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

Lights In Your Tunnel

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We like to search for those final happy destinations in life.  You know, the ones that will finally make us feel relieved and satisfied.  We work so hard on a project, exams, a relationship, or our health while focusing on the end result which is that light at the end of the tunnel.  Or perhaps it’s a separation or divorce that turns your world upside down.  The truth is, we crave that light, it’s all we can think about to help motivate us to move forward because in our minds we believe the moment  we can see that light, the difficult situation will end.  You say “When all this is over I can finally relax and be happy.”

Is that really true?  Maybe…to an extent.

Is it possible to be happy right now while you are in that long, dark tunnel?  Tunnels are scary, cold, intimidating places.  You are probably wondering how can one be happy in such a depressing place?  Sometimes we miss the boat by going in alone and limiting our vision on the end result when we could be using some light and support to navigate that tunnel.

Little moments in life are worth celebrating just as much as the big ones.  By having something to look forward to like meeting a friend for coffee, scheduling a Skype call from someone who is important to you, reading uplifting blogs that give your life meaning, planning a mini vacation or just eating your favourite food with your kids all represent little pot lights in your tunnel.  Each friend, family member or supportive person is worth a light in your tunnel.  The more positive people and moments you have creates more support in your situation.  And the brighter your environment is, the more tolerable and comfortable the situation will be, therefore you will begin to feel happier and even more relaxed.  You need these lights to help you cope better.  It’s time to celebrate coping better because you are doing the best you can and every action step counts.

If something really great happens to you that represents a chandelier!  It’s time to celebrate again.

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Be grateful for everything you have and see how many colored lights appear.  By shifting your perspective, the tunnel is now an illuminating space that transformed from unpleasant to beautiful.   Light replaces darkness the same way love replaces fear.

If you are going through a difficult time right now, don’t wait until it’s over to celebrate all your milestones you are achieving along the way.  You could be waiting months or years before you see that light at the end of the tunnel.  Why would you want to deprive yourself that way?  Do it now because you’re worth it.

Take comfort along the way by always having something to look forward to with the people who care for you.  Those who you know well and those whom you’ve never met before but seem to cause a positive ripple effect in your life.  Notice the happy little surprises that pop up.  These are your lights that will decorate your life and lead you out of the tunnel because you have the right to be happy now.

Celebrating a win doesn’t mean you need to do something outrageous or expensive, just be kind to yourself.   If that seems difficult, ask yourself “What would I buy my 10 year old self right now that would make me happy?” or “What have I wanted to do but have been putting it off?”   Maybe the answers to both questions are chocolate and a massage?

Sounds good to me…that’s a win-win.

Much love,

Jennifer

P.S….All my gratitude to the lights and chandeliers in my tunnel. You are amazing!

Thank You For Being Such A Pain ~ By Mark I. Rosen

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Not only is this a catchy, punchy title for a book, it makes a lot of sense…once you read it.  For some this may trigger some laughter and for others they might find it offensive at first glance.  Personally, I found it funny and real. Little did I know it was going to wake me up to something bigger and better.

I was at a conference last year when I came across this book and after reading the description on the back cover and browsing through the table of contents, people around me started to ask me questions and we joked about the title.  Even when I bought the book, the volunteers working the table asked me to read it and come back to give them a report on it!  This was a big conversation piece and I could hardly wait to dive in and read it.

As it reads on the back cover, “With wisdom and humor, Thank You For Being Such A Pain offers gentle and compassionate guidance for understanding and healing relationships with difficult people.  The author Mark I. Rosen, Ph.D., reminds us that nothing in your life happens randomly and your pain has a deeper purpose; frustration and pain are as necessary for your personal and spiritual growth as love and joy; transforming enmity and completing unfinished business may be the most important skills you can learn in life; and when you make an effort to work on your inner self, your outer relationships will be transformed.”  The bottom line is that after reading this book, it can change the way you see the difficult people in your life as well as the way you see yourself.  The silver lining awakening is that over time, you will be able to thank the difficult person for what they said or did to you because it helped you learn something about yourself and it made you grow into a better human being.  Your higher self.

