The Sexy Desire Drenched Embarrassment of Taking a Stand

Do you feel embarrassed when you take a stand for change?

Well, who doesn’t?

Who doesn’t feel a bit sheepish when she or he stands up straight and declares, “This is what I believe. This is what I see needs to change.”

It’s like any other deeply creative act – you feel vulnerable, humbled, connected to something larger than yourself, all of which can feel pretty damn daunting.

I say embrace embarrassment – let yourself be drenched in your desire for change – even if you don’t know what form it will take.
Especially if you don’t know what form it will take.

Stalk your desire, ask it to tell you about itself, blush when it tells you how brave you are for supporting it.

Let’s not confuse being a stand for change with knowing how to help it happen.

The protesters in Bahrain don’t know how democracy is going to take root but they are willing to try– and even die – to find out.

Maybe we get embarrassed and stop short because we’re afraid to have our hearts broken if what we most want doesn’t come to pass?

Here’s my video about being embarrassed – I’d be honored to hear your stories and feelings about taking a stand. What has helped? Or what are you ready to take a stand for today?

A related post by the amazing Desiree Adaway on Do Not Apologize that I swear she telepathically knew I needed.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Anonymous - February 20, 2011

Oh, that old soft-shoe shuffle of embarrassment…that feeling we use to veil the fear that our vulnerable hearts will be laughed at, or worse, ignored, when we give our deepest love a voice. I know it well. And you’ve described it so beautifully here, Jen. Thank you.

When we stand in the Mystery, the unknown comes and stands beside us. Its essential friendliness envelops us, even though its features remain hidden.

When I commit to the qualities that are blooming in my heart–when I commit to savor and serve, to bless and sing, to love and celebrate–those qualities meet me where I am, and take root and begin to grow. They contain, within them and within my relationship with them, the pattern and form in which they will unfold in my life.

This, I know from long experience. I am not committing to a particular path or a particular set of actions. Rather, I commit to becoming the person who savors and serves, who blesses and loves. And the shape those qualities will take, the specific form they will acquire, emerges from the relationship we develop with each other.

I so look forward to sharing your journey of becoming Savor and Serve. And to seeing the ways in which these qualities will emerge in all of us as a result of the structures you’ve created to support their emergence. Including this blog.

Love, Hiro

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    you are brilliant and I am lucky to learn from you and i needed this reminder but you knew that, didn’t you!

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Michelle - February 20, 2011

That’s the thing about working on projects you’re super psyched about; you’ve got so many emotions tied up in it and you’re so excited and enthusiastic (or okay, I am, maybe passion projects aren’t the same for anyone else) – and to a lot of people, being that excited is just plain geeky! Most people are working on things that they’re “meh” about, which you don’t really get embarrassed about since you haven’t got any skin in the game. If somebody shoots it down, oh well, you didn’t REALLY care about it.

I’ve come to almost use my embarrassment as a guiding star. If the idea of doing something is embarrassing, then it’s either a truly great idea or a truly terrible one – and it’s pretty easy to figure out which from my other emotions surrounding it!

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    “I’ve come to almost use my embarrassment as a guiding star.” I love this Michele! So happy to meet you!

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Tricia Karp - February 20, 2011

Jen, please allow me to sit at your altar and bless you for speaking your truth so candidly and generously and beautifully (and this is the part where I say to myself: who do I think I am offering a blessing like that – a freakin’ guru?).

I totally get embarrassment, and the shrinking that accompanies it, and wanting to play small because I know so well that voice that shrieks in my mind: Who do you think you are?

And the reminder that with pure intention, that emanates deep from my heart, I don’t always need to know HOW is one I value very much.

So, what helps me to continue to take a stand (and I just launched my new site and business 3 days ago so I relate to what you’re talking about BIG TIME) is this: when I commit to savor and serve, to use my gifts as best I can to help others, then I encounter a new type of courage that is so much bigger and deeper and greater.

And I get a kick out of feeling embarrassed – it’s kind of exciting – and it sometimes feels a bit naughty too. I love daring myself.

Thank you for this. Tricia 🙂

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    Tricia, love the idea of getting a kick of feeling embarrassed – and can’t wait to check out your work. Thank you for joining me!

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Marianne Elliott - February 21, 2011

I cannot wait to talk with you face to face Jen. I know this feeling so well, the vulnerability of saying “this is what I’m becoming, even though I don’t really know how that’s going to happen or why it should be me when there are so many other better ‘qualified’ people out there”. Thank you for your commitment to being honest about this process, this experiment. Because we all feel less alone as a result.

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    having you on my side really really helps me keep going!

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Mona Grayson - February 21, 2011

My embarrassment has come in the form of being excited and passionate, and then not being able to sustain it – maybe because in the past I’ve caved under the embarrassment and let others sway me from my enthusiasm?

Sometimes I feel so isolated in my belief system that I think I start being quiet again – before I’ve had a chance to find my right people to share in the message and excitement with me.

Hmmm…your post is making me think.

I’ve felt my enthusiasm dulling in the last few weeks and I’ve been wondering what it was related to. I think it is related to this in some way. Embarrassed for seeing the world the way I see it and being so passionate about it amongst a community of people who aren’t seeing it that way so I think I need to don my camo gear so I blend in again? More hmmm…. and a hug. xoxo

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    Mona, good thought. I feel this way often – when I’m out in the “real” world. I was actually afraid this weekend (looking at colleges with my girl) that another parent would ask me what I did and I would have to say, “I’m a writer experimenting with sexy ways to save the world.” Gulp. Tell me how I can support you!

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Anonymous - February 21, 2011

yep, you are writing about saving the world. very hot opener, Jen. i see your embarrassment and raise you one out loud, “I am experimenting with sexy ways to save the world.” I was embarrassed the first time I said, “I want to be an evangelist.” There was something in the longing of it that made it shameful. Now, when I say, I am an evangelist. HA! Whole different thing. Standing taller, foxy rack out front, yes-ness. Keep on keeping on, glory hound.

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    If i stand tall, do I get a foxy rack too? LOVE the raise, I accept, very high vibrationnnnnnnn!

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    Angie Bryant - February 21, 2011

    Oh girl! We need to be a talkin’! I am working on bringing sexy into business. Like feminine style of business- collaborative, intuitive, powerful, intentional with a hot damn I can’t believe this is me in all of my hawtness!

    If we all owned our sexiness- all the confidence, get the hell out of our own way, inspiring other women to follow suit- can you imagine? I mean really, can you imagine that? Paradigm shiftin’, business world changin’, global miracles happenin’- whew! Getting worked up.

