When One Door Closes, The Ground Starts to Move under Your Feet.
Getting a divorce closes the door on the life that your married self had planned. However, I think the adage 'when one door closes, another opens' doesn't apply to divorce. In a matter that affects the heart, the fundamental securities of finances and home, familial and friendship ties, perhaps even your faith in yourself, a pat adage doesn't work.
But a door has closed, often with a resounding slam. So what does happen? In my experience, rather than another door opening, it feels as though the ground beneath your feet is moving; you're so focused on trying to keep balance that you wouldn't be able to walk through an open door even if you noticed one. That being said, the movement of the ground is as enticing as it is terrifying. That's how it felt for me, anyway.
I ended my marriage in early 2005. My first year, post-marriage, was quite simply unlike any other I've had. Losing the relationship was traumatic, but the start of a new phase in my life was exhilarating. I gave the trauma the attention it needed, and focused on the exhilaration and opportunities that presented themselves. It was this combination that made the shifting ground feel both terrifying and enticing at the same time.
I moved home - from south london to north london (and any londoner will tell you thats a big deal!) I shared a house with people I hadnt known before - which was a first for me.
I found new people coming into my life in droves - friends, lovers, professional connections. My divorce was handled by a lawyer who was a perfect match for me - he listened well, advised me with clarity and acted swiftly on my (perhaps unusual) instructions. I had a dramatic haircut - from straight 'natural look', waist-length to asymetrical, layered, shoulder length. I was told afterwards that this is a classic rite of passage for women, when they make an important change in their life. I didnt know about that, but I knew that this haircut was sassy; and sassy reflected my mood.
Professionally I was also going through a change. I felt strongly I'd had enough of being a dancer and choreographer, but I didnt know what I wanted to do next. In April 2005 I successfully completed my PhD, which automatically created a large space in my life and in my thinking time.
With so much change, it would have been easy to feel disorientated or even overwhelmed. In fact, I loved it - I danced on the shifting ground, and when it fell clean away from my feet, I fell with it. The secret to keeping my centre even when I lost my balance was this:
I established myself in certain things - my body and my yoga practice. This didnt involve a rigid commitment to a schedule of daily activity - workouts etc. Such commitment would have been out of kilter with my mood (and my haircut).
It simply meant that in the moments I did go into freefall, I was able to come back to those things that were, are, and always will be, there for me: the stuff of my own being. This isn't esoteric; its simple - I ate well, slept comfortably, walked and danced a lot. I also had sex a lot. (The interesting thing about establishing yourself in your own being is that others want to join in. The mechanics of that are esoteric and I wont go into them here).
I'm aware that the prospect of looking to yourself as your primary source of support can be frightening. But the truth is that the only true constant in your life is you. And in my experience, the ability to stay centred in your own being welcomes other people and makes room for opportunities like nothing else. Fear doesnt become excitement so much as exhilaration. And of its own accord, the shifting ground dances you through more open doors than you could have walked through if your feet were planted in security and stability.