What I've been chewing on lately...

December 17, 2013
Jen’s Big Pout AKA What To Do When You Hate to Choose


A guest post by Jen Louden

When Rachel told me she was taking some time off, my first thought was a fervent “I want that, too!” I felt the strong tug of desire. I pouted a bit, and internally whined, “Why can she have a break but I can’t?”

I would love to report I immediately explored my desire with curious compassion but that would be a lie. I try not to lie, at least not in print.

Instead, I pulled a sullen caul of resignation over my soul’s eyes. Resignation is an exhausting mood based on the story the future can’t be any different than the past so why bother? It convinces us we can’t ever have what we are hungry for.

Such a dramatic mood because, of course, there are things we must do in life, things we must attend to in our businesses and families. From that reality, it’s so easy to build a prison of poor resigned me, thinking it’s the truth. When it isn’t.

It took a few days for my desire to get my attention. It was during morning meditation when I finally noticed it, said yes, made space for the longing. Cue sobbing, whole body tears. So many feelings – the yearning to play, to rest, to make art, to write a new book… Waves of anger for pushing myself so hard yet again, waves of self-judgment for not being smarter at business so I could take more time off, waves of regret for wasting time on things I didn’t really want to do… so many feelings, so many desires. Letting them all be, letting them move through me…

Ah, the beloved gift of space, of inner spaciousness.

After the feelings moved through me – as they always do when given space and attention, I dropped into the quiet spaciousness my favorite mindful question, “What do I want?”  Breathed and listened, open and curious…

What bubbled to the surface is “I want to play and to create new stuff” and “I want lots of people to discover the Life Organizer book.”  Ah! Here is exactly where I tend to choose resignation over following my desires – following desire means choosing. And choosing means trusting myself and saying no to certain options, both of what can be hard for me.

Resignation is how I hide from desire.

Back to meditation where I make space for not wanting to choose… for not trusting myself… for wanting trusting myself to mean everything work out perfectly (which it does not)… offering myself mercy and understanding… it’s hard to choose and that’s okay…

And then, after a bit more time being, and then a stretch and a cup of nettle tea, it’s time to actually choose. Making space for acceptance is crucial, can’t be skipped, but neither can choosing.

I pull out a tool I created – based on ideas I learned through my coaching training – I call it Conditions of Enoughness. Here are the basics:

1.    Name what is enough in simple facts.

2.    Include a time element or time “container.”

3.    Ensure they’re dependent on ONLY YOU on an AVERAGE day.

4.    Declare you are satisfied when your conditions are met – even if you don’t feel satisfied.

Here is an example from my process:

1. Name what is enough in simple facts.

I named when I would start my holiday break (December 20th- January 2nd). I named what days, and how many hours, I would work between now and then, keeping in mind my desire to play and my desire to promote the book. I got granular about what I could really do – and want to do- to promote the book. How many guest posts would I write? How many podcasts would I pitch? Simple facts.

2. Include a time element or time “container.”

December 20th-January 2nd is one time element or container, the other is the hours I will work each day. Yet another is how long I will spend writing a particular post or pitching shows. The answer varies but it is so powerful to declare it beforehand.

3. Ensure they’re dependent on ONLY YOU on an AVERAGE day.

This element is hard for me – I like to pretend I’m super human and then I get deflated because I feel like a failure for not being able to do everything on my daily list. My renewed practice is to list each day (I use ToDoist) what I can actually do on that day, not what I wish I could do, given the hours I will work and how long each item will take me.

4. Declare you are satisfied when your conditions are met – even if you don’t feel satisfied.

I say “I declare myself satisfied” out loud when I am done with an item on my list and at the end of the day before I leave my studio. I say it a lot.

Here’s what I did in a nutshell:

:: Feeling overwhelmed, resigned, or pouty? Make space for what you are feeling or desiring without identifying with it – feel your body, your feelings, hear your thoughts. Make room for it all to be there as is.

:: Ask yourself “What do I want?” or Rachel’s powerhouse of a question, “What am I hungry for?”  There may be conflicting desires. That’s okay, write them all down, and let them all be guests at the feast of your life.

:: Use Conditions of Enoughness to bring your desires into reality. Yes, choosing can be hard and scary, and it is an important way to bring desires alive.

There you have it – a way out of the pout and into desire made real.

Please tell me how this land with you in the comments – eager to learn with you. And please join me and the wonderful Rachel for a freeeee class in January.


Jen Louden is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book The Woman’s Comfort Book. She’s the author of 5 additional books on well-being and whole living, including The Life Organizer, that have inspired more than a million women in 9 languages. Jen has spoken around the world on self-care, written a national magazine column, and even sat on Oprah’s couch talking about the power of retreats.  She believes self-love + world-love = wholeness for all.  Visit  http://JenniferLouden.comfor fab free goodies and upcoming retreat schedule.

Hi, I'm Rachel

I am a life coach and fierce advocate for women feeding their truest hungers. I'm also a curator of inspiration and this is where I share the wisdom I've gained, words that trigger deep reflection, and resources to help you live your most well-fed life. Feast onward.

Returning February 2018

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