JEN RIDAY: [00:00:00] Hey, my friends. I'm back. I'm going to explain where I've been. And on this episode, I'm also going to talk about finding and living your truth. Stay tuned.
INTRODUCTION: [00:00:09] Hi, I'm Jen Riday, and this podcast is for women who want to feel more vibrant, happy, aligned, and alive. You'll gain the emotional, physical, and spiritual tools you need to get your sparkle back and ensure that depression, anxiety, and struggle don't rule your life. Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast.
JEN RIDAY: [00:00:29] Hi my friends. I am so happy to be back. I've heard from a number of you asking, “Jen, where did you go? When are you releasing another episode?” And I'm really, really honored that you missed me and that this podcast means something to you because I have put a lot of time and effort into it. So I went on a 19-day trip. It actually had three legs and I'm going to explain all about that in a moment. It was actually planned as three separate trips, but once I realized I was going to be on the West Coast or in the western United States, I chunked them all together. After that, I experienced some low vibes, the vibes you feel after an amazing trip, and you have to come back and get back into your normal life. Have you ever been there? And I'll explain what I learned from the trip and getting back into regular life. By the end of this episode, you should be able to identify maybe some areas where you can work to find more of your truth and live after that truth. What is true for you? All right. So late September, I had a trip planned to visit my two oldest boys in San Francisco. They moved there over a year ago and actually two years ago now, and they're doing great. My oldest struggled with depression as soon as puberty started. For him, severe depression with even some suicidal ideation.
JEN RIDAY: [00:01:52] He realized after many years of this that he needed to live in a sunnier place. So he chose Sacramento, California. My second son, who is now 19 (by the way, the oldest is 21), my second son decided to tag along. How cool would it be to move from Wisconsin to California? So they drove out in my son's Honda Fit. They made it. And on the way, they stopped at my brother-in-law's, who happens to live in San Francisco. They quickly saw how beautiful that city was and fell in love. And they stayed there and they've been there ever since. Both sons have jobs. Both sons pay their own rent without any assistance from us. They are succeeding. They do not live together. They found on the four-day trip out there that they could not get along well enough to live together. So my oldest, with some of his autism tendencies can be a little tricky to get along with. So my second son said, Nope, we're not living together. My oldest son said, Nope, no way. We can't live together after that trip. So they're both doing well. My oldest son is working. He has found friends that are kind of nerdy like him. He attends an artificial intelligence group. He attends a neuroscience group. He's been building his dream machine, which is a neuroscience neurofeedback helmet. He built his own. He's living his best life. I'm super happy that he has found his place in the world, and he's not battling with that severe depression that he always has in the past.
JEN RIDAY: [00:03:28] My second son, he's working at Target and he's getting his California residency established and he's going to start going to college there. So I'm feeling really happy. Moms, the day does come when you send your kids out and they learn to pay their rent and they stop breaking laws (haha). They live their best life and you can stop worrying. And that's fantastic. So I visited them. I took my mom and my aunt along and we had a great time. You know, we saw the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge. We visited Sausalito, which I loved, and it was just wonderful. So fun.
JEN RIDAY: [00:04:09] So after that trip, I had planned to return to Wisconsin because I don't like leaving my school-age kids that long. I still have four of them in school, but I had another trip planned with the original Vibrant Happy Women Retreat attendees from way back in 2018. We were going to meet up in Phoenix to have our own little mini retreat. And in between all of that, I decided to help my best friend Kitt Rothstein, and her husband Blake, with end-of-life paperwork. Yes. Super sad news: My best friend's husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer in July. Terminal prostate cancer, which is actually very rare. He is 50 years old. He has a very aggressive, fast-moving form of cancer. They put everything at it that they could, the best treatment available. It did not work. It has moved to his bones. And so my best friend has been facing the grief and the stress of preparing for life without her life partner.
JEN RIDAY: [00:05:17] So I went there in between those two trips because they live in the West Coast area and help them with end-of-life paperwork. What a blessing that ended up being because Blake, who has ended his chemo, is feeling better than he has in a long time. Even though the doctors have given him probably until Christmas this year, 2022, predicting his life would end at around six months, which would be Christmas this year, he was feeling great. We played pickleball. We played board games. We laughed. We had music. They cooked me amazing food and it ended up being a very, very healing, calming, soothing time for me and for my nervous system. Plus, we got some of their end-of-life paperwork done and they feel ready to go, as ready as you can be for something like that. So that's where I've been. 19 days away from home. I want to talk about the length of time I was away. For the first five days while I was in San Francisco, I could feel the stress decreasing, less and less stress, returning a little more every day to the true me. And that was so interesting because sometimes our roles in life (wife, mother, employee, neighbor, all the things) they start to define us. When you strip all of those roles away, who are you? I find it is essential to returning to my true self to step out of these roles consistently. In fact, since returning from the trip, I've set a goal to spend one night at least away from my home every single month. Now, that could sound ambitious, but I started this tradition, you know, spending one night each quarter away, and slowly I'm building it up. I see how essential it is to being my best self to get away. And I'll explain how my trip benefited my family in just a moment.
JEN RIDAY: [00:07:20] So after about five days, I felt all of that stress of being responsible or feeling like I should be responsible for other people falling away. And it felt amazing. I felt so free. The words freedom and alive and vibrant, those words kept coming to me this whole time while I was on this trip. Now, sadly, on my last day in San Francisco, my backpack of freedom was stolen. You might say, Jen, what's a backpack of freedom? Well, in August, in the Vibrant Happy Women Club, we talked about the backpack of freedom, which is putting the essentials, everything you need for a weekend trip, in a backpack, so it's ready to go. Things like your medications, a comb, a brush, some deodorant, a toothbrush, these essentials that you could just pick up this backpack and go somewhere for a night or two with no effort. Well, I had a backpack of freedom created for this trip. I took it. It was my first real trip with it. And I had a fiasco with a train and turning my head away and my backpack was gone. So that was sad. The tears just rolled down my face because this backpack was a symbol of, “Hey, I'm Jen Riday, a person who doesn't have to have all of these roles to have value to contribute to the world. I'm just a person. I'm not just a mom or a wife or a business owner or all the other things I do. I'm Jen Riday and this is my backpack of freedom.” So when that was taken, I had to identify it within myself, you know, “Am I still free? Am I still me?” And of course, I determined I was. After a time, I decided, no, this is not God saying, “You should not have freedom.” No, it was a little place to push against, to decide, “Yes. Even when things go wrong, I deserve to be my true self and to feel that sense of freedom.” I really believe we're here on this planet to choose how to live our best lives according to how we feel inside of us. And I hope as you're listening, you start to think, “What is my best life? How would I live like that?” I'll explain in a moment. It's interesting when you go home, what can happen when you go back to those roles from a place of clarity and strength about who you are.
JEN RIDAY: [00:10:00] So my backpack of freedom was stolen at the end of the San Francisco trip. I got through TSA with only a prescription medication bottle and a long interrogation and more tears. And then I made it to my friend's house, to Kitt's house. We did a lot of playing, like I explained, and they really took the time to nurture me, even though Blake has a diagnosis that is leading to the end of his life in just a few months, potentially. They nurtured me and I felt so humbled and honored that I was more uplifted -even when I went to help them, they turned it around and helped me. It was so, so beautiful and I really needed that. I loved being in their home, getting a sense of how things feel. My friend Kitt is loud and fun and vibrant, and every time we played pickleball she would put on these bright socks and cool t-shirts. She would loan me t-shirts because a lot of my things had been taken in my backpack and we had a great time. We played with her kids and with Blake, even. So, fantastic, so nurturing.
