Your Hungry Soul

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This post goes out to all the people with thirsty hearts and hungry souls…(that includes me)

You’ve heard the saying, “Feed Your Soul,” I know I say it quite a bit myself because sometimes there are days when my soul is so hungry!  Hungry for what?  Something purposeful, meaningful, and inspirational.  Isn’t that what life is all about and why we’re here?

What makes you tick?  Lights you up from the inside out?  That’s what I’m talking about.

One of the greatest things I’ve learned after my divorce is how to stop the insanity and feed my soul.  Things I completely forgot about came back to me, like writing, listening to song lyrics, exercise, and walking beside a body of water.  Whenever I’m feeling blue, these are the things that swoop in and heal me in an inspiring way.  I also discovered new things like reading Paulo Coelho books that are so incredibly written.  He is one heck of a word wizard that’s for sure.  In case of an emergency, cookies are always good too, but not too many!

Then there are the tougher days.  Starvation sets in and no matter what you do, your soul never seems fed or satisfied.  Maybe it’s your job or a relationship that’s keeping you down and confused about your true desires and the search seems endless.   This is when creativity comes in very handy or talking it out with a trusted friend.  Feed your hungry soul and quench that thirsty heart of yours!  Just try to be around people who actually feed your soul and not eat it!  That completely defeats the purpose.

And just so you know, anything soul-sucking needs to go immediately.

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One of my favorite author’s and life coach, Danielle LaPorte says we should make goals with a soul.  In other words, strive for the things we desire that make us feel good.  Goals are great but are sometimes too much work if you’re not that interested in them.  Is your goal a should or a want?  Maybe we’re living our lives backward and inside out because if we put our desire ahead of our goal, it would probably be more achievable since we know it makes us feel good in the end.   Follow the pull, not the push.

Other times you have to let go and throw fate into the water and see what happens next.  However, sometimes, even water can’t wash away the pain, but when you’re hungry, you’ll do anything to feed it.  This can be a good sign because that might prompt you to discover a new hobby, change careers, meet an old friend, pray from the heart, or take a trip somewhere new and exciting.  We just want to connect with someone or something that makes us feel good.  What makes you happy?  When you find out, do that as much as possible.

When your soul is hungry, what is your go-to spiritual diet?  What do you crave?

Much Love,

Jen 🙂

P.S:  What better time of the year than to curl up with a book and get inspired 😉  “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” is available at all online bookstores worldwide, pick up your copy today!! Have a great weekend everyone ❤

 

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‘Twas Many Nights Before Christmas

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‘Twas many nights before Christmas and all through my head
Several single mom thoughts were stirring, while I lay here in my bed;
The stockings were hung by the tree with care,
In hopes,  “Mr. Genuine Guy” soon would be there;

The children were nestled all cozy in their beds,
While visions of Fitbits danced in their heads;
I’m the mamma in my pyjamas, I don’t wear a cap,
I just settled down for a short power nap,

When out on the patio a loud BANG was heard,
I jumped out of bed screaming a four-letter-word!
Away to the window I marched right over,
Flung open the curtains and saw a Range Rover!

The full moon in the sky and the snow on the ground,
Gave the impression that Christmas was somewhere around,
When what do my wondering, tired eyes should appear,
But a group of my friends, with nothing but cheers,

One of the ringleaders, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be that funny chick.
More rapid than hummingbirds, they all flocked around,
And we gave big gratitude hugs for the friendships we found;

Let’s be honest, life can be tough as a single parent,
When finding your path and dating if you dare it.
But support  systems are the best when we feel at our worst,
Christmas helps our hearts fill with love, then let it happily burst;

We are all in this world together, you are never alone,
Love yourself and your kids right down to your bones;
Finding a mate will happen on its own,
There’s no need to settle, you’ve already flown ❤

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

 

All My Love and Gratitude ❤

Jen
XO

**If you or someone you know is going through a separation or divorce during this Christmas season, please know I understand that pain all too well.  The thing that got me through it all was writing down how I felt and then turning it into something positive which is how my book “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” was born.  It’s about how I coped by finding light in the dark.  Please know you are not alone and consider reading my book by heading over to any online bookstore worldwide or the FriesenPress online bookstore.

Happy holidays and dare to live courageously…

 

 

 

Even The Caged Bird Sings

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I feel your pain and struggles.  I know what it’s like to be imprisoned in your own mind and heart.  Some days the walls are so high to climb, you just want to give up.  I’ve been there in that exact same spot and all I can say is that you need to let it all out.  Express yourself whatever way you know how to do it, but do it from your deepest core.  It’s the only way out where you can find some answers and freedom.

