Courage to be Curious with Adina Tovell

Do We Only Love the Ballerina When She’s Dancing on Stage?

October 20, 2021 Adina Tovell and Paulette Rigo Episode 163
Courage to be Curious with Adina Tovell
Do We Only Love the Ballerina When She’s Dancing on Stage?
Show Notes Transcript

Growing up a reluctant prima ballerina, our guest, Paulette Rigo, put on her costume and her dutiful daughter mask for decades. Every time she tried to take them off, both her mother (founder of the dance studio) and those who had come to know and love her in that role, would have nothing to do with it. They needed her to be who they imagined her to be. But one day, Paulette had the courage to lay down her costume and the facade she had been upholding once and for all. Would she still be lovable? Tune into today’s episode.

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I remember being 15 years old and having the courage to say, Mom, I don't think I want to dance anymore. And oh my the looks. My mother had those kind of eyes that when she disapproved, they would like dilate and pop out of her eyes. And she would just kind of glaring at you, but she would not say a word. And you just knew that it wasn't an option. So for two weeks, I was allowed to quit, but she wouldn't speak to me. And I knew if I wanted to have a relationship with my mother, or the family, even that I was to cooperate and do as I was told and wear the mask, and, you know, be the ballerina that you were raised to be.

Hi, this Adina here today, with today's episode of Courage to be Curious with Adina Tovell, and we are in the month of October. So that means we have been talking about the masks that we wear, perhaps the facades that we live behind in different parts of our lives. And while we're really going to enjoy putting on masks at the end of the month, and going out and celebrating and maybe there's going to be zoom parades, I'm not sure what are kindergartens going to do this year, like every bit of zoom, Halloween parades. But whatever we do, what we're going to be talking about On today's episode, since we're in the relationship strand, what is the impact of wearing masks or living behind facades in the context of relationship. And so my guest today, Paulette Rigo, who is the founder of Better Divorce Academy is really at relationship expert at a certain sense. And so she's the founder of Better Divorce Academy. She is a mediator, she is a coach, she is an inspire. She's an author, she is also a podcaster. She has an entire list of things. And you're going to get to really hear more about those resources as we get close to the end of the episode. But she has a lot of personal experience and professional experience of working with people who perhaps have not been living authentically or living in spaces where they feel like they could truly be safe to come out from behind their masks. Or maybe they don't even know what they would look like when they took the mask off. And so Paula, it's so good to have you here.

Thank you, Adina, it's such a pleasure, such an honor. And I'm excited about this topic.

So I'm wanting to just start out a little bit with sharing a bit about your story because you went through an incredible journey, not an easy one at all, but an incredible journey, finding yourself living in a space that was not really authentic and true to you. And you had to weave your way out of that. So if you could share a little bit just as people are getting acquainted with you of your personal story and how you made that what what happened for you and how you found your way to make that journey.

Such a reminiscent topic for me, I'm listening to you with the introduction talking a little bit about, you know, October, and what is it at the very end of Halloween and I did happen to grow up in a very theatrical family. Everyone pretty much in my family is either a dancer, a choreographer, an actor, musician, a singer, director, producer, you get the idea, right? costume designer, I'm sure I left out a few but you did. There's pretty much nothing in the theatrical world that someone or something in my family has not done or experimented with. So my mom happened to own a very well known Performing Arts ballet studio in the Boston area. And one of her favorite, I think probably her favorite, a holiday was Halloween. And I have such an embedded memories of her taking our garage, opening the garage door and putting rope around the three sides of it. And there she's strong on hangers costumes, from end to end to end. They were all by size or, you know, children over here, adults over here, you know, novelties, capes, you name it, but there was a very large section of masks. And she loved making them creating them, but she also liked wearing them. And I think by the time I was three, or four or five, it was embedded in me that we could change our personality or a little bit of ourselves by wearing a costume. And of course, a mask. She would always say you never go on stage without a headpiece, right? You're, you're not fully dressed. If you don't have, you know, something in your hair, at least, whether that was a tiara, a mask or some crown of some sort, and then There really was magic in that as a little girl, but it became so deeply embedded in me that even through the you know, the school years right up to 12, and then through the teenage years what anytime you stepped on stage and of course, I went on stage quite a bit. You were always expected to be a character. I was everything from a clown to a gypsy to a circus, you name it an animal, there's probably nothing I wasn't also as most parents of young girls and dance recitals you know, it's always like, well, what is she this year, you know, so Oh, she's the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You know, like it's dancer dancer has its fantasy part of it. And so I do remember so much vividly this, this wearing of the mask. Now, there were many times that I leaving that story aside, but I drive digress, but I wanted to give everyone the example of that. I'm not sure who can identify with it, but it just was so embedded in me. Now. I think by the time I was asked that question, what do you want to be when you grow up? When's the first time we're asked that? I don't know, high school probably or junior,

like nine or 10 years old? Immediately, right.