    Sexy Saucy Sisterhood

    Jen, just remember that when you follow your passion/truth/way, there will be nay sayers and you will likely piss off a few. Those folks are more vocal- they have time to run their mouth. Rest assured that you are inspiring some into action and others to tears. They don’t typically say as much- they are busy making the world a better place because of you.

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      jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

      Angie, yes yes yes! And owning my confidence is going to help me find savoring and serving in a richer way — that is what DV is a preaching to me!

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      DebR - February 21, 2011

      Angie, I should have read down a bit more and posted my “sexy” post here, because we’re simpatico. [or should that be simpaticA, what with the female power and all]

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Lone Morch - February 21, 2011

Jennifer, thank you so much, for daring to not know, but nevertheless, live the questions out loud. I’m so with you, and also shivering as I’m about to bust out free style as rebel priestess and truth teller. Honesty is strangely the hardest part, but to me, the only door way to true freedom. Here’s to exploring and savoring and serving, together stronger. xoxo

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    Thank you Lone for your hand to take as we explore, and for shivering as you bust out. What can I do to support you?

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Anonymous - February 21, 2011

Bravo Jen!! We can all be embarrassed together! Beautiful and oh so electric and vital, that line that is at the end of Paul Hawken’s graduation speech to the University of Oregon……” the earth is hiring and you are brilliant!” thank you for sharing your journey with such passion and truth!

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    oh good reminder, would be good for me to listen to that one again! Thanks for giving me a hand, it feels so good!

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karen wallace - February 21, 2011

Hugs Jen!

I’ve been too embarrassed to comment here… after all, you don’t know me (even though I’ve read your books and followed you for yonks…) But this? This made me know I had to reach out – finally.

You are writing about saving the world, but in the process you’ll save US by being so darn real. How beautiful is that?

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    Karen, please please please don’t ever be embarrassed to comment! I so need/want to be in conversation about this. Your reaching out helps me then go back in and say, “what do I want to learn/share next?” So big hugs right back and huge thankfulness!!

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Bridget Pilloud - February 21, 2011

This reminds me of that feeling before a first kiss, when everything feels fragile.
That raw edge of possibility.
We never want to be stupid or stupidly involved.
We never want people to question our sanity.

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    Mona Grayson - February 21, 2011

    Ah-ha! This is getting closer for me. People questioning my sanity. Ding ding ding! This is why I have let myself get dull. More hmmms…and thank yous. xoxo

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      jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

      totally went through that falling in love with Bob – lots of questioning of our sanity – it is like falling in love, isn’t it?

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        Mona Grayson - February 21, 2011

        Yes! That resonates. I’ve been falling in love with LIFE a way that I never thought was possible…where I used to see problems, I see love and grace. Where I used to see stress, I smile.

        But lately, because of the way I’ve allowed myself to hang onto some of the bad conversations I’ve had around the car shopping I’ve been doing over the last 3 weeks, I have felt myself getting duller. As if it’s not okay to keep shining. People would question my sanity if I went into a dealership by myself as a single woman to get a used car. People would question my sanity if I weren’t being mega tough with these guys and trying to get them to give me the car where they make like zero profit. Are you kidding!?

        And then this clear part of me, the part that Loves my life and is falling in love with every bit of it, knows that nothing bad can happen and OF COURSE I can shine in a car dealership. Of all the places I could shine, couldn’t a car dealership use some of it!?

        So that dullness has affected other areas of my shininess…but now just talking this through I am feeling the glow and brilliance re-emerging. I am going tomorrow morning to talk to my salesguys and I am going to be SHINING! And if I walk away with a car that is bought from me feeling shiny and great, then I will love that! And if I go in there and SHINE and leave without a car, that will be great!

        The important thing is that I SHINE and it doesn’t matter if others thing I’m insane.

        Yes yes yes….so needing to remind myself of this.

        The important thing is that I SHINE and it doesn’t matter if others thing I’m insane.

        The stuff that was covering up my SHINE (the fears) needed a pep talk and a reminder that there’s nothing to be afraid of. My SHINE does not need protecting. It knows exactly how to SHINE so we can just let it do its thing.

        La la la…wow….I’m feeling so much better!

        Look at how your change the world blog is already changing the world of This One (moi!) on the eve of buying a car. Thanks for holding this space and being in conversation with me to prompt these shifts within me.

        Ta-da! Love! Wheee!

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          Mona Grayson - February 21, 2011

          Oh this is so much more fun. I just picked out my outfit for tomorrow and the happy earrings and ring I’m going go wear. Bright blue! Bing! Now to put on some music and dance around a bit. : )

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          Mona Grayson - February 21, 2011

          So perfect! I started dancing to this song and the lyrics are:

          “Well my heart knows me better than I know myself, so I’m gonna let it do all the talkin’…”

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLpbZZ1HgPg

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          DebR - February 28, 2011

          Mona, is there a followup to the car-search story? Inquiring minds want to know….

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          Mona Grayson - March 1, 2011

          Yes yes! I have my beautiful silver 2007 Honda Civic Ex sedan with tinted windows and I LOVE it!

          I wore my outfit with dangly earrings and I went in there and SHINED! I smiled. I sang songs to myself. I smiled more. I did everything that made me feel good.

          I brought a book about green smoothies for one of the guys I’d talked to a few days previously who was telling me about his diet and how it’s really important to him that he loses weight. He was so happy to get it.

          I felt really happy with the deal I got and the car is beautiful. It all worked out so sweetly.

          I sent a thank you card to my main dealer and he got it in the mail yesterday and he sent me an email that said:

          “I just got the mail you sent. It made me feel so happy!!!!!!”

          (Yes – so many exclamation points from a car dealer dude in his late 20’s/early 30’s!)

          It made me so happy to read THAT because feeling good and happy is such a beautiful thing. And like I was saying in previous notes, if I’m gonna SHINE anywhere, why not in a car dealership? Couldn’t they use some SHINE too? : )

          So it was awesome, wonderful, and fun! The dealer and his wife might even come to one of my local raw food demos later in the month. How fun is that?!

          Thanks for asking, Deb. It’s got me smiling from sharing all of this and reliving it. : )

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          DebR - February 21, 2011

          Mona, I just had to add my three cents to your whole car/woman story. My last 3 cars I’ve done it full-force goddess power in effect. If the place gives me the creeps, I walk out. If the car “sparkles” when I look at it sideways, I tell them the price I’m willing to pay. Don’t care if that’s not the way it’s supposed to work, or if they think I’m a crazy woman. I don’t wanna dicker and so I’m not going to. It really isn’t surprising, not really, that each time I’ve ended up with the car I want at the price I want. Who said car buying had to be turned into a sport where there’s a winner and a loser? The way I’m looking at it, this is a prime everyday example of how our entire paradigm of thinking has to shift. And I’d like to add that Costco has taken this on, and you can now buy used cars through their Costco program where there’s no dickering. Hooray for common sense!!! Good luck and let us know how it turns out for you!

