Thursday, April 30, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 25: The Ultimate Relationship

I have been thinking a lot about my trip to India lately and praying for all in Nepal. My first big international trip by myself was to Nepal in 2007, after I graduated college. I had an amazing experience and not because it was easy and beautiful the whole time but because of the people. It's always about the people. India was the same way. Yes, the landscape, terrain, and climate were challenging at times, but the people made it such a rich experience.

Tonight, we helped dear friends of ours pack their U-Haul for their move. In sitting with them in their backyard for one last beer, laughing and chatting, I was reminded once again that it's always about the people, always about the relationship.

When I was in India, one of the most potent experiences I had was seeing a lot of ex-pats wandering and searching for themselves in a spiritual manner. Looking for something outside of themselves that would give them the gem, the enlightenment, the answer to the meaning of life. In my experience there, I got really clear both through personal reflection and conversations and teachings, that we get our lessons and gems from relationship.

It has been a tenet philosophy for me since I got back.

This week has been challenging. Challenging in the way that some weeks unfold: my body is in a lot of pain right now, which has been challenging to deal with and live with. Our friends moving away rocked me emotionally and my workload has been high, very typical of the month of April. It has been a week of feeling busy & full, yet what remains in priority is relationships. Being open in dialogue, communication, acknowledgement, gratitude, all of it.

When I was in India, one night when we were at the farm in South India, the man who owned the farm, Ananda, said, "It's not about seeking enlightenment and getting the 'answer.' There is no goal. If you can find a little more patience, kindness, and compassion in your daily life, then that's all. That's all that God wants," which was like being told, "Honey, it's okay. Don't try too hard," which of course created this huge amount of freedom.

So, when the weeks are challenging and full and busy, and my practices are put on hold, and all I can do is get a hot shower and a nice meal in silence as my morning routine, I think back on that piece of wisdom. Find kindness and compassion. Show others, but really show yourself those things. The relationship with yourself is just as, if not more, valuable than any other relationship you have.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 24: Bedtime

The week has been long and full. Tonight is about sleeping. It's essential.
Yeah, this is my half-ass attempt at a post, but I am wiped. Nothing left.
More and more I am reminded that the more I write, the better I feel.
Despite the exhaustion and the intensity of the week, getting my "pen to the page" keeps me grounded, stable. It's consistent.
We all need that in our lives. The thing that calls us, that centers us.
Write, run, sleep, eat ice cream in bed.
Find what centers you and calls you.
Now go do that.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 23: Clouds Poem

I have been living long days. 
Long nights too, in fact.
Filled with thoughts, a cloud storm. 
Insomnia is a dream where you fall, but you can't wake up.
You try everything.

I sit and stare at the social survival box.
Screen after screen.
Craving movement, craving an ocean.
To swim in and walk by.

Lately, tears fall as I fall asleep.
Not from sadness, but from fear.
Fear of all the changes.
There's good stuff and hard stuff.
Compromise and life stuff.
Love stuff.

In the mornings I can breathe best.
Running through the streets.
Sweat forming on my upper lip and
the small of my back.

I end my runs looking up. 
At the clouds.
Maybe they are moving, sometimes they aren't.
I am reminded that all is passing.
This inner storm cloud will soon subside.

At least for a moment, I will find peace.
My heart can sit like an alpine lake.

Monday, April 27, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 22: The Permission Slip

I love going on retreat. It's like you get a big written permission slip to be who you are and let the messy parts fall out and show. You can eat Pirate Booty in your pajamas and sleep in until whenever, take naps before dinner, soak in the hot tub or run naked in the woods. This past weekend on retreat, as I lounged in my sleeping nest (lots of cushions and pillows fit for a queen), I was reclined on my back and popping copious amounts of pirate booty (basically a healthy version of white cheddar popcorn) looking up through the skylight of the yurt into the sky. Chomping away handful after handful, I was deep in thought about this whole concept of permission.

In my life, I hear from lots of people in my circle about how they are unable to give themselves permission for ______(fill in the blank). How they have to dig deep to justify behaviors, self-care, vacations, splurging on good cheese and wine, sleeping in. Why was this?

Of course, in the yurt, I was thinking about how this applies in my own life. Why do I so frequently neglect my own internal rhythms and resist what my heart is craving? It's a great question to ponder for sure, and I know I don't have the answers. What I did realize in my lounging time was that we continue to file our past experiences with how we show up in the present and future. We take past experiences and stories about those experiences (i.e "I don't deserve this," or "It didn't end up good last time,") and take that baggage right up into our daily lives.

This holds us back. Imagine that.

How do we shift? How do we write the unlimited permission slip for our lives?

  1. How do you really want to feel? I love the work of Danielle LaPorte and The Desire Map process. I got real clear, really fast. I also participated in Landmark Education. Both are tools in my toolbox for living. Getting clear on how you want to feel creates the map of how to get there. Desire Map calls it "goals with soul," while Landmark uses the idea of "living in what is possible." 
  2. Take some time off. Five minutes, five hours, five days, five weeks, five months. Whatever. Use up the vacation and personal time. For exactly those things...vacation and personal time. Craft your own personal retreat. Time away allows us to lift the purple sunglasses off our heads and away from our eyes so we can start to see clearly and tune into our own rhythms. Curious about retreats in the PNW/Seattle area? Contact me.
  3. Have a sensory experience. The five senses are an amazing gateway into feeling deep pleasure. What is your favorite taste? Smell? Sound? Tactile sensation? Sight? Write these down and keep it visible daily.
  4. Ditch the fun police. I am sure you have people in your life who totally kill off your joy. Ditch 'em for a week/month/year. See what happens. I did this and it creates some good juju around your heart. Trust me. 
  5. Try sleeping in. This is such a tough one for me. But it's bigger than sleeping in. Clear the slate of the calendar and the to do list. I still struggle with this so much, but it's a great exercise in seeing how driven we are by these arbitrary expectations. 
These five things may be a gateway for you or not. Whatever the case is, write the permission slip. Sign it. Live it. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Days 19, 20, and 21: On What I've Been Up To...

