“Don’t go. You don’t have time. You’re only going to come home to more work and more stress.”
I almost missed the moment that changed my life for good.
Every year since I was 18 years old, I would attend my mother’s 3-day immersion training.
I loved going because it meant spending time with her and my grandma, and the only the only years I missed were right after having each of my 3 kids when they were still breast feeding: Allie, Joel and Joaquin.
When I thought of taking a weekend away and leaving the three kids with my husband – I didn’t feel good.
My fear voice would whisper in my ear, “I’m going to come home to be even more exhausted, with a dirty house, dishes piled up, toys thrown all over; and hungry, unhappy kids.” Even though my husband was great and did his best to take care of the kids while I was away, it’s never the same as having mom around.
No matter how much fear screamed at me, every year I had a deep intuition that a 3 day retreat would be really good for me. I didn’t always know exactly how or why, but I decided I would handle whatever I had to deal with when I got back home.
One particular year, when my three kids were little and I was working in corporate, it was particularly hard to get away for 3-days, but I did it nonetheless.
We started the retreat by splitting up into groups of four and doing a life assessment in four quadrants:
Health and Well-being
Vocation & Career, and
Time and Money Freedom.
As I looked down at my scores in these areas of life, my heart sank and my eyes filled with tears. In every single one of these areas, I felt like a failure and a fraud. On a scale from 1-5 in each of these quadrants, I was maybe around a one or a two, just barely getting by.
My inner critic at the time – particularly at that moment – was just tearing me down. I was imagining all the things that weren’t going well or going right in my life at the time.
When I thought about my health and well-being, I couldn’t have felt more disconnected from my values.
My eating habits were incredibly unhealthy, despite the fact that I’d been a professional dancer in my 20’s.
Now as a busy mom, and corporate executive in my 30’s, I was skipping breakfast, I wasn’t exercising, and I would get up at 5:00 AM and rush to the office before the kids would wake up, and get home often after dark.
I could feel the aches and pains, the tightness in my body. My cells were screaming out for better nutrition and better nourishment. And I felt so unhealthy in my body and so uncomfortable in my own skin.
I was just exhausted every day…
So as I was going through this life assessment, there was just a constant barrage of self-critical thoughts.
My negative voice replayed the same message over and over again:
“See, look at how far off your goals are, look at how unfit and unhappy you are. You’re supposed to be somebody who loves wellness and healthy food, and yet you’re not feeding yourself well, and you haven’t exercised in months. You haven’t been moving your body. Look at how unhealthy you are. When are you finally gonna get it together?”
Then we moved on to relationships…
Even though I was seeing some success at work, I felt like I was sacrificing time with my kids and my connection, closeness and romance with my husband.
I would get home, get the kids fed, try to get them bathed and maybe have time for half a book when really they wanted me to play and read three – four – or five books!
But it would already be way past their bedtime, which made me feel so guilty. My judging mind kept telling me I was a bad mom because of how hard I was working and all the hours of my life I was losing with my kids.
As much as I tried to be a patient, loving mom, I had a very short temper. I wasn’t feeding myself well, moving much, or de-stressing.
All the high level stress, tension, and frustration in my life would just pour out.
I had a short fuse, so I would snap at the kids more easily than I intended. I didn’t have the patience to play with them in the ways they wanted me to, or read them the number of books they wanted me to read at night.
I felt like I was fighting an uphill battle.
And then I thought about my husband…
When I was in my 20’s, living my dream as a professional dancer and being a young bride, I felt very connected and passionate with my husband.
It was love at first sight! We fell madly in love with each other when we first met on the beaches of Puerta Vallarta.
We had a ton of romance before the kids came. We would go on date nights – we would travel together – we would have fun and laugh and play.
But at this stage in my life as a working mother of three, I was feeling resentment for all the work, discomfort, and disconnect from my body – and not at all in the mood for romance.
There were no date nights, I was constantly bickering with my husband, and our marriage was on the rocks.
I wasn’t speaking with kindness; I was speaking with criticism and judgment and irritation to my husband because I was feeling judgmental and critical about myself and about everything that was going on.
