Jen’s New Years & Birthday – Reflecting Inward and Moving Onward



Life with Jen #37

“Your life is a sacred journey. It is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.” ~ by Caroline Adams

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My “Intentions” for 2014

  • Obtain my 200 hour TT yoga instructor license in Spring 2014
  • Read “Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga”- take notes and write down thoughts so that at the end of the year I can see progress made.
  • Establish and maintain a daily Ashtanga yoga practice (which I have been doing since Nov 8)
  • Document the progress of my yoga practice.
  • Read the book “The Law of Divine Compensation” by Marianne Williamson
  • Increase the frequency of my meditation practice…..aiming for at least 3-4 times a week.
  • Become vegetarian
  • Drink more water
  • Drink a cup of green tea at work in the afternoon
  • Make it to my childhood best friend’s (Courtney) destination wedding in May and plan more visits with both Courtney and Julie.
  • Plan a weekend girls trip with Emily (per her request :))….either away for the weekend or a Blog Conference.
  • Practice vulnerability (this is hard for me)
  • Practice and learn more about non-attachment and the acceptance of impermanence
  • Encourage myself to see life from a place of love – where in the past I had viewed it and lived it through fear.
  • Actualize my own love…. because the more I do that the more I will be able to positively affect others.
  • Continue to forgive those I have not forgiven – including myself.  Pray for their happiness until forgiveness is achieved.
  • Come from a giving mentality – what you give in life is what you receive back…..what you sow you reap…..”Karma” in other words.
  • Try to place myself in situations that allow me to give.
  • Stop and listen to what I am supposed to be doing.
  • Embrace and continue to explore my creativity.
  • Continue through Yoga the journey of the attainment of inner peace.


First let me tell you that I have used the wording “intentions”…..where I have always used New Year Resolutions in the past.  I want to constantly have life intentions I am working on.  As the year goes on I may add new ones etc.  I used the app “Wunderlist” to write them down and as a way of keeping track.  It will be helpful to be able to have this list visible to me.

I have always loved New Years Day…..and now to go along with it Winter Solstice.  I have come to realize that maybe why it is especially meaningful to me might be because my birthday is January 3rd……so it really is a new “chapter/year” in life for me.  I like to reflect…probably too much.  This time of year offers the opportunity to pause and reflect more deeply on life, the prior year’s journey and to think about setting intentions for the “New Year” to come.


Some chapters in life are very easy…. flowing smoothly bringing about great happiness….. and some chapters in life……..well, aren’t so easy.  This year my reflection holds a level of importance that other years may not have…..because 2013 wasn’t one of those easy years.  I don’t want to reflect to hold on to what was or to continue living in the past in a chapter that was particularly hard….but rather reflect to think about how this chapter has changed me and how this chapter has contributed to the growth of my soul.  What are the lessons I have learned that I will take into this new chapter. One lesson I have learned this year is that it is not up to you what lessons you learn here during your time on Earth…’s only up to you whether you learn those lessons through joy or pain.

It is time to close this “2013 / 42 years old” chapter and open a new one.

I have decided it’s important for me to really pause and take time to do this.  I took Friday, January 3rd (my birthday) off from work and scheduled a meaningful day filled with things I love and special quality time for myself.  I am not a big birthday celebration kind of person………I usually just celebrate by going out to dinner etc.  But I didn’t want to “just” do that this year.  It was more significant that that……..and maybe from here on out it should be.  Maybe all chapters….easy and hard are owed the same reflecive time out.  Maybe this will become a tradition.

My Birthday in the future = a journey inward and onward…..yeah….I like that!

I was asked one time…… your daily activity what do you do that makes you happy………one of the things……….STARBUCKS….so, of course today I had to make sure I went and got my favorite latte.  When I got in the car this is what I found.  Sweet…..It’s the little things….and Emily does them all the time!


I got my latte and sat down with my book “Meditations on the Mat”.  I highlighted and dated what I read that morning.  This book is so amazing and a friend Jenny told me she had highlights and dates all over hers…’s nice to look back and see when you read and think about where you were in your life when you read them.

Next, I headed to Yin Yoga.   I love Yin Yoga and because it is so meditative I thought it would be a great part of my practice today.  I also love the instructor who just happened to be teaching it this morning………so … was a perfect combination! Love Kristy Grime’s classes!


After Yin Yoga………I headed to Ashtanga.  As you saw in my 2014 intention list I am in the process of establishing a daily Ashtanga Yoga practice.  I absolutely love Ashtanga and know in my heart that is what I want my daily self practice to be.  I started November 8th to be exact and can’t help but think about where my practice will be at the end of 2014.  It is very meditative which is why I love it so much.  It’s a deep, soulful practice that isn’t about achieving the most challenging poses……that isn’t how you grow in this practice.

