life

  • Ready or Not, It’s Time for a Rebirth

    Ready or Not

    I’ll go with NOT on this one, but apparently the Universe (or God or my spirit guides or whatever you want to call it) had other plans. As often goes, our toughest challenges provide us with our greatest gifts. Those tricky but necessary life lessons that we weren’t open to learning on our own, hence the higher power stepping in as if to say,

    “Ready or not, it’s time for a rebirth (because you’re clearly not getting it).”

    I’m also quite sure that my higher power said to the other higher powers, “watch this” while simultaneously orchestrating said rebirth and sending me into a tailspin.

    It’s Time For A Rebirth

    Have you ever found yourself doing things that you thought would make you better in some way, yet deep down it felt like you were heading in the wrong direction or doing something that didn’t feel as good in your heart as it sounded in your head? Maybe it seemed a little…desperate, or off the mark or incongruent? But you pushed harder, tried harder, put yourself out there more, continued to go against the grain. And not against the grain of others, but against your own grain.

    You vaguely noticed that you weren’t feeling the way you thought you’d feel as you continued trying to do this thing…this…whatever it happened to be that you were pursuing. You ignored the feeling and pushed it down and “rallied” as a good friend of mine often says. “Just try harder” you told yourself. Maybe you even said the dreaded, “suck it up” to yourself.

    PS, you’re not a vacuum. It’s not your job to suck it up.

    You want this thing. You’ve worked so hard for it. You’ve put so much into it. It’s such a big part of your life. You’re trying so freakin hard to just make this freakin thing work out that you’re almost about to lose your freakin mind…

    Until…

    Hello, it’s time for a rebirth.

    Newsflash

    Nothing external will ever fill that void you’re trying to fill.

    Read that again.

    Ok fine, have it your way. I’ll type it again for you.

    Nothing external will ever fill that void you’re trying to fill.

    No job, no relationship, no amount of money, no diet, no hairdo, no new car or new house.

    If you feel like there’s something missing in your life, I’ve got news for you…it’s YOU. It’s not any of that stuff I just mentioned. It’s YOU that’s missing. I personally spent most of my life trying to fill that void by way of a career. I’m the queen of quitting jobs. Great jobs. Amazing jobs. Career highlight jobs. I’ve walked away from more jobs than most people have even had in their lives.

    Jen in her firefighter uniform sitting in a fire truck

    Something was always missing and it took me until like yesterday to realize that it was me that was missing. How’s that for irony? I’ve struggled with anxiety all my life and blamed my sketchy career history on it, which is somewhat true, but underneath the anxiety was the..omg…the feeling that something was missing. What was missing? You guessed it! ME.

    It’s like trying to force an engine to work when there’s one little spark plug deep inside that’s misfiring, or not firing at all. It’s not ever going to work right until that little spark plug is cleaned or replaced. Except with humans, it’s a matter of either cleaning the limiting beliefs and faulty thoughts out of our head or dumping the programming and installing new stuff.

    What’s This Rebirth I Speak Of?

    Who knows, really? I’d never used the term until yesterday. I was feeling like a complete failure after something I’d gone though on Monday and I felt like I’d made a total mess of my life so when I got the hunch to book an appointment at a yoga retreat about 45 minutes from my house that I’d come across on line the day before, I decided to go with it. The session was called a Soul Guidance session and I didn’t really know what it was but I was very aware that my soul was telling me I needed to go do this thing.

    So I went.

    In case you’ve never read my blog before, or don’t know me personally, it’s important to note that I’m a chronic over thinker and I’m always in my head.

    When I drove to this location, I was completely at peace – and totally out of my head – and I hadn’t even arrived there yet (if you’re an over thinker than you can appreciate how big of a deal that really is). I enjoyed that beautiful gift for the rest of the day. Such complete bliss for someone like me!

    As for the rebirth, it’s really the only way I can explain what I went through yesterday. I’m not going to try describe my entire experience here but I’ll sum it up by saying that I feel whole, complete, present and deeply peaceful…all the things I’d struggled to feel most of my life. All of the things I mistakenly thought I could find if I could just get right job, because it would make me somebody. That’s actually what I believed about myself. I’ve always struggled with underlying thoughts that 1) I’m not enough and 2) I don’t measure up. Theres a few other gems like 3) I’m not that smart, 4) I’m weak and 5) I’m a failure. It all goes back to childhood crap but it’s junk like these negative thoughts that derails our lives despite our best efforts.

