Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Joy is a choice.

I recently read this statement in one of Lissa Rankin’s blog posts and loved it.

Although I have seen it before, its truth resonated with me more today than ever before. Perhaps it is because so many of you have been reaching out to me to share your challenges and how often you feel “stuck” and unable to experience the joy you deserve!

I hear your frustration, fear and overwhelm, and while I know that your feelings are very real, I also know that you have a choice in what you are going to do with them. And, the choices you make will, in fact, determine how much joy you can create!

It is hard to believe but the New Year is only six weeks away! Six weeks in which we must let go of what was to make room for what will be. It is in the “letting go” that we often feel so much pain and yet at the same time, it is also the doorway to the joy that we desire.

So, let me ask you this. Do you know what you REALLY want your life to look and feel like? When is the last time you took time out of your day to close your eyes and imagine how you want to spend your time, who you want to spend your time with and what you want to be doing each and every day?

Divorce is an experience that touches every area of life and creates a future where you can expect unexpected and inevitable challenges…and opportunities. Often we cling so tightly to what life before divorce looked and felt like, that we become unable to see the amazing future that lies before us. We end up carrying the “story” of what was into our new future when all the joy and happiness we desire sits there waiting for us to CHOOSE to see it.

Do you ever tell yourself that because of your divorce, you can’t have what you want? Do you tell yourself that it is not possible to create the life that you really desire because you don’t have the time, the resources, or the ability to make it happen?

If so, it is time to leave your voice of limiting beliefs behind as you move towards the New Year; for it is this voice that is choosing pain, and suffering. And, it is time to choose joy.

What if you not only accepted and embraced the inevitable challenges that have and will come your way, but instead look at them as an opportunity to make a new and empowered choice? How would your life be different if every challenge became the door to a new and magical experience?

Life as a divorced woman is complex. Even more so if you have children. Managing your role as a mother, as a professional, as a daughter, sister and best friend, as a sexy and passionate lover and partner, and as a financially independent and abundant woman will inevitably create challenge. And each of these challenges presents an opportunity to practice your gift and power of choice. Here are three tips for tapping into the power of choosing joy:

Pause “ when a challenge rears its ugly head; before you speak, act or make any sudden movement, push your inner pause button, take a deep breath and commit to thinking through the options available to you in responding. There are always more solutions than you can imagine.

Flip “ before you choose how to respond to any given challenge, flip the situation around. Step into the perspective of each person involved in the situation and reflect on not only how they feel, but what you think they really want. Things are not always what they seem and in understanding other perspectives, you will discover a response that achieves the best possible outcome.

Select “ after taking time to pause and reflect, it is time to consider which response you will choose. What is most important in selecting, or CHOOSING your response to a challenge, is to make sure that it meets the high standards that you have set for yourself and that it allows you to move forward in the way YOU want.

Most of us will react instead of strategically responding to any given challenge. And when we react, we give up our power of CHOICE and instead are led to action by emotion and impulsiveness; which often creates more pain, more conflict and regret at not having handled the situation more effectively.

It is in each challenge and your carefully chosen response, that you will discover your greatest strength, courage, and brilliance. Learning to Pause, Flip and Select will allow you to step fully into your power of choice and experience more joy than you can possibly imagine!

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