Meet Jen Louden
MEET THE MUSE: Jen Louden, mother, daughter, writer, blogger, coach, truth-teller.
Tell us about yourself:
Tenacious and loving.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To be able to fully present, experiencing each moment directly, without interpretation or fantasy, no matter what.
What is the trait you are most grateful for in yourself?
Being stubborn in pursuit of my desires and being “puppy-like” – friendly and loving.
What is the trait you most cherish in others?
The ability to work to make the world a better place without burning out or becoming bitter.
What is your most treasured possession?
A handprint my daughter made in pre-school.
What talent would you most like to have?
The ability to write compelling fiction.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My welcoming smile.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Raising my daughter, who is now 21 and at university.
What do you want to be remembered for?
Being a good mom.
What is your motto?
What would love do?
Relax, it’s not a big ding dang deal.
Tell us about your work:
I’ve just convened the next season of the Oasis, a weekly virtual check-in with your heart, your desires, and your needs, and I’m just about to send my mess of a sort-of memoir to an editor to help me figure out what to do next.
What is your “why” behind it?
My Why behind The Oasis is the simple truth if I don’t have a way to check-in with myself, I lose my way and get consumed with things that don’t really matter or stop making the hard choices to prioritize my deepest desires. And that, as much as I love big newshiny dreams, the only way I have ever become more kind to myself, more creative, or met a goal was paying attention to the simple steps and also listening to what feels true and juicy (rather than what I think I should be doing). The Oasis is all about that – and more.
My Why behind the book is to stretch myself through the craft of writing to understand regret, loss and change as a way to reorient to the thread of one’s life. And to stop feeling bitter and pissed off.
What skills | qualities do you need to cultivate for it?
For The Oasis: self-trust; acknowledgement that I can’t please everybody every week; acknowledging I can’t cover everything that I want; acknowledging that sometimes I will talk too much or get too excited; acknowledging that all of that is hard for me.
For the book: understanding structure in a much deeper way; learning to create a story that is about me that someone else can care about; learning how to convey an inner experience in sensory details or with anything more than “And then I realized …;” learning to tolerate the struggle to convey big ideas; learning to tolerate revisiting the painful past.
How can we support you and your work?
Read my blog and share when it resonates.
Buy one of my books.
Join in one of my retreats or learning experiences as the come along – writing retreats, The Oasis, TeachNow, and more.
Share your inspiration with us:
When and where are you most inspired?
If you could inspire one change in yourself, what would it be?
To stop thinking about myself too much.
If you could inspire one change in the world, what would it be?
For each human who has the resources to see climate change as our WWII and take action in the same swift, inspired way, bith politically and personally, that my parents did during that war.
Where do you look for inspiration in your daily life?
Poetry, yoga sutras, yoga nidra meditation, singing mantra, stories of people doing good work in the world, my friends and my husband.
Which historical figures have inspired you?
Georgia O’Keefe (hewing to her own vision), Teddy Roosevelt (National Park system in U.S.) Rumi (the transmission), and the Buddha.
Who are your living muses?
Tara Brach, Rebecca Solnit, Nick Kristoff, Sheryl WuDunn.
Want to share a quote or a poem or a song lyric that inspires you?
I believe in all that has never yet been spoken
I want to free what waits within me
So that what no one has dared to wish for
May for once spring clear
Without my contriving.
If this is arrogant. God, forgive me,
But this is what I need to say.
May What I do flow from me like a river,
No forcing and no holding back,
The way it is with children.
Then is these swelling and ebbing currents,
These deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one has,
Streaming through ever widening channels
Into the open sea.
Rilke, from Book of Hours
What are you most passionate about?
Climate change and activism and inviting women into the wonder and spaciousness and vast mystery of life, where they can find the energy, courage, and strength to stand for their own desires and devote themselves to the creative practice that helps them to stay close to the thread of their lives and follow that thread into the wilderness to where it might lead.
What is holding you back from living the life you want?
Learning disabilities; wasting time on things that aren’t important; being overly ambitious; being a slow writer.
What is your greatest fear?
That I will never be fully present; that I will never write what I truly want to write (because of lack of talent and intelligence); that I am silly.
What has been your greatest life lesson?
Regret from being present and relaxing with what, from truly being with another person, will eat you up. So will hurrying big decisions and changes out of fear. So will always hurrying on to the next thing.
What breaks your heart for others?
Watching moms have to watch their children suffer; senseless, horrible violence brewed up by wretched poverty and ignorance; smart women with vast choice and talent staying caught in a story of their insufficiencies rather than using their talents to help the world.
How do you break your own heart?
Being cruel to myself about my aging body; comparing myself to who I wanted to be or used to be; wishing I was smarter and more energetic; playing the woulda-coulda-shoulda game.
What part of your story do you keep leaving out?
That I got out of a small- town- country- club-take-care-of-yourself-and-do-the comfy- thing life and explored a bigger more creative, less about stuff, life.
What has held you back from sharing it before?
I have, just not that often.
Thank you for the inspiration. xo, muse.
Photo Credits: Heaven MacArthur
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