Tag Archives: truth

Nothing but the truth

I would have laughed if someone told me circumstances in my life this year would present challenges beyond my wildest dreams . Boring old predictable Jenna. Ever-reliable Jenna. Unruffled Jenna. My life felt settled, but I guess Jon Shedd’s words became popular for good reason. Ships in the harbor are safe but that’s not what ships are built for. The only problem was I didn’t know I was boarding the ship.

Fast forward twelve months and I feel like I’ve gone through the wringer multiple times. I’ve faced my soul. I’ve looked it in the eye and didn’t like everything I saw.

There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
~  C.G. Jung

Teetering around the edges of my comfort zone isn’t new for me but this year I catapulted so far away I landed in uncharted waters without a life vest. Extraordinary family stresses as well as emotional and physical breakdowns relentlessly roared in my face. I sought counselling and tried medication to help tame the ugly beast but in the end discovered it’s up to me to find a way to progress. I’ve made mistakes and said things I regret. I’ve seen things I didn’t want to see and swallowed unpleasant truths. For the first time I’ve opened my eyes and looked the beast square in the eyes. For the first time in my life I’ve faced the truth warts and all. It doesn’t sit well but it feels authentic. For the first time I’m telling the whole truth.

I’m pretty tired I think I’ll go home now ~ Forrest Gump

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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

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Enjoy the little things

Not yet old but way past young I’m staring another birthday in the face still wondering where I fit in to this crazy world. Life is a mystery I’m unraveling as I go. In my heart I’m still a little girl looking for acceptance.

Memories of defining moments dotted throughout my life randomly flash through my mind at the oddest times.  I never want to forget these memories because they make me who I am, for better or worse.

In this snowballing culture of greed and excess I strive to live my life simply and with compassion. Sometimes I satisfy my own expectations but other times I let myself down.  That’s okay, I’ll keep trying. Every day brings another chance to try again.

I live a comfortable life and want for nothing. Possessions are nice to have but they are just things. The love of my husband, my three children and my little dog mean more to me than anything else in the world. These people give me purpose and make my life worthwhile. They make me laugh, love, hurt and swell with pride.  They make me feel.

My wish is for people to take time to enjoy the little things that make them smile. A smile brightens everyone’s day.  I’ve chosen some picture quotes reflecting  messages I’d like to share with you on my birthday 26 June 2014.

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cm246thumb-enjoy-the-little-thingsHappiness-chinese-proverb

 

 

Hear no evil

This post contributes to the The Daily Post Sound of Silence weekly writing challenge

Soon silence will have passed into legend.  Man has turned his back on silence.  Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation… tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego.  His anxiety subsides.  His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.  ~Jean Arp

My joy is to bask in the ecstasy of silence. No thoughts, no manmade noise only the pure sounds of nature. It is only during silence that I feel the wind and warmth of the sun, smell the fragrance of the trees, taste the salt in the sea air and see the radiance of the natural world around me.

Noise has always bothered me. As a teenager I hated the music of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd instead preferring acoustic folk music.

Truth be told I don’t relate well to a lot of people because I feel alien to popular culture. I’m an introvert.  I watch and listen, and I choose the people I allow into my life very carefully. This is why deciding to write a blog was a big deal for me.

It seems appropriate that my first tentative step into blogging was a post about my need for silence https://jennadee222.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/so-it-begins/

To me a day of torture involves milling crowds of people, pumping music, heavy traffic noise, phones ringing, television ads screaming, politicians bleating and air travel.

We listen too much to the telephone and we listen too little to nature. The wind is one of my sounds. A lonely sound, perhaps, but soothing. Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen for—sounds that will make him exhilarated and alive, or quiet and calm… As a matter of fact, one of the greatest sounds of them all—and to me it is a sound—is utter, complete silence.  ~André Kostelanetz

What is your personal sound preference and how does it make you feel?

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 

Getting to know you

A year ago I found it difficult to disclose things about myself. Perhaps I was fearful of judgement or maybe I doubted my qualities and uniqueness.

After a series of monumental life situations I experienced a physical and emotional reaction and knew I needed to re-evaluate my existence. My body was screaming at me to find a better way of coping with stress.

My search within led to blogging as an outlet to explore emotions and interact with others about the ups and downs of everyday life.  Initially I was guarded about exposing my vulnerabilities but gradually started sharing personal stories, which began the regeneration of my self-confidence.

As my first year of discovery draws to a close I’m stepping further outside my comfort zone and revealing more about myself that I haven’t blogged about this year.

I’ve written some questions and answers that may connect more of my personality puzzle pieces together. I would love readers to answer the same questions as a post on their own blog or in the comment section to my post. Feel free to answer one or all of the questions, or add new questions, as you wish.

What is your real name and where do you live?
My name is Jennifer Donovan but I prefer Jenna Dee.
I live in Melbourne, Australia

What makes you sad?
I was a lonely child and yearned for a sister close to my own age. As a mother I had a son followed  by two daughters close together in age who grew up as great friends. As adults my daughters are not as connected as they once were and this makes me a little sad.

Seeing the loss in my Dad’s eyes because he misses the love of his life, my mum, who died seven years ago.

What are your major mistakes?
Although I’ve learned to let go of regrets I believe their acknowledgement as a part of our lives is important.