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          Mona Grayson - February 21, 2011

          Thanks for sharing your super inspiring and SANE story of your car buying, Deb! That’s exactly my approach for tomorrow. If my mechanic gives it the green light, then I’ll go tell them what I’m willing to pay. It’s so simple, really. And I like how you said, “Who said car buying had to turn into a sport…” It’s time to start questioning things like that…and shift the old paradigms. Grateful and blessed to be able to do my part tomorrow with my dangly blue earrings and shiny lips. : )

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      your mentor - February 21, 2011

      hey Mona!!
      people questioning your sanity…
      it reminded me of this post by Seth Godin: unreasonable
      http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/02/unreasonable.html
      Thank God some of us take the risk to look foolish, stupid, insane.
      Else nothing would ever change in this world!!
      xoxox

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    DebR - February 21, 2011

    I love this. thank you.

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your mentor - February 21, 2011

Amen. I resonate with so much of what you said in this post. Plus it’s a great preparation for an event I will be attending next week.
One question that keeps coming to my mind… why sexy?
do you choose to be sexy for your own self or because that what’s expected of you as a woman?
I hope you don’t think I’m going all feminist on you. Just trying to pay attention to the words.
xoxox

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    You can go all feminist on me anytime – and it’s a great question! I choose sexy mindfully for a few reasons – there is a way I have been hiding in my work, pussy footing around what I really care about, and coming out of hiding and into this project is sexy to me, as in life giving, life claiming, power owning… the sexiness of being who I am, of being a stand, of being myself. It is also because I want to connect people to a fresh idea of service – as a way to access their own power and share it, as a way to be more fully honest with themselves. But not bec it’s what expected of me – that makes me giggle. I was raised to think taking a stand was embarrassing and loud and not for ladies. Does any of that make sense?

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      your mentor - February 21, 2011

      thanks for clarifying Jen!! and so promptly. it does make sense.
      in my mind the word sexy and the use of it is often related to seeking attention just for the sake of it.
      But I see it is something different for you. something that might refer to feminine power!! In that case YOU ARE SO SEXY in your video!! Showing your vulnerability and passion is very powerful.
      I looking forward to witness your journey and hopefully being a part of it.
      xoxox

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Anonymous - February 21, 2011

Embarassment has, at its heart, that old, familiar friend/nemesis – fear. The thing that can stop you in your tracks, even though you know you are on the right track. I only hope that I can follow you and utter the same YIKES! and then proceed on to do the thing closest to my heart and soul. I am watching you with honor to see how your journey unfolds, hoping that somehow I can come along for the ride and share in success as this story is written. Thank you for allowing this to happen.

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DebR - February 21, 2011

Jen, here’s a big WOO HOO for “sexy” — to me that’s a big BIG part of the difference between male/female power/perspective, that from the male [the way the world works now] sexy is a euphemism for out of control, brainless, not-serious, disposable and inherently worthless. Whereas from the female perspective, sexy is life-affirming, as natural as life/death, independent of age or looks — it’s how babies get made, a big step to deepening a couples’ intimacy, a passion and joy that’s internal, inherent with having a body. Like Justin Timberlake said, we’re gonna bring sexy back. The real sexy. The kind that ignites hope and belief and joy and makes you let your inner 11 yr old free to dance around the living room singing her little heart out….

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Anonymous - February 21, 2011

I just adore you and all your vulnerable gorgeous not knowing embarrassed self. Because it allows me to more fully claim my own.

Shakin’ in my boots with you ALL THE WAY, darling one. Thanks for being the trembling leader of our bumbling but heart centered pack (-:

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    certainly am trembling

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Anonymous - February 21, 2011

Hi Jen. I really needed to hear that I don’t have to have all the solutions worked out before I can stand up for change. I work in education & the problems run so much deeper than any one person can solve. But I catch myself feeling like “who am I to speak up for change?” I start sentences with things like, “I am no expert, but . . . ” Also, I don’t want to be a “complainer”. I want to speak up, rise above the complaining, and somehow trust that change will be set in motion. Speaking up with authority is difficult & definitely embarrassing! Thanks for the encouragement!

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    It is! I’ll always remember a story by Marion Woodman – Jungian analyst – about always being the one in meetings who would stop the meeting and say, “Something doesn’t feel right here.” Can change start with that courage? Isn’t that what is happening around the world?

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Goddess Star Monroe - February 21, 2011

Parallel feelings, I also launched and am experiencing a roller coaster of emotions and feelings. THANK YOU! Jen for you have helped put a lot into perspective. I completely resonate with your words and your actions. Sending you a big hug and a big smile xxx

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    here’s to good things for us both and the world!

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Jenn Givler - February 21, 2011

You are singing my tune. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I took a huge step (for me) yesterday and asked to teach at a yoga studio in my area that I just love and adore.

I have no idea why I feel compelled to teach at this studio, but I just have this strong desire to do it.

The whole time I was gathering the courage to approach them, I felt this nagging… I felt this really strong vulnerability. Despite the vulnerability, I asked anyway. And they accepted!!

Reading this post this morning helps me feel “normal.” I’ve been teaching for a while now, I have my own successful classes, and I work with clients… I could not for the life of me figure out why I felt so… sheepish. I kept trying to talk myself out of it, to tell myself to stop being so ridiculous, telling myself it was silly to feel this way, I’m a big girl, I’m professional… there’s no reason for this…

Hooray – it’s normal to feel that way! What a relief!

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    i feel this way all the time! I think “I can’t approach so and so” or “I can’t ask for that” that has to stop for us to save the world girl – making the ask!

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Anonymous - February 21, 2011

Ha! When you yelled “YIKES!” you startled me (didn’t see that coming!), and I got the biggest all-the-way-to-my-toes smile.

What a great message – you named something I’ve been feeling, but unable to even point to distinctly – much less name. And how terrific the way it ended – with you getting a piece of an answer even after (or maybe because?) you let yourself be in that embarrassed place without answers.

I want to be (and am!) excitedly embarrassed too!

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    So happy to have company! Could have given you a warning on the Yikes!

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Anonymous - February 21, 2011

You go you brave and beautiful girl.

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Anonymous - February 21, 2011

you go you bold and beautiful girl

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    I’m a going!

