Monthly Archives: February 2011

Enough.

 

“Enough already with the stuff that doesn’t enhance who you really are.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

 

Enough already!

Enough already with looking in the mirror and not loving what you see.

Enough already with living in excess, filling your house, life and body with things that won’t ever bring you happiness or give you the love that you can only find within yourself.

Enough already with the labeling, judging and hating of those who you choose to see as ‘different’.

Enough already with bringing others down because you are afraid that their success will make you feel inferior.

Enough already with blaming your weight, your age, your spouse, your friends, your children, your boss, your parents, the service at the supermarket, the line at the post office, the younger generation, the price of petrol, the state of the world. Do something about it.

Enough already with not seeing beauty in everything.

Enough already with not letting your intuition guide you.

Enough already with not laughing hysterically every single day.

Enough already with letting the media dictate how you feel about yourself.

Enough already with thinking that there’s nothing you can do.

Enough already with not following your heart and living the life that you deserve.

Enough already with lying to yourself, denying who you are, and ignoring the screams of your soul.

Enough already with feeling inferior.

Enough already with standing by and doing nothing as children starve, women are raped, men are killed, animals are tortured, and the earth is poisoned.

Enough already with thinking there is only one true path to God.

Enough already with believing that any God is worth killing for.

Enough already with letting one small thing ruin your whole day.

Enough already with being afraid.

Enough already with the hate.

Enough already with thinking that there is any living creature on this earth that doesn’t deserve to feel love.

Enough already with looking outside for all the answers that can only be found within you.

Enough already with the excuses.

Enough already with using the number on the scale as a measure of self-worth.

Enough already with taking our anger and insecurities out on others.

Enough already with thinking that you aren’t enough.

Enough already with trying to deny that we are all connected.

Enough already with thinking that you don’t deserve a life full of love, passion, purpose, and happiness.

Enough already with judging your worth by what others think of you.

Enough already with being ashamed of your imperfections.

Enough already with letting other people have power over you.

Enough already with hiding who you really are.

Enough already with not dancing like nobody’s watching.

Enough already with trying to fit in.

Enough already with seeing vulnerability as a weakness.

Enough already with dumbing yourself down or creating drama to get attention from others.

Enough already with the drama.

Enough already with thinking life’s not fair.

Enough already with focusing on the colour of the skin instead of on the heart within.

Enough already with staying in your comfort zone.

Enough already with the inequality.

Enough already with thinking your way is the only way.

Enough already with punishing yourself.

Enough already with the inaction.

Enough already with thinking that who you love is more important than the love itself.

Enough already with avoiding doing the things that scare you.

Enough already with giving up when it gets tough.

Enough already with not accepting others for who they are.

Enough already with seeing obstacles as failures.

Enough already with thinking that the past equals your future.

Enough already with needing to be right all the time.

Enough already with not learning from our past.

Enough already with the regrets.

Enough already with thinking it’s too late.

Enough already with the guilt.

Enough already with being a victim.

Enough already with the blame.

Enough already with the revenge.

Enough already with thinking you don’t have anything to be thankful for.

Enough already with condemning others for following their hearts.

Enough already with not showing kindness to everyone you meet.

Enough already with being anything but yourself.

Enough already with the denial.

Enough already with not taking care of yourself.

Enough already with waiting for somebody else to do it.

Enough already with not seeing how amazing you are.

Enough already with living with a closed mind and heart.

Enough already with resisting change.

Enough already with spending your time with people who bring you down.

Enough already with sending hate and negativity out into the world.

Enough already with forgetting that everyone in this world just wants to be happy.

Enough already with thinking you aren’t powerful.

Enough already with thinking that you don’t have anything to offer the world.

Enough already with settling for less than you deserve.

Enough already with letting your daughter learn how to hate herself by watching you hate yourself.

Enough already with letting your son think showing his emotions makes him weak and showing violence makes him tough.

Enough already with thinking that what’s popular is always right.

Enough already with thinking we can survive while the earth dies.

