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Path to the Other Side of the Canyon.

Creativity is like crossing from one side of the canyon to the next.

In 1999 I set off on an adventure to the US of A. This came after I had graduated from University and legged it to North Queensland and realised that, maybe, just maybe being a Registered Nurse, wasn’t really my thing!

I signed up to be an ‘outdoor educator’ in a wee Summer Camp in upstate New York.

Seemed that my nursing background, gave me the pick of the jobs at that summer camp! Especially because I had been working in Paediatrics!

The organising of the position was pretty straight forward. Nailed the interview. Loved the allocated camp. Tickets all sorted. Visa sorted. Nightshifts at the hospital all booked up to rally some more cash before I went, check! Yep. All go.

I thought I’d check out the Grand Canyon and the like before I started working, so I booked a Contiki Tour of the West Coast. Is there still such a thing as Contiki? God, showing my age all over the place.

We trekked the West Coast. The adventure was deluxe for the little Aussie!

Louise, another little Aussie traveller and I clicked from the moment I arrived late to the accommodation on the first day. I’d gotten a little off track when I arrived, wanting to check out Universal Studios before I got to my accommodation. They were both in Anaheim so thought I was all over it.  AAAAAAAnyway….I eventually made it to the Contiki location…last (I am used to being late) and knocked on her door. “Hi, I know I’m late, so sorry. It’s Jen”. This beautiful girl opened the door. We hugged. We laughed. The rest is history.

The Grand Canyon is like nothing I have had the opportunity to witness! As we exited the bus, we were awestruck. Up until that point, we had seen some amazing natural creations on our travels. But the Grand Canyon. Not a word we could gather seemed to capture what we were looking at.

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Recently I was listening to an interview between Marie Forleo and Todd Henry, author of “Louder than Words” and he gave this most awesome analogy of navigating the creative terrain.

If we look at the creative process like navigating a canyon.

We look across from the top of the canyon and see the other side. The side you want to get there. And to get there, we have to head down the canyon.

We start. We are slightly inhaled. Not breathing deeply. We start tentatively. Cautiously. And as we gain confidence and trust, we gather some momentum and fall into a bit of rhythm. We enjoy the view. We breath a little deeper. We look around..yes, we are doing this thing!

It’s down hill. There are some obstacles. We overcome them.

We reach the bottom. It begins to get dark. It is dry at the bottom. It is quiet. And the mind begins to imagine there is all sorts of dangerous things there.

We wonder what the hell we are doing? Why did we start this journey? It is too far to go back. We doubt ourselves. The top of the canyon that we had our eye on at the beginning is SO far away. It feels like we may never get there.

Shit.

What to do?

This is what the creative process ABSOLUTELY feels like to me.

I am constantly coming up with new ideas and a lot of them, I follow. And ALWAYS I find myself at the bottom of the canyon.

Like right now.

At the bottom of the canyon it can feel lonely. It can feel like we have made the wrong decision. That the universe is conspiring against us. That we are on the wrong path. We question what our purpose actually is. We can feel dejected. Tired. Burnt out.

I am in the process of adjusting my path (yet again) as I challenge myself to carve my way to the top of the canyon. It is a long way up. It is not the charted path so I continue to carve my own.

In the silence of the bottom of the canyon, we can hear our inner call. The truth that reminds us to go within to be reminded of what is most important to us and what we stand for.

And as I wait in the bottom of the canyon I rest for a bit. Exhale and inhale deeply. Revisit the path upward.

And, when the dawn breaks I leave again.

The path is unknown.

But the adventure is worth it.

And I can’t wait.

Don’t believe the voices that haunt you in the depths of your canyon journey.

Let me remind you, that your purpose here is not an external purpose. But a inner purpose that only you know.

What matters to you most, deep in your heart?

What do you love more than you love yourself?

What do you stand for?

Before you begin the ascent, ponder these questions to guide you home.

See you at the top.

Big love

Jen

Oh and PS. The word Louise and I came up with? Austengruty. Yep. That is our word to describe the Grand Canyon!!

Oh and PPS, if you want to listen to the interview I was talking about, you can find it here.

 

 

 

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I’ve ended the war….after most of my life!

So I posted a wee while ago about this self awareness thing I had. If you don’t remember, it was the acknowledgement that I am a SUPER STAR starter and a, well…improving finisher!!

At the time of the vlog I was about to start something new. But at the time, it actually didn’t feel that new.

