My story,  Chapter Four

Parvati’s Lighthouse

This post is lovingly written in honor of the strong women who have been my sounding boards, my safe landing places, and my cheerleaders this past year: the Vybrant Star Pixies, The Garden Goddesses, the Epic Ladies and my Faux Family. You have journeyed alongside me as I transitioned from a married woman to an independent free spirit; you have cried with me, laughed with me, held my hand and danced with me. My life is richer because of you. My gratitude runs deeper than words. You are all officially invited to Parvati’s Lighthouse anytime.

Chapter Four

Once I was out of limbo, everything started to fall into place. My ex moved out of our home and I moved back in permanently, with my dog and three children, who split their time between our homes 50-50%.

On June 3rd, 2020 I wrote the following in my journal:

“I don’t know how souls work exactly- why they attract one another or why they let go. I’ve been told that my ex and I have been traveling together for a long time. Our journey through this life will keep us bonded as we co-parent, but I wonder why it ends now in mid-life? I had the thought that he is releasing me. I’ve built my strength in the cocoon of the Antler Den. It’s for me to fly…”

Like so many first steps on my transformational journey, June 3rd was yet another day one, but this time I felt the aloneness for the first time, and the reality that “our now and forever” journey through life together was really over. On my “Gifts from Bob grief playlist“, Not As We (Alanis Morisette, Flavors of Entanglement) is track 9 of 14 and its hauntingly somber lyrics resonated with me so deeply as I moved back home alone.

Reborn and shivering
Spat out on new terrain
Unsure, unconvincing
This faint and shaky hour
Day one, day one starts over again.
Step one, step one barely making sense.
Just yet I’m faking it
until I’m pseudo making it.
This time I as I, not as We. –Alanis Morissette

Transformation begins with that courageous first step.

And after you make that courageous first step, you take the next. And then the next. And then maybe you take two steps backward and you begin again. Just like Alanis sings, “day one starts all over again.” It’s hard as hell, but you get yourself back up because you know that you’re worth it and that the universe is for you and that you will come out stronger on the other side (and “just yet you’re faking it until you’re pseudo making it”), but you’re putting in the work. And you remind yourself that if it weren’t for the time spent struggling in the cocoon, the butterfly would never have the strength to emerge and fly. So you brush off the pain from the previous day and take that first step again.

For me, this step one was all about transforming my space from “ours” to “mine”. It was all about closely examining my space and asking myself if it reflected ME. Did it fill my heart with joy when I looked around? Did it reflect my colorful personality and boho-spiritual vibe? Was it authentic and comfortable and welcoming? Were there items that were painful for me to look at? What needed to go? What needed to be “juzjed”? *

  • I thank Queer Eye for the Straight Guy original cast for introducing me to the fantastic verb “Juzjed” (typically used in the past participle, for all you grammar junkies out there like me) back in 2003. This is my original spelling for it and for anyone who’s unfamiliar with the term, I loosely define “juzjed” as “add sparkle to/ add your authenticity to.” For example, you can “juzje” up jarred spaghetti sauce or the decor or your bedroom. Have some fun with this made up verb and impress your friends when you “juzje” up your vocabulary at your next dinner party! (sparkle sparkle)

Now that we’ve covered one of my favorite words, with no further ado, here is

My 3-step program for transforming your inner and outer space:

Step One: A shift in energy

Photo by Karly Jones on Unsplash

When you are rebuilding your life after a major life-changing event, such as divorce or death or even setting up your first home, you need a shift in energy. Every single object in our home, including the walls, floors and ceiling, contains energy which carries with it its own unique vibration. Think about it. When you enter a space that has a high vibrational energy, you feel a sense of calm and peace. Likewise, when there is a low vibrational energy, you are likely to feel overwhelmed and anxious, perhaps even sad or depressed. The good news is, energy isn’t static; it can be transformed (just like you, because you are made up of energy too!).

If this is starting to sound like a bunch of woo woo hippy stuff, it is. And it works, so bear with me, or lovingly move on to step two.

