Encourage Yourself.

Wow… when life gets tough, where do YOU turn? Encourage is my word I chose to follow for April of 2022. ( It’s been a long April for me, and it’s only half way there.)

It’s been a tough one , this month, with the war in Ukraine, seeing all its devastation, and the people having to leave their country, I cannot imagine what that’s like – leaving all you have ever known, and having to uproot and move from your family to thrive again. As a contemplator by nature, I have found some of the news from this Ukraine war to be very moving, and at times I struggle trying to understand why someone could be so hard hearted towards a people who have done no wrong. On top of this, and a few other personal concerns during the month of April, have caused me to think about my family, my personhood, and my friendships in such a way that I have not considered before. I have been trying my best to be mindful.

What I keep coming back to, again and again is how mindfulness centers me, when situations in life are chaotic. I am a therapist, by profession, a mental health therapist – who has taken a long break from professional therapy, very intentionally – to do some healing myself. It has been the best decision for me, I am finding. I learned a lot about mindfulness, and I don’t think I have shared very much on this blog, about it. That may change significantly.

I have a very peaceful way of finding sleep, when I am a bit restless at night. I usually begin to imagine myself as a pebble, and I am skipping across a pond. Once I hit the water, (as a pebble), I imagine myself falling… and as I am falling , the waters surrounding me are multi-colored and beautiful , glistening and I just fall, until I find sleep. I am very present to what is happening around me as I fall – the colors, the sounds, and the ambiance. I may have to throw the pebble three or four times, but most often the first time, is the charm…and I am asleep. Just like that. It amazes me every single time how quickly I find sleep. I suggest you try it, if you have the same trouble, sometimes.

Mindfulness is how I stay encouraged, and to be honest, it can be quite the task. It takes time to cultivate, and develop the routine of it. So …I am recommending a really good book that’s helped me this month to stay focused. It’s called The Light Maker’s Manifesto – by Karen Walrond. Karen gives several interviews on the book of people who are activists in their own right – who just have a cause they live for, and they discuss a myriad of ways they remain faithful to their call and use mindful listening even, to stay present to the call. I LOVE THIS. In fact, I love everything about this book. Karen is someone I have been following on her blog ( http://www.chookooloonks.com ) for several years, and I have sincerely gleaned a lot about life, photography and living – for quite a few years.

The Lightmaker’s Manifesto – By Karen Walrond

In one section she speaks of how to maintain rhythm and how to take care of yourself in such a way that you thrive. And since “Rhythm” was my word last month, and I didn’t write about it, I thought I would share.

Essentially, she says five factors exist:

  1. Cultivation of spirituality by leading a meaningful lifestyle. (And yes, that’s why I write this blog – to assist everyone that reads , in noticing what’s meaningful in life and sticking to your purpose within.)
  2. Taking care of yourself physically, and tapping into the connection between your mind and body so important. Tapping into the realization & connection between why my body was not aligned with my physicality over this past year – has been so enlightening and freeing for me. ( Mind you – I couldn’t do this alone- it took a bit of counseling to determine what I had to awaken to and acknowledge , in my own soul. )
  3. Intentional intellectual stimulation. ( I love this because one of my “strengthfinders” characteristics is “intellectualization”. Sometimes perspective can be so freeing. It’s how we evolve. Grow. I love sharing with others and working on adjusting my mindset and gleaning from others’ mindsets.
  4. Nurturing meaningful and constructive relationships within, and with others. I love that she says ‘within’ – so important to love yourself fully before you can love others.
  5. And lastly, not being afraid of our emotions. Not denying or suppressing them. It s so interesting how being present in this day and age with so many distractions surrounding us, is what saves us.

So, I am quite thankful for this book, ( & finding resolve through it) after a long bout with Covid, wrestling with myself and my needs as a person in a midlife situation, being in counseling – taking a break from work, being a wife and a spiritual mother to many – and caretaker of my parents. It brought a lot into focus.

Stay encouraged,

Jenn

Shining… But Not Very Brightly.

Hello. October was all about the word Shine. So let me share what the mean it of the word emphasizes. To Shine means: To have significance: (the quality of being worthy of attention); the quality of being important. Synonyms of this special word are: to have heart, sense , understanding, force, or meaning.

I bet when you thought of Shining this wasn’t at the forefront of your mind, huh?

I chose a word that was a bit difficult to practice this month. Not because I couldn’t practice it, it was because I have to receive the word a bit differently. One of the things that caught me off guard was how much it takes to Shine… especially when you are not feeling the best.

Photography by You Are So Beautiful Photography
Me driving to work one morning.

Shining matters within, our personalities and out outer appearance, at times- and also on the outside of our lives: how we cherish moments with the special people in our lives. My momma always told me: “Actions speak louder than words.” The parts of our lives where no one notices – but you, your family and your children. It matters to them, it matters to God. That we let our “lights shine” no matter where we are, no matter what we are doing.