Enough already with believing everything we are told.

Enough already with thinking it’s not our problem.

Enough already with not using our lives to make this world a better place.

Enough already with thinking it can’t be done.

Enough already with thinking that you can’t change the world.

Enough already with thinking that you don’t have a beautiful smile.

Enough already with hiding that smile from the world.

Enough already with forgetting that everyone is doing the best that they can.

Enough already with denying that your thoughts create your world.

Enough already with not doing the things that make you happy.

Enough already with hiding the Goddess that you really are.

Enough already with spending your life worrying about things that never happen.

Enough already with associating ‘different’ with ‘wrong’.

Enough already with ignoring your divinity.

Enough already with the oppression.

Enough already with the ignorance.

Enough already with using fear to control others.

Enough already with not seeing that it’s always the children who suffer the most.

Enough already with wishing for world peace but not creating it within yourself.

Enough already with rejecting something just because you don’t understand it.

Enough already with thinking that you can’t choose happiness.

Enough already with forgetting that everyone is somebody’s son, daughter, brother, sister, father, mother or friend.

Enough already with not learning from your mistakes.

Enough already with trying to be perfect.

Enough already with forgetting how blessed you are.

Enough already with the excess.

Enough already with not smiling at yourself in the mirror.

Enough already with following the paths of others instead of creating your own.

Enough already with trying to do everything at once.

Enough already with not living in the moment.

Enough already with thinking you can truly love others without truly loving yourself.

Enough already with the ego.

Enough already with not seeing the lesson in every experience.

Enough already with not showing gratitude.

Enough already with not seeing your own awesomeness.

Enough.


You have everything you need within you. Take hold of your power and choose to live the life you deserve.

Enough already with everything else.

 

 

Jen ♥

Link Love :)

Tumblr of the Week!

Hello beautiful people!

I hope the sun is shining brightly for you, regardless of the weather outside 🙂

I want to share some more links with you, to sites, blogs, articles, videos, anything that has touched me and made my heart smile this week.

Before I do that, here is the theme for tomorrow’s Link Love Friday on the My Smiling Heart facebook page:

Favourites: post a link to your favourite blog post that you have written, the piece of writing that you are most proud of. If you don’t have a blog, share a link to your favourite blog post from one of your favourite blogs.

I’m excited to read all of your awesome posts! 😀

Until then, here’s some awesomeness for you:

 

The Short and Sweet Guide to Being Fucking Awesome from inoveryourhead.

 

Can’t Find a Dream Job? Create Your Own from Zen Habits.

 

Send this clip to every woman you know. from mamamia.

 

32 Small Ways to Change the World from Abundance Blog.

 

ROAR from Awakening Women.

 

The Wild Donkey Secret to Getting Stuff Done from Goddess Guidebook.

 

Meet Zonia Saloj, One of the Girls WE Sponsored! from I Want Her Job.

 

Devote yourself to an idea. from workisnotajob.

 

deer visits cat every morning! from The Kind Life.

 

5 reasons self-love is not selfish from Positively Present.

 

12 Ways to Find Joy In Life from The Bold Life.

 

The Top 20 Things Oprah Knows for Sure from Oprah online.

 

The 10 LAWS You Must Never Break In Order To Avoid Changing The World from The Mad To Live.

 

And to finish, here’s an AWESOME quote:

“I’m happy and I think happiness is what makes you pretty. Happy people are beautiful. They become like a mirror and they reflect that happiness.” ~ Drew Barrymore

Keep Smiling ! 🙂

Jen ♥


Wise Words: Bohemian Musings

Today marks the beginning of a new monthly segment on My Smiling Heart, in which I interview inspiring, passionate, and creative women about how they are following their bliss and living a positive life.

Our first amazing guest couldn’t be more fitting of this description!

Jessika Gilker is a Free Spirit who spends her time taking pictures, doing yoga on the beach and travelling off the beaten path in her quest to live a full authentic life. She lives in Greece where her and her husband run Fresko, a Juice Bar on the Beach.