Whether you’re a bird in a cage that is physical, mental, or emotional, there’s always an escape route and that’s by expressing your pain through your creativity.  We are all artists and creative, some just choose to use it more than others.  Find out what fills you up from the inside out and do that as much as humanly possible.  When the caged bird sings, she’s asking for help, saying a prayer, crying her emotions out to the world.  Some days she’s singing because she’s happy and that’s what connects her to the world and when we feel connected, it feels pretty damn good, right?  It’s possible to find the positives within the negatives and feel free even though you are trapped inside your head.  Start by getting out of your own way, close your eyes, and look with your heart instead.  How do you want to feel?  Let that be your measuring stick and your guide.

Feeling stuck on how to be creative?  Here are some suggestions; sing, dance, make videos, write, draw, paint, sculpt, dramatic arts, play a musical instrument, photography, beauty techniques, hair design, fashion, cooking, baking, scrapbooking, interior decorating, renovating, party planning, building, sports, sewing, knitting, gardening, landscaping and the list goes on.  What did you like to do when you were in grade 3?  That’s always a good starting point.

From time to time life is going to make us feel lonely, disappointed, upset, confused, and trapped.  However, despite all that, we need to remember who we truly are and if we don’t know, it’s time we did, because that’s what will help us deal with these tough times and get us through to the other side.  Even when life seems to put up walls around us, it’s possible to live fulfilling lives by using our creativity so it can set us free.

That’s why even the caged bird sings.

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

**I would like to say many thanks, appreciation, and gratitude to everyone for reading my blogs and my new book “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak.”  It’s heartwarming to read all the feedback from you and to know it’s making a positive impact in the lives of others because that’s been my intention all along.  I have been and still am a caged bird at times but my writing allows me to express myself so I can heal, feel free, and move on with my life in a positive way ❤

If you would like to pick up a copy of my book, it’s available at all online bookstores worldwide, FriesenPress bookstore and in some physical bookstores such as; Michabou, Prospero Books, Caversham Booksellers, and Chapters Kanata.

On Saturday, August 12th, 2017, I will be hosting a book signing event for “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” at Chapters Kanata in Ottawa, from 11 am – 3 pm.  They are located in the Kanata Centrum Shopping Centre at 400 Earl Grey Drive, Kanata, Ontario K2T 1B9.  Signed paperback copies can be purchased for $20 +taxes.  Hope to see you there!

Many heartfelt thanks for all your love and support, dare to live courageously…

~ Jennifer Green
XO

Dr. Shefali Tsabary-Conscious Parenting

As many of you already know, India holds a special place in my heart as do many of my friends who are from there.  The spiritual connection we all share is something I cannot describe but can definitely feel.

I recently came across a TED Talk by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D. clinical psychologist, and author of the book “Conscious Parenting.”   Her Indian background compliments her style of work where Eastern spirituality and mindfulness meets Western world psychology, creating one of the most transformative ways of thinking while raising children.

Whether you are a parent or a non-parent, Dr. Tsabary’s insight is remarkable because all relationships are intimate connections and relationships with our children are the most intimate of all because they are a part of us.  As children grow and learn, we relive our own childhood and this includes the challenging times they experience which can trigger the challenging times we experienced as children with our own parents.  The same is true with love relationships, new situations can trigger old wounds which continue to revisit us until they are dealt with.

We all carry around something called our emotional shadow which is our emotional baggage of unacknowledged pain and our own ego.  Whether you are a parent or not, we all have it and carry it.  Maybe your emotional shadow is made up of pain, neglect, abandonment or dishonesty.

As a parent, we can’t expect our children to embrace painful feelings if we haven’t taken the opportunity to do that with ourselves.  They need to experience pain in order to grow because it’s where we learn the most from life.  Hiding, covering up or avoiding pain only adds to the emotional baggage and when you become a parent, our children will do something that triggers that old wound, and instead of reacting in an outburst, we need to look within ourselves and ask why we are reacting a certain way so we can awaken ourselves and start being better parents.  We need to explore our emotional shadow to face the unprocessed emotional pain and tune into our own essence, therefore, tuning into the essence of our children.  This is how we face our own ego and become better parents.

As you help your child, you are helping yourself and as you look within yourself to ask your inner child what this is trying to tell you, you are helping your children.  Children are our teachers and this is why it’s so important to put yourself first so you can be the best possible parent for your children.  It is the most transformative swing of the pendulum because you are changing your perspective from ego to wisdom and both sides are winning.

