Sunday, December 28, 2008

What do you want for yourself?

Mexico was indeed amazing. It was beautiful...picture perfect paradise. The best part was by far spending time with my family and my partner. And yes, the dancing and the massage and swimming, and boogie boarding and seeing massive sea turtles and Mayan ruins...those were all incredible enjoyable as well. I had a magnificent time and now I am back in Seattle, cold, wet, raining, and still some snow on the ground. A bit depressing but I still have a week off. It will be nice to really chill and spend some time doing things I normally don't have time to do...organizing cupboards, running those errands that never get done, and getting ready to kickoff the new year but more importantly thinking about how I want to live in 2009. As I reflect, I see that the year has flown by and I have had so many amazing experiences and have had the chance to work and spend time with some amazing people. I also can look at myself and how I have showed up in the world.

Currently, I am enrolled in Landmark Education. This education is all about working on yourself in the realm of transofrmation and it is indeed amazing. Its about creating a life you love and living powerfully in the world and causing transformation in the lives of others. This work is truly amazing and transformational. Its also about creating possibilities for yourself and enrolling others in those possibilities. For instance, one of the possibilities I am creating for myself and my life is the possibility of being in control of my financial responsibilities and having freedom in that realm of my life. This work ties in so congruently with my yoga, it truly is complimentary. To be at truth with yourself and with the world creates this space of new opportunities. You can be the stand for yourself and others in your life. What possibility would you want to cause for yourself in this moment right now?

While on vacation, I had the chance to sit down with my family and talk to them about this education and they became truly inspired and moved by what I have been creating for myself. I posed the question, "If you could have anything for yourself right now, oustide of monetary and material possessions, what would you want for yourself?" Just listening to the responses made me shiver with excitement. For my dad, it was improving his health and well-being because he got to the point where he recognized the impact of not being the most healthy. My mom, overall well-being and balance in her life, and for my brother, to take care of himself more and acknowledge his own needs before always jumping to help others. For my partner, stability in a job that he loves.

Once we start sharing with others about what we want to create for ourselves, we become present to that possibility and truly start to transform how we live in the world and also in our relating to others. I have included the link below, so check it out and see what you think. Now is the time to transform.

http://www.landmarkeducation.com

Peace & Love in the New Year!
Jen

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wrapping Up-Figuratively & Literally

Again, more than a month since touching my blog. Not fair to those of you interested in my blog or to myself for that matter. I love writing and it has always been a passion of mine-putting words onto a page, even if they are electronic is fulfilling and allows for a creative expression on multiple levels. I enjoy it and I will commit to posting at least once a week.

Well, 2008 is winding down and wrapping up. This is indeed a time for reflection-what happened this year? What changed your life? Who have you met or created a relationship with? Where did you travel and what did you experience? I encourage you while wrapping presents and gifts for loved ones, think of 2008-a year of ups and downs for our nation, our economy, and for many of us, ourselves.

Today in Seattle, I woke up to a winter wonderland-snow and ice and cold temperatures imposed on us, presenting commute challenges, work challenges, and just plain "toughness." There is magic in days like this where you may stay home plugging away at holiday tasks, drinking hot drinks and listening to Christmas Music on the radio. Again, forced into hibernation, we look inwards and reflect on what is really important to us. There is also magic in the busy and chaotic energy of the Holidays itself. Perhaps shopping or seeing the holiday lites infuse you with the energetic spirit.

Wherever you are right now in this very moment of reading this post, think about one thing that changed your life in 2008. Think about how you want to wrap it up, put it away, and treasure the memories it left for you. Enjoy the magical season and being peaceful and grateful in this time of energy and challenges will allow you to be fully present as you wrap up 2008.

Peace & Love,
Jen

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Patience Is Indeed a Virtue

Okay-Yes, its been a month and a few days since my last post and the month of October was one of the most intense, extreme, demanding months I have had in awhile. Between the projects at work and life demands in general and periodical emotional rollercoasters with close family and friends and even myself, I have learned to embrace the concept of patience.

This theme came full circle as I doctored up my personal computer today. I am notorious for working consistently and almost addictively with my work laptop. Being consumed by that for most hours of the day, I come home and ignore my personal laptop. Today was the first day I have turned it on in a month or so. Updates after updates and defragmentation and file compression, and reboots, and more updates :) I have almost a brand new computer that is working and alove again. My commitment is to work on my writing especially my blog and really start spending some time recording my thoughts and obersvations that have been with me for the past year.