So at this point, I was feeling stressed, burnt-out, unhappy, unfit, and unsexy.
Intimacy felt like an obligation.
My husband would approach me wanting to be intimate or snuggle or kiss – all of those things that an intimate couple would do – but it was the last thing on my mind. My whole body would retract and reject any intimacy, but I felt like it was one of my “wifely duties”.
I would acquiesce and lean into some intimacy, but I didn’t feel the pleasure. I didn’t enjoy the touches. I just felt like I was going through the motions.
I had flashbacks of how things used to be in our relationship…
Constantly hugging, kissing and snuggling – our intimacy was through the roof! We would go on date nights and speak lovingly to each other.
I was patient. I was supportive. I felt good in the relationship.
But now, 15 years and three kids later, I just felt irritated, short-tempered, and frustrated.
Moment by moment, my negative thinking kept going back to “We’ve been married now for 15 years. That was then and this is your new normal. Just suck it up.”
I was constantly looking at all the things that were going wrong. I was looking at how he wasn’t doing enough around the house, or doing enough with the kids, or making enough money to help put food on the table, and pay all the bills.
My inner critic kept saying, “Look, you’re almost at divorce here. That’s how unhappy you are.”
Because I focused on criticism and judgment, I was creating disconnection. I wasn’t appreciating him.
I wasn’t noticing any of the good things that were going on at that time.
Then in my vocation, I felt like my soul was starving.
After retiring as a professional dancer, I needed to get a “real job”, so I began working in sales. I was really great at sales, but it’s not at all what my soul longed for.
I had a deep desire to make a difference; to help women through movement and dance. I had feverishly tried to find a way to bring my love of personal development and conscious dance into some sort of a career.
Then I thought, well, maybe if I do a big product, like a DVD, it could work (this was 16 years ago when people could make a good living selling DVDs).
With my love of movement and dance in motherhood, I created a prenatal DVD to help pregnant women stay healthy and active, as well as prepare for healthy birth and delivery.
I invested $50,000 of my own money and it FAILED.
It gave me a sense of failure that I had tried to launch my own work in the world, my own entrepreneurial endeavor, and it failed miserably.
It was a beautiful product as my first attempt to build my health and well-being business. And I did have some success in shipping it to different parts of the world, but I couldn’t figure out how to put enough money in the bank to make ends meet.
As a mother of three and the primary breadwinner for the family, I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to just put my head down and work to put food on the table.
At this point, I felt like I hit a wall. I didn’t know where to turn!
I just couldn’t figure out how to do what I loved and make enough money doing it.
When I found sales I was a natural and quite good at it. But once the novelty of accomplishing a new challenge wore off, I woke up to the reality that I was miserable.
But I stayed with sales anyways, because I knew that I could make enough money to put food on the table and provide the stability my family needed.
From 25 to 35, I was still searching for myself while also trying to make ends meet. At the same time, I wanted to grow as a businesswoman so I could provide my children with financial security and abundance.
My inner critic told me I should be further along in life, that I should have had all my dreams come true by the time I turned 30.
I was nowhere near the time and money freedom I desired – nowhere close to my dream life.
I felt like I was on the brink of divorce.
I felt disconnected from my soul and my real calling.
I felt unhealthy and unfit.
I felt like I was not the kind of mom I wanted to be.
I felt really deep sadness in my heart that I didn’t think that I could ever live my purpose.
I tried to bring my gifts into the world – a product that I thought would ultimately launch me into doing more of the work I loved – and it failed.
For a moment, my mind was brought back to my retreat family group.
But when we started discussing our time and money freedom, my thoughts drifted back to what used to be…
I remember as a professional dancer, I got to travel to different places and perform on stage, and I would listen to music and collaborate with other artists.
Whenever I was in the dance studio, I felt creatively energized, excited to face new challenges every day, and grateful to be in a bright, light space.
In the creative arts, there’s music, creativity, and collaboration. I missed the color, creative outlet and connection with the arts – that aliveness.
