Jump Start Your Joy

Jump Start Your Joy is a podcast by Paula Jenkins, a transformative life coach, retreat leader, and speaker living in the San Francisco Bay Area. The show focuses on the many ways that people follow their dreams, and look for joy in their every day lives. Paula hand picks guests with inspirational stories; people who have intentionally and mindfully decided to follow a path that brings them joy. We talk about how adversity can bring out one's strengths, how acceptance precedes growth, and how curiosity about one's life and the world around them often leads to finding one's greatest joys. A mix of humor, life coaching, and genuine love of people lead to the quirky and fun style of this podcast.
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Now displaying: November, 2015
Nov 24, 2015

Today's episode is about Joy, Transformation and Self Acceptance, and it's my first "Solocast!" I've really loved getting to know so many of you through this blog, and the journey of the past few months has been completely uplifting. As I've mentioned in passing on other episodes, I've had a list of people that I wanted to interview for years ... and finding a home to interview them here, in a podcast format, has been just amazing.

Joy is the platform here, but there's so much more behind joy ... and I think that's why I love talking about it every week. I firmly believe that every person hits a stage in their life where they are challenged, either by physical, mental, emotional, monetary, creative challenges, each that have the potential to shake you to your core. In those hard times, you have a choice. You can choose to become engulfed in your circumstances, or you can choose to fight for joy, for love, for something that matters to you. To get there, you've got to accept yourself, right where you are. It takes embracing your shadow side, the scary parts, the stuff that you don't want to look at or admit. Acceptance is a step, even simply accepting you want or need help is a step.

I've had my own dance with hard times. In this podcast I reference my 56 hour labor, followed by a C-section, at the birth of my son. This threw me for a curve that I didn't expect. No birth class covers the "what happens when Plan A falls apart, Plan B becomes laughable, and Plan C wasn't even written yet." I'm sure you've been through this somewhere, somehow in your own life. There are times when even with the most thorough of planning, (and in the words of Pema Chodron), things fall apart.

It's that moment, or those moments, when there's not much left to hold on to, where you define who you are. Sure, it hurts, sure it sucks, sure, you can be as mad at the world, the universe, at God, as you've ever been. But that doesn't change anything, it doesn't further the cause. It doesn't get you any closer to living or loving, or doing whatever it was you came here to do.  Mad is easy, and mad has it's place, but it's not a destination.

One of the things that kept me going in those moments was the quote by Meg Cabot, "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear." That and some amazing spiritual and personal stories that I will share at another time, later, when they are ready to be told.

In my case, I came out of that situation with PTSD. I could sense my own ability to deal with reality just outside my grasp. I could feel that I had to fight harder than I'd ever fought for anything in my life, just to get me back. And all the while I was trying so hard not to let the feelings that "I failed at this birth, I let myself down, my own body couldn't do what it was supposed to do" take over. (And if you're in that place, in any way, I want you to know that those things are just not true. Those are such painful thoughts. You're OK, you are loved, you are cherished.)  Truly, I had to know my core, and chose to fight for joy. Joy wasn't really within my reach, I knew that, but it was still out there. So I got curious, I started asking why. I found a really good therapist. None of that could have happened if I hadn't accepted myself, where I was, accepted that at my core I knew I could fight and this was the time to dig deeper than I even knew I could.

I think each of us is wired for joy. We are wired to find our way back home. That's what the story of this podcast ultimately is, that fight for joy, that pursuit of purpose, even when it's hard, even when it seems nearly improbable. For joy, transformation, and self acceptance. We need these stories, and we need to know joy is possible.  Because it is.

This post is part of the "Weeks of Self" series coordinated by Theresa at Thrive Within.
In this podcast I talk about:

Nov 18, 2015

Amber and Brady Black are a married couple currently living in Beirut, Lebanon, and they are a true inspiration. Having grown up and met, in the United States, they decided to move to the Middle East to teach. The first five years abroad were not easy, and Amber found herself fighting depression, which she courageously shares about in our interview. After some discussion, they decided that they needed to leave the gulf region. In a series of synchronous events, a friend of a friend  mentioned that there was an opening at "Home Of Hope" in Beirut, which is a home for abandoned and abused children in Lebanon. Amber and Brady went for a visit, and knew in their hearts that they had to teach there.

Brady had been interested in art in his younger years, and returned to it when things had gotten hard; in drawing whimsical art for a friend who wanted note cards to put in her children's lunches, something magical was born. Brady realized he had an outlet for his creativity, and it tapped into the imagination of the children and parents that saw it. When more requests came for note cards, Amber and Brady realized they had the beginnings of a business, one that brought joy to them and others, brought more purpose them as a couple, and helped Amber feel a sense of belonging and connection as she came out of her depression.

Joy and love is the through-line for Amber and Brady's work at Home of Hope, Lebanon, as well. They work with children who have been abandoned, abused, that are refugees, who have been on the streets, some have been involved in prostitution. At the Home, Amber and Brady teach the children, but it becomes so clear in the interview, they also meet each of these children right where they are, provide a consistent presence in their lives, and love them.

