Just Be A Friend To Yourself

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were as good a friend to yourself as you are to your friends? We did not too long ago, wrote this song, and felt compelled to share with you today. 

Special bonus? You'll get fully immersed in my Bali life right along the cicadas, chickens, and crafty neighbors.... 😉 As they say, sometimes done is better than perfect! We hope you enjoy and look forward to your feedback.

Namasme.

On 'Meeting People Where They Are'...

This morning, I realized I've been wrong about something pretty important and I'd like to share that with you.  

You see, as a coach sometimes it's easy for me to get caught up in the ideas and jargon of the industry I work in. I live in space where I'm constantly talking about life and how to be a better human. I consistently use expressions like 'resonate,' 'energy leak', 'hold space', 'drop in', and 'alignment' among others. 

Lately, one of my favorite thoughts and go to phrases has been, "You have to meet people where they are" because it implies that you shouldn't try to meet them 'where' you'd like them to be. Its a phrase that is meant to celebrate sovereignty and encourage empathy, unconditionality, and non-judgment. Awesome right? Wrong.

For the record I happen to think those four things are wonderful but 8 hours ago something shifted regarding this particular issue that made me realize that my approach of 'meeting people where they are' is wrong and it came from a very simple thought... 

 

"How the hell do we ever know 'where' the other person 'is'?"

 

We don't share the same references, we don't have the same past, we don't see the world through the same filter and we most certainly don't inhabit their brains or hearts. It's therefore impossible for us to really understand 'where' they 'are', so it's quite unfair for us to develop an opinion about it. 

At the end of the day we know very little about the universe that is another person and most of what we do know is based on mere conjecture... So what is it exactly that we do do then? 

As we do with all things in our lives, we carefully craft a story based on assumptions about 'where' that person 'is' and 'why' in an attempt to understand their situation. We do this to be able to categorize and label them because our brains like neatly organized information. By knowing the story we will therefore now how to react 'appropriately'.

We also do this (hopefully) to try to empathize and connect with the people in question and while that is a noble pursuit, doing so actually prevents us from the very thing we desire because great connections are based on authenticity, not stories... The plus side of that is that we're only responsible for our end of the bargain when it comes to showing up authentically in a relationship so at least we'll know where to focus our energy!  

Now that I've made it pretty clear that our perception of others and the world is pretty much a sophisticated deception, what, you may be wondering is the moral of the story? That we will never have all the information? That our brains work against us?

The important point here is for us to understand that we're faced with a pretty simple but incredibly important choice... While knowing this can be scary, it can also be empowering because it then compels us to take a stance for who we want to be in a world devoid of total security or certainty about anything. 

Will we take a stance for love? Will we give because it is in our true nature to do so? Will we choose to be kind, open, and flexible regardless of what is thrown our way or the stories that we develop? Will we give people/situations/ourselves the benefit of the doubt before judging?

David Deida writes about this very topic beautifully in his book, Blue Truth. He encourages us to be courageous, to stay open when he states, 

 

"Give everything now. You are either withholding your love in fear or giving your deepest gifts.

 

Right now, and in every now moment, you are either closing or opening. You are either stressfully waiting for something- more money, more security, affection- or you are living from your deep heart, opening as the entire moment, and giving what you most deeply desire to give, without waiting.

If you are waiting for anything in order to live and love without holding back, then you suffer. Every moment is the most important moment of your life. No future time is better than now to let down your guard and love.

Everything you do right now ripples and affects everyone. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room with depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can inspire freedom. Your every act can open heart and minds.

Opening from heart to all, you live as a gift to all. In every moment, you are either opening or closing. Right now, you are choosing to open and give fully or are you waiting. How does your choice feel?"

--

So no, we will never know 'where' we, or others 'are' in reality but yes, we can choose to meet them and ourselves in an accepting and loving way regardless of condition. I think George Orwell was right when he said that happiness can exist only in acceptance. 

We can choose to get progressively more comfortable with the inevitable uncertainty and ever-changing flow of life or we can allow our frustrations and stories to run the show. We can declare our intent to embody the love and acceptance that we want to receive from others. We can stay open and vulnerable. We can choose to see the glass as completely full... Half full of water and half full of air. 

Why? Because doing so just makes the ride sweeter. 

 

Namasme.

 

(I chose Open by Rhye for this entry because it makes me feel like I do when I willingly choose to see a difficult situation through a loving lens... It's a slow start but pretty soon thereafter I find a delicious flow. The music isn't ultra saccharine but it has a patient sweetness that can't be ignored and the lyrics are pretty much on point. Enjoy!) 

6 Life Lessons That You Can Learn From Apple

Apple has been in the news a lot lately with unprecedented stock valuations and the more recent launch of the iPhone X. As a company, it has experienced a level of success that leads one to question what it is that makes it so special. What can its trajectory in the stock market and its successful corporate culture and remarkable client loyalty teach us? 

As a life coach who works with a lot of finance types, I decided to tackle this question but to do so through a coaching lens to see if I could find anything life related that could be interesting. Lucky for me, I found six life lessons that we can learn from Apple as a company that can prove helpful to those of us running businesses or simply trying to be well balanced humans.

They are:

1. Real value and perceived value aren't the same thing. Focus on the one that matters. At the time of writing this, Apple was the darling of the stock market. Company stock was performing well, trending in the right direction, and market analyst consensus was that the company will continue to outperform the market. Word on the street was buy, buy, buy... Then they decided to announce the launch of the iPhone X and due to a perceived delivery delay Apple stock value actually went down for the first time in a long time. This seemingly unfair dip (after all, the company's second quarter results were better than expected) made me wonder about when Apple stock wasn't doing so well so I did some research.

In July of 2015,  Apple grew its revenues by 33%, saw its profits increase by 38%, put away more than $202 billion in cash in the span of three short months — and yet lost more than $60 billion in market value in just three minutes on a fateful Tuesday. Amazing but true. I makes one wonder how that's even possible. Again, another unfair dip. 

The answer is quite simple and it lies in expectation.

Most companies would do anything to have a quarter like that. Profit was up 38%, internal performance records were broken, and the company proved once again that it was rock solid. By ordinary standards, Apple was having an amazing quarter. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way because the stock market is a game of perception.

