One of the most precious gifts I received during my divorce was the gift of safe spaces. I had my dear friend’s kitchen floor, where I could cry and curse without judgment while surrounded by the comforting activities of normal family life. I had my team at work who seemed to know whether I needed a hug, a bite to eat or simply a moment by myself. I had my family, who although spread around the country, would send me emails of support and understanding (liberally peppered with humorous anti-ex sentiments).
Those safe spaces were so treasured because the larger world was anything-but-safe. I had acquaintances question what I must have done to have deserved betrayal and abandonment. I had men at the gym view my fragility and naiveté as an invitation to pursue me long before I was ready to consider a new relationship. And social media? Ugh. It seemed like every message of well-stated support was followed by something well-meaning but clueless (“Don’t worry, honey. There are plenty of other men out there. And you’re still not too old to have babies.”). And then there were those that treated me like a pariah, as though divorce was somehow contagious and by consorting with me, they risked bringing it into their own homes.
There have been many groups that provide a safe space for those undergoing divorce. Each one strives to be a place free from the blaming and shaming that so easily follows the end of a marriage.
Divorce Nation is a little different. It is the safe space, offering virtual community so that those experiencing divorce don’t feel so alone. But unlike most other groups, they don’t just want to help you heal emotionally; they want to help heal your body too. Which from my experience, is a critical component to divorce recovery.
Exercise has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. And so when faced with the enormity of the challenge of coming back from the beat-down of divorce, it was no wonder that it became a significant part of my tool kit. Through fitness, I learned how to release the trauma from my body. The cage erected around my still-bleeding heart began to relax, allowing the lungs to again expand. Running released the excess anxiety while providing a welcomed sense of movement and progress. And yoga, my blessed yoga, continues to teach me that strength can exist alongside vulnerability.
I don’t think I could have made it through the divorce without the benefit of exercise.
Maybe exercise hasn’t been a part of your life. Or perhaps your once-welcoming gym now feels like a danger zone filled with happy-go-lucky youth or predatory singles. Divorce Nation wants to help you bring exercise into your life and teach you how it can help you heal and move forward, stronger in both mind and body.
I’m jealous of those in the Cleveland, Ohio area. A physical gym is in the works that specifically caters to those working through the end of a relationship. The vision is a safe space, a welcoming community with therapeutic support and the opportunity to allow the body to help heal the soul.
Here are the pertinent links for Divorce Nation: