Category Archives: Wise Words Wednesday!

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 ♥

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Wise Words: Strength, Courage & Wisdom

To continue with the theme from my last post, which was everything you need is within, I want to share this song with you. It’s called ‘Strength, Courage & Wisdom’, by the beautiful India Arie.

When I first heard this song, I remember really listening to the lyrics & feeling so deeply connected to it, as though it was written specifically for me. A new layer of awareness of myself emerged, & now I always listen to this song whenever I’m feeling insecure or doubtful.

The lyrics always remind me that I already possess all the qualities that I need in order to overcome challenges & live the life I’ve always dreamed of.

Lyrics:

“Strength, Courage & Wisdom”

“Inside my head there lives a dream that I want to see in the sun
Behind my eyes there lives a me that I’ve been hiding for much too long
‘Cause I’ve been, too afraid to let it show
‘Cause I’m scared of the judgment that may follow
Always putting off my living for tomorrow
It’s time to step out on faith, I’ve gotta show my face
It’s been elusive for so long, but freedom is mine today
I’ve gotta step out on faith, It’s time to show my face
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found

[Chorus:]
Strength, courage, and wisdom
And it’s been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me

Behind my pride there lives a me, that knows humility
Inside my voice there is a soul, and in my soul there is a voice
But I’ve been, too afraid to make a choice
‘Cause I’m scared of the things that I might be missing
Running too fast to stop and listen

It’s time to step out on faith, I’ve gotta show my face
It’s been elusive for so long but freedom is mine today
I’ve gotta step out on faith it’s time to show my face
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found

[Chorus]

[Bridge:]
I close my eyes and I think of all the things that I want to see
‘Cause I know, now that I’ve opened up my heart I know that
Anything I want can be, so let it be, so let it be:.

Strength, courage, and wisdom
It’s been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, wisdom
It’s been inside of me all along, everyday I’m praying for:

[Chorus]

I found it in me, I found it finally
I’m sure to keep it’ cause I like it, I say thank you”

Have you ever heard a song with so much truth to it?

Everything we need is within us right now.

In Other News…

Happy Chinese New Year!

Feb 3rd marks the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit, & as someone who was also born in the year of the rabbit in 1987, I have a good feeling about 2011 🙂

I found a website that has some information about what the year of the rabbit means, so if you’re interested, check it out.

As I said in my last post, I’m in Beijing at the moment so please forgive me if it takes a little longer for me to reply to your comments & emails, but I hope you are all having a great week!

Stay AWESOME!

P.S I’ve made something for you, keep an eye out for my next post! 😀

Jen ♥


Wise Words: Being Bold

This week’s Wise Words post is a bit different. Recently, I was interviewed by the lovely Tess Marshall from The Bold Life, & it has just been published!

For anyone unfamiliar with The Bold Life, it’s an amazingly inspirational self-development blog that always provides wise insights & encourages everyone to live boldly & speak their truth. I was absolutely thrilled to be interviewed for such an awesome blog & am so excited to share this great news with you all!

The questions I was asked for the interview were so challenging, they really made me think a lot more about who I am & how I could still live a much bolder life. If you are feeling particularly bold yourself today, I encourage you to take a look at some of the questions I was asked & take some time to think about what your own answers might be. You might be surprised!

So, head over to The Bold Life & check out ‘A Bold Artist With A Smiling Heart‘ 🙂

Feel free to comment on it after, I’d love to know what you think!

In other news, I’ve been working on a few little goodies for you guys, hopefully to be posted over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out! 😀

Go smile at yourself,

Jen ♥

Wise Words… Thursday?

[This Wise Words post is a day late because my awesome Dad & brother have been visiting so we’ve been travelling a bit, more on that soon 🙂 ]

“Everything you need is within you

right now.” ~ Unknown

It’s true.

You already have all the strength, courage & wisdom you need inside of you. It’s just that, sometimes, we need to overcome obstacles in order to find it.

It’s all there; the clarity to know which path to choose; the strength to change your life for the better; the confidence to be yourself no matter what; & the courage to start taking action on your dreams.

Sometimes, it’s all just buried so deep under our insecurities & doubts that it takes some digging to bring it up to the surface. The Universe, or God, or Higher Power, or whatever you prefer to call it, knows this, & so gives you opportunities & experiences that force you to find all these qualities & more within your own self.

It’s what we do with those experiences that make all the difference. We can do our absolute best to stay positive, & learn as much as possible from it. Or, we can play the victim & add it to our list of reasons why we can’t live the lives we want, & as a result stay stuck in a negative pattern.

If we take the first route; with every experience, we are moulded into better, stronger versions of ourselves. And even if we sometimes lose touch & let ourselves fall into the second category, that’s ok. It is always possible to build ourselves back up again. Always.

So, whatever you’re worrying about today, know that you can handle it.

You have everything you need within you, right now.

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

Wise Words Wednesday!

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds aremade under pressure.”

~ Peter Marshall

Force helps us to grow.

Just as the oak tree stands tall against the wind, & coal transforms under force, so does the salmon swim against the current, & the caterpillar evolve into a butterfly.

The lotus flower starts its life in the mud. It uses its natural strength to push through the sludge, & is then faced with the challenge to grow within the water, in order to reach the surface, where it is greeted by the warmth of the sun.

The beauty of a lotus flower has been mystifying people for thousands of years, & its strength & ability to elegantly rise above challenges is an inspiration to many, including myself.

Buddhism holds the lotus flower in a very high regard, in fact, the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ means ‘the jewel is in the lotus’.

I first discovered the symbolism of the lotus when I was reading A Lotus Grows In The Mud, by Goldie Hawn – one of my heroes. And ever since, this magical flower has played a crucial part in my life, spiritually, mentally & artistically.

Lotus flowers often appear in my artwork, I always look to them for inspiration, & learning about its symbolism helped me realise that challenges are a part of the journey of life.

We can learn from the lotus flower – it can teach us how to live our lives.

And, maybe most importantly, we can see the lotus flower within ourselves.

We have all grown through hard times; the mud.

We have all risen above challenges; the water.

And, we all have the ability to reach the surface; the light.

I’ll finish with another quote:

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. “

~ Goldie Hawn, ‘A Lotus Grows In The Mud’

Keep Smiling 🙂

Jen ♥

P.S Thanks to My Smiling Heart reader, Renee, for sharing the Peter Marshall quote on Facebook, which inspired this post 🙂

Goldie Hawn quote from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/193026

Wise Words Wednesday: Rising Above.

“One resolution I have made,

and try always to keep, is this:

To rise above the little things.”

~ John Burroughs

At a time when everyone is remembering 2010 & eagerly awaiting 2011, a few things have come to light in my life that make me see just how much I’ve matured since leaving home this year.

Very recently, I’ve discovered that there are some people in my life who aren’t being truthful with me, & even though I’m literally thousands of miles away, I’ve found myself suddenly wedged in the middle of a game of ‘he-said-she-said’.

Six months ago, I would have dived head first into this mess & drowned myself in all the details, asking for direct quotes of everything that so-and-so said about me, & spending hours discussing how I’d been ‘wronged’ & ‘betrayed’.

Yesterday, when I discovered things had been said about me & lies had been told, I had no interest in requesting a word for word dialogue or stewing over the details. Someone else’s lies & perception of me is none of my business, & it says more about who they are than it does about who I am.

While it did sting a little bit to find out I’ve been lied to & gossiped about, I’m not angry or vengeful. It’s not the first time it’s happened, & it won’t be the last. In fact, I’m thankful for this experience; it has shown me just how far I’ve come & how different I am from the person I used to be earlier this year.

Six months ago, something like discovering false friends would have been devastating for me. Now, after everything I’ve overcome here in China, it seems pretty simple:

Phoniness, dishonesty & any other useless noise, has no place in my life, & I won’t let it distract me from what’s really important.