Dr. Tsabary also talks about how we always have choices in life and we can look at life situations in two different ways.  One, life is happening to us or secondly, life is happening for us.

In the first example, life is happening to us, essentially means, you vs me.  It is a separation from our spirits, a victim of life perspective.  People become passive aggressive and find addictions as an escape route.  Perhaps it’s someone who lost their job or a failed relationship.  People see themselves as chronic victims and find an addiction such as drugs or food and they lose their spirit and connections in the world.  It’s the easy way out.

In the second example, life is happening for us.  People rarely take this approach, but it is always a choice that exists.  Life disguises itself in painful ways such as trauma, shock, darkness, yet even in these times, we can look at this pain as an awakening and we can ask ourselves “What does this experience mean to me and how do I need to grow?”  Life mirrors back to us the ways we have yet to develop.  We miss these signs, calls, and invitations because we look at it as if life is happening to us.  Every difficult relationship is a calling because it’s asking us to wake up.  Ask yourself, “What in my emotional shadow has been triggered so I can reach my authentic self?”

Dr. Tsabary developed an acronym as a reminder when owning your own emotional baggage, which is ACT.

A-Aware of yourself.  Aware of your anxiety, energy, words and beliefs.  See things as is, as they really are.  What is really going on?

C-Consciousness.  Noticing the cause and effect.  Where do our cause and effect occur?

T-Transformation.  There are 3 ways to transform.  One, embrace the situation, take it for what it is.  Two, stop being a victim, change it, go to therapy, and start healing.  Three, leave it.

When people see the work and effort that is required to own their emotional baggage, they take the first approach where life is happening to us and therefore, no ownership is taken because it means giving up too much.

Every moment is alive with meaning and purpose, and we can lead joyous and peaceful lives for ourselves and for our children.

We just need to awaken into conscious parenting.

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

 

 

Surfing Anyone…??

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Jon Kabat-Zinn founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in Boston, Mass. teaches the use of mindfulness meditation as a technique to help people cope with stress, anxiety, and pain.  He has also published many books and audio recordings on mindfulness, one of my personal favorites being “Full Catastrophe Living”

The reason I am writing this blog is because I love his quote in the above photo and wanted to share it with you.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

Life is like the ocean it’s big, calm, rough at times, warm, cold and sometimes blue.  Let’s face it we’ve had our fair share of waves and situations come crashing down on us whether we expected them or not.  However, in those exact moments we have two choices.  Run or surf.

If you choose to run, the waves won’t stop they will actually follow you and maybe pull you under.  You may think you’re doing the right thing but it won’t last for very long.  The running goes on and on and you become more exhausted, depleted, and scared, you feel as though you can’t catch your breath.  Those waves just keep on comin’.

If you choose to surf, then the world is your oyster.  Now you have the ability to face the waves with an amazing attitude and a new added skill.  When you surf, you are living in the moment and you are in control of yourself, not the waves.  You feel on top of the world and it’s easier to go with the flow than against it.  You take the waves in stride and what felt scary at first is now something exciting.  You understand the rhythm of the ocean and can time the big waves that may catch you off guard.  Don’t be afraid just get back on your surf board and try again.  You feel so brave and proud of how you are handling things and you should be!  People on the shoreline are looking at you wishing they could surf like you do and you know it.  This makes you smile from within and even gives you peace while riding that wave.

So who are you, a runner or a surfer?  I’m a surfer girl. 🙂

Much Love,

Jen
xo

It’s Finally Over

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Her view was mostly of his back
He was far too busy to notice, especially her
When  pointed out, he walked away from her
Communication was his weakest link
The emotional abandonment was suffocating and humiliating for her
Being ignored was the worst empty feeling of all
She felt alone and excluded,  yet she was with him
The sting of emotional betrayal was overwhelming and nauseating
How could this be happening after everything she gave him
Gone was her independence and confidence during those years
Sadly her efforts to impress went unnoticed
Yet somehow he still benefited from the results
Her head hurt from banging it against the wall
Begging for his attention
She felt she didn’t exist and unimportant, at least with him
Schedules, impressions, ego were his priorities
Invitations elsewhere were taken with pleasure
Decided and enjoyed, leaving her behind
She felt she didn’t have a choice which took away her voice

