Spotlight: Where To?: How I Shed My Baggage and Learned to Live Free by Jennifer B Monahan
When Jennifer Monahan announced her intention to leave her well-established career as a business strategy consultant and give up her rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco to do a global walkabout for an undetermined amount of time, her friends and family thought she was insane. But Jennifer was excited about taking the time to truly explore and immerse herself in a variety of cultures, so their skepticism didn’t faze her; plus she was used to traveling alone as a woman with only one carry-on bag. What she didn’t count on was discovering all the excess baggage she had been carrying with her from her past.
WHERE TO? chronicles one year of Monahan’s life, primarily in the Guatemalan jungle, but also in Japan, Cambodia and Thailand. Living in a thatched-roof hut in a tiny village, Monahan connected with local shamans and participated in their ancient rituals, became fully integrated into the daily life of a local family, and ultimately faced down some of the greatest losses and long-buried pain she had experienced. WHERE TO? shares the six steps she took to heal and courageously create the life of her dreams and includes a workbook for readers to do the same.
March 1, 2017
The roars of a howler monkey outside the window of my thatched-roof hut woke me up at 4 a.m. It was my second night sleeping in the jungle of El Remate, Peten, Guatemala, and I was still adjusting to all the animal noises. As I lay awake, I thought about what a blur the past two weeks had been.
I finished up my book tour for This Trip will Change Your Life: A Shaman’s Story of Spirit Evolution in Connecticut and New Hampshire amidst the first major snowstorms of 2017. I flew home to San Francisco, packed up the last of my belongings and put everything in storage, turned in the keys for my apartment to my landlord, and then flew to Guatemala. My plan was to spend three months in Guatemala while writing my next book, and then travel around for another three months or so before returning to San Francisco.
What made me move here?
Well, in November 2014, I was hit by a minivan while walking across the street. I was out of work for a little over three months, on crutches for eight months, and wearing some form of a cast for fourteen months. My doctor didn’t think I’d walk without either surgery or a crutch or brace for the rest of my life, but I happily proved her wrong, mainly because of the shamanic work I did on myself while I was healing.
Since I was stuck on my couch for about six months, I had plenty of time to think. I realized that I wanted to live life on my terms, the way I wanted to, rather than following a prescribed path about how I should live, work, and be. I wanted to follow my heart and my life calling, and I knew that would require me to make some major changes to my life. In short, I wanted to live authentically.
Living authentically isn’t easy. It should be, but there are so many things that hold us back. For me to get to this place, and truly know who I am, I had to do quite a bit of work over a period of several years, including:
Releasing personas that I’d adopted in life that no longer served me
Identifying limiting beliefs that really weren’t relevant
Discovering who I am and what makes me unique
Figuring out my life purpose
Learning to tap into my own personal power and trust, and
Following my heart
Once I knew myself better, my path became clearer and I was able to move ahead…or, in this case, to Guatemala.
About the Author
Jennifer B. Monahan is a business strategy consultant, shaman and coach who helps people all over the world live courageous lives. Her first book, This Trip Will Change Your Life: A Shaman’s Story of Spirit Evolution (She Writes Press, 2016), has won six literary awards, including two first-place Body, Mind, Spirit Book Awards and a 2017 National Indie Excellence Award. Her second book, Where To? How I Shed My Baggage and Learned to Live Free, was published in April 2019, and describes her personal journey through Guatemala, Japan, Cambodia and Thailand as she faces down some of the greatest losses in her life.
She is a regular contributor to Medium.com, Sivana East, and has had articles published on MindBodyGreen.com and Inc.com. Her podcast, Living A Courageously Authentic Life, can be found on BlogTalkRadio.com, and focuses on a variety of topics to help others be true to themselves.
She holds a BA in Mass Communications from the University of Bridgeport (CT), an MBA in Marketing from the University of Connecticut, a Masters in Natural Health from Clayton College, and completed an accredited coaching program through Coach U. Her shamanic training began with a Mayan shaman in Mexico and then expanded to include shamans in Guatemala and her own personal guides.
She currently splits her time between the United States and Guatemala when not traveling and is in the process of writing her third book, a handbook for people looking to define, create and live their courageously authentic life. You can find her online at www.SpiritEvolution.co.