5 Years Under The Microscope

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As of today, it’s been 5 years since my marriage ended, and I couldn’t be happier.  As strange as that may sound, let me explain why.

Separation and divorce are never wished upon anyone but if you are in the middle of one now, you need to find the silver lining and blessings it has for you and your new life because trust me, they’re there.  That’s not to say you have to skip the grieving process, in fact, you must go through it to get over it, that I know for sure.  Everyone grieves differently and takes their own amount of time to do so and my one piece of advice is to be patient during the process.  Once you do accept that it happened, you are able to move onto the silver lining stage.

In the beginning for some, an amicable conversation can take place where both sides agree to separate and live their own lives.  On the other hand for some, it’s often a total shock you didn’t see coming.  This is exactly what happened to me; I was blindsided.  However, the day he left was the day I arrived.  This was the part where I found out who I was and what I was made of.  Divorce has put my life under the microscope for the past 5 years and I had no choice but to examine it closely.

Relationships are like a microscope looking into our emotional wellbeing.  These relationships shine a light on the old and open wounds still begging for closure.  Once I was on my own, it was time for me to take a long, hard look at myself and where I came from.  What did I have to do to become the person I was meant to be?  On the flip side, what did I have to let go of in unbecoming the person I thought I was?  I went from being shut down and pleasing to a woman who became vocal with boundaries.  This led me to let go of toxicity and hang on to love so that healing could take place.

I’m a firm believer that anything you lose comes around in another form, whether that’s through friendship, a love relationship, partnership, or even self-love.  Basically, you get to genuinely meet yourself for the very first time, once and for all. This is the greatest silver lining and blessing in disguise because that’s where you discover what you truly want and need in life.  What makes you happy, how, who, and why.  It also shines a light on what are your dealbreakers now.  All that time under the microscope finally paid off, and I think I gained some years back in my life.  How fantastic is that?  Time to celebrate, cheers!

“Leave some room in your heart for the unimaginable”  ~ Mary Oliver

Much Love ❤

Jen
XO

~ Dare to live courageously…

**I recently wrote an article that was published in the online magazine Thought Catalog and it is titled “An Open Letter To Pain:  I Think I’m Ready To Let You Go”  Have a wonderful weekend everyone 🙂

**As always, copies of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” are available in all formats at online bookstores worldwide.  All my gratitude to YOU xx

Tell Me Why…

Why

I see you running after the things that run from you
Tell me why you do that
Recalibrate, there is no need to chase the wrong person or thing

I hear you berating yourself as if it were a personal motivational speech
Tell me why you do that
Self-love and self-compassion are needed more than ever, please be kind to yourself

I see you running East expecting to see a sunset
Tell me why you do that
You’re running the wrong way, turn around; the sun sets in the West and you know that

I hear your lies and unapologetic excuses about things you’re not proud of
Tell me why you do that
Be courageous and take responsibility for your actions, the truth will set you free

I see you going back to the things that continually hurt you
Tell me why you do that
Wounds are meant to heal, not to stay open and continuously bleed

I hear you say you want a change and yet here you are in the same situation
Tell me why you do that
Make the decision to change and commit to that; don’t settle, know your worth

I see you doing the same thing over again, expecting a different outcome
Tell me why you do that
You know that one small shift can change everything…be brave

I hear you trying to convince yourself to stay in something you don’t want
Tell me why you do that
Be honest with yourself and with others, know what you want and say it

I see you holding on to the past for dear life and it only makes you miserable
Tell me why you do that
Let go of what hurts and release it to the Universe; the future is better and brighter

I hear you voicing your values yet they don’t match your behavior
Tell me why you do that
Are you sure they are your values or are they someone else’s beliefs

I see you trying to fit in because you want to belong
Tell me why you do that
Surround yourself with like-minded people, then you will belong

I hear you whispering to the crashing waves in the day and the suspended stars at night
Tell me why you do that
I hope they are listening to all your words and wishes

I see you putting your dreams on a shelf, tucked away for some other time
Tell me why you do that
You are meant to share your talent with the world, don’t worry what others may think

I hear you telling yourself not to say anything, to suppress your voice on matters
Tell me why you do that
Be courageous and use the voice you have; express your needs and wants

I see and hear you making choices out of fear and anxiety
Tell me why you do that
Make choices out of love, what fills your soul and makes you happy

I need to know the WHY behind what you say and do
Why is it important to you
Tell me why…

Dare to live courageously…

Much Love ❤

Jen
XO

*I’ve always loved this song Why by Annie Lennox and it happens to go with this blog.  Have a beautiful weekend everyone and be happy 🙂

**Please be sure to check out my friend Danielle Lewis and subscribe to her podcast titled Mom’s Still Standing which is available on iTunes and Spotify.  It’s a wonderful and inspiring podcast that connects all mom’s trying to navigate life and motherhood ❤

***Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak is still available at all online bookstores worldwide, iTunes, Google Play, Nook, Kindle, and at the FriesenPress bookstore.  Books are a great Christmas gift for the readers on your list 🙂 Thank you everyone xx

Looking Back While Looking Ahead

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I read somewhere that you should never look back on things that happened but only look back to see how far you’ve come.  I would like to add that looking back can be a positive experience if your intention is to find the life lesson or silver lining hiding within the situation.

