Happy First Birthday WWL!

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Happy 1st Birthday to Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak!!!

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Well, here we are, exactly one year later after my book release and I am SO amazed at the positive response!!  Each day teaches me the power of words, the power of positivity, the power of friends and family, the power of love and courage, the power of resilience and determination, the power of empowerment, the power of moving forward; even if you are crawling you are still moving.  The power of taking action, the power of reframing your situation so that it serves you, the power of self-awareness, self-care, self-respect, self-love, self-compassion, and ultimately, the power of forgiveness which is the toughest lesson of all, but I am living proof it can begin with the right attitude.

Judging others, blaming or being a victim is the easy way out and keeps you stuck. Taking responsibility for your own life is why we are all here and sets you free.  It’s been a process of lessons learned and to this day I am learning even more while making mistakes but this means I am evolving as a person and I am extremely grateful for the amazing friends I have.  My kids have seen me through thick and thin and I could have never done this without you guys, I love you from the bottom of my heart ❤  All my gratitude to you both!!

Today is giveaway day and I’ll be contacting 2 lucky winners with love and gratitude ❤ Thank you to everyone for all your huge support, and never forget…

~ Dare to live courageously…

Love Always ❤

Jen
XO

** Copies are available for purchase at all online bookstores worldwide and at the FriesenPress Bookstore.  Thank you 🙂

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Free Giveaway: Happy 1st Anniversary!

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It’s been a wonderful year of making great memories with friends, family and my book, “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak.”  Never in a million years did I ever think I would write a book but because of a loss, I decided to make something positive out of something difficult.

On Tuesday, May 29th, 2018, it will be the first anniversary of my first book release and to show all my gratitude, I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion with all of you.  Therefore, I will be holding a free giveaway and there will be two (2) winners.  For those living in Canada, one winner will receive a personally signed paperback copy and for those living anywhere outside of Canada, the winner will receive a pdf version along with a personalized note from me 🙂

Anyone can enter to win between now and midnight EST Monday, May 28th, 2018.  The winners will be selected and contacted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018.  Thank you in advance to everyone who participates!  It’s going to be fun, you don’t want to miss out!

Rules for the giveaway, you can choose one or more options:

  1. Follow my blog, like, and comment in the comment box
  2. Follow my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page; like, tweet and/or comment on the post
  3. You will need to provide your email and/or mailing details in a private message if you win
  4. If you write a book review, that counts as two submissions and I’ll post it on my website
  5. Have fun and good luck everyone!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again from the depth of my heart and soul for all your love and support on this discovery journey I have been on for the last three and a half years.  If you or someone you know is going through the searing pain of separation or divorce, maybe this book could be helpful and show you are not alone ❤

Dare to live courageously…

Much Love ❤

Jen
*As always, copies are available for purchase through FriesenPress or any online bookstore worldwide.

This Is India 2017 – Part Six

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February 20th-27th, Bangalore – Many cities within Kerala; Cochin, Thodupuzha, Munnar, Maniyamkavu, Puthenchira, Vellangallur, Kodungallur

This was my final week in India and what a week it was!  I decided to take some time just for myself during my trip and the time was in Cochin, Kerala at a beautiful hotel called Ramada Cochin Resort that had an amazing swimming pool I could just relax in and do nothing.  It was a busy but fun holiday so far and I find it’s always nice to take some time out along the way.  Things are very affordable in India compared to here and I was extremely happy about that!  This Is India.

So for the next 4 days, the main things I did at the hotel were, sleep, eat, swim, suntan, repeat….

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I also met a very nice young lady by the pool on my first day there who was also taking in the sunshine.  Her name is Emma and she’s from the UK.  We ended up spending the entire day at the pool together, chatting about our solo tours around India and she visited some really great places I would also like to see one day.  We had so much fun talking and getting along that we also had supper together and later that night, Emma had to fly back to the UK.  I was happy to have met her and now we are friends and keep in touch through Facebook.

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After 4 days of relaxation, it was time to move onto Thodupuzha to see my blogging friend KP again and his family who are extremely nice and full of hospitality!  They own a restaurant and hotel that makes a great dosa and lime juice drink you’ve never had!!!  KP’s entire family is so welcoming and they invited me, Rafat and Darshith to stay with them because we were all going to the next wedding together.  That is one house that is full of happiness!  😀 KP’s mom was very generous to let me borrow 2 of her saree’s to wear to the next wedding, it was such a lovely offer I felt very grateful and gladly accepted!  I was excited to wear them and show her my pictures later.  We all stayed up late talking until I could barely keep my eyes open then I had to go to bed while everyone else stayed up and played Scrabble!  I was so dead 😛

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The next day, KP, Darshith, Rafat and I had the day to visit an amazing place in Kerala called Munnar that is known for its tea plantations.  The scenery is just gorgeous and the temperature is cooler which felt great!  After awhile, +40 C is very draining, especially without a pool nearby!  KP drove us there and all over town while we stopped at random places and took many pictures of Munnar and each other!  We also took a boat ride which was fun and something different, I felt like a kid again and that’s never a bad thing.  We had a great day and then went back to KP’s family home to sleep again.