So I you know, and I wanted to be Jane Pauley. I really loved the, the broadcasting TV, radio media industry, I want it to be a journalist. And I didn't really want to be a ballerina. I didn't want to be a choreographer or a dancer or any of those other things that I listed. It wasn't something I hated. It just wasn't it didn't resonate with me. I had great rhythm. It came easy. It was in my blood or by DNA, but, but it just didn't feel like me. It didn't feel dynamic. It didn't make me smile. It was always ladened with obligation and commitment and rehearsals and classes and teaching. And because it really was what was what I grew up in, I literally did grow up in a ballet studio. From the age of, I think, 18 months, my mother put a playpen in the corner. And I started to use that as my bar. Right? Like, back in the days when play pins were like, politically correct. But I mean, I was a child of the 60s, we did not have helmets or seatbelts. Yeah, there was none of that. So I knew to come home and the street lights went on. Like, that's just how life rolled back then so, but I I literally didn't grow up in a studio, all the way up through high school. It was something that was, it wasn't really a choice. I remember being 15 years old and having the courage to say, Mom, I don't think I want to dance anymore. And oh, my the looks. My mother had those kind of eyes that when she disapproved, they would like dilate and pop out of her eyes. And she would just kind of glared at you, but she would not say a word. And you just knew that it wasn't an option. So for two weeks, I was allowed to quit, but she wouldn't speak to me. And I knew if I wanted to have a relationship with my mother, or the family even that I was to collaborate and do as I was told and wear the mask and, you know, be the ballerina that you were raised to be. And I looked the part you know, I could put my hair up in a bun and like no time darlin and put the pink tutu on. And you know, I could do PK turns like that, but it's just not me. It never was. So I did go to college for journalism. But sophomore year, the phone rang and it was my mom and she said, Would you be good enough to sub Penny's classes for her while she's out on maternity leave? Well, if your mother starts every sentence with or most of them it would either be would you be a dear? Or would you be good enough to and there was always a dot, dot dot you know, whatever this sentence was? So if you said no, then well, you weren't good enough you're not good enough, right? So I felt my arms sort of being contorted and twisted a little bit like with so on. I reluctantly agreed to sub her classes for six weeks, on Tuesday afternoons from 430 to 730. Well, Edina, 20 years later, I was still there. And I don't do anything halfway. I said Well, I'm here I might as well make the best of it. So I started to really put my heart and soul into it and and made the studio even more successful and even really grew the business and many locations and to close to 1000 students over the 20 years that I was there. Unfortunately, that feeling of wearing a mask or putting up a facade or being an actress writer, being a performer, kind of carried through a little bit with my relationships. I never felt like anytime I did kind of hint at things I enjoyed it was questioned or interpreted or disregarded and made to feel like Well, that's not what we do. What do you what do you you know, even though that wasn't said so much, it was the connotation, and the meaning behind the look, the body language, the crossing of the arms, the like, the disregard,

like pretending they didn't hear it, you know, deaf ears. So, when I was 17, I did meet this charming man and fell in love and, you know, thought that Well, okay, this is the next thing I need to do on my checklist, right? We, we have these checklists, and if you don't check them off appropriately, well, you're a failure. So it was do as you're told, get good grades in school, you know, be a ballerina, work at the studio, go to college, get an education, you know, get married, have kids, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? Isn't that the story. If I, if I missed out something on your list by by all means, you go ahead and add it, it's your list. But that was mine. And if you happen to be, you know, a kid that grew up in dance studio, you might understand, but maybe it was gymnastics, maybe even if it was a boy, maybe it was literally, you know, this isn't a girl thing. It's I think we all feel that. But my experience is being a female is that the mother daughter thing was just like, passed on to the generations. Now the tricky part two was that I'm a junior. And that is a very unusual thing for girls. In fact, when people would ask my name, they would be like, but that's your mother's name. And then be like, well, don't blame me. Like I didn't name me like, I couldn't name me, Jennifer. Like, it's not my fault, like, and the name of the business while my name is Paulette is Paul. It's ballet studio. So the longer I was there, the more people started to perceive me as Paulette and not her. And she was in your 60s and 70s and beyond. And the natural connotation of No, no criticism of anybody's was that eventually she would retire. Right? I mean, that's what happens when you turn 60 7080 and beyond, but no, she, she had no intention of that. So I did stay for 20 years. But finally, I did find the courage to take off the mask. Tell her that I really appreciated and honored so much of the gifts that I had learned, but I just couldn't do it anymore. I needed to go home and focus on so many other aspects of my life. So that's where that started. Um, of course, the marriage. It wasn't all bad by any means. And it wasn't no finger pointing here. I just learned all those sayings of the show must go on. You know, never let them see you sweat. Break a leg. I mean, how's that for a theater thing? Like, people be like, Did you just tell me to break a leg? Like, that's not good, right? That's a bad thing, isn't it? But there's all these showings of sayings of showing that bravado. But the one that would that stuck with me the most was be a trooper. And I suppose if you're in the military, well, you know, be a trooper, you're in the troops, but it was and there's a lot to that, like, be committed, be dedicated. Don't just throw in the towel and give it give up. But you know, show perseverance and persistence. I'm, I'm all for that. But at what cost? Do you say to yourself, if I keep doing what I'm doing and living my life, to make other people satisfied and pleased and happy, so that I get their approval? Is it going to continue to damage my soul? And at what point do you say Enough, enough fighting and crying and begging and pleading even with yourself? Enough I need to start being me.

