I faced a sudden and soul shattering personal apocalypse towards the end of 2010 that led me on a journey of healing fresh and old wounds of the heart. I was challenged to let go of the deeply rooted beliefs I’d built my world around; forever, honor and cherish, growing old together.

Today, I don’t recognize the person I was at the end of my marriage; insecure, confused, deeply hurt and in disbelief that the cruel words and threats came from the very same man who kissed me goodnight. By the time I’d become aware of the affairs, lies and betrayal, the damage had already snaked around my psyche, choking out my sense of self.

But I’m ending the decade in full frontal autonomy after painstakingly emerging from the confining shadow of self I called home. Today, I’m a life adventurer with a healed heart and hydrated soul.

When the marriage ended – it was the death of who I believed my identity was, the wife of my husband. One of the blessings I learned in the last decade and now cherish is that nothing lasts forever. I have come to love the impermanent nature of life itself. Both pleasure and sadness are not permanent states of being and that keeps me in the gift of the present moment.

As a young girl I always wanted to be a writer. I’d stare out elementary school windows to the empty fields and daydream about writing words that had a positive impact on people. But it wasn’t until my marriage came to an abrupt end that would ultimately lead to my writing and publishing my first book, Wine, Sex and Suicide – My Near Death Divorce. I realize now that I couldn’t be who I am today in the marriage I had. I don’t look back anymore; I look within.

I listen to the wisdom of my soul, my intuition, my heart. As much as I’m a homebody and nester, I’ve nurtured my inner quest for adventure. In the past ten years I’ve gone on three International volunteer trips from which, two books were created. I embarked on an eight-month RV trip across the United States by myself and most recently I moved to the country of Panama!

But one dark night of the soul ten years ago, the friends who found me unconscious came during visiting hours at the behavioral health hospital where I was held on a 5150 and told me as the paramedics wheeled me out from my home, one of them blurted out, we’re losing her.

I am intrinsically aware of the random and/or lucky blessing it is to be alive. Every birdsong in the wilderness, crashing wave at the shore, aroma of garlic hitting a hot pan, every ounce of gratitude, laughter and shared smiles with loved ones or strangers is an ever-present pulse of awareness that I’m incredibly blessed to experience this thing called life.

My near-death-divorce was the catalyst for my written words that are helping women, like me, who lost themselves in the shadow of a partner. It is my greatest wish to help people gather the broken pieces of themselves and encourage them to develop personal autonomy and not measure their own self-worth based on the disapproval and criticism from their spouse. In the past decade I’ve learned the importance of understanding and allowing my emotions, I recreated myself and a whole new life that I love, and most importantly, I learned that the feelings of worth, value and lovability come from within me – not from anything external.