You see, at the time, industry analysts expected more and stock market observers were actually disappointed. Because of this it looks like Apple basically became a victim of its own success. 

So how is this relevant to us?

In the stock market the line between a company's real value and its perceived value is blurred due to the fact that the latter eventually ends up influencing and at times outright determining the former. In life, things are unfortunately the same if we allow it. 

We permit our 'market' (the opinions of our family and friends, our current and past circumstances, etc.) to influence the way we feel about ourselves to the point where we have trouble separating our real selves from the feedback that we’re receiving based on others' perceptions. Just like it’s possible for a disparity to exist between Apple's real performance/value and its perceived one there can also be one in our lives. To stay sane, we must make sure to pay attention to the one that matters and not let the noise taint the way that we see ourselves. 

On that note,

2. If your stock is performing poorly, instead of blaming 'the market' look within and start there. You can't fully control all of your circumstances and you definitely can't control other people. You can, however, control yourself. Focusing on that one controllable is enough. If your current approach isn't working, change your leadership style, restructure, revise your plan, or move into to a different market-- do what you need to do to shift your direction. 

Apple did so spectacularly in the late 90's and early 2000's by letting go unsuccessful product lines and by forming an unconventional partnership with former nemesis Microsoft to bring Mac users access to the Office suite of services. Apple changed course and it worked.

3. Always remember that turnarounds are possible. Apple itself had one of the most dramatic turnarounds in stock market history (a 22,003% price increase) when Steve Jobs came back on board at a time when the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. With a string of product hits and clever marketing, Apple became the company that today is the most valuable tech firm in the world, now worth upwards of $800 Billion. If Jobs didn't give up on his creation even though the future looked incredibly bleak for the company, why should you give up on yours? 

4. Effective leadership is a crucial component of success. Speaking of Jobs, you can't talk about Apple and ignore the man who helped it become what it is today. You can say many different things about him as a man and even as a leader but there are a couple of things that are indisputable. He knew what Apple stood for, he had a clear vision of where he wanted the company to go, and he was relentless in his pursuit of it. 

How would our lives be different if we approached them in that way? If we became the visionary and tenacious CEO's of ourselves and our futures?

5. In the stock market like in life, real success is measured in the long term. Remember the G4 Game Cube? What about Ping? Yup. Me neither. The point? Apple, like every other company in the world, has made a few less than desirable bets. The lesson? They didn't allow those blunders to define them. They cut their losses quickly and kept moving forward and so can you. 

Finally, and most importantly,

6.  The only asset that we have that will never grow is our time. It's up to us how we make use of it so we should invest it wisely. It took Apple just 13 years to go from nearly bankrupt to the most admired tech company in the world. How did it do it? It remained true to itself but kept innovating and moving forward.  

Apple never rests on its laurels after a successful product launch. Why should we?

There you have it. Some practical life lessons courtesy of one of the most interesting companies of our time. Of tomorrow? Who knows. Just ask Nokia. 

Regardless, as coach extraordinaire Tony Robbins says, 'success leaves clues’ and after our research, Apple has proven to be fertile ground for valuable advice. Hopefully this will help you put things in perspective and help you have a nice day! 

 

Namasme.

 

(I chose Her Eyes The Stars as the song for this post because it's a song that always puts me in a thinking mood. Music has a tendency to dictate my mood so I have to be mindful of what I listen to on a daily basis. Lately, classical has dominated the musical landscape over in Namasme land. What are you listening to?)

Permanent Holiday

This post should really be called Burning Man, Bali, and Catching Myself on My Own Bullshit but it was too long and I’m trying to be more mindful of my language these days…but let me not digress.

I decided not to go to Burning Man this year. If you’ve known me for the past couple of years, you’d know that this is a big deal. You see, the first time I went my whole life changed for the better and because of that, I promised myself that I would go every year and use the experience as a yearly reminder of who I am and of what really matters.

If you’ve been, you’ll understand.

If you haven’t I’ll just ask that you take me at my word and understand that for many who go, it’s not just a festival, it’s a life changing experience. For me for the past three years it served the function of a yearly reset button… A chance to think, to play, to party, to create, to connect with spirit without the fear of being judged and feeling totally free. I made sure to tell everyone who I ever spoke to about Burning Man this exact line.

Last year’s burn was actually my favorite so I surprised even myself when I heard the words ‘I don’t really feel like going anymore’ to a friend on the phone. But why? Why didn’t I feel like going if nothing about Burning Man has changed? Why wouldn't I want to go and experience something that has meant so much to me in the past? I already had plans and tickets to go with my regular camp and with my playa family and I knew that if I went that I would have an amazing time.

Turns out, while Burning Man didn’t change, I did…and because of that, the story I told myself and others about it doesn’t quite resonate with me anymore.

You see, I live in a sleepy town (temporarily packed with tourists) in Bali called Ubud that to me sometimes feels like Garcia Marquez’s Macondo more than the real world. In some ways I’m certain it’s what Macondo would be like if it really existed in Colombia and not just in his imagination… lush, magical, and beautifully dysfunctional.

My life here is simple. It’s quiet. It’s healthy. It’s fun. I spend the majority of my time alone but have met some incredible people and have developed some pretty wonderful friendships in the six months that I’ve been here. I get just the right amount of community to feel socially fulfilled and I’ve been exploring all aspects of myself and my relationship with spirituality.

While I mostly hang out with expats, it’s the locals who have taught me that the word faith is actually a verb and I’ve come to the realization that your belief in a higher power is as strong as your practice of that belief. They grow hand in hand and feed each other cyclically.

The Balinese are masterful at this as they incorporate their spiritual beliefs into just about every aspect of their lives. For that reason the island was baptized the island of the gods and if you’re here long enough and allow yourself the opportunity to experience it, it definitely feels that way. All you have to do is observe and listen… Bali and her people will teach you what you need to learn.

I can honestly say that I’ve never been happier. I’ve never felt more comfortable in my own skin, more loving, more creative, more healthy, more relaxed, more beautiful, more open, or more free. In a nutshell, I’ve never felt more, well, me… As far as I'm concerned, I'm on a permanent holiday!

