Why Do I Hurt?

Grief has been a close companion as of late.

Grief and I have been unashamedly baring our souls to each other.  And it is a lot like buying a Prius. Once you decide to buy that Prius, you start to see Prius' everywhere.  When you open yourself up to grief, it is everywhere. 
 

Oh, I've been worryin' that my time is a little unclear
I've been worryin' that I'm losing the ones I hold dear


In my recent weeks at the meditation school, I've witnessed grief while working with clients healing back pain and releasing trauma held in physical scars.  For example, I worked on a friend's scar.  She had broken her leg and had been walking with a limp for months.  We worked together, then later I saw her in the lodge.  She saw me and burst into tears.  She had walked to the lodge without a limp and without even thinking about her leg. 

The miracle was not that she walked normally that day.  That felt miraculous, but she still had healing to do.  The amazing and humbling part was the way she had the courage to feel the depth of her emotion.  In the crying, she released the trauma. 

...the fear that she may never walk normally again
...the grief of how the trauma impacted her and its lingering effects on her life.
...the worry of how this injury would continue to haunt her in the future.

The fear and grief had encapsulated themselves in her scar and had been part of what kept her limping after all those months.   Her willingness to feel the emotions was key in releasing the trauma, and in doing so, helped to heal the physical wound.

I've been worryin' that we all live our lives in the confines of fear


Our emotions have to live somewhere.  If we don’t let them out, they bury themselves in our body.  If there is one emotion we try to avoid, it's grief.  We try like hell to bury grief.  Because, frankly, it can be devastating.  We will feel anything else in order not to feel grief. 

I’ve been watching all the ways that I see grief get covered up, hidden within our physical pain and tucked into the deep shadows of our body.  We hide it with anger.  Anxiety.  Control.  We hide it  by numbing ourselves.  Somehow these options feel more palatable.  Anger and control feel powerful.  Numbing and anxiety are distracting.

And yet, the problem is that when we choose a cover-up emotion, the grief remains.  So we keep getting angry over and over, not even sure why, as our body cloaks the grief from arising to the surface.


The beauty in exploring grief is that it has a way of blowing you open.  For me, the more I experience grief the more I know, I am not my pain.  I am not my grief.  It will not destroy me.  It won’t destroy you either.  You might be blown open and raw, but like the aftermath of a storm, the air is cleaner, the land is cleansed, debris is gone and life feels fresh and new again.


Come on love, come on love
Watch me fall apart, watch me fall apart


In speaking with a psychologist recently about work at rehab clinics, he said that in almost every rehab client he had, there was unresolved grief.  That hit me hard.  What if, we opened to grief and even better,  encouraged others to open their grief to us?  What if we could really hold someone in their grief?  What kind of gift could it be for all of us?
 

Only love, only love
Give me shelter, or show me heart


Why do you hurt?  It is worth asking yourself about your own stories of grief. 

with love,
Jennifer

If you're not sure or want support, there are ways we can work together. 
If you are curious about the healing techniques for yourself, ping me here

Lyrics by Ben Howard, “Only Love” and “The Fear”

What Do Lions Have To Do With Enlightenment?

steve-ody-522492-unsplash.jpg

I don't often share my experiences of meditation with people.  I feel shy and the experiences feel so profound that I usually don't have words for them. 

And if I'm honest, I also don't want to come across as crazy.

But I'm feeling bold today so I'm going to try to de-mystify or perhaps re-mystify meditation, starting with lions.

Think about everything you know about lions.

Their shape and size. 
Where they live. 
Random facts about their speed, their prey, their prides, their nature.
Everything you learned from that Discovery Channel documentary.
The stories, myths and symbols you grew up with.


Now.  Armed with this knowledge, would you know what it felt like to walk a mile in the soft, velvety pads of a lion?  Maybe?

What if you could know that feeling?  What if in one moment you could cognize everything there is to know about a lion?  You would have lion knowledge galore, but you would also feel what it was like to BE a lion, to exist in the skin of a lion.  Your understanding of a lion would forever be changed.  You would know the essence of a lion. 

This is the power of meditation. 

I had this experience recently, but rather than knowing the Lion, it was cognizing Compassion, a word that I have sorely underestimated.  I've often grouped "compassion" together with "nice" and left it to a dull and boring fate.  In fact, even as my meditation started to unfold, I had the thought, why couldn't I see more about lions instead?  But I didn't.  So, let us pretend that compassion is a like a lion. It has a living, breathing essence to it.  It carries mystery, intrigue, rulership, and heart. 

My initial experience in meditation was as if compassion was running through my veins, taking me over. Me becoming compassion.   I could feel its immensity and grace. I was frankly awe-stuck. This was not the simpering look, wringing hands, compassion I had a prejudice about.

This Compassion had magnitude. As the meditation went deeper, I felt compassion in a way that was unlike anything I had previously considered.

Compassion lives and breathes at the moments of big transitions - of rock bottom, of rough times and of heartache and loss.  When life takes you down, compassion is waiting for you at the bottom. It’s there for you on the way down, but it kicks into high gear at the bottom.  It is the force that picks you up off the floor. It gently helps you turn your head away from the abyss, towards hope and life. Compassion sits at the intersection of what is and what can be. It holds sway over how quickly you pick yourself up, dust off and start walking again.  It is at the crux of your recovery throughout the challenges in your life. Stiff arm compassion and you prolong your time in the swamp, you unnecessarily expand the time you stay at the bottom.

Compassion meets the interface of grief, loss, pain, suffering and hardship head on. It bears witness and tells us we are not alone.  It helps us gather our reserves so that we can push off the bottom.  

This gift can come from friends, family, and individuals, but it also exists independently. It is a force unto itself, woven into the fabric of our consciousness.  It’s in our religions, it sits in backdrop of faith and spirituality. It can reach us even when it doesn’t come from a person. I think that is so remarkable.

People often come out of hardship stronger and wiser. They find faith. They share how the hardest times brought the greatest graces in life.  Compassion can be the unseen force in the background, holding us so that we can find these ladders and rungs out into our own light.

The more Compassion moved through me in meditation, the greater my sense of awe and wonder. It is a force for peace in the world. It is the lion.


Love,

Jennifer

5 Things I've Learned from 7 Months of No Shopping

cactus.jpg
Pure holy simplicity confounds all the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of the flesh. 

