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Category Archives: Healing + Letting Go

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.

6 Lessons I’ve Learned in Healing My Gut

This article has been featured on Elephant Journal.

Heartburn, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and headaches. Looking back on it now, it’s hard for me to imagine that that’s what my life was like just 2 years ago. Having low energy and having trouble sleeping each night because either the heartburn or indigestion I was having was so uncomfortable.

While I don’t think we ever get to a point where we are completely “healed” in that we’re able to go back to the old lifestyle that we had before we started our healing journey, I have managed to reach a very stable place.

In order to reach this stable place in my gut health, I had a lot of different lessons to learn — and not only from health professionals that supported me in this journey but also in learning to tune in to my own body to recognize what it wants and needs.

Here are 6 lessons I’ve learned in my journey of healing my gut:

#1 – Cutting out dairy and gluten alone may not to do magic, but it’s still worth doing

When my gut problems first started getting unmanageable, I had several people in my life come chiming in with how they started cutting out gluten and dairy from their diets and they were able to get rid of their heartburn, stop having acne breakouts, started feeling more energized, and so on.

So I started cutting out gluten and dairy from my diet for a few weeks — and eventually even a few months — and I didn’t notice any results at the time. I found myself frustrated and as if all my efforts to cut out these foods was a waste of time.

I didn’t realize it then, but I know now that while cutting out dairy and gluten is beneficial, it may not be the only thing that our bodies need to heal. Maybe you’d also need to cut out sugar or soy and eat more vegetables and less meat. It varies a lot depending on the individual.

#2 – Gluten is in a lot of processed foods

In the first week or two that I started cutting out gluten, I remember telling a friend who had suggested I eliminate gluten from my diet, “I’ve been doing it for two weeks and I’ve noticed no changes!”

He sat there and looked at me with a straight face and asked, “Have you been eating soy sauce?”

“Yes”, I replied.

“Have you been eating salad dressings?”

“Yes.”

“What about sauces?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Then you haven’t been cutting out gluten.”

It took me some time to do the research online and read all the labels at the grocery store, but eventually I figured out what to look for on the labels and get a sense for what products are typically going to have gluten in it and which isn’t.

Fortunately for me, I’m not celiac so I don’t have to be extra cautious about contamination or anything like that. However, if you’re doing an elimination diet to see what foods work for you and which don’t, you have to know if you’re consuming bits of gluten or not.

#3 – Ditch the gluten-free products

In my experience of trial and error, I’ve realized that consuming gluten free products are just has bad as consuming gluttonous products. Why? Because they’re still processed.

When I started eating mostly whole, natural foods by buying most all my food from the perimeter of the grocery store, that’s when I started to really notice shifts in my gut and overall health.

#4 – We need to rotate our probiotics and enzymes

After about 9 months of working with my acupuncturist, I noticed my digestion was feeling a bit sluggish. When I informed my acupuncturist of this, she immediately asked me, “How long have you been using your current probiotic?”

“Probably 6 months” I said.

“You should probably change it” she responded.

Currently I rotate between three different brands of probiotics and rotate different kinds of enzymes. Sometimes our bodies get used to the same formula and all it needs is something different to give it a little boost.

#5 – We need to be open to changing our diets as needed

When I was first introduced to the paleo diet through my boyfriend and his sister, I first thought it was the magical life-changing diet that I had been looking for all along. Whenever I ate paleo I felt amazing, had more energy, and my gut was in the greatest shape ever.

So last spring I went on the paleo diet and I stuck with it all through the summer. Then, November hit and the paleo diet was no longer working for me. I felt tired, started having bouts of constipation and diarrhea again, and having occasional indigestion.

I experimented with different things in my diet for about a month or so and eventually I realized that my body wanted less meat, more veggies, and grains, like rice and quinoa, again. So through the winter months I stuck with a gluten-free “flexitarian” diet, where I only had meat once a week and it was exactly what my body needed.

BodiesChange

Click to Tweet: Just as the seasons change, so do our bodies. We need to be open and receptive to what our bodies are asking from us. via @jenilyn8705

Just as the seasons change, so do our bodies. So we need to be open and receptive to what our bodies are asking from us. Which leads me to what was, perhaps, my biggest lesson of all:

#6 – Our minds and emotions impact our gut health

The more we are stuck in our own heads, then the more our gut is likely going to suffer — and not merely due to neglect, but due to the fact that we are not tracking our own internal experience.

