As the core group that met regularly got closer because they had a lot in common, including children the same age, similar interests, and homes near one another, a key challenge became keeping the meetings clique-free so that everyone felt welcomed and at home. One of the first things people often notice when they begin practicing mindfulness is how judgmental they are: toward themselves, others, their experience, everything! Judging our experience usually results in it falling short in some way: we/it/they are not good enough. This makes us feel inadequate and/or disappointed. When we judge something, we are expecting a particular outcome and we usually fail to recognize wider possibilities that may be even better. Judgment is different from discernment. There is nothing wrong with having a preference for something or someone. When we notice the judging thought, it is important not to judge ourselves for that as well--it's easy to get caught up in a spiral of judging the judging! Bringing an attitude of curiosity (see article 40) to what you are experiencing will help shift the mind from avoidance into approach mode (see articles 32-33). Cultivate an attitude of friendly interest in the judgment. Can you feel it in the body? I suspect just this explanation for some of the negative studies of omega-3. That doesn't mean we can or should dismiss such studies. But going from that to headlines announcing no cardiac benefit from omega-3 fats is rather a fish story. I remain convinced of the health benefits of omega-3 fats across an array of conditions, likely including cardiovascular health. It is established fact that these nutrients are essential, and that the typical American diet provides a relative deficiency of them. It is all but established fact that an imbalance in our dietary fats contributes significantly to inflammation. And it is established fact that inflammation is one of the key processes propagating all chronic diseases--cancer, diabetes, and heart disease alike--as well as many others. Fish oil, beyond fish. Paleoanthropologists seeking insights into our native diets point out that there is n-3 PUFA in the flesh of antelope, thought to be much like the kind of meat our ancestors ate.

We all know that we are what we eat, but tend to overlook that what we eat is, also, what it eats! Amali, who was close with Iris, Pilar, and Gina, confessed that she sometimes felt left out when other members were rehashing a recent night out, the fun they had at school-related events, and kids' parties. Amali worked long hours, didn't have children, and wasn't always able to participate in the extracurricular activities some of the other women enjoyed. Be mindful of inadvertently excluding anyone or wearing your thick-as-thieves status as a badge of honor; Table your side talk at the meetings and make efforts to switch up seating arrangements, strike up conversations with women you don't know well, and go the extra mile so new members feel included, welcomed, and valued. Our club is for women only. Here's why: Women felt they could be more honest and relaxed in the company of other women going through the same experiences. Members were concerned that adding men to the mix would change the dynamic and shift the focus from women attending to get support and express themselves to women attending to meet men. If there is a divorced men's group in your town, why not suggest a quarterly social with them as an additional activity to complement your meetings. The community of women you create and rely on during your divorce can become the foundation on which you build your post-divorce life. These women can be the people you turn to when you're in a pinch or looking for someone to have dinner with, especially if you don't have family close by. If so, where is it and what does it feel like? Are you aware of the story that is playing out in the mind? Is it a familiar one? Remember the importance of practicing kindness (see article 38), not only to others but also to yourself. Kindness is at the heart of mindfulness practice and it is closely allied with non-judging (see article 37). Becoming kinder to oneself is commonly cited as one of the main benefits of practicing mindfulness. However, you can't just order yourself to be kinder--it is an attitude that arises out of practicing regularly. When we practice mindfulness regularly, we cultivate a friendly, kindly attitude to our experience. When our mind wanders and we realize it, we can mentally congratulate ourselves for noticing the wandering mind and bring our attention back to the focus without any recrimination.

When we notice thoughts, emotions, or sensations arising that perhaps we don't approve of or think are inappropriate, or that we should be able to put up with, we can simply acknowledge them and remind ourselves that this is our experience and it's okay. We have radically altered the diets of feed animals, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the flesh of cattle would change with what we feed them. As much as 35 percent of the calories in some cuts of beef come from fat, and much of that fat is saturated--the variety long associated with increased risk of heart disease (an area of some debate now, but that's a topic for another day). In other words, we domesticated the fish oil out of hoofed animals vaguely related to antelope. Fish oil is also antelope oil, and it could have been beef oil, too, but it's not. There are some indications, as fish farming represents an ever larger portion of the fish market, that we may be doing the same to fish. If we farm salmon and change their diets, we could--in principle--remove the fish oil from fish. Thankfully we're not there yet, but levels of n-3 PUFA do tend to be higher in wild salmon . While it's clear that we are adapted to consume omega-3 fat, one is left to wonder why and were we got it. One answer, as already noted, is from sources like antelope. Another potential explanation is that we may have been better at converting the omega-3 found in plants, ALA, into EPA and DHA than many of us are today. Iris's girls took to calling Amali auntie. Eleanor and Carlotta have a matinee movie date most Wednesdays. Jill's and Suzanne's kids play together regularly. Impromptu get-togethers among women in the group became a new normal we could count on and look forward to. When your divorce is behind you, your life will get easier in many ways. One of the major stresses--the divorce itself--will be over. Soon there will be benchmarks where you catch yourself thinking, This must mean I am really moving on, whether it's a first kiss with a new man, buying a home on your own, or even something mundane like putting up a shelf on your own in your office. With each victory big or small, you believe in yourself that much more. For us, the friendships formed during our divorces have long outlived the divorce process itself.