Because that’s the case when I was on the phone with my friend discussing costumes for the playa I couldn’t help but wonder why I felt 'off' and asked myself and her… ‘What the hell do I need a reset button from?’ I feel like I live in a reset button.

In thinking of leaving Bali my body felt heavy and for lack of a better word, blah. I wasn’t energized in the same way I used to be when I thought about Burning Man in the past and the thought of traveling for 24hrs, spending upwards of $5k on flights, preparations, costumes, and lodging for a week seemed silly considering I'd just come back from an incredible trip on that side of the world and especially when that same $5k can pay for more than six months of rent for a beautiful two bedroom villa in Ubud, 2,222 meals at my favorite local warung (restaurant) or three flights back home to see my niece. This interesting exercise in value relativity and perspective made me remember that not all good opportunities are necessarily the right opportunities for us…

With that realization Burning Man’s role in my life changed and so did the story I tell myself and others about it. In the past, Burning Man as an experience became a symbol of certain emotions I wanted to source in my life. It felt like by heading to the playa I was going ‘home’ to myself. All the emotions and experiences I associated with it I am now able to source in my every day life here and because of that I no longer feel a desire to go.

Now I’m craving different emotions and am on the lookout for experiences to facilitate them… or better yet, looking for ways to source them inside of myself. Funny how something can change so quickly huh?

That said, I’m positive that the Burn this year is going to be amazing and I hope my friends who are going have a wonderful time. If you’re reading this and haven’t been, I strongly suggest that you go at least once. It really is a special experience.

So where’s the lesson in all of this you may ask?

I’m sharing this with you to hopefully inspire you to think about the stories that you’ve created about people, places, or events in your life. Ask yourself, do those stories still feel 'right' and serve you?

Every once in a while it’s a good idea to question if they still match where you are as a person today and to re-evaluate the importance that you give them. Remember, your life is a blank book and you’re the one with pen in hand writing out the chapters.  

Just because something or someone has meant something to you in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that that will be the case forever or that you owe them/it anything. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the feelings that you get about things rather than just the thoughts you have formulated about them. It’s also good to remember that there’s a lot of wisdom in your body and emotions and learning to listen to them and honor their messages will always serve you.

Finally, also remember to stay flexible and be gentle with yourself when one of your ‘truths’ or ‘certainties’ changes. If you’re doing things right, you’re going to be constantly evolving for the rest of your life. By default, it won’t always look pretty... It can’t!

You are likely to contradict yourself, outgrow certain ways of thinking and fail spectacularly at least once. So learn, grow, crash into some walls, change stuff, change your mind, change your circumstances, change whatever without the need for justification. It is your right to do so. You came here to experiment and experience. Have some fun will ya?!

Namasme.

(I chose Mike Love's Permanent Holiday because it has been my scooter anthem for the last two weeks. I love that it's music with a message done incredible well. His creative genius really shines in this piece. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!)

Tread Lightly...

I used to be scared of wasps.

And what you see in the picture is a wasp sleeping... Well, she's actually taking a break from building her nest... Right outside of my bedroom door...

I've been observing this wasp for three weeks now and in that time period have had an interesting journey that began in fear and has now evolved into complete admiration.  

You see, not too long ago seeing a wasp in my house would have freaked me out enough for me to have had no qualms about getting rid of its nest. No thought would have been given to the animal involved in its creation in the name of self-preservation.

Today though, I can't help but wonder at the beauty and magnificence of this industrious and ultra dedicated wasp's creation!  In the three short weeks I've been observing her, every single time I pass my door, I've seen her working. Non stop. Every. Single. Day.

Oddly enough, this is actually the first time I don't see her busy at work building.

I did some research and it turns out that adult worker wasps are usually females who are building nests to safeguard their soon to be born young. In the case of this particular wasp, it also looks like rather than being an adult worker wasp, she's actually a Queen wasp due to her large size. I also learned that wasps are generally not a threat to humans unless they're messed with. (good news!)

Back to the story though...

So every day the wasp's nest grows just a little bit and every day I am made privy to the evolution of the simple yet intricate design she's creating which is beautiful in both form and function. Seeing this has made me develop a new appreciation for this incredible creature and has made me reconsider our relationship. 

You see, this little experiment in observation has made me realize that that nest is that wasp's life work. It's her masterpiece... It's her legacy and the future of her family. Knowing this, I understand that the wasp is simply living out her purpose. How could I ever consciously destroy her work?! What makes my manufactured 'peace of mind' more important than her survival? Isn't it possible for us to just co-exist in harmony with each other? Why should my misguided human fear be prioritized over her existence?

This has made me remember a beautiful quote I read not too long ago that says:

'Tread lightly on this earth and place your feet deliberately.' - Unknown

I couldn't agree more if I tried. In my mind, we're all wasps. We're all just trying to live our lives and we're trying to do this sharing one home.

It's important that we become conscious of the role that we play in our human communities but also in our ecosystem as a whole. It's important that we learn to respect each other's paths, work, timing, and existence.

It's important that we start operating from the understanding that we don't live in splendid isolation and that our actions have consequences.

What if we learned to be more gentle with the planet, with each other and with ourselves? If we did, wouldn't that be wonderful?

 

Namasme.

 

***

{I picked this piece by Bach for this post inspired by a conversation I had with a friend on Sunday about music as a medium for the achievement of ecstasy. We were discussing classical and my friend Peter brought up Bach...whom historically I'd never been a huge fan of.. I've always seen myself as more of a Mozart kind of girl since I studied opera in highschool. His argument was that Bach was the equivalent of (wo)man exhalting God and almost making an offering while Mozart was God speaking to (wo)man through music. This prompted me to give both another listen and I have to admit, I can totally understand why he said what he did and kind of agree. I also have a newfound appreciation for Bach, much like I do for the wasp living in my house. ;) }

In a Crisis? Good. Here's 3 Reasons Why.

I think it can universally be agreed that being in a crisis never feels good. However, it is in times of crisis that we are often pushed to grow out of our comfort zones and deepen our understanding of ourselves so there is a lot of gold to be found in these dark times that we go through.

