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Hey, thanks for taking an interest in learning more about my story.  On this page, I’ve done my best to give you a sense of who I am and the struggles that pointed me back toward inner freedom and wholeness.

My Journey of Struggle.

For most of my life, I used my personal will to be a success in this world.  My life was shaped by control.  I constantly pushed myself, always focused on whatever object or achievement I thought would make my life better.

While on the outside, I looked successful; Inside, I was often consumed by conflict.

I’d try to be happy and my mind would worry.   I’d try to forgive, but I’d fixate on anger.  I’d vow to be kind and loving to the people I cared most about, but then in the heat of a moment, I’d find myself being hurtful.

And then, when I wanted to change my life, I’d totally commit to doing whatever it took.  I’d vow to ‘think positively,’ practice self compassion, and control my anger.  And for a while it would work and I’d think I figured things out, but then I’d find myself in the same old patterns again.

I felt like I could be successful at just about everything in life, except how to be happy!

Eventually, my exhausting way of pushing myself through life caught up with me.  I was exhausted to the core of my being in a way I’d never experienced before.  I felt stuck, stagnant, and completely uninspired.  As if every single ounce of inspiration and passion had drained from my being.

The message was clear:

My way of being with myself had stopped working.  I couldn’t go on living the same exhausting way of life.  I had to do something different.

At first, I didn’t know what to do.  Desperate to find my way out of my stuckness, I pulled out a pen and paper and started writing.  I thought, “what the heck, maybe I’ll be able to sort things out and get back on track if I get my thoughts onto paper.”

I had no idea what I was getting into.

I ended up writing for months.  Often with tears streaming down my face.  Sometimes in anguish, other times with joy.  I just let the words pour onto the pages of my journal letting my pen speak the words of my mind.

And gradually, a common narrative revealed itself to me – every single one of my uncomfortable experiences was subtly pathologized and turned into evidence of there being something wrong with me.

But here’s what also happened.

The more I gave myself permission to freely express my anger, hatred, shame, blame, sadness, and fear in the pages of my journal, the more spaciousness and clarity I felt.

So, I took my journaling practice with me in my daily life.  I went about my days attuned to my thoughts & feelings with the intention of directly experiencing and getting to know them.  This was a huge step for me having spent my life up until this point, lost in my mind and its auto-pilot reactions.

It was eye-opening, to say the least.

I watched with fascination (and horror) as my inner critic ranted.  And I saw, over and over, how a moment of anger, fear, shame, or anxiety pulled me into a spinning vortex of self-hatred, blame, or shame.

At first, I felt completely enslaved by the quantity and intensity of my thoughts & feelings.

It was as if there was no stability in my being.  The instant a moment of anger, shame, shyness, or any other unwanted experience, appeared, I immediately went into a crazed scenario where my unconscious habits took over and I felt like a puppet performing a habitual dance.

But I could see the patterns, now.  I wasn’t just lost in them.

I felt like I was on the right track.

So, I continued to meet myself with open-hearted curiosity, getting to know the unwanted sides of myself for the fist time in my life.

Initially, it was intense.  I felt like I was being tossed about in a stormy sea with nothing to hold on to.  I was so conditioned to living in resistance to my discomfort.  I had well-worn strategies of transforming moments of fear, anger, shame, and confusion by retreating into my mind and getting lost in it’s stories of blame and self-hatred, and here I was now, meeting it all with naked intimacy.

Phew!  Intense indeed.

But with practice, as I continued to meet myself with unconditional openness, things got easier.  My mind calmed down and eventually I developed a new, far more accepting way of being with myself.  I finally stopped seeing my discomfort as a ‘problem’ and learned how to stay open to my experience even when intense thoughts & feelings were coursing through my body and mind.

What I’ve Learned.

Being human includes feeling good and feeling bad, being ‘up’ and being ‘down.’  And yet, most of us grew up believing that “feeling good” is a higher state and everything else — anger, grief, shame, confusion, and so on — is something to ‘get over’ or ‘get through.’

We think we’re supposed to feel loving all the time, yet, hateful thoughts arise.  We think we’re supposed to have ‘positive thoughts’, but ‘negative thoughts’ keep arising.

Until we let go of this awful pressure to think and feel a certain way and learn to open ourselves to and trust our authentic experience, we will continue to struggle.

My Life Today.

I spend my days in and around our home — a tiny old trapper’s cabin we’ve fixed up and made our own — which sits within a beautiful Yellow Cedar, Spruce, and Hemlock forest right next to the ocean in Sitka, Alaska.

I am the sole female in our family of five: three boys, one man, and me.

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We work and live as a family—homeschooling and making a living from home.  Zach (my husband) spends his days working with wood and I spend my days feeding my family and writing/speaking about inner freedom and balance.

We love where we live.  To us, going on ‘vacation’ means packing up our 38′ sailboat and heading out into the wilderness just beyond our home to explore, hunt, and gather wild food.

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