The moment I accepted my life was a beautiful, chaotic, sometimes a little-messy-but-always-entertaining circus was the moment I felt a true release.

There's no sense in fighting the madness, but I've picked up a few tricks to keep the show going along the way.

I hope they work as well for you as they have [and still do] for me.

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It happened while I was mopping.

It happened while I was mopping.

MBC_My Year of ACTION_Feature Image - while i was mopping

It was late by the time I was closing up the studio. I’m a certified pole fitness instructor now, and I’d just worked a triple header of a night – Twerk Class at 6, reception at 7, and A2 Pole Fitness at 8. I was happily exhausted, on an intense emotional high from having the privilege to teach, challenge and help the incredible women who walked through the studio doors that night. I could have never expected this would be part of the teaching process… The looks of accomplishment on the girls’ faces when they get a new trick or spin, watching someone become a bit more comfortable with their body, catching them getting lost in the moment. It’s truly incredible to help facilitate these moments and I was riding the high these experiences brought.

And then it happened. 9:45 at night, gleefully exhausted, closing up the studio, the realization hit me:

I was physically exhausted and increasingly sleepy (it was nearing my bedtime for sure), yet so much more incredibly happy and fulfilled mopping the studio’s hardwood floors in that moment than I had been in quite some time.

Mopping. I was mid-tedious, mind-numbing task and I was so grateful to be in that moment. It’s part of the package – teaching at the studio – closing up when you work the last class, so it wasn’t my first time doing it. It just happened to be the first time the realization hit me like a dump truck.

THIS IS WHAT IS MISSING. The absence of THIS in my regular, day-to-day life. THIS is the feeling I keep chasing.

I’m not talking about the act of mopping itself, I’m talking about the feeling of fulfillment that comes during even the most mundane of tasks. I think maybe at one point in time it had been there in my day job. But slowly over the years, that feeling faded until it was extinguished. Fortunate enough for me, I’d been given a glimpse of that incredible feeling, and I wanted more.

It was right then and there I made the decision to take ACTION (<– hey yo!). I wanted THIS FEELING, this intoxicating feeling to flow through all areas of my life. I didn’t just want it in my part-time job, I wanted it in all of my jobs.

I started editing my resume 4 days later. Just 4 weeks later, I filled my letter of resignation. Two weeks after that, I began my new career path.

THAT FEELING now courses through all parts of my life. Even when times are tough, it’s still there. A quiet roar, it’s waiting patiently for me to realize it hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s here to stay now.

Maybe it was just time for me to find it again. Maybe I’d finally mustered up the motivation to make it happen. Maybe I was just straight up over it’s absence. No matter what, I didn’t just want it, I finally believed I was deserving of having it. And that might have been the most important part of it all.

And it happened while I was mopping.

Until next time, Campers,

Jennie B

It will happen as fast as you let it. – Someone wicked smart but unknown.

my year of ACTION

my year of ACTION

Posted in circus, life, year of ACTION

MBC_My Year of ACTION_Feature Image

If you look at the notes in my site dashboard, you’d notice the draft of this post was opened on 1/8/16. And it saved multiple drafts over the next few hours that all had one thing in common…..

They were all blank.

Title = present.

Text = none.

Doesn’t quite fit the title, does it? Let me explain a little:

I’ve never been one to pick a word to describe my year ahead until now. On New Year’s Day, I came across Chris Brogan’s My 3 Words for 2016 and really enjoyed the concept of picking 3. My initial words were:

love – action – faith

Pretty solid, eh? I thought so as well, however one kept standing out among the crowd. Many of you would probably suspect it was the word “love” having read my posts for the past few years .. well you’ll be just as surprised as I was to realize that it wasn’t. The word that had the most meaning and draw to me wasn’t love or faith (although I credit a lot of the blessings in my life to these two words). It was ACTION.