Hello! It's been a few days and I wanted to let you know what I have been up to:

Teaching Friday mornings: My Friday mornings are about teaching my 10am yoga class. It's one of my most sacred 60 minutes every week. Sharing the practice on asana with 12-18 people every week is truly magical. I am totally blessed to have the wisdom of my teachers and my teachers teachers behind me. In one of my previous posts, I talk about how we as teachers are students and the students are teachers. I have fallen in love with my students and all the bits and pieces I get out of teaching.

Staying Focused: It's a busy time of year at work. Grant reporting, new trainings starting, staff transitions, but I have really enjoyed disciplining myself in new ways. Creating my Top 5 Most Important Tasks in the mornings, sticking to my calendar, and not falling down the rabbit whole of distraction. Also, I have been starting to run in the mornings again at least three days per week and elimintaing coffee and adding smoothies to my mornings. It has totally been a game changer.

Deep Conversations: Conversations that are about possibility and workability. That is the juice. Surrounding myself with people who totally light me up and bring me joy. I have my circle on the New Moon and dates with friends for tea and dinner that inspire me to play big.

Retreat: Last but not least, I co-led a fabulous retreat weekend on Bainbridge Island this weekend. It was a personal retreat where we created a container for individuals to come, restore, explore self-care, being in the woods, following rhythms, and laughing. It included deep vulnerability, singing and chanting, yoga in the grass, and support. It was truly wonderful and nourishing and a beautfiul way to combine leading with participating. I will be writing about why retreat is so necessary in the next few weeks as I gather the learnings from my own experiences of leading and participating.

Struggle: It's not all roses and rainbows. I have been struggling in communication within my own personal relationship with my partner, especially around wedding planning. I became super clear this weekend on retreat that the wedding is my spiritual work right now. That's the practice I get to engage in and learn deep, rich lessons from and I will be completely honest, it's really HARD.

So that's it. Now off to shower and read and wind down...a big week ahead..wrapping up the first month of the second quarter. Big things ahead. Adventures abound. To infinity and beyond....

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 16: Marriage & Ice Cream

One of the biggest things I was looking forward to when I got engaged, besides the fact that I was getting to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, was the cake tastings. I really love cake. I really love wedding cake. I was so excited about the fact of going and tasting all the flavors, basically for free, even though we all know it's not really for free.

So The Man and I went to our first cake tasting. Super excited, ready to taste. We gad our tasting grid and pens and dove in. Eating lots of cake. We would lift the tiny sample pieces up to our lips, anticipating amazingness to be unleashed in our mouths and then we would glance at each other, that look of hopefulness as we chewed and swallowed, and then the truth was released. We were let down. Piece after piece. Totally and completely let down. I was starting to fall out of love with cake. I didn't even know that would be a possibility. We left feeling defeated. A little unnerved. What the heck were we going to do?

Back to the drawing board.

Rewind 5.5 years ago. I was ending a relationship on a very traumatic note. The Man was there for me through all of it. The exact night when everything hit the fan, The Man drove through an Arby's and ordered me a milkshake. "Here, drink this. It will reset you and make you feel better," he said. What's in a milkshake? Ice cream. I have always loved ice cream. I was the kid in Maine that when it was 10 degrees outside, you might find me with a dish of vanilla in hand. I was first in line when the Dairy Joy opened up down the street in the spring. Gelato? Yes, please! Fro-yo? Yes, please! Anything cold and delicious? Yes please! A pint of B&J in any obscene flavor? Sign me up!

From then on, ice cream has been our thing. On the good days, the bad days. The days when my PMS is bad, the days when we lose our job or work is really shitty, the days when we just feel the world is against us, the birthdays and anniversaries, the date nights, all of it. Ice cream is our thing. I know, I know, you are probably reading this and thinking, "Nice...using food to stuff the emotions," but it's so not the case. It's a moment we can share together for five minutes and the world is right. By the way, we eat it with forks. Sometimes we eat in bed. Sometimes we go get it in our pajamas.

So, taking all of this into consideration, we have decided to have ice cream at our wedding instead. It is so representative of who we are as a couple. Ice cream is grounding and it makes you feel totally unleashed at the same time. It brings you back to summer nights at the ice cream shop down the street. Allows the inner child to come out and play. Who doesn't love it?

So there you have it. The universe conspired for ice cream and I am so happy about it. As we step into our marriage, the lesson is simple: things are sometimes different in your head. Roll with it. More times than not, there is something completely awesome waiting and maybe it's a pint of Red Velvet or Lemon Bar ice cream...

Monday, April 20, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 15: A Dance Party for Your Week

I'm going out on a limb here and mix it up. Mondays are tough for some. They get a bad rap because, well, the day that follows the typical two days off that the majority of working people get doesn't stand a chance next to say, Fridays. I feel kinda bad for Mondays. I mean, if you go on Facebook at around 10am on a Monday, you see meme upon meme totally bashing Mondays. Not fair. What is fair? A DANCE PARTY! Here are some of my favorite living room dance party tunes to put a kick in your step for the week ahead.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 14: Sunday Poem

Sundays are meant for ease.
Grace + smiles = bliss.
Take it slowly...slowly...even more slowly.
Connect with loved ones. That's most important.

Sunday supper?
Yes please!
Fish tacos and a beer. Avocados and cucumbers.
Watch the sunset.Watch the sunrise.

Clean laundry.
Oh that smell! Of clean laundry!
Maybe a lazy day on the grass. Barefeet.
In the long grass. Feels like new life.
Emerging out of the cold.

Coffee...don't forget the coffee.
Books and comfortable jeans.
Messy buns and pony tails.
Kick back friend, kick back.

Take a photo. To remember, that's all.
Stay present.
Give hugs. Kisses.
Make love.

Play in the garden.
Drink ginger beer out of the fancy wine glasses.
Because its Sunday.
It should be celebrated.

Ease into the week ahead.
Ease and grace, baby.
Ease and grace.
And love.

Until next week...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 13: Finding Contentment Through Rest

It's the middle of April and the sun is shining. 60 degree days have been offered to all of us in Seattle. Shorts and sandals have made their appearance and lawn furniture has been dusted off. The lilacs are early this year, bringing with them their succulent scent, a reminder that summer is near. The weekends offer a nostalgic element of sleeping in, brunches that linger and leave one feeling full, and days walking around the farmer's market. A siesta on the lawn, barefoot, with a book. Starting in a chair but slowly making my way down, on my back, to connect with the earth. Arms above my head, sunglasses shielding my precious viewfinders. I let my legs rest on the chair, a halfway version of savasana. It feels good to have the cool grass on my arms. My skin soaking up the liquid gold.

