Happy Friday, friends!  Yesterday on Facebook and Instagram (which by the way, if we're not social media friends, let's be!) I shared how grateful I am that so many of you are interested in my new fall workshops, The Soul Connection Series.  It's a very affirming feeling knowing that the work (I totally don't consider it work, but you know what I mean) I am doing is needed in my local community and beyond.  Whether you feel called to attend or not, my heart is full, and I feel so grateful for your support.

For me, part of self-care is reading material that inspires me.  Reading something that I enjoy not only relaxes me, but also brings me a sense of happiness knowing I am gaining further knowledge.  Win-win!  Today I am sharing some of my favorites, and why I enjoy them so much.  Most of which I have read more than once, too!  Haha!

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Whether you've read and/or follow A Course in Miracles or not, Williamson has a beautiful way of simply breaking ACIM down in a digestible way.  She shares her own story and how she got to where she is today, in such an honest and raw way, that it captures your attention and makes you really sink into what she is sharing.  Not to mention, the spiritual insight via text is so benefiting to wherever you are on your journey.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert's writing is so inspiring in this book.  It affirms that each and every one of us are creative and have something to share with the world.  In my opinion (and Gilbert's), there IS a difference between being creative and being artistic, and she breaks down a lot of that in Big Magic.  We all are creative, and we all have a gift to share.  Love that!

Seven Thousand Ways to Listen by Mark Nepo

Funny story, when I went through spiritual practitioner training this book was one of the many books on our required reading list.  Before I started reading it, I wasn't very excited because I didn't care for another one of Nepo's books (which numbers show that I am probably the only person on the planet that didn't care for it, HA!).  Well, was I proved wrong with this one.  Nepo's insight into listening is so profound and deep, and the quotes and lessons he provides are great to use on a daily basis.  To this day, it is one of my favorite books, and I use it for reference a lot in my own practice.

You Can Heal You Life by Louise Hay

Growing up my mom and I lovingly (and jokingly) referred to Louise Hay as "Auntie Louise."  We referenced this book constantly, so much so that I think both my mom and I have had to replace our copies due to over-use.  Hay's opinion is that the mind and body are connected (which I completely agree with), and that illnesses arise because of emotional, mental, or spiritual reasons and thought processes (which I semi, but not completely agree with--that's a topic for another day).  My favorite part of this book is the affirmations near the end.  You all know I love my affirmations, so this is definitely a go-to for me. 

I hope these tips were helpful for you.  Have you read any of them?  What are some of your favorite books that bring you inspiration?

xo.  Jen



Bonnie and Hugh Rose March 15, 2015 Not for resale without permission Copyright Gerard Burkhart Photo 2016.

Bonnie and Hugh Rose March 15, 2015 Not for resale without permission Copyright Gerard Burkhart Photo 2016.

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!  I am currently on a ship, but planned this amazing interview ahead of time.  You are going to LOVE it!  So much wisdom, insight, and spiritual nuggets.  Before we jump into it, if you love these interviews as much as I do and are interested in being interviewed (or know someone that is), feel free to reach out to me!  I'm always looking for new guests!  Okay, onto the interview! Meet Bonnie Rose!  I have had the pleasure of knowing Bonnie for about 12 years, as she is the senior minister at the church second home that I attend.  I used to put her on this grandiose pedestal adorned with jewels and gold because, after all, she IS a minister! Then, while bonding over hula-hooping, television shows on Netflix, and our mutual obsession with animals, I realized that while she IS amazing on so many levels, she is more of a mentor and friend (which I am really happy about).

I asked to interview Bonnie, because she absolutely embodies a happy, healthy balance. She eloquently expresses herself with such wisdom, while simultaneously mixing the sacred and profane in a graceful and humorous way.  Isn't that what life is about?  Isn't that what balance is?  I like to think so.

Below is the delightful interview that overflows with joy, spiritual nuggets, and topics that really make you ponder.  I just know that you're going to love it!  Enjoy!

Q + A

Q + A

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself!

BONNIE:   To make a long story short, I was born in New York.  Lived in North Carolina for nine years where I got two degrees – one in nursing and another in vocal performance.  I returned to New York and worked as a nurse, actress and opera singer.  I got married and adopted a cat.   In the early 90s my husband, our two cats and I did a year-long National tour of a Broadway Show.  Then we moved to California, where I worked again as a nurse, opera singer and corporate trainer.   Somewhere along the way, I got interested in studying theology, so I got a Master of Divinity degree.  Now I am the Sr. Minister of the Ventura Center for Spiritual Living.   I’ve been there for close to 12 years.  My husband and I live in Santa Paula, CA, with two dogs, a cat, birds, fish, and box turtles.

Q: In regards to your career, you have accomplished so much, and in a wide variety of professions.  Can you briefly share them, and how you found the inspiration to transition from one to another?

B:   My life has taken many unexpected turns and I’ve done many things that I never dreamed of doing.  It seems that God kept placing intuitions in my heart and opportunities in my life.  I just kept saying yes to that which interested and inspired me.  I had many doubts along the way, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and was willing to be surprised.

Bonnie quote 1

Bonnie quote 1

Q: What inspired you to start your blog Holy Chit?