Until one day a job opportunity came for her in a faraway land
An opportunity not just for her but for the family
To be treated like a queen and highly rewarded for all her hard work
He encouraged her to pursue this adventure
The spotlight had shifted from him to her
It was finally her turn to do more, have more
The law of divine compensation was at play
However, seething jealousy swept in
Robbed her of this happiness, this chance of a lifetime
What did he do?
He backed out, refusing this opportunity for himself
Advised her to go alone
His world was far too important to leave behind and support her in this quest
These foolish games were killing her and them
She was so tired of feeling alone
Betrayal came in many forms and shattered her heart one crack at a time
His jealousy and control were building daily over her

That’s when everything changed…
She realized this was not about her but all about him
Like all the other times he abandoned her

And then…. it happened, the day after Valentine’s

A hurling punch of ultimate betrayal slapped her across the face with brute force
Causing physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual harm to her body and soul
He took away Everything from her world
Her cracked heart was broken, bleeding and wailing
The invisible crown she wore fell, and crashed into a wall
Jewels she collected over the years shattered into a million pieces
Lifelessly falling to the floor,  she tried to pick them one by one
Screaming, reaching and crying a river of tears
Every act of control on his part felt like she was being strangled tighter and tighter
He was kicking her while she was down; the pain was excruciating
She was unable to get off this emotional roller coaster ride
And it was sucking the life out of her
Her world was rapidly spinning out of control into a downward tornado spiral
She knew this was the end but failed to realize
It was also her new beginning…

Gradually, she picked herself off the floor
Had no idea she was in the driver’s seat
She could finally break free and live her life the way it was intended
With people who care and make time for her in their busy schedule
And don’t take advantage of her good nature
Friends and family gathered round, carried her when she couldn’t walk
Resisted sleep all night until sunrise; stayed and talked with her
Buried the darkness when she needed the light
Spoke for her when she couldn’t speak
Listened when she finally found her voice and the words
Dried her tears when they wouldn’t stop flowing
Made her laugh and smile to cut through the pain
Encouraged her to shake and pound it out through exercise
Books, quotes and songs repaired her soul one phrase at a time
Hugs and virtual hugs meant everything to her
Friends and family became her strength, her lifeline, her everything
Standing by her side through every mind controlling appointment and conversation
Taking her shopping and moving her into her new palace
Helping to re-attach the shining jewels to her invisible crown
And wearing it like a boss knowing she’s worth it, dammit
While carrying on courageously and not missing a beat in her life
Rising strong like a hero and not a poor victim
Pouring out her emotions and detoxifying her soul through writing
Connecting with more friends around the world that inspire and support her
Skype, Hangouts, texts and social media bring friends who are far, close to her heart
She doesn’t feel alone or ignored anymore, she is smiling
Her heart and mind are open, she can breathe again

Finally she disembarks this wild emotional roller coaster ride
Thanking her guardian angels for riding along side with her
This girl is on fire now and has her strength back and more
She walks into the appointment with her pen in hand
Signs the document that changes her life forever and for the better
Her inked signature says it all loud and clear
It’s finally over.
And this time…
She walks away with her back to him for the very first time
And rocks it

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** A special thanks to Darshith for letting me borrow his awesome idea of adding music to my blog 😉 **Thank you** 🙂 Since this post has a before and after, I chose two songs; Foolish Games by Jewel and Brand New Me by Alicia Keys.  Thank you for reading and listening, I know it was long but I just had to get it all out, turn my back, close the door, walk away and move on.  Enjoy the music…Life is beautiful.  We’re all human.

Love, Thanks and Hugs to You,

Jennifer
xo

What I Know For Sure…Now: A Letter To My 21-Year-Old-Self

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Okay seriously, life is full of lessons whether you want to learn from them or not.  When you do learn, you expand your personal growth and development and make necessary changes so they don’t happen again.  If you don’t learn the life lessons, they will keep happening over and over until you do.  They won’t go away on their own.  That’s just the way it is…sigh.

No matter what age you are, something happened to you that affected your life and how you reacted to it changed you.  It didn’t kill you, it made you stronger.   But what if you could have a conversation with your younger self and give advice that would save you time and grief or give you confidence and perseverance in various areas of your life?  I know I’ve thought about this and I’d like to share what I know for sure… now.

Dear Jen,

You are 21 years young now and are studying very hard to become a nurse.  You have chosen a career path that is helpful and compassionate which aligns with who you are and your core values in life. Yes studying is hard, working in the hospital is hard but never give up because you are on the right path; you’ve got this.  Know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours, this is the beauty in nursing.

