Dare To Live Courageously

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I’ve always admired the strength and courage in others and recently with myself.  I think we are all more courageous than we even realize or admit to and it’s time we shared our thoughts and experiences to support, inspire, and empower one another.  My blog is called Courage Coach so it only makes sense to write a blog about it.  I have to say, I really enjoyed receiving each and every answer from all who contributed and I wanted to keep it anonymous, however, one of my friends decided to add his name to his quote so you will see that in there 😉 (I also weaved my answers into the blog).

There’s enough negativity out there in this world and let’s face it, shit happens.  However, if you can pick yourself up off the floor and turn things around for yourself in a courageous way, then you’ve got this.  We’ve all been there which makes us more connected to each other.  Learn to drown out the gremlins in your head and those who judge you because until they have walked a day in your shoes, they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.  So here we go, let’s see what all of you had to say about what courage means to you.

“For me, courage means……..”

To stand up for what you believe in

Facing your fears, no matter how miserable you feel, no matter how much you want to escape the situation.  But standing up for yourself even when all the cells in your body don’t want to

Accepting the fact as it is…it’s the ability to do something that frightens me the most

Having the guts to follow and do the things, be it anything.  Heart over mind or anything else

A seven letter word I have no inkling about!

Facing your darkest emotional fear

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point

All courage takes is one last positive thought to cancel out the one hundred negative thoughts before it

Taking action despite the fear, not ignoring it

The only survival tool for life.  Without courage, the world will kick your ass

The hidden natural ability provided by God to overcome the odds

Walking up to your ex and introducing yourself to his girlfriend

Ziplining with your kids

Ziplining with your mom

Riding roller coasters that scare the living daylights out of you, just to please your kids, friends or family.  Or even better, your girlfriend or boyfriend…

Forgiving someone, forgiving yourself

Sitting in the Dr’s office waiting for test results

Announcing your illness to everyone, especially your loved ones

Going for surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatments

Admitting you screwed up, taking responsibility for it and truly apologizing to the person

Traveling by yourself and eating in restaurants by yourself

Writing your heart out in blogs or whatever

Writing a book and putting it out there

Telling your friends and family you are gay, hoping they will still accept and love you

Going to a dance without a date

Saying “I love you” or saying “I like you”

Asking someone out, not knowing the outcome

Admitting you had an affair

Leaving a stable job, changing careers and going for something you love to do

Moving to a new country or city away from your family

Changing your behavior so you can improve the relationships around you

Despite having a racing heart and wobbly knees, and fear the size of an elephant, courage is getting up from your seat and doing what your heart desires

Following your dreams and persevering despite what other people might think

Starting your own business and trusting in the process

Putting yourself out there with online dating.  Going out on dates again

Confronting a bully who takes pictures of other women on the bus without them knowing by taking a picture of them while threatening them you will put it up all over the station telling everyone about them if they don’t stop

Doing what you think you can’t do

Reporting a fraud but the person doing a fraud is someone you know

Trying to have a baby with IVF even though your family is against it

Giving up a baby for adoption

Getting a divorce

Telling your kids you and your partner are getting a divorce

Leaving an abusive relationship

Attending an event where your ex and his/her family are all there

Public speaking

Telling your parents you failed an exam in school

Courage means…me.  I am courage embodied.  Every day, big or small…I show courage in how I live.  Living with an anxiety disorder makes me realize “I am courage.”

Courage is confidence

Going back to school many years after you graduated

The cowardly dog!

Courage is something that comes out of love…like a soldier’s courage comes from his love for his nation

Asserting yourself!

Courage is when you have nothing to lose but so much to attain

When I don’t care what others think

When I am only there for myself

When I will move one step forward than I was a second ago

Courage is when we are not even

Telling my wife I got fired from my job

To agree to disagree and remain friends

To say how you feel about someone or something

To give your opinion even though everyone might disagree with you

Dance like nobody’s watchin’, sing a song or play a musical instrument on stage

Taking care of yourself by going on a diet and exercising

Saying “No”, setting a personal boundary

Wearing a bikini whether you’re a top model or not

To propose to the one you love

Courage is to get married

Courage is to be single

Being scared shitless but not letting that stop you

Trying out for a local sports team but not making it.  Being ok with that

Trying something new and adventurous like parachuting or bungee jumping

Cutting your hair short

Courage is to take a leap of faith

Rolling up your sleeves no matter how difficult the passage is and to keep loving life

Facing the things you would rather run away from.  Like saying sorry for something you did or accepting an apology from someone who did something to hurt you.  It’s doing the right thing, even though it can be scary.  It’s backing down from an argument because nobody was going to win that one anyway.  It’s realizing the person you thought was perfect isn’t perfect after all, but trusting and maintaining a relationship with them anyways.  It can be something that seems small…wearing that dress and telling yourself you are beautiful, even though you put on 10 lbs this year.  It can be something huge…putting yourself on the line…physically or emotionally, especially when you don’t see the short-term benefit…but you know that someone, somewhere, sometime, might benefit from what you had the courage to do or say.