This video is dedicated to all the physics geeks out there... Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGJeeHKD7_0&t=1s

Good Vibrator #1: Wira

You don't have to be Elon Musk or have solved world hunger to have a positive impact on people's lives. Because of that, we've decided to start celebrating ordinary folks who put out extraordinary vibes into their communities. You know, good vibrators if you will. ;) 

In this first installment, I am excited to introduce you to Wira Kober from Ubud, Bali. May his infections laugh and goodvibery brighten your day! 

 

So... What Exactly is Coaching?

So, I asked you guys for help last week on Facebook and boy did you deliver! The first thing you gave me? A reality check. THANK YOU for reminding me that sometimes it's good to start with the basics...

With over 2,000 views is just 24hrs, we were overwhelmed by your support but also reminded of the fact that coaching is still a relatively young industry so an explanation was in order. If you've ever wondered what it is that coaches actually do, this one's for you!

If you'd like to skip the pleasantries and get to the core message, fast forward to 3:00. We realize it's a lengthy but we needed to express our gratitude to you for being so awesome! ❤ As always, feedback is most welcome and remember to subscribe, subscribe, subscribe!

We've Been Featured in the Washington Post!

As we often say... better late than never!

We've received good news folks, and although we were notified of this 3 months after publication, we are proud to say we've been featured in The Washington Post! To see the article, click here

(I picked Marvin Gaye's Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1 for this because this is my favorite song to celebrate to. Hope it brightens your day as much as it does mine!)

Hey You! Yeah, you.

(clears throat)

 

Hey you! Yeah, you.

I think it's time for a reminder...

You are not a slave to mom and dad’s ideas of what is acceptable.

You are not a slave to the feelings of unworthiness caused by the fluctuations on your scale or the changes you see in the mirror.

You are not a slave to the education or lack thereof that you’ve received.

You are not a slave to ‘the work you’ve already put in’ if it’s making you unhappy.

You are not a slave to your uncomfortable money story.

You are not a slave to up-leveling with every purchase.

You are not a slave to the constant creation of instagrammable moments.

You are not a slave to the story in your head of what it ‘should’ look like by now.

You are not a slave to a glass of wine, joint, or cigarette to feel at ease.

You are not a slave to the way other people perceive you.

You are not a slave to the lifestyle you’ve created.

You are not a slave to the justifications people think you owe them for your choices.

You are not a slave to ‘making the relationship work’ if it isn’t.

You are not a slave to the hit of dopamine your phone offers with every ‘like’ or text message.

You are not a slave to the friendships ‘you’ve had forever’ if they don't help you grow.

You are not a slave to lame conversation or mediocre food.

You are not a slave to who you were even 5 minutes ago and finally...

You are not a slave to the mistakes you've made, the people you've hurt, or to the opportunities you've missed. It's time to move on.

So, you!

Yeah, you, my dear glorious and perfectly imperfect human... You my friend, are not a slave to any of it.

Every second you breathe is a second you choose who runs the show.

Why don't you do us both a favor and cut that shit out then will you?

You'll thank me later.


Love,

The Universe

 

p.s. If you were looking for a sign, this is it. ;)

 

Namasme.

 

(Even though I couldn't be farther away from Peru if I tried, I chose Marcha del Chullachaqui as the song for this post because it sounds like what it feels like to ride my motorcycle through the rice fields all day. It sounds and feels like a delicious summer day doesn't it?)

33 at 33: Lessons I've Learned From Being The Age of Jesus

So, 3 days till my birthday on the 3rd month of 2017 and I’m turning 33. In celebration of that and considering the fact that by my age Jesus had already changed humanity, I felt compelled to take stock of these past 396 months to see what I’ve learned from them and to share those lessons with you.

After all, Jesus left some pretty big shoes for us to fill and I, for one, am aware I fall painfully short on the accomplishment front by comparison. But then again don't we all except for maybe Elon Musk? 

After some deliberate thought, I came up with 33 lessons. To be sincere, I'm not sure if any of these is going to be life changing for you but I do know that one or two of these may resonate and make you think about things a little differently... if at least for a short while. So enjoy, have a laugh, and by all means comment if the spirit moves you. 

 

-Jenniffer's 33 at 33- 

 

  1. The best investment you can make is in a good mattress and comfortable pillows. 
  2. Failure is a mindset. If you frame a situation as a problem rather than an opportunity, you’re limiting what you can create from it. You’ve limited your scope and therefore your possible ‘solutions’.

  3. People are in your life for the amount of time that you’re supposed to teach each other things. If they leave, it’s because you’ve reached the end of your mutual learning or because the lesson they’re meant to teach you will come from your separation. 

  4. It’s not about feeling better, It’s about getting better at feeling. The pursuit of happiness for the sake of happiness is very noble but will leave you disappointed if you make happiness the destination and fail to understand that the enjoyment of life lies in the journey. 

  5. Be proactive about your personal development when times are good. Waiting for a crisis to change shit is unnecessarily traumatic.

  6. Travel is by far the best education. It offers lessons in context, humility, and freedom. 

  7. The least selfish thing that you can do to improve your relationships with others is to keep the focus on you. Worry about what you're bringing to the table and make sure that it is worthy of what you expect in return.

  8. There is no greater personal development project than starting a business….especially on your own. 

  9. Anywhere you go, there you are. You can run from everything except yourself so you may as well get to know the person who'll be with you for the rest of your life and learn to like them.

  10. Just because you CAN deal with something doesn’t mean you HAVE to. Remember, you have a limited amount of energy to use every day. 

  11. Some people are better to love… from afar. That doesn't mean you don't love them.

  12. When you travel, do support the local economy. Uber and McDonald's don’t need your vacation money and they also prevent you from having an authentic experience.

  13. For a relationship to shift only one person needs to do so. Have things gotten cyclical? Change the approach or your perspective and watch the magic unfold.

  14. Stuff is overrated. (and a pain in the ass if you're a roaming gypsy like yours truly)

  15. Nobody will ever understand you the way you can understand yourself. And even that’s hard. So if you want someone to truly ‘get you,’ get to work. If you're reading this you probably have a couple decades to catch up on.