For most of my life..since I was about 9, I have had an acute awareness of my physical faults.

No one ever called me names about my physicality (to my face), but I had this ‘feeling’.

When I was 9, I joined the local swim squad. I loved the training. I loved chasing the black line at the bottom of the pool seeking to better my time, each time. I was swimming side by side with the Hetherington’s. One of the towns ‘athletic’ family. Oh to be as fast as them!

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I started in the beginners squad, but with my love of that line, I soon moved up into intermediate. And in that same year, up to the ‘top’ squad.

I received a trophy for best new comer (there were only 3 of us to put it in perspective) and received another trophy for ‘most improved’ that year.

I was pretty chuffed.

The next year, I continued to improve. I even started beating the Hetherington’s. I was going great guns.

I was sent off to the Riverina Regional Swim meet. It was cool. But I was way out of my depth (Oh yes..a pun…not intended).

The girls were taller, faster, and actually more confident. I could just feel it. And the whole time, the whole time I remember feeling so overwhelmed by what I looked like.

These girls had been swimming since they were young whippets and were used to having all their gear off walking around all those people.

They had ‘speedo’ togs. We couldn’t afford speedo’s, so I had the “fossy’s” brand (Best and Less equivalent) and I felt like I was walking around with neon lights draped around me.

They looked like confidence personified.

Not me.

I was from a small country town. There were maybe 20 of us that trained…and I kinda felt ok with them.

All of a sudden, this girl from the country felt like she didn’t belong there. In more than her swimming capabilities.

In that moment, at that swim meet, I changed.

It was the first time I remember feeling like I didn’t belong. That I wasn’t good enough to be there. And that I was fat.

Soon after I gave the swimming up. Hashtag the true origin of my inability to complete….

Looking back at photos, I was most definitely a solid kid….but I was so much more and I let myself define myself as less than based on my appearance.

This started a life long war.

A war with myself. With my body. And we know that in war, there is no peace.

When I got sick this year, I made a pact.

I made a pact with myself to drop the weapons, it was time to make peace….at any cost.

I was sick. No energy. I just couldn’t hold up the sword anymore.

It was going to have to be more than ‘fixing’ the outer shell…but instead to heal the very wound that caused me to draw my first weapon. A weapon that should have been directed to a world of shit standards and brainwashing….but instead, I cast it inward.

I dropped the weapon and I started something new.

A quest.

A quest to fall in love with my body and heal the aspects that had been hurt along the way.

A quest to forgive myself for all the hurtful things I had inflicted on it along the way.

A quest for peace.

I am still on that quest and I am being supported beautifully through it.

I am half way through a program that I can say is changing me from the inside out.

The mediations, the reflections and yes, the food.

So, I know that I was worried about finishing this adventure too soon. Inner chatter is loud at times, but with the weapons down, there is just so much more love to bring to the scared aspects of myself.

Here’s to being well. Here is to re-connecting with the deep well of love within. Here is to valuing the vehicle that houses the soul.

Here is to no wine to take the edges off. The edges make me raw and real.

Here is to no sugar to artificially lift me. I’d rather be naturally down and rest than pretend to be what I’m not.

Here is to no gluten that slows my digestion and inflames my cells. I’d rather be cleansed than clogged..and who wants to be swollen?

Here is to more whole food so I am nourished and not hungry.

Here is to no restriction in calories…because that shit fucks with your head.

Here is to a supportive community that cheers when you kick a goal and hugs when you fuck up…because that is what humans sometimes do.

Here is to no bullshit diet scam bullshit money making supplement bullshit.

Just real love. Real food. Real connections. Just real.

Here is to more real.

Biggest of big loves!

Jen

xxx

 

 

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Hashtag: After Next Retreat

This Sunday I’m forging in to a new frontier. A new area of space creation. A new workshop. And I’m excited.

It must be at least two years ago, the way time moves….a friend of mine sent me a message with an idea about holding a workshop for mothers and daughters. At the time, I had a lot of commitments in my life and was pouring a lot of energy into retreat building and family and 1 on 1 coaching and life..

Anyway, when I checked in with myself it wasn’t a ‘no’ it was a ‘not just yet’.

The bubble never left me though.

When Jay and I were sat down planning our last retreat, we both said how cool it would be to offer this kind of stuff to women and girls.

And both of us said, “hashtag after retreat”.

