5 Tips for Butchering Your Life (So You Can Finally Live).

Via on Feb 10, 2014


Emancipating One’s Self Takes Patience, Grace and a Level of Brutality In Order to Hack Away at That Which Doesn’t Serve In Growth

I had been a free-spirited artist who put my dreams, passions and convictions aside to adopt a life that I thought was necessary in order for me to ‘grow up’ and ground myself. You know…to live the American Dream. I became a wife to a safe man who took care of me financially, while taming me into ordinary. I was part of a relationship of comfort, convenience and normalcy.

Then I woke up.

2013 was when I purposely and methodically butchered away my life, my Self, the heavy skin from 10 years of marital and personal discord, as well as sever the restraints of that which I had grown to know as my cage. I shattered every assigned and self-imposed label and cut away the fat of my judgement, perspective and clouded vision. I invited the aspects that resonated with my core to stay, and I then granted myself the grace to shed the rest.

I was left in pieces—hacked, chopped, bloody and raw. I had taken myself down to the bare bones of my foundation, naked and prostrate…questioning every move, every choice, every thought.

That was the most challenging and painful set of events in my entire life thus far. And in the words of Lao Tzu, “New beginnings are often described as painful endings.”

Now divorced, I am living with my three happy little boys, supporting myself and kids with my art and dating an incredible man, a fellow artist who nourishes my soul and loves me as I am, pure and raw, whom I wholeheartedly believe to by my soulmate…and I am becoming reacquainted with the being that I had previously convinced myself wasn’t adequate.

As the dust has begun to settle around broken debris of framework, I can now more clearly see the crystal blue sky and the seemingly infinite space around me. A space where I can begin to rebuild my life with my children using my own tools and material…in my time.

It feels critically important to me to pass along some fragments of wisdom that I gained through this atomic bomb of a life change, just in case anyone else finds themselves in a massive crossroads of sorts. (And if you haven’t been to a place like that, remember that comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there.)

1. Rational thinking is overrated.

Let’s face it—we can’t truly predict the future outcome from any one decision. When it comes to matters of the heart, the soul, and passion, rational thinking will only conjure up the fear associated with following an intangible…an abstract. Sometimes we need to leap and trust that the net will appear without thinking too hard on the results. One of my favorite Zen proverbs is ‘Let go or be dragged’. Sometimes, it takes just releasing the stronghold of the perceived control that one has on their life, trust in the heart’s ability to lead the way, and enjoy the scenery along the journey.

After all, control is all just an illusion.

2. This illusion which we call life is all in what we make of it—our perspective and where we invest our energy.

After this experience, I have come to realize that I have the mental and emotional capacity to truly roll with the punches, to rest in the beauty of the unknown, and to openly process lessons in life as either that which brings me peace or that which aids me in my practice.

3. Faith that we do our very best with the tools and information that we have at our disposal at that time.

That’s all that we can do. No one, including ourselves, can expect any more of us. We need to grant ourselves the grace to take the chance of making a mistake and then anticipate the opportunity to learn from it.

4. One’s idea of the way life should be greatly impedes on the way life really is.

Without even realizing it, we tend to place subconscious expectations and perimeters upon ourselves and our lives. Whether trying to live up to a certain societal standard or trying to somehow recreate how one was raised, we inadvertently set ourselves up for disappointment. I found that actively working at being aware of the expectations that I have laid out for myself helps free me from those sneaky constraints that tend to limit so much of my life.

5. This is your life, not anyone else’s.

At the end of the day, we answer to no one but ourselves. Only we know what is the best path for us and what makes us happy. Those people who truly love us need to let go of any judgment and/or their personal projections of what they believe our lives to be, and just be happy that we are happy.

After this dramatic life event, I found that many of my friends judged before even knowing the truth behind the situation, while others were ‘disappointed’ in me for not living out the life that they thought I should in their minds.

Only a small portion of my friends even asked me if I was happy, and even fewer were totally and completely content, without needing to know anything else, after hearing my answer ‘yes—I am happier than I’ve ever been’.


While my metamorphosis was painful and terrifying, as I can imagine any massive change would be, I am a stronger, more awake person following my own path to joy.

It is so very easy to lose sight and stray along whatever we endeavor, however, it is always within our power to change the course and rebuild.

I wish you all clarity along your path and the strength, when you stray, to butcher away that which keeps you from attaining awareness and awakening with the least amount of suffering and apathy…and thrive.


