Looking Back While Looking Ahead

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I read somewhere that you should never look back on things that happened but only look back to see how far you’ve come.  I would like to add that looking back can be a positive experience if your intention is to find the life lesson or silver lining hiding within the situation.

“No experience is wasted…everything in life is to grow you up.”  ~ Oprah Winfrey

Looking back, it’s been one year ago today, October 27th, 2015 when I signed my divorce papers.  Since then I’ve done a lot of soul-searching, writing, learning, and personal growth and development.  The year 2015 was the most difficult time of my life and in 2016, I needed to make it one of the best years of my life.  Looking ahead, I just finished writing my first book which was cathartic.  My new start began with my trip to India in January 2016 and it was the best way to push the restart button on my new life.

I’ve definitely come a long way in a short amount of time.

I am currently in the editing phase with my publishing company and I am expecting to have my book released in early 2017 which I am crazy excited about!  It will be available everywhere online, more details on that to come later on.  I wanted to share this news and blog about it to let you know it’s coming and give you some background information at the same time.

This book is about how I dealt with my separation and divorce and how I overcame adversity by self-reflection and finding the silver lining in my crumbling life events.  It’s not a book of venting or blaming.  It’s about my journey to recovery, accepting my own responsibilities and how I kept a positive outlook and learned some life lessons while living through the most difficult time of my life.  For every chapter, I describe the before, during and after phase by including my reflections now and a blog I wrote on my website in real time with the real emotions of what I was going through in 2015 and 2016.  Therefore, these chapters are the real and personal stories behind the blogs I wrote, alongside my reflections now.

We all fall down in life and I admit I have fallen many times which is painful and hurts so much.  It’s normal to stay down for a while but eventually, you need to get back up and face reality.  This requires some action steps and commitment. But for some, this is where the rubber fails to hit the road.  They may know what they need to do but they can’t even begin to even try.  I know how hard that is because there were days I felt the same way, but I realized that by keeping an open mind and open heart I may fall again and what’s important is finding the strength to keep rising with an incredible support system.

If you’ve ever had a relationship end in a traumatic way and change your world or if you are in the middle of one right now, rest assured you are not alone, I can sympathize and empathize with you and I am by your side.   My intention is to let you know you’re not alone and you can get through it.

Even though every story or scenario might be different when it comes to any type of loss in life, the one thing we all share is our emotions and the grieving process we all go through. That’s how we’re all connected and if we can support one another during our most difficult times, this I know for sure is the best way to survive.

It definitely worked for me, I didn’t do this alone.

Once you have the support you need, you can begin the healing process by taking some responsibility for your own actions because let’s face it, it takes two people to make or break a relationship.  This might come as a surprise to some because when there is a breakup, one person may be more to blame than the other.  This might be true to some extent but the other person definitely plays a role in that relationship which led to its demise whether they want to own it or not.  Life is a journey of imperfections, and trials and tribulations.  Some days, weeks or years are better than others but let’s not forget we’re all human.

Not robots, not perfect and not superior.

I would like to share some words by author Brené Brown that helped carry me through some of my toughest times and I hope they help you too.

Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look at it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong.”

I feel proud for sharing my story with all of you in my upcoming book and I appreciate all of your love and support.

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

Finding Joy

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How do you find joy in your everyday life?  What are you passionate about or what lights you up from the inside out?

For me, joy is the result of practicing daily gratitude because when you focus on what you have, it changes your perspective and creates joy from within.  Joy is what gets you through difficult times, it turns on a light when you’re in the dark, it heals wounds and can make your soul sing.  Joy is contagious and can spread like wildfire if you allow it, we’re all connected so it’s better to spread positive vibes and emotions that lead us in the right direction.

In today’s busy world, stress and anxiety are topping the charts of workplace absence and prescription medications.  It’s not overly surprising because the faster the world turns, the faster we run and when we’re running, we’re not paying attention to what’s around us.  It’s only when we slow down to catch our breath and notice the little things in the moment; that’s when we are able to find our joy.

Here are a few ways you can begin the search for joy in your everyday life.

  1. Play with children. They are innocent creatures who love to laugh and goof around
  2. Let your inner child out too. Just like the picture above, we all have that little girl or boy inside of us, waiting to get out again so get silly and let loose
  3. Learn something new such as a language, recipe, or sport
  4. Explore nature. It is the most beautiful and imperfect thing on earth
  5. Travel somewhere new and exciting. Do this solo or with someone you like
  6. Surround yourself with animals. They have the most unconditional love to share with you
  7. Be romantic. This allows you to use your creativity and can find joy in two places at once
  8. Spread random acts of kindness to strangers. The appreciation they feel will come back to you tenfold
  9. Play a musical instrument or put some music on. This is soul food and can be very healing
  10. Sing a song no matter what your voice sounds like. Remember that inner child?
  11. Read a great book or see a movie you’ve been waiting for
  12. Helping others creates huge amounts of joy from within
  13. Wake up those endorphins in your body because they will definitely make you feel better
  14. Meditate or practice mindfulness. Enjoy the silence for a change
  15. Write something, anything. Keep it private or make it public it’s your choice but keep it positive and inspiring
  16. Dance in the rain and get soaked. If this doesn’t make you feel like a kid, I don’t know what will
  17. Be like a cat and take a nap. Time to feel rejuvenated again
  18. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Not only is it live entertainment, it’s free and it’s beautiful
  19. Take a hot bath or get a massage
  20. Eat your favorite desserts like cupcakes or something with chocolate
  21. Spend quality time with friends and laugh so much it hurts