    The good news is, these thoughts seem absolutely untrue and ridiculous to me now. Up until now though, they controlled every move I made.

    It’s All Internal

    It wasn’t anything external to me, aside from a very intuitive and gifted woman (whose name is also Jennifer) guiding me along my journey back to my truth and it all occurred within about an hour. During the session, I recall saying to her that it felt like a rebirth and that was the first time the words had entered my mind or crossed my lips. It still stands true as I type these words.

    I feel like I’ve returned home to myself.

    Rebirth

    A large part of this roller coaster of a journey we call life is the growth process, or the evolution of things. We grow, we evolve, we try new things and let go of old things. Life is cyclical and things come and go. Tides ebb and flow and so do life circumstances. The problem occurs when we hold on to things too long in a desperate attempt to make it work. The key word being desperate. You KNOW deep down when something feels desperate. You know. You may try to deny that you know, but YOU KNOW.

    Just like I did but fought it, ignored it, tried to override it and suppress it by whatever means necessary.

    You know what kind of energy it takes to constantly fight that??? Ya, you do. You know that one too.

    Through my experience yesterday, I was able to very clearly see what in my life it was time to let go of. Not with feelings of anger or frustration or failure, but with a grateful heart and a deep appreciation for all the amazing experiences that it brought into my life. Honestly, I let go of it with love.

    Results

    I’m at peace and I’m happy to have the freedom to allow something new into my life along with all that awesome new creative energy that was being sucked up to fight against that which I already knew to be true.

    Choice is yours. If there’s something you know you’re avoiding facing, you can either do it yourself or wait for the universe to say to you,

    Ready or not, it’s time for a rebirth.”

    Letting go can be a really good thing you know…in ways you can’t even see yet.

    Jennifer Grigg

    PS, here’s the link to the amazing Pura Vida Soul Institute and the catalyst for my rebirth.

     

    Jen xo

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  • Life Experience and Meaning

    Live and Die By Your Own Sword

     sword in the ground in a field of life experience

    Your happiness is dependent upon the meaning you attach to your life and life experience. What you make your life experience mean and the beliefs you’ve adopted and lived by. Try this on for size; If you fail, it’s on you. If you succeed, it’s on you. When you take 100% responsibility for your life and you understand and accept that your “so-called” failures and your greatest successes are a result of your doing, you are destined for greatness. No more blaming life circumstances, people or things beyond your control. No more giving your power away.

    You will have likely reacted in one of two ways to reading my words. Those words will either make you incredibly angry, or incredibly inspired. 

    I find it beautifully liberating to comprehend that if I fail (and I use the term loosely because I don’t believe in failure, I believe in lessons learned and new paths taken), but if I fail, it’s on me. If I succeed, that is also on me. There is genuine power in this mindset. My belief about failure is an example of a meaning that I’ve attached to my life. A principle I’ve adopted.

    Life Experience and Success

    Think of the most successful people you know of. How many of them do you think had significant struggles, childhood trauma, difficult life circumstances in their young lives?  I’d be willing to bet that it’s most of them.

    As Ed Mylett said in an interview with Rachel Hollis, “successful people repurpose the messes of their lives in a way that others don’t.”

    If you don’t know who either of those people are, you need to google them. Click here for the interview.

    As for Ed’s quote, it’s the best advice you may ever receive if you’re looking to change your life. Read it again. Successful people are successful because of what they’ve been though and the meaning they’ve attached to their life experience. They decided to make it mean something good, or to see the good in it. They’ve allowed meaning to take place in a way that benefits not only them, but others.

    Pick Your Path

    path through the woods of life experience

    Rachel goes on to say, “when you walk through a trauma or have had a hard childhood, you take one of two paths. You’re either a victim and you let that define you or it will be the leverage you need to get to the place that you’re going.”

    I personally agree 100% with Ms. Hollis. I’ve done that walk, spent many years defining myself by it, and then reframed it and finally moved on. I had childhood trauma and I let it determine and define who I was as a person, how I showed up in the world, and what I believed about my worth. I also spent years battling depression, anxiety and ptsd and was on and off meds. The day I decided I had to save myself was the day the trajectory of my life changed. How? I reframed what my life experience meant.

