8 Weeks into the Experiment: Heart’s Desire Found

I launched this experiment 8 weeks ago.

I can only chuckle at my fantasies of what would happen in eight weeks. I am so good at fantasies.

Savoring and serving? Got nothing to do with fantasy.

It’s got everything to do with being in your body. Honoring what you can do today. And doing it.

When you read the 47 entries in Stepping into Your Shero’s Journey (free download) you don’t read, “Then I eradicated poverty in Africa single-handedly before breakfast.” You read about smart brave ordinary women finding their sovereign way of serving – and how deeply it is linked to being in a body, to descending into the shit of life and using that to connect to others.

I started this project by saying I was looking to name my (next’s) heart desire and I have discovered what it is. Nice. If that sounds a bit understated, it is because it turns out,  it’s not a big deal. It just is.

To be a global force of good, to foster and model joyful service; to work with people who are looking for new purpose to take action and to make a difference. To work in different settings and countries mobilizing women to take action.

I do not shake or shrink as I write that. It is my simple grounded truth. The mean voices natter on about how I don’t know shit about development or service and how will I make a living and blah blah blah. I put my ear plugs in and keep going.

Reading Sasha’s blog this morning I glimpsed part of the distinction I’m trying to embody:

Because I do believe that one has a different orientation when one says, “I’m here to make a change in the world” (goal-oriented, and with it ego) and when one says, “I’m here to serve.”  To be sure, if we, our employees, our volunteers, our donors do not feel nourished, respected, honored, and challenged, then there is no way we can serve others effectively.  But are careers dedicated to service fundamentally different? What is the right balance here?

There is something different calling me and I am surrendering to it without fantasy (okay some of the time) and without drama (okay, give me a little wiggle room).

Savoring and serving is sensual like a river of longing teasing me forward.

Come play with me, it whispers, waking me up from a deep sleep – literally.

Come savor me, come serve me. Not change the world, serve the world. Serve joyfully. Serve joy.


“I don’t have time to savor this moment” and “Service has to be a big deal” are twins separated at birth. Savor now! So much more fun than shrinking from the full-throated yes of life coursing down your gullet. So much better than rushing, postponing, withering. Serve now as you can in the now! So much sweeter than consigning yourself to loneliness and frustration, devaluing what you do have to offer right now.


P.S. Tomorrow at the Savor & Serve Cafe we are dedicating the day to savoring, setting the intention to explore savoring and share what we experience. If you are not a member, join us by posting here. I’ll share a couple of my posts from the Cafe in the comments of this post.

P.P.S We know some aspects of my site are not working correctly – we’re working on it.


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Roisin Markham - April 8, 2011

Fabulous. Funny this week has had a theme of playing big for me. Love that you declare your intention big and loud. Go you!
I for one am here supporting you to go and simply do what you declare, in the everyday of now.

    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    Thanks Rosin and actually, for me, this calling, to be honest, is not about playing big. It may will mean taking a job (which I’ve only had three in my life) or otherwise changing how I serve. Getting clear and getting to share that with people is so fun but how it plays itself out will be big in that it’s mine and owned by me but maybe not big in terms of ego or attention – and that’s good news for me!

Tia Sparkles Singh - April 8, 2011

I love seeing how your calling finds you 🙂 Inspiring words for someone who’s searched for hers and is now stepping back and watching the multi-coloured beads string themselves. All I have to do, is be the wire that binds them together. Savour & Serve away Jen!
ps: Beautiful, gorgeous She-Ro beads strung together in a vibrant offering!

    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    Thanks Tia – what a great description. You do have a way with words!

Melani Ward - April 8, 2011

Hi Jen,

I LOVE this, “I do not shake or shrink as I write that. It is my simple grounded truth. The mean voices natter on about how I don’t know shit about development or service and how will I make a living and blah blah blah. I put my ear plugs in and keep going.”