This was my afternoon. 

"What should I write about today?" I asked The Man as I was totally supported by the earth, on my back, resting.

Firm in his response, he said, "Write about contentment, how to enjoy all the things you have and be okay with the things you don't." 

"I'll write about that then, " I said. I lingered for a few more minutes, enjoying the rest. The spaciousness. The nourishment I was receiving from the present moment.

A billion little explosions went off in my brain, Little mini-insights. Glitter-like enlightenment. In the moment, I was awestruck with how beautiful life really was. How it had taken me years, so many years, to learn how to rest. Of course, I still struggle with my need to overbook myself because of fear that I will be letting someone down/missing out/look bad for saying no, you name it. The idea of rest and doing nothing has been something that has eluded me. It was when I was being treated for Lyme disease that I had my ah-ha moment. Stress made the Lyme disease worse. Rest made it better. Simple equation. What I learned very fast was that if I didn't rest and take care of myself and take care of the present moment, I was left being in pain and feeling quite shitty.

My internal barometer of the business factor is much more attuned now AND I am nowhere near perfect, nor do I want to be. Living the process is way more exciting. I can approach all of it with more intention around resonance. "Ahhhh...yes, I see it happening again," and back off/readjust much faster. Yet, I still get all down on myself when I engage in the pattern again and again. Overbooking, depleting myself, neglecting self-care, etc. Is there room to remove the self-sabotage? Of course. 

Yet, what I find the most interesting is that one of the most effective ways to disengage from the self-sabotage is through rest. To get back to the contentment. To get back to abundance and nourishment. Pick the feet up. Sleep in. Schedule the massage. Hit up the yoga class. Enjoy the long brunches. Lie on the grass. Find yourself a new nourishing spot. You'll be flooded with contentment. I promise.

Friday, April 17, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 12: If You Do Anything...

We just got back from a lovely dinner with friends. It was so great to be around a table, sharing delicious food and wine, laughing, eating, and being totally honest about life, love, and work. On the way home I was thinking about what I should write about tonight and what became really present to me was the whole idea of making time for people. If I had to give one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be to always make time for the people you love. Friends, family, giving back, whatever, but make the time. Go to the dinner's, the going away parties, the funeral, the wedding, the baby shower, the retirement party, the company event (if you love your job and the people you work with). Make time for the people because that is what makes life so much richer.

In college, when I was going through my dark soul time, I shut a lot of people out of my life. I was in so much personal pain that I couldn't find it in me to show up for other parts of my life, including special events, people, and celebrations. It was hard. I was away from home, and usually, most people create their own tribe when there isn't family present. I had a tough time with that in my college years.

Tonight, as I sat at the dinner table, sipping good wine, laughing my butt off, and gobbling down salmon and flourless chocolate cake, I became so in tune with a deep feeling of gratitude and love. I looked across the table and saw The Man, laughing and eating with our friends, our tribe, our supporters, people we so totally love. The food didn't fill us up, it was the love we felt from everyone there.

If you do anything, make time for people. The people you love and the people who matter. Put aside the phone, the to do list, the errands, the chores and make it happen. You won't ever regret it. Ever.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 11: Love

When you have a significant work commute, you get to spend a lot of time with your thoughts. I have been at my job for three years now and have slowly but surely fell in love with my commute. Yes, some days are brutal, but I would say for a good 80% of the time, I enjoy the solitude. I get a chance to call my parents (on my hands free device of course), listen to NPR for news (I don't have a TV or get the paper so it's the least I can do to keep up on current events), listen to my favorite jazz station and sip my tea in morning commute hours with the rest of the lemmings. But most of the time, I just get to reflect on whatever is going on in my life. Tonight, for example, I was thinking about all the things I just absolutely love. Like, REALLY, REALLY love. Of course, I thought about taking all those thoughts and using it in my post tonight. Here's my "love brain dump," on all the things I am totally head over heels for right now, in no particular order or priority.

Friendship. Hot coffee and tea, especially in the morning. Browsing the library, used book store, or book section of a thrift store. My creative projects: the April Love 2015 photo project & the 100 day project. The fun stuff that comes with planning a wedding. Great smelling fancy shower gel ( I just opened some stuff I got for Christmas and LOVE it). My journals and mugs. My meditation cushion and yoga mat. Skype, Gmail, Google Calendar, Evernote, and Google Drive. Family. Comfortable, soft, flowy skirts & my Dansko shoes. Orange is the New Black. Date night. The feeling of accomplishment after I finish the dishes. A morning run. Feeling part of a community. Clean sheets and clean laundry. Playing in the garden. Spring blooms. The messiness of being in love. Blogs: Courtney Carver's Be More With Less, Rowdy Kittens, Sarah Peck, Danielle LaPorte, and Zen Habits. Taking a real break to eat. An amazing day job. Taking and teaching yoga classes. Our fish tanks. Wine on the couch. Jazz. 

As I write this list, what I am tuned into is the huge amount of gratitude I have for all of it. For all pieces of my life. All the abundance. There is so much present. It's overwhelming. I love to brain dump like this because it forces us to uncover all the good, especially when the good seems so far out of reach. Last night, I came home from a Reiki treatment and broke down into tears. Something had shifted inside of me and it felt good to move the stagnation out. What resulted in my breakdown in the middle of the living room was that there became a clearing for possibility and love. Because as we all now, love is what it's all about.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 10: Light Prompt

Since my #100dayproject has started, I have pulled out my Natalie Goldberg book collection to get some inspiration around my writing. For me as a natural introvert. I turn to reading as way to nourish myself and restore my energy. I also turn to reading for knowledge and's been something I have done since I was little.  
Natalie Goldberg has a stellar collection and everything she writes is like star dust for the writer's soul. I just finished reading Long Quiet Highway, one of her memoirs. I am diving into Writing Down the Bones, for the second time and totally head over heels. One of my favorite parts is that she frames writing as a practice. Sitting down at the table, pulling out the pen and paper, and writing. Writing for the heart, from deep personal experience, first thoughts, raw, beautiful, words. I love how she acknowledges that sometimes it's hard to get the hands moving, the thoughts flowing. So she offers prompts. I thought about how I could start using some prompts in my #100daysproject as it could help me expand a little. So here we go.

