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Category Archives: happiness

Mastering the Art of Doing Nothing

For the last few weeks or months, I’ve been in a state of writer’s block.

If you’ve been following me regularly for a while now, then you may have sensed this on some level already because it’s pretty unordinary for me to not be coming out with a new blog every week.

Yes, I’ve had the podcast but, admittedly, it’s become a way to help cover up the writer’s block so I could still be bringing you weekly content.

So what’s the cause to the writer’s block, you ask?

It’s no one thing in particular, but many things.

I’ve been…

… reflecting on where I’m at and where I want to be.

… letting go of ways of being in the world that are no longer serving me nor anyone. 

… releasing old beliefs and ways of perceiving the world and my place in it. 

… processing old feelings of loss and grief that still hadn’t been fully processed.

Upon reflection, I can see how I had been focusing so much on doing that I was hardly allowing myself to simply be — and it caught up with me.

A few days ago it hit pretty hard when I found myself extremely stressed thinking about my future — where I want to go, what I want to do and how.

Being a student of A Course in Miracles, I knew intellectually that by simply trusting and allowing things to flow I will be guided exactly to where I’m meant to.  But telling myself to trust and shove those feelings of worry away simply didn’t work — and it never does.  Instead, it made me more agitated.

So I gave myself time to feel it. I literally spent the entire day stewing in my own feelings of worry, sadness, frustration, and so on.

… and, apparently, that’s all I needed to do, because the next day I found myself calmer and more peaceful.  Not relieved because I had found any answers, but simply feeling okay with where things are right now. 

It was a matter of really feeling those feelings so that I could get to a place of being okay with just being, rather than to feel guilty for not doing work to move forward.

Yesterday I went to a local farmer’s market and then a grocery store.  In my process of shopping I felt drawn to get myself some prosciutto, marinated mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil.  A friend of mine had shared this amazing combination of foods with me a few weeks ago when she came back from her trip in Italy.

As I placed them all on my plate and drizzled them with balsamic vinegar for my afternoon snack, the words “Dolce far Niente” came to my mind.

If you’ve ever seen the movie or read the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert then you’ve heard this saying before.  In Italian it means: the sweetness of doing nothing.

The Italians in Eat, Pray, Love explained to Liz that Americans need to be told to take a break and relax, but Italians don’t need to be told.  If someone were to tell them to take a break, they would say, “Yes I know I deserve a break.  I know that I need to take some time to simply just be and enjoy life for what it is.”

Because, really, what is it that we’re really after?  A great job?  An amazing relationship?  A great income? 

On the surface it may appear that way, but if we never allow ourselves to simply be and enjoy life’s little moments, then we’re forever going to be unsatisfied.  We’re always going to be in the race of chasing unattained wishes and dreams.  And, as a result, we’re never actually going to be able to enjoy anything — we would’ve lived a life of stress, rather than joy.

EnjoyLifeLittleMoments

Click to Tweet: If we never allow ourselves to simply be and enjoy life’s little moments, then we’re forever going to be unsatisfied. @jenilyn8705

It’s okay to do nothing.

It’s okay to reflect.

It’s okay to enjoy life even if everything isn’t “perfect”.

It’s okay to celebrate even if there is no big event to celebrate.

And it most certainly is okay to spend an entire day feeling anxious, depressed, sad, angry, or whatever.

So wherever you are in your life — whether you’re sad, frustrated, worried, or stressed.  Even if you’ve recently gone through a breakup.  Even if you’re not sure how you’re going to pay next month’s rent.  Even if you think you’re job sucks.  Even if you’re stuck in writer’s block.  It’s time to stop, slow down, and simply enjoy life.

‘Cause life’s not meant to be lived stressed and chasing unattained dreams — it’s meant to be enjoyed… one present moment at a time.

It’s Not Up to You to “Figure it All Out”

It always seems that when a chapter of my life is soon coming to a close that it’s easy and natural for me to get caught up in the whole thinking of: What am I going to do next in my life?

It happened when I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree.  It happened when I chose to not renew my teaching contract while I was living in Korea.  And it has started happening again recently upon knowing that, in less than a year, I’ll have my Master’s degree.

The thought patterns have often gone something like this:

Where I am going to live?

If I want to move, where should I potentially move to?

What kind of work could I find there?

Should I do X or Y kind of work?

If I do X kind of work, will the salary be enough to pay bills?

What if I need a new car?

Etc. etc. etc.

The questions could go on and on forever.

While finishing a chapter in our lives can be very exciting — the end of a degree program, a job, or a relationship — it can also bring up a lot of stuff.

When a chapter of our lives ends, we then find ourselves at a crossroad.  So I turn right or left?  So I take A or B?  Or, should I not choose any of those and turn around and go right back where I was?

We now find ourselves in un-charted territory.  It’s new.  It’s unfamiliar.  We haven’t been through it before nor do we know where this new journey might take us.

