Flourish Through Divorce August 2013

Backby popular demand!

I’ve gotten requests to bump up the start of
this next round of Flourish Through Divorce to August, so we’ll be starting
August 15. The next round will start November 4 and run through the holidays (on

Feeling overwhelmed
by all the changes and decisions and feelings of divorce?

Having a hard time
processing your complicated feelings about the split and helping your kids
process them?

what kind of life you can have now, post-relationship?

Wanting to work together
with your former partner for the good of the kids, but finding yourself so
hamstrung by anger and hurt that you can’t see clearly?


So many of you are doing what you
can to comply with the legal process of divorce that you don’t have the time
and space to tend your heart and mind and soul when you most need it.


What if you could:

  • give
    yourself the time and space to consider what happened and what’s next?
  • talk
    about it honestly and thoughtfully with companions in the same part of the
    process that you are?
  • have
    a structure of areas to process and create as you move into a new life?


It would be wonderful if you could
get divorced with no effort and then fly off to Tibet to find yourself, but
when you have kids that doesn’t happen. Instead, you can take the online Flourish
Through Divorce workshop
. It’s 6 now 8! weeks long, all online and
on the phone, and starts August 15.

The workshop will:

  • give
    you a list of the things you need to work through
  • start
    you thinking about all the big ideas and working on them
  • open
    your eyes and ears so when you do come to new ideas and processes on your
    own you have a framework to fit them into
  • reserve
    space for you to think and process
  • provide
    a forum for feedback from other people in the same process, running
    buddies, in essence

The workshop will get you started in
healing and creating the new life you need. It’s an intense eight weeks, but
the process will continue for you for months after the workshop is over.


This workshop is very special to
me–I found getting divorced the most painful but transformative process of my
life, and stumbled my way toward this new sparkly life I have. Four-and-a-half years
from the legal decree I’m happier with who I am and my relationships with my
children and ex-husband than I’d ever have predicted. (If you want to read
about our co-parenting you can find us at When The Flames Go Up.)
The Flourish Through Divorce workshop takes all the thoughtfulness and
troubleshooting I bring to parenting on AskMoxie.org and brings it to the
divorce process to give you a framework to make sure you’re tending to all
those other parts of your family and life that need love. I want you to have a
sparkly life (if you like sparkle), too.

“This workshop let me use my guilt
as a motivator to make something new and better, and helped me understand what
I really wanted out of interactions with my ex. It also confirmed that
everything I was feeling was normal, and that I was letting go of the sadness
every day.”

S.K., Virginia

What is the workshop?

It’s everything I learned
that got me from feeling like I was free-falling to being happy and exactly
where I’m supposed to be.

It’s a structure to lead you
through the big topics you need to think about and create new for yourself.

I’m there to give data points and
help you frame and reframe, and you’ll do it together with everyone else
in the workshop so you’re not the only one going through this
bewildering and shifting experience. No echo chamber.

This course does not offer any legal advice and is not
therapy. In this course we will explore issues, plan, and dream, but it is not
a substitute for trained legal advice or therapy. If you feel that you need
legal advice or the assistance of a therapist, I encourage you to seek help
from a licensed professional. (And participants have been happy with doing this
workshop in addition to seeing their wonderful therapists.)

(Don’t want companions on the
journey? Think about private coaching with me
instead and we can do the same framework and space with just you.)


Here are the big topics
we’ll work on, one every week, with lots of nooks and crannies and space to
think and work within each one:

Processing the split:

  • Fear,
    sadness, shame, regret.
  • A
    story that changes every day.
  • Letting
    yourself be sad and hopeful and proud at the same time.
  • Staying
    with your kids even when you cry whenever they’re not around.
  • Helping
    them process while you’re processing, too.
  • Working
    through it with guilt as your sidekick.

New family dynamics:

  • Two
    houses instead of one.
  • How
    marriage can end but family is forever (and how that can hurt).
  • Getting
    past anger to create the best custody situation for everyone.
  • Benefit
    of the doubt.
  • Being
    kid-focused even when it hurts in the now.
  • Being
    creative with how all needs get met.

Balancing the Ledger:

  • Assessing
    the balance of energy, emotion, and money in your relationship
  • Figuring
    out what you are “owed”
  • Determining
    how to balance that ledger for yourself
  • Taking
    action to begin the balancing process

What is it you plan to do with your
one wild and precious life?

  • What
    got you into a box in the first place, and deliberately crafting your life
    and family.
  • Where
    being good got you.
  • Determining
    what you value now that you have your choice of everything in the world,
    and going toward that.
  • Sticking
    close to your kids while you explore who you are now.

