Blogaversary Giveaway!

Photo | Alex Blăjan

It’s my 11th blogaversary! Naturally, I’m celebrating with a GIVEAWAY. The winner will receive a free 30-minute coaching session to be used anytime between now and the end of January. To play, just leave a comment on my very first blog post (below). I’ll choose one name at random tomorrow, Monday, at 5:00pm EST.

A teeny-tiny bit of backstory: On January 7, 2007, I started a blog named Bullseye, Baby! (Yes, the exclamation point was part of the name.) I didn’t really know what a blog was, only that I needed a place to practice — so that was the blog’s little tagline.

There were a few times when I hit pause, thought I was done, or changed the platform and name (anyone remember More Joy, Less Oy?). For six months or so in 2010, I went dark completely. The space itself had many makeovers over the years, changing right alongside me. But it always remained my place to practice showing up.

So, here’s the first blog post I ever wrote. (You can see that I haven’t changed all that much.) Whether you’ve been there since day one or are new to my words, thank you. It’s the connection, the space between us, that energizes my writing more than anything else. I’m so grateful for the continuous unfolding.

PRACTICE WHAT?

Hitting the bullseye, baby.

It was a few months back, 2:30am, nursing my second child in the glider in her room. I was thinking about images for my new Strong Coaching business card. And I was thinking about something I read once that made quite an impression on me – that in Judaism, the word chet, usually translated as “sin,” actually means something closer to “missing the mark.” I learned this in the context of Yom Kippur, when the word “sin” comes up an awful lot in the prayerbook’s English translations. Sin – such an offputting word. So final. So full of judgment.

But missing the mark – now this was a concept I could get my head around. Forgiving, roomy. With implications of more chances. You know, nobody’s perfect. Better yet, imperfection is where all the juice is. We do our best, we practice, we try stuff, we throw spaghetti at the wall and we skin knees and we get hurt and we learn in ways that are sometimes grueling and other times graceful – about relationships, about love, about work, about pretty much everything. In all that trying, in the practice, comes the learning and the growing that we’re here to do. And in the process, maybe the bullseye itself isn’t “getting” the thing we’ve been aiming at but rather hitting on some increased ability to be patient and kind to ourselves.

I put the baby back in her crib and grabbed my journal to sketch a bullseye, knowing the image would be lost on me if I left it till morning. What is coaching, after all, but a chance to try stuff and muck around and develop greater self-knowledge and forgiveness and to make core discoveries about what it is that makes us feel most ourselves. When I feel most myself, there’s more bounce in my step, freedom in my laughter, flexibility in my actions and love in my heart. More moments of compassion and spontaneity and synchronicity, more interest in strangers, more tolerance. There are no right answers. And God is not my judge but a partner in crime who thinks I am a pretty cool chick. What is coaching but the chance to take come chances, throw some darts, and hang out knowing that you’re better off practicing than letting inertia get the better of you.

Bullseye, baby. Two babies, actually. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at them in wonder. The first blew my world open in ways that demanded spiritual integration of a whole new order. The second carries a lucidity that has placed me in the company of a whole posse of angels. Together, these blue-eyed Jewish beauties nudge me towards myself. We stand in the company of so many women, sisters, daughters, mothers. And there’s nothing quite like motherhood when it comes to practice, patience, forgiveness, flexibility, creativity…

So here is my invitation: Pick a bullseye for yourself. Sure, it might be a moving target. But you know what’s been waiting, or calling for your attention. And then make some changes. Take some action. Take a chance. Call it practice.

33 thoughts on “Blogaversary Giveaway!

  1. You take me back to when my children were born. The first one I was blown over by falling head over heals for him. He was perfect to me and beautiful. What cone head? LOL Then my second, a delightful surprise! But man! He would have to grow into that schnoz! LOL.

  2. This is wonderful, Jena. Thank you so much for sharing your very first post. You use the word “practice” a lot and I will confess to often wondering practicing what? I think I use the word a little differently and I am appreciative of this primer. And, of course, appreciative of you. 🙂

  3. Jessi Purdy says:

    I love your perspective on life. How in all of your writings you are working your way through the very questions you are asking your readers. How there’s a question being asked even if it isn’t framed as a question. How you never give us an answer so much as explore your answer. How you always encourage your readers to really dig in and be better.

  4. I’ve read this post before, and reading it again still feels fresh and very relevant.

    Yes, the babies have grown, and the container of your life is shaped differently, but the essential Jena-ness shines right through.

    Though we have spent very little time in the same physical space, you feel like an old, wise friend, the kind who is a good listener and a good talker, in balance. That is what you do–you create and hold space for us to be who we are in our own time and without pressure, and you encourage us to honor that same truth-telling in others.

    Thank you.

  5. Yes! I love throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. Even if I don’t do it as often as I’d like or sometimes agonize over it – this putting myself out there. But you do it so well, being a beacon and all. 💗 Angie

  6. I have experienced portents in the sky and they have more than once involved the star Aldebaran. The first time it happened I was reading up on that star after the experience or really as part of it. I knew it was the eye in the constellation Taurus, and it was significant at the time to suddenly realize that meant it was the bullseye. Gave me goosebumps. I aim for the stars. I love your writing and your inspiring example of always showing up. Thank you!

  7. Thank you for all the ways you inspire us to be messy, to take chances, to act with love and patience for ourselves, and to honor our own writing. How fun to see you were Strong Coaching from the beginning. So glad to know you!

  8. Margaret Kean says:

    “Imperfection is where the juice is….”. Oh yes Jena! How true. And I think of how hard it is for us to truly integrate that into our writing and lives in general. I want my older daughter to know that so badly. And I’m grateful for this blog as it reminds me again (isn’t that it’s all about?) that practice is what is important. It may be what I write (dictate) to myself during my morning walk around the Rose Bowl or the snippets that come to me driving to work or when I actually sit with paper and pen…as long as I’m remembering to always be listening and present. Ahhhh. Thanks!

  9. Barbara says:

    My “bullseye” is showing up for my life, especially the subtle pleasures I tend to overlook on an ordinary day. I need to restore equilibrium between my serious side and my playful side. I can’t practice if I don’t show up, get close enough to notice the little things that call forth joy.

  10. I love the revelation that the word we’ve been translating for so long as “sin” should be read as “missing the mark.” That says so much right there about the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we’ve been told. Time to let the light back in.

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