Everyone can relate to this book because there are difficult people everywhere we go and there have been times where we are the difficult person.  (I know, harsh but true…).  We can’t always point the finger at someone else, it’s important to take some responsibility for our own actions and how we may have contributed to the situation.  After all, nobody’s perfect.

Gasp! 

I really love how the author explains the emotional and spiritual side of understanding the difficulties, options for dealing with difficult people, why people are difficult, healing the difficulties, embracing the adversary and relating to difficult people overall.

I would like to share a powerful exercise from the book that I recently found to be helpful in my own life after being heart broken and it’s called Three Healing Letters.  The purpose of this exercise is to use writing as an outlet for emotional release, most commonly anger and sadness.  For all the writers out there, just remember do not send, post, give these letters to the difficult person!  This exercise is just for you and your heart.

Letter 1:

With pen in hand or computer in front of you, write a letter to the difficult person.  Feel free to say whatever is on your mind and in your heart, don’t hold anything back.  How were you hurt?  What was taken away from you?  How has your life been affected?   What do you think of the person?

Take your time when you write and there is no deadline so add to it as needed over how many days, weeks, months it takes.  Pay attention to how you feel in your body, what physical sensations are happening as you write?  These are your emotions being released, be kind to yourself.  Keep writing.

Read what you have so far out loud with all your emotion while imagining the difficult person is sitting in front of you not interrupting or defending.  Find a quiet, private area to do this… 🙂

When you no longer feel the intensity of emotions inside you as you write and read the letter out loud, the letter is finished.  Resist the temptation to mail it!

Letter 2:

Now you can write the fantasy reply you would love to receive to letter 1.  Take a different position by writing as if you were the difficult person.  What do you want to hear?  What would you like the person to say to you that would ease the pain and make you feel better?  What type of apology would provide some closure for you?  What would you like to be acknowledged?

Continue to pay attention to your physical reactions as you write, cry it all out if you feel like it.  Even though you may never receive a letter like this it will feel good to express it.

Letter 3:

As strange as it may sound, write the difficult person a thank-you letter.  Thank them for all the positive things they did for you in your relationship despite the wedge that sits between you now.  What might be the blessing in disguise here for you?

Thank the person for teaching you valuable life lessons that you wouldn’t have normally seen if it wasn’t for them.  Not only did they teach you about patience and compassion but also about sharpening your relationship skills for future use with others. You may even want to thank them for not seeing the real you because now you are free to find someone who truly appreciates you for who you really are.

If you are having trouble finding anything positive or unable to say thank you, then your anger hasn’t been fully vented or dealt with yet.  Please know this is okay and that you need to spend more time on letters 1 and 2 while reminding yourself there is no deadline.  Time is your friend.

When you have completed letter 3, you are finally able to forgive, let go and surrender.  You have healed from within because love replaced fear and gratitude shifted your perspective.  Burn the letters, shred them or even bury them in the sand and have them washed away for good.  Do something profound to mark the occasion of putting the past behind you where it belongs.

You are light and free.

Now you can say “thank you for being such a pain” with compassion for yourself…and mean it.

Hugs,

Jennifer  xo

Filling Your Heart with Values

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When I took my training in becoming a life coach a few years ago, my favorite Module was on our values.  When we talk about values, there is an emotional connection making them extra special because values converge and define us, they are who we are at our core.   Anyone who knows me well knows that emotional connection is huge and is a core value in my life.  I am not after the external materialistic things, I value what’s within.  Values are one word such as compassionate, respect, determined and have a strong tonal emphasis, they cannot be changed but you can add more to who you are over time and through experience.  Values drive our choices in all life areas.

As a coach, when I ask my clients about a goal they would like to achieve in their life, it is a privilege for me to be beside them hearing their stories and offering them a helping hand.  People amaze me all the time with their determination, resilience and love for life.  They want to better themselves the same way an athlete wants to better themselves with the assistance of a coach.  Some clients say they want more peace in their life and others want a loving relationship.  After stating their goal in a positive way, my next question is key “why is that important to you?”  This is the most beautiful WHY question because it’s all about values.  Answers are from the heart because that’s where values live, even the heart is somewhat shaped like a V.  Values represent love.  Love of self and love of others.  If something is not that important to you in reaching a goal, you won’t be able to answer the “why.”  In other words, you don’t value it that much.