Eventually, I outgrew that life when I got pregnant with my daughter and retired as a professional modern dancer.
I moved back home to Oregon where I launched a dance and creative arts ministry at my mom’s spiritual center.
It was there that I touched the hem of my soul’s purpose, and I was inspired to learn and soak up everything I could about the mind-body connection.
I had a 50 hour labor and birth with my daughter and that experience taught me I wasn’t as connected as I had thought. So in my searching and studies I found a new way of moving and dancing through conscious dance.
In the professional dance or fitness world you are taught to look to the outside world for validation and approval. You follow your teacher’s technique.
In the healing arts and conscious dance world you look to your higher power and your inner wisdom for guidance. You look to your body and spirit to move and dance with you.
This helped me quiet my overly judgmental inner critic and unleash overflowing confidence and divine radiance from within.
I healed old wounds and deep divides, and I fell in love with myself and my body.
This one modality has been instrumental in becoming the fully confident and empowered woman I am today.
I began to teach conscious dance as a healing and transformative modality. I began to help women feel more confident in their bodies, more fully expressed, and began to help them love themselves.
During this time, I started building the foundation of my work.
But it was a movement and arts ministry work.
So I was doing it more on evenings and weekends on a volunteer basis than an actual thriving business. I couldn’t see a career path forward in this way. It definitely wasn’t enough money to make ends meet, which is ultimately what led me back to sales full-time.
Again, my intuition kept nudging me, reminding me that I was put here on this planet for something more. But I had a lot of doubts.
When I started to envision leaving corporate and living my dream, the limiting paradigm voice or the bully voice would say things like:
“You’ve tried to do your own thing and it didn’t work. You failed. You’re so irresponsible for spending $50,000 of your hard earned money, your family’s money, and probably your kids’ college fund, and flushed it down the toilet. You’re not smart enough and you don’t have what it takes because you didn’t graduate from college. You don’t have the business knowledge or degree to really create the success you would love…”
I was feeling numb in a lot of ways. But the deeper soul calling, the feelings that were stirring inside of me, all of a sudden came bubbling up in such a powerful way during this 3-day immersion.
Then my thoughts were interrupted as my mom shared these words with all of us in the room (although it felt like they were just for me):
“You have an internal pause button. Just for a moment, leave a corner of your mind open. We’re going to press pause on the “what if”. What if you don’t have the time? Let’s just pause that and suspend disbelief. We’re going to push pause on the how, we’re going to “put the how on hold”. And here are the questions we’re going to ask:
What if you could? What if it could be easy? What if time were no issue? What if money were no issue?”
Suddenly, the room seemed brighter, and I perked up. It was a powerful connection to spirit which provided an emotional release that woke me up to the voice of truth.
I listened to that voice, which said:
“You know what? You need to reset. You need to hit the refresh button. You need to get back on track,” and I could feel my soul stirring. It was as if, finally my higher self, my soul self had my attention and this higher power was screaming at me to stay away and not fall back asleep. As if my “wise woman within” was grabbing me by the shoulders and shaking me saying, “there you are, stay awake, there’s no time to lose. Now is the time to shine your light, and show up in the world and do what you’ve come to do.”
The voice of truth said…
“You don’t have to stay in corporate. Trust and have faith. If you just fully trust and go for your dream and really align with your purpose with all your might, with all your heart, with all of your energy, you will be guided and led, and you don’t have to know how or all the steps today because you will be guided along the path to success.”
I was finally tuning in to the inner voice that was trying to get my attention when I was just going through the motions and working so hard. It was drowned out by all the noise of work, stress and my paradigms.
I knew it was the voice of truth because it was centered, quiet, and all-knowing. This was the same voice that had led me to follow my heart and marry my soul mate, the same voice that led me to New York to pursue my big dream of becoming a professional dancer. This voice felt like home.
I also woke up to the realization that if I didn’t make a powerful change in my life something was going to give. I would either get sick, divorced, or so disconnected from my kids that something bad would happen.