And, due to the unfamiliarly, it can be pretty darn anxiety-provoking.  We fear that something will go wrong and we won’t be able to make ends meet.  We worry that we may take the job and then absolutely hate it — or the career path entirely flops for us.

As a result of this fear that, somehow, everything is going to go completely wrong, we decide that, maybe, we can just plan everything.

So we create to-do lists.  We set goals.  We create our vision boards for a dreams for the future and we make our 10-year plan.

But you know what happens then?  And I can vouch that this has happened to me every single time that I have tried to set any kind of long-term goal.

Life happens.  And the goals completely change.

Why?  Because it’s not up to me. It’s up to a power so much greater than me.

When we’re caught up in fear and worry, we start to over-analyze everything, and we try to plan and control everything in our lives, then that’s the voice of our ego, our monkey mind, our fear-based mind.

Our ego mind is limited.  It makes us see the world and the universe with lack and it believes that we are not supported.  And it drains our energy, our life-force, our power.  According to A Course in Miracles, the presence of fear is a sign that you are relying in your own strength.

So when we are in fear, worry, and stress because we’re pushing ourselves to figure out what we need to do next in our lives, all it does it create more stress, more worry, and more fear.

In the grand scheme of things, it makes us unhappy.  It keeps us in a place of suffering because it keeps us completely disconnected from our inner guidance and our true selves.  It makes us believe that we are not supported and that we only have ourselves to rely on to “figure it all out”.

But you know what?  You don’t have to figure it all out.  In fact, you’re one and only job is to let it all go.  Release the fear.  Release the worry.  Release the anxiety.  Then give those fears to a power greater than you — in whatever way you like to call it, whether that be Source, the Universe, the Divine, God or whatever.  Give it to a power greater than you and trust and know that you are supported.

FearGiveSupported

Click to Tweet: When you are fearful, give it to a power greater than you and trust and know that you are supported. @jenilyn8705 

Then once you do that, be still.  Quiet the mind.  Breathe.  Meditate.  Allow the beauty of the present moment to wash over you. Feel your body sitting.  Feel the air around you.  Hear the sounds around you in this moment.

Notice your inner mind chatter.  Observe it, but don’t attach to it.  Recognize it as fear and only fear, as the thoughts are not of your higher self, but wounded parts of yourself.  Love them and let them pass.

Continue to breathe.

And then slowly and gradually, the mind chatter will subside.  It may not completely go away, but it will become quieter.  In the stillness of the moment, trust that guidance for your next right action is coming.  It may come in the form of a thought, a feeling, a sensation, or maybe even through something in your external world, like through a friend, family member, co-worker, e-mail, magazine or whatever.

Regardless, be open and receptive.  Exhale and remember: It’s not up to you to figure it all out.

5 Reasons Why You’re Unhappy — and How You Can Start Being Happy Today

So maybe you have the awesome house or apartment, a great relationship, and an amazing job.  But despite the fact that everything in your life looks so great on “paper” or upon someone viewing your Facebook or Instagram accounts, for some reason, somehow your just not happy.

What I’ve come to realize that while our societal views on what constitutes a happy and successful person, it’s rare that someone who actually fulfills all of those things are going to be genuinely happy.  Our true happiness is not determined by our external circumstances, but rather our internal focus.

So here are 5 reasons why you may be unhappy — and how you can start being happy today:

#1 – You’re living in the past or future

Out of all the reasons in this list, I think this one is the most impactful of our level of happiness than all of them. 

You’re focused on what you did have in the past or what you could have in the future rather than what you have right now.  Your mind is focused on how things were so great back in “the good ol’ days”.  Or, you’re focused on the idea of how things will be great “someday” in the future.

The reality is that by focusing our attention on the past and the future, all it does is prevent us from really living in and enjoying the present moment, which is the key to really living and being from a place of true joy and happiness.

So when you catch yourself thinking about how things were great in the past or how they could become great in the future, take a deep breath, feel your feet on the floor and look around you.  Notice what you have right now in this moment and how amazing it is to simply be living right here, right now.

#2 – You’re caught up in thoughts of judgement and criticism

Are you caught up in judging yourself about not being “good enough”?  Are you often trying to, somehow, be “perfect”?

Or, on the flip side, do you get up in judging and criticizing other people?  Do you get caught up in criticizing the way a co-worker dresses?  Are you often getting caught up in judging others for their own life choices?

When it comes to judgement and criticism I think it’s important to remember this: When I am judging others, I am judging myself, because we are all intricately connected.

When we are judging and criticizing, its a sign that our ego mind is bringing out our inner critic.  All this does is block us from being able to truly experience love, happiness and joy in the present moment.

JudgingOthersSelf

Click to Tweet: When I am judging others, I am judging myself, because we are all intricately connected. @jenilyn8705

#3 – You’re seeking fulfillment in material things

Do you find yourself thinking things like: When I’m able to get that house then I’ll be happy, when I’m making six figures I’ll be happy, or when I can get that new car I’ll be happy?

One of the biggest fabrications that our ego mind likes to tell us is that being rich, famous and successful we are somehow going to be living the best lives ever.