Prompt: Tell about the quality of light coming through your window. 

As I sit here in my work clothes, I am basking in warm, Pacific Northwest sunshine. It's April 15th, tax day, feeling my stomach gurgle from hunger pangs, but I know I need to sit here right now and write. The light reminds me of happy hour on patios, a 5pm kind of light. It's not quite summer, but the heat on my face reminds me to pull out the sunscreen for future outdoor playtime. The fish tank is illuminated in just the right way, as it sits in my writing nook. My engagement ring sparkles, which reminds me of all the happiness my partnership infuses into my life. I think about how I want the sun to shine like this on my wedding day, being surrounded by my tribe and by the sunshine, the essence of life. 

Days like these are coveted in the Pacific Northwest, although the winter was so mild. Typically, this time of year comes around and we unravel and stretch, soaking it up like we haven't seen daylight for years. But this year, the blooms are early, because there was so much light. Maybe a contrast to what is happening in the world, a lot of darkness. I close my eyes and let the light sink into my face and skin, my hands typing away on the keyboard. 

Still hungry, but savoring the warmth. My office has been so cold so it feels good to warm up. I wonder what it's like to not know the sunshine, to never have experienced it. Does that happen? The thought of it makes me sad. I glance over at my meditation cushion and the sunlight hits it in a way where it is split down the middle evenly: half of it dark covered in dark, the other in sunshine. Huh. Interesting how shadows show up in our lives. I get that. 

The light that travels through is impermanent. Like everything else, yet I don't want it to be. I can barely see the lilac bush as I sit at my desk. They came early this year. The fragrance pops through usually at night. The flowers remind me of my birthday and how they would always bloom in May in Maine. There the light arrives a little later. The sun will set and my desk will feel different; more cold, more closed up. I will sleep and then wake up. The sun shining in again, but a different type of light will emerge. Morning light feels so different than afternoon light. A cat knows this, I am sure. 
I unravel and stretch, needing something to eat. to the light: I honor you. Thank you. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 9: So Here I Am

So here I am. I put off filing my taxes until the last minute. Kicking myself for that. I am noticing that I am procrastinating more and more lately. What's that about? Perhaps I am craving more spaciousness and downtime and not creating the space in my life to make that happen. I don't believe that laziness is a bad thing at all. As a recovering overachiever/perfectionist/achievement junkie, I have done a lot of work on being okay with open, white space. Yet, I struggle. Struggle like an addict. I think about my dark soul period of my life in college and would think about if I would ever get better. It did. Yet here I am, feeling trapped.

So here I am. I sit here at my writing table and it's past 11pm on a Tuesday night, realizing that the week isn't even half over yet, and I am tired. My body hurts from too much sitting at the computer, my neck and shoulders ache, I feel really stagnant, and am being a moody bitch.

So here I am. Resenting myself and the inner critic in me is nagging about all the ways I am sucking at life right now; not eating super well, not getting enough sleep, not sweating, over-scheduling myself, and I finally came to terms in the shower tonight that I am not operating as my best self. I really had to admit it. Out loud. In the shower. Tears started to stream down my face.

So here I am thinking: What happened to my India glow? That feeling of bliss has just left me like sand running through a child's hand at the beach. Gone. Gone. Gone. For what feels like forever. That sense of spaciousness and ease and feeling light and open...yeah, I want that.

So here I am. Messy, sad, irritable. Holding myself with loving kindness because I know better than to run down that endless, haunted road of self-sabotage. I know better. Hot tea, warm socks, a good book, my bed. Tomorrow is a new day. Every moment a chance to reinvent myself with my breath. Deep breaths. We all have our shadow side but not all of us hold it with tender care, like a baby bird that has fallen from its nest and is completely stunned and traumatized.

So here I am ready. Ready to step into new possibilities and space. To move my body and be intentional. To operate with care and love. To treat myself like the temple I honor every morning called the universe.

So here I am. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 8: Short Piece

The rain hits the earth, the smell of dirt and spring rises from the ground up.
He planted this year - bulbs, herbs, kale. On his knees, day after day. 
Not knowing at all if it would all bloom. He did it for her. 
The garden, you know, was for her. A birthday gift.
Yet, she is too busy, working too much, out too many nights in a row.
Tired on the weekends, living by her to do list. 
Places to go, people to see, things to do. But never in her garden. Or by her notebook.
"Honey, you should rest, take it easy, sit in your chair," he would say. 

Day in and day out, she would wake up before him, 
Doing her morning practices but not being in her morning practices.
There's a difference you know.
Her thumb checking traffic as she brushes her teeth. 
A quick kiss goodbye. She always kissed him goodbye because
all the books and articles say, "You never know."

Friday would come. Saturday would come. 
There was yoga, grocery shopping, e-mails and phone calls to friends and family.
"Come outside and plant with me," he said.

And so she went outside and opened a bag of dirt.
She took the deepest breath she had taken in months. 
Fell to her knees and started to cry. Silently.
Life rushed through her veins and cells again.
This is how life was meant to be lived.

They laughed in the garden. That day and many days after.
He saw her transform into a new soul - ice skating through life versus trampling on it.
He fell in love with her all over again.
Because of the garden. And her being in it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 7: Faith, Part 2

Ahhh...this weekend is wrapping up. Another full weekend, mixed with fun, work, travel, being outside, and good food. I feel nourished as I step into my week and today marks one week straight of writing daily posts. The #100dayproject is keeping me accountable which I totally love and am gobbling up. Feeling like I have dusted off the cobwebs of my writing and the space is coming together nicely. I have to keep reminding myself that it's not about whether the content is good or bad, or if what I say is right or wrong, or has good grammar or not. The key is simply to create. That feels good in itself. 

Very rarely do readers leave comments, so I am so very grateful for a comment that was left on yesterday's post. The comment made me re-think about my own distinction in regards to faith versus trust. How is faith really different? My answer is I have no idea. I would have to say that the majority of the time, I look for the good and expect the good in experiences and people. I stand firm in the statement that we are all just doing the best we can with what we have. Is that faith? Maybe, maybe not.

