Valentine's Day came and went like it always does. But, this year was different for me. This year I chose to love MYSELF!
For most of my life, I lacked self-love. I had nothing but love, gratitude, compassion, and appreciation for the people around me, but I couldn't seem to find any for myself.
This lack of self-love manifested itself in all sorts of ways -- toxic friendships, maladaptive behaviors, eating disorders.
In my 30s, however, it played out in the most toxic romantic relationship imaginable.
A friend continued to tell me this important message:
Yet, I couldn't manage to wrap my head around it for a long time.
I couldn't see the principle I teach my clients every day -- the law of attraction -- at work in front of me. We don't attract what we want -- we attract what we feel and what we think about.
If we aren't loving ourselves, we will find a way to surround ourselves with people who don't love us, either.
As my final toxic relationship came tumbling to the ground and I felt as though I was left with little more than a shattered heart, the lyrics hit me hard:
With my lack of self-love, I found someone who managed to show no love. Not only towards me, but to essentially everyone else, as well.
But, if you find yourself in the "lying on the cold, hard ground" phase, don't fret...
I spent the past two Valentine's Days "in a relationship" crying my eyes out. I found out the hard way that what Robin Williams said is true.
I turned inward this past year. I discovered how to love and appreciate myself.
I'm still a work in progress -- self-love isn't always my default option after so many years of the opposite. But, the best gift I could have ever given to myself was the gift of self-love.
My own self-love is also the best gift I could have given to everyone else around me. It's made me a better person.
This year I happily celebrated Valentine's Day. With myself. With my two kids. With my Galentine's -- the best tribe girls I could have ever imagined or asked for!
You can't make these smiles or these laughs up! They're heartfelt and they're real!
So if Valentine's Day hit you hard -- and even if you celebrated it joyfully -- I hope you took some time to celebrate yourself.
And, throughout the year, I hope you practice self-love.
Develop a relationship with the most amazing person out there -- YOU. Trust me, you deserve it. 💖🌷💖
Here's To Our Success,
Today I enjoyed the feeling of the warmth of the sun on my skin.
We always hear that it's important to enjoy the "little" things. But, perhaps even more important, we have to become AWARE of the little things.
Sometimes this isn't easy. Sometimes we intentionally choose to stop being aware.
For a long time, I didn't recognize a lot of my intuitive tendencies. However, as I became more in tune with myself, I started to see some patterns.
For instance, one of the telltale signs that something is very wrong has become crystal clear:
I get a chill. The bigger the offense, the less its likelihood of quickly departing.
I've had a chill since last night. Even after a really intense workout this morning, drenched in sweat -- I was still cold.
To put it lightly, the Super Bowl ended up triggering some memories.
This time last year, I thought I was in a whole different place in my previous relationship.
We were supposedly on the cusp of blending families, being comfortable out in public, talking about the future. It felt like things were finally "real."
We had communicated in great depth. We were going in the right direction.
I remember watching the Super Bowl together in her bed. I remember her expressing interest with what was happening and wanting to know more about the game. It may seem like a small thing, but when somebody has no interest in a game, but spends her whole evening watching and trying to learn, it just felt nice. It felt real.
There was a lot of hope in the air -- all around.
I thought I was building a life.
It was about two months later when it all came crashing down.
I found out that it was all lies.
Carefully crafted words.
Means to an end.
For me, last night's Super Bowl was yet another memory to recall with the seemingly simple, yet painfully complicated question I have used to trace over so much of the past two years: "Real or not real?"
I remember the first chill vividly.
It was our "on" weekend together (neither of us had our kids) so we would be able to spend the time together. We were supposed to go see one of my favorite bands play. We had texted throughout the day. All was well.
Until it wasn't.
It was all too typical.
She picked a random fight over nothing. This was her MO during entirely too much of our time together.
For whatever reason, I decided I could salvage the night and we still went to see the band play.
The whole time we were there, she refused to even speak to me. The band played some of "our" songs.
It was the first time a friend requested that I no longer bring her to the events.