While getting a new car, house, and make more money may certainly make our lives easier, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to be happy when we get these things.  True happiness comes through our mindset and how we choose to live and be in the world — not a pair of Manolos and some Gucci.

#4 – You’re focused on what you’re getting rather than what you’re giving

To you tend to get caught up in thinking that if you did X favor for Sally then she better give Y favor for you?  Or, do you tend to get caught up in thinking about how much money you’re getting from your employer rather than how much you’re giving at work?

It’s interesting, but often when we’re focused on a mindset of always thinking about what we’re “getting” then there never seems to be enough — there’s always lack.  However, when we shift our mindset and start to focus more on what we’re giving, then we are able to see what we are actually receiving.  In turn, we can then find ourselves more grateful and content with what it is that we do have right here, right now.

#5 – You’re trying to push your feelings of sadness, worry, and anger away

In the world of self-help and personal growth, there’s a lot of talk out there about a need to be positive so that you can be happy and joyful and live the best life possible.

Well, I’m going to tell you right now: Thinking that we need to be positive all the time is BS. 

Honestly, it’s not even remotely realistic.  We all have our good days and our bad days.  People die.  Pets die.  Relationships end.  Health issues happen.  We lose jobs.  We move.

And as a result, we cry, we scream, and we worry.  Someone does or says something to hurt us and we struggle to forgive.  We have wounds, addictions, and disorders.

And you know what?  It’s all normal and perfectly okay.  In fact, we need it.  Why?  Because we can’t have light without darkness.  We need both to be whole and to feel complete.

We all have wounds because we’ve all been hurt in various ways and those wounds need our love and attention.  We have to give ourselves time to really truly feel and process those emotions.  When we don’t, this is where other problems can emerge, such as an addiction, an eating disorder, or maybe even a case of depression.

So allow yourself to really truly feel — both the good and the bad, because it is all a part of you, and by loving and accepting it, you can start to tap into your own true authentic happiness.

7 Beliefs Worth Having

The original version of this article was originally shared on Elephant Journal.

In many spiritual circles, the idea our belief systems can hinder our growth and healing is quite common.

Though things like religious or political beliefs can easily be recognized, there are many internal beliefs that we have that many of us are not consciously aware of.  Many of us have beliefs like:

I will never be good enough.

I’ll never find a partner right for me.

I’m not pretty enough.

Bad things always happen to me.

People are ridiculous.

I shouldn’t pay for a massage because its too expensive.

Through this process of recognizing our limiting beliefs in order to heal them and let them go, it can be easy for one to fall into the idea that there are no beliefs that are worth having.

Well, I think there is a little problem with this.

There’s a reason we had those beliefs to begin with: Our beliefs give us a foundation. They help us to be grounded in the world.   They can provide us with a solid foundation to build, grow and heal from.

When we push ourselves to have no beliefs at all, then we may find ourselves confused and off balance.

Here are seven non-limiting beliefs to provide you with a solid foundation for your own self and spiritual development:

#1 – Everything in the world is constantly evolving

Nothing ever stays the same in this world. Just as the seasons change, so do people, places, and things. We cannot stop it or control it, but rather move with the flow of this natural evolution.

#2 – Nothing in this world is absolute

People die, relationships end, and we discover that what we thought works actually causes more problems than it solves. The universe will change and adjust as we do. It is conscious and has a “mind” of its own. Just when we think we know something, the universe shifts to prove nothing that we think to be true is absolute.

#3 – The world is filled with endless possibilities for creation

Simply, if we believe that anything is possible then nothing actually is impossible. If we believe nothing is impossible, then we create the mindset needed to create the seemingly impossible.

#4 – We are always supported

Completely taking away the possible religious or spiritual beliefs and putting them aside, if we believe that the universe will always support us then it releases any fear we may have of doing something.  If we believe that we can jump and something is there to catch us, then it makes it easier for us to jump.

AlwaysSupported

Click to Tweet: You are always supported. via @jenilyn8705

#5 – We deserve the life of our dreams

If we believe that we deserve everything that we’ve ever dreamed of then we hold no limitations on actually making that a reality.

#6 – We are happiness, joy, and love

If we believe that we and everyone in this world at the deepest core of their being is happiness, joy, and love already then we allow that to not only emerge within us but in others as well.

#7 – Heaven is a place on earth

Yes I know this probably sounds super cheesy, but its a belief worth having. When we believe heaven is already right here on earth right now then we can actually create and make it seen to more people.

What are some beliefs that you think are worth having?  Share them below!

I’m an Introvert. Here’s How I Learned to Be in My Power

I always used to be the quiet kid.  You know, the one that hardly ever said anything in class and was often referred to as “shy”.

Rarely would I ever raise my hand to participate.  It often produced too much anxiety to do so — and, I’ll admit, at 29 years old it still can from time to time.

I didn’t have many friends and I would often get teased by other kids for being so quiet and shy.

