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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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 🙂

You Be The Judge…In Your Own Life

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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

How interesting that people from the outside looking in are like experts on how those who are struggling should live their lives.  It’s one thing to give helpful advice so they can move forward but to sit back, criticize, and judge is absolutely ridiculous.

Why?

One reason is that they aren’t walking in your stylish shoes (which probably don’t fit them anyway) so they don’t know how to saunter like you.  Secondly, people don’t really know who they are as an individual; their wants, needs, or values, so how can they know an outsider so well and tell them what to do? Thirdly, it shames people into thinking they’re not good enough and living in shame for 30 seconds or 30 years is painful.

The theory of having two sides to a coin, meaning two sides to a story is another narrow-minded way to think because technically, there are three sides to a coin, head (one perspective), tails (the other perspective), and the edge (the truth).  Furthermore, there are many layers to each side that run deep which means more reasons and perspectives on each side, therefore, not so cut-and-dry.  When someone judges you based on this theory of two sides to a story, they are judging out of their own insecurities and revealing unhealed parts of themselves.  Therefore, it’s not about you, it’s about them and saying these types of things make them feel better and you feel worse.  What they do know is only a version of the truth which is not much, and maybe only partially true.

For those of you who are being judged in silence by people who never dare to have an actual conversation with you, I can completely empathize.  What I know is this; when you do something wrong, admit it to the person involved and apologize for it.  As for the additional peanut gallery who may or may not hide but continues to judge you, let them go.  If you tried something new and it didn’t work out, admit it and move on.  It’s fine to fail at something, as long as you gave it your all and learned from your mistakes.  Not everyone is going to marry, have kids, be rich, drive a BMW, or have their dream job, but here’s the thing… You can decide what’s best for you in the end.  Always remember, nobody is living a perfect life.

These days judgment is everywhere from how we parent, work, our lifestyles, health choices, interests, relationships, vacations, cars, houses, and all the way down to what kind of underwear we buy, how we take a selfie, and which haircut we get.

Seriously??  Suddenly the phrase “mind your own business” comes to mind.

We are all on the same journey in life and we are all on different paths to get there.  That’s ok.

You can’t control what other people say or do but you can control how you react to it.  Instead of judging others and what they are doing, focus on yourself and you be the judge…in your own life.

Be the man (or woman) in the arena, and dare greatly.

Much Love ❤

Jen

**P.S.  For those of you who bought and read my book “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” I am extremely grateful for your huge love and support.  I hope you enjoyed it and if you’re interested in leaving a book review on my website, please let me know and I will happily arrange it for you.  Have a wonderful week! XO