In December of that year, just six months into our marriage, my husband brought me to a Starbucks and told me he wanted a divorce. He would not talk to me about it, would not give me any reasons behind his decision, and had no interest in working on any problems. Three months later, we were divorced. It all happened so quickly; psychologists told me that I was experiencing the type of grief similar to that of someone who had experienced the sudden death of a loved one. All in all we were married for nine months. I was devastated, embarrassed and felt like a failure. I lost about 20 pounds in the first two weeks of our separation and struggled to make meals for myself in the weeks after that, which only prolonged the weight loss. I cried myself to sleep often and needed to have my parents call me every morning for the first three months to ensure that I would get out of bed and make it to work.
In that darkness, however, there was so much light that was shone upon me as well. My friends and family scooped me up and took care of me in the sweetest of ways. My friends, who couldn’t necessarily understand the pain of divorce, still had tremendous amounts of empathy for me and did whatever they could to extend their loving. They reminded me that while I was going through such hardship, there was also so much good in this world as well. I learned a beautiful lesson: that there are truly good people in this world – people who openly share their love, homes, and wisdom and do not ask for anything in return. Though this divorce was one of the most difficult experiences of my life, I also received one of the greatest blessings because of it. I learned what it means to lose someone that you love, and because of that I gained deep compassion and empathy, which I am now able to share freely with others.
In order to explain to my family and friends what was happening and why I was moving back in with my family in Minnesota, I started a blog. While thinking of a title for the blog, I came across the album of one of my favorite Minnesota hip-hop groups, Atmosphere, and the title of their album struck a chord with me. It said, “When Life Gives You Lemons – You Paint that Shit Gold.” I loved that saying so much, because it felt so raw and real to me, and so I decided to name my blog “Turning Life Gold.”
Now if we can fast forward to today for a moment, as I was trying to decide what to name my coaching business, I decided that the perfect name would be Turning Life Gold. It captures my history in all its beauty and pain, and I believe it conveys the fact that I was able to find light within in the darkness, and therefore I believe that you can too. We can do it together, and I am here to help guide you.
Immediately following my divorce, I decided to live out one of my life dreams – to go and volunteer abroad. It was the perfect time to do it, as I was no longer tied to anything – I no longer had a husband, I wasn’t in school, I had quit my job, and I had moved back in with my parents. Why not leave and go volunteer abroad? So I did! I went and volunteered in Belize, which turned out to be the most beautiful gift, because while I was there I finally was able to stop surviving, and I started living again. I found love, happiness and strength and a whole new sense of purpose in my life. Belize opened up my life in ways I could have never imagined and it helped me to answer the question of “why did this divorce have to happen?” Belize led me down the path of international volunteerism, where I went on to live and work in Belize, Mexico and Peru – all of which brought me the most tremendous, eye-opening, soul-centering experiences. I know now that if I had continued to stay married I would never have climbed Machu Picchu or become a godmother to three beautiful babies, nor would I have received a Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology, become a coach, or met the new loves of my life, Jonny and our dog Ollie.