In grade school, I often saw it as if something was wrong with me.  Why was I not a social butterfly?  Why didn’t I like drawing attention to myself?  Why did I not have many friends?

After all, that’s how we are “supposed” to be in this society in order to be considered “normal”… so why couldn’t I just be that?

Despite getting older and going to college, feeling this pressure to be more social and extroverted didn’t go away.  In fact, it some ways, it got worse.

I got a roommate who was very extraverted and couldn’t understand why I’d want to sit in my room and read or write quietly for hours.  I’d get friends who would get mad over the fact that I would use text rather than call them.  I even got a supervisor from an internship who would hound me for not being “social” enough.

Rather than to accept my own personality traits and harness them, I found myself wanting to somehow prove people wrong.  In order to “show them” that I was capable of being outgoing and social, I found myself agreeing to do sales jobs when they came available.  I’d push myself to be more talkative and try to maintain many friendships.  I figured that, by doing so, I’d receive more acceptance and support from others.

But, at the end of the day… I only felt more distressed and unsupported. I often felt overwhelmed and drained because I was trying to please other people rather than myself.

After a few months of living overseas in South Korea a few years ago, things started to change.  Living as an expat forced me to really look inward and focus on myself.  It was at that point in my life where I realized that the only person who has the power to make me happy is myself.

Click to Tweet: The only person who has the power to make us happy is ourselves. @jenilyn8705

So I became unapologetic about texting rather than calling.

I became unapologetic about not being super-talkative in my work environments.

I became unapologetic about sitting at home reading rather than going to some social event with a lot of people.

And I let go of my desire to please others.  I stopped caring what other people thought or expected of me and I allowed myself to be who I truly was.

As a result, I started to develop an amazing relationship with myself.

By improving my relationship with myself I’ve managed to…

… improve my health.

… reduce stress.

… feel really truly happy.

And by developing an awesome relationship with myself, I started to find myself in work environments where people supported and accepted my introversion.  I found myself in relationships, both personal and professional, with people who accepted my introversion rather than to push me to be something different.

Because I started to accept and love myself exactly as I am on the inside, others started to reflect that on the outside.

AcceptLoveOurselvesOthers

Click to Tweet: When we love and accept ourselves, we give others permission to love and accept us as well. @jenilyn8705

Through loving and accepted myself exactly as I am, I’ve been able to finally feel stand in my own power and be in-tune with my true self.

Which, I suppose, someone who knew me as a kid would never expect.  How on earth can the shy and quiet girl ever stand in her power?

Well, ironically, she can… and it didn’t come from being super talkative, extroverted and outgoing as so many people have thought I “need” to be.  Rather, it’s been by fully loving and accepting myself the way I truly am and allowing my truth to be expressed, whether that pleases people or not.

What do you need to let go of so you can truly step into your power?  Share in the comments below!

The cart is still open for my 5-week course, Your Power: How to Harness Your Energy So You Can Truly Shine!  Click here to learn more.

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I Was Homeless for Two Weeks. This is What I Realized

It was summer 2010 and the end of my lease was quickly approaching for the college apartment I had been living in for a year.  We had to be completely moved out by Friday, but I had to be in the next state over, in Iowa, for a conference as a part of an internship by the Wednesday prior.

Despite my many attempts to find a new apartment to live in for the next chapter of my life, I wasn’t able to find one that was available at the right time.  I managed to get a new apartment lined up, but the problem was that it wouldn’t be available for move-in until another two weeks.

This meant I had two weeks of, essentially, no place to live. 

The weekend before my lease was up, family came by and took some of my bigger essentials for the time being — my recliner, bed, dressers, and so on to put into storage for a while.  However, I still had many other essentials that I needed for another few days before it was time for me to head out, which included many kitchen belongings to cook and eat, along with bath stuff .  You know, the “little stuff”.

So on the day before I had to be completely moved out of my apartment I started picking up all the “little stuff” into my car.  Clothes.  Towels.  Kitchenware.  Soaps.  Extra food and drinks.  All piled into my car to the maximum capacity that my car could hold.

And once I had it all packed up, I started driving to Iowa for the conference for a few days.  The next two weeks involved driving around the Midwest and meeting with friends old and new.

You’d think that maybe I’d feel stressed or overwhelmed knowing I didn’t have a place to live, but, instead, I felt liberated, powerful, and free.  In that moment I had let go of the need to have “security” in my life and, instead decided to live in the moment.  I felt like the world was at my fingertips and I could go wherever I wanted to and be whoever I wanted to be.

It was that experience that allowed me to realize that the world is not in control of my life — I am in control of my life.  Not apartment leases.  Not university requirements.  Not the boyfriend, family or whoever.  Just me. 

At that time in my life it was time for me to be looking for jobs and to start settling down, but during my two weeks of being homeless I realized that it wasn’t the right time for me.  It was not time for me to get a regular 40-hour a week salary job with benefits.  It was not time for me to get married, buy a house, or have 2.5 kids.

I was meant to do more than that.  

In fact, we are all mean to do more than just simply that.