I think I will always remember that night vividly. I was sitting at Cheers Sunrise in the middle of a hot night... FREEZING.
Perhaps I will remember it more because the chill didn't go away. For two days, in 80* weather, I felt cold everywhere I went.
After that time, whenever we would get into a major fight, I would get the chill again.
Since that time, and because I've become a lot more in tune with myself and my abilities, whenever something feels extremely wrong in my life with another person, I get the chill. It passes quickly, but I feel it nonetheless.
Last night, I remembered my previous Super Bowl memory. I remembered the feelings of hope that I had that night in that bed. I felt the chill. Once again, it stuck around.
Now when the chill comes, I know that it means that I have more healing work to do. I dig deeper.
There is still a lot of healing ahead, particularly with the forgiveness process. But, now I can move forward peacefully knowing that my life has done a 180* in less than one year.
For that, I am so grateful.
But, this experience has led me to question -- and help my clients question -- what message does the Universe send to you to let you know that something isn't right?
It doesn't have to be a chill. But, if you pay close enough attention, you'll probably find something:
That headache you keep getting...
That 'feeling' in your stomach...
That 'nagging' thought...
Do you listen??
Today I feel light.
There is an ease about me.
Today I am thankful for the radiant sunlight warming my skin.
Earlier this week, I blogged about the power of our perception.
We tend to be really hard on ourselves. But, if we take a moment to step back, we can see all of the progress we have made and the things we have accomplished where we may have only previously highlighted the failures.
The problem is that we have a tendency to listen to our inner critic entirely too much.
You know, that voice in your head that's always telling you what you *should* have done, said, worn, eaten... Or, how you're not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, tough enough (the list goes on and on)...
But, the good news is that your inner critic doesn't have to be your enemy!
In fact, in this brief, 6-minute video, I use Jack Canfield's success principle to show you how to transform your inner critic into your inner coach.
I hope you'll give this exercise a try!
Here's To OUR Success,
Every weekday morning, my kids and I wake up, get dressed, and walk a half-mile to their school. It’s a routine that makes me feel an incredible sense of gratitude.
The kids and I talk about the amazing day ahead. We observe different things like animals, flowers, and the sun rising, and then we get to the end of our quiet neighborhood.
The same crosswalk assistant stands at that corner every day. The individual’s in these positions are volunteers and they really love kids.
This particular man is very kind, always has a smile on his face, and we chat for a few minutes each day. Every once in a while, we talk about the past because he loves hearing my stories of New Orleans, while I love hearing his stories of Chicago. I like talking to him because I always feel like he has a deep sense of intuition and empathy.
Today, as my kids crossed their path to school, he turned to me and said, “I love seeing you every morning because you have a very natural state of joy that surrounds you. When I see your kids and you, and I see hundreds of family’s each day, I sense a true feeling of completion.”
It was such a kind observation from a near-stranger.
But, as I walked away, my mind started racing.
It was an ironic word to choose.
I don’t do New Years resolutions. I do “word of the year.” If you are not familiar with this practice, it’s essentially one word that you choose to guide your decisions and actions for the year.
For 2017, my word is “completion.”
I have an unfortunate tendency to get 90% of a project complete. From work to new program ideas, from crafts to laundry, I get right up to the point of completion (success) and then walk away and start something new.
It’s a TERRIBLE trait and this year I vowed to end it.
So imagine when a near-stranger casually observed a different aspect of my life (family) and complimented the level of completion he sensed there.
In reality, this is not very unusual.
Most of us are very hard on ourselves. Some of us, incredibly so.
We can highlight all the ways that we fell short, but are unlikely to point out all of the positive things we accomplished along the way.
The fact is there’s a balance in life. A yin & a yang to everything. The challenge is for you to find it.
In every success, there is something you can still improve upon further. In every failure, there is some positive step of progress made.
As you may know, I am a runner. I have many playlists for my runs. One of them includes Dierks Bientley’s song “Every Mile A Memory.” In it, he sings:
“Funny how no matter where I run, around every bend I only see just how far I haven’t come”
How many of us can say the same in our lives??
