It is difficult to predict the path that your life may take. For Jennifer, the unexpected loss of both her twin babies and her father created an obstacle-filled road to travel down. But through the inspiration of others, Jennifer was able to find herself a new identity.
By Jennifer Nutter
By the time I was 30-something, I was well aware of my shortcomings. I also knew that who I was and who I wanted to be were worlds apart. I just never had the guts to go for it and a few problems were holding me back. Fortunately, I experienced a series of losses that toned my emotional, behavioral, and spiritual muscles. Surviving loss inspired a deep desire to prosper. Though I am a better person because of grief, undertaking change while reporting for daily duty seemed impossible.
My quest began in earnest four years ago. On bed rest, I was fighting to save my twins. For weeks I lay perfectly still afraid to move for fear of harming the babies. I experienced the spectrum of emotions: fear, hope, regret, sorrow. The solitude was too much at times. Each thought dropped on me like water torture. Drip, drip, drip went random ideas –feelings all in the same painfully repetitive cadence. I quickly realized that there was no escape. I had no choice but to listen and face it all– one drip at a time.
The mental work of bed rest caused my heart to shift and it activated a gentle personal revolution. Just when my tense bed rest fight seemed bearable it suddenly turned into a white-knuckled weekend of horror. Like an unstoppable tidal wave, premature labor rose up and swept my babies away. There was a kiss hello and a kiss goodbye in the same moment. Powerless, I went toe-to-toe with the realities and promises to live life more fully. So, there in the wreckage was the start of a new life: mine. It was not the new life I expected to meet but I took it and ran.
Shortly thereafter, new motherhood, work demands, assisting aging parents through cancer, surgeries, and then my loving father’s shocking suicide tested my commitment. Changing from the inside-out is tough anyway but felt impossible in these circumstances. I began to wonder whether I could fulfill that promise to myself. Could I rebuild my life while I was living in it? Is it possible to undertake an inside-out life makeover and enjoy life along the way?
Yes, it is possible. Trust me. I am living proof in progress. I simply started a habit of considering–of analyzing what was working and what was not. I didn’t want a quest for personal change to bowl over my life because I wanted to enjoy what I had along the way. I needed an automatic, hassle-free, yet intrinsic way to focus for improvement. So, I adopted a perspective in three parts:
Awareness. Become an expert about you of the past, present, and hopeful future. Identify bad attitudes and behaviors that are holding you back. Admit them without perfectionistic shame. We all have flaws aplenty. Be solid in commitment, be clear, and be positive.
Action. Join awareness with action to break inertia. Take small, simple steps to bridge that gap between knowing and doing. Opt for long-term success by allowing only a few changes that build upon each other. This creates a lasting shift and gentle momentum toward inner harmony.
Attitude: Be grateful for what is, has been, and will be. Know that life works its way out. Attitude does drive actions. Though I’m naturally optimistic, I often find negativity lurking somewhere and it threatens my peace.
Lastly, remember that everyone has varying degrees of adversity, grief, and privilege. If you find yourself grappling with change, find someone you admire who has overcome struggles. Collect inspirations that speak to your heart. You can enjoy your own gentle revolution.
Jennifer answers our Identity 5:
1. What have you accepted within yourself and/or within your life? Is there anything you are working on accepting?
I have accepted that true, lasting change takes time. It’s painfully slow at times but I have finally gotten the fact that slow change equals lasting change. Otherwise it’s just a fleeting phase.
I am working on accepting that my outward appearance still bears no resemblance to my inside spirit. I’m working on it, the results are slow, but reclaiming my body after fertility treatment, difficult pregnancies, and then neglect will take some time.
2. What do you appreciate about yourself or your life?
I love my fierce determination and tenacity!
3. What have you achieved, or what are you working to achieve personally, physically, or mentally?
I set out to open a small publishing business back in February 2011. Years of yearning, waiting, hoping, and planning and I finally had the opportunity to go for it. The day I was to move into my newly rented office, my wonderful and doting father shot himself. We were completely blindsided by it. Understandably this and the effects (grief, assisting my newly widowed mother, and estate issues) put my dream on hold AGAIN. So, I am proud to say that I managed to meet my goal of one book launch for 2011, this very day, after doing six months of work in six weeks after hours in every spare moment of personal time. I am relieved and thrilled!
Plus, I’ve been undertaking an ongoing fitness makeover. It has suffered these six weeks of concentrated project work, but I opt for how I feel more than how I look. This drives me to seek exercise almost daily and a balanced whole foods diet.
4. What is your no-so-perfect way? We are all unique with quirks and imperfections, so why not flaunt them and embrace them!
Housecleaning. I truly try to let this fly. It’s a hit or miss or company’s coming so I better wipe down the toilets kind of deal. Seriously, we do keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean and get to the rest when we can. I don’t fret too much about it because SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE!
5. How would you complete this sentence, “I Love My…” This has to be about you, physically or mentally.
I love my rose colored glasses.
To learn more about Jennifer, visit her website BabySisterBooks.com (my big goal attained!)