After a rough start to the year for me with some physical illness stuff, it meant I had some serious down time to consider what is really important to me.

My family is ridiculously important to me. The most important thing. I see them now, not as just dependants, but souls that have chosen to spend this part of their life with me. It is such a privilege. And in it’s humanness it is challenging. It feels heavy at times. The responsibility to ‘get it right’. To create space for amazing humans to expand. Space to show up and be a full expression of themselves. Family.

Over the years I have gotten images of folks gathering to share stories of real humanity. And over the years I have created space for such experiences to be shared. Like ancient groups used to do.

Well, “hashtag after retreat” has become real.

Mummy and Daughter Creative Connection Day (part 1) goes out into the world on Sunday!

When I consider facilitating this workshop, I can’t help but hear the human ‘safety keeper’ part of me ask, “what makes you qualified to do this?” My ‘safety keeper’ is always asking me questions so that I might check in and get really clear on why.

If I don’t understand why I am doing what I am doing, then I can be pulled off course so easily.

And for a long time, I could only say, “I don’t know what makes me qualified, but I have a huge pull to do it and I trust that. SO I follow it”.

As I’ve been preparing for this workshop, I hear my ‘safety keeper’ ask me all the usual questions. Putting doubt in my mind as to whether we can actually do this thing. “who are you guys? Psychologists? Therapists? Teachers?”

*sigh*

Sweet safety keeper, I hear you. I know you are afraid that we will look like putze’s. I know that you think we might do some damage. I know you are afraid. I know. It is scary to step outside of comfort zones and try new things. It is scary to stand in front of folks and share your heart. It is. But we are going to be ok. Love makes it ok.

I can see my love is to love others like they are family. To create space to allow the expansion of souls. To create space for connection. To create space to allow the discomfort of this humanness to show up and be ok…not just ok, but loved.

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This is really what I am here for.

To love first myself as a unique soul and then to love all as family.

Family is souls showing up for teaching and for learning and for loving.

Family isn’t about blood.

Family isn’t about who’s vagina you came out of or who’s sperm got to the egg first.

Family is humanity.

All of us.

And I get that a some of us cringe when we think of our families. Dysfunction. Pain. Annoyance. Bickering. Lost causes.

What if we can step back from the ownership of folks and see each other as a part of a soul family. Each here with it’s own unique and special journey.

And when we know how to feel into our own soul purpose we’ll see that to love (which is the absence of judgement) is all we are called to do.

A label doesn’t make any of us more capable of creating space for love.

You don’t need to be a ‘title’ to show up and create space for love.

Now rest little ‘safety keeper’. We’ve got this!

Big love

Jen

xx

 

 

 

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When it isn’t going to plan…

Hello wayfinders!

How have you been finding your way?

Do you feel like you are lost in the wilderness or do you feel like the light has beamed down to shine the way for the next part of the adventure?

When was the last time you checked in with where you are?

To stop, to look around.

Recently while we were in Myer doing a last minute dash to get a fathers day present, one of our wee creations (one of the kids) was looking around and something pretty caught her eye and she wandered off (she is my child for sure).  This wee creation isn’t tall enough to see over all of the clothes hanging everywhere. It was noisy. She lost us or did we lose her?

So, mumma bears heart races of course. But this isn’t the first time we have been separated from each other in this kind of setting. We have strategies in place for when this happens.

So, I had to inhale and exhale knowing that we have this. We have the tools.

So when I couldn’t find said creation in the place that we would usually meet…urgh… you know that feeling hey?

It’s not gone to plan.

Someone is lost out there.

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I feel helpless.

They can’t hear me call.

Breathe.

Have you ever had someone you care about lost? Maybe not physically, maybe it’s emotionally. Maybe that are lost in the blame and bitterness jungle. They seem to be suffering and you feel like you don’t know how to help them, to bring them back. To show them the way.

*sigh*

It can feel powerless. Overwhelming. Like you can’t breathe.

It feels shit right?

Really shit.

I stopped and I waited. I stood and waited. I took some deep breaths to calm the monkey arse mind of mine that was leaping to all the usual worst case scenarios! Thanks goodness I am trained in talking my monkeys down!

And in moments, our little creation appeared. Shaken. Upset. Crying.

And all I needed to say was, “I know how scary that feels to be lost baby and you are safe”.

And exhale…deeply!