Maintaining boundaries and staying
centered so fights and conflict doesn’t destroy you:

  • Even
    in basically friendly divorces there’s a lot of conflict in the process,
    and some divorces feel like a constant bloody battle. How can you stay
    strong and centered and calm so you can advocate for yourself and your
    kids without being ripped apart, constantly on edge, or afraid?
  • Stripping
    away to the essence so you know what you can give and what you can’t give.
  • Drawing
    healthy boundaries.

Letting go:

  • How
    letting go of anger and keeping score can free you.
  • How
    to drop your end of the rope.
  • And
    the physical letting go.

Nourishing yourself and your
personality, and nourishing your kids and their personalities:

  • Make
    your home a place where everyone grows.
  • Figuring
    out who you are post-relationship.
  • Looking
    past the immediate future.


As you can see, that’s a lot. It
took me the better part of three years to stumble through all of that. We are
not trying to get through all of the feelings and decisions and moments and
transformations in the eight weeks of the workshop. (I don’t think it would be
possible to, unless we were in a sweat lodge on an island with nothing else
happening for the entire eight weeks.) But we’ll dig far enough into it that
you can keep going and fit all the pieces together as they come to you, and
you’ll have the private discussion group online to keep going with you.

“I found the written content you provided really
thought-provoking and useful. In some cases, it was an articulation of where I
had already gotten to; in other cases, it opened my eyes to what was causing a
lot of my problems.”  C.S., Vancouver


The logistics:

Flourish Through Divorce
costs $389 and runs August 15, 2013 through October 10, 2013 (8 weeks). The
course elements are:

  • Lessons
    I’ve Learned and topics to think about sent out every week, with homework
    consisting of a model or framework that I lay out (with descriptions,
    examples, and metaphors so you see how it applies to you) and a series of
    questions that you think about, answer, and write down or draw to be able
    to see your own plan and progress (send it to me to get feedback, or keep
    it private just for you)
  • Private
    hidden Facebook group for everyone to talk in during the length of the
    workshop and for another six months (especially helpful during the
    holidays, when you might need a safe place to vent with others who are
    going through the same thing)
  • Two
    optional weekly calls (Tuesday nights at 10 pm EDT and Thursday morning at
    11 am EDT) for everyone in the workshop, with a very short agenda of
    checking in on the week’s topic and then whatever it’s bringing up (you
    can talk or just listen, and the call will NOT be recorded). Calls are
    officially around half an hour (quick and sweet and you can listen in on a
    coffee break) but I’ll stay on with anyone who can and wants to keep
  • Reading
    list of two mandatory books (plus one more for people with children) and
    three more optional books (you don’t have to finish them during the
  • Unlimited
    email support from me during the workshop
  • (We
    will also have some special guests on calls or who write things just for




I’m the one who initiated the
divorce, and I feel guilty about moving toward a new happy life.
You aren’t going through the sausage factory of divorce to stay mired in
hopelessness and guilt. If you’re strong enough to rip your life apart, make it
mean something good for you and your kids.

I didn’t want this divorce. I feel
like my life is being stolen.
I’m sorry you’re going through
this. You have two choices: you can roll over and let yourself be discarded, or
you can fight back by creating an amazing life for yourself. 365 days from now
are you going to be empty and sad, or hopeful and a little bittersweet and full
of potential?

Are you going to teach me how to
beat my ex in court?
Nope. I don’t think anyone beating
anyone is good for your kids, and I bet you don’t really, either. I can help
you release some anger, though, so you can maintain your own boundaries and
work with your ex to create the best possible situation for your kids. I have a
lot of hope that people can be great parents even if they were shitty spouses.
(And we talk about that in the workshop.)

We were never married, so it’s a
split but not technically a divorce. Will this still apply to me?

Totally. Since none of this is about the legal process and is all about the
emotional and logistical process, it’s right for you. Whether you weren’t able
to get married or chose not to get married, you’re completely welcome.

I’m a Christian and am feeling torn
apart by getting divorced.
Me, too. I don’t go into faith in
the workshop except as a structure that can help if it’s your thing, but I’m
happy to share privately what I came to about grace and redemption and being
the leper.

I can’t get past the guilt of doing
this to my kids.
Yes, you can. Not overnight, but you
can get past guilt into a place that creates a life your kids are going to

I don’t have kids. Can I still do
this workshop?
If not having kids was a sad part
of your marriage, then do NOT take this workshop because it is going to trigger
every hurt feeling you have. (Email me and we can talk about it, if you’d like
to.) If not having kids is a good thing, then yes, take it, and just ignore the
parts about kids.


Still have questions? Email me at
askmoxie at gmail dot com.


Sign up, and give yourself
permission to come through this intact and hopeful.


