inspirational

Hooray for you!

How do you celebrate

your accomplishments

no matter how big or small?

A few days ago, my journal was sitting out on our coffee table and my husband happened to notice the words, “Hooray for me!” that I had written with a hot pink colored marker. He said them out loud and I instantly felt silly. Then a switch flipped. I launched into an exuberant description of what it was all about.

I’ve been practicing celebrating, when I’ve done something I said I was going to do. Simple. Right?

This particular, “Hooray for me!” was related to a time when I stopped myself from spiraling down into unhelpful thoughts. It was a seemingly small thing. It wasn’t the accomplishment of a gigantic, audacious goal.

I'm celebrating more often because research shows that celebrating not only feels great; it trains our brain to repeat the behavior. That's big!

Think of a goal that’s meaningful to you.

What’s one, seemingly small, behavior

that would move you closer to it?

Now do it, and then enjoy celebrating in your style, appreciating that you are moving toward what's important to you.

Power-up your celebratory moment by embodying it. Strike a pose, a gesture, or do a full-on happy dance!

To go along with my, “Hooray for me!” moment, from the comfort of my couch, I raised my arms just like I’m doing in this photo.

In the spirit of celebration!

Jalene

The Moment Before We Begin

Hey there,

It’s a new year and I’m raring to go. “But wait!” my inner gremlin shouts at me, “You need to do one more thing BEFORE you do the thing you want to do!” 

Are you hearing a similar, mean, inner voice?

My gremlin smugly pointed out, “Before you can send out a blog post, you need a new “look,” a cool style to kick off the new year.” I got sucked in. And then I heard a calmer inner thought, “Wait. I have something to say. How about if I just start from where I am right now?”

So hip, new, blog post design be damned! I'm starting. 

I will be coming to you once a week with a short post to help us stay in touch with ourselves. Beginning now.

1.3.18.jpg

Are you with me?

What's that I hear? Is your gremlin saying something to you? May I suggest...

Notice. Breathe. Begin.

What's the big dream or next baby step that's calling to you? What do you need to do to start right now?


If you're near the Newport, Oregon area, I'm offering a workshop in January to help you get clear about what you want to do and how you're going to do it. It's called, Your Emerging Life: Envision. Plan. Go! The link will take you to all the details.

In the spirit of knowing ourselves,

Jalene

Not Quite in this World

This month, two years ago, Keith and I were in the final countdown to our epic adventure. We were close to leaving our jobs, prepping our house to rent, and making little checks next to items on pages of lists spread all over the kitchen counter. 

Fast forward from 2015 to 2017. Traveling changed us. We're not the same inside even if we look the same on the outside. We're committed to consciously reshaping our lives in a way that allows us to have more adventures. We're exploring this new world, doing our darnedest to align our work and home with our future vision. 

Reshaping our lives can feel like blasting off to another world. 

Sometimes I feel like a kick-as pioneer, boldly going where I've never been before and other times, I'm lost in a black hole of doubt.

Here's a video update...

If you're in Boise, and ready to change the shape of your own life, I'm offering a workshop on Reshaping Your Life

In the spirit of learning!

 
 

Curiosity & Desire Retreat

Hola!

As of today, we've been traveling for 481 days. It's hard for me to get my head around! I've had a job since I was 14 years old and we left on this trip when I was 52. I know how to do work. Traveling, on the other hand, has been a challenge in many unexpected ways. I have a doosey to share this time.

But first...the backstory...

We started our trip with a Horizons Unlimited Traveler's Meeting in Nakusp, BC in August 2015. Our plan was to attend another one in Argentina in December 2016. It was the perfect bookend to our trip and located on the way to our end goal of Ushuaia. When the time came, we found ourselves 750 miles away from the event. To make matters worse, the event was no longer "on the way" so it would need to be a round trip. That's 1500 miles out of our way for a 2-day campout with about 20-30 fellow travelers. I seriously hated to miss it but I didn't have it in me to do an extra 1500 miles.

