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Embracing Heart and Presence: Meet Jenni de Jong

What is your proudest moment thus far in life?

Jenni de Jong and her Family
Jenni de Jong and her family, including poodles Theo, Stanley and Stuart.

My proudest moment is being a mom to my kids. I definitely feel it is the most profound job I’ve had in life. Giving my kids the space they needed to explore and learn and grow while at the same time supporting and teaching was not easy sometimes. Seeing them living their own lives and watching the adults they have morphed into makes me even prouder. They are kind, compassionate people, and so are their spouses. It’s one of the greatest blessings in my life.

What is the best thing about being an older woman?

Jenni de Jong appreciating the freedom
Jenni de Jong and her husband on a cycling trip

More self-acceptance. As a younger woman, I constantly compared myself to others and felt like I never measured up. This was in all areas of my life: appearance, work and career, and life choices. Now that I’m in my 50s, I have finally learned to appreciate the qualities that make me unique. Maybe I do things differently than others. I have found that not only is this enough, it’s valid and it’s ok. In learning to be more accepting of myself, I have a greater capacity for accepting others as well. I feel like my 50s have been a “sweet spot.” The lessons have not all been easy, but the wisdom gained from them has been more freeing than at any other point in my life.

What has been the most challenging thing about growing older?

My mom was diagnosed with cancer when she was 56 years old. At the time I was in my 30s and a young mom. She passed away at 59, and it left such a deep trauma. I found myself frozen with fear about getting older and specifically about being in my 50s. I have done so much work around this, but it has been one of the greatest challenges I’ve had to face--looking at the fear, accepting the grief, and integrating both. I’ve had to work hard to reframe my thoughts about aging and health and keep a positive inner landscape about it. But I’ve come a long way, and now I’m seeing more of the gifts of growing older than fear.

What has been a life-changing moment?

Being “prescribed” to read the book “The Presence Process” by Michael Brown. Working through the process described in the book hands-down impacted every area of my life and supported my healing journey through anxiety and depression.

What’s one thing you have become more passionate about as you’ve aged?

Jenni de Jong enjoying the moment
Jenni de Jong and her husband enjoying the moment

Taking time to slow down, feel into the present moment and connect inside. Our fast-paced society does not teach us how to do this or support us in doing this. We have to decide to take these moments ourselves and it is so important. I have become very passionate about slowing down throughout my day, whether it is a round of deep belly breathing, practicing Sheng Zhen Meditation, or noticing what messages my body is sending to me. I also feel very passionate about helping others learn how to be more present in their life.

What would you tell your younger self about aging?

I would tell her not to be afraid of getting older because it’s such a relief to start to trust your Inner Wisdom, to not take things or opinions personally, and to gain more perspective from earlier life lessons.

What is one thing you want to do in this season of life?

I want to keep growing and learning. I want to learn more about what it means to love and to love others.

What’s one thing you’ve left behind?

I was trying to “fit in” with anyone or anything. I’m finally giving myself permission to be who I am. And it’s really great for everyone else to be themselves, too!

What’s your best health tip as you grow older?

I’ve been learning how magnesium deficient we all are and I’ve become very committed to supplementing with Dr. Carolyn Dean’s liquid magnesium. It has such a wide range of positive effects working with the body and I have really benefitted. I love all of her mineral supplements. I also think it’s so important to move. Pick something you love and do it most days. Or mix it up! But keep moving your body. I’ve really loved riding bicycles with my husband because now that our kids are grown, we have the time on weekends to ride together. We also love weight training together.

What’s your best beauty tip as you grow older?

Taking my mineral supplements has made a difference in my skin, hair, and nails. My body feels vibrant and energetic. I also think skin care is important and there are so many great organic choices now that don’t include harmful chemicals. You can really get a healthy glow so you don’t need as much makeup. A good concealer, a swipe of mascara, and a pop of color for cheeks/lips and you’re good to go! I’m kind of embarrassed to admit how much time I’ve spent researching and experimenting with products. My daughter and I love to do this together!

Who is a person you admire and why?

Jenni de Jong embracing the feeling
Jenni de Jong and her family at the wedding of her son and daughter-in-law.

I am so inspired by Maya Angelou. To me, she embodied the wise woman. You could tell by watching her speak that she knew herself and she did not apologize for who she was. She spoke boldly but with compassion telling us to “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Often when I feel discouraged or I slip into an old pattern of thought like “not good enough,” I imagine how she might approach the situation. Many times her quote, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel!” is enough to transport me out of my mechanical misery and changes the trajectory of my thinking. I want to be Maya Angelou when I grow up!

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1 Comment

Dorian Martin
Dorian Martin
Feb 11, 2023

Thank you, Jenni, for sharing your journey and insights in this Q&A. It's so lovely to watch you find your own path to authenticity--and a huge thank you for being a role model for so many (including your children). ;-)

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