0 comments on “Ouch! First the pebble, then the brick, then the wall.”

Ouch! First the pebble, then the brick, then the wall.

Hey sweet one! 

Recently I’ve been exploring (and noticing more and more in conversations) about what it feels like to undo old patterns and notice things in our lives that used to serve us, and now no longer do. 

It might be friendships, intimate relationships, jobs, places where folks live. 

The mere questioning of what suits us can sometimes (usually) feel really unsettling.

This of course makes sense, because when we begin to question patterns that have kept things ‘safe’ and ‘familiar’ the nervous system (which is designed to keep us safe) starts to freak out…

“Arrrrggghhhhhh, change”!!! 

0 comments on “It’s ending & not what I expected…..”

It’s ending & not what I expected…..

It’s drawing to the end…

I’m just about to finish my last assignment for the 12 week Write into Light writing course with Martha Beck. Yes, you know how I feel about Martha.

In the last year or so, I have been drawn to writing, more and more. Wanting to express more in that form. So much so, I committed to writing a book.

During one of the Soul Visioning sessions I offer, this course came to me, to share with the receiver. At the time, it didn’t even occur to me that I might be the one who actually does the course.

I signed up at a time that I felt more and more drawn to write. And it is Martha, and well, I am a sucker for spending time with her. I find just being around her energy, even though it is online, I feel more at home in myself.

But if I am completely honest, I signed up because I felt lost on my writing journey. I was sure that my writing was shit and no one wanted to read it and there are so many better writers than me. “Just read Martha’s stuff” I would replay over and over again.

I went in thinking the course would maybe give me that last bit of information to actually trust myself and my ability to write. To finally get this book finished. Maybe I would turn over that one last rock and find the magic key to unlock the hidden world where writing would be effortless and I’d write the book in a week.

That didn’t happen.

In fact, I would go so far as to say, it isn’t a writing course at all.

I know right.

I spent money on a course that was promoted as a writing course. I signed up trusting Martha. Given she is one of my fave writers. One of my fave mentors.

I’d committed to 12 weeks, putting most other distractions aside. And immersing into the space of writing. Chest puffed out. “After this course, I will be an epic writer and all writing there after will be New York best seller material”.

Expectations right?

That didn’t happen.

Yet, of all the courses I have done along the way, this was one of the most transformational.

But not in big ‘rah rah’ motivational kind of way. A more subtle, gentle and deeply connected kind of way.

Be the truth.

Be the change.

Be the light.

The course was broken up into those 3 sections.

Each and every week we had quests to go on. Writing quests.

Soon into the course I realised that writing was what I call, “the hide behind”. It made me chuckle. “Ha, of course it is”.

Humans, in order to explore the truths that lay within, sometimes they need a psychological shield. A “hide behind” I call it.

For example, some have a deep desire to connect with themselves on a deeper level, but don’t know that on a conscious level, so their soul chooses yoga. The soul calms the mind by letting the human believe they are going to “gain flexibility and relax a little bit”, because to declare “I want to connect with myself on a deeper level” is scary as hell y’all. And, not surprisingly, after a while, their initial flexibility story opens up to the bigger truth.

Well, this was the Write into Light writing course for me.

I went in, focussed totally on improving my writing. Hoping that I would find that one last thing that would make writing effortless and easy. That was the hide behind.

For 12 weeks, I did what I knew to do. I just followed the quests. I followed the next right thing. I committed to me.

I felt uncomfortable. I doubted myself at ever corner. I did draft after draft. I felt inspired. I asked for feedback. I gave feedback. I compared myself. I felt confident. I felt small. I met some amazing writers and humans. I felt like I belonged and I felt like an alien.

I was called to look at patterns and stories I make up about myself and life. I was challenged to edit and cut and re-word. I was tested with things I believed as truths but were actually monster lies.

As I am about to complete my last assignment I see now what I actually needed through this course (here is my second last if you want to have a read). 

The biggest thing for me, wasn’t another tool I picked up (even though Martha gives us a thousand), it was a reminder that everything I need, I already have.

And all I need to do, is to commit to myself. Over and over again. To sit with myself. Come home to myself. To listen to myself, both the monsters and the truth fairies. Over and over. Just like me in life.

I fall and I rise. Over and over. And again, and again.

It’s been a lifetime of gathering wayfinder tools, for me. To help me rise. And now, I spend my life enjoying the experience of sharing hat with others to help them rise.

What an exhale it is to see them all and to use them, for me.

*my inner cheer squad rise from the bleachers and cheer*

Let this be a reminder to you sweet one, that everything you need, you already have within you! You do. It isn’t dependent on how many courses you have done or books you have read or adventures you have been on (as cool as all that stuff is). It is you are a spark of unique light in this world. But maybe you have forgotten about that spark. Or haven’t seen it in a while. Perhaps you may just need a fellow wayfinder to remind you and mirror back to you that truth.

Those of you who have experience a Soul Visioning Quest with music and cards, or do one on one coaching with me, you will know that what you get is what your soul already knows to be true! All you needed was to be reminded. And what a beautiful gift that is. If you’d like one, you can go here to find them.

Here is to giving ourselves permission to be with ourselves and connect with the deep well of wisdom we all have…we have just forgotten about.

Until next we meet, be brave, keep showing up and share beautiful you!

Big love

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5 comments on “The room I was most afraid of.”

The room I was most afraid of.

