Category Archives: JD journey

Take care of yourself

Sometimes you have to step away from your routine to see yourself from another perspective.

I recently took a short trip and quickly realised how desperately I had needed to get away. Over the past six months my life started drifting in a different direction. For personal reasons I chose to accept these changes in circumstances to support others and fuel their wants and dreams but in doing so forgot about my own needs. It wasn’t until I was away that I was able to acknowledge how much this has affected me. 6b3fe97d5531e72826726979a1d99ac4-300x300


A Selection of True Awakening Experiences Part II

I’m writing this post to participate in Barbara Franken’s challenge to talk about where I find myself now on my journey of self-realisation and freedom.

Sometimes I wonder if there was a defining moment when I consciously made a decision to change how I viewed my existence and where I fit in the world. I think it was around my 50th birthday when I started thinking about being more honest with myself.  Almost six years have gone by since then and I’ve been constantly challenged to face truths, be kinder to myself, let go of negativity,  move on from the past and learn to forgive. This has not been an easy progression and while I celebrate how far I’ve come I know I still have far to go.

There were times when I struggled to pick myself up after slipping back into old habits and sometimes it seemed too difficult. But every backward step was worth the uncertainty when I realised I’d taken another step forward towards being true to myself.

Snakes-and-Ladders-Game-510My journey feels like a game of snakes and ladders. As I create positive change I merrily skip along the board until wham I land on a snake and slip back a few rows into old habits. I’m happy that the snakes seem shorter now and less daunting. I now honestly feel comfortable in my own skin.

I’ve learned many things about myself during the past six years but the most valuable lesson I have learned is to be less fearful.

I strive to live my live following these five simple rules.f4ef85ae4212b42479eb5b1feb2b0ee0

Please visit Tanja’s site who will be sharing her story as part of Barbara’s challenge tomorrow–


Life goes on

Time marches on relentlessly, can you believe it is mid May already? This post focuses on the ups and downs of everyday life and celebrates my acceptance of letting life flow as it pleases.


Six weeks have passed since Game Over when I walked away from my city job feeling humiliated but very relieved to be out of the unfriendly environment. After that brief encounter everything at home seemed more appealing and I welcomed its comforting embrace.

How proud we were to attend the ceremony to see our youngest daughter graduate from University and receive the revered Vice-Chancellor’s award for her contribution to University life. Peter and I are in awe of the positive influence our daughter has on others, she is mesmerizing and a motivator to all. As Laura walked on to the stage to receive her awards I thought my heart would burst with joy.

One day I suddenly decided to track down my old school friend Libby through Facebook. We hadn’t seen each other for 30 years and met up to catch up on all the news on our lives. There is something special about old friends, they remember and see you as a younger person. The best mirror is an old friend.

Four weeks after the city office saga a former colleague invited me to return to work at the suburban campus for one day a week with further hours working from home. This offer suited me perfectly and I eagerly accepted. So for now I have the best of both worlds.

Every year I look forward to Mothers Day and cherish our family celebrations but this year was extra special when all three of my adult children joined Peter and I for a lovely homemade dinner.  My children each gave me a card and wrote personal and heartfelt   messages that I will treasure forever. These are the words people often say at funerals when it is too late for the person to hear. I’m so proud of the loving and sensitive nature my children exude. Being a mother is the most rewarding experience imaginable.

My poor old Dad had a setback recently. He stumbled and fell over while visiting my mother’s grave to lay red roses to honor her birthday . We later learned he had a heart attack, which restricted blood flow to his leg causing it to give way underneath him. He had surgery to dislodge the clot and his progress has been slow because he has lost strength in the leg. Next he is off to a rehabilitation hospital to help try to reinstate his independence. My Dad is old and tired and it breaks my heart to see him struggling to walk.

Peter and I have been talking about life being short and making the most of every day and have decided to return to Europe in September this year to discover more of Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland. Just like last time I’m a little tentative to leave my dog, my family and my home for seven weeks but I know how lucky I am to have the chance to see more of the world and grow with new experiences.