I know I can.
This past August, I reached out to a life coach to help me deal with the end of my relationship. Ultimately, she ended up being the one who helped empower me to work through my fear of success. (After all, allowing ourselves to remain stuck in toxic relationships is really just another way of sabotaging ourselves from being truly successful.)
After she listened to me “dive deep” and rattle off a list of all of my failures, the phone line fell silent for a bit.
Finally, she said, “I don’t know, Ali. All I heard was a long list of huge victories and successes.”
This experience was an eye-opening one.
Today, I challenge you to question yourself when your inner critic starts telling you how you fell short, what you messed up, where you need to improve, what you should have done better and differently.
Instead, look at all of the progress that you made in that area of your life and feel a sense of pride in yourself. I guarantee you that you will discover you have come a long way!
Here's To OUR Success,
Right before going to bed last night, I sent a text message to a close friend and let her know that I was thinking of not attending an event I had committed to this upcoming weekend.
I woke up to a string of texts.
"No, you have to!"
"I told everyone you are coming."
"You have to be there. You're local royalty now!"
That last line.
I thought to myself, "I must still be dreaming."
Me? "Local royalty" No.
But, it's the third time I have heard these words attached to my name in the past two weeks.
Is it because of my love of my tiara?? Just kidding. Kinda ;)
So how would you feel in this situation?
I think it's fair to say that there's a sliding scale of incredibly excited to incredibly terrified.
Here is something you would't know about me if you haven't followed my Facebook videos -- I am a social introvert.
And, here is something that only my inner circle knows.... I had to work with coaches from a variety of backgrounds due to a major fear that held me back in my life and in my business BIG TIME! In some ways, it was related to my status as a social introvert.
These days, I spend a lot of time working with my 1-on-1 clients showing them that lots of people are afraid of failure. We all know that. But, there's a much bigger fear that many people don't realize they even have or how large of an impact it is having on their life -- the fear of SUCCESS.
A lot of times you can "hide" your failures. Success is "out there."
Success, notoriety, positive impact -- these are external. They can be very visible.
The words played again in my mind. "You're local royalty now."
A social introvert with a deep-seated fear of success's worst nightmare.
I panicked a bit. I felt my heart start to race. Could I plan an impromptu trip and go out of town this weekend??
But, then I remembered all of the work I have done with my coaches. The training I did under Chalene Johnson in her Courageous Confidence Club (she's also a social introvert!).
I thought about how hard I have worked to get to where I am now. And, how one of my biggest goals in 2017 is having a big, positive impact in the local community through my life transformations coaching work.
So, I took a few deep breaths and remembered this quote:
If "local royalty" means that I am out there every day inspiring other people to live their lives to the fullest, place their fears behind them and step forward into the present with courageous confidence, then I will gladly own and accept the title.
But, I'd like to bring my tiara. ;)
Here's To OUR Success,
I did 18 assisted chin-ups today.
That’s pretty amazing since I was starting from ZERO.
But, as always, the transformation is in the lesson here…
By profession, I am a researcher.
I can read hundred of books, articles, and websites, analyze and synthesize the information, and then summarize it for you in a paper the length of your choosing.
But, it turns out that’s how I have been approaching much of my personal life, too.
Want to do pushups, pullups, and yoga handstands??? (That’s my physical fitness goal!)
Well, you can research it.
You can scientifically determine the weight lifting techniques and exercises you should do to strengthen the muscles that you need to do a pull-up.
That’s basically my approach. Research. Research. A little more research. Slow steps. Painfully slow steps.
But, this time I decided to take a different approach, shake up my typical system, and hire an amazing personal trainer. And, I told her my new fitness goals. (I’ve previously been a cardio badass!)
And, guess what??
We are doing plenty of lifting techniques and exercises to increase my upper body and core strength…
But, on Day 2, we were also on the assisted pull-up machine.
And, today, on Day 4, I did 18 assisted free hang chin-ups. (And, yes, the last 6 were SUPER assisted! No shame here lol.)
