“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.








30 Responses to About

  1. Bob says:

    Hi Jenn,
    I just discovered you through I really loved what you wrote there…very well-said. Ironically, I just started a blog recently and my first post talks about how a pinched nerve helped me discover some of the same things you did. I also discovered how much I enjoy writing/blogging. I definitely can relate very much to the things you said.

    Anyway, I wanted to say thanks for your post on the other blog as well as your posts here. I’ve added you to my RSS feed and look forward to reading more for you. Thanks again…I hope you’re having a blessed day…

  2. Body, mind and soul, sitting on top of the world you are closer to God.

    Enjoy the journey, keep smiling, it makes them wonder what you are up to.

  3. Rob says:

    Hi Jen,

    I read your article on Tiny Buddha. Lovely to hear your experiences and that you grew from it. You’ve definitely taken the right attitude, so keep it up!


  4. Hi Jen,

    Thanks for boldy sharing your experience. I think not all people have the courage to share “shattering” moments. Life is a rough patch for me these days but through your blog on tiny buddha, I’m really encouraged. Keep on keeping on.

    xx, moicueshlepau

    • Thank you 🙂 I totally agree with you, It’s kind of the norm for people to hide their shattering moment & pretend they never happened, & just hope that nobody noticed that their life wasn’t perfect for a second. But I know people like that & from watching them I see how much they limit themselves by running from their shattering times instead of accepting & learning from them. That’s how people get stuck. Love your blog by the way! I’m also following you on twitter 🙂

  5. Jacob Sokol says:

    Me likes. Thanks for reaching out -=)

    Excited about the future…

  6. Joel says:

    Thanks for saying hi Jen! 🙂 Looking forward to what you’re doing here!

  7. Hi Jen

    Just thought I’d pop in and say hi….thanks for following me on Twitter – love your site….and in China hey?

    Trust you may enjoy these:

    Not quite art…but!

    Be blessed!


  8. Quinn W says:

    Oh gosh, Jen. Our stories sound so alike. Isn’t it strange how we don’t hear the sounds of our soul until it is screaming screaming screaming at us to listen? We forgot to listen to it when it was just a whisper. Then we get sick and miserable with our lives.

    But in that misery, there is so much opportunity as you (and I!) have found. From this misery is strength, SO much strength. I’m just figuring this out now.

    One of my dear mentors once told me: “Quinn, have you seen how strong your spiral down has been? Imagine what your life will be like when you spiral up. You’ll be an unstoppable hurricane!!”

    Getting to the eye of the storm is essential in order to spiral up and then out.

    Thanks for being a fellow Hurricane, Jen. Let’s ride this sucker out ’til the wind roars through our souls with the heavenly sound of Aummmmmm.


    • Best. Comment. Ever! Thank you! Wow, everything you say connects straight to my soul.

      You are so right, if we are not on the path the Universe wants for us, it doesn’t stop screaming at us until we get back on track. I had received so many hints, nudges and gut feelings that I just ignored or put aside for later, the only way for the Universe to get my attention was to give me a big slap in the face and a kick in the butt! It works wonders, though, haha!

      While reading your comment I thought to myself, ‘You know what? I AM an unstoppable Hurricane!’ What an amazing affirmation to live by. Thank you so much for introducing me to it!

      I am look forward to spiraling up and onwards with you! 😀

  9. Quinn W says:

    You are one miiiiighty hurricane! I so so so get you. If you get a second and haven’t already read it, read my own about page. I swear we are saying the same things here, just slightly different phrasing 🙂 I got bitch-slapped by the Universe in the same way, car accidents, sickness, and practically feeling like I was going insane. I’m just starting on this journey toward wholeness, and blogging has been so amazing thus far. Both the writing part and connecting with like-minded souls.

    Spiral Up. And Spiral Out.

    • I just read your about page. Yep, I couldn’t agree more! We’ve been through the same eye-opening, soul brightening experience, almost to the exact date!

      I’m so glad you started a blog about your journey, I’ve only been doing this for about four months, and I can’t tell you how much healing and joy it has brought me, not to mention finding so many like minded people! It’s so absolutely amazing, and yet so exactly meant to be 🙂

      Thank you so, so much!

  10. Hey, I just thought I’d stop by and tell you that I really enjoy reading your blog. I love all the picture quotes you find to add to your posts.

  11. […] the world a more positive place. Today's feature is an interview with Jen, creator of My Smiling Heart, a site dedicated to Jen's journey toward a more positive life. Her story is inspiring and her […]

  12. […] for the day was pass forward by Jen who writes at My Smiling Heart. She received this video in A Peaceful Path newsletter she […]

  13. Amy says:

    Reading this made me smile and I like that you made a “conscious” decision to be happy. Very inspirational.

    • Jen says:

      Thank you so much, Amy 🙂 I am so glad you connected with my story, and that you took the time to read it. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  14. Dweston55 says:

    Oh my Goodness,,,yesterday,as I was chatting with a friend,,I shared with her. My desire to become an expert,,at. ” Smiling with my liver,,”. My journey is the same as so many that has been awaken in this quest, to become best friends with ourselves…Jen thank you for sharing your before. ” journey”. Journey….

    I too had agoraphobic feelings years ago,,,I know the. Wanting.of wanting to find my magic again..thankyou to the light that allowed physical unrealitys to point me to my power..

    Liz gibert. Joins many others that have shared the path…I watch parts of the movie often,,as it Feels. So darn good…

    Your writings will be in my favorites,,and to share with others. More and more blessings to you

    I’m not. California girl,,or. NYC girl,,,,I girl from. Iowa

    • Jen Saunders says:

      Thank you so much for sharing such beautiful words with me, it is always wonderful to find a like-minded soul 🙂 We are on a magical path indeed, one that leads back to our true selves 🙂

  15. […] blogger who  has done a great job at making choices that prevent further suffering in her life is Jen at My Smiling Heart. She has just posted her 100th blog post in which she offers a free e-book that […]

  16. […] I found Jen through her blog and know her because she has allowed me to be a writer for her amazing magazine.  Jen is paving the way for women to be exactly who they want to be and do exactly what they want to do.  She just got back to her home in Melbourne, Australia after spending a year in Daqing, China where she originally went to teach English but ended up finding herself. […]

  17. Motherfunker says:

    Hey wild gorgeous soul!

    Your blog and magazine are truly inspiring and I la la la la la la love you! I too know the smiling inside feeling but have been having a hard time just recently. Finding your blog and reading your story was beautiful.

    I am passing on the Stylish Blogger Award that I have just been awarded, and hoping it will bring a few more wild sisters your way. I was introduced to your gorgeous mag by Lucy Pearce, and can’t wait to get my subscription.

    A big kiss to you across the ether –

    Love Motherfunker X

  18. Natella Mammadova says:

    You are amazing! Your journey sounds so similar to mine – I also was fired and fell sick during my ‘difficult’ time. I’m also an artist and now making my way back to what I really wanted to do since childhood. If you’re interested in my story, it’s in Who I am and why I’m here post on my One Happy Blog –
    I’m really glad I came across your blog and hope to meet you in person one day! 🙂

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