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Lynne Tolk - February 21, 2011

Yes, and yes, and yes! I am embarrassed just to be passionate, let alone let anyone see that! I just gave a course that bombed, because I was so passionate about my idea I got scared (embarrassed) and tried to over-control and forgot to bring my students along with me. I want to hide. But I’m hanging out in my embarrassment, telling people what happened, and I will do it better next time!

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    Oh Lynne, I so get it! I do that all the time! make sure and come to the free call for Teach Now and I will try to cover a little bit of that — big love!

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Natalie Currie - February 21, 2011

Brilliant! Just what I needed to hear Jen.

The scientist in me says fantastic: we aren’t suppose to know the outcome of our experiments. The creative in me says: can I do my part to help save the world? Can I even say it? I think I just did.

I’m thrilled to be on this journey.

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    I’m thrilled to have you here!

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Rebecca Johnson - February 21, 2011

I started a website called Be The Change: Change The World because it felt right and good and real for me. I still get embarrassed when I tell people the name of my website because they laugh, look at me funny, try not to show any expression, or ask if I’ve considered a shorter URL (which yes I considered many but that one felt the best). I started out with lots of gusto and was so excited. But then I stopped putting my heart into it. Because I felt alone and silly, and vulnerable and stupid. Wow. That makes me cry.
Maybe by watching what you are doing it will be part of what helps me get my courage back, and get more clarity about how I want to change the world…by changing me of course…
xo

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    Rebecca, we must talk! You are exactly the kind of person I want to support and want to learn how to support. What is missing for you around clarity? I get this little niggle you know how you want to do it but are afraid to say it out loud? Or am i projecting?:)

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      Rebecca Johnson - February 21, 2011

      Jen,
      I think I am afraid to even THINK it let alone say it out loud…I feel like its hiding from me in my brain somewhere just around the corner…like a shadow, that I can only just barely get a glimpse of… I would love to talk more…This dang post, and the other article you linked to has left me tearful all day long…

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        jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

        tearful in a good way?? And you know (I can feel the next post coming on!!) it’s okay to be afraid, it’s exactly the unfolding of knowing – shit, I don’t want to know that! Whoops.. too late. I told Desiree Adaway today that I don’t want this calling – i want to play, to rest, to write fiction dammit – but this calling wants me. Scary as all get out, let me tell you.

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          Rebecca Johnson - February 22, 2011

          I am not sure if it’s tearful in a good way, probably…something broke open… I can’t put words to it yet other than over this last year I jumped…took risks…let myself be in that scary as hell space and then I got metaphorically slapped, my fears were reinforced, my vulnerability was too much, I felt ashamed and I stuffed it all back in my turtle shell and emotionally went back in my hole. So there I am. Here I am. Something about the combination of what you said and what Desiree Adaway said made me realize where I am at. I was numb and unconscious to it until yesterday… so the tears are about becoming conscious of putting myself away…the sadness that I let that happen…the goodness that with awareness I can do something about it…does this make any sense???

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          jenniferlouden - February 23, 2011

          totally! awareness heals and just giving the body time to be still and let it process, let it catch up, is profound!

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          Natalia Erehnah Iwanyckyj - February 24, 2011

          I SO relate to this post, esp. “I don’t want this calling – i want to play, to rest, to write fiction dammit – but this calling wants me. Scary as all get out, let me tell you.”

          I was chatting with some friends about seeing myself on Oprah with my message (that the presence of diverse individuals on the planet is an invitation to all of to see the essence of one another). A friend replied, “I don’t want to be famous.” And I thought, “Neither do I! Once my children leave home, I want to live in a little shack/cabin on a mountain. I want to hike and read and lay on the ground — alone! I don’t even like to leave the house now. What am I doing picturing myself talking to thousands of people?!” But I see and feel the call. Oy!

          It helps to know that I am in good company. (You may recognize my name Jennifer since I’ve been raving about the Life Organizer on FB since I ordered it at the beginning of the year. I adore your writing, presentation and message. I wish you well as you bring it forth — even more! — into the world.)

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          jenniferlouden - February 24, 2011

          Thank you Natalia! I felt sheepish last night after posting this, thinking “I should belly up the call and like it, dammit” but it’s not all like that, is it? Here’s to you on oprah!

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          Abellasorella - May 4, 2011

          “I don’t want this calling – i want to play, to rest, to write fiction dammit – but this calling wants me.”

          Right?!?!
          It’s like the day you SEE this stuff…that YOU can DECIDE your life…the true meaning of choice and it’s power in your life…it’s like WHAT CHOICE DO YA HAVE NOW? 🙂

          There’s no denyin’ the call.
          Thanks for your daily risking & courage.

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          Abellasorella - May 4, 2011

          “I don’t want this calling – i want to play, to rest, to write fiction dammit – but this calling wants me.”

          Right?!?!
          It’s like the day you SEE this stuff…that YOU can DECIDE your life…the true meaning of choice and it’s power in your life…it’s like WHAT CHOICE DO YA HAVE NOW? 🙂

          There’s no denyin’ the call.
          Thanks for your daily risking & courage.

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Virginia Ellenson - February 21, 2011

Ohmygosh Jen!
I’m so excited about your Savor & Serve experiment that it didn’t occur to me you might be feeling embarrassed. Reading your post and watching your video just now made me see how my own fears of being SEEN and known just as I am aren’t unique to me. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability so bravely. As you know, I’ve written for an audience of one (myself) all of my life … so beginning to share myself and my writing at http://giraffejournal.com often feels uncomfortable & embarrassing yet exciting all at the same time. Talking to you and sending my Labyrinth Journal draft to friends for feedback seemed risky at the time but oh so necessary. I’m glad I just did it … and I appreciate all the feedback & suggestions. As I make changes in the draft, I’m hoping to be brave enough to follow through and publish it soon … no matter what happens (or doesn’t) because I’m doing my best to listen to & trust myself … embarrassed or not.
Hugs and blessings,
Virginia

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    yes yes yes – let’s be brave together!!

