Monday, June 2, 2014

The day my life changed forever

My “Life of Pi”* tiger - or how I transformed my former husband and the “other woman” from being the “destroyers of my life” into loved ones whom I bless with heartfelt gratitude daily and how this experience has changed my entire life.

The day my life changed forever was 50 years and 21 days after my reluctant, traumatic, entrance into the world. It was not an auspicious beginning and was not followed by an idyllic childhood or carefree adulthood. These are understatements!

The day my life changed forever was 10 years and 40 days after the day of my wedding, which had taken place on the very same beach where I had met and fallen mutually, instantly, madly and passionately in love with the man who would become my husband.

The day my life changed forever was Twenty years and one day after that meeting and one day after my former husband had, once again, declared his undying love to me on that very spot.

The day my life changed forever was on September 11, 2009,  exactly  eight years to the day from when the terrorist attacks imploded the Twin Towers.

The day my life changed forever was on 9/11/09 when the woman who is now my former husband’s new wife came to our home with the truth which would set us all free.

"In case you are confused (I certainly was on the day my life changed forever!), allow me to summarize. On 9/11/(09), shortly after the milestones of turning 50 and celebrating a full decade of marriage and the day after our two decade anniversary of meeting, I experienced what felt like a terrorist attack that destroyed a partnership that I thought would last forever. And given that from the moment of my birth though my life up to that point, I had not had a solid foundation, the odds were pretty good that I would remain a pile of smoking rubble. Enter the Phoenix!

And now I 'm going to switch metaphors from fiery implosion and mythical birds to watery ship wreck and imaginary tigers. This is my story and I get to play with it! "

In The Life of Pi , the protagonist chooses to create a new story that is simply better than the one he started with. Both versions of my story are totally true. The question is; which one is the better story? You decide.

Bitter Ending
Glorious Beginning
A menopausal, overweight, washed up Milwaukee housewife is betrayed by the love of her life. After ten years of marriage devoted to caring for him (including nursing him through cancer and other medical crises) and supporting his career and loving his children and grandchildren like her own, the wife learns that the love of her life has a beautiful mistress who is 30 years younger than him.

Devastated by the grief and shock of multiple losses (dog, home, many loved ones including several adored children, family, friends and community and everything else that would not fit into a small car), she drives away from her old life with no hope of anything good ever happening again.

A woman in the prime of her life is set free for an amazing adventure! After a relatively short segue (in which she is utterly broken open), she begins a new life filled with miraculous twists of fate, a profusion of magical synchronicities and a flood of astonishing blessings.

She finds herself in a paradise of breathtaking, endless beauty in the sweetest community she could have ever imagined, happier than she had ever been in her entire life. Nearly every single day at some point she is overcome with rushes of love and gratitude for her former husband and his new wife and knows that she would not change a single thing about her marriage or how it ended.

Obviously there are many juicy details left out of both versions, but the question is, which one do you like better? You can guess which one I chose! My purpose in sharing my stories is to offer hope and inspiration to all who believe that their current life transition is not a story they want to be living.

When we choose to re-write our stories to have a better ending than the ones that seem so horribly likely when we are flooded with the stress hormones that are activated in the midst of changes*, we can transform our current situations, our futures and all whose lives we touch.

New Moons are traditionally a time of new beginnings and on this New Moon, I offer you my first blog. I will write a monthly New Moon post to share my new beginnings and the insights I have gleaned (through a whole lot of humbling failures and some moments of grace) in the hopes it will support you with the new stories you want to create. In addition to all of my stories, I have been studying hundreds of others and look forward to hearing from all of you who have already, or are in the process of, or would like to re-write yours!

On June 21st, the Summer Solstice, I will celebrate the beginning of my new service called Sparks & Leaps which supports families in transforming all kinds of life transitions. Stay tuned.


  1. Jennifer GraingerJune 5, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Fascinating story, Michelle. I am blessed to be in your tribe!

    1. I am grateful to have you as a part of my tribe, Jennifer and for all of your support. I am also inspired by your story and am waiting for your next book!