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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: courtesy of the author


About Jennifer K. Jones

Jennifer K. Jones is the owner of a multi-media marketing firm, yoga instructor and practitioner, holistic health practitioner, writer and artist. She is the mother of three incredible little boys & an amazing baby girl, all of whom will hopefully grow up to live their passions with gratitude, radiate and spread pure, unconditional love to every being that they encounter, and thrive within the vast openness of their wildest dreams... and Jennifer is striving daily to lead them by example. Contact Jennifer at her website.


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40 Responses to “5 Tips for Butchering Your Life (So You Can Finally Live).”

  1. Elien says:

    Thank you for this great article…feels so much in line with what my year has been like…After 7 years I could finally gather the courage to step out of a relationship that had made me unhappy for years. That made me crawl out of bed at night, literally and figuratively trying to get from under his heavy weight, to try and control a panic attack. That made me cry my eyes out those same nights for feeling so alone and miserable. I was ashamed to look into my own eyes. I felt weak and most of all, trapped. I felt like a wild animal in a cage, with one big, significant difference. My faith was in my own hands. But what was out there scared me. I had gotten insecure; my partner at that time had power over me, and knew how to keep me small and behind bars. No wonder I was unable to look into my own eyes. Whenever I did, I felt so weak for not standing up for myself.

  2. Elien says:

    . Until one day, I reached my limit. I was going downhill fast, utterly exhausted and on the verge of breaking down. He had been taking so much of my energy. Depression was lurking around the corner. But that day the warrior inside me began to move again, after being lulled to sleep for years. That warrior companion that had helped me through my testing childhood. How could I have forgotten about him? So one day, I woke up, red-eyed and tired, I looked into my own eyes and I saw the tiger roaring, preparing for battle. I could hear it’s echo going through my heart and mind: this is YOUR life. Nobody can take it away from you. It's your energy and your light. Stand up for it! And right there, in that moment, I could finally breathe again. A real, deep, energizing breath. I swung open the doors of my cage and I left, running wild and free out into the world.

  3. Elien says:

    I felt like me again, that wild thing that was uncontrollable at times yet so free and careless. I started to like that person in the mirror again. I felt like I could roar the world together. I started doing yoga again (he didn't see the point of me spending money on 'that').I've been tested since then. I've been crying on the floor, I've been breaking down in yoga class during meditation, making some people pretty uncomfortable…But for the first time in years, I was going to take care of that wonderful person looking back at me in the dampened mirror of my cozy little bathroom…those lovely brown eyes with green sparkles in the middle. (my ex would always deny those green sparkles) I knew they were there. Life had given me exactly what I needed to learn this one important thing: to stay true to myself. And I am so glad to say that from this day on, I will never betray myself again. Your article reminded me of all this, it reminded me to be proud of myself. And that, although you sometimes feel like you're completely alone, there are always others there with you.

  4. Jen says:

    Thank you for this. After 16 yrs of marriage I have decided to leave my husband as soon as our lease comes up in 2 months… I have been so miserable and felt so trapped for years but have never had the courage to leave until recently. But I am SO scared. Scared of being alone, scared of not being able to support my two girls by myself… I’m just petrified. I know it’s the right thing to do, but that doesn’t make it any less scary. Reading your article helped though. Thank you. Thank you so, so much.

    • JenniferKH says:

      Thank you for sharing that with me, Jen. Life is way too short to be miserable… & you are never 'stuck'. I think when you start looking fear straight on, & begin seeing as a tool & not a impediment, life starts to change. A sense of empowerment begins to arise that can't be quieted. Sending you love & strength, lady. You'll do beautifully – I have complete faith in you.

  5. Jend says:

    I can appreciate your situation. Although, I am confused due to the nature of the break. What happened to the nice guy Dad?

    • JenniferKH says:

      The article wasn't about my ex & his personality (& if he was a nice guy or not), nor the specifics of the divorce itself. It was about sharing what I learned from MY experience (about which is the only perspective that I feel qualified to write). But to appease your concern, from my limited knowledge about his current personal life (& since we were a mis-match), he is now dating someone who appears to fit him better. As with anyone, I wish him the absolute best along his path.