It can be easy to get caught up in what society expects of us: the job, the relationship, the house.  We check the boxes off the list thinking that maybe if we do all these things that we’re expected to do, then it’s going to make us happy.  It’s going to give us security and, therefore, make us joyful by keeping society and others happy.

But the problem is that it doesn’t work that way.  We can’t just plan on pleasing everyone else and expect to be happy, fulfilled, energized, and joyful.

Why?  Because it’s not realistic. 

When we’re so focused on pleasing others in hopes to avoid being criticized or rejected, that’s when we ignore ourselves — and the most important relationship that we have in this world is the one that we have with ourselves.

By ignoring and repressing our feelings, intuition, and inner guidance, we become drained.  That’s when we get stressed out and overwhelmed.  We can then feel disconnected and as if we’ve “lost” ourselves.

But the fortunate thing is that we don’t have to live this way.

We can change.  We can become better.  We can step into our power and fully and completely shine we just have to be willing to do the work.

This is where I am so incredibly excited to introduce to you my brand new 5-week course, Your Power: How to Harness Your Energy So You Can Fully Shine.  The course will help you transform you from the inside out so that you can create a solid foundation for you to fully step into your true power.

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This course is great for you if you’re ready to…

… step up

… restructure your lifestyle

… live a miraculous life

This course isn’t for you if…

… you don’t like to make commitments

… you’re not really sure what you want

… you’re not into personal growth, self-help, or spirituality

Upon taking the Your Power 5-week course you will:

  • Feel lighter, calmer, and more balanced
  • Learn how to focus your energy on things that truly serve you!
  • Experience a zest and love for life again!
  • Feel more in control and empowered in your life
  • Develop a solid foundation so that you can you can shine your light in the world

Learn more!

In the Your Power 5-week course, we will cover:

Week 1: How to Shift Your Mindset for Love and Miracles

  • How our internal focus can impact how we experience the world
  • What mindsets hinder our energy and which can manifest miracles

Week 2:  How to Restructure Your Lifestyle So You Can Thrive

  • How our lifestyle habits can be either draining or energizing
  • A lifestyle audit over 5 main areas of our lives

Week 3: How to Let Go of What’s Not Serving You

  • Letting go of habits that are not supporting us in our power
  • Shifting mindsets to improve our relationships

Week 4: How to Lovingly Care For Your Body

  • How what we eat effects our energy
  • Ways to find a diet that truly supports you

Week 5: How to Allow Yourself to Truly Shine

  • Tools for getting out of a "funk"
  • Key tools to fully step into our power and truly shine

In addition, you will receive two bonuses:

  • How to Let Gossip Out & Let Light In, featuring the founder of Lightworker Nation, Vicky auf der Maur
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With the Your Power 5-week course, you will receive:

  • 5 Video modules + 2 bonus videos totalling over 3 hours of material
  • 3 Guided meditations to help you harness your energy and truly shine
  • Worksheets to help you process the material and set practical intentions for yourself
  • 2 Group coaching calls
  • Access to my private members-only blog posts
  • Lifetime access!

This complete 5-week course is valued at $900

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“Jennifer’s insightful, thought-provoking articles never fail to inspire. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to share her writing on Tiny Buddha, as I know it’s been helpful to readers!”

– Lori Deschene, Founder of TinyBuddha.com

“Jennifer is smart, intuitive and has a sharp ability to cut straight to what shifts needs to take place to live a more authentic and spirit-centered life.”

– Jackie Johansen, Writing Coach, California

11 Signs of a Truly Authentic Person

In the last week or two, the topic of authenticity has been coming up in my life.  The discussion of authenticity came up a couple times in a class and then it came up again during a therapy session.  This led me to sit back and ask myself: What actually constitutes a truly authentic person?

Upon deeper introspection, I came to the conclusion that becoming authentic is a lifetime — and beyond —  process.  It’s like peeling an onion and over time as we grow, heal, and love ourselves more and more, we become more of who we truly are.

There can be moments when we are truly expressing our authentic selves and then there are moments that trigger our inner wounds.   We then find ourselves acting in a way that’s out of alignment with our own inner truth and, instead, acting as a reaction to our wounds being reactivated.

So as I said before, it’s a lifelong process, but this doesn’t mean that it’s something we shouldn’t aspire to.  Just because it may take time and practice to do a headstand in a yoga class, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother doing the work so you can eventually do it with ease.

So here are the 11 signs of a truly authentic person:

#1 – They recognize the emptiness in material things

They’re not out buying Gucci with the hope that it will make them happy.  While they may enjoy material things, they don’t see it as “If I just have this one item, then I’ll be happy”.  They also don’t rate other people based on the material items that they have or don’t have because they know it doesn’t hold much meaning.

#2 – They recognize that experiences make their lives richer

They’re aware of how life experiences create more meaning and richness in our lives.  They are open to explore and learn, both externally and internally.