Flourish Through Divorce


When I started working on the outline and lessons for this
course I realized that this is my heart, showing other people the signposts for
the path to a new life during and after divorce. Getting a divorce was the most
transformative experience of my life, and I hope I can help you find a clear
path for yourself.

If you have questions or want to find out if this workshop is for you, email me at askmoxie at gmail dot com.

You can do this. Courage.




i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

I’ve seen so many people asking how we go on now, how we parent now. AndI’m sad and horrified about what happened in CT, but maybe I’m lucky because I never felt safe before anyway.

I was three months pregnant in September 2001, living in New York City. So before my son was even born I knew that there wasn’t any one single minute of his life that was guaranteed. That has seriously affected the way I parent him and his brother, and how I live my life.

What I know is that there’s nothing external that keeps me or my kids safe. No building, or government, or lock that keeps the good guys in and the bad guys out. There’s no magical thing or series of things I can do to guarantee that my kids are safe 100% of the time. And that’s frightening, but it’s also forced me to focus on what I CAN do.


i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

And what I can do is look at the essence of my kids and of the world we live in. The first step, for me, is forming relationships. I want to be enmeshed in my community–my neighborhood especially. I make it a point to talk to the people who live and work around me. I want the people on the street and in the houses and stores and restaurants to know who I am, who my kids are, where they belong, and for me to know who these people are and where they belong and what they need. That also means voting for things that will strengthen communities and families so that we don’t get fragmented and destabilized. There is no such thing as safety, but there’s trust, and the more you use it, the more it grows.

Then I work on the personal. I want my kids to know that they are loved, and to be able to carry that with them. I also want them to trust themselves and their own instincts. And that only happens if I trust my own instincts and model that behavior for them. If you haven’t read Gavin de Becker’s Trusting the Gift, go read it as soon as you finish this post. It’s a roadmap for helping yourself trust what you know on a gut level about what’s safe and what’s not, and not getting tricked or distracted by the things we’re told to fear when the actual dangers are right there in plain sight.

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)

So I’ve focused a lot on trusting my instincts about who and what are safe situations, and then being very overt about describing that and what I felt to my kids. I want them to grow up not only trusting their instincts but having language to describe the process of trusting their instincts. Once when my little guy (he’s in second grade now) was 4, he and I were on the subway on the way to preschool, and some 20-year-old kids got on the car and started fighting and something about it felt wrong, not just normal kid fighting. It turned out to be a knife fight.

Because I trusted my instinct that something was wrong, I’d grabbed my son and yelled out at the other mom and kid on the car and the four of us were through the door onto another car before anyone else even heard us yelling at them or noticed the knives. Afterward we talked a lot about how I knew. (How did I know? A prickly feeling and a perception that something wasn’t fitting in right, like when you try to force the wrong puzzle piece in–the same way I knew when I was about to be robbed at gunpoint when I lived in Mexico. I’ve learned to trust that prickly feeling.)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
I also want my kids to look for the helpers, but even more than that I want them to BE the helpers. My son saw me yell “Tiene cuchillo!” at the other mom on the car and saw the two of us work together to get our kids out and warn the other passengers. My older son knows that if something happens I will hand him my phone and his job is to call 911 and describe the situation and hold his brother’s hand while I help the situation. Remember my friend who caught the child rapist? She and I used to talk all the time about being the helper. If you rehearse it enough times you don’t hesitate when the situation arises. It’s ok if you’re afraid, because everyone’s afraid, but there is always something you can do to make things better.
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
So I didn’t hesitate to tell my kids about Sandy Hook. My ex-husband called to strategize about how to tell them, but neither of us considered not doing it. We decided to do it together, and approached it from a “there’s something you need to know” point of view, and that that’s why adults were all so on edge. Both kids were sobered, but neither of them were fearful. It was like talking about what you do if you fall or get pushed onto the subway tracks, or if you get locked into the bathroom, or who you approach if you get lost, or what you do if one person gets stuck on the inside of the subway car and one on the platform, or the house catches on fire, or someone gets hit by a car. It was like talking about Hurricane Sandy and making more extensive escape plans than we’d had before. It is serious, but we trust you enough to tell you the truth.

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

And here, I’m going to go here, too: We talk about how some kids are not safe all/most of the time, and how those kids tend to be poorer than my kids are. And that they need to be aware of that and do whatever they can not to contribute to that problem, and not assume that what happens to them on a daily basis is what happens to everyone else. My kids can’t solve that problem now, but I owe it to them to tell them the truth and let them decide later what they will do in response.

So I am not afraid. My kids know the truth. They know to be ready, and to offer what they can.

