Pain Becomes The Cure

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Evening summer walks are my favorite because things are quieter, calm, and the sun is less intense.  I feel HAPPY.

As I walk down the street, I see a house and the address is DENIAL.  I suddenly feel a pain in my chest and rehearse those words in my head again out of nowhere.  “This can’t be happening, don’t worry about it.”  I think of what I lost and keep walking.

As I turn the corner onto the next street, I see another house and the address is BARGAINING.  I suddenly feel a lump in my throat and remember how desperate I was trying to hold on and make a deal.  “If you can just tell me how I can fix this, then everything will be ok.”  The loss feels heavy but I keep walking.

As I reach the cul-de-sac, I see another house and the address is ANGER.  I suddenly feel trapped with a pit in my stomach and all I want to do is scream at the heavens above me.  “How could you do this to me?”  Strangely enough, I feel a burst of energy and start running up the street, passing BARGAINING and DENIAL.  I ask myself, “What is going on here?”  I’m sure I look crazy to some.

As I run to the next street over, I see a lake at the end and I am drawn towards it.  There’s a house on the corner and the address is DEPRESSION.  I suddenly feel waves of sadness come over me and the tears start flowing and flowing.  “It’s not easy, I feel so alone…I lost everything.”  The loss feels huge and I am exhausted.  Then for some reason, I turn around and walk down the same street passing the other houses in no particular order and they each have a strange way of haunting me.  I don’t understand why or what is happening but I somehow keep walking.

Years and miles go by up and down these streets, passing house after house, experiencing feeling after feeling.  Over time I discovered a new street I was avoiding all along and started walking that way.  I see a house that catches my eye and the address is ACCEPTANCE.  I finally feel peace and happiness just standing there looking at it.  I think to myself how long it took to find it after years of walking, running, feeling, and forgiving.

Take a breath…

This blog is dedicated to anyone and everyone who has lost someone or something in their life.  One thing I know for sure is that grieving is different for everyone.  The stories of loss might be different, the order and length of grieving stages might be different, but the emotions are the same and that’s how we are all connected.  Don’t compare your inside to someone’s outside because you’ll always lose.  You will heal when you are ready, you are not on a schedule, but you have to keep going and ask for help.  Triggers can still happen but the only way out is through because one minute you’re happy and the next minute you are grieving one or more of the stages.

But in the end, the pain becomes the cure.  That I know for sure.

Take another breath…

You’re doing your best ❤

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
XO

*I would like to give a shout out to one of my good friends and soul sister, Danielle Lewis because on Monday, October 21st, she is releasing her new podcast called “Mom’s Still Standing”  You can subscribe to her podcast on iTunes, she has some great guest speakers on it too 😉

I love this song Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves.  Have a beautiful weekend everyone ❤

*Copies of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” are available at all online bookstores worldwide.  All my gratitude to YOU ❤

~ Dare to live courageously…

 

 

Beautiful Destination

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I remember the day you went on a faraway vacation
As usual, you packed your bag last minute
Emotional baggage has always been your carry on, and it’s too heavy
You said you felt lost and needed to find yourself

After boarding the plane, you heard a song
The pain you were running from was now running after you
Affecting your heart, mind, body, and soul
You searched for a hypothetical bandaid to conceal a hypothetical bleeding wound

How inappropriate

After drying your eyes, you closed your eyes
And off to sleep, you went
I felt like a fly on the wall watching you from the outside in
Like a compassionate parent watching a suffering child

After arriving, the final destination was breathtakingly beautiful, just as you had hoped for and imagined
The warm sun made you smile
The beauty all around made you happy
The scents in the air woke your senses
I remember how grateful you were in that exact moment

Change is good

I begged you to please unpack your negative emotions from your heavy carry on
To take a break; you’re on vacation now
Put loneliness on a shelf and sadness in a drawer
Hang all your fears in a different closet and close the door
As they say; out of sight out of mind

Replace these emotions by packing peace, happiness, and love into your life instead
Be open to life’s possibilities and opportunities
Focus on the good and be grateful for everything you have
Time to practice self-compassion and self-care in such gorgeous surroundings

This vacation was exactly what you needed to push the reset button on your life
You deserve all the good things life has to offer, be patient
You realized the further you try to run away from it all
The closer it brought you home to yourself
Isn’t that interesting?