This time of year is especially important for me to be patient. I notice that as holiday stress appears and things may get busy, it takes effort and alive and awake consciousness to get through. The rain in Seattle is present, traffic is slower, the days are shorter, I don't get outside much so I must make a mindshift. Being patient, doing patient, and feeling patient is key.

I look at the computer situation as a lesson in life. We all need a tune up, we all need to sit with ourselves, improve in many areas, restart, update our processes and daily living strategies and then we can move forward with more efficiency and effectiveness. Now is the time as the seasons have shifted and life may be slowing down to run your updates and tune up. It is not necessarily about moving faster but smarter and more efficiently in the world and with your relationships.

I encourage you to update and restart. Why not now?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

We Are Already That Which We Seek

I have been pondering a lot of big, typhoon-like thoughts lately. I just finished reading a book called Ordinary Women Extraordinary Women and it really put a lot into perspective and popped the balloon of possibilities for me. One of the biggest concepts in the book was that we construct our realities and egos on seeking the end-like there is some kind of finish line that we have to reach-this huge moment of enlightenment,understanding or whatever you might call it. Perhaps there is the other side of the coin that we are already there-at the destination-enlightened and awakened and able to really embrace all the present moments happening right before our eyes and all it takes is a mind shift-a shift in perspective-a shift in our living and loving-doing it with more purpose and more importantly that doing it, we must be it.

Septemeber has been a unique month-simply because of the experiencing of transition and segway into fall and putting summer behind us. The early mornings are darker, cooler, and I crave warm comfort foods, my pashmina scarf given to me by one of my closest women friends in Seattle, and cuddling with a good book in the evenings. Transition is a time for reflection and pause and I am starting to really play with this idea of purpose and pause and slowing down to really enjoy the intricacies we may miss in our daily lives so full of stimuli, noise, and demands.

I have been transitioning in many ways, mostly just looking at a balanced life where I can embrace ideas of wellness on all levels-physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. I have started receiving Acupuncture and Chiropractic care-striving to be realigned and in balance from within. Wellness and balance are interesting concepts and I am starting to understand that taking care of and being knowlegeable about the intricate systems within ourselves can lead us to relaxation and present living in all moments of daily living.

I urge you to play with this introspection and reflection-looking at what areas in your life are transitioning-whether it is sleeping more, craving more chocolate, wanting to run through the leaves, or making a home cooked meal for your loved ones. Pause and sit with the stillness sometimes-its how we get to know ourselves best.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Monster Has Arrived

Wow. What an escape from the norm this evening has been. My moon cycle has a unique tendency to trick me and transform me into a crazy monster, a raging beast, an angry human looking to bring her sword to battle as soon as a possible situation presents itself. Well the situation presented itself and my partner ended up being the dragon I was attacking and wishing to slay, fast and furiously.

Man, its crazy how the chemistry in our feminine bodies gets out of whack, how the brain and body and hormones combine to make the 'angry stew' I will call it. It was bad. I felt the lump in my throat, my chest collapsing and closing, my mind feeling like sludge and not being able to control my breath-the only think I know that when controlled, I can remain calm and collected.

Needless to say it did not happen. I failed at controlling the beast, the monster being created second by second in my body and persuading me to fight and to fail and to flee.

I was sorry, I needed to escape at that moment, I freaked out hardcore and it was bad. It did not feel real, authentic, or truly honest. I was actually taken over by the darkside I guess you could say and it was not fun.

This isn't the first time, I must say. Its quite sad actually. To know it comes on so fast-first the tiredness, back pain, chocolate cravings, moodiness, and sometimes insomnia a few days before. I ignore my needs-water, exercise, rest. Its like Duh, come on now, do what is smart and simple and you will be fine.

I struggle to control my internal monster and I must accept that. Its okay I tell myself. Just listen to the body, my body. Its when we have true body awareness, we can change within.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Sabbatical You Might Call it...

Wow. My last post was at the end of April and now, what can I say, it's August, actually a week until September. So much has happened, new transitions, new environments, new social interactions and just a bunch of learning lessons and life lessons in general. I first want to talk about a book I finished reading about two weeks ago: The Alchemist. All I can say is go get it at a library or find a dog-eared copy at the used bookstore and I can guarantee you a friend of yours probably owns it and its sitting on a book cube somewhere or under the seat of their car waiting for you. Yes, waiting for you. The basic premise is that we have a life purpose and we must do whatever it takes to fulfill that life purpose and in doing so, we will encounter obstacles along the way, whether it be money troubles, inner conflicts, jobs we don't like, or the big idea of doubt eating away at us. The story is enlightening and timeless and yes, go pick it up right NOW.