JEN RIDAY: [00:11:11] Funny story. Lest you think my life is easy. While at Kitt's House, I had a call from my husband. Now my third son, my third child, (he won't love that I shared the story, but I'll keep it confidential by not naming names). I got a text from my husband and then later a call that said, “Nobody has seen X child since Friday.” And now it was Sunday. I'm like, “Oh, great. Who's watching the kids while I'm on this 19-day trip?” I then I immediately call my son. No response. Then I texted my son, I've learned how to parent, you see. I said, “If you don't respond to me in the next hour, we're going to take your car and give it to Lorelei.” I may have been a little bit mad. Take the car. Give it to his sister. Immediately he calls me. While he's talking to me, my other son from San Francisco, thankfully, got onto Snapchat, found out where he was, and told me, which I asked my son about, “Snapchat tells me that you're in Maryland.” He pauses. “Ah Well, you said I could go to homecoming.” “I thought you were going to homecoming in Wisconsin?” Well, anyway, long story short, he went to homecoming with an online friend in Maryland, drove there without really telling us, did great. And he came back. In fact, things went so well. Her family loved him. He's going out again to visit them at Christmas. They're coming to Wisconsin in February. It's a beautiful thing.
JEN RIDAY: [00:12:55] And he's almost 18. Doesn't mean that in the moment I wasn't a little bit alarmed that, whoa, he just drove across about five states. So that happened. I dealt with it. I regulated my emotions. I got back to my nurturing space with Kitt and Blake. It was fantastic. Finally, I hopped on a plane using my medication bottle again and a printout of my license. They didn't like the printout at TSA, so I had to be interrogated again to get to Phoenix, to get on a plane to Phoenix, where we had this mini Vibrant Happy Women Retreat. (By the way, the next Vibrant Happy Women Retreat is sold out, sadly. The 2023 retreat. But there is a waitlist. If you'd like to get on the waitlist in case someone cancels, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.) So these women and I met and we got together in a beautiful AirBnB with a pool, a hot tub, two fireplaces outside, plus everything inside, and was also so nurturing to just be among people who see me independent of my roles. So that was my 19-day trip. It was wonderful. I felt like, “Oh yeah, this is who I am. I'm vibrant, I'm happy, I'm lighthearted, I'm fun.” While I was on my trip, I read old journals from before I even married and remembered who I was before I had kids and a spouse and all the responsibilities of adulthood. I kind of returned to some of that energy.
JEN RIDAY: [00:14:32] And then I flew home. Dah, dah, dum. When I landed, my husband picked me up in his minivan, which as an agronomist and a geneticist, he has to do fieldwork. His van is often filled with stinky, powdered, smelly. I don't know how to explain this farming stuff. Farm stuff. Alfalfa seeds. Alfalfa powders. Red clover. It always smells funny. So I immediately get in that van and you know, when you've been away for a while, you smell things and you're like, Oh, by the way, my home smelled that way, too. And I thought, you know, my nervous system was just like, Oh, no, not this. I don't want to go home to my life. And so I was a little standoffish. Hey, how's it going? And went home immediately, stepped into my house and, “ooh, this place stinks!” I spent the next day cleaning our trash cans and having everyone change their sheets. It had been a while. And not just from before my trip – it had been a long while- as in a couple of months. I know, GROSS! And got the smell back to normal, soothed and regulated my nervous system because, you know, shifting environments can be a little bit stressful. I was happy to see my kids. They went off to school and I felt a little bit low. I'm like, I was thinking, “19 days! I was easily this happy, vibrant, alive, high-vibe version of myself. And now here I am. Low vibe. Back to regular life.” We're washing trashcans, we're washing sheets. We have to deal with the homework. And this 12 year old is like moody constantly. And there's this or that problem and all this paperwork I need to deal with and I need to go through the mail. I found my vibe coming down.