                                -From the writings of St. Francis of Assisi

I’m halfway through my year of no-shopping and I am becoming an accidental minimalist. It's also making me bipolar.
While minimalists are cool, I never intended to become one when I started this project. I just wanted to reign in my spending, be honest about my attachment to material things (I'm sooooo attached) and to see if I could do it.
Yet, seven months in, minimalism is taking a hold of me. I've realized intentions work that way. We start a commitment with a particular intention. But at some point, our intention takes on a life of its own. A single action begins to transform our life in broad, unpredictable ways. Here are five ways that No Shopping is changing me.

1.  Purging Addiction: I now have a purging addiction.  I thought that when I stopped buying clothes, I would horde my remaining fibers, hovering in my closet like Gollum from The Hobbit, whispering to my precious one white sweater. Instead, I've become protective of the white space in my closet.  The space in between clothes. It feels like freedom. As I purge my closet, I'm also purging my obligation to wear something, just because it is on my shelves.

And as the white space increases, it's easier to see what no longer works in my closet and to effortlessly dethrone it, no matter who gave it to me or how much it costIt is mirroring in my life as well.  As there is less clutter, it's easier to see what I want to step into.

2.  The Generosity of the Universe:  This project has convinced me of the generosity of the universe.  If I really need something, an article of clothing, a bit of caffeine, it somehow magically appears.  A friend might offer to loan me a top.  A gift or hand-me-down arrives unexpectedly.  The Starbucks barista takes pity and donates an ice tea to my cause.  It's as if I was constantly buying things before because I did not trust that the universe had my back.  It does.

3. Whack a Mole - Lest you think that this has be easy, effortless resolution, let me confess otherwise. 
Do you remember the carnival game where you hit a mole and it keeps popping up in different places?  I've avoided the mall, but lingered in the specialty aisle at the grocery store, convinced we could not make it through the week without fig jam and marcona almonds.  I stopped shopping for clothes, shoes, and accessories and suddenly found my make-up collection had doubled.  Amazon delivers a new book to me almost every week (and no, I am not even close to reading them all).   While it's not cheating,  I am clearly funneling my dopamine hits into new categories. 

It makes me feel bi-polar.  I am purging my wardrobe while stockpiling reading material.  Which brings me back to accidental minimalism.  As I've catch myself in loopholes, I become acutely aware of the other places in my life that have excess.   The local library just received my  donation of books.

4.  Integrity and the Mistress of Trickery:   I like cheating the system, which means that I even try to find loopholes in my own system.  Which is weird, right? I mean, I've created the system, why would I cheat it. And yet, I do it. I think, "If I buy this for my son and I get a second one free for me, does that count? " As if I won’t notice how I am sneaking around the edges of my moral conscience. It’s like eating food from someone else’s plate and thinking those calories won’t count because no one saw it.
It's made me reflect on what Integrity is. Perhaps, integrity is less a core value, but rather a continual choosing in each moment. It’s not one decision (To run a marathon) but rather the collection of choices made every single day to become who we want to be. The training every day, even when you don't want to. There lies integrity...and will power.
And it's made me ponder on how quickly integrity can erode through the small, seemingly insignificant slips. I've hit moments where I could feel that one small, indirect purchase would erode the entire foundation of my resolution. Over and over I see how easy it would be to close my eyes, cover my ears and to not choose integrity. I have stayed with this resolution, but I haven't always looked pretty along the way (and that's not because of my clothes).

5.  Creativity and the Joy of Sharing the Journey: When we don’t have to work for something, we tend to operate in very routine ways. When we really, really want something, we get creative. Because of my non-habit, I’ve gotten really creative about how to add to my wardrobe. My favorite event was holding a clothing swap with a host of fabulous women. Bring five items and go home with five replacements. Win-win-win. An opportunity to purge closets and the glee of new clothes for free. The best part? Most women left with 2-3 items instead of five. When pressed, they expressed a sense of accomplishment in purging more than they acquired.
Friends have said they are inspired and are doing their own version of No Shopping. Others are eyeing it for 2019. It was meant to be a personal journey, but I've got to be honest, it feels AWESOME to do something that inspires people towards their own journey. It makes it so worthwhile.


So we will see where the final stretch takes me. So far, I love it.  
With the simplicity of love,
Jennifer

Naked Fierceness

fierce.jpg

It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own.

                                                   - Mary Oliver

It is weird to post a giant photo of my face on a blog. Especially this photo.

I was trying to figure out why this photo makes me uncomfortable.  We often talk about our masks. The images and faces we show to the world. For example,
“I’ve got this” when you haven't got a clue.
“I am confidant” when inside you are panicked.
“Look how happy and free I am" when inside your world is falling apart.


Masks are used to cover up our true feelings. They keep us from showing our vulnerabilities.

So what about the flip side to masks? These are the faces that show our raw emotions, that capture a part of us that we don’t typically show to the world.  We are sometimes startled by them when looking at photos of ourselves. Do you ever see a photo of yourself and feel a bit naked? Like there is an expression captured on your face that you prefer to keep hidden?

That’s what this photo is of me.  When I first saw it a couple years ago, it was one in a series of head shots taken for Levity.  I saw it and immediately dismissed it. It felt both foreign and intimate to share.
And yet, when asked, a good friend said it was one of her favorites.  "It shows your fierceness," she said.

Ah. I have had an uneasy relationship to my fierceness.  I’ve tried to hide it my whole life and cover it with a nice smile, which, by the way, doesn't work. For those of you who are trying this technique, your friends see right through you.
And frankly, who doesn’t want access to their fierceness? It is such a wealth of vitality, will, and force to harness. Hiding this photo was hiding myself. But in the world, we want access to all parts of ourselves.
I now have so much more access to these gems thanks to meditation. 

I would not have the insights to myself, the clarity or the ability to make sense of the world as I have without the help of meditation.  The workshop that got me started and set me on a path is the Awakening the Third Eye Workshop.  This two day workshop gave me the context, foundation, and set of experiences (yes, I had full-on experiences during my first weekend workshop!) to have a sustainable and continuing practice. 

The biggest challenge I hear from people is the ability to maintain a meditation practice and not drop it. This workshop gives the tools to do just that. We have not hosted this workshop in San Diego in over a year and it’s finally coming back this fall, on September 8 & 9.  I will be helping facilitate the workshop with Instructor Wenndi Freer, who introduced me to this practice almost a decade ago.

with love and fierceness, Jennifer

The Art of Not Knowing

Photo by  Austin Chan  on  Unsplash

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

I feel raw.


In June, I leave for three weeks. I'll be in training, refining my skills in the healing and regression modality that I use with clients to change the patterns in their life so they can be more fully alive.  It’s deep work. It is therapeutic and healing and accesses depths that talk therapy can't always get to. It brings relief from trauma and drives inspiration.  It means that real change happens for my clients.