I have been in question with my life purpose and have started asking deeper questions: Why am I here? What should I really be doing right now? Why do I waste time being grumpy and thinking about the past and anticipating the future? I want to start a yoga studio, I want to work with young girls and women and create some life-changing transformational events for them, I want to live in the mountains and swim naked in Alpine Lakes, play in the snow, and ride my bike to the store and not have to lock my doors.

Since April, my partner has moved to Seattle, I have moved into a new apartment and neighborhood, traveled a bunch for work, spent time with extended family in Pennsylvania, had an amazing vacation here in Seattle with my cousin and her awesome friend who flew out from Pennsylvania, I have learned that burnout from work is not fun, I have treaded water in my flooding emotions and anger and learned that resting is a true art and it must be mastered in order for true survival.

I encourage that you embrace the seasonal transition and rest as you embark on your fall activities. Perhaps you are wrapping up an amazing summer and transitioning back to school as a teacher or you are an outdoor guide and the busy season has ended a new job is in store for you. Be excited about the changes. They exist all around us right now. Be present and appreciative of where you are right now.

"Love is when you can truly listen to your heart" -The Alchemist

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Real Life Rebirth

In one word, the past two months...WOW! I know, it seems like I fell off the face of the earth for awhile and the only people who had contact with me were my parents, the boyfriend who has been the most understanding and compassionate individual I know, some wonderful women friends (Shout out to Kaitlin) and coworkers. Life has been an absolute whirlwind and all the experiences up until now range from amazing to awful :) I have struggled continuously with work-life balance issues and am really starting to carve my path in life. I look back over the past year and see what has happened and the experiences I have had. I am so fortunate to have challenging work that allows me to use my skills and my love of experiential education.

Through the past two months, I have come to the fine line of balancing the burnout and the sustainable lifestyle, it becomes unique when you teeter on the edge of both and it can become downright frustrating when you feel as though you are drowning and shouting and nobody can hear you. I absolutely hate living in terms of "If only I can get through this next week..." because I always like to exercise the idea of living in the present.

I am sincerely looking forward to a real break when I go back to Colorado in about 10 days to see friends and checkin with people who were my family for 4 years and continue to be long distance family even today :)

The time I have spent in this whirlwind called life, it has felt very similar to a mountaineering expedition I was on about two years ago when we encountered a day and a half of scree feilds...and yes, in one word, it sucked. Although it has been crazy and not so fun and very exhausting, I struggle to see the bigger picture, holding a higher view as to what this time on earth is really all about and how I "show up" in all my dealings, whether pleasant or unpleasant.

My biggest savior is friends and family support so thank you all who continue to be a part of my life. I value you all and I hope we can continue to share conversations about thsi thing called life. :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Back to Basics

This week has proved to be one of my toughest week yet of the new year and in a way I am quite thankful for what the week has taught me. I am usually pretty good about taking care of myself and taking time for me, no matter what. My schedule at work filled up and by the end of Tuesday I was exhausted, praying for the weekend to get here and not eating or exercising or even properly breathing or coming to my yoga mat which became frsutrating immediately.



The week continued to advance in a frenetic panic. I would not even hit the pillow until 11 sometimes 12 or 1 in the morning, eating dinner which consisted of buttered pasta, white wine, and sugary ice cream for dessert, at around 10-10:30 at night!



No routine, no time for me, no proper nutrition, sleep, or exercise and I was not feeling too good. Come Friday, I was excited to sleep in, take care of my house, do laundry that had been neglected for a couple weeks, and get back to basics.



There is a model in corporate training and leadership that can be applied to anything in ife. Its called the stimulus-response model. We go through life constantly encountering all sorts of stimuli and it remains up to us how we appraoch it and react to it. We are creatures who in essence are reactors...we react to sounds, sights, people, emotions, and pain as well as pleasure. We make judgments that coincide with the stimuli and very rarely approach it as an observer looking in from the outside.

This new refined model is the stimulus-pause-response model. This allows a built in pause/breath/time out before we jump to reaction. By doing this, we become quite conscious of our actons and emotions. By pausing, we can formulate a plan and just be for a moment without worrying about how we are reacting and firing before we aim.