Not giving up…Even though you would sometimes because the challenges are difficult and you can’t really do anything about it

Standing out from the crowd, not being a trend follower

Stepping out of that comfort zone!!

Following your dreams and desires

Choosing what must be done over what is easier to be done

An act or state of absolute freedom.  Freedom where one is solely motivated by his/her innermost core, irrespective of the nature of the result, reaction or consequence

Fear is always found in courage.  That’s why it feels so good after you do something courageous because you conquered your fear

Courage is when there’s no other way ahead and all we can do is move ahead, be stronger, be confident, and face the consequences.  It is one of the rare feelings which has no cons.  Being courageous can never make one unhappy.  So if you aim to become happy, be courageous  ~ Darshith Badiyani

This was a super fun blog to put together because it was a large group effort 😀  All my gratitude to everyone for sharing your courageous thoughts with all of us ❤

I hope you feel inspired, dare to live courageously…

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

Transformation Is A Beautiful Thing

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Inspiration can be found in many corners of our life and in the lives of others.  Life is in motion at all times and if we stop and pay attention, that’s when we notice inspiring moments, people, places, and things.  Personally, one of the greatest things I love to see is how someone can transform themselves from being in a negative state to becoming their own superhero.  It’s not about winning a popularity contest but about being the best version of yourself after struggling with something so difficult for so long and coming out of it beautifully.

When I think about transformation, I think of metaphors because what metaphors can do is open our mind to a new perspective and deeper understanding of the potential transformation.  It’s like a window or a doorway we can move through and find ways to relate it to our situation.

‘Meta’ means over and beyond and in transformation, it is over and beyond reality.  My favorite metaphor of all is the caterpillar becoming a butterfly through the power of metamorphosis because one step over and beyond the caterpillar, the butterfly emerges.  In life when we try to step beyond a belief, behavior, fear or circumstance, a metaphor can transform a person ‘s perspective and trigger their values which allow them to step into joy in their life.

For example, a person who has a fear of public speaking may be struggling inside this cocoon for some time but wants to overcome it through transformation.  Just the mere thought of having to get up and speak to a few or many people can start the heart palpitations and make someone freeze right in their tracks because of stage fright.  This person’s main goal is to avoid public speaking and social events at all costs, mainly because they are shy.  The struggle is within their own mind and trying to silence the  negative voice.

I was speaking with a friend recently and he said not only can shyness get in the way but add a language barrier on top of everything and you’ve got yourself a fearful scenario.  I can only imagine how hard and uncomfortable that must feel to be around people you can’t connect with.  He gave an example where his workplace required them to do impromptu group speeches in front of everyone and his first instinct was to run and hide but since he wanted to transform his fear into something more comfortable, he remembered the first lesson from the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

Be Proactive.

In this lesson, Covey talks about taking responsibility for your own life and stresses the importance of focusing your time and energy on the things you have control over in life.  In a matter of minutes, my friend took this lesson and applied it to his own life right before facing one of the most fearful things; public speaking.  He changed his self-talk from negative to positive saying “Don’t freeze, focus on the audience instead of your own awkwardness, think of how you would want to see a speaker, put yourself in the shoes of the audience and see yourself from their perspective so you can transform your fear into something you love.  Imagine yourself being courageous even if you think you aren’t.  Be yourself, no stress or pressure, you are surrounded by friends.  Learn to laugh at yourself, life is too serious, be imperfect so people can connect, enjoy yourself and live outside your comfort zone.”

He stood up and managed to convince himself of everything he said and faced his fear by talking about his imperfections by making jokes with the audience.  People were laughing with him, and it gave a soaring boost to his self-confidence which made him continue even more.  He felt both shocked and happy with himself that day because it was a life changing moment, a real transformation where he struggled so long with negative self-talk but in the end after all that hard work, he emerged beautifully like a butterfly.  What a perfect example of going over and beyond his reality and honoring the value of courage.