JEN RIDAY: [00:16:28] Now, if that happens to you, it's normal. I had to reintegrate myself back into regular life, taking the truths I had learned from my trip and applying them to my life. Took a couple of weeks, but now I am back. And I want to tell you about that reintegration of finding my truth on my trip and living my truth back in my regular life. So it was shocking to come home after all of that high-vibe, finding a happier, lighter, truer version of myself and then coming home where people expect me to act a certain way, where I have certain patterns and to integrate what I had learned. I'm going to share kind of two steps that helped me with that. The first was to really listen to my body, to my boundaries, to my heart, listen to those resentments and fix the things that were upsetting and bothering me the most. Being away in a different environment for 19 days and then coming back, I could very quickly identify things that bothered me, like that smell. And I spent a week or two fixing a lot of things like that tile on the floor that was coming loose or the smells, like I talked about.
JEN RIDAY: [00:17:48] I kind of got my kids to have a better homework pattern. All these things that seemed to grate on me when I got home, I took the time to create some systems, some rules, so that those things would feel better to me, and that is my job. I didn't try to change anyone else. I just changed my behavior to get things to flow more smoothly. So step one for all of you, whether you've traveled away or not, look around at your home, at your systems, at the things that bug you, and write a list of them what is bugging you. And then one by one, go and solve each of those problems because each of those things sucks a little piece of your energy. Side note: the less things you own, the easier this is. So declutter, declutter, declutter. Every single month. Get get rid of your stuff and then notice and slowly fix the things that bug you and drain your energy. It might be necessary for you to create rules for your relationships, not rules about how others need to behave, but rules about what you will do in response to other people's behaviors. We call these boundaries. Remember, a boundary is identifying what you want to feel, think or do and experience and what you don't want to feel, think, do or experience and letting others feel, think, believe, and do what they want.
JEN RIDAY: [00:19:15] And so the rules are the consequences for a boundary are simply stating, “Hey, when you yell, I'm going to leave the room.” What you will do in response to a behavior? When I got home, my 12-year-old seemed so incredibly loud. She has some autism things going on, plus other things. And I decided, okay, she's 12 years old. I just enjoyed these 19 days of quiet and felt how good it was for my nervous system. I'm going to fix this one. So I said, “Jane, Jane, when you yell, it makes me feel really, really stressed inside of my body because noise is hard for me. And I know noise is sometimes hard for you. So when you need to yell, I'm going to ask you to go do it in your room or outside.” And I stuck with it. I upped my game of kind of enforcing these consequences so that something within my environment could change. It's kind of a boundary. Yes. With kids, we get to kind of send them to their rooms. We're telling them what we'll do to them, but we can also, if we're working with adults, remove ourselves from the situation. “When you yell, I won't be able to help you with your homework when you scream, I'm going to take a break and then it will take us longer to finish this and get you to your screen time.” What you will do in response to someone else's behavior, what you expect your home to feel like. So that's boundaries.
JEN RIDAY: [00:20:46] Now, in addition to clarifying your boundaries, you need to think about what made you so happy during the time away. Maybe it was being in nature. A lot of times vacation feels amazing because we're in nature. You're away from the day-to-day so you can spend more time thinking and feeling connecting with others nature, connection, contemplation, pondering, rest. Those things fill our cups. Number two, in addition to the boundaries, is how can you add more of those cup fillers to your life? And I would extend this by saying, “How could you add light to your life?” When I was away, I had time to meditate. I read scripture. I prayed. I connected. All of those things add light to my soul. I feel like, personally, when there's light, kind of in my soul and my being, I perceive the world as a more positive place. My thoughts more automatically perceive something as positive. So adding light, adding the cup fillers to your day will make it feel more like a vacation, hopefully at home that you don't need to escape from. Now, remember I said when I got home, at first I smelled my husband's van. I smelled our house. I went right to this negative, even though I had filled my cup all the time.
