May 24, 2016

Divorce: Opportunity to Confront Fear

Categories: Divorce

pha106000047Fear is one of the most innate underpinnings of humanity. Indeed, in our earliest stages of development, fear was essential to our very survival. When we lived in a physical environment that posed regular and daily threats to our existence fear was the mechanism by which we were wired to respond quickly to all threats.

That we now live in an environment that is less imposing than earlier times does not mean that there are fewer threats, only that they are less frequent and consequential than they once were. We have lost much of our fear of our environment, unless we have the misfortune of living in certain countries or neighborhoods where threats of death are common.

Perhaps it is for this reason that terrorism has such an incredible impact on so many people. It has become so uncommon that unknown violence could arise at any moment that we go into super shock when it does occur. We see a horrendous video from another country where someone is being beheaded, and it becomes more pronounced in our psyche than the much greater possibility we have of slipping in our bathtub and killing our self.

Divorce is another such experience that has the potential to be so unsettling that it affects our whole existence. The variables are so extensive that they become quite difficult to categorize. There is a difference when our life is at risk or when we are taking a risk. In Hebrew, Pachad refers to that innate biological response that turns us into an irrational mess. If we are not actually in a life threatening situation, pachad is imaginary – it is no more real than if we are watching a horror movie. It is important to know the fear for what it is, so we can respond differently when it is imaginary than when it is real.

Another Hebrew word for fear is Virah, which mean something close to awe in English. This is an existential fear – like the fear of standing up for oneself, or speaking in public, or realizing our full potential. It is that scared, trembling feeling we have facing uncertain possibilities. If we do not understand what this feeling is we are unable to engage it effectively. Being unable to engage it effectively affords it a power over us that can be crippling.

The miracle of life is that it affords us the opportunity to recognize, confront and evolve through incredible uncertainty This is precisely how we learn to grow in wisdom and insight, and lead a productive life at our highest functioning self.

The good news is that once we learn to make conscious choices to overcome the fear Hebrews know as Virah, there is a personal transformation in our life that leads us to experience some of our deepest joys.

We cannot obtain a prescription for a pill that will give this to us. We cannot obtain this miracle by having someone else tell us about it. We can only learn by taking steps and stages that teach us how to do this for our self. One can only help oneself. Divorce has the capacity to be one of life’s lessons that can provide this experience.

As the old saying goes, good choices come through experience. And experience comes through poor choices.

Contact any collaborative professional to learn more about how the collaborative law model can support you turning the crisis of divorce into a positive experience.

Bruce Peck

Bruce is one of the founding members of the Collaborative Law Institute.
Back in the Wonder Years, this small group was trying to figure out what a new way of practicing family law might look like. Today the collaborative law concept has exploded, not just throughout the United States, but also internationally. For over thirty years Bruce has continued to hone his skills to provide the highest quality of services to family law clients. He helps good people make tough choices during difficult times.

Bruce is a laid back and easy going person who listens well to others. He is a shameless optimist who can always see possibility and opportunity. Being very curious by nature, he is a voracious reader. His love for words has drawn him into being an avid poet.

Bruce’s skills supports clients interests without alienating their spouse. When the parties reach agreement, it is not under duress. They have the time to discuss all decisions with their attorneys before signing the agreement. Once completed, the stipulated divorce is filed with the court for a default hearing in which neither party, nor their attorneys, ever have to set foot inside a courthouse. Learn more at

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