So what does three weeks of training look like?  
 

It means that I'm going to be opened up.
 

I can't help my clients if I haven't been on the front lines.
 

It will require vulnerability and rigor. It may be volcanic or a gentle blooming. I know that I will be different on the other side of it. I know I will be able to bring more to my clients. Those are truths.
 

And, I have no idea what is really going to happen. Sitting with the not knowing is both an art and a challenge.

Knowing answers feels good.  There’s an inherent confidence and ease that comes when we have the answers.  It’s rewarding. It’s the key to good grades, to promotions, to leadership positions and credibility with friends and peers.  When we know the answers, the world is set and we know our place in it and that feels good.

Which is why not knowing can be hard.  Some questions require time and examination. They could upend our positioning of our place in the world.  It requires a surrender, when all we want to do is control. Holding the not knowing requires an uncomfortable grace.

“Do I stay in this job or look for another?”

“What is my purpose in life?”

“Do I send my child to kindergarten early or hold them back?”

“Which direction is the right way?”

“Do I take the short term fix or play the long game?”

When I have to hold a question, like "what is going to change for me during this training" some part of me desperately wants an answer, and right the f*&k now.  Someone please give me direction, give me an answer, because not knowing is SO uncomfortable. There is fear in not knowing and the ‘what if’s’ creep in.  
Fear makes us push for an answer. We want to assert our place in the world and demand the confidence and ease to replace the fear. We will sometimes take or create a decision, just to move forward, even if it isn't the right decision.

Here is what I am learning.  There are truths to live by. There is timing.  There is the art of not knowing, which is really the art of the letting go of the outcome.  

When I hold to truth (I will feel different in three weeks) and I let go of the outcome (better, worse, stronger, weirder), something eases up.  There is no wrong answer if I hold to truth. And in fact, if I let go of the outcome, there is simplicity.  
I don't feel compelled to...

Construct my life around a potential outcome,

Protect myself from an outcome,

Attach myself to a decision as better or worse,

Adhere to a not-yet-happened outcome,

Or even organize around

An answer that has not yet come.

I can stay in the face of not knowing anything but a desire for truth and from there, any outcome will be ok. 

and the truth will set you free.

With all the love of not knowing,

Jennifer

The Shrinking of Wildness

Photo by  Jeremy Bishop  on  Unspla

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unspla

The shrinking from wildness starts early.  I just led a workshop for 7th grade girls and the retreat from that inner freedom had already begun.  In some ways they still retained some wildness.  They were free and full of fun when painting, spreading it on each other and reveling in the mess.  But then we journaled.  We journaled about self-confidence and the responses were heart-breaking.

"I have low confidence, and so always think of myself negatively."

"They (meaning other people) don't care about my achievements"

"Other people won't be impressed by (what I do)." 

"I don't have anything to brag about."

"I don't want to sound _________ .
Fill in the blanks with conceited, self-absorbed, rude, inconsiderate.


This is not ok. 

This is REALLY not ok.

If we want to raise a generation of girls with confidence, body  ownership, and an outlook that can positively impact the world, we have to start with ourselves, because they are modeling us. 

They are inheriting these words and these quotes from us.  Every time we shrink from being unapologetically ourselves, we are sending the message to girls to shrink as well.

And that is not limited to moms.  All of us women are modeling behavior and believe me, girls are watching. 

We tell girls we want them to grow up to be brave and strong and confident, even while we turn our backs on those very concepts in our own life.  We stop taking risks, we don't stretch ourselves, we settle.  So often, time passes and we realize we've compromised in our lives, and we have oriented ourselves towards an unsatisfying "good enough," perhaps also believing we are not deserving of more.

It reminds me of the line that I heard recently, that it is not the pain that takes us down, it's the shame of the pain.

Wildness is wilderness and neither know shame.  It is becoming the biggest tree in the forest because you can.  There is joy in growing and a reaching for as much light as your limbs can find.  It should be ok for us to take up space, be big and bold and be seen and to take joy in saying "here I am."

The river does not stop moving because it approaches rocks or even a cliff.  The stream continues through, cleansing and washing everything into its path, becoming a waterfall in its leap of faith.  We are like these forces of nature and lest us not be like quicksand.

with fierce and wild love,
Jennifer

Why Disequilibrium Might Be the Best Experience You Can Give Yourself

Photo by  Cam Adams  on  Unsplash

Photo by Cam Adams on Unsplash

“Disequilibrium happens when you begin to see things in the world that don’t make sense to you. The things you thought you knew—the things that helped you feel stable and clear—are now in question. And, woof. This state is hard. We crave equilibrium.”
— - Sandy Speicher, Partner, IDEO

I have written bits of this newsletter at home, on a run, at gyms,waiting for kids and finally, in front of a computer.  The idea was bubbling, but I couldn't quite get it down.  Turns out, when you are in a state of disequilibrium, it is a difficult topic to write about.  It wasn't until I saw an article by Sandy Speicher, a Partner at IDEO, that it clicked.  In the article, The Uncomfortable Secret To Creative Success is Disequilibrium, Speicher talks about the moments of frustration and challenge when we are adapting or learning something that shifts our mental models of the world and it hasn't quite clicked yet.  These are the moments or weeks of synthesis, when you have gathered information, sorted it, but have not yet made sense of it.  It's a hard state to sit with.  While Speicher uses this term to talk about the creative process, it is a great reference for life. 

I was reflecting on this as it related to my clients after our private sessions and workshops.  Something deep is touched in them.  Often, it is an opening to a new understanding of who they are or why they are in the world.  Sometimes the foundation of their life story is turned upside down.  And sometimes, there is an internal limit that is dropped entirely.  These are moments are great revelation.


One woman from a workshop marveled that being in play is a choice.
 

A client of mine discovered in one of our sessions that she was holding onto an emotional pattern that was akin to snuggling with Voldemort.  This client also recognized how scary it was to let go of the attachment, even though it was not serving her.


Another friend and artist realized how her upbringing among a family and community of prominent artists had created  some dust, expectations and paralysis around 'is it good enough? is it serious? is it really art?,' limiting the freedom of her creative expression. 
 
These insights, because they are individually freeing, create a state of disequilibrium.  We are stretching our understanding of the world and of ourselves.  And as we do this internal expanding, as we let go of the old framework, it can feel like we are groping around in the dark, searching for firm ground and a light switch. 