    Today I’m happy, healthy, off meds, lost weight and I am very much at peace.

    Life Experience and Meaning

    The meaning we attach to events controls everything. Your thoughts, your beliefs about yourself and about others, your behaviour, your relationships. The way you live your life. Are you optimistic or pessimistic? What’s your outlook and where did it come from?  Look at your life experience and what it means to you.

    I finally got to a point in my life where I was able to see that my life experience has provided me with the tools to help others. What greater gift could there possibly be? Everything I’ve been through (which, by the way, I don’t think is all that different from most) has led me to where I am now. I am in a very powerful place because I know my worth, I know how I can help people, I know my gifts and I know that everything I went through was meant to transform me into the person I am.

    Your wounds don’t make you weak. They make you a warrior, and you are uniquely equipped to help certain people that others may not be able to help. You will say the words that are exactly the words they need to hear and you have life experience that they can relate to. You may be someone’s saving grace.

    THAT IS YOUR GIFT.

    THAT IS THE MEANING YOU NEED TO ATTACH TO YOUR DIFFICULT LIFE EXPERIENCE.

    Powerful female embracing life experience

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  • Permission to Grow

    Growth

    I’m reading Jen Sincero’s new book, You are a Badass at Making Money, which is a follow-up to her You are a Badassthe first book of hers that I read and loved. You can click on either of those titles to link to the book on Amazon. And no, I’m in no way affiliated with her, aside from knowing the truth when I see it, and wanting to share it with you good folks.

    Like any great read, within the first few pages, I was underlining sentences and phrases that resonated with me. Yes, I’m one of those people who highlights/underlines/writes in books with abandon and I’ve never given it a second thought. I don’t just read books, I immerse myself in them. I absorb them. I am changed by them.

    Here’s the first thing I underlined;

    “Desire literally means de sire, “of the father”, and whether or not you believe in God, your desires were bestowed upon you when you became your earthly self, along with other distinctive you-type things like your face and your personality and your affinity for needlecrafts.” 

    BAM! Not the needlecraft part, but definitely the de sire part. The things that light you up, make your heart smile, give you hope or a glimpse of the possibilities…your desires, those are what make life fun. When you’re living them at least. The problem being that so many people AREN’T living them. They deny themselves their desires. Their gifts from “the father”, if you will.

    We’ve been conditioned to look at our desires/wants/hopes/dreams as somehow less important or less valuable than whatever our reality is (or what we perceive it to be) at any given time.

    When it comes to your dreams and desires, have you ever told yourself,

    “maybe some day”

    or “it’s nice to dream but the reality is…”,

    or “work hard, be responsible, pay the bills, and then, and only then, maybe let yourself entertain the idea of what many consider “play”.

    Well here’s a friendly reminder from two Jen’s that your desires are as inherent and REAL and important as your mind, your body and your emotions.

    Here’s another humdinger I underlined:

    “We all have seeds of unthinkable badassery inside of us, yet only some of us will allow ourselves to grow.” Hmmmm…how’s that one feel? Let it sink in a little. Read it again.

    Feels like truth, doesn’t it?

    Sky's the limit
    Sky’s the limit

    I have two questions for you:

    1. What do you have inside you that you’re not allowing, accepting, embracing or bringing out into the light? That hidden desire that you’ve convinced yourself you don’t have time, energy, money, talent for.
    2. Why is it that you’re not giving yourself permission to grow, to allow your desires to come forward and show themselves to the world? Is it because you think you’re not worthy? Not talented? Not good enough? Now there’s a good one. Who hasn’t thought they weren’t good enough at some point in their lives? Who is thinking it now? I’m very familiar with that limiting belief myself. Gone several rounds with that one.

    Here’s a suggestion, grab a journal and a pen and jot down whatever is going through your head in response to those two questions. You can sit there and mull it over, which is great, but putting pen to paper (or even grabbing your phone and jotting down some notes) has an entirely different energy to it. This kind of stuff is exactly the kind of s#*t that is tripping you up, these negative thoughts and limiting beliefs. It’s what you need to get OUT OF your head and on to paper, or digital device whatever the case may be.

    It’s like clutter in your home, it gets in the way, it trips you up, makes a mess, serves no purpose – other than to keep you stuck.

    There’s great power in action. Big or small. You’ll never get to place of embracing your desires – your worthiness, your birthright to a happy, healthy, prosperous life – if you don’t dismantle these limiting beliefs that are preventing you from doing so.

