Welcome Home

“We are all just walking each other home” ~ Ram Dass

Dear Anxiety,

So, here we are, we meet again. You have this habit of showing up whenever things are going well and your goal is to disrupt that and throw me under the bus while watching…

You’ve managed to pull the trigger many times and have succeeded by setting my nervous system on fire and clouding my judgment over the years

Well, I have news for you Anxiety, you’re not a prison life sentence. Instead, you’re a key through a doorway and I get to decide where my life leads next

We’ve known each other for a long time and yet it’s only recently that I want to befriend you.  You’ve been there all along trying to protect me.  I’ve then recoiled from you thinking you are trying to hurt me

This has only made our relationship more fearful and stronger. I fear and ignore you and distract myself which makes you cry louder and stronger, like a child not being heard

I hear you now and I see you so I’m going to welcome you in instead of running from you or stiffening against you. 

Come, sit, and know that things are safe.  When I turn to you and sit with you, I know you will begin to calm and over time, you won’t need to scream so loud

We can coexist and I can live my life knowing you won’t hurt me

As the late and great Maya Angelou once said, “I know why the caged bird sings. A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”

I have the key to the cage that Anxiety tries to wrap around me. Despite this cage, I can still find peace and happiness and sing my song too. I also have wings that allow me to escape that cage anytime

I’m tired of your overwhelming waves that wash over me out of the blue. I feel like I’m underwater in those unmanageable anxious moments

You increase my breathing and heart rate, right to the point of fainting while you just sit there and watch the entire downward spiral unfold…

You slowly creep in and send me into panic mode for no real reason and I become my own worst enemy. It’s not fair to me or to the ones I love

Thankfully, my amazing support system handles me with undying care and unconditional love. They are tired of you too Anxiety. Your persistence is annoying

I tell myself to meditate, sit down and slow down. Walk outside in nature, listen to music, write, or paint. With growth, there are going to be growing pains, please be patient…

Breathe…

I don’t need to figure out how to keep going at this high level of anxiety, I need to figure out how to calm my nervous system down

I can be self-compassionate when sitting with this feeling and get curious by asking, “Why is it here right now? What is Anxiety trying to teach me?”
Anxiety is not accurate
Anxiety serves no purpose in life
Anxiety can challenge relationships to the point of destruction for no real reasons
Anxiety shows up when things are going well
Anxiety is a royal pain in the ass

Be aware of anxiety, but don’t make it your lifestyle. Become more present. Cultivate calm because anxiety is contagious but so is calm. Therefore, when I heal myself, I heal others in the process

I’m falling in love with the process of becoming the very best version of myself. I need more time to do less

It’s a continuous work in progress to speak kindly to yourself because your inner child is listening and so is the Universe. Be careful what you put out there because it will come back to you

Be open to what’s next and stop worrying about how it will all play out. I’ve spent countless years metabolizing pain and anxiety, it’s time to let it all go, and stop gaslighting myself…

I’ve realized the peace I’ve been seeking for so long is not out there in the world. It’s inside of me. I’ve been searching for something familiar that I already had inside. That’s why I can’t find it out there. It’s almost like you’ve been looking for your keys and they’ve been in your pocket the whole time

Walk yourself back to who you truly are; your loving and imperfect self. It’s time to build a safe haven within and with the one you love

After all, you’re only human

It’s time for us to say goodbye, Anxiety. I definitely don’t need or want you in my life. You’ve caused me enough trouble, and you’re not welcome to live here anymore

I’m saying hello to a peaceful, true, and deep love instead, I’m finally safe…

Welcome home, Jen ❤

**This blog was written in collaboration with a dear friend of mine as if Anxiety was a person and is dedicated to anyone and everyone who experiences various degrees of anxiety at different times in their life.  Sometimes it’s deceiving that what we see on the outside is not what’s going on on the inside. Please know you are not alone and we can get through this together.  All my love to all of you.  Just like Bruno Mars, you can Count On Me

Love Always,

Jen ❤

**Copies of my book, “Winning While Losing: The Upside of Heartbreak” are still available on the publishing website FriesenPress. All my gratitude to all of you ❤

~ Dare To Live Courageously…

There You Are…

I gazed up at the stars last night and asked; “How many soulmates are reunited in the sky and
shining down on us?”
You answered; “All of them, they are connected for life. You meet your soulmate when you find
your soul. Their light and the moon inspire us to carry on”

At sunrise, the world felt so alive, I could feel its heartbeat
Birds happily singing and sharing playlists in springtime
It’s lilac season now, the smell and color of pure joy and happiness
Our heartfelt conversations last for hours and hours…
While each fragile heart has so much to say and share
Especially when it comes to nature and each other
After all, timing is everything in nature, and with love

Rainfall, one of the most bittersweet sounds of both sadness and romance
The day I almost lost you, the skies opened up and cried endlessly, but I cried for you even
more…
How many silver linings are in these clouds?
These silver linings are a blessing and often overlooked in life, as is the blue sky in nature

One Friday afternoon, you spread the blanket under a swaying willow tree surrounded by a
canopy of greenery above and soft green grass below
How beautiful was that?
This special memory will remain cherished in my mind and heart forever

