Tools I Used to Get Me Peacefully Through My Divorce

July 30, 2018

In the beginning, everyone kept saying, I’m not sure how you do it all as a single mom, you are so strong. I would politely say thank you as I internally rolled my eyes and prayed that someday I would see the strength they were taking about.

When you’re a single mom (especially a newbie), you have no idea how you do it or where the strength comes from. There is no time to evaluate or calculate, no time to mourn; the only thing you can do is move forward with one foot in front of the other. My son needed love, shelter, food, stability, family. He needed everything a child from a “normal” family would get and it was and still is my job every single day.

Strength to me was a delicious goal, a reach in my mind from where I was to where I wanted to be. I didn’t see what they saw; I did what was necessary.

Looking back on the last three years I’m realizing I was a fuck of a lot stronger than I ever believed. (And no excuses for my language there because it’s the only way to accurately express how strong I was). To leave someone I loved, to break the cycle of alcohol and abuse, to pack up my entire life in the bed of my brothers truck and my daddy’s Jeep; that is strength.

The comeback is stronger than the setback. Always.

Today I stand tall. Almost two years after leaving (and if we are being fully honest, I’ve been a single mother for his entire 3 years on this earth). I’m stronger than ever before.

How did I get here? What were my tricks and tips? How did this yoga mom stay so “yoga” throughout a traumatic divorce, at times including the police, raising a toddler, running two businesses and building a non-profit? What were the tools in my toolbox?

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Yoga

My time on the mat is the most precious time in the world. I don’t often get time to be on the mat in the public world, but I am constantly in my yoga, daily. I often tell my students that the easiest way to bring yoga off the mat and into the world is with our breath. We breathe when Zyan has a rough morning, we breathe when a toy needs to {unwillingly} be shared, we breathe during potty training and sometimes just because we can. Mama breathes in traffic, the courtroom and everywhere in between. It saves my life.

As someone who had never experienced real anxiety before, the weeks following my divorce were difficult to navigate. I couldn’t be left alone in large stores any longer, had no interest in interacting with others unless we were close to home and had a panic attack when my mom left to use the restroom on our mother/daughter vacation. The tool I relied on the most to get me through these moments was my breath. It was the only way I knew to get one foot in front of the other.

My favorite breath to use, especially in moments of stress, is ujjai breathing. You breathe in through the nose and exhale deeply through the nose. As you exhale, your mouth is closed and you’re activating the whisper muscles at the back of the throat. This produces a Darth Vadar kind of sound in your throat. Ujjai breathing calms the nervous system and brings you back to the present moment.

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Essential Oils

Using my ujjai breathing is key, yet there is another very quick and easy way to calm the nervous system and connect to the present moment : essential oils. Those of you who have been following me for sometime, know I use only Young Living essential oils. These therapeutic grade oils reach your brain in 22 seconds, can be found in your bloodstream in 2 minutes and if applied topically can reach every cell in your body in 20 minutes.

They have helped me navigate some of my toughest moments. I used valor for courage the day I walked into the courtroom to ask for support. I dabbed harmony oil over my heart as I calmly walked into each and every law office, courtroom, parenting class and more. We use helichrysum, frankincense, lavender & tea tree for all our playground bumps and bruises. We use gentle baby on mama and baby while we had diaper changes {and now potty training}. Raven & Snifflease are on hand and in my purse all winter. Thieves in mama’s purse for the unexpected snake visit in church, “what’s this” in the bathroom and trips to the farm.

Needless to say, essential oils save my life in the little moments. Especially on the tough days, my “emotional support roll-on” gives me the deepest support, or on the strong days, “light my fire” gives me life.

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Support, Alone Time & My Tribe

I am part of a mom TRIBE. This isn’t a typical “moms group” where we meet once a week and talk about our pros and our cons. That’s how we began, in a beautiful space where we could nurse or give bottles to our little ones; a place free of judgement. When our “babies” started to turn into crawling toddlers, we realized we no longer belonged with the red eyed mamas holding 2 week old newborns and begging for tips on where to go next. We were starting to become “seasoned” at this whole moms thing, and some of them were already beginning to grow their families.

As we continued our group online, we began going on more adventures together and formed what is now our tribe. Let me tell you people: THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN HAVING A TRIBE. This is a space where we are entirely judgmental free. Want to formula feed? YOUR KID IS ALIVE. Want to go on a date with your husband? SEX, LOVE + ROCK N’ ROLL. Want to wear an amber necklace around your little boys neck? FUCK YES TO LESS PAINFUL TEETHING. Want to spend time alone for the afternoon while paying someone to watch your kid so you can take a nap, read a book or get a pedicure? FUCKING DO IT.

We are a tribe of women with vastly different views and opinions of the world. Technically for some of us, the only thing we have in common is our children. But my God we rock it. We lift one another (often in the middle of the night) with a Facebook group chat, meet-ups mid week and a lot of love. This week alone, I’ve “stolen” two crying babies. In an outward appearance (and it’s true), it was because I love these women and wanted to give them a moments break. In a much more selfish view, my baby is no longer a baby and I need to snuggle a newborn.

All this to say : I cherish my alone time and feel zero guilt about it. I get pedicures, I go boxing, I take moments to swim at the lake or rest while he’s at daycare. I work my ass off while he’s there as well, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there are days when daycare is strictly for self-care.

My support from these women is only the tip of the iceberg. We live with my parents, my brother is one of the most incredible human beings I know and love, my friends would lay down on the line for me and many of them have picked me up off the floor (literally) to remind me to take a deep breath, being my legs when I couldn’t figure out how to walk forward. The people I have surrounded myself with in the last few years have blown my mind in ways I can’t even begin to describe and to say I’m grateful for them would be a vast understatement. I would not be where I am without their support, especially these women and my family. I recently read that on one day in 2017, Massachusetts domestic violence programs served 1,760 victims and were unable to meet 298 requests, 64% were for housing… to say I’m blessed with an incredible family is an understatement – so grateful.

You want to know the best piece of advice I have while going through a divorce?

LEAN ON THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU.

You have so many more people than you realize. I promise you that.

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Movement

Aside from yoga, I move constantly. Over the last two years, my personal trainer has become one of my dearest friends. Once a week for the last two years, she has shown up to help me move. If she arrives and I’m a ball of tears, I am prescribed restorative yoga and reiki. If she arrives and I’m angry, we box or complete {the worst} legs + cardio. If she arrives and I’m neutral, she’s kind and I get to pick my own workout itinerary.

On top of meeting with Kendra, I picked up boxing this year and love it. The movement, in a way, is similar to yoga. You need to be constantly connected to your breathing and your alignment simultaneously. Zyan, Apollo & I are also huge walkers. We love to go for walks around the lake or underneath the trees in our favorite spots.

I move my body and my energy at every moment. I give all of us reiki daily and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Keep moving. It helps balance the mind and the soul.

Did I mention yoga?

Honestly, my friends. Teaching & practicing yoga was and is my personal lifeline to wellness.

Breathe.

Move.

Yoga.

Love.

– xx namaste, Jenny

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