More times than not, we struggle in our minds and hearts about who we are and about how we want other people to see us. We wrestle with worthiness and shame all at the same time when really we all belong together and we are more similar than we are different.

When I asked him how he felt about that day he said “It changed my outlook towards socializing, facing fears, being vulnerable, handling pressure situations and making friends in general.  And every victory I have had since that day, I attribute to this one act of mine where I overcame myself.  And, needless to say, making friends has been not as difficult as I feared since that day.  I survived.”

Bravo my friend for daring to live courageously, keep rockin’ the shark fin 😉

Transformation is a beautiful thing.

“How does one become a butterfly?  You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”  ~Trina Paulus

 

Much Love ❤
Jen

Life Story Project: We Are All Living Our Own Project

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Inspiration can be found in so many corners of our lives and one of my favorite places that really touched my heart was on the television show Life Story Project.  The show was aired on “OWN:  The Oprah Winfrey Network” and then unfortunately was cancelled due to network issues.  Andrea Syrtash and Dale Curd were the two hosts on Life Story Project and when I saw it was discontinued last year, I decided to write to Andrea to express my love for the show and for her compassionate way of exploring and questioning people’s hearts and lives on the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada about real life topics.  Andrea quickly responded to me and we connected instantly bringing us to a new found friendship where inspiration and support continues to live on.

Life Story Project is about people’s stories and how connection, courage and vulnerability bring us inspiration and promotes personal growth and development within ourselves.  This 4 minute sizzle reel video clip of Life Story Project perfectly describes what the show was all about and I cannot describe it any better than Andrea and Dale.  It’s actually something to be felt.  After watching the video, please read the interview I was able to have with Andrea where we dig deeper into the details of the show and how inspiration touched her heart and life as well.

JJ:  “Can you briefly describe the inspiration behind your show Life Story Project?”

AS:  “I was cast to co-host the show and didn’t create it; but my understanding is that the creators (Mitch and Dale) were inspired by the fact that everybody has a story and that we don’t generally take the time to find out about peoples’ experiences. Intimate conversations about life-changing moments took place on a couch placed in the middle of busy parts of the city. This was to remind the audience that life is happening all around us and everybody is experiencing something significant.”

JJ:  “What was it like calling out to people to come and sit on the famous purple couch and have a conversation?”

AS:  “I’m an extrovert, so it’s not tough for me to engage people in conversation! I did wonder if they’d be open to having an intimate conversation with the cameras rolling; but I think the fact that “OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network” was on our sign and the consent forms helped. Even if people didn’t immediately trust me or my co-host; I think they trusted her and her brand. My co-host and I got rejected a fair bit but I was still surprised that so many people agreed to be interviewed by us and were so open and honest during the recorded conversation.”

JJ:  “How did you choose your life topics to talk about?”

AS:  “Every episode had a contrasting theme (Triumph & Failure, First Moments and Last Moments, Love & Regret etc). The creators wanted to pick themes we all have running through our lives and show the highs and the lows.”

JJ:  “So many inspiring stories were told on your show by the people on the streets of Toronto, you must have felt that inspiration the same as your viewers did like myself.  What was it like hearing people be so emotionally vulnerable?”

AS:  “Hosting the show was uplifting, inspiring, draining and eye-opening. Viewers saw a small percentage of all the interviews I conducted over the 4-6-week shoot. We generally shot for over 8 hours in the blazing sun and sat down with each guest for anywhere from 10-45 minutes. The stories were incredible and I was in awe of how open, honest, vulnerable and real the people I spoke with were. They were wise and articulate and their experiences had a deep effect on me. I often found it tough to sleep after a full day of shooting as I’d review some of the extraordinary stories I heard! Many stuck with me and I still think of them today…”

JJ:  “Was there ever a strange incident that happened when you were trying to recruit people to sit on the couch and talk with you?”

AS:  “We decided that we never wanted to convince people to share something that they weren’t comfortable freely sharing. Both my co-host and I have this thing where people easily open up to us and we feel fortunate that people trust us this way; but sometimes we sensed that people shared more than they wanted to! I recall one incident in which a guest mentioned a very personal experience that she had never told anyone and I felt discomfort as she was describing it because I could tell she was uncomfortable. She returned to the set later that day and asked that we wouldn’t air her story. Of course we were happy to oblige. We didn’t want any participant to regret coming onto the couch for an interview…”

JJ:  “If you had to pick one inspiring story that you heard, which one would it be?”