I love your story. And I mean, everyone is going to think that perhaps I was super brilliant and choosing for as a guest. This was around the theme of masks and facades that I had the total understanding of your background of which I had none. So it is just a miracle out there, right? You know that Khaled has this background. And what I love about what you shared, is the direct linkage that you were able to see at this point between the messages that we hear over and over again, that really, when they're delivered from somebody who cares about us like a mother, right? They're not by necessarily design or intention to embed what they ultimately embed. But then on the back end, we can kind of see where did I get the sense about what my role was in life, and that my role in life was, keep everything going, keep everything happy, make it be rolling, and especially about pleasing that person that you've cared about who you really whose approval you really wanted, and that this entire story, which I'm sure had all this incredible glamour as a kid to then created something that wove its way into how you ended up experiencing even your most intimate relationship.

Hmm. You know, I don't know that it was genius that I acknowledged that the correlation was, in fact, a thread. And it was a common theme that I could see because for many years of Deena, I just dysfunctionally ignored it. But I did see that, you know, my mother wasn't being evil. It was how she learned and how she in fact, was coping with her own discomfort and pain. And she had to keep up the bravado and the, the the facade, the mask of her own discomfort with her emotions and her story. And in fact, my grandmother did the same. She was an actress. She was actually went to the New England Conservatory, and Gloria Swanson was one of her teachers. That's where I got my middle name of Gloria. so ironic, right? Talk about a theatrical background, and then never actually pursued it. So um, you know, and I'm sure my grandmother and great grandmother and who knows, right, I mean, we all know other people's story, but we have to honor where they came from. That doesn't mean we have to continue to do it. And if it's damaging, I do believe that you're either part of the solution, or you're part of the problem. And I do believe that you have the choice to access that power and that voice, it's not easy, and there may be a lot of criticism, judgment, disregard or any other reaction when you do Finally, take it off. And people get a little angry and upset, because you're not supposed to rock the boat, you're supposed to keep going and, and make sure that everybody else is content and happy. So it is tricky. I did then find myself noticing patterns of just saying sorry, when I had nothing to say sorry about Now there were things I needed to say sorry about. But it became so habituated, that when when something would happen, I would just automatically say, Sorry, sorry. And then I'd be like, wait, what the hell did you say sorry, for I don't even know what I was saying. It became automatic, right? So whether your whatever your auto pilot is, and you're continuing that, when you notice that the pattern doesn't match the feeling, or the what's coming out of your mouth, the words the language, the message isn't congruent to what you're feeling. That's when you have to step back and say, Aha, what's going on here?

So I want to ask you this question, because I know that this is one of the most challenging things for people that makes it most difficult to, you know, literally take off the costume or the mask is. I don't want to hurt other people, right? I want to see myself as a good person. I don't want to hurt other people. And this conflict between Why does my being true to myself have to mean discomfort for someone else. And so this becomes I mean, I see people sort of like their hands on the mask, and they want to pull it off, but this is the thing that keeps them you know, wearing it because that whole thing and so I think it's really important for us to just pull this apart a little bit of how do we reconcile that for ourselves so that we can pull the shield down?

Hmm. Well, it takes a lot of time. Unfortunately, I did not pull the mask off quickly. It took me 20 years, as I mentioned, to make the best of it, well realize that I was doing it, make the best of it during that transition period of what are my options? How would you I break free with dignity with grace? Learn to be authentic and uncover? Who if I don't know who I am? Who am I? That's a scary question. For many people. Taking off the mask isn't just a risk of hurting others. But its vulnerability and a confusing state of life in which to live in ambivalence or Limbo, when you truly don't know what you're living or who you are. Because the old you is not when you identify with, but you don't really even though what the new one is. So it's like fear of the past or fear of the future. And there's a lot of ambiguity but that discomfort is the impetus for the the start of you acknowledging