JEN RIDAY: [00:22:12] These contrasts are part of our human experience. We get to experience the highs and the lows, and after a great high, we come home and we think, “Oh, this is awful. I can't live like this. I'm not going to communicate like this. I'm not going to tolerate this loud noise or this broken tile or this stinky trash can.” And that's a beautiful thing because it helps us uplevel the contrast between the positive and the negative, between the pleasant and the uncomfortable. Helps us uplevel, all of it. So we spend less time experiencing the uncomfortable things. We can change our environments and we are responsible to do so. That is the beauty of taking the time away to remember who you are, to come back and bring that higher vibe, better version of yourself back and to uplevel everything around you because suddenly you have more perspective. So with my marriage, I had to shift my perspective and I realized being away helped me to realize I have spent probably almost every day since we married seeing what is wrong with my husband. I know I'm guilty and I know about positive thinking, and I know why it's important to focus on the good to change someone's behavior. I know that I should see the good things and work on praise and gratitude. But my brain, even if I didn't always speak, it was noticing everything that was wrong. This can be helpful for our survival.
JEN RIDAY: [00:23:46] We're wired to see the problems so we can fix them and hopefully stay alive and not have that saber tooth tiger jump out of the bush and kill us like it might have done for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. We are wired to see what's wrong so we can fix it and survive. But I realized I spent 19 days around people that I love and adore. Negative thoughts didn't really happen, and it felt good. And I determined I needed to uplevel this part within myself. So I have a new goal. One of three. I'll explain this. Only this one goal on this episode. A new goal. Just to stop even thinking something is wrong with my husband. What would it be like to go through my life only seeing the good things about him? I believe I can train myself to do this just as I've trained myself to think differently about my kids, about myself, about my body. To stop the thoughts of “he's dysfunctional” or “he has this trauma background”, or “he has this mental health issue,” or “he has this insensitivity” – just to drop all of that and be an observer of who he is. I want to give not only myself that gift, but him that gift, because I'm guessing we all know what it's like to be around someone who's judging us. Even if they don't say something, we can feel it. I want to give him and myself the gift of no longer seeing the things he does as wrong.
JEN RIDAY: [00:25:18] Just seeing them as “what is he is saying?” That thing he is doing that he is and it's okay. It's okay. I can work with that. So that's an intention. All of this 19 days away, plus integration back into life is where I've been. I feel like this break very much upleveled who I am, gave me clarity that I could bring back and integrate into my life so that my life is now a bit less draining. My thoughts are more positive. I brought that amazing experience and integrated it into my regular life, upleveling everything. Do I prefer vacation? Many times, yes. But every time I get away and have the space to find clarity, especially in a high-vibe environment. Or people lift me up and people fill my soul. I can come back and bring that into my life. So, my friends, I love you. Set an intention to get away. To drop the roles. That and the balls that you're juggling. To come back to who you really are. Maybe that's connecting with a Higher Power, meditation, connecting to your higher self, remembering who you are. Then you can come home and live more of that truth. Remember, truth often is felt in the body. If something feels icky, it may not be right for you.
JEN RIDAY: [00:26:47] Now, of course, as you know, I teach on this podcast, we can uplevel our thoughts and change how we think about situations. For example, me, I am married to my husband. I am choosing to be married to my husband and want to stay married to my husband, at least at this time. So why would I hurt myself by thinking negative thoughts about something I'm choosing to have in my life? I can uplevel that, but the tile that was broken or the stinky trash cans, I am not choosing to live with those. So I upload those, I change those circumstances so I don't have to uplevel my thoughts about those stinky trash cans or the broken tile. Do you see how this works? If you're choosing to have it in your life, choose to uplevel your thoughts about it. If you get away and have a contrast of how you do want to feel, you come back to your regular life. There will be things you drop. There might be people you drop or conversations you drop. There might be things you keep. Whatever you choose to drop, great. Whatever you choose to keep, uplevel your thoughts about it so you're not thinking negative thoughts that bring your vibration back down. That is how we live true to ourselves.
JEN RIDAY: [00:27:57] Well, my friends, I love you. I'm grateful to be back. Watch for some interesting changes coming to the podcast in the weeks ahead leading into the New Year. And until then, until next time, make it a vibrant and happy week. Take care.
OUTRO: [00:28:14] If you enjoy this podcast, you have to check out the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It's my monthly group coaching program where we take all this material to the next level and get you the results that will blow your mind. Join me in the Vibrant Happy Women Club at JenRiday.com/join.