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Claire Marsden - February 21, 2011

I’ve received your emails for a long time and been inspired but this is the first time I’ve felt so strongly I had to personally thank you and share my experience. It feels like one of those moments of synchronicity. Basically, right now I’m in a war or words with an organisation that’s meant to be supporting me, because I spoke out about how I feel they’ve let me down. It took so much courage to speak out and I agonised over it for so long. But I decided I’d feel worse in the long term if I didn’t say anything, like I’d ‘betrayed’ my ‘true’ self. And it’s true, their response to me speaking out keeps breaking my heart as each individual closes ranks with another, shutting me out and seeking to undermine me. Yet as you so rightly say, protesters in Bahrain are willing to die for democracy, so it felt to me that it’s my duty to exercise my right to free speech, however it turned out. And the funny thing is, the more I speak out, despite the backlash and isolation and doubt I feel, the less scared I feel. The act of doing it is oddly thrilling, like I got away with something. People might not agree with me, but they can’t stop me speaking out, which in itself is validating. I loved the film ‘Black Swan’ as I really related to Natalie Portman’s character’ s struggle to gain independence from her mother, but left the cinema feeling despondent at how she dies at the end. If she doesn’t survive, I wondered, what kind of message does that send (I know it’s only a film, and it’s a great dramatic ending, if not a good life manual!) to those of us paddling like mad under the surface while trying to look graceful? But as I walked up the path to the 1st home I’ve lived in independently, I thought “the swan doesn’t have to die at the end”. I’m making it up as I go along, following the path that feels right. Thank-you for articulating something I relate to so deeply and to everyone else who has posted a comment.

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    jenniferlouden - February 21, 2011

    oh Claire, that is so hard! Please surround yourself with people who get you and love you and accept you during this time. It’s very very hard for humans to be excluded. Take care of you in all ways! And brava for being a stand – I am proud to be connected to you!!

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    Mahala - February 22, 2011

    “the swan doesn’t have to die at the end” reminds me of a movie critique class I took many years ago.
    Biggest eye opener: in movies where women characters are striking out on their own, finding their identity, breaking away for their independence,etc they are almost always punished or killed in the movie (!!!) Whereas for male characters it’s usually a heroic, triumphant in the end storyline.
    Too brain addled at the moment to run through current movies to see how much it still holds true, but at the time it was pretty astonishing.
    BTW, I think the film issue has a direct relationship with why stepping forward for feminine, sexy change is so scary. Not so many stories of triumph. Until now 🙂

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Mary Davies - February 21, 2011

Nice, Jen, and helpful. Reading Kurt Hoelting’s response to climate change, Circumference of Home, I got all fired up. He says, “I am no longer willing to live at such a bizarre distance from what I know to be true. This much is clear to me. If I can’t change my own life in response to the greatest challenge now facing our human family, who can? And if I won’t make the effort to try, why should anyone else? So I’ve decided to start at home, and begin with myself. The question is no longer whether I must respond. The question is whether I can turn my response into an adventure.”

So I’m posting often about my efforts to reduce my carbon footprint, which feels a little like guilt-tripping my readers. I puzzle about how much to say to my 16-year-old wonderful granddaughter who plans to drive her car the one mile to high school, so she can come home during breaks (even though we know 1/3 of vehicle carbon emissions come from trips of less than 3 mi).

I’m thinking, when does it become as PC to complain about others’ carbon overusage as it finally became to say, “No, it’s not okay to smoke in my house.”

Partly, of course, when each of us does the equivalent ourselves of giving up smoking. But also, when more of us become unafraid to tear up about the climate-induced famine arriving in China, the shrinking glaciers, the conficts we feel about long trips to distant beloved family.

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    it’s a great question and one I shall take up now that you asked it – there is this tight mouthed judgmental way we can remind others that I think shuts them down and then there is a sexy way… it’s almost like those of us in the know need to learn how to “market” saving the world/environment – a sort of seducing people to change. And for me, dear friend, who likes to knock people over the head with facts and knowledge, that will be a new stretch! (speaking only for myself of course)

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Elana - February 21, 2011

Jen, I deleted my blog because I felt super vulnerable being myself. I felt so incredibly naked and stripped down, it really frightened me, and the fear froze my ability to write freely…So, after 2 months I deleted it. Which, I will admit, makes me terribly sad and like I really did a disservice to myself. Particularly because I had started the blog in order to create a space for myself to be, simply, me. I just want to hug that little scared ol’ me!

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    hug her, hug her! And then ask, what other ways can I create a space for myself that feels sacred and real? And tell me!

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Ann - February 21, 2011

Attached is a link from a 15 year old that I heard speak a few weeks ago. His passion radiates~ he wants to change the world. http://media.causes.com/929133
We need to hold hands, young and old, to make the changes . You’re aligned in the Light, that’s for darn sure~ I’m by your side all the way!

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    thank you and thanks for this, looking forward to watching/reading!

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Sue Mitchell - February 22, 2011

Jen, this was “one of those posts” where you said exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been realizing recently that I feel embarrassed about new enterprises–always have–and I’ve really felt alone in that because I’ve never seen anyone write or speak about it.

All my life, I’ve felt really uncomfortable sharing new endeavors with people, especially the people closest to me, until I feel more certain about what it is. During the exploration stage, I feel very vulnerable to exactly what you said, that I’ll be seen as naive. I’m not sure why seeming naive is so horrifying, but apparently it has been!

I’m going to reframe this as not being naive but instead being experimental, exploratory and adventurous. That feels much better. Letting go of the need to already know is really liberating.

Thank you so much for “taking your clothes off” in front of us and clarifying this for me. After years of successfully knocking down internal blocks, I have not been able to get this one to budge. Who knew you could have a major lifelong breakthrough from watching a 2:52 video?

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    experiment can be our new buzz word – takes the pressure off, doesn’t it! So glad to be of help Sue, tickled!!

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Ericka aka Socialchangediva - February 22, 2011

Be not afraid Jen. In the words of Vincent Price on ” Thriller” – “You are not alone, you are never alone. Not here.” I tweeted some words for you this evening ( and others who might be with you). And I hope that you read them. But basically know that we welcome your commitment and your service with open arms. We ask your commitment for one day but your mental commitment for the long haul. We ask that you join us now and we hope forever. There are ills in the world to change. We need you, we want you. Come join us. We have you. *breathe*

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    Oh Ericka, your words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for asking me to join you!

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maitriquest - February 22, 2011

Wow Jen wow. Bravo and kudos. What fascinating shift and refining of purpose you’re going through and what a lovely personal way to share your thoughts – would I have felt the same reading a post rather than watching your face? No. Thank you for being brave and intimate in choosing this format.

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    that’s a lovely compliment, deeply thankful!

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Desiree Adaway - February 22, 2011

I am so happy my post resonated with you- I actually did write it for you. I just did not know it at the time. 🙂

We are all here to walk this path with you. Not knowing leaves no room for constraints only the incredible opportunity to identify and name your own needs. You are open, and sharing your many gifts through service will ultimately save and heal the world. Service is transformational.

If you do not like what you see happening in the world, you can change it. Never underestimate the power of YOU. The power of your experience and the role it plays in the healing of the world. .

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    gosh what a powerful sentence: “Not knowing leaves no room for constraints only the incredible opportunity to identify and name your own needs.” Now that makes my heart beat very fast – in a good way!

