Design your inspired life after divorce by Jacqueline Allschwang

Let me tell you a story, it’s not the typical sort you might be used to, nor does it start like many others you might have heard. It’s not quite a fairy tale, fantasy, comedy or crime…it’s more of an adventure, albeit tinged with some tragedy, and just a pinch of horror. But it does contain some universal truths and age old wisdoms, which you may or may not believe.  In fact, the story might even hold some value for you, especially if you are a woman getting divorced….

This is the story of a real woman, not unlike you. She is a nurturer, a mother, a business woman, an artist, a writer, a lover and a friend. She too was once a loving partner and wife. It is true, she has been in places that you may find yourself now and is privy to some truths, which possibly reflect some of your own.  I invite you to follow the story with an open heart and a curious mind.  As it unfolds, you will receive some questions that are sure to start your mind spinning and give you space to dream, just a little, of designing a new chapter in your own story.

My name is Jacqueline. I am a divorcee and as I write the D word, I still cringe a little bit inside.  Never in a million years did I ever foresee that event as part of my life story.  I honestly believed that marriage is forever. But then again, no one who gets married ever expects to get divorced, do they?  I mistakenly thought that hell would freeze over before my husband would cheat on me, betray me or even worse, leave me.  I  could not even begin to imagine that he would ever do to me what his father had done to his mother, initiating a chain of events that would result in her taking her own life.  I thought my love was a safe bet.

Looking back I realize there is no such thing. I was naïve.  I was clueless about what love really was and how to care for and safeguard that vulnerable, precious feeling. I was not properly equipped to protect, nurture and defend it against all that wanted to destroy it.  Ignorance and complacency, together with a few other extraneous factors killed my marriage. Although, on reflection, with much compassion and love for myself, I realize now, 7 years post divorce, without blame or recrimination, I really was doing the best I could at the time with what I knew.

These 5 simple words ‘I have feelings for her’ spilled out of my husband’s mouth on that fateful day, just a few months shy of our 11th wedding anniversary, declaring the beginning of the end of my marriage. ‘You need to make a choice,’ said I. “I love you like a sister,” said he. “WTF does that mean?” said I, “We can still be friends,” said he.  “I actually like the people that I am friends with,” said I. “I can’t imagine a life without her,” said he.  “Well you better start imagining a life without me,” said I.  This was the final checkmate in our backwards forwards verbal battle, that sent shock waves through my system, ripping apart any ideas of life and love I had carefully constructed over time, shattering into a million little pieces my naïve notion of happily ever after, of my fairy tale infused life and shredding my tender heart into strips of pulled beef along with the bloody dripping sauce accompaniment, in the process.

Sometimes, on reflection it is hard to believe that I could have spent twelve years married to one man, living in close physical proximity to him for such a long time, eating from the same plates, sleeping in the same bed, drinking water from the same bottle, breathing in the same air, merging our creative and sexual energy together to build structures and make little people and then all of a sudden, almost overnight, we were not anymore.

With the act of him leaving, came the crashing down of my carefully constructed fantasies of what I believed was a love that would never die, that in hindsight was probably never even real in the first place and the falling apart of an entire reality, that had been unknowingly built on quicksand and projections.  My carefully engineered illusion of a happy marriage disintegrated in one short, powerful punch to my solar plexus, knocking the wind right out of me, leaving me reeling and breathless and at the same time shattering all of the false notions and self-created denials and lies I had told myself over the years.

My dreams of a forever white picket fence instantly drained of all colour, fading into a transparent watermark of its former self. As the lifeblood rushed out of me, for the first time in my life I had no choice but to face all the truths I had managed to keep hidden from myself for so long.  The truth of my own failure, my imperfection. The truth that I did not know as much as I thought. The truth that what I believed was love, never really was.  And finally, the one that I had avoided for so long. Worst of all. I was really and truly alone.

The divorce was inevitable, you know – reasons, seasons and lifetimes. It was certainly the end of a lifetime as my reality crumbled before my very eyes. All I believed in could no longer be trusted and all I knew was no longer sure. A cocktail of feelings fueled my anger, my loneliness, fear, betrayal and abandonment whipped it into an inflamed rage of animosity and hatred.  It took control of my body and my life, staining my days with the flames of a slow burning, simmering fire that devoured all remnants of my old life.

While fantasies of a knight in shining armor, riding in on his white horse to sweep me off my feet and rescue me from the tumultuous throes of my miserable tragedy, seemed like an appealing notion at the time, and for a brief moment I seriously contemplated it, in reality, I knew it to be a very dangerous option, that could only lead to more trouble and confusion, that quite frankly I really didn’t need, at least not before I was fully healed.

At some level, I knew that holding on to these toxic emotions would only be detrimental to my wellbeing and that of my children. So, I made a choice.  I refused to seethe in anger, allowing the bitterness to eat away my life, happiness and joy. I was determined to let go of my anger, but while it was still there, I resolved to channel this powerful force as fuel towards a new life of my own design, the life that I knew I deserved – my inspired life.

The problem however – I had no idea what I wanted or what it would, let alone should, look, sound, or feel like. Suddenly, I remembered the DVD, “The Secret,” a global viral sensation in which the author introduced the concept of Vision Boards as a powerful manifestation tool. At the time, it briefly piqued my curiosity, but that was as far as it went. Now, as my life was falling apart and my insides were knotted with uncertainty and fear, I knew that I needed an external anchor to bring back clarity, focus and direction to my turbulent life.

So I pulled myself towards myself, as I often tell my daughter to do, sat down with a stack of magazines, pair of scissors and stick of glue, and with the help of some gentle background music, I proceeded to make my first Vision Board. This would be the first of many I designed to envision my desired future. Constructing a concrete picture of my dreams and desires was the critical first step in building a bridge towards the new inspired life I wanted. A leap of faith, so to speak. As the years unfolded, I went on to help many others, both like myself and not, to utilize this unique and powerful tool to do the same.

At first the pictures were just pipedreams on a piece of cardboard, whimsical wishes and hopeful prayers for a new life. They felt like unattainable impossibilities, floating in the far distant future, and one million miles out of my reach.  Until one day, I found myself looking at the pictures, feeling a sense of longing and real possibility. I allowed my imagination free reign, pouring myself into the images, embodying them as if they were real. I asked myself, “What would it be like if I was truly living these dreams?”

All of a sudden, I had awoken a powerful creature that had lain dormant inside of me for as long as I could remember. It took me by surprise. I had plugged into something much greater than myself. I was inspired with a sense of freedom and unlimited possibility. At that moment I knew it was important to hold on to this feeling anchoring my expansive inner landscape, while slowly taking small, measured steps towards my dreams.  So I did, and I still do. And that incredible feeling still propels me forward every single day.

If you find yourself in a situation similar to my own, or simply feel that your life lacks direction and focus. I urge you to ask yourself these simple questions, before you embark on your Vision Board journey: –

  • Do you have a big picture vision of the new life you now to create?
  • Have you captured this vision in form – either words or pictures?
  • What would it look, sound and feel like to be living your dreams?
  • What happens inside of you when you do this?
  • Are there any internal conflicts that come up to be resolved?


Should you still find yourself with questions or needing inspiration or guidance on your journey, do not hesitate to contact me at:

Cell: 082 778 1818


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