Getting married at 18 remains my biggest mistake. Although legally an adult, I was an unworldly child with no idea of the enormity of my decision. The marriage lasted 7 years and finally failed after we decided to have a child.

When I was pregnant with my first child my husband started ignoring me and staying out all night. I was upset he didn’t want to share the joy of having a baby. I am ashamed to say I began a relationship with a married man I worked with. To me it was nice having someone pay attention to me but to him it was more. He talked about leaving his family to be with me, which freaked me out. I ended the relationship abruptly and broke his heart, which I am not proud of.

When was the last time you cried?
Recently I cried tears of being overwhelmed when I attempted public speaking (described in my post Closer to the Edge) . Sometimes sad movies cause a few tears to fall.

When my mother died seven years ago my tears flowed freely There are only three times in my life I remember sobbing uncontrollably; when my first marriage finally ended, when I lost a baby early in a pregnancy (the first baby for my second husband and I) and when my mother died.

What makes you angry?

  • Arrogant people who feel they are superior to others.
  • Every type of injustice.
  • I feel upset that my daughter who is a lesbian is not entitled to the same privileges as heterosexuals.

What is your most recent happiest memory?
Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year in Shanghai, China. We travelled to Tongli in rural China to the ancient houses and gardens that hold mystical power over me. As we entered one of the courtyards light fluffy snow started to fall making it a magical memory.

When were you most scared?
Being in Fiji during Cyclone Oscar in 1983. This was the only time in my life that I thought I was going to die and at the moment of realisation a bizarre feeling of peace and calm filled my body.

When my relationship with my son disintegrated and he left home. I was terrified for his safety and well-being.

The night my mother fell and the emergency hospital staff told us that her injuries were the worst kind.

When were you most brave?

  • Making the decision to return to university as a mature age student when I was 37.
  • Knowing I needed to reclaim my individual identity and revert to using my family name Donovan, even though I knew it upset my husband.

What haven’t you done that you wished you had done?

  • Lived independently as a single adult.
  • Participated in a study abroad program.
  • Taught English in Japan.

What makes you different from most people?

  • I don’t like being around a lot of people. Situations such as airports, trains, crowed pubs and shopping malls make me uncomfortable. I like my own company and love being with my family but I don’t have a large circle of friends.
  • Unlike most people I prefer silence rather than listening to music or the radio.
  • I’m not easily led towards fads, fashion and trends preferring to enjoy my own treasures.

Who has influenced your life?
I met my husband Peter when I was 16 and he was 18 and formed a close friendship. We married 12 years later after my first marriage ended and have now been married for 25 years.

We are different in personality and ideals but it seems to work for us. Peter is my steadying influence and is tolerant and kind. As the person I am closest to, Peter often bears the brunt of my frustrations.

We are a team and I am proud of the parents we are to our children. He is my soul mate and I would be lost without him in my life.

My mother also influenced my life. She was quirky and had an uncanny ability to see through the falseness of some people. My mum saw the best in me and gave me confidence to believe in myself.  After she died I struggled to maintain my self-confidence without her input. My mum was the kindest, most understanding and wise person I have met in my life.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
This year has been by far the most influential year of my life creating possibilities for many changes within.

The greatest lesson I have learned is that to change your life all you have to do is change your attitude. It is that simple.

What makes you tick?

One of my favourite pastimes is reading the “About me” pages of bloggers. The posts I enjoy reading reflect individuality and set the writer apart from being just another face in the crowd.

Most people state their name, age, hometown, education and marital status .  Others seem boastful and over emphasize their many accomplishments.

I skip reading  “About me” pages with lists of achievements that read like a job application.  I’m  interested in the ordinary or quirky stuff that bloggers share that show a glimpse of who they are and what makes them tick.

My personality is unassuming. I am committed to sharing the truth about who I am so here is a little about me…..

I am spiritual but hold no religious beliefs. The beauty, power and unpredictability of nature exhilarate my senses. I live by the sea and I’m renewed every time I walk along the beach breathing in the salty air feeling the sea spray on my face.

After 23 years of marriage I ceased using my name by marriage and reverted to my name at birth. I love my husband dearly but felt so deeply about regaining my individuality that I made the change for my peace of mind. It may sound crazy but I feel I have renewed my spirit by reconnecting with my original identity.

I am fascinated in Asian countries, especially Japan where I have visited multiple times because it keeps drawing me back and feels like home.

The precision and beauty of Japanese gardens inspire a feeling of peace and harmony in my soul.

The novels I enjoy reading are set in Asian countries in the early 1900’s. These stories accentuate the hardship that people endured and inspire my admiration for the courage  people find to survive through adversity.

My biggest regret is that I was not by mother’s side when she died because I listened to others who told me she would rather be alone. I doubt I will ever forgive myself for this decision.

One of my best spur of the moment decisions was adopting my dog Gracie  from an animal shelter. She gives me so much joy and never fails to brighten every day.

I love objects that sparkle; crystals, mirrors on mosaics, candles and bud lights in trees. I watch in awe as the sun shines through my window on to a hanging crystal causing coloured reflections to dance around my walls.

I hope I’ve  shared something about myself that sparks your interest and leads you to get to know me better by reading my other blog posts. And if not, that’s okay, it was nice to meet you.