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After a great night’s sleep, it was time to wake up and go to the wedding of our blogging friend Nimitha.  It was a few hours drive and KP was up for driving again but that same day so was Rafat!  Halfway through the trip, KP and Rafat switched places and Rafat took the wheel with attitude and got us to the wedding!  We even made a live video during the drive and it was so fun and got many hits on Facebook.

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Day one of the wedding was in Maniyamkavu, Puthenchira and the Mehendi ceremony took place at night in a big auditorium.  The dress code was traditional Kerala saree for women and traditional Kerala Dhothis.  Rafat and I had some help from Nisha, Nimitha’s sister and her family to drape our sarees. It was really hot, even at night but we had so much fun wearing the sarees and taking several photos!  A cute young boy about 8 years old sitting beside me said he liked my saree and asked if he could get a selfie with me so I said: “of course!”  Before I knew it, a huge group of kids came over and asked if they could take their picture with me and before I knew it, everyone was taking selfies with me!  I had that celebrity feeling again and it was fun.  We all made our way to Nimitha and her family who were also very welcoming and extremely kind with us.  I met so many people at the wedding and once again, I was the only foreigner and in a saree!  The food was amazing and we all ate so much, the food in southern India is spicy compared to the north and yes, I love spicy food! ❤  Nimitha arranged for us to stay at a hotel that was close by and once again, I was the first one to sleep and the others stayed up all night partying!  It was so funny, my age was showing… 😉

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The next day was day two of the wedding and we had to be in Vellangallur, Kodungallur in the morning so we could see the Nikkah ceremony, then tying the knot.  I wore the second saree that day and a team of 5 young girls in Nimitha’s family put it on me, which was really fun to watch them!  We had a very beautiful lunch and I met Nimitha, her husband, and her entire family again who were so nice.  Being able to attend another wedding in India was a huge privilege for me and I was grateful again for meeting such kind people, eating such wonderful food and learning so much about the India cultures.

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That night, our adventure was ending, Darshith and Rafat had to go home by bus, I went back to the hotel and KP went back to his home.  We all said an emotional goodbye and went on our way.  Thank you so much to you and your entire family KP for treating me like one of your own and touring all of us around Kerala.  Your house and everyone in it gives off a powerful happy vibe that lasts forever.  Darshith, it was so good to see you 3 weekends in a row during my trip, I am very grateful.  Miss Rafat (Sana), you are such a beautiful soul, it was great seeing you at both weddings, getting to know you more, chatting about life and everything about it.  Nimitha, thank you for inviting me to your beautiful wedding, it was so good to meet you, your friends and family.  I hope you can all make it to Canada one day soon so I can show you around here too.  And bring Miss Rupali too 😉 I miss you guys! ❤

I had to get a good night’s sleep because the next day I was going back to Mumbai to catch my flight home to Canada.  I couldn’t believe how fast my trip went but I also couldn’t believe how much love I received along the way which felt great for me after everything I have been through.  At the same time, I was looking forward to seeing and hugging my kids again and showing all the gifts I bought.  Even though we talked and laughed each day online, it was going to be great to see them again soon.

Stay tuned for the final chapter…

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

 

This Is India 2017-Part Two

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February  9th– 11th, 2017-Hyderabad, India

After landing in Hyderabad, I felt the heat in the air more than in Mumbai.  It felt really great since Canada was so cold at that time of year and I was enjoying the high temperatures very much 😀

Karthik and I caught a cab that was pre-arranged by our friend Pratyusha who was getting married very soon.  I think Pratyusha is the most organized bride I’ve ever known and seen!!  We had time to go to the hotel and meet our other blogging friends and when I saw them I was so excited and gave them all the biggest hugs!  I hadn’t seen Darshith since last year and this time I met KP, Rupali, and Rafat which was so amazing, I felt like I knew them forever 🙂 It’s always fun to meet people in person and feel their energy that you already connect with through their writing.

We all arrived at the ceremony which was taking place all day and night.  One of Pratyusha’s friends asked if the girls wanted to do a ritual with them called Mangal Sanam which involves pouring water over the bride’s head as a symbol to wash away any bad omens and everyone gives good wishes and blessings.  It was the first time I was doing this and also the first time I was meeting Pratyusha!  It was such a nice moment and I couldn’t believe all the beautiful and colors everywhere, not to mention the gorgeous outfits all the women were wearing!  I met Pratyusha’s family who are so warm and welcoming, they made me feel like family immediately.

