Life after Divorce – My Only Business: Focus On The North Star

My Lights went Out
Carly Israel
Carly Israel

Since writing my first piece, My Light Went Out I have had a ton of messages and tweets and feedback.

The messages thanking me for my words, the tweets casting judgement and blame and the angry, name-calling comments about my selfish choices as a mother.

Putting myself, my soul and my words out to the universe comes with the opportunity for all of this. And all of it is a gift. I am beyond grateful for the platform to use my voice and possibly be able to help others find the courage to live their truth, whatever that truth might be.

If I measured my worth by other people’s opinions of me I would be hiding under a rock. But I’m not, because it isn’t my business.

What others think about me or say about me is not my business. And I certainly can’t take it personally. One of the lessons I have learned along the way is that everybody has a story. Who am I to judge?

My friend, Sarah Marcus-Donnelly , often reminds me that my only business is to behave. Behave and take care of my boys. Be kind and walk with dignity. And so I walk. Along this uncertain, uneven path. I walk. The only way out is through. And in the darkness there are gifts and there is light.

Early on in this process I was sitting with my friend, Scott Simon -one of my lighthouses, he gave me one of my greatest gifts. The North Star.

Focus on the North Star
Focus on the North Star – I loved it so much it became a tattoo on my inner forearm to remind me.

He told me that my boys need to be the North Star for me and their father. That we will get lost as we attempt to sail these rocky, unpredictable waters of divorce and without our North Star we could get very far off course.

I loved it so much it became a tattoo on my inner forearm to remind me.

This concept was how we told our boys about the divorce. We explained that when sailors get lost and they don’t know where they’re going, they can only focus on the constant, the only tool that can guide them in the dark. We told them that they were our North Star.

This has brought us back again and again when we want to stand our ground and dig our feet in. It has brought us back to the moment. Back to our focus.

The North Star. Three little boys who look to us for guidance. Three boys whose story of “divorce” will not be written by the tweets and comments made by those who are angry and stuck as victims. The story of divorce will be written by their mom and their dad and we choose to put aside our resentments and hurt and write a new story.

It isn’t easy. There are times when we want to sail head first into the waves, but then the question tugs at my heart. “What do I want to teach them about love? About forgiveness? About patience?”

Many asked why I was so vague with my reasons for my light going out, for my reasons to leave if I had no black eye. Those details remain locked and sacred as I focus on the North Star. They are not anyone’s business.

I am writing a new story for my children and the only response I have about my role as a mother is this one: I mess up, I lose my temper, I forget things, I have been known to swear, I am silly and a bit like Dory, but one thing I know for certain is I can answer the question every parent asks themselves.

“Am I a good mother/father?”

The answer is a solid, unequivocal, “yes.”


Carly Israel: single mother of 3 growing boys, sober warrior, forever student of life and a beautiful mess doing her best to spread the light in this world.

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