Many Different Roads

paths

I’ve been here, on this Earth, for long enough to have discovered that there is more than one way to do something, more than one way to get to wherever it is that we want to go, and more than one road to take.

Some of us will take the straight road – one that is easy and free of struggle – one that feels light and joy-filled. Some of us will take the road that twists and turns so much that we feel completely disoriented after being on it. Some of us will take the road that seems to have more dead ends than through streets. And some of us will take the road that is so steep and tumultuous that we fear we’ll never reach our destination.

Some of our roads will be freshly paved and smooth, and we’ll feel like we’re on top of the world when we’re traveling on them – effortlessly gliding across them with great ease.

And some of our roads will be filled with potholes and objects to watch out for, and we may feel like we’ve made a mistake – that there must be something wrong with us to have chosen such a horrible road.

But here’s the thing: there is always so much we can learn from any of the roads that we’re on. And being on a “hard road” doesn’t mean that we’ve made a mistake. It simply means that we’re gathering information that is helping to expand our soul and our experience here on Earth. It means that we have the opportunity to discover new parts of ourselves while in the face of difficult terrain. And it means that when we reach our destination, we’ll be able to keep all of these discoveries in our hearts and continue to learn more about ourselves and about this world that we live in.

Would it be easier if we always chose the smooth road that simply took us from A to B? Of course! But if we only took the smooth road, we wouldn’t get to experience everything else that’s available to us. And if we didn’t have the experience of these other, more difficult roads, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the smooth road nearly as much.

I’ve been on some really rough roads throughout my life. And I’ve also been on some really smooth roads. Sometimes (like now), I’m on several roads at once – each of which has a different terrain. For example, the road with my husband has been blissfully smooth for almost 14 years. I never knew that such a road existed before I met him, and I’m so appreciative. However, the road that I’ve been on surrounding my health has been really bumpy, difficult, and filled with twists and turns, dead ends, potholes, and obstacles. But being on this road is teaching me so much about myself and about life, and I know that when I’ve learned what it is I need to know, the road will become smooth again.

This is all part of the journey. And it’s a journey that we’re all on together.

If you’re currently on a smooth road, be sure to embrace it and enjoy it! And if you’re currently on a bumpy road, see if you can find the goodness that it brings as well – see if you can thank it for helping you grow. Because that’s exactly what it’s there for.

I’m sending love to all of us – no matter where we are on the journey and no matter what the ride currently feels like. It’s all good; it’s all valuable; and it’s all exactly right.

Hugs,

jodi

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Shifting It

feel good copyThe other day, it seemed like a dark cloud was following me everywhere I went.

I woke up from a not-so-restful sleep to the sound of bulldozers shaking the entire house. An old neck injury flared up. We were surrounded by smoke from nearby forest fires, which was making me cough and feel altogether crappy.

I took the day off from work, and I wandered around the house not sure what to do with myself – I just wasn’t in the mood for anything, and I felt like my life was just passing me by.

I woke up in a bad mood, and I spent much of the day in a bad mood. I was frustrated and sad and felt completely powerless.

I went to my bed and cried, which usually helps me to feel better. I love crying – it’s such a great way to release all of my emotions that are boiling over and aren’t sure where to land. It’s usually very grounding for me, but this time it didn’t seem to alleviate any of my angst.

My soul kept asking me to get out – to leave the house – to shift it. 

But you know how when you’re feeling really down the last thing you want to do is summon the energy to get dressed and get ready and get out? That’s where I was. And so I stayed in bed and pulled the covers up.

But my soul is persistent, and it wouldn’t let it go. I could almost feel it pulling the covers back, taking my hand and brushing my hair, picking out some clothes, and pushing me out the door.

I knew from past experience that when going to my bed doesn’t do the trick, more drastic measures are needed. And getting out of the house and shifting my energy and being in a new environment always seems to help.

So my husband and I drove across the street and went into a couple of stores. We looked around, bought some things, and then came home an hour later.

Nothing really had changed externally, but so much had changed internally. My outlook changed. My demeanor changed. The dark cloud that had been over me since I woke up that morning had lifted.

I ate some cookies. I played a game. I snuggled with my cats. I chatted with my husband. And I smiled and felt at peace. I was back.

I don’t mind being sad. And I don’t mind being frustrated. I know that they are part of the human experience, and I always learn so much about myself when I’m in the midst of these emotions. But sometimes, they have a way of coming in all at once and taking over, and when that happens I don’t feel like I am learning from them – I just feel buried by them. So shifting is a great way for me to lessen their strength so that I am better able to understand them and grow from them.

