By Melissa Birks
The 10-year-old boy looked at Judge Michele Lowrance and told her he wished he was dead. That way, he reasoned, his parents would stop fighting. Because all they seemed to fight about was him.
That little boy’s pain inspired Lowrance to write “The Good Karma Divorce,” published by HarperOne and on sale since earlier this month. For three and a half years, Lowrance worked through weekends and holidays — “soldiered by discipline,” as she puts it — to create what she hopes is a guide to help couples survive the “tsunami” of divorce.
And parents aren’t the only audience for the book, Lowrance said. She’s been astounded by reaction from many adult children of divorce who have read the book and told her how it opened their eyes to their parents’ experience.
“It’s not like any other text,” said Lowrance, a Circuit Court domestic relations judge since 1995. “It’s a fusion of practical advice from the bench from somebody who sees it every day, fused with psychology, philosophy, and a little bit of spirituality.”
Lowrance, herself a child of divorce and a divorce survivor, arranged the book around a four-point therapy system: 1. creating a personal manifesto 2. downgrading and neutralizing anger and turning negativity into positive action 3. skills for “heroic” parenting and 4. transformative confrontation, or how to manage conflict.
Lowrance did draw on disguised real-life cases for the book, but she went beyond her courtroom experience. She also delved deeply into research as sophisticated and nuanced as the role of the brain’s neurons in dealing with negativity and anger.
“In the anger chapter, I have lots of skills: I call them transformational warm-ups,” she said. “I believe you are in transformation, and in addition to the legal process, you need a transformational process, not a Smith and Wesson.”