It seems a little hypocritical of me to write to you about stillness, because honestly, stillness and I are only really just becoming aquatinted. Like properly! 

For the longest time, stillness existed only as a room. A room with the door wide open, clean, light and fragrant. Open and spacious with wide windows and speckled light. And yet, with all it’s beauty, I felt like stillness might offer me beauty and then once I was in there, all hell would break loose and it would become a dark forest, like all the fairytales would have us see. 

I would walk past this room, time and time again, usually with arms filled with clothes for the laundry or I’d rush past on my way out the door, scurrying kids in front of me.

Sometimes I would stand near the doorway.

I’d stand there shallow breathing and sneak my head around the corner to catch a glimpse of the beauty, promising myself that after I had done ‘all the things’ and when I was ’emotionally prepared’ for what it may offer me, I would be able to retreat there. But still, I was afraid of what I might find!

Often the scent of stillness would sweep like a feather under my nose and I’d find myself lifting my head, eyes closed and I’d seem to lose control of my body finding myself drifting toward the room. Effortlessly floating on a warm river current.

Then, just before I cross the threshold, my eyes would open and start gasping inhaling water from the river, coughing and spluttering.

“Idiot! You don’t have time for stillness”, my mind whispers sinisterly, ‘There are far more important things to be doing than sitting in that room doing nothing for christ sake”. Louder and louder it tends to get. “Stillness is for other people who aren’t as busy as you”. And, “What does stillness really give you anyway, does it earn you any money?”

It wasn’t until several illnesses, a surgery and the potential fatal illness in our daughter compounding on top of each other, when I was shoved in the middle of my shoulder blades into this mysterious room of stillness. Tripping and stumbling as I was shoved repeatedly, I found myself flat on the floor looking up, unable to move. Literally. 

Stillness welcomed me, like I imagine the father of the prodigal daughter welcomed her. Arms were wide, welcoming me in,  like the dawn each morning as it welcomes the sun.

“Ive been waiting for you sweet one. Stay as long as you need”, whispered stillness. “You have much to find here that will fill your soul”. 

I’d been so afraid of stillness, for so so long. Scared she would share with me truths that once known, couldn’t be unknown. Afraid she would lure all my monsters to the fore and I would be taken down and defeated by the brutality that exists in the dark recesses. 

As I lay, unable to move, unable to fight, the monsters, they did come, just as I’d expected. And, interestingly  they went again. I watched them march in, stomping and threatening. My monsters are mean. Angry. And my monsters are timid and afraid. I watched them. I heard them. And just as stillness had offered me space to be, I so did to my monsters.

We sat, all together and soon, the monsters after roaring and snarling. But intriguingly, with some space, started to whimper and sob. And soon, they left.

Stillness smiled and I smiled back. She began to share her wisdom and I listened. She showed me truth. Truth that I was so afraid of, and yet when it was shown, freed me from my suffering. She shares a kind of wisdom that I believed was only available to the masters, the sages and the enlightened. 

Our culture is quick to look to someone else to tell us what is best for our life, when what is true, is that only I know what is best for mine and you know what is best for you. Only many of us have forgotten how to follow the breadcrumbs home to our truths.

Stillness waits now, not just in a room, but in the next step I take in front of me. Beside me when I turn to look at the trees. Above me as I gaze at the sky. On me, as I feel the clothes on my skin. She is everywhere and invites me to be with her. To stay for a while. And when I listen, I find what I seek and sometimes I don’t.

But there is something that is magical about stillness and her wise presence. Something that adds a vibrancy to my experience, one that I was really skeptical about. I notice I am less agitated when I spend time with her and more calm and more….aware of what is good for me.

I notice that when I spend time in stillness, things that trouble me, seem to drift away. Ideas come more freely and a sense of ‘care but don’t care’ falls around me.

May you find the answers to your questions, by visiting the wisdom that is your own stillness.

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0 comments on “189 Days Since my Last Drink.”

189 Days Since my Last Drink.

If you have been following my writings, you will know that since June, I haven’t had a drink. No, not true. I haven’t had an alcoholic drink! Not one. Not even a sip!

Initially it was set as an experiment to see if I could actually make it until 2018. Just because I had never gone that long without a drink, since being an adult.

But what I have come to see, when ‘letting go’ of some habits, is that there were and are A LOT of habits that my body just says NO to.

Because I am a sensitive soul, I feel a lot of stuff. And I give a fuck about a lot of stuff. Too much, I have come to see.

0 comments on “Me too #metoo. Me too…..”

Me too #metoo. Me too…..

For the most part, my relationship status with Facebook is set to “On a Break”. Yesterday I checked back in for my scheduled bi-weekly Facebook exploration. I set my timer for 30 minutes. I responded to the posts I had been tagged in, wrote a post or two, read a couple of saved articles from last week and checked on our Mother and Daughter Connection Day event, oh and posted on the same event page. That took like 7 minutes.

The rest of the time I just scrolled around.

I noticed a few things..

0 comments on “What I Do with Unsolicited Feedback.”

What I Do with Unsolicited Feedback.

Sweet one. I was reminded of something this morning, and so I wonder if it something you need reminded of as well.

You’re ok. You’re human – we all make mistakes. You will drop the ball sometimes. You’re not in this alone.

I am a bit of a creator kind. Not in an artist kind of way. But a just put stuff together kind of way. Stuff that I love and am passionate about.

And I create when I feel inspired. Groups. Books. Content. Gatherings. Blogs. Instagram posts.

Not much more than most people I guess. But I love it.

A while back I created this little group, filled with creators as well. Motivated and inspired.

Recently with some illness in my life, and illness in one of my little kid-lets life, some of my creations..well, I am sad to say had to take a back seat.

And not everyone gets that. And it isn’t fair to expect them to.

Today, I was reminded of my absence. I was reminded of where I was hard on myself for ‘dropping the ball’. I got a message today from someone who isn’t enjoying a group that I have created.

When I received it, I gotta say, it stung a little. I mean, feedback can sting when it isn’t glowing, right? Something you have created someone doesn’t like. Their expectations aren’t met. That can suck arse!

I have an old pattern of wanting to include everyone and make sure everyone is ok.

I have an old belief system that says, “everyone before you”.

And when I got ill, I had to really challenge this. Like really!

Making sure I try to keep everyone is happy is an old pattern. Making sure everyone is doing ok and if they aren’t, I would try to move heaven and earth to make sure they were ok.

People placating. People pleasing.

I would have never have thought that I was a people pleaser once upon a time. But it is years of paying attention to how I feel in certain interactions that I have become aware of it.

Making sure everyone else was looked after first. Then attend to my needs.

Can I life hack this for you? Let give you the tip first hand, that this will end up in exhaustion and depletion!

So, I get this message telling me they love the group…..BUT……and then of course, tells me their truth.

When I used to manage people for work, I would never take too kindly to someone coming to me with ‘problems without potential solutions’. You know..no ownership in the problem and or potential solutions for said problems.

This message didn’t have much in the solution department.

I read the message.

And my body reacts as it usually does when I feel like I have let someone down, or am being criticised or that someone isn’t ok with something I have done. And I have come to see that my body wants to react in one of two ways.

  1. It wants to defend. Stand up straight and get ready to use that razor sharp tongue to shut it down.
  2. It wants to hide. Get the hell away from it as fast as it can and pretend nothing is wrong.

And these are completely acceptable human responses.

But they aren’t responses that I am vining with much these days. They are like so 2015 😉

I have come to experience a 3rd way though. After a lot of ‘growing up’ and uprooting a lot of old beliefs.

I really like this third way and works so well for me most of the time. I have become really great mates with it. It has room for tweeks and improvements I am sure, but for now, I am in the groove with it.

It is a 4 step way. In REALLY big deals, I use 5…but I’ll fill you in on that if I need to use it going forward.

For now, this little thing needed my 4 little steps.

And it is this.

  1. Do not do anything….except breathe. Just notice all the human stuff that happens when we feel threatened. Afraid. Attacked….And just breathe. Deep. Feel the feelings that the scared little body is feeling. And breathe.

In really, really brutal attacks..I would reach out to my support crew.

Not call someone up and bitch about it. Not send a message to someone and tell them all about the horror and terror. Not spreading the issue.

Just breathe. To calm the system. To remind the body that there is in fact nothing to fear.

We have come to see that a modern day ‘feedback’ note can have what might be described as an ancestral reaction.

A modern day perceived threat triggers our oldest survival centres in our brain and we prepare to fight the perceived attack or run from the thing. But when we look, there is nothing there. Only an image we have in our heads of what it means to receive this ‘feedback’.

And with some breath, we can see, there is nothing there except a bunch of words and someone’s perception.

The second thing I do is a good old trick I learnt from my old mate Brene Brown. The flight and fight response is very similar to a shame attack. A feeling that we are bad in some way, and a ‘feedback’ note could in fact trigger old wounds around not being good enough, letting people down and being shit. But they are just my old wounds.

2. Own your story and ‘First draft’ it. This is a #truthbomb on steroids. The first draft is a letter written, usually by hand, to the dealer of the perceived threat. All your true feelings. How it feels in your body. Why you are feeling the way you are.

Some folks think that they will manifest something bad for the person they are writing about if they write it. But that isn’t your intention right. The INTENTION is to tell the truth about how you feel.

YOU OWN the feelings. No suppression. No hiding. No trying to be all ‘nice’ and ‘perfect’. Just telling the truth. When we bury the story, we stay forever in the subject of the story.

Once you tell the truth…you BURN THAT THING or run it under water and scrunch it up! No one except you needs to see it. Sometimes, if you are really hot and bothered, you might need 2 or 3 drafts….for your eyes only!

Phew. That feels better right? Telling the truth? And interestingly as you go through it, you see that it has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with how you received it!

The third thing is vital.

3. Inject compassion. Self compassion. Self kindness. Speak to yourself (out-loud if you need to like me) like you would to your best mate who is having a tough time.

“Jen, it’s ok. You haven’t done anything wrong. You are doing your best and not everyone is going to see that. Be kind to yourself Jen. This isn’t a big deal”. 

OH AND THIS FEEDBACK EXPERIENCE NEEDS A 3a..

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3a is UBER important when it comes to feedback. If you receive feedback from anyone, anyone at all…if they are not in the arena that you are in and not getting their but kicked..then their feedback needs scaled down ya’ll. I learnt that off my old mate Brene as well. Boom!

And finally, number 4. Act in a way that is in alignment with who you want to be. Me, I want to be brave and I want to be real. So, for me, in this case, after I did all my steps, I responded. Like a grown up. Without the tantrum of my first draft. I didn’t try to fix anything.

I commended them on their bravery to provide feedback in the first place. And I meant it. I know it takes courage to speak up. To speak out. And I am totally in awe of that!

Then, I gave 3 possible options they could consider taking themselves. Often we look to others to ‘fix’ perceived problems without really wanting to be part of the solution. It is certainly easier to point the finger at someone and tell them what they are doing wrong, instead of acting in a way that you would like to see.

Remember that good old quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Thanks Ghandi wise person!

Waiting around for others to make your like the way you want it will 100% of the time end in disappointment.

Thank god for the feedback, or what would I have written about today I wonder??

AND I can look to improve the experience, because if they are feeling it, it is quite possible others are as well. What a winning kind of day! x

Forward step!

Big love

Jen

xx

2 comments on “I was THAT kid.”

I was THAT kid.

I was the kid at school always told to stop talking.

I was the kid who in fact, loved to talk back to the teachers.

I was the one asking questions.

I was the ‘smart mouth’ that was quick to shut down folks if they were ‘having a go’.

I was the kid who was in the plays at school and loved it.

I was the kid who loved the debate team.

I loved giving presentations in front of the class.

In grade 8, when everyone else was really self conscious, I was doing stand up comedy routines.

In grade 9, when no one wanted to stand in front of the class, I was lead in the play.

I liked to use my voice.

But I still wanted to stay small.

I didn’t want to stand out too much.

I didn’t want too much attention.

Grade 10, in math class, my math teacher pulled me aside after class one day and said, “Jenny, you would be really great at maths if you just stopped talking”. And she was right. I did do pretty good at math when I focussed. But I had to push at it. Work at it. It certainly wasn’t effortless.

Like talking.

 

When I moved from a small country town to the big smoke of the Gold Coast, I transitioned easily.

When the grade 7 bully wanted to ‘meet me on the basketball courts’ to ‘talk’, I went without a bit of hesitation.

My voice seemed to get me in an around any challenge.

As a child, I stood in my room, hairbrush to mouth and gave various speeches. I just liked to talk.

The kids at school, after watching a play I was performing in, would say things like, “That is the best live play I have seen” and “One day we will see you up on the big stage”.

In high school I got A plus after A plus in speech and drama. It was easy. Effortless.

In university I loved giving presentations. One particular day, after I had shown a group presentation video we had prepared, one of the mature age students said, “Far out Jen, you have missed your calling”.

Performing. Using my voice have always been a natural thing for me. Effortless it is to get up and speak in front of a group (most of the time).

Recently I have had the opportunity to see where I am ‘good’ at things. I’ve been doing an inventory on where I am competent and capable and where I am effortless.

Acting was never an option for me, as much as I loved it. Or so I believed when I was young.

I wanted to have a ‘stable’ job. I didn’t want to have to rely on anyone for support. I wanted to be independent.

And  truth be told I never thought I was good enough. I know I had glimpses though….

I could I suppose, feel a deep sense of regret that I didn’t choose that route. That I ‘missed’ out. That I have ‘wasted’ my life.

But I don’t. And I do.

I just feel so grateful that it comes easily to me to use my voice. One on one, in groups settings, in larger groups.

I am however, aware that much of my life I have been pushing in ‘math class’. Trying to focus on stuff that I “can” be good at. And for the most part, I am pretty good at a bunch of stuff.

This year, I had the opportunity to know what it feels like to be really afraid that I might not be able to do the stuff I love. And it was a shake up. A different kind of wake up. A walk the talk (pardon the pun) kinda deal.

I’m a great communicator (mostly..hubby would beg to differ).

Those folks who over my life have called me ‘opinionated’ and ‘outspoken’ and ‘bossy’ and ‘just can’t keep her mouth shut’…to them I say thank you.

You are right. I am all those things and they are not a bad thing.

They mean that I wont be suppressed.

I write about lots of stuff. I write about a lot of personal stuff. And a lot of stuff I don’t.

Why?

Mostly because I can.

I want to share my life experiences. Not just because it might help someone else navigate their way, but because I can.

And because I can, I will. In fact….I must.

It is me in this incarnation. The one who speaks up. The one one has their say. The one who supports others to have theirs too.

So, here is to using our voices…and in the mission of Simone De Haas, “changing the world one conversation at a time”.

Here is to us sharing our stories.

Here is to us being imperfect. And busted off pedestals. And being brave enough to be ourselves. Even if people throw fruit from the bleachers.

And maybe we change nothing. Not a thing.

But you know, the price is just too high for me not to do what comes effortless to me.

What I love to do.

And I want to use my voice more. Not to fill the air with soul-less words, but meaningful speak.

Frankly I am done sitting in math class pushing at something that in no way interests me. I’m too old and too tired for that.

Effortless is where I am headed….

Next challenge begins soon. And I am ready!

Forward.


0 comments on “It Might Surprise You to Know….”

It Might Surprise You to Know….

I write for me…now.

I write here for me…now.

Sometimes folks think I am in their head and wrote stuff just for them.

Sometimes folks love what I write and they send me the most amazing emails and notes. Of which I just love and appreciate. That they would take a moment to first read what I have written and then go so far as to send me a message.

Sometimes folks feel unloved or left out because of what I write here. Sometimes folks wish that they knew the stuff I write about, before I write about it.

Sometimes folks I am sure get super annoyed with what I have written.

Sometimes folks judge me for what I write.

It is a weird thing to not be able to control how your words fall on someone. Or where they fall within in them.

 

For a very long time, I stopped writing. For me or for anyone.

In my younger years, I kept a journal. Many journals. I wrote my heart into the pages of multiple books.

No one had ever told me that writing in a journal was a good idea. No one ever said, “buy a book to write in and it will make you feel a whole lot better”. I fact, I can’t actually recall the moment I thought it was a good idea. But somewhere around 14 when I my period started I think, I started writing.

For me.

That’s the thing with journals. You write for you, about you, and with you. And in the writing, there is a visibility of what it is that is happening. More often than not, the page reveals a truth that the mind can’t let you see. It is like the heart has a direct line to the pen.

At 16, my boyfriend at the time, told me he had read my journals because he was “curious”.

At that young age I couldn’t have articulated what it really felt like. But after the same thing happened at 25, I am pretty clear now.

Those of you who have read anything about me, or know me at all, you know that my upbringing, while filled with love from my mother, was a little unsettling.

I sought solace therapeutically in  music and in writing and dysfunctionally in an eating disorder and promiscuity.

I wrote all about it all. Especially the dysfunction.

After my second round of intrusion in to my inner world at 25, I stopped writing. Full stop. Quit. Stopped.

I had carried my journals with me, all 18 of them, when I went travelling across Australia at 24. I packed up all my belongings into my little Hyundai Excel and off I went. Gold Coast to Perth. It didn’t seem like a big deal given my few trips from Gold Coast to Townsville. Perth just seemed like the next destination when I returned home from overseas.

Packed tightly in with all my clothes, books and guitar (which I still can’t play), my heart spills travelled along.

And I wrote about my journeys. About the divine folks I met. The roads I took. The amazing scenery. How it felt on my journey. Well at least I am pretty sure that is what I wrote about.

On that trip, I met a boy who later became my boy friend and later my fiancé.

He packed his stuff up too and off we went travelling together.

Along came my writings.

Melbourne we settled.

We unpacked.

Found jobs.

Somewhere to live.

We planned our wedding.

And so you would think it would seem okay for that person to read my heart filled journals. All the words I had used from a wee young age all the way through to an adult.

All the pain of dysfunction. The first loves. The ‘not so great’ decisions. And those not so great decisions it seems he didn’t have a very good time with.

He never told me he read them. Well not until…

What does your intuition feel like to you? Where do you feel that ‘hmmmm’ feeling?

I’ve always felt my intuition sits in the spaces between. Space between what is being said. In the spaces. When there are no words. Or after the words are spoken and a full body conversation begins. A sweet hum. “Hmmmm”. A sense in my body. Sometimes it feels like a push in my gut. Other times it is fluttering in my chest.

I remember the day I returned home from work after his sick day.

And the gut push hit. In the silence.

“Hmmmm” feeling.

And on we went.

A week passed.

Something was so different.

Weekends we usually went out together. That following weekend, he went out. With the guys from work.

‘Hmmm’ feeling.

I talked myself out of the feeling though. “It’s good he’s made friends here”.

He didn’t come home that night.

I didn’t sleep that night.

It’s funny. As I write this in real time with the music playing, this song plays. Where were you when this was all going on when I was 25? Oh, not born probably!

Exhale.

So, he didn’t come home. I didn’t sleep.

This weird behaviour went on for a while.

The ‘hmmmm’ continued.

Finally in a confrontation of this weird and it all fell on the floor. Like thousands of small ball bearings threatening to undo my safe ground. Freezing me in my little space. Inhaled.

The truth.

And when the truth comes, it hurts sometimes. A lot sometimes. I’ve come to live this intimately.

I think this is why we don’t actually want to trust the ‘hmmmm’ because we know it is going to hurt if it is true. A lot. And we wish it away, praying and hoping it isn’t true. Denial is a deceptively safe place to hide…initially. A hot place to hide long term.

He took exception to some of my past ‘not so great’ decisions. Decisions I made as a very young and often troubled person, and at a time when he wasn’t a part of my life. Those words seemingly didn’t seem to matter.

It didn’t end then, but it was destined to.

I ripped up those books. 20 journals. Each and every page ripped up. I sat on the bed and cried years of heart pain. Years of truths. And tears of self judgement and self loathing. I was a bad person. I had evidence of it in these books. So they had to be destroyed.

And after they were destroyed, we would be fine…right?

And that is where the writing stopped.

That thing that had carried me through all those years, not a moment of therapy except for that which I sought in the pages of a journal.

Stopped.

My power left. I felt like I gave it to him.

It took over 10 years to start writing again.

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4 years ago I started to write again because truly, I just couldn’t NOT anymore.

I felt like I needed to write for others. To help others.

So, instead of journaling I stared a blog on Facebook called Expanding the Heart Space. If you google it I don’t think you can find it…hang on…So, I am wrong. Turns out there is still a blog, not on Facebook, but an actual blog. Funny the things I forget.

Initially it was a scary as hell but I thought I was helping folks, so it was worth it.

A year or so later, I realised I was writing for me.

After I had written something, so often I couldn’t even remember what I had written. Like something had taken over me.

So I would read it again.

And more often than not, what I had written was exactly what I needed to read. In one way or another.

I was scared to admit the truth though. I was really writing for me.

Scared of judgment. Of oversharing. Of offending. Of pissing people off. Of getting it wrong.

It’s literally like having all that heart held in your hands and asking the world to stab it if they want.

In a weird twist of truth and grace, what I have come to see, is that I get far more support and “me too” moments than I do negative judgement. More often I am reminded I am not alone. I love SO much getting emails from folks who have read something about what I have written, about how it has fallen on them.