It’s important to be mindful and to check in with how we are feeling in our bodies throughout the day. Doing so helps us to get out of our “monkey mind”, as the Buddhists call it, and back into our present moment experience.

When I started really tuning into my body, I started to notice some interesting things. I noticed that whenever someone would cut me off while driving on the freeway, I would get a fluttery feeling in my stomach. I would notice what situations would raise my heart rate and which would cause neck tension.

By tuning into my body periodically throughout the day, I was then able to take care of myself in those moments. I then knew that I was holding my breath and that I needed to exhale. I knew that I needed to take a few conscious breaths to get re-balanced and centered.

In implementing a mindfulness practice, that’s when I learned the most valuable lesson of them all: How to care for myself.

What lessons has your body taught you?  Share it in the comments below!

Letting Go of What You Think Should Happen

A couple months ago I wrote a book proposal.

It was an assignment as a part of a publishing and promotion class that I started taking in January.  Late last year I enrolled in the class with the intention to get a solid outline for a book and to start writing it.

So I looked through notes of the few ideas I had jotted down over the few months prior and came up with an idea.  I created an outline for myself and made up a book proposal to complete my first big assignment for the class.

I knew the book proposal wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough for now.  I thought it was pretty good idea and based on a subject that I knew a lot about already. 

So when I started working with my business and writing coach in February, we started talking about about book writing.  The discussion of the coaching session led me to think a few days later, Maybe I’ll get started writing this.  After all, I have some free time that has opened up that I didn’t have before.  Why not just jump in now?

So I plop down in front of my computer, reference the outline that I made for myself and started diving into writing Chapter 1 as I outlined it.

… and it was the most dreadful experience ever.

With every sentence I felt like I was trying to pull teeth to get the words out.  I’d take moments to stop and walk around and then I’d think to myself Come on Jen… you know this material.  It’s not like it’s something you don’t know.  Just get what you know out on paper.

And so I’d sit back down and start writing again.  Gradually and very very slowly.

Over an hour goes by and I go to check my word count.  It reads 523.  You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me, I think to myself, I write articles on my site every single week that have a minimum of 800 words in less than an hour and with this it’s taking me over hour just to get 500 words?

At that moments I stopped, pulled away, and looked at it all for a second.  Do I even want to write this?

The answer was a very quick no. 

I did not want to write a book with the kind of focus that I made it out to be.  Because I was planning on writing it with that particular focus, it was, to me, incredibly boring and dull.  I wasn’t going to have fun writing it that way, so I knew that I had to take the material and repackage it in a way so I could actually enjoy the writing process.

So when my next coaching session came around, my coach asked me about the progress with the book.  I explained what I had realized in the process and that I wanted to put it to the side for the time being.  She completely understood and we started talking about other potential projects to get started on.

I shared with her a few ideas that I came up with spontaneously in the last few months and we set goals for times to get certain parts of the projects done.

… and I actually did it.

Working on the projects have been incredibly enjoyable and I have actually found myself more energized, excited and inspired.  I’ve been able to get into the “flow” with my creativity in these projects and never once have I found myself dreading that I’d have to sit in front of my computer to get the work done.

And I completely loved the process.

A Course in Miracles talks about making vs creating.  When we’re in a place of making we are completely in our ego.  We’re focused on what it is that we think we need to do or be doing.  When we’re truly creating, it’s coming from a love mindset. Its when our true selves are able to be expressed and we allow that natural flow of our own inner truth to pour out of us.

Now, to be clear, with these two terms the Course isn’t talking about creating by being creative.  Like, by writing or doing an art project.  Rather, the Course is referring to a way of being.  It’s referring to a mindset that we are holding on to the the energy that we have behind that mindset.

Many of us are caught up in the “making things happen” kind of mindset. We push ourselves and try to force things to happen.  There’s a lot of tension and a lot of trying to control and manipulate things in a way to force them to happen.  There isn’t a level of trust there.

To get into a truly creating kind of mindset we have to be willing to let go. We have to surrender a little bit and trust in the process.  We have to trust that while something may not make sense right away, that it is going to all come together someway, somehow.

