Living On The Edge

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As many of you are aware and for those who are new here, my first book is about to be released sometime this month.  Needless to say, I am very excited about it and can’t wait to share it with all of you!  My book is about how I coped during my divorce and most difficult time of my life while trying to keep a positive outlook, how I found healthy ways of surviving and the life lessons I learned along the way.

Life’s challenges can help us see both sides of the coin and recently, through a friend, I discovered there’s a third side as well which is the edge.  In this sense, each side can represent each person’s point of view, their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of what happened.  On the other hand, the edge is considered the sacred space or truth of who you really are at your core.  It’s a detachment from either side, a neutral zone, an understanding, place of forgiveness, a new perspective and even a place of acceptance of what is.

The edge is enlightenment for yourself.  It’s your own truth.

When you stand and live on the edge you are without judgment of another person and you’re not being one-sided.  When choosing the middle path, you choose to be open-minded with an open heart.  You’re able to see both sides clearly and feel free while doing so.

The third side of the coin can equal balance because you are no longer leaning to one side.  Instead, when you stand balanced on the edge, it creates inner peace and happiness for yourself and when you feel ready to let go of the right of being right, that’s when your soul grows and you learn the life lessons you were meant to learn.  Maybe it’s possible that both sides are right?  Consider this, on the edge of reality, are the motivations that run deeper than both points of view.

The edge is the place where I wrote my book from while I reflected on where I went wrong in my life, what I learned along the way and found ways to see the silver linings.  It’s scary living on the edge because it requires both courage and vulnerability to admit you were wrong at times and that nobody is perfect.  At the same time, it’s the place that sets you free and is very healing.

I’m living proof of that.

For the past month, I have been living on the edge in India again, visiting my awesome friends and I attended two exciting weddings there.  I will have a new blog saga coming up titled This Is India 2017 and I look forward to sharing my experiences with all of you.

Be safe, stay blessed and try living on the edge.

Much Love and Gratitude ❤

Jen
xo

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Finding Joy

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How do you find joy in your everyday life?  What are you passionate about or what lights you up from the inside out?

For me, joy is the result of practicing daily gratitude because when you focus on what you have, it changes your perspective and creates joy from within.  Joy is what gets you through difficult times, it turns on a light when you’re in the dark, it heals wounds and can make your soul sing.  Joy is contagious and can spread like wildfire if you allow it, we’re all connected so it’s better to spread positive vibes and emotions that lead us in the right direction.

In today’s busy world, stress and anxiety are topping the charts of workplace absence and prescription medications.  It’s not overly surprising because the faster the world turns, the faster we run and when we’re running, we’re not paying attention to what’s around us.  It’s only when we slow down to catch our breath and notice the little things in the moment; that’s when we are able to find our joy.

Here are a few ways you can begin the search for joy in your everyday life.

  1. Play with children. They are innocent creatures who love to laugh and goof around
  2. Let your inner child out too. Just like the picture above, we all have that little girl or boy inside of us, waiting to get out again so get silly and let loose
  3. Learn something new such as a language, recipe, or sport
  4. Explore nature. It is the most beautiful and imperfect thing on earth
  5. Travel somewhere new and exciting. Do this solo or with someone you like
  6. Surround yourself with animals. They have the most unconditional love to share with you
  7. Be romantic. This allows you to use your creativity and can find joy in two places at once
  8. Spread random acts of kindness to strangers. The appreciation they feel will come back to you tenfold
  9. Play a musical instrument or put some music on. This is soul food and can be very healing
  10. Sing a song no matter what your voice sounds like. Remember that inner child?
  11. Read a great book or see a movie you’ve been waiting for
  12. Helping others creates huge amounts of joy from within
  13. Wake up those endorphins in your body because they will definitely make you feel better
  14. Meditate or practice mindfulness. Enjoy the silence for a change
  15. Write something, anything. Keep it private or make it public it’s your choice but keep it positive and inspiring
  16. Dance in the rain and get soaked. If this doesn’t make you feel like a kid, I don’t know what will
  17. Be like a cat and take a nap. Time to feel rejuvenated again
  18. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Not only is it live entertainment, it’s free and it’s beautiful
  19. Take a hot bath or get a massage
  20. Eat your favorite desserts like cupcakes or something with chocolate
  21. Spend quality time with friends and laugh so much it hurts

Sometimes the best way to find joy is to surrender to what is.  By surrendering, you are opening your heart and mind to the infinite possibilities of what life can offer you.  It’s not about giving up, it’s about letting go, and the benefit to letting go is finding joy.