What if I told you when you graduate you will move to another country to work and travel?  Not just once but twice. Nursing can open many doors for you and later on there is another big opportunity coming up that you cannot say no to, in Qatar.

Don’t always expect to be acknowledged and appreciated for all the hard work you do, people are tired and busy in their own worlds but in your heart, just know you are doing your best and in the end, you will be rewarded by Him.  Know your own self-worth because if you think you are cheap, people will see and treat you as cheap. Try not to control every outcome, just relax and enjoy the ride because you have so much ahead of you, a world of experiences that will blow your mind!

Life Coaching is in your future which is another beautiful helping profession and by walking this path, you learn so much about yourself in the process and it’s an automatic win-win for you and your clients. You will be so inspired, you will really love this but it takes work to get it going.  Don’t give up.

Relationships are complicated but a very big part of your life Jen.  Friendships are to be treasured and respected by both sides otherwise, it’s not worth it.  Everywhere you go, you will meet new friends and connect well with them for life because of who you are.  You have many amazing friends who inspire you so hang on tight they are your rocks during your toughest moments.   Don’t forget to be there for them too and love them with all your heart.  Sadly, one of your closest friends will be diagnosed with cancer and cannot beat it.  However, having known her, changes your perspective on life for the better because you learn to appreciate the little things, slow down and look within yourself for answers to life’s complicated questions.  You have all the solutions inside you, just dig deep because they’re all there.  You feel a deep sense of gratitude for having known her and you miss her.

Family is another important part of your life and you need to show your appreciation for everything they do for you.  Nobody’s perfect and everyone is doing the best they can, just like you Jen.  Perfection is a dangerous thing and not even possible so let it go.  Imperfections are what make people beautiful including you.  It all depends on your perspective, try to look at them as your gifts.  Your entire family loves you unconditionally, you love them too and you get along with everyone.

Ah, romance, romance.  You have met some really nice guys that showed interest in you so far and you have been interested in some of them.   But Jen, you need to have more self-confidence you need to love yourself more.  Learn how to be assertive and stand up to the ones who don’t treat you right and hold hands with the ones who do.  Don’t get blindsided by flattery, take it for what it is which is sweet.  Not every guy will understand your kind heart but that’s ok, it’s not your job to convince him of it.  Never let the good guy get away, easier said than done.  Romantic involvement is complex and fleeting.  Don’t settle for someone, make sure your man adores you, protects you, makes time for you, has the same values as you, has your back on everything and knows how to use a hammer!  This will save you a ton of frustration…

What you really want is someone who makes you smile, is proud of you, supports you and inspires you, is emotionally there for you and treats you like his queen.  Not a man who drains you or takes advantage of your good nature or abandons you.  He will love you with his whole heart by making you his number one priority and not let his external environment control how he feels or acts around you.

He must know his own core values and who he truly is on the inside otherwise he is a chameleon adjusting to every external environment, not a man.

If you are looking for a chameleon, go to Costa Rica.

Make sure he never interrupts you or puts you down in front of other people; he should be singing your praises instead.  You are a fine catch young lady and never forget that!  😉

You put everyone’s needs ahead of your own and deep down, you want your needs met too and why not?  People pleasing and putting yourself last is killing you without you even realizing it.  You need to take better care of yourself so you have the ability to take care of others.  Everywhere you go you are a caretaker.  Learn to set some boundaries for yourself otherwise people will walk all over you as if you were a doormat.  “No” is a complete sentence, remember that my love.  And whatever you do, don’t let the opinions of others influence you to the point of doing nothing.  You’re better than that.

Be very mindful of selfish people and narcissists in your life.  They are your biggest threat because they give subtle red flags and are very good at charming you.  Take off those rose colored glasses so you can actually see the color red.  They are only interested in themselves so don’t kid yourself into thinking they have something to offer you.  They are takers and you are a giver so you are vulnerable in this situation.  Be very, very careful.

I know you can’t see it now but your heart of gold will fall in love with one man and two children over the years.  Unfortunately heartbreak is in your future but this tragedy has its silver lining.  You experience two sides of the same coin but you are a trooper, a real warrior.  Facing these various betrayals are the biggest stressors you will go through but it’s not what happens to us in life that determines who we are, it’s how we cope and react to it that counts and you have excellent coping skills.  Like grace under fire. You are not a victim so don’t play that role, ever.  You might feel like you are all alone in this but you’re not.  You are stronger than you realize and you have God in your corner.  This is a time for self-compassion and practicing self-care, finally.  You have put this off long enough Jen so time to pay attention to yourself.  It’s self-discovery time.  Be a good example for your kids because they are always watching and taking notes.  Learn the lessons here and don’t worry so much, everything is going to be okay.