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Rebecca Leigh - February 22, 2011

Thank you Jen,

I recently posted my first video post and didn’t tweet about it myself because I didn’t want my closest friend and my husband to see it. The thought of it made me prickly with embarrassment.

But I got the word out to my ‘online’ circle via forums and my newsletter… that night hubby came home and said, “I’m looking forward to watching your video!” I asked how he found out and he said he gets my newsletter of course. I went red and was so embarrassed at the thought of him watching it! (I try not to think about family-friends reading my blog either.)

Isn’t it crazy that I’m more embarrassed at the thought of my nearest and dearest seeing what I do, than I am at the thought of strangers? Perhaps not. Perhaps it feels like much more is at stake—what if I lose their respect and love? I guess this also relates to growing up in a home where I did not feel safe to express myself creatively for fear of ridicule.

What happened next—hubby took me by the hand and led me to his computer, pointed to my website, and told me I was doing work that helped people and I never, never needed to be embarrassed about that. Yes, he’s a keeper.

Thank you for talking about embarrassment Jen.

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    I feel that way often – esp with neighbors and people in my community. Working on closing that gap though – and owning all that passion. It feels good, yes? 🙂

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Kathy Weinkle - February 22, 2011

Thank you for writing this. I have sometimes, well more than sometimes stayed quiet because of the fear of not knowing how to make happen what I dream; or for the fear of not ‘looking’ like I know what I’m talking about (embarrassment I guess). I had a personal blog for a couple of years where I shared photos and slices of life. While I love writing, I always felt myself holding back. Now I understand that I shared a piece of myself but felt constricted. I didn’t allow myself to be fully vulnerable for fear of being embarrassed or criticized. I was aware and yet didn’t quite know how to fully let go and let my heart speak out loud.

This last year though, I’ve done a lot of growing through facing parts of myself head on and embracing them. I’ve been letting go of the ties that bind and practicing listening to my heart rather than my head. I am practicing speaking out and stepping through fears.

I am passionate about compassion. I believe that we must hold ourselves with compassion and in turn hold it for others. I am dreaming big to build a compassion team in my community that brings workshops to schools and other organizations. How am I going to do it? I don’t know yet and that feels a bit scary. I am talking about it out loud with just about everyone I know. I figure saying it aloud (or writing it) here is a step. Thank you for the outlet and the opportunity to connect.

I am so glad to have found your blog. Beautiful that you are stepping out with your amazing experiment. Your work resonates deeply with me.

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    Kathy, what an incredible mission – I love it! Talking out loud, that’s all I’m doing now. Talking. And then listening. We must be sure and listen, too. So happy we are connected!

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Oz - February 22, 2011

What has helped me is getting clarity on whether I passionately give a damn or if I’m just messing around.

I’m a man who’s taken on a woman’s issue in spite of advice that I find a woman to at least be the face of the organization. Well, I’m clear that I’m just a person who answered a call. Period. Man, woman tall or short … keeping the intention ever-present has allowed me to keep pushing forward.

Great post Jennifer. Thank you this comes at the end of a day when I faced 3 negative encounters and 1 positive, and naturally I want to focus on the 3 rather than the 1. LOL!

Tomorrow, I get up and keep the intention moving forward.

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    oz, yes! that was what I said to myself in meditation this morning – see the fear and don’t let it stop you, sit with it but don’t let it define you, move IT forward today – yes!!! (fist pumping)

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Alana - February 22, 2011

Jen – I couldn’t stop smiling through your video. When I first got your launch email my heart took a leap. This is what I’m working toward too – I love that you’ve called it Savor & Serve. Yes, I get embarrassed about my passion. I’ve always been a little “too much”, I share too much, I love too much – or so I felt I was being told. I’ve learned to make myself small. That caught up with me last year and I am done with small. I’m done with apologizing – as Desiree wrote so beautifully. Or at least I want to be done 🙂 And that embarrassment? That’s linked to old shame, about my idealism, my passion, my inner light. But I’m not going to let it stop me this time. Thanks for being vulnerable with us.

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    thanks hugely for being with me on this!

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the whole self - February 22, 2011

It’s not that I’m afraid to have my heart broken. I know I can cope with that. But I’m embarrassed about letting people see who I am. Last November I had a major reframing of what I was doing on my blog and my first thought was how do I tell people I’m not doing what I said I was doing any more? For me the shift was so dramatic I thought people would not understand. Plus, it was so intense it was impossible to even begin to articulate what was going on.

Now that there’s some distance between me and last November, I have the benefit of some hindsight, but what has amazed me the most is that many others have experienced a similar change of course around the same time. I’ve seen this online and offline.

I love your new experiment and look forward to following everything you’re doing throughout the year.

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    jenniferlouden - February 22, 2011

    it only took me 10 years – but who’s counting? I so get it!!! The change is in our minds isn’t it! So glad to be on this rollicking rollercoaster together!

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Rochelle Lynn Falack - February 22, 2011

Growing up, I had a babysitter who tormented me. She dipped my head in a toilet with feces in it, and she made me eat disgusting foods for her pleasure. Whenever she did these horrible things, I started counting to 10 knowing that eventually the pain would stop. As a child, I never stood up for the way she hurt me. But as an adult, I have used yoga to become more powerful as a woman. I’ve written a book about it, and I started a blog at http://yogasuccess.wordpress.com/.

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    jenniferlouden - February 23, 2011

    yoga is so healing! thank you for sharing Rochelle.

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Lynn Blaney Hess - February 23, 2011

I’ve always known that embarrassment was a theme in my life, but this post has really made me dig and think about what that’s about for me.

My boyfriend has something he calls his “Laverne and Shirley Complex,” where he gets embarrassed watching awkward shows or movies and has to leave the room. I remember having the same feeling watching “The Brady Bunch” when I was a kid — certain scenes would make me so embarrassed that I had to cover my eyes. I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on the “why” of this — but, as best I can tell, it has something to do with being embarrassed of any kind of expressed emotion or vulnerability. (Of course, in those shows, the emotion is fake, but it shows up in real life, too — watching someone be “uncool” while expressing strong emotion can make me feel horribly embarrassed, even though on a deeper level I admire them and am envious of them for being able to do so. )

I agree with commenter katscanlon that it all somehow comes down to fear. But fear of what??? Clearly I won’t die from expressing myself awkwardly (and certainly not from watching someone else do so!). And, paradoxically, the writers and role models I most adore (you, included :)) are the ones who are willing to jump out there and EXPRESS and be real, potential embarrassment be damned. I have always admired a quality in myself and others that I call “earnestness,” for lack of a better description. Yet it is that very earnestness that can be the most embarrassing thing.