I know, AWESOME, right? 😀

I discovered Jess’ blog, Bohemian Musings, only a few weeks ago, but I’ve already been so inspired by her journey and wisdom, I just had to ask her to be the first My Smiling Heart interviewee!

What encouraged you to start Bohemian Musings?

I started Bohemian Musings in the New Year on a whim, wanting to learn more about the world of Information Technology, as well as explore my Passion for writing and photography.

I soon realized that starting this blogging journey was opening me up to a whole new world of personal growth. The reasons that motivate me now to continue this journey are:

  • I want to Challenge myself on a whole new level and expose my Thoughts, Feelings and Inspirations for the world to see. Being vulnerable is scary but can teach you so much about yourself. I’m introspective by nature. I spend a lot of time with my thoughts in my head and tend to share them only with my closest entourage. So this is a way to set those thoughts free.
  • Since I’ve chosen to live an Unconventional life by society’s standards and have found success and happiness on my personal journey, I hope I can help others see that it’s not out of their reach either. Meeting really cool, like-minded individuals (like yourself) is an added bonus of being a blogger.

Do you know what things you need to do on a regular basis in order to maintain your happiness? What are they?

Keeping my body, mind and spirit balanced is what leads to my happiness. Attaining that balance requires me to be conscious in all areas of my life as not one thing makes me whole but several together. They are:

Yoga is my salvation, it keeps me centered and in the present moment, while laughing and being around the people I love is what makes it worthwhile.

Writing, photography and design are what I need to do regularly to let my creative energy free and being curious and learning keeps my life fresh and exciting.

My strong interest in nutrition and my vegetarian lifestyle keep me healthy and ready to pursue my frequent adventures even if it’s exploring something on my doorstep that I’ve never seen before.

Making sure to spend time alone each day to reconnect with my thoughts allows me to be rejuvenated and ready for whatever life throws at me.

What advice would you give to someone who is going through a challenging time?

Don’t give up. Challenges, fear, and self-doubt are all part of the journey.

Roadblocks are placed strategically on our path to see just how badly we want something. If you persevere you will succeed.

Instead of viewing obstacles negatively, and allowing them to stop you from your goals, ask yourself what lesson you can gain from what is happening. As long as you are following your passions and being true to yourself you will make it. Remember, that those who fail and quit, are usually just around the corner from turning their dreams to reality.

Why do you think it is so important that we make our own paths in life rather than follow the paths of others?

Following anyone else’s path in life except your own will only lead to misery because it means ignoring your inner voice.

I tried it by wearing a white lab coat and studying bacteria, but it quickly ate away at my being until there was no other solution but to accept that this was not for me. Instead of ignoring what was left of my soul, I chose to listen to its cries.

My intuition served me well, and I was soon on my way to a dream internship doing research on Loggerhead Sea Turtles in a small village I never heard of in a country that I had never really given much thought. The next 6 months gave me time to reflect and realize where and what I wanted to be and following my inner voice has led me to achieving more than I could have ever imagined.

We weren’t created to follow others. We all have unique talents that we need to share. The universe wants to help us achieve our dreams but we must first believe in ourselves.

If we spent less time comparing ourselves to others and more time realizing that being unique is a blessing, something to be cultivated and then taken and served to the world as we see fit then we could all be happy on our own unique paths.

What has creating your own path in life taught you most?

If you can Dream it, you can do it.

Any goal, or dream that I have pursued with all my heart, strength and courage, I have achieved. Some have come easy, others have tested every last ounce of power from my being, but through hard work and perseverance, they have become a reality. I also learned that I was much more strong than I gave myself credit for and to always trust my intuition.

What wise words do you live by?

Live. Love. Laugh. Three simple words that individually hold such a strong message. They are the three ingredients to a happy and successful life.

What is something you are really proud of?