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We all sat down for lunch and I was impressed yet again with the presentation of food.  There was a banana leaf instead of a plate and on it was vegetarian food served by many people.  Not only was it interesting to look at but it was so delicious too.

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We all left to go back to the hotel again and change into our next outfit.  It is customary for people to perform a song or dance for the bride and groom if they wish and since I was the only foreigner at the wedding, I decided to do this!  I did a salsa dance to the song Bailando by Enrique Iglesias and faced my fear of being in front of a crowd!  It’s easier to do something like this in a room full of people you don’t know that much!  A very big thanks to Darshith for filming it 😉 one day I’ll be brave enough to post it..Haha 😛

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After the 24 performances by people of all ages, it was time for everyone to get really dressed up for the big wedding ceremony which was happening at 1:49 am on Feb 10th.  Pratyusha and her family arranged to have a saree ready for me to change into and off I went to get wrapped in this beautiful outfit for the first time in my life.  Pratyusha’s make-up lady was so good at folding and wrapping it around me and after I was all dressed, I went outside the room to find the wedding photographers waiting for Pratyusha.  Since she was still getting ready, they asked me to do some photos while they waited which was really nice and fun!  Thanks to Muninder for the impromptu photo shoot 😀

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It was such an amazing moment to feel so part of something and look so different.  Everyone was extremely kind with me and I had many pictures taken again with my friends and Pratyusha’s family there.  The real star of the show, though, was Pratyusha in all of her outfits and she looked absolutely gorgeous, this is one of my favorite pictures of her!  The next picture is of the bride and groom looking amazing, it was really interesting to see the wedding ceremony at that time of night and all the rituals that happened afterward until about 6 a.m.  The supper was to die for and I loved everything about it ❤

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My friends and I slept at the hotel for a few hours and then woke up to check out.  We all went our own ways at that point but I knew I would be seeing some of them again soon.  I was so tired I ended up sleeping the entire day away, which I never do!  By night I was feeling better but was also really hungry and when in Hyderabad, you have to try the famous Hyderabad Biriyani which is exactly what I did with Pratyusha’s brother Praveen 🙂  We went to the famous Bawarchi for supper and it was so good to eat this food and get to know Praveen outside of the wedding.  The only thing missing was a picture, I think both of us were so tired, we forgot to take one, but I guess that just means I’ll have to come back again and visit!  Everything was arranged by Pratyusha’s family to take care of me and they did it so well.  Many thanks to everyone for all your care, generosity, and help, I really appreciate everything you did for me, I had the time of my life ❤

Despite sleeping all day, I was able to sleep at night which was good because I had to leave by 3 a.m. to catch my next flight to Pune and visit my other blogging friend and master chef Neerja.  We met last year and she insisted I visit again for a fun weekend of cooking and eating at her place 😀

To Be Continued…

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

Family (A-Z Challenge)

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This is my family, the three Amigos, the three crazies, the three Musketeers…no wait, that’s my WhatsApp group chat right Pratyusha and Bhavya?

For everyone who doesn’t know me, I am a mom of two awesome boys who test the waters with me in a very fun way when I see them.  For us, family means love, communication, support, and respect.  I am extremely fortunate to have all these values with them, in our family of three.  Sometimes it’s them who support me on those “off days.”  They even like to read my blogs and ask me to do some life coaching with them, how awesome is that?

Family is about having fun and at my place, it’s never a dull moment as you can imagine.  At home it’s about fighting over who gets to take a shower first, teaching them how to cook to impress their girlfriends one day, showing me new vines on YouTube, watching The Big Bang Theory or spending a night in watching movies and eating pizza till we burst.  As their appetite expands so does my grocery bill 🙂

In the car, whoever calls “SHOTGUN!” first sits in the front seat beside me.  I always remind them it’s the hot seat and they need to be in charge of the music as the DJ.  Being DJ is one of their strengths so for them it’s their brotherly competition and for me, it doesn’t matter who sits in front, I know I’ll always have good music coming from someone’s phone hooked up to the AUX cable in my car.  Summer is the most embarrassing time because if I decide to have my windows down, the music is always loud and when songs like Gangsta’s Paradise comes on with heavy bass, let me tell you, I get a lot of stares and smiles because they just have to take one look at who’s sitting next to me and they understand completely.  Doing car karaoke is another story 😛

When we go out for chicken wings on wing night, that’s when it gets competitive.  We order several types of spicy chicken wings and see who can survive the spice and how many we can eat without seeing flames come out of our mouths.  It’s really fun seeing how much pain we endure as we try each kind and I can just imagine years from now as we wash them down with a beer instead of a Coke like we do now 😉

Going on vacation is always fun whether it’s a beach destination where we body surf in the waves all day, get all geared up and do zip lining, have a campfire at night under the stars or go to Disney World in Florida and ride every roller coaster screaming our heads off 😀

All because of them, I’ve learned how to be more grounded, to go with the flow, and the most important lesson of all is how to throw a football…like a guy.  It’s been a few years but I finally got the hang of it and this is one of the beauties of having boys in the family; they are easy to entertain, just grab a ball, go to the park and throw it around for hours.  They taught me how to play football and I taught them how to play tennis.  For now, they still enjoy being around me so I’ll take that as a good sign.

