Leaning Toward the Light


One of the earliest lessons in my divorce recovery was finding ways to treat myself with kindness. Funny how the last person we show gentleness and compassion to is ourselves.

So I started buying fresh-cut flowers – I mean the good ones. I love flowers. They breathe life into my space, slow me down and reduce my stress level. It’s not just all in my head, either: a Harvard University study proved that we have an emotional response to having a flowers at home. They have a positive effect on our well-being, strengthening feelings of compassion while decreasing depression, anxiety and worry.

Some say flowers are indulgent or a waste of money (they die anyway), but I say they’re even better than splurging on a bottle of wine (the bottle empties anyway). Hey, if you’re going to self-medicate, flowers have a more natural and healthful impact on mood and they won’t leave you with a hangover or drunk-dialing regrets.

Despite what chick flicks tell us, it’s perfectly fine to buy your own bouquet. Being kind to yourself is not sad or pitiful. What is sad is waiting around for someone else to pamper you so that you can feel good. Trust me on this. Buy your own flowers. Or a spa day. Or new sheets and lingerie. Or draw a scented bubble bath with candles. Date yourself, for crying out loud. You’re a catch!

I discovered that fresh flowers are not only a joy trigger for me, they are a continual source of inspiration. They grow through dirt just as I know the experience I’ve been through will make me stronger and wiser (“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all” – Disney’s Mulan). Expectant buds unfold petal by petal until they fully blossom; I’m finally coming into my own by discovering the extent of who I am.

Flowers are awesome in that no matter where their vase is placed, they will tilt to seek out the sunshine. They remind me that leaning toward the light and focusing on gratitude is what heals my heart and nourishes my soul.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Be kind to yourself. 

About This Too, Was a Gift


Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.

This poem by Mary Oliver really captures how I feel about my divorce, especially all of the personal discoveries and life experiences that have come since. Even though my marriage is over, I gradually started to appreciate (yes, appreciate!) this ending as a new beginning. It’s true what they say: this is the part where you find out who you are.