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)






[“i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)” is by e.e. cummings]

Talk about the helpers

"WhenI was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would
say, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are
helping.” To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my
mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are
still so many helpers–so many caring people in this world." Mister Rogers

Every time something else happens, this is what we can offer our kids, that some people are bad, but most of us are good, and most of us are the helpers.

I wish there was some way to make them absolutely safe.

Primal Whimper Tuesday

I'm not dead. It's just: Exam, final paper, exam, final paper, ginormous freelance project, applications for middle school, sick grandmother causing temporary relocation of my mother, father retiring, Christmas prep. (Did I mention that my mom scored me a free light-up lawn reindeer over the summer? She's aces.)

Also: I got a paper accepted into a conference! More when I can think about how to explain it.

In the meantime, ante up with everything you still have to do and when it needs to be done by. It's Misery Poker only in the Parachute Game Everyone Wins kind of way.

Q&A: siblings fighting (not just rivalry)

Jen writes:

was hoping you might have some fresh thought about siblings. I've read
all your suggestions about siblings. Read Siblings Without Rivalry. Read
the NurtureShock bit and your thoughts on making the time sibling spend
together more enjoyable, even if it is less time over all. Here is
where I am at:

boys are 6 and 2.5. The six year old is highly intelligent,
opinionated, sensitive, outgoing, and very in touch with his emotions.
The little one is pure sunshine. Also very outgoing, active, and happy.
Did I mention that they are 6 and 2.5? So they have all that
developmental stuff going on. But individually both my boys are a joy to
be around. And yet when you put them together it is a constant
struggle. The little one is all over my elder and his stuff. He has his
own room, and will often retreat to it. If they are left on their own I
can almost guarantee that the little one will do something 2.5ish that
will frustrate his brother to the point that big brother knocks him on
his head. Little brother loves big brother. Big brother hates little

at this point I keep them separated as much as possible. I try to make
the interactions they do have positive. I try to teach language that
will help them work things out on their own, since 2.5 seems way too
young to be able to negotiate for himself. But nothing I am doing feels
like it is nurturing "brotherly love". Eldest and I talk a lot about
loving your family members all the time even if you don't like their
behavior. We talk about how he will be a good friend when he gets a
little bigger. We talk about the fact that elder wishes younger was
never born, allowing plenty of space for feelings. Sometimes I just fell
like locking the two of them in a cage and letting them work it out. Is
there a magical age that I
can do that?

I nor my husband grew up with siblings. There seems to be a plethora of
information on siblings when there is a new baby involved, or when they
are old enough to work out their own problems. But I could really use
some feedback on getting through this age, and some hope that my boys
can still grow up to enjoy each other."

 I feel your exact pain on this one. Your exact pain. Your sons' personalities sound a lot like my sons' personalities, and the age split is almost the same. And I remember that constant fighting at that age vividly. And I grew up with one brother so I never experienced the two boys fighting thing.

The bad news is: They don't stop fighting.

The good news is: They alternate fighting and hugging now.

When I was in a fit of worrying about my sons' fighting and what it meant for their future together AND what it meant for my current sanity* I decided to ask some adult male friends with brothers if they thought it was normal and when it would end.

Uniformly,these men–good, decent, funny, educated, productive, informed, intelligent men–gave me the same answer: "Oh, we still fight when we're in the same room. When we're all at my mom's house she makes us go outside so we don't break the furniture."

Facepalm. Also, really?? 40-year-old men rolling around in the front yard pummeling each other…

So I'm beginning to think that the fighting isn't really a problem for them. It's a problem for us, but it's part of the interaction of brothers (not all brothers, and I'm sure some sisters do the physical wrestling fighting, too) and doesn't seem to bother them.

I'm not surprised that your 6-year-old isn't excited about your 2.5-year-old. Toddlers can be especially annoying, and the younger one can't really do anything the older one can do. That will ebb and flow as they get older and come into phases of being able to do more together and then go out of them again. If it seems like genuine malice I'd absolutely consult a professional about it. But if it's just the normal "get out of my stuff; why can't I be an only child?" stuff, then I think giving them a good mix of time apart from each other and time together is both sending the family unity message you want to send and also giving them each enough space.

Because that's the trick, I think, is to reinforce family unity but at the same time make sure each one knows he's loved for himself.

Now, the other good news is that when I was asking my male friends about the fighting, all of them also said some variation of "I love my brother" or "My brother is my best friend." So somewhere in all that wrestling it seems to connect them.

I hope.


What do you all think? Men with brothers, do you still fight? What is that about? Parents of brothers? Did it stop or slow down for your kids?


* Remember when I was in an 800-square foot 4th floor walkup apartment with them? Fun times.