AS:  “There were so so many inspiring stories. I think about a guest who was deaf and her parents didn’t teach her sign language so she had no way to communicate until she was about 4 years old. She talked about having a voice and not taking it for granted…which was pretty incredible to hear from someone who can’t hear herself speak out loud.  I think about the firefighter who almost died in a blaze (intentionally taking off his oxygen mask) because he felt like a failure and how now he teaches other men in service to be vulnerable heroes. I think about the woman who loved her husband so much that their code word for ‘I love you’ was ‘oodles’ and how after he tragically died of cancer in his 30s, she found a letter from him that said he wanted her to find someone who loved her half as much as he did. Honestly, there were moments of inspiration in every interview. It’s tough to pick one!”

JJ:  “What day of the week did you tape your show and how many hours did it take?”

AS:  “We taped the show every day of the week (as far as I recall)! I had days off since my co-host and I alternated days. The weekend interviews had a different pace than the weekday interviews since people are generally in a different head space during the busy work week…”

JJ:  “What were some of the Toronto locations you chose to film your show in?”

AS:  “The show was filmed all over the city in locations like The Beaches, Dundas Square, King Street West, The Distillery District, Centre Island and more…”

JJ:  “I am very sad that Life Story Project is no longer on the air, as are many fans.  Where they can go now to watch some clips?”

AS:  “I’m sad about it, too! I’ve heard that occasionally a re-run will air; but episodes aren’t available yet on-demand.  There are some clips on YouTube but not all of them.”

JJ:  “Do you see a possibility of making a similar show in the near future?”

AS:  “I enjoy connecting with real people in a truly unscripted way. Life Story Project was genuinely spontaneous. Even if the guests were briefly pre-interviewed; Dale and I never knew much before the guests sat down to have a conversation with us. I’d love to do more shows that explore human relationships and highlight peoples’ incredible stories.”

JJ:  “Andrea you are a relationships life coach, an author and guest speaker on many famous television shows.  What was it like co-hosting with Dale on the show?”

AS:  “While I hardly worked on set with Dale (we filmed on different days); I really enjoyed working with him on this show. He and I are like-minded and believe everybody’s story matters. One thing that you didn’t see, perhaps, is that Dale and I joke around a lot.  We can certainly get serious but we also don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

All of my gratitude to Andrea and everyone from Life Story Project for inspiring my life because in essence, we are all living our own life story project the very best we can. We are all connected, therefore never alone.

You can see more of Andrea’s work on her webpage http://www.andreasyrtash.com/

Love,

Jen
xo

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What I Know For Sure…Now: A Letter To My 21-Year-Old-Self

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Okay seriously, life is full of lessons whether you want to learn from them or not.  When you do learn, you expand your personal growth and development and make necessary changes so they don’t happen again.  If you don’t learn the life lessons, they will keep happening over and over until you do.  They won’t go away on their own.  That’s just the way it is…sigh.

No matter what age you are, something happened to you that affected your life and how you reacted to it changed you.  It didn’t kill you, it made you stronger.   But what if you could have a conversation with your younger self and give advice that would save you time and grief or give you confidence and perseverance in various areas of your life?  I know I’ve thought about this and I’d like to share what I know for sure… now.

Dear Jen,

You are 21 years young now and are studying very hard to become a nurse.  You have chosen a career path that is helpful and compassionate which aligns with who you are and your core values in life. Yes studying is hard, working in the hospital is hard but never give up because you are on the right path; you’ve got this.  Know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours, this is the beauty in nursing.

What if I told you when you graduate you will move to another country to work and travel?  Not just once but twice. Nursing can open many doors for you and later on there is another big opportunity coming up that you cannot say no to, in Qatar.

Don’t always expect to be acknowledged and appreciated for all the hard work you do, people are tired and busy in their own worlds but in your heart, just know you are doing your best and in the end, you will be rewarded by Him.  Know your own self-worth because if you think you are cheap, people will see and treat you as cheap. Try not to control every outcome, just relax and enjoy the ride because you have so much ahead of you, a world of experiences that will blow your mind!

Life Coaching is in your future which is another beautiful helping profession and by walking this path, you learn so much about yourself in the process and it’s an automatic win-win for you and your clients. You will be so inspired, you will really love this but it takes work to get it going.  Don’t give up.

