Hurricane Irene seriously took its toll on my property.  I love where I live because I am set in the middle of the woods where there is plenty of quiet and I can get my fill of nature.  However, when Irene came whipping through, she significantly damaged my calm and peaceful property causing many of the small trees to come down and the limbs from the larger trees to rip off.

For the past two months I have been working feverishly to clear out the woods of dead branches and trees.  There are piles of logs, large tree limbs, twigs, tangled vines, and brush all over. It is a mess.

It is such a mess that I haven’t known exactly how to handle it, and in fact, have been completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of it.  But now, after spending hours and hours cleaning it out section by section, I am realizing that this process is not unlike the journey through and after my divorce.

When Irene came through, I had no idea of just how significantly my property had been affected and how long the clean up would take. My divorce, like Irene, also came tearing through my life leaving chaos and a major mess behind it.

I take tremendous pride in keeping my environment clean, tidy and pretty to look at.   It makes me feel comfortable and secure when it is nicely taken care of.  You can only imagine what living with dead trees and piles of sticks and wood all over the place has been like for me!  Especially because no matter what I do, it will never look like it did before.  The good news is that the storm was the catalyst for some long overdue property and garden maintenance that I had been putting off.

Thankfully, the lessons learned through my divorce, and now reinforced by the power of Ms. Irene, have actually enabled me to manage this cleanup in a completely different way.

Here is what you need to know about hurricanes, and divorce:

  • It is going to be messy for a while.

There is no way around it.  When something as strong as a hurricane, or divorce, comes into your life, things are going to be complicated and messy even under the best of circumstances.  Looking outside my window and seeing piles of wood, dead trees, and debris everywhere is unsettling and uncomfortable for me.  My divorce was no different.  The amount of change I experienced felt just the same way¦uncomfortable, unwelcome and overwhelming.  I have had to learn to get used to it because clean up takes time.  Things are not going to go back to the way they were, they will be different going forward.  My property will never look the same, but I know in time, it will look even better than before.

  • It is more and harder work than you can imagine.

Cleaning up after a Hurricane is hard.  I mean really hard.  As a matter of fact, on the days that I have spent my time pulling out branches, cutting them up and carrying them to their proper pile, I don’t even have to think about getting in a workout.  It is a workout.  And it is taking a lot longer than I expected.  But, every day I see the results of my efforts.  Removing so many trees and branches is changing the look of the property.  It is getting cleaner and neater and I have already started to think about the new trees, plants and flowers that I want to add next spring.  The same holds true for divorce.  It takes time, energy and a commitment to working hard to clean up during and after the transition.  It is messy for quite a while.  Moving forward and reinventing your new, awesome life is going to take a lot of work.  However, the more work you put into it, the greater the results you are going to see.

  • You must have a vision and plan to accomplish it.

 I can’t yet imagine what my property will look like. But here is what I know. With so many trees and branches removed, there is far more sun shining down on the house and the lawn than before.   With this increase in sunlight, I know that the grass will be greener and healthier than it has been and the plants that are already there are going to be fuller than ever.  As well, the floor of the woods should now be able to grow a rich, vibrant ground cover because there is so much more light coming through.  I know that this will not happen over the next year.  In fact, this transformation will happen slowly over time.  I will see it evolve each month and season but my full vision won’t manifest without time, and patience.  I’m sure that you can see how divorce is exactly the same.  When I got divorced, I also lost other relationships.  Again, it was messy¦so much changed.   It didn’t feel pretty for a while, and it took a lot of work to manage the transition. Through it all I had a vision¦.a plan for what I wanted my life to look like.  At first I didn’t have the answers to how I was going to create my ideal life.  But what I did know was that I had to start someplace and I had to take action.  Step by step I moved towards my vision.

  • The chaos and mess will evolve into something even more beautiful than before.

I have a clear vision of what my property is going to look like over the next few years, even though I can’t stand to look at it right now.  That vision includes beautiful healthy trees and a lush surrounding of woods.  It includes a lawn and landscaping that gets more air, sun and space than ever before, allowing them to prosper and mature into spectacular gardens.  I see it vividly even knowing that it will take time for that vision to occur.  The same has held true for my life after divorce.  Each month, and year, my new life has emerged and evolved.  I have gained new friendships and relationships, even richer and fuller than before.  I have enjoyed new experiences that have allowed me to grow, evolve and mature into the woman that I am meant to be.  There has been more light, love and joy than I could have possibly imagined.  But I couldn’t have seen it then.  I had to have faith and trust.  And so do you.

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