Today, I was out in the garden getting my dahlia tubers started for the heat mats indoors. It was a process as we are growing our own flowers for our wedding this summer. A big endeavor for sure. I have faith that they will all bloom beautifully, but I have no idea if they will. And can I be okay with it? Faith seems softer to me and also encompasses a softer, more surrender like feel to it and there is a bigger sea of uncertainty that is also present.

What I do know is that for me, when shit hits the fan and things are looking pretty bleak, that's when I notice myself dipping into the sea of faith. Faith makes its grand appearance, whether its in the form of a prayer, a meditation, becoming vulnerable with a loved one, all of it. I feel as though I am gathering everything I have, scooping it all up, and putting it at the feet of the universe and saying, "Here, have it all. I am turning it all over now and stepping away." With this surrendering comes a lot of freedom and freedom feels really, really good. There is such a tendency to be in a mindset of why things won't work, or why people won't change. I challenge each and every one of us to ask, "Why not?" and have a little faith. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 6: Faith, Part 1

Why am I writing about faith? I'm not too sure, although what I do know is that more and more, I am examining my own faith and how it shows up in my life.

A couple weeks ago, I had to mail off some packages, so I got everything prepared the night before, taped up the envelopes, and had everything sitting by the door in the morning. On my way out of my house the next morning, I took the bag of packages that were filled with cards and treats for the people in my life and I drove to the post office in my neighborhood. I parked the car, crossed the street, opened the door, and waiting in line patiently. When it was my turn, I stepped up to the counter, dumped everything out of the bag and said, "I would like to mail these the cheapest way possible. No insurance, no confirmed delivery."

The postal worker took everything, weighed it, entered the various zip codes - Chicago, Maine, Texas, North Carolina. She told me the total, I swiped my debit card. She handed me my receipt, and it was done. I crossed the street, got back in my car, checked traffic on my phone, and drive to work.
Another thing I could cross off the list.

I then started to think. I started to think about all the things that happened that morning that I never gave a second thought too. Then I started to think about all the things that happen in my own life that I just trust will happen without a whole lot of effort and I surrender to that. Happily. That's when I landed on Faith.

I carry so much faith in daily life and mostly it resides in the little things and when I really sit with it, I realize that the element of magic is so present and available. All. The. Time. 

I have faith that...
... I will wake up in the morning...
...when I send letters & packages at the post office, they will arrive at the doorstep of my loved ones...
...that my car will start when I turn the key in the morning
...that there will be electricity and running water...
...that cars will stop for you as you cross the road...
...that the coffee will be hot and that the plane will land...

According to Wikipedia, Faith is defined as belief, confidence or trust in a person, object, religion, idea or view despite the absence of proof. I don't know how much this definition resonates with my personally, and yet, I know that my world has been rocked in moments of trusting something to happen and then it doesn't. How does one maintain faith in the light of those things? 

I will dive into this question in part 2 of this post tomorrow. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 5: Being a Student of Teaching

Every Friday since August, I have been teaching a 10am yoga class in South Seattle. I fell onto the gig by chance. An e-mail came into my inbox from one of the co-directors of my teacher training program that I completed four months earlier. I interviewed, taught an "audition" class, and was hired. It all felt really easy...the schedule, the students, the facility. Ease and grace baby.
Yoga teacher training had always been on my dream list. A goal that I had been working towards since college. In April of 2014, when I received my certification, even though I did have a sense of accomplishment, I felt that I had just dipped my toe into the entire ocean of what there was to know about yoga. That scared me more than anything. 

In most spiritual lineages, it is traditional for the student-teacher dynamic to be present. I honor the tradition. I also have evolved in my belief system that by teaching, we become a better student. Every Friday when I unroll my mat and say good morning to my students, a huge wave of total bliss takes over every cell in my being. I am so grateful that I have been given so much knowledge to share. It's quite a privilege and I don't ever take it for granted.

At the same time, I totally doubt myself. Of all that there is to know, I feel like I know a dot, a blip, just a speck of everything out there. In a weird way, I have totally accepted that and feel totally okay with it. 
In conversations with my peers about this, I see the anxiety that creeps up in all of us in the not knowing. We have created a culture where the teacher-student relationship so heavily relies upon the teacher imparting all of this knowledge and that the student is meant to soak it all up, like an unlimited sponge of sorts. Can the dynamic change? Can their be more of a dialogue? An inquiry? A collaboration between teacher and student? Can the teacher be a student and can the student be the teacher? So what would it take to shift the paradigm? Taking a stand for the fact that everyone can be a teacher. 

Yogis in my Friday morning class constantly teach me about how we are all walking a path in our bodies and that bodies age. They  change. They evolve. Having compassion around that and seeing that right in front of me totally opens my heart. They come up to me before class, letting me know about an injury or pain that they are dealing with. They become vulnerable with me. Wow. What a great lesson and reminder to do that more in my own life.

When they let go a little more in a pose and take rest when they need to. Ahhhh, yes. A reminder for me to not push so hard in my own life. The best lesson? They continue to show up. Friday after Friday, unrolling their mats, making time and space (even for an hour) to dedicate to themselves. I never know if most of them like it or not. That's not my concern. What is my concern is that they take what they need and take it off the mat into the world and share their practice with others. That's the greatest lesson of all. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 4: Sitting Practice

For the past 21 days, I have been meditating every morning for 20 minutes. I participated, most likely with thousands of other people, in the Oprah & Deepak Chopra Meditation Challenge. The theme this year was all about success. But it wasn't really about success in the sense of what we think about success being...obtaining, attaining, someplace to get to. The experience and meditations were about how success is part of our intrinsic realm.

Looking back on it, I am not really sure what the driving force was about me doing the 21 day meditation challenge. Of course, this being said from someone who just signed up for a "100 days of making" challenge. I have had a consistent sitting practice for a few years now, and of course, like any relationship it has its ups and downs, peaks and valleys. This morning, as I stood up from my cushion after a windy, monkey mind, all over the place sit, I thought to myself, "Why do I do this?"
I proceeded to make my tea, shower, get ready for work, listen to NPR as I packed my bag for the day and yet, the question that presented itself after my practice continued to nag me. And to be honest with you, I don't have any answer...I don't know anything. But here's what came to mind after almost 14 hours of chewing on it. 