And what a beautiful destination for you to be in right now ❤
Much Love ❤

Jen
XO

****Hello everyone and thank you for reading my blog!  This picture was taken in the Himilayas, India 2016 at a retreat I visited when my divorce was finalized.  During that trip, I met friends, ate delicious food, listened to mesmerizing music, tried yoga, saw some breathtaking sights, and finally took some time for myself.  What an amazing healing experience that was for me.

It isn’t necessary to travel far each time, because even a change of scenery close by can make a world of difference in your mental and emotional health.  Travel taught me how to be more self-compassionate, which led me to self-care and eventually to self-love.  Writing has also been extremely helpful in my healing process and I feel so much better now.

How do you heal from something difficult?

****Copies of Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak are still available at all online bookstores worldwide.  All my gratitude to YOU

~ Dare to live courageously…

Feel It To Heal It

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I used to take the back door of my mind to get inside myself
Logic and endless mind games used to play with me there
Some days I would win, other days I would lose
I always felt like something was missing, but what?

One day I realized I wasn’t walking the right way
So I tried the front door, through my heart instead
That’s where I felt all the emotions and where I really started to live
That’s where I learned so many life lessons, at the heart of being present

You can run but you can’t hide
That’s how the heart works so it can be healed
Embrace, forgive and love yourself so more doors can open in your life
Feel those emotions, all of them

Of course, it will be painful;
But would you rather have short-term pain or long-term suffering?
Sadness is inevitable, but that’s what opens doors and knocks down walls
Better to be temporarily sad than numbing all emotions, good and bad
Bitterness and resentment only keeps people stuck and I wasn’t one of them

As I started to feel all my emotions
I started the grieving process
I felt my heart open wide and began the healing process from the inside out
My mind calmed down and I let my heart take over, trusting this process

I lost count of how many times I fell down
But what I can tell you is that I got back up every single time
Yes it was hard and I have scars to prove it but that didn’t stop me
My focus was on feeling better and to do this was through personal growth and development
Not through avoidance or distraction
For the record, I still fall down these days because I am still learning and that’s ok

With an open door policy and smaller walls to climb
I allowed my support system into my heart
Some days they took over when I couldn’t do it for myself
Gratitude is a small word for such a huge act of love
Each stage of grief was a wild emotional roller coaster ride, but a necessary one

Three years later, I am a new woman
I am not the same person who used to take the back door through my mind
Now I choose to open the front door of my heart with ownership, responsibility, and happiness
All this because I found the courage and chose to feel it to heal it ❤

You can too…

Much Love ❤

Jen
XO

 

**P.S:  All my gratitude to everyone who has read or is reading my book “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” It warms my heart to hear such wonderful feedback, especially when it helps another person who is going through any loss.  We are all connected and you’re not alone.  To pick up a copy of your own, please visit your favorite online bookstore worldwide or my publisher’s website FriesenPress for several available versions.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone ❤

XO

 

 

 

The Upside of Regret

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Ah…Regret!  They say that in the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.  Personally I believe this to be true but that doesn’t mean we won’t come face to face with regret on things we do choose.  In Palliative Care, the one thing patients talk about the most are regrets related to love.  Just like our friend Paulo Coelho in the above photo says, we need to live our lives now, not later.

Say what you need to say.  There’s even a song about that by John Mayer.  😉

Are you familiar with the saying hindsight is 20/20?  It’s that retrospect moment, when you look back on something you can clearly see what you should have done…only thing is, it’s done.  Like dating the wrong person or getting a really bad haircut.  Ouch..regret.  If you’ve ever made a bad decision, regret has been your roommate.  Not like Sheldon’s roommate agreement from the Big Bang Theory but more like a difficult companion that can make you both tougher and more sensitive all at the same time.  You get to decide if your toughness looks like unending bitterness or if your sensitivity looks like a kindness so deep it heals every wound it touches.  Do you want regret to be your arch enemy or your best friend because ultimately, it’s you who decides.

Even though the past cannot be changed, the way you tell the stories about it can be.

For instance, remunerating the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s will keep you stuck in the past and also in denial.  Something happened, yes it was horrible but it happened.  Instead, try to find the life lesson that’s hidden in there because there’s always one waiting to be found which is why we’re here to learn from it.  Take a positive spin on it and see what happens.