And so I decided 2016 is my year of ACTION. Charged up with motivation, I sat down to fine tune my January Desire Map goals to ensure they lead to my year’s ultimate aims, with My Beautiful Circus being at the top. But that’s the tricky thing about getting all revved up on motivation and inspiration, though. When it comes down to the ACTION part, it can be scary as freakin hell, you hear me?! And that is exactly where I found myself on January 8, 2016 while logged in to the My Beautiful Circus dashboard: paralyzed by the thought of actually taking the ACTION.

The following day after my failed ACTION attempt, I was talking to a dear friend of mine and former colleague at lunch. While explaining what went down with my blank page scenario, her eyes lit up and she insisted that is what I should start writing about – my lack of ACTION on my year of ACTION post. That it could help not only me, but others who get caught at that final step. You know, the one that switches from talking, brainstorming and thinking to the doing? Yea, that one.

And so here I am, writing about my lack of inspired-action for my year of ACTION post, hoping that just maybe it’ll kick start you to do something today you’ve been putting off for quite some time.

Last year was quite the interesting, eye-opening, life-expanding year for Jennie B and my circus. (And that’s probably an understatement.) The epitome of “A lot can happen in a year.” I’ve learned that it’s totally A-OK to be:

  • thrown off your game
  • completely shake things up
  • have complete and unfettering faith that something that sounds crazy to others will actually work
  • forgive and try to move forward, embracing openness and vulnerability
  • achieve a long-held dream only to realize it’s no where near what you want anymore
  • fail and fail hard
  • ask people for help
  • and be unabashedly (and unapologeticaly) grateful and happy about the things in your life

And that’s just the short list of things that came to my mind for 2015! Last year was a year of learning, accepting, testing and watching. This year I’m taking more of a no-holds-bar kind of attitude. I’m going to tackle those pesky nay-sayers in my mind that hold me back from moving forward.  It’s my year of ACTION. And even if the only ACTION I take is deciding to get out of bed and face another day, I’ll know it’s a step in the right direction. *Because let’s be honest, some days that’s a triumph in itself when your circus has gone to hell in a hand basket. I’m ok with ACTIONs big and small, just as long as I’m doing and not talking.

So tell me, what’s your word(s) for this year?

Have you already started embraced them in various ways? 

I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on 2016!

Until next time, Campers..xxo,

Jennie B

A little less conversation, little more ACTION. – The King, Elvis Presley

Get outta here, Bear!

bear

I wish I could take credit for the title of this blog post, but it wasn’t I who coined the phrase, it was one of my life lines, Christina Mortti of Good Graces Photography. And she has no idea how much it stuck.

A little background on my dear friend Christina and how the phrase came to be:  Mortti and I have lived together for a total of 3 of the 6 years we’ve known each other.  (Currently, we live a mere 7 minutes apart and try to get together at least once a week.)  She’s someone I used to catch myself envying for her often relaxed view of the world, until I learned how to adopt this view myself.  It’s not that she doesn’t care about things, but Mortti’s got a way of diffusing otherwise intimidating situations to a simple every day occurrence or slight nuisance.

Case in point: A couple of years ago, after visiting her Grandparents in the North Carolina mountains, she told me and a group of our friends how her father had cautioned her against going out for a run by herself in the woods during the visit.  A legitimate concern, he asked “What would you do if you were by yourself and came upon a bear?!” and in true Mortti fashion she replied with a simple “I’d just look at it and say ‘Get outta here, bear!’ and keep going.”

At first when we heard the story, we replied with a few “that’s so Mortti” type comments and went about our way. Crisis adverted, right? Totally. Who wouldn’t simply wave off a bear and keep going about their way?  I’m sure it happens all the time up in the mountains!  But there was something about the phrase that just …. it just stuck with me.

“Get outta here, Bear!” I caught myself saying it at random when any similar situation would come up in conversation.  The phrase has this odd power to dwarf that which seems overwhelming.  The things you get yourself worked up about that probably haven’t even happened yet?  Yea, those are bears.  Fears and anxieties?  Those are bears, too.  Intimidating people or situations?  Bears.  Long training run or race coming up?  Bear.  Mean people?  Bears.  Negative or attack thoughts against yourself? BEARS! BEARS! BEARS!  Borrowed worries from the future? Bears.  Again.