8 months ago I decided to shut up long enough to hear what I was thinking, knowing I felt a pull to something much different in my life but didn’t know how to get there. I kept letting myself get stuck in the thoughts that I didn’t know how I could do what I really wanted AND make money. How silly and exhausting an exercise. I know that I will always have what I need, I have never been without so why would I automatically be without by doing what I am pulled to do? I too shall simply put my ear plugs in and keep going:)


    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    okay how weird is this: I thought of you when I wrote it. No shit. Because the first draft was shaky and then I sort of heard/ felt you and thought “No need to shake, own it.” You and I bot have always had enough and part of our work is trust that and also, just speaking for me, be open to changing what my idea of enough is. Owe you an email~

Max Daniels - April 8, 2011

Savoring this! I love that you and Sasha are pointing at the difference between “making a change” and being here to serve. That “making a change” thing usually feels like force to me, like “I know better” when I almost certainly don’t.

What feels good to me these days is knowing that I’m here to

1. relieve suffering and bring ease
2. let people know there’s nothing wrong with them

I want to savor even more of that 🙂

    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    WOW Anne, that is powerful. Can’t wait to explore that more with you at Kripalu – what a foundation for your shero’s journey!! Hot damn!

Sarah Flick - April 8, 2011

“Joyful service…Serve joy.” Oh yes, this is what heals and frees… Thank you Jen and I am so happy you are doing this!

    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    happy to get to do it with YOU!

Serenitychick - April 8, 2011

Serving now by offering what I have right now… not what I hope I will have to offer as soon as I _____(fill in the blank)! This totally rocks my heart, soul and world, Dearest Jen! Learning to live and serve in the now is so easy for the mind to say “yea, yea” to but why, oh why, is it so terribly tricky to remember to just do? Thanks for reminding me yet again!

Hugs and namaste,

    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    oh isn’t the tricky part because we are humans? With you sister!

Jana Jopson - April 8, 2011

“We can’t cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”
Joseph Campbell

I remember seeing this on a car bumper sticker at the market and being rooted to the spot. This post of yours, Jen, felt the same way. Riveting truth, followed by the sweet scent of a happy discovery wrapping around me. I adore how you think, how you write, how you share, who you are, what you do, how you do it as you savor and serve. You are a pioneer woman whose trail-blazing adventures I love to read. Blessing galore, Jana

    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    oh Jana, shivers reading your praise, drinking it in and hoping to be worthy of it – I just want to serve effectively and joyfully, really and truly.

Englandermsw - April 9, 2011

I applaud your heart, Jen, and your courage — both as big and fierce, and as cuddly and warm as a Lion’s. You do love life, and the world, and it shows. I’m behind you, lady — keep going! Hugs, Monica

    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    i love hearing your voice over these years, you know that?? Yes you do~

Karri Flatla - April 9, 2011

There’s a contemplative, careful stepping back from the “charge” I’m noticing, isn’t there? Women working online are questioning the “point” but not necessarily trying to squash it either … whatever “it” is.

It’s a time of realignment for us, individually, collectively and cosmically.

Melani’s comment was poignant too.

It’s hard to hear OURSELVES through the chatter, but we must keep trying.

Keep it real like only you know how baby!

    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    you know Karri, is it really hard to hear ourselves or it is just a matter of getting away and finding our self-trust again? You and Melani share a lot in common, just fyi – both of you are super smart and super amazing at anything you decide to do, dedicated parents, and very much aware of the BULLSHIT that circles our fishbowl these days in terms of marketing and sales. Anyway… keeping it real here boss. 🙂

Kaye - April 9, 2011

Wow! I’m new to your savor and serve, (not a member), and you guys are CRAZY GOOD!
Your talking to me!, making sense, and speaking a language I understand (at least most of it).
What real-ism I am hearing with all of you in the Savor and Serve Cafe! (That’s one of those ‘healthy” isms., unlike the Alcohol-isms, martyerdom-isms, etc. etc.)

I’ve got the tug inside me to do that “thing” I’m suppose to do., circling with the thoughts instead of just living my bliss in where I am at at this moment.

