As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Survive And Thrive After A Divorce ” I had the pleasure of interviewing
TJ Menhennitt is a spiritual leader, author and inspirational speaker. His inspirational messages range from religion to living a positive life. He is passionate about running, spending time in nature, and making a difference in the lives of others. His upcoming book, Taking the War Out of the Warrior, is his own story of divorce and how it would take a miracle from above to soften this warrior’s heart.
Through his studies in a U.C.C lay ministry program, TJ has baptized babies, assisted in wedding ceremonies, and brought love and hope to the sick and shut ins. He also started a Saturday night service where he wrote and delivered inspirational messages.
TJ has run in numerous charitable 5Ks and obstacle races, his favorite of which was walking non-stop for over 24 hours to raise money for cancer research. He coached several of his children’s sports teams, and through his role as a scout leader, he was able to work with and assist many young boys through nature, spirituality and life skills.
TJ lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with his wife, Carla, and two children. He and his family enjoy raising goats, chickens and even one ostrich. You can learn more about him at tjmenhennitt.com.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I like to run, and while I’m out running, it’s a form of active meditation for me. One night while running, I envisioned a book with my name on it. I always wanted to share my story, and I felt God was confirming. My divorce was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to experience, but it also was the biggest catalyst for change in my life, and in the end, it was a big change for the better. I’m a different man now, and the struggles I went through during the time of my separation and divorce were a blessing in disguise.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about “divorce”?
I wouldn’t say I am an authority on divorce, however, I personally navigated through a rough divorce after a twenty-year marriage. Experience is the biggest teacher, and now I can share my story in an effort to inspire others and help many people walk through a journey similar to mine.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I prayed one night for help when I thought this was all completely impossible to start, and it was revealed to me to just be open. I still can’t believe to this day how many people keep showing up at the right time in this journey to either help or inspire me to continue forward. From being reunited with my cousin after thirty plus years who is now my editor, to meeting a homeless man who opened my eyes to see that others are going through difficult journeys as well. Oh! And then there’s the day I found out my friend was a psychic. I have learned that when you are open, everything and everyone you need appears. It’s all so amazing, and, truly a blessing.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I never used to back up any of my files after I would write, but one day I came to find that I had lost the entire manuscript I wrote about my story. I had to start completely over. I felt that it was a huge lesson learned, and now I back things up more ways then one. But, as most things go, it turned out that it was the break I needed because I was truly struggling to finish the original and the second writings came along much easier, and the result is so much more powerful.
If you had a close friend come to you for advice after a divorce, what are 5 things you would advise in order to survive and thrive after the divorce? Can you please give a story or example for each?
1. Exercise Mentally, Physically and Spiritually. Your body really is your temple. Entertain your brain with positive material, whether it’s self-help books or guided meditations. There’s a lot of negativity going through a divorce, and your mind needs daily, positive nurturing. Physical exercise not only burns calories, it also burns a lot of pent up energy and emotions. Outside recreation is wonderful and nature finds a way to bring peace. Daily spiritual exercise lets us know we are not alone. Prayers and rituals can bring balance to someone when their world is jolted by a divorce.
2. Eliminate Blame. Blaming does nothing but allow you to sit in limbo. You will literally sit and wait for things to change from the people or God you blamed for putting you in this position. Let go of ego and by eliminating blame, you become responsible and can take action to move forward on a road of healing and happiness. It’s very empowering when you realize you are in control of your future.
3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone. Start doing things you are afraid to do. If you want to write a book, start journaling. If you wish you could be an artist, take a beginner’s class at your community college. You never know where things could lead if you don’t try, and you never know who you could end up meeting by chance. When we step out of our comfort zones, that is when the world opens up to us.
4. Be Grateful & Pay it Forward. We forget all the blessings we do have and tend to only dwell on the pain during and after a divorce. And the thing is there are blessings all around us even when we can’t see them. Gratitude will transform how to view your experiences. To truly feel grateful, pass up the bar life and start serving in your community. Volunteer at your local library, church or food shelter. Help with fundraisers. You will feel more inspired when you start serving others.
5. Love Eliminates Fear. We fear so many things after or during a divorce. Fears of feeling unworthy, fear of the past and the unknown of tomorrow. You need to decide to live for today and start loving things again, and love yourself! There’s inspiration and passion inside all of us. Find that passion and love again. You are worth it!
What are the most common mistakes people make after they go through a divorce? What can be done to avoid that?
Start by looking at the crowd you are in. Are they truly happy people? Did they go through a bad divorce and have nothing to say but bad and ugly things about their ex? Be in good company and with like-minded people. You want to be happy or be in love again? You need to listen to and be around the people who are happy and are in love.
Secondly, this is not the end! Our life is truly a story made up of chapters like in a book. Look at this as the start of a new chapter for you. You are the author, you get to choose how you want to write it! You want to be positive? Happy? Peaceful? Then write it and start living it!
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources related to this topic that you would recommend to our readers?
I love Hay House Radio. So many wonderful speakers are featured there. I found that most of my inspiration came from people there. Dr. Wayne Dyer, Michael Neill, and Allan Cohen are my favorites.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that helped you in this work? Can you share how that was relevant in your real life?
“With everything that has happened to you, you can feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” Dr. Wayne Dyer
When I was going through the worst of the worst during my divorce, I was reminded by this quote that it’s my choice. It’s my choice to be happy, be positive, and move forward. Once I started looking at all things as a blessing, as a gift, it opened my mind to grow. When I didn’t, I stayed in the past. Even to this day, it’s a daily choice that I make — we all have the power to choose how to look at things, how to treat people, and how to respond to what happens to you and around you.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, a soon-to-be published book called Taking the War Out of the Warrior. It’s my story of how I went from living in the trenches of hate, anger and fear during my divorce to living a positive, worthy life. Many people will relate to my hurdles and will find inspiration to be able to move forward. Anyone interested in being notified when the book comes out can let me know at tjmenhennitt.com.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
A movement to help men cope through a divorce and separation rights with their children. Surveys show ten divorced men die every day due to the loss of their marriage and their children.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Paulo Coelho. My all-time favorite book is The Alchemist. His story led me to follow my dreams and find my treasure! I would love to personally thank him and listen to how the story from The Alchemist came about and learn about his own personal journey.