New plan. Keith, and two men we met during our travels, rode together to the event while I stayed at "home" in Puerto Varas, Chile. After some pondering about what to do with 10 days dropped in my lap, I decided to design what I call my Curiosity & Desire Retreat, a combination of being an artist-in-residence and a woman on retreat.

Some of you will think this is cr-azy

and some of you will think it's co-ol!

Here's the thing...we're in the last phase of our trip and seriously talking about what going home will look like on multiple levels. There are big frickin' changes coming! This total break from traveling is a deep, expansive, juicy time for me to wonder and be curious about who I am now, and what I want next. Maybe you've had this feeling. We want to know what's next but can't quite put our finger it or, more likely, we know what it is but it scares the hell out of us, and we wish we wanted the safe, easy thing. That's where I am.

There are way too many details to share everything with you but I want to share the essence of it. I'm six days into it with another four to go. Its been strange not having Keith around all the time, humbling to flail between what I think I "should" do and what I "want" to do, frustrating not to see a clear path to my next phase, and freeing to play, learn, and wander down any rabbit hole I wish.

My goal is to answer the question of whether I want to pursue finding a job I love, or starting a business I love, when we return from our trip. The bonus question is, if I want to start a business, what would the focus be? To approach these questions from different perspectives, I built a structure to inspire wonder, thought, and creativity. 

The basics of my Curiosity & Desire Retreat:

  1. I set aside precious time and space for me.
  2. I set up a written foundation for my time with what I want to do daily, how much time I will spend doing it, and a place for me to check off that I have done it, so I can celebrate with funky, happy-dance moves. 
  3. I gathered inspirational material such as poems and quotes.
  4. I set the intention of listening to my body’s needs, my heart’s desires, and my mind’s knowledge + eating healthy, exercising, and resting + being willing to be surprised through showing up, wondering, being curious, and doing the work.
  5. During my Curiosity Retreat time, I'm working with a whopping 34 questions by hand-writing my answers in multi-colored markers, and taping them on the walls so I can see the themes and patterns emerging. I research topics of interest to learn more.
  6. During my Desire Retreat time, I do whatever I feel a desire to do. The photos at the bottom are some of my creative work. It's my first attempt at a mandala! Ha!

I made a one-minute video to show you my crazy, cozy, creative space.

If you feel like you're in transition and would like to talk with someone, I'd love to hear your story. Email me. I appreciate the work it takes to make our big choices in life, and know it can be a tough, lonely time. I don't have the answers however, I love meaningful conversations about struggles and possibilities, gremlins and muses, realities and dreams. 

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

I realized that you might like to read the poem so here's the full size image :)

The Dips

During a particularly deep "dip in our trip," I made this 2-minute video to share about it. (Pardon the occasional wind noise.) Little did I know, it was going to get a little deeper before I made my way out of it.

Here are the links to the books I mentioned in the video: 

The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future by Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers

The vast simplicity of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is one of my favorite spots.

Back to that dip I was talking about. It continued until we took a longer break in Santiago, and I dug deeper into my basic needs to understand why I was so off-kilter. 

Like cream rising to the surface of fresh milk, letting go of everything I know to take this trip has allowed my needs to rise above my wants. By letting go of my house, job, friends, family, exercise routine, relaxation rituals, stores I like to shop in, restaurants I like to eat in, closet full of clothes and shoes, jewelry...you get the idea...I've had a chance to distinguish between my needs and wants in a new way.

Here's where I am now. I've let everything go. We're still traveling so I can't put my whole life back together again but, I can make choices about my basic needs. That's where I'm focused. I'm identifying my "minimum requirements for self care" (a term used by Jennifer Louden) so I feel like myself, comfortable in my own skin. Louden's writing prompts have helped me to get at the topic from some new angles.

