A Letter To Pain

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In the past, as some of you know, I wrote different letters to myself and recently, after reflecting on how far I’ve come, I think it’s time to write a letter to Pain.  Instead of blaming Pain for all the heartache it caused me over time, I’m going to look at Pain from a spiritual point of view and how it changed me into the woman I am today.

One thing I know for sure is that we always have a choice in our lives, for every decision that comes our way which makes us accountable for ourselves.  If things are decided for us, then we get to decide how to handle it.  What we decide becomes our new life path and leads us to exactly where we need to be in order to learn what we don’t know yet.  Even if it’s the second, third or hundredth time around.

Author Caroline Myss says there is no wrong path, we are all on the right path; but here’s the thing, we just might not be managing it very well.  We may have taken a detour along the way.  Therefore, in knowing we have a choice to get back on track and more aligned with who we really are; the path we are on always leads us home.  Back to ourselves and to our purpose.

 

Dear Pain,

Unfortunately, I know you well.  A little too well, actually.  I’ve seen you come and go throughout my life, sometimes disguised as pleasure, and I have to say, it is never easy or comfortable when you come to visit me.  Most of the time you appear without warning out of nowhere and end up making me feel scared, angry, disappointed, confused, upset, and hurt.  Your timing is incredible because it’s always inconvenient with my plans, forcing me to stop what I’m doing or take another detour.

However, these stops and detours have served a purpose while you were here.  All because of you, Pain, I found ways to handle you, heal you, and let you go.  There is no strength if there is no struggle and if there’s any silver lining to be found within you, Pain, this is it.  You’ve given my emotional muscles a real workout.

You see, Pain turned up the volume of the unworthy voices in my head and I believed them.  Pain knocked me down, but I fought to live.  Pain was my best teacher and worst nightmare all rolled into one.  I’ll never forget the lessons learned in the classroom outside the classroom.  Pain tried to make me fail but after a while, I passed the tests and received the blessing of insight.  Looking back, I see what needed to be learned and why.  So many rich meanings and a spiritual awakening occurred.

Pain, I can’t carry you around on my back anymore, you are too heavy and dark for me.  Not only do I need light, but I also need to feel light.  I finally realize Pain is a reverse role model of what not to do.

Here are some examples of what Pain brought me on the left, and on the right are some things Pain taught me:

Lies = Honesty

Mean = Kindness

Revenge = Walking Away

Selfish = Giving

Stealing = Generosity

Negative = Positive

Self-Righteous = Forgiving

Betrayal = Setting Boundaries

Quiet = Vocal

Closed Minded = Open-Minded

Ignoring Myself = Self-Care

Physical Symptoms = Exercise

Emotional Symptoms = Asking For Help

Holding On = Letting Go

Old Me = New Me

Thanks to you, Pain, I found new hobbies, interests, friends, work, perspective on life, parenting skills, awareness, and a new life.  Everything got better.  I even taught my kids how to handle you because unfortunately, they have seen you too.  Now I have more compassion, empathy, strength, understanding for others dealing with loss, suffering, and divorce.

Thanks again to you, I discovered the power of music, reading, writing, practicing mindfulness, living in the moment, accepting truths, and forgiveness is a gift I give to myself.

Writing is a big part of who I am, it leads me back to myself.  It is my life purpose, so much so that I wrote a book about you, Pain, and I still can’t believe it.  Don’t get too excited, just because I write about you doesn’t mean I like you.  I’m simply trying to understand and decode you for myself and others.  Happiness doesn’t come to me, it comes from me.  It is a choice and how I perceive life experiences.  Writing makes me happy.

You taught me the hard way to put the relationship with myself first, so I don’t put myself second with others.  I question what real love is, what do I want, need, from a meaningful relationship.  You showed me dealbreakers, pitfalls, narcissism, toxicity, and wove red flags in my face.  Now I ask more questions, and I’m careful with who I trust.  You’ve sent me difficult/selfish people, heartbreak, loss, tragic events, unfortunate circumstances to handle which taught me many things about myself and life.  Because of being cheated and deceived, I’ve become more vigilant and discerning.  Respect is a 2-way street, I  accept nothing less.  You certainly tested my patience and my ability to control my emotions.  Now I can see one of the reasons why you showed up was to protect me from other forms of pain.

At the moment,  I am practicing gratitude on a daily basis, my heart feels lighter, more peaceful.  I’m finished hiding behind you Pain, now I’m more obvious.  I found the courage to stand up and live my best life, imperfections and all.  What I’ve learned is this: if you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer.  If you focus on the lessons, you will continue to grow.  All because of you, Pain, I grew, learned, discovered, and even avoided you.  People came and went thanks to you.  I also apologize for being just like you at times, a royal pain in the A**!