that the

the way you manage it or handle it has a lot to do with the next chapter of your life being set up for success, so that you do feel safe and secure. But there's always going to be the risk of the potential of someone in your life that gets something from you some sort of need they have by you doing what you do. And either it's self inflicted, many people don't have my story where you know, but hopefully, everyone can identify a little bit about that feeling of well like being putting up a brave front and pretending to be something that you're not. And when you do feel that you don't want to do that anymore, that you want to be have integrity, and feel validated, and have a sense of authenticity, dare I say, honesty. And when I say honesty, I don't mean lying, because, you know, there's 50 shades of lying. We all kind of find those words when like you have a friend and maybe she gets this haircut, and it's just maybe not that flattering. And you're like, I love your hair, Your hair looks so pretty. But you know, it's like you don't, it's hard, right? Like, you don't want to be like, Oh my God is the most unattractive haircut I've ever seen. And I knew, but like what good would that do? But that's not exactly the case. And you know, we're not necessarily talking about a yes or no question here where it's black or white. There's that gradient of what do I say, so that I can be me, but yet have the other people in my life that could be a family member, a boss, a spouse, even a child, and it could be a neighbor, who knows that really is getting something from you, that's going to be upset when you rock the boat there, whether they be a full fledged, high conflict personality, dare they be histrionic, antisocial, borderline, or narcissistic. And this is not a diagnosis by any means. But there are those high conflict characters that are going to be really angry, when you don't fulfill in their life, what they need from you anymore. And I have to say, if they are those type of people, there's nothing you can do that what you could say or do that would ever make them happy or satisfied, because unless you decide to keep doing what you're doing. That's it's not gonna end well with those people. But there will be those people, there will be that honor, your courage, your strength and resiliency, to say, I cannot do this anymore. The day I quit. It was October 14 2002. Ironic, right? October, and not a long time ago, and almost 20 years. 19 years ago, I drove to the house and I thought I just need to return the keys and let her know that I'm I'm not going to be teaching now. To be fair, I did give my two years notice not two weeks. Notice the two years. And she said I don't want to talk about it. So I knew that and that was many times. And I but I knew I needed to not just drop them off. But I needed to tell her, she knew how I felt. I just said, Oh, in the pain in my, my throat tightened up, my heart hurt, my, my heart was pounding, and I hadn't, I'd like lost 18 pounds. And I was just a mess, because the living under that constant trepidation and fear was agonizing. And I just thought it was the hardest decision. Not the filing for divorce was easy. Both of them were

right on that car. But

I knew I needed to divorce the mother and to divorce the husband, but I couldn't do them at the same time, six years apart, but it was just this matter of feeling like how do I word this in such a way that I'm able to speak honestly, and not be insulted, but yet still, hopefully, up, keep the door open to having some relationship in the future. Because this wasn't a stranger at the grocery store. And most strangers will probably treat you with more acceptance, and then perhaps somebody that you know, but I do remember dropping off the key and she was the TV was blaring that was always her. Her thing. It kept her company. Although it wasn't the today show anymore. It was already past 9am but it was something probably a soap opera and and she would turn it down to give you enough attention. I would say do you have a minute that you know, I came to, to chat for a bit and she did turn it down. And I graciously told her my decision and gave her my keys and she really didn't respond. But I I gave her a hug told her how much I loved her thanked her for everything. It was tough, got in the car and drove up the street to the studio to get my stuff because I had 20 years worth of stuff their dance shoes, tap shoes, pointe shoes, books, music, you name it. I was gonna leave the costumes and the mass there. But we were on personal stuff. And yeah, I was there four days a week, if not six sometimes. So two of my dear friends Donna Was there an Erin? She was one of the faculty members and Donna, who is now passed away. But she and her daughter and my daughter grew up together. They were a few years apart. And she's like, what are you doing here today that I didn't know she was. I just told my mother. I'm not I quit. And the fear on her face. But but this is what she said. And she would not mind me sharing sharing this, she said the concert is going to suck this year. I was like, because again, it was coming from her point of view of like, I you can't quit because my daughter needs you to learn from for five more six more years until she graduates Can't you just stay six more years until. And that's what I kept saying to myself. I'll do a few more years until this one graduates and then that one graduates and that and finally I was like I'm going to be dead and buried by the time so and so graduates so and we laughed and she said no, no, no, don't even worry. Like, I'm sorry. I said that. And I said it's okay, I understand that I it's not but because you're teaching and you won't let that happened and it'll be great. And you're I am making the best forever people. But then Aaron said something really profound and it will always stick with me. She said, I understand pilot, you have to do what's best for you. There will be those people that don't want anything from you. That will embrace your courage to speak your truth and take off the mask. There are a lot of tears and yeah, it's um, it's an amazing thing. You learn those people, you'd start to discern who really is going to be supportive and kind and respectful and cooperative in the sense of letting you be you. Not that you need their permission. But you really do need to know that there are those people and you may not know who that you may not know who they are yet. But be patient with yourself. It's not easy. Whether that's work. Whatever the situation is. It's not easy.