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

It’s All About Perspectives

If we compare meeting people to reading a book, when we do meet them it is somewhere within the chapters of their life and never at the beginning of that book.  And just like reading, it’s hard to understand the complete story when you only arrived in the middle.  Therefore, it’s important to take the time not to judge and instead ask questions so you can understand where they are coming from and what makes them who they are today.

What makes a person who they are is due to their history and circumstances but most of all, how they reacted and handled them.  We all go through many transitions in life just like the seasons and the changes in weather conditions.  Being Canadian and having 4 seasons to adjust to every few months makes me a person who can also adjust to life and the trials and tribulations that come my way.  At least that’s what I aim to be like.

One season might be tougher than the last but it doesn’t define you and it’s all about perspectives.

This inspiring video is about perspectives and I wanted to share it with you.  I really hope you take the 4 minutes to watch it so you become inspired too.

Happy Sunday everyone,

Much Love ❤

Jen

Everyone Is A Genius

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“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

When students are sailing into University taking courses they’re not sure about quite yet, it’s a little daunting to say the least.  They are expected to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives and then work in that field happily ever after.  Wheww!!!  If that’s not enough stress and pressure then I don’t know what is.

I was in this boat before and it was really hard trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  I completed my first year at University taking random courses with no direction.  Kind of like a fly in a sand storm.  At the end of that year I realized I didn’t want to waste any more time or money on something I knew nothing about so I took two years off and worked full time so I could think about it.  Later I went back to school became a nurse and the rest is history.

To all my University friends and young career hunters and warriors, I feel for you.  However…if you can take a step back and dig really deep to know who you truly are and find out what you’re made of, you will be more prepared to take the right path for you.

Two big reasons people go into the wrong field is because their parents told them to or because of the money it will bring after they graduate.  These might be good reasons short term but eventually you will get bored, guaranteed.

Let me ask you this; would you rather be happy or successful?

Most people say successful.  Does success bring happiness?  Especially if you are working in an area where you make good money but you don’t enjoy what you do?  How many years can you work and live like that?  You might work so hard at being that amazing surgeon but if it conflicts with your values, you are like the fish trying to climb a tree.  Fish do much better in the water therefore maybe you need to change your environment.  Do what you were born to do, what you are good at doing, what comes naturally and puts a smile on your face.   It’s not that you aren’t good enough you just need to find your tribe.  When you are happy, success follows you.

There was a study conducted at Harvard University a few years ago called the Happiness Project.  5000 graduates from Harvard University set out to conquer the world with their new degrees in hand.  All were extremely intelligent and became successful in their careers.   A year after their graduation the question of happiness was asked; “Are you happy now that you are successful?”  Do you know what the percentage of those 5000 students were happy?

A sad 3%.  That’s it.

Why?  They chose paths based on statistics, not their values.  They were good at what they did but it somehow clashed with who they were as a person.  If you are a social person both personally and professionally, then sitting behind a desk all day gets pretty boring no matter how much you make.  By choosing a profession that is social it fits who you are and chances of staying in it long term are higher.

In career coaching there is an awesome tool that helps fill the gap of what’s missing.  It’s called the Success Strategy.  Ultimately when you’re doing what you love, aren’t you happy?  Isn’t that success right there?

Every day you need to focus on four key areas in your life in order to have a balance of success and happiness.   It doesn’t have to be a long exercise but each day needs to have these four ingredients.

The first is Legacy.  What are your long term results or plans?  What do you want to be known for?  What are you leaving behind for others?

The second is Creativity.  Let it blossom every day.  Being creative is found in anything and everything.  Many of us are bloggers here and this is one creative way of many.  Let your inner child out.

The third is Results and Achievement.  This can include professional, family and personal areas.  Get something done in one of these areas every day to feel productive.

The fourth is Shining Moments.  It’s the time where you stop and smell the roses, pause for a moment, enjoy and share them.

Where are you on the scale of 1 to 10?  Which areas need improvements?  What are you missing?  Why is that?

