. 

If you enjoyed having this kind of card reading, and you're curious about other ways that I work with clients (women only), please contact me here.


Green (Column #2 in the original photo):

Keep reading below for card interpretations.
  • Louise Hay affirmation (top): Divine peace and harmony surround me and dwell in me.  I feel tolerance, compassion, and love for all people, myself included.
  • Art of Kundalini (right): Tend your inner fire.  (To me, this means to allow yourself more time to do the things you love to do.  Give yourself a hug many times each day!)
  • Goddess Guidance Cards (center): Sedna/Infinite Supply: You are supplied for today and all of your tomorrows. Don't worry about the future.  Know that you'll always have enough to eat.  Your needs will always be provided for.  Spend time at the ocean.  Go swimming, sailing, or surfing.
  • Abraham Hicks affirmation (left): I will praise success wherever I see it: When you find yourself critical of the way anyone has attracted or is using money, you are pushing money away from you.  But when you realize that what others do with money has nothing to do with you, and that your primary work is to think and speak and do what feels good to you, then you will be in alignment not only about the subject of money, but about every important subject in your physical experience.
  • Chakra Yoga (bottom):  Heart Chakra/Love and compassion.  Basic issues: love, compassion, kindness, relationships, self-acceptance, forgiveness, hope, sympathy, empathy.  Foods that may assist you: green, leafy vegetables.  Gemstones and crystals: rose quartz will bring you peace and help with self-love.  Essential oils: neroli/orange, rose, and (my own choice) rosemary. 

If you enjoyed having this kind of card reading, and you're curious about other ways that I work with clients (women only), please contact me here.


Orange (Column #3 in the original photo):

Keep reading below for card interpretations.
  • Louise Hay affirmation (top): Everything in my life works, now and forevermore.
  • Art of Kundalini (right): Open your window.  (To me, this means: Let yourself see something new in the situation. Stop the mental noise that keeps repeating in your head, and look for a new way to see the situation -- a way that offers a way out or a way to get some movement in a stagnant situation.)
  • Goddess Guidance Cards (center): Sige/Quiet Time:  Take some quiet time alone to rest, meditate, and contemplate. Go on a retreat.  Listen more and talk less.  Avoid loud noise and sounds.  Meditate.  Surrender mind chatter to heaven.  Know that you're more sensitive to noise right now.
  • Abraham Hicks affirmation (left): My goal of happiness is important enough.  The reason you are not conscious of any specific prebirth goals is because there were no specific goals.  You had (before your birth) general intentions, such as being happy, being an uplifter, having continuing growth . . . but the specific processes to achieve those things are up to you to decide here and now.  In this time -- *you* are the creator.
  • Chakra Yoga (bottom):  Shoulder Shrugs. Here's a super-detailed tutorial on shoulder shrugs but, since the theme of this reading is quiet time and meditation, and most people know how to do a relaxing shoulder shrug, just make it a starting point for relaxing your neck and shoulders and deepening your breathing to quiet all the noise around you and have a few moments of freedom.  You can do this in your car, in bed before you rise in the morning or just before you turn off the lights at night.

If you enjoyed having this kind of card reading, and you're curious about other ways that I work with clients (women only), please contact me here.

Life After Divorce: What to do with your divorce settlement

I don't coach on the financial side of divorce, but I do want to share my experiences on how to invest a lump-sum settlement or your financial share of a marital property settlement.

I lost 10 years of potential earnings through investing with high-fee "advisors," so this post is about how to avoid that trap.

At the time of my divorce, I had no idea what to do with my share of our financial assets.  My father recommended his brokers at Wells Fargo, and with no financial knowledge of my own, I went with his recommendation.

Divorcees, beware of financial advisors!

As the years passed, I kept waiting to see my investments appreciate in value.  There was very little growth.  After eight years of this, I realized that I was going to have to become more knowledgeable.  

My first step was to find out how much I was paying in fees.  It turned out that one account was costing me 2% a year, and the other, 3% a year.  No wonder these accounts were stagnant -- Wells Fargo's fees were eating up almost all the earnings during a few bad years.  And, in addition, my "advisor" made some bad recommendations that lost half their value before he got me out.

If you're counting on your advisor to watch over your portfolios, and you're (to him) a small investor of less than a million dollars in assets, you're on your own.  You would need to have the expertise to monitor your accounts, and be in regular touch with this person with your concerns.

Silly me.  I thought that was what I was paying the advisor for.

