For the last few years, I’ve picked a word for each year. A word that embodies a concept I’m working on, or resonates deeply with that point in my life’s journey. (And no, gentle readers and knowers-of-Jen, that word is not F-U-C-K. That’s my favorite word every year! It modifies every part of speech…show me a more efficient word, I dare you. I digress…). 

If you’ve never tried this practice, I highly recommend it for 2019. Write your word on a Post-It note, buy a Mantra Band, or otherwise place it in the forefront of your attention, and INTENTION, for the year.

My word last year was “awareness”, and it’s come to be the most powerful word I’ve chosen.

The inspiration was largely born of my Ashtanga Yoga practice and the conjunction of where I was in my personal growth. There is a line in the opening Ashtanga chant that translates from Sanskrit to:

Remove the poison of conditioned existence”

Conditioned. Existence.

Conditioned existence inherently means living without awareness. 

Conditioned existence is the “unexamined life” Socrates references.

Bringing “awareness” to the unexamined life is how we begin the journey to thrive and flourish, and shift whatever isn’t working in our lives. 

So many times, fear is in the driver seat when we don’t examine that “conditioned existence”. 

There is fear of what we’ll find. Fear it could mean facing a truth that will someday require a change or a hard choice we aren’t ready to make (leaving a job, a partner, etc). 

So we continue on in our conditioned existence, growing ever more discontent and claiming that’s just “how life goes”… we are but hapless victims, so let’s all just give up now and go to unhealthy coping mechanisms instead.

*face palm*

That is not “just how life goes”… it’s how we LET it go.


My friends, examining why you do what you do, without judgment and with infinite compassion (, is the first step toward a more fulfilling existence. 

I’ve written about accepting your starting point. And in order to reach that acceptance, you must start with awareness. Even if we aren’t ready to MAKE the shifts yet…bringing awareness is the first step. 

Begin to simply bring awareness to your emotions, your patterns, your behaviors. Become a curious observer, a detective if you will, free of judgment. Merely observing and becoming AWARE of patterns, thoughts, and, most importantly, your feelings. 

Awareness is the skeleton key.

💖Sparkle on, friends…