A Punching Bag & A PuppyJan 27, 2023
Today I want to talk to you about a few things that I did following my divorce that helped me survive, and the lessons I learned from these things. Without a doubt the most important thing that I did was grow closer to God. But for the purpose of this note I want to share with you some of the worldly things that I did as well.
When I was in the very early stages of my divorce I spent a lot of time praying, meditating, and going on hikes. While these are really great things to do, I found that these peaceful activities just gave me more opportunities to live in my head and for destructive thoughts to fester in my brain. I often felt worse after a hike than I did before because in the silence I was being attacked by everything bad that was taking place. I knew I had to try something different.
The thought of boxing appealed to me because I thought it would help me get out some aggression. I bought a pair of cheap boxing gloves and found a local gym that had boxing classes. It only took me two sessions to realize that boxing to get out aggression was a misunderstanding of what you get out of that activity. What I really fell in love with was the cardio workout that released massive endorphins and the fact that in this sport you had to concentrate on what you were doing. It forced me to check any other thoughts I was having at the door. For the hour I was in the gym all of the other worries about what was happening outside went away.
The other thing that appealed to me about boxing was that it scared me. I felt that I had spent so much of my life making decisions based on fear. The fear of not getting what I wanted or losing what I already had kept me trapped in a hamster wheel of pain. What could be scarier than someone trying to punch you in the face? This was a great activity to help me to learn to conquer fear.
Next, I loved that boxing was new, and it was just mine. Although I have always been athletic and into playing sports, I had never done anything remotely like boxing. It was something that carried no memories of my pre-divorce life. It was a fresh slate with fresh people to get to know. It symbolized a new beginning.
The second thing I did post divorce that was a life saver was getting a puppy. When I was married we had a massive 75 lb goldendoodle. And although he was mine, he always felt like a family dog. Getting my own dog was a whole different story. I credit my daughter with my dog’s full name - Princess Leia Woofington III. When I asked my daughter “why the third?” she said, “because it sounds better, dad.” Solid logic!
Princess has kept me company and forced me to leave my house even when I don’t want to. She’s something warm to hold onto at night. A creature that has shown me what unconditional love looks like. I hope one day to be as good of a person as my dog thinks I am! And again, this dog has zero ties to my pre-divorce life. It was something new, something that was just mine, a new beginning.
God works in mysterious ways on this earth. I also believe that he speaks in clarity. I knew with certainty that boxing was the right activity and that getting a dog at the time that I did was something I was being called to do. My advice here is to listen. What is God telling you to do that would help you move forward in your recovery journey? It might be something that sounds super fun, or frankly it might not be. Did I enjoy getting up every day at 5:30am to go to the boxing gym? No way, but I never regretted it afterward. Can my dog be a lot of work and expensive? You bet. But I can’t imagine life without her. When God makes a path clear, take the exit he’s telling you to take.
The other lesson I hope you get out of this note is to find things to do that symbolize a new beginning and a fresh start. Now is your chance to figure out who you are. What do you like to do? What activities will allow you to meet new people? Is there anything that scares you? What will stretch you in a new way? Oh course, whatever you choose, make sure it's healthy and aligns with your faith. People said I was crazy for starting to box at the age of 41. They were right, but aren’t we all a little crazy at the start of a divorce? But sometimes the best things come out of those moments when we are in despair. If we can push through and show perseverance great things await.
As always, you don’t have to walk this journey alone. Reach out to us for support or try one of our video series. Recovery is within reach. A new you is just around the corner.
May the Peace of the Lord be with You,
Divorce is a long road. You will make it. WE will make it, together. Join MDR today to start your healing journey.
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