Not So Great Expectations

Not So Great Expectations

“Expectations are the root of all heartache.”

~William Shakespeare

 

In the past few months, I have been thinking about the risk that comes with having and holding expectations. Expectations refer to the beliefs that you hold for the outcomes of events or of other people. Our expectations can lead to major disappointment when reality does not match up to what we had hoped someone would do or how a situation will unfold.

 

Some of the common signs that you might hold expectations include anticipating a certain outcome, holding a vision in your mind of how things will play out, or having a set idea of what you want or need from another person. When expectations are not met, it can lead to feelings of disappointment, frustration, and anger. We need to be careful not to become so attached to our expectations.

 

Due to our social conditioning, most of us expect to have achieved certain milestones in life by a certain age. We expect to be married, have a family, climb the career ladder, or reach the top in a specific way within a set amount of time. When reality doesn’t live up to that road map, we suffer. We blame our circumstances, ourselves, and other people for our disappointment.

 

The truth is that life doesn’t owe you anything—so maybe we can reduce our suffering when we stop expecting it to play out a certain way. Maybe we can find more ease, and less resistance, in allowing and accepting what comes our way. Maybe when we can stop having expectations, we will stop being disappointed?

 

Let’s consider our relationships and the expectations we hold of other people. We expect other people to be kind, respectful, and trustworthy, but that is not always the case, is it? Have you ever thought about the fact that many of our relationships with other people are transactional in nature? Transactional relationships tend to include a focus on the other person’s contributions to the relationship. There may be a sense of keeping score, with both people concerned about “getting” rather than simply “giving.”

 

Expectations may be clearly defined, or they may be unspoken and simply assumed by one or both parties, but they are more often than not based on contributions of one or more parties. There is an expectation of reciprocity and needs where both parties expect to receive something in return for their investment, whether they are conscious of that or not.

 

Think about your relationships for a moment. Are they based on self-benefits? Do you focus on what you are getting out of it? Is there an unspoken commitment of equal giving and getting?
Now think of a time when a relationship of yours has fallen apart. Did one of the people in that relationship fail to keep their end of the deal? Did one of you feel let down and disappointed in the other? We all enter into these transactional relationships based on expectations without doing so consciously, and we have all suffered when those “contracts” are broken. What if we created relationships based on authentic connection versus having them be transactional and based on expectations? What would happen if the emphasis in our relationships was placed on love, trust, care, and connection?

 

I wonder if the key to improving our relationships is to enter them more consciously, being mindful of the other person’s needs and feelings, and committing to giving without expecting anything in return. In doing so, we would allow ourselves to learn new things, grow, and truly connect with one another without expectation or perceived outcomes.

 

When we can practice living our lives free from expectations, we begin to be more fully in the present moment. We turn our attention inward, instead of focusing on all the external circumstances and judgments. Our lives become focused on acceptance, gratitude, and love. We stop fighting things that are out of our control and focus our power on what we can control: our own mindset, emotions, and actions. Learning how to be happy without expectations means realizing that fulfillment comes from within.

 

High Vibes + Grateful Heart! XO, Jenn

Healing with Somatic Therapy Practices

Healing with Somatic Therapy Practices

Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, need to be a life sentence.

~Dr. Peter A Levine

 

Most of us have experienced trauma or “painful life events”. Trauma can be defined as a pervasive problem one experiences after being exposed to an incident or series of events that are emotionally disturbing and/or life-threatening. This kind of suffering can have a lasting adverse effect on a person’s mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being. When we talk about trauma, many of us immediately think about life-altering events like terrorist attacks, mass shootings, natural disasters, and worldwide pandemics. However, trauma can also include less obvious experiences like losing a loved one, being raised in an unstable environment, verbal, physical or sexual abuse, emotional or physical neglect, alcohol/drug exposure, poverty, seeing someone get hurt, bullying, racism, or discrimination—everyday occurrences that are part of the human experience, yet traumatic nonetheless.