For example, some of what I've learned is that time alone on the bike isn't enough for me. It was easy to get time to myself at home but on the road, I have to let Keith know that I need a few hours to myself with no interruptions. This is hugely important for my sanity and I wasn't giving it to myself! Another example is what I've started calling stretch projects, in which I challenge my mind or body or heart. The time I spent creating my ebook, Journaling Whys & Hows, fed my need to share about a topic that's super-important to me and to be visually creative. As a "thank you" for reading my blog, I'm giving it to you for free! Use the promo code thankyou.

I'm pretty sure I've made it through the dip in our trip. I've learned more about my basic needs, am in the midst of a 2-week (or more!) break in Santiago, Chile at an awesome hostel with other motorcycle riders, and Keith and I are laying out the next to last leg of our trip, which will take us to our goal of Ushuaia, Argentina. We haven't quite figured out the last leg involving how or when we go home, yet.

Whew. Who knew there would be so much to learn when we left our house 443 days ago!

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

What do failure and extraordinary have in common?

Peru's Colca Canyon wowed Keith and me. The canyon is known for its Condors, and as soon as we spotted our first ones, with their graceful, delicate gliding style, we wanted to stay longer in the expansive grandeur of the canyon. But, we couldn’t. For the first time in a year, we were on a schedule. We had tickets to Machu Picchu on a specific date the following week so, we set out to make the most of our time in the area.

With two different visions of how we wanted to explore the canyon, we decided to go our separate ways. Keith took off on a ride to the canyon bottom, and I hiked down to an oasis spot called Sangalle. Let’s just say, it wasn’t quite what I expected. Click on the video below and come along with me.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Appearance vs. Being

Nine months ago, my husband and I hopped on our motorcycles and embarked on a radical adventure. Nine months without going to a full time job, which I did for 34 years. Nine months without a remotely regular routine. Nine months of not seeing the person I was accustomed to seeing in the mirror. Who is this new woman's face and why does she wear the same old clothes day after day? 

I had to wrestle with the concept of appearance for a few months before I appreciated its meaning to me. I share my experience in this 3-minute video as I consider the affect our appearance has on our lives.

After you watch the video, here are some questions for you to ponder about your appearance.

At what age did you become aware of your appearance?

Do you recall a scene or something that someone said to you about your appearance that changed the way you thought about it? If so, how might this still be influencing your appearance today?

Complete this sentence: If I could experiment with changing my appearance, I would...

Being comfortable with our own appearance means letting go of comparing our current selves to our younger selves, to the media's portrayal of women, to other women, to what we think we 'should' look like or what we wish we looked like. To be sure, appearance plays a role in our lives but it need not be the starring role, that goes to how we show up in our lives. 

In the spirit of learning,

 

Travel Learning: Lesson 9 of 10

Lesson 9 of 10: Big happiness

Traveling brings new experiences in practically every moment. What we make of them is up to us. 

One of my favorite experiences is meeting amazing people, like this couple from South Korea. A story they shared with us about finding "big happiness" on the road gave me goose bumps because they're so right on. I asked them to tell you all about it. Please meet Jeon Taebyung and Woo Yeon.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Travel Learning: Lesson 7 of 10

Lesson 7 of 10: Unearthing My Voice

Chilly early morning writing in our campground outside Oaxaca.

All of my friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues, as well as my work, play, and routines have been left behind. It feels like a massive spring-cleaning of my lifestyle. I vacillate from appreciating this experience as precious (most of the time) to feeling lonely and depressed (some of the time). It’s a time like no other in my life. With so much now shed from myself, if I pay attention, I have a chance to hear my own voice more clearly, and I wonder, “What do I have to say? How do I want to say it? What does my voice sound like?”

For 34 years, most of my writing has been based on the voice of organizations. I’m guessing you might know how that feels. Now I feel a strong urge to write unabashedly in my very own, personal, individual voice. (As I typed that last sentence, fear sensations rushed through my body!) Writing in someone else’s voice is like being fully clothed, protected from personal criticism. Writing in my personal voice, feels like I’m naked and vulnerable, with my thoughts, feelings, and ideas exposed.