Sure, I could have gone into all the fear talk, about how this isn’t what we planned. This wasn’t in the “when I wander off and get distracted by something pretty and can’t find you mummy” manual.

And sometimes, no matter how planned out and how many tools we have we have to deal with certain experiences, sometimes it just doesn’t go to plan. It just doesn’t.

So if you or someone you love is feeling lost right now, and you feel like this wasn’t part of the plan..it feels shit.

But they are going to find their way. Their own way. Maybe they aren’t even lost. Maybe their journey is to gather more information for the next part of the journey. Maybe there is great wisdom they will come across in the wilderness.

But don’t stop loving them in their journey. And when they show up with tales of their adventure, maybe, instead of the lecture about how that was dumb arse, or stupid or dangerous or all the things it probably was…maybe, just maybe a simple, “that must of been scary. I know I was scared…..” is enough.

The contingencies can come later.

And they do…they did…we now have a new plan if we get separated from each other. That is the great things about things that don’t go to plan. We get to find another way…

Always learning.

Big love

Jen (a wayfinder finding her way maybe helping other to find theirs too).

PS….

Soul Oxygen Retreat is ALL GO. Venue locked in. Dates locked in. Eeek!

 

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This is where you literally hear from me!

Today I’m vlogging instead of blogging (more things I would never have said 10 years ago)!

The 5 mins I have dedicated to comparison, some self awareness I have and I get real about some of my self sabotaging stuff!

Click on the blue link below if ya’ll want to literally ‘hear’ from me today!

Urgh…comparison and stuckness

Big love

Jen (a wayfinder finding her way and trying to help other folks find their own).

xxx

P.S… retreat dates are locked and loaded for next year. Drop me a line if you want to know more!

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The breadcrumbs I found decluttering…

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Our past leaves breadcrumbs leading us to what our gifts and I’d go even as far as to say our life purpose is.

Recently in a declutter flurry, I came across a bunch of old stuff I have been carrying around with me. Bits and pieces I had kept from school.

Some old reports, some assignments I was proud of, some pics and some notes from friends.

I really enjoyed revisiting creations by my younger self and the perspectives some of my teachers had of me. I enjoyed exploring their comments.

I am often inspired when I hear of folks who say, “because this teacher noticed this about me, I followed my dream”…or variations of the same. That a teacher had seen something special in that person and encouraged them to follow that direction.

I never had that.

As far as I can remember I never had teacher pulling me aside and pointing out my absolute gift. Mrs McGregor in grade 10 took me aside and pleaded with me to stop talking so much because I could do really well in maths if I did. Maths? She didn’t get me!

“If Jenny focussed more on the task at hand and less on talking with her peers, she would be achieving outstanding results”. Still, Mr Hingston marked me a B.

“Jenny is a mature student who has little difficulty expressing using her voice. Has an ability to keep us entertained and engaged with performance material and with her creative ideas”. Mrs Prowse. My drama teacher. She marked me an A.

Maybe I didn’t have one teacher pull me aside and say, “that is it! That is what you are meant to do”….but when I reflect along my journey, the one thing that seems to replay in various forms is my ability to communicate.

Today, I find myself looking for more and more ways to use my voice, my experience and my love of communicating.

Today, I write. Today I out together workshops. Today I develop content for retreats.

AND all of it comes from a place within that knows no other way to be.

To talk. To express. To create.

I used to think that I was doing all this stuff to help folks and while I believe that is a by product. I actually feel that if even if I helped no one, not one person, I would be more  miserable and depressed and lost if I didn’t follow the call of this thing..that I can’t really explain!

It’s a pull.

A pull to write this stuff down.

It’s a pull to create ideas.

It’s a pull to sit with folks willing to explore why THEY are here. And while I have no really idea why they are here, I do believe that breadcrumbs have been left and I help shine a light on the trail back to the truth of who we are!

It’s a pull.

When I don’t allow myself to be lead in that direction of that pull, that’s when I feel my life de-railing!

That’s all I got!

Big love
Jen

xx

PS…I can’t wait to share with you a piece I wrote when I was 17 years old that I think is still SO relevant now! Next blog…keep an eye out for it. I reckon it will vibe with you too!

PPS…If you’d like to ask me anything about upcoming events or retreats, drop me a line!

 

 

 

 

 

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If I muttered these words to you…I’m sorry!

Have you ever heard these old words, usually used by folks who don’t really know what else to say when you are going through a shit arse time…

You may have even heard them from me at some point on my journey…and if I have, I’m sorry!