Game over

I tried, I really tried. I shook off self-doubt and left my comfortable homey life to work in a city office job. I joined the commuter crush to travel in close contact with people who rarely acknowledge each other’s existence. On arrival at work I rode in a mirrored packed with people avoiding eye contact to go up to my floor

Aside from an insincere ‘good morning’ from those sitting nearby my desk I was left to work alone while people chatted about their lives with their friends around me. Just like in a schoolyard they whispered in others ears while in my full view. Nobody took the time to make proper introductions leaving me to awkwardly introduce myself. People worked collaboratively but failed to provide enough information about the project or the names and roles of team members.  I know I’m introverted and people say I’m quiet but I made every possible effort to fit in and work as part of the team.  I smiled and tried to interact but my colleagues made it clear I was invisible. When I had questions about my work I felt I was an inconvenience for seeking clarification so I wasted time trying to figure things out myself.

After only four weeks I couldn’t face going back and I resigned. Perhaps I should have asked if there was a reason people acted unkindly toward me but the experience weakened my resolve and all I wanted to do was get away. I have no regrets for trying the new experience nor harsh feelings towards my former workmates. All I feel is hurt because I can’t understand how people can be so unkind for no obvious reason.

In my last post Working 9 to 5  I confidently quoted Mhar “You are confined by the boundaries you set yourself. The mind creates the cage. Set yourself free and move out of your comfort zone.” I took that advice but this time I ran straight back to my comfort zone and for now I’m happy I’m home.kind word

Please be kind to others. I wish the people who treated me unkindly could appreciate my post Rekindle Kindness.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Dalai Lama

In a good place

It’s been a while since I’ve written a personal blog post but now feels like the right time to share. I’m not the same person I was two years ago and continue to evolve every day. It is only now when I read my earlier blog posts that I fully comprehend the extent of the insecurity I lived with.

I thought changing my thoughts and attitudes would be easy as long as I was determined to change. I was wrong. Transformation is a slow process making it difficult to know change is taking place. For every step forward there are many backward and sidewards steps that sometimes become unexpected benefits and sometimes they are just setbacks. Some days I felt confused and wished I’d never rocked the boat. I thought I was losing my identity which it turns out was exactly what I was trying to do. For me the glass was always half empty and I’d convinced myself that was all it could ever be.

When I decided to change I wanted to generate a new mindset so I started reading daily blogs and Facebook inspirational pages about happiness, gratitude, positivity and peace. At first they seemed fanciful but I kept on reading them like using flashcards to teach children to read, hoping they would infiltrate my way of thinking. Every day I’d try to incorporate the tone of the messages into my life. At first it felt unnatural but I persisted until the words started making more sense and gradually made way for positive change within.

Any type of life change is difficult. Life is not a fairy tale with everything resolving at the end leaving everyone to live happily ever after. Life is interesting and complicated  with a random mix of joys, obstacles and challenges. I’ve learned that it’s not what happens but how we react and deal with life that makes us who we are. Now I see opportunities where I once saw challenges. Instead of feeling hurt or intimidated by people who are rude and disrespectful I now pity them. I’ve learned to be honest with myself and live happily in my own skin. I trust my heart will guide me.

Anyone determined to make changes to their life should accept it is not easy but understand we are all capable of far more than we imagine.

you-have-to-be-your-own-hero2Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. ~ Henry Ford

The mind is everything. What you think you become ~ Buddha


Be true to yourself

The concept of human awakening (spiritual or personal) sparks extraordinary interest considering the number of books, websites and YouTube videos that exist on the subject.

The definition of awakening is ‘an act or moment of becoming suddenly aware of something’. Once aware we strive to create positive change in our lives, and from experience I know that this is not easy. Like the lion in The Wizard of Oz I once lacked courage to face truths and react to a new perspective.

