Tag Archives: awesome

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 ♥

Four Steps To Re-Awesomofication!

Hmmm… Do I use the word ‘awesome’ just a little too much? Oh well!

Hey, you! Yes, YOU!

You know you’re AWESOME, right?

What ever you’re doing right now, whether you are drinking your morning cup of coffee, stressing over your daily to-do-list, or sitting on the couch in your pajamas (10 points to anyone who is doing all three!), ask yourself this:

Am I feeling relaxed?

Notice your shoulders, your neck, jaw & anything else that feels tense.

Now do what ever you need to do to relax. Sit back in your chair for a second & just… sit. When was the last time you just sat? Not watching TV, not typing or Googling or stalking people on Facebook, just sitting with your head back & your arms relaxed by your side?

If you’re like me, you probably never do that. So stop whatever you’re doing & just sit, be still. Do it now. I’ll join you 🙂

…………………….

…………………….

……………………

Welcome back!

Now, take a moment to breathe. Right now.

Not a little, half-arsed breath. Put some effort into it. Stop whatever else you are doing – forget about the to-do-list for just a second – & slowly, take in a big, deep breath.

Breathe in.

Hold it.

And let it go. Slowly.

Do it again.

One last time. Breathe in. And out.

Feeling your awesomeness, yet?

If not, try it again. Really pay attention to your breath. Focusing on your breathing is a quick & easy way to bring yourself into the present moment, the only moment that matters – because all we really have is right now.

I lost touch of that today, & when I lose touch, I forget my own awesomeness. I was pushing myself too hard, stressing out & trying to accomplish a thousand & one things all at the same time. As always, that lead to me feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, & extremely tense.

Luckily, I know myself pretty well, especially lately, so once I become aware that I’m not feeling as awesome as I’d like to, I immediately begin the process of re-awesomofying myself.

My Four Steps To Re-Awesomofication:

1. Breathe.

The deep breathing & centering exercise that I just described is usually my first step. Breathe in…. Aaand out 🙂

2. Dance.

Put on your favourite playlist of songs. Songs that are positive, upbeat & just so fantastic that your awesome levels have no choice but to rise. It’s just like the slime from Ghostbusters 2 that (spoiler alert!) dances & comes alive to the music – only without that creepy Viggo guy from the painting (Random Fact: My number 1 fear? Viggo. *shudder*).

3. Vent.

Talk it out. Hearing yourself talk about the things that you’re freaking out about internally will always make you realise that you are okay, that it’s not as bad as you thought it was, & that you can totally handle it.

Most of the time I talk to Mike or my Mum or Dad, but if there’s no-one to talk to I’ll write about what’s worrying me, which is just as good.

4. Laugh.

Lastly, invest some time in something that will make you laugh. It can be a TV show or a classic funny movie, otherwise there’s always Youtube, or talk to people who always make you laugh – for me it’s Mike or my brother 🙂

By the end of all this, your awesomeness will be back to a healthy level & you’ll be ready to handle anything that comes your way!

But, of course, I do have a back-up plan for those rare occassions when all this doesn’t get me the results I want; sleep. If these 4 steps to re-awesofication don’t lead me back to my usual awesome self, then chances are I’m just exhausted & need to get some rest!

What do you do to re-awesomofy yourself & your life?

Do you have any kickass steps that need to be added to this list? I’d love to hear them! 🙂

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

2011: A Virtual Vision Wall :)

“Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has.

Your future is whatever you make it.

So make it a good one.”

~ Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) in ‘Back To The Future Part III’.


To welcome 2011 & make sure it really is our best year yet, I’ve collected some of the most inspiring pictures from Tumblr & made a kind of virtual vision wall. These pictures represent what 2011 can be for all of us – this is 2011 in pictures.

This post will always be here – under the ‘Pure Awesomeness’ tab – for us all to come back to throughout the year, especially whenever we feel lost, confused, or ruined.

This virtual vision wall will point you in the direction towards what really matters.

