India Travels: My Journey,Meditation and Dedication

india-diwali-night-satellite-image-hoax

As I embarked on this healing journey, I had intentions to deal with my own DUKKHA-the gnawing sense of dissatisfaction and heartbreak in my life-and to free myself from the shackles of fear, anger, sadness, attachment and aversion for my own benefit and the benefit for all sentient beings-and that is the highest aspiration, BODHICHITTA.

And as I travel, I breathe and focus on the journey-and that is the singled pointed concentration, SAMATHA.

And as I journey to see my blogging friends, we open the windows of our five senses and that of our mind.

We hear the babble of water, the roar of engines, the chirping of birds and our inner silence-and that is SOUND

We see the towns and the beaches, the brightness of sun and the darkness of starry nights-and that is SIGHT

We breathe in the aroma of spices in the markets, the fragrance of incense in temples and the stench of exhaust-and that is SMELL

As I journey to see each and every one of you, we hug one another with total happiness and excitement for being able to meet in person for the very first time-and that is TOUCH

As we eat, we taste the texture of Paneer and spiciness of Golgappa, deliciousness of Chapatis and sweet comfort of Chai-and that is TASTE

As I fly from city to city over rivers and mountains, I watch my mental state, emotions and thoughts come and go-and that is MIND

I become aware of sound, sight, smell, touch and taste and bear witness to my wandering mind-and that is insight-VIPASSANA

As I travel, I see that my outer landscapes are ever changing and so are my inner landscapes; my thoughts, as well as my mental and emotional states; they rise and fall and go through cycles-and that is impermanence, ANICCA

The traveller is one with the path, the friends are one with the traveller, we are all part of the journey and the journey becomes a part of us.  We travel as one, we share joy and pain and as we do, the sense of our separate impermeable selves erodes and diffuses, and whether we are men or women or Canadian or Indian, we breathe as one and feel as one-and that is no separate self-ANATTA

As I go deeper in my compassionate silence at night, I realize that all the things surrounding me, lack their own independent existence-and that is great emptiness-SUNYATA

As we share our emotions without reservations, we do so with compassion and without judgment toward ourselves and each other-and that is loving-kindness, METTA

And through it all I experience the deep, mystical intuitive wisdom of the heart, not the wisdom of knowledge or trying to figure things out-and that is perfection of wisdom PRAJNA PARAMITA

And so my outer journey through time and space becomes one with my inner journey into the arms of forgiveness and healing heart and the discovery of who I really am-and that is MEDITATION

And underlying this entire journey to India and to myself, is an overwhelming sense of gratitude:  to the country of India, to the spiritual healing I came searching for and found and most of all I am grateful for my lifelong friendships with all of you and look forward to many more times being spent together in person-and that is MY JOURNEY, MEDITATION AND DEDICATION TO YOU

I hope to see you again and all my new friends in India soon

 

Dhanyavaad ❤

 

Jenny
xo

 

 

 

Reckoning, Rumble, Revolution

51K5xunS2RL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

If you are a Brené Brown fan like me, you will recognize these three words because they are in the title of her latest book called “Rising Strong.  The Reckoning.  The Rumble.  The Revolution.”  If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall.  This is a book about what it takes to get back up.  I love that.

Ah, the emotional adventures in life are the ones we didn’t see coming, the ones where we got hurt, disappointed, heartbroken.  It feels like our emotions just swallowed us whole and that’s an uncomfortable feeling for anyone, it’s where we fall.  However, uncomfortable means finding your courage to get back up and start over by recognizing and finding out where you are as of now, how did you get there and where do you want to go next.  It’s the emotional reckoning of finding the silver lining in a tough situation we’re facing and how we walk into our story.

Then comes the rumble and that’s where we own our story, it’s the middle part, the hardest and messiest part where all the work needs to be done in order to understand and learn what happened by being honest with ourselves.  This is where change begins at the heart of it all and this is where we learn more about ourselves.  We need to get real about the stories we’re telling ourselves because our mind believes what we tell it, therefore we need to keep it positive and honest.  The accumulation of all the imperfections we find in this mess is where we struggle to find our inner beauty which in turn leads to positive personal growth and development.  Sometimes the rumble can last longer than the others but that’s okay, you’re getting there.  The magic is in the mess.

