When Lineska Thompson-Perez first met her ex, she was newly arrived from Puerto Rico and he didn’t know how to cook. Over the years, she taught her then-husband her Latin cooking secrets and he took over in the kitchen. “He’s a drummer,” she explains. “He could chop a lot faster than I could.” When they broke up in 2012, she says, she “lost everything.” But she’s gotten a lot faster in the kitchen—and she gets to do more with their 8-year-old son, Sky.

Thompson-Perez, who lives in Nanuet, NY and works as a personal trainer, yoga instructor and stylist, credits meditation and Buddhism for her ability to weather divorce with equanimity. “When I was married, we divided everything,” she says. ” Now, when I have Sky, the whole thing is on top of my shoulders. But it gets lighter and lighter–you get used to it. And it makes for a closer relationship with my son.”

Spirituality runs in the family, Thompson-Perez says, citing her devout mother, grandmother and great-mother. “They’ve set a great example for me. It keeps me grounded,” she says. “People get very upset and angry during breakups and they start to use alcohol or other destructive ways to escape.” Thompson-Perez prefers to run several times a week, and keeps up her spiritual practices. “I was driven to pray, to meditate, to write in a gratitude journal every night,” she says.

Thompson-Perez tries to greet everything–including adversity–with a “thank-you,” since it creates a way for her to grow. “We have a very powerful tool which is our mind,” she says. “It’s like our software. So we can be creative and turn a problem into an opportunity.” She tries not to dwell on the negative, instead, she leans toward forgiveness. “Having anger inside you is just going to position you for more pain,” she says. “When you really forgive another person for his mistakes, you feel such a sense of peace.”

She and Sky are currently living in her ex- in-laws’ basement, which is great for Sky–“he loves his grandparents”–but has its challenges, and she’s planning a move back to Manhattan soon. Thompson-Perez doesn’t have family nearby so she loves keeping in touch with her relatives in Puerto Rico via Facebook. She loves teaching yoga to kids in an afterschool program and she has a growing client base at the Ann Taylor store where she works as a stylist. But most of all, she enjoys spending lots of time with Sky, practicing baseball, going to playdates, building with Legos and battling Beyblades. “I have a child,” she says. “There’s a lot to be thankful for.”

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Photo by  Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash