Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sometimes you gotta sit with the pain

Everything that is happening to you is really happening FOR you.

OMG - sometimes when I hear that message, I wanna stomp my feet and scream at the top of my lungs. You mean that bad thing that just happened, that right there, is a blessing. Come on, really?

When you look back on your life, you can see how the "bad"things that happened like breakups, accidents, health issues, etc. are really blessings. Brokenness can be the beginning of something wonderful. It feels terrifying and lonely in the onset. You feel stuck, spent, peeled open and raw. Like your heart got ripped from your body as it lies next to you on the bathroom floor. And your wondering if you will ever get up as your reach for the last tissue in the Kleenex box and THENNNNNN you know its time to get up, you're out of Kleenex. :)

In hindsight, when the grief has lifted and gratitude has settled in over a period of time, you see the significance it had in your life and the beautiful influence it has had in the present.

Take for instance, a loved one dying. When it first happens, you are suspended in grief, heartbreak, disbelief, and undeniable pain. Your world crashes and screeches to a halt. There is definitely a grieving process one must go through that is healthy and has worked for so many. (See Elizabeth Kubler Ross writings if you are experiencing this now) After some time (and there is no RIGHT amount of time), the pain lifts (for the most part) and gratitude sets in. You bring back the happy memories and relish in them. You feel the gift that loved one gave you and your heart gets filled to the brim with overwhelming love for the time you did get to spend with them. You got to LOVE them and they got to LOVE you.

But what about when the fateful event happens and you are feeling that pain and that shortness of breath and the aching heart, what do you then?

I have got one thing I know for sure and they are the only ones that work for me. Ever.

Feel your feelings. Get down on your knees and pray and feel it and LET IT OUT. Let the emotions run through you.

I have tried all the outside stuff to fill up the hole in my heart. I have talked to eighteen million different therapists. I have talked to family and friends who are so amazingly supportive. Find the people who hold space for you and don't try to fix your pain. Speak your truth out loud. People are so scared to hear some of your thoughts that go through your head so let it out to those whom you trust. That's why we pay therapists because you can speak your truth and not be judged or condemned for your TRUE feelings. Grief is some VERY heavy stuff. Share your suffering with someone else. You can get emotionally stuck if you bind it up all inside and try to zap it away with status updates and channel surfing.

Push all the obligations aside. Ask for help with all of that stuff. Its just stuff.



Move through it in your own dang time. Your heart will be broke open so many times in your life but its totally worth it. It's all for love. Sometimes we gotta sit through the pain, lay down with it, and make space for it. Your wisdom, your sanity, your loved ones will benefit. Most of all, as your the pain lifts, you can extend the wisdom gained and the ear that knows to a loved one or in a book or in a magazine or to your son or daughter. It will matter. You've lived through it and YOU WILL CARRY ON.

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. "
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Love and Light,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Keep Your Ears Open: Kids are Some of the Greatest Teachers

For the last couple of months or so, I have been hearing, "She copies everything I do! I can't stand it, mommy. Please make her stop, pleassse" from both my daughters. I have heard it a time or two on the playground as well and a few distant memories seem to spring to my mind from my own childhood as I listen to their squabbles.

Imitation is a form of flattery, right?

Hmmmm, so I thought, I would try to have them reframe their words. I asked them to use the word, inspire instead of copy. So when someone copies you, that means, they are inspired by you, they look up to you, and admire the light in you. It's been really cool to see them both experience a miracle as their perceptions have changed from one of fear to love, as a Course in Miracles teaches us. And for most of time, it has been effective.

Last night, I got called out.

My oldest was having a hard time falling asleep last night. So I went into her room to chat and find out why her mind wasn't letting her body rest.

She was telling me, she gets really annoyed when people copy her and today was pretty rough for her, especially. I brought up the old reframing speech and she just wasn't buying it.

"Mommy, there is a difference between copying and inspiring! What you say is not always true. Sometimes people copy me to get more attention than me or do better than me or try to make themselves look better than me so THAT IS NOT INSPIRING!!! I can feel the difference. When I feel like I have inspired someone, then I have helped them."

Come on! Did she just say that?

I just looked at her with starry eyes and thought, "hold onto that wisdom baby, don't let the world take it away from you. Keep it locked up in your heart and guard it. But for now, I will hold (verrry tightly), the key."

What she was describing to me was: INTENTION.

What is your intention when you emulate someone? Are looking to one-up them? Or are you seeing the light in them is a reflection of the light in you? One is a choice from the ego-based mind and the other is a choice from love, from the heart. We are all connected. We are all deserving of success, freedom, abundance and so forth. There is ENOUGH for everyone.