White sage is most commonly used for smudging homes, and it can be purchased at most fair trade stores, and even some health food stores. For me, even though I’ve done a bit of smudging here and there, I knew that my house needed a major shift in vibrational energy, so I hired a shaman. Yup. A Shaman, right here in Boise, Idaho. If I can find a Shaman in Boise, I’m sure you can find one where you live too. Or you can call on a friend to help you, or simply do it yourself. You can learn all about how to DIY cleanse your home by clicking here. Trust me when I tell you that this step is incredibly powerful. Even if you aren’t sure if you understand how energy cleansing works, just by having the ritual with the intention behind moving the energy in your home is transformational. And you deserve a clean slate.

Now that you’ve hit the reset button on your home, you’re ready to take the next step.

Step Two: Find Inspiration.

Parvati, my home’s protectress

When you have the task of defining your space as your own, there is a blank slate before you, and with that, an opportunity to reimagine your space (and yourself). It can be overwhelming at first, so finding something that inspires you is essential.

I took step one with a couple of Epic ladies on a shopping trip with me to find a signature piece of art. In the back recesses of a Pier One store, we found it: Parvati, the Hindu Goddess of Love, Power and Renewal. Is this really the image of the Hindu Goddess? Probably not, but she is the embodiment of the values that I hold dear and the inspiration for me to call on my own feminine energy and to commit to loving myself better. We purchased her that day and she is prominently hung in my bedroom, directly across from my bed. She is the first face I see in the morning, and the last face I see at night. She is the protectress of my new home and the reminder to ground myself in love. 

Finding that one piece that inspires you to evolve into the person you’ve always wanted to be (or perhaps that you felt that you couldn’t fully be when you were a “we”) is the first step. Don’t question your intuition. If you love it and it sparks some joy in your being, you are on the right path. It could be as simple as moving a piece of art from one place to a more prominent place. Or perhaps it’s the removal of all art; a zen zone. Or maybe you can create your own art! Only YOU know what will inspire YOU. And if you’re still not sure on where to get started, head over to Pinterest for inspirational ideas or treat yourself to a magazine the next time you’re buying groceries and note what lights you up. The key to this first step is allowing something to rekindle a spark in your soul.

“What you seek is seeking you.” –Rumi

Step Three: Out with the old, in with the new

The final step is really about examining the things that you have in your home and asking yourself these three questions: Is it beautiful? Is it meaningful? Is it useful? If the answer in no, let it go!

Beautiful: When examining your belongings, sometimes it’s hard to know what to keep and what to discard. The easy stuff usually comes naturally. For me, I knew that I wanted to get rid of our marital bed and the leather grey recliner chairs that were in our living room. I gave the King bed to my ex (along with the recliners which I exchanged for an exquisite pair of yellow swivel chairs), and decided that a Queen bed would be much more befitting of the new direction of my home. To save some money I bought a floor model queen sized hybrid mattress, but then I gave myself permission to splurge with the purchase of an adjustable, vibrating platform for my bed. You heard me right: I bought myself a vibrating bed and it’s the single best investment that I made for myself post-divorce. In fact, as I type this post, I’m in my comfy bed two weeks post-surgery, with my head and feet elevated with a gentle vibration beneath me. It’s simply divine. Not everyone can afford to purchase a new bed, or perhaps you inherited the marital bed. If that’s the case, think creatively about how you can change up the look and shift the energy with a new bedspread or pillows that call your name. Facebook marketplace, thrift and consignment shops are fantastic resources for redesigning a space on a budget.

Meaningful: Although I was still hurt and angry when I moved back into my home and wanted to burn anything reminiscent of our 20 year marriage, I knew that I wanted my children to know that we DID have a good family life and that there were many happy years. Therefore, I placed all of our wedding photos and momentos into my hope chest, along with my wedding ring and various pieces of jewelry that could be passed on to them someday. Those items tell the stories of our chapter together, but I did not want them visible anymore because they were painful to look at. Over time, I have gradually replaced these photos and momentos with new ones as my kids and I rebuild our new chapter together.