  16. The cure for anxiety lies in the breath. Yes, even if it means doing it at work, in the bathroom stall by yourself for ten minutes. 

  17. As far as creating change is concerned, where you spend your money is far more impactful than what you post on Facebook... Even if you post 50 times about it.

  18. You’re good enough. Duh.

  19. You can 'think' something to death but it isn’t until you actually 'do' it that you'll know if it’s the right thing for you. Unless it can kill you, do it. Just fucking do it. 

  20. What you resist persists. Sometimes the best way out of an uncomfortable emotion is through it.

  21. Making someone else responsible for your happiness is unfair to both of you—to them for the unnecessary pressure caused by your expectations and to you because they’ll never measure up to what you have in mind…because, you know, they don’t live there.

  22. Oftentimes even the worst case scenario is still figureoutable and less scary than how it seems initially. 

  23. Good advice and validation aren’t the same thing. One you seek with no conditions looking for a fresh perspective, the other you seek because you’re not grounded in your truth. When you approach someone, be honest about what you're asking for. 

  24. Sometimes hearing what you don’t want to hear is exactly what you need so learn to listen with humility. Listen to understand and not to respond right away. People will surprise you if you allow them to. 

  25. As you evolve, the people you keep close will too. 

  26. Get naked. Often. Study yourself. Your body is a miracle. You should accept that and treat it as such. Plus, the more naked you get, the more comfortable you'll be in your skin. The more comfortable you are in your skin, the better sex you'll have. (sorry mom) 

  27. Don’t let anybody ‘should’ on you. Now repeat that line quickly and out loud... I'm gonna go out here on a limb and say that the first sentence you read is way worse than the second. (Parents of infants please feel free to step in here and agree with me)

  28. A tired body can't heal a troubled mind. Take some time to eat and rest. What ever it is it can wait.

  29. Wanna know how self-aware you are? Pay attention to how much you judge others.

  30. If you don’t have a clear sense of self, someone will decide who you are for you... and it will make you miserable.

  31. Money is a transfer of energy. Nothing more, nothing less. To make it and be happy you can’t worship it or fear it. You must, however, respect it.

  32. There is nothing wrong with having material desires. Just understand that anything that you want on the material front is symbolic of a deeper need of yours and that it's a need you can source without having to become a prisoner of your stuff.

  33. If nothing else, kindness. 

 

There you have it folks! Hope this proved useful or at least entertaining. Have a wonderful day and don't forget that regardless of what it may feel like sometimes in your life, you're in the driver's seat and change is possible. 

 

Namasme.

***I'm currently in Bali so for this post's song I couldn't help but pick the song I've had on repeat all week every time we get in the car to go somewhere.... Tim Aminov's One Lone Survivor (Geju Remix). Enjoy!***

Say Hello to Our Youtube Channel!

Hello Namasme community!

It is with great pride that we announce our new Youtube Channel! This has been a long time in the making and we're very excited to share this very special project with you. This particular initiative is very near and dear to my heart because it means I get to flex my creativity muscle once again for work and I couldn't be happier! 

On our channel you will find everything from book reviews, vlogs, interviews with inspirational figures, lifestyle hacks, and original mini films created and produced by yours truly. The common theme? 

All content will be designed to help you find your happy!

Remember it's your life, they're your choices and nobody can give you your freedom but you--so keep a look out in the next couple of weeks for some original content, let us know what you think, and subscribe here.

Much love to you all and thank you for being a part of this new chapter!

Best,

 

Jenniffer 

 

What Now? 6 Things You Can Do Daily To Advance The Feminist Agenda After The March

It’s January 23rd and two days ago millions of women marched in my unofficial hometown of Washington, DC and hundreds of cities across the world for the Women’s March. I was upset to miss it because the protest was in support of virtually all of the issues that are important to me as an American woman. Particularly close to my heart however, is the feminist cause.

You see, I’ve lived in Hong Kong for about 7 months now and while the culture shock has been significant—way more so than in any of the other countries I’ve lived—where I feel most out of place most often is oddly enough during conversation with other expats when I proudly state that I’m a feminist. The comment is usually received with the same puzzled look that dogs give their owners when they pretend to throw the tennis ball but hide it in their pocket instead and they’re left wondering how it magically disappeared.

I don’t look like I’m being oppressed. I’m white, college educated and in a stable relationship. I’m my own boss, make good money, travel when I want to, and to the surprise of some, often choose to do so alone. Why on earth would I feel so passionate about furthering the feminist agenda if there seems to be no obvious need for 'feminism' in my daily life? Where exactly is my struggle?

Well, for starters, the world is becoming a scary place right now and I happen to reside here and care about people other than myself. I also happen to believe that it got to this scary place because we as a society have misguidedly defined leadership through the lens of virility for too long. The the ‘take! take! take!’ approach championed by conscience-less capitalism and power play politics which is so attractive to men as an extension of their natural biological directive to conquer/spread their seed has also led us to erroneously define success as the positive result of a zero sum game rather than the result of a win-win collaboration.

Whether you believe in traditional archetypes or not, we’re in a tough spot and it wasn’t because women were running the show. However, as feminists we must also assume responsibility for letting things get to this point and must diligently work to change that as soon as possible.

I firmly believe that in order to restore balance, one of the most important things that we have to work towards is the achievement of gender equality. In Chinese philosophical terms, we need more yin to balance all the yang in our world current order. Fortunately the millions of women (and men) marching all over the world this weekend showed us, if nothing else, that there are plenty of us out there who care enough to continue making a difference.

But how to move forward? How to shift that balance? How can we show up for feminism every day?

As a coach I always approach problem solving from an individual mindset perspective first and then build from there. Once an issue has been identified and understood, I encourage my clients to look for small, ‘palatable’ changes they can incorporate into their lives that will in turn make conscious action on a bigger scale more effective.

Oddly enough when thinking about this issue, I found some of my answers in those conversations with western expats I mentioned previously. I identified 6 specific things that we can do daily as feminists on an individual level to keep the momentum of our movement going strong and to keep our sanity as we work to build a better, more equal, future. They are:


1. Spend your energy wisely--understand you’re not going to convert misogynists. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Denounce misogyny, yes. Try to talk somebody out of it? Good luck. With some folks, sometimes the best tactic is to wait it out a generation or two and let progress do it’s thing. Public opinion is shifting in our favor and will continue to do so if we focus our work on lifting each other up and on dialoguing with the non-believers who actually have the potential to become allies.