After reading a little about your life Jen, I realize how I could go and “do” all the “things” I think are our my purpose. Hoping I will “arrive” somewhere in a completed state, or that I will be more spiritual, better and different.
I can maybe even be famous!!! For example ..writing of books, speaking, teaching, using my passion or SOMETHING ??? …. and yet I think I’ll end up left with that divine dissatisfaction, cus it’s something deeper than finding that “thing” I am looking for. what is it? God? , I didn’t experience all this stuff in life for nothing did I? I am suppose to “be” somebody, aren’t I? Ha ha. It’s not in money.
I’ve read all the self help stuff. Tired of being the seeker. I’m done with trying to save the world and be a hero; and frankly I want to really get happy with my heart, mind, soul, emotions, and my meat sack body. What I am finding is nobody really cares so much about my “war stories” they’ve got their own life story to live. I’m looking for that passion that’s greater than the purpose. What will get me out of bed and get me excited, and to be the same way with the dull parts of life too.

FOR GOD”S sake when will I ever be fulfilled, love myself, and quit trying to please others? So what’s blocking ME? ME! Beliefs of what I hold as truth? My best work is finding the acceptance in being with my life and in the moment. My husband says just “be”. Man, that’s hard. But, it’s kind of what I hear alot of you sounding like. To do what makes me happy, accept myself, and let non-physical do the rest. Living one moment at a time. Most of my answers are in my questions. I think RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS (not fixing others), is what lasts. To let being be what I do. Perhaps I’ve “arrived”, and now its time for me to catch up to this. What else is possible?

Jen, your Spirit is a brilliant shining star, … how you talk on your site, and the downloads I have heard really shine. I truly FELT you and the others that I read in the comments., What a blessing. I just had to talk!
Thanks for letting me share!

    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    Kaye, thanks for being here at the blog – and for sharing your experience, which we can all relate to! There is a resting place we circle back and back to, and rest in longer and longer (I hear tell 🙂 that allows us to savor and serve from. And it all happens through the FELT experience, doesn’t it? Looking forward to learning together here !

Teresa Day - April 9, 2011

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for helping us put a voice to the longing we feel in our deepest heart of hearts! I listen to your wonderful sharing and I hear myself. Talk about a crack in the cosmic eggshell-it’s busting wide open, but simply, softly, gently…more deeply than ever as this is what our incredible universe is needing now. Me loving you is me loving me! Bless your soul and keep it up!
Love, Teresa

    jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

    Teresa love right back at you – thanks for following along and breaking open too!

jenniferlouden - April 9, 2011

thanks wise friend.

Vicky - April 10, 2011

Hey Jen, I’ve been feeling a very similar strong pull to serve, to be a global force for good and to work with others who are looking to share their gifts in the world and make a difference. Such a strong pull and so many women feeling it at the moment. Thank you for articulating so beautifully your journey. TeachNow is an important piece for me right now – we are all teachers, all have something to teach as we learn more about our own true paths – and having resisted the thought of teaching – in the midst of what I now see IS teaching – I am reduced to tears – of joy, of something so deep within me that’s shifting and coming forth. I too aspire to work with women in other countries – especially Latin America so they will feel empowered to take action in their own communities. I don’t know where this is going either -and who am I anyway, but of course, who am I not to follow where I’m led. Thank you for being on your own path and sharing it with us. I too will ‘put my ear plugs in and keep going’!

gretchen - April 10, 2011

.thank you.

Bahieh - April 11, 2011


Congrats on finding your heart’s desire. big stuff. and yet, like you say not such a big deal.

The more I read your posts, the more think: ‘I want to be a part of this.’

A strange and very clear urge.

And serving with joy? Absolutely. In spanish: Servir con Alegria!!! check the post below:


Thanks for being an explorer in the ways of Savouring + Serving. And thanks for openly sharing it with us.


Bahieh K.

Sarah - April 11, 2011

completely resonates! throughout my early-mid twenties i was so all about ‘changing the world’ on a grand scale – crazy ego-trippin – change laws, fix things, ‘fight on the side of good’ with my eyes firmly fixed on the bad stuff rather than getting behind what is good and effective. total superwoman complex.
since then i’ve had more impact on a smaller scale, often affecting people 1:1 and hopefully just by creating resonance and being part of these kinds of discussions the ripples will shift stuff through osmosis (rather than donning our battle helmets). much love to you Jen you’re awesome xoxo

Claire P - April 15, 2011

Empowering women to change the world? Sounds good to me.

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