Even The Caged Bird Sings

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I feel your pain and struggles.  I know what it’s like to be imprisoned in your own mind and heart.  Some days the walls are so high to climb, you just want to give up.  I’ve been there in that exact same spot and all I can say is that you need to let it all out.  Express yourself whatever way you know how to do it, but do it from your deepest core.  It’s the only way out where you can find some answers and freedom.

Whether you’re a bird in a cage that is physical, mental, or emotional, there’s always an escape route and that’s by expressing your pain through your creativity.  We are all artists and creative, some just choose to use it more than others.  Find out what fills you up from the inside out and do that as much as humanly possible.  When the caged bird sings, she’s asking for help, saying a prayer, crying her emotions out to the world.  Some days she’s singing because she’s happy and that’s what connects her to the world and when we feel connected, it feels pretty damn good, right?  It’s possible to find the positives within the negatives and feel free even though you are trapped inside your head.  Start by getting out of your own way, close your eyes, and look with your heart instead.  How do you want to feel?  Let that be your measuring stick and your guide.

Feeling stuck on how to be creative?  Here are some suggestions; sing, dance, make videos, write, draw, paint, sculpt, dramatic arts, play a musical instrument, photography, beauty techniques, hair design, fashion, cooking, baking, scrapbooking, interior decorating, renovating, party planning, building, sports, sewing, knitting, gardening, landscaping and the list goes on.  What did you like to do when you were in grade 3?  That’s always a good starting point.

From time to time life is going to make us feel lonely, disappointed, upset, confused, and trapped.  However, despite all that, we need to remember who we truly are and if we don’t know, it’s time we did, because that’s what will help us deal with these tough times and get us through to the other side.  Even when life seems to put up walls around us, it’s possible to live fulfilling lives by using our creativity so it can set us free.

That’s why even the caged bird sings.

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

**I would like to say many thanks, appreciation, and gratitude to everyone for reading my blogs and my new book “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak.”  It’s heartwarming to read all the feedback from you and to know it’s making a positive impact in the lives of others because that’s been my intention all along.  I have been and still am a caged bird at times but my writing allows me to express myself so I can heal, feel free, and move on with my life in a positive way ❤

If you would like to pick up a copy of my book, it’s available at all online bookstores worldwide, FriesenPress bookstore and in some physical bookstores such as; Michabou, Prospero Books, Caversham Booksellers, and Chapters Kanata.

On Saturday, August 12th, 2017, I will be hosting a book signing event for “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” at Chapters Kanata in Ottawa, from 11 am – 3 pm.  They are located in the Kanata Centrum Shopping Centre at 400 Earl Grey Drive, Kanata, Ontario K2T 1B9.  Signed paperback copies can be purchased for $20 +taxes.  Hope to see you there!

Many heartfelt thanks for all your love and support, dare to live courageously…

~ Jennifer Green
XO

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You (A to Z Challenge)

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I love you so much
Your kind heart is like a bright, shining light
That paves the path of darkness in all of us

You have a way of making people feel comfortable
Especially in uncomfortable situations
You are a caring soul, a giving and helpful person

You have been through so much lately
Your wounds are still visible and hot to the touch
Despite all that, you’re healing and have come a long way, keep going

You’ve made some mistakes along the way, that’s how we learn
Realize and accept you are part of a common humanity that is imperfect
You can forgive yourself now for not knowing any better
Pieces of your soul have been shattered and scattered
People who care about you are collecting them
And rebuilding a new you, with you

You need to be gentle with yourself
It’s okay to cry or be emotional
This is how you heal from the inside out

It may take more time than you thought, once bitten, twice shy
Carve out some time for yourself so you can hear your soul speak
Be compassionate with yourself, we’re all in life this together

Your friends love you and want to see you happy
They may show their care and concern by giving you advice
You are never alone, you know what’s best for you

I appreciate you so much
You need to stop beating yourself up
Leave the insecurities behind, just breathe

You are beautiful and talented
You don’t need to criticize or judge
Listening to the inner critic only causes you unnecessary pain

You are imperfect and graceful
You are authentic and strong
You are fierce and vibrant

May you find the love you desire one day, you deserve it
May you find the one who truly cares about you unconditionally
May you find the path that is right for you

May you always remember these self-compassionate words
They are from me to you, Jennifer
Yes, YOU

 

**This is self-compassionate talk in a tough world sometimes.  It is positive talk that can heal your mind, body and soul.