In my early twenties I was in a loveless marriage but refused to face reality. On holiday my husband and I were caught in a fierce cyclone. At first I was terrified but eventually I had an overwhelming feeling of calm and knew without a doubt my husband was not the person I wanted to spend my life with.

When we returned home I ignored the warning by convincing myself our marriage would improve if we started a family. It didn’t go well, the marriage fell apart and I became a shattered single mother with a baby who ultimately suffered as a result of the doomed marriage.

A while later I was vulnerable during the legal process of ending the marriage. At every meeting I felt bullied and manipulated to resolve the issues. I have never felt so powerless or weak.

It was during one of these meetings that I knew I could challenge the pompous lawyers and stand up for myself. I momentarily lost my fear and this experience was liberating.

However instead of seizing this change in attitude and going forward living without fear, I reverted to my previous demeanor and spent many more years being submissive.

Turning 50 was a milestone I saw as another opportunity to be courageous and shatter the protective box I had imposed around myself.

One night I awoke during the quietest hours and knew the only way I would be content was to regain my individuality and rebuild my confidence.

I wanted to revert to using my name at birth rather than be known by my second husband’s family name, which I had used for 22 years. This was difficult because I deeply love my husband and my intention infuriated him.

I thought about the times I’d previously ignored the signs from awakening experiences and I knew I couldn’t let myself down again. So after many weeks of upsetting and confronting discussions I told my husband I was going ahead and changing my name.

It wasn’t easy contacting the relevant authorities to prove that I was the person on my birth certificate, it was demeaning but I persisted.  Telling family, friends and work colleagues I had changed my name made me uncomfortable and the subject of whispers about whether my marriage was in trouble (which it never was).

I felt I had let everyone down and crushed expectations of who I should be, but I held firm knowing my decision was right for me. It took all my strength to push away fear but it was liberating and ultimately made me whole again.  (My post I am who I am describes more of this story)

From then on I tapped into an infinite reserve of courage and slowly started living with confidence and being true to myself. Freedom is bliss.

My fourth awakening experience was spiritual and inspired an overwhelming feeling of peace and optimism that things are as they should be. This day I knew I’ve  found  the right path after being lost for so many years.  (My post Serenity describes more about this)

It took me 50+ years to learn the truth in the following quote. I hope everyone else discovers it long before I did.

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins. Bob Moawad

My post today is part of a series of posts about awakening experiences by various bloggers initiated by Barbara of Me My Magnificent Self. Further details 

Living the mystery

Change will happen when the time is right.
Jenna Dee (1960 – )

I enjoy reading quotations written by people from all walks of life throughout the ages. These brief lines of text convey meaningful messages and have the potential to change the course of people’s lives if their mind is receptive to new ideas.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw (1814–1885)

No one is more surprised than I to finally understand and actually believe that change can and will happen to anyone prepared to open their mind to new ideas and possibilities.

 The past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased; it can only be accepted.
 Wiz Kahlifa (1987- )

For too long my mind was unwilling to move on from past transgressions and hurts. I was burdened with unrealistic self-imposed responsibilities and fears that impeded my personal growth and freedom.

Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.
Napoleon Hill (1883-1970)

Futile fears invaded my mind for a good part of my life. It is only recently I’ve realised the extent of these unproductive thoughts. I’d hate to tally up the total time I’ve spent worrying about things beyond my control.

I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see.
John Newton (1725-1807)

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
Dalai Lama (1935 – )

I thought I understood the concept of the power of the mind but reality is I never truly believed it could be possible,  especially not for me.

For years I was a non-believer (and I’m not talking about religion). I dismissed the validity of stories about people maintaining a positive attitude while facing appalling life circumstances. If it were me I imagined I’d feel angry, defeated or wonder why me.
Now I see.

I’ve learned to be kinder to myself by encouraging all of my efforts and by not beating myself up about mistakes.  Kindness matters, kindness to other people and kindness to ourselves.
Now I see.

Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.
Lao Tzu (570-490 BC)

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Lao Tzu

Eastern philosophies intrigue me. The Asian winds of the east softly blow through my mind providing an infinite source of fascination and empowerment to think and feel differently.

People who follow my blog know I’ve previously mentioned Lao Tzu, Taoism and the Tao Te Ching (The Great Way). This ancient Chinese school of thought has encouraged the elimination of my negative energy and created the harvest of unlimited possibilities. It has literally changed my life.

Tao Te Ching applies timeless wisdoms. The 81 poems convey that life is a beautiful mystery that cannot be explained nor understood.   To be Tao is to be unlimited, undefined or unformed.

The Tao suggests we let the world unfold without attempting to figure it all out, and that letting go of trying to see the mystery allows us to see it. This is a major revelation to someone who has always sought black and white answers.

The variety of interpretation of the Tao is limitless, not only for different people but for the same person over time. It provides personal freedom to grow without rules or structure.

Being able to release my self-imposed boundaries has provided phenomenal relief. Slowly it dawned on me to give myself a break, relax, let go and allow.
I feel like I can breathe again.

Tao Te Ching is spirit not matter. It is inexhaustible energy that flows stronger the more it is drawn upon.

der jen2Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
Lao Tzu

Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
Lennon/McCartney (1940 –   )

Listen to your heart

My heart kept telling me everything would be okay as I struggled to stay strong throughout many years of personal adversity.

My extended family remained silent but I felt their judgment and heard their cruel whispers about my troubled relationship with my son.

I withstood this implied criticism for ten years until they lost interest and pretended we no longer existed.

Over the years I had sporadic contact with my son but it was usually strained and traumatic for both of us.

Only my husband knew the extent of my anguish, only he was supportive.  We both believed one day my son would find his inner strength and conquer his problems that steered him away.

We always hoped he would want us back in his life one day, but knew he had to figure out how to do this in his own way and in his own time. He had to learn to navigate his way back over a very rocky road.

My heart was right.

It started with a couple of upbeat phone calls.

Then one day it was a warm heartfelt hug.

A genuine smile.

Real laughter.

Illustration by Aaron Pocock
Illustration by Aaron Pocock

And the latest puzzle piece, a picture of his childhood teddy bear with a message saying that Teddy reminds him of so many happy memories.

That old teddy bear and my son Chris have been through a lot together.

I am so happy they have found the path that is leading them back home.

You did your best Jenna

I’ve buried the truth of this story deep down for almost three decades and now know that in order to finally let it go I have to tell the world what happened to me.

To people embroiled in personal tragedy or family breakdown I urge you to stay strong and believe that things can get better. No matter what happens I want you to know that you are a good person who is trying your best to overcome adversity.

My story is sad and it hurts to write about but it has to be told to set me free and because it may help others going through similar circumstances. Everybody hurts sometime.

My unhappy marriage unraveled in 1984 which filled my life with misery and insecurity. My husband was cruel and manipulative and blamed me for everything.

Maybe he felt trapped by my pregnancy even though we chose to have a baby after six years of marriage. He was spiteful and ignored me by staying out late most nights. My self-confidence was so low I felt powerless.

I was scared of being pregnant and alone so I put up with his bully behaviour hoping that when the baby was born he would change and our life together would flourish.

I was timid and naïve and didn’t share my pain with anyone because I felt like I had failed in my marriage. Even my mother or best friend didn’t know what I was going through because I was ashamed to admit it.

Being pregnant with my first child should have been one of the happiest times of my life but it was intolerable and for this I felt cheated.

When our baby boy was born I was overjoyed even though my husband continued his disinterest. I was terrified of being able to care for the baby while coping with my husband’s unpredictable moods.

My husband walked out of our life when our baby was seven months old. We had built a new house and he lived in it for three months before leaving. Even though I felt relief I also felt cheated out of the delight of sharing a baby and a new house together. There was no joy only pain.

