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How to Reduce Suffering

It may be true that suffering is a part of life. It may even be true that we need a certain degree of suffering to help us grow into a compassionate human being. But one thing I know for sure, we can greatly reduce our suffering when we understand how the mind works and something that is called "the suffering of suffering"

"The Suffering of Suffering" is when we encounter suffering and then the mind itself behaves in such a way that compounds our suffering. In other words, your own thoughts take a situation of suffering and multiply it, significantly increasing the amount of suffering you experience. 

Is that hard to believe? You probably think that you would never purposefully increase your own suffering, and that is true. You wouldn't purposely increase your own suffering. The suffering of suffering is such a habit that we don't even recognize it. 

Let me give you an example; ...

Pilates - Beyond the Mat, part 2

People ask me frequently, what is Pilates like? Since I am not a Pilates instructor, I can only comment from my own view. So I have written here about my personal experience with Pilates. This is not about the history of Pilates or of the many benefits you can find in Pilates. Just like my previous blog on aerial yoga, this is not so much informative but rather about my personal encounter with Pilates and how it dramatically improved the quality of my life. (If you haven't yet read my blog entry; Aerial Yoga - Beyond the Mat, part 1 you can find it here by following this link)

 To understand how Pilates helped me, you have to understand where I was in life just before I met Pilates.

For many years I have struggled with chronic back pain that I had always attributed to three traumatic injuries I sustained to my low back when I was in my twenties. With each injury the impact was such that the skin turned black from bruising. As I reached my thirties, the symptoms of these previous injuries surfaced in such a way that several times a year my back would go out, seemingly randomly or from the smallest movements. Each time this happened, walking was almost impossible for the first week. It would usually take an additional two weeks before I could move and function normally. Since this happened anywhere from 2 -4 times a year, that meant that for 6 - 12 weeks of each year I was not able to move easily or without pain. This is where I was last summer when my back went out just after becoming the owner of Just Breathe Yoga and Fitness Studio. Picture this; one day at the studio I was really

Raven Heart

Let me tell you a story of falling and flying, of bleeding and becoming.

It began small and wholly unnoticed at first. I was being nudged towards the edge for years though little neglectful actions and small unkind words. Contained within the tiniest of moments the disregard for me had crept in like a cancer. But the moment of falling began with a note.  Left there carelessly, was a note addressed to the one I loved that read, "Thank you for a wonderful weekend" and signed by a name that wasn't mine. This note, discovered just after after a weekend (that apparently wasn't  a work weekend as I had been told) was like some metaphorical banana peel placed there at the edge of a cliff where I regularly walked. Just like that, this note was left for me to slip on, to lose my balance and to begin falling over the cliff that had snuck closer and closer over the years. But it was more than just a slip. It was the very ground disintegrating beneath me. The entire foundation upon which I had built my life crumbled right out from under my feet and I went tumbling over the cliff. The "sorry" that echoed behind me as I fell was utterly useless as it did not prevent my descent into darkness. The tears of regret were also useless because I began falling long before they did.  The falling was endless and literally lasted for years. Every time I thought I hit rock bottom it wasn't rock bottom it was just some rock jutting out from the side of this enormous cliff, or a gnarled branch, that I would slam into but keep falling on and on. There was no solid ground in sight, only endless falling as it grew darker and darker.

 Then one day, out of nowhere, I heard a voice in the darkness. The voice said, 

Aerial Yoga - Beyond the Mat, part 1

 This is a personal story, about my experience of Aerial Yoga and how I found healing and courage within that silk hammock. 

Before I was the owner of the studio, I heard that aerial yoga was being offered locally. It was something I really wanted to do, but for some reason, I was holding back. Many months passed, maybe a year, between when I first heard about these aerial yoga classes and when I actually attended my first class. Why was I holding back? Not because of fear, maybe a little bit because of finances, but mostly because it had become a habit to suppress my own wishes and desires. I had gotten too used to putting others first and too comfortable with neglecting myself. I felt like there were parts of myself that hadn't seen the light of day in over a decade. But I was getting bolder because the habit of suppressing my truth had not saved me from pain, and in fact, may have added to my pain. I was coming to a point where I had enough of making myself smaller for the comfort of those around me. I was ready to voice my wishes and to take steps forward to shed all that was no longer serving me. And believe it or not, taking aerial yoga was an important step. It was a bold declaration to say, 

In a Past Life...

I recently had a very interesting conversation with my beloved about the spirit of trees and their energy. It reminded me of this poem I wrote almost two years ago now. A poem that felt like a remembering more than a creation. Reflecting on trees made me want to share this poem. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know in the comments if you can relate to it, if your spirit resonates with non-animal entities in this world, or if you have even felt the soul of a tree. 

 

In a Past Life...

A Poem written April 25, 2017

 

In a past life you were a river and I was a tree. 

You, always you, and I, only me 


You, a river powerful enough to drag and push heavy rocks to the Sea

Strong enough to dig into the Earth and reshape your own boundary


Gentle enough to invite dragonflies  upon your banks and boulders

To carry moonlight and starlight upon your back and shoulders.


I , a weeping willow tree growing near, 

with trunk gnarled and twisted made 

On the verge of something Wonderful!

A few weeks back I was having a discussion with a dear friend. We were talking about this thing I have been trying to manifest for many many months now. A particular situation that has taken a lot of time and effort and a roller coaster ride of emotions and once again I was right up against that place where it was on the verge of happening. And my friend said even if it doesn't happen right now in the way that you want it you can still believe that something wonderful is about to happen. This concept is not new to me. In fact I have even taught on this exact idea. However in that moment when she said I could still believe that something wonderful would happen I felt like my entire being came to a complete halt. 

This is the Reason Why...

This is the reason why...
I feel really good recommending our studio to anyone who is looking for greater wellness and peace in their lives. 
Because I believe in the ...

In this very moment

"Yes, you really understand the process. We need that vulnerability and humility to let go. We feel that wave of release and a lightness comes over our being. But it is never once and done, is it? Even when the clarity and realization is strong, there always seems to be a deeper level,... more letting go,... more clarity....

Maintaining a Positive Mind

Frequently taught in relationship counseling is the idea that for every one negative comment or complaint you make about a person, you should then also share 5 positive comments. This way, there is not only a greater abundance of positivity in the relationship, but you are also creating a habit of positive thinking. 
We can apply this technique to our own minds. If we notice a negative thought, a worry, or a self criticism, we can practice generating 5 positive thoughts. If generating a positive thought feels difficult in that moment, try listing 5 things, 5 aspects of your life, for which you are grateful. Sometimes a negative emotion can be very heavy and feel very strong. In those moments it can be challenging to think of even one positive thought. But if you begin with gratitude, you can travel the distance from a negative thought or feeling to a positive and lighter mind. Start by...

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