Beautiful Destination

20190922_215851

I remember the day you went on a faraway vacation
As usual, you packed your bag last minute
Emotional baggage has always been your carry on, and it’s too heavy
You said you felt lost and needed to find yourself

After boarding the plane, you heard a song
The pain you were running from was now running after you
Affecting your heart, mind, body, and soul
You searched for a hypothetical bandaid to conceal a hypothetical bleeding wound

How inappropriate

After drying your eyes, you closed your eyes
And off to sleep, you went
I felt like a fly on the wall watching you from the outside in
Like a compassionate parent watching a suffering child

After arriving, the final destination was breathtakingly beautiful, just as you had hoped for and imagined
The warm sun made you smile
The beauty all around made you happy
The scents in the air woke your senses
I remember how grateful you were in that exact moment

Change is good

I begged you to please unpack your negative emotions from your heavy carry on
To take a break; you’re on vacation now
Put loneliness on a shelf and sadness in a drawer
Hang all your fears in a different closet and close the door
As they say; out of sight out of mind

Replace these emotions by packing peace, happiness, and love into your life instead
Be open to life’s possibilities and opportunities
Focus on the good and be grateful for everything you have
Time to practice self-compassion and self-care in such gorgeous surroundings

This vacation was exactly what you needed to push the reset button on your life
You deserve all the good things life has to offer, be patient
You realized the further you try to run away from it all
The closer it brought you home to yourself
Isn’t that interesting?

And what a beautiful destination for you to be in right now ❤
Much Love ❤

Jen
XO

****Hello everyone and thank you for reading my blog!  This picture was taken in the Himilayas, India 2016 at a retreat I visited when my divorce was finalized.  During that trip, I met friends, ate delicious food, listened to mesmerizing music, tried yoga, saw some breathtaking sights, and finally took some time for myself.  What an amazing healing experience that was for me.

It isn’t necessary to travel far each time, because even a change of scenery close by can make a world of difference in your mental and emotional health.  Travel taught me how to be more self-compassionate, which led me to self-care and eventually to self-love.  Writing has also been extremely helpful in my healing process and I feel so much better now.

How do you heal from something difficult?

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

~ Dare to live courageously…

From Sea To Sky…

20170821_193115

It’s 4 a.m and the waves of the blue sea are subtly heard crashing against the shoreline

Sleeping is nearly impossible at this hour

Each morning sunrise, colors run into each other

Like my inner strength unexpectedly does to me

Some days are brighter and others seem to fade

Clouds contain feelings and prayers the same way they hold the rain

It’s strange how not being able to let out any feelings and wanting to remove them at the same time can hold me, hostage

All I can do is breathe, let it all go and see what stays

White clouds turn dark and thunder pounds to the beat of my heart

I feel so fragile right now…

Emotions come pouring out with the downpour of rain, washing my fears away

I realize you broke my heart but opened my eyes

I am somehow grateful for all this pain and grief

Suddenly, the sun comes out behind the same clouds that blocked it

It shines a light on everything, including me

Everything makes sense now

I feel the wind, wrapping around my shoulders, and running through my hair

As if a Higher Power brushes all the toxicity away

It’s a new start now, I can’t lose me to keep you

As time goes on, sunsets are a reminder to lay it all down once and for all

Healing is not linear and I believe this to be true

At night, the waves of the blue sea subtly crash against the shoreline again

I look up and ask the moon and stars for yet another miracle

That’s what people do when needing guidance

I realize you are like the moon and stars, loved and out of reach

However, I trust the force that guides them also guides me too

Now it’s time to close my eyes to old ends

And open my heart to new beginnings

From sea to sky…

 

 “For a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen; a gaseous nebula must collapse.  So collapse.  Crumble.  This is not your destruction.  This is your birth” ~ Zoe Skylar

This blog is dedicated to one of my close friends, Caroline Gilbert who is going through a difficult time but she is a strong woman who can get through this.  We have all been heartbroken before so you are not alone my friend.  One day you will wake up and be in a new place of peace and calm.  Where everything feels right.  For now, be at peace with where you’ve been and know that you are being guided to something even better.  Please have a listen to the song Fragile by Sting and have a great weekend ❤

Much Love,

Jen ❤
XO

A Letter To My Future-Self

20190205_193338

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…

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

 

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