I have to acknowledge that my sitting practice has evolved. A lot. It has taken twists and turns, long periods of being broken down on the side of the spiritual road in need of repair and a good cleaning. It has been joyous and blissful and left me in a total state of elation. And most days, it's just almost like being on a long backpacking trip, eating the same breakfast, and in little moments you notice your calves getting stronger, the love handles starting to disappear, and that you are more comfortable being alone and quiet in the woods. It's really the only thing I can compare it to. I am definitely not as hard on myself as I used to be yet there is a soft, unspoken discipline to my practice.

It's like flossing. I know I can't do it twice a year and expect results. Little by little, I keep up with it and notice things (mostly the mind and thoughts) become clearer and cleaner, my reaction time not being so quick when things irk me, and I can take a deeper breath.

My thoughts crack me up. My sitting practice is an opportunity to really see what's there for me in the present moment. Am I concerned about my e-mail inbox? The zit on my face? The judgment around dirty baseboards? Ha! It's all quite amusing, this ticker tape of thoughts. And sitting practice is just that. They are just thoughts...not the truth. 

It's not this thing that I love doing by any means. Okay, let the universe strike me down. I said it. I don't really like it all that much. Yet, I so deeply know down to the core of my being and every cell in my body that the reasons for doing it outweigh the reasons for not doing it. I have regular internal banter with my meditation cushion. Every. Single, Morning. "Nahhh, not enough time," or "I really should be getting on my way," or "It will disturb my mate who is sound asleep," which is the biggest cop out there is.

Then I make my way down to the floor. Sitting tall. Lighting a candle. Bowing to my altar. In those 20 minutes, I can just be. I can show up with all my shit, I can be a hot mess or feel like a total loser or I can be in a place where the world feels like its working or have a little chip on my shoulder about something. And whatever is there, is there and it's all totally fine. That's why I sit. That's why.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 3: Prayers

We were at the garden center this past weekend and as we made our way to the register with our plants in hand, we passed the stone statue area. I saw statues of Buddha, Japanese tea houses, little smiling frogs, and Catholic Saints. I felt a smile emerge and my heart light up. I was flooded with memories of my Italian-Catholic maternal grandparents. They lived in Pennsylvania and every so often, we would make the trip to visit. Typically, my brother and I slept in the back room, where there were two twin beds, a ton of playspace, and cupboards full of interesting things to play with.

The thing that stood out the most (besides the delicious Italian food, playing with cousins, and drinking way too much soda pop), was that my grandparents always took time in the morning and at night and said their prayers. They had their prayer books and rosaries and would sit gazing out the window, sitting on the side of their bed. We never had to be told not to bother them. When my grandfather got sick, I remember a small statue of St. Francis was put in the backyard. I think my aunts & uncles created a natural altar around it; plants, a bird bath, and stepping stones. It was near the brown shed and back by the fence under a tree. Thinking back on that, it was my first introduction to an altar outside of church. We would walk up to St. Francis and say a prayer for Grandpa. It was always so quiet and peaceful. 

Most people don't know that I was raised Catholic. I have pictures from my baptism, memories of my first communion, and vividly remember the dinner after my confirmation. Most Sunday mornings involved church and then brunch. I always had this sense of "goodness" after exiting the doors. A sense of relief used to flood me. I remember kneeling and praying and learning to say the rosary and all the prayers with it. It was a piece of me and little did I know that when I saw that statue a few days ago, would it all start to make sense.

When I was in my late teens, I started to dive into Eastern religion and philosophy; Buddhism, Zen, meditation, and yoga. It was easier for me to access and I quickly started to become frustrated with how women were viewed in the Catholic religion. I stopped going to church regularly after I was confirmed. Through college, I continued my studies of the East; fascinated with the four noble truths, believing in life after death, all of it. I started to embrace the seeker within. In my early twenties, I, like most twenty year olds, lived in a black & white world. Pushing limits and being all radical. Then life happened. Things got messy. Things got grey. And I started praying again.

I would pray for big things and little things. I would pray I would make it to the ski resort safely by hitchhiking during my sophomore year of college. I would pray that my flight home wouldn't be delayed because of weather. I would pray that my internal darkness would subside just a bit so I could function in my classes. That was college.

Today, I pray for parking spots and green lights, for light inboxes, for the young man being taken away in an ambulance from a bus stop, for the teaching gig, for the grant funds, for the movie to be good, for my family to be well, for my friends to be happy in their lives, for the babies to be healthy and happy, for the ice cream shoppe to have my favorite flavor, for dress to look good, for the health and happiness of my mate, for the world to have more joy, for more laughter and dancing and less harming and hurting. Yah. I pray. A lot. 

When I saw that statue this past weekend, I was so deeply reminded of how much of my upbringing has influenced my relationship with the divine today. Of course, I have made my own recipe; a little bit of meditation, some yoga philosophy, Catholic church a few times a year, a whole lot of love and kindness (even when things are shitty), and lots of sprinkles of prayers. My mornings mirror those of my grandparents; sitting in silence, sending prayers out into the universe, holding my mala beads. Feeling my heart beat, my breath, having faith that each day is an opportunity to send out a prayer because you just never know. Never. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings-Day 2: On What Nourishes & Needs Nourishing

It's Day 2 of my #100daysofjensmusings project. I was so looking forward to sitting down and penning this post. I hope you enjoy!

Spring is a juicy time. In addition to fall, it's one of my favorite seasons. The tulips. The longer days. The bits of blue skies. Being in my garden again. Sauteeing onions, leeks, and asparagus. The whole act of renewal growth, expansion and opening. All of it.

The season has been treating me so well, despite the feeling of fullness around work, the wedding planning, my yoga teaching, and socializing. The winter season landed right after my India trip, when my insights around spaciousness, grace, and ease were most present. I had a lot of time to integrate and turn inward. Now, as I transition out of that time, I can feel a little pushed in that "busy-crazy-full to the brim-head barely above water" direction. The difference now is that I am so keenly aware of it, that it's scary. Not scary in the, "Yikes! It's a horror show!" type of scary, but more in that, " I can so clearly see my patterns," kind of scary. I can validate the whole experience and not make myself wrong for it.

Up until about two years ago, it used to be that there was one speed in my life: maximum. I had always been a pusher, a driver, a get shit done kind of woman. There was no seasonality to my life. I lived by the go hard & fast rule. Through my yoga teacher training, I really embraced a new way of being in my life, specifically around the seasonality to living. There wasn't just a surface level knowledge acquisition of these concepts, but a deep dive into living them.