    People often think they don’t know what their passion is, or what they truly want out of life. I believe we all know deep down, the problem is we’ve just forgotten. The answers are ALL within you. 100%. Sometimes it takes a little more work than we’d like to reconnect to our truth or our happy place within, but when we’ve spent a lifetime of unknowingly building layer after layer over our dreams, you don’t clear that s#*t over night. You do create a little more space with every layer you release though, and that makes the journey back to yourself sweeter with every step you take.

    Ok, it’s your turn…back to those two questions.

    I’ll be waiting to hear what you come up with….

    What makes you happy?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    JEN

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  • The Hard Part of Follow Your Bliss

    Cup of coffee to start the day
    Morning coffee

    It’s Wednesday and I woke up feeling tired. It’s not exactly in line with my living mantra of Follow Your Bliss, but it’s real life.

    I’m often awake around 3-4am, but I think it was closer to 4:30 this morning because the birds were chirping. I managed to fall back asleep around 5:30 and slept til 8, which felt really late to me. Maybe that’s where my day went a little sideways. I wasn’t even out of bed and I was already feeling behind in my day. In hindsight, I should’ve just stayed put and let myself enjoy the space of nothingness. Or at least grabbed my journal and dumped the negative thoughts that were starting to pile up in my brain on paper so as not to completely derail my day.

    I jumped out of bed, made my coffee, and headed for the couch and my laptop. Big Mistake. Scratch that, not a mistake – because I don’t believe in mistakes or in doing things wrong – I believe everything happens for a reason and it all teaches us something if we’re willing to see the lesson. In it’s simplest form, it teaches us to not do that again, whatever that happened to be. We make a choice or a decision and there’s a result that comes from that decision, which we either like or we don’t. In my case, my choice to go right into work mode caused a ripple effect of….ERG! UGH! and F*#K! for lack of a better description.

    Today I’m yet again reminded of the life lesson (life lessons keep repeating themselves until we actually learn them and change the behaviour that causes them to appear in the first place) that it’s impossible to do it all and incredibly stressful to even entertain the idea.

    I’m a firm believer in the Follow Your Bliss mantra, so much so that it’s tattooed on my left arm in memory of my brother Steven. I know without a doubt that we are all here to bring our natural gifts forward to share with the world and light it up in a way that it’s never seen before. Each and every one of us has unique talents that the world will never see if we don’t believe in ourselves and share them – which means that the very people that need to hear your voice/see your creativity/resonate with your words – will miss out. YOU may be just what someone else needs in order to heal. That’s what Follow Your Bliss means to me.

    Follow Your Bliss tattoo on Jen's arm
    The tattoo

    The hard part of Following Your Bliss is the behind the scenes part that no one sees. Trying to learn a bunch of new things simultaneously, for example. In my case: web design, business card design, accounting software, marketing, branding, becoming savvier with your social media, email marketing, SEO, completing the courses and training that your new business is based on – health & wellness coaching, body language training certification, human behaviour courses and essential oils, preparing for new public speaking opportunities – always fun for those with any ounce of anxiety – and of course, the fear of putting yourself out into the world in a whole new way, just to name a few.

    It’s working all hours of the day, trying to juggle a gazillion moving parts and finding your way all on your own. The benefit to working for someone else is that you show up, you’re told what to do, you put in your day and then you go home. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re on your own. There is no one there to tell you what to do and no user manual to guide you. However, I knew I couldn’t work for someone else which, by the way, is a key indicator that you too are an entrepreneur at heart if that resonates with you.

    It’s a powerful experience in trusting and having unwavering faith in yourself and there have definitely been times when my faith wavered. You need to have a burning passion and a ton of grit to see this through. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried (today as a matter of fact), I’ve taught myself more than I ever thought I could, and had times where I’ve never felt more alone (also today).

    This journey of Following Your Bliss is not for the faint of heart.

    Having said that, I’ve been blessed with incredible mentors along the way that have helped me immensely in my journey (that is, when I allowed myself to reach out for help).

    An amazingly patient and insanely talented young website designer named Daynna Hartjes A Daynna Life  helped me create this beautiful foundation from which everything else will be built upon.

    My very good friend and motivational guru, Shelli Varela Shelli Varela, who had me on her podcast (which was totally awesome) and is always ready to offer words of wisdom or a kick in the [email protected]* whenever I need it.