The revolution is about the process when our rumble changes become a way of life and are integrated into how we live day to day and interact with others and ourselves.  Even small series of changes can change the world and how we engage with it.  We need to have open minds and hearts to be able to even start this process.  Some people around you might not like this stage because on the outside it might look confusing or even scary to some.  This is what transformation is all about which are possibilities and opportunities then carrying them out into the world to inspire others.  Respect and trust in the process because everything is unfolding exactly as it should be and this is where we rise strong.

“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers than those of us who are willing to fall because we have learned how to rise.” ~Brené Brown

“The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness-even our wholeheartedness-actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.” ~Brené Brown

I have fallen, struggled and transformed through all the R’s a few times in my life.  Every time I do this I rise even stronger.  I am imperfect and damn proud of it.

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

Hope (A to Z Challenge)

hope

Hope is a function of struggle. When hope leads, love follows and miracles can happen.

Hope is often thought of as an emotion but it’s not. It’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Emotions accompany hope but it does not stand alone. Hope happens when we have the ability to set realistic goals and we are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes. In other words, you know how to get there by being persistent and you can tolerate disappointment and try again. Expectations are more rigid.  Most importantly, you believe in yourself by saying “I can do this!!!”

People with high levels of hopefulness often have experience with adversity. They have been given the opportunity to struggle and in doing so they learned how to believe in themselves found their way and carried on.  I know I have been in this situation before and I struggled my way out of it with the love and support of people around me who didn’t judge or criticize me.  I have high hopes for my future and I am doing my best to get there.  Whatever your personal drought has been; love, health, money or work, I know how hard it is to get to the other side but with hope it helps to increase our resilience.  There will definitely be times when our hopes are low and our knees hit the floor.  Maybe while we’re down there we could pray for a miracle and sometimes when we loosen our grip that’s exactly when the miracle arrives.

If we want our children to develop high levels of hopefulness, we have to let them struggle and stop protecting them so much because they need to learn that they have the ability to dare greatly on their own too.

That is a great sign of strength and it’s how we encourage them to grow.   And when we witness them growing, we grow too.  Funny how that happens.

The important thing we need to remember is that we must never take away someone’s hope because it might be all they have left.

We don’t always get what we want but we can hope so.

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

 

 

 

To The Daughter I Never Had

664ba0f96b97813f4f888552e60b8eb9

~ This post goes out to those who have suffered a miscarriage, or knows someone who has.  Often times when this happens, it’s the child that gives birth to the mother.  Thank you for reading…

 ❤

Welcome beautiful little Georgia to your new world of Divine Love
I promise to support, guide, mentor and motivate you
Appreciate, protect and respect you for who you are

I’ll give you the inside scoop of what I know about guys, love and heartbreak
But with a positive perspective of course
Boys and men can be hard to understand and sometimes shy
Give them a chance they can also be sweet, loving and inspiring
We’re all fighting some type of internal dragon, be patient

Strive to belong instead of fitting in with the crowd
Be proud of your body image, perfection doesn’t exist
Our imperfections make us beautiful, remember this always
Wear sunscreen to look forever young
Eat whatever you want but remember to exercise
This way you will never need to diet and that’s a very good thing

Love yourself first and enough to walk away from people or situations that hurt you
Learn how to practice self-compassion and self-appreciation
When the world withholds these two things, trust me it will sometimes
You need to learn how to fill in the blanks yourself
Daily gratitude creates perspective and joy

Be daring, courageous and awesome like your mom…LOL
Don’t be a princess, be a Queen and let someone treat you like one
Being a Queen has its perks
Have a sense of humor but remember to laugh at yourself too

Find your passion in creativity and let it flow
Maybe you will like writing as much as I do
Find your groove, I support you all the way

Listen to your female intuition because it’s right
Don’t be a doormat for people to walk all over you
Give unconditional love while setting personal boundaries
People will compete with you so get yourself ready for that

Music and books are a great way to feed your soul
I hope you take it all in because you are going to love them
Learning a musical instrument is a beautiful thing
Inspiration can be found all around you so keep one eye and ear open at all times