You really need a vacation, you should plan one.

Writing blogs for you is a positive emotional outlet and an incredibly important way of dealing with stress because getting your emotions out on paper or a screen is cathartic.  A wonderful healing tool for all.  Not only are you helping yourself but also helping others by letting them know we are all in this together, nobody is alone.  An amazing world of bloggers is out there and each person has something beautiful to offer, appreciate each and every one of them from your heart because they are probably fighting a battle of their own you know nothing about.  You learn to write your way out of this betrayal and when writing the story of your life Jen, don’t let anyone else hold the pen, own it.  You get to write your own ending.  On the other side of this fear is freedom so hang in there, you’re doing great.  You are finding your inner voice and are finally starting to use it.  Better late than never girl!

Exercise has always been a priority in your life but during this time you must keep moving more than ever.  The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits are endless.  Exercise helps to get the negative energy out, clear your mind, release those endorphins and make you feel empowered again.  You meet more friends along the way who support you and you can’t imagine your life without them because they are just so fun to be with!  You learn new activities like Zumba and PiYo which you even become addicted to!

As you make your way through the pain with your kids, your vision becomes clearer and you slowly get your strength back, thanks to your family and friends here and all around the world.  Connection has empowered you to stand up for what you believe in and fight for your rights my little warrior.  You are getting to know and love yourself more and more each and every day, the butterfly is emerging.  One of the greatest lessons you can learn is to practice gratitude, forgiveness and surrender.  These are the silver linings in the dark clouds.  You will make it to the other side Jen, you are almost there so don’t give up now.  Music and lyrics inspire you and give you energy.  There’s one song that’s about standing for something and getting stronger which is exactly what you need right now.  You need to stand for you.  Share this song with your amazing friends and in the meantime…ROAR!

To be continued in another 20 years….

And this is what I know for sure….now.

Love,

Jen
xo

Light A Candle Instead Of Cursing The Darkness

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We are all victims of circumstance but we have a choice of remaining in victim mode or stepping out of it and living our life.  Sometimes we can see trouble coming and other times it catches us right off guard sending us into a downward spiral but either way, we need to decide if we want to be happy or not.  Initially, it’s natural to feel great disappointment, hurt and grief but it’s not healthy to live there permanently.

Things happen, I’ve seen trouble coming and it has also knocked me off my feet, leaving my head swirling and my heart broken.  However, I cannot and will not let that define me.  When I read this quote, it was like I heard music and corks popping out of champagne bottles!

 To me, darkness represents being deeply disappointed, the hard times, handling tough emotions, the struggle, the pain and even change.  Everyone defines it differently depending on what they’re going through.  When you think about it, if you try to navigate through the dark without any light, it’s very difficult to see where you’re going or what is right in front of you.  You might bump into things, trip over something or even worse, stub your toe which only causes more pain.  The other thing about darkness is that it seems to hide us well.  Maybe people like the dark for that reason alone.  They don’t want any help so they don’t want to be seen.  The question comes when that same person endlessly criticizes or complains about their situation but doesn’t do anything to make it better; cursing the darkness.  Or maybe they just want to be found by someone, be seen, heard and understood.   After all, we all crave connection.

The simple act of shedding some light on the subject can change the entire space where darkness lives.  You can see what and who is around you, what is ahead of you and that feeling of being on edge is less.  It’s a more comforting, positive response, a new perspective.  Igniting a spark inside you is an action step in moving forward because you are no longer thinking about making it better or wishing for it, you are making the effort and doing it.  Lighting a candle could mean reading positive daily affirmations, finding activities that bring you joy and doing them as much as possible, practicing gratitude even in the dark moment, trying to find the hidden life lesson inside your situation or reaching out to your support system to help you and accepting their help.  It can also mean stop denying and start feeling the pain because the only way out of it is through it.  When you decide to do this, your mind shifts from controlling to allowing and your body shifts from stress to peace.  It doesn’t magically disappear but it certainly becomes more manageable.  Having an open mind and an open heart changes a negative into a positive with an intention to do so.  Darkness is a wonderful teacher that helps us grow through personal development because without darkness there can’t be light.

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All of our life’s tragedies big or small have their time and space for darkness.  Just keep in mind that at some point, you will need to turn on a light to be able to see clearly instead of wishing it wasn’t so dark.  It’s time to live in the joy zone.