I’ve found that most of the decent people I’ve spoken to who don’t believe in feminism feel that way because they have an outdated definition of what it means to be a feminist or they don’t understand how bad things really are and how deeply entrenched the patriarchy is in our collective psyche.

Many people are reluctant to embrace feminism because they associate it with the notion that feminists are a bunch of man-hating women burning bras and screaming for equal rights while resorting to aggressive ‘masculine’ tactics to secure them. As feminists today we know that that couldn't be further from the truth and knowing that means part of our effort lies in raising awareness and doing so with an open mind and heart. That brings me to my second point...

2. Don’t be a tree with low hanging fruit. Particularly when engaging in conversation with folks who don’t believe in feminism it's easy to get frustrated. It’s important to keep our cool and not to take things personally. When we take things personally it's more likely that our emotions will get the best of us and we'll fight back on a personal level as well. When we let that happen, we make it easy for those we’re discussing with to shift the conversation from the subject of feminism to the way that we reacted while discussing it.

When we do that, we also make it easier for people not to question their beliefs and we put ourselves in the position of having to justify our behavior rather than our convictions. Don’t give non-believers an easy way out of such an important conversation by giving them some low hanging fruit to pick their way out of the discussion. Make them work for it. There’s too much at stake not to.

#3. Arm yourself with patience, facts, anecdotes and… questions. Because the last point is easier said than done, you will need patience to get through many conversations and you will need facts to support your points. Want an opportunity to express some of that pent up frustration and emotion? Channel it intelligently by sharing an anecdote of when you experienced or saw an indisputable case of sexism personally and how it affected you.

One of the most effective ways human beings share information is through stories. Stories are sometimes more powerful than statistics because they facilitate empathy. While it’s hard to empathize with numbers and statistics, it’s much easier to do so with Kate who was passed up for the promotion three times in favor of her other, less experienced and prepared male colleagues.

Was Kate’s story ineffective in illustrating your point? Perhaps a question is in order. Questions are a very powerful resource in debate because they help you to A) let your ‘opponent’ know you're genuinely interested in their opinion (which lowers their defenses) and B) force them to reflect on and clarify their stance in real time. Chances are, if their stance is half-baked and unclear, that will come to light and it will help you see where to take the conversation from there.

In order to achieve that though, it’s important that we:

#4. Listen--not to speak but to understand. Just because we happen to be fighting on behalf of equality which is a righteous and noble concept, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the people who don’t share our opinion are ignoble or evil. People will generally tell you everything that you need to know about them if you listen carefully enough.

We should listen to their words and to their body language. We should develop the skill of uncovering hidden objections and unspoken truths. If we do, we will realize we have more in common with each other than we may initially imagine. Remembering that will help us engage people more effectively in spirited debate since our approach won’t feel as antagonistic. As the marchers in London so kindly reminded us, this work is about building bridges, not walls.

Now that the talking bit is out of the way, let’s move on to the more action-based items on the list.

#5. Be solutions oriented and do. While so much of the work related to feminism has to do with the generation of awareness, the work definitely doesn’t stop there. It’s crucial that we walk the talk. It’s important that we invest our time, money,  and energy doing things to further the cause. We should write, volunteer, support woman-owned businesses, vote, and mentor when we have the opportunity to.

There are too many feminists out there stuck in the cycle of militantly complaining on social media. Justifiably so, but merely complaining nonetheless. As I mentioned earlier, highlighting injustice is important for building awareness and many of us are pretty great at doing so in the comfort of our own homes shielded by the safety of our keyboards. What would happen if we spent a portion of that time and energy actually being proactive rather than reactive though?

Also worth noting? Facebook's algorithm is designed to show us more and more of what we want to see so our efforts to raise awareness are likely falling on ears already friendly to the cause. 

It is equally important that we do something to fight the current status quo. The Women's March was an amazing first step for many of us but protesting is effective only when it’s followed up by sustained and focused action. There are a million ways to actually live feminism. It’s time for all of us to get a little bit uncomfortable and get a little more committed.

That extra dollar spent at a woman-owned local business instead of a Walmart may hurt a little as it leaves our hands but it will make a difference. That extra half an hour a week spent on mentoring a recent college graduate will as well. It is our duty to create those opportunities to practice what we preach and to lead by example.

On a final note, as women and as feminists it is important that we:

#6. Be good to other women and to ourselves. I find this one particularly interesting lately because I’ve seen some of the staunchest feminists I know publicly shaming other women online for their choice of dress, career, lifestyle, or men among other things. As feminists, it’s important that we not partake in the petty jokes, demeaning comments, slut shaming, or judgment of other women that is so prevalent in our society…with each other and especially in front of men.

Although it can seem harmless at the time, even the slightest 'colorful' and misplaced comment makes it harder for us to progress as a whole. Yes, that even includes comments about easy targets like Kim Kardashian and now Melania Trump. We must remember we’re all in this together. How do we expect the men of the world to respect us if we don’t respect each other?

We mustn’t forget that this extends to our treatment of ourselves as well. It’s been said that in a society as twisted as ours, self-love is a revolutionary act. As revolutionaries we must beat the patriarchy by stopping the negative self-talk, treating our bodies like the beautiful temples that they are, and losing the comparison syndrome. Contrary to what we're being sold by the media every day, we're enough just the way we are and we should act accordingly.

--

I have every hope that this past weekend's march heralded the beginning of a new era for feminism worldwide and I hope that these 6 points help you be a more effective feminist moving forward. We have a long road ahead of us but I'm convinced we will achieve great things together if we stay on message and lean on each other for support.

Namasme.