Regret is a mixture of two emotions, sadness and anger.  Sometimes these emotions can be overwhelming so one thing you can do is this.  Write two columns with the headings Sadness and Anger at the top.  Under each heading, answer this question as many times as possible:   “I am _______ about __________”   This is the messy hard part but remember, the only way out of painful emotions is through them.  Keep writing until you can’t write anymore.

It’s time to grieve what you lost.  This is essential because if you don’t, it will come back twice as hard the next time around on the next situation.  The moment when you see someone gaining what you regretted losing is when you know you’ve finished grieving. Bravo my friend.

Now it’s time to look ahead to the future and pave a way to making better decisions.  Life will bring us to a crossroads more than once and maybe what we need to do is to lean into love and not fear.  Ask yourself “What would thrill me more?” rather than “What will keep my fears at bay?”  But some might say the love path is anxiety provoking and scary.

Maybe…but here’s the thing.

This is the moment you can call on regret, not as a burden but as a motivator that reminds you not to make choices that make you feel awful in retrospect.  This is the upside of regret.  If you’ve done all the above steps and realized everything based on love is worth doing, then go ahead, because life is about to take you on an adventurous ride of happiness.

And I bet you won’t regret it.  ❤

Much 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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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.

Gasp! 

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

How To Say “No” With Grace and Love

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For many women and some men, just the thought of having to say “no” to someone or set a boundary can create the sweaty palms, a racing heart and feelings of shame.

I recently attended an event that a friend of mine created and I was honoured to be one of her guest speakers.  My topic was centered on how to take care of yourself while taking care of your business.  We always take care of our clients and colleagues only to find out later that we forgot to take care of ourselves along the way too.  Why do we do that?  Maybe we were just brought up that way, we don’t want to disappoint others because we know how bad it feels, or is it because we don’t have the right words to let someone down with grace and love?  On the other hand, is taking care of yourself before taking care of others a selfish act?  One thing I do know is that I’ve been there and I’ve learned from my mistakes.  I am a helping professional on two levels, a life coach and a nurse.  Saying “no” is usually not part of my vocabulary but over the years, I realized it can be and asking for help is a sign of strength, contrary to popular belief.  If you ignore your boundaries, you are headed for burnout.

In order to have a more well-balanced life, something’s gotta give.  Where do we draw that blurred line?  A great place to start is with the oxygen mask theory by putting your own oxygen mask on first because caring for others requires taking care of yourself first.  You can only give the oxygen in your tank so you must monitor it at all times so you have enough to give to others. It is about creating a healthy boundary for you.

Cheryl Richardson, a guest on the Oprah Show and author of The Art of Extreme Self-Care says “when we all care deeply for ourselves we naturally begin to care for others, our work, friends and family in a healthier, more effective way.  We tell the truth.  We make choices from love instead of guilt and obligation.”  My favourite chapter in her book is called “Let Me Disappoint You” which is about mastering the art of disappointing people, learning ways on how to manage their disappointment by not taking it personally and by setting some boundaries by saying “no” out of respect for ourselves.  Clearly, there will be times in your life where a “no” is inappropriate but when you have a real choice, consider your options before jumping in and saying “yes!”

So how do we end the madness?

*Buy some time…when someone asks a request of you take your time to give your response.  You could even say “I need to check with someone before I commit” (even if that someone is you).  Prepare the other person that you might not be able to commit upfront so they can consider other options if needed.

*Absolute yes or no…is this request something you absolutely need to do or not do?  When you use the word absolute, it changes the importance and urgency of the request just a tad which can be helpful in making a decision.

*Tell the truth with grace and love.  You can say “I feel bad about letting you down but I need to, my plate is full.”  Don’t leave the door open when you need a lock.  There is no need to over explain which is what most of us tend to do because we feel guilty.

One of the hardest things to do is say “no” to someone you care about and having to manage their disappointment.  However, what’s even harder is saying “yes” to someone you care about when you really want to say “no” then having to manage your anger and resentment towards them long term.  Think about what drains you and what replenishes you.  After all, this is your life and you are in charge of it.  Remember, you are not responsible for everyone’s happiness or sadness for that matter.  You are most responsible for your own.

Take good care of yourself…and live an authentic, meaningful life.

Much Grace and Love,

Jennifer