Monday, June 22, 2020

Conscious Uncoupling, Co-parenting, Every Divorce is Different

I remember reading an article when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin got divorced about conscious uncoupling. At first, I thought it was just a PR ploy so this public couple could take ownership of the situation and not allow everyone else to read into their split. There was a lot of backlash too when it was first introduced. While it was a brilliant PR move, absolutely, I didn't understand the depth and genuine nature of the psychology behind this idea until recently.

Since our divorce, I have read many articles and books. I have visited and still visit with a counselor, leaders in my faith, friends, colleagues, parents, siblings, you name it. I remember attending a court-ordered session (mentioned in my previous blog post) discussing the soon-to-be dynamics of our family. After we went, Adam and I had a heart-felt conversation that we wanted our divorce to be different. I recognize this is not unique to us - a lot of divorcing couples feel the same way. 

In the article: Gwyneth Paltrow Hoped to Reinvent Divorce with Chris Martin, by USA Today contributor Susan Haas, Paltrow said, "I just thought, 'I wonder if there's a way to circumvent that [meaning the ugliness that comes with divorce sometimes] and just go directly to the point where we're friends.' We're family, that's it," she said. "We can pretend we're not, and hate each other ... or, let's try to reinvent this for ourselves."

In the article: The breakup guru who invented unconscious coupling: I understand the backlash by Emine Saner, Katherine Woodward Thomas explains that she and her former husband both had parents who experienced traumatic divorces, and didn't want their daughter to have the same experience because they remember it being so painful for everyone.

“We aligned on an intention together to make sure our daughter could still have a happy childhood,” says Woodward Thomas. “That intention kept calling us to rise to be the bigger person, to take the high road at every turnHe started a culture between us of generosity and cooperation. When we’re married, we understand the need to put money in the emotional bank account by being nice to each other, doing thoughtful things for each other, not badmouthing each other, but I think when we divorce we forget that if we have children, we’re still going to be a family. You have to build your new [post-divorce] family.”

Since November, Adam and I have had discussions about these ideas. I don't want to speak for him, but I knew I wanted to create the kind of relationship that we could be proud of, and our conversations illuminated that this is something he wants too. 

I have had to take comments, advice, etc., with a grain of salt. I am part of conversations where some have said: "shouldn't you be doing XYZ?" or "well, when I went through mine, we did this, so you should do this" or "don't do XYZ." 

While people have good intentions, we decided that every divorce is different and that we were going to do our best to create the kind of cordial, amiable, kind environment we can so our kids can see that we can rise above it. I also recognize this doesn't work for everyone....and that is OK too.

As we have tried to do what is best for the kids, there is no doubt that we have had some highs and lows, some things that work and some things that don't work. We are still navigating hurt and pain individually and sometimes that shows up in our interactions in front of the kids. 

For now, I am grateful and honored to have a co-parent who is willing to try to have this kind of relationship centered around kindness.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

I Wrote My Senators

My last post talked about this idea of not staying silent, of joining my brother and sisters of color. Since then, I have engaged in more reading, listening and discussion so I can understand the issues and develop my own opinion on what is happening and what I feel needs to happen for social justice and racial injustices.

I am sure not all of you will agree with what I said, but I am proud that I was able to stand up, finally. Here is the letter I sent to my Senators, of which one has already responded. I encourage you to really dig into what you want to see for our country and write your legislators.

Dear Senator Mitt Romney:

First, thank you for your recent walk during the protest. I appreciate your leadership and guidance during this crucial time.

Second, thank you for giving me the opportunity to email you about my concerns with all the turmoil that is happening in our country. From what I understand, the Congress are convening and discussing the recent tensions around race, equality, and social justice, and looking to craft police reform – as well as consider systemic and economic structures that support racial equality.

I am not affiliated with the organization Join Campaign Zero, but feel they have developed policy solutions, which have been informed by data, research and human rights principles that will change the way police serve our communities. I feel the campaign is fair and equitable, as it integrates recommendations from communities, research organizations, and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The campaign can be viewed at:, and includes sections on:
  • End broken windows (minor crimes) over-policing
  • Community oversight
  • Limit use of force
    • Including training for skills of cultural competence, using alternative weapons to detain, standards of reporting those who use deadly force
  • Independent investigations and prosecutions
  • Community representation
  • Right to record police (not sure I agree with all that is said here, but the     approach is sound)
  • Training
  • End for-profit policing
  • Demilitarization
  • Fair police contracts
    • Including financial accountability for officers to be paid administrative during investigations, suspension, etc.