I’m so glad my soul kept at it. I’m so grateful that I listened. And I’m so happy that I remembered to shift it all. It works wonders every single time. I highly recommend it the next time you’re having a “dark cloud” moment or are feeling underwater in any way. It truly doesn’t take much to shift, but the impact that it had is so powerful.

Hugs,

jodi

200 sale copyP.S. – I’m celebrating the Coming Back to Life ecourse’s 3rd anniversary by having a sale! It normally sells for $147, but I have it set up where you can pay whatever you can this month!

If you’re tired of feeling numb and disconnected and are ready to wake up and start living fully, I hope you’ll sign up. This course comes straight from my heart, and it’s touched hundreds of lives so far. It’s my hope that it will be a healing tool for you as well. You can learn more here.

A Great Tool for Stress

relax copyI will be the first to admit it: I don’t always react positively to stress.

I’ve always admired those who could stay calm while surrounded by complete chaos. You know the people I’m talking about: the ones who rush to any emergency clear-headed and immediately know what to do. The ones who exude a calm energy no matter what kind of craziness is happening around them.

I’ve never been that type. I have always been a bit more like a live wire where even the tiniest setback can turn my whole being into one big stress bomb. I’m more the type who climbs into bed at the first sign of trouble and stays there until whatever danger/stress/discomfort has passed (and then a bit longer just to be sure). I’m more the type who works myself into such a huge tizzy over anything remotely stressful that it takes me a long, long time to settle down and experience equilibrium again. 

As many of you know, my lack of stress management led me to severe adrenal fatigue. For years and years, I was constantly in fight or flight mode, and finally my adrenal glands told me one morning a year ago that they were done – that I was on my own – that they were going on an extended vacation. And I’ve been lying on the couch ever since.

It’s an interesting thing to be bedridden for this long. It’s brought up all sorts of things for me internally. I’ve had a lot of time to explore how I got to this space and why I got to this space and what I can do to get out of this space and finally coming to accept this space and be grateful for this space and allow myself simply to be in this space.

During this time, I’ve tried so many different gadgets and vitamins and healing techniques – anythingimages that would help me to feel better again. Some of them worked and others didn’t do much at all. One of these days, I’m going to put it all into an ebook for those who are also going through something similar with the hopes that it will help. But for now, I wanted to share a tool that I just recently came across that I already love and that is already helping me in huge ways. It’s called the emWave, and it’s a stress-management device that the HeartMath company created. 

This device was mentioned in almost every book on adrenal fatigue that I had read over the past year. I shied away from it for a couple of reasons: the price and also that it seemed too easy and simple. I wondered how this little gadget could truly help bring me from a place of stress to a place of calm.

But, a few weeks ago, it came up yet again in another book that I was reading, and something inside asked me to give it a try. So I did. And I’m so glad.

While I’m not a scientist and don’t know a ton about how it works or why it works, I do know that it measures your heart rate variability, which are the time-intervals between each heartbeat.

Here’s what HeartMath says about it:

Whenever we are stressed, these time-intervals become jagged and irregular, sending a chaotic pattern throughout our body. And we feel this: our body becomes tense. HeartMath has done a lot of research on the effect of emotions on our body and when we experience positive emotions such as care, gratitude, appreciation and compassion, those time-intervals in our Heart Rate Variability Pattern become very smooth and sine-wave like. This creates a much more orderly and balanced pattern in our internal systems, creating a state of coherence. We experience this as a more calm, harmonious state.

The emWave analyzes your heart rhythms for “coherence,” a term used by scientists to describe a highly efficient physiological state in which the nervous system, cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems are working efficiently and harmoniously.

It has 3 lights: red, blue, and green. Red basically means that you’re in a stressed state, blue means that you’re moving up, and green means that you’re completely present and calm. There are two ways to use it: either by putting your thumb over the sensor or by wearing an ear piece that clips on to sense your heartbeat.

The first time I tried it, I was in a really good mood. It was the end of a great day, and I was feeling better than I had in months. I was happy to see that the light immediately went to green, and it stayed there for a few minutes. Until my cat attacked my other cat (something that unfortunately happens several times a day and is always really stressful). The light immediately went to red – showing how quickly one little incident could take me away from a place of peace. This part didn’t surprise me because I could feel how tense my body was. But what did surprise me is what happened next: normally, I would have stayed in that place and felt really angry about the fight and complain about it and get even more angry. But this time, I wanted to bring the light back to green – it became almost a game. And so I breathed along with the pacer that is part of the device and within just a minute or two I was back in the green.

I continued to test it out over the next few days. If I was in the green, I would think about something stressful to see if it would go down, which it always did. And then I would see how quickly I could bring it back to green again. If I started in the red, I would focus on my breath and watch it go up to blue and then green again once I was calm.