Relationships are complicated but a very big part of your life Jen.  Friendships are to be treasured and respected by both sides otherwise, it’s not worth it.  Everywhere you go, you will meet new friends and connect well with them for life because of who you are.  You have many amazing friends who inspire you so hang on tight they are your rocks during your toughest moments.   Don’t forget to be there for them too and love them with all your heart.  Sadly, one of your closest friends will be diagnosed with cancer and cannot beat it.  However, having known her, changes your perspective on life for the better because you learn to appreciate the little things, slow down and look within yourself for answers to life’s complicated questions.  You have all the solutions inside you, just dig deep because they’re all there.  You feel a deep sense of gratitude for having known her and you miss her.

Family is another important part of your life and you need to show your appreciation for everything they do for you.  Nobody’s perfect and everyone is doing the best they can, just like you Jen.  Perfection is a dangerous thing and not even possible so let it go.  Imperfections are what make people beautiful including you.  It all depends on your perspective, try to look at them as your gifts.  Your entire family loves you unconditionally, you love them too and you get along with everyone.

Ah, romance, romance.  You have met some really nice guys that showed interest in you so far and you have been interested in some of them.   But Jen, you need to have more self-confidence you need to love yourself more.  Learn how to be assertive and stand up to the ones who don’t treat you right and hold hands with the ones who do.  Don’t get blindsided by flattery, take it for what it is which is sweet.  Not every guy will understand your kind heart but that’s ok, it’s not your job to convince him of it.  Never let the good guy get away, easier said than done.  Romantic involvement is complex and fleeting.  Don’t settle for someone, make sure your man adores you, protects you, makes time for you, has the same values as you, has your back on everything and knows how to use a hammer!  This will save you a ton of frustration…

What you really want is someone who makes you smile, is proud of you, supports you and inspires you, is emotionally there for you and treats you like his queen.  Not a man who drains you or takes advantage of your good nature or abandons you.  He will love you with his whole heart by making you his number one priority and not let his external environment control how he feels or acts around you.

He must know his own core values and who he truly is on the inside otherwise he is a chameleon adjusting to every external environment, not a man.

If you are looking for a chameleon, go to Costa Rica.

Make sure he never interrupts you or puts you down in front of other people; he should be singing your praises instead.  You are a fine catch young lady and never forget that!  😉

You put everyone’s needs ahead of your own and deep down, you want your needs met too and why not?  People pleasing and putting yourself last is killing you without you even realizing it.  You need to take better care of yourself so you have the ability to take care of others.  Everywhere you go you are a caretaker.  Learn to set some boundaries for yourself otherwise people will walk all over you as if you were a doormat.  “No” is a complete sentence, remember that my love.  And whatever you do, don’t let the opinions of others influence you to the point of doing nothing.  You’re better than that.

Be very mindful of selfish people and narcissists in your life.  They are your biggest threat because they give subtle red flags and are very good at charming you.  Take off those rose colored glasses so you can actually see the color red.  They are only interested in themselves so don’t kid yourself into thinking they have something to offer you.  They are takers and you are a giver so you are vulnerable in this situation.  Be very, very careful.

I know you can’t see it now but your heart of gold will fall in love with one man and two children over the years.  Unfortunately heartbreak is in your future but this tragedy has its silver lining.  You experience two sides of the same coin but you are a trooper, a real warrior.  Facing these various betrayals are the biggest stressors you will go through but it’s not what happens to us in life that determines who we are, it’s how we cope and react to it that counts and you have excellent coping skills.  Like grace under fire. You are not a victim so don’t play that role, ever.  You might feel like you are all alone in this but you’re not.  You are stronger than you realize and you have God in your corner.  This is a time for self-compassion and practicing self-care, finally.  You have put this off long enough Jen so time to pay attention to yourself.  It’s self-discovery time.  Be a good example for your kids because they are always watching and taking notes.  Learn the lessons here and don’t worry so much, everything is going to be okay.

You really need a vacation, you should plan one.

Writing blogs for you is a positive emotional outlet and an incredibly important way of dealing with stress because getting your emotions out on paper or a screen is cathartic.  A wonderful healing tool for all.  Not only are you helping yourself but also helping others by letting them know we are all in this together, nobody is alone.  An amazing world of bloggers is out there and each person has something beautiful to offer, appreciate each and every one of them from your heart because they are probably fighting a battle of their own you know nothing about.  You learn to write your way out of this betrayal and when writing the story of your life Jen, don’t let anyone else hold the pen, own it.  You get to write your own ending.  On the other side of this fear is freedom so hang in there, you’re doing great.  You are finding your inner voice and are finally starting to use it.  Better late than never girl!