So, save it, print it, bookmark it, & share it – let’s make 2011 AWESOME! 🙂

(For sources, click on the images)

Keep Smiling! 🙂

Jen ♥

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011! :D

“Cheers to a new year and another chance

for us to get it right.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

At the beginning of 2010, I had two major goals; sell one of my paintings; & travel overseas.

In April, I achieved & my first goal. In fact, not only did I sell a painting, ten of my original pieces were featured in my first ever art exhibit.

That whole experience was so much fun, from creating a theme that promoted women empowerment & self-love, & spending the first few months of the year doing nothing but painting every day, to sending out the invites & the excitement of opening day.

It was AWESOME & it felt so right that I know I will be doing it again in the future.

At my first art exhibit

Next to one of my paintings

Three months later, I achieved my second goal of 2010, when I moved overseas for a year. This goal wasn’t just a 2010 goal; it was a goal I had dreamt of achieving for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’ve actually done it!

On our way to China!

Arriving at Beijing Airport

Exploring Daqing

Outside of a Buddhist temple in Hailar, Inner Mongolia

I’ve crossed off a few other things from my life goals list this year too; getting engaged; using my artistic skills to help raise money for charity; & experiencing a white Christmas.

Just after Mike proposed ♥

Nonprofit campaign promo I designed

My first 'snowing' experience!

White Christmas!

Then there’s just the bonus experiences & moments that were completely unplanned but will always be great achievements in themselves. Things like white water rafting in the mountains of far north China, walking through the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, where I also explored underground Japanese tunnels from before WWII, & most recently, starting this blog & being published on Tiny Buddha.

Rafting

Inner Mongolian Grasslands

Underground Japanese tunnels

My Tiny Buddha Guest Post!

I am so grateful for everything I have accomplished, experienced, seen & learned this year. I know I have come a long way, & traveled on a path with many highs & lows & even some u-turns, but I couldn’t be happier with where it has all lead me.

So, I wave goodbye to 2010, with a big, cheesy smile & a heart full gratitude for everything it brought me.

Now, it’s time to say ‘Hello!’ to 2011, I welcome this new year with open arms & another big, cheesy smile.

My major goals for 2011 are:

  • Walk along the Great Wall of China
  • Go to the Hong Kong Disneyland
  • Return home to Melbourne
  • Marry the love of my life

Mike & I at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens

♥ Mikey & Me ♥

I have a few other goals that I’m already working on, such as finding more ways to use my blog & art to inspire others, collaborate with amazing women to make something awesome, & learn Mandarin.

Another goal of mine is to post to this blog at least once a week in 2011, so I signed up to do the WordPress Post Challenge. Part of signing up means I have to mention it in a blog, so:

‘I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.’

Most of all, I just want to take a lot of action in 2011. I’ve been trying to decide whether ACTION should be my word for 2011 (I mentioned this to someone who commented here recently), it’s either going to be ACTION or INSPIRE. Then there’s always the option of combining them to make INSPIRED ACTION. Yes, I think that’s it.

2011 is my year to take inspired action.

By the end of 2011, I want to be a better version of myself. I want to be stronger, wiser, much more confident & independent, & I want to have achieved a lot & have really made a positive impact on the world.

So, my goals are set, my hopes are high & I’m ready for the AWESOMENESS of 2011! 😀

As you say goodbye to 2010 & welcome 2011, think of how far you’ve come over the past twelve months.

Remember the good times & how much happiness you felt, & consider the not-so-good-times & the lessons they brought you.

Think of all those special moments that you will always treasure, & take note of all the things & people you are grateful for from 2010.

Now, imagine how amazing 2011 is going to be. Think of all those positive things & people that made 2010 so great, & imagine all of that & more being a part of 2011.

Last week I wrote a post about how we have the power to choose the kind of day we have; imagine the possibilities if we apply that knowledge & power to an entire year! As long as we remember to enjoy the great times & learn from the challenges we face, there’s no stopping us!

Let’s make this our best year yet!