How do you know what your values are and are you truly living out your values?

Perhaps you value sharing in your family life but you live making selfish decisions.  This is most likely not your value but a belief that you should share because that’s what families do with each other.  Therefore sharing is not about who you are and there is a conflict between your values and beliefs.  On the other hand, if compassion is your value and you live your life helping others then you know and respect one of your values and live it out authentically.  Principles are the manner in which you carry out your values.  Therefore principles drive your behavior.  They are like an unwritten law that acts as a compass when you get lost because you can always refer back to them.  Beliefs can diverge us and are stories with the word “because” in it.  They are something we tell ourselves such as “I believe I should act this way because….”  The good news is that beliefs can be changed if they are self-limiting or imposed on us by someone else like a parent, ex, etc.

In love relationships, we look for the things we have in common with someone, their likes, dislikes and the list goes on.  You may have many likes and things in common with someone but maybe you don’t share the same values in different areas such as career, friends, love, or children.  Over time this could be one of the reasons why the relationship may not have worked out because after the honeymoon of likes is over, reality of who this person is and what is important to them shows up.  It’s their values, the matters of the heart that speak up.  If your values clash, chances are your relationship may clash eventually too.  Think of it this way, imagine the most mismatched couple you know who hardly has anything in common with the other person, the cliché opposites attract comes up a lot, and yet they are happy and have been together forever.  Why is that?  It’s because they share the same values, the heart of the matter is the same.

If you don’t know what your values are yet, I encourage you to take your time and find out what they are so you can live an inspiring and authentic life you deserve.  One exercise that may be helpful is to imagine it’s your 80th birthday party and all your friends, followers and family are there giving a toast about you.  What would you like them to say about you that rings true to your life?  Answers are one word such as inspiring, loyal, caring, etc.  Ask yourself the million dollar question “why is that important to me?” It is crucial to know the answer.  Once you know what they are, use your principles to live out your values and do it with passion and grace.  You can drill down even deeper and on a scale of 1 – 10, scale each value on how true you are living them and strive to do better.  Out of that list, what are your top three values?

Most of all, find that special person who shares your same values and fills your heart with even more values knowing that anything is possible.

If you are interested in hiring me as your coach, I am happy to be with you.  Values guaranteed.  We can begin with a 30 minute free session.

Much love,

Jennifer Juneau
Jennifer.juneau1@gmail.com

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.

10 Ways To Set Your Life On Fire

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“It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”  ~ Elizabeth Kenny