I’m really proud that I had the strength and courage to know that I had to choose my own way from an early age. I’m happy I went to University and tried the career route early on, so that there are no doubts in my head about which is best for me. I’m proud to be living my journey on my own terms.

Professionally speaking, Fresko, my Juice Bar in Greece is a joint effort of creativity and love that my husband and I have made a reality and I’m real proud of our success.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Who gave it to you?

I was lucky to have a very wise and supportive father, who was also a free spirit in his own right.

He always made me believe that I could achieve anything, and that no dream was crazy as long as it’s what I really wanted and worked hard to attain it. He instilled great confidence within me and gave me space to make my own decisions from a very young age.

He set me on the path to think for myself and I surely would not be where I am today without such a great influence.

What are you most grateful for?

My life. My family. Being a Generalist (Jack of all Trades) has opened me up to so many opportunities and has helped to push me in the direction I am in today. If I didn’t have the ability to be passionate about 101 things at the same time (Yes, it’s normal), then I would not be where I am. My passions lead me to more passions and in turn to adventures that have opened door after door in my life.

How do you want to inspire people?

My hope is that if someone can find one positive or inspiring message or idea from something I have written or experienced and can add it to their own life and it allows them to take a step closer to a goal or dream then that would make me happy.

Life is so short and so beautiful, I just want to inspire people to open their eyes and take a deep breath and really see what’s around them, then LIVE, but according to their own rules.

What makes your heart smile?

So many simple things 🙂 Sunrises, yoga on the beach, a good book, bird’s singing, the exhilaration in discovering a new place through Travel, my husband’s laughter, Broadway, my Spaniel, Murt and Harry my rescued cats from Croatia, inspiring blogs, music, bright colors, vegetarian/vegan restaurants, Organic Fair Trade Coffee, Champagne, Sunsets and the list goes on and on….

Join Jessika on her Journey at Bohemian Musings, where she blogs about her thoughts and inspirations on how to live an Unconventional life straight to your dreams. Follow her on Twitter @bohemianmusings.

Hope you enjoyed the first My Smiling Heart interview!

Keep Smiling! 😀

Jen ♥

*A big THANK YOU to each and every one of you! Because of you, I reached my goal of making it to 50 fans on the My Smiling Heart facebook page by my 24th Birthday! You ROCK! 😀


*Did you see my guest post on The Mad To Live? I was asked to write about what I would say in a message in a bottle – so much fun! 😀 Check it out here!


*Another big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in Friday’s ‘Share The Love, Share Your Links’ event on the facebook page, it was so AWESOME learning more about all of you through your blogs – looking forward to doing it all again this Friday! 😀

Link Love Friday: About YOU!

Welcome to the first Link Love Friday on My Smiling Heart!

Today’s theme is ‘About YOU!’

Go to the My Smiling Heart facebook page, and share links to the ‘About’ page of your blog. If you don’t have a blog, that’s fine! Share a link to the ‘About’ page of your favourite blog instead.

I chose this as the theme for our first ever Link Love Friday because I think it’s a great way to get to know each other better, don’t you? 😀

First person to share their link gets a special mention and a link to their blog on Twitter, so start sharing the love!

 

I can’t wait to check out all of your blogs!

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

Wise Words: Born This Way


If you are unsure of just how amazingly popular Lady Gaga is, well, maybe this will give you an idea; she’s huge in China.

Her music is played everywhere, once I saw a wedding dress shop open it’s doors one morning for all of the staff to go outside and do a choreographed dance to one of her songs. And now, there’s a new popular saying amongst the children, teenagers, and even some English-speaking adults: instead of ‘Oh my God!’, they say ‘Oh My Lady Gaga!’

And this is all just in China! I can’t imagine how freaking huge she must be back home, but her constant appearance in the trending topics on Twitter give me some idea of her goddess like fame.

Although I don’t know all of her songs, I think she’s pretty damn cool, especially after hearing her new song, ‘Born This Way.’

I love anyone that moves us forward, encourages us to be more accepting of ourselves and others, and isn’t afraid to say that love is love, no matter what.