If play is a choice, then what have I been choosing when I haven't chosen play?

Where will I be without Voldemort at my side?

(hopefully somewhere near Hermoine and Harry)

What does it mean if my art is already 'good enough?'

To move through disequilibrium, we have to create a new 'a-ha' moment that invites these insights into meaning.  We invite a bigger, more inclusive model into our life. 

Perhaps this expansion is not for everyone.  But each time we are willing to expand our understandings and let ourselves move through a phase of disequilibrium, we become more fully alive and more engaged in life.  Our horizons broaden and we are a step towards greater freedom.  

In simple terms, it is learning.  As Speicher writes, "Learning isn’t about the consumption of new information. Learning is the process of using our innate abilities to construct—or create—new understandings of the world. Learning, by its very nature, is a creative act."

These expansions are always my goal for you in my meditations and workshops.  Whether through play, stillness of meditation, or the exploration of your inner wild, the chance for profound disequilibrium is just around the corner.

With Love,
Jennifer

7 Things I've Learned in the First Month of a Depth Year (otherwise known as No Shopping)

huyen-405450-unsplash.jpg

Last month, I posted about my 2018 intention for a Depth Year.  A Depth Year can be different for each person.  For me, it meant no shopping for clothes, shoes or accessories for myself, for one year.  Additionally, no Starbucks and no new hobbies.  A Depth Year is not a punitive resolution, but rather a response to my deep craving for simplicity and precision.  I wanted to streamline my life.  I am one month in.  There is a long way to go, but here are seven things that I have learned so far.

1. I really like nice things.  Let’s just get the elephant out of the room on this one.  I like to think I’m that yogi-in-training who can do this year-long initiative because I don’t care about material goods.  Turns out that I do care.  I like a nice house, nice clothes, a nice latte with a pretty heart design in the middle.  Whatever illusions I had about not being materialistic have been laid bare.  I am well-trained in western materialism.  

2. I buy things to feel good.  I suspect this is why I eliminated Starbucks.  It’s a quick fix.  I also do this with online shopping.  If I’m feeling sad, or unhappy or unappreciated, these are ways to “treat” myself, to make me feel better.  It is the use of something external to affect my internal state.

3. My desire is fickle and fleeting.   I walk by a store window and I want the sweater effortlessly displayed on the mannequin.  And I want it badly.  Then I leave the store and head home and I’ve already forgotten about it.  I see a friend in an adorable pair of boots.  I want them so badly.  Two days later, I can’t even remember what they looked like.  I drive by the Starbucks and am DYING for a chai latte.  An hour later, I have no interest.  It’s like the marketing forces from the stores shine their spotlight on me, and while it’s shining, it’s all I can see.  Then the spotlight moves on and I wake up and realize the desire wasn’t even mine. 

4. Instant Gratification has dulled my senses.    This is a follow-on to fickle and fleeting.  I am so used to acting on instant gratification that my muscle of discernment has atrophied.  I cannot tell the difference between what I want for a moment and what I truly yearn for.  Historically, I simply acquire what I want right away.  Even more, I have taken pride in being able to acquire what I want, when I want.  What I am learning now, is that just because I can, doesn’t mean I am serving my best interests in doing so.

5. I have a lot more head space.  No shopping means shockingly less decisions. 

Me before:  Do I want that?  Don’t I?  Can I justify it?  What would it go well with? Is there one even better or cheaper or more original? Should I get it now or later?

Now: That's cute. I am not getting it.  

6. I have so much support to actually do this for a year.  Friends ask me about this project.  They are interested, sincere and curious.  Once the conversation starts, they often have great ideas to help me through it, or ways they’ve seen others successfully not-shop.  Friends from afar are sending me articles on minimalism, podcasts and other inspirations to support me.  I’ll share them on social media as they come in.  I am chronicling more of this on Instagram here.

7. I am aware of how much I DO have. I’m almost embarrassed to talk about what I’m abstaining from as it feels like the ultimate “first world challenge”.  I am willingly giving up things that 75% of the world doesn’t have access or means to in the first place.   I’ve thought about donating what I’ve saved from not shopping to various humanity programs. I haven't figured it out but if you have suggestions, please respond to this email and let me know.  

To summarize this month, as I stop looking outward for what I don't have, I realize I am surrounded by abundance.

Sooooo, all this extra head space goes towards clients and some upcoming workshops so you get to benefit from me not shopping, too!

with love and simplicity,

Jennifer

Finding Freedom and Depth

Photo courtesy of Unsplash and Kalen Emsley

Photo courtesy of Unsplash and Kalen Emsley

Last year, my New Year’s Resolution was to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.  It was wild, nerve-wracking and ultimately a liberating exercise.  2018, in some ways, is a continuation of pushing that edge as I decide strategies to embrace freedom and depth, ironically, by creating constraints.

It started with a New York Times op ed article by author, Ann Patchett, titled My Year of No Shopping.  The article was compelling, brave, scary, and completely committed. It caught me with the quote, “what I needed was less”.   The idea was turning over in my mind when I reposted it to Facebook and my cousin called me to the challenge.

Gulp.  The idea of not buying things filled me with panic.  I immediately felt the need to go Black Friday style and buy everything in anticipation of buying nothing.  So I knew I was on to something.

Our pursuit of material things can be an obstruction to actually finding meaning and purpose in life.

My research took me even further with a brilliant article by David Cain, Go Deeper, Not Wider, which I highly, highly recommend.   David describes these type of constraints as a Year of Depth.  Like Ann Patchett, he advocates no shopping, but he goes further.

"No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started.

You improve skills rather than learning new ones. You consume media you’ve already stockpiled instead of acquiring more.

The guiding philosophy is “Go deeper, not wider.” Drill down for value and enrichment instead of fanning out. You turn to the wealth of options already in your house, literally and figuratively. We could call it a “Depth Year” or a “Year of Deepening”."


For me, a Depth Year feels like I get a pass from chasing things. I have a habit to spreading myself too thin and I am craving depth.  I want less.  I want to have less, I want to think about less things, I want less events on my calendar and with what I choose in my life, I want greater depth.  With less in my head and on my plate, I have more freedom, more space to give, more space to be.  A year of no shopping starts that trend.

The things we buy and buy and buy are like a thick coat of Vaseline smeared on glass: We can see some shapes out there, light and dark, but in our constant craving for what we may still want, we miss life’s details.   - Ann Patchett

I will have to detach from my attachment to things.  When I feel empty on love, I give myself gifts to feel better. When I get that uncomfortable hollow feeling, I fill it with things, treats, pretty objects, new programs that provide that dopamine kick.  This year, I want my freedom more.  Time to go cold turkey.