    The stunningly authentic and beautiful Tara Marino and the Elegant Femme community Elegant Femme, whose courses have been the catalyst for me in reconnecting to my truth and my bliss.

    Vanessa Van Edwards and Danielle Baker at Science of People where I received my certification as a Body Language Trainer along with a ton of knowledge and experience on going down the entrepreneurial path.

    These wonderful people brought me back to shore when my little boat, the SS Jenny, was adrift.

    Jen and husband looking at each other
    My rock

    Especially, my husband Earl.

    After deciding 4 hours ago that I was NOT going to do anything work related today because I recognized that insufferable feeling of swimming upstream and the need to walk away, I’ve just written an 1000 word blog. Is it really work related though? EVERYTHING ends up being work related on some level when you’re an entrepreneur. It’s either directly related to work or becomes inspiration for your work.

    I find writing to be cathartic, therapeutic, soul nourishing and stress relieving. It’s an opportunity to express my deepest thoughts, dreams, feelings and desires and hopefully connect with others through my words and perspectives. It’s both work and play, content creation and therapy, cultivation and bliss.

    It’s also – I’ve just realized – the easiest way for me to do the thing I’m trying so hard to do – inspire others by Following My Bliss.

    There is a flip side to everything we do in life. The yin and the yang, light and dark, expansion and contraction. What makes the path of Following Your Bliss different from the usual slog through life is that you’re Following YOUR Bliss rather than someone else’s.

    Jennifer sitting in the sun, following her bliss
    In my happy place – at home in the sun
    As tough as it gets, the inner light that’s guiding me shines bright enough to light even the darkest of times.

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  • What I Learned on the Bathroom Floor of the Hampton Inn, Outer Banks, NC

    Last Thursday my husband, 16 year old daughter and I left Ontario and headed for North Carolina in my beloved blue Chevy Colorado. I was meeting with of a group of women, that I’d done a 3 month on line course with, in Outer Banks, North Carolina. The fact that I was willing to make the trip to North Carolina to spend the weekend with 10 other women that I’d only met on social media is in itself nothing short of a miracle for this recovering introvert. I say recovering because I realized during this weekend experience that “introvert” (in the way I was applying it to myself) was a life jacket that no longer served its purpose. I love the introvert in me, and how it connects me to beautiful fellow innies, like my charming new friend Susan, but choose to now see myself as deep (thank you Tara) rather than introvert as an excuse for being different.

    Also of importance is that I was once diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety. Goes to show you that when you’re being called to do something by a higher power (whatever that higher power may be for you – gut instinct, spirit, God, the universe, your soul) you can overcome ANYTHING.

    The workshop (which wasn’t really a workshop but I still struggle to find the words to accurately describe what it was) started on Saturday at 10am. I’d met two of the ladies the night before because they were staying at the same hotel and they’d joined my hubby and daughter and I for dinner. Another fun fact, when my new acquaintance, Linda, sent me a message and invited me to her room for a beer, I actually went. My husband even teased me saying, “you’re going to talk to a stranger!?”. Yes, I was that much of an introvert that I rarely talked to people I didn’t know. I was never one for small talk or for being a conversation starter. But this was different. Although we’d only chatted on our  Facebook group page, we all shared the same journey of self discovery. We knew that we’d like each other because our hearts and souls had connected long before our persons had actually met.

    It’s almost like a knowing when you don’t really know, you know?

    I loved Linda the instant I saw her. Interesting to also note that first impressions are made the moment we see someone, before they even speak. Subconsciously we make decisions about myriad things we’re picking up on without even knowing it.

    Next we met Michelle who, funny enough, I bonded with when she reached across the table to pull apart the shell of the shrimp I was trying to dismantle. Not only was I eating off someone else’s plate (Linda’s), which is rare for me, I was totally comfortable with my   other new friend helping me navigate the best way to do it. Introvert’s generally do not eat off of other’s plates unless they’re family or long time friends, and hesitate when someone else enters our space, and that includes family and long time friends. You can see how I let the introvert label hold me back.

    Saturday morning the three of us shared a ride over to the sacred location for the gathering and I was feeling totally at ease about the day ahead.