Click to Tweet: We have to trust that while something may not make sense right away, that it is going to all come together. @jenilyn8705 

When I was working on my book proposal I had a certain idea on how things “needed” to be and I was trying to force it to happen.  Through the process, I was able to realize that to work on it right now in that way it is not the right time.  I had to surrender and let it go.  And through the process of surrendering, I was able to allow other projects to come to fruition. 

That is true co-creation.  It is when we are able to surrender what we think needs to happen just enough so that what is truly meant to happen for us is allowed to flow through us naturally and effortlessly.

CoCreation

How are you holding onto things based on how you think they need to happen?  What do you need to let go of so you can allow what is in your highest good to be manifested?  Share it in the comments below!

My Love of Fear

Yoga was finished and it was time to get to work.  I sit down at my desk to begin.

You’ve been procrastinating all day, a voice in my mind says, You should already have this done by now!

I can feel the tension in my neck crawling down my back.  My breath is shallow.

I take a deep breath and stretch my arms over my head thinking, believing and hoping that will release the tension.

I feel a little better, so I put my arms down and start to focus on work.

You haven’t done shit today, the voice continues, you woke up, ate breakfast, did yoga and that’s it.  You’re pathetic.

I then open the document of my project and start getting to work.

This shit is terrible.  What makes you think that’s good enough?  Work harder!

I look back over what I had written down.  Rereading it from the top.  Maybe if I word it this way it could be better somehow?  Or maybe I can add a little bit more here.

Nobody is going to like that shit.  It’s not good enough.  You’re not good enough.

My neck became even more tense and I suddenly found myself debilitated.  Completely unable to work.  Completely unable to focus.

I get up to walk around feeling “off” and not sure what more I needed to do to get past this critical inner voice that’s loaded in fear.  I did yoga, I meditated, I’ve moved around like a billion frigging times already… what more needs to happen to kick this thing?

I stop trying to fight it so I make myself a smoothie and pop in my earbuds to listen to a lecture by my mentor Gabby Bernstein.  I had heard this lecture several times before but maybe, someway, somehow I was going to hear something that would help me get out of this funk.

A half hour later and the first recorded lecture was over.

See now you just wasted another 30 minutes when you could be working, the voice says.

Oh just shut up already, I think back to it as my neck tenses up and I hit the play button on the next 30 minute talk.

She’s not even talking about what you’re dealing with right now, the voice says.

This time I ignore it and continue to keep listening to the talk.

About mid-way through the talk Gabby mentioned that before she does a talk she will say a prayer asking for the highest spirit of truth and compassion to speak through her talk.  She said that in doing this, it helps her get out of her fear-based ego and back into love.

Upon hearing that, I quickly say that prayer for myself in my mind.  I start to notice my neck muscles starting to relax, my jaw not quite as tight, and I feel much more calm and centered.

I paused the talk and then I had a thought, Jen, you were trying to fight the block.  You were trying to fight the fear, but that doesn’t work because you were fighting fear with fear in your mind.  You can’t push fear away.  Fear can only truly dissipate when you love it, because love is what heals.

FearDissipate

Click to Tweet: Fear can only truly dissipate when you love it because love is what heals @jenilyn8705 

There are so many times where coaches, writers, and teachers talk about how we need to be fearless.

“Bust through the blocks”

“Overcome your fear”

“Live fearlessly”

On the surface the words can seem to be implying that fear is bad and that we must abolish it.  However, by holding onto the idea that we have to abolish fear in itself can make us even more stuck.  It can create a war of fear-based dialogue inside our minds.

You’re not good enough.

Oh go away.

Nobody is going to want to read that.

Leave me alone!

What we need to do instead is to recognize the fear-based thoughts and give it love.  Notice the thought and let it be.  Don’t attach to it or respond.  Just let it be. 

If it comes up again wanting more attention, just give it some love.  Pray for it.  Tell it that you love it. 

After all, those thoughts are just wounded parts of you and, just like you do, they deserve a lot of love and care.

These 2 Steps in Forgiveness Will Help You Heal and Let Go For Good

Months back I was spending time with an old friend of mine.  We were hanging out with each other, catching up and just having an overall good time.

In the midst of spending time together, however, my friend had eventually said something that had really hurt me.  The words she said, the way she said it and the way she acted for the remainder of our time spent together left me offended, angry and sad.