The theme that has stuck with me through all of the practices and the integration of them into my life comes from the whole theme of nourishment. Especially with the change of the seasons, this topic has come up both internally and in my conversations with others. Usually, I have to hear something three times before I start to really question and reflect. This time it has been centered around the questions of what is nourishing me and what needs nourishing. So, what better place to explore than through my 100 day project.

What Is Nourishing Me:
      My morning practices.  I have really fallen in love with my mornings again. I keep it pretty simple and sometimes I don't get it all in, but my practices include:
*7-20-7: 7 minutes of movement (yoga or the 7 minute workout), 20 minutes of meditation, and 7 minutes of journaling/desire mapping
*Ayurveda practices: lemon water, tongue scraping, dry brushing, Neti Pot, and oil massage after shower
*Nourishing meal (eggs and greens or fruit and oatmeal)

      Early Bed Times & Limited Screen Time. Getting in bed by 10pm, reading until about 10:45 and then lights out. Because we don't have a TV, it's easy to limit our screen time as we can only watch so much on the laptop.

      My 90/10 Rule. At work, I am trying to work in bursts of 90 minutes with deep focus and goals, and then take a break for 10 minutes (stretch, walk outside, a phone call or e-mail to a friend, reading a blog). It helps. I wish I had implemented sooner.

What Needs Nourishing:
      More Time In the Kitchen. Meal planning and prep have taken a back burner and I want to bring that back into my life again. The ingredients are super fresh and lovely, and it's a value of mine to eat well and be nourished by my meals.

     Open White Space in My Calendar. Especially on the weekends. I have noticed myself getting back into the pattern of booking up my weekends super fast. I crave the open space I had after India and feel called to get that back again.

     Giving Back. I am called to be giving my time somewhere in a volunteer capacity. This desire is really linked to the intention above. Creating more space for what truly matters, especially in my schedule.

Nourishment is such a lovely theme to play with during the spring season. It's symbolic of renewal and rebirth, getting rid of the old, stagnant ways of being and making space for new things and intentions to emerge. I am delighted with my new writing project as well as it's also really nourishing to make the time for my writing and self-expression.

I highly encourage you to take some time to reflect on what nourishes you right now and what needs nourishing? Create the space to feel nourishment from the inside out today, tomorrow, always...

Monday, April 6, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings-Day 1: Tradition

It's the end of yet another Monday. We went out to dinner in Ballard and I ate too much delicious Mexican food and drank just enough Sangria to give me that "Oh yeah! It's warming up outside and I need a yummy drink to go with that sunshine!" feeling. After coconut fried ice cream to top everything off, we came home. I kicked off my Danskos and quickly stripped down to get on my purple, wide legged OM pants that I bought at a small shop in India. I slumped down on the couch and started scrolling through the infamous Instagram...browse, browse, browse...and then something caught my eye. #100daysofmaking.

The premise: for 100 days (April 6th-July 14th), you take the same action of making something for 100 days in a row. It can be writing, painting, dancing in public, planting something, singing a song, sketching on a post-it-note. Whatever really. Well, of course, I want to jump in. What better way to boost my own writing? And get some structure into my life around the craft of writing? Ahhhh yes! Do it for 100 days in a row. No expectations except just. do. it. 

Check out the project here:
My Project Hashtag #100daysofjensmusings
Find me on Instagram @jenchantrill

Day 1: Traditions
Yesterday was Easter. It's a bit of a funny holiday when you don't go to church or have kids. I mean, for us, it was just like any other Sunday. We slept in a little, I got up and did my thing of my lemon water and quiet time and then we traveled north to Maltby, Washington. For breakfast and garden shopping. Our new Easter tradition.

On Saturday, we were running some errands and I turned to The Man and said, "I want us to start an Easter tradition," which I think took him by surprise. I am pretty much the farthest thing from traditional as they come. He said, "Oh yeah? Like what?"

"Well, what about going to Flower World up in Maltby? You can spend that gift card from Christmas for some new starts for the garden?"

He said, "Yeah, sounds good. And we can go to the Maltby Cafe for their huge cinnamon rolls," which of course, made me squeal with delight.

So we went. It was so fun. The cinnamon rolls were as big as my head and the coffee tasted delicious. We laughed and ate and went to the garden center and then went to another hardware store for some more gardening goods. It was perfect. And the best thing about it was that I felt like we created our own tradition.On our way back home, I was reflecting on this whole idea of traditions and why it came up for me and know that this much is true.

Traditions ground me. Growing up, there were things that my family did that were just super sweet and stayed with me for most of my life. Sunday brunches after church (or at least donuts), staying in PJ's all day on Christmas day, tomato soup and grilled cheese on snow days. All of those things gave me a sense of order in a weird way and I looked forward to those things. Small yet special.

Traditions usually involve people. Usually the traditions I had in my life involved some kind of coming together. People I loved showed up for something and shared in a common experience. This meant a lot to me and I equate traditions with having my tribe support me and surround me.

Traditions have an intrinsic quality. It's not so much about the material thing or final result, but it gives a sense of internal goodness, that juiciness that can't be matched. Just the sense that all is well in the world.

Traditions allow for creativity. Take the tomato soup and grilled cheese example. It's just something I remember and not everyone has snow days growing up. It was creative and that means way more than a structured, huge celebration or event. Small little things can take on a life of their own and the more outside the box they are the better.

So, with all of that said, despite the fact that we don't have kids or have a huge interest in religious traditions, The Man and I have started creating our own micro-traditions that I look forward to cultivating for years to come. And the best part about all of it? We get to decide. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

My Nine Favorite Lessons from Being Engaged + One More

On February 1, 2014, I got engaged. It was a magical moment in Leavenworth, WA; a sleigh ride in the snow at my favorite time of day (4:00pm), the sun setting on the mountains and spiked hot chocolate. The moment was textbook romantic. It was followed by champagne and and dinner at an Italian Bistro. I remember not being able to sleep as I was totally elated. The next day, the Seahawks won the superbowl. I had this gorgeous ring on my finger, was sharing the news with my tribe, and falling even more in love with The Man.

I felt as though my life was moving in multi-dimensional directions. I was just about to complete my yoga teacher training certification and little did I know at that point that an opportunity to travel to India was right around the corner.