I do love it SO.

And still, ultimately I write for me.

If I inspire you to take a risk, or open up, or share, or feel brave enough to do something you didn’t think you could…oh how my heart sings!

And I write for me.

Even if you were in the room with me now, I would be writing this and not necessarily talking to you about the content. I can’t. The stuff that I write comes though me in a a way that I find difficult to articulate. All I know, is there is a level of trust I have that I have of myself now, that I didn’t before.

If my writing triggers folks, which I am sure it does, I trust that that is their business. Not mine. I wouldn’t disrespect anyone enough to not be honest.

And still, ultimately I write for me.

This is my love. My time. My space. My right. And my power.

I feel free when I write.

I feel light when I write.

I feel connected when I write.

I feel creative when I write.

I feel inspired when I write.

I learn more about myself when I write.

And if folks get offended, or triggered, or pissed, or annoyed or whatever they might get….

I write for me.

And if you are lucky enough for me to write about you, and you don’t like it….

I subscribe to the Anne Lammot position, if people don’t like what you write about them, then maybe they should have been kinder. 🙂

And in no surprise, this is the song is playing as I type this.

I write for me.

jen-14


Writing in a group interests me. So in July if you want to come and be with like hearted souls and get some juices flowing, we’d love you to come along. On the Gold Coast. If you want to be added to the list of folks who are already coming along, email me here for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

0 comments on “Here I Sit With My Candle in the Darkness”

Here I Sit With My Candle in the Darkness

The gift of being a bit older, being in my forties is that I have lived long enough to experienced some amazingly light and brilliant experiences and also, so mucky and dark adventures as well.

Today marks the 6 weeks point that I had spinal surgery. When I write that I wonder if by calling it that it sounds a lot worse than maybe it was. In a couple of hours I’ll return to see the surgeon who carefully released the pressure that was on my sciatic nerve. Milestone.

Not long before I had the surgery, like days before, after months and months of being in excruciating pain we had a few folks around for one of the kidletts birthdays.

A group gathered as they usually do at the tall table outside, sharing stories and chattering away.

That day, I had to double my dose of pain killers, just to get through that day.

I wonder if they would have known how much pain I was in. I carried on as best I could.

As I stood in pain at the end of the table, I quietly admitted how scared I was to have surgery. Spinal surgery. An operation that I had decided on the day of seeing the surgeon (and my MRI results). An operation that would be happening in the next few days.

And call it sooky la la or weakness…I call it afraid.

Do you ever get afraid (I hope so, it’s human)? If you do what are you afraid of?

Being so successful that you wont have anyone of your old tribe to support you. That you’ll be isolated?

Talking in front of a large group of people?

Being lost out at sea?

Sharks? [me too… Although, ask me sometime about my grade 8 talk of ‘How I would overcome a shark if I was confronted by one’].

Blood?

Heights?

Spiders?

The truth?

Everyone has something that rattles their cage a little. Some, a lot.

For me, having spinal surgery was it.

And I didn’t even know it was, until I was faced with it.

I had to pull out all the big guns. All the things that I knew could support me through this. Mediations, Breath work. Writing. Support from my key tribe folk. 

And I was doing pretty good.

As I stood at the end of that table, sharing my fear quietly to one of the other party-goers, someone overheard me from the other end of the table and without skipping a beat, barrels down the table;

“Oh suck it up. At least you’re not……” and gave me a good example of why I shouldn’t be feeling the way I was feeling. Making another situation (that was legitimately scary) a ‘real’ reason to feel afraid.

You know how yesterday I wrote about that shame feeling thing I got after watching that dude talk for 12 minutes…well, that is exactly what happened to me in that moment.

What they said triggered off a thought process in me that made me believe I wasn’t worthy to feel the way I was feeling. And that I was bad for feeling that way.

Comparative shaming it’s called. I learnt that term from my old mate Dr Brene Brown (also mentioned in yesterday’s blog ) .

This is when we compare something we have or haven’t done with something someone else and devaluing our own experience. And example might be that you are in a room full of people and you don’t want to share about your recent marriage problems because you know that someone else in the room is battling cancer. And the person who is battling cancer doesn’t want to share their experience because they know that someone else in the room just lost a child. And the person who just lost a child doesn’t want to share their story because they know someone is the room was born blind.

And on and on it goes. Round and around. All afraid to own our story because we believe it isn’t worthy or ‘bad enough’.

As someone who spent half of her life trying to “Suck it up”, “don’t let anyone see you are vulnerable” what I know about doing this stupid, culturally ‘appropriate’ thing is it contributes to the disconnection to the one thing that humans crave most.

The one thing that humans seek as a part of not only their DNA, but as a universal design feature….

Love and belonging.

Sucking it up is a response when folks can’t deal with someone’s vulnerability, because they can’t deal with their own.

Compassion is in direct opposition to ‘suck it up’.

Compassion.

Pema Chodron says it in a way that resonates with me deeply and governs all the work I do on this planet.

“Compassion is knowing your darkness well enough that you can sit in the darkness with others”.

Just contemplate that for a second.

Knowing your darkness.

What are darkness bits? What are those aspects of yourself that you don’t want anyone else to see. Those stories. Those fears. Those truths? The parts of you that remain locked away in some cupboard, boarded up so that no one can see them.

Sit in the darkness with others.

