The definition of spirit or soul to me is the essence of who you are. One of the great tragedies—and triumphs of divorce is a revelation of spirit.
Sometimes it is exposed that we have become devoid of spirit. The situation we have been living in has eroded our soul to such a degree that there is nothing left, or perhaps just a faint echo of our true selves. At the same time, even in the same person, this same revelation can shine a light on the sublime resilience and strength of character that we have been hiding, even from ourselves. Our true spirit needs light to grow, to become healthy, and to support us.
Living in a suffocating marriage, whatever the reason for that suffocation, significantly dims that light, and we can begin to wither away. While the trials of the decision to divorce and the putting of our feet on the path may initially put on display how much of a shadow our spirit has become, by moving through with the intention of dignity and grace, our spirit can once again grow strong.
It takes more than just exposure to light, though. Like a flower struggling to break through the surface of the soil, your soul needs light to guide it, but also food to nourish it and water to wash through it or else the light becomes nothing more than a bare bulb in an interrogation room with our spirit being the ultimate surrender.
This need for nurturing the spirit takes many forms. For some, this is prayer. For others, it’s deep meditation. Perhaps it’s writing and/or sharing of our pain and our triumph. It means remembering who we are, at our core, and celebrating that. It’s about having accountability for our part in the end of the marriage—and extending compassion to ourselves anyway.
Being afraid is normal. In fact, if you aren’t afraid of this process, you’re doing it wrong. I kind of dislike the word fearless. The only people who are truly fearless are ignorant people. They have no clue of the potential outcome of their actions, and that is why they are unafraid.
Intelligent people look at a life upheaval and know there is uncertainty. There is no guarantee of how this whole thing is going to turn out. But they do it anyway. This is the true definition of courage and bravery. The pain of self-examination, of development and growth, even when that growth necessitates divorce, becomes bearable because of that nourishment of spirit. It’s not selfishness that drives them; it’s that deep need to feed their soul so that they can, in turn, be there to help sustain others as they search for their own soul.