But, that’s the thing. We can take all of the small, carefully crafted, well-researched steps we would like.
And, that’s not necessarily bad. We need solid information. We don't want to be reckless.
But, most of the time you also have to JUST DIVE IN!
See what happens. Re-evaluate. Feel proud of ourselves for taking massive action!
So, today I ask you this question: What is the “pull-up” in your life?
Whatever it is in your personal situation, why not take that first step today??
Here's To OUR Success!
Back in early August 2016, I woke up one morning, packed up my car, and headed up the coast on an impromptu road trip with my kids.
I had an instinctive "pull". I knew I needed to go.
We spent some time on St. Augustine Beach. One afternoon, while walking around downtown -- an historical area known for its spiritual presence -- I had another "pull" and we headed down a random side street.
Sitting outside was a young woman reading cards. I hadn't had my cards read in about 10 years. The first (and only) time I had previously done this was in New Orleans in Jackson Square. I had found the whole process fascinating. But, I pushed my interest away the same way I pushed away most of my intuitive feelings at the time.
My card reading that day on a sunny coastal afternoon was amazing. After the reading, I immediately contacted a coach that I had recently started working with who is an empath, a reader, and who is connected deeply to the spiritual realm. I ended up working with her several times after that August trip as I deepened my own spiritual practice.
I also started to read up on and do research involving the chakras, crystals, stones, healing & light work, reiki, cards, and the Universe. I talked to coaches and healers specializing in these areas. I joined their private groups and took in everything they could teach me. I stopped pushing my intuitive feelings and hunches aside and began to learn how to embrace them.
Upon my return from our coastal road trip, I also went to my favorite local healing store and bought a card deck that resonated with me. Stevie Nicks is my favorite singer and the creator of the deck cited her as the inspiration behind her artistry. Crystal visions is a from a line in her song "Dreams" where Stevie Nicks sings, "Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions."
From that point on, one of my daily rituals became a single card pull in the morning upon rising to help guide my day. I also pull a card at any point during the day when I feel like I could use some assistance from the Universe.
It may seem like a small step, but this paired with my stones and crystals, as well as a daily chakra meditation, has been truly life altering.
After returning from my trip, things started to come together very quickly for me in a positive direction. I started doing a ton of healing work and shadow work.
But, then, suddenly there seemed to be a "disturbance" around me. I felt confused. Bogged down. Like I needed to retreat and find some space.
I pulled a card.
"The Four of Swords indicates recuperation, reflection, and withdrawal. The woman affected in the card is resting and recharging both her body and mind so that she can move forward on her journey. She has done battle and needs time to heal. Taking a step back from the situation is necessary in order to review the next course of action."
Many different things occurred during those few months and most people would have viewed them as trying and difficult. I felt a heavy weight on me at times.
The truth is that I had deep-dived into my healing. Perhaps I had pulled back one layer "too many" too quickly.
But, the fact is that sometimes we need something to come through and shake it all up -- destroy things a bit so we can put it all back together a new way and develop a different perspective. See the world in a new light.
And, that's what happened to me.
This shakeup -- and withdrawal -- allowed me to approach my life and my business from a new direction. The solitude and the time alone thinking, examining, and creating gave me the opportunity to re-conceptualize my business and my style.
Ultimately, we can choose our path.
We can choose our niche.
We can pick our direction.
We can try to have a stranglehold on it all.
But, the Universe will guide us if we open our hearts and minds and allow it to do so. All of the manipulation and controlling in the world can't do that for us.
When I really took a step back and examined it all, I discovered that people continued to turn to me for one thing more than any other -- the authentic and vulnerable way that I delivered my own personal story and journey into my life transformations coaching work.
People wanted more of the parts that I was only letting show through a little. The pieces that I was still somewhat hiding were the parts they loved, connected with, and were finding their own healing path through. They wanted to hear more.
As I began to recognize this, I began to think of ways to deliver it. I started getting crystal clear. When that happened, I finally began to feel the passion well up in me again -- the passion that seemingly dwindled for a little while there.