In addition, as the night went on I had found that my old friend was following lifestyle choices that made me deeply concerned for her own well-being.

I had no idea what to say, how to say it, or even if I should say something.  And so, I kept my thoughts and feelings to myself for the duration of the time we spent together.

Days later when I was spending time with my boyfriend I told him everything.  What she said, what she was doing, and my own thoughts and feelings about the whole thing.

In response, he said, “Oh I’m sorry babe — that sucks”.

But some validation for my pain wasn’t enough for me to heal and let it go.  The pain still lingered.

I knew I needed to forgive, so I looked into my spiritual toolbox and pulled out prayer and meditation.  I started meditating and praying about it in asking for spirit to help me forgive.

I would do it for a few days and the second I felt some kind of “release” I thought I was “healed” so then I’d stop… only to find that a few days later those hurt feelings would arise again.

This cycle continued for weeks.  And since my hurt feelings were still there I’d talk to my boyfriend about it.  Words of “I can’t believe she said that” were on repeat.

And then one day in the midst of my boyfriend patiently listening to all of this, he eventually said, “Well, you can’t control her”.

I stopped and finally realized the cycle that I was really caught in:  I was caught up in a codependent cycle.

A very basic definition of codependency is when one tries to control another person in some way.  It can be seen through boundary violation either externally or internally.

This can come up externally in the wife of an alcoholic who wants her husband to stop drinking so badly that she tries to throw out all the alcohol in the house.  On the flip side, this can come up internally in a husband who doesn’t like his wife’s spending habits so he complains about her behavior all the time.  The first is a clear codependent behavior because there was an external action.  The second is not as obvious because it is internal, but the energy and feelings of wanting to control is still very present — and can still be felt by others.

Fortunately for me in this case, I wasn’t violating any boundaries externally, but the internal desire to control was certainly there — which was, truly, the reason for my deep struggle to let go and forgive.  I wasn’t fully recognizing the faults in my own behavior, so the prayer and meditation just wasn’t quite cutting it.

So how can we follow to forgive, heal, and let go for good?  Here are the two main steps:

#1 – You gotta recognize your own control patterns

Often when we’re struggling to forgive someone it’s because we wish that the other person would change in some way.  Maybe we want them to apologize to us, maybe we want them to reach out, or maybe we want them to change their lifestyle in some way so the relationship can “heal” and things can be back the way they used to be.

It doesn’t work like that.  People are not going to change on your terms.  They are going to change on their own terms.  And though it may be painful to watch sometimes, the most loving thing to do is to let go and allow the person to live, grow, and learn on their own.

PeopleChange

Click to Tweet: People are not going to change on your terms.  They are going to change on their own terms. via @jenilyn8705

#2 – Release it to spirit

Once we’ve been able to recognize our own control patterns, its effective to do some kind of prayer or meditation with the intention to forgive.  Maybe it’s a visualization meditation like my forgiveness meditation in my album Ignite Love from Within.  Or maybe it’s a simple prayer in saying something like:

Spirit of the highest truth and compassion, I’m struggling to forgive [Name] because of [situation].  I have recognized my wrongs in this.  I can see my desire to control and I know that it is no longer serving me or the relationship.  I surrender my control and my desire to forgive to you.  Heal [Name].  Heal me.  Thank you very much.  Amen.

You can tweek the words so that it most resonates with you, but doing some kind of act to surrender and release to spirit/the Universe in some way on a daily basis is what is going to help you truly heal and release your pain and resentments.

Take action now!

If you’re struggling to forgive someone right now, ask yourself: What is my control pattern in this situation?  How am I wanting to control the other person?  How am I controlling?  Share it in the comments below!

Creating Change In Your Life Isn’t Always About “Doing”

The other day I was working with a client who was very frustrated because she felt like she wasn’t making a lot of progress in her life.

“There’s all these things that I know I need to do for myself,” she said, “but I just can’t ever get myself to do it.”

What followed were more self-critical statements and an eventual pause with a look of being completely lost along with the question, “What should I do?”

I paused, took a breath, and sat for a moment trying to find the exact right words for this response.

“Why do you have to do anything?” I said.  She looked at me a little perplexed.