#3 – They truly listen to others

They don’t listen in order to respond.  Nor do they listen to others while being distracted by their phone, the TV or whatever else may be a distraction.  They’re able to be fully present with another person.  They’re able to listen to others with a genuine interest and care for the other person.

#4 – They express their true thoughts, feelings and views unapologetically

They don’t say things that they don’t truly mean.  They don’t do things that they don’t really want to do.  They are able to share their own unique thoughts, feelings and views without fear of other’s opinions.

#5 – They’re not out to please people

They know that by living their lives to please others all the time disconnects them from their own inner experience.  The know the importance of being aware, acknowledging, and expressing their own unique thoughts, feelings and views to the world.  They know that by expressing their true internal experience, they are able to share their gifts with the world.

TrulyAuthenticPeople

Click to Tweet: Authentic people know that expressing their true internal experience, they are able to share their gifts with the world. via @jenilyn8705

#6 – They see value in giving love to others

They see value in giving love and kindness indiscriminately.  They understand that we are all connected and are willing to give others a helping hand.  They know that by helping others, they are helping themselves.  They allow and encourage others to express their own truth with love and acceptance as well.

#7 – They love themselves

They see themselves as a person of value who deserves love, kindness and support.  They provide themselves with adequate care to support their own health and well-being.

#8 – They are willing to see and acknowledge their own faults

They are aware they we are all wounded and may have various prejudices.  They don’t judge others for their own prejudices, but rather see it as a part of the person’s own inner wounding that has yet to be healed.  They know that there are aspects of themselves that they don’t like either, and they’re willing to swallow their ego and acknowledge those parts regardless. 

#9 – They understand that we are all unique — and that’s okay!

They know that not everyone is going to agree on everything all the time.  They are accepting of differing views and opinions.  They don’t label themselves as “right” and another person as “wrong” or visa versa.

#10 – They take responsibility for their lives

They don’t blame other people for what happens to them in their lives.  They take personal responsibility for how they’re actions created a certain outcome.  They are willing to look at how they influenced each and every situation and act accordingly.

#11 – They’re connected to their own inner guide

They’ve been able to clear their minds of the constant mind chatter in order to hear an inner voice that is greater than them.  They are able to act in accordance to their inner guidance with trust and faith, despite not having external validation.

Take action now!

Out of the list above, are any of these 11 signs of authenticity harder for you to do than others?  Do some come a little more “natural” to you?  How do you struggle to be authentic in your relationships and life?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

3 Lessons I’ve Learned in Finding My Glow

This week’s blog is a part of the GlowSchool Blog Tour, which was founded and created by my dear friend Dana Gatziolis.

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In 2011, after graduating from college and in the process of looking for a job.  It appeared that I was doing everything “right”.  I had my degree in hand and I was in the process of searching for full-time teaching jobs.

But, inside, I was a complete mess.

I was stressed, mildly depressed, anxious, always worrying, had reoccurring migraines, increasingly bad digestion, and felt like I was “losing” myself.

I had several failed romantic relationships under my belt and all I could see upon the horizon were more opportunities for heartbreak and disappointment.  There was no end in sight.

So in the midst of my quarter-life crisis I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and explore… by moving to South Korea to teach English.

This was the beginning of my miraculous journey in finding my glow, and I’m now in a very different place than I was those 5 years ago. 

My anxiety is virtually gone, I haven’t had a migraine in years, my digestion is amazing, my worrying is totally under control, and I feel so much more in-tune with my true self.

And to top all that off, I’m in a relationship with a man who is honestly all that I could ask for.

There have been many lessons in my journey, but here are 3 lessons in particular that have helped me truly find my glow:

#1 – Self care isn’t an option, it’s a necessity

In our society where working 40+ hours a week, plus commute traffic, plus taking classes in order to earn more money, plus cooking dinner, taking care of kids, and so on is the norm, it’s insane to not think that self-care is vitally important. 

In fact, it’s not only vitally important, it’s an absolute necessity — for our mind, emotions, body and spirit.  Without self care, we’re like a wilting flower that desperately needs to be nourished, cared for and, most importantly, loved.

So I think it’s critically important to set some non-negotiable times for some self-care rituals.  Mark it in your calendar for every Friday to be “salt bath night”, every Monday and Wednesday to be “yoga night”, or every Thursday to be “art night”.  Another option would be to commit to eating better by committing to making a smoothie every day (or every other) to be sure you get enough fruits and veggies in your diet.

Find things that relax you and nourish your soul.  In doing so, it will help you glow.

#2 – You’ve got to feel it in order to let it go and heal

Several years ago I used to be as (probably) the majority of the population is: When I felt something I’d stuff it down to repress it hoping that feeling would go away.  In fact, I rarely even felt my feelings were okay.  I had a lot of difficulty trusting them and believing that they were valid.

No wonder I felt mildly depressed, anxious, had migraines, and bad digestion!  Often the reason we experience depression or anxiety (along with such physical symptoms) is because we’ve been repressing our emotions.