Every one of us has lived through traumatic events, whether we recognize it or not. With some quiet reflection, I’m sure you can recall specific incidents that challenged your understanding of the world, shook your confidence, eroded your sense of safety, or left you feeling isolated and alone — those incidents, are characterized as traumatic. The impact of trauma in our lives continues long after the event is over, and our minds and our bodies carry this danger mode that can be triggered at any time throughout the days, weeks, months, and years to come, long after the threat has passed.

We carry trauma with us in our physical and energetic bodies, and it can wreak havoc if it goes unattended. As distressing memories, thoughts, and emotions continue to invade and interrupt everyday life. consciously or subconsciously, they can strain mental health and have a significant effect on virtually every aspect of life. The big question is, once we uncover and accept the fact that we have had traumatic experiences, what do we do with it? How do we begin to heal from the trauma in our lives? It is important to understand that, when trauma occurs it’s not something that just happens in the brain or in the mind. It happens in the body. The body then holds onto that fear and helplessness until it has a new experience that contradicts the trauma and results in a shift toward empowerment. You can try to change your negative thoughts and overcome your limiting beliefs. You can try to understand where the trauma is rooted. But nothing will change until the changes happen in the body itself. Without changing the experience in the body, you cannot heal.

As a Certified Trauma-Informed Somatic Therapy Practitioner, I am a believer in the power of implementing somatic practices and experiences, introduced by Dr. Peter Levine, for moving through Trauma and healing from it. The word Soma means the physical body, and his work includes the assignment of body-based practices designed to help those who are suffering from traumatic experiences. Through somatic therapy practices, we learn to tap in and listen to the body’s wisdom. We reintegrate mind and body to work toward a state of being where we can more fully trust that we are safe in our own body and in the world around us. We learn to self-regulate to calm our mind and body. We begin to appreciate the pleasure and joy of movement, feel more empowered, and enhance our ability to connect with ourselves and others.

Our bodies hold the records, and as Bessel Van der Kolk states, ” keep the score”. Simply put, somatic therapy helps us manage symptoms of trauma and chronic stress. It is important to understand that we are all different and respond to different types of modalities and techniques or combinations of them. Some of the somatic practices that I incorporate in my work with clients include but are not limited to: Grounding & Centering, Self-Touch, Breath Work, Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping), Humming/Sound Vibration and Healing, Imagery & Movement, and Mindfulness/Meditation.

When we work through our trauma with these somatic practices, we start to lighten up, to rid ourselves of these heavy burdens, and to create space for healing. We break limiting belief systems that hold us back. We reconnect to our deepest inner knowing to get back into balance and alignment. We see the world with new eyes and with an overall sense of well-being. If you, or someone you know, is stuck in patterns of suffering, please reach out to me. I would be honored to help you move through your healing process so you can reclaim your joy.

 

High Vibes + Grateful Heart! XO, Jenn

What Does it Mean to Embody Your Essence?

What Does it Mean to Embody Your Essence?

“I am showing up in my wholeness, to reveal my true essence—who I am, what I have experienced, and how those experiences have shaped my life—with the intention of helping others on their path to healing.”

~Jenn Gulbrand

 

Are you in a time of radical reawakening? Are you showing up ready to listen and respond to the cravings of your heart, to release what doesn’t serve you, to feel and move through what needs healing, and to own your story?

 

I just published a book, Embody Your Essence, written for women who are answering the calling to return to their true nature and be in their wholeness; those who want to live more in alignment with who they really are, what they came here to be, and to reclaim their joy.

 

As human beings, we are programmed to conform to the expectations of our culture and of the people closest to us, including parents and caregivers. We take on the expectations and judgments of those around us, as well as their perceptions of who we are. As a result, these stories get deeply embedded into our subconscious. Because we are socialized to belong, we do whatever it takes to keep up with the script that has been written for us, even when it does not align with our true nature. When we can transform our wounds, heal, and create space for self-love, we learn that we are here to understand ourselves, not to be understood by others.