“We live in a society where we’re hardwired to always be ‘doing’ something,” I continued, “but when it comes to something like this I don’t think the healing comes from doing more.  Rather, it’s about being open.”

When we’re stuck in this place where we know we need some kind of growth and healing, we can have a tendency to focus on what we can “do” to “fix” it. 

But the reality is that there is no simple step-by-step to do list to help you “fix” your problem.  There is no “one size fits all” for everyone all the time.

We’re all unique, so we all have our own individual journey and life path.  We just need to be sure to remember this and keep this in mind in order to allow our own unique healing and soul growth to occur.

So what do I mean exactly when I say that we “need to be open”?  Well, being open means being open to…

Guidance. 

Guidance — from spirit, God, the universe, a higher power, or whatever term you want to use — that will lead us to the right people with the right method at the right time that will be able to help you with your own unique situation.

Our felt experience.

To be open to our own emotions and feelings.  When we are sad, upset, or are still holding on to emotional distress from past situation, we have a tendency to repress or dissociate from our experience.  It may be too difficult to feel, so we unconsciously seek alternatives to avoid feeling.  This can cause us to feel depressed, anxious, etc.

So in order to heal and grow its important to be open to slowly and gradually reconnect to our own feelings.  It’s important to allow ourselves to cry, be angry, or whatever.  Being open to our felt experience allows us to reconnect consciously with our own natural flow of emotions and feelings.

The un-doing of our old habits.

We may not be consciously aware of what old habits and ways of being in the world are no longer serving us, but by being open to the un-doing of our habits makes change possible. 

Ultimately, it’s about allowing yourself to be open to change — in whatever way that comes for you — and trusting that what emerges is meant to come up. 

It’s not about trying to control or manipulate the process in some way with your mind (as our ego tends to).  Instead, its about surrendering our desires to control and allowing the process to unfold naturally for us.

OpenToChange

Click to Tweet: Lasting change comes from surrendering our desires to control and allowing the process to unfold naturally. via @jenilyn8705

There are two tools that could really assist you in being open, which include…

Prayer

Prayer or setting an intention at the start of you day is a very simple way to help you live with an “open to change” mindset.  The prayer can be something really simple like, “Spirit, of the highest truth and compassion, I release all of my concerns about _______ to you.  I am open to your guidance and intervention.  Please guide me in this process.  Thank you.”

In any prayer or intention that you want to make, I encourage you to create the wording for yourself because then it will be much more impactful.

Meditation

In meditation, we minimize the power of our ego or fear-based mind and connect to our true selves, which is pure love. 

If you already have some meditations that you really enjoy, then I encourage you to do that.  If not, then I am currently giving away for free my “Healing Blocks to Love” meditation from my new album Ignite Love from Within: Meditations for Creating Relationships and a Life Filled with Love. 

In this meditation, I guide you to identify at least one fear-based thought that is blocking you from love (which, in relation to the topic we’ve been discussing here, could simply be a thought like “I need to control my healing process”).  Then, I guide you through a visualization to release it.  If you’re ready to start creating relationships and a life of love, then click here to grab you copy as my gift to you.

Take action now!

Get out a sheet of paper write out a prayer or intention to state at the start of your day to  help you live with an “open to change” mindset.  Then share it in the comments below!

How to Know When It’s Possibly Time to Get a Divorce

Deciding whether or not to get a divorce is hardly something to be taken lightly. Overall, I do generally think that relationship issues can and should be worked out before making the decision to separate and do any filings.

However, there is mostly one absolute “deal breaker” where I think it’s necessary to get a divorce if this is present and that is abuse. Any physical or sexual abuse towards either you or any child is, in my mind, an absolute “no I’m done with this”. Nobody deserves to be in an abusive relationship, so if that is going on then it is worth getting away as quickly as possible.

Now, if your marriage doesn’t involve any kind of abuse and you’re contemplating a divorce, then this takes more introspection. The following are some potential reasons to consider getting a divorce:

#1 – One or both people refuse to try.

Maybe one person has wanted to talk about issues or attend couples counseling, but the other person refuses to do these things. They don’t want to talk about it and they don’t want to work at it.

When you’re in this place, it makes it really hard to improve any of the conditions. Every relationship requires a team effort. If the two of you are unable to find a way to work together then it doesn’t leave much room for relationship success.

