Your marriage is ending,
but respect and compassion don't have to.
I’m Lisa Fisher.
I help divorcing spouses to stop fighting or avoiding each other and build a more harmonious relationship, so they can enjoy smooth co-parenting and a new post-divorce life they love.
Your marriage is ending, but your relationship is not. You still have children to co-parent and assets to divide, and you move in the same social circles. Whether you want to or not, you need to talk to each other.
You are caring and smart, and you value respect, compassion and harmony. You cringe at the thought of spending your time and money battling in court or at your mediator’s office.
Despite your best intentions to keep things as civil and collaborative as possible, simple disagreements get blown out of proportion. It seems like you’re either fighting or avoiding each other, and you can’t have a productive conversation.
Your whole life is turning upside down, and you’re worried about your own future and how this will affect your kids. You try to smile and preserve some normalcy, but you’re overwhelmed and exhausted.
There are only so many tall lattes your system can metabolize without losing even more sleep, and no amount of chocolate hazelnut truffles will make this divorce go away.
You’re doing the best you can to keep your soul and your sanity intact, and you’re grateful for your support system, yet it’s not quite enough:
- The people closest to you are on this emotional rollercoaster with you and the relief from venting and commiserating is temporary at best.
- Your friends are either taking sides and fanning the flames, or they stopped inviting you because it’s too awkward or unpleasant to have a divorcing couple around.
- Exercise feels great, but once the endorphins wear off, you’re back to feeling deflated and anxious.
- Talking to your therapist gives you wonderful insights, but how do you apply those when you’re arguing with your soon-to-be ex, again?
- Your lawyer (if you have one) is there to advocate for you, not to show you how to advocate or negotiate for yourself.
- Your divorce mediator (I hope you have one!) is there to help both of you reach a settlement agreement that works for everyone, not to teach you how to work things out on your own.
I understand all this because I have gone through a divorce myself, and I have experienced everything I just described.
Before you continue to read, please take a deep breath – inhale slowly and fill your lungs, then exhale completely. Repeat as many times as feels good.
Then take this in:
You are not weak, incapable or overly emotional.
Divorce is hard.
I’m not just telling you this to make you feel better. When I got divorced, I was already a seasoned mediator and attorney with a strong Yoga practice who kicked butt in martial arts training. I knew how to stay calm and negotiate with power and compassion, which made the process much smoother and faster. We never saw the inside of a courtroom. And, it was still hard.
Which brings me to the good news for you: You are NOT doomed to feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted for the foreseeable future. I want to offer you the support I would have loved to have during my own divorce, and help you transform your current reality so it looks more like this:
- Rather than panic or lose your temper in stressful situations, you stay calm.
- Rather than avoiding or dreading difficult conversations, you address touchy subjects with tact and confidence.
- Rather than wasting time fighting at your lawyer’s or mediator’s office, you negotiate and take care of divorce business quickly and efficiently.
- Rather than butting heads about your children, you co-parent smoothly and in your own unique way.
- Rather than living the cliché of vengeful ex-spouses, you treat each other with respect and compassion.
Do more communication skills really bring more harmony?
You want to stop fighting or avoiding your future ex-spouse and finally have actual productive conversations, and you think you need more communication and conflict resolution skills to do that. You’re probably right, and I’ve got you covered. But, your skills will be worthless if you’re so angry, upset or scared that you can't remember them or use them.
When you anticipate an argument, and you expect you'll be disrespected, unappreciated, misunderstood, or overpowered, your brain sends a “danger” warning and suspends its higher-level functions. You no longer have access to whatever you learned about things like active listening, asking open-ended questions and exploring mutual interests, because according to human genetic wiring only one thing matters right now: survival. Your body is preparing to fight or run away to keep you safe.
So if in those heated moments you can’t think straight, you’re not your usual self, things seem to spiral out of control, and you have no idea how to stop the freight train from derailing:
- Congratulations, you are human.
- Good news: Your automatic stress reaction is working.
- Even better news: You can upgrade that automatic stress reaction from “run or fight?” to a more evolved, conscious response that allows for a meaningful conversation.
to watch now (it’s 6 minutes) or bookmark it for later.
In my humble opinion, everybody benefits from more communication and conflict resolution skills, but skills alone are usually not enough to create more harmony. For skills to be effective, and for you to master your conversations with another person, you must do this:
Master your inside conversations first.
In addition to the “outside” conversation you have with the person in front of you, there are two conversations happening inside of you:
Your brain talks to your body in the form of stories that you tell yourself over and over again. These internal narratives are like glasses through which you see the world: When the lenses are purple, everything will appear purple to you, regardless of the actual colors. If you’re thinking “what an inconsiderate, ungrateful @$#%&”, you will likely feel frustrated, annoyed or angry, and that will be the "color" of your conversation with the person in front of you.