When you admire parts of another person, it's just a mirror of what's possible for you. The key is to be inspired but let your authentic unique traits shine through and be proud of them. Be SO proud of your originality because that is what people are drawn to. If someone is copying you and their intention is pure, consider yourself a marvelous teacher, bettering other's lives. If they are copying you for the sake of competing against you, keep doing you. Do you and do it well. The Universe created you to bring forth your special and unique talents. Brush it off. We can't control how other people behave. Send them love and light and stay on your path.

When you see that others have been inspired by you, can you see that you make the world a better place just by being you? Pretty magical, right?

Stay true to you and the Universe will rise up to meet you.

Love and Light,

Monday, April 7, 2014

WAKE UP!!!- My Messy Beautiful

"Wake up! Wake up, Jensy. Its time to WAAAAKKKKKE up!" My two least favorite words in the dictionary. Put together. In a sentence. Ever. Anyone who knows me, and, even as a little girl, knows you don't wake me up. I get up on my own time and that's just how it is. Friends and family have stories of me swinging punches as I awaken from my groggy stupor. Yeah, not pretty.

That went on for thirty years. HA! YES, 30! Not only did I dislike being woken up but I was "asleep" to life from ages 20-30. I was asleep at the provebial wheel of life with food addiction and overexercising and anorexia.

Ironically, my favorite word in the dictionary is Awakening. I even wrote a book about it.

Now how is it that I can like and dislike a word at the same time? Or how is it that I can like and dislike exercise at the same dang time? And how is it that I can enjoy parenting one day and not the other? Same goes for marriage? Or bananas? You know what I'm talking about, you know, those days when its mushy and brown in areas, and soft or simply you would rather eating spoonfulls of peanut butter in the doorway of the pantry...or is that just ME??

I'll tell you why. Because that's just how life is! OHHH the irony of life. It can be painful and exhilarating. It can be exciting and scary at the exact same moment! OH, I see, that's what the Chinese were talking about when they say yin and yang!

Now I get it... I THINK.

According to Wikipedia, "Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (instead of opposing) forces interacting to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the parts. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation."

They meant light cannot exist with dark. That up has to have a down. Or a high has to have a low. It just complementary. It just is.

What goes up must come down. A dang seesaw! Nothing is static. It waxes and wanes. Life bends then straightens.

On September 19, 2005, I "woke up" (sort of). After being told to, wake up, thousands of times by friends, husband, family, God, which I met with resistance EVERY SINGLE TIME, I started to AWAKEN to life. I gave birth to my first baby girl.

Talk about messy and beautiful. Painful and Exhilarating. The birth was messy - an emergency c- section due to a contraction that never stopped (Medical lingo: tetanic contraction). And beautiful, because the child was gorgeous and safe and perfect. I brought her home in a messy anxious state. I had read that What to Expect When You Are Expecting book(so I was SET AND READY! Right? Um. No.). The nursery was perfect, pink and pretty. The bassinet was shiny and new. All picture perfect, all except me. It was GO time and I was TERRIFIED. I wanted to run away and hide because now I had to face that life could be beautiful.

Well I stayed scared and relapsed with anorexia that I had suffered with for almost a decade.

Remember how I hate the words, "Wake up!?" 15 months after my first daughter was born, another sweet baby girl comes along. Yeah, Universe, I think I am getting the picture. You are handwriting an invitation to me from my kids that says, "WAKE UP MOMMY! YOU ARE MY MOMMY. YOU ARE GOOD AND WHOLE AND PERFECT JUST AS YOU ARE.I LOVE YOU SO MUCH MOMMY, THIS IS ABOUT US NOW. AND I LOVE BEING WITH YOU.LET'S ENJOY THIS RIDE TOGETHER.COME ON, WHADDYA SAY?"

As an anorexic, my inner dialogue told me I was worthless, ugly, stupid, and my life was ALL MESSY and NO BEAUTIFUL. But my heart started to hear a different message. A more encouraging, compassionate, empowering message.

My girls awakened me to ME. I chose to step into full recovery because this was for US. The Universe handpicked these girls and sent me on my way to recovery and Awakening. Life could be beautiful. It was possible.

Recovery was the messisest mess of all messes. It's still messy but not as much. But it happens to be the most BEAUTIFULEST MESS I have ever experienced in my life. I am so dang grateful for the pain, the nights on the bathroom floor, the tears that could fill an ocean. The mess has become my message.

You see, the messy and the beautiful, are gifts the Universe grants us to awaken us to who we really are. That's all life is. It's a day to day being. Some days life brings you to your knees and you just want to stay in bed, shut the blinds, and tune out all the noise. Moreover, another day could be a three year old knees deep in finger paint, in his nose, on your walls, and on your newly upholstered chair. Yet, yields a finished masterpiece of you and him walking in a field of flowers (as he says)that melts your heart and burns your throat as you are on your way to the ugly cry from love and gratitude. (and ALSO from the damage done to your favorite chair in the whole world.)