I urge you, as member of the Senate to sustain policies that ensure that Americans have the “right to live freely with dignity and respect and without the threat of violence or repression,” President Barack Obama.

I am sure this goes without saying, but a lot of what we are seeing is more than police brutality.

In the article Level the Economic Playing Field for African Americans, Travis Morris writes:

“For blacks, there are still disparities in educational access, employment and unemployment rates, job promotions, lack of competitive pay compared to whites and employer-provided benefits such as health care and retirement savings programs. Nowhere is an unlevel playing field more apparent than in wealth accumulation between blacks and whites.

According to a recent study, “The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters,” a typical black household has 6% of the wealth of a typical white household. The median white household has $111,145 in wealth holdings, compared to $7,113 for the median black household. A typical white family owns $15.63 for every $1 owned by a typical Black family, What accounts for such a disparity?”

While I am not prepared to speak to the validity of the data, I can say that in order to determine what needs to happen next for our society, we need to re-evaluate the systematic and economic structures that may prevent success for black people.

I encourage you to support and sustain policies that promote racial justice, and re-evaluate providing equal opportunities for:
  •         Education
  •          Healthcare
  •          Fair wages
  •          Employer-provided benefits, including healthcare and retirement

I am told that perhaps the only way this will happen is if we restructure our tax arrangements. If that is what it takes to create equal opportunity, I am willing to pay.

Thank you for your consideration of these critical issues that have existed for far too long.


Lindsey Blau

Friday, June 5, 2020

I Stand: We are ALL God's children

Today, during a NACADA (Global Community for Academic Advising) spotlight webinar, we were asked by the moderator to give a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds

And then, I unraveled. I bowed my head and prayed. Prayed to understand. Prayed to know what to do, what to say. Prayed for my brothers and sisters in this world. Prayed for my students. Prayed for our nation. Prayed for our leaders. Prayed for our state and local governments. Prayed for our children. Prayed for the prophet. Prayed for other religious organizations. 

I may not ever understand the weight that has been felt. I may not understand the anger, frustration, oppression, or depth of sorrow. But, I want to learn. How are you feeling? What does a day look like for you? How are you so confident and strong? You are the experts of your experience and it is time for us to listen.

I read a great article giving tips about how to reach out to people of color at this time. I particularly appreciate that I have been invited to take a stand. The article suggests that doing something is better than doing nothing. Sometimes I am afraid I am not doing the 'right thing' so I shy away from it. I haven't been one to be very vocal about certain topics. Mostly because I was scared of what others would think about me.

How silly is that? Me, scared to voice my deep concern because of what people would think of me, or whether a company would hire me, or if a person would want to date me? Nope, not anymore. 

And so, I take to writing this now. I STAND WITH YOU. I will also reach out to my legislators and will be more proactive in engaging in this conversation. In the meantime, here are some things that have touched my heart and express far better than I can, how I am feeling.

From the Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson (read the full post here):

We join with many throughout this nation and around the world who are deeply saddened at recent evidences of racism and a blatant disregard for human life. We abhor the reality that some would deny others respect and the most basic of freedoms because of the color of his or her skin.

We are also saddened when these assaults on human dignity lead to escalating violence and unrest.

The Creator of us all calls on each of us to abandon attitudes of prejudice against any group of God’s children.

During the Savior’s earthly mission, He constantly ministered to those who were excluded, marginalized, judged, overlooked, abused, and discounted. As His followers, can we do anything less? The answer is no! We believe in freedom, kindness, and fairness for all of God’s children!

Let us be clear. We are brothers and sisters, each of us the child of a loving Father in Heaven. His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, invites all to come unto Him—“black and white, bond and free, male and female,” (2 Nephi 26:33). It behooves each of us to do whatever we can in our spheres of influence to preserve the dignity and respect every son and daughter of God deserves.

Here is one of my favorite YouTube videos that give me hope and courage to do the right thing:

A beautiful painting that represents how I feel (by artist Diana Pedott):

This video also helped me understand something I hadn't thought about before. I am grateful for its educational intent and the discourse it can create:

I realized a while ago that advocacy and political involvement can go a long way, even if it is small. I know that if I want to see social change, I need to know what I am asking for, and be more specific about recommendations and thoughts. Here are some great articles that talk about the 'why' behind contacting state and local representatives.
I love you all and stand with you to end these abuses.

#loveoneanother #blacklivesmatter #istandwithyou #fightracismresponsibly #standupforhumanrights #stoptheviolence