I headed to where I practice Ashtanga – Richmond City Yoga….with one of my very favorite instructors, Robbie Norris (he also owns Richmond Private Yoga if you are interested in private lessons).  More to come on this awesome studio.

Here’s Robbie…(photo by Todd Hale).



Yesterday was the first time I did the whole the Ashtanga First Primary Series…..It was such a great practice – thanks to him!  I can’t wait to share more about Richmond City Yoga soon in a separate post.

After that…………MASSAGE time…..thank you Mom!


I went early to get into my comfy robe with cucumber water in hand….. and headed into the “relaxing room” they have (which was so awesome and beautiful!).  I had my journal with me so I could spend some time thinking about answers to some questions I wanted to capture from this year.

  • ·         What lessons this year was I meant to learn and which ones were the hardest to learn?
  • ·         What pieces or experiences of the “2013” life chapter have been my favorite?
  • ·         How will I approach my next chapter?
  • ·         In what way have I grown spiritually?
  • ·         Who and what has been my greatest teacher?
  • ·         In what way have I grown physically?
  • ·         What am I fearful of?
  • ·         What am I resistant of?
  • ·         What is currently manifesting or developing in my life?
  • ·         What is currently dissolving?
  • ·         What was an unexpected obstacle this year?
  • ·         3 words that describe 2013
  • ·         Where did I find unexpected joy this year?
  • ·         Who were my most valuable relationships with?
  • ·         What did I waste the most time on this year?
  • ·         Did I accomplish what I wanted to this year?
  • ·         What would I go back and do differently?

By the time I was done it was time for my massage.  It literally was the best massage I have ever had.  90 minute deep tissue full body massage!  AMEN to that!  Everybody should treat themselves to that every once in awhile.  The music and the oil were just so relaxing and just what I needed.  It went perfectly as part of my day.

Favorite food time!…………Sushi.  Through a friend I recently discovered the BEST sushi restaurant here…….Osaka.  It’s on River Road for all of you that live in Richmond.  I had lots of sushi and a couple glasses of wine…

And to surprise me Emily ordered the cutest cake pops! Candy Cake Valley Company in Richmond always delivers.  We have been using them like crazy.  She came up with the cutest yoga cake pop idea.

cake pops

I finished the day with a very special meditation.

I wanted to do a special meditation so, I did some research to come up with one that felt right.  Plus it allowed me to use my new meditation pillow <3

My meditation was thought out like a compass.  I didn’t actually use this compass…..I used a handy iphone app….  of course right? 🙂


First, I positioned myself so that I was facing West….in honor of sunsets…… as my sun has set on 2013.  It was time to go “within” and think about how this year has shaped my life where I find myself now.  I wanted to mediate on the experiences that I have had this past year that have contributed the most to the growth of my soul.  I wanted to make peace with this past year.  I wanted to extract the good in it, embrace and carry forward the lessons learned, and let go of what I have outgrown and no longer need on my journey.  Personal growth and personal development are a process and sometimes the hardest moments in life reward you with the deepest growth.  I wanted to take time to be grateful for those moments.  I wanted to say “thank you” for those moments……for they made me stronger, more humble, and more evolved.  I also wanted to think about the special times that have filled my soul with happiness and be grateful for them.  I wanted to acknowledge that happiness and take time to feel what it brought me.

beauty 18

Next, I turned and faced East…in honor of sunrises…. to ponder what I desire for 2014.  I envisioned a bright and beautiful sunrise.  It was time to set my intentions for this upcoming year.  I took time to meditate thoughtfully on what is important to me.  Meditation of the heart is where I started as that is where what is most important to you resides…..your heart is very intuitive.  I want to bring the energy to create my heart’s path and so I focused on that for awhile.  I created a mental vision board of what I want my life will look like at the end of 2014.  I strongly believe that you have to create and see the end result and know that you can manifest it in order for it to come to fruition.  I thought about specific things I wanted to accomplish this year.  I thought about what areas of my spirituality needed work.  How can I align my life more deeply with my inner self?  I thought about how I could place myself in situations where I could give back….thinking about how I could make a positive impact on those who cross my path.


It was probably the best meditation I have ever had.  I also did South and North…..but I could fill a whole post just on that!  You get different energies from different directions.  Hence…..The Northern Star.

This was a great finish to a very meaningful and enjoyable day.

Salute……to 2014.

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