Anyway, I don’t have any answers or conclusions. But it has been really valuable for me to ponder this, so THANK YOU for raising the question. And THANK YOU for being willing to risk embarrassment to be real, be yourself, and use your vulnerability as a means to touch and heal the world. Because I honestly believe that that’s the thing that’s going to do it. xoxo

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    Sue Mitchell - February 23, 2011

    I agree with you, Lynn. Jen has such a gift for honest expression of feelings we all share but didn’t know others experienced and haven’t been able to put into words. By showing us that our feelings are universal, she helps break their power over us and frees us to move closer to reaching our true potential. Now just imagine thousands of women operating from this higher place, and I think there’s some world-changing potential there. 🙂

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      jenniferlouden - February 23, 2011

      from your lips to my fear quaking heart

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    jenniferlouden - February 23, 2011

    gosh I need your words today, thank you thank you thank you!

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Nanwackgaunt - February 23, 2011

I am taking a leisure learning class on creative writing. When in class, I only feel totally embarrassed. When I read my paragraphs, my face turns red and I can hardly speak. My voice breaks. I feel totally out of my element. Totally exposed.

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    jenniferlouden - February 23, 2011

    I was invited to this very big deal writer’s retreat last April – I was the lone self-help gal – and the night we all read, you should have heard the embarrassment and quaking in my voice. But I knew if I didn’t do it, I would regret it forever. United in voice breaks!!

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Gail - February 23, 2011

Remember the poem I shared at Transformational Speaking by David Whyte: “If only you’ll stop singing, I’ll make you safe.” Thanks for singing your song, Jen. Savor and Serve is world-changing as we each are inspired to see where our passion leads. ( I wonder if there is a predictable flow: passion, heartbreak, embarrassment, then savor what we love and serve because there is no option . . .)

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    jenniferlouden - February 23, 2011

    You always say everything so perfectly. You are a miracle.

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Julie Henderson - February 23, 2011

Oh Jen! I am sitting here in tears of …what… relief? joy? fear? It’s definitely self-recognition in part. I am in the midst of really clarifying, claiming and accepting my calling to do this same kind of divine work in the world. My ego’s a little freaked out, I’m feeling a little exposed and yet I cannot back down.

Two seconds before I read this I had sent off an email to two of my best friends about an experiment I want to start with our tween daughters. I am a SoulCollage facilitator and the girls love the process. I want to form a regular group for them because I know in the core of my being that this is a pivotal time for them. I believe we can create for them a place where they can truly get to know and honor themselves as the amazing, unique and yes, I even said “beautiful expressions of the Sacred Feminine”. I then immediately felt the need to make some self-depreciatory, explanatory comment how I was just coming off a high from a weekend silent retreat hence all my flowery language. I was, even with two of my best friends, embarrassed, and felt the need to explain and perhaps even to apologize. At least I see it and can sit with it, get to know it better.

Your post has me breathing again. Because if you are feeling that way then I’m not nutty! One thing I’ve said more than once to my business coach is “I can’t do this. I’m not Jen Louden!”. Well, maybe I’m more like you than I thought… and maybe I can just be me – as we can be sisters on the journey! Along with all these other wonderful women I see posting here!

What a relief to know I’m neither crazy nor alone.

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    jenniferlouden - February 23, 2011

    oh i am laughing my middle aged butt off – I have spent the last 24 hours in sheer terror… having no idea what to do next with this project and utterly terrified about all that needs to be done… “I’m not Jen Louden” all I could think was THANK GOD. Love that you are here, thank you for that relief and also for working with the girls. My daughter and I were talking about how we want to serve together and working with kids/girls is what we want to do… too!

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Natalia Erehnah Iwanyckyj - February 23, 2011

Fabulous! Thank you! I am working through the Wheel of Initiation this year. The first step was to set an intention. I started with something like, “I use my voice to transform the world.” That made me pretty uncomfortable, but it was honest. Imagine my shock when the circle facilitator prodded me with questions and I arrived at the intention of “I transform the world.” No qualifiers. There it is. During each monthly circle, everyone states his or her intention, and I say, “I transform the world.” Sometimes, if feels quite comfortable. At others, I feel like that scream in the video clip. Thank you for sharing and calling us together.

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    jenniferlouden - February 23, 2011

    what a fantastic intention – love the directness! growl yum.

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Jim - February 23, 2011

AWESOME Jen!! Way to step into an incredibly vulnerable space!!! I LOVE your authentic nature, and how you just say it like it is!! Great to ‘see’ you again!
Peace!
Jim Pehkonen

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    jenniferlouden - February 23, 2011

    thanks Jim!!

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LivDelicious - February 23, 2011

YOU are so REAL, so Delicious!

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    jenniferlouden - February 23, 2011

    aw shucks!

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Karen - February 24, 2011

Jen,

I have been reading your blogs for a while and wanted to take the time to thank you for what you do. I appreciate so much of what you write, but I deeply resonated with this blog.

A little over two years ago, I resigned from a “save the world” kind of job as a Director of Sustainability for a non-profit. Through that job, I was also the director of an award-winning green business program for the city of Chicago that I helped launch and develop. It was the highest profile and best paying position that I ever had.

Yet, my intuition and inner guidance told me to leave that job at the height of my success, with really no plan of what I would do next. As a single divorced mom with two boys (now 8 and12), with not that much money in the bank, this was a risky thing to do. For a long time I was embarrassed to be on an uncertain career and life path. I was also afraid that I might never attain that level of success again.

It’s been an up and down road. Until recently, I was afraid to meet people that I used to work with, and explain what I was doing, because I couldn’t always explain it to myself. The last few years have been an intense transformational journey. When I finally finished writing my first novel and sent it off to a writing contest, it felt something was suddenly released in me, and that it was ok to be unconventional.

I really appreciate your wholly authentic and comforting approach. I hope to work with you at some point, because I feel like your energy is what I need more of on the next part of my life journey.

Thanks for being authentic, and letting us know that we’re not alone in our journey through life!

Karen

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    jenniferlouden - February 24, 2011

    Karen! How incredible to have the faith to do that. And to know when is your time to lead the change and your time to tend the inner creative change – wow! So honored to have you along.

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Susan Gallacher-Turner - February 24, 2011

You’re so brave to admit feeling embarrassed, Jen.
My embarrassment right now is having said for the last 10 years that I’m an artist and now, I don’t know what I am. Maybe I’m a writer, now? Can I be both? I don’t know.

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    jenniferlouden - February 24, 2011

    you can be both or neither! I know, that label thing – so tricky – you are a lover of life, I know that for sure!