Once I started trusting and accepting my natural emotional responses and recognizing them as valid, things began to shift.  I started to feel more in-tune with myself again because, after all, I was now accepting my emotions rather than try to push them away.  And I mean all emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, rage, anxiety, worry, fear, vulnerability, shame, guilt, and so on.

So the key here is to work on starting a daily practice of recognizing what triggers you and your emotional and physical response to it.  Did someone cut you off while driving?  Did your boss criticize you at work?  Check in with yourself. 

Then once you check in with yourself and recognize your physical and emotional response, give yourself time to feel it.  One of my mentors says, “Feel it for 90 seconds to release it”.  So feel it, then release it. 

The more we become in-tune with our own feelings, the more we accept our whole selves — and the more we allow ourselves to truly glow.

#3 – Meditation truly transforms

When I first started meditating in 2012 I absolutely hated it.  I couldn’t focus on the mantra.  My foot would fall asleep.  I’d fall asleep.  I couldn’t sit still.  I was constantly distracted by noises.

But with a lot of time and practice, it’s gotten much easier and I can say this with complete and utter confidence:  Practicing meditation has created the biggest transformation in my life.  Period.

It was meditation that helped me calm my anxiety from when I first started dating my boyfriend.  It’s helped me significantly reduce stress.  It’s helped me get so much more in-tune with my own intuition and inner guidance.  And — most importantly — it’s helped me to really glow.

Meditation has helped me to truly connect with my own inner love and joy from within.  Are you interested in starting your own meditation practice?  Get started with my Free meditation Healing Blocks to Love from my meditation album Ignite Love from Within.

Take action now!

In the comments below, share with me what you are going to do for yourself today in order to help yourself glow.

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This week’s blog is a part of Dana Gatziolis’s GlowSchool Blog Tour. I met Dana last year at Gabrielle Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie Masterclass.  Dana has an extraordinary story of being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 9 to now helping others transform their own health and well-being as a wellness coach.  In addition, she is also carrying out her lifelong dream of being a country music singer and songwriter. You can learn more about her here.

Starting February 1st, Dana is offering her FREE 10-Day Get Glowing Adventure for 10 days of daily inspiration, challenges, and fun.  Click here to sign up!

On Friday, we heard from the beautiful Jen Kanipe on the blog tour and I’m very excited to hear Stephanie Kirylych’s story tomorrow!

Why Buying Stuff Isn’t Going to Make You Happy — and What Will

I used to be in credit card debt…

… and that’s really hard for me to admit to because I had always been diligent about budgeting and money stuff prior to getting into debt.

Fortunately now it’s long gone, but I’ve since been focusing more of my energy into budgeting, my spending habits and reflecting on my money blocks.

In the process I realized that I had been spending money quite carelessly.  Spending it on things that I didn’t really need — or I thought I needed, but it wasn’t giving me what I want.

After I reflected on how I spent plenty of time and money on various things without necessarily having that good of results, I started to realize:  It’s not necessarily the product or service itself that I’m really wanting from this, but an energy that could potentially come with it.

… and I was failing. 

I was failing to get that energy that I wanted from the product or service.  So I kept wanting more.  I kept buying more stuff — more products and more services — thinking that buying something, at some point, could magically get me exactly want I wanted.

But it never did…. and it never could.

Why?  Because, for some reason, I thought the purchase was enough.  I had this thought in my mind (as many of us do) that if I buy that product or service that I’m going to magically and instantaneously feel better.

But it doesn’t work that way.

In fact, by believing that’s all I had to do I was setting myself up for failure.  ‘Cause we can’t just buy something and then experience the energy of happiness, love, and joy that we’re craving to experience.  Rather, we have to do things for ourselves in order to open ourselves to that kind of energy. 

If we want to feel things like happiness and love in our lives, we’re not going to get it by just “buying stuff”.  Rather, we have to do the internal work on ourselves.

We live in a world where we all have a tendency to want instant gratification.  We’re upset when our computer is slow, our phone doesn’t have a signal, or when our Netflix movie just isn’t streaming right.

We’ve become impatient… and not only with things, but with ourselves as well.

And it doesn’t work, because it isn’t realistic.

Sure, we can do simple and short activities to help ourselves that can make drastic shifts and changes in our being, but it’s not that we can totally bypass it and still get results.

We have to do our own inner work in order to create lasting positive changes.  So what are some easy, simple, and very affordable ways that we can do that?  Here are 3:

#1 – Meditation

I used to hate meditation, but with time, practice and experience I’ve come to really realize the transformation that can come by having a daily meditation practice.  Meditation helps us quiet, as Buddhists like to say, our “monkey mind”, so, in other words, our worries, fears, anxieties, and other inner blocks.  By quieting down these internal stressors, it is then easier for us to open up to feelings of happiness, love, and peace.

It doesn’t matter if you do Transcendental Meditation (TM), Kundalini meditation, guided visualizations, a movement-focused kind of meditation, or whatever, you will be able to reap benefits with a regular daily practice. 

