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  • Writer's pictureJodi Douglas

D.I.V.O.R.C.E – My story by Jodi Douglas

It was a little more than 11 years ago as I was searching for my daughter’s passport, I came across a letter from my dear friend, Cassie, who lost her battle with cancer a few months earlier. Back in 2009, Cassie gave me this letter before my move from LA to Ann Arbor. Charm, beauty, flair, wit, and companionship for others …  tears flowed down my face as I read the unrecognizable words which she wrote to describe me. Cassie said I had a gift of bringing happiness and energy to those who knew me, that I could light up a room and then she thanked me for lighting up her life. As a nearly 20-year marriage was falling apart, I stood reading her words from a new perspective and was left wondering who this person was she described in the letter as I did not recognize myself. It was as if the person in the letter had disappeared just like the ocean washing away a sandcastle. Finding this letter was my saving grace. Cassie’s words would be the vision that I would hold onto to reclaim my identity as less than two months later sitting across from me was a divorce attorney.  

 

If I had been asked to describe the experience of divorce before being thrown into it, I would have been able to clearly see the legal and financial impact. However, there is no way I would’ve been able to comprehend the social and emotional life altering impact it can cause.  Throughout the divorce process, my mind would often drift to my past choices. My former husband and I had decided that I would leave my professional career after we started our family, so we could focus on his dream of becoming a surgeon. I agreed to sacrifice my professional career to be a stay-at-home mom for the betterment of our family and our future. While I am eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to raise my daughter and son, divorce left me graveling with my identity.  My former husband achieved our dream of him being a surgeon and post-divorce he was still a surgeon. On the other hand, I, the stay-at-home mom, was now a jobless single mother of two. I was terrified in what felt like a thick and heavy fog, wondering who am I, what does that next phase of life look like for me and most importantly, how do I light up my own life? 

 

For a short while, I sat paralyzed by the fear of the unknown as my life crumbled around me. Yet eventually, like the phoenix rising from the ashes, I began to regain strength from within. I became determined to rise above my circumstances and share my journey with others in a way that would guide them into empowerment. What I discovered was YOU CAN BREATHE NEW LIFE BACK INTO YOURSELF.

 

Post-divorce, I have created a fulfilling and rewarding career in real estate which has led me to connect with many wonderful individuals and families who are moving through one of life’s many transitions.  Whether it be a first-time home buyer, relocation, marriage, divorce etc., I have helped and served many.  However, I made a commitment to myself to use my career and voice to empower others throughout the divorce process.  Since the finalization of my divorce in 2015, I have completed training in civil mediation; domestic relations mediation; and the collaborative legal process.  I was the first Realtor® in Michigan to receive the Real Estate Collaboration Specialist – Divorce designation and one of only two realtors in Michigan that holds the coveted Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert Designation. In 2019, I graduated with a Master of Science in Management, Strategy and Leadership from The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University. I received additional training in the field of divorce coaching to help facilitate better communication during the divorce process. I empowered myself through education.

 

Several years ago, I began lecturing at the Women’s Center of Southeast Michigan regarding real property matters surrounding divorce. I quickly realized that both women and men are in need of empowerment and education regarding the non-legal issues which impact a divorce. To fulfill my mission to serve those contemplating or experiencing divorce, I founded Mindful Divorce Consulting Group, LLC.  The consulting group is comprised of various independent professionals committed to providing valuable information that goes beyond the legal issues in a divorce. The consulting group is here to help others understand and recognize that empowered decisions come through personal understanding, exploration, accountability and proactiveness.  

 

Divorce will always be a part of my story however I proudly affirm that I did not allow it to defeat me; rather, I am using my story to empower myself and others. Divorce gave me a new perspective. Divorce gave me courage. Divorce reinvigorated me. Ironically, divorce made my light shine again. It’s true, “sometimes you have to be your own hero.”  Shifting one’s perspective in what seem to be a defeating situation is key to rising again.

 

D. I. V. O. R. C. E.

Dream: Design and breathe new life into your own personal dreams.

 

Independence: Independence is freeing. Independence is finding your voice, your passion, or your spirit to design and live life as your true authentic self.

 

Vision: Develop a vision for the life you want to create. Place action behind that vision and watch the Universe conspire to help you achieve your goals and dreams.

 

Optimism: Focus on optimism and positivity. A positive mindset and gratitude for all the good in your life can help you become unstuck from negativity and negative self-talk.

 

Responsibility: Take responsibility for your words and actions. Examining a situation or issue from various angles provides perspective. Perspective can lead to better understanding and enhanced communication, and ultimately a greater perspective can provide healing from life’s sometimes painful experiences.

 

Clarity: Look for the good, buried underneath what you think is a negative circumstance.

 

Empower: Empower yourself through the power of the pause … simply take time heal.

 

Finding the courage to move forward has not always been easy. Over time, I gained the strength to masterfully redesign and recreate my life. And to my dear friend, Cassie, from the moment I found your letter, you have been a guardian angel watching over me from heaven above as I navigated and discovered the new me. Thank you for guiding me to your letter and thank you for lighting up my world.

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