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Vulnerable Strength: It’s Not Always Pretty


I landed in NYC at 5 am. Getting off a red eye from California after traveling for a month, I awaited my overstuffed bag at the luggage terminal.

An odd feeling of not being able to go home washed over me as I reconciled the inconvenience of no longer having a place in the city. Foggy from the travel, I silently wished I could just take a cab to Williamsburg, Brooklyn and crawl into bed—a home I officially moved out of in March. I quickly shrugged off this feeling of inconvenience and headed to my destination, Chelsea Piers gym—a place I could check my luggage, workout, work, take a nap, steam, sauna, and shower before going out to meet friends and heading home on a train upstate in the evening.

I consciously chose to fly a red eye on the night of the Libra full moon. I needed to fly across the country anyway, and since my body feels a bit wired and especially energized under full moons, I decided to ride it out on a plane.

I had back-to-back morning meetings, so I set myself up to work a couple of hours from the café before engaging in some post-flight, post-full moon self-care.

The Libra full moon that peaked just a few hours prior happened next to Jupiter, signifying luck and good fortune, but opposed Uranus who aligned with the Sun.

Uranus, in a particularly tender place in my chart, was due to bring me game-changing news.

And though we can decipher the stars and planets all we want, it doesn’t mean we are always prepared for the curveballs that await.

My first call, a call with one of my dear sweet collaborators, who has worked with me for a few years now, and who I have fallen completely in love with on an intellectual level, came with a curveball. She informed me that over the next couple of months she’d be wrapping up her work with me to move full-time in another, more heartfelt direction.

I had known this day would come and that I was on borrowed time with her. I just didn’t think it would happen today.

I got myself together and continued to my next phone meeting, made my way through my inbox, replied to social media comments and messages, and took a walk to grab lunch.

Spring dominated the day. The weather in the high 70’s usurped my focus, and I found myself laying on the grass overlooking the Hudson doing gentle yoga before making my way to Chelsea Market for lunch.

I arrived to long lines and congested shopping. In the midst of the madness, deciding between Asian, farm-to-table, and other varieties of grab and go, my phone rang.

It was the case manager from my adoption agency. She could hear the hustle in the background and asked if we should talk at a different time when I wasn’t in public. But I was so excited to speak with her that I insisted we stay on the line.

I soon realized why she suggested talking at a different time. She, too, represented Uranus.

The bottom line of the phone call; there’d be no baby in my future anytime soon, another discouraging curveball straight to the gut. Along with the lack of sleep, the intensity of the full moon, and perhaps still feeling tender about having to part ways with one of my all-time favorite collaborators in my business (ever), I hung up the phone, crawled into a corner of a crowded Asian market, and squatted while my noodling lip absorbed tears and snot sliding down my face.

Less than 24 hours prior, I had felt totally on top of the world.

I had just wrapped up a multi-week journey through San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Napa, balancing a demanding work schedule with my desire to indulge my former home state of California.

My last week there occurred almost entirely silent at a yoga teacher training in Calistoga. A much-needed break from the hustle of work and entrepreneurship, silence and deep devotion to my practice replenished me at my core. I emerged from this retreat feeling like a cartoon superhero with my very own theme song guiding me—ready to take on the world.

And now two days later I’m sobbing in the corner of a crowded market on a warm spring day.

I teach my clients to expect curveballs and to work with them productively. To trust how resilient they are in the face of them, and to see them as an intricate part of their evolution. Disappointment often precludes something wild and beautiful on the other end.

But that doesn’t mean we repress our emotions.

Often we think resilience means keeping everything on lock-down, so we can stay strong and enduring. To the contrary, resilience means facing life exactly as it is, without needing to change it or fix it, even if that means crying the ugly cry in a crowded Manhattan mall and continuing forward regardless.

And that’s what I did. I had my moment, got myself together, returned to the gym for some therapeutic exercise, got ready for dinner with my girlfriends, followed by a train ride home to reunite with my husband and dog.

