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Category Archives: Spirituality

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!

7 Ways to Harness Your Energy So You Can Truly Shine

Deep down in our core we know we are meant to shine. We know that we are meant to live lives of joy, happiness, and love. However, the problem is that there are many aspects of our lives that don’t support us in that.

We get caught up in the negativity, stress and pessimism of the world, which stresses us out and holds us back from being who we are truly meant to be.

But we don’t have to be stuck in this. We all have the power to transform our lives so we can truly be who we are and experience our true power in the world. Here are 7 ways to harness your energy so you can truly shine:

#1 – Free yourself of negativity

Are you around people who are often negative? Do you tend to often be negative about things?

Being negative lowers our energy. It is an aspect of our ego mind and, therefore, disconnects us from our true selves. So become aware of when negativity comes up in your life and when you notice it, stop and change the subject or exhale to bring yourself into the present moment.

#2 – Process fear by writing it out

When we’re experiencing thoughts of “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not worthy” or “I don’t deserve this” it is our ego mind talking to prevent us from truly steeping into our true power. While we may want to immediately dismiss these thoughts and try to push them away, that can create more stress and strain within us.

So we need to be sure to process these thoughts by externalizing them somehow. A great way to do this is through journaling. By writing these thoughts and feelings on to paper, they become weaker. As a result, we are better able to then tune into our true inner voice.

So when you notice fear-based thoughts coming up, get out a journal and start free writing the thoughts. Don’t stop to think about the thoughts and feelings but just write it out. Do that until you feel complete. Afterwards you should feel calmer and more relaxed.

#3 – Feel happiness, joy, and love right now

Our ego mind tends to think that “If we get X, Y, Z, then I will be happy at some time in the future”. This is nothing but a distortion of the reality. The only place that we can experience feelings of happiness and joy is through the present moment.

So the key in finding happiness is by doing things right now to support you in feeling the way you want to feel. Do activities in your life to support those feelings of happiness. Does playing music bring you joy? Then play music. Does dancing bring you joy? Then dance.

#4 – Be appreciative for what you have

By being grateful, it takes us out of the negative thinking of our ego, and into a mindset of our true selves. It also brings us back into the present moment. So find things that you are grateful for in your day to day life — even in the aspects of your life you may not be so pleased about right now.

#5 – Steer clear of gossip

Gossip often tends to have a judgmental and critical energy behind it. It tends to focus on how someone is “bad” or “wrong” and how another person is “good”. This is merely a distortion from our ego and it drains us of our true power.

#6 – Live with the intention to serve others

At the core of our true selves, we know that we are meant to serve others because at our core we know that we are all intricately connected. When one person suffers, we all suffer. Our ego is what makes us think that it’s all about “me”.

ServeOthers

Click to Tweet: At our core, we know that we are meant to serve others because at our core we know that we are all intricately connected. @jenilyn8705

#7 – Create a morning routine

How we start our mornings sets the foundation for the rest of the day. So if we start our morning with chaos, then our day is going to be chaos.

So start your mornings with activities that bring you feelings of peace, joy and happiness. Maybe that is journaling with a cup of warm honey and lemon water. Maybe that involves taking a morning walk with your dog. Or maybe that involves reading an inspirational book.

Are you ready to truly shine? Check out my 5-week course, Your Power: How to Harness Your Energy So You Can Truly Shine.

I have a new free ebook called, 3 Self-Care Tools to Make You Truly Shine, grab your copy as my gift to you! 

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.

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!

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!

5 Ways to Start Living in the Present Moment

Back in 2010-2011 — before I lived in Korea, before I moved to California — I had a lot of internal distress.  I couldn’t, for the life of me, seem to ever live in the present moment.

Why can’t I ever just enjoy things when its actually happening? I would think to myself.  Why am I so focused on what is yet to come rather than simply enjoy what I’m experiencing now?

Needless to say, a lot has happened between now and then.  And I’m not anywhere near as distressed as I was back then.  While I’m far from an enlightened being that can live in the present moment at all times, it’s certainly something that I struggle with much less than I did years ago.

I managed to make shifts so I can live more in the present, and I know with complete confidence that you can to.  So here are 5 ways you can start living in the present moment:

#1 – Get off your cell phone

Stop playing Candy Crush, solitaire, Words with Friends, or whatever other game you play on your phone.  Stop constantly texting your friend or boyfriend throughout the day.  Stop checking Facebook 50 times a day to catch all the latest news trends.

All of these things make us disconnected from our present moment experience.  When our eyes are glued to our phones, we are disconnected from all of what is going on around us.  We are unable to connect with our colleague at work.  We are unable to really connect with our partner after work.  We are unable to really be present with our friend who is sharing a difficult story.

It’s okay to have a phone, but be mindful about it.  If you see catch yourself mindlessly looking on Facebook, checking e-mail or doing Candy Crush put it away and look at all that is around you.  Put the phone down, and take in the beauty of your present experience.

#2 – Declutter… often!

Do you have a stack of books and notebooks from high school piled up in your closet?  Or how about a stack of CDs that you haven’t listened to a good 10 years?  Or maybe that one top hanging in your closet that your just waiting will be back in style someday?

Well, I’m gonna tell you right now.  If you want to really start living in the present moment, then it’s time to throw it out.

While it’s okay to have a few keepsakes, having too much “old stuff” only weighs us down.  It’s almost like the piles of old stuff that we keep is merely a reflection of all the old emotional baggage that we haven’t quite let go of yet.

Seriously — have you ever walked into the house of someone who has piles and piles of old stuff?  How did you feel walking in there?  I doubt it felt light, free, or gave any sense of renewal.

So let go of the old — both internally and externally — it’ll make it much easier to be in the present.

#3 – Be grateful for what you have right now

One of our habits as humans is that we have a tendency to either live in the past or the future.  We may be nostalgic about the “good ol’ days”, while, on the flip side, we may be caught up in dreaming about how everything is going to be great for us in the future. 

Both of these ways of thinking are distortions created by our ego, and all it does is keep us out of the present moment.

So rather than be wishing that things were as they were 10 years ago or how they could be 10 years from now, be grateful for what you have in your life right now.  Be grateful for that job that’s helping you make ends meet.  Be grateful for that apartment that you’re living in even though it may be smaller than you’d like.

Gratitude brings us back into the present moment quickly and easily, so start bringing gratitude into your daily practice.

Gratitude Present Moment

Click to Tweet: Gratitude brings us back into the present moment quickly and easily. via @jenilyn8705

#4 – Let go of worry

Many of us get so caught up in worrying about things that we can never enjoy what we are experiencing.  We worry about getting bills paid, our love life, our career, and so on.

So when you catch yourself being a worry-wart, stop and take a deep breath.  Take a moment to notice how your body feels.  By getting connected how we feel in our bodies, it helps bring us back into the present moment.

#5 – Meditate… every single day!

If there was only one thing that you could take away from this article and start implementing today it would be this: Start meditating!  It is the easiest tool to help you live more in the present moment and can be the foundation for so many other miraculous changes that can happen in your life. 

If you’re ready to start meditating today and open yourself to love, grab a copy of my free meditation Healing Blocks to Love from my new meditation album Ignite Love from Within.

Take action now!

Out of the 5 listed above, what are you going to start doing this week to better live in the present moment?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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.

DesireExistsWithin

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!