You need to travel beyond your own backyard, the world is waiting for you
Travel with friends, family and solo like I did
Solo travel is a great way to discover new places and yourself

School is very important, try your best at all times
Respect your teachers, they are there to help; not give you a hard time
Peer pressure can be tough to deal with, please come and talk to me about this
We will work through it together

Friends will come and go and you will learn who is true during tough times
They will stay by your side no matter what
Take the high road whenever possible
I want you to know you’re so worth it

Money is important but it isn’t everything so use it wisely
Don’t be a slave to it
Hire a career coach when you are young to help in choosing your right path
Strive for happiness first and success will follow you
Know what your values are and live by them accordingly

Your Mr. Right should not be selfish with you, find a conversationalist
They are interesting and funny which makes life grand
Make sure you are his priority and that he keeps his word
Quality time and communication are what counts
Whether you have children or not, I’m with you

Feel all your emotions
If you are anything like me, that won’t be much of a problem
It’s okay to cry; you will feel much better afterwards
Dealing with disappointment is a tough one, I’m still learning how myself
Try to find the silver lining in tough situations, this is a gift if you can

Life is a journey and a roller coaster at times
I hope you can enjoy the ride either way
So dance in the rain, sing in the car and love with your whole heart
To the daughter I never had…
You’re amazing and I love you ❤

 

**This blog was inspired by the song Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles when I was sitting in a restaurant during my trip in Bhubaneswar, India recently and I am including the version by Jamie Foxx who played Ray in the movie.  Enjoy…

Much Love,

Jen
xo

If I Would Have Listened

Flowers-Photos-8-Cool-Wallpapers-HD

This blog is dedicated to an amazing friend of mine, Basak Yanar, PhD.  She’s been there for me through many of my trials and tribulations, has a heart of gold, words of an angel and can crack the code on human behavior.  Please check her incredible published work.  If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here on WordPress writing today so Basak, this one’s for you beautiful lady.  All my love,

“If I would have listened to the nasty gremlins in my head
I never would have taken a step back from my work to analyze what I wanted to do

If I would have listened to the doubts that creep in at night and tell me I’m not good enough
I never would have had the courage to hire a life coach, YOU.

If I would have listened to the persistent gremlins in my head about my imperfections in writing
I never would have started a blog on WordPress

If I would have listened to the insecurities that my initial blog traffic was low
I never would have continued posting anything here and given up

If I would have listened to the people who doubted creativity and its importance in my life
I would have given up on soul searching, creating my life and blogging

If I would have listened to people telling me healing is found in a pharmacy
I would have never realized the healing properties that writing has for one’s soul

If I would have listened to people telling me blogging relationships are not real
I would have never pursued solidifying my connections and friendships with all of you

If I would have listened to people judging me for my circumstances
I would have never stood up to them for myself and my family

If I would have listened to people who betrayed me and took their love away
I would have never discovered my personal determination and perseverance

If I would have listened to the unhealthy relationships around me
I never would have discovered what healthy could look like

If I would have listened to my doubts that I deserve love and belonging
I never would have hit reset and started with loving myself first

If I would have listened to people who tried to take advantage of me
I would have never developed the skill of being investigative and protecting my rights

If I would have listened to my mind tell me that I should stay home to recover from heartbreak
I would have never followed my heart by gifting myself the gift of travel to heal instead

If I would have listened to the fears about traveling solo to India
I never would have visited such a beautiful country and met my Indian blogging friends in person

If I would have listened to my negative emotions
I never would have discovered what the positive ones were

If I would have listened to selfishness and greed
I never would have discovered the beauty of gratitude and kindness

If I would have listened to the people who made me question my self-worth
I never would have stumbled upon the amazing works of Brené Brown

If I would have listened to those gremlins again that I should do this or that
I never would have followed my intuition and stepped into my wants for the first time in my life”

Basak, thank you for all your love, support and encouragement in my own personal growth and development, I’m so glad I finally listened to me.

 

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

paol

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

It’s Finally Over

12039748_759554864173115_3192760744522198879_n

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

DSC00657

** 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

1526877_561653377250115_133035773_n

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

Life Story Project: We Are All Living Our Own Project

DaleandAndreaLSP

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

Full Size Render 2