Now over to you. What’s your definition of resilience? In the comments below, I’d love to hear about some moments you’ve experienced where you felt incredibly strong and entirely vulnerable at the same time.

All of my love,


P.S. Curious about how new and full moons impact you? Download this guide outlining the new and full moons for the rest of 2017 and start to track them yourself.

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  • Ryanne Dunlap

    Aw Jenn. I’m so sorry. Days like that are so hard sometimes. But you’re totally right–resilience isn’t always stoic and collected. Sometimes it is having a moment to let all the emotions flow and then picking up the pieces. So much love. You’ve got this. ❤

    • jracioppi

      Thanks, Ryanne. The truth is the more we feel our emotions and let them flow through us, the more resilient we become, and consequently, the quicker we integrate the experience and move on. Thank you for reading and commenting. All of my love!

  • Vanessa Sanddal

    I am so sorry. I hope you don’t stop trying (for a baby). My mother was 44 when she adopted me and I am so grateful for my life with her. You would be the coolest mother and there are so many ways (so many kids). Your love is too great and you are too special to not receive such a gift. Sending you love and HOPE.

    • jracioppi

      Thank you, Vanessa. My husband and I are committed to the process of adopting. It’s very complicated as we’d like to do an open adoption, and as many children as there are that need homes, the red tape around making it happen is substantial. As I said, we are committed, but what I thought could occur in 2017/2018 doesn’t really seem to be possible right now. So yeah, lots of patience. Thank you so much for your comment and kind words– they mean the world to me! Here’s to adopting! Sending you so much love.

  • Kelli Gray-Meisner

    True to all of that! Breath by breath…

    • jracioppi

      You got it. One day at a time. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it a great deal. Big hugs:)

  • Renee Wilde

    I really value your authenticity Jenn. How does this happen where we can be so integrated and feel the flow then the next day, things happen to rock our world? And, as you said – we move forward and find gratitude in other things. I’m sending you lots of love right now.

    • jracioppi

      Thanks, Renee!

      The truth is, I think we have those blissful, perfect feelings and when we do we signal to our subconscious that we are strong enough for some of the harder stuff to the surface. So then we’re faced with a hard truth that we have to digest.

      That, and everything is impermanent. Meaning that a perfect moment is only ever supposed to be a moment. Not a life. And that’s why we suffer. We hold too tight to the good and think we’ve done something wrong when the hard happens. We ruminate and trap ourselves in our trauma rather than feel the pain, have compassion for the pain, let it humble us, and then move on. Impermanence. Nothing is forever– the good or the bad. Both are transient. Also, a good day doesn’t necessarily mean we are living a good life, and a bad day doesn’t mean we are living a bad life. Moods are like clouds– they come, and they go.

      The more we can develop equanimity and hold the hard with the same respect as the blissful, the easier life gets. The most important part of the journey is understanding what it’s all about, and not letting the hard throw us off course. Focus, determination, compassion, and truth. Big hugs to you. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Ruth

    Oh my, Jenn! Sending you so much love! It took the wind out of me and made me tear up just reading this. How heartbreaking. You’re so beautiful and powerful in your vulnerability and your courage in sharing this. So inspiring. Thank you for sharing and continuing to be such a light of love and courage in the world xx

    • jracioppi

      Thank you, Ruth! Thinking of you and sending you so much love. I appreciate the empathy and kindness. Big hugs to you.

  • Leigh

    This is a beautiful, raw, honest recounting of a time of great challenge. I recognize all the elements–they’re old friends. To me, resilience is being able to fully experience situations that are not happening the way I want or expect and still know–really know–that everything is always working out. Being resilient is finding the strength to take myself out of the fray for a few minutes, to take care of myself, then breathe and look at it newly. If everything is really always working out, then this must be part of the path to what I really want, so I will get through it. It isn’t always easy to get to that centered space, but that is the biggest challenge and always the goal.

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