Serve Yourself (Perhaps on a Bed of Baby Lettuce)

Meditating this morning I flashed on my upcoming Kripalu retreat Stepping into your S-hero’s Journey and how I want to start planning it…

I started to wonder: How will I help women step into their power, their savoring, their serving? (It’s the first time I’ve lead this retreat.)

Thoughts began crowding around offering very useful opinions like, “What was I thinking offering a retreat before I had served for years!” and “I need to study mythology and read lots of books” and “I must go learn all kinds of very complicated things before I do this and that will take forever and argh…”

I returned to my breath and labeled those critters “thoughts” and slowly settled down.

The next wave of thoughts came. These centered on what I do know, what I can offer (a settled mind does see more clearly).

“I serve best through honesty and truthfully sharing my process.”

My whole body relaxed.

Then I let those thoughts go and dissolved into peace for… an entire second or two.

~~~~~
A bit later, chatting with Marianne Elliott about the social media and self-care call we did yesterday and she said,

Your honesty always serves people so powerfully.

ahhh…

Here’s what I’m experimenting with today:

To serve in a way that lights you up, it helps a whole lot to savor your self. Your talents. To love what you naturally do.
To honor the ways you naturally serve.

Then expand those. Build a bridge from your natural talents to being of direct action on what you most care about.

But first, you have to see them. Preferably beautifully displayed on a bed of baby lettuce like a fine meal.

The experiment for today: ask someone you respect and trust,

What are the ways you see me serving naturally, without even trying? What do you see me doing for others that lights me up?”

Write down what she or he says! Then come share it here. In the comments.

Bonus experiment: Volunteer, like Marianne did for me, the ways you naturally see someone else serving. Tell a co-worker, your sweetheart, your child. Tell someone you follow onTwitter or Facebook (use the hashtag #savorserve and then we can see a list of talents!)

(Gals at the Savor & Serve Cafe, I’ll create a space for us to do this together.)

Okay go do it and then share here what you learned. I can’t wait to see your talents to serve savored!

P.S. In Teach Now, I’ll talk more about my process teaching the S-hero’s Journey retreat for the first time.

P.P.S. My meditation teacher Susan Piver is offering freeee mediation instruction on her blog and it’s fantastic. Go here.

 

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Lone Morch - March 9, 2011

Hi Jennifer,

Better not leave you without comments on this Women’s Day where indeed we celebrate our serving and savoring and courage to keep peeling away layers in order to shine our light and offer up our authentic powerful selves. πŸ˜‰

I so relate to your process – of needing to be, learn, master all kinds of things to teach a new program, which is what’s probably held me back for a longer time than I care to admit. I also know that I inspire others on my path deeply, without exactly knowing what it is I give them. Permission? To feel beautiful? Courage to be free? Play? Take the next step? Follow their soul down unknown paths? Recently, at the Gail Larson speaking training it became very clear to me: I just have to show up fully as me. That’s enough. When I show up, share my stories, feelings, ideas, I touch others. It has changed how I think of my business / service – now I’m thinking more about how I can create more ways to show up, rather than how I can make others show up. Interesting twist. We shall see how it unfolds.

Good luck with your Kripula Weekend, and Congratulations with today. Keep doing your good work, Jennifer.

With heart,
Lone

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    jenniferlouden - March 9, 2011

    Love Gail, worked with her very recently too!~ Tell me how “creating more ways to show up” goes, I’d love to hear!!

    Reply
Yamile Yemoonyah - March 9, 2011

On my blog I ask : ‘Are you an artist, designer, writer, cook, clown or any other kind of creative entrepreneur and want to know how to build your own professional WordPress website?’
I don’t even remember why I included clowns as I’ve never had one come to me for help…until today!
That really made my day and it reminded me how my intuition always guides me in the right direction. So even though I did not ask anyone how I serve naturally, the universe showed me anyway πŸ™‚

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    jenniferlouden - March 9, 2011

    Good thing you don’t have clown fear~ πŸ™‚ I know trusting my intuition is crucial, love this story.

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    Elle B - March 9, 2011

    Yamile, I so loved your blog’s question, I immediately went to check it out and follow you on Twitter! (I think I might be all of the above.)

    Reply
      jenniferlouden - March 12, 2011

      How you serve: steadfast courage, extraordinary intellect, championing those they may feel they are “too” whatever to serve, sharing beauty, encouraging faith in life

      Reply
Kellie J. Walker - March 9, 2011

“Volunteer, like Marianne did for me, the ways you naturally see someone else serving. Tell a co-worker, your sweetheart, your child. Tell someone you follow on Twitter or Facebook”

Love this. I find that I naturally do this quite often. I think it may be one of the ways I serve. How ironic. πŸ™‚

Hugs!

