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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Project-Self: Self-Respect and Self-Worth

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As I live my life and deal with everything being thrown at me, there seems to be this recurring feeling that never really goes away.  Whether it’s on my good days or not so good days, the topics of self-respect and self-worth are front row and center.

For the past few years, I made a commitment to myself to get to know myself better from within.  When you give yourself what you need first, you get it in return.  For example, if you feel you are not getting respect, ask if you respect yourself first.  If you feel like you are not feeling worthy or validated, are you aware of your own worth?  It also works on the flip side.  For example, if you don’t respect yourself, it is difficult to show respect to others.  If you don’t see your own worth, you will not see it in others either.  This is why it’s so crucial to pay attention to how we behave in all our relationships.  So many people give unsolicited advice to friends, family and even strangers on how they should live their lives but when it comes to themselves, they can’t take their own advice.

Ironic?  Absolutely.

So where do we begin?  With ourselves; by realizing we are enough and deserve happy and healthy relationships right from the get-go.  When in doubt, it’s time to have a little pow-wow with self-respect and self-worth to remind us we need to set boundaries with people and sometimes walk away from it all.  Self-compassion plays a huge role when we are struggling through something like this and we can start talking to ourselves the same way we would to a good friend, in a loving and forgiving way that supports our mental and emotional health.  If you are not a priority in someone’s life then why is it ok to be an option?  If that person you are with is not a priority, then why do you keep holding on?  If someone is treating you badly, ask yourself why you keep letting them?  If someone can’t see your worth, make sure that someone isn’t you.  Rise up.  It takes a lot of strength and courage to let go of toxic relationships that only feed your ego and not your soul.  If you are in an unhealthy relationship and know it, ask yourself why are you staying?  What I know for sure, is that I would rather be on my own than with the wrong person.  Life is way too short and wasting time with someone or with yourself is not a good idea.  We all have a choice and whatever you decide, you are responsible for it.  If you want to make a change, then you have to take action because thinking about it won’t change anything.

By taking action, you are showing self-respect and self-worth because you know in your heart you deserve more than what you’re getting and you are honoring your feelings.  Bravo for realizing it because as soon as you do this, the world opens up and the Universe responds by supporting you.  Draw a line in the sand, stand up, say no, walk away, let go, do what you need to do but just make sure you do something that supports YOU.  Speak your truth!

I would like to share a short letter I wrote.  It isn’t for one person but for the collective bunch who try to disrespect any of us and can’t see clearly.

 

“Dear You,

I know you are struggling to pay attention to me, see me for who I am and make me a priority in your life.  I just want you to know, I don’t need your validation because as of now, everything is over and I’m validating myself.  I’m not upset, I’m awake.  I see what I want and need in my life and I know I deserve more because I’m so worth it.  Out of respect, I have to walk away and since this is a one-sided relationship, this doesn’t work for me anymore.  I can no longer sit here looking straight ahead and seeing the past and no future.

All I ever asked was for you to spoil me with loyalty, love, respect, affection, attention, friendship, and great conversation.  I can finance myself just fine.  Apparently, that was asking too much of you.  What is too much for me is waiting, wondering, and wishing for a life that doesn’t exist with you.  It’s too expensive for my mental and emotional health, I am worth so much more than you’ll ever know.  It’s unfortunate that previous relationships poison present ones because when things are not dealt with at the moment, they carry over into the next relationship.  That isn’t fair to either side but it happens all the time.  Future relationships lose their chance of being healthy if nothing changes from within.

Now I realize that sometimes you have to love people from a distance to let them become who they need to be and sometimes you need to love people from a distance so you can be the person you need to be.  I am owning my emotions so I can let them go while moving forward.  Due to the circumstances and as a sign of self-respect, I have to go.  Maybe one day you will realize you hurt the one girl who would never hurt you.

“People will teach you how to love by not loving you back.  People will teach you how to forgive by not apologizing.  People will teach you kindness by their judgment.  People will teach you how to grow by remaining stagnant.  Pay attention when you’re going through painful and mysterious times.  Listen to the wisdom life is trying to teach you.”  ~ Meredith Marple

All the very best to you and thank you for all the life lessons.”