You might be a successful person bringing in results and achievements every day, have several shining moments and creating a legacy for yourself, but something is missing; your creativity.  Sadly creativity takes a back seat when we are busy planning our lives.  Maybe you used to play the electric guitar back in the day and one weekend you decide to pick it up and start playing again.  There’s that creativity vibe back, you feel fulfilled because you were able to find it elsewhere and still maintain your work and other areas of happiness and success.  Now all four areas are complete and so are you.  Yeah!!

Go out and find your passion based on who you are.  Don’t let someone else tell you because even though their intentions are good, they’re not you

If you’re a fish, swim.  If you’re a bird, fly.  And so on.  Not only that, practice the four key areas of success and happiness each day to find even more fulfillment.

I wish you all the best in your endeavors whether that’s in University or out in the working world.

And remember….Everyone is a genius.

Thanks Albert Einstein…

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Much Love,

Jen
xo

 

Hallelujah

I love this song and this video and just felt like sharing it with all of you.  The beautiful Canadian Tenors perform the legendary Leonard Cohen version of Hallelujah on the Oprah Show.  Another beautiful Canadian surprise, Celine Dion pops up during their performance and makes their dreams come true, it’s so cute you have to see it!

This song makes your heart want to cry and smile all at the same time because it’s about the hardships of love.  The movie Shrek used this song when Ogre experienced what it was like to feel brokenhearted over his Princess Fiona and both parents and kids around the world witnessed these emotions.

I thought about this song during different times of my life and I’ve used it when something new begins because it brings joy and you can’t help but say Hallelujah!  On the other hand, when something ends and its been a long road, the stress of having it over also makes you want to say Hallelujah!  Therefore all Hallelujah’s have equal value and for me, this song represents peace, either way.

I hope you can take 5:14 minutes today and enjoy listening and feeling the emotion in this piece while relating to your own life and your own Hallelujah’s.  Have a great day!  ❤

Love Always,

Jen
xo

The Upside of Regret

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Ah…Regret!  They say that in the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.  Personally I believe this to be true but that doesn’t mean we won’t come face to face with regret on things we do choose.  In Palliative Care, the one thing patients talk about the most are regrets related to love.  Just like our friend Paulo Coelho in the above photo says, we need to live our lives now, not later.

Say what you need to say.  There’s even a song about that by John Mayer.  😉

Are you familiar with the saying hindsight is 20/20?  It’s that retrospect moment, when you look back on something you can clearly see what you should have done…only thing is, it’s done.  Like dating the wrong person or getting a really bad haircut.  Ouch..regret.  If you’ve ever made a bad decision, regret has been your roommate.  Not like Sheldon’s roommate agreement from the Big Bang Theory but more like a difficult companion that can make you both tougher and more sensitive all at the same time.  You get to decide if your toughness looks like unending bitterness or if your sensitivity looks like a kindness so deep it heals every wound it touches.  Do you want regret to be your arch enemy or your best friend because ultimately, it’s you who decides.

Even though the past cannot be changed, the way you tell the stories about it can be.

For instance, remunerating the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s will keep you stuck in the past and also in denial.  Something happened, yes it was horrible but it happened.  Instead, try to find the life lesson that’s hidden in there because there’s always one waiting to be found which is why we’re here to learn from it.  Take a positive spin on it and see what happens.

Regret is a mixture of two emotions, sadness and anger.  Sometimes these emotions can be overwhelming so one thing you can do is this.  Write two columns with the headings Sadness and Anger at the top.  Under each heading, answer this question as many times as possible:   “I am _______ about __________”   This is the messy hard part but remember, the only way out of painful emotions is through them.  Keep writing until you can’t write anymore.

It’s time to grieve what you lost.  This is essential because if you don’t, it will come back twice as hard the next time around on the next situation.  The moment when you see someone gaining what you regretted losing is when you know you’ve finished grieving. Bravo my friend.

Now it’s time to look ahead to the future and pave a way to making better decisions.  Life will bring us to a crossroads more than once and maybe what we need to do is to lean into love and not fear.  Ask yourself “What would thrill me more?” rather than “What will keep my fears at bay?”  But some might say the love path is anxiety provoking and scary.

Maybe…but here’s the thing.

This is the moment you can call on regret, not as a burden but as a motivator that reminds you not to make choices that make you feel awful in retrospect.  This is the upside of regret.  If you’ve done all the above steps and realized everything based on love is worth doing, then go ahead, because life is about to take you on an adventurous ride of happiness.

And I bet you won’t regret it.  ❤

Much Love,

Jen
xo

Surfing Anyone…??