Here’s to 2011! 😀

Jen ♥

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 ♥

“The least & most each of us can do is make sure we release something good into the Universe regularly.” ~ Oprah

I’ve been thinking about the above quote & wondering what good things I have released into the Universe today. I’m a firm believer that what you send out you get back, so I’m always trying hard to be conscious of the things I think, say or do.

When I look at myself in the mirror, I make sure I think kind thoughts about myself, & I always give myself a big, cheesy smile. My Dad, who is a psychologist, executive coach & public speaker, told me once that smiling at yourself in the mirror shows your mind that you are happy, & the happy feeling follows. It’s so true 🙂 I guess it’s the same as receiving a smile from a friend or a stranger, it always leaves you feeling brighter.

Sometimes I lose myself in conversations with people & often say things that don’t resonate with the person that I want to be, whether it be getting caught up in a bit of gossip or me just trying to portray myself as a tough-skinned, sociable person, when I’m really quite sensitive & a real introvert.

Online, I find it much easier to be my true self, express my thoughts & feelings, & I can be completely conscious of what I’m sending out into the Universe through tweets, status updates, emails & blog posts such as this.

In regards to doing things that release something good into the Universe, I feel that I have finally started to do that they way that I have always wanted to, thanks to this blog & all the amazing opportunities it has lead to. Things like contributing to a good cause by designing a promo card for the I Want Her Job campaign that is happening right now – $1 is being donated to the sponsorship of girls in Guatemala for every “like” on Facebook & follower on Twitter.

So, today, I have a challenge for you. Well, technically, three challenges.

1. Every time you see your reflection*, look yourself in the eye, & SMILE!

I mean really smile, the kind of smile you would show to your best friend, or your hero. (*While I do want you smile any time you see your reflection, I definitely don’t mean while you’re driving or doing anything else that requires your full attention!)

2. Give someone a compliment.

Tell your spouse they look gorgeous, tell your child how proud you are of them, tell a friend how amazing they are, or tell a coworker how funny they are. (Preferably, these compliments should be honest. Sending lies out into the Universe is no good. Come on, you can find something good in everyone!)

3. Send out a positi-tweet or an upbeat status update.

It can be a quote, a few words of gratitude, or a mass-compliment, telling everyone how AWESOME they are. (That reminds me, you are so damn AWESOME! :D)

If it helps, start off small. Do at least one of these every day & know that you are making the Universe a better place through your thoughts, words & actions 🙂

And, most of all, Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

Exciting News: Likes For Learning!

Last week, I mentioned that I had been working on something awesome & top secret.

Well, today I can finally reveal it to you all!

I have been fortunate enough to be working with the amazing I Want Her Job, She’s The First & Starfish One By One teams on a campaign aimed at raising money for a group of girls in Guatemala to receive the education that they need in order to live their best lives.

My contribution involved designing the promo for the campaign, & I had SO much fun doing it!

If you want to know how you can help, too; it’s all here in the promo 🙂

 

Design: Jen Saunders

So, “like” IWHJ on Facebook, follow on Twitter, & remember to tell your friends! Let’s get these beautiful girls an education so that they can achieve their dreams & make this world a better place!

I absolutely LOVE I Want Her Job, I can always find a never-ending supply of inspiration there, & it’s such a great community for women. And She’s The First & Starfish One By One are such passionate & committed organizations, they really are making the world a better place.

For more information, visit IWHJ & read the latest post:

IWJH is Launching its First-Ever Nonprofit Campaign, and We Need Your Help!

And, check out the sponsors page to see little ol’ My Smiling Heart there! 😀

For many years now, it has been a major goal of mine to use my creative talents to help a non-profit that focusses on educating girls in developing countries, so this is an amazing dream come true!

Thanks everyone for all of your support!

 

You are all so AWESOME! 😀

 

Keep Smiling!

 

Jen ♥

 

♥ Gift of Acceptance ♥

India.Arie (i)

Image by volume12 via Flickr

Just a quick post to show you a new music video just released from the beautiful India.Arie & Idan Raichel, which is only online for 24 hours.