There are two things you said that I want to highlight because I get them a lot as questions or things that clients struggle with. And one of them is this description that you have, that it's almost about we have to learn to exercise and strengthen our discomfort muscles right and to let other people exercise and strengthen their discomfort. All right, that if we think about these, you know, certainly this last year and a half year, let's seems like a really long time of this pandemic, right, you know, has put us all in deep places of discomfort. But if we don't have strong resiliency muscles, we don't have the muscle strengthened to be able to navigate in places and spaces of discomfort, we crumble much more easily. And so while we, part of our brain feels like I'm hurting somebody, if I think we're able to reframe that, and saying, mind going through this as strengthening my personal resilience muscles in my muscles for navigating through discomfort, and it's doing so for other people, we can perhaps put another light on it, that allows it to feel like actually a more generous and productive act, rather than one that is hurtful. And so I think that that's really important. And then the other piece that you talked about was, you know, this choosing of self. And one of the things I get from people or question about is like, well, how, if I've been following this path now of like, this self discovery and personal growing, how do I find my community because I might suddenly find that I'm surrounded by people who are not necessarily on the same path as I am, and suddenly feeling like, I might feel like a little fish out of water. Now, how do I surround myself with those other people and what you said, which I think is beautiful, and really accurate, is that you just have to keep showing up being you. And then those those people are going to attract to you. And I think that's certainly what I have found to in my own journeys, is that I mean, I've been amazed sort of, when I take stock of the people I'm closest with now they're all from within the last 10 years of my life, but a lot of them have just come into being by like, I might have even posted something on LinkedIn. And that person's like, oh, my goodness, I need to know that person. And suddenly, we're great friends, or I show up in an event somewhere, and just being me now but a place I might never have shown up before and suddenly bump into somebody who's a close friend. So it's that being that authentic self that, you know, taking off the mask and showing up, which I also just want to go back to what you said can be so terrifying, because how do we even know who that person is yet? You know, we don't know. And in that unknowing, that can be fear. But I think all this the examples of how much beauty can come out when we create the space.

Yeah, when you speak about community or tribes or you know, friends or feeling that sense of connection, which is really what it boils down to, I think back to the people that I was closest to or thought I was closest to growing up and I had some dear friends growing up, but I'm not really friends with any of them right now. Not because they're bad people. Or we're just really, it's called Life happens, right? I think I probably could pick up the phone with half of them. Whether that be the GRE I grew up in a cul de sac, we used to call them dead ends, right? And there was a bad name. I know and it used to the street is patrone circle. And we used to be called the Petrini circle gang. And I think there were like 15 of us and we were all in within five to six years of each other. I didn't really remain friends with any of them through high school. I don't know why life happened some of them went to private school. Yeah, we're just very different people. I do have one friend she's in New Hampshire we're still friends high other. I'm in a couple others that you know, I care about them, but it's not like they're like Hey, how are you doing? Now dance is another story because for 20 years, I made a lot of friends. But a lot of them weren't really friends. They were students who turned into employees and they got something from me solos accolades extra attention. You know, many of them be did become very close friends, and I'm not really friends with any of them. I did not discard them, they more discarded me. When I left. They were sad. As I shared, I'm a little angry. I'm sure many other emotions and it really hurt the first year or five. It was awkward for me to go to the show, when I was finally welcomed back. And there was a lot of, you know, gossip and I would People, you know, talk not behind my back, but you know, and it was okay, I expected it. It is what it is. I was supposed to stay in for the next 30 years and you know, made it even bigger and better and splash here and more fabulous and, and they got I don't know, this disjointed but the new life that I created man, I didn't know who the hell I was. I mean I wasn't going to go back to college and you know, get my master's in journalism and write a newspaper although I do have a magazine now and I have a podcast and I do love to interview people um, and it's part of me like makes me happy to do that. I love meeting fascinating curious people and, you know, learning about them but and and sharing too, but I became a birth doula because I had three kids, without epidurals talk about resiliency and pain management. To talk a whole episode on that one. I did become a macrobiotic consultant and cook because I changed my diet. I used to live on Snickers bars and Diet Coke, because that's what was in the vending machine at the studio. Well,