Here is a video of Lady Gaga performing ‘Born This Way’ for the first time at the recent Grammy Awards, the lyrics are just below, feel free to sing along! 😀

“It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
’cause you were Born This Way, Baby

VERSE:
MY MAMA TOLD ME WHEN I WAS YOUNG
WE ARE ALL BORN SUPERSTARS

SHE ROLLED MY HAIR AND PUT MY LIPSTICK ON
IN THE GLASS OF HER BOUDOIR

“THERE’S NOTHIN WRONG WITH LOVIN WHO YOU ARE”
SHE SAID, “‘CAUSE HE MADE YOU PERFECT, BABE”

“SO HOLD YOUR HEAD UP GIRL AND YOU’LL GO FAR,
LISTEN TO ME WHEN I SAY”

CHORUS:
I’M BEAUTIFUL IN MY WAY
‘CAUSE GOD MAKES NO MISTAKES
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

DON’T HIDE YOURSELF IN REGRET
JUST LOVE YOURSELF AND YOU’RE SET
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

POST-CHORUS:
OOO THERE AIN’T NO OTHER WAY
BABY I WAS BORN THIS WAY
BABY I WAS BORN THIS WAY
OOO THERE AIN’T NO OTHER WAY
BABY I WAS BORN-
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

DON’T BE A DRAG -JUST BE A QUEEN
DON’T BE A DRAG -JUST BE A QUEEN
DON’T BE A DRAG -JUST BE A QUEEN
DON’T BE!

VERSE:
GIVE YOURSELF PRUDENCE
AND LOVE YOUR FRIENDS
SUBWAY KID, REJOICE YOUR TRUTH

IN THE RELIGION OF THE INSECURE
I MUST BE MYSELF, RESPECT MY YOUTH

A DIFFERENT LOVER IS NOT A SIN
BELIEVE CAPITAL H-I-M (HEY HEY HEY)
I LOVE MY LIFE I LOVE THIS RECORD AND
MI AMORE VOLE FE YAH (LOVE NEEDS FAITH)

REPEAT CHORUS + POST-CHORUS

BRIDGE:

DON’T BE A DRAG, JUST BE A QUEEN
WHETHER YOU’RE BROKE OR EVERGREEN
YOU’RE BLACK, WHITE, BEIGE, CHOLA DESCENT
YOU’RE LEBANESE, YOU’RE ORIENT
WHETHER LIFE’S DISABILITIES
LEFT YOU OUTCAST, BULLIED, OR TEASED
REJOICE AND LOVE YOURSELF TODAY
‘CAUSE BABY YOU WERE BORN THIS WAY

NO MATTER GAY, STRAIGHT, OR BI,
LESBIAN, TRANSGENDERED LIFE
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN TO SURVIVE
NO MATTER BLACK, WHITE OR BEIGE
CHOLA OR ORIENT MADE
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN TO BE BRAVE

REPEAT CHORUS

OUTRO/REFRAIN:

I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!

I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!”

Does anyone else feel like they were born AWESOME after listening to that? 😀

Dancing like no-one is watching,

Jen ♥

*Do you blog? Share the LOVE, Share your LINKS – Link Love Friday starts this Friday on the My Smiling Heart Facebook page! Simply ‘Like’ the My Smiling Heart on Facebook and get ready to share the love!

Lyrics from Billboard.com.

Share The LOVE, Share Your Links!

I really love being a part of this little community of Smiling Hearts that we have built over the past few months, and to make it even more AWESOME

I now proclaim every Friday to be Link Love Friday!

Every Friday, on the new My Smiling Heart Facebook fan page, I will ask you guys to share something on the wall.

Most of the time I will ask you to share the links to your own latest blog posts, other times I will ask you to share a link to some of your favourite blogs, and sometimes it might be a link to your favourite artwork or music video.

I’ll get in on the fun too, and share with you some link love of my own!