Sometimes the best way to find joy is to surrender to what is.  By surrendering, you are opening your heart and mind to the infinite possibilities of what life can offer you.  It’s not about giving up, it’s about letting go, and the benefit to letting go is finding joy.

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

India Travels: My Journey,Meditation and Dedication

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dhanyavaad ❤

 

Jenny
xo

 

 

 

You (A to Z Challenge)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Happy Friday ❤

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

 

 

3 Day Quote Challenge-Day 3

Hi Everyone!  I’m really excited about being nominated for another quote challenge and this time it’s by a very young, sweet blogger from England named Molly.  Her writings are not only entertaining but also based on real life topics and she’s also a great photographer.  I really liked her post 50 things to know about me.  She has a lot in common with many of you because she’s a Game of Thrones fan, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fan and Harry Potter enthusiast!  It’s a joy to read her writings please check out her site.

For today’s quotes I will be basing them on Caroline Myss and her views on healing.  She is an amazing author and spiritual person who helped me bounce back tremendously ❤

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I am nominating anyone and everyone for this quote challenge, please feel free to participate, it’s really fun!  Thank you again to Molly for nominating me for this quote challenge!

Much Love,

Jen
xo

Quote Challenge – Day 2

Hi Everyone!  I’m really excited about being nominated for another quote challenge and this time it’s by a very young, sweet blogger from England named Molly.  Her writings are not only entertaining but also based on real life topics and she’s also a great photographer.  I really liked her post 50 things to know about me.  She has a lot in common with many of you because she’s a Game of Thrones fan, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fan and Harry Potter enthusiast!  It’s a joy to read her writings please check out her site.

For today’s quote, I am dedicating this story to a very special WordPress friend of mine in India who has just gone through a very difficult and stressful time with her mom being sick.  Unfortunately, her mom lost the battle but not without a serious fight, not without unbreakable support and not without undying love.  Dealing with dying forces us to look at our own life review and to understand what it means to face death and embrace living.  For those of us who are left behind we can call on our own support systems and wisdom to promote our own healing.  When we are strong in numbers, we become unbreakable.  Bhavya Mishra, this one’s for you honey ❤

 

One Stick, Two Stick:  The Way of the Old African Kings

An old man is dying.  He calls his people to his side.  He gives a short, sturdy stick to each of his many offspring, wives and relatives.  “Break the stick,” he instructs them.  With some effort, they all snap their sticks in half.

“This is how it is when a soul is alone and without anyone.  They can be easily broken.”

The old man next gives each of his kin another stick, and says, “This is how I would like you to live after I pass.  Tie your sticks together in bundles of twos and threes.”  He waits quietly as his family ties the sticks together.  There are many bundles some of two sticks some of three sticks.  “Now break these bundles in half.”

No one can break the sticks when there are two or more in a bundle.  The old man smiles.  “We are strong when we stand with another soul.  When we are with others, we cannot be broken.”

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Bhavya, all my sympathies to you and your family my love, please know you are not alone in your grieving and that we are forming bundles with you always ❤

 

So Much Love and Peace To You,

Jen
xo

3 Day Quote Challenge – Day 1

Hi Everyone!  I’m really excited about being nominated for another quote challenge and this time it’s by a very young, sweet blogger from England named Molly.  Her writings are not only entertaining but also based on real life topics and she’s a great photographer.  I really liked her post 50 things to know about me.  She has a lot in common with many of you because she’s a Game of Thrones fan, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fan and Harry Potter enthusiast!  It’s a joy to read her writings please check out her awesome site.

For today’s quotes I will be basing them on the movie Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  It’s a true story about a woman who did some solo travel after living through some tragedies in her life.  Sound familiar?  Exactly.  So here we go 🙂

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I am nominating anyone and everyone for this quote challenge, please feel free to participate, it’s really fun!  See you tomorrow for more quotes 😀

Much Love,

Jen
xo

All My Gratitude

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I know I’ve been on a roll lately with my This Is India mini-series and I just wanted to thank everyone within and outside of WordPress for their love, support, kindness, likes, comments and friendship.  You guys are amazing!  Thank you for joining me on my healing journey through India by following me and reading all my blog posts, it was a way for me to get my story out.  I really enjoyed reading the comments every day and answering them with a smile or laughing right out loud!