Exercise has always been a priority in your life but during this time you must keep moving more than ever.  The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits are endless.  Exercise helps to get the negative energy out, clear your mind, release those endorphins and make you feel empowered again.  You meet more friends along the way who support you and you can’t imagine your life without them because they are just so fun to be with!  You learn new activities like Zumba and PiYo which you even become addicted to!

As you make your way through the pain with your kids, your vision becomes clearer and you slowly get your strength back, thanks to your family and friends here and all around the world.  Connection has empowered you to stand up for what you believe in and fight for your rights my little warrior.  You are getting to know and love yourself more and more each and every day, the butterfly is emerging.  One of the greatest lessons you can learn is to practice gratitude, forgiveness and surrender.  These are the silver linings in the dark clouds.  You will make it to the other side Jen, you are almost there so don’t give up now.  Music and lyrics inspire you and give you energy.  There’s one song that’s about standing for something and getting stronger which is exactly what you need right now.  You need to stand for you.  Share this song with your amazing friends and in the meantime…ROAR!

To be continued in another 20 years….

And this is what I know for sure….now.

Love,

Jen
xo

Being Enough: Fitting In vs. Belonging

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“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
~ Brené Brown

I am slightly obsessed with Brené Brown and if you have never heard of her before, allow me introduce you to her.  She has a Ph.D. in Social Work and has been studying shame, courage and vulnerability for over fifteen years now.  She has appeared on TED Talks, Oprah and has written inspiring books such as The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are and Daring Greatly:  How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.

One of my favorite chapters she writes about is on fitting in vs. belonging.   They are not the same thing and one gets in the way of the other.  They are two sides of the same coin.

Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted.   It’s the disease to please.  It’s chasing down some acceptance and worthiness so we can feel better about ourselves.  “I will feel worthy when…” or “I’ll be whoever or whatever you need me to be, as long as I feel like I’m a part of this.”  It’s an uncomfortable feeling. Remember high school?

Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.  True belonging only happens when we present our authentic selves, imperfections and all.  It’s about self-love and self-acceptance and embracing who we are.  Essentially, it’s the act of courage and unconditional love for ourselves.  You know when you belong somewhere or with someone because you can feel it in your body.  You feel loved at peace and free.

Therefore, fitting in gets in the way of belonging.  It’s the gremlins that set up camp in our heads that tell us “you’re not good enough.”  It’s hard to feel worthy of love and belonging when you listen to this little monster.   The truth is, love and belonging means uncertainty but they still go together.  And according to Brené, those who have a strong sense of love and belonging, have the courage to be imperfect.

I found this concept really interesting because many people believe that fitting in and belonging are the same thing when in fact they’re not.  My question to you is this; are you living your life according to fitting in or belonging?  The next question is why?  Sometimes you just have to say “enough already” and let yourself off the hook.

Much love,

Jennifer Juneau

The Inner Game of Tennis – Love vs. Fear

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Dealing with change and finding the positive silver lining hidden within our experiences are tough life lessons to be learned.  It sounds pretty straight forward but when you are really in it, it takes every ounce of energy and focus to actually do it.  Easier said than done right?  Sometimes it feels like these life lessons and difficult decisions are being launched like tennis balls out of a cannon one after the other with no break in between to catch our breath while we use our racquet as a shield.

From what I have seen with many people, myself included, letting go or surrendering to what is can be the hardest life lesson to swallow because it’s scary and unknown.   Should I stay or should I go?  Should I control the situation or just accept it as it is? Will I choose to be a victim or a victor?  We fight to hang on and we fight to let go.  It’s that constant back and forth rally in our minds that keeps the Wimbledon inner game of tennis alive.

Is letting go giving up?  Not at all, it’s actually quite the opposite.

Caroline Myss wrote something that shook me to my core when I read it and I will share it with you.  When someone says “I want to get out of this circumstance, but I’m too afraid.”  She is betraying everything in her heart.  She’s making choices that are harming her and that’s why she’s hurting.  Her intuition is trying to tell her that.   When your life begins to harm you, know that you have taken a detour from your true path.  You are no different from the people who hurt you.  People know when they have betrayed themselves because the little voice inside says “You’re still with that person; why didn’t you leave?”  Your intuition speaks the truth that you don’t want to hear.  It also says “You’ve done everything you can so it’s time to let go and surrender.”