 

**I picked 'Quiet' by MLCK as the song for this post because I came across the video from the march I also shared with you on my news feed. The performance you see was never rehearsed live. Those women practiced online and came together to sing this beautiful and powerful song for the first time together in DC this weekend. There are no words to express what listening to that made me feel. If you'd like to support MLCK be sure to buy the original track (you can listen to it below the vid) by clicking here.** 

***The image I used for this blog belongs to my friend Rachel Cargle who started an intersectional activism collective to give ALL women a platform to have their voice heard called The Ripple. You can follow them on IG @the.ripple.***

 

 

 

Thank God for 2016

Looking at my newsfeed I think it’s pretty safe to say that most people I know can’t wait for 2016 to be over. 2016 was the year we lost Bowie, elected Trump, and allowed Aleppo. The world it seems, has gone mad.

To make matters worse, as soon as I started thinking about writing this piece, I went online briefly and read that George Michael, and with him it seems like the music itself, died. Not going to lie, the frustration mounted and I doubted whether to continue.

Being the silver linings enthusiast that I am though, I couldn’t just accept the idea that 2016 was just the worst year ever. In my mind, nothing is ever really ‘the worst’. To think so means you’re lacking in either perspective or imagination…

So, after some serious thought I’d like to share with you three reasons, other than all the positive stuff that happened this year (yes, there were positive things) why I’m actually happy that 2016 happened. With them, my aim is to offer you a different perspective and hopefully give you some hope for the future.

Reason #1: Energy. (This one is a bit technical but bear with me) In physics, the law of energetic conservation states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another.

In essence, life can be boiled down to a continuous and cyclical exchange of energy between already existing particles. For this exchange to be possible there are two types of energetic reactions: anabolic and catabolic.

Anabolic reactions build larger compounds and molecules from smaller ones. To do this, they consume energy. Catabolic reactions, on the other hand, break down molecules and release energy by breaking down complex molecules to simpler compounds.

Simply put, what anabolic reactions create and grow, catabolic ones disassemble and destroy.

Worth noting? If the law of energetic conservation holds true, then it is the energy released during catabolic reactions that enables anabolic ones to happen because they require energy. Without one we cannot have the other.

For example, by now we know that for your body to function correctly it must be in a constant state of cellular regeneration. This means that cells have to be perpetually dying to create room for new ones to fill their place. If they don’t, mutations or conditions like cancer often develop. The end result? Death and destruction at a higher level (organs, organ systems, bodies).

Because we usually associate growth as being good and death as being bad, it’s easy to fall into the trap of unfairly judging anabolic energy as positive/desirable and catabolic energy as negative/undesirable. Understanding the science behind it helps us realize that it’s wrong to do so.

So what would happen if we looked at today’s current events under this lens? What if all the crap that happened this year is simply a much needed catabolic reaction to create space for new growth? What if our current way of living, spending, and being has simply run its course? Could it be possible that it’s time to create room for a new way? Our belief systems change as our values do. If anything, what’s happening right now is a great excuse to take a look at what those values are and if we need to re-evaluate their importance.

After all, we co-created this mess we’re in whether we want to admit it or not. The silver lining? That takes me to my second point:

Reason #2: Distance. We live in an era where boredom rarely exists. We have access to entertainment 24/7 through our many devices and are constantly bombarded with information packaged cleverly to feed our growing information addiction. We compulsively use our phones to fill our time because being bored is not an option when you can escape your reality and step into the lives of others through the simple click of a button.

Needless to say, our ability to reflect has been compromised by our constant pursuit of external stimuli. By constantly focusing outwardly, we have largely ignored our own internal GPS.

But hey, this isn’t a sermon on how we allowed Putin or Rupert Murdoch and his media buddies to collectively screw us. Our brains are, after all, a muscle. It just so happens that to our detriment, the information most easily accessible happens to be stuff that is highly entertaining but not very useful.

We have in essence been going to the entertainment gym for the last 15 years and because of it, we didn’t realize just how bad things have been progressively getting in our country and the world around us.

Because of this perfectly normal human tendency to follow the path of least resistance, personal growth tends to be cyclical in nature as well and the cycle usually looks a bit like this: We’re happy —> it hits the fan —> we take a step back and try to make sense of what happened —> as we gather our thoughts we realize a couple of important things that inform our choices in the future—> we make different choices —> we move on with a new level of self-awareness and grow from the experience —> we’re happy again. If we’re doing it right, as we get older, we also get better at making some of that sweet proverbial lemonade.

As a coach it’s not by coincidence that most of my clients come to me after having some sort of a crisis or when they find themselves at an important crossroads in their lives usually caused by external factors—the relationship, the job, the accident, the death in the family. You see, when things are good we rarely take the time to reflect on why that is. Why would we? We’re too busy smelling the roses and enjoying the ride!

2016 was the moment we were rudely awakened, forced to think, and get some distance. We’re now awake and aware. There’s no turning back. We simply cannot become unconscious of what we learned this year and that’s a good thing. That leads me to my third and final point…

Reason #3: Clarity. It’s very hard to solve a problem you haven’t defined. 2016 leaves us with a pretty clear to do list for 2017. Black Lives Matter, Brock Turner, Trump, Aleppo and Standing Rock among others forced us to look in the mirror for the first time in a long time and to realize we have some serious issues to work out as a nation. 2016 gave us the map. What we do with it now, is up to us now so I propose that we take a coaching approach to 2017.

It’s time to begin that process of reflection, healing, and purpose-driven action that will enable us to move forward with a renewed sense of hope and unparalleled vigor. It’s time to stop pointing fingers and assume the responsibility that we all have in this. And hey, if this didn't inspire you enough, just keep in mind we still have Betty White. ;)

 

Namasme.

 

**(I picked I've Got To Go On Without You by Shirley Brown because she sings about moving on better than most and I've been on a soul and blues binge for a week now. Enjoy!)**

What To Do About The Annoying People in Your Life...

"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances..."

And oh, how right The Bard was. In this day and age though, even if we still have heroes, villains, lovers and everything in between, those entrances and exits are a little less clean cut that what I can imagine good ole' Shakespeare witnessing and scripting in the 1500's... Through social media we're hyper-connected so the community of 'players' we interact with on a daily basis is much larger and infinitely more complex than Shakespeare's.

In fact, as a modern human, you're likely find the following characters or a variation of them in the play that is your life (starting with the antagonists/villains):

The person you gave your all to and it wasn’t enough to keep them interested in a relationship...