The new me feels free, empowered, happy with myself,  and never gives up.  I can walk away from you, but with a grateful heart for all the life lessons.  I know I can’t live my life “Pain-free” but the next time you do arrive, I aim to be more prepared.

I never thought I would say this, but thank you Pain for showing up in my life, and for everything you’ve taught and brought me.   I’m exactly where I need to be in my life with my work, friends, family, love, and myself.  No experience goes unwasted, no mud, no lotus.  If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be me, right here, right now.

Dare to live courageously…

Much Love ❤

Jen
XO

One of my favorite songs Never Give Up, by Sia is what I listen to while I go for my walks down by the river.  I love it, I hope you do too.

**Hello Everyone and Happy September!  Copies of Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak are still available at all online bookstores worldwide.  All my gratitude to YOU ❤

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Open The Front Door

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I picture your heart as a beautiful house

Yet the back door is the only entrance where I can get in

As if it’s a secret to have me over

Not only that, the opening is small and guarded

I walk in and see the corners where you hide so well

Where things pile up in a mess on the floor

A small glass window fogs up, the closer I get to you

Interesting  how you are just as fragile and tough as the glass

The light shines in as you shut me out

Sometimes you are like the basement; cold and dark

I don’t like it here, I need to get out

Moving upstairs, I see the small dining area

The same place I sat beside you, hearing your laugh, your voice

The cracks on the wall say it all

But the messiest room is the kitchen, you have so much work to do there

Organizing, cleaning, letting go, fixing, how did things get this bad so fast?

Your comfort zone is your bedroom; another hiding place of peace and quiet

Where even more things pile up in a mess on the floor

Waiting to be picked up where you left off

Is everything a joke?

I catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror as I pass by

And look at my reflection and ask, “Why am I here?”

I wonder if you know how beautiful your life truly is?

It’s hard to say, but I doubt it

Denial is a strange place to live, but a familiar one for some

Gratitude can change everything if you just looked inward instead

Walking upstairs to the attic, old memories and photos fill the space

I sit there taking it all in as endorphins rush through my brain

Suddenly, I hear a knock and make my way downstairs

Don’t get up I’ll let myself out, I know the way now, thanks

I need  to close that back door and leave

Time for me to open the front door…

 

Much Love ❤

~ Jen

 

***I hope you’re all having a great summer and enjoying your time with friends and family.  Life goes by pretty fast, we need to make sure we find what we love to do and do more of it.  Most of all, we need to do that with the people we care about and who truly cares about us.  Have a fantastic weekend everyone ❤

~ Dare To Live Courageously…

Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak is still available at all online bookstores worldwide.  All my gratitude to YOU ❤

 

That Girl

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Sometimes I imagine…
I am living outside myself and looking back at who I am now

As I turn my head over my left shoulder,
I see a girl who is strong and brave
And then I see a girl who is sometimes alone and scared

I see a girl who is happy and smiling
And then I see a girl who is at times sad and tearful

I see a girl who is free and independent
And then I remember the girl who was stuck and felt trapped

I see a girl who knows herself more than ever because of practicing self-care, self-love, and forgiveness
I remember the girl who turned her back on herself and forgot who she was for so long

I see a girl who counts on herself to get things done with confidence
I sometimes see the girl who gets caught up in others broken promises and simultaneously finds a way to let go instead of feeling let down

I want to hug that girl and tell her in the most compassionate way that everything is going to be fine. Healing is never linear and triggers are everywhere. Some days are better than others and your friends and family love and support you.  Always remember this

I tell her, grieve so you can feel free to feel something else

Now I see a girl living her best life each day while dodging bullets and catching curveballs

I slowly look up at myself in the mirror and I see that girl and all the girls I know who experience the same things I do from time to time

We are a collective bunch of empowered women standing together with both our soft and sharp edges

I see a girl who wants the same thing we all want…love ❤

I remind her, the power of gratitude in your worst times can change your life into your best times

And she graciously smiles, knowing she’s THAT GIRL…

Love,

Jen
XO

 

**To all the women out there, I think we are THAT GIRL to some extent at one time or another.  Right now, my good friend Diane Loubert is making some pretty powerful positive changes in her life, and it’s such a privilege to be watching her turn the page and start a brand new chapter.  I’m really proud of her so I’m dedicating this blog to her.  Long live change my friend, you’ve got this!!

**Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak is available at online bookstores worldwide.  Dare to live courageously…

**Just for the record, this blog also applies to men out there making positive changes as well.  Good for you guys… keep going 🙂

A Letter To My Future-Self

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It’s been over 3 years since I wrote the letter to my younger-self where I went back in time and gave my 21-year-old-self some advice on life.  I was attempting to erase any scars, blame, and grief; but as you know, you can’t change the past, but you can create the future.