Here is how I am Embracing Freedom and Going Deep in 2018.

1. I am not going to buy new things this year (unless absolutely necessary, like toothpaste or when my running shoes fall apart).  For me, this is clothes, shoes, accessories, and Starbucks.  Get ready to see me in the same clothes all year.

2. I am not going to take up new hobbies.  I plan to get better and the ones I’ve already started.

3. I am going to go deeper with my practice, my clients, my workshops, family & friends.

It starts today.  Wish me luck.

What Stops Desire

Long walk to desire


My clients are amazing.  Recently, during our session together, a client discovered desire’s evil twin.  We were diving deep into desire, and as she began to recognize desire as a feeling within her, she also began to elucidate its dastardly counterpart, the one that kills desire before we ever act on it.  It was a concept that had been lurking in the back of my head for awhile, but I did not have words for it, only the scent of it.  The minute she named it, things clicked into place.  

The difference between the two stems from the question, 

“What do you want?”  

Try to answer that question with conviction.  
As in, you have a gun to your head.

Would you stumble?  Would you know the answer?  Would your mind go blank?

It’s hard.  Most of us don’t know what we desire. OR, we think we know what we want.  We think we want that new car, but what we really want is the feeling that the car will bring us.  It’s a temporary fix.  Then the feeling wears off and we are in search of the next “thing” to want.  We hover in the shallows of desire.

Real desire is what drives people with passion in their life.  It might be a desire for a person, or a cause or a feeling.  Elon Musk wants to die on Mars, Lady Gaga wanted to be a rockstar, Tom created shoes in order to help those without.  These may be extreme examples, but desire is the engine around which things can happen.  Rather than go after real desires, many of us engage in its evil twin, wishful thinking.  We look at the fancy house, that seemingly perfect marriage or the glamourous celebrity and say wistfully, “I wish I had that.”   

Wishful thinking is like cotton candy.  It looks delicious, but it is sticky.  It has no substance and can rot our mind like the carnival variety can rot our teeth.  Because here’s the thing.  When we engage in wishful thinking, we’ve already decided that we will not get the thing we are wishing for.  It is a way to drift into fantasy land without ever committing.  We don’t work towards achieving it because we’ve already decided we can’t have that dream.  Then, as the years go by, we get to say, 

insert big sigh and ever so wistfully,
“I did always want to visit Kentucky, but I never got to.”  

We feel justified.  That goal of Kentucky just wasn’t in the cards for us.  But the real reason is that we never tried.  We quit before we started.

I know I’ve fostered many hours of daydreaming with no action.  Fair enough, maybe I did not really want a fairy castle.  But that doesn’t need to stop me from finding a castle in Italy and booking a room for a week.  

Why not find something you do desire and then stand behind it?  Just pick one thing - run a 5K, go after bits of joy throughout the day, play, begin to put in the work towards that one thing.  It’s goal-setting, but it is also discovering your desires and wants.  And they have momentum.  As you start to get little things you desire, you start to go after bigger things and the next thing you know, you set out to run a 5K and you are completing a marathon. 

After all, there are a lot of turkey trots coming up. 

With love, 
Jen

PS.  I’ve set my next intro workshop for January 21st, called Permission to Play.  This is a four hour play/workshop for women where we leave seriousness at the curb, roll up our sleeves and jump into exuberant play.  See below for details.  
PPS.  This workshop is for women.  I am working on a workshop that includes men in 2018.  Stay tuned.  

Where is Truth

Photo courtesy of unsplash and Stefan Rayner

Photo courtesy of unsplash and Stefan Rayner

I don't know why, but truth is quiet. 

I have discovered quiet steps towards truth, but it was my recent bout of less-truthful and not-so-quiet, righteous indignation that prompted this post.


This righteousness had a false note to it, but like junk food, the packaging looked really appealing.

"Tastes better!  More Flavor! 
I get to be right and everyone else is wrong!" 


This feeling sells itself as Truth, but is more concerned with being right.  And who doesn't like to feel right?  It will go through Wily E. Coyote, Brier Rabbit, and A Trial Lawyer's bag of tricks to position itself in the right.  And when this Indignation is successful, usually someone else is very wrong.  This can be a spouse, a friend or the guy at the corner mart.  It is so busy screaming how right it is, it cannot even hear what other side has to say.  It is so caught up in blame, that there can be no other perspective.  It is narrow, fierce and committed.  Righteous Indignation is vindictive.  It can’t come to the table for an honest discussion. 

Furthermore, it is everywhere.  It is inside me, it is probably inside you, it's in our national forum and politics.

So how do you know if you are speaking from Truth or from the part that just wants to be right at all costs? 

Truth doesn’t yell, throw a fit, or scream.  It doesn’t make someone else wrong.  Truth is a knowing that exists in a place that is bigger than being right or being wronged.  Truth is also impersonal.  It doesn't care about me, my pride, or my desires.  So when, as happened to me recently, I feel turmoil, charged emotions and a loud, insistent voice, perhaps even  sanctimonious (who me?  Never), I knew there is a good chance that my Righteous Indignation was posturing as Truth.  My best clue as to what was happening was my initial unwillingness to step into the other person's shoes at all.  I wanted to be right.  I wanted to stay on my high horse, far away from any pain I might have caused.

Why does this false counterpart to Truth rear its head?  It is a cover-up.  Maybe there is a bit a blame that we need to own, but don’t want to, maybe we have hurt someone and we don’t want to acknowledge it.  Often there are uncomfortable feelings lying underneath our righteousness that we don’t want to see, and as long as we can place the blame elsewhere, we don’t have to look at or feel this discomfort.  

This is the place where change can happen.  When we are willing to look at these places of discomfort and find Truth on the other side.  These are the places I had to go and where I go with my clients.  Having the courage and willingness to see through the comfortable disillusions is what leads to unvarnished, raw, but still shining truths.

And without the courage to see it though, it is easy to cycle into blame or self-judgement.  And what about my own recent flailing?  I could crawl into a hole and flog myself, but again, the truth is, it was only in witnessing and acknowledging my own righteous failing that I could see the path back towards that quiet truth. 

Could I Get a Side of Guilt with That?

brenda-godinez-229718.jpg

"You're going to feel guilty....
You will experience guilt as you craft the life of your dreams.  It's part of your conscience, it's the tension in 'creative tension.'"

