Laying in Savasana at hot yoga this morning, the tears started rolling down my face. The week has been a strange mix of really proud moments and the shocking news that the ex-boyfriend of one of my old roommates was found dead.

He was my age. He had just popped up in my Facebook news feed days before, and he was someone who would constantly reach out to me seeking answers for why he didn’t work out with my old roommate.

He could have you in hysterics in a matter of seconds, and he had the biggest-most- generous-heart. I remember nights in old town Scottsdale where he paid for everyone’s drinks, and I mean everyone. I remember him pursuing my friends and the ridiculous adventures we got ourselves into because of that.

I wasn’t close with him, but I have many-many friends who were extremely close to him. And as their text messages came in asking if I had heard he had died, it all seemed super unreal. He seemed too young, too much of a life character, too generous of a person to be taken this soon. And what was really surreal, was knowing this guy is forever gone, leaving in his wake devastated family, friends and loved ones whose lives have been forever turned upside down — all while the rest of the world continues marching forward like nothing has changed.

I remember that being one of the strangest things about my parents being killed. My life had been smashed into a thousand pieces, and yet the world kept spinning, people went about their routines and time pushed us all forward.

I pushed forward too. I marched. I squelched the pain and denied the feelings. I didn’t allow myself to truly mourn, to truly feel the loss, to truly absorb all that had just hit me.

This May will mark 14 years since my parents were killed. And I am finally okay with feeling the pain, understanding the loss and owning my life’s story. After the accident, people were freaking out that I just might freak out, so I went into ultra-performance mode, wanting to make sure others knew I was “okay”, over actually dealing with my sadness.

No one wants to feel pain, be hurt, heart broken, or experience deep sadness and loss. Unfortunately thought, there is no way around the fact that life is going to hurt us. It is not always going to be easy, but life is meant to be felt – both the spectacular moments and the really horrible ones.

We are never going to experience true joy and lasting happiness if we don’t allow ourselves to wade through the swampland of pain and toxic emotions. An aversion to wanting to experience pain will end up causing an aversion to joy, happiness and a greater peace. Being alive means experiencing both sides of the coin – the truly tragic and the truly amazing.

All my performing and pushing away my true feelings, caused tremendous emotional blockage. My motives were far from pure and my intentions were always polluted with making sure others thought I had it all together versus just being authentic and LIVING.

I blocked myself from figuring out my soul’s true calling, and ignored where I actually wanted to take my life because I was more concerned with gaining others approval and being in their good graces.

I put others opinions first, and my sadness and pain last. And then one day I woke up. I decided where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do mattered – even if that meant I would I have to feel, I would have to cry, I would have to let the pain engulf me for a bit.

On Tuesday night (my incredibly proud moment of this week) I went to the ASU Film Festival to see some of my film intern’s work being showcased. I literally squealed and turned to a random stranger and said “Those are my girls!!!” when Rosemary Zinke, Joardan Blankenship and Taylor’s Freeman’s names popped up in the film credits on the screen.

And as I walked to my car and I overheard the girls yell after me “We love you Jenn!” My heart felt like it could burst and then melt, all in the same moment, with love for these students. I feel so incredibly blessed to be working with all my interns and I am on a natural high observing everything we are co-creating.

My soul feels in total alignment with what I am meant to do, who I was born to be, and the team that is coming with me on this journey. Something magically divine is unfolding and even if I never made any money with Soul Carrier, I would feel like the greatest success and the richest woman in the world – I am that happy, and that at peace!

But it has taken a GINORMOUS journey to arrive at this place of peace and happiness.

I had to be able to feel the pain, mourn the loss, and work through the more toxic emotions. I had to answer to what my soul wanted and not what everyone around me wanted. I had to be me and not “happy-have-it-all-together Jenn”. I had to let my authentic self and my genuine soul shine over molding myself into something everyone else wanted. I had to honor the horrible things that happened to me without letting them define me. I had to acknowledge that tragedy does exist, and although it is gut-wrenching and traumatizing it doesn’t have to be soul-DEPLETING. What matters when tragedy strikes, is how we move through that tragedy.

My heart goes out to so many of you this week. I know you lost someone incredibly special and he will forever be missed. Don’t stifle your pain, don’t deny your tears, don’t squelch the sadness, don’t ignore your true feelings. Our aversion to sadness doesn’t lesson our tragic losses. But not allowing yourself to work through the pain does lesson your ability to experience the joy and greatness life does have to offer. And NOT feeling your genuine-authentic feelings will lesson your connection to your soul. So to really honor those that have died way too soon, I propose allowing ourselves to feel the tremendous loss we feel in their absence versus pushing away the sadness.

To allowing yourself to feel. To allowing yourself to sit in the sadness. To allowing yourself to be authentic.To all those that have gone before us, you are forever missed but never forgotten!

Jenn oxox