They just sang it at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, & I have to say, it is just so beautiful.

As I said in my last post, when it comes to music; positive, empowering & meaningful lyrics are a must for me. This song is the perfect example of amazing lyrics.

Here are a few lines from the song that India just posted on Twitter:

“Red, black, yellow, brown, or white, a man with a husband or a woman with a wife,

We can debate til the end of time, whose wrong and who is right, or I can honor your choices and you can honor mine,

Gandhi was a Hindu, Martin Luther King a Christian. Regardless of religion they knew love was the mission.

Give the world a present, give the gift of your acceptance. Give the world a present, give the gift of your acceptance.”

I’ve always loved India Arie; I listen to her music every single day. In my opinion, she is one of the most empowering & inspiring female musicians there is.

This is the real truth of the world. Imagine what we can all achieve if we just give up our needs to be right & instead give our acceptance.

Keep Smiling 🙂

Jen ♥

“Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad.” ~ Norm Papernick

Last night, I was woken up by the sound of someone laughing. I was relieved to discover that it was me 🙂

I don’t know if that means I’ve gone mad or if I was just dreaming about something really funny, but either way, it was pretty cool.

Continuing on with #reverb10:

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

I spent the whole day making something today. It’s awesome. I mean, really awesome. It’s for a really good cause, too! Also, it’s a secret.

I’ll post it sometime over the next week 🙂

In Other News…

I started university this week, studying two subjects; Philosophy, Morality & Society, & Art & Creation. I’m loving it all so far, & I wanted to share with you some of my Philosophy work. Last week, our tutor posed this question:

‘There are two ideas that will be central to the course: happiness and “the good.”

I wonder, how do you define “happiness”? And how do you think it relates to “goodness”‘?

Here’s the answer I gave:

‘To me, “happiness” is a combination of things, but at its core I believe it is always a choice. I think if we have enough strength & wisdom, we can always choose happiness – no matter what is going on in our lives or in the world around us.

I believe that true, fulfilling happiness cannot be found through money, material possessions or social status. We have to make the decision to be happy & keep up the internal maintenance to ensure it grows more every day.

“Goodness” is also a combination of things. It is being good to yourself, as well as being good to others. It is doing the activities that make you feel good, whether it is cooking, painting, reading, spending time with loved ones or watching a funny movie. It is seeing & appreciating the good in everything, everyone, & every moment, even if it is just enjoying a good meal.

I think ‘the good’ consists of the external things & qualities that contribute to happiness, whereas ‘happiness’ itself is an internal feeling, a perception of the world that always sees that goodness, & an internal choice that needs to be consciously made every day.’

I know there will be some people who disagree with my answer, but it is how I try to live my life every day. I’m not saying it’s perfect & that I’m always in a state of happiness – I’m not. There are times that I forget to choose it, & other times I decide not to choose it. But, most of the time, happiness is the path I choose to take.

Speaking of happiness, I want you to really laugh out loud today. Here’s a great video to get you started:

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

Moments, Wonder & Letting Go.

Before I continue with the #reverb10 prompts, I just want to point out the little snowflakes you’re seeing floating down the screen – aren’t they awesome?!

It’s been snowing here in Daqing – something I had never experienced before coming here – & I’m in love with it. It’s so peaceful & playful, not to mention gorgeous! So I thought I would share it with all of you, especially those people reading this back home in Australia, enjoying the summer 🙂

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

Two moments come to mind immediately.

#1: The night that Mike proposed to me.

It was on our four year anniversary, we spent the weekend in a beautiful cabin in Ocean Grove, a beachside town we love so much. We had dinner at a really cool Mexican restaurant. After dinner, we went to the beach. We sat on the sand for a while, looking out at the ocean & up at the cloudy night sky.

As we sat, Mike started this long speech about us, & how much he loves me. His words started to become a bit incoherent, like he wasn’t even concentrating on what he was saying, & I realized he was trying to distract me from the fact that he was fumbling around for something in his pocket. Next thing I knew, he was on one knee, holding open the engagement ring box & proposing.