I’ve learned that wherever I am leaving a legacy of truth and discipline, hope, influence, purpose and good communication, those are places where I truly shine I also am shining where I am a positive and showing meaningful leadership. Where I care for others and remain positive, even when other around me, are not.

Where everyone in my life sped things up this weekend, I decided to slow it down. If I cannot hear myself for the sake of moving too fast, then I may need to turn the volume down. Am I taking time for that family member? Am I spending quality time with that loved one? Will this matter in five or ten years? Will it matter later this week? Just another positive way to think about whether “time” is mine, or it truly belongs to someone else.

Having had a birthday this past week, one of the things I am learning is to count the cost of everything… even the ones you miss. Sometimes the moments that matter most, are the ones you missed.

Why not slow it down, decided to do something different, make someone smile by choosing to do the one thing you normally would not have done, and bless them with the gift of time.

I am grateful for this month, because although I wasn’t feeling my best for most of the month, I took advantage of ‘ how I felt’, and instead of complaining , I made the most of it. And that involved shining, being grateful and giving thanks for what I have.

So when you slow it down this month, spend a little time reflecting on the Who, What, Where, Why and When… and even the “How” – ‘cause it all matters. Plan something very intentional, yet not work related. Take a Sabbath day. Change it up. Love on someone … Just because …and it will return unto you.

Share a few places where you’ve been shining lately very intentionally….

I took this on Lake Ontario, in Rochester NY

Joy.

So next month I’m going to center on Joy. It’s the Sept. word of the month. I started months ago searching for this one, because I believe joy can be so illusive. People can say they have it but u until it’s full & encompassing your entire being I don’t really believe you have it, completely.

I’ve had a few joyful moments this month, and last month and so now I believe I can write about it with some experience.

Here are a few of my beliefs about true joy:

1. True joy involve gratefulness as a practice.

I don’t believe you can be truly appreciative of joy until you learn how to practice gratefulness. An appreciation of the big and the small is the requirements for joy, then giving thanks for its source .

2. Joy involves elation.

You must participates with something that makes you feel the elation over the course of a few hours or days or as part of an experience. True joyfulness stays within, and it lasts and it makes those things you enjoy desire to maintain and ebb and flow. A way to capture and continue in that pattern is what you desire to take in the future . True joyfulness involves meaning – making and reflection.

3. Joy is an experience . It has to register as something that makes you fulfilled, and involves the senses: touch , taste, smell, hearing and sight. It might be that all of these are expressed and or experienced at once, or they come in waves. Yet they are present.

And as the days go along in September, I’ll share the joy.

Stay tuned and engaged this September. I’m thinking i’m going to learn a lot.🌺


Complacency : Robber of Your Personal Strength

Complacency is the word this month! This was challenging word, because it quite possibly the first word I chose to look at closely that was not a word that was positive. But we will make the experience of communicating the positive- with this word, because it is what can make us change.

So…. what does it mean to be complacent?
It is defined as an often unjustified feeling of being pleased with oneself or with one’s situation or achievements
a momentary complacency that was quickly dispelled by the shock of cold reality.

What I don’t like abut complacency is that it slows you down. it limits your success, and it appears to make us very comfortable and it sneaks up on you and can be quite subtle.

In my head – I lived in a ‘FOG‘ – I was not successful in accomplishing things in my life due to being ‘too comfortable’ in my life. Either with my time, my actions, too much money, people enabling me, or struggling with my own identity – I wouldn’t put the work in… you know, do the things necessary for change. You could say I had a lazy mentality. Yeah, I hate the word lazy. I consider myself quite productive. Yet I was sadly not doing what was required to be whole. And this is where I would falter with complacency. I allowed complacency to become my ‘friend’, instead of my foe. And beause it was so subtle, it made me realize I had more WORK TO DO.

I am going to even venture to say : Complacency was my enemy because I was ‘numbing’ to some of the things in life I didn’t want to see. (…And I will talk more about that in another blog post.)

I am complacent with my energy. That’s my confession today. I tend allow things that are not very important, be quite important, or be more important than they should. And get this: THEY ARENT really very important!!

If I complacent with taking vitamins, eating well, or exercising – I tend to take these things for granted in terms of how I deal with my energy and make time for my health and betterment of myself.

In the space and time of resounding and being strong, I have been complacent with my words and actions. I was too comfortable in spaces, and convinced myself I was, ” comfortable”, but I really wasn’t. I was people pleasing. In those familiar spaces, I sacrificed myself – and when I did this, I was not allowing myself to speak up and speak my truth. All those are moments when I sacrificed myself. Do we want to sacrifice what is precious, what is on the altar of our hearts – this sacred space in our lives? Where “We matter”? If we speak our truth in the moment, we free ourselves. We have to grasp those moments where we tend to freeze or become silent, and we don’t speak – we sacrifice a part of our own identity. We have to say the things that matter.


A few synonyms for complacency: “bighead-edness”, conceitedness, ego, pompousness, pride, self-admiration, self-assumption, self-conceit, smugness, vainglory, vanity.”