This letter to my future-self is my next attempt in life, which is an exercise in self-love, a means of preserving and protecting what’s important today and into the future.

So let’s see what age 65 might look like…

 

Dear Future Jen,

Well… you are approaching that magical age of 65 years young, and it’s like all the things you’ve been aiming for are finally coming together.  What an amazing time to be living in Jen.  So many changes have happened in your exciting life and with every ending, there’s been a new beginning. You’ve had to endure some pretty major events in your life, but look at you, here you are; smiling ear to ear, despite all that.

Kids- Some of the greatest milestones after giving birth are seeing your kids graduate, seeing them get married and then seeing them have their first child.  By now, maybe you would have witnessed most of these accomplishments with Justin and Nathan.  They are amazing and intelligent kids, and you are truly blessed.  Continue to be loving and supportive of them so they can continue to be loving and supportive of you.  These kids are your two greatest accomplishments in your life Jen.  Remember to hold them close and show your love each and every day, just like you’ve done all along.  It was a tough road for everyone with the divorce you endured but don’t dwell on the past, you had so many valuable life lessons in there and that’s all that matters.  The relationship with you and their dad has improved with time, patience, and acceptance of what happened.  You are in a great space now and you have the best kids in the world. Be grateful for what you have.

Fears- You used to be afraid of public speaking, but you conquered that one a long time ago.  Now your fears are bigger than that and you manage to hide them well.  The two biggest fears you have are getting cancer and dying.  I think it’s safe to say you are not alone when you admit these, so good for you to be brave enough to say it because now your next step is to do something to keep yourself healthy.  Perhaps others will follow.

Health-Eating and Exercise – You’ve always been very conscientious about eating well and exercising.  There were a few times life was harder on you and you got off track but now you are back on and I’m so proud of you for making this a priority all these years.  Give your body energy by eating good food that fuels you so you can burn it off at the gym.  Also, continue to get enough sleep and take your vitamins.

Self-Care-One thing I can say about you Jen is that you still love getting your hair done!  I don’t think that will ever change and honestly, why should it, right?!  You will never let that gray hair show and that’s perfectly fine.  Remember to practice self-care because it’s important and makes you feel great.  Follow the pull, not the push. Keep it simple, self-care is how you take your power back young lady.

Saying No, Setting Boundaries- I certainly hope that by age 65 you learned how to say “No” and mean it.  And while you’re at it, set some boundaries for yourself.  The ’40s and ’50s are the trial years and you struggle here and there.  Just like I tried to tell you in your ‘20s, “No” is a complete sentence, my dear.  This is still true.  Never, ever settle and walk away from what doesn’t respect you.  You can detect a narcissist from miles away now, what a great skill to have!

Work-It’s been such an adventure at work for you Jen.  Who would have thought that being a nurse would lead to being an expert witness for malpractice cases, then entering the pharmaceutical industry? It has certainly been an exciting time in this regard and you don’t have any regrets.  The work relationships you made along each path have lasted a lifetime and what a gift that’s been for you.  The health care industry taught you a wealth of knowledge that you will never forget.  You chose a helping profession no matter which way you went and that’s because you are a compassionate person and it makes you happy.  You are someone who has always been patient-focused right from the get-go.  My only hope is there is someone like you who takes their work seriously and can care for you when it’s time.

Success/Failure-The best way I can describe success is because of failing at something.  This is where you learned so many life lessons and made the decision to build on them like crazy.  Good for you for having an open mind when new challenges came your way and you didn’t back down.  Failing is never fun or easy but as long as you get back up, you are succeeding.  You are also wise enough to know that being successful doesn’t make you happy, but being happy makes you successful.

Gratitude-As you know, gratitude brings you joy from within; even during the toughest moments of your life when things were falling apart, you managed to stay on track and find things you were grateful for. It’s during the worst times of your life, you need to practice gratitude because that’s what can change your perspective and shine a light in the dark. Continue to journal because it’s working.

Retirement-The time has come to complete your working years.  Congratulations girl, you did it!!  I hope you find a way to celebrate all your years of service in helping others.  Take a moment to pat yourself on the back because you deserve it.  Thanks to an entire team of financial planners and years of hard work!  What a fantastic feeling to be in this position right now.  Knowing you Jen, the only thing you are thinking about right now, is “Where can I travel to next and celebrate this amazing milestone in my life?”  Just remember to spend your money wisely…

Travel-There you go, I was right!  The world is your oyster now Jen, so get that travel app up and running! Time to start booking some trips since you’re still healthy and active.  I can see you traveling with your kids, friends and also some solo trips as you’ve done in the past.  You know people in so many countries, you can visit them as you go.  How exciting is that?  Pick some places you’ve always wanted to visit like New Zealand, Bora Bora and anywhere in South America. Get your passport and suitcase ready!