      • Kathryn says:

        Thank you for the awesome article, am in process of divorce after 28 years and OMG finding it terrifying but know it's the what I need to do. Your article has meant so much to me, I too was a wild barefoot artist and I somehow morphed into a stepford wife and lost myself in the process. All about growth, karma and how life unfolds, no one stuck a gun against my head and I accept that it was an experience that was necessary on some level for me. The hardest thing to cope with is the reaction of others, both loved ones and curious acquaintances. So many want to get into what went wrong, what did he do wrong etc, why did I step out of the safe financially secure comfort zone and destroy the family unit… ( my children are 25 and 22.) I have to patiently explain that there was nothing and there was everything, that I love him still but not enough to remain with him in a crippling relationship that served neither of us beyond convenience and I could no longer be that false person denying my own nature. I have a long way to go but your article made me understand again why I stepped out…. Thank you, so much love

        • Bruno says:

          Last Spring, at the eve of our 28th wedding anniversary… I cracked. I live on a plane so that everyone I care for would never lack anything. That is everyone except me. Moved out last July and still trying to see if there is a new future to be build with my wife but my heart is showing me olds paths I have neglected for so long.

          Scared but working my way thru it.

  6. dot mckay says:

    Your article was refreshing to read! Too many are lulled into apathy and death-like states of non-living! Good on you!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Wow. If I were a writer, I think I could have written this myself. It's like you've been a fly on wall looking into my soul. I'm at that point right this moment where it's almost excruciating to make the decision I know I need to make. I'm married to a good man which makes it so very hard. Thanks for sharing your story. I think I'm going to print it out to reference every day.

  8. karen katz says:

    I stayed with my husband for almost 30 years…..I had fled into the marriage for emotional and financial safety, but after 10 years or so felt very stultified. by then we had children, who were doing reasonably well-so it felt selfish to leave. finally I started drinking too much, to get through my days and nights-and my kids started not too doing so well either. I told him in may 2009 that the marriage was over,he stuck around for another year, then we finally separated in 2010-now he is happily remarried, I am sober and happier and more at peace then I have ever been, and my kids are slowly becoming adults. Easy?…no-but drinking myself to death wouldn't have been easy either.

  9. keri says:

    wonderful. great. stupendous.

  10. Clark says:

    I went through horrible break ups but kept on plowing through all the obstacles and eventually found my soul mate. It was very hard not to stop at normal or meet others expectations but butchering was the best thing I have done. I am raw emotionally still but I've found someone who understands me now in this mystical journey. So I can vouch for all of the the article and also wish I had of seen it during my period of transitions!

  11. Shannon says:

    Thank you for sharing your story!! I’m going through exactly what you did, and it feels comforting to read your story, especially how it has turned out so far! Your five points could help anyone too, but especially those of us facing similar circumstances! Grateful :) Take care.

  12. Kathie says:

    I wrote the essay “Farewell to the Kingdom of Should” in a very similar place. I reread when I need a reminder that the raw pain of divorce and rebirth is the beautiful opening to the new life that I choose.

    Here’s to your journey! thank you for sharing. Peace!

  13. Amanda Juli says:

    I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry this has to be the absolutely most amazing thing I have ever read in my life! Bookmarked, copied and pasted to a document, singed in my subconscious for ever more. Your brain is my brain and it is not easy to read. Thank you for your ability to write faster than the mind can speak! A mantra for my confused soul. Please write more~!! Do this again!

  14. Kasey says:

    Thank you for this. It is beautiful. Your words are moving – "Those people who truly love us need to let go of any judgment and/or their personal projections of what they believe our lives to be, and just be happy that we are happy." I am a 20 year old yoga teacher, and college communications student and the degree to which I connected with this piece is unprecedented. Your experience and advice applies to so many aspects of life. You have great courage and I admire every bit of it. This is a piece I will keep coming back to.

  15. Josh_W_M says:

    Hello Jennifer,

    Thank you for this article and your apt reflections regarding endings and new beginnings. I ended a long term relationship with my girlfriend several months ago after several years of the relationship 'not feeling right', and me not feeling 'happy' and not good enough.

    It took guts to move out of a zone that was comfortable, but not right for me. She thought that I was her soul mate, and that we would marry, make a home and have children. Several months on, I'm questioning whether I made the right decision, but I have learned that whatever decision I make is the right one – and it opens up an avenue to more opportunities, despite the fact that I am still sitting in the muck of chaos and trauma that is associated with a breakup, despite who ends the relationship, and for whatever reason. Perhaps how an individual deals with a breakup depends on the meaning they ascribe to the breakup – however, knowing at the time that there aren't bad decisions, only decisions that you make with the information that you have at the time.

    Thanks for a great article.

    – Josh.

  16. Christine says:

    I love you for writing this. Thank you!