One evening, we painted sunsets at the beach with hues of pink, orange, yellow, and purple
Waves gently curled themselves on the shore the same way your fingers curl around mine
I still get butterflies when you take my hand in yours
These butterflies are a sign of transformation, a change for the better
As we sit and watch the sparkling sun dance across the lake and feel calm

I remember when you surprised me with a romantic dinner on a mountain top
It was as if we were in heaven yet there we were on earth
I felt the wind brush through my hair the same way you do with your fingers, I love that so much
You opened your heart carefully like a dahlia blooming in late July
Sharing windows of opportunity inviting love inside like sunshine, I wish it will stay forever
Every living, breathing thing grows, evolves, changes, blooms with patience, and needs to be taken
care of, and loved

Time passes quickly and how I wish it would stand still; just for a moment
As I look at you I realize how connected we are to nature, life, and each other
If I ever miss you, all I have to do is step outside, look up at the stars suspended deep in the midnight blue sky, and there you are…

Much Love,

Jennifer ❤

This One’s For You Dad

David Kessler, author, and grieving expert published many books on grief and loss. He talks about the new step called Finding Meaning and asks:

“Is it possible to find light in the dark?
Is it possible to be the light in the dark?
Is it possible to find meaning in trauma, death, loss?
When you can accept what happened, that’s when you can find meaning
And that’s when you find light in the dark
Meaning is not in the death, trauma, or loss, it’s in us and what we do with it
Gratitude is about the person, not the trauma, death, loss.”

Ever since my dad passed, it’s strange, I feel like a little girl all over again, but with pain, sadness, and so much vulnerability.  Some people understand but others not so much.  Grief takes time and everyone is different

My inner child is listening carefully to how I speak to myself.  I need kindness and compassion, I am still very fragile

I’ll always remember sitting around your bed that day, breathing the same air as you, what a privilege

There was this transfer of pain in that silent collapse, from you to me

You looked so calm and peaceful on the outside

The heavens changed that day and so did my world

You got your open door to your next spiritual journey

Now I watch for omens like cardinals, feathers, songs, and numbers, hoping it’s you reassuring me you’re ok

I want to take all your advice and use it in my personal and professional life

“Be confident, don’t convince anyone of your worth if they are too blind to see it, give and expect respect, care for others, tell the truth, and when you love, include yourself in that equation”

You said, “If you find yourself thinking you’re asking for too much from someone, maybe you should ask yourself if you’re asking the wrong person.”

Like Joni Mitchell’s song Both Sides Now, I’ve looked at life/love from both sides now

You said I used to ask a million questions, this is true and I still have many more

I lit a candle for you today dad, and remembered all the great memories through the tears

In my mind, I captured a collection of moments, sealed them in clear glass jars, and carefully lined them on a special shelf I can see from my bed

I imagine tying a navy blue silk ribbon around each one, that reminds me of the days you wore ties when I was a little girl

Whenever I want to visit those memories and moments, the clear glass makes it possible

I’m on my own journey of finding meaning…

My wish for you is to take a shot at the moon, take a trip to the sun

Paint the sky with your fingertips at sunrise and sunset

Why not add some sparkle in the night sky on your journey

I want to feel your presence in nature, thunderstorms, the wind

Even snowstorms like the one we had the day you departed…

You said that was a good omen

Thank you for giving me what you could as a dad, for re-introducing me to the love of writing, for attending my track and field meets for over 13 years, a swimming pool, learning how to water ski, playing piano, always listening, and for just being you

Maybe one of these days I’ll learn to acquire a taste for a good scotch or gin like you did

Then again, let’s see…

If that day ever happens, I’ll sip it at sunset on the water with you, listening to Both Sides Now

This one’s for you dad…cheers…

Love you ❤

Jen
XO

*On Friday, February 4th, 2022, my dad passed away from prostate cancer. He qualified for the MAID procedure which he had and passed peacefully. As a nurse, this was something medical to watch and as a daughter, it was so painful to watch. One of my favorite quotes is this; “We have two lives and the second one begins when we realize we only have one.” ~ Confucius

Thank you for reading ❤

Go With The Flow

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Have you ever tried to control a situation where you don’t have any control?  Did it feel good?  Did you succeed?  What I’ve learned is the harder I try to control a situation like this, the more exhausted I feel and I lose in more ways than one.  People tend to say “go with the flow” but what does that really mean?

I’m writing this blog on the shoreline of my favorite beach.

I’m watching the whitecap waves ascending and descending, just like my emotions on my tough days or tough moments that still appear out of nowhere.

My hot tears hit the hot sand and I realize they are made of water that also flows, sometimes uncontrollably.  I’m grateful I’m wearing sunglasses.

Water has become a very significant symbol in my life that represents emotion, flow, life, surrendering and letting go.  It’s about being in the moment, following the pull, not the push.

Imagine you are standing in a river and walking against the current.  Water is pushing you around, and you are forcing the water in return.  You realize you are resisting and walking in the wrong direction which is difficult. Everything feels heavy.

