In Case You Forgot to Show Up for Yourself

flickr,  istolethetv

It’s the first day of the month. It’s the first day of the second half of the year. It’s the first day of the rest of your one beautiful life.

Are you where you want to be?

Whether you’ve thought about it or not, Today, we begin to write a new chapter in the story of our lives.

Lots of chapters have come before. Unfortunately, I missed quite a few. They flew by, and I simply forgot to remember not to forget to remember to POINT myself somewhere.

I’m afraid I was rather aimless about the whole thing — asleep at the wheel. I missed the opportunity to direct myself a little better, so that where I ended up was a little bit closer to what I really wanted out of life.

I allowed my choices and responsibilities to be in charge and kinda sorta completely run me ragged for quite some time.  In other words, I have dozens of chapters that have come before this one — but so many of those are filled with blank pages.

I didn’t know that I could live with INTENTION. I didn’t know how to show up for myself. I certainly didn’t respect the value of small, steady incremental change.

The mistake that I kept making was looking for SWEEPING change, and, even though I’m a pretty smart and hard-working cookie, I just couldn’t make any headway on my life in bursts of grandiose declarations.

Now, I’m gonna give myself a heaping dose of mercy about all of that. I now see that I grew up in an age where “BIG” was celebrated. We were trained to think of success in those terms.

Do you remember how it was back in the 70’s and 80’s? Everything was big. Big hair, big dreams.  It seemed like everything was over the top.

And along with that, was a really outsized unspoken responsibility. Yep. For those of us raised and educated in those years, we were taught that “anything was possible” as long as you were willing to work for it.

There was also an unspoken responsibility to grab for more, if for no other reason than that we had to “make up” for the lack of educational and professional opportunities for our foremothers. They laid the groundwork. We “owed” it to them to “have it all” since we were the first generation of women afforded that opportunity.

And, honestly, it was fun. It was heady. It was rush, rush, rush, from one achievement to the next. Collecting things — ribbons, accolades, mates, children.

We were the “upwardly mobile” generation.

I was swept away by it all, just like everyone else. I’m not sure when it was that things started to change for me internally. I remember thinking that I was working too hard for what I was getting. Plus, what I was getting wasn’t doing much to fill a growing “hole in the soul” that I just couldn’t ignore.

And — this is harder to confess — but I never quite got over my “outsider” view of life. It looked like you all had cracked the code on the abundance hunt and I just kept switching directions and running from one wrong choice, one false idol, to the next.

I felt like everyone else was “getting it” while I was kinda sorta completely an impostor in the game of winning at life. I realize now I compared my insides to everyone else’s outsides and, of course, I always came up short in the comparison.

And I was so tired of it all. Oh my gosh was I sick of it!

Tired of the smiling — lord, I’m so sick of smiling in groups of women. “Oh, yes, your little Johnny is just so extraordinary.” Blah, blah, blah blah. Write insipid holiday letter full of surface success but devoid of the real truth behind the smiles.

The smiles that hid the broken marriages.

The smiles that hid deep financial worries.

The smiles that hid severe family problems like addiction, affairs, and one-dimensional joy.

Yep, I’m guessing  you know what I’m talking about.

One day, though, the strangest thing happened. I had already become pretty comfortable with not caring too much what you thought of me. But I now became completely comfortable with not caring too deeply what I-I-I thought of me.

I noticed a profound self-acceptance that was completely new.

I stopped torturing myself. I stopped dwelling on my shoulda, coulda, woulda’s of life.

Oh my how I’d like to have those days back now — those years of empty blank chapters — those years I can’t even remember.

What would I write in them today? What would I have created?

Well, there’s no going back. The past is only good for two things — to learn from and enjoy.

So, if you also have some regrets, here’s what’s absolutely AWESOME about that: Your regrets POINT YOU to where you need to go next. When you look underneath of them, you can see the kernel of truth and wisdom in every regret. And now, imagining something different, you simply go and live your life as if you have overcome that loss.

You examine the regret. Then you LIVE THE OPPOSITE.

Yesterday, we finished our first 30-Day Reclaim the Sass challenge.

HUNDREDS of women from all over the world worked in a perfectly imperfect way to move their lives forward.

Here is what one Sass Challenger had to say about her experience:

The Reclaim the Sass Challenge is one of the BEST things I have done for myself in a long time. Through her daily videos and other printable materials, Jen gently woke me up to areas where I could make effective changes in my life; to live more fully and to be more authentically ME. Sometimes it was as simple as new lipstick or a fresh hairstyle, while other times I was challenged to dig deep and make some honest realizations about my life and the stories I tell myself. After only 30 days I am happy to say that I feel more alive, more in control, and more connected to my life. I definitely feel more “sassy”. By learning to focus on the positive and scavenge for joy, I am finding reasons to smile more everyday! — Sandy F.

I want to celebrate all the women (plus Sam) who gave themselves the gift of moving forward. I so look forward to meeting you again in September. In the meantime, I have created the Chapters program for women who want to lumber along with us, creating a joy-filled and joyful life one small Chapter at a time.

Chapters is a program that nearly any woman can afford. Basically, for the cost of one monthly lunch with a friend to gripe about your life situation, you could be working with an amazing group of women (plus me) to change it.

If you have made it this far in this essay, I want to thank you. Yep. Beautiful You. For your beautiful heart, for your beautiful attention and intention.

Thank you for allowing me to live my dream: to bring hope and solutions that work to any woman who feels stuck and really truly wants to find her way home to herself.

If that is Beautiful You, welcome. And know this: I will move heaven and earth to create a pathway home for you. I think the Chapters program is the best place to begin. I invite you to check it out, and, if it feels right, join us.

Much love,

P.S. Here is the link to join our next Reclaim the Sass Challenge. We start September 1. It’s free, by the way, cause you’re priceless.


Photo: flickr, v

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2 Responses to In Case You Forgot to Show Up for Yourself

  1. Nicole says:

    I swear it is like you cracked open my head, looked around, assessed my inner thoughts and articulated all the feelings I have inside but can’t seem to verbalize!! (I’m an engineer – not a writer) It is amazing how much your writing “speaks” to me – and it is nice to know that I’m not alone in how I’m feeling!! I thought it was just me – but it appears that more of us feel this way than I ever imagined. Thank you!! Can’t wait to see what other stuff you find inside my head for me. 🙂

    • Jennifer says:

      You make me laugh!!! I’ve really studied this problem, though, Nicole and I think that’s why it seems like I’m in your head. I am super clear on which women I serve best and just keep trying to solve those problems. I love my job.

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