This week, my goal is to embrace the Pause, recognize the breath, and encompassing the idea that the observer changes the observed. Recognize our own triggers that create frenetic pace and step back before you actually formulate action and move forward with your formulated and well thought out plan.

Heres to the Pause! Cheers!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Divine Feminine

I woke up today to emebark on an amazing inner journey that truly transformed me. SoulCollage. Google it.

I had the opportunity to spend 6 hours with 10 other women who came together to grow, change, transform, and learn about an amazing intuitive, creative process. This process consisted of using visual images from magazines, photos, etc. and create custom "cards" that became part of a tarot type reading. This experience allowed me to not only connect with other women but also connect with myself, the deepest, most creative part that never comes out.

I must say, I am hooked. One of my cards exhibits the divine feminine qualities that I strive to embrace. On the colorful card, there are all types of women-mothers, yogis, cartoons, statues and paintings...this card spoke to me the most, with its expressive quality of what womanhood is and what it is defined as. This got me thinking....what is it to be a woman?

Strong, sexy, sensual, vulnerable, wicked, manipulative, quirky, funny, empowered, transformative, emotional, physical, thinker, feeler, being, nurturing, athletic, meditative, religious, spiritual, unique, conforming....

That is nothing. For me, today being a woman was about community and transition. I feel as I embark on my eraly 20s, I face cultural norms that have been instilled and ingrained from long before my time and I see the new norms and cultural expectations popping up every day. Like the river that is constantly flowing, the ideas surrounding what it means to be a woman are constantly changing.

After my workshop, I drove down to the beach to watch the sunset and scurried aroud like a child finding rocks, sea glass, and shells in the sand. I was reverting back to my childhood and then it dawned on me. As a woman, I am fearful to succumb to pressures and the ideas of conformity. It seems to be too much these days to be in touch with the divine feminine where you can have open discussions about womanhood, motherhood, and relationships.

My mother is my best friend. She has been my mentor throughout my development into the woman I am today and I thank her for that. Mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, friends, teachers, and colleagues...women who define themselves in so many ways. The bond exists between all of us...a divine, inner quality, energy, prana, spirit...that makes us woman.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An Attitude of Invitation

I think it was JFK who said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but instead, ask what you can do for your country." It pretty much sums it up in terms of being open to solutions instead of problems, being proactive instead of apathetic, being accepting and embraceful instead of simply being tolerant.

I work for a corporate team-building company in Seattle and we specialize in technology powered team-building experiences. We use gadgets and gizmos like GPS units, Pocket computers, two-way radios, and digital cameras to create "Geo-Courses" for companies looking to have fun outside of the office. Our mission statement is "Helping teams play better."

Yes, play better...so what does that mean? To many, play is something that is completely separate from work, something you do on vacation or on the weekends with the family. At our company summit in December, Pete Winemiller from the Seattle SuperSonics came and spoke with our group-he was amazing...his big idea was to embrace an attitude of invitation. He spoke "Instead of doing 100 things 1% better, do one thing 100% better." Really go above and beyond not only in customer service with clients, but with yourself as well.

During his presentation, I was mentally teleported back to seventh grade. My science teacher at the time was always about the idea of "Good enough." He spoke over and over again to 13 year olds sitting bright eyed and a bit naive, to not be just good enough. By being "good enough" you begin to set low standards for yourselves and others-all in all you end up selling yourself short. And who wants that?

I just took some vacation time and have come back to my desk with a simple mind shift-be the best at what you are doing, whether it is cleaning the office kitchen microwave or dealing with a big client...so your best and stay present while doing it.

Through my first couple days back, I have noticed a huge difference in not only how I feel but how others feel when they interact with me.

Invite yourself to do one thing 100% better. Whether its communicating with your partner, cleaning your apartment, or being on time to work. Through the simple mind shift, we flow past the resistance barriers and start to welcome solutions and start to notice the great things that sit right in front of us.

This is flow.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Partner Retreat

Ahhh...the feeling you get when you have just come full circle from taking time off from work and obligations to spend time with your partner or significant other. Valentines day has just come and gone and we reamain filled with euphoria from wine, chocolate, lazy days in bed, and laughter. My partner flew in to Seattle for about 5 days and it was one of the best personal retreats I have had. Today, back at work, sitting at my desk as the sun shone through my window and drowning in e-mails, I asked myself the question, "What made the past 5 days so good?"

Sometimes when our partner is away from us, whether that is through long distance relationships or through work, we tend to be self-consumed, focusing on our own lives and commitments and routines. When another person is there for us, when they become present in our lives again, there is a sense of gratitude that can be expressed and embraced. I love giving to my partner, especially when our time together is so precious.