Now imagine turning around, where one small shift changes everything.  The river current is pulling you in the right direction, you are no longer fighting it and you are even letting go while being in the moment.  It carries you and you are going with the flow.  The current catches you, and you feel so much lighter and relaxed.

Does this mean you are a prisoner to the water and have no choice as to where you are going?

Not at all.

You can turn left, right, go straight or even take a break if you want to.  Just keep going in the right direction and let go a little bit so the current can carry you and have some fun with it.  Look down and see how clear that water is?  What else do you see and notice?  How does it feel to be so free?

Recently, I realized I need to go with the flow more in certain areas of my life.  Lower my expectations, don’t try to control the outcome, live in the moment and enjoy it.  One of my close friends Judith who is a life coach and a great one I might add, asked me if there was ever a time where I did something big in my life, was vulnerable, felt like I was going with the flow, didn’t attach an outcome to it and did it anyway?  Guess what I answered….”Yes, when I wrote my book.  I had no idea how it would turn out, I just did it, enjoyed the process and hoped people would like it.”

Bingo.

It’s the same in other areas of life where it’s important to trust in the process, go with the flow, and believe things will work out the way they are supposed to.  Stop fighting it and embrace it instead.  I admit I get my hopes up very high, very fast and trying to bring myself down to a low starting level is very hard.  But what’s even harder is living with constant disappointment that things didn’t go the way I expected them to.  Especially when it comes to relationships.

That’s where the waves come into play.  The highs and lows are so unpredictable and can carry you away into good and not so good times; just like love, emotions, and life.  Rather than crashing into the waves, ride them instead, it’s okay. It’s unrealistic to think you need to be happy all the time so when sadness or anger comes along, think of it as a wave and ride it out because it will pass and flatten out eventually.

As I sit here and look out at the turquoise water and watch these waves, I somehow feel at peace because of their sound washing against the shore, and how great they look rolling in, while the birds sing overhead. I see my kids playing in these waves, having a great time, going with the flow.  I now realize we are all connected to nature, and many of life’s answers are out there if we pay attention to them.

I am happy to say I’ve been making some progress in going with the flow and I still have work to do, but it feels much better, very freeing, and less stressful.  Dare I say…Fun??

Sometimes, yes.  I’m still learning.

How do you go with the flow?

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

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P.S:  I would like to thank you ALL for your support and love through the promotion of my book which is going very well.  For those who have read it and even took the time to review it, I am honored and so grateful.  On Saturday, September 9th, from Noon to 4 pm, I will be doing another book signing at Chapters Gloucester in the Ottawa area.  If you would like to stop by, say hi, and pick up a signed copy of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” it would be great to see you!

Copies and different versions are available on all online bookstores worldwide.

Thank you all again, and dare to live courageously…

XOXO

Nature. Beauty. Gratitude. ~ Louie Schwartzberg

For many people, art is something that is comforting and inspiring.  When we have an open mind and an open heart, many possibilities exist and we are able to find solutions to our problems.  Nature is all around us and is forever beautiful.  Without even realizing it, we can often find the answers to our questions right outside our door.  We just need to embrace gratitude.

I invite you to take ten minutes to watch this TED Talk video by Louie Schwartzberg which is a beautiful expression of nature unfolding live right before your eyes.  I’m sure you will be grateful you did.  Happy Spring!    ~ J.J.

The Butterfly Emerges

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“How do you become a butterfly?  You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”  ~ Trina Paulus

Author and cancer survivor Mark Nepo says the things we hold dear in our hearts like a relationship, an identity, a dream or an ambition acts like a cocoon.  When the butterfly emerges, the cocoon has served its purpose.  It doesn’t mean it’s false, it means it served its purpose just as everything in life serves as a purpose.  Therefore our relationships, identities, dreams and ambitions are often cocoons that lead us to the next.  The problem is when we are so attached to these relationships, identities, dreams and ambitions, we come in conflict when it breaks or falls away that we don’t see what it’s opened us up to.

Have you ever been in a relationship or a situation that has served its purpose and you know in your heart it’s time to surrender and let go?  It hurts to even think about it breaking away or never returning.  We’ve all been there.  Just the angst of making that decision to leave can be the biggest struggle of our lives just as the caterpillar struggles in becoming a butterfly inside the cocoon.  This inner process takes time and all the work that is being done is from within, it just needs the time and space to do this on its own.  Similarly, we need to work from within to find our inner strength and make changes in our own lives. After having gone through this struggle, not only does it make you stronger, it transforms you.  Like the butterfly, when you finally emerge from the cocoon and come out on the other side after having made that decision, you are so powerful and beautiful.  The cocoon which represents a relationship or situation has now served its purpose.  It is time to surrender and let go.  This process cannot be rushed, nor can anyone do this inner work for you.  For an observer, as difficult as it may be to stand back watching and waiting for this final moment to happen, you must be patient and let nature take its course.  Even the sun and rain support the process which can represent our own support systems like friends and family, we are all connected.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives to emerge us into the next great opportunity.  They strengthen us, connect us and can even make us fly.  I have learned freedom from struggling and I am very grateful for this teacher.   ~ J.J.