                                            - Danielle LaPorte

I like this reframe of guilt.  The idea that we continue to rise and move forward, that guilt does not win the battle, it is a side effect to growth.  

It got me thinking about the hold that guilt does have on us.  As we continue to rise, reach for our goals and spread our wings, we will feel guilt, and gone unchecked, it can be crippling.  Like it will crush us.  It comes in different forms and may capture men and women differently.  Mine has often been the tension between career and family.

I was wrecked with guilt the first time I traveled for work after giving birth.  The trip was short but I agonized over it.  I was so buried in the emotional turmoil, I could barely acknowledge that I wanted to go on the trip, anxious to feel like an untethered and mentally functioning adult.  I did make it through the trip, despite my breast-pump breaking midway and almost busting out of my bra on the plane home.  It was a success.  Not following the guilt was the first step in realizing no one needed to suffer as a part of me pursuing my career, except maybe my breasts.

Me 1    Guilt 0


But hold on, does that mean the guilt went away permanently?  Oh no.  And while it is applicable to everyone, guilt harbors a special place for moms and professional women.  For me, it just transferred to the next challenge and the next challenge.  Each time I up-leveled my career, the sense of burden would plague me.

Sometimes guilt won.  I went through phases where I built in no time for myself, not even an hour, instead parceling it all out to career and family.  Consequently, I was tired, burnt out, and grouchy.

Guilt 1    Me 1


It made me a worse mom, wife, and employee.  Frankly, it just made me a worse version of myself.

Later, when I decided to leave the firm to pursue my life passion, it was a funny turn of events.  I was home more often, had time with my kids and dropped the corporate attire.  At one point, I proudly asked them,  “Isn’t it great that I’m home more?”  as I smugly made an after-school snack.  The kids looked at me funny, then they both said “we didn’t really notice.”  

WTF?

Yep, turns out, all that guilt I had been carrying about my ability to be a good mom while in a corporate career was just in my head.  I was doing perfectly well for my kids, it was my nagging self-reproach that had stopped me from recognizing it.
 
Guilt 2    Me 1

Then came the kicker.  My son looked at me and said, “you know, Mom, don’t take this personally, but you’ve kind of let yourself go.  You used to dress so professionally….. and now, well….”

I glanced down at my running shorts, mismatched top and hastily brushed hair and started laughing at the truth of it.

My son had been watching me at work and was proud of me, the high powered job I did.  My change affected how he saw me as a role model.  

Do you see?  It was the perfect opportunity for guilt to jump in again about the decision I made to leave corporate life.  Guilt drives the no-win situation.  But luckily, I was on the look-out.  I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting guilt these days, and while I don’t always win, I can usually stop it from getting the best of me.

I responded to my son, "What I’m showing you now is just as important.  The pursuit of a passion can come in many forms, it may wear a suit, or running shorts, but when the call comes, you answer it.  You answer it clearly and let guilt fall in your fading footsteps.  It is ok to shift gears mid-career.  It is ok to pursue a corporate ladder and it is ok to walk away from it.”

So see the guilt.  Acknowledge it as a side effect to your growth. And then continue to rise. 

A Question of Resistance

rita-morais-217555.jpg

The universe, with its grand sense of humor, recently and oh-so generously offered me a chance to explore my own resistance and to make some discoveries about where I’ve invested my will.

At a recent meditation intensive, the instructors added an hour of yoga to the daily schedule.  For those of you who have followed, you might recall my particular lack of fondness for yoga in an earlier newsletter - it was titled: The Art of Rage and Yoga.

I have been attending meditation retreats here for almost 10 years and never have I been asked to do yoga, or postures, as they prefer to call it.

While most of the class met the news with great enthusiasm and eagerness I was, at best, lackluster.  We lined up, many eager racehorses and me, desperate to go sit in the pasture and munch on grass.  Yet, the universe was calling out my resistance so off we went, my marginal willingness driven largely by peer pressure.

As the week progressed, I noticed that there was an overall positive effect of doing postures daily.  Mentally, I was still fighting it, but my meditations were deeper, stiller, and damnit, I felt good.  One night, in a moment of unexpected enthusiasm, I blurted out to my roommates that I was going to do 30 consecutive days of postures.  The next morning, they decided to join me in the 30 day commitment.  Crap.

During the next thirty days the exercise circled through reluctance to anticipation and back, but I did not quit, thanks to a question posed by an instructor at the retreat. 

Where is your will in this moment? 

I realized much of my will was invested in resisting the postures and in resisting the good feeling.  Feeling good actually happened against my will.  The universe really does have a sense of humor.  

And while ultimately, a 30 day yoga challenge is not a heroic act of will, it has given me a way to reclaim my will and its power. Harnessing will in the smallest ways gives momentum towards acts of will much larger. 

We've all had conversations about the challenges in committing to something, making meditation “stick,” or creating a routine and maintaining a good habit.  For me, asking 'where is your will is in this moment?' has been a game changer.  It is a way to reclaim the power that is inherently yours. 

Where is your will in this moment?

Pity Parties and Dancing with Stuckness

Pitypartiesanddancingwithstuckness

I should have known.  When I wrote about joy last month, I should have known that I would immediately be put to the test.  This past month I had a series of small incidences that sent me into a nosedive.  I know the techniques that help bring me back to a state of joy and here was my test.  Did I do them?  

Nope.  

I delayed, I procrastinated, I came up with reasons why my tools were not worth pursuing.  Dancing to my favorite music?  Meh.  Exercise?  I pulled my hamstring and could not be bothered to go to the pool.  Hanging out with friends?  I isolated myself instead, "saving" my friends from my surliness.  Grumpy dwarf could have taken lessons from me.  I blamed the overcast weather, I blamed my injury, my spouse, I blamed the alignment in the stars, the tides and well, you get the picture.  I was stuck in my morass and as I kept looking for a way out, I had to acknowledge the giant elephant in the room.  

I didn’t want out.  There was a part of me that wanted to wallow in the muck. I wanted to lay in the mess and make mud angels in my cocktail mix of pessimism, pity and blame.  This part of me wanted to put on a black leather jacket and give inspiration and joy the middle finger.  Destruction, implosion and misery sounded way more interesting.

Oh.

Oh.

Um, yeah.  Not my proudest moment but a powerful one.  Something changed when I acknowledged this inner rebellion.  I was able to see more everything more clearly.   

I dug up a blog written by a friend, Elisa Mehl, that had always resonated with me.  I respect her immensely.  She talks about the experience of feeling stuck:

“When we can't move forward, often it's because we are not finished with the experience we are actually having.  What if we were simply present for the rich alive pulsing of the exact state and moment?  What if we didn't pay attention to our mind, or society, or friends telling us we should be more mature or positive or open or accepting or whatever?
 