 

I wholeheartedly believe that it’s never too late to move beyond life’s challenges and rise out of the ashes to embody your soul’s essence more fully. By “essence,” I am referring to your dharma, your intrinsic human design, your divine reason for being here. What does it mean to embody your essence? We embody our essence when we fully inhabit, embrace, and express our true nature. You can unravel your entire life story, to discover who you are at a soul level, and to fulfill your purpose in this energy body. When we embody our true nature, we can learn to break the patterns of suffering and reclaim our joy!

 

I hold the heart-centered intention to be a Teacher and a Warrior of Love, Embodiment, and Empowerment for women everywhere. After thirty-five years of leading businesses in the health and wellness space, I have found my calling as a builder of communities and safe, supportive spaces designed to promote growth and healing. I am here now, showing up authentically, doing my part to help heal the human heart and raise the collective vibration one woman at a time.

 

I am honored to meet you where you are at to hold this space for you in my sacred circle. I encourage you to embark on a path of self-discovery and to reconnect with your sacred feminine power and own your truth.

 

High Vibes + Grateful Heart! XO, Jenn

Human Connection: Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Human Connection: Getting to the Heart of the Matter

“We are constantly being invited to be who we are”.

~Henry David Thoreau

 

Human beings are designed for connection and connectedness but what does it mean to have a truly authentic connection with another human being? To me, it means that we are exchanging positive energy with one another, building trust, and forming a bond that makes us feel seen, heard, and understood and one that makes us feel a sense of belonging. Henry David Thoreau said, “we are constantly being invited to be who we are.” Yet how many of us accept the invitation to show up 100% authentically in our interactions with one another? How often do we feel safe enough to bring our whole self to a conversation or to a relationship?

While we are multidimensional people with many layers to us, most of us tend to reveal only the top layers, the surface of who we are – e.g., the work we do, the roles we play, and maybe a bit of information about our personal lives. Why don’t we go deeper into our interactions? The opportunity for Conscious Connections can be made when we share the unfiltered essence of ourselves with others, including our true identities — not just our pain, but our thoughts, feelings, life experiences, dreams, and desires.
Conscious connections require: 1) Empathy; 2) Authenticity; 3) Recognition of Commonalities; and 4) Safe, Supportive Space to Share.

Studies of neuroscience confirm that our brains are literally hard-wired to reach out and interact with other people in a meaningful way. Receptors light up when we interact intimately and honestly with friends, family and community. We strengthen our immune systems, recover from disease faster, and live longer, healthier lives. Human connection lowers our rates of anxiety, depression and suicide so why do we only share fragments of ourselves, particularly at those times when we feel our most alone and disconnected?

I believe it is because we are held back by our own subconscious limiting beliefs and fears of being misunderstood, of being judged, and of not belonging. In a world where people are hiding to stay “safe”, speaking our vulnerable truth is probably the most courageous thing that we can do. I believe the shift in consciousness and behaviors that will lead us to deeper, more fulfilling relationships and connectedness is for us to begin looking at our commonalities, and recognizing our shared experiences, because when we do that, we recognize that we are so much more alike than we are different. Check out the international organization called the Human Library at https://humanlibrary.org/designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudice through dialogue. I love the concept as it aims to address people’s prejudices by helping them to talk more openly about their experiences to better understand one another.

What a difference we can make when we show up authentically with a desire to listen and learn and be fully present for one another through more conscious and connected communications. I invite you all to join together in a Global Manifestation to raise the collective vibration and help heal the human heart by dedicating ourselves to having more conscious connections. Let’s own our stories, witness one another, go deeper in our understanding, and connect in more meaningful ways.

 

High Vibes + Grateful Heart! XO, Jenn

How Do You Love Yourself?

How Do You Love Yourself?

How You Love Yourself is How You Teach Others to Love You.

~Rupi Kuar

 

February is the month we traditionally celebrate the love we hold for other people but how well are you loving yourself?

 

I spend a great deal of time in my coaching practice talking with women about the importance of surrounding themselves in self-love and compassion. Self-love is a state of appreciation that you hold for yourself that grows from actions that support your physical, psychological, and spiritual growth. Self-love means having the highest regard for your own well-being and happiness which means nurturing the relationship you have with yourself first, above everyone else. Self-love doesn’t come easy for most of us because we are programmed to put everyone else’s needs ahead of our own. I’m here to remind you that putting yourself at the top of the list is not selfish, it’s a vital ingredient to maintaining your health and wellness.