  17. Sean says:

    G'day Jennifer. I loved your expression within this piece. Life and love and living have such a waterfall cascade of enlightenment. It is blessed. Cheers and Thanks, Sean.

  18. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I really needed to hear this message right now. :)

  19. Grandma says:

    I think it's unfortunate that you and your readers think its great that you ended your marriage. If you fell in love with your husband you could and would again if you both chose to do the work. That's relationships and life. Walking way is much easier. Every relationship is a perfect match for the first 5-7 years then reality really puts you to the test. Relationships, especially marriage, is work, every day, there will be highs and the lowest of lows, people need to do the work, plain and simple. Sadly, in this age of instant gratification, no one wants to put that much effort into anything, even love.

    • nakedkindness says:

      People grow & change… and sometime apart. That, too, is life. If you read my article you would have understood that I take full responsibility for going into the relationship with the wrong intentions, as did he.

      Generalizations do no one any good – Everyone has their own unique story & path. I refuse to tell anyone that they can't change their life if they are not happy. Thank you for your comment but you should venture outside of your closed view of people acting out of instant gratification… that we don't put effort into our relationships. Expand your horizons, grandma. We are all special and unique individuals with depth, stories, & circumstances that don't fit into your cookie-cutter generalizations.

    • Sue says:

      What if you're the only one in the marriage interested in doing "the work"?

      Walking away is not easy at all, for most, and it's not fair to judge like that. And it's simply not true that every relationship is a perfect match for the first 5-7 years. My cousin married a man she'd been dating for years, and he beat her badly on her wedding night. The first time he laid a hand on her. Thank goodness she had the strength to up and leave that day. It's an extreme case but it happens, obviously.

      Many people do try to do the work and stay in marriages that aren't good, for years, before they hit their wall. I should have ended my marriage 5 years ago but kept at it because I believed in the vows. He apparently didn't and has been seeing someone else for two years. You think I should stick around? I don't blame him for having an affair but I don't feel inclined to stay with him.

    • Janelle says:

      I have serious doubts that anyone walking away from a relationship finds it "easy". I believe most go into the relationship with the full intention of making it work. Some simply choose not to and their partner is left wondering how much more they have to kill themselves to try and make things work. I really do not think this has anything to do with our society of "instant gratification". I have seen these types of relationships going on for years…where one person is standing on her/his head and spitting quarters to try to make things work and the other partner is not interested. If you want to stay in a one-sided relationship…that is your business, but do not judge others who choose not to.

  20. Judi Young says:

    "Comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there." Nice.There is this place between adulthood and maturity that we don't have a name for. It's where we throw off our own expectations and judgments (and those of society, and our family, and friends) and figure out how WE truly want to walk in this world. It's where we find our own truth, so maybe it should be the Truth Zone or the Truth Years. Anyway, some never make it to that place because the only way to get there is to blow sh*t up. Good for you for listening to your own truth and getting to that place. Cheers.

  21. misandry_much says:

    thank you for confirming my belief that there is no woman worth marrying. Based on your opinions and beliefs, why would I want to take on the responsibility of trying to provide for another person, and give up my freedom. Now I can safely feel that there is absolutely no value or reason to be in a committed relationship, and that I should just go and have sex with anyone that I want without commitment. And lastly, to stay away and never help a woman who has children as you will just suck all the money and time I have to take care of children who are not mine, and to always be treated as number 2. Dear single mothers, you will always be treated second to any woman without children, and the children I do have, you will definitely be treated as second to them. I adopt a child, you are number 2. I have a child via surrogate, again, you are number 2. As long as I feel free to follow my desires and lusts, then your desires and needs will always be number 2. Added emphasis on my sarcasm. For the love of God, this article is the most selfish bunch of B.S. ever! Relationships mean you have to give a 100% of yourself to your partner, and they have to give 100% of themselves to you. In divorce, it's 50 /50, in relationships, it's a 100%. By the way, when you get older, I hope your significant other finds a wonderful, younger woman to fulfill his needs, because your looks will diminish, your sex drive will go down, and from your very own perspective, why should a man settle for some old woman, when he can feel young with a younger woman than you! This article makes me believe it is absolutely acceptable to cheat and leave any woman as they get old. Now I can't wait to make fun of some older woman with fat rear ends and cellulite, and make them feel like crap.

    • nakedkindness says:

      I'm sorry that you are so angry. I wish you the very best along your path with the least amount of damage to those you encounter.