Wow.  “I am no different from the people who hurt me.”  That was a huge light bulb moment and reading that was enough to make me want to let go.  It’s bad enough that someone or something is hurting you and by ignoring your own heart, you are hurting yourself on top of it.  Double punishment hurts.  I love Caroline Myss and her perspectives.

It’s been a tough match so far, that inner game of tennis is almost finished and silence is everywhere.  What will your next move be?  Time to focus, your opponent Fear is about to serve.

What a perfect opportunity to discover a new and unexpected strategy in your game.  By releasing someone so they can be where they need to be, do what they want to do and be with whomever they want is actually an act of love and courage on your part.  Trust and respect yourself and let them go.  Let them be the destructive one, you be the kind one.   In that exact moment, you become more peaceful and free and you create the much needed space in your life for bigger and better things to come flowing in.  It leads you to the next.  Ah, finally the silver lining; acceptance and happiness.  And the crowd goes wild…

We all have our “stuff” we are dealing with but that doesn’t mean we can’t find our joy along the way.  Even a caged bird can find something to sing about.  And when you do find the courage to surrender to change and let go, you will fly like a free bird and think “why didn’t I do this sooner?”  Not only that, the tennis balls will stop flying at you and you will have victoriously won the match.

Congratulations…Love always wins.  At least at this game.

Tennis anyone?

“The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.”  ~ Gary Zukav

 

Much love,

Jennifer

The Power of Vulnerability: Brene Brown

If you are not familiar with Brene Brown’s work, allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite speaker’s on earth.  She is a researcher, a storyteller and a Texan according to her Twitter account. When we live with vulnerability, we live with our whole hearts which creates a beautiful feeling of happiness. This 20 minute TED talk is so inspiring I highly recommend you take the time to watch it because in the end, we are all enough.

“LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR”

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“Leap and the net will appear” ~ John Burroughs

What does this quote mean to you?  Why do people join the circus to fly on a trapeze?  Isn’t that risky?  What about skydiving, bungee jumping, or just starting your own business?  How do we know that if we do it, we won’t fail?  We don’t.  We simply trust that if you make a leap of faith on something you truly believe deep in your heart, something or someone will appear to accept what you are reaching for and not let you crash to the ground.  In knowing this, what can possibly get in our way?  Sometimes it’s us.  Maybe it’s our self-limiting beliefs or it’s about waiting for perfection to arrive.   Reality is that perfection can be dangerous because it can narrow our life’s experiences by not living outside the box every now and then.  Even more so, perfection may never arrive and then what?  Instead, why not make room for the unexpected things in life that might come up?  These little surprises just might surprise you in a good way!  Has there ever been a time in your life where you tried something new and didn’t know what the outcome would be but you did it anyway?  If it was risky and you are reading this blog that means you survived.  What was your net in that situation?  Some people have a back-up plan and others have faith.  If you can slowly let go of your doubts and transform them into trust, so many possibilities start opening up.  Learn how to make well informed responsible choices and remember you are not in control of the outcome.  Let this allow you to find the courage to take action when you don’t know what the outcome will be.  Then, use that courage to take the leap, have faith in the process and trust that you’ll be ok when you land gracefully or swim like a fish.    – JJ

“Surrender is like a fish finding the current and going with it.”  ~ Mark Nepo

Courage Emerges Through a Broken Heart

Once there was a young boy who highly admired his father.  One day, the father asked the young boy to put the word “courage” ON his heart.  However, the young boy thought that the word “courage” should go IN his heart.  His father smiled and looked at the young boy with pride and said “yes, but the heart is very strong and resilient, sometimes so hard it is even closed off.  Therefore, we can only put the word “courage” ON your heart.  The young boy carefully took hold and picked up the word “courage” and placed it ON his heart as his father had requested.  The father then smiled with a tear in his eye and said, “it is only when the heart breaks open, that courage can fall IN and begin to grow into something truly amazing.”

Courage

Courage is about making a choice or taking action where a risk is involved whether that may be an actual or imagined fear.  It is the driving force behind necessary change.  It’s the standing up for what you believe in regardless of what others may think, while being afraid, but going on anyhow.    -JJ