 

While self-love can look different for all of us, it encompasses being kind to yourself, forgiving yourself, losing negative self-talk, trusting your intuition, and placing value on your own worth. This practice includes setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, prioritizing your own needs, and not settling for less than you deserve. Self-love has everything to do with our ability to become more fully embodied…to embrace and inhabit ourselves in mind, body and spirit and return to our true essence. This conscious shift of really listening to our inner wisdom and honoring our needs is life-changing and has a significant impact on overall well-being.

 

Let’s face it, when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we tend to look to other people to “make us happy” and seek external validation or approval from outside of ourselves. When we don’t get the reassurance we are seeking, we often end up feeling weighed down by low vibrational emotions like disappointment and resentment. Conversely, when we decide to love ourselves unconditionally, we take our happiness into our own hands. We learn to tune in to and make time for what it is we need to be happy, healthy, and whole.

 

When we make ourselves the #1 priority, we begin to see a positive ripple effect in our lives and in our relationships. I know from experience that when I show up more authentically as myself, with a pure heart and good intentions for all, I am more present and mindful of the connections I’m making with myself and others. When you learn to love yourself, you teach others how to love you. You exude a new sense of confidence in who you are and where you are going. You attract respect from those around you. You are able to maintain healthy boundaries and better protect your own energy. When you learn to love yourself, you find yourself living a more embodied and empowered life that is more in alignment with your dreams, desires, and core values.

 

High Vibes + Grateful Heart! XO, Jenn

Living Forward

Living Forward

Intention is the starting point of every dream.

— Deepak Chopra

 

Each New Year brings with it a reminder to take a deep breath and exhale out a sigh of relief at the opportunity to begin again. It’s like getting a fresh, clean slate… when anything is possible! We are compelled to create New Year’s Resolutions every January so we can become the very best versions of ourselves. We vow to eat better, exercise more, work smarter, and break our bad habits. It may surprise you to learn that only 8% of people successfully stick to their New Year’s resolutions long-term. That 92% failure rate is bound to generate a lot of disappointment and self-sabotaging behaviors. Perhaps setting resolutions to fix or change something that we perceive is broken about ourselves, or our life is not the best approach.

Why don’t resolutions work? The problem with creating resolutions is that they tend to focus on all the things that we see are wrong in our lives. Setting a resolution from that vantage point can feel like an impossible burden and set us up for failure. When we make resolutions in this way, we are in fact missing out on the opportunity to reconnect with who we really are in our wholeness. We can get so disconnected from ourselves, we forget what we really care about. Why not accept where you are right now and embrace all of you? It’s ok not to be perfect, you are human. Perhaps you can shift your approach to setting intentions for the year ahead.

I have found that setting intentions motivates me to live forward with the mindset of limitless possibilities. An intention is something that I choose to focus on and that I can carry with me throughout the year. I recommend setting intentions that are more aligned with your personal values that dictate the areas of your life where you have the most potential to succeed. I have learned to put conscious energy behind my thoughts, emotions, and actions on where I want to be going and what I wish to be experiencing. The Vedic text, originating in ancient India, teaches us that we are what our deepest desire is and our deepest desire is in fact our intention. When you’re clear on what you stand for, you can then relate the changes you want to make with more self-compassion and increase your chances of success. When setting intentions, it’s important to clearly articulate what you want to cultivate in your life. Try writing an affirmation around each intention. For example, I stay present in each moment; or I experience life with gratitude.

As we launch into another New Year, I encourage you to pause, connect with your whole self, and reflect on your intentions. Design your intentions and affirmations to remind yourself what you care most and put your energy there. Where do you want to be going and how do you wish to be experiencing that journey? Cheers to becoming a happier, healthier, more joy-filled version of you and remember to celebrate your wins.

 

High Vibes + Grateful Heart ! XO, Jenn