  22. Brittney Herrera says:

    That person who just wrote… “misandry_much” is a complete and utter psychopath.

    I can only imagine what he will write in response to this comment. What a sad sad Miserable soul.

  23. Nico Dragomir says:

    An extraordinary article! Thank you for sharing it with us :D

  24. candidkay says:

    Beautifully put. Something I can relate to . . .

  25. Ridiculous BS says:

    Traditional midlife crisis. "I'm unhappy. It must be my partner's fault. If he really loved me…" If you really loved yourself, you wouldn't be in another relationship where you're making your success dependent upon how supportive someone else is of your art. That's on you, and unfortunately, you chose to upset your kids' security instead of truly own your role in how your life had turned out.

    My husband went through this too, and I'm very glad he opted to stay with our family and fight for the life he wanted instead of just cut and run. It would have been more fun for him, and so much easier for both of us, but instead he really held himself accountable. We're still together, our kids still have that security, and he is back to playing music and performing and reinvesting in things that were important to him before he created these responsibilities. THAT takes courage. Walking away from a mess–and hurting other people in the process–is nothing to brag about.

    • nakedkindness says:

      A brazen show of compassion-less judgement of someone's life, of which you know very little about… As well as a very blatant & obvious projection of your own self-imposed limitations. Just holding up a mirror to your comment – I have learned to transcend past caring about the opinions & delusions of others. I just hope that you are living your most joyful existence because it does effect & reflect onto those you love & who love you.

      Taking your negative energy towards me & reworking it into love & compassion towards you :)

  26. Les says:

    Well I have to say you paint a pretty rosy picture but for me 10 years down the track I have been to hell and back along with my children and their father whom I left. Managing the emotional fallout of the children, particularly when he met someone else and made a new life without them and reneged on any parental responsibility financial and otherwise, still goes on and they are 18 and nearly 20. Have I been able to develop a new relationship while navigating my way through this mess and working my ass off to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads. My son particularly is damaged does not have strong self esteem and struggles so I don't know how long it will be before at 20 I am free of the responsibility for him. At 55 I am alone and broke and jaded from the years of struggle. I think it is irresponsible to paint this picture of a glorious new life. Unless you were provided with a house and sizeable settlement so have the luxury of not having to work full time and raise 3 boys and they're Dad is still very engaged I would say the outcome would be significantly different. If I had my time over again would I have made the same choice? I don't know. He wasn't a worker and felt like a burden, but he was the other side of a team. My children adored him and he was good domestically. What I would have done differently was to wait a whole lot linger before I did rush into having children with him. For that I take full responsibility.

  27. Bill says:

    Regarding #5, it’s not just your life anymore. You have 3 kids plus you, so that’s 4 lives you are navigating.

    My mother did the same thing when I was 5. She decided she had to find herself, and my sisters and I were forced to go along with her on her journey. I believe that this has negatively affected my own relationships my whole life, especially by instilling in me an insecurity. Now in my 40s with two young children, my wife has been talking about leaving, my worst nightmare. By choosing to break up a family you can “butcher” a child’s sense of security.

  28. ann says:

    This post is going to appeal to many. It's all about do what YOU want, your inner tiger wants ROOOAAAR, so it's going to empower those of similar self-seeking minds. What it isn't about is sticking with your commitments, it isn't about marriage being more than gooey feelings. It's tough. Sometimes it's boring and complacent. This is life. We can't be thrill-seekers 24/7, at some point we have to grow up and realize we're not teenagers. We're not 'wild barefoot artists' for goodness sakes. We're wives now. We married. I am not going to congratulate you on your personal decision to be irresponsible and to neglect your vows and to seek after your own desires, answering only to your … yep, SELF. I am going to say i respect your right to do so as I ask you respect my right to disagree with your actions and then to boast about them as though your road to 'self discovery' is something to be proud of. There is something much more to be said for those of us who honor our commitments and responsibilities to others. Who don't romanticize the idea of basically just seeing greener grass on the other side as being a 'tiger, fighting to get out of his cage'. What ridiculousness. If i were the man you are moving on to, i'd hope i was mighty interesting and non-verbal about disagreeing with you or else run a mile.

    • Jeff says:

      Amen Ann,

      Came across to me as a bit shallow and with not much character behind the self interest message. Pandering to the disenchanted seems like a very good marketing plan.

      Take it from someone who’s been on both sides of the grass. It’s just different, not any greener. However if you find comfort and solace in the endless search of “happier-ness” I wish you well for that’s a never ending hike.

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