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

Via Jennifer K. Jones
on Feb 10, 2014
get elephant's newsletter


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 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.


Relephant Reads:

The Life You Want to Live is Possible. ~ Candice Benson

8 Steps for Living an Epic Life.

7 Samoan Secrets to Help Us Live Our Best Lives.


Bonus! Sometimes, we just need need to get out of a funk:

Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

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.


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

  1. JenniferKH says:

    You seem to think you know quite a bit about a situation that you really know nothing about. Your assumptions about my ex and what he is doing are incorrect – I won't talk poorly about anyone, regardless of what they do or don't do. And you also know nothing about what and how I am teaching my children. I'm teaching them that you can 'try' for years at a dead-end relationship, while beating your head against a wall repeatedly – but at some point, they need to know when they are wasting their lives away, unhappy. I would never wish that for them in a million years. My children are raised with nothing but the purest love from everyone in their lives. Best wishes to you, Mark!

  2. Mark says:

    My initial comments were based on the only information I had to go on. In your words, “I was part of a relationship of comfort, convenience and normalcy.” And, “10 years of marital and personal discord…” Only later in your comments do you reveal much more about your bad marriage. So I did what your friends did, namely, “…many of my friends judged before even knowing the truth behind the situation.” My comments and your friends’ represent a backlash in America over a spouse’s seeming lack of commitment to work through problems, to place their needs above their children’s’ security, and in essence to want another shot at adolescence. In the spirit of full disclosure, the mother of my children filed for divorce 4 years ago. We too, were “soulmates” according to her. I will leave it at that. Anyway, beyond that I agree with your philosophies on life that you list later on.

  3. JenniferKH says:

    I completely understand… It's easy to generalize when there isn't much info given. I was purposely vague as the meat of the article was *supposed* to be the 'tips' part – I only provided a background to give my tips some sort of valid context. However I was quick to find that my vagueness invited a lot of knee-jerk judgement which completely negated the rest of the article. Eh…Live and learn.

    Regardless, thank you for your reply. I am sorry for your experience, Mark. I wish you and your children the very best… and lots of joy along your new path.

  4. jackie says:

    needed this so badly today <3

  5. Mandy says:

    This article describes my battered soul, my broken heart, my aching body for I too had to go through the exact same experience …. you’d think nobody understands the pain, the guilt, the numbness …. but yet they are such familiar feelings to all of us who choose to face the realities of life.

    I may not be there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday. Thank you for shedding light and sharing hope. The bruises have started to heal ….

  6. Sarah Skogland says:

    Fantastic! Thank you for a wonderful article, you plucked the words right from my thoughts.

  7. MsMaggieMia2 says:

    Talk about egotistical Debbie Downer! This person must have been burned time and again to write what he did, and with such fury! Without a doubt he will pass along to his "children" (god forbid he really has any), that women are pieces of "shit" and to be used and abused. Thank God I may never cross this man's path as I would find it very likely I would need to stamp a giant ASSHOLE across his forehead!

  8. M says:

    This article makes me sad. My children and I are on the other side with a husband who left because he needed space and his independance. I have been left to deal with my broken heart and my children’s. After 19 years of marriage and trying to work through my husbands infidelity it came out of the blue and has rocked our lives to the core.

    I can’t be happy reading about the side of the person abandoning the family unit because there is so much damage done to every party involved

  9. eiLight says:

    Great article, but I think it's misfortunate that almost all the remarks seem to be focused on the relationship aspect. This is understandable but limited, because your advice reaches far beyond that area of live. Your spot-on Tips for Butchering your Life can pertain to just about any situation we get ourselves into where we are not true to ourselves … for me (and many others no doubt) this is particularly true for "work"/ activities in general: jobs, community service, family duties, creativity etc. It takes much awareness to find balance with others and the outer world, while honoring our personal Light Warrior you have conjured in the article. But when we do let Her-Him shine, it seems to me that all our choices are aligned with some kind of Greater Good which serves all around us, and keeps our energy strong and clear. Thanks for your piece, and keep it up!

  10. eiLight says:

    Exactly ! I just wrote a response in that sense … had not read yours here.