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Jon Kabat-Zinn founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in Boston, Mass. teaches the use of mindfulness meditation as a technique to help people cope with stress, anxiety, and pain.  He has also published many books and audio recordings on mindfulness, one of my personal favorites being “Full Catastrophe Living”

The reason I am writing this blog is because I love his quote in the above photo and wanted to share it with you.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

Life is like the ocean it’s big, calm, rough at times, warm, cold and sometimes blue.  Let’s face it we’ve had our fair share of waves and situations come crashing down on us whether we expected them or not.  However, in those exact moments we have two choices.  Run or surf.

If you choose to run, the waves won’t stop they will actually follow you and maybe pull you under.  You may think you’re doing the right thing but it won’t last for very long.  The running goes on and on and you become more exhausted, depleted, and scared, you feel as though you can’t catch your breath.  Those waves just keep on comin’.

If you choose to surf, then the world is your oyster.  Now you have the ability to face the waves with an amazing attitude and a new added skill.  When you surf, you are living in the moment and you are in control of yourself, not the waves.  You feel on top of the world and it’s easier to go with the flow than against it.  You take the waves in stride and what felt scary at first is now something exciting.  You understand the rhythm of the ocean and can time the big waves that may catch you off guard.  Don’t be afraid just get back on your surf board and try again.  You feel so brave and proud of how you are handling things and you should be!  People on the shoreline are looking at you wishing they could surf like you do and you know it.  This makes you smile from within and even gives you peace while riding that wave.

So who are you, a runner or a surfer?  I’m a surfer girl. 🙂

Much Love,

Jen
xo

It’s Finally Over

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Her view was mostly of his back
He was far too busy to notice, especially her
When  pointed out, he walked away from her
Communication was his weakest link
The emotional abandonment was suffocating and humiliating for her
Being ignored was the worst empty feeling of all
She felt alone and excluded,  yet she was with him
The sting of emotional betrayal was overwhelming and nauseating
How could this be happening after everything she gave him
Gone was her independence and confidence during those years
Sadly her efforts to impress went unnoticed
Yet somehow he still benefited from the results
Her head hurt from banging it against the wall
Begging for his attention
She felt she didn’t exist and unimportant, at least with him
Schedules, impressions, ego were his priorities
Invitations elsewhere were taken with pleasure
Decided and enjoyed, leaving her behind
She felt she didn’t have a choice which took away her voice

Until one day a job opportunity came for her in a faraway land
An opportunity not just for her but for the family
To be treated like a queen and highly rewarded for all her hard work
He encouraged her to pursue this adventure
The spotlight had shifted from him to her
It was finally her turn to do more, have more
The law of divine compensation was at play
However, seething jealousy swept in
Robbed her of this happiness, this chance of a lifetime
What did he do?
He backed out, refusing this opportunity for himself
Advised her to go alone
His world was far too important to leave behind and support her in this quest
These foolish games were killing her and them
She was so tired of feeling alone
Betrayal came in many forms and shattered her heart one crack at a time
His jealousy and control were building daily over her

That’s when everything changed…
She realized this was not about her but all about him
Like all the other times he abandoned her

And then…. it happened, the day after Valentine’s

A hurling punch of ultimate betrayal slapped her across the face with brute force
Causing physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual harm to her body and soul
He took away Everything from her world
Her cracked heart was broken, bleeding and wailing
The invisible crown she wore fell, and crashed into a wall
Jewels she collected over the years shattered into a million pieces
Lifelessly falling to the floor,  she tried to pick them one by one
Screaming, reaching and crying a river of tears
Every act of control on his part felt like she was being strangled tighter and tighter
He was kicking her while she was down; the pain was excruciating
She was unable to get off this emotional roller coaster ride
And it was sucking the life out of her
Her world was rapidly spinning out of control into a downward tornado spiral
She knew this was the end but failed to realize
It was also her new beginning…

