Inspiration by Jen Lemen

OK, Jen. You’ve inspired me this morning and I am shamelessly borrowing your categories as a jumpstart for writing.

Things I don’t know yet (except, of course, when I do)
My kids’ sexual orientation
Whether it’s going to rain today
How to put together that marble game Pearl likes
How we will manage to go live abroad as a family at some point
How I will take my writing seriously and get it out there in more ways than one
How I will release old ways of being and embody new ones
When we will do so many of the things we dream of and talk about doing (except, of course, when I do)
Whether I will start writing fiction

Things I’m learning
How I’ve been playing out a paradigm I developed around age nine
How this has protected me
How this has limited me
How this no longer serves me
How tucking my sacrum and bringing my attention to how I’m standing makes me so much more present
How doing this inner work is showing up outwardly
How my beauty has nothing to do with the fact that I henna’d my hair
That I want to live a long time
That the dead want to tell their stories through me

Things I’m wishing for
Core strength
All the money, time, energy, and training that goes into the military, oil drilling, and coal-mining to be diverted into constructive, creative, healing acts of massive scale
To read my poems out loud, in public, in many, many places
Permission from myself to let go of “business building” and simply embrace that I am already doing the work I am here to do, and that it doesn’t have to be continuously bigger, better, or different than what it is
A getaway with Greg
Peace for the parents of the little girl who died tragically last weekend
A little tenderness

Things that are getting on my nerves
Aviva and Pearl’s messy room
Myself for caring how messy their room is
Slow-moving government
How hard it is for me to write about the things that are getting on my nerves (see “Things I am learning”)
How we still compare ourselves to each other instead of connecting
OK, let me own that a little: How I still compare myself to others instead of connecting
How everyone’s sentences, especially girls’, end in a question?
The fact that my strongcoaching (dot) com url has been hacked into twice and the pain-in-the-ass-ness of dealing with it

Things that scare me
That the dead want to tell their stories through me
This part doesn’t scare me
What scares me is can I create the space for that
The thought of not being able to see my family again
How we are destroying the earth and still not getting it that this is it, this one and only place to live
People with guns
Kids with guns

Things that are making me happy
The birds, the birds, the birdsong!
Taking this kind of time alone early in the morning
Coffee, always
Spending a chunk of this weekend with family and friends
Our home, living in a neighborhood with a gazillion kids, a trampoline, a pool, half a dozen swingsets, bikes in the street, and everybody knowing everybody’s names
How I can now ride my bike up College Street without getting totally wrecked
Pearl and Aviva’s summer freckles
Spending less time online
The fact that Greg and I are doing the work of taking care of our marriage
Coming back to poetry
My new jeans that I got at The Clothes Exchange (which raised over $70,000 for the King Street Youth Center), which are tighter than my usual jeans and which many beautiful, half-naked women in the dressing room encouraged me to get
Come to think of it, hanging out with all those half-naked women in the dressing room made me pretty damn happy, too :)

Jen ended her post with these words, and as I read them just now, I felt like they could just as well be my own:

it’s really hard to not try to please you or take care of you, which i know is sick, but it’s the truth. i hope, no matter what, you know i love you. and that if you’re related to me, you know i love you more.

Because ain’t that the truth. It is so my m.o. to please everyone and take care of everyone (see “paradigm”). It’s a tangle of love and fear. These days, I am intent of separating the two, releasing the fear, and letting the love take up more room.

7 thoughts on “Inspiration by Jen Lemen

  1. rowena says:

    These are great. What an awesome exercise. That speaking the dead thing, that’s really cool. I read tarot cards, and come from the long line of mystical women (my grandmother was a curandera and so was her mother). I’m not scared of that, but I am nervous that people will look at me strangely, think of me strangely, if I let out the mystical side. I’m afraid it might hurt my slowly growing creativity, art and writing empire. (Yes I said empire. That scares me.)

    (I wonder that what I grabbed onto in this post is the part about being afraid. hmmmmmmm. I may need to do this exercise.)

    Oh wait! I love your jeans thing. Yay. Sexy jeans. That will help you work on your relationship. ;)


  2. Lisa says:


    Great stuff here, dear one.

    Thank you for sharing in such an open, courageous, honest, vulnerable way.

    I *see* you. And I *honor* where you are.



  3. jen lemen says:

    jena, i really like how these little lists really let people in so they can see you (and love you) in a new way.

    if i were you, i’d be scared, too, that the dead want to tell their stories through you. but being, me, i’m incredibly comforted that someone as safe (and strong) as you are would be trusted with that task. it makes me feel hopeful that this is your journey, not just for myself, but for the world.

    love to you.


  4. Jasmine says:

    I totally relate on the business front. Once I let go of the growth model for my business, it grew much more than I wanted it to. I had to determine more how big I wanted it to be rather than how to make it bigger. I think the process of releasing that need to be increasing your rate of growth is so useful…it’s just not sustainable to grow without bound (nor is it particularly enjoyable!).


  5. GailNHB says:

    Loved this list on Jen Lemen’s site. Love it on yours. And I ask for forgiveness and grace because I’m planning to do the same thing on my blog in the coming days. And I think I’m gonna do a similar writing exercise with my kids during homeschooling tomorrow.

    I do love lists. Especially the ones, as Jen said, that let us in to see more of you – and let you in to see more of yourself.

    Thanks for your transparency yet again, Jena.



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