  1. Housekeeping: That’s right, but not that kind of housekeeping.  What I am referring to is getting your mind, body and soul clean by re-organizing what is important to you and why.  Start making priority lists and discard the rest.  There’s nothing better than a good dusting to see what’s hiding underneath it all.  Keep your mind fresh and clean by keeping your thoughts positive.  Keep your body happy and healthy by exercising and getting rid of unwanted body fat!  Keep your soul revitalized by being true to yourself and not pretending to be someone you’re not.  Keep the fire burning by being authentic, not fake because fake fizzles out really fast.
  1. Hasta La Vista Baby: Say goodbye to narcissists and people who are not your true friends.  These types of people drain you and don’t have time for you so why hold onto them?  Respect yourself by knowing you are worthy and a joy to be around, it’s their loss if they can’t appreciate you.  If someone seriously wants to be a part of your life, they will seriously make an effort to be in it.  People who keep you hanging in silence for their own benefit need to be cut out immediately.  Not only is this selfish and hurtful, they aren’t worth it and life is too short.  Now you can start learning the words to #Alicia Keys song “This Girl Is on Fire!!” or any other song with the word #FIRE in it. Actions speak louder than words. 
  1. Connection: Say hello to the people who excite you and bring joy into your life!  People who make you laugh are definitely going to set your life on fire and fan your flames because not only are they fun to be around, laughter wakes up all the cells in your body, boosts your immune system and if done long enough, makes your face hurt in a good way.   Forget social media and get out of your house and off your phone!  Meet people face to face and start connecting with them on many different subjects.  You will walk away feeling content and grateful for knowing them.  Be kind to your friends and treat them right by making time for them.  If there is someone you have always wanted to talk to and haven’t yet, now’s the time to find the courage and “Just do it” like #Nike says.  Remember, this is an article on how to set your life on fire, not play it safe so get out there!
  1. New Hobby Anyone: Still trying to figure out how to use that epic camera you bought last year?  It’s time to take it out of the box and start snapping some shots!!!  Sign up for a photography class and make that commitment to learning something new outside your box!  By taking a new class you might find new friends and connect with people you never knew existed.  Whatever your hobby is, the point is to get started and try something NEW.  Not your usual hobby because new is what starts the spark and the spark is what starts the fire!
  1. Dance: What’s your favourite tune?  Whatever you love to listen to, get off the couch and turn up the music!  When music is played louder than usual, it can actually light you up from the inside out and bring back those loving feelings and memories.  Upbeat music causes this natural instinct to get your body moving and before you know it, you’re singing along and feeling great!  There is no way you can feel depressed when singing and dancing so it’s great to rekindle with the oldies but goodies or with the latest and greatest hits.  Remember high school?  You get to choose the music so tear up the dance floor and light your fire!
  1. Be Adventurous: Still longing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, run that marathon, bungee jump off that cliff or get that wild haircut you always wanted?  If you are into that kind of risk taking then congratulations, you are living on the edge and your life is already on fire!  For the rest of us, adventurous can mean other things like zip lining, travelling or public speaking.  Yikes!  When you do something new, it’s exciting and it can have several positive side effects like bragging rights to all your friends and posting pictures of yourself everywhere.  You feel that sense of accomplishment for being courageous enough to do something outside your usual pattern of living and not procrastinating about it.  You know what they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Do what scares you!
  1. Spice It Up: Whether it’s an old flame your current flame or a new flame, this is a great way to ignite the fire within.  Just pick one flame at a time!  Life gets busy and we tend to ignore our love life more than we should.  When was the last time you bought something spicy?  All flames are precious so be kind, respectful and take care not to get burned or end up burning the one you care about.  Whatever you do, don’t burn a bridge.  Try to keep the fire burning between you in order to keep things interesting and alive!
  1. Make a Career Move: Easier said than done I know.  People tend to stay where they are because it’s safe.  Life is not safe people.  It’s about risk taking and being happy so if you have something in mind like a dream to work somewhere new or try something different, I am here to tell you that it’s possible.  Maybe you are a secretary who is very artistic and would love to paint.  Begin it.  Maybe you’ve always dreamed of working in another country?  That is a sure way to set your life on fire with culture differences and being exposed to new ways of doing your usual job.  Start exploring what’s out there and talk to people who have already taken that leap through the ring of fire.
  1. Book a Vacation: When was the last time you went somewhere fun?  Do you tend to go to the same place with the same people?  Well, it’s time to kick things up a notch.  Grab your closest friend and book that trip you’ve always wanted to do!  At one point in your life, you have to hit Disney World.  One of the craziest ways to set your life on fire is by riding the roller coasters like Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Ride.  When you hop on, it takes off like a rocket at 57 miles an hour with the songs “Walk This Way” and “Dude Looks Like a Lady” blasting in your ears from the speakers in the headrest.  If you don’t see your life flash before your eyes at that point… you must be dead.

 10. Hire A Life Coach: I know, it sounds like a sales pitch which it is and it isn’t.  So here’s the thing.  Coaching isn’t for everyone but let me ask you this; what is having your life on track worth to you?  What is the value in knowing who you are, what your hidden interests are, what excites you and what you are capable of doing?  By setting goals and creating an achievable action plan, you will be on your way to building your own fire.  Not only will you have amazing results in your life, but you will also have fun along the way!  That is definitely worth it so come on, let’s light that fire together!  Please feel free to check out my website at: couragecoach.wordpress.com or contact me at Jennifer.juneau1@gmail.com

Follow me on #Twitter @fjj_juneau or like my Facebook page #Courage Coach.  See you there!

**Contact me at jennifer.juneau1@gmail.com