The women who helped us through it are still the ones we turn to. Notice the thought tone and whether it sounds harsh or gentle. When you notice the former, acknowledge it with a gentle, There I go again! If you are someone who sets impossibly high standards for yourself, remind yourself that you can only do your best. This will vary depending on the circumstances, but most of the time our best is good enough. It can be helpful to imagine yourself as a close friend in the same situation and then explore your response to them. We often find that we would be kinder to our friend and more supportive of them than we would be to ourselves. When you notice you are giving yourself a hard time, it can be helpful to acknowledge it (without judging it) and then place a hand over the chest or perhaps hold both arms (as if you were hugging yourself). Connect with the warmth of the body, perhaps feeling the pulse of the heartbeat, and repeat silently to yourself, It's okay, as if you were soothing a crying child. How do you nourish yourself--mentally as well as physically? It can be helpful to notice which activities and people replenish rather than deplete you, and make an intention to do more of those activities and spend more time with those people, particularly when things are difficult and you are feeling stressed. There is now clear evidence of genetic variance in this trait, apparently in response to the selective pressure of dietary pattern over many generations. A third explanation, invoking the work of various paleoanthropologists and archaeologists, and tracing findings through the stages of human ancestry, is that humanity has long favored life at a land/water interface. Much of this involved lakes and rivers and sourcing shellfish from tidal flats. Quite ancient archeological sites indicate human, and even pre-human, consumption of mussels and other mollusks. Fishing hooks many thousands of years old suggest that even fish from the sea figured in the human diet long before the dawn of agriculture. We may, and indeed must, allow for substantial uncertainty regarding our habitual dietary intake tens of thousands of years ago. Most of us struggle to recall what we ate yesterday with any degree of fidelity. But we must also accommodate the truism that what we now require in our diets is what we adapted to eat. Omega-3 is an essential dietary requirement, and that requirement came from our long, pre-agricultural evolutionary history.

Argument one is that it came by land, and argument two is that it came by sea. And as we face new challenges, whether it's juggling being a single mom with a new job promotion, a health scare, or a lover who breaks our heart, we know with certainty that an optimistic attitude and a supportive circle of friends will make all the difference. The journey you started with us won't end the day you're pronounced divorced by a judge. It will continue as you grow in each new relationship; And as you move on and meet women who are struggling during the early stages of their divorces, we encourage you to open your arms and welcome them into your circle, because we are all stronger together. If you form or join a group like the Maplewood Divorce Club, consider it a continuation of the journey you have started on these articles with us. You can also download PDFs of all the material you need to launch a divorce club and host your own meeting. We'd love to hear about your challenges and triumphs. When we wondered whether we had the time to launch a divorce club, we wish we'd known that the benefits would far outweigh the effort and that the friendships formed would be the foundation for our new lives. Jill and Suzanne Creating the Maplewood Divorce Club has been a continuing source of pride. They are happy to be turning the notion that divorce has to be lonely and isolating on its head. We found in the balance--he called it the golden mean--between extremes. For years, Pete and I had been talking about how we could build something to provide disconnection to our fellow tech addicts, nature to our fellow city dwellers, and leisure to our fellow workaholics. To our surprise and delight, we've been able to weave these goals together into a single project, Getaway, which designs tiny cabins, places them in the woods, and invites folks to rent them out by the night. While on a Getaway, guests disconnect from their devices and work to reconnect with the world beyond the daily grind. It's exactly the kind of respite we were looking for ourselves. After college--where we met and became friends--we got wrapped up in the hustle of city living and stressful, time-consuming jobs. While Pete worked on political causes in Washington, I worked for startups in Boston. It seemed like we could never work hard enough, or long enough, as our time on the clock spilled over into nights and weekends. When we weren't working, we were thinking about work, worrying about work, refreshing our email, updating our calendars.