There are only two rules:

1. Only post your link once every Friday. No need to spam it up, there’s plenty of love to go around.

2. After you share your link love, take some time to check out what other people have posted, spread the ‘like’, and comment on the things you love.

The first awesome Link Love Friday will happen this Friday, 18th Feb 2011.

Keep an eye on the facebook page to find out what links I will ask you to share first!

Stay Awesome!

Jen ♥

Sharing The Love This Valentine’s Day

Photo by Jen

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the smiling hearts out there!

I hope you are having a love-filled day, not matter what your Facebook relationship status says.

To share the love, I’ve made a list of some of my favourite blog posts from some of the most inspiring bloggers I know.

Read through the ones that pop out to you, remember the wisdom it holds, and go smile at yourself in the mirror 🙂

 

Positively Present:

Using The Four Agreements To Increase Self-Love

 

The Happiness Project:

Six Tips For Boosting Your Sense Of Self-Respect

 

I Want Her Job:

Abiola Abrams: Define Who You Are Clearly, And Never Give Up.


The Bold Life:

60 Ways To Become The Person You Love

 

Sarah Wilson:

Sunday Life: In Which I Be Thoroughly Me

 

Bohemian Musings:

Simply Smile

 

The Mad To Live:

Do You Remember How To Truly, Deeply Feel?

 

Tiny Buddha:

May You Have Many Worries

 

Urban Soul Retrieval:

Get Stupid, Really Really Stupid

 

The Kind Life:

Fable Of The Porcupine

 

Kind Over Matter:

How To Rock This Trip Around The Sun

 

Keep Smiling! 🙂

Jen ♥

Peace Wherever You Go ♥

Admiring the Summer Palace, Beijing

It’s amazing how much travelling can put personal growth and self-discovery into warp-speed mode.

Being in a new place, whether it’s around the corner from your home or on the other side of the world, heightens your senses and forces you to live in the moment, taking in everything you possibly can.

I learnt a lot about myself recently when Mike and I spent a week in Beijing. Even though we’ve been living in China for seven months, this was our first real back packing adventure with just the two of us, and something we had wanted to do for years.

Even though I had an amazing time there and will always look back on it as one of my best adventures yet, I wasn’t really looking forward to it beforehand.

We had organised to stay in a hostel, something I’d never done before, and even though we had booked a private room, I was a bit anxious about it. I’m a pretty shy and quiet person, an introvert, so being in a place that constantly has such a huge social atmosphere is a little overwhelming.

The overnight train rides to and from Beijing had also been making me a bit anxious, as it requires being in a cabin with total strangers for twelve hours, spending most of your time trying not to invade each others’ space while you attempt to navigate the bunks or move around the halls.

The fact that I had been worrying about these little things for the days leading up to our Beijing adventure obviously didn’t help anything either, so I eventually found myself losing all excitement for it.

But, as usual, I soon discovered that my worries were complete fiction, a waste of time, complete an utter bull.

I have learnt, during my years overcoming anxiety, the only way to stop being afraid of something, is to just do it.

The anxious mind is a trickster, a heckler, and a brilliant illusionist. And, as with any other form of unnecessary and unconstructive criticism, the best way to handle it is to not let it stop you from living the life you want to live, to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’

And that is just what I did.

The train rides were actually pretty fun, and not at all as bad as my mind had made me believe it would be. The hostel, well, that was just plain AWESOME. The people we so cool and friendly, the room was great, the food was freaking delicious, and we were encouraged to grab some textas and write on the walls. That is every artists’ dream!

The 365 Inn, where we stayed.

The message Mike wrote on wall

It ended up being one of the best weeks of my entire life, full of adventure, risk-taking, meeting new people, seeing amazing places, and coming home with a thousand awesome memories and a new sense of confidence, accomplishment and self-awareness.

In a traditional Chinese dress.

At the Summer Palace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A moment I know I will never forget occurred on Chinese New Year, Mike and I were standing on the rooftop of the hostel, counting down to midnight, and being completely surrounded by fireworks. Explosions of sound, colour, and cheers erupted again and again for almost an hour as families and friends throughout Beijing celebrated the new year.

