A Guide to Being Yourself

Dedicated to my Lilly girl


Dedicate yourself to wholeness. Perfection appears to be a much sexier partner but is actually a demon lover who will suck you dry and leave you bitter and broken.


Acknowledge what you experience and how you feel. It’s not about you being right and someone else being wrong, it’s about claiming your experience. It’s your experience and seeing it, feeling it, sitting with it, helps make you you.


Healthy desire birthed all of creation. Let it birth you, again and again. Being yourself springs from knowing what you want.


Healthy desire is never about perfection (outcome). It is about going deeper than your mood, deeper than your stories of what is allowed or possible, into the sensations and energy of desire itself, and letting that move you into inspired action.


Healthy desire is the source from which you renew your commitment to what matters most to you. Acting on that commitment will mean constantly unfurling into the unknown. The sooner you make peace with doing that (yes imperfectly which means people will be pissed off at you) the more energy you will have for adventure!


Every time you say “I can’t because…” you are giving your power away to someone or something else, which is giving yourself away. Power is a foundational spiritual quality. Pretending that you don’t have power or that you are not responsible for your life is the quickest way to hell. Trust me on this one.


Have practices that help you open your heart, love yourself, and witness your thoughts and reactions. Because here’s the hysterical truth: there really isn’t a separate self to be and that is the most delicious discovery of all.


Waste no time guarding the self you are forever becoming. It’s one thing to have strong boundaries and another to jealously guard your heart.


There is no destination. There is nothing to fix. No I to dot, no test score to achieve, no number in your bank account that says, “I’m done! I did it! I’m me!”

There is only this – rice crackers crumbs, cold tea, sun streaming through kitchen window, beating heart, time for a stretch.

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  • Hiro Boga

    Lovely. Breathing deeply, and savoring this post. Thank you, Jen.

  • http://AngelNSullivan.com Angel Sullivan

    Jen, the more I read of yours… the more I feel seen (which is something I’m craving). I love it… it also makes me feel like the fact that you say these things must mean that you’ve experienced the things that have led to stating the above, which also makes me feel like we’re all connected (in that we all really do share so many of the same types of experiences and feelings from these experiences). <3

    • Anonymous

      yes I’m right there with you!

  • Marsha Philitas

    This post is so wonderfully gorgeous and tasty!  It’s going into my self-affirmation scrapbook.  Thank you so much for the inspiration. 

    • Anonymous

      you are so welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/UncontainedLife Marsha Philitas

    This post is so wonderfully gorgeous and tasty!  It’s going into my
    self-affirmation scrapbook.  Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  • Mindy Essex

    #9 fills my heart. I just came to this realization recently and it’s made all the difference. No more waiting for or until … Live, breathe, be.

    • Anonymous

      it really does!

  • http://www.stinkwanink.com Jude Spacks


    • Anonymous


  • Sarah Flick

    Thank you, thank you…for this, for everything!

  • http://winsomebella.wordpress.com winsomebella

    Sometimes I feel you are peeking in the window of my heart and checking out what is going on.  And then you write something that is so perfectly right for me that day.  Thank you.

  • http://thepleasurenutritionist.com Daphne Cohn

    “Healthy desire is never about perfection.” I’ve been working on that one for at least 18 years! Thank you for such gentle, but strong, reminders of letting go, going deeper, and loving the uniqueness of who we are. 

  • Paula

    I need to read these realizations over and over again as if it were the first time, and in a way, it is always the first time. Because I see now that what I thought was a paradox (I’m on a journey, so I must arrive somewhere, but part of the journey is learning that we never arrive), is actually a way into knowing that stopping and noticing (and savoring!) is not the same as arriving. I forgot who said that “there’s no there there” – maybe Gertrude Stein? – but it’s true. There (or outcome or perfection or the “end of the line”) is just another place along the way. That’s why it’s so beautiful when you preface your haiku-like description at the end of the piece with “There is only this…” There is only ever the that and the there that we experience now. Thanks for helping me be aware of that this morning.

  • http://www.RubySlippersStudio.net Callahan Mcdonough

    really really wonderful Jen. Just right this a.m. 

  • http://www.Midlifefairygodmothers.com Dinah

    This is so right on Jenn!! To help women learn to love themselves is the goal of all of my work! And as I do this, I keep finding more ways I can learn to love myself as well!!

  • http://createherenow.com Pamela


  • Melanie M.

    Oh yeah, we don’t have to be perfect no matter how much others tell us we must…we don’t have to !!!! Woo woo ~~~ xoxo Jen 

  • Emily H.

    Thank you! Just what I needed to read this morning.

  • Marytjohn

    YES, YES and MORE YES!

  • Kathy

    Love this to the moon and back and then some. Synchronicity in action I thought when I noticed this email in my in-box today. I am the midst of interviewing women on becoming/on being and this piece relates so beautifully to some of the questions I’ve been asking of the women in my project. Thank you for another inspiring post.

  • http://www.sacredmisfit.com Sarah

    ‘Waste no time guarding the self you are forever becoming. It’s one thing to have strong boundaries and another to jealously guard your heart.’

    I think I have a hard time with this one.  I know it is completely subjective – but how are the ways to set up the boundaries, and what sets them apart from going too far by jealously guarding your heart?

    I’ve been in the ‘jealously guarding my heart’ phase for the bulk of my life.  Now I’m over it and ready for deep connection, but where do the boundaries come in? So, so undefined here.

  • Charity Lamprecht

    Hurray for your words!
    Write on my heart (or at least on my bathroom mirror):  There is no destination. You are amazing just the way you are!!

  • http://mtnmermaid.wordpress.com/ Lisa

    beautifully visceral! thank you Jen

  • Anne DeMarsay

    A beautiful summation of all you’ve learned and taught us, Jen.

  • Anne DeMarsay

    A beautiful summation of all you’ve learned and taught us, Jen. I hope Lilly will keep a copy of your post for many, many years. It will speak to her differently each time she reads it.

  • http://suzynjackson.com/ Suzyn

    I adore this.  I’ve read it over and over.  Thank you!

  • Maira

    I LOVED #8. “Wast no time guarding the self you are forever becoming.”  Yesterday I sat in meditation and this experience  of feeling grounded in who I am brought me to tears.  While we are always evolving and becoming, there is also an essence of who one is that makes us eternal and connects us to the greater Source.  

    Thanks as always for the wisdom you share and your presence in the world.

  • lauraoni

    Thank you so much.

  • Sandra

    Thank you. Especially for No. 9. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/katherine.carey1 Katherine Carey

    Such a gorgeous reminder of Heart…my eyes water with the touch. 

    Thank YOU!!!

    Off to breathe.

    Her Very Own

    • jenlouden

      thank you!

  • Jaymia22

    number 7 … that is what i have to do. 

  • http://twitter.com/nataliapresent Natalia

    Oh, Jen, your stuff is so amazing. I really need this kind of wisdom in my life right now. Thank you! Sharing this post :)

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  • http://daphnecohn.com/ Daphne Cohn

    simply beautiful. thank you.

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