Gradually, she picked herself off the floor
Had no idea she was in the driver’s seat
She could finally break free and live her life the way it was intended
With people who care and make time for her in their busy schedule
And don’t take advantage of her good nature
Friends and family gathered round, carried her when she couldn’t walk
Resisted sleep all night until sunrise; stayed and talked with her
Buried the darkness when she needed the light
Spoke for her when she couldn’t speak
Listened when she finally found her voice and the words
Dried her tears when they wouldn’t stop flowing
Made her laugh and smile to cut through the pain
Encouraged her to shake and pound it out through exercise
Books, quotes and songs repaired her soul one phrase at a time
Hugs and virtual hugs meant everything to her
Friends and family became her strength, her lifeline, her everything
Standing by her side through every mind controlling appointment and conversation
Taking her shopping and moving her into her new palace
Helping to re-attach the shining jewels to her invisible crown
And wearing it like a boss knowing she’s worth it, dammit
While carrying on courageously and not missing a beat in her life
Rising strong like a hero and not a poor victim
Pouring out her emotions and detoxifying her soul through writing
Connecting with more friends around the world that inspire and support her
Skype, Hangouts, texts and social media bring friends who are far, close to her heart
She doesn’t feel alone or ignored anymore, she is smiling
Her heart and mind are open, she can breathe again

Finally she disembarks this wild emotional roller coaster ride
Thanking her guardian angels for riding along side with her
This girl is on fire now and has her strength back and more
She walks into the appointment with her pen in hand
Signs the document that changes her life forever and for the better
Her inked signature says it all loud and clear
It’s finally over.
And this time…
She walks away with her back to him for the very first time
And rocks it

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** A special thanks to Darshith for letting me borrow his awesome idea of adding music to my blog 😉 **Thank you** 🙂 Since this post has a before and after, I chose two songs; Foolish Games by Jewel and Brand New Me by Alicia Keys.  Thank you for reading and listening, I know it was long but I just had to get it all out, turn my back, close the door, walk away and move on.  Enjoy the music…Life is beautiful.  We’re all human.

Love, Thanks and Hugs to You,

Jennifer
xo

Perfection and Connection

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The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued: when they can give and receive without judgment: and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. We are wired for connection, it’s in our biology. We need connection to thrive emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. The more strongly connected we are with someone emotionally, the greater the mutual force.”  ~Brené Brown

 In order to truly connect with others, we need to show up.  Get out of our own way.  Stop listening to the little gremlins inside our head that tells us we’re not good enough.

All types of relationships are based on connection and whether we see and feel that connection or if we don’t.  To feel is to be vulnerable, putting ourselves out there.  It’s about self-acceptance and knowing we are not perfect and that it’s the imperfections we carry that make us beautiful.

When someone reaches out to another person, they are being vulnerable, courageous and aware of their imperfections.  What they are looking for is empathy which is very different from sympathy.  Empathy makes us feel like we are not alone and that somebody cares and understands us.  We feel connected.  Sympathy only drains us and makes us feel even more alone – disconnected.  Sometimes it’s not the response that makes things better but it’s the connection.  This short and cute 2:53 minute video explains it very well.

If we want deep, authentic connections we need to get out of our own way, start being vulnerable by feeling every emotion and forget about perfection.

Dare greatly!  ❤

Much Love,

Jen
xo

Hustling For Worthiness

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Brené Brown is #TheQueen of defining worthiness, therefore I will quote her instead of trying to interpret her outstanding research. 🙂

“Love and belonging are essential to the human experience.  Only one thing separates the men and women who feel a deep sense of love and belonging from the people who seem to be struggling for it.  That one thing is the belief in their worthiness.  It’s as simple and complicated as this:  If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.  When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness-the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging, right this minute.”  ~Brené Brown

Worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites but many of us have a long list that we have created or have been handed down to us.  I would like you to play along and ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as possible, just for your own knowledge.

I’ll be worthy when/if……

Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong somewhere?

Or had the thoughts that you weren’t good enough?

What did that feel like?

How did you handle that?

Were you able to feel that you were worthy and deserving of love and belonging?

How do you feel about love and belonging right now?

If you could give yourself some advice right now on how to deal with worthiness and love and belonging, what would you say to yourself right now?

Imagine you are talking to a child about worthiness, love and belonging, what would you say to that child?

Are you able to accept this advice you just gave to a child and use it for yourself?

And now for the biggest question of all;

Are you a hustler for worthiness?  Do you constantly perform, perfect, please or prove yourself to everyone around you? If you answered yes to this, you are giving away your power to someone else to decide if you are worthy or not.  This is not helpful despite your good intentions.   Self-worth, self-confidence, believing and knowing you are enough gives you full access to love and belonging and you deserve nothing but the absolute best. ❤

You are enough so no need to hustle.  You’re actually more than enough.

Much Love,

Jen
xo