A very long time ago, I swore to myself that I would never get married or have kids. Then I met The Man and the love that swelled in me was like nothing I had felt before. We had always talked about marriage and growing a life together and I was so absolutely on board in our partnership, nothing else mattered. He changed my view that life was way better and more fun when you are playing with others. Most spiritual lineages have foundational tenets on relationships. We learn so much about ourselves in relationship with others. The mirror of relationship lets us see more of ourselves. I totally get it...and I forget it quite often.

The Man and I kept wedding planning talk to an absolute minimum. The only real decision being made at that point was that we would wait until 2015 to get hitched. Life carried on and wouldn't you know it, but every now and then, I would feel twinges of panic, fear, and anxiety about this next chapter. I was starting to feel like death was on my doorstep. The death of my independent, free spirit self. And that scared me shitless.

"Shit," I thought to myself. "WTF? I shouldn't be feeling like this! I am totally loved and supported...there's no death going on here!" Well that was all good and great in my head, but for some reason, my heart wasn't getting the message. I stuffed my feelings down into my own depths similarly to my sock drawer. Just. Keep. Stuffing. It will all be okay. The feelings would magically disappear like fairy dust in the ether.

August 2014 arrived and my mom came to visit. I spilled my guts over coffee. Tears, heavy sobbing, and borderline hyperventilation were showing their colors. "Honey, it's totally natural to feel this way. It's not wrong at all," which allowed me to take the deepest breath I had taken in awhile.

February 1, 2015 marked a year of our engagement. We are getting married in August. As I write this, we are enmeshed in guest lists, wedding games, planning our ceremony, and choosing food items. It's all super fun and lovely and there are parts that totally suck and aren't fun. As the day gets closer, I have become intimate with all the lovely (& hard) lessons that have come with engagement and I wanted to share them here to serve as a public declaration that relationships are messy, they take time, care and love, they make you want to cry, scream, and laugh, and they push you into territory that even a GPS can't help you navigate. 

1. Being in limbo is part of life. The root of a lot of my anxiety was coming from this place of being in that weird space between dating and marriage. Engagement is a time for deepening, having conversations about the future, etc., etc., and it feels like a huge jump from dating and cohabiting to the idea of forever. It's murky sometimes and ain't that the truth about life. Uncertainty and not knowing are super hard for me and yet, I know I can grow in that space.

2. You will fight. There will be yelling. I had this fantasy that we would get engaged and there wouldn't be any fighting or yelling. Yeah, what world was I living on? In any relationship there will be conflict. Don't be scared of it. Despite the discomfort, it all works out. Sometimes a good little yelling match can serve a purpose in getting everything out on the table. Nobody's wrong, mean, or bad. It's a fact of life and even more so, a fact of being in love with someone else.

3. Saying Sorry and Being Sorry are different. It's so natural for us to just say, "I'm sorry," and yes, an apology goes a long way and encompasses the whole notion of personal responsibility. In my own experience, I would screw up, be called out for screwing up, fight it and try to blame some other circumstance, and then surrender with an, "I'm sorry." The Man enlightened me about this during one of my screw ups when I snapped with a, "God! I'm sorry, okay?" He said, "Jen, saying sorry and being sorry are different." Whoa! Reality check and best life lesson. Ever.

4. When in doubt, give a hug. Hugs are the best medicine. Do it often Ask for more of them. It's just plain good for the soul. Physical affection can sometimes take a back seat, especially in stressful times or when someone is dealing with something on a personal level. Small acts of affection go a long way. Like superboosts in video games.

5. Create your own definition of partnership. The Man and I are not the hands all over each other type. We are both naturally introverted and can spend an entire meal together or a drive without talking. At first, this made me uncomfortable, especially when we got engaged. I thought, "What's wrong with us?" in my head. NOTHING IS WRONG! Who we are at our core and embracing that is way more fun and important than trying to be something we are not. We're ice cream people, so we won't have a wedding cake. I can go out and do my own thing on Saturday morning while The Man sleeps in. We acknowledge and embrace who we are and not try to be something we're not. 

6. Have each other's backs as though you were both lost in the jungle. This became the gem as we started our wedding planning and it is a lesson for life. We have to be on the same page with our decisions or things become unstable real fast. Sometimes, one person can take the lead and the other person is the support and sometimes you both are driving the bus, and other times, you just show up to support someone in your life together. Whatever the situation, I have found that working as a team is not only easier, but way more fun and productive.

7. Get shit done. Sometimes, it's just the grit that gets you through. Rolling up your sleeves and doing the "no bullshit" approach is the best approach sometimes. It may be a car repair, a tough conversation with a family member, or a work situation, but whatever it is, taking an action moves things forward. Our wedding planning didn't start until January 2015 and it requires us being in action every single week and making decisions or things don't move forward. Period. Plan your work and work your plan. Together.

8. Be Kind. My favorite quote during my trip to India was in the Delhi airport. It was a sign that read, "Be kind. Everyone is fighting a hard battle." Sometimes we think we know our partner best. Their quirks, their pet peeves, their passions but be careful, because we just never know. Coming home and verbally dumping on your partner about work day after day can be trying. Our own emotions and inner demons can be brutal so be kind. Always. I try to think to myself, "Would I treat my best friend this way?" It's a simple guideline to scale back a reaction.

9. Keep Date Night on the books. No matter what. Ever since The Man and I moved in together, and even before that, we had dedicated one night a week to a date. It may mean pajamas and a movie or it can be a theater show, or cooking dinner together. Carving out that time is an intentional "watering the plant of our relationship." I know we need time together to just catch up. It shouldn't feel forced or have resentment around it. But make it happen. It makes such a difference in my week and helps me create boundaries in other areas of my life as well. "Sorry...can't make/do's date night!"

10. It's okay when things are not going so well. We all want to be heard, validated, loved, and totally felt as though we belong. So, with that said, be real and authentic about when things aren't feeling super great. Speaking up can feel uncomfortable, especially when you are trying to maintain the facade of "soon to be newlyweds." Tap into what the Buddhists had to say: the only thing permanent is impermanence. This too shall pass.

Well, that's it. For now. Of course, everyday reveals new learnings around being in relationship and I wouldn't have it any other way. What lessons are you embodying because of relationship? Is the person your with pushing you to grow? Are you pushing yourself to grow and show up differently?