See where I’m going here with this?

I probably say “Get outta here, Bear!” at least every other day.  Sometimes it takes me getting worked up about something before I realize it’s just another bear.  When that happens, I’ll picture the issue or person as a bear standing in front of me, I wave my hand, tell it to get outta here [real talk: sometimes it’s get the f outta here], take a deep breath and boom….I start to see the situation with a bit more clarity.  I’ve done this with fears, anxieties, frustrations, negative and attack thoughts against myself, you name it – I’ve totally “bear’ed” it.

But hey, that’s what you gotta do sometimes.  Look something straight in the face and with a wave of the hand say “Get outta here, Bear!” and keep on walking.  Seriously, it’s like magic.  Try it this week and let me know how it works out for ya.

Thanks, Mortti, for always being yourself and for helping the rest of us make it through the day just a little bit easier.  You help keep the circus running.

Especially when the bears get out of line.  🙂

Until next time, xxo,

jennie b

power of the ocean.

On January 31, 2015 this happened…..

blue gorialla tattoo

In the spirit of Don’t Just Stand There, I took action on something I’ve been contemplating for months on end.  I got a tattoo.  Below is a picture of just one day after I got it done and one month after I got it done ~

tattoo day after and month after

It’s white ink and located between my wrist and my elbow on my left arm.  The guys at Blue Gorilla here in Charleston were very upfront on how much it would fade over time, which I assured them was exactly what I had wanted to happen.  I wanted a subtle note – a reminder for myself – and the crazy part is if you’re standing just 2 feet away and don’t know it’s there, you can’t see anything.  I could not be more pleased with the outcome, and I can always go back down the road for a touch up.

A lot of people ask me what the word kaimana means.  It’s the Hawaiian term meaning Power of the Ocean. *It also means diamond, but that’s a total side note.  I’ve wanted a tattoo for quite some time, but knew I wanted it to really mean something to me.  Initially I had thought the word love, but when it came down to it I wanted something a little more.  Last Fall I started a random search for terms related to two of my favorite things: the ocean and elephants.  And that is when I cam across kaimana. Without a shadow of a doubt, I knew it was perfect for my first tattoo.

I have a vast appreciation for the Ocean that I can’t quite explain.  It’s filled with endless beauty and power.  It builds and destroys.  It’s home to some of the greatest ecosystems and creatures on the planet.  It inspires and erases.  Having the best of times, it is a place of celebration.  During the worst of times, it reminds you how small your troubles are, like tiny grains of sand, or that this too shall pass like the waves crashing on the shore.  That is why I chose this word  It’s what launched this 8 year journey in this city by the sea. The power of the ocean brought me here.

I’m fortunate enough to be a stone’s throw and 20 minute drive from the Ocean.  Luckily, though, when schedules prevent me from making the quick trip to the edge of America, I can always glance down and be reminded that even when the circus is out of whack and up to it’s crazy tricks again, these moments are fleeting and I’m just one small piece of an entirely larger puzzle.

So hows’t that for taking action?

Don’t Just Stand There, do something!

Until next time, xxo

jennie b

[ clarity break ]

clarity break image

I’ve learned quite a bit over the past year and maybe one of the most important things is the value of a [ clarity break ], which I was reminded of just last Tuesday, the 17th.

I had arrived at work wicked early, 7:15 am to be exact, to knock out some detailed work before everyone started arriving.  You see I work in a busy, mid-sized dermatology practice where my makeshift desk is in the middle of a hallway.  Not the most conducive location to be writing content, editing the website or for concentration of any kind, really.  (NOTE: This is no secret, it’s been discussed with my managers and unfortunately there’s no other place for me to go in the office. I work remote one full day a week and during peak patient times, I try to do my best staying focused and in the zone!)  I thought I’d found the answer in arriving long before my coworks, but this was far from what happened.  You know those times when everyone needs to talk to you about something?  People who don’t ask you questions, have questions.  The printer and phone start going off simultaneously, and the noise level seems so astoundingly loud that even your headphones and the podcast coming through can’t dull it out? Yea. It was one of those mornings.