B: I have a great love of playful paradox and blending the sacred and the profane.  With Holy Chit, I wanted a blog that would give “spiritual people” permission to be human.  I wanted a place where it was safe to explore the sacred nature of our flaws here in the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Q: Do you have a mission/goal with your life’s work?  Explain either way.

B: Yes, it’s what I just said and more.  I recently re-read something that defined perfection as “inclusive of everything.”  I long to help people find radical inclusivity, aka “perfection” in all of the weirdness and wonder of being simultaneously human and divine.

Q: What is something that makes you feel vulnerable, but you do it anyway?

B: I always feel vulnerable when I put my words “out there,” whether through public speaking, writing or even a difficult conversation.  I do it anyway because the urges to express, be helpful or be authentic are stronger than the fears that want to keep me silent.

Q: How do you show yourself radical self-love?

B: I spend lots of time with my dogs, Saraswati and Bartok.  They are experts at giving and receiving unconditional love.

Q: What is your favorite self-care regimen?

B: I feel best when I can spend an hour or more hiking in the mountains with the dogs.

Q: When do you feel the most beautiful?

B: When I am in a state of awe and appreciation of the mysteries of existence.

Bonnie quote 3

Bonnie quote 3

Q: Do you have a daily spiritual practice?  If so, describe it.

B: I do a brief prayer/meditation in the morning when I ask God to direct my day.   I meditate and contemplate while I hike.  I often read spiritual material.  But most of my spiritual practice is doing my best to “take the meditation off the mat,” – that is applying conscious loving kindness and deliberate grace to all of the many tasks and interactions I perform daily.

Q: What does a Happy, Healthy Balance look like to you?

B: Lots of playfulness and joy infused in all of the things I do – writing, ministering, speaking, taking care of my loved ones, cooking, etc.

Q: Where can we find you?

B: Church website // Blog // Facebook   Please feel free to stop by any time!

TOP 10

TOP 10

1. What is the last meal you cooked?

B: Butternut squash soup.

2. Favorite food?

B: Chocolate chip cookies.

3. Favorite way to indulge?

B: Binge-streaming a really good show on Netflix.

4. What is your favorite way to move your body?

B: Hiking in the mountains.

5. Who is your girl crush?

B: Detective Olivia Benson on Law and Order SVU.

6. What is your spirit animal?

B: My Vizsla’s.  (Hungarian Pointers)

7. What is one of your favorite quotes?

B: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  Mary Oliver

Bonnie quote 2

Bonnie quote 2

8. What would you name the autobiography of your life?

B: The Irreverent Reverend

9. What is the best gift (material or not) that you have ever received?

B: My dogs.

10. What is your wish for the world?

B: Radiant compassion for all beings.

Isn't Bonnie fantastic?!  I hope you all enjoyed this interview with her as much as I did.  I felt like I got so many "ah-ha's" from it.  Did you?

Well, I'll be back on Wednesday with a recap of my trip!

xo.  Jen


affirmation 1Happy Wednesday, beauties!  How is your morning going?  Yesterday I shared this affirmation on Instagram (side note: you should follow me there, as I post inspiring messages, meal ideas, and more).  I love affirmations, and often times come up with them while I am meditating, or just throughout the my day.  This helps set my intention for the day, and I love repeating them as necessary.  Every so often I will be sharing them here, too.  :) tedAs much as I love affirmations, today I am going to be sharing some of my most favorite TED Talks with you.  Do you ever listen to TED Talks?  I find them incredibly inspiring and uplifting!  For those not familiar with TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design), they are a nonprofit organization that spreads ideas in the form of short (I think 20 minutes or less) talks. The speakers are well-versed in their topic, and range anywhere from authors to CEO's to engineers to athletes to school teachers, and everyone in between.

For your viewing and listening pleasure I compiled a list of My 7 Favorite TED Talks.  Take a peek below!

1. Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

My favorite Ted Talk to date.  Brené is witty, courageous, and simply amazing.  She shares her own personal story of vulnerability, and her quest to share it with humanity.  So good! #fangirl

2. Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20

Whether you are a twenty-something or not, this is a great message on being present at any age.

3. Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius

I love Elizabeth Gilbert!  This is a very touching, and thought provoking talk.  Gilbert speaks about how we all have a genius within.

4. Amy Purdy: Living beyond limits

Amy is so inspirational!  She has such motivation and courage, and shares her wisdom of darkness and light in such a powerful way.

5. Susan Cain: The power of introverts

As an introvert myself, I connected deeply with Susan's words.  Her passion is evident as she shares the talents and traits that introverts possess.

6. Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

I remember this being one of the first Ted Talk's I ever watched.  I was blown away with Ken's humor, passion, and honesty.  What he shares is profound, and really makes you think.

7. Meaghan Ramsey: Why thinking you're ugly is bad for you

As a health coach and self-love advocate, I could not promote this talk enough!  Meaghan speaks candidly about the harmful impacts of negative thinking, and poor self-image.  This would be a great talk to share with everyone, especially young girls.

Do you have a favorite TED Talk?  Share with me!  I love to listen to new ones!

xo.  Jen