Much love,

Jennifer Juneau

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The Gift of Forgiveness

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What is forgiveness?   It is making a deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you.  It takes a strong person to say “I’m sorry” and an even stronger person to forgive.  Forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees them from their own anger and deeply held negative feelings. It empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.  In essence, it’s about giving up the hope that the past could be any different and accept that something happened.

The opposite of forgiveness is revenge.  This negative emotion is never sweet and can literally tear you apart.  If you get revenge on the person who harmed you, they may no longer suffer depending on the revenge but either way, it will have a direct impact on your life where you will only suffer more.   Some people say the best revenge is just moving on and let karma do the rest.  What are your thoughts on that?

Confusion about forgiveness is when we think about forgiving someone who has harmed us, we believe we are saying to that person it’s okay what they did and we’re letting them off the hook or giving up our control. This isn’t true and it’s not about accepting bad behavior.  We might even see ourselves as a doormat.  When you forgive, you do not wear rose-colored glasses or deny the seriousness of what happened to you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting.  Maybe some of you reading this blog have felt this way and I have to admit I did for a long time too.

Forgiveness comes in its own time and shouldn’t be rushed so if you are struggling with forgiveness then it’s not the right time and that’s okay.  When you do feel ready to forgive, try to recognize the causes that led that person to act as they did and this can help facilitate the process of forgiveness.  I am currently on my own journey of forgiveness and I understand how difficult it can be, you are not alone.

Why should we forgive?  Here are a few things I have discovered about forgiveness.

  • It makes us happier
  • Improves our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health
  • Sustains relationships worth saving
  • Self-esteem, confidence and self-worth return at a higher level
  • If we don’t transform our pain, we transmit it to those around us
  • When you forgive you don’t change the past, you change your future by rising above what happened. It’s life changing for the better
  • Sets you free from that person and their negativity, you take your power back

How do we forgive someone who has harmed us deeply?  This is where the rubber fails to hit the road.

  • Accept and process your anger even though it’s difficult, be patient
  • Acknowledge your revenge fantasies, they are just that
  • Forgive yourself it’s crucial to your healing
  • Try to see a common humanity between you and the person you are trying to forgive
  • See them with a compassionate eye. They’re only human just like you
  • Realize the cure for pain and suffering is where personal growth and development can arise. This is usually a time where you might see the silver lining in your situation
  • Forgetting about it and pretending it did not happen is not forgiveness

In the beginning, it’s really hard and it takes so much strength to forgive.  To change the world, we need to change our mind.  Hanging onto these negative emotions ends up hurting us in the end.  When you don’t forgive, you keep that wound open and you inflict more pain on yourself which isn’t healing for you at all.

Forgive them even if they aren’t sorry and even if you never get that apology.  I know…that’s a tough one.

When we struggle with being right or being happy, we are still struggling with forgiveness and that’s okay.  We need to discover how to get out of our own way and stop holding ourselves hostage because we end up blocking the flow of happiness in our life.  After all, on the other side of forgiveness is a personal freedom which is amazingly beautiful.

Forgiveness happens when we stop holding a grudge and let go of our right to resentment for being mistreated. It doesn’t mean we stop protecting ourselves but it does mean we let go of emotional retaliation which only hurts us in the long run. Carrying around revenge in your heart will only weigh you down in negativity. It takes more strength to be able to forgive but what you resist can persist and that is no way to go through life carrying around this unnecessary baggage. Say it for yourself and move on, you are actually giving yourself a gift of peace by doing this.

True forgiveness is a gift to ourselves, the other person doesn’t need to be present or even know we have forgiven them because forgiveness takes place in our minds and in our bodies.  We do it for ourselves so we can be at peace and live our best life, free from negativity.  By letting go of the past and surrendering to what is, you create the process of emptying your mind. The only way to stop the vicious cycle of reacting to pain by causing more pain is to step out of the system by taking a step back.

Most importantly, we need to allow our hearts fill with compassion and learn how to forgive ourselves.  This might be more difficult than forgiving another human being because we are so hard on ourselves.   Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  Your best teacher is your last mistake so it’s important to learn from it so it is not repeated in your life and then move on.  Just because you made a mistake doesn’t mean you are a mistake.  Try and be self-compassionate.

Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.  Trust yourself and forgive them.

I wish you all the very best on your journey of giving yourself the gift of forgiveness.