I find your ballerina living on. Well,

I didn't smoke cigarettes. That's another thing most ballerinas do, but I did not. I used to always be like, but I had a really horrible standard American diet. My mother made reservations and a raw hamburger and my grandmother made reservations. And my father looked like burnt toast and I did not grow up in a very culinary family. I had no idea how to cook my mother in law. thank thank her. She so passed away did teach me a thing or two, but I didn't know how to cook. So I wanted to learn to cook. So I studied at the cushy Institute and actually went to cooking school. I became a breastfeeding consultant and a lactation consultant because I really struggled with breastfeeding and I wanted to do that. I studied yoga extensively. I did my 200 305 100 and another 300 500 500 different teachers, different modalities, different methodologies of yoga, I started my own registered yoga school, I trained hundreds of yoga practitioners to become teachers, and many of which started studios. And then I started teaching teachers and to become trainers and teach them how to do teacher trainings, which led me to be recruited to the move to Belize, I was recruited to run and own manage and direct a 2600 square foot aerial yoga teacher training retreat center studio and spa for a curio collection by Hilton Hotel. I have done lots of things as an entrepreneur, I am an author. So I love to host retreats. And the more I kept pulling off the layers or the masks or the costumes of the facade or exfoliating my soul and just becoming more me the more the people that now are in my life probably will always be I do have three dear friends one from high school two from college that I'm still very very close to and more friends now that like get me giddy that are like real friends. They don't even know I know how to do triple timesteps they don't know that I could choreograph a ballet to whatever they don't know that about me I'm not hiding it. In fact, I go to the gym every day and this one guy said so how do you feel when you exercise? I was like all my this is interesting. Is your ballerina showing? Because you said you're so graceful. graceful when you're doing a squat with 15 pound dumbbells right right. But I was like I don't know I don't really think about it. So it was an interesting conversation but the people that are now in my life I want them in my life not that I didn't want the other people but I'm not sure they wanted to be in mind. It felt like it was more like well we're friends we you know we're in the same fourth grade class we have to be friends right or we we go to we're in the same ballet class we have to be friends but now as you grow and I'm 57 now I don't tolerate I don't have the patience. Maybe the you know, I should probably have a little more patience that is probably my down point for being in any situation that doesn't feel good. Not doesn't mean it has to be easy. Like I go to the gym every day. But and I don't like it. Like I don't go to the gym because I like it. I go to the gym because I'd like to eat you know and I don't want to be a size 12, you know, I want to be cut, not that there's anything bad with that. But for me, I would be uncomfortable. So I want to feel good. And I don't really want to know people's stories, if they don't want to share it. It's just that feeling of connection. And it is really beautiful when you find that, so honor those relationships. And you don't have to discard the ones that that maybe aren't as comfortable. Let them naturally run their course, right where you don't discard them, and you don't forget about them. But if they really love you and care about you, they'll come back

this piece about in terms of our lives, and shedding off the layers, I love this description you gave and it's like, okay, I was, I was interested in this. So let me go get trained in that I'm interested in this, let me go get trained in that. And of course, it's not necessarily about that we all go for a certification and and everything that we're interested in, it's not the paradigm, but I think it's probably what helps you to discover more and more a deeper and deeper understanding of who you are, and what you do like and who you want to be in the world, when so much of it had been pre determined for you before.

Oh, hell yes. 1000 times, if you've ever been curious about anything, and you haven't had either their permission, the support, the finances, the time, whatever the excuses. And you now feel like you want to step into a different version of you a better version, a deeper version and a broader version, whatever version it is, hopefully it's a better one. We know strive to be worse, better, you know, examples of ourselves. Let me see if I can live a worse life than I man. I've never heard anyone ever want that. But do it? No, you don't have to be like me, just because I was curious about something. You know, I the perfection perfectionist in me. It says that, but that's not the idea. But at least be curious. study it, you know, read about it. Yes, I learned calligraphy. My god, there's so many things I've done since I had the courage to move out of that world. And back to your point about, you know, things just sort of evolving into uncovering Well, if I don't know who I am, who am I? I would never in a million years have said to you. If I knew you back then. And I'm so glad we met. I want to be a divorce consultant. I want to be a credentialed mediator, and a certified divorce coach to help couples and women, you know, because 70% of divorce is thought by women. And the average amount of time unfortunately, is backed with the mask that women internally contemplate divorce before they tell anyone. And that's the average amount is two years. So for two years, 70% of the women that file for divorce are treading water, thinking, can I save the marriage? What's going on? Do I get out? Do I do I stay in? can I fix it? Who do I tell? Can I trust anyone? I'm going to be the best I can fix this or I can share like the internal voices aren't nuts. No wonder you're stressed and not sleeping and going crazy, then you should because rightfully so there's a lot going on in there. And if you've keep it to yourself, you know you're feeling burdened, but when you finally in an appropriate manner feel unencumbered to do share, I highly suggest you find someone like me, that's objective and knowledgeable and wise about all things about contemplating maybe approaching or trying to save the marriage it is possible. I'm proud to say I've saved a lot of marriages. One right now it's actually going well, but then those that have said you know what? There ain't no way in Heck, we can save this. It's you know, it happens. Like getting through it. managing it, surviving it with grace and dignity. I mean that because regrets a horrible thing. You never want to look back and say