Inside, I could feel it. The annoyance – the frustration – it was starting to bubble like a pot of water on the stove. Previously when I was only trying to think positively all the time, I would insist on sticking it out and trying to think of one positive thought after another and wait for the bad feelings to magically disappear from my conscious. Let’s be serious here, positive thinking is WONDERFUL! It really can work miracles for a mental shift and I’m always a fan of trying to see the positive in situations, but realistically a few simple positive thoughts don’t always do the trick.  Sometimes you need to physically remove yourself from the environment to get that mind shift.  You need a break.  A quick and simple clarity break.

And that is exactly what I did.  I recognized I was on the crazy train so I promptly put on my jacket, grabbed my keys and headed for the parking lot.

Sitting in frustration, allowing the annoyances inside to fester and grow wouldn’t have done me or my work any good.

I ran down the street to a coffee shop, placed my order and while my drink was being made, took advantage of those few minutes to get back to my center.  I returned to my work station feeling a little lighter and ready to get back to my day.  The noise, traffic and every day occurrences were still there, however I had simply shifted my mental state to where they just didn’t seem to bother me as much.  And that is the beauty of a clarity break.

Now I know not everyone has a flexible work schedule that allows leaving to happen, and believe me it hasn’t always been the case for me, but here’s a few other places I’ve escaped too for a clarity break:  the patient privacy room, electrical closet, staff bathroom, gone for a walk outside my office, heck I’ve even sat in my car in the parking lot for 8 minutes!  The key is what happens during this break:

  • Each time I take a clarity break, I breathe deeply, in and out of the nose, whispering the word “let” on the inhale and “go” on the exhale in my mind.  I’ll do this for no less than 3 concentrated breaths and usually I stop at 5 (unless it’s a really cray cray moment I’m escaping!).
  • After my concentrated breathing, I’ll start shifting my mind to something that makes me feel like I’m smiling from inside. For me, it’s images of the ocean, my goddaughter Bean, or something that’s on my vision board, but it can really be anything in the world depending on who you are.  The key is that it’s got to make your heart smile, not just your lips.  Something you’re truly truly grateful for and connected to.
  • Hold this image for a few moments until there’s nothing left but that feeling from inside, take a few more deep breaths and then open your eyes.

Mental.shift.like.woah. You can do this in as few as 3 or 4 minutes and sometimes that’s all it takes to stop the spiraling crazy train dead in it’s tracks.  It’s so simple, yet so effective.  How had I not discovered this 4 years ago?! (oh wait – I was a totally different person 4 years ago…. 😉 )

Moral of the story: Clarity breaks help keep the circus in check.  Know what I’m saying, boo?

Until next time, xxo

jennie b

let go.

Posted in circus, let go

let go image

Two words, five letters, more meaning than you could ever imagine. I’ve had so many troubles with the concept of letting go for entirely too long.  We’re talking about things that go back to high school, here. (I’ll do the math for you, my 10 year reunion was 3 years ago..) Issues? Present. ……but not for long.

In order to move forward you have to let go of the past. That was one of the first things I heard on January 1, 2015.  I’d woken up super early that morning [with a super clear head, mind you, as I was the designated driver the evening before], and for some reason I had the strongest urge to take a yoga class.  I hadn’t taken a class in a studio in over 2 years.  I’m super, super picky about yoga studios because they aren’t always the most….friendly or relaxing place to visit, you know?  The stars were aligning because less than half an hour later I found myself at the studio just six minutes from my house with my mat rolled out in the back corner of a full class room.  The teacher had already started talking by the time I sat down, but the first sentence I caught was ‘In order to move forward you have to let go of the past.‘  Again, guys, I got the message loud and clear.  *But I do so very much appreciate y’all making these messages so freakin obvious for me, because you know I can be a little stubborn sometimes! 😉

Those two words never seemed to leave my mind in the following days.  Even during meditation when I would try to focus on a particular mantra, the words ‘let go’ never could seem to leave my awareness.  It wasn’t until a week and a half later, when I went to my first restorative yoga class at that same studio from New Year’s Day, that it all started to make sense.  And it was all thanks to this poem the teacher read during our last pose.