What are the words?

“The Universe only gives you as much as you can handle”.

Those words.

*Sigh*

Yeah, I reckon I have used them. I probably used them because I believed them at the time.

This whole idea that there is a force or a ‘being’ that sits in waiting and then says, “oh you haven’t had enough shit things this year, here you go”….and by some form of I don’t know what…down comes this thing from the ‘universe’ for your to ‘handle’.

I just don’t know if I believe that.

I’d believe that if the universe was an unkind entity. But so far, I can’t find anything that is unkind about the universe…and I admit, I am no astrophysicist or physicist or scientist or even that well read in the ways of the universe (so I am completely open to being schooled here).

So far, all I can see is this thing that we live in and on is nothing but kind.

Everything collaborating. Knowing it’s place. Owning its nature.

The thing that feels more true to me more and more, is that it isn’t the universe that is dishing out problems or things for us to handle.

Humans tend to be these really interesting creatures.

At the most basic level, they have these brain things that are designed to keep them alive and to procreate.

But you and I both know that there doesn’t seem a lot that is ‘uncomplicated’ about being a human.

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One of the ‘complicated’ traits I have noticed and experienced myself, is the need to blame something or someone for what doesn’t seem to measure up with what we expect life to be.

The middle part of my life adventure to now, I spent A LOT of time looking for someone to blame for why I wasn’t living the life that I wanted. A life I wanted, but if you asked me what that was, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.

But it was someone else’s fault that I didn’t know what I wanted too!

Blame.

Blame our parents because they didn’t have their shit sorted (according to us).

Blame our school system because it wasn’t and still isn’t perfect.

Blame our partners because they don’t love us we expect.

Blame the universe when we are late for an appointment and then speed and then crash our cars…

Blame.

*sigh*

When I was a blame-gamer I wasn’t living my best life. I wasn’t thriving. I wasn’t creating things I was proud of. I wasn’t warm. I didn’t live with an open heart. I was scared.

This interesting thing happened a while back.

I did this radical thing.

I stopped blaming other stuff!

Not cold turkey (or cold tofu if you are vega).

Gradually. And initially, not so gently.

When I started to wake up to what was limiting me, I did something else that wasn’t so helpful either!

I started blaming myself.

Everything I had blamed anyone or anything else for all came back on me. I think that was around the time that “The Law of Attraction” came into play. My interpretation was, “holy  shizbucket…I attracted all of this??

Hmmm.

Must be a damn arse nasty person to get all this shit right?

I tried the self blame game on too. If it was heavy blaming others, then blaming myself was lead infused iron weight.

Heavy!

Finally, after trying on the blaming others outfit and the blaming myself outfit I found neither fitted so well.

Finally I learnt that blame, whether it’s directed out there or in here *pointing to the chest*, is “simply the discharging of discomfort and pain”. Thank you my teacher Brene Brown.

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Pain.

A lot of pain.

Old pain that just hadn’t been loved. Instead it had been rejected and punished and locked in a cold dark cupboard that spilled into a room..and the door stayed shut!

Finally, I am feeling lighter with the view that the universe is kind.

I actually  can’t know it for sure, I can’t prove it for certain, but I am finding that when I see it this way, if just feel lighter.

I’ve noticed that with this view, I still have what might be seen as crappy things happen.

But when I take out the blame by feeling the pain and discomfort, all I am left with is an experience that I am participating in.

Without the blame I am curious about what I might learn.

Without the blame I feel what I need to feel as a human who has feelings!

I am curious who I might meet.

Without the blame I am kinder to myself and kinder to others.

I laugh so much more.

Without the blame I have little need to talk about what other people may or may not be doing.

Without blame I can just be with folk and not need to fix anything or analyse or do.

Without blame I am responsible with what I choose to do with the situations I find myself in.

Without blame.

Huh. Imagine a world without blame….

And if I have muttered those words to you, it is just that I couldn’t deal with your pain and needed to look for a reason for why you are experiencing what you are experiencing!

Hopefully next time, I can be with you in your experience. No blame. No judgement.

Speak kindly to yourself

Big love

Jen (a woman finding her own way and hoping to help others find their own too).

xx

PS: if you find yourself blaming someone else for your current circumstance, perhaps it is a call to investigate your own pain. If you want some resources to support this, drop e a line…I might be able to help hook you up.