say I did not manage that very well. I mean, if I had to do it again. Well, you know, there's no such thing as woulda coulda shoulda can't go back but I would have handled everything so much differently. But then even at the end, what do I do now? What is the new me? Do I change my name? dating? What is dating look like? Like dating in the digital world is exhausting and terrifying. Regardless, it's just terrifying. You know? And, you know very fortunately, many, many women are lucky enough to get some, and it may be lucky isn't the work to get child support and alimony for some period of time. But it doesn't last forever. And they don't have a plan B. And that's, you know, part of the fear of what am I going to do to create a sustainable, viable life after divorce, so that I'm not going to be homeless, I'm at 95, or at any age, we want them to feel empowered, and secure moving forward. So I would never have said to you, yes, I'm going to, I'm going to create an academy to educate people about all things divorce, I would never have wanted to go through my eight and a half year, fully litigated divorce experience that was involved a 12 day trial that took place over nine months. And after that, besides all the preparation and dafa Davidson depositions and sillustani orders and hearings after hearings after I forgotten half of them, I get these little flashbacks, you know, but there was a four year Massachusetts supreme appellate court process, and I didn't even know that you could appeal a divorce decision. Like, wait, you can appeal a divorce decision. Like, that's an option. I didn't even know that divorce ever had the possibility of going to trial. But I am the 1%. You know, 97% of divorces managed to not have a trial. That's really good news, right? weather. Yeah, that's really good news, everyone. So don't don't think you're me. I am a unicorn. And of the 3%, that does go to trial, only 1% of that 3% goes to an appellate court process. And that is how obtuse and unusual my experience was, which is why my divorce attorney said, you need to become a divorce consultant and mediator, your breadth of knowledge, having personally lived it, let alone all the professional training that you've done, makes you really an expert, he laughed and said, You've got your PhD and prior to going to law school, so I would never have wanted to have gone through what I went through. I didn't ever dream of it, it was not even 1,000,000th of a thought it just it happened and unfolded. So if you don't know who you are, join the club. For the back of the line. It's a really long line. But at least get in line and walk into your next life because it's going to be so much more beautiful. Then you pretending to be someone you're not.

And love that. And what always have what came to mind as I'm thinking about like Hansel and Gretel and follow the breadcrumbs, right? They didn't know what the path was. But life has a way of leaving breadcrumbs for us along the way. So like, would we go out into the forest not knowing exactly where the trail was? Or if the trail was going to lead us home or something like that? Well, most of us probably wouldn't, right? But there is this amazing thing that if we sort of step out, and we allow ourselves to face the wilderness of the unknown, that somehow or another nature, life circumstances, angels that come into our lives or circumstances that just happened suddenly start to drop little breadcrumbs, and we can find a path. And through that journey is where the wholeness comes in, right, where we start to become more complete. And it sounds like, you know, people are listening to your story. Again, we don't want to line anybody up for a litigated divorce or all of those things. And but, you know, I think one of the beautiful takeaways from your narrative is, you know, I didn't know where I would end up and I certainly had no idea either like it was never in the grand plan, nothing that I would have said if you'd asked me 10 or 12 or 15 or 20 years old, who are you going to be or what are you going to do? None of this would have come out. But life has a way if we are willing, if we have the courage to pay attention to it, to stop needing the plan and to follow those breadcrumbs it will lead us

well, it's funny you should bring up the fairy tale if that's what they're called of Hansel and Gretel right of i think of all the fairy tales and just how absurd most of the stories are. Like it because you hypothetically said, would we ever just go into the forest and follow breadcrumbs? Not knowing when an apparent would be like No, don't do that. But you think of all the other crazy ones too. Like, what would Snow White have ever lived in a house with seven single men? You know? Cinderella, you just think of all these stories, but we hear inspiring stories of other people finding out The courage right I don't want to keep banging on that word, but it is really true. For me it was more about finding a sense of strength I didn't know I had. There were many other times in my life, I had to revisit that birthing three babies without epidurals was one of them. I so wanted to give up and just say, Could somebody just reach in and pull these things out of me because I am done. Those force that could do something, get them out. But you there's so many times and even just being I remember being on stage and having like blisters and being in so much pain with being in these crammed pointe shoes, dancing on the tips of your toes, and, you know, you just keep going and know whether you have a fever, you're sick, or you just had a horrible day are you there there is something about finding an inner strength that we didn't know we have. And so whatever it is that you have, that is in the past, gotten you through a difficult thing, keep revisiting that, and it doesn't have to be difficult. Like, I don't think Dina and I correct me if I'm wrong, my dear, are trying to spread the message, that taking the mask off or being you needs to hurt or be painful, or difficult parts of it won't be easy. I'm not saying that the whole thing will just be a day at the beach, you know, like, oh, take the mask off. Next. There will be those times where it might feel uncomfortable. And yeah. being strong and having the muscles as you say, to be okay with being uncomfortable. We don't always get through life. Because everything is just easy. I mean life the last few years has been difficult, right for everyone. yet we've we just kind of look through the list with inflation and crime and road rage I've been experiencing lately. And obviously the idea of terrorism attacks again. And you know, you know, the pandemic has brought like joblessness and financial loss. And it's just life is just different and strange and uncomfortable. Because it's not what we're used to, if we were to go back three, four or five years, and you and I were to say, Oh, yes. So this is what life's gonna be like, in the next few years. Be like, I don't want to,

I don't want to go there.

I don't like what you said, but it happened. It is what happened. And here we are October 2021. Coming up on 2022 saying what next. And if your next is to explore a part of you that has been unvisited or on disk discovered, I invite you to take the journey.

