Heading Out & Diving Deep
After hauling the heavy anchor of your past on board, it would be easy to rest your tired arms, sunning on the gently lapping water, but your sails wave wildly in the wind and your boat slowly heads into deeper darker water. The smell of salt in the wind, the wild snapping of the sail, and the darkening depths beneath make you take the rudder firmly in both hands. You tighten your sail and with determination head towards your future. You can head anywhere, be free, but for the moment, your mind is drawn to the ever-deepening depths beneath you, the mysteries they hide, and the nervous fear of heading into the unknown.
Post divorce or separation, your life can feel like you’re heading out to sea–to the unknown and uncharted waters–tossed and turned by uncontrollable forces.
Depending on your level of anger at being “in” a divorce, you’ll either hop, skip, and jump into the boat or be thrown in, like a sack of potatoes. Either way you’re in it with the anchor up, wind in your sails, drawn out into the very large uncharted seas.
And holy moly is it scary.
Yes it’s big. I mean it’s the ocean… but what’s more scary is that you have the sailing experience of a cat named Mr. Nibbles (who has lived indoors his entire life, wears little jumpers and seasonal hats).
Needless to say you are stepping out of your comfort zone, and it is terrifying. One wrong move may not equate with walking the plank, but it could be your house–or worse–your kids.
Leaving the Known to the (Fear of the) Unknown
First day at a new school, first date, trying out for football/play/anything, interviewing for new job, starting new job, anything that starts with”new” generally leaves me with a stomach knot and certain fear of failure. I’m sure anyone reading has experienced it. That “one small step” was probably prefaced by a small gas release in his space suit… Trying new things and stepping outside your comfort zone is, well, uncomfortable. I am a creature of habit who loves adventure. But that adventure tends to be the only path. Once traveled, I will wear it out before being forced onto the next. Each new path I learned something new like a tree growing a new limb and spreading out to new sunshine and becoming more “tree” shaped. Stepping out and doing difficult things is worth every step of fear.
“If you don’t try you’ll never know, and if you don’t go, you will never have been”.
I did not want to ever, ever in a million years of Hagen Daz ice-cream want to go through a divorce. But here I am a survivor who has not only journeyed though it but expanded my horizons, learned a lot about myself, others, and the word around me. I’ve also come out (in my opinion… and my mum’s…which counts) a better person.
That “one small step” was worth the scary million mile journey.
Deep Water & Being Out of Your Depth
I have a healthy fear of deep water because I know I am guaranteed death by shark attack. Ever since I skillfully whined my way into seeing Jaws at the age of six, I have had a fear of deep water. (I was meant to see Dumbo and probably would have become the next Jack Cousteau if my mum hadn’t given in.) The 1 in 11.5 million chance of being attached by a shark should set me at ease, but it doesn’t. It is the mixture of the “duh-duh” music in my head and the unseen. It is also how I felt when the papers had been filed and the lawyers. Family, friends, and ex started circling. I was out of my depth in the unknown.
The (Known) Unknown –
“The odds of getting attacked and killed by a shark are 1 in 3,748,067. In a lifetime, you are more likely to die from fireworks (1 in 340,733), lightning (1 in 79,746), drowning (1 in 1,134), a car accident (1 in 84), stroke (1 in 24), or heart disease (1 in 5).”
I’m guessing the divorce death rate is probably less likely than the shark, so even though it has as many teeth and you still need a bigger boat, chances are with high likelihood that you will survive this part of your journey.
Time for a Deep Dive
It’s fun to paddle and splash around in shallow water, but to move on you have to go deep. We can all see the trash floating on the surface, but what about the hidden sunken wrecks of past behaviors and relationships? On the start of my journey I found it was very important to spend time alone contemplating “the deep.” Not the metaphysical or mysteries of the universe but simple contemplation to look at “me,” my issues, failures, and successes to decide what was staying on board and what was to be jettisoned.
Diving deep is not to be taken lightly. I think all the years of toxic, wasted relationships probably created one ugly looking mother of a fish down there in the deep. I don’t think at those depths it’s possible to go out and slay the creature or send it deeper into the fathoms. But it is good to politely say, “How do you do?” recognizing your creation then moving forward reminding self not to create such pollution in the future. And that is the crux of setting off on a new adventure in your life, coming to terms with the past, defining what those really were, and using those experiences no matter the beast to move forward positively.
Things You Can’t Control
- The Environment – With both periods of calm and storms in finances, work, and life.
- Negative People – The toxic waste is out there. Choose where to swim.
- Your Ex – Is on their own journey, and you are not the captain or even the cabin boy/girl.
Things You Can Control
- Speed – Take your time, find yourself and your passions, especially before another relationship.
- Heading & Direction – Take the high road and stay away from the swamps.
- Destination – Where you want to go and how you get there is up to you and the attitude you take.
Sail safe at your speed and in a direction always navigating toward your destination.
Heading out (with water-wings),
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