    Thinking back, that may have been the only time I felt at ease that day because I just pictured things coming to a crashing halt in my head as I typed those words. Don’t get me wrong – the day, the location, the women, the experience – all absolutely gorgeous. I just wasn’t mentally prepared for the staunch resistance that would come up for me over the course of the day. In my mind, this was going to be a beautiful, sensual, flowing happily through the day unfolding of insight and acceptance. In reality it was all of those things, but it played out very differently due to some misperceptions about myself that were holding on so tightly and so deeply ingrained that everything in me fought to let them go.

    Even through the discomfort, every time I looked across the room and met June’s gaze, she was smiling back at me. It’s like she knew something I didn’t. I felt warmth, love and acceptance in her smile and it will stay with me forever. Much like Laurie’s authenticity and laughter. I can hear it now…

    When I got back to the hotel that night, I was physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted and when my husband asked me about my day, I told him it felt like group therapy bootcamp. Yet I instinctively knew this was a pivotal part of the most beautiful transformation in process.

    I’d shared with the ladies earlier in the day that I’d been struggling with menopause symptoms, most notably, the lack of sleep. I blamed the shortage of slumber for almost everything, come to think of it. (Deirdre, who spirit had given me as a loving partner for the weekend, suggested a book* that would help and I was thrilled because I love books and it gave me hope.) Menopause had become another non-serving identity like my introvert pfd and that night, it arrived like clockwork around 4am. And I fought it. I wrestled with it, I cursed it, and then I did something different with it.

    Tara, our pure white light of a guide and mentor on this journey, tells us to ask our Indie** for assistance when we need it. So I did. I sat up in the bed, crossed my legs and held my face in my hands with tears silently sliding down my cheeks.

    “Sage (that’s my Indie’s name), help me please. What do I do? Tell me what to do.”

    My husband woke up and gently put his hand on my back in an act of love and kindness. It didn’t help. In fact, I almost recoiled from it. Which told me that what I really required in that moment was space. But where do I go in the middle of the night in a hotel room in the Outer Banks of North Carolina? Carolla, to be exact.

    I picked up my journal, my pen, and the huge, thick, luxurious, black blanket that I’d thrown in the truck at the last minute because I thought Emmy would like it for the drive. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew instinctively that I needed to be swathed in soft, and that blanket was it.

    I went to the bathroom, closed the door ever so softly so the click wouldn’t wake my hubby and daughter and turned on the light.

    I folded the blanket in fourths so it would be soft on the hard tile floor, but still large enough for me to curl up on. I sat down with my journal in hand but I didn’t write. I thought I would (a writer by nature, it seemed like a possible outlet for my inner angst), but writing wasn’t what I needed. It was what I thought I needed. What I actually needed, was to lie down on the floor and let go. I curled up on the blanket and felt my body soften and my mind relax. I was struck by the realization that the softness of the blanket and the solidness of the floor was EXACTLY what I required at that moment. My Indie brought me to my knees by taking me to the floor.

    It was there that I was able to let go. To really let go – of what I thought I needed – and embraced what my inner being knew I needed. I let go of the struggle with menopause and what it meant to me. I let go of the meaning I’d attached to insomnia and sleeplessness, the struggle, the constant dismay and blame. I suddenly saw it as an opportunity. A gorgeous opportunity for me to have space, to entertain infinite possibility, to have no agenda, no thoughts, no restrictions or rules.

    I stared at the under side of the vanity and the welcomed the different perspective it gave me. Yes, it’s beauty is seen from the top, but it’s foundation is underneath, and equally beautiful. I looked at the toilet paper role and my mind flashed back to earlier in the day when Tara asked for a box of Kleenex and LA (who works with Tara) brought out a role of toilet paper and set it on the coffee table. We all shared a heartfelt laugh.

    I was there for an hour. Completely at peace. I was in awe that I could see how being awake at this time of the morning was a gift, not a curse. That instead of fighting it, I embraced it. Allowed it. Welcomed it.

    We were to be at the beach house for 6am Sunday morning as Tara had planned for us to watch the sun rise down on the beach and journal. When I met Linda in the lobby at 5:45, I felt peaceful, but still a little bewildered by the change in perspective. As much as I welcomed the shift, part of me was still skeptical. Would this peacefulness last? Would lethargy set in? Will I be too tired to fully immerse in the experience of the day? It can’t possibly be that easy to change something I’ve struggled with for over a year. Can it?