I could hardly see the ring because it was so dark but I didn’t care, the love of my life & my best friend in the whole world was asking me to spend the rest of my life with him! It was awesome. I said yes (of course!) &, after Mike did a few victory laps along the beach, we spent some more time looking at the ocean & the stars, which had come out from behind the clouds to celebrate with us.

#2: Our first day in China.

This was both incredibly liberating & intensely terrifying.

The first thing I noticed was how hot it was, a surprising but nice change to the freezing Melbourne weather I was experiencing just the day before.

During the drive from the airport into Daqing, I remember thinking how beautiful it was; the sun was bright & the sky was a clear blue, & for most of the ride we only saw paddocks & lots of green empty land. But the closer we got to the city, the more daunting it all became.

I started to notice the hundreds of huge oilrigs all over the place, as well brick huts – falling apart but clearly still lived in – then they were replaced with huge buildings that looked completely abandoned. Out the window I saw a new Honda on one side of our van & a donkey pulling a cart on the other.

Then all of a sudden we were right in the middle of everything: surrounded by so many cars going in every direction; groups of men sitting shirtless on street corners; more donkey carts selling fruit; run-down shops & apartment buildings; & there were people everywhere! As the van pulled into a car park, I was praying that that wasn’t the neighbourhood we were going to be living in. (It was – & I grew to love it!)

Our first meal was in a dumpling restaurant, where I felt even more overwhelmed. Even more people, so much noise, people yelling over each other in a language I didn’t understand, the heat, men sitting at dinner tables with their shirts pulled half way up their chest to reveal their huge stomachs… And every single one of those people was staring at us. I remember sitting at our table, drinking the hugest bottle of beer I have ever seen, & being completely terrified. That night, I remember lying in bed, feeling exhausted, & wondering what the hell we had gotten ourselves into.

Of course, even though that was all just culture shock, most of you know that things didn’t really get better until they got much, much worse. But China isn’t scary to me anymore, you get used to all the differences & things that seem weird, gross, or scary, become quite normal. I love it here now!

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

This one is easy! Travel! Seeing places you’ve never seen (or even heard of!) before is an awesome way to bring a sense of wonder into our lives. Even if it’s just traveling to the other side of town for a day, or doing something you’ve never done before 🙂

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

I’ve let go of a lot of fears this year. Particularly fear of failure.

The day that I was fired, all I could think about was what others would think of me. I thought about my family being disappointed, my friends feeling sorry for me, & those few people from my past who would take pleasure from my failings & use it to boost their own egos.

I was humiliated, & didn’t want anyone to know what had happened, how I had failed so massively.

But now, literally thousands of people from all over the world know my story, you all know about my ‘crushed dream’. Everyone in my family knows, my friends know, & if things like facebook & twitter haven’t informed those people, who I let go of years ago, of my imperfections, then gossip sure has.

And I couldn’t be more comfortable with that.

Yes, my family knows everything; & they have never been more proud of me. My friends know everything; & they have never been more supportive. And to anyone who takes pride in counting my flaws; go ahead! First to 100 wins a lollipop 🙂

Not only has sharing my story with the world helped others; it’s helped me. I’ve let go of caring about what others think of me. I’ve learnt that it’s okay to be vulnerable sometimes; it’s a part of being human. And I’m over all the phoniness & the quest for perfection. It’s getting old fast.

I’m here to be real. Now.

I’ve seen people trip over their own feet, fall flat on their face & get up quickly, denying their faults & blaming someone else for tripping them up.

This year, I’ve learnt not to care about who sees me fall.

If I fall, I know I’m falling for a reason. I’ll stay down for a little while, feel the pain, learn what I need to, then get back up & start again. Maybe even have a chuckle at myself for losing my balance like that.

So, this year I have let go of my fear of failure. After all, as the Simpson’s character Lenny says:

“Eh, everyone makes mistakes. That’s why they put erasers on pencils.”

Jen ♥