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 ❤

Reckoning, Rumble, Revolution

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If you are a Brené Brown fan like me, you will recognize these three words because they are in the title of her latest book called “Rising Strong.  The Reckoning.  The Rumble.  The Revolution.”  If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall.  This is a book about what it takes to get back up.  I love that.

Ah, the emotional adventures in life are the ones we didn’t see coming, the ones where we got hurt, disappointed, heartbroken.  It feels like our emotions just swallowed us whole and that’s an uncomfortable feeling for anyone, it’s where we fall.  However, uncomfortable means finding your courage to get back up and start over by recognizing and finding out where you are as of now, how did you get there and where do you want to go next.  It’s the emotional reckoning of finding the silver lining in a tough situation we’re facing and how we walk into our story.

Then comes the rumble and that’s where we own our story, it’s the middle part, the hardest and messiest part where all the work needs to be done in order to understand and learn what happened by being honest with ourselves.  This is where change begins at the heart of it all and this is where we learn more about ourselves.  We need to get real about the stories we’re telling ourselves because our mind believes what we tell it, therefore we need to keep it positive and honest.  The accumulation of all the imperfections we find in this mess is where we struggle to find our inner beauty which in turn leads to positive personal growth and development.  Sometimes the rumble can last longer than the others but that’s okay, you’re getting there.  The magic is in the mess.

The revolution is about the process when our rumble changes become a way of life and are integrated into how we live day to day and interact with others and ourselves.  Even small series of changes can change the world and how we engage with it.  We need to have open minds and hearts to be able to even start this process.  Some people around you might not like this stage because on the outside it might look confusing or even scary to some.  This is what transformation is all about which are possibilities and opportunities then carrying them out into the world to inspire others.  Respect and trust in the process because everything is unfolding exactly as it should be and this is where we rise strong.

“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers than those of us who are willing to fall because we have learned how to rise.” ~Brené Brown

“The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness-even our wholeheartedness-actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.” ~Brené Brown

I have fallen, struggled and transformed through all the R’s a few times in my life.  Every time I do this I rise even stronger.  I am imperfect and damn proud of it.

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

Hope (A to Z Challenge)

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Hope is a function of struggle. When hope leads, love follows and miracles can happen.

Hope is often thought of as an emotion but it’s not. It’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Emotions accompany hope but it does not stand alone. Hope happens when we have the ability to set realistic goals and we are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes. In other words, you know how to get there by being persistent and you can tolerate disappointment and try again. Expectations are more rigid.  Most importantly, you believe in yourself by saying “I can do this!!!”

People with high levels of hopefulness often have experience with adversity. They have been given the opportunity to struggle and in doing so they learned how to believe in themselves found their way and carried on.  I know I have been in this situation before and I struggled my way out of it with the love and support of people around me who didn’t judge or criticize me.  I have high hopes for my future and I am doing my best to get there.  Whatever your personal drought has been; love, health, money or work, I know how hard it is to get to the other side but with hope it helps to increase our resilience.  There will definitely be times when our hopes are low and our knees hit the floor.  Maybe while we’re down there we could pray for a miracle and sometimes when we loosen our grip that’s exactly when the miracle arrives.

If we want our children to develop high levels of hopefulness, we have to let them struggle and stop protecting them so much because they need to learn that they have the ability to dare greatly on their own too.

That is a great sign of strength and it’s how we encourage them to grow.   And when we witness them growing, we grow too.  Funny how that happens.

The important thing we need to remember is that we must never take away someone’s hope because it might be all they have left.

We don’t always get what we want but we can hope so.

 

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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The Butterfly Emerges

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

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

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

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