Often this takes a reframe.  We are conditioned to seeing our "stuckness" as bad.  But what if we reframe the stuckness into an embrace?”

    •    When we try to change something we are outside of it.
    •    By not trying to change something and being curious we get present.
    •    Presence carries us inside, to the center of whatever is going on.
    •    In the center, is our presence.   Presence is life.
    •    Our perspective is different when we are present.

Until I acknowledged my desire to stay in the misery, I was fighting an unseen opponent, one stealth and well-versed in ambushing me.  In getting curious about my desire to stay stuck, I could suddenly start to see my choices again.  I had more space to see and decide and felt less committed to my inky pity pit.  I invited my husband for a surf and went for a walk with a friend and did some stretching.  I even dragged myself to a yoga class. Afterwards, I felt the best I had in weeks and I remembered why I like to feel good. 

It’s rejuvenating and the the world is brighter again.  

We all drop into that hole in life.  And sometimes, we want to stay in the hole.  The key is to get curious about it.  Be present with it.  Acknowledge it.  Then, decide.  Where do you want to go next? 

with love,
Jennifer

For Elisa's full article click here

Rewiring by Joy

rewiring by joy

Joy is the serious business of heaven.
                          - C.S. Lewis  

                              
I am coming undone.  Rewiring by joy.

I’m often on a high when facilitating a workshop and afterwards comes the fall.  It’s like coming home after a fabulous vacation and realizing it's time to do the laundry and bay the bills.  Necessary, yes.  Fabulous?  Less so.  It is in this place where my rubber hits the road.  Choosing joy on these days.  From what part of me am I going to live during the non-peak moments of life?

I have friends who don't get joy.  Joy is bigger and different than happiness.  Take holiday carols, for instance.  Frosty the Snowman was...  happy, until he melted.  Songs of joy, on the other hand, include angels, triumph and exultation - the Herald Angels sing, "Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies."

When someone wins the the Olympics, it’s joy.  Can you listen to the theme for Chariots of Fire and not feel something rise in your chest, this exultation of spirit, the desire to stand tall, burst into song or take a stand for something?

For those of us not winning an Olympic medal today and not immersing ourselves in holiday songs as summer approaches, how can joy make its way to us?  And how can we meet it?

This experience of joy is a conscious decision to reorient towards something new.  This is what I am climbing towards, and sometimes crawling towards, in the non-peak moments of life.  The average days, the gray days, the busy traffic and the folding laundry days.  And it is not always easy.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic, refers to the choice as an act of will.  She describes it as stubborn gladness.  In referring to her work as a writer and lover of her craft, “My ultimate choice, then, is to always approach my work from a place of stubborn gladness....  I’ve decided to meet that destiny with as much good cheer and as little drama as I can - because how I choose to handle myself as a writer is entirely my own choice.”

Stubborn gladness isn't as sexy as exultation, but it speaks to the commitment, the roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-gritty-with-joy.  It takes effort and will.  Without the commitment, dullness and dissatisfaction can creep into life like wet fog, clouding the exuberance of life.   In her commencement speech at U.C. Berkeley, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook describes the effort and commitment to choosing joy in the grieving months after her husband’s unexpected death.

"When life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void—or in the face of any challenge—you can choose joy and meaning."

It takes guts.

When people come to me in workshops, meditations, or for one-on-one sessions they often have specific wants.  They will likely never use the word joy.  They might say they want to be happier.  But what I hold for each and every person, all the time, is a connection to their own joy.  The source of it, the power of it, the exuberance that can blow open doors and the stillness that feels so full, it has no choice but to rub off on others and expand the room.  Always and forever, every time I take any step with someone on their journey, this is what I aspire for them.

with Love,
Jennifer

"My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.”
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Vuja De

I recently discovered Vuja De.  It is my new favorite expression and not just because I like the way it rolls off my tongue.  I returned from three weeks of meditation and when people ask about my trip, I often struggle to explain how life altering it feels.  Nothing tangible has changed, and yet, everything is brighter and more vibrant and infinitely altered.  I was listening to a lecture by Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton, on the concept of original ideas when he threw out this term "vuja de."  I literally stopped the car, fumbled with my phone and replayed it three times.  Vuja De is the reverse of deja vu.  It goes like this. 

Suppose you're in a situation that is very familiar-perhaps you're driving to work or doing something else that you've done a hundred times before-and you suddenly feel as if you are experiencing it in a new light, as if it's the first time.  Waiting for a taxi and notice all the empty cars?  Vuja de moment and Uber is born.  It's a birthplace for original ideas.  I researched this further and while it's an expression used more recently by Adam Grant and Tom Kelley of famed company IDEO, the term actually originated from comedian George Carlin.
 

After three weeks of meditation, life feels like a series of vuja de moments.

The thing is, more of us do not experience many of these moments, because we often choose the default options in life.  We don't question the norms of everyday life.  If I could offer anything, add this to your bucket list:  spend a week away in meditation, or silence, in contemplation, or alone in nature, or in prayer.  Find a program or retreat that resonates with you and do yourself a favor, at some point in life, make time for it.  Everyone should experience moments of vuja de. 

And while I cannot offer you weeks of solitude, I do have options that can spark a bit of vuja de.  The two day Awakening the Third Eye meditation workshop coming up June 3 & 4 and is a great way to build and solidify a personal meditation practice and to open you up to deeper states of consciousness. 

Another dive into your own originality is through the The Inner Wild Child Immersion.  It is filling up quickly, but there are still spots left.  Find out what it feels like to rediscover your fearlessness, your creativity and your invincibility. 

Go on, take the plunge and experience your brilliance. 
Vuja de it.  

More on Adam Grant or to watch his Ted Talk:  www.adamgrant.net

You Are The Spark

As a kid, I loved creative endeavors, but I gave them up at age 7.  My sense of my own creativity was squashed early on.  After a few scribbled paintings, I was told that I was better off sticking to academics and sports.  I believed the feedback.   Instead, I hung out with creative people and riffed off their energy, joking that I couldn't draw a stick figure. 

When Kate Randall and I led our Inner Wild Child Immersion last year, she guided the group to their inner wild child through art.  I was standing on the sidelines when she encouraged me to be a participant.  I had not painted anything since I was little.  I was nervous.  I mean, as a co-leader, I was suppose to look like I knew what I was doing.  And what I knew for certain was that I was bad at art.  