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
XX

** I hope you are enjoying the Project-Self blogs so far. Thank you to everyone for reading and liking them.  As I write I learn and as I learn I write.  Working on myself is a process but it’s also one I enjoy doing and I hope you do too in your own life ❤

** “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” is available at online bookstores worldwide and at FriesenPress online bookstore.  I am grateful for all the love from my readers.  Please check out the wonderful reviews people have left on my website 😀

~ Dare to live courageously…

 

 

Project Self: Self-Discovery

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“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”  ~Rumi

Just when you thought you were drowning, you were actually learning how to swim.  Just when you thought you were falling, you were actually learning how to fly.  Just when you thought something was ending, something new was beginning.

Sometimes in the midst of struggle and challenge is when you see what you are made of, how you survive and where the greatest lessons of all are found.  When you are in the moment it can be pretty darn hard to see it this way, but speaking from experience, I know this to be true.

What does self-discovery mean to you?

In my own life, I’ve come to define self-discovery as many things but it all starts with taking the time for YOU.  Such as going on a journey within, by yourself and for yourself.  Becoming aware of your character and true potential, your wants, and needs, likes and dislikes.  Knowing your values, setting boundaries and what you can tolerate in different life situations.  Accepting everything about who you truly are, especially the imperfections.  It’s about ownership of where you went wrong, learning life lessons, forgiveness of others and especially of yourself.  It’s about finding your purpose; we all have one.  In a way, self-discovery is also self-awareness.

When you know yourself, you are empowered.  When you accept yourself, you are invincible.

The opposite of self-discovery is denial.  Denying who you are to others and to yourself.

Many don’t know who they are or what they want, but somehow give unsolicited advice to others on how to live their lives or they tell lies.  Unfortunately, this never ends well.

The photo above in this blog describes self-discovery so well.  Sometimes we need to let go and peel away the layers that no longer serve us to get down to the good stuff of who we really are, who we were meant to be.  If we want others to know who we are, we need to know ourselves first.  How can we expect others to figure us out when we haven’t even tried to do that with ourselves?  So how do we do it?

I’m not an expert, but one way I did it was through writing and journaling.  To be able to do this, you need to be on your own without any distractions.  Another way I went on my self-discovery journey was through solo travel.  When you are traveling on your own, you depend on yourself 100% and you quickly find out how to trust your instincts and who you are.  Thirdly, there is an amazing questionnaire designed by Patrick Betdavid that you can download and fill out on your own one quiet Sunday afternoon in your happy place.  It might be at the beach, the cottage, or wherever you feel most comfortable.  Be honest as you do this because that’s the right answer.  Yes, it takes time but that’s what it takes.  You’ll come out of it a new and improved person and how awesome is that?

When you decide to go on the journey of self-discovery, the benefits are positively endless and amazing, such as bringing more happiness, fulfillment, freedom, and opportunities into your life.  It can be a bumpy road but it’s definitely a road worth exploring simply because you’re worth it!

This is the purpose of the Project-Self blogs, like this one, Self-Betrayal, and Self-Care.  To raise awareness in ourselves because everything starts and ends with US!  It’s easy to blame others but that only keeps people stuck.  If we want to evolve in life, then we need to take responsibility for ourselves in what we say and do.

Let’s be kind to ourselves, stop beating ourselves up…we are enough.

I invite you on your own journey of self-discovery…happy travels 🙂

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

**Copies of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” are available at online bookstores worldwide and at the FriesenPress Bookstore.

All my gratitude to 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

 

 

 

 

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

This Is India – Part 3

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January 10th– 13th, 2016, The Sattva Spa and Wellness Retreat, Rishikesh, India

Here we go again back to the airport!  I flew from Bhubaneswar to Delhi and then Dehra Dun so I could reach The Sattva which was going to be my safe haven and place to let go of stress.  But first, let’s go back to the airport…

After checking in I loaded my luggage onto the belt and watched the numbers climb like my scale at home.  Before they could tell me it’s over, I said it first.  They directed me to the location to pay for my excess baggage which I did and suddenly I was having flashbacks of math class which gave me heart palpitations 😛  I couldn’t even imagine what the end bill would be after all the airports I’ll be going through.  I was not allowed to check my bags all the way to Dehra Dun, they made me get my luggage in Delhi and do the entire process and payments again there too.

That’s where things got weird.