Your body talks to your brain with your posture and breathing. Being hunched over, holding your breath and not making eye contact signals to your brain (and to other people) that you’re scared and you want to leave. Clenched fists and an icy glare send a completely different message.
Your internal conversations determine what – if anything – comes out of your mouth when it’s time to talk. In other words: what you think determines how you feel, and how you feel determines what you say and do. All of this then influences the other person’s behavior and the outcome of the conversation.
When you work with me, we will take a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on neuroscience, Yoga, martial arts, and communication and conflict resolution skills, so you can master your inside conversations and your outside conversations:
- Based on understanding how the human brain selects and processes information, you will learn to recognize stubborn limiting beliefs and transform them into more helpful internal narratives.
- Through practicing carefully selected Yoga poses, you will learn subtle adjustments to your posture and breathing that you can utilize anytime and anywhere – no Yoga mat required! – to stay calm and feel more confident.
- You will learn effective safety techniques that anybody can do and that are simple enough to remember, even when you feel stressed. Knowing that you could defend yourself if you had to provides a solid base for managing your fear in any situation.
- When you consciously use your body to talk to your brain, you change the way your brain talks to your body - how you think and feel, which in turn changes the way you talk to other people.
I can help you master your mind and your body, so you can master your conversations.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I am an experienced mediator, conflict coach and attorney. I am also a certified Yoga teacher (RYT 500 – Yin and Vinyasa Yoga through YogaWorks). I earned a Black Belt in Kenpo Karate and continue to actively train.
I got divorced in 2016. While I don’t consider this a credential, it may give you some comfort to know that I didn’t learn about divorce and the toll it takes from a book. My empathy comes from personal experience. Of course, I will not insult your intelligence by claiming that I know exactly what you’re going through – I have lived through my divorce, not yours.
For my story and a detailed list of (actual) credentials, click here.
No. I will work with you individually, because that is a more conducive environment to being honest and vulnerable, which results in more profound and lasting changes. Ideally, I would work with your future ex-spouse (individually) as well, but that is not a requirement.
I’ll be straight with you: I don’t have a magic wand that turns fire-breathing dragons into fluffy bunnies. And no matter how many communication and conflict resolution skills you acquire, there is no way to control someone else’s behavior. Yes, you could force your future ex to do what you want (in which case we are not a good fit), but that usually backfires, and any result tends to be short-lived. Don’t trust anyone who tells you otherwise.
Now to the good news: You have full control over how you think, feel and act. You don’t need anyone’s cooperation to upgrade your inner game – letting go of your victim narratives, mastering your fears, and managing your response to stressful situations. You don’t need anyone’s cooperation to discard people-pleasing, respect yourself and set healthy boundaries. You also don’t need anyone’s cooperation to be true to yourself and to communicate with more clarity and curiosity and set the stage for a real dialogue.
When you change, guess what happens? You are different, which makes all your relationships – including the one with your uncooperative ex – different. While you can’t control other people, you have tremendous power to influence them, simply by modeling a different way of being and doing. I can show you how.
Each person and relationship is unique. Some beliefs, behaviors and dynamics can be changed quickly, others take more time to transform. Most people report a substantial difference in how they think, feel and act, and a definite improvement in their relationship with their future ex-spouse, within three months.
Yes! You do NOT have to contort yourself into a pretzel or do fancy karate kicks, unless that's already your thing. This is about purposeful posture and breath adjustments and a shift in mindset, so you can stay calm and remember and use your new communication and conflict resolution skills. All movement components are accessible at any fitness level.
Absolutely. I will NOT teach you how to beat people up. The true spirit of the martial arts is self-mastery, respect for all human beings, and avoiding a fight whenever possible. You will learn how to stay out of harm’s way and, should a physical fight be inevitable, end it quickly and with the least amount of damage to yourself and others. And you will learn how to use the underlying mindset principles to turn potential arguments into dialogues.
My approach involves becoming more aware of yourself, identifying the fears and core beliefs that keep you and your future ex-spouse stuck in a fight-or-flight dynamic, and then taking courageous, humble, and patient steps toward building a respectful and compassionate relationship.
Working with me may not be a good fit if
- you only want to know how you can get your soon-to-be ex to behave differently, and you are not willing to recognize and change your own contribution to the current dynamic,
- you are hoping for someone else to fix your relationship or rescue you,
- you believe there is nothing you can do about your suffering and you only want to commiserate and remain a victim, or
- you are not open to stepping outside your comfort zone and exploring a different approach to relationships and challenging conversations.