  2. Michelle, my dear friend and one of the most beautiful, optimistic people I know, congratulations on starting your blog. I was a witness to this time in your life, and I know that the devastation it caused was complete. Strong woman that you are, I love, ( but am not suprised )that you found a way to turn this rupture and upheaval into a positive. I wish you only the best, blessings and love.

  3. Michelle,

    First of all, I'm so proud of you for taking this huge step. Congratulations.

    As you know, I always have an opinion and love nothing more than to be asked for my critique, so here goes.

    I really like, and appreciate, your opening paragraph. Unlike so much of the disorganized writing on the Internet today, it let me know right away what you're writing about. If only more writers nowadays understood the importance of doing this.

    Also, I kinda gotta admit that I made myself read your first entry because, as your long-time friend, and someone who cares about you, I felt obligated to check it out. Turns out, I was surprised and delighted to find myself immediately engaged by the subject and your honesty. Since I've been working with storytellers for the past two years, I've learned that your audience always knows when you're holding something back and that, if you want to tell a story that anyone is going to want to hear (or read), you have to be brutally honest. Also, simply by telling the details, you can tell a compelling story that touches people's hearts and has the power to affect their lives.

    "Obviously there are many juicy details left out of both versions, . . . " I suggest that you do not let your reader know that you're not telling the full story. It kind of makes us feel left out. We want to identify with you, we want to feel like we know you, and we want to feel like we're worthy of knowing the "many juicy details." So, my suggestion is, either don't reveal that you're not revealing all (something I really don't recommend), or go ahead and reveal all (much better!) If you can't reveal all on a certain subject, then find another subject to write about.

    Just one more observation and more piece of feedback. Observation: I still don't quite understand how you were able to go from being devastated by being left for a much younger woman, to embracing this change. Is that one of the juicy details you've left out? It seems so central to the story that I want to learn more about how you accomplished that. Feedback: For the limited attention span of Internet readers, I suggest making your posts a bit shorter, and leaving us with a cliffhanger that will make us eagerly await your next post. If I understand the purpose of a blog, it's to invite people into your daily life, so you don't have to tell the whole story in one post, right?

    OK, enough of my opinions. Darlin', consider me a fan. I'll keep reading.


    1. Your feedback is excellent and much appreciated, Mary! I am indeed planning to share some of those juicy details, including how that transition took place. Thanks for reading and responding and for being one of my first fans! I can't wait to discuss storytelling with you. <3

  4. Thank you for the inspiration! I am going through a relationship transition right now and it feels much better to see it as something gained than something lost.

    1. Lisa, even though I believe relationship transitions are always beneficial in some way, it is still not fun to be in the midst of one. From what I know of you, I am betting you will learn everything possible from this experience and come through the other side, even more radiant. In the mean time, I am solidarity with you!

  5. Ah, you will always be older and wiser than me! Your "glorious beginning" has been inspirational to watch. JDT

  6. Only older by 17 days, JDT! And as for my glorious beginning, without you and your beloved taking me in and helping me through the worst moments of the bitter ending, this story might have turned out differently. My gratitude to you is enormous!

  7. Mary's other name is Merciless Mary! Good feedback, woman! Michelle, I am so proud of you. I, too, felt obligated, and have been horribly busy for a change.. I enjoyed what I read and am so happy that you have found the joy in your life and weathered all of these changes with such grace. Love you dear. Congrats.

    1. No wonder I couldn't find your comment, Suzy (my anonymous friend - sorry for the complications in leaving a comment with your name), I was looking under the new blog post. I did not think Mary was merciless. I had some brutal criticism in an email from a friend who would have fit that description and I loved it. As I said to Jan in her feedback in my newest post, I am new to this and am grateful for ALL feedback! Very helpful in the learning process! And speaking of weathering changes with grace, YAY YOU! Love you too!

  8. wonderful, Michelle! i love everything about your writing! blessings and love, Ralph.

    1. Thank you so much Ralph! I remember seeing you and Jori a few days after that fateful day. The love and support you both gave me (then and prior to that during other difficult times ) helped me rewrite that story. I accept your blessings with gratitude and return them with my love.


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