All my gratitude to everyone in India for making my experience so memorable, Piyusha, Shambhavi, Chandrajit, Darshith, Binay, Bhavya, Neerja, Dinesh and Srinath.  You are all in my heart.

I have made even more WP friends in India because of this mini-series so it looks like my water bottle and I will have to make another trip one day to more cities and hilarious airports.  In the meantime, if you would like to connect more with me and see how crazy my life really is, join me on:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

All My Gratitude To YOU From Around The World,

Jenny ❤
xo

Finally, my friend Michelle reminded me about this song by Canadian artist Alanis Morrisette titled Thank You and it’s about taking time off, letting go, forgiving, being vulnerable, exposing your true self courageously and thanking all the consequences that happened to you.  It’s a true story of her career and her time off in India, while thanking India for the healing.  How appropriate, connected, relevant and amazing.

Thank you India

The Beauty of Solo Travel

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How brave are you?  Have you ever dreamed of taking off and traveling to a new and exciting place?

Alone???

I’m here to tell you that it’s possible and I did it.  I just got back from a solo travel trip to India for 3 weeks and I would do it again in a heartbeat ❤

There are many benefits to traveling solo and I’d like to share what I found with you.

  1. It’s empowering. You gain self-confidence very quickly and your world opens up even more, literally.  Not only that your common sense becomes greater
  2. TIME. You have it all to yourself and it’s what everyone dreams about having more of.  There is no need to share an agenda, you can sleep, eat and do what you want when and where you want.  You also have the time to reflect on your life and discover things about yourself you never even knew.  It’s a great time for personal growth and development
  3. Teaches you patience and flexibility in unexpected situations and you become more accepting of others and their way of living. Your mind and heart opens up to the Universe
  4. Your problem-solving skills will sharpen even more. Getting around town becomes a fun challenge on your own and suddenly you are listening to your intuition more, I also became more spiritual
  5. You gain a new perspective on life and become grateful for everything you have
  6. You love those around you even more
  7. You begin to lower your expectations of how things should be and learn to go with the flow more. Your positive energy attracts positive people
  8. I found people to be very approachable with me and I was to them. I was being treated like I was some kind of celebrity for the first time!  I received many freebie things like food along the way, great conversations, advice of what to see in the area.  Very friendly people are out there, you just need to flash a nice smile sometimes 😉
  9. You gain respect and admiration from those around you for your courage and if you have kids, you are setting a good example for them because they see that anything is possible if you want it bad enough
  10. You make wonderful memories with wonderful people around the world and nobody can take this experience of a lifetime away from you

There will always be some people who will try to deter you from traveling solo but you have to remember they are projecting their fears on you.  Some said “you are a single woman” (yes), “it’s going to be dangerous” (how do they know), “you should go with someone, not alone” (that defeats the entire purpose of solo travel).  My response, I booked my tickets, packed my bags excessively and boarded the 14 hour flight from Toronto, Canada to Delhi, India on January 1st, 2016.  What a great day and way to kick off 2016!

For me, this was a trip of healing for personal reasons and it was to see my close blogging friends that I have a strong connection with in person who are all over India.  Piyusha, Shambhavi, Bhavya, Darshith, Neerja, Dinesh, Chandrajit, Srinath, Kriti and many others I couldn’t meet were the many reasons I had to go.  I felt like the Universe aligned and brought me to WordPress so I could write my thoughts and feelings out there and attract such amazing people into my life.  Then it was so generous to give me this opportunity to travel and meet everyone in person, making our connections stronger than ever.  I am so grateful and if I can say one thing, I will say this; listen to your wants, not everyone else’s around you because it’s your life, not theirs.  At the end of the day, you need to live it.

How was it?

Amazing, inspiring, life changing, delicious, fun and a must for everyone to do once in their lifetime.  India is a beautiful place to go and heal your soul because it’s a spiritual and peaceful place but at the same time a chaotic one that not only changes your mind but also your perspective on life for the better.  This was my way of pushing the “reset button” or “refresh button” on my life so I could come back home and continue to help others and myself in a healthier way.

One of the most beautiful things I learned from life is that in order to find yourself, you need to lose yourself first.  And sometimes in the middle of nowhere is where you end up finding yourself, for me it was in India.  By listening to your intuition it will give you answers but in order to hear it you need to get quiet and alone because it’s only a whisper inside you.  Reflecting on this will guide you in the best possible direction that is right for you and that’s called soul speak, which is the beauty of solo travel.

So much love to everyone in India, thank you for the visits and memories and because of WordPress this was made possible.  I’d like to change the name to WorldPress, FriendPress, LovePress, FunPress, DreamPress, InspirationPress, I think you get the idea….

Much love to you,

Jenny
xo

Love and Cardiac Complications

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

Love vs. Cardiac Complications

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

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

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

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

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

Take some deep breaths = Administer Oxygen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take good care of yourself and the ones you love,

Much love,

~ Jennifer

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