“Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you, and clear away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver.”
~ Ketut, from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love
Having a smiling heart is being so happy that you can feel every part of yourself smiling, as though the sun shines in you and through you, brightening your whole life.
Who Writes My Smiling Heart?
The short version:
Hi! I’m Jen, a stargazing, rainbow riding, empowerment artist. I’m the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Wild Sister, an Wild Sister is an online empowerment magazine + community for women who are changing the world.
I live with my afro-haired hippie husband, Mike, in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. As a painter, writer, Empowerment Artist, and newly qualified Meditation Teacher, I’m passionate about inspiring women to love themselves, follow their hearts and change the world.
After spending years being the victim of my circumstances, hiding my vulnerabilities and trying to fit in, I’m finally finding my own voice, getting in touch with my soul and letting my light shine.
My Smiling Heart is where I come to dance with words, paint with love, connect with kindred spirits, bare my soul and listen to what my heart has to tell me.
The long version:
In May 2010, I was feeling stuck. I wouldn’t admit it at the time, but anxiety had gotten the better of me, leaving me with a case of agoraphobia that meant I couldn’t even bring myself to get to the mailbox alone.
So, in order to force myself to overcome my fears, get out of the rut we had dug ourselves into, and finally do some of that travelling that we had been dreaming of, my fiancé, Mike, and I found jobs teaching English in China and within weeks we embarked upon a year long adventure on the other side of the world.
Not long after our arrival in China, and just when we had started to settle in, I was unfairly fired from the school that hired us to teach English (we later discovered that the school had hired me to teach new classes, but when they didn’t get enough enrollments to fill those classes, they no longer had use for me.) But they still needed Mike, and in order to stop us from leaving, they withheld our passports.
The Chinese police helped us retrieve our passports, and we decided to stay in China for the rest of Mike’s contract.
But settling into such a different culture, without family or any of the comforts from home, and being fired all took its toll on me. Soon after, I fell ill while travelling through Inner Mongolia, and was bed-ridden for a month. This was the final blow that knocked me down hard.
I was miserable. I felt as though my life was in ruins all around me, and I was stuck in the middle of it, trying frantically to put it all back together again before anyone noticed how massively I had failed.
But being so sick and isolated gave me a lot of time to think. I thought about my life, and how it wasn’t at all how I wanted it to be. I had lost my way. I had lost my self.
At the time, I still had eight months left in China. It was completely up to me what I could do with those eight months. And I didn’t want to spend them feeling sorry for myself.
In that moment, I made a conscious decision to focus on the good things in my life, and do whatever I needed to do in order to be happy.
I read positive books and blogs, listened to my favourite music, ate the right foods, started learning Mandarin, and laughed as much as possible. I started painting again, and found healing through writing.
That’s when I started My Smiling Heart.
And I’ve woken up every morning with a smiling heart ever since. I’ve never been happier, healthier, or more connected to my soul.
My Smiling Heart began as a way to help me heal, and to document my journey as I built myself back up from ruin. But it has since grown into an amazing community, and a resource of positivity and hope for others.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from all this, is that we really can create our lives.
My Smiling Heart lead me to create Wild Sister Magazine, an online magazine designed to inspire and empower women. When I’m not writing here at MSH, I’m working on my dream there at Wild Sister.
And the future I am creating is one full of love, inspiration, family, authenticity, paintbrushes, self-exploration, veggie gardens, empowerment, full-time artistic expression, ocean breezes, and many more years of My Smiling Heart.
I’d love for you to join me.