A very big trend these days is personal retreats...escaping to the mountains by yourself to refresh and recharge. Hell ya! Who wouldn't want to sign up? Well, why don't you sit down with your partner and plan a partner retreat? Relationship is present in our daily lives-even when we are waiting in line to buy milk or dinner and the stranger starts up a conversation. We interact with so many people each day, through conversation, laughter, smiles, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

My partner and I took 5 days to refresh, recharge, and reconnect and all of that time was spent living in the present, soaking up emotion and conversation, laughing and living and just being. Sharing experiences with ones you love is especially powerful because there is a common denominator-the experience itself. Share an experience-walking around a lake, getting massages, watching an interesting documentary, or visiting a museum.

I look back on my partner retreat and think about not what it was supposed to be like or what it will be like in 3 months, but I look on it as what it was and how powerful sharing experiences with each other can be.

Like a backbend opening the heart and chest and letting the light pour out onto the world, we must open up to our partners and loved ones and open up to experience.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ahhh....Saturdays

There is something to be said about Saturday mornings. This is my first Saturday in awhile where I can just breathe and be. Right now, the thermostat repair man is here replacing our thermostat because it has lost its ability to regulate temperature. The heat is either on full blast or not on. Not good because it came to my knwoledge last night that we received a $286.00 Electric bill...in Seattle! Unheard of...I flew off the handle, anger engulfed me, swearing and screaming and really feeling my anger for the first time. During my rage spell, I was very conscious of the feelings I was experiencing, the first time in a long time where I could put a finger on it, the feelings in my body, the thoughts in my head. I freaked out.

I slept in this morning until about 9AM and then awoke and curled back under the down comforter and just listened. I listened to the cars whizzing by on Highway 99 over the samp pavement. It rained last night and early this morning. I like it sometimes and sometimes it bugs me. I have never been one to look at the forecast, ever...no matter where I lived. In Colorado, I knew it was going to be cold and in Seattle I know its probably going to rain. I just go with it.

I am reading a great book right now, "This I Believe" published in association with NPR. Its great. Go buy it. I read a few pages this morning and got up and cleaned. My apartment was a bit funky and dirty which was a given...It felt good to clean, to start fresh and new for the week ahead. I hope it lasts :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Let the Juice flow...

I have recognized that knowledge is something we are all thirsting for. We want more of it, every day. The culture we live in is always about "more." How much do you have? How much do you want? Can I have it in a bigger size? I think I have more than you.

For the past 5.5 days, I have been fasting. This is the third fast I have done and I do them for a variety of reasons. Of course, the issue of overall health and well-being comes up. We put sooooo much into our bodies, the temples we look at in the mirror every morning as we stumble to the shower, towel in hand, eyes half open, too tired from the night before because we pumped the caffeine like water just to send the last e-mail or complete the finishing touches on that project.

Believe me, I have been there and I expect at some point to be there again :-) A fast just lets the body take a break, rest, hibernate, not work so hard to process all the processed foods and liquids we consume day in and day out. To cleanse ones skin is similar to cleansing the inner body, the organs. To cleanse the inner body, I like to to use juice and liquids to facilitate the process and flush the gross stuff out.

I brought my juicer to work today and shared this special time in my new year and believe me, people like it. It tastes yummy. I also like to share my knowledge about teh topic and pass along resources to others who share and show an interest. Yes, you get some funny looks, especially as you stumble into the office, juicer in hand, a bag of fresh produce, purse, briefcase, keys, cell phone, etc. Its a sight.

I also like the fast because it lets me slow down, focus on non-attachment and introspection. Its like a bear going into hibernation in the winter-I sleep more, feel rested, and talk less-mostly because I am tired and have less energy. I mention the aspect of non-attachment and the idea that less is more because that is how food has become structured in our culture. After a fast, I become more thankful, offering blessings before meals, and try to monofocus on eating rather than juggling tasks with a fork or spoon in my mouth. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my Ben & Jerry's but every now and then, I like to mix it up-give up red meat for awhile, supporting the local farmers market, cooking with a friend, and laughing over fair-trade coffee.

I empower others to explore the idea of fasting and restraint. Even for a couple days, give up refined sugar, caffeine, drugs, and tobacco and enrich your diet and consumption with whole grains, fruits and veggies, and yummy juice.

Go forth and be Juicy!