I adored getting to know Amber and Brady - they are funny, passionate, open, and so dedicated to both Serious Creatures and Home of Hope. I loved hearing about how Brady's passion for drawing and imagination truly changed their lives, and how both of them said "yes" to starting a business when the idea presented itself. And, I loved hearing about how much they love working with the kids in Beirut. I know you'll enjoy getting to know them, too.

In this interview we talk about:
- How Amber and Brady met at college, and have "been married every since"
- What it was like to move to Oman from Texas
- How Amber faced depression when she moved to Oman, and how she felt culturally isolated
- How art, imagination, and hope changed their lives, and started a company
- How Serious Creatures got it's name (hint: there's some Harry Potter magic involved!)
- The way they were introduced to Home of Hope
- What it's like to teach children of various ages and various levels of educational background
- How they strike a balance of taking care of themselves while working with children from difficult backgrounds
- Their kickstarter with Serious Creatures (Serious Starters)
- What it was like for Brady to see children reacting to his art for the first time
- What's next for them and Serious Creatures


Serious Creatures Website
Serious Creatures sign up page to learn about their after Thanksgiving sale
Serious Creatures Instagram
Serious Creatures Kickstarter
Home of Hope Lebanon Facebook page

The post Episode 11: Hope, Love, and Serious Creatures with Amber and Brady Black appeared first on Jump Start Your Joy.

Nov 10, 2015

In this episode I had the pleasure of talking to Molly Larkin about meeting addiction with loving kindness. Molly is a dear. I remember meeting her for the first time in January and being impressed with her presence. Strong, comforting, welcoming. She's the kind of person who makes you feel at ease and OK in your own skin. Learning that Molly is a registered nurse and a certified life coach, makes sense, she is so undoubtedly in her element in the work that she does.

What I find remarkable about this interview is the way she dives right in and we talk about "hard stuff" - addiction, eating disorders, ego, and self worth. In the same instance, Molly exudes humor, love, and acceptance. I truly enjoyed our conversation, and I'm so glad that we have crossed paths.

In this episode, Molly and I talk about:
- Her experience with addiction and an eating disorder
- How "maitri" (loving kindness) has been a key to her unlocking painful thoughts
- "The Work" of Byron Katie
- The ego's role in painful thoughts
- How to return to joy, even when the ego is running the show, and one is stuck n the midst of painful thoughts
- Molly's work with clients, and how to begin freeing oneself from addiction

I'm super excited that Molly is one of our speakers for the Dream Into Action Retreat running this weekend (November 13-14, 2015). Sign up here.

Resources for this show:
Molly Larkin's website
Read Molly's post on eating disorders
Dream Into Action registration site.
CCTP Website and registration (tell Kate that Molly & Paula sent you)
Byron Katie's book "Loving What Is" - my favorite of her books, on Amazon - it's simply brilliant and I know you'll love it!

I am an Amazon affiliate. Links on this page (ones to items I truly love and recommend) may earn me a commission.

The post Episode 10: Molly Larkin Speaks About Meeting All things with Loving Kindness appeared first on Jump Start Your Joy.

Nov 3, 2015

Franny Burkey is a baker, shop co-owner, and pastry maker at the dreamy "Franny's Cup and Saucer" in Point Arena, California. She whips up gorgeous cakes, delicious donuts, some amazing gluten free treats, all while working with her mom (and co-owner), Barbara. The shop itself feels like the embodiment of joy, with it's sweet gifts, tasty treats, and loving atmosphere. When I started creating my list of who I wanted to interview for Jump Start Your Joy, Franny Burkey was definitely one of the first names I wrote down.

And, Franny herself is really one of the most joyous and endearing folks I've ever met, and so it was a real treat to get to chat with her for a bit about her childhood, her outlook on life (and business), and what she loves about her work.

In this interview, you'll hear about:
- Franny's childhood, growing up in Northern California, and having two parents in the food industry
- How Franny comes up with flavors for her delicious Friday donuts<<br /> - How Franny and her Mom work together, and run the bakery
- The secret of how Franny gets up early, and her positive outlook on why it's not "so bad"
- What she does to relax, including mixed martial arts and running
- How they've established what to buy for their shop in a small town, and what their ideal price point is
- How many wedding cakes Franny makes in a year, and why she loves working on wedding cakes
- My own wedding cake and how Franny designed the cake for our four year old son (with a robot, rabbit, Yoda, and Lightning McQueen)

Franny's Cup and Saucer website
Franny's Cup and Saucer Facebook page (check out the donuts here)
Sunset Eating Up the West Coast from Amazon (Franny has two recipes in this 2015 book)

The song I mention at the very end of the interview, with a correction, the song is by Clint Black.


*I am an Amazon affiliate. Links on this page (ones to items I truly love and recommend) may earn me a commission.


The post Episode 9: Franny Burkey on Being Kind, Being Positive, and Nourishing Joy appeared first on Jump Start Your Joy.