#brave #inspirational #lifetransition Travel and Inspirational Blogs Uncategorized

Exiled From Myself

Lucidity in Self-Perception

It has been a year since I decided to leave Utah and move to Florida. A year since I decided to make a decision that was based on only what I wanted; a decision that was both uncomfortable and difficult, and left me with a nagging inner-critic that said I wasn’t justified in pursuing my dreams. There were many motivating factors behind the decision to move, but the main drivers were: I knew I wanted to live in the sun by the beach, I wanted to live in an area where I could afford real estate on my own income, I wanted to take on a challenging career opportunity, to feel empowerment and freedom, and the most importantly, find clarity and discernment. I wasn’t sure why, but for some reason the words and concepts of “clarity” and “discernment” were constantly imprinted on my heart. I stated them as a phrase over and over again, in my journal, my heart and in my prayers; they became my guiding mantra during and after the move here to Florida.

However, we all know the reality that our fantasy and longings never quite match up. Yes, I do live near a gorgeous beach, and I am incredibly grateful for the sun and warmth. But the impacts from 2020 are so deep, they are reverberating and affecting every aspect of society and our individual lives. Over the last 10 months, my personal driving decision factors, fantasies, goals, dreams, and paths have all been called to question. I have been tested in ways that I did not think I could be (our needed to be) tested. I have learned more lessons in the last 10 months than I have in the last four years, and ultimately that is because I am finding clarity and discernment.

I never thought clarity and discernment to be loaded words, or to be “dangerous” prayers. A dangerous prayer is like praying for empathy; your prayer might be answered but you are most likely to go through a lot of personal pain to gain true empathy for the pain of others. Yet, 2020 has been one of the hardest years I’ve ever had. I’ve been asking the Universe, “Did I really have to go through this much pain to gain clarity?” The answer is yes, and I won’t even caveat it as “unfortunately, yes;” any answer to your prayer is a blessing. 



clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity. The state or quality of being clear or transparent to the eye; pellucidity:

Since I’ve made the Utah-Florida move I have faced just a couple challenges:  the ending of two of my closest friendships, the hardship of moving across country to a place where you know virtually no one, a devastating personal failure and the resulting severe financial strain, starting my own company,  Covd-19 and the grief at the human toll, resulting extreme isolation – fear – in ability to even make a tribe or connect because of social distancing, enormous strain and stress because of corporate layoffs, and oh, I was in critical condition that required emergency surgery and endured the worst pain of my life. 

Basically, I was driven to my knees emotionally, mentally, physically and financially over the last year. Not that I didn’t get my sun and my beaches, but I gained a lot more than I ever expected (or bargained for).  And I also gained, in mega doses; clarity. 

The biggest lesson in clarity that I have gained is lucidity in self-perception, or what I use, self-awareness. Growing in self-awareness is part of my daily spiritual practice now. Understanding how to label my emotions, self-sooth and sitting with discomfort has given me clarity on my values, the everyday choices I make that are in, or out of line, with my values as well as a crystal-clear understanding that my journey needs to be focused on self-compassion. I am no longer fragmented, with the various aspects of myself exiled off from one another, scared to meet and integrate.

I have always had a desire to help people. When I was around the age of four, my parents were arguing in the car on the way home. I was too little to comprehend what the argument was about, only to perceive that my parents were upset, and that my mother was crying and particularly sad. From the back seat, I leaned as far forward as my little body would allow and grabbed my mother’s hand and sang to her the entire rest of the way home. I do not remember what I was signing, I know it was mostly made up, but I do  remember feeling this overwhelming desire to take away her sadness, even though my little body was aching and stiff from leaning completely over to hold her hand,  I felt it the discomfort was worth it if I made my momma a little less sad.  

In my desire to help people, I was living under the completely destructive notion that one had to be completely focused on external compassion, e.g. for others, that self-compassion felt awful close to pride and selfishness. I did not realize that the failure to provide myself with self-compassion meant I never could really show up in the way I wanted to the people who mattered most to me. Not only could I not show up, but I couldn’t guarantee I’d still be around if I didn’t stop treating myself with contempt. 

“…The three essential elements of self-compassion is loving (self-kindness), connected (common humanity), and presence (mindfulness).” – Dr. Neff The Mind Self-Compassion  

Dr. Neff, Mindful Self-Compassion

Through each of these, recent knee-dropping life events, I have grown in loving, connected presence – I am becoming the person I always wanted to be but thought I was never intrinsically good enough to be. 



the faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding. The act or an instance of discerning.

Since I can first remember, I have wanted and dreamed of freedom. Freedom to live a life of my choosing, and not live the only option I was told I had, getting married as young as possible and having as many babies as possible. I cried bitterly at the age of six because I wasn’t boy, because boys had freedom. Freedom to be Veterinarians and visit Austria (things I dreamt of but were “ungodly” and out of line me as a girl to long for.)  As long as I can remember, I have had to fight for freedom every step of the way, and the hardest realization to me was that in fighting for freedom, the biggest barrier to freedom was my own mind and perception. I have to constantly learn and challenge my internal worldview. Is my worldview originating from a from the place of internal victimhood? Anger? Fear? Prejudice?

