Conscious Uncoupling – a Hollywood Divorce
“What a flipping load of old twaddle” were not quite the words used by my husband when I read a recent divorce article to him. But then he was driving and therefore obliged to use “technical language” (occasionally punctuated with communication through the medium of mime).
Also, I was reading from the much-maligned Gwyneth Paltrow version of divorce , now available on her website , the gloriously titled “Conscious Uncoupling”. ( ” Would have been better if it had been about unconscious coupling” quipped my husband, probably along with hoards of other non-professional comedians across the planet). It is a message to the world about the break-up of her marriage to Chris Martin, world-famous rock star , appended with a treatise on divorce by her spiritual advisors. The article couldn’t be regarded as any more risible than if it had been entitled “I’m a Smug Crackpot Fantasist from Lala Land, Gabbling a Load of Psycho-Babble with Knobs on”.
Ignore the critics and nay-sayers I implore you. Ignoring my husband’s snorts of derision to my “What’s an Esotericist – is it a real job?” (fair question to a former philosophy student, I mentally retorted), I delved in further. It is brilliant. You may think that you are reading the news of a celebrity divorce but no, this is so much more than that. This is a journey, a crash course through the do’s and don’ts of separation. Jumping off with paleontology one minute, it dive-bombs into entomology the next, before veering off into a whole new world of the mind and the people who work there.
Unfolding before me were the answers to my clients’ age old questions to “Why, oh why, oh why did we… always drink too much at other people’s weddings/argue incessantly about the in-laws/re-mortgage our lives away/ ever marry when we had all our youth ahead of us/ meet the.. @£$&% in the first place?” The answer apparently is that we weren’t meant to be together. Well, not for long anyway.
I would beg to differ, being a sentimental type of cynic, but there is so much going on in this piece it’s hard to know where to start. Don’t blame yourselves for not making your marriage work it tells us. It’s not your fault. It’s everyone and everything else’s fault – evolution, psychology, longevity, honeymoons, yardsticks, boomerangs, dragon-fly wings – the whole schizzle really.
Don’t worry about it. (This is the article talking, not me. I’m very worried about it – I’m paid to be.) Kick back and find the male and female conscious balancey thing, don’t trap your negative energy and for God’s sake don’t lose your spiritual minerals.
Look, it’s easy to sneer but some of it does make sense and for that alone it’s worth reading. Strip away the pseudo and the sanctimonious and there’s some helpful advice. It tells us to think of co-parenting your kids for the years to come. Put them before all else (actually that bit is me, but the article would say it if it ever got round to it.) Resist the drama and arguments and, as we say in Yorkshire, think on.
I agree that we probably over-idealize and romanticize marriage and then struggle to adapt to the reality of it not working. I’m not so sure mind, of “the psycho-spiritual spine” and “divine endoskeleton” but hey, there’s an impressive piece of rap in there waiting to come out.
I’d agree that a divorce can put my clients through remembrances of old grievances, which can be unsettling. It is absolutely not the case however, in my view, that “…it’s never the current situation that needs fixing. It’s just the echo of an old injury.” Try telling that to a victim of domestic violence in bad need of an injunction, which is about a current injury and in no way an echo. Sorry to get down and dirty but at least I’m trying to enter the debate and not just scoff. (Okay, I have been an itsy bit scoffy.)
There is a debate about divorce and how to handle it. If the goop article hazards a go at it, it’s a start. It’s not to the taste of many of us and it’s mostly in a different language. Take its cue. If you’re thinking about divorce, try and think about the life you want to live, rather than the life you’re leaving and if nothing else, get the right advice from that start. Some use an Esotericist. Others use a damn good solicitor. ‘Nuff said.