That person who still thinks that you’re in love with them even though it’s been years, you’ve moved on, and it couldn’t be further from the truth...

The person who owes you an apology but still hasn't had the courage to ask for your forgiveness...

The person who always needs and gladly takes your help but who is incapable of reciprocity...

The person in your family or group of friends who knows just the right buttons to push to make you feel small...

The person who you feel obligated to keep in your life because you have history even though you feel like you no longer have anything in common with...

That person who makes you feel like life isn’t fair. They’re better looking, more successful, infinitely cooler, and so nice you can't hate them...

That person who has a ‘perfect relationship’ and it reminds you of how imperfect everything is in your own existing relationship or that being single sucks...

That person who has really lived life on their own terms and has had the courage to make moves you never felt capable of making yourself...

The person whose love you feel like you don’t deserve and it makes you feel guilty...

The person who after decimating your heart into a million pieces moved on faster than you did...

The person who you gave your trust to and who violated it more than once...

That person who made you feel like your best wasn’t good enough…In work, in life, in love... 

The person who never liked you and you never understood why. You were always nice, you were always open, you were always willing...

That person who you were a shitty friend to and who you desperately miss and wish you could show how much you’ve grown and changed...

The list goes on.

Like I said previously, if you’re the average person, chances are that many of 'these people' exist or have existed in your life. That means that A) you're probably one or more of 'those people' in somebody else's life and B) that 'those people' probably have these same people in their lives too. It helps to remember that.

It also helps to remember that these people are just people. People who are also trying to figure out this thing called life. People who are who they are and whose lives have no bearing on yours unless you allow them to. In fact, whatever meaning they bring to your experience is actually something that you gave them. What do I mean by that?

Well for starters, no, you actually don't hate (insert name here). You hate that when they're around or when you think of them you feel (insert negative emotion). People aren't emotions, they're people. We have a tendency of making them interchangeable and it causes us a lot of unecessary grief.

Please know that these people are in your life for a reason and that reason is to provide contrast and opportunities for growth. The people in your life who trigger negative emotions inside of you are actually just symbolic of something that is actually already happening inside of you. A reminder of an old wound that needs healing or of your over-active inner critic who is actually there to try to protect you.

So what to do? How to manage the presence of these unsavory characters in our life?

Well, if you don’t have to, don’t. Starting in social media land, the 'unfriend' and 'unfollow' features on Facebook come in handy for that. There’s no need to subject ourselves daily to negative triggers if we don’t have to… Especially from people who we don’t really spend time with in person anyway. It's time to give our inner masochistic-online-stalker-selves a rest. Poor things have been on overdrive for quite some time now.

However, seeing as that isn’t the only or even a sensible solution, particularly when some of the people in question are in our families, close groups of friends, etc., it serves us to realize that if we're going to give these folks energy, then that energy should at least be productive.

For example, if 'Mary', who makes you feel insecure makes an appearance in your mind, get curious as to why that is.

Observe your feelings, name them, and try to understand where they really stem from. What is it about this person that makes me feel this way? What do I feel like I’m lacking and how can I source it in my life so that I won’t continue to have this reaction? Is it security? Acceptance? Love? Dig my friend. Dig deep enough and I promise you will find!

If 'Joseph' (guess we're feeling biblical here) serves as a reminder of a part of your past or present that you wish you could re-do or change, then focus on what you can actually do to change it moving forward. Were you a shitty friend to this individual? Forgive yourself and look for the positive things that you learned from that experience/person. The relationship may be unsalvageable but that doesn't mean all is lost.

For example, in this particular case you’ll find that the experience actually taught you that being a good friend is important to you. It also helped you define what friendship really means because it is where you failed. Do you define friendship as words? Actions? Feelings? Knowing that is something that isn’t just useful, it’s something that you can infuse all of your current relationships with and doing so will make you a better human.

Life is too short to live in the past or to fall prey to comparison syndrome. Both will rob you of your happiness faster than you can imagine. Both also require energy which you could be using to build the life you actually want to live.

On that note, if you insist on focusing on others, then why not focus on the 'players' in your life who help you feel empowered, light, and happy, happy, happy? (The heroes or trusty sidekicks if you will)

You know, the person who always leaves you more energized after a conversation on the phone, a quick coffee, or a three hour crying session?

That person who you know will pick you up at the airport no matter what time it is or who will dog sit even though they’re allergic to pets?

That person who you can sit next to for hours and talk, do nothing, read, or just ‘be’ with with no pressure to ‘perform’?

The person who makes you feel like anything is possible. The one who allows you to dream out loud and who actually encourages to follow those dreams?

That person who makes you feel smart? Beautiful? Sexy? Wanted?

The person who asks real questions and who listens with real interest to what you have to say?

That person who inspires you to be a better version of yourself but who always makes you feel like you’re enough just the the way you are?

The person who personifies kindness and who brings it out in you when they’re around?

That person who makes you think a little bit deeper… About life, about work, about love?

That person who gives you a good dose of perspective wrapped in a sandwich of love and carefully crafted advice when you need it most without being righteous or preachy?

That person who will listen to you say things that are so horrible you’re afraid to voice them out loud but who you know won’t judge you for saying them?

The person who is familiar with your shadow side and doesn’t allow anybody, not even you to define yourself by it?

That person who looks at you like you’re magic? The one who at times knows you better than you know yourself and who loves you to the moon and back for it?

Again, the list goes on.

At the end of the day where you spend your energy is entirely up to you. However, I would be totally remiss if I didn't at least encourage you to consider spending your energy on the single most important person in your life. You know, the one you see in the mirror every day when you brush your teeth and get ready to 'adult'.

They’re the best and deserve a little recognition once in a while too.

Don't make me re-send that memo. ;)


Namasme.

 

(I picked 'La Yugular' by Alex Ferreira y El Frente Caribe as the song for this entry because it is what I'm sure many people wish they had the guts to say to a former lover who did them wrong. It is by all means a happy goodbye full of irony and colorful metaphors. The lyrics are hilarious and very very on point. I promise next post will feature a song in English for those who aren't Spanish speakers!)