    As we walked to the car, Linda asked if I slept well. I told her I’d been awake since 4 and what I’d learned from the bathroom floor. She’d only slept a couple of hours herself. I wasn’t alone and smiled a little at the thought.

    The sunrise was everything Tara knew it would be for us, unique to each, but also the same. Spiritual, beautiful, soul soothing, heart full. As we shared our experiences back at the beach house, 10 women shared their intimate moments of awakening. Cecile so eloquently described it as transcendent. Carla was overcome with emotion and forgiveness. We all felt love. For ourselves and our journey within.

    When I asked my Indie “Who am I?” as Tara had suggested, a poem flowed through my pen, connecting my outer being with my inner being. I shared it with the group. I thought I was writing about the ocean but when reading it out loud, I realized it was also about me.

    It felt good to write poetry again.

    As the day drew to a close, my new friends – my sisters as I called them in a poem I’d written while on the bathroom floor – commented on how much more relaxed and peaceful I looked compared to the day before. Stephanie, who my soul recognized as the embodiment of softness and strength,  said she could see it in my face. The resistance was gone and I felt it in my core. Like the ocean waves, the angst had washed away and left my beautiful truth shining in the sun.

    At one point, I’d moved to the floor (on my soft, sensual blanket of course) and was sitting with the sun shining on my face, to which Tara asked, “are you ok in the sun, Jen?”

    I couldn’t help but smile.

    Tara, I’ve never been more ok. It’s right where I belong.

     

    *The book Deirdre recommended – https://www.drnorthrup.com/wisdom-of-menopause/

    **For more information on the Indie and the Femme Types – http://elegantfemme.com

     

     

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  • Go Your Own Way

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    Do you have the Fleetwood Mac song in your head right now? Because I do and I really wish I’d bought this pillow when I saw it during a visit to see family in Okotoks, Alberta last summer. I can only hope to come across it again on my next visit because it speaks to me on so many levels.

    Not only do I love the song, it seems that these very words were written on my heart and soul from before birth. I’ve always had the sense that I was intended to follow my own path, but I never really understood the importance of doing so. I dabbled with it here and there throughout my life, cautiously and ever-so-gingerly stepping down the path less travelled, but only to trudge back to the well-worn route of societal norm. A lack of faith in myself combined with the disbelief that I really could do things my way and succeed routinely rerouted me.

    I always struggled with the “normal/traditional/typical” idea of having to go somewhere you wouldn’t normally want to be, to work for someone else in the traditional full-time, M-F job. To me, it felt like being stuck in a box, where the totality of my personality (my heart and soul) was often checked at the door and my valuable time (because all we have is our time and we don’t know when that time is up) was traded for financial compensation. Although some jobs (job, by the way, standing for Just Over Broke) provided me with a sense of fulfillment and the feeling that I was contributing to something larger than myself, most were just not “it”, as my very good friend and guru Shelli Varela would say. Click here to check out her website.

    In the most recent case, I left a high-profile (from an Ontario Fire Service perspective) “career highlight” of a job to quite literally follow the tattoo on my arm, and take my own advice.

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    I’ve always been a firm believer in the power of following your heart, your gut, your bliss, your inner compass or whatever you call it, but my actions weren’t in totally in alignment with my inner beliefs. I knew in my heart that the position wasn’t ultimately fulfilling me despite the fact that I was doing well at it and receiving positive feedback.

    After taking time off to think things through and have an honest conversation with myself, I gave my notice. I slept better than I had in months once the decision was made. That was enough acknowledgement from my heart and soul that this was right for me.

    I may not have known what “it” was at that point, but I knew that what I was doing definitely wasn’t “it”. I also knew that if I just started to rediscover the things that spoke to my soul, that I would eventually uncover my unique path, the one that would lead to my bliss. Having said that, I’ve found that walking one’s own path doesn’t just lead to the destination of bliss, the bliss is lived in the journey itself.

    My favourite soul nourishing activities these days are yoga, meditating, reading, working on my Wellness Coach training, and researching holistic wellness. I love feeding my brain and watching Ted Talks and documentaries of trusted motivational & transformational humans. Click here to see the You Tube videos I watch and subscribe to.

    Vanessa is an example of someone who followed her own path and created a hugely unique and uber successful business based on her own personal struggles with social awkwardness. Check out her website here.