#2 – There’s a disagreement on whether to have children or not.

If one of you really wants kids and the other one really doesn’t, it may be a sure sign to get a divorce. Here’s the fact of the matter: Deciding whether or not to bring children into the equation is a big step. It’s

Having children requires a lot of time and energy and for someone who may not even want kids, it’s not fair to give them something they didn’t really want in the first place. That being said, it is also not fair to not give children to someone who really does genuinely want them. So if the two of you aren’t in the same place when it comes to having children, then it may be time to go your separate ways.

#3 – Someone cheats… a lot.

If one partner is or was cheating and it continues to happen then this may be a sign that a divorce is in order. In order for a marriage to work, the two of you both need to have the same wants in the relationship. It can’t work out if one of you wants to be monogamous while the other prefers to have more open relationships.

Ultimately, I think one of the most crucial questions to ask yourself and meditate on is this: When I envision our future together, do I see us moving in the same direction or not?

Can you foresee the two of you working together as a team? Can you foresee the two of you maintaining a mutual level of respect and love for one another? Do you both want the same, or similar, things in life?

ImproveQualityRelationships

Click to Tweet: In order to improve the quality of our relationships, both people have to be willing to work together. via @jenilyn8705

Relationships are complex and there are a lot of variables at play, so there isn’t really a specific “checklist” to help you determine whether to get a divorce or not. It all boils down to whether or not you are willing to work at it and if the other person is willing to work at it with you. Without a mutual willingness, there is not a lot that can happen to improve the quality of the relationship.

Releasing Resentments and Opening Up to Love

A while back I found myself in a not-so-happy place for a few days.

My work at my counseling job was extra stressful, I had multiple things at home that needed to be done that weren’t, and my boyfriend and I weren’t quite understanding each other with certain things.

For the most part, this wasn’t really bothering me that much until a few situations at work happened and I found myself in argument with my boyfriend.  It was then that I found myself all pent up with anger and resentment towards my boyfriend and certain people for several days.  I just couldn’t find a way to shake it.

It was kind of a weird experience for me, as this was the first time in a long time that I found myself stuck in a state of resentment. I had been discussing conflicts in my personal and professional life as they arose in therapy for a few months.  Though I would feel hurt, I was always somehow able to let it go.

But this time, resentment was totally there and nothing was shaking it.  I was mad — and there was a part of me that was determined to not let it go without hearing a very sincere apology from a few people.

After about a day or so, I realized that, realistically, I was never going to get a full apology.  And, despite this realization, my resentment was still there.  If anything it made me even more angry.

As a result, I turned to meditation.  It had been treating me well for my overall well-being, and though I wasn’t sure how it was really going to help me with this whole resentment thing, I figured I’d try it out.

That late morning, I looked on my phone and dug out a guided meditation that was focused on forgiveness.  The meditation involved envisioning the person that you want to forgive and then stating the intention in your mind multiple times that you are willing to forgive them and release them from your resentments.  The meditation then concluded with envisioning yourself and the person being engulfed by this white light of love.

So I sat down, put in my earbuds, and started the guided meditation.  I went through the visualizations and started reciting the intentions to forgive in my mind multiple times.

As I was doing the guided meditation I found myself still completely engulfed in feelings of resentment.

Thoughts of “Agh that jerk was so mean” and “How can I ever forgive them?” ran through my mind.  This all then followed up with a thought of “How can this meditation possibly be working if I’m still feeling this resentful and angry while doing the meditation?  I really don’t see how this is going to work.”

When the meditation ended I didn’t even think about it again — my meditation experience, the people that angered me, and the things I was resentful for.  I just dropped it all right there and got back to doing what I had been doing before I meditated.

Later that afternoon I found myself with several pleasant surprises.  My counseling clients were surprisingly upbeat, happy and enjoying life — which, for some, was the total opposite of how they normally were in our sessions.  My co-workers were all pleasant and not even remotely stressed, through my perception.

And, finally, when I saw my boyfriend we hugged each other and talked as if no conflicts had ever happened between us in the past few days.  We were both open, compassionate, and loving toward each other.

It was then that I stopped for a moment and checked in with myself.  I felt no resentment at all — Nadda!  Zilch!

I was happy, content, peaceful, and open to receiving and experiencing love.