I pulled a card.
"When the Four of Swords appears reversed, a period of recuperation and recovery is complete. The card can signify increasing strength and vitality and a feeling of renewal."
I got chills!
So this year, I am committed to using this blog space on a weekly basis to demonstrate through the power of story in a step-by-step way how you can own, love, and appreciate *YOUR* story and use it to grow and transform.
If you let it, I know that this will empower you to design the most fulfilling, courageous, joy-filled life imaginable.
So here's to all of our success on this amazing journey. I look forward to blogging with you this year!
Sometimes in life we end up discovering a path towards growth and transformation that we never imagined possible.
This is what happened to me with yoga.
I had practiced yoga before. But, something was different about both me and about my practice this time around.
So let me tell you a little story about how I am finding space to heal and grow through yoga because I think it’s something that a lot of other people could benefit from, too.
At the end of class several weeks ago, a teacher I love and admire spoke about consistency. She talked about how we needed to be consistent in showing up for ourselves, both on and off the mat.
That message really struck a chord in me and allowed me to see the different ways I was holding myself back from being consistent, especially with my yoga practice.
You see, it’s not that I haven’t “wanted” to show up. But, the experience has been uncomfortable for me. And, sometimes it has felt a little bit too raw.
In fact, the first time I took this teacher’s class, I realized I was out of my league. The women in that class were very talented and knew how to flow right through the moves. Meanwhile, due to disc problems and an injury, I sometimes struggled to stand with my hips even.
I didn’t go back to class for a while.
As a personal development and life transformations coach, I took the time to look into this deeper, realizing that my experience in class played right into my core wound problem – feelings of inadequacy. I worked on my own healing in this area for a while.
Weeks later, I made the first move towards directly facing down my fear of physical inadequacy and I returned to class. I committed to pushing myself just beyond my physical limits and then giving myself permission to allow myself to stop once I hit that point.
All was well. But, then, to my surprise, a much bigger problem occurred.
About 40 minutes into class I felt a strong wave of emotion rush over me. Unusually strong. I felt it coming and I couldn't do anything about it. I started crying and I couldn’t stop.
Needless to say, that was super uncomfortable and I didn’t go back to class again for another few weeks.
During the next couple of classes, I was able to “control” the tears. However, that deep need to cry was still there. At the same point in each class, there was this overwhelming urge to just lay down on the mat in child's pose and ball my eyes out.
One night after yoga was over and my kids were in bed, I had a late night coaching call with one of my spiritual healing coaches.
There was something about the combination of the yoga and that call that felt like it cracked me open.
I cried on the phone with my coach. I cried after. At 2am, when I am normally dead asleep, I was up crying. I cried the next morning. I cried texting my mom about it. I cried writing to my yoga teacher about it.
It was as thought that night cracked something open in me. Something that was so desperately wanting to be healed, but I kept refusing to let it be, continuously suppressing it and pushing it away.
My life coach (a different coach who has helped me in immeasurable ways heal from my previous relationship) gave me a closure assignment weeks ago. I hadn’t done it.
But, that night it just poured out. This was accompanied by a ton of healing tears, of course.
I have never felt the same since that moment. There is a certain lightness about me now that was not there previously.
And, it turns out that there is some science to my experience.
We actually store a ton of our emotional stresses in our hips. Certain positions in yoga are referred to as “hip openers” and when we open and release the tension and stress in our hips, these emotions can be released.
The transformational journey can be a very messy and emotional one. We all have additional layers to expose and most of us have wounds to heal.
But, it’s in the process of letting go, relasing, accepting, and allowing, that we can experience our biggest transformations.
As New York Times #1 Best-Selling author Gabby Bernstein says in her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, “When you think you've surrendered, surrender more.”
Since that night when I was “cracked” open, I have followed my yoga teacher’s words and I have made the commitment to be consistent and show up for class and show up for the healing work. I’m doing this for myself both on and off the mat.
How about you?
Feel free to send me an EMAIL or comment below and let me know how yoga has helped you heal on your transformational journey.