I felt so blessed to be there to witness it, and I knew in that moment that I had come so, so far… too far to ever go back to the person I used to be. I felt a wave of relief as I realised then that my fears would never get in the way of me living my life ever again.

I was reminded of that rooftop moment just the other night. I was walking through the snow on my way to meet Mike for dinner, when fireworks started exploding right in front of me, continuing the 15 day celebrations for Spring Festival.

Fireworks in Daqing

As I looked up at the amazing colours falling from the sky, and felt the sweet kisses of snowflakes as they touched my skin, I realised I was, in that moment, proving to myself that I can do anything.

You see, a year ago, I was too afraid to open my front door when the doorbell rang. Too anxious to walk down our short driveway just to check the mail. I even avoided going into the backyard alone, in case I was seen by a neighbour and forced into a potentially uncomfortable or awkward conversation.

I would never have admitted it then, in fact I wouldn’t have admitted it even six months ago, but I was so trapped by my own fears that I just avoided them altogether, until I couldn’t leave the house unless I was with someone.

So, imagine my pride when I suddenly realise that I am walking through the streets of a foreign city, in a foreign country, at night, completely alone, and with a freaking huge smile on my face! Thousands of miles away from my comfort zone, and not a single worry or fear on my mind.

That’s what travel can do for you.

Not long after that amazing moment on a rooftop in Beijing, but before that amazing moment in the snow, I was walking through some markets and found a stall that sold rings. I noticed one with four Chinese characters on it, and asked the woman working there what it meant.

“It mean… Peace… When you leave and when come back. Peace wherever you go.”

Peace wherever you go.

I wrote that on the wall of the 365 Inn, so that others can be inspired by it just as I was.

I’m wearing that ring now, as I write this. And I will always wear it, as a reminder of how far I’ve come, and how much I’ve overcome, in order to find my own peace, peace within myself, peace with my fears, and peace within the world.

Take some time now to look back and notice how far you have come, and what you have overcome in the process. Be proud of everything you have achieved, and how much you’ve grown! And be grateful for all the lessons you have learnt in between.

Go smile at yourself,

Jen ♥

Written on the second floor staircase of the 365 Inn, Beijing.

* Are you on Facebook? So is My Smiling Heart! Come and join us for extra fun and daily doses of awesomeness!

AWESOME SAUCE!

Another big ‘Hello!‘ from snow-covered Daqing! 🙂

I was just introduced to the brillaint phrase ‘awesome sauce’ by @DPWAssociation on Twitter, and just had to make it the title of this post!

I hope your day has been covered in AWESOME SAUCE!

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to My Smiling Heart lately, making it as awesome as possible and doing my best to make it everything it can be. It’s still early days but I have big plans for this little love of mine and I hope you will all be there to experience all the exciting things that are coming our way!

A new segment will be coming to MSH soon, as I plan to interview one inspiring and AWESOME person every month. I’m also working on more printable awesomeness, just like this one, for you to keep.

The latest development in the world of My Smiling Heart is the creation of an official Facebook fan page! Yes, My Smiling Heart is now on Facebook! *happydance*

I will be using the My Smiling Heart fan page to build more of a community for all of us, as well as posting quotes, links to inspiring videos, blogs, and music, and anything else that reeks of awesomeness!

So c’mon over and give us a ‘Like’! 😀

It’s my 24th birthday in 11 days (woohoo!) and I would love to have at least 50 fans by then (22nd Feb), so please go ahead and share it with anyone who you think would love being a part of our little community of smiling hearts 🙂 ♥

Speaking of community, I love to hear what you think of MSH, and if you have any feedback, ideas, or suggestions of what you would like me to feature here, please feel free to leave me a comment, tweet me, email me (jenartist@live.com.au), or write on our Facebook wall.

And if you’re a blogger and want to collaborate somehow, send me an email anytime. Let’s change the world!