    When you start taking even the tiniest of steps to honouring what’s in your heart and listening to the small, quiet voice of your soul, the path-YOUR PATH-unfolds before you. It’s such a beautifully personal and empowering journey within, words can’t even describe it.

    Listen to your soul.

    Honour your heart.

    FOLLOW YOUR BLISS.

    GO YOUR OWN WAY!

     

     

     

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  • Fall Into The Blue

    When I look up to the sky now,

    It looks different to me.

    I have a new understanding

    Of how expansive life can be.

    I’ve lived mostly in a bubble,

    Quiet in my world

    Until bit by bit

    It began to unfurl.

    Today it blew wide open

    When I jumped in tandem

    The universe at once

    Seemed both connected and random.

    I was completely at ease

    Until it came time to fly

    A moment of mind numbing fear,

    And then we were a part of the sky.

    I shut my eyes at first

    As my body and stomach turned

    Once we levelled out

    I knew what I was there to learn.

    Believe in yourself,

    Live with arms open wide.

    Trust yourself,

    Let your heart be your guide.

    Put faith in others

    That show up in your day

    Embrace flight

    When it comes your way.

    If you feel inspired

    To do something new

    Just seize the moment

    And fall into the blue.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • What makes YOUR heart smile?

    Wow! It’s been ages since I’ve done any blogging and I’ve seriously missed it. Why the sabbatical, you may ask? No good reason, really. Busy with a new job (that I’ve been at for a year and 3 months now-so not really new I guess), busy with teenagers (the oldest is actually in her first year of college now-and living away from home), and busy at home (aside from cleaning and laundry-which is a full time job for any mom-my fav thing to do is read, so maybe not so busy at home).

    So, um, yeah. No good reason for not blogging.

    Which makes me wonder, why is it that I’ve not been doing something that both makes my heart smile and speaks to my soul. It’s one of the few things that comes completely naturally to me and takes very little effort to do. I even bought a new Mac months ago solely for the purpose of writing, and yet, this is the first time I’ve done it.

    When I’m in my zone, when the words are coming together and literally flowing from my mind to my hands to my screen, I’m in a state of pure bliss. My mind is incredibly calm, despite the narrative playing out in it and the momentary pauses to find just the right words, my body is at peace (aside from my belly full of a bowl of moose tracks ice cream I just ate) and I’m completely present.

    Who wouldn’t want that feeling of being totally immersed in an activity they love?

    I ask myself again, why have I been denying myself of this purely unadulterated love?

    Why don’t we make time for the things we love to do?

    We somehow convince ourselves that there is greater benefit in doing anything other than what brings us that sheer enjoyment. We come up with myriad excuses to justify why we’re not doing the things that rejuvenate us, recharge our batteries and energize our spirits. Like soaking in the tub, going for a walk, getting a massage, or reading a book (the one thing I ALWAYS make time for personally).

    We think that the other daily chores, if you will, are more important than relaxing and indulging in soul soothing activities. The laundry, the dishes, cleaning the house, going to work, eating, and sometimes doing nothing even takes precedence over nurturing our inner selves.

    We only have a limited time in this body, on this earth, living this life. I’m of the opinion that in order to make the most of our days and be the best, most loving, most present and serene people we are intended to be, we must make time for the things that make our shoulders drop.

    You know what I mean when I say “shoulder drop”, right? The feeling you get when you’re near the water, or take in a breathtaking view of the mountains. The instant relaxing of your mind, your body, your spirit, and your soul. The softening of your edges, the calming of your world.

    The more peaceful and grounded you are, the more relaxed you become and the people around you benefit too. A calming energy brings peace to its surroundings. When you carve out time for yourself, you fill your own cup and have plenty left over to fill others with too.

    That’s what the world truly needs.

    So do the things that make you happy. Take the time, make the time, carve out the time, or heck, get up earlier if you need to. We all have the same 24 hours in every day, but it’s what we do with those hours that really counts.

    As for me, I’m going to make a promise (to myself and to the one or two other people that might read this) that I’m going to make the time to blog every day for the next 7 days. It may seem like a minor thing, but it’s a commitment to myself to take a step, and every journey begins with just one step

    Writing is just one of the many things that makes my heart smile, and a happy heart just feels so damn good!

    If you are reading this, do me a solid and take up the cause. What one little thing will you promise to do for the next 7 days that makes YOUR heart smile?

     

     

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