My baby was beautiful and continued to thrive each day. In the early days I put all my energy into loving and caring for him during the day and then lay in bed at night sobbing because I felt like a failure.

Slowly my life began to recover and I discovered I was a much stronger person when I was away from my husband’s cruel comments. My self-confidence improved, my baby was thriving, I found a part-time job and I was re-acquainted with an old friend.

I was happy planning for a special family party for my son’s second birthday when my world fell apart again

After showing no interest in our baby boy for the first two years of his life my husband sent me a letter via his lawyer demanding weekend access rights to our son.

This was followed by several stressful family court hearings and eventuated in having to send my two-year-old boy to stay with his father every fortnight. Nothing can erase the sadness I felt when I handed my baby to his father, who he didn’t know, for the first time.

This was the start of 16 years of disruption and turmoil in my son’s life.

As a teenager my son started playing up as most teenagers do but because he lived in two houses with two different sets of rules he began telling lies about his whereabouts.  He disregarded his private school education and left soon after high school.

The years that followed were dark and scary; I lost my son to drugs. I bailed him out so many times by paying money to people he owed. Each time he promised it wouldn’t happen again and said he would learn from it and turn his life around, but he never did.

I loved my son but I couldn’t live with him anymore and watch him destroy his life as well as that of my family. He was angry, deceitful, uncommunicative and unreasonable. As much as it broke my heart I had to let him go when he was 18 to fend for himself.

It took almost ten years before seeing any signs of improvement. There were times of intermittent contact and periods of no contact mixed in with lots of tearful situations. I managed to carry on living my life but always thought about my son and continued to believe that he would one day find his way to a better life.

Every time he contacted me I told him how much I loved him, how I knew he could rise above his problems and create a better life for himself. He listened but counteracted everything I said with a negative response and my message never seemed to penetrate. This went on for many years.

On Mother’s Day 2013 my son came to visit and he seemed truly happy and he looked healthy. It gave me hope when he genuinely smiled. I hugged him and he hugged me back for the first time in years and it felt like I was holding my son again. I felt his warmth and thought we may be coming out at the end of a long, dark scary tunnel.

The next day I sent him this message

Thank you for visiting me yesterday, it made my mother’s day complete. I am so glad that you seem to be much happier these days in your personal life and in your work life. I knew things would turn around for you. You deserve every success and happiness. I love you forever from Mum

He responded

Thanks mum, couldn’t have done it without you
love you too

This was the first time he had said or written, “love you” in 16 years. His words and the warmth of his hug gave me hope that time can heal human suffering.

I’m not saying everything will be perfect now but it was so nice to feel a brief moment of genuine hope with my son.

That’s it; I am done with reliving the pain of my first marriage and past troubles with my son. I am ready to leave these hurts behind and from today I’ll only focus on the journey ahead in life.

After writing this blog I am metaphorically putting my words on a water-lily and floating it in the ocean to be consumed by the universe to set me free.

It’s time to forgive myself and say “Jenna you coped with adversity the best way you could and I am proud of you.”

It’s a brand new day

Today I wipe the slate clean and start treating myself with the respect and love I deserve.IMG_2008

Today I relinquish all unrealistic expectations and criticism I have imposed on myself for the past 50 years.

I have been my harshest critic and bullied myself on a daily basis about not living up to be the person I thought I should be.

For the past year I have spent numerous hours reading and absorbing the opinions of thousands of people who have written about creating and maintaining a happy life. The overwhelming response to this conundrum is gratitude.

For too long I have taken for granted all the obvious good that is present in my life. I have good health, a loving husband, three healthy independent adult children, a gorgeous faithful doggy companion and I live in a safe comfortable home.

My greatest form of relaxation is to immerse myself in the beauty of nature. All my senses are aroused by nature, I am empowered to see, hear, touch, taste and smell. There is nothing more invigorating to me than feeling the power and magic of nature.

Today I look forward to the simple joys of living the rest of my life.