I’m so happy I could dance, so I will! Will you dance with me? You will! 😀 Awesome sauce!

*dancesoffintothesunset*

Jen ♥

Wise Words: Long Way Round

Hello beautiful people!

Are you AWESOME today? I certainly hope so 🙂

Well, I’m back from a seriously amazing week in Beijing, which I will write about soon, but for now here is another edition of Wise Words. Enjoy!

“We’ve come this far, & people’s faces have changed & people’s houses have changed, & people’s beliefs may have changed, but ultimately we’re not any different from one another, you know? We all love our kids, we all need somewhere to sleep, we all need some food… We’re not all that different.”

~ Ewan McGregor


The very handsome & charming Ewan McGregor (whose name is so fun to say in a Scottish accent. Go on.. say it 🙂 ) said these wise words during an episode of his awesome series ‘Long Way Round’, which is my latest obsession.

In the show (which is also now a book & another series), Ewan & his best mate, Charley, ride their motorbikes from London to New York, travelling through countries such as France, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, & Russia.

I have to admit, at first I was really only watching it because I have a tiny crush on Mr McGregor (who doesn’t?) & I love seeing actors being so raw & discovering what they’re like without a script. But I’ve completely fallen in love with everything about the show, from learning about places like Kazakhstan & Russia to the hilarity & complete honesty of Ewan & Charley’s friendship.

One of my favourite funny moments includes the guys fixing one of their bikes on the side of a road, a car stops to see what’s going on & Ewan (aka Obi Wan) says ‘These are not the bikes you’re looking for’. Love it! 😀

It is so awesome to see two mates leaving everything behind for a few months & embarking on such an amazing adventure. The challenges they face are overwhelming, yet they never once give up or lose sight of their goal of getting to New York.

Their positive attitudes throughout the whole experience, & the awareness they have of themselves & how their mindsets affect their experiences, is an inspiration. Ewan in particular is very thoughtful in his reflections of the experiences they have, recognising the challenges as ‘tests’ that will make them stronger & make their memories of their travels that much sweeter.

Even though I’ve only travelled to a few places, mostly in Australia, then the USA when I was 17, & more recently, China, I can still really relate to this quote.

With all of the differences that set me apart from the 1.3 billion people in this country, at our core, we are all the same. We all need to eat, we all need somewhere to sleep at night, & we all need to feel love, & we all just want to be healthy & happy.

Being here for exactly seven months now, I’ve become quite accustomed to all the differences, the oddities, & the things that I once found so frustrating.

Now, I can recognise myself in everyone that I see, in the tired eyes of the workers on the street, the curiosity of the taxi drivers & the smiling faces of the children. In fact, what I’ve noticed most recently since being here in China, isn’t the spitting or the pushing or anything negative, it’s the smiling.

It started because we get stared at a lot here, & my natural reaction to anyone staring at me is to smile, & straight away they smile back. From the ancient & hunchbacked old man that lives in our building to people in the shopping malls & all the children we see every day, they all smile back.

It doesn’t matter that my skin is lighter than theirs, that I speak a different language or that I do things differently, when we smile at each other, there are no differences.

A smile is all it takes to know we are all the same.

And people are almost always willing to help us. Being in a foreign country, we often get confused or a bit lost, but there has always been someone there who has gone out of their way to try to talk to us & help us find our way again. And as I watched Ewan & Charley travel through 12 different countries, my heart smiled to see that there are people like that all over the world.

So, the moral of this story is one that seems to pop up a lot on this blog: smiling can change the world.

Smile at yourself, & you have a happy heart; smile at a stranger, & you have given someone else a happy heart.

Who have you smiled at today?

While we are on the subject of Ewan McGregor, here’s another quote of his that I love:

“I fight cynicism. It’s too easy. It’s really boring. It’s much harder to be positive and see the wonder of everything. Cynicism is a bunch of people who aren’t as talented as other people, knocking them because they make them feel even more untalented.”

Awesome!

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