Envisioning and Creating Your Future

Life after divorce is all about starting over. Many of the women I’ve interviewed have described going through divorce as having the rug pulled out from underneath them. It is often a time when everything that was familiar changes and changes very suddenly. No wonder it’s considered to be one of the most stressful life events! All those changes can make you feel lost and the temptation is to create stability by quickly settling into new routines, into a new home, a new job. But if you can resist making those hasty decisions, this is a prime time to consciously create your future. Here to explain how is Karen McMahon:

[contemplate1] If you could design your ideal life what would it look like?  Most people actually don’t know.  We are so programmed to think about what we don’t want, couldn’t afford, can’t have, what won’t work…that we rarely give ourselves the gift of dreaming about our true desires, all obstacles aside!

Dream like a child

Ask a child to tell you their dreams and they can immediately start rambling about what they want, who they want to be, and all types of details about their desires.  They have not yet learned to be stifled by the obstacles.  They do not operate from a place of fear and unbelief in themselves but rather embrace the possibilities the world has to offer.  We, as adults, put ourselves in a box each time we deny ourselves the opportunity to tap into our deepest desires and allow ourselves to manifest them in our lives.  Perhaps we need to be more child-like.

Starting Over After DivorceSo, back to your ideal life…  How do you begin the exciting process of creating your new life? What area of your life do you desire to re-create; relationships, career, finances, lifestyle, physical or emotional health, personal development or a deeper spiritual connection?  Start with asking yourself key questions.  If I could have X what would that be like for me?  If it is a relationship you desire (with your children, family or a new partner), describe the ideal.  List attributes of the relationship; interactions that you would want; details of what might grow from such a relationship.

Or if it is a new career or the ability to make more money; what does that look like to you?  What do you most enjoy doing and what gifts, talents and skills do you have to offer the world?  If you could create your perfect job, what would you do; what would your day look like from the time you awoke until you lay your head back on your pillow?

Perhaps you want to live in a different place or in a different way.  Describe your ideal living situation.  Where do you envision yourself living, what does the home look like, where is it located, how many rooms, what is the floor plan, describe the grounds, what does it have that makes it fit who you are?  What else is important in your living situation?

Be Intentional

If there were no obstacles, no time constraints, no money concerns, nothing standing in your way, what would your new life look like?

Take some time to imagine all the details.  Use all your senses.  Smell the coffee as you begin your day, the flowers in the garden you sit in or work in, the fresh breeze you smell from your porch or while riding your horse or boating on the open sea!  Feel the flow of your day, the comfort of your living room, the appreciation of your office; or the excitement or passion in your work or the feeling of being in a healthy relationship.  Touch your favorite chair, the dirt in your garden, the hand of your partner, the horse’s mane.  See the details… your healthy body, the attributes of your new relationship with your kids, friends, partner; the particulars of your new job and what talents and energy you bring to it.

If you are going through a divorce and grieving the loss of your marriage, ask yourself what you want in a committed relationship?  How would you change to be a better, healthier partner?  What would you look for in a partner?  How might your priorities have shifted after what has happened in your marriage?  What have you learned and how might you take those lessons into your next relationship?

As you do this exercise, it is natural for all the negatives to rear their ugly heads; all that you can’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t, won’t, and don’t do.  Notice what they are and how they make you feel and then put them aside, for now.  You must first know what your aspirations are, all possible obstacles aside, in order to figure out how to attain them.

Create a plan

Now begin to create a plan.  Baby steps are the key.

  1. What awareness has come to the fore?  If you are a writer, write about it; an artist, draw it; an extravert, talk to a friend or loved one to process it.  Whatever your way is, draw out that dream in as much detail as you can.
  2. What fears and obstacles come up for you? Write them down and challenge them. How true are they?  Try to look at your situation from a different lens, shift your perspective.  How true is it that you cannot attain your goal?  What is another possible way of looking at the situation? Prioritize your fears from the greatest to the least and begin challenging them from the least up to the greatest.
  3. Take Action. What is one baby step that you can take in the direction of your dream? A baby step is exactly that…a very small step.  It can be to meditate on the dream, write about your desires, research some small piece of information that will help guide you, make a phone call, buy a book on the topic.  Take one small baby step toward your dream and see how it unfolds, one step at a time.

[contemplate2]

I think this can be difficult to do on your own because if you’re like me, you tend to self-edit: “I can’t do that because I have to pick my kids up from school,” for example and that’s what Karen says not to do.  Don’t limit your dreams. I’ve found it really helpful to have a couple of trusted friends to share my ideas with and help create the action plan. And for me, the plan is ever evolving but to have that big lofty goal is a helpful and encouraging reminder at times when I’m feeling discouraged.

Do you have a vision for your future? How did you create it? What baby steps are you taking?

This post was written by Karen McMahon, Certified Divorce Coach.  Karen is the founder of KM Life Coaching and co-author of “Navigating Your Divorce: A guide to the Legal, Financial and Emotional Basics”, a free ebook. Karen’s passion is to work with men and women going through the divorce process; helping them navigate the difficulties while focusing on personal growth and embracing the opportunities that lie ahead.

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  • Anonymous

    This was an exciting aspect of divorce for me.  There I was, my carefully planned lifemap wadded up like rubbish, all ties to my old life broken, and a future in front of me.  I could now take the reins and form the life I wanted with my new found wisdom to guide me.  It was scary as hell, but oh so freeing.
    http://lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com

    • http://sincemydivorce.com Mandy Walker

      @stilllearning2b – yes! many of us have this mental life plan carefully constructed and it’s amazing how quickly it collapses. I’m curious … at what point did you get the sense that it was “freeing” – I would imagine it would depend very much on the circumstances of the end of your marriage. Coming over to visit your blog ….

  • http://www.after-divorce-support.com/ after divorce

    Great post, Mandy, thank you. A great tool for anyone for this aspect of divorce recovery is a ‘visions board’ – you can google it for more info, and I recommend doing one for free with friends, rather than signing up for some expensive product.

    “You can’t get there unless you know where you want to go….”

    • http://sincemydivorce.com Mandy Walker

      Great suggestion. I started my vision board when I was ready to date again but it would have been helpful going through the divorce … it helps to visual what your future could be like. I like the idea of doing it with friends because when they know your vision, they can support you through the rough times.

  • http://relativeevolutions.com/ Tara (thedivorceencouragist)

    Thanks for this, Mandy!  This piece is so hopeful and inspiring… like you said, it’s easy to allow your own “practical” self-talk get in the way of creating/envisioning something better.  Yet, it’s imperative during such transitional times to clearly construct a new vision.  

    • http://sincemydivorce.com Mandy Walker

      @Tara – I should have added this in there … I think it’s really helpful to create a vision board and use pictures from magazines to capture the essence of your vision. Hang the vision board in a place you’ll see it every day and every day you’ll be reminded of where you’re headed.

  • http://lifesclassroom.blogspot.com T

    A divorce coach! WOW. Great advice. Thanks again, Mandy, for providing such valuable information. 

    • http://sincemydivorce.com Mandy Walker

      I think this visioning exercise is particularly helpful for dealing with the loss of a dream … many of the women I’ve spoken with talk about how they just never saw themselves as a being single at their age or just not being married and certainly not being a single parent. When you use this process to start to picture your new life it is very empowering and motivating.