Happy Friday ❤

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

 

 

Love and Cardiac Complications

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The similarities between love and cardiac complications are endless and mind-boggling.  I think we can all recognize some of these crush and love moments whether they were brief or long; they existed or perhaps still exist for some.  I just hope you don’t recognize any of the cardiac complications!  Either way, whatever you do recognize, the important thing is that you survived.

Love vs. Cardiac Complications

You’re walking around feeling good, living your life = Normal Sinus Rhythm, good arrhythmia!

You meet someone, fall in love, heart is chaotic and skips a beat = Atrial Fibrillation, administer Esmolol

Passion = Ventricular Tachycardia, rapid heart rate over 100 beats per minute, administer Amiodarone.  If you are able to safely live in this zone then you are one of the lucky ones out there.

Love is lost, abandoned, betrayal.  Heart cracks and breaks open, total absence of electrical activity.  HELP! = Cardiac arrest, Asystole.  Like in the movies; “flat line.”  Administer Epinephrine STAT!

Scared, denial, chest pain, can’t breathe, shock….

Take some deep breaths = Administer Oxygen

Friends support system is called in they take care of you, give you comfort, food, love, support = Call 911, perform CPR and ACLS.  Administer Epinephrine again STAT!

Cardiac Defibrillation – “All Clear” shock the heart to help restart it = Clear some space for yourself while you push the “refresh” button on your life and start over

When we think about cardiac surgery we usually think about the mechanics, the anatomy and physiology aspects which are very important when trying to save a life.  What about the other roles the heart plays?  The invisible, emotional, spiritual roles that can only be felt, that can change the heart rate and electrical activity by a single word, song, story or any of the 5 senses?

I’m talking about love and passion.   This is something you never see during surgery but I’ve always wondered what people go through in their love life and how they survived that type of invisible but real heartbreak.  From the outside looking in, everything looks normal, but it’s not.  People often refer to heartbreak as invisible scars, holes, or cracks in their heart.  How did they stitch themselves back together again and carry on?   Did they really heal?  Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle it?

Coping mechanisms for healing:  reading inspirational blogs, quotes, creative writing, music, movies, books, support and encouragement from friends and family, feeling grateful, finding the silver lining, learning the hidden life lessons, hugs, laughter, getting outside in nature, Zumba = these examples are the sutures that can help stitch the heart back together again.  It’s how I cope anyway…

Real friends:  Non-Absorbable Sutures – since the heart is the strongest rhythmic muscle in the body, non-absorbable sutures give the heart extra time to heal because they are in there for life, the long haul, they are flexible and strong.  These are your real friends.  If absorbable sutures were used on the heart, they would not hold it together and it would keep breaking, leading to death.  Not only that, there would be a medical malpractice case…

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Takers:  Absorbable sutures – the one who dissolved and left after all the work was done, temporary relationship.  In any case, never use these with the precious heart

Stainless steel wires close the sternum acting like a new shield of armor to protect the heart and give it extra strength.  Now you’re a warrior made of steel.

Recovery period:  sleep, get your strength back, start out slowly, exercise, eat healthy, take care of yourself, be kind, patient, don’t smoke!  Normal sinus rhythm again.  Smile!  🙂

Similarity:  you survived a cardiac complication because you were well taken care of by a team of caring people and you also took care of yourself.  The heart can function properly now and your broken heart has been mended and reinforced.  It didn’t kill you; it made you stronger. Are you ready to give another try at love, atrial fibrillation, passion and ventricular tachycardia?

Love can be complicated like the cardiovascular system.  We need to follow our hearts and what we’re passionate about to live our life to the fullest.  Eventually, we can return to Love and Normal Sinus Rhythm.