But something happened when I grabbed the paintbrush.  There were no rules.  There was no goal or intended outcome.  It was liberating.  I grabbed every color on the floor and went for it.  I smashed paint, dribbled it, colored over it, squished it up and spread it out.  I stomped on my canvas and I caressed it.  I scribbled outside all the lines.  When I was done, something had let go.  I felt whole and satiated.

It was at that point, I realized the deep primal need to create and to express without rules.  I also recognized that I had been creating my whole life.  It just didn't look like art.  My favorite jobs were ones that I got to shape and build something.  I created programs out of scratch, I invented metric systems to evaluate intangibles, developed profiles for the right executives for new industries.  My beliefs about creative endeavors had been far too limited.  Everyone has a need to create.  As I went through the timeline of my life, I have been at my best and happiest when I've sparked something.  When I brought something to the world that was not there before.  When we create, we are liberated.  

"Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor.  It's a gift to the world and every being in it.  Don't cheat us of your contributions.  Give us what you've got."

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

If you are unsure how to begin, join us in for the Inner Wild Child Immersion this May.  (Sorry men, this time around is for women only)

www.inner-wild.com

The Month of Love and Sweet, Delicious Intimacy. But First, Rage, Grief, and Yoga.

Yoga makes me angry.  

I don't do yoga often and when I do, I usually get mad.  This has happened on and off since I was introduced to my first sun salutation as a freshman in college.  I've seen in meditation how my anger is often a cover-up for grief, sadness, and disappointment.  It's easier for me to feel angry than to feel hurt.  It is somehow less vulnerable.  But despite all my insights, yoga still vexes me.

So, in line with my new years resolution to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, I bought a pass for a half a dozen yoga classes in the neighborhood.  Fast forward to yesterday's class.

About five minutes into the class, it hit.  The room was hot.  Crowded. The pose was uncomfortable.  Agitation.  Anger.  Fury.

No insights.  

The class continued for me, a mix of sweat, profanity, struggle, and flow.  

Mid-way through class, the instructor suggested
not wiping the sweat away.  That the sweat was a part of us and to accept it as part of the practice.  Somehow, that statement was profound.  I realized, in that moment, I was harboring self-judgement.  I felt a betrayal by the inflexibility of my body, by the lack of grace I felt, by the rigidity with which I held myself.  I felt a betrayal even with my own sweat.  Here was a place where I did not love or accept myself.

As I opened to this feeling, the anger dissolved into grief.  Grief for how I've punished myself and perceived my body as my enemy, rather than my home.  The pain of silently battering myself for having an inadequate, less than yoga-perfect body.    

In feeling the grief, something let go.

I arrived home lighter and more joyful.  I danced and laughed with the kids all morning.  I flirted with my husband.  I'll get angry again, I'm sure.  But the truth is, I can only feel as much joy as I allow myself to feel grief. It is in opening to whatever emotion is coming, and not hiding from it, that I will find my peace.  Maybe even with yoga.   

Resolutions & Rejuvenation. Rinse and Repeat.

We've marched into 2017
the land ofNew Year's resolutions, promises and intentions.
Many made in the shadow of the holidays, hangovers, family, and merriment. 

Resolving our nature.jpg

Starting fresh is rejuvenating. 

So why does the word resolution sound obligatory?

Like a punishment.  We almost beg our resolutions to fail.
 

I can often find a war in between the lines of New Year's resolutions.  Within the good intention, there is a battle between our "good" selves, the person we feel we ought to be,

and our "bad" selves, the person we were during the holidays, when we blew the lid off moderation.  They have an uneasy co-existence, and one that often pits them against each other.

I know for me, my perception of my "good" self, and who I ought to be, is more of an ideal.  It expects perfection when I exist in a human body, which by it's nature, is imperfect.  As my friend, Elisa Mehl, describes it so well, we are part angel and part animal.  So as this year has rolled in, I'm holding the question of how to create a whole life, not one where I idealize the angel and demonize the animal.

I'm starting with my New Years resolution.  I am choosing themes and words that engage the part of me that likes wild and marrying it with ideas that will nourish, foster creativity and extend my health. 

For me, 2017 is my year to learn the pleasure of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.  I want to feel alive.  I want all of me engaged. 

So, as you look at your resolutions, I offer an invitation.  Find the pleasure in yourresolutions or make new ones.  Listen to more live music, try a new restaurant, meditate (you knew that was coming, right?), travel somewhere new, call an old friend (not Facebook message them).  The list is endless. 

And if you're inspired, I'd love to hear what you decide.

With Love,
Jennifer

Together We Rise and in Recognition of Men

It is an opportunity to hold each other towards all that is light inside of us, reminding each other of the best in us, carrying our friends, family, and communities towards greater heights.  

It is an opportunity to hold each other towards all that is light inside of us, reminding each other of the best in us, carrying our friends, family, and communities towards greater heights. 

(Note:  this blog was originally written in the final days of the election, before votes had been cast.  I had expected, despite the close race, that Hilary would win.  My hope is that all of the issues that plague our nation and have surfaced during the election continue to face scrutiny and lead to change.)

As the 2016 presidential election comes to a close, some things have become clear. 

It is a time to lift each other up.  Men and women together, lifting each other higher, bringing this generation of children on our ascent.  It is an opportunity to hold each other towards all that is light inside of us, reminding each other of the best in us, carrying our friends, family, and communities towards greater heights.  Because it is obvious, that we cannot rely on our systems and institutions to do this for us.  It will not come from our representatives across the nation.  While we wish that they could embody our greatest ideals for us, to carry that torch so that we can be inspired, it is not the way right now.  It is up to us.  This is a grassroots campaign of inspiration, aspiration and humanity.  

It is happening with women and race all over the country.  Voices are being heard and issues are being brought to the spotlight and scrutinized.  The light that is still in the shadow, is one I want to recognize.  That of the good men in our community.  Most of the men and boys I know are admirable.  They uphold the masculine, love their family, respect the women in their lives and are already part of this movement.  They are the antithesis of the campaign rhetoric around fear, hate and sexual debasement.  They are on the side of feminism.  They may be products of white privilege, but they can be and already are beacons of a shift; a global trend towards a more inclusive, better world.  A world that invites equality, compassion and mutual respect.

In celebration and in recognition of these men, in addition to my regular meditations, I'm hosting a one time men's meditation night on Monday, November 28, from 7-8pm in Pt. Loma.  If meditation has ever felt intimidating or inaccessible, this is the class to come to.