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    jenniferlouden - March 9, 2011

    not ironic, beautiful!

    Reply
viviane - March 9, 2011

happy women’s day!

i am so happy to have benefitted your sharing your authentic experience for so many years now and am glad to find your blog and the cafe.

i loved the panel yesterday.

in addition to what marianne shared above about the power of your honesty- i also loved what she said yesterday on the panel about how her own self disclosures serves other because ” the real me is much more relatable”. YES! I feel this authenticity really helps us all- be more connected and less alone, more perfectly imperfect, and more vulnerably powerful.

thank you both for this example and the question to ask for feedback from others. will do that tonight.

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    jenniferlouden - March 9, 2011

    Viviane, yes! One thing I love about the internet is how more people can be themselves and so more of us can get free of our own guilt and shame and feeling alone. It’s quite amazing isn’t it?

    Reply
Melanie - March 9, 2011

Yes, it is International Women’s Day. Two years ago I tried Indian dancing. I loved the outfit but mostly messed up the dance. It was still a blast! Happy Day to all women!

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    jenniferlouden - March 9, 2011

    Happy IWD !!!!

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jenniferlouden - March 9, 2011

Beautifully said!

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Anonymous - March 9, 2011

I’m so happy I found your blog today! I adore the concept of seeing my natural talents served up on a bed of lettuce.

I think, generally speaking, we have challenges with truly SEEing our talents because they are so second nature we don’t even think about them or believe they are anything special. Having a caring community that reflects back to us how they see us showing up is invaluable πŸ™‚

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Grace - March 9, 2011

Oh. I am so fortunate to have a wonderful friend, teacher, and business partner who gives me that sort of reflective feedback often.

Here’s something he said to me recently: “Rooted, resonant, eccentric, grounded, calm, curious, joyful. Bringing enchantement and art into life. Visionary.”

I wrote down his words and keep them close at hand/heart where I can see them often.

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    jenniferlouden - March 9, 2011

    that is so beautiful!

    Reply
Kimberly - March 9, 2011

I’m a Mom. A really good Mom. Being there for my children, lighting up their days, saying the right thing, doing the needed thing for them–that’s what I’m best at.

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    jenniferlouden - March 12, 2011

    I keep reading your comment and smiling. I know the best service I do in my life is growing up Lilly. I look forward to hearing more about your savoring and serving your children!

    Reply
Mel Hunt - March 9, 2011

It was hard to ask, but I sent a quick email to a friend and gave her what I would answer for her – and this is what she said in return:

“When I think about you, the first thing I see is your smile, and your willingness to smile. This is no small thing. It indicates that you can relate to the people you interact with, and that you are open to whatever the interaction is going to bring, and also that you want them to feel comfortable, even if you don’t always. And, you engage with people on their ideas – I think this is incredibly valuable, because enthusiasm feeds enthusiasm! Linked to this, you are not shy to admire or compliment, which (I will use one of your techniques back on you) you would be well placed to apply to yourself, and I think you are beginning to do – kindness and enthusiasm, starting with oneself. I know that’s not easy, but I can see this already emerging as a great quality for the students of your emerging yoga-teaching self.”

I’m shyly sitting with this. My friend knows me very well. Funny, I always thought of my easy smile as a handicap/weakness. Isn’t that the saddest thing?? Thank you so much for sharing yourself here – for this exercise and the opportunity to see myself in a new light.

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    jenniferlouden - March 9, 2011

    oh Mel! If we start with the little things – esp. the things we dismiss – and own them – what a mighty foundation for the most gorgeous bridge in the world, a bridge to serving that leads right back to savoring your perfect self! Read what you wrote again regularly – this is gold.

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marie - March 9, 2011

Yes, that was a really hard ask…

With quite a surprising answer. I seem to make people feel safe, comfortable and good about themselves. They feel really seen and appreciated, apparently. Who’d a thunk.

And on another note, I want to thank you.

Just two days ago, I asked the universe for an injection of faith to help me trust in my possibly utterly loony project that is my blog. And then yesterday, I read this post where you say β€œI serve best through honesty and truthfully sharing my process.”

Which was just exactly what I needed to hear.

So, my warmest thanks to you.

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    jenniferlouden - March 12, 2011

    Thank you for telling me!! Marie, I believe making people safe and comfortable is so huge. We cannot learn – and thus we cannot change – if we are afraid. Literally. And being seen, that is what we ALL WANT AND NEED. Can you imagine if the world could feel seen and heard? How then might we put our backs into the work that must be done – and feel great about doing it! Keep writing, keep serving. Jai!