Some days, I go to bed and think I am the world's worst mother. I snapped. I fed them leftover chili three days in a row. Or I made the world's worst dinner. I know it. They know it. The dog knows it. But I still make them eat it because I spent two hours thawing, chopping, sauteeing, baking, and rereading the same recipe a trillion times just to make sure I had the measurements right. Mind you, also, during those two hours I have weaved in solving division problems, taking TWO barbies and a DOZEN legoes out of the dog's mouth, had a 10 minute Church session with the girls about how to share and how to be kind and say nice things. And then I think, "did I put the second egg in the mix?" Oh, here, well you guys, here's my messy beautiful dinner handmade by your messy, beautiful mom.

Life doesn't look like a Pinterest board or the mom with the Halloween sweater (that she sewed herself) and the halloween cookies made from scratch that resembles bats, witches, pumpkins all carefully crafted from marshmallow decorated to perfection. Still, I am not against any of that, because I am MAJORLY obsessed with Halloween. The point is, it reminds us that life can be beautiful and that's her beautiful expression (and secretly you know there has gotta be a mess in there somewhere. Right? Please.:)

Or life could look like this: when you are about to put your daughter to bed and you'd rather tuck into a DVR'd Jimmy Fallon episode but instead you have this conversation in her stuffed animal mess of a bed that goes something like this:

Me: "Hey sweetie, I am really sorry I snapped and got mad and yelled and then went up to my room. Will you forgive me?"

Daughter: Mommy, you're so silly. I have ALREADY FORGIVEN YOU."

Yep. Messy and Beautiful all in a span of a few hours. Welcome to Parenting. Welcome to Life.


In Love and Light,

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

How to Become an Affirmation Aficionado and Your Biggest Fan

You have heard me talk about Louise Hay before. I adore her and am so grateful for her books and wisdom because it led me to paths of Awakening and to publish my first book with her company. She is the Queen of Affirmations and says, "“Every thought we think is creating our future. ”

You remember Stuart Smalley, the famous fictional character from Saturday Night Live, known for his famous line, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me." The skits were hysterical and were a hit for years. It's so freeing to make light of ourselves, right?

But, affirmations may get a bad rap. Yes, it can sound extremely hokey but what's the alternative? Criticizing? That will just get you more of what you don't WANT! You can't talk yourself into self-acceptance by thinking negative thoughts. You have to accept yourself today, as you are.

If you are engaging in negative self talk on the daily, saying things like, "I'm not worthy, I'm broke, I'm ugly and fat and lonely.", the Universe will grant you those very things. It will match your vibration. Now I know you have heard that vibration banter in spiritual circles and it can sound confusing so let me explain to you what that means.

When you are saying negative things to yourself or worse, declaring them to others, there is great feeling behind those words. Your body, your mind, and your soul feels every fiber of that affirmation and will grant you more conicidences, occurrences and serendipities to affirm what you are feeling.

Recently, I heard Gabby Bernstein talking about ways to snap yourself out of going down a dark negative thought pattern. Wear a bracelet, rubber band, and/or hair tie on your wrist. When you notice you are saying negative things about yourself, snap the band, acknowlegde the thought, and replace it with a new, more positive, healthy thought. Come up with your own positive mantra specifically for you. Some examples might be:

I am happy.
I love and accept myself in this moment.
I am doing the best I can where I am.
I am safe.
All is well.

You may think you are BS'ing yourself because, you really don't feel that way. I totally get that. You know the saying, "fake it til you make it." Well, this is where you gotta insert faith and keep going. At the core of who you are, your soul, is already all of these things. Truly. You were made from love. There has been layers of limiting beliefs that have stuck with you or told to you by the world and others. Not one bit of it is true, you have chosen to engage the monkey mind (ego) and not the heart (soul, Universe).

Whenever you start something new, it can feel uncomfortable and scary, right? Let's take starting a new exercise's way hard at first. Your body has to adjust to the new regimen thrown its way. Your muscles are really sore the first few weeks as they adapt to the new resistantance and movement. You don't release weight right away. But as you make exercise a daily commitment, the soreness eases, physical strength and health develops and fluidity arises. You are in the flow and you are workin' it.

Well, its the same as building your mental muscles. You gotta work them before they can get strong.

Try this for thirty days... really commit to affirming that you are spectacular because you are!

Be your biggest fan! If you won't, who will?

I wanna hear some of your affirmations. What lifts you from a funky zone?

Love & Light,