Play it Where it Lands: Why Monkeys on a Golf Course in India Can Help Navigate a Divorce

Monkeys, Golf and Lessons For Navigating Divorce (and Life)

Back when India was under British rule, a posh golf course was constructed in Kolkata (Calcutta). Monkeys who lived on the grounds developed a habit of picking up balls in play and throwing them. After years of trying to solve the problem by expelling the monkeys, the golf course resigned itself to the reality of the situation.

Instead of trying to change the monkeys’ behavior, the course changed the rules to require players to “play it where it lands.” Wherever the monkey threw or dropped a ball, that became the place from which it had to be played, no matter how unexpected or inconvenient.

That rule provides a great metaphor for divorce.

What Does it Mean to “Play it Where it Lands?”

Whether or not it was your choice to end the marriage, divorce is an extremely difficult event to deal with. But it can be easier to navigate if you play the ball where it’s been thrown-even if it’s in the sand trap.

When you respond with calmness and acceptance, you are more likely to open yourself up to other options and possibilities. Then, in turn, you are more likely to move forward in a way that will allow you to find happiness in the future.

Why This Rule Works Well For Divorce

I recently saw a good example of how this type of acceptance can benefit someone going through a painful divorce. A client believed that she and her husband had reached an agreement in mediation, but her husband began to have second thoughts about the terms and proposed some major changes out of the blue. My client was angry and repeatedly tried to convince her husband that rather than go back on his word, he should agree to the terms they had originally discussed.

Meetings were held, discussions were had, emails were exchanged, but her husband was insistent that those original terms no longer worked for him. My client eventually realized that she had to accept where her husband was now and not try to convince him to change. Once she accepted this fact, we were able to create a new agreement that met both of their needs in

a very creative way and allowed them each to feel secure about their futures. When my client decided to stop resisting the inevitable and to play the ball where it landed, she found peace and happiness in her decision.

My client was eventually able to respond to what seemed to be an insurmountable problem with acceptance and openness and that made all the difference.

And I’m happy to report that playing it where it landed helped Dr. Ryger too – she recently hit her first hole-in-one! And she let me know that thinking about our conversation and hearing my voice in her head saying “play it where it lands”, contributed to that success.

Whether you are dealing with a divorce that seems to be messing up your life, or monkeys that are messing up your golf game, try to find a place within you that will allow you to accept rather than resist what is happening. You may be surprised at the options that open up.

At Vacca Family Law Group, we strive to help clients meet unexpected challenges and find unpredictable solutions that allow them to move forward to a better life after divorce. We’d love to talk to you more about how we can help. Give us a call at 212-768-1115 or complete the form below.