Somehow — without any logical explanation whatsoever — the meditation worked!

Whenever the words “forgiveness” or “letting go” comes up, we often think of it as being such a difficult and challenging thing.  “I don’t know how to do that” or “That’s hard to do” are often thoughts that come in our minds.

But the truth is, forgiveness doesn’t have to be complicated — nor does releasing our anger and resentments have to be complicated.

What it ultimately boils down to is our willingness release it and heal.

We are able to forgive and open ourselves to love when we make the intention to forgive, let it go, and heal.

It is through our intention — not our thought processes — that healing can occur.

IntentionHealing

Click to Tweet: It is through our intention — not our thought processes — that healing can occur. via @jenilyn8705

The reason many of us can find ourselves struggling to forgive is because we get all caught up in our mind chatter or ego.  We keep the recording of all the bad things someone did to us playing in our minds on repeat.  All the things they said, all the things they did, and how they didn’t make us happy because of X.

This mind chatter keeps us in a place of suffering and it makes us think that forgiveness has to be long and difficult process — but doesn’t have to be.  All we have to do is to have the intention and willingness to truly forgive.  Once we make the intention and are open and willing, the rest will take care of itself.

So if you are struggling to forgive someone and let go, simply make the intention despite all that mind chatter.  Then trust that through that intention you will be freed of your resentments and opened up to love.

In the comments below, share with me one person that you are feeling resentful towards.  Then make the intention to let it go! 🙂

10 Ways to Let Go of Painful Relationships

When we are in a place of recovering from a painful relationship, finding a way to let go can be challenging.  Here are 10 ways to let go over painful relationships:

#1 – Reflect on what the relationship taught you.

Get out a pen and paper or journal and reflect on what you learned from this experience.  What are some things you learned from this experience that you will now start doing in your future relationships because of this experience?  What did you learn about yourself while in this relationship?

#2 – Write a letter to honor the relationship.

One of the best ways to process the ending of a relationship is to write a letter to the person.  Pour your heart out and write it all down on paper.  But there’s one trick here: Don’t send the letter.  Often when a relationship has ended we tend to be in this place of “Maybe if I say X, Y, Z, then I can fix it!”  This is just our ego or fear-based mind putting us into a panic by making us think we may not find something better.  Which leads me to my next point…

#3 – Recognize your own irrational fears.

As I just stated, when a relationship has recently ended we may tend to get caught up in fears of “I won’t find something better”.  This is just an irrational fear caused by our ego or fear-based mind.  It is not real, rational, or the truth in any way.   So when you notice these fears come up, simply recognize them and let them be.  Don’t dwell on them.  Simply recognize them for what they truly are: Just a fear, not truth.

#4 – Take care of you.

Make it a goal to be your own best friend.  Buy yourself or cook yourself your favorite meal, spend a night curled up with a great book or watching your favorite movie, and go out with supportive friends.  Make you and your well-being your #1 priority.

#5 – Visualize yourself empowered and happy.

Take some time to envision yourself a few months down the road.  You are feeling happy and empowered.  When visualizing, ask yourself: What am I doing in my life?  What am I doing differently that is causing me to feel so happy?  How am I acting differently that is causing me to feel so empowered?

#6 – Accept where you are in the present moment.

So this means: Take down old pictures, delete phone numbers, hide old e-mails, and maybe even hide someone from your facebook feed.  Also, if this is an ex, do not contact them for at least 60 days.  Those first 60 days are the most crucial time for you to focus on you rather than them.

#7 – Give yourself gifts for making progress.

Did you delete the phone number?  Then take yourself to the spa or sauna.  Have you not contacted him for 2 weeks?  Go out and get a nice dinner.  Did you take down all the pictures?  Get a manicure or pedicure.

#8 – Let yourself cry.

Whenever you find yourself upset or sad about what happened, just let yourself cry.  Don’t hold it in.  Don’t try to rationalize it.  Just cry.  If it emerges, just let it out.  You’ll feel better.

#9 – Meditate.

When we have recently let go of a painful relationship, it is likely that we may find our minds in a state of “overdrive”.  We may find ourselves constant thinking about the “what ifs” and feel guilty for X, Y, and Z.  Take about 5-10 minutes twice a day to stop and meditate.  It doesn’t have to be really complicated.  Just a simple meditation where you focus on your breath, do a mantra, or follow a guided meditation is suffice.  Doing so will help you not only quiet your overactive mind, but also help you calm down your entire being.