The opposite can also be true. Perhaps you have meaningful items that bring you joy and they’re tucked away in a box somewhere in your garage. Why? Bring those sentimental items into the light! Create an ever-changing photo wall or make a quilt out of your old concert t-shirts or prominently display your son’s first pair of cowboy boots. If it’s meaningful to you and it brings you joy, you deserve to have it somewhere in your space where you can truly appreciate it (last I checked, cardboard boxes don’t bring many people joy).

Useful: I would be remiss if I didn’t plug Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. It truly was a life-changing book for me in 2017 and I still integrate her principles today. For those of you who have a hard time parting with material possessions, keep in mind that there is certainly someone out there who will love your old treasures. Imagine my delight on the day that I was in Restyle consignment shop and spotted a pair of fabulous orange candlesticks! They absolutely make my heart sing. And they were just $15 for the pair! Score! Second-hand shopping is like a fun little treasure hunt, where you never know what you may find. And it’s also better for the environment to purchase formerly loved items instead of new ones. Parting with items that no longer serve you is a paradigm shift of the mind: instead of fixating on the item you’re getting rid of, think about the joy of the person who will inherit your energy exchange and thank you.

To recap step three: surround yourself with items that are beautiful, meaningful or useful, and release the rest to a new home and know that you’ve participated in a life-changing exchange in energy!

Vybrant color makes my heart sing

Revelations & Convictions

One day my 12-year old son Ray came home from his dad’s and exclaimed that my house was a Lighthouse. He said it was filled with light and felt safe to return to. He said that he loves how it feels to “come home”. And that’s how my home got its name, Parvati’s Lighthouse.

I wrote the following revelations down in my journal during this period of home transformation:

1. In my house my kids are allowed to make and keep a mess in their rooms as long as they clean it up before they switch houses or until they are asked to do so, in the instance of house guests.
2. It hurts like hell to have your husband take his belongings from your shared home and put them into his new life. So many tears. So much heartbreak.
3. An adjustable bed with a built-in massager in an excellent purchase.
4. Decorating a room exactly the way you want it is fun and therapeutic. It’s also lonely. (June 2020)

Rebuilding your life post-divorce is both invigorating and heart-breaking. There is a joyful freedom that comes from being able to fully express yourself with authenticity, but there’s an equally heavy amount of pain. As I wrap up this “advice column” chapter of my divorce story (or should I say my rebirth story), let me end with my conviction and one final song from Alanis Morissette’s latest album, “Her” from Such Pretty Forks in the Road. Vision boards. I have been making vision boards with the women to whom this is dedicated since my mid-twenties, and let me tell you, they are magical. Below are pictures of two vision boards that I created in 2020: the one on the left was created in the Winter and the one on the right was created in the Summer. Most of the images speak for themselves. What you cannot see from the quote on the right is this excerpt from Magnolia Magazine:

You could be in danger of falling in love. You could be in danger of having the best day of your life. You could be in danger of getting everything you want. You could be in danger of laughing so hard it hurts. You could be in danger of finding a person who knows what you’re thinking before you say a word. You could be in danger of loving a song so much you have to sing it out loud, as loud as you can. You could be in danger of opening your heart instead of closing it.”

I have these vision boards where I can see them daily and it always dumbfounds me how they manifest, just as these two have. I guess step four in my program for transforming yourself and your space (for the overachievers) would be to carve out some time to create your own vision board. Gather magazines from your local library, invite over a few close friends and let the magic unfold. A year from now you will be glad you did.

If your home is in need of a “juzje” allow this song to fill your soul with the Divine Feminine Power of Transformation: Her, by Alanis Morissette. And leave a comment below to share what your first step will be. The Let Love Rise community is here to support and encourage you with every step along the way! Namaste.

Header photo of Parvati by Sonika Agarwal on Unsplash

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