What are you like with other people’s pain and discomfort.

Are you able to sit with them, be with them. Hold the space with them. Without wanting to ‘lighten’ things up, or ‘love and light’ it away?

I’m still learning to be with my own pain and the pain of others. I absolutely get it wrong. I totally want to bounce out of suffering, mine and yours, at times.

That day, at the table, I had little compassion for myself. I bought in to the shame speak. I wanted to leap out of the shame pain and not feel what I felt. On reflection, it would have been the best time to step away and do the old Jill Bolte Taylor “one-minute-and-thirty-seconds deal” (also in yesterday’s blog).

It took me more than 90 seconds to remove that splinter and to feel the shame and the pain of what was said to me. I am still removing fragments of a multi-generational culture that a lot of us still marinate in. The “suck it up” isn’t working folks. Well, it sure as shit isn’t for me.

And before you worry about this being a blame game on the dude who gave me the ‘suck it up’ direction…if you read yesterday’s blog, or have read anything of mine or know me at all, you know this isn’t about blaming anyone. This is about using everything that triggers us as an opportunist to grow and expand and to let go of all the stuff that isn’t kind.

I’m just over 6 weeks wiser now.

I made it through the surgery. I allowed myself to feel the discomfort of my fear. I told those who were supporting me, I was afraid. And those people supported me, accepted me and were able to be with my darkness….without so much as a straw in sight 😉

Today, or tomorrow, or whenever you feel it (because you will) if you are really afraid or experiencing a mucky patch…or if you are hurting or feel isolated, let this be the opportunity for you to know that you are not alone in this life thing. If you are being told to ‘suck it up’ and ‘get over it’, let me be here to remind you that that is old bullshit conditioning that came from folks who were too afraid to feel the truth….say, “thanks but no thanks”.

Here I sit in the dark. Waiting with my candle. Providing space for us to get to know our darkness a little more.

With all my love.

Jen

396fd5019a2c821f531e8bae1558590c

 

1 comment on “The Splinter, Trigger Thing.”

The Splinter, Trigger Thing.

Have you ever read anything of mine and wanted to punch the screen? Or throw something at it/me. Or you found yourself mumbling and muttering away with a screwed up face and tense body. You may have slammed the laptop shut, or minimised the icon vowing never to read anything of mine again?

Just before I started writing this (yes, a few sentences ago) I felt like I wanted to rant on about something I read yesterday that gave me the exact reaction as above.

I wanted to go into the justification of why I felt allowed to rant.

My mutterings went a little like this yesterday after watching a 12 or so minute clip by a dude who helps folks transform into best versions of themselves. Now I am actually wondering what he calls himself. Oh ADD mind. Hush for a moment.

So yesterday watching this thing the mutterings began.

0d1c118f246cf9fc55662173a75137eb“Oh come on. Is that true dude? You are saying that it is because I didn’t have a detailed plan that all this stuff went to shit? Well clearly you don’t have children. I mean fuck, don’t you know that stuff happens out of our control?”

And I have to admit, reliving yesterday’s couple of minute rant while writing this, it gave me a charge again. Similar sensations. Maybe not as strong, but I felt them. As I typed them just now, I was ready to climb right back on that high horse and take what he said and make him wrong and make myself right. Present evidence why what he said is bullshit. I wonder if the charge changes by the end of this blog.

I was ready to go find the piece that I had watched so that you could all jump in and crowd around the screen and then say things like, “Yeah, you’re right Jen. He don’t know crap”. I was ready to rally the troops so that I could get a group to affirm my position.

“Ha. Take that you speaker person you. See I am right”.

In real time with no editing writing this, I am already seeing how powerfully protective that part of me is, wanting to protect my position, to maintain my ‘rightness’, to not be open to the fact there might be some truth in what he said. Guards up.

I was triggered. Something touched. Like a tiny little annoying splinter that hasn’t been removed and keeps getting bumped.

The definition of human is someone who triggers off something in another for their growth.

I’d even go so far as to change the ‘human‘ part in that definition to ‘saint‘.

What does being triggered feel like to you?

Is it pleasant? Do you want it to continue?

Or do you want to pull back from it. Shout at it. Punch it. Throw something at it.

Or maybe ignore it.

For me, yesterday, it felt like a rumbling in my tummy (might have been lunch time, so maybe I was hungry 😉 ). It was heat in my arms. It was tightness in my neck. I felt flushed. I wanted to rant. I closed the computer and walked away.

I used to know this feeling as anger and pissed off-ness. But as I reflect on it now, it felt more like shame.

His words, something about what he said triggered a shame response for me.

According to my old mate Shame and vulnerability researcher genius, Dr Brene Brown, “Shame is the belief that you are bad”. This verses guilt which is, “I did something bad”. See the difference there?

Something he said, allowed me to feel like I was bad in some way. Wrong in part.  Despite the the fact he wasn’t even talking to me directly. It was a clip. Talking to a whole bunch of people.

Now you are probably wanting to watch what he said so that you can assess for yourself.  Or is that just something I would want to do?

You know, so you can get crowd support and validation as to why you were treated so poorly. Unjustly. Rally the troops to hit this mug up. Us against them. Lets do this. (Hello the beginning of all wars).

So you know when you have an encounter, it might be only a 30 second one of a 12 minute one (like the clip I watched yesterday) or it might be a whole day gig and something is said and you go small? You inhale and don’t want to engage anymore?

But it leaves an imprint.