I put it on while working to see if I could remain in the green. And what surprised me was that work itself rarely was what stressed me out – I was almost always in a calm (green light) state when I was working. What brought me to a stressed (red light) state was when I left the present moment – when my thoughts traveled somewhere else (even for just a moment and even if the thought itself wasn’t negative or stressful). This insight has been huge for me since I’m such a multi-tasker. I’m the one who is constantly flipping between windows on my computer hundreds of times a day – doing something for a second and then switching to something else and then switching back. It turns out that my body doesn’t like all of this switching. If I stay on one task (even one that I’m not a huge fan of), I stay in the green.

I’m still in the early stages of learning about this fun tool and seeing how it can help me in the long term, but what I’ve seen already has been life changing. I’ve never been good at meditating – it’s just not a comfortable (or enjoyable) space for me to go to. But the emWave makes calming down a game – sort of a friendly competition within myself to see how quickly I can move into a calm state. (This may sound like a stressful way to do it, but it really feels fun for me!) I look forward to using it, and I always feel really good about myself and my ability to move into a calm state within a short period of time.

There are so many ways for us to minimize our stress. This is just one of the many techniques and tools. But I have to say that so far it’s one of the best that I’ve seen. I’m loving it, and it’s really helping me learn about my own reaction to stress and is helping me get to a calm state and stay there.

And hopefully, in time, I’ll find that staying in that state becomes much easier to do – much like the people I have always admired who just seem to have a positive reaction to stress. I’m hoping that this will be me soon, too. And that is definitely something to smile about (and feel at peace about).

If you would like to learn more about the emWave, you can click here.

I would also love to hear if you’ve tried it before! Feel free to share in the comments below what your experience has been. You can also feel free to share any other tools and techniques that you use to minimize your stress.

Hugs,

jodi

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Finding Peace Within the Chaos

spring field

The field before construction began.

My heart is heavy as I write this post. I’m looking out my back window and see mass destruction in what used to be a beautiful field that was a sanctuary for wildlife and a peaceful haven for those of us whose houses back up to it.

I’ve lived in this home for five years, and my husband and I have always felt so grateful that this was our view. We loved having this tranquil space that seemed to go on and on right in our own backyard. It created a buffer between us and the world – a place to be one with nature and ground ourselves. We knew that the day would eventually come when this view would become something very different – since planning for a subdivision has been in the works for quite some time, but it’s still a saddening shock to have a front-row seat to this chaos.

Construction began one week ago. We are now awakened each morning by the sound of bulldozers and banging and beeping. We have constant headaches from this never-ending noise that goes well into the evening. My husband’s outside “office” is no longer an option, and he’s had to move into my office for the time being (on the other side of the house) since even his inside office is too close to the noise.

I have been walking around in a daze of anger and sadness and powerlessness. I have cried many, many tears. And I have worked myself into such a tizzy that I have become physically ill with a fever and a sore throat, which certainly doesn’t feel good at all. And what I’m realizing, even in the midst of this frustration, is that this is one of those real-life situations where I get to put into action all that I’ve been theorizing about and teaching for years: I can focus on what isn’t working or what is working; I can appreciate all that I am still grateful for in my life; I can choose how I will respond to this situation; and I get to decide how and where I will find my own peace and happiness.

I’ve been so sad about the geese – my sweet friends who have lived in the field for many generations. I’ve worried that they wouldn’t be able to cope, and I wanted to somehow prevent them from feeling any pain.

geese

Two of our friends before construction started.

Yesterday, after the workers had left and we were sitting in our backyard enjoying the silence from all of the machinery, I looked over and saw about 20 geese sitting on the top of one of the dirt piles that had just been created. I was sickened by this scene of what I considered to be devastation, and my eyes started to fill with tears. But then I noticed that the geese didn’t seem sad at all. They were pecking around and finding the seeds that had most likely just been brought to the surface. They still had their families, their field (even if it looked a bit different), food, and water. They still had their home (at least for now). They weren’t concerned with where this construction would lead – with whether they would be able to cope with the destruction in the coming months or in the coming years – with whether they would have a home at all once it was all paved over and built on. They were just there – enjoying their time – just like any other day. They were focusing on what was working rather than what wasn’t.

And that is the lesson and insight that I am able to pull out of this upsetting situation. Yes, I’m upset. And yes, I’m sad. (Both of which are completely normal and understandable.) But, in order to take care of myself and my body and not continue to spiral into an even darker place, I’m going to do my best to take my cue from these beautiful, wise birds and focus on everything that is right in my world in this moment – because there certainly is a lot of positive energy surrounding me always.