Take good care of yourself and the ones you love,

Much love,

~ Jennifer

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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

Positive Ripple Effect

ripple_effect2   Hello to all my friends and followers!  I hope you are enjoying your summer and making time for friends, family and the things you love.

I decided to share a few of my favourite quotes and sayings I came across in the last little while that help inspire me and carry on.  I have to admit, I am a big lover of quotes and sayings because of the impact they have on opening the mind to a fresh, new perspective with greater meaning and they only contain a few words in a phrase or two.  It just goes to show that even a little stone thrown into the water can create a ripple effect extending out to others.  Therefore it is highly important to keep your words and actions positive because they not only affect one person but everyone around them.  Sometimes a good quote is just what you need to stitch the tears in your heart back together again.  See which ones speak to you…

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”  ~ Eckhart Tolle

“Everything is just as it needs to be.  And if we would forgive, our minds and hearts would open and we could see another possibility.”  ~ Iyanla Vanzant

“Make peace your ultimate goal when you want something.  If you get what you want, that’s great.  If you don’t get what you want, you are still peaceful.  This will prevent emotional self-destruction.”  ~ Marianne Williamson

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

“The root of suffering is attachment.”  ~ Buddha

“To be successful means you have to live your own dream, not somebody else’s dream.”  ~ Arianna Huffington

“The art of being helpful is behaving as if everything we do matters-because we never know which things might.”  ~ Gloria Steinham

“People are like stained glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”  ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“When you awaken love and laughter in your life, your mind let’s go of fear and anxiety and your happy spirit becomes the healing balm that transforms every aspect of your human experience.”  ~ Jesse Dylan

“One of the essential tasks for living a wise life is letting go.  Letting go is the path to freedom.  It is only by letting go of the hopes, the fears, the pain, the past, the stories that have a hold on us that we can quiet our mind and open our heart.”  ~ Jack Kornfield

“Look for the answer inside your question.”  ~ Rumi

“When you hold on to your history, you do it at the expense of your destiny.”  ~ Bishop T.D. Jakes

“There is also something deeply lovely about uncertainty:  the possibility of optimism.”  ~ Joan Wickersham

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.  Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour.  Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits.  Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.  Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  ~ Maya Angelou

I hope one of these great quotes creates a positive ripple effect in your life so that you can pass it on to someone else.  Always move forward.   See you in August!

~ Jennifer Juneau

Compassion Fatigue and the Fertility Nurse

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I would like to apologize for not blogging these past two months.  Life got busy!  However, I’m back and happy to be here again.  I recently attended the 4th Annual Compassion Fatigue Conference in Kingston, Ontario put on by Francoise Mathieu who is the Owner and Director of Compassion Fatigue Solutions which is an excellent resource for helping professionals.  This year, I was a panel speaker at this conference in early June and it was a privilege to be involved in discussing how coaches and nurses who work in Fertility can unexpectedly cross the invisible line from being compassionate into compassion fatigue if we are not careful. Infertility patients can ride an emotional roller coaster which is completely understandable due to what they have to go through and sometimes without realizing it, helping professionals can find themselves sitting right next to them on that same roller coaster, hoping for the best and fearing their outcomes which can have serious personal and professional drawbacks which in turn does not benefit the patient.  As helping professionals, we need to adopt the same theory as on the airplane, “Put your oxygen mask on first, caring for others requires taking care of yourself first.”  I believe this so much that it is inscribed on the back of all of my business cards as a reminder to others and also for myself.  The goal for helping professionals is to give excellent quality care to our patients and to do that, we have to remember to take care of ourselves along the way because we count too.   This way, everyone benefits.

I would like to share and invite you to read my presentation which can be found at the following link:

https://compassionfatigue.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Riding-the-Emotional-Roller-Coaster-with-the-Patient1.pdf

If you would like to read more presentations given by other great presenters, please visit the following link:

https://compassionfatigue.ca/blog/

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.  Thank you!

~ Jennifer Juneau
Registered Nurse, Solution Focused Life Coach