Life is full of adjustments and re-adjustments where you go from normal to finding your new normal.

We are definitely not normal!

I love you guys ❤

 

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

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

The Art of Grieving

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Whether we loved a family member, a relationship or a job, the loss is something to be acknowledged and the grieving process is absolutely necessary to be able to reach the other side.  The most famous author on grieving is Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.  Not only has she written books for the general public but they are textbooks for the medical profession and for those working in palliative care.

When it comes to grieving a loss, there are generally five stages that appear and re-appear without much warning.   They don’t always go in order and they can reappear out of order so it’s important to keep this in mind and know that it’s normal if they don’t follow a certain path.  Grieving is very personal and everyone handles it differently which is why it’s important to have a good support system to help you recover.  The reason we grieve is because we cared and loved which is reason enough to deal with the situation so we can move on in our lives in a healthy manner.

The first stage is Denial.  The person who is grieving the loss of a loved one, a relationship or a job could be in denial by feeling like they just can’t believe it.  They feel shock and numbness.  In the person who is dying, they could feel disbelief and may go about their life pretending that an illness does not exist.  In the person who has lost a relationship or a job, they may act like nothing is/was wrong.

The second stage is Anger.  This emotion can be directed at your loved one who is dying because they didn’t take better care of themselves or it could be directed at yourself that you didn’t take better care of them.  In the person who lost their job or a relationship, anger may be directed at how they were treated or mistreated.  Many thoughts and feelings of anger come up here and you question yourself incessantly.  However, anger is a necessary stage of the healing process because it gives us the drive and energy to move on.  Be willing to feel it, the more you do, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal.  Because anger can be so consuming, having a good support system of friends and family around you is critical and if that is not enough, professional support is always available including support groups.

The third stage is Bargaining.  Before the loss it may seem like you will do anything to spare your loved one like “Please God, I will never be angry with my daughter again if you’ll just let her live.”  After a loss, bargaining might look like “What if I devote the rest of my life to helping others, then I can wake up and realize this has all been a bad dream.”  Sometimes guilt is bargaining’s roommate.  We remain in the past trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt.  We ask ourselves the “what if” and “if only” questions in this stage but in reality, our loved one is truly gone.

The fourth stage is Depression.  This is where our attention moves from the past into the present.  Empty feelings are deeper than we could ever imagine.  It is not a mental illness it is an appropriate response to a great loss.  This is where people often withdraw from life and wonder “Why go on at all?”  Sadness blankets us and we cry more than we ever thought possible.  But perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once and awhile so that we can see Life with a clearer view again.  Tears don’t always have to win.  The positive side of this difficult stage is that depression can slow us down and allow us to take real stock of the loss.  It makes us rebuild ourselves from the ground up.  It clears the deck for growth by taking us to a deeper place in our soul that we would not normally explore.  It promotes you to the fifth stage.

Acceptance.  The ability to accept the permanent reality that your loved one, a relationship or job is physically gone.  It doesn’t mean this is okay or right, but you can just accept it.  You learn to live with it and readjust yourself and your roles.  Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad.  You may start to reach out to others and become involved in their lives.  You re-invest in your friendships and relationships with others and with yourself.

I have grieved a loss many times in my life, I know the process is never easy or smooth.  It hurts and it feels long.  However, what I can tell you is that time is your best friend and you need to allow yourself off the hook for everything while you go through this transition and give yourself the time to do so.  It does get better with time, that I know for sure.  Sometimes we beat ourselves up on top of our loss which only makes us feel worse in the end.  By treating yourself with care and understanding rather than judgment, knowing you’re not alone and being mindful of your emotions, self-compassion is the light that casts out darkness in our minds.  Talk to yourself as if you are talking to a friend who is suffering.

The other side of pain is comfort, the other side of fear is love, the other side of unpleasant is beauty.  Keep moving forward and focus on the positive side because what we put our attention on, we get more of it.  In this case, focus on comfort, love, and beauty.   Just remember that if you falter, it’s okay, you are only human and know you can rise and try again when you are ready.  You can do it.

Loss, is very personal and so is the journey to recovery, it starts from within.  If we can embrace the grieving process instead of running away from it and be kind to ourselves when we feel at our worst, that is the beauty in the art of grieving.

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“New beginnings are also described as painful endings.”  ~ Lao Tzu

“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

~ By Jennifer Juneau, Registered Nurse, Life Coach