Who needs this kind of "expert" advice?  My personal experience with post-divorce investing is by no means an isolated incident.  For example, during my marriage, my then-husband's stock broker brother talked him into an investment that quickly lost all of its value.  I've heard countless stories like this from my coaching clients.  Playing games with your money is not a smart choice for the average, middle-income divorcee.

How to invest your post-divorce assets

After realizing I was a fool to invest via a financial advisor, I thought a good solution would be to seek the advice of a non-fee-based financial planner.  Naively, I thought that I could get some basic advice for a few hundred dollars.  Imagine my shock when no one would talk to me for less than $2000 to start.

It was time to read one of those Investing for Dummies books, so I did.  One of the things I learned was that people without financial knowledge, and who didn't want to spend time managing their portfolios, shouldn't bother trying to beat the market.

Turns out that the rationale for paying a percentage of the value of your portfolio to a broker is that experts, in theory, are supposed to get the investor a better rate of return than the stock market average.  But, even if your financial analyst succeeds in this, a good portion of the return on investment is eaten up by his account management fees (which can be accrued in a number of ways, so it can be hard to get a handle on exactly how much you're paying, but that's another story).

Luckily, there is an easy alternative for know-nothing investors like me:  Index funds.

Instead of trying to beat the market, an index fund attempts to replicate the performance of a given index of stocks or some other investment type, for example, to match the performance of the S&P 500.  Conservatively speaking, over a 20-year period, one could estimate a return on investment of about 6% a year, which would double your investment every 12 years or so. 

My personal solution was to invest with a reputable robo-advisor, with my portfolio based on index funds, and incurring very low fees.

A robo-advisor is an online wealth management service that provides automated, algorithm-based portfolio management advice without the use of human financial planners (yay!).

Once you've established an account, you truly can sit back and let time and the market grow your portfolio.  And, of course, speed the process by making regular deposits into your account.  Over time, you will start to see amazing things happen that will make you feel much more secure about your future.

I chose to invest with Betterment, which is currently the industry's biggest robo-advisor and consistently rated as one of the best.  

What I love about it is that the online interface is very easy to understand and to use.  Its annual fee is . . . wait for it . . . just .25% (no matter how little you initially invest).  And, if you refer others to Betterment, you can receive fee-free months when your accounts just earn money without costing you a dime.

Whatever you choose to do, please consider staying away from high-fee managed accounts.  You will lose years and years of precious time waiting to see substantial gains.  And, please know that many advisors of all stripes will push their own financial products, so do beware.

My last 12 months with Betterment

Betterment is not the only robo-advisor out there, but it is the leader, very responsive to questions, and I do love the online interface.  You can sync up all of your non-Betterment accounts to your Betterment dashboard, so you can keep track of all your assets on one page.  It's very easy to make one-time or automated deposits into your account, transfer money among several Betterment accounts, and track your financial progress overall.

When you first visit the site, a great place to start is with the Betterment retirement calculator, where you can set a post-retirement income goal, the number of years you have to get there, and receive an easy-to-understand investment plan, as well as suggested portfolio.

In the 12 months since I kissed Wells Fargo goodbye, my earnings are 11%, and I couldn't be happier.  I still know next to nothing about investing, but I'm no longer playing Russian roulette with my money -- and expecting a so-called "expert" to be worth his fees and create miracles with my money.

It's so much fun when you see that you can provide for your own future, even if you start out, post-divorce, in a much less than enviable place.

Dynamic Divorcees:  Don't let loved ones talk you into spending your retirement fund on them

Sisters are doing it for themselves, and, among other things, this gives you the freedom never again to be at the mercy of a bad relationship, or tied to a bad job at age 75!  Every year (or, at least, most years), you get to see your wealth go up and up.  

The only challenge will be to keep that money invested, and not let some seeming soul mate or sob-story relation talk you into funding his crazy dream or bailing him out.  Or allowing your kids guilt you into funding their higher education when you haven't fully funded your own retirement yet.

You can circumvent this by never talking about your investments with the victim personalities in your life.

Women are so often taken advantage of financially, and people who want your money will promise you literally anything.  You'll want to believe their promises, but, truly, you've lived long enough to know that you must protect yourself.  Where are all of those people, now, who made promises to you in the past?  Case closed. 

If you know that it won't be possible for you to pay for your children's higher education, teach them now to save for their futures in the same way you are doing.  If your children are young, you can start them off now, investing little by little and gaining this valuable habit early.  Be up front, now, and let them know that they'll need excellent grades, stellar extracurricular activities, and a background of community service in order to earn college scholarships instead of going into debt for their own college loans.

Share the wealth of helping everyone you love to become self-sufficient and empowered.  There is no better gift you can give to the important persons in your life.