Discernment has taught me that no matter how open-minded, anti-racist and socially conscious, I still have a lot of biases I need to examine. Biases to other people, and biases I have internalized and are still sources of shame. I have to searchfor discernment because that is the only way I realize I can be a blessing and an agent of change in this world and community. Discernment is teaching me how to be a helper. And being self-compassionate and helping others find their own compassion is where it all starts and ends. That is what love is about.

So, a year later, I am on this incredible island, in a place that is physically and emotionally peaceful. Looking back, would I still move knowing what I know now? Absolutely yes. It’s been a hell of a ride and I am holding on to my hat for whatever the second half of 2020 has in-store, but I know the universe holds me in love. 

Follow me on Instagram

#feminism #inspirational #inspirationalquotesonlife #lifetransition #peace good guys patriarchy Travel and Inspirational Blogs

Comparison and Contrast: Good vs “Bad Guys” 


Comparison and Contrast: Good vs “Bad Guys” 

The title of this blog sounds like a college paper. However, I think comparison and contrast is a valuable life skill and can be applied to any area of life.

These days the media is full of stories about sexual abuse, harassment and sexism. Hundreds of men are accused of sexual assault or sexist behavior daily. I want to provide an insight, a comparison and contrast. I will tell two stories, the first is an experience that I believe is all too common today. The second is an experience that I have had recently that has been incredibly cathartic. So cathartic that it has restored my faith “in the good corporate man.” As much as I want to shed light on the all-too-common disgusting behavior men perpetuate upon women, I want more to illuminate and praise my brothers out there who are kind, respectful human beings. I hate that a byproduct of the patriarch is the divisive “men vs women” mentality. We are a world in pain, and people in pain hurt others; regardless if they are male or female. How can we fill the gap with love?  Note: The stories are described take place in a corporate setting.

I walked into the elevator, mind racing in preparation for my next meeting. I was headed downstairs to the basement to visit some coworkers for my 15 minute break. In the elevator it was just me and Major ____ a notable military officer that ran the military intelligence lab in the place I worked. I felt a piercing stare and looked up to see him checking me out. Feeling uncomfortable I shifted, from foot to foot. He asked if I worked in accounting on the 2nd floor because all of the “hot girls worked in accounting.” I shyly responded “No sir, I work in System Engineering” he told me there weren’t many cute engineers. I nervously glanced away, praying the elevator doors would open. The tension in that small space was suffocating. He leaned in, invading my personal space and smugly, degradingly, haughtily, looked at me and said “why don’t you come to the basement (where his office was) and make my day?” I felt the heat, the shame, flush from my soul to my face. I didn’t respond. The elevator shortly opened to the basement and there were two male house keepers, tan hands a contrast to the brooms they were holding, looking at the elevator doors as they opened. Major __ announced “boys look at what I drug to the basement.” If the floor could have opened and swallowed me I would have preferred that to standing there in utter horror and self-consciousness.  I felt sickened, and knew this man was a predator.

            I reported an formal EEO compliant. Turns out there were five other women he had harassed. The result from his military and civilian command? Relocate him ASAP to the Midwest, and not allowing him to get a medal for this particular assignment.

Within two years after that, I had left my career in engineering. After 10 years of similar experiences, I was jaded, broken and had enough. I travelled for a while and was lucky enough to find a job that allowed me to work from home. I wanted to be alone, I couldn’t bear the idea of going back to the corporate world. I worked from home for almost four years.  Years recovering from all the sexual harassment, shame and damage toxic men had caused on my soul.  Through lots of therapy, prayer, and healing I decided I could face the workplace again. I was starting to shut myself off from life and limiting my career progression. I would be damned if their behavior had a victory over my career. I was stronger and more grounded now, and no one was going to fuck up my Zen. My heart, while healing, had healed with a lot of cynical scar-tissue.

I moved from Utah to a new office in Florida and it has been such a healing experience. I first had to have the vulnerability to put myself out there. I had taken my power back and had the strength to be vulnerable.  This time around it is different. My office is 75% male and each and every one of them is a good man. I am respected, my opinion is listened to. I am not harassed or marginalized. It is so cathartic to work with men that are honest, respectful and kind. I began to despair that they didn’t exist, but the despair is turning to trust. This trust is healing. I know there are good men, and good corporations whose values are followed from the top down. I have found myself energized in my career. I feel I do not have to play a certain role to be promoted. I can be myself, just Jo’el, and work hard towards a goal.

I think we as women still need to be on guard. I think we need to hold our male counter-parts accountable, but I think prejudice in any form is wrong. Honest, decent men need to be heard and they need to be a part of the greater discussion. Good men are invaluable in changing the minds/behaviors of ignorant men. We need them on our side. Inclusivity is the answer, not division. We need to recognize and praise our brothers who have our backs.  

The word “feminist” is loaded with political meanings. It is used as darts by both political parties. Feminism is described as “the doctrine advocating social, political and other rights of women equal to men.” Inherently that should not be politicalized and polarized. It means we should have the rights as men. Sounds fair enough right?

Let us hold to account the men that treat us with prejudice and let us praise those who lift us up.