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      Susan Gallacher-Turner - February 26, 2011

      Both or neither…what freedom and yet, what fear.

      “you are a lover of life, I know that for sure! ”

      Thanks, Jen…I needed to hear that, cause sometimes, I’m not so sure.

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Anonymous - March 5, 2011

Thank you for not knowing and doing it anyway Jen. There’s so much I have not known and still do not know. I have felt quite a bit of embarassment at my passion and it’s only the support of my community that keeps me doing it. I’m so glad to support you in your embarassment! Regarding naivete, just recently I was talking w/ a friend about the in-person community we are building here and she asked me if I wanted to talk w/ a local developer about the practical planning aspects of the community and I said NO, thank you – I want to stay naive because from the place of not knowing SO MUCH MORE is possible. Loving you Jen.

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    jenniferlouden - March 7, 2011

    yes it seems when i look back at my youth, I felt so much more was possible because i didn’t know better… good reminder!

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Abellasorella - May 4, 2011

I so understand this – you have no idea. So much so, that when I decided to write books, etc (all of that ‘Saving The World’ stuff…ya know, whateva it is we do) that I had to just go with it. Get into it….be A PART of that ‘cheese’ or I wasn’t gunna do it. One of those things ya can’t just kinda stick your little toe in and expect your message to get out…SO, I chose a pen name of a certain type of cheese…it’s actually very beautiful and rarely known as a cheese so it works well and adds a little mystery to my smile and bolds the conviction of my words.

If I have learned anything on this journey of mine is that most of what is thought of to be ‘cheesey’ is really just part of the brainwashing of society (not trying to be too heavy with that but really…) so as to go back to sleep and forget our importance/instinct/purpose/all-that-jazz. OPPOSITE DAY…everyday.

You are amazing and I am glad I found you.
Never stop.

EVER.

Who you are matters,
what you do matters,
*DIRT MATTERS

MUCH LOVE & GRATITUDE,
Abbie

*DIRT- who we were born as…our authentic self.

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Abellasorella - May 4, 2011

I so understand this – you have no idea. So much so, that when I decided to write books, etc (all of that ‘Saving The World’ stuff…ya know, whateva it is we do) that I had to just go with it. Get into it….be A PART of that ‘cheese’ or I wasn’t gunna do it. One of those things ya can’t just kinda stick your little toe in and expect your message to get out…SO, I chose a pen name of a certain type of cheese…it’s actually very beautiful and rarely known as a cheese so it works well and adds a little mystery to my smile and bolds the conviction of my words.

If I have learned anything on this journey of mine is that most of what is thought of to be ‘cheesey’ is really just part of the brainwashing of society (not trying to be too heavy with that but really…) so as to go back to sleep and forget our importance/instinct/purpose/all-that-jazz. OPPOSITE DAY…everyday.

You are amazing and I am glad I found you.
Never stop.

EVER.

Who you are matters,
what you do matters,
*DIRT MATTERS

MUCH LOVE & GRATITUDE,
Abbie

*DIRT- who we were born as…our authentic self.

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Abellasorella - May 4, 2011

I so understand this – you have no idea. So much so, that when I decided to write books, etc (all of that ‘Saving The World’ stuff…ya know, whateva it is we do) that I had to just go with it. Get into it….be A PART of that ‘cheese’ or I wasn’t gunna do it. One of those things ya can’t just kinda stick your little toe in and expect your message to get out…SO, I chose a pen name of a certain type of cheese…it’s actually very beautiful and rarely known as a cheese so it works well and adds a little mystery to my smile and bolds the conviction of my words.

If I have learned anything on this journey of mine is that most of what is thought of to be ‘cheesey’ is really just part of the brainwashing of society (not trying to be too heavy with that but really…) so as to go back to sleep and forget our importance/instinct/purpose/all-that-jazz. OPPOSITE DAY…everyday.

You are amazing and I am glad I found you.
Never stop.

EVER.

Who you are matters,
what you do matters,
*DIRT MATTERS

MUCH LOVE & GRATITUDE,
Abbie

*DIRT- who we were born as…our authentic self.

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    jenniferlouden - May 4, 2011

    needed that today thanks!!~!!

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    jenniferlouden - May 4, 2011

    needed that today thanks!!~!!

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    jenniferlouden - May 4, 2011

    needed that today thanks!!~!!

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    jenniferlouden - May 4, 2011

    needed that today thanks!!~!!

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    jenniferlouden - May 4, 2011

    needed that today thanks!!~!!

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Pamay - June 27, 2011

I am in the midst of a project that I call My 52 Weeks of Worship Project. It started as a way to walk through the pain and grief of a very challenging personal year, where I lost my grandmother and my father, and saw the end of a meaningful long term relationship.

After a challenging year, I felt like God had forgotten me.  And that was not okay with me.

So, I set out to find God—and I decided to look everywhere and in the eyes of everyone I encountered.
At the beginning of 2010, I decided that spirituality could be and would be the context within which I made my journey back to myself. I made a commitment: to visit a different place of worship every week, whether that place of worship reflected my religious tradition or not. This became one of my life’s most meaningful experiences, and it is the basis for my blog, http://www.my52wow.com, my book, and my mission to share my journey with others and talk about reclaiming personal power through faith and spirituality.
And I so get your point here. It is extremely challenging to be so open and transparent about the pain you may have felt, and how you are taking a stand to be brave and share your story, and help others by doing so. Changing the world by doing so.
I am glad that I found you. Thanks for sharing your work. And if you want to talk, I would love to. You can email me at my52wow@gmail.com.
Keep doing the great work!
Pamay

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Sarah - October 29, 2011

Jen:

You have no idea how much I needed to read this little post tonight.  I’m in the midst of taking a little stand of my own, in my little corner of the internet, but it has turned into so more than just me.  Which is awesome, and scary all at the same time.  I am a huge fan of you and Brene, and I feel like there are a lot of people that need to hear your message that I can reach.  You see – I’m a pastor’s wife.  We are talking Evangelical.  Big ole’ sub-section of people that really need to hear more about shame and the ground-breaking work that has been done.  So I am trying to lead by example – by owning my story and being authentic and real and whatnot.  For the most part, it has been very well received, but then there are those that would prefer that I not be so real, so transparent.  

It is a hard road to walk.  Sigh.

Then there are moments when I freak out and realize that I have shared really deep stuff with people that will turn around and judge, or not get it, or whatev.  Then I second guess myself, and think that going back behind the veil and living life with walls up would be easier.  

Then I read posts like this, and I remember that I am not alone.  And it is about more than just me.  And I am encouraged.  So thank you….

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