Relationships-Friends, Family-Another prize possession of yours is your circle of friends Jen.  You have been blessed with loving people in your life both near and far who truly care about you and you about them.  This alone is something huge to be grateful for.  If you are still fortunate enough to have your family and parents with you, remember to tell them you love them.  Spending good quality time with those you love is one of the most important things you can do in your life. Have those conversations you’ve been avoiding, now is the time to get it out.  Communication is key in all relationships and being able to say how you feel is where you begin, so speak up Jen.  Life is very short.  You value honesty, integrity, respect, loyalty, kindness, compassion and attention.  These values drive your behavior and it’s what you look for in others.  Keep going…

Love/Heartbreak-This is the one area of your life that’s never been an easy one for you, unfortunately.  I do hope that by the time you are 65 years young Jen, that you found that special someone whom you love and loves you right back with everything he’s got.  Someone who sees your worth and doesn’t take advantage of you but treats you right because you definitely deserve it.  He needs to take care of you because you will take care of him, that is for sure.  Even though you are a successful woman with all the freedom in the world, it would be nice to share time with someone who adores you in an authentic way.  At the same time, heartbreak has taught you many lessons and by now you know what you shouldn’t tolerate, so once again, don’t play their games and don’t settle, you’re better than that.  The next guy has to be pretty damn amazing and put some effort in, or forget about it.  You deserve a man who will pay attention to you and be there for you when you need it most.  You’ve endured enough emotional days in this area, it’s time for some fantastic days instead.  On the other hand, if the Universe has something else in mind for you to be on your own, then make the best of it and enjoy.  Keep practicing self-love, either way.

Emotional Rescue-If you had a dollar for every emotional roller-coaster you’ve been on since day one Jen, you could have retired a long time ago!  Ugh!!  Thanks to writing and exercising it helped you get out of your funk very well.  Remember this for the rest of your life because you never know how things will go and you really don’t want to look like the crazy one! You’ve come a long way with your “project-self” topics and now you can cope with life even better and take care of you the way you should.  With love and compassion. Keep writing, it is such a great healing tool emotionally.

Unfinished Business-At this point, I don’t know what your unfinished business will be, but if there is any, my advice to you is to complete it and cross it off that list of yours.  This is clutter in your life, that you don’t need, just deal with it and get it done.  You’ll feel much better afterward.

Hobbies/Interests- You wrote a book after your divorce and what an accomplishment that was both mentally and emotionally.  It’s almost like you creatively grieved it.  Kudos to you for doing this and another book is in your future as well.  The topics aren’t 100% clear quite yet but since writing is soul therapy for you, you have to do it.  Not only does it help you, but it also helps others that are in line with your values once again.  One of your latest hobbies is salsa dancing and my goodness, what a great time you’ve had, you are quite the dancing queen!  I think you need to do a girls getaway vacation in South America first!  Arriba!

Goals-Stop doing useless things, start doing new activities, continue doing your writing and travel.  Practice self-care.  Wear sunscreen.  Love with all your heart.  Repeat…

Hopes and Dreams-I hope you are living a life of peace, love, and happiness.  That you have finally stepped into who you truly are and you are owning your life, Jen. That you are surrounded by everyone who matters to you in your heart of hearts, and in your dreams.  In the end, it’s our close relationships that matter the most so take the time to cultivate them as best as you possibly can. I hope you and your kids are healthy and happy.

Advice-Live your life as authentically as humanly possible.  Not because of others expectations, but be brave and do it for you.  Work hard, but not too hard that you miss out on life, especially with your kids.  Always practice a work-life balance.  Be courageous and express how you feel to others.  Put the time and effort into your friendships and family.  Sometimes you need to break out of your comfort zone to be happy.  Feeling stuck in anything with anyone isn’t worth it.  Take the high road and apologize.  Don’t play the victim or rescuer, they are so unattractive.  Say I love you and mean it.  In the end, it’s all about relationships with your kids, family, friends, at work and with yourself.

Regrets-If you follow the advice above, you won’t have any regrets 🙂  Honestly, everything happens for a reason and leads you to the next best thing, so take the good with the bad, it’s ok.

Questions-Let me think about it, I’ll let you know in some years from now 😛

I will carefully store this letter to my future self in a time capsule for later use.  It will be interesting to read it years from now and see what rings true for me.  In the meantime, I will continue to live my best life and honor my relationships with all my heart.  After all, I’ve come this far, and there’s no turning back ❤

Your future looks bright, and you still have a long way to go…

 

Love Always ❤

Jen
XO

**Copies of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” are available at online bookstores worldwide.  All my gratitude to you.  Dare to live courageously…

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 🙂

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