So that's beautiful. And typically we conclude what you sort of just did with a question that we want to pose to people to really ponder to spirit to spend time with and you really just offered that. So you know if there's some part of you that doesn't feel like it's operating from its most genuine space, or its most committed place, what do you want to do to correct that? Or what steps do you want to take to move closer to the you that you want to be in the world. And so I think that's a beautiful sentiment to leave people with at the end of this. I also want them to know because you do really powerful work in the world of helping people to navigate through and you know, you and I know each other a little bit from the divorce world, people who've been listening for a long time know that I did work in the divorce coaching space, too. And so the work that you do, really does help people transition through incredibly difficult time. So Paulette, if you can just give people a sense of, you know, what the resources are, what you've developed, you know, what is the divorce Academy and the divorce blueprint, the podcast that you have, so that if people are wanting to get more of this and understand how you navigate with people in these spaces, they know where to look?

Absolutely, I knew that my eight and a half years hanging out in courtrooms and, but notebooks of copious notes did not need to go to waste. And I kept finding myself educating people in the same manner. So it was at the request of many clients who came to me and said, would you put down in writing like PDFs or little, you know, guides of all those checklists, you're always giving me homework. Oh, here she is more homework, you know. So we've ended up becoming A 307 page book called better divorce blueprint. It is not a book you want to read if you don't need to. But if you or anyone you love is either contemplating or any of those stages I mentioned through divorce, it will in fact give you that a blueprint, a GPS of what it looks like the first three chapters are before chapters four, five and six are during, and chapters seven and eight are after. There's also a 197 page companion workbook that goes with better divorce blueprint. And it's a hardcover and it's big so it isn't like you just read the book like a Danielle steel novel, put it on the shelf and go got it you know, it's there's a lot to it, there's a lot to learn. That's why I call it better divorce Academy. There's no you know, graduate degree or anything, but you know, you've been successful if you've been able to actually get through it well, and then I also created a card deck which is 52 cards because I like to give exactly just what you said like specific tools and tips and dairy, say tricks and, and things to do to help manifest things. So it's a card deck called no matter what. And then there's a module eight module choose me online course, that is a companion to the book and the workbook, many people don't like to read, let's just face it, they're more you know, different learners. So they would rather do it with me. So it depends on how people learn. And I also offer one on one private confidential, a certified divorce coaching and consulting consulting is more of like, analysis of where you are in coaching is getting you through the situation, step by step, piece by piece Think of me as a quarterback on like a divorce quarterback, I'm able to be a bit of that unicorn too, because I can help with the the psychological, mental, emotional journey of divorce, that part of it, but there's also the legal financial, residential mortgage, the practical side of it, not that I'm an attorney, but that that part of it so you know, able to bring those two worlds together that don't always collide except in your mind and your heart. So I also offer retreats one on one and group settings, they're called best life ever. I do have a podcast called the thriving and chaos project. Because it's a project and I've had it for three years, it was a little bit of a not a dare, but you know, like, you should do that again. So I love to interview upstanding women who have something to contribute to the the chaos that we all live in, either professionally or personally with their own stories or a professional story. So that's pretty much what I do. I also do moderate all things divorce on clubhouse with Alyssa panitch. She is a divorce journalist. And I also do a ton of public speaking about all things divorce, or I educate people about gracefully managing the process. And making sure that they really feel prepared for it wisely.

I think that's it, if at all. Yeah, forgive me, but my website is better divorce it's all there again, just better divorce Academy all over social. Yeah, that's, that's my my life's purpose, why I do what I do every day. And I am not pro divorce. I am happily remarried four years tomorrow. I'm not pro litigation. Although if you have to give me a call, I'll get you through it. Whether you're mediating, collaborating, arbitrating, mediating, I'm sorry, litigating or DIY buying it, you know, there's there's a lot to learn. And I also like to work with other professionals. So I'm a member of so many different organizations because I need that Rolodex of the right professional. My husband also happens to be a C DLP, certified divorce lending professional 75% of divorces involve the sale or purchase of real estate. So it's great to be able to pull him in and say, I know who you should talk to, about what to do with the marital home and the lending and the mortgage. So there's a lot to learn and I am here to be that voice on that BFF you need in your back pocket to get you through it.

Right. And you know, that is definitely the times that I've had opportunity to interact with you interact with your resources is the incredible comprehensive nature of what you bring to the table every part of your soul every part of your knowledge and intellect and experience. That you have that you bring to the table. And you know, I think even more importantly, what we've been talking about is that awareness of what it takes for somebody to come through and to become on the other side, which is love and pull those masks off and let's see what's underneath. So thank you.

If there's ever a experience that you go through that will instigate maybe that's a harsh word change and unveil a new you it would be in my opinion, divorce.

It is Yes, you've got it. We're sisters on that or sisters on that. Well, thank you for listening in today and we are going to continue to explore this theme of masks emphasize in our final episode next week where we are going to talk with a photographer, because think about what happens when we get on the other side of a lens. So join us back next week as we have the grand finale of this month of talking about what happens when we take off those masks. Thank you Paula. Thank you for listening.

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