“By owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.  And when we own the story, then we can write the ending.”  ~ Brené Brown

 Much Love,

Jennifer Juneau

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Thank You For Being Such A Pain ~ By Mark I. Rosen

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Not only is this a catchy, punchy title for a book, it makes a lot of sense…once you read it.  For some this may trigger some laughter and for others they might find it offensive at first glance.  Personally, I found it funny and real. Little did I know it was going to wake me up to something bigger and better.

I was at a conference last year when I came across this book and after reading the description on the back cover and browsing through the table of contents, people around me started to ask me questions and we joked about the title.  Even when I bought the book, the volunteers working the table asked me to read it and come back to give them a report on it!  This was a big conversation piece and I could hardly wait to dive in and read it.

As it reads on the back cover, “With wisdom and humor, Thank You For Being Such A Pain offers gentle and compassionate guidance for understanding and healing relationships with difficult people.  The author Mark I. Rosen, Ph.D., reminds us that nothing in your life happens randomly and your pain has a deeper purpose; frustration and pain are as necessary for your personal and spiritual growth as love and joy; transforming enmity and completing unfinished business may be the most important skills you can learn in life; and when you make an effort to work on your inner self, your outer relationships will be transformed.”  The bottom line is that after reading this book, it can change the way you see the difficult people in your life as well as the way you see yourself.  The silver lining awakening is that over time, you will be able to thank the difficult person for what they said or did to you because it helped you learn something about yourself and it made you grow into a better human being.  Your higher self.

Everyone can relate to this book because there are difficult people everywhere we go and there have been times where we are the difficult person.  (I know, harsh but true…).  We can’t always point the finger at someone else, it’s important to take some responsibility for our own actions and how we may have contributed to the situation.  After all, nobody’s perfect.

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I really love how the author explains the emotional and spiritual side of understanding the difficulties, options for dealing with difficult people, why people are difficult, healing the difficulties, embracing the adversary and relating to difficult people overall.

I would like to share a powerful exercise from the book that I recently found to be helpful in my own life after being heart broken and it’s called Three Healing Letters.  The purpose of this exercise is to use writing as an outlet for emotional release, most commonly anger and sadness.  For all the writers out there, just remember do not send, post, give these letters to the difficult person!  This exercise is just for you and your heart.

Letter 1:

With pen in hand or computer in front of you, write a letter to the difficult person.  Feel free to say whatever is on your mind and in your heart, don’t hold anything back.  How were you hurt?  What was taken away from you?  How has your life been affected?   What do you think of the person?

Take your time when you write and there is no deadline so add to it as needed over how many days, weeks, months it takes.  Pay attention to how you feel in your body, what physical sensations are happening as you write?  These are your emotions being released, be kind to yourself.  Keep writing.

Read what you have so far out loud with all your emotion while imagining the difficult person is sitting in front of you not interrupting or defending.  Find a quiet, private area to do this… 🙂

When you no longer feel the intensity of emotions inside you as you write and read the letter out loud, the letter is finished.  Resist the temptation to mail it!

Letter 2:

Now you can write the fantasy reply you would love to receive to letter 1.  Take a different position by writing as if you were the difficult person.  What do you want to hear?  What would you like the person to say to you that would ease the pain and make you feel better?  What type of apology would provide some closure for you?  What would you like to be acknowledged?

Continue to pay attention to your physical reactions as you write, cry it all out if you feel like it.  Even though you may never receive a letter like this it will feel good to express it.

Letter 3:

As strange as it may sound, write the difficult person a thank-you letter.  Thank them for all the positive things they did for you in your relationship despite the wedge that sits between you now.  What might be the blessing in disguise here for you?

Thank the person for teaching you valuable life lessons that you wouldn’t have normally seen if it wasn’t for them.  Not only did they teach you about patience and compassion but also about sharpening your relationship skills for future use with others. You may even want to thank them for not seeing the real you because now you are free to find someone who truly appreciates you for who you really are.

If you are having trouble finding anything positive or unable to say thank you, then your anger hasn’t been fully vented or dealt with yet.  Please know this is okay and that you need to spend more time on letters 1 and 2 while reminding yourself there is no deadline.  Time is your friend.

When you have completed letter 3, you are finally able to forgive, let go and surrender.  You have healed from within because love replaced fear and gratitude shifted your perspective.  Burn the letters, shred them or even bury them in the sand and have them washed away for good.  Do something profound to mark the occasion of putting the past behind you where it belongs.

You are light and free.

Now you can say “thank you for being such a pain” with compassion for yourself…and mean it.

Hugs,

Jennifer  xo