You can retell the moment time and time again to anyone who will listen. “And he said this and I thought this and now I feel like this”. Not the whole encounter, but the part that triggered you. The rest was probably pretty insightful. But don’t focus on that.

And we relive it over and over and over well and truly after the event occurred.

That is what I noticed what happened to me. And so anything he said after that brush with my splinter, I wasn’t interested. I just wanted to stop the splinter from hurting me. And I blamed him for the discomfort. And I kept revisiting it through the day. And funny, now I am writing about it today.

08431285ac74ab80b94baac6664443fe (only splinter pic I could find 😉 )

Oh and by the way, this happens to me quite a bit. With lots of things. I still have lots of splinters.

The RE-living of an event that no longer exists. I can do that a bit.

I don’t know if you have heard of Jill Bolte Taylor, the brilliant neuroscientist who became a world wide phenomenon after she both wrote and spoke about her actual experience of having a stroke. Her TED talk has nearly 5 million views. If you haven’t, ya’ll…get-yourself-aquainted. Watch her captivating TED talk here.

Among many of the gazillion wise insights that Jill shares with us (pay attention to the part about being responsible for your own energy), one of my favourite is her ‘one-and-a-half-minute-thing’. This thing Jill describes as the psychological mechanism behind emotion. All autonomic emotions like anger last 90 seconds, from the moment its triggered until it runs it’s course.

One and a half minutes.

If it lasts longer it is because we are adding some kindling to the fire that is burning.

We keep clinging to the story line of how we were wronged and who is wrong and why we are right and blah blah blah.

Hours and hours and days and days and on and on.

One and a half minutes.

Humans (me) seem to go to all sorts of lengths to avoid discomfort.

Gossiping. Bad mouthing. Negative talk about the world. Emotional eating. Netflix. Cleaning. Not cleaning. Shopping. Facebook. Isolation. Wine. Vodka. Recipe hunting with no intent to cook anything. Looking for a course you could do. Or another retreat. Or anything…anything outside of ourselves that means we don’t have to deal with this discomfort, right here, right now.

Again…maybe that is just me.

Somewhere along the way, we got hurt you and me. Lots of times maybe. And maybe at the time, we just didn’t have the capacity or awareness to let the pain move through. and maybe, that is exactly what was okay for us. Then.

Maybe we never got still enough for a full on experience of exactly what we felt for a whole 90 seconds (because who showed us that?..insert some parenting guilt right about now). Instead we shut down or defended or blamed or drank or ate or ran.

“Fix this discomfort”!!!!! we scream looking for an out.

And my peeps, there aint no bad thing with all that ‘survival’ stuff. That be human stuff ya’ll. But maybe, just maybe, there is another way to manage some of this ‘stuff’.

The bottom line is that when I watched that thing yesterday, I felt something! I FELT a feeling. FEELINGS. Emotion. Energy in motion.

Mostly in the past, I forgot the motion part. Energy yes. No motion. Lock it down. Keep it in. Inhale it. And make yourself sick or spew it out inappropriately when you get triggered next time.

Well, what does one do in that whole 90 seconds?

I am glad you asked.

According to Jill, we start by acknowledging the feeling, give it your full, compassionate, even welcoming attention, and even if it’s only for a few seconds, drop the story line about the feeling. Try to avoid fuelling it with opinions and ideas about whether it is good or bad. Just allow the sensation. Where in your body can you feel it? Does it remain the same for long? Does it move or shift or change?

Jill gives an example of when she gets triggered, she first notices…then, sets her timer on her watch (I’ll use a phone timer…and try not to see messages or FB alerts) for 90 seconds. Closes her eyes (not if driving) and feels the full extent of the feeling. Where she feels it. What it feels like. The intensity. The duration.

A full 90 seconds of being a curious scientist observing and experiment take place.

No judgement. No story. Just a full out feeling.

So, I’m just going to take a moment to set the timer and go back to that moment and let the emotion move and see what happens. If you have come this far, hang on for a sec…I’ll be back…

Insert this waiting song the dude yesterday could have handed me: Human

It’s 3.17 minutes (minus ad verts), so take your time. I’ll wait 🙂

Ok.

You back.

How fast did that go?

So the results. Well, honestly there was little to no charge there. The time has passed. I wrote about it at the beginning of the blog.

Now, here I am at the end of this blog. And that thing yesterday that that person said. I can’t actually access what he said that made me so pissed.

Here is my 2 cents (do you still have one of those copper 2 cent pieces I wonder…oh ADD mind shush) on what I feel like I learnt here, as I wrote this (because all the writing I do is really to help me unfold more).

  • I am still learning and practicing to allow myself to truly feel what I feel IN THE MOMENT. Truthfully and honestly.
  • The people that trigger that in me are saints, trying to help me unfold and grow more and identify splinters (oh and hint on the splinter thing if you haven’t got it yet….they are old belief things) that I might want to take out.

That is two cents. Hope you found it valuable.

So, my challenge and I offer it up for you too, can we acknowledge the emotional tug of discomfort when it arises and to stay with it for one-minute-and-a-half. Just be with it. Without a story line…..

Can we, together, do this once a day or throughout the day as the feelings arise and fall?

This is a real challenge folks.

This is the process of unmasking. Of letting go. Opening the mind and the heart.

Oh and if you answered yes the the questions posed in the first paragraph, then hello! Let me introduce myself. Saint Jen. *wink wink wink*

Big love

Jen