In Love & Light,
Ali Jencik is owner and president of Radiant Energy Wellness, LLC, where she serves as a personal development and life transformations coach. Her expertise is in empowering women to gain clarity, set intentions, face down fears, and build confidence so they can design the lifestyle of their dreams.
Her FREE download "Design The Lifestyle of Your Dreams" contains seven simple, proven, actionable coaching steps that show you how to design your dream lifestyle NOW. You can download it today by clicking on this link:
Last year I saw a cool idea on Pinterest. The subpar results of this idea were the focus of my first-ever blog post. (Click here if you missed it.)
Long story short, I made myself a beautiful mason jar and set out to fill it with wonderful memories. But, the year came to an end and that jar was pretty much empty.
Was it because I didn’t have any good times or good memories in 2015? No, far from it.
When it came down to it, deep down I knew that most of the memories I would place in that jar would at some point eventually be filled with regret due to who I was making those memories with. And, I thought that those memories would eventually fill me with sadness and be too much to look back on.
But this year, I vowed to fill that mason jar up with memories either way.
I started by sprucing the jar up a bit for 2016. I mean who doesn't love a little bit of glitter?! :)
As the months went by, I slacked off a lot. There were tons of things I could have written down and a bunch of items I could have placed in there, but I didn’t.
Despite this, when I hit the mid-way point of 2016, my mason jar was filled to the top.
Are there things I look back on with a tinge of sadness now? Yes, there sure are.
In fact, my intuition was 100% correct from the beginning. The person with whom I made a lot of those memories walked out, as I had long suspected she would.
And, while that was of course difficult and some of those memories feel more than a little tainted, they were a part of my past and I celebrated them – and so many other wonderful things – in that moment.
And, THAT is what life is all about. Making the most of each day, living in the present moment, and allowing yourself to play BIG regardless of what the end result might be.
Because the fact of the matter is that we never know. People walk out unexpectedly. Career trajectories can change in a fraction of a second. Relationships and friendships can fall apart. Our whole life can do a 180* overnight and we might not be able to do a damn thing about it.
So it’s up to us to soak up each moment. Make the best of each chance we get. And, fill those mason jars up to the top with good times and amazing memories.
We are now nearing the end of July. If you haven’t done it yet, I invite you to accept the Mason Jar Challenge. It's not too late to have an amazing 2016.
If you do it, let me know how it goes for you. I love hearing about both your triumphs and tribulations. Because we grow so much from both of them.
So here's to ending 2016 with overflowing mason jars. As one of my favorite Dave Matthews Band lyrics says, “Celebrate we will ‘cause life is short but sweet for certain.”
P.S.: If you're looking for some clear, effective, actionable coaching tips on how to start living your best life now, download my FREE resource guide where I outline 7 key steps to designing the lifestyle of your dreams.
Just click here to download your free copy!
Did you forget to "just breathe" this morning??
I don't know about you, but I can help pretty much anyone when they are in a crisis, unsure of what to do next, or are feeling super stressed out.
But, me? When I'm stressed? That can be a different story entirely!
Case in point: Feeling a little overwhelmed AND working through some really difficult emotions this morning, my five year old daughter asked me to open up her yogurt for her.
Well, not so much.
I got the scissors, held the yogurt, took a VERY deep breath and muttered to myself "It's okay. You've got this."
Wow. Very serious considering "this" was cutting the top off of a Disney-themed squeeze yogurt.
Thankfully, the ridiculousness of the situation actually made me laugh. I had gotten so wrapped up in my stress and the feelings I was sorting through that I had forgotten to just breathe all morning.
Of course, upon further analysis, I realized that the motion of cutting was incredibly symbolic. It was never about the yogurt, but rather about giving myself permission to breathe, experience the painful feelings, and then release them, cutting the emotional stranglehold they had on me.
Sometimes we just need to feel like we are allowed to feel these feelings and that we have permission to let them go and release them.
I took a deep breath and released them. Today, I hope you give yourself permission to do them same.