One Sunday in November, I sat down in a busy coffee shop in Los Angeles. Four women were sitting alone, each quietly drinking their coffee.
I observed their postures, their body language, their facial expressions… their sadness.
All of a sudden one woman jumped up, wiped her eyes and dashed off. After a while, the second woman did the same: just as she seemed to become aware of a painful emotion, she jumped up and left. It was eerie to watch, like seeing someone burn themselves on a hot stove and pull away.
Now, if there’s anywhere in the world where it might be considered ‘normal’ to approach strangers in a coffee shop, it’s Los Angeles. I decided to be bold and introduce myself to the remaining two women. Both opened up.
One confided about the pain she experienced when her husband left her, the other choked back tears as she relayed fears about supporting her two children alone after her divorce.
When I asked them what made them want to jump up and leave the moment they tuned into those feelings of despair, the answer was blurted out almost simultaneously…
“I cannot fall apart. I just don’t have the time.”
That Sunday in the coffee shop changed everything for me. It was then that I realised how much human beings struggle to face up to their feelings.
The busier we get, the lower our tolerance for pain.
Many professions see painful emotions as dangerous threats to be neutralised. We are overwhelmed with a plethora of medications and therapies which are all geared towards removing, blocking or avoiding the feelings that hurt us.
But healing is not about avoiding pain. Emotions are not to be feared. They tell us what is happening in our psyche. They tell us that there are things below the surface that need to be dealt with.
What many psychologists don’t know because they don’t study pharmacology is that emotions cannot be ‘dialled down’. Chemically, if you suppress one emotion, you suppress them all.
Numbing yourself so you don’t feel makes you suppressed, depressed and sick. Healing does not need to be a drawn-out nightmare.
Does time really heal?
I often hear of counselors telling people: “you just need some time.” The problem with believing that time heals the wound is that people wind up doing nothing, passively waiting for healing to happen to them. True healing takes place when you engage in active enquiry, feel all the emotions and resolve each loose end.
Without this, the old emotions become stuck and leave a chemical blueprint in your body. After my own divorce and in my years of change management, I felt irritated that no one could map out a clear healing pathway that I could follow.
It was like walking around with a dislocated shoulder while the doctor explains that yes, it hurts, but eventually it will feel normal, you’ll learn to live with it, it’s all part of the healing process. But I didn’t want to learn to live with it. I wanted someone to pop the shoulder back into the socket – even if it hurt like hell.
Healing can be a journey of self-discovery. It can also take less time than you can even imagine. In my first four years of running the programme, I found that healing is not a passive process. Real healing means active engagement with the subject matter with focused intensity.
The Naked Divorce is not about waiting or wondering what to do. It’s about taking action and taking your healing into your own hands. And doing it in 21 days.
After four years of careful tweaking, I’ve helped nearly a thousand people on the path to healing, cutting out years of therapy and self-blame. This book is an invitation into a world where life is not a struggle and healing doesn’t take forever.
Why not allow yourself to tumble down the rabbit hole with me and discover the person you deserve to be? This might sound like a fantasy. But I promise: no matter what brought you here, or what your personal story is, success is possible.