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I can’t shortcut the journey to self acceptance. I tried bloody hard though….

In our Soul Reader book club we are exploring the wise words of Brene Brown in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection.

Over the last 3 years, we have explored many titles and this is the first one we are exploring again. If you haven’t read it, add it to the list of things you really want to experience to support a full and vibrant life.

For a long time, I have considered myself a bit of a slow learner when it comes to life lessons. Repeating the same thing over and over and not getting different results. Funny that. I reflect on my journey quite a bit. I look at the experiences, the pain, the hurt, the joy the difficulty, the frustration the confusion. Feels like there was a lot.

Many of the words in The Gifts resonated so loudly with me, so deeply I really felt like Brene had been chatting to me and had put all my stuff in to a book. How did she know?

Of the MANY moments of clarity and “Ahhh, I get it now” I experienced reading The Gifts, on this time around, here is what really kind of moved the ground from under me and landed me on my soft butt.

“If we want to live and love with our whole hearts, and if we want to engage with the world from a place of worthiness, we have to talk about the things that get in the way – especially shame, fear and vulnerability”.

Brene isn’t talking about talking about other people so much as talking about how we perceive ourselves. The inner critic talk we all speak to ourselves. Our feelings of not feeling good enough, not worthy enough, not belonging. Our big AND little fears.

Since I was young, I had this deep conflict with wanting to fit in and wanting to carve my own way.

I had A LOT of shame buried and it got in the way of connection, or being seen, of really loving and being able to receive love.

I didn’t feel like I was worthy of love given my broken-ness. My imperfection. My “yukky” stories.

So I pretended A LOT. I strived hard for perfection. If I could just control this area, get this right, get this under control, I am worthy. That little journey resulted in many, many years experiencing a significant eating disorder. Pain. Hurt. Numb. I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable.

I spent a lot of time numb.

Too much pain to handle. So I shut off. The gates closed hard.

All the while, I never gave up on myself. I left a small opening to the possibility I could be ok. I could have a good life. I gotta thank Oprah for that one…but that is a whole other blog.

At some point, when the pain got too much, when the journey was too much to bare, I had to put my hand up and ask for help.  It took me most of my life to admit, I couldn’t do life on my own. I couldn’t deal with my pain and self loathing, on my own.

In this book, Brene shares how Jungians see shame. They see shame as a swampland of the soul. Brene suggests that we need to wade THROUGH the swamp. That we need to see that if we stand on the shore of the swamp and catastophize and complain about what could happen if we talked about our fears is actually more painful than grabbing the hand of a trusted companion and crossing the swamp.

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And so the journey to self love REALLY began when I found the courage to hold the hand of a trusted companion (which soon turned into a team of companions). I sat with my therapist and we waded out in to the swamp. I sat with my friends and we waded some more.

I didn’t set up camp there, (although I did have some considerable rest spots).

For many years I was looking for a swamp bypass. To somehow go around the pain.

Here is the thing I have found to be really true for me my friends, if you want a full, vibrant, deep, connected life….you gotta go through the shame swamp on your journey to worthiness.

It takes a RIDICULOUS amount of courage.

If you are standing on the shore looking at the swamp right now, I offer you my hand. I will walk with you.

Speak kindly to yourself.

Big, big love

Jen

PS…thank you so much to the team of swamp divers that have supported my journey and still support my journey. I love you and feel so blessed. You know who you are!

xx

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If you are feeling disharmony, maybe you could ask yourself these 4 questions.

Today in yoga class we explored kids yoga.

What a blast. What inspiration.

Today involved being playful. Like a child. We were asked to dance, to sing, to play and to rest.

I love doing all of those things, and recognise in my ‘dark years with little light’ (my early 30’s) I had stopped dancing, stopped singing, stopped playing and didn’t rest much. I was duty bound. Would say things like, “I should be doing (anything not playful) instead “. I felt little fun in my body. Laughed very seldom. Couldn’t really draw on any light playfulness. I was pretty serious. I wouldn’t have found it that fun to be around me most of the time. And the time you may have been around me, I was probably holding a mask of “I have it all together” so you wouldn’t have really seen me anyway.