“No experience is wasted…everything in life is to grow you up.”  ~ Oprah Winfrey

Looking back, it’s been one year ago today, October 27th, 2015 when I signed my divorce papers.  Since then I’ve done a lot of soul-searching, writing, learning, and personal growth and development.  The year 2015 was the most difficult time of my life and in 2016, I needed to make it one of the best years of my life.  Looking ahead, I just finished writing my first book which was cathartic.  My new start began with my trip to India in January 2016 and it was the best way to push the restart button on my new life.

I’ve definitely come a long way in a short amount of time.

I am currently in the editing phase with my publishing company and I am expecting to have my book released in early 2017 which I am crazy excited about!  It will be available everywhere online, more details on that to come later on.  I wanted to share this news and blog about it to let you know it’s coming and give you some background information at the same time.

This book is about how I dealt with my separation and divorce and how I overcame adversity by self-reflection and finding the silver lining in my crumbling life events.  It’s not a book of venting or blaming.  It’s about my journey to recovery, accepting my own responsibilities and how I kept a positive outlook and learned some life lessons while living through the most difficult time of my life.  For every chapter, I describe the before, during and after phase by including my reflections now and a blog I wrote on my website in real time with the real emotions of what I was going through in 2015 and 2016.  Therefore, these chapters are the real and personal stories behind the blogs I wrote, alongside my reflections now.

We all fall down in life and I admit I have fallen many times which is painful and hurts so much.  It’s normal to stay down for a while but eventually, you need to get back up and face reality.  This requires some action steps and commitment. But for some, this is where the rubber fails to hit the road.  They may know what they need to do but they can’t even begin to even try.  I know how hard that is because there were days I felt the same way, but I realized that by keeping an open mind and open heart I may fall again and what’s important is finding the strength to keep rising with an incredible support system.

If you’ve ever had a relationship end in a traumatic way and change your world or if you are in the middle of one right now, rest assured you are not alone, I can sympathize and empathize with you and I am by your side.   My intention is to let you know you’re not alone and you can get through it.

Even though every story or scenario might be different when it comes to any type of loss in life, the one thing we all share is our emotions and the grieving process we all go through. That’s how we’re all connected and if we can support one another during our most difficult times, this I know for sure is the best way to survive.

It definitely worked for me, I didn’t do this alone.

Once you have the support you need, you can begin the healing process by taking some responsibility for your own actions because let’s face it, it takes two people to make or break a relationship.  This might come as a surprise to some because when there is a breakup, one person may be more to blame than the other.  This might be true to some extent but the other person definitely plays a role in that relationship which led to its demise whether they want to own it or not.  Life is a journey of imperfections, and trials and tribulations.  Some days, weeks or years are better than others but let’s not forget we’re all human.

Not robots, not perfect and not superior.

I would like to share some words by author Brené Brown that helped carry me through some of my toughest times and I hope they help you too.

Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

“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

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look at it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong.”

I feel proud for sharing my story with all of you in my upcoming book and I appreciate all of your love and support.

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

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

 

 

 

The Aftershocks

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February 15th, 2015 there was a record breaking earthquake that measured 8.0 on the Richter scale at the airport

Massive devastation and destruction took place that evening measuring 9.0 on the magnitude scale

Two tectonic plates suddenly collided against each other and was felt from miles around

Violent words you spoke were sudden and ground shaking causing elastic strain and eventual rupture causing widespread waves from the epicenter, my heart

The storm in your eyes cast immense darkness all around causing the lights and power to go out in mine

The airport high winds mimicked a hurricane and tornado all spun into one, whisking me away into oblivion

I lost everything…everything

A year and more has passed since that horrific day but the trauma and aftershocks remain

Some days the aftershocks feel worse than the earthquake itself

I guess that’s what aftershocks are all about, haunting thoughts, feelings and nightmares

Wounds heal and reopen over and over, leaving a deeper scar each time

Life has become a permanent construction zone with ongoing repairs, adjustments and rebuilding

Things are better now but those triggers and aftershocks still appear out of nowhere and continue to cause destruction which requires further rebuilding on my part, just when I thought it was done

One step forward, two steps back

The completion date is unlimited and unassigned, it changes by the week

Not that you care, you have moved on

Trauma takes a very long time to heal, longer than I ever expected

But I’m up for the challenge because I’m a woman on a mission

A mission for all women and that’s to take a stand against all forms of betrayal

Where you stand is where you land

When I look back on how far I’ve come I’m proud and much better off

I don’t work alone I belong to a team of outstanding people worldwide who love and support me

The silver lining is glowing from as far as outer space and positive vibes surround me

The emotional spikes have become rounded waves and calmer, I still see the odd spike here and there

But the aftershocks have become less intense and more spread out

The ground no longer trembles to the point where I lose my balance, my stance is firm now

Despite all this, my smile has returned on my face and in my heart

I’m helping people and doing the things I love to do with genuine people who care

All I know is that I will fully recover, the memories will fade and the aftershocks will end

I’m almost there and I’ll get there soon

I’m getting everything back, slowly but surely

Mark my words.

 

~ Written by Jennifer Juneau