There’s a whole world out there, & we’ve only got one life to live, so…

I’m rising above.

I’m only interested in authentic, considerate people who love life & who are secure enough within themselves that they can support my growth instead of feeling threatened by it. I’m grateful that I already have quite a few people in my life who fit that description.

Those are the people who will be coming with me into 2011 🙂

We have the power & the potential to make this next year as AWESOME as we want it to be, all we need to do is stay focused on the positive & remember what really matters.

Everything else is just noise.

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

Wise Words Wednesday!

“Life is very interesting… in the end, some of your greatest pains, become your greatest strengths.”

~ Drew Barrymore

I’m on a Drew Barrymore binge this week 🙂 I love watching her movies, she has the greatest sense of style & individuality. I’ve admired her since I was a teenager; her cool hippy personality & child-like excitement for life has always inspired me, & she’s probably one of the reasons why I’m such a hippy.

Also, Drew’s my birthday twin, which is just plain awesome 🙂

Speaking of AWESOME! How are you today? Smiled at yourself in the mirror yet? I hope so 😀

My Wednesday is coming to an end, but I know for most of you it has just begun – & you can make of it whatever you like! Even if it hasn’t started out exactly the way you wanted it to, if you’re feeling the stress of the holiday season or if you just woke up grumpy, YOU have the power to turn it all around.

My day today didn’t start off the greatest. The past three mornings I’ve been woken up at the crack of dawn by our upstairs neighbours hammering & doing renovations. Our walls are already thin enough that we can hear our neighbours flushing their toilets, so the hammering sounds like it’s happening right in our apartment. I’m usually a pretty ‘zen’ person, but loud, constant knocking on the walls while I’m trying to sleep is enough to drive me insane in the membrane.

Yes, it’s frustrating at the time, but I don’t let it determine the rest of my day. As soon as I’m out of bed, it’s out of my mind. I smile, stretch & let it go. I know that I can choose whether or not it affects my mood & my day. And now, it’s almost midnight, & I can honestly say I’ve had a really great day 🙂 I even forgot about the hammering until I started writing this post.

If your day didn’t start out the way you would have liked it to, the rest of your day can still be Awesome, with a capital ‘A’!

You have the power to create your day, so don’t give it to someone else – even if it seems like people are hammering your walls down to get it 😉

Keep Smiling!

Jen 

Day 24: Quotes, Self-Portraits & A Wolf

Today is Day 24 of Art Every Day Month, so I thought I’d should finally upload some of the creations I’ve made over the past couple of weeks.

I have stuck all these around our apartment, so that I can always see the bright, happy colours & read the quotes whenever I like. I even updated my Vision Wall.

Yesterday we went to the museum of natural history in our city of Daqing, I took a lot of photos! My favourite is of a wolf, the photograph actually looks more like a painting, thanks to the painted backdrop. I added some text & viola! My creation for the day was done 🙂

I have also been playing around with my camera & setting self-portraits. I will always look upon this time in China as an awesome adventure, a time of great learning & growth, & a year that changed my life for the better…

I wanted to capture who I am now, in these moments, so that I will always have these photos as a reminder of how amazing life is 🙂 I included some of my favourite things in the photos, my favourite scarf, books, crystals, candles, incense, jewellery, fairy cards & tarot cards.

In my last post, I wrote about Tumblr. I am so in love with it! So many photos, quotes, awesome people… it’s overflowing with inspiring things to share, I’ve even started adding my own creations to the mix 🙂

Check out my Tumblr page here!

Keep Smiling! 🙂

Jen xo

Wise Words Wednesday!

“Howl to the sky,  feel & release – be free, be wild, & dance the

pain out, reach up & touch the bliss of sheer existence!

I am alive, & I embrace it all!

I commit fully &  fearlessly to this life  –  are we not

blessed by simply taking in this one sweet deep breath?”

~ Lucy Cavendish

(Artwork by Jen Saunders based on the above quote)