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?” (sourced: http://www.shamanswell.org)

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Now in my light years with little dark, I can say I feel free to sing (nightly to the kids at bed time), I feel free to dance, (most night while cooking dinner), I am constantly enchanted by stories of people I work with and connect with, from my children, on line all of the time and silence…..I LOVE it and meditate now daily.

So, I really feel like it is true for me.

Im interested. What about you? I’d love to hear in the comments below or just consider the following questions quietly to yourself. Do you feel like there could be truth in this ancient wisdom?

1. How comfortable am I to dance and how often do I do it?

2. How often do I sing, and to who?

3. Do you still read mystical stories or make them up?

4. Do you sit in silence every day?

Big love to you

Speak kindly to yourself

Jen

PS: Thanks for the image www.rawforbeauty.com

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Getting ok with who we are, where we are.

Recently I was at an event and one of the guests asked a really cool question. “Which part of your body do you like the most?”.

When someone asks a question like that, it takes a lot of courage for someone to share their truth, whatever that may be.

We all went around and as I listened I loved the perspectives. The bravery to share where they are.

Then it was my turn. I kinda went deep, as I tend to, but for me nowadays, it isn’t abnormal, just me.

Many years ago, in my early 20’s I was involved with a group of girls that would often say, “Oh god Jen, why do you always have a deep perspective on everything?”

Many years ago, this hurt my feelings incredibly. I was deep. Sure, I didn’t always choose to perceive things as deep but often, I did. I liked to explore more than surface stuff, more than what we saw on the outside. With that group of girls, I felt different. I felt outcast or that there was something wrong with me for choosing that perception. I felt like I didn’t fit in with them, and I wanted to.

One time in the car with said girls, they said it again and something in me just knew, they weren’t my team. They didn’t get me, and they didn’t need to. I knew somewhere in me, that I wasn’t meant to be friends with them. Through a series of events, we parted ways. They were not bad people at all, just not on my team nor was I on theirs.

I wanted to explore more than just current fashion, who was involved with whom. I wanted more than just gossip. I wanted more that what we saw on the surface. That was what I wanted, not necessarily them…

Recently when I shared my ‘unphysical’ perspective on what I most liked about my body, it was uncomfortable. I felt uncomfortable in all honesty. It reminds me of what Brene Brown says, “People have to earn the right to hear your story” and I would go further and say, we have to be able to trust ourselves to handle the potential rejection of our selves by others. It is going to happen when we show up as real. Not everyone is going to like it.

The silence met, was uncomfortable. Then, the silence break was, a smart comment and a “well, that was a bit deep”.

Years ago, those kind of comments stung deeply.

Now, I smile and can say with all conviction, I am ok with who I am and ok with where I am….it causes no discomfort now and shows me how far I have come.

All experiences have the opportunity to be teachers and when the student is ready it shows.

So I wonder, are you ok with who you are where you are and who is on your team. People who seek to understand and deeply know you, or people who are uncomfortable with who you are…in all it’s awkwardness and imperfection?

But more importantly, can YOU be comfortable with your own awkwardness and imperfection. After all, it is only you who has to live with you always.

Be kind to yourself

Big love. xx

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How is the Soil of Your Mind?

2a7bba9e6a220007a5953ef5256d0aabIf you mind was soil, what condition is it in?

What quality is it?

Is it clay or is it organic soil?

Is it full of nutrient or is is heavily depleted.

Are you noticing anything lush and beautiful growing or is it seemingly weedy and struggling?

Is it watered? Is it getting sunshine and warmth?

Is it neglected or is it tended to.

How is going for weeds?

Love to hear in the comments below.

How is the soil of your mind?

Speak kindly to yourself

Big love

Jen

x

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You Can Have it All…Just Not All at Once…

I remember Oprah saying, “You can have everything, just not all at once”…well, I am pleased to say that I have everything I need AND I am about to create more of what I WANT.

It is time!

Love the creative process and the clarity of where I am headed.

The view looks pretty sweet from up here!

Sail on!!731d0d6946c118d8a342287c6efd1a84

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Grow Your Own Way

Your personal growth is that…personal.

In the words of the brilliant Fleetwood Mac you should “Grow Your Own Way”…..hmmm, were they the real words I wonder wink emoticon

But seriously…your journey! Find a life recipe that works for you!!

Oh, and maybe don’t talk smack about the choices of others. That doesn’t feel great huh? heart emoticon

xx