After suffering from an early life crisis, Jennifer Louden knew it was time to make a change. She was always a natural-born helper, and so she left her job as a screenwriter and set out to follow her passion. Now, Jennifer is an expert in personal growth who helped pioneer the self-care movement. In addition to teaching at workshops and retreats, she’s written eight books, a national column for Martha Stewart Magazine and has been featured on tons of different television and radio programs–including Oprah! Keep reading to hear more about how she lives without holding back:
BB: Can you give us an overview of your journey and how you got to where you are today?
I was a frustrated filmmaker and screenwriter who had an early life crisis at the ripe old age of 25. In a moment of great despair and total surrender, I decided to stop writing – at the time I was crafting screenplays. In that moment of total surrender, I heard a title, very clearly, “The Woman’s Comfort Book.” That title became my assignment to learn what it meant to take care of myself, befriend myself, be myself, and it eventually becoming a best-selling book. After that, I kept following my hunches and what I needed to learn to live the question, “How do you shape your truest life?”
BB What inspired you to make a change in your own life and start helping others do the same?
I’ve always been a seeker. I stole my sister’s copy of Be Here Now when I was 12, and taught myself yoga poses and meditation. I’ve also always been someone who wanted to help, who was just sure there was a way to make anything better. Of course, that has made me obnoxious to live with at times (my daughter used to glare at me in her teen years and say, “Stop coaching me”). And it has also fueled me to keep learning. It’s one of the most delightful things about being alive, isn’t it? I do so love to learn.
BB: What was it like canoeing over 300 miles?! That must of been an insane trip – did you learn anything about yourself, or experienced a revelation?
I took that trip when I was 28, just after I was married and after my first book was written but not yet published. It remains one of the most sublime and important experiences of my life. The sacred mystery of being so deep in the wilderness that you start to forget what it means to live in a house or look in a mirror – that is bliss to me. There is a paring away of self that happens. I hope to have that experience again one day soon.
BB: What type of low grade illnesses have you struggled from, and were you able to treat or improve them holistically?
A combination of gut flora imbalances and adrenal fatigue, and until very recently, no treatment has worked – but I have a new naturopath and he thinks he has a solution! So my fingers and toes are crossed. Here’s hoping I can report the best health of my life in a month or so!!!
BB: What resources do you turn to when you need advice?
I have a Brain Trust or what others call a Mastermind group. We’ve been together for eight years and they know me so well. It’s an incredible gift and asset to be seen and loved. Plus we give each other great business advice!
BB: You have had to go through some extremely emotional times like losing a dear friend the same day you lost a contract as a national spokesperson. How did you cope, and what advice can you give from those experiences to other women who are going through hard times?
We must, I believe, always be building our resilience so we can bend with the extremes and not break. For me, that happens through meditation practice, asana practice, marriage practice, and self-compassion practice. Those hard years of loss – of which that was a particularly hard day – taught me that I could handle what life brings and showed me who I wanted to become. I would never say I’m glad those hard years happened, but I will say I am very proud for extracting from them every soul lesson I could.
BB: What did you learn from being a guest on Oprah?
Not to give my power to be a success to someone else.
BB: If we got a peek at your daily schedule, what would it look like?
Awake between 6am and 7am, cuddle my honey, wash my face, meditate for 10 to 20 minutes. Physical therapy exercises for my neck and back. Eggs for breakfast, then black tea and writing. Minimize outside contact with world until after writing. That is always hard. Then usually more writing for various projects, prepping for teaching, then teaching, maybe a little coaching. Yoga or a hike at some point most days. Evenings are usually reading with my honey, maybe an hour of a BBC show via Netflix, never work.
BB: How do you maintain the Balanced Babe lifestyle?
Work-life balance is easy for me because I don’t have a ton of energy. I live on a small island and everything is close with little traffic. My daughter is in college an hour away and thriving. My mom lives nearby in a memory care facility that takes great care of her. Yoga, meditation, dance, hiking are just part of what I need to be me, although it gets dark so early in the winter, I sometimes find myself skipping moving my lovely body. But rarely!
I also have an adjustable desk so I can stand at work. And I name my time with friends on my calendar as “spiritual renewal” so it feels sacrosanct.
BB: What’s next for you? Any major goals you’d like to accomplish in the next year?
I’m offering something new starting this year: The Oasis: Guided Support for Living your Truest Life. Not a program, not another class, but a sacred date and guided support to catch up with yourself & plan your week. We’ll check in with weekly, one-hour calls over the next 6 months to give ourselves consecrated tune-in time and a supportive community of successful, smart, loving men and women.
I also have a new book that just came out from National Geographic called A Year of Daily Joy. It’s journal prompts, gorgeous photos, and quotes so it makes a great gift and a fantastic book to share with a friend or a book group.