Hmmm.. something to think about…

Antonyms for complacency: humbleness, humility, modesty. What a contrast. These are the things that often prevent the gem of ‘humility’ and change to give birth, in our souls.

Humbly submitted.

Nthabiseng AKA JennRene Owens

My Voice… Resounding.

Ever wished you had pushed record on the tape you played about losing your voice?


Well I did, today.
Not literally, but figuratively.
I just kept the recording playing in my mind of how important it is to say what I need to say, and say it firmly enough, that I’m heard.
But not so much to others, really. That I say it firmly enough that “I believe it”, it matters and it cements within my soul .And reverberates. To reverberate means to: reflect repel or ( to resist). Resistance can be a powerful thing of placed in a powerful situation. That’s when it involves permanence. It stays in place. Has impact. Or in other words, it involves making myself “happy”.

Some things in life are meant to be said. And others are not. There are some things when they are said, they resound reverberate . They matter .


Like when someone said after a man died on public television, that Black Lives Matter . And the whole world resounded and reverberated to that vibe , that truth….and responded with marches, and protests and people all over the world saying the same. Black lives matter . Some of them even saying it for the first time, and others really understanding it , for the first time.

When thoughts and feelings and a knowingness becomes alive… that’s when self – love matters, reverberates. for me. When “I matter”… I resound. And I reverberate . And you know, what that looks like is me deciding thatI will say what I feel , what I think , and I will “be what my name means”. So let me talk about my name: My African name. My name is Nthabiseng. Nthabiseng means “Make Me Happy”
I know, for you this may not mean a thing, but for me, this name when given to me, and I was crowned by it- it meant “Life- Change”.
And life- change meant that “I have volition. I may not have know this before , yet i’m here now to use what matters. It meant : “ I have agency.”

Selah. *{pause & calmly think of that}


You know, for women , this is not a topic women often choose to talk about. Words that make us even more complacent, like weak, low self esteem, and “ being silenced “ all come from places where we were ‘not allowed to become .’ Not allowed to be our true selves. Where we have painted our walls with shame – not opened our eyes for opening them would have meant we had to open our mouths too,… & recognizing that ‘speaking up’ may have been too costly in places before , where shame was bred.

Yet now, we are free.
We determine that being strong looks like having confidence using our voices and making use of our own volition, not as a ‘right’ – but as a necessity, a need and as we we evolve – we become women we never even imagined we could be.


And guys this goes for you all, too.


When you speak up, you evolve.
You prosper.
You grow.
You are Successful.
Selah.

my flowers blossoming.

why I love emoji’s…

I love emoji’s. They tend to make you smile . there are a range of emotions in the air on any given day, and I love that several can be expressed by one person, alone.

Lately the covered face emoji’s with the masks have made me smile as well. And since I work at a place that requires I wear one everyday; I just think it’s a good idea to have emoji’s that express a range of emotions that you can’t see anyway.

The Covid epidemic has seemed to taken away our expressions lately. It’s great to live in a world where emoji’s are so wonderful and beautiful to behold. I’m grateful for them.

How about you?

So, if you’re ever loving your expressive -lifestyle and living – use an emoji and every now and then to express the love!

Best Friends

So I have have never been ‘the best friend’ nor had many of them since 2nd or third grade. Then , some time around the age of 45, I came across a few friends in a new state and they became my hanging partners and accountability buddies.

Did I need to have them around ? Most definitely. We’re they best friends?

Certainly. I still never thought much about the term again in terms of describing a friend, and as I referred to them, I’d say : “you’re one of my best friends”… and I’d figure they’d know. But I figure in my lifetime if I have friends who have good intention and they have the qualities below- a few of them at least- then they’re a few of my best friends.

I believe friendships should be reciprocal. And if they don’t require we ‘glean’ love on one another and help each other to become better women, then what’s the point?

Here were a few qualities we gathered from our conversations earlier this year on one of our Zooms. if you like to join a zoom talk we have once a month , comment below and let me know. We are always talking about emotional wealth, psychological and self care and emotional resiliency. Join us!

Sister-Supported .

changed my life .

one day, a sister sent me this card. she told me she believed in my dream. she wrapped her arms around me and my vision , and embraced our possibilities.

it was grand.

I felt supported.

she told me she was proud of me, what i’d had planned, and believed it would make a difference .

major support.

when you are uncertain, yet hoping,, praying, trusting for the best.

doing it, despite the fear…

using fear as energy – to push you forward.

falling forward, using your self-created prayer team for hope.

it worked.💓

this was me,,in 2003…

believing , trusting, yet everything seemed to fall to pieces when I arrived in South Africa. Between jet lag, and my plans , I felt rather hopeless.

all I could do was sleep.

then I asked to find a phone cafe’. I called my sisters. told them my plans for this vision, asked for support .

and within a day, my situation turned around .

resurrected purpose, peace about the problem, and hope, we’re all mine.

my itinerary took shape,, I began to travel and speak, I had influence and supporters of the vision align with me.

more support.

some things have spiritual resolution.

that’s all.