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Springing Forward After Divorce: Cultivating Hope and Collaboration 

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming,” wrote Pablo  Neruda. This evocative metaphor captures the essence of divorce: a season of loss  and change, yet one that holds the potential for renewal and growth. Divorce is a  universal experience, but the cultural contexts vary greatly. As a bilingual and  multicultural Mediator, a Collaborative Practitioner and a Co-Parenting Specialist, I  witness this diversity firsthand. 

This article draws on that experience to offer a guide, informed by strategies and  stories from different cultures, for couples navigating divorce. We’ll explore how to  cultivate hope and resilience during this challenging time. By choosing positivity,  practicing gratitude, and collaborating with your Co-Parent, you can pave the way for a  brighter future, not just for yourself, but for your children as well. 

Choosing Positivity 

Just as a seed holds the promise of a vibrant flower despite winter soil, positivity can  blossom within you during divorce. Consider Iris Haim, an Israeli mother who faced  unimaginable loss when her son, a hostage, died tragically in an attempt to being  rescued. In her grief, Iris chose forgiveness and hope. “There is always good in the  world. Choose your thoughts and your emotions will follow.” 

This philosophy of choosing positivity becomes your anchor during divorce. A hopeful  outlook fosters a more collaborative environment in mediation. When you approach  discussions with a sense of possibility rather than dwelling on past wounds, you’re  more likely to communicate effectively and work together to find creative solutions.  This positive approach also reduces conflict and emotional roadblocks, allowing you to  navigate difficult conversations with a calmer mind. 

The benefits of positivity extend far beyond the mediation table. Positivity empowers  you to prioritize your children’s well-being and build a strong co-parenting relationship.  While divorce can be challenging for children, the long-term consequences of staying  in an unhappy marriage can be even more detrimental. As Jennifer Weiner reminds us,  “Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy is staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching  your children the wrong things about love.” Furthermore, a positive outlook strengthens  your emotional resilience during this challenging time. It allows you to adjust to the  changes, cope with challenges, and build a fulfilling future for yourself. Remember,  positivity doesn’t mean ignoring the difficulties of divorce. It’s about being mindful and  acknowledging them while maintaining a hopeful and solution-oriented perspective. 

Gratitude: Your Seed of Hope in Winter 

Divorce can feel like a harsh winter. The familiar landscape of your life is blanketed in  snow, the once vibrant colors muted by a chilling frost. Fear, financial strain, and 

emotional turmoil can leave you feeling numb. But just as a tiny seed hidden beneath  the frozen earth holds the promise of spring, cultivating gratitude can become your  source of hope during this challenging time. 

I met Omri, a young soldier who lost his leg in combat. Despite this profound loss,  Omri focuses on the blessings that remain – his life, his loved ones, and the strength of  his body. His gratitude fuels his purpose, knowing he brought his fellow soldiers home  safe. In the face of divorce, you too can cultivate this same strength through gratitude. 

The way gratitude blossoms varies across cultures. Some cultures celebrate it openly,  showering thanks with words and gestures. Others express it more subtly with prayers  or acts of service. Regardless of your background, focusing on the good things that  remain, even amidst the challenges, is a powerful tool. 

Gratitude fosters a more collaborative environment in mediation. By acknowledging the  blessings that haven’t withered, like your children’s well-being or your own resilience,  you cultivate empathy and understanding for your co-parent’s perspective. Gratitude  also acts as a shield against conflict, allowing you to approach discussions with a  calmer mind and a more open heart. This fosters a solution-oriented approach, where  you can work together with your co-parent to find creative solutions and compromises.  Keeping a gratitude journal can be a powerful tool, reminding you of these blessings  and the strength you possess to weather the storm. 

Building a Brighter Mosaic: Collaboration 

Imagine a beautiful mosaic – a work of art created by carefully arranging a broken  pieces into a new and vibrant image. Divorce, like shattering a flower vase, may leave  you with fragments of what once was. Yet, within those pieces lies the potential for a  different kind of beauty – the chance to collaborate with your co-parent to build a  brighter future for your children. In some cultures, prioritizing open communication and  working together with shared decision-making comes naturally. In others, respect for  hierarchy or a more indirect communication style might influence collaboration. A  skilled mediator can be a valuable asset in navigating these cultural differences and/or  communication styles by fostering understanding and establishing effective  communication strategies that work for both parties. 

Beyond cultural differences I met Malki and Salman Samuels, whose son Yosi faced  immense permanent challenges after a faulty vaccination. Devastated, they could have  been consumed by despair. Instead, they chose a path of collaboration – unwavering  love, tireless care, and a network of dedicated allies (i.e.professionals, friends, family).  Through this collaboration, their own heartbreak became the seed of something  remarkable. Together, they built Shalva, a beacon of hope for countless individuals with  disabilities, a living testament to the power of transformation that can emerge from  unexpected places.

In the face of divorce, you too can harness the power of collaboration. By working  together with your co-parent and a competent mediator, you can create a supportive  environment where you and your children can thrive. 

Embrace the Unexpected Spring 

Remember Pablo Neruda’s words you can cut flowers but cannot prevent them from  blossoming again. Divorce may feel like a season of loss, but within it lies the potential  for incredible growth. As Albert Einstein reminds us, “In the midst of difficulty lies  opportunity.” By cultivating hope, practicing gratitude, and collaborating with your co 

parent, you can transform the broken pieces of your family life into a beautiful mosaic.  Remember, even the harshest winter cannot stop spring from eventually arriving. You,  too, can emerge from this experience stronger, more resilient, and ready to embrace a  brighter future for yourself and your children.

                        author

Yanine Simpser

Yanine Lijtszain-Simpser is a professional mediator. In addition to having extensive experience and training, Yanine is a committed peacemaker, particularly for the underserved. Yanine is in continual training as she believes that her mediation skills always need to be at the highest level. In addition to earning a Masters in… MORE >

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