At Delhi there was a kind young man who tried to help me decrease my excess baggage weight by shifting some things into an extra bag I had.  He quickly unzipped my flashy colorful suitcase, I burst out laughing and turned 50 shades of red because I completely forgot about things in that suitcase…ahem…unmentionables and my bathroom bags were flying around and getting stuffed in a bag by a complete stranger.  I thought men were shy here?  Apparently not everyone.  His intentions were good trying to save me money and at this point I didn’t care what he saw, I was on the same mission he was.  Then I thought, wow, this is India.  I thanked him, paid him some Rupees and I was off like the wind to security.  Yes you guessed it, another line up of ladies and gents and I watched my water bottle sail on through to the other side.  My goodness, this is India!

Being a female foreigner solo traveler, I have many strikes against me as far as being a target or having several people gazing at me and I mean long gazing.  I just carry on and do my thing 😀

After arriving in Dehra Dun it was dark outside and I had a driver waiting for me from the retreat.  It was another 1.5 hour drive to get there and the roads were twisty, unguarded and full of fallen rocks.  Monkeys also lined the roads and they were just hanging out watching the cars go by, honking their horns of course.

The staff at The Sattva were very welcoming and offered me supper right away in my room with some Masala Chai.  Yum!  The temperature was cooler, at night it was +3 C and in the day around +16 C.  After going to bed early and having a great sleep, I woke up in the morning and opened the curtains to see my view.  I thought I was in paradise and I suddenly felt very peaceful.

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The package I took was called The Rasa and it included yoga and meditation each day, 3 vegetarian meals per day, 2 spa treatments per day every day (that’s right) and many other perks.  I really enjoyed the yoga and Ayurvedic treatments which consisted of full body massage and scrub, hot oil local treatments, hot oil hair treatments, head massage and foot massage.  After every treatment I would lay in the steam room and then take a shower after.  This is definitely India.

I wrote in my diary that is pictured at the beginning which was a gift from my dad for Christmas.  Each day I have been keeping track of my goings on as well as my thoughts and feelings.  This was a great place to let the stress go away and never return again.  I was completely on my own during this time and I had the chance to reflect on what I want and what I don’t want in my life.  There’s a quote I wrote awhile back and lately I’ve been looking at it daily to help remind me how to be strong.

“Sometimes you have to give up on people.  Not because you don’t care but because they don’t.  A person’s actions will tell you everything you need to know.  Love yourself enough to say goodbye to those who don’t make time for you or know how to love you back.  Let go of what hurts, even if it hurts to let go.”  ~ Jennifer Juneau

Unfortunately, I received some sad news during this time and the mom of my very close blogging friend Bhavya became sick and needed to be in hospital.  This meant Bhavya had to fly home to her mom and be with her which was completely understandable.  Both of us were sad that we couldn’t meet because we had been texting daily about this visit for months.  I urged her to go and we would keep in contact which we did and still do.  Her nickname is chicwithmessybun and her blog site is called Pages From My Diary.  Please check her out she is such an amazing girl.  We will see each other soon honey bun, I miss you.  Xoxo

I was able to juggle things around with my flights and itinerary and I decided to go back to Bhubaneswar to see some temples that I didn’t have time to see before.  I told Darshith I was coming back and he was happy to hear that so we planned to meet again at some point during my second unexpected visit.

I felt completely rejuvenated and relaxed after being at The Sattva.  I met other single women who were guests there from USA, Italy, Peru and Mexico and we would usually see each other over breakfast outside by the pool.  The staff were so helpful and respectful because they would allow you to roam around on your own schedule and just connect with nature again.  I read my book Brida quite a bit and did some journaling to clear my mind.  I was so happy I had this added in the middle of my trip because it was exactly what I needed for my mind, body and soul.  Here is a picture of my yoga instructor who had the nicest voice and was really great in teaching me new yoga moves.  The other picture is the adorable spa girl who did all my treatments and put me in a trans.  She has the best fingers and hands in the entire world and I am forever grateful to her.  I highly recommend this beautiful spot if you get the chance to go.

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Time to endure another adventurous rocky road drive back to the airport with my excess baggage, water bottle and peace of mind.

Stay tuned for part 4 out of 6….coming soon….

Much Love,

Jenny
xo