Life doesn’t always go our way. Certainly not how we expect it to. And maybe that’s a good thing – because it’s in these moments where things aren’t “perfect” that we get to go a little deeper and find the kernels of good. We get to witness our own reactions, honor them, and then decide if we would like to change them moving forward. We get to learn so much about ourselves when things aren’t going “right.” That’s where the growth comes in. And I am thankful for that.

Do I wish that this were all happening differently and that the field could stay a field forever? Of course. But this is my reality, and I want to do whatever I can to honor my own needs and find some happiness within this current situation.

That feels right for me.

If you’re in the midst of your own hard situation, I hope that you’ll also be able to find even a tiny bit of peace and wisdom within it.

Hugs,

jodi

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In Praise of Shyness

embrace copy

I’ve seen something popping up a lot lately, and I have been going back and forth about whether I wanted to write about it and address it. I’ve decided that I just feel too passionately about it to let it lie.

There’s been a lot of press in recent years about introversion. A lot of great books have come out explaining more about it and helping each of us (whether we are introverted or not) understand what it’s like to walk through life with this wiring/chemistry/innate nature.

It will most likely come as no surprise when I share that I’m extremely introverted. I’ve been pretty public about it and have done interviews where I talked about it and really feel passionate about helping others be better able to understand this aspect of themselves and fully embrace it.

I love all of the press that it’s getting. I love that the stigma and misunderstandings around it seem to be lifting. And I love seeing more and more fellow introverts raising their flag and sharing with the world that they, too, are proud of it.

But what I don’t love is the wording that sometimes comes with it. You may have seen it since it’s in almost every explanation of what introversion is and what it isn’t. It usually reads something like this (overly dramatized for effect):

“Being introverted doesn’t mean that you’re shy (thank God!). It doesn’t mean that you are afraid of the world. It doesn’t mean that you cower around others or are hiding in your home 24/7. It doesn’t mean that you are a total absolute loser who can’t seem to get a grip on how to live in this world because you’re too freaked out by it. It doesn’t mean any of these things (Whew!). It just means that you refill your energy by being alone.”

I know that it’s true that you can be introverted and not be shy. It’s just the same as knowing that you can be introverted and also be male, female, a good singer, a horrible singer, a lovely person or a not-so-lovely person. But none of these other traits/characteristics ever seem to get mentioned with introversion, do they? Only shyness gets called out – over and over and over again. Introversion is seen as the trendy trait and shyness is seen as the trait that could be likened to the plague. And, as an introverted person who also happens to be shy, this tends to ruffle my feathers. 

I’ve always been shy – sometimes painfully so. I used to hide behind my mom’s pant legs when meeting new people and slowly peek out and quickly hide again in the safety of the fabric. I used to dread being called on in school – not because I didn’t know the answer but because I didn’t want all eyes to be on me.

In sixth grade I had to sing a solo in a recital. I was so nervous that I developed tiny blisters all of my hands the night before and begged my mom to let me skip it. Instead, she handed me a pair of gloves and sent me on my way. :)

In college, I based my classes on whether or not I would have to give a speech, and I took as many independent study courses as possible simply so I could avoid being in the classroom.

Throughout my life, I’ve been accused of being aloof or a snob simply because I wasn’t as talkative and stood back a bit when first meeting others. I’m not comfortable in crowds and will do my best to avoid them. When the doorbell rings, I tend to freeze and stay as quiet as possible until whoever is there leaves.

Because of the negative stigma attached to shyness, I used to try to push through it or ignore it or hide it. I felt “less than” in so many ways and wondered why I couldn’t just “buck up” already and be like everyone else.

Thankfully, I no longer feel this way. I now see my shyness (and all of my other qualities) as part of what makes me who I am. I see it as something to embrace rather than hide. I see it as a gift that I’ve been given to help me empathize with others and be extra sensitive and introspective and perceptive. I now know for sure that being shy is not a weakness. It is such a powerful strength. 

I hope upon all hopes that we can all just learn to embrace our whole selves – the socially accepted traits and also those that aren’t yet seen in a positive light. Because the more we do so, the better we’ll feel. But also the more permission we’ll give to others to do the same. And this ripple effect of self love will impact all of us in one way or another. We’ll walk a little taller and will shine our light a little more and will embrace exactly who we are and exactly who everyone is. It’s just the way it works. And it all starts with honoring each part of ourselves.

So yes. I’m introverted. And I’m also shy. And I’m so many other things as well – each of which come together to make me exactly who I am: a loving soul.

There are so many of us in the world who are innately shy and innately wonderful. And it’s my hope that we’ll embrace this trait and see it as the gift that it truly is. We’re doing such great things in the world – from the comfort of our own homes, behind our screens, and in whatever way feels right for us. And we’re truly making such a beautiful difference. I love that so much.

Hugs,

jodi