So why would I focus on this when I could simply enjoy traveling? I trust that when I have a desire to do something and it sticks with me, it’s my wise inner voice urging me forward. And I know somehow it will connect to my future in a way that I can’t always see from where I am now.  

This time of being disconnected from familiar people and environments feels like a better time than any to experiment with my voice. Right now I’m using three ways to learn: writing and making videos for this blog, my daily journaling practice, and a book by Todd Henry that came to me a in an unexpected way. I love it when that happens. It feels special.

I’ve respected Jennifer Louden’s work for several years, through reading her online materials and taking a couple of her classes. (Learn more about her here.) I emailed her for the first time on a different topic, and within our exchange she suggested the book Louder than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice by Todd Henry. I’ve been slowly absorbing the work by reading the book and bringing the most real me I can muster to every single exercise the author offers.

I’m in that pubescent learning stage. This quote, from a book I loved reading, gets at what I’m moving through now.

“Everybody is original, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from himself. But it must be from his *true* self and not from the self he thinks he *should* be. ” ~ Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A book about Art, Independence and Spirit.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Travel Learning: Lesson 6 of 10

It didn't take long for Katharine and I to be engulfed in an interesting conversation, high above San Miguel de Allende in their rooftop space.

Lesson 6 of 10: girlfriend talks are a need, not a want.

I didn’t appreciate the number of different people I talked with on a given day until we were on the road. I love conversing with all kinds of people. I miss learning about the lives of work colleagues, customers, friends, neighbors, women at the hairdressers, and cashiers at the grocery store. In Zacatecas, I quickly sank into a meaningful conversation about life choices with Anna at the hairdresser’s place and realized just how much I missed that kind of talk. We’re still connected online and our conversation has continued. Sadly, not much of this is happening these days.

All I have is Keith, unless we happen to meet other English-speaking folks or I learn a whole lot more Spanish. Keith has many, many traits I love but “talker” isn’t among them. Chatting with him is a far cry from talking with a girlfriend. I submit these true-life conversations as proof.

Dialogue with Keith:

Jalene: The essence of what I said was, “I feel like I’m obsessively thinking about the future, like what I’ll do for work after our 2-year trip.” In real life, Keith reminded me that it took me about ten sentences to say this and, I learned later, that I lost him somewhere along the way in my monologue.

Keith: Hmmmmm…

The end.

Conversation with my girlfriend Sandra:

Jalene: same as above

Sandra: This I know about you.

An impassioned conversation (back and forth!) ensued.

Keith and I have had a few good conversations about this and, of course, he isn’t doing anything wrong. However, I’ve learned substantially more about how we go about sharing thoughts and feelings. On a superficial level I knew this, but on this trip, it has sunk in deeper.

I fully appreciate that the kind of conversations I have with my girlfriends aren’t a want; they're a need. Once in a while, I need to be submerged in, as my friend Sandra calls it, girl-talk. Honestly, talking online doesn’t come close to the real thing. I miss them.

I’m grateful to have several fascinating, kick-ass girlfriends who are willing to call me on my shit and dive deep with me into meaning-of-life kinds of discussions. You know who you are and I love you! As I write about how much I miss you, this post has taken an unexpected twist.

Frankly, after Keith proofed my writing, he pointed out some “facts” from my memory that were wrong. We talked. I made changes based on both of our memories, and we agreed that although we have a different way of sharing our thoughts and feelings, we both want to have deeper conversations.

How about this for a new perspective and a new title? “Soul-filled Talks are a Need not a Want”

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

P.S. Who knew that traveling would provoke this kind of learning!

P.P.S. - Keith here:  I think that Jalene sure has a great husband. How many others would allow her to use them as an example like this? My thought is that most would find this embarrassing (I do, to be honest), but Jalene is trying to make a point here about her needs. I’m glad she knows that my not being a stellar conversationalist is not a fault, just part of the way I am. Now, if only we could have these conversations in the garage about things such as transmission issues or tire selection…