Because I had strayed from my truth and my path, I had fallen accustomed to the voice full of fear, stress, frustration, and irritation. And my actions followed and my results were suffering.
And that voice was now quiet and I could hear from my wise inner being once again.
However, I knew this was a golden moment. That if I leaned in and listened things could be different.
With tears flowing down my cheeks, I began to share how unhappy I was with my family group. I opened up to my longings and discontents and I had the bravery to look at them square in the face!
It was really hard to admit all these things – but healing and freeing all at the same time.
We were guided to dream big and allow the power breathing us to source us with ideas of a life we love living 3 years from now in all areas. We shared with our group about our dream results in health and wellbeing, love and relationships, vocation, and time and money freedom.
It wasn’t easy but I did put the “how on hold” and I allowed my heart to open and my soul to sing through into a beautiful vision:
I was waking up feeling energized and healthy. I would make my kids breakfast and take them to school. I was fulfilling my purpose and mission, earning even more money doing what I love than I ever made in sales.
I was helping women bring forth health, confidence, and empowerment; all the while incorporating conscious dance. And my husband and I are more in love and in passion than ever before.
Once I crafted that vision, even though a big part of me thought it was impossible, another part of me was waking up:
The lioness, warrioress, part of me.
She knew where I was headed, who I truly was, and where to guide me.
She gave me one big step to make. My inner guidance told me to go back to the office on Monday, put in my 30 day notice, and go for my dream full force.
To stop playing small and start following my true path.
I felt like this was leaping off the grand canyon, blindfolded, backwards, and saying, “into your arms” I fly!
And even though it was one of the most terrifying boldest moves I made in my life, I followed my inner guidance and took this bold action.
And at the age of 35, I launched my soul’s work and finally had the faith to go bold, brave, and full of faith.
You, Too, Have the Voice of Truth Within You
I finally silenced my inner critic by tuning into the voice of truth. It took assessing how I truly felt about each quadrant in my life, pushing my internal pause button, and deciding on my dream.
Every one of us is capable of creating the life of our dreams.
Now, I am so happy and grateful that I am living on purpose and have successfully merged my love for health & wellbeing, conscious dance and personal development into a thriving difference-making business.
I work with amazing heart-centered women, helping them become more vibrant, healthy and confident in their bodies, and happy in their lives. I also feel more healthy, energized, and radiant in my own body temple now than any other time in my life!
I lead amazing transformational retreats in places like Tulum and Costa Rica, merging sacred ceremonies, healing processes, with fun-filled excursions, yoga and conscious dance, and I am fully living my purpose in alignment with my soul’s calling.
I work 20 to 30 hours a week from home, I make my own schedule, and I’ve not only replaced my income, but I’ve 10 X’d my income!
Most of all, I have the honor and privilege of helping women experience increased confidence, radiance, vitality, happiness, spiritual fulfillment, joyful fun movement & dance, and all things vibrant, healthy living!
If this transformation stirs your heart, know that you living your dream is possible for YOU, too!
You too can be healthy, happy, and fulfilled so you can take bold, inspired action towards your goals!
But if, at this moment, you don’t feel confident in creating the change you desire, I encourage you to download my FREE Confidence Kit!
This e-book and guided meditation is designed to help you feel more confident and energized to speak your truth and express your gifts more freely in the world! It’s an easy first step to repatterning negative thoughts and habits, as well as releasing feelings of unworthiness. And the best part is these are fun-5 minute activities to kick start this process, because I know how busy you probably are.
It’s my hope that this tool empowers you to silence your inner critic, connect with your inner voice of truth, and live your purpose!
To a life of personal success and freedom,
Jennifer Joy Jiménez
Joan E Gragg
Wow. I am thinking about coaching and this is a fabulous story of encouragement.
Brave Thinking Institute
We are so happy that Jennifer’s story encouraged you, Joan. Life coaching is transformational and we would love to have you as a student of our institute!
I so needed this at this point in my life. Thank you!!!
Brave Thinking Institute
We are so happy to hear this, Marie! We are here to support you!