So “shop around” and try out different kinds to get a better sense of what will work best for you right now.  You can get started today with my guided visualization meditation Healing Blocks to Love for free.  Plus, when you sign up to get a copy you’ll also eventually receive one of my movement-focused meditations to try out and also learn more about my meditation album Ignite Love from Within: Meditations for Creating Relationships and a Life Filled with Love. 

#2 – Emotional Freedom Technique

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is like a blend of neuroscience and acupressure.  The process involves tapping points on the body while making statements about your past trauma, anxiety, fear, stress, or internal block.

You can get started with EFT by finding a therapist or practitioner that is certified to teach it.  You can also learn more by picking up a copy of The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner.  There are also plenty of YouTube videos out there with people teaching how to go through the points for whatever ailment you’d like to tap on.

#3 – Prayer

Regardless of your religious/spiritual beliefs, prayer can be a very beneficial tool to help heal us from our own internal blocks.  After all, there is a reason that prayer is used in 12-step meetings!

So start a daily practice of asking the Universe, Spirit, the Divine, God or whatever to help you release you from whatever it is that you are struggling with internally. 

If you’re struggling with credit card debt you may say a prayer like, “Spirit of the highest truth and compassion, I surrender my debts to you.  Please help me to purchase only what is in my highest good and in the highest good of all”.  One of my new favorite books on prayer is Marianne Williamson’s Illuminata.  So if you’re looking for some inspiration or guidance on prayer, check it out.

In closing, the path of trying to find happiness in “buying stuff” can be a long, difficult and very stressful journey, so remember this:  What you desire to experience or feel in this world already exists within you. You just have to put forth the effort to get out of your own way to allow the change to occur.  And with time, effort, and practice, the results will be nothing short of miraculous.

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What you desire to experience or feel in this world already exists within you. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

Out of the 3 things I listed above — meditation, EFT, and prayer — what are you going to start doing today?  Share it in the comments below!

Gratitude Isn’t Just for Thanksgiving

This article is by Ali Katz from AtoZenMeditation.com

We all make a very big deal about being grateful on Thanksgiving, as we should. We have the day off, we are surrounded by loved ones, and we are enjoying a delicious meal together. Sounds pretty good to me! But what happens when the holiday is over?

Practicing gratitude enriches our lives in many ways all year long, like making us more humble, more content, less judgmental, more encouraging, less of a gossip, and it even makes us healthier by boosting our immune system.

When we practice gratitude we are putting our attention on positive things in our life, which makes them feel bigger than our problems. There is nothing too big or too small to feel grateful for. I think there is a misconception that practicing gratitude is only for the big, profound things in life like our health and a roof over our heads. Those are for sure things to be grateful for, and I am every day, but gratitude can extend to every part of your life as well. Goals made at a game, good grades, your favorite foods, a great book, or maybe an upcoming family vacation are wonderful things to express gratitude for.

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Click to Tweet: When we’re grateful we’re putting our attention on positive things, which makes them feel bigger than problems. @AliKatz76 @jenilyn8705

There are many simple ways to bring gratitude into your every day:

Open your eyes and say thank you

I try to remember to make my first words of the day “thank you.” When I open my eyes I silently give thanks for another opportunity to put my best foot forward and live my very best life.

Keep a simple gratitude journal

I suggest people keep a small pad next to their toothbrush and when you brush your teeth in the morning and evening, write down one thing you are grateful for.

If you don’t like to write, put a sticky note on your mirror that says “gratitude” and whenever you look at it think of something you are grateful for.

Have a family gratitude journal

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is when everyone goes around the table and says what they are thankful for. It is such a special, bonding experience to share as a family. So why not do it more? Place a small journal on your dining table, and at family meals record what everyone is grateful for that day. Include the big things and the little things!

Put a reminder on your phone

As important as gratitude is to me, I need to be reminded to pause during my busy day for a gratitude break. Every day at 3 pm a reminder goes off on my phone that says “gratitude is my attitude.” I stop what I am doing, take a few long, deep breaths and think of something I am grateful for.

Shift your perspective

Even in the midst of trying times I think about what I am learning and how this experience is helping me to grow as a person. Doing this turns many challenges into wins.

Make a stress/gratitude list

When I am feeling overwhelmed I often take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle creating two columns. One side is for stress and the other gratitude. I begin by making a list of everything I am stressed about. Valid or ridiculous, I include it all. When I am finished I then move to the gratitude side and write two things I am grateful for for each item on the stress side. So if I am stressed about ten things, I will write 20 that I am grateful for.

This does two things. The first is that it acknowledges our stress. We don’t want to pretend it isn’t there or sweep it under the rug. It is important to admit how we are feeling in the moment. But then we have an beautiful visual to see that even though we have stress in our lives, we have so much more to be grateful for.

I believe that the more we practice gratitude, the more the Universe gives us to be grateful for, so get started today!

Ali Katz is a self-care coach for women, a meditation expert and author of the best-selling book “Hot Mess to Mindful Mom.” Visit her at www.atozenmeditation.com and be sure to grab her 8 best tips for sleep!