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Jill - March 9, 2011

I have consciously collect this information over the years. I have heard “You are a healer, a writer, a life coach.” What do YOU see…go for it….get all coachy on me. πŸ™‚

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    jenniferlouden - March 12, 2011

    How Jill serves: by learning everything she can and providing space for others to learn; by creating a bridge between where people are and where they want/need to be (think of how you pitched your book to me after talking to the guy who had lost his mom); by shaping information and stories and environments so people can heal; by listening closely and reflecting what others might miss so he/she can then see their own talents.

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Anonymous - March 9, 2011

I did this with a wonderful girlfriend of mine and here’s what I got back “You light up all the time Pam! If you have a chance to give someone a massage or lead a Stretch, you glow. If you get to say “We have something to look forward to in Ortonville”, you light up. Whenever you can quote one of your quotes, you light up. When you breath, you light up. You make the world shine, Pam! I feel very fortunate to know you. Love and admiration – Molly” Thanks Jen! Doing this made my whole day!!

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    jenniferlouden - March 12, 2011

    Pam, so glad you got to see how you serve! Glorious!

    Reply
Full « All That - March 10, 2011

[…] perspectives/thoughts/words. More shifting. -Heather. -My smile. #savorserve -Acknowledgement/thoughtful replies/being heard. -Fear. And working WITH instead of AGAINST. […]

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Ann - March 11, 2011

This is what my friend had to say about me~ ‘I see that you give of your time and freely nurture anyone around that needs it. Working to help someone lights you up! It is a gift you possess. I think you are a very curious person with many interests. You like learning about things and don’t mind doing your research. You have great wisdom and I like watching you progress and triumph in your healing endeavors. You are deeply connected to the universe……tapped in you are with your sensitive and intuitive nature.”
So loving and inspirational! I love my friends!!!
Thanks Jen!

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    jenniferlouden - March 12, 2011

    Ann, isn’t that delish~ YUM!!!!

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Marianne Elliott - March 14, 2011

This is an inspired exercise Jen. Thank you so much! I got some lovely responses:

“You create ways for other people to serve, themselves and the world. You inspire, comfort, inquire, and spread kindness.”

“You are a teacher, certainly, of all sorts of things. You share freely, you inspire, you know your self. You walk the walk”

“You are a natural connector: people to their purpose; people to causes; people to people.”

“Your generosity of spirit & grace in #30dayyoga, your empathy for any case of suffering, your willingness to admit weakness.”

and, from you Jen:

“By witnessing, embodiment, tackling the hard questions, daring to curse us to self-care, your smile.”

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    jenniferlouden - March 16, 2011

    so lovely to see your beauty reflected!

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Julie Jeske - March 17, 2011

Ah what a relief! I am facilitating workshops for women about their sexuality. I’ve chosen topics and then my instinct is to do tons of research and see what other people have to say on the topics so I can arrive armed with knowledge. Here is the truth – people tell me how easy it is to talk to me…people tell me I make a “scary” topic comfortable and accessible…people are coming to the workshops to work with ME, if they wanted to hear what other people have to say they would read THEIR books or go to THEIR workshops. Helping someone live their best sexual life lights me up. I was talking to my husband about this the other day…saying sometimes I feel there is “nobler” work than trying to help the world through sex and intimacy…like saving children or the planet…and he said, “Julie, we have to affect the world in the ways we know how.” This is my way πŸ™‚

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    jenniferlouden - March 26, 2011

    your way! yes! Michele my partner in Teach Now is on a similar path these days, you should connect.

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Julinda - March 17, 2011

I didn’t ask someone else but here are things I know I love to share. When I do these things I think “That’s one of my gifts.”

I love helping people figure out something on the computer.
I love helping people figure out the word they are looking for.
I love sharing information and clearing up misconceptions.
And finally (a weird one), I have made a personal mission of putting a new toilet paper on the holder when possible, wherever I go. At work, church, etc.

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    jenniferlouden - March 26, 2011

    I keep thinking about the toilet paper roll thing – you and me baby!And I love these others, such great stuff here – hope you will join us for Teach Now if it sounds good.

    Reply
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