She just let go.

Finally, it all made sense. Now letting go of the past doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting all about it, but letting go of all the emotionally charged ….ehck….. tied to it.  You make that decision to let go and even though I didn’t need permission, I felt like something, someone was saying ‘It’s ok now, Jennie Boo. Let go.‘  I felt like a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

And so that, my friends, is my one and only resolution for 2015.  Let go.  Some days and some things are easier to let go than others,  but what’s a resolution if it’s not something you gotta work on? Am I right?

Next up is the song that’s been by my side since the third week of December. Hope y’all love some Stevie as much as I do!

jennie b

 

P.S. Check out my awesome stack of Spanish flash cards I just spent the past 45 minutes cutting up! I’m excited.  Voy a hablar espanol en poco tiemp! File this under Don’t just stand there.

IMG_20150211_212552

 

when it all falls apart

dont just stand there

Looking back at 2014 I can truly say I lived each and every moment to full capacity. I experienced the ultimate highs and wicked low lows and it was a crazy, messy, beautiful circus!  I felt like the embodiment of One Republic’s song I Lived.  Ending the year with a really tough breakup, an exhausting work schedule, and coming to terms with a heartbreaking realization concerning a family member, I felt like a tornado had once again picked me up and dropped me in the middle of no where.  I was tapped out – mentally, emotionally, physically – this.girl.was.done. Tap, tap .. good night.

I couldn’t allow myself to fall down the spiral of wallowing self-pity, but I also knew I needed to be realistic and give my heart time to process, heal, and allow the range of emotions the time and respect they deserved.  My close circle of confidants will tell you they don’t know how I made it through those last weeks of 2014, and those who didn’t quite know what was going on didn’t seem to notice a difference. Needless to say, there was a lot of crying…..behind closed doors.

Starting 2015 I couldn’t let the circumstances which brought the year to an end determine my year ahead. It was as if a voice from above was shouting

Don’t just stand there, DO SOMETHING.

{Thanks guys, got the message loud and clear.} And so I did. I guess you could say I hypothetically “started walking.” I’m happy to report that a month in to 2015, I find myself in a much better place in life. But don’t get it twisted – I’m totally still on that path of recovery, haha, but I’m relying on a whole new set of tricks and tools that 3 1/2 years ago I never could have imagined would be my saving graces!  We’re talking about meditation, pole dancing, writing (ok I think we can all agree this one’s always been in my tool bag!), yoga, taking action, reiki, a nutritional cleanse, and much much more.

I started 2015 with 3 things in mind.  An action, a resolution and a song.  Don’t just stand there. – that’s my action. And in the next post…you’ll learn all about my resolution.

Until then, xxo

jennie b

A Blast from the Past

I was working on a post for tomorrow when I happened to glance at the Related Posts showing in the preview.  It’s been a long time since I’ve gone through some of my older posts from my Jennie B in SC or even my Sassy Steel Magnolia days, but something about these two made me stop and take a few minutes.

It was March of 2010 and while I hadn’t forgotten the events of this fateful [and down right hilarious] night, I had forgotten just how much I put my trust in knowing I would be taken care of, that things would work out.  Reading through I laughed so many times and my eyes even watered a little at how fearless I had been in that moment and how I just went with my gut instincts without talking myself out of anything.

I don’t quite know if given the same situation would I do it all again, but I can only hope that a glimmer of the same faith and trust in the moment would make itself known.  If you have a few minutes, I invite you to read parts 1 and 2 of A Series of Unfathomable Events.

A Series of Unfathomable Events {part 1}

A Series of Unfathomable Events {part 2}

I think you’ll agree that it’s always been a Circus around these parts.  This two posts just show what happens when that circus gets taken on the road….

cheers,

jennie b