#10 – Find a creative outlet.

Finding a creative outlet to process your emotions can be very beneficial when we’ve just let go of a painful relationship.  So start writing regularly either in the form of a journal or through poetry.  Blogging could also be an option.  Other options could be: painting, drawing, doing crafts, sewing, and so on.  Another creative outlet could be dance, which would involve both creativity and physical activity.  Whatever it is, find a creative outlet that you enjoy and that you feel called to do during this time.

Ultimately, remember this: Be patient and compassionate with yourself. Be willing to let go. That’s the best thing you can do for yourself to heal.

BePatientAndCompassionate

Click to Tweet: Be patient and compassionate with yourself. Be willing to let go. That’s the best thing you can do for yourself to heal. via @jenilyn8705

In the comments below, share with me one thing from the list above that you are going to do to help you let go of a painful relationship.  If you are currently not needing to let go of a painful relationship, then share with in the comments below what you did to help yourself let go.

5 Ways To Find Yourself After A Breakup

When a relationship ends, sometimes we can find ourselves lost.  It may have been so long since we’ve been single that we have no idea how to be comfortable being alone or even who we are.  We may feel that we have “lost ourselves” and have no idea what we need to do in order to find ourselves again.

Here are 5 ways to find yourself after a breakup:

#1 – Take yourself on dates.

Want to go see a latest movie release?  Take yourself to the movie theater.  Have a favorite restaurant you haven’t been letting yourself go to by yourself?  Just go!  Want to spend some time at your favorite coffee shop?  Take yourself.

Yes, it can feel awkward going to these things by yourself at first, but the more you do it then the more liberated you’ll feel.  By doing the these things because you want to rather than because someone else is willing to go with you will not only make you get comfortable being alone, but also feel more free and empowered in your own life.

#2 – Go on a vacation alone.

I seriously can’t recommend this enough.  When we go on vacation alone 2 main things happen:  1. We learn to really focus on ourselves and our own needs.  So if you really don’t feel like going to that one museum by the end of the day, so what?!  The decision is all on you. And 2. We learn to really get comfortable reaching out to other travelers or locals for help.  Any shyness goes out the window quick!

As a result, we can find ourselves feeling so much more in control of our lives, more aware of ourselves (I mean, how can we not if we’re not around someone else 24/7?), and more empowered by feeling like we can literally do and tackle anything!

So wherever it is that you want to go… Europe, Asia, Mexico, Brazil, or maybe even just the a few hundred miles away.  Wherever it is, make plans and go do it!

#3 – Find things that you enjoy doing… then go do them!

Did you used to love dancing but you’ve stopped in the last few years?  Start doing it again!  Did you used to love keeping a garden or knitting?  Then find time to do it!

Reflect back on all the things that you used to enjoy doing in your life — as a young kid, a teenager, even to just a few years ago.  Write all these things down on a list and make it a goal to start doing them again!

#4 – Do something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done.

Is there anything you’ve always dreamed of doing but you haven’t give yourself the opportunity to do it?  This could be: learning how to paint, how to speak a new language, how to play piano, how to play the guitar, how to bellydance, and so on.  It may also not have to do with learning anything at all but to just go somewhere and do something.  Like to go hiking in a certain place or to go to a nearby beach or hot springs.  Maybe it means to go to a certain shop that you haven’t yet been to or try a certain massage place that a friend has recommended.

Whatever it is, identify it and start looking up classes or ways that you can do these things!

#5 – Shower yourself with “gifts”.

In other words, become a “self-care master”.  So make yourself a healthy home cooked meal.  Give yourself a relaxing bath filled with epsom salts, essential oils, candles and soothing music.  Go on daily walks in nature.  Read a book from one of your favorite authors.  Buy yourself some of your favorite flowers.

Give yourself things that you love and enjoy because you deserve it!  When we shower ourselves with gifts, we shower ourselves with the love we have for ourselves.

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Click to Tweet: When we shower ourselves with gifts, we shower ourselves with the love we have for ourselves. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

In the comments below, share with me at least one of the things from the list above that you are going to (or at least plan to do) for yourself this week!