Your current life situation is a direct result of your past thoughts and actions, and only you can change it.”
~ The Manifestation Code
“Captain of the ship.” “Creator of your destiny.” “CEO of your enterprise” All of these titles are what we are when it comes to life, love, spirituality, career, family, friendships. You’re the only driver of your car on the highway of life. Giving anyone else control of your wheel is a dangerous. I learned this the hard way…
I was 24, and about to walk down the aisle to my fiancé on a cold Saturday afternoon the day after Valentines Day. I was in the limo with my parents, and my bridesmaids and we were all singing “going to the chapel.” Just as the church came into view with it’s parking lot full of my loved ones, I had the sudden urge to ask the driver to keep going. It was more than nerves, it was a something-is-wrong kind of feeling. My dad would have understood if I backed out, he would have thrown us all back into the limo and we would have rolled out, but I wanted to be married so badly. So I walked down the aisle despite my instincts.
As it turns out, I had willingly walked toward what would be my learning experience for the next five plus years. Then I would spend the subsequent two years after my divorce blaming my ex-husband for every bad thing that has ever happened to me. Ever. Why? Because blaming someone is easier than taking personal responsibility.
Personal responsibility can be a hard, un-pleasant, pride swallowing sedge in which you learn why you are the way you are. You’re forced to confront, challenge, and therefore change the thought patterns that no longer work for you, and change is scary because it isn’t comfortable. You also end up facing the fact that *gasp* you are the problem in most scenarios.
(Been there, done that, and thinking about designs for the t-shirt.)
How did I let this happen? I was taught early on that self-worth, self-love, and self-examination all go together. I was also taught that without the latter, you don’t get the former.
Then I forgot.
After my divorce, I really didn’t like my life very much. My story up until last year included depression, feeling defeated, and a lot like nothing was never going to happen for me. I would walk around telling my sad story to everyone that would listen, leaving out any and all negligence on my part and their wide eyed response to the crazy would validate that I was right, it was all his fault. I would judge, compare, get pissed, all while claiming to be Buddhist and on the path to enlightenment.
I was uncomfortable and I’d therefore make everyone else uncomfortable – especially any man that I was dating. I would not take responsibility for the fact that my present was a direct result of what I both did and failed to do in my past. I chased my bad feelings away with Jack Daniels, hanging out with people I knew were using me just so I had company; attending an unfathomable amount of social gatherings that were a waste of time and money, and alas; dating with no intention.
The daytime responsible me filled up every daylight hour with three jobs, multiple freelance files, and several volunteer commitments. Then I would tout how “busy” I was or how “fiscally responsible” I was for holding multiple jobs. I used my apartment as a crash pad to shower and change my clothes. I wasn’t interested in crafting a home because a home would mean slowing down, and slowing down would mean that I would have to think. I would actually have to have a conversation with myself as to what the fuck I was doing. I was fine as long as the party didn’t stop, but the one thing that I failed to take into account is that the party always stops.
There eventually came a breaking point and it was unavoidable that I re-evaluate my life. Stop the bullshit. Stop the complaining. Stop the running. Just sit. I stumbled into Buddhism. Into Zen Buddhism to be exact, and Zen Buddhism is about quiet, clearing the mind, and allowing the thoughts to come up but not judging them. That’s all. I dug in deeper into self-improvement and uncovered so much material that I dedicated all waking hours to the spirituality genre. There were three specific books that will stay with me for life, and became my building block for all future education;
The Secret and the Law of Attraction
You Can Heal Your Life
I found so much of myself and what I had been doing unconsciously to create a life that I didn’t ever really want. That’s when I learned that I had held the power all along.
~ Change your thoughts, change your life ~
True to the saying that “once you awaken, you can never go back”, I can’t fathom going back to that scared pissed off girl. I wanted to go back to the person before her, the soft, kind, loving, and gentle Jenna. It began with changing my mind about my circumstances and looking at things in a different perspective. Such as, I wasn’t alone, I was single. One isn’t synonymous with the other. I wasn’t bored, I had forgotten about my passions. In other words, I changed my perception. I challenged my thought patterns. For every negative thought, I replaced it with a thought that was productive. This took me a little while, but every time I’d complain, I would remember my “new interpretations” and say them out loud. Soon I went from;
“I don’t have a man in my life.” New interpretation: I don’t have a man in my life yet…someday I will, and I will have to take into account my partner’s thoughts on matters, but for now I can use hot pink bath towels and buy a baby blue couch. Which ultimately turned into “I kinda like this freedom to learn about me!”
“I separated myself from everyone who was using me and now I’m alone.” New interpretation: “I have more free time to go slower at the stables and therefore enjoy my horse and riding instead of rushing.” “I have ample funds from not going out as much and can therefore re-decorate my house and turn it into a home.” Which ultimately turned into: I am enjoying my free time in my spacious home that is tastefully decorated with things that I love, and I pay for all of it on my own.” Which turned into: “I enjoy sitting here with my thoughts or quietly reading a book or dancing in my kitchen to my iPod…because I can.” Which turned into: “How lucky am I to have this time on my hands to fully explore my passions and put my life in the direction in which I choose.”
~Create your own destiny~
It has taken me every single bit of the past three years to learn exactly who I am, what I want, what I am capable of, and I learn more daily. The search for your identity is never really over, it goes on until death. And even then, I’m not sure but it may continue. Since we’re infinite souls and we have nothing but time, what’s the harm in accepting that we’re a constant work in progress?
I learned more this past year then I did the previous two, but all were vital to bringing me where I stand today. Once I put the effort into myself, I began to attract healthy people, a loving partnership, and the opportunities that I wanted. I found my passions, I learned to forgive my past, others, and myself. I am clear minded enough to recognize, and feel worthy enough to go after what I want/need in order keep me on my life’s path. I can’t claim to have it all figured out, but I’m all about dropping bread crumbs on the trail behind me for others. What I know to be certain is this;
4. Starting small leads to big things, so just start.
3. There is no right or wrong way, and self discovery is like golf…you’ll get good at it, but you won’t ever need to master it
2. Enjoy every single minute of your evolution. I’m certain that the butterfly looks back and thinks “Wow”.
1. When everything changes, change everything…
In order to live with wild abandon, you have first want to. You have to want to move out of all of our comfort zone and get courageous with the unknown. I promise that it will be worth it.