All I want this holiday season: The gift of peace
Peace exists in separation and divorce if you allow it
By Felicia Soleil, Attorney at Law/Mediator
“Thank you for reducing my anxiety. I feel so much better.”
“Thank you for your kindness. I know we weren’t easy to work with.”
“Thank you for your compassion, grace, and humor. I don’t know how we would have gotten through this without it.”
These are recent expressions of gratitude I have been humbled to have received from recent divorce mediation clients...and this isn’t about me. Although I deeply appreciate their expressions of gratitude, what I find most meaningful is that they have found peace in their hearts through a life transition that is otherwise known for tearing their hearts apart.
Kindness. Grace. Humor. Respect. Compassion.
All characteristics that may have been forgotten in times of marital turmoil, yet which all of these clients value. All characteristics that can lead them back to peace.
Every client I see has a choice in how they handle their separation and divorce. That choice can be “having it done with them, or having it done to them.” In other words, when choosing to separate, does the couple want to work together with the same planning and give-and-take they used in creating their union, or do they want to now turn into adversaries and rely on their egos and hard feelings to fight about limited resources and parenting? I give great credit to those who can get past their pride and situational conflict to envision the bigger picture – a redefined relationship with their individual dignity intact, while often wanting the same for the other partner.
Most of my clients initially present to me as not wanting to have a stressful and expensive fight with their spouse. They are caught up in the present conflict and just want to be able to sleep at night and not worry. Conflict often raises physical symptoms which they aren’t comfortable with and which they just want away from as soon as possible. These clients don’t realize at the outset that, not only are they seeking a process that will hopefully provide them a peaceful interlude from start to finish but, if done successfully, will reward them with peaceful hearts at the conclusion. This is a precious gift they give themselves without realizing it.
By joining together to tackle the challenges created by their separation, they have given themselves permission to be open to the idea they can still respect each other’s humanity. Good-hearted people who, despite hard feelings and disruption in their private relationships, allow themselves to be vulnerable to work together with their spouse in mediation to create agreements around their financial lives and parenting issues while disentangling their intimate partnership. Good people in bad moments in their lives, moments which should not define them as they move forward. .
An experienced mediator can hold that hopeful outcome for them, even when they don’t believe it is possible. We are charged with “bringing peace into the room,” as a title from one of my favorite dispute resolution books suggests, and tasked with holding that space until the clients can hopefully see it for themselves. The importance of this work is really about faith in our clients’ inherent desire for peace in their hearts and their willingness and tenacity in doing the work which gets them there. By choosing a non-adversarial process such as mediation or collaborative law and using experienced professionals who support those philosophies, they are actually giving themselves the gift of peace.
Through her practice, , Felicia Soleil helps her clients in achieving outcomes that foster both a compassionate ending to their union and a healthy new beginning for them and their families so they can focus on moving on, rather than simply moving out. Felicia can be reached at 253-853-6940. All consultations are strictly confidential.
Published on December 1, 2019