Heart of the Soul

Have you ever looked at an old picture of yourself and gone back in time to the moment the photo was taken? Wouldn’t it be great if you could go back and share all of the wisdom that you’ve gained with your younger self?

This recently happened to me when I had new headshots done. It’s the first time that I’ve had professional photos taken since my high school senior pictures – 21 years ago. Two of the poses – from then and now – were very similar. I placed them side-by-side and started thinking about all that I have experienced over the past two decades.

In the older photo, I was just entering my senior year of high school, excited about going off to college soon and becoming an adult. I was also uncertain and anxious about my future, and I had learned to keep this trepidation hidden.

I thought it would be fun to write a letter to my younger self and share some of the wisdom that being on this planet for 21 extra years has given me. Not as a way to change anything that’s happened in my life, but as a way to let this younger me know that everything was going to be okay. It’s a really empowering exercise that I highly recommend.

Jodi Chapman

Two pictures of me – 21 years apart.

Here is the letter:

Dear Jodi,

When I look at you, I feel your excitement about experiencing everything for the first time. I know that in addition to this excitement, you’re also feeling quite anxious about leaving the nest and entering the “real world.” You aren’t sure what’s ahead, and the unknown scares you.

This is perfectly understandable, and I would love for you to give yourself a huge hug right now and know that what you’re feeling is normal. You don’t have to have it all figured out – not even close. Part of the beauty of life is seeing how it unfolds before you as you go. It’s a mystery to all of us, and we’re only kidding ourselves if we think we have it all figured out. So please go easy on yourself and know that it’s okay not to know what’s going to happen.

You try so hard to do everything right, and you put so much pressure on yourself. I would love for you to know that you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to push yourself so hard. You are truly enough just as you are. Your perceived imperfections are actually what make you unique – what make you you. And this specialness is something that I would hope you always embrace.

I would love for you to slow down and realize that life isn’t a race. I know that you feel that you have to do everything in record speed and be the best at it and the brightest. But I am giving you permission to slow down. To just be. To embrace each moment and feel it fully, rather than already moving onto the next. To know that life can only be lived in the present moment, and our soul can only be heard when we are still enough to listen.

You are so strong and so brave. I know that you’re feeling insecure right now and are constantly worried about not being accepted. You’re afraid that you can’t show the world the true you – that you wouldn’t fit in any longer if you did. I promise that the masks you’re wearing can easily be taken off. You can allow your true self to show up in your life – in everything you do. And you’ll be appreciated and loved by those who are meant to be a part of your life. Please stop letting others’ opinions of you change who you are or who you are brave enough to show to the world.

It’s true that not everyone is going to like you. And for a people pleaser, this can be very hard to hear. But it’s also so freeing to hear, isn’t it? Just knowing that no matter what you do or how amazing you are will still not be enough for everyone to embrace you can allow you to give yourself permission to stop trying. To stop walking on eggshells and not sharing your true opinion for fear that you won’t be loved. You will be. You are. And you’ll eventually find your tribe of dear hearts who will embrace you and love you. They’re waiting for you, and it’s such a gift when they show up in your life.

Getting to this tribe of loving souls won’t be easy. I’m not going to lie. Your heart will break. There will be many, many times where you’ll wonder if you’ll be able to love again and feel anything again. Where you’ll want to shut down and crawl into your bed and never come out again. Where you’ll wonder if your heart will ever mend. It will. And you will. These heartaches are some of the most beautiful gifts that you will experience because it means that you were living fully – you were alive. And that is definitely worth it. You are so strong, and you will heal from the hurt and the pain. Please stay open and continue living with an open heart. You love so completely, and that’s such a beautiful gift to give yourself and others.

Focus on this – the love. Rather than what you feel is important right now: grades, cliques, clothes…none of this truly matters. What matters is how much you love. How much joy you allow yourself to feel. How much you help others and give your heart to them. How open you are to the divine within you and all around you. How much you live – each moment of each day. This is what matters. Everything else will fade away – everything else is temporary. What lasts is love, and that’s what I would love for you to know.

And it’s not only loving others that matters. It’s also loving yourself. Really. You’ll spend so many years either ignoring yourself or feeling contempt for yourself. And I would love for you to feel love – rather than picking yourself apart. I would love for you to take the love that you have for others and turn it back toward yourself. I would love for you to look into the mirror and see how beautiful you are – how beautiful your soul is. How you matter and how loving yourself is an essential part of living.

You are worthy of your own love. And all of that shame and guilt that you’ve been carrying around can be released. You don’t need to carry it around any longer. It’s okay to forgive – yourself and others. You don’t have to continue holding onto this pain. It will only make you sick and tired and closed off and numb and bitter and mistrusting and filled with sorrow. I would love for you to see right here in this moment that it’s okay to release this pain and be free of it. It’s okay to soar and to be happy.

It’s so important that you start saying yes to life. I know that you feel so afraid of what’s coming next. I know that you are anxious and filled with trepidation about your future. I know that your default setting is to shy away from anything new and cower from different experiences. I would love for you to at least try saying yes to life. Try embracing life. Try to see it as an adventure rather than a scary place filled with uncertainty. I know now that saying yes is absolutely everything. I know that your soul will light up and will be filled with joy when you do. And that’s what I want more than anything – for you to feel the lightness and freedom that comes from embracing each moment with love.

And I would love for you to know that you are not alone. Anytime you start to worry if you’re strong enough to move forward or brave enough to take that next step, please know that you have an entire team of loved ones – here and beyond – who are waiting in the wings to help you soar. And all you have to do is open up to them and ask for their help.

You are going to have a beautiful life that’s filled with love and openness and awakening and growing. And I am so excited for you to embrace it and really live each moment of it. Stay awake and stay open. Your life is a special one, and I can’t wait for you to experience it fully!




about jodi
Jodi Chapman is a bestselling author, an award-winning blogger, and a soulful community builder. She lives her life with love and faith in the driver’s seat, and she hopes to leave a trail of inspiration wherever she goes. She believes that we each have the ability to hear our soul’s whisper and create our best lives. She would love to connect with you!

Website   ♥   Facebook   ♥   Soulful Life Sanctuary    ♥   Free Ebook

Jodi Chapman - JoyI just did something that I wouldn’t normally do: I cued up one of my favorite songs, set it to repeat, and had a dance party. I danced around my office. I sang my heart out. I jumped around and waved my arms and hopped around the room. It was wonderful. It was freeing. It was absolutely magnificent.

So what inspired me to rock out? I heard my soul whisper to me that it might be fun. I heard my soul tell me that everything would still get done. I heard my soul ask me to just try adding more joy into my life – just to see how it felt.

Like many of us, my default setting seems to be permanently set to being efficient with my time and working a lot and helping others and then working some more and then taking care of my loved ones and then maybe (and it’s a bit fat maybe) if (and it’s a big fat if) there’s time left over, I can take care of myself and possibly add some joy into my life. 

I have a feeling this might sound familiar to you. So many of us know how to have fun (I promise I do!), but we are so used to pushing our joy aside.

Dancing around the room helped me see that inviting joy into our lives really doesn’t have to be a huge deal. It doesn’t have to include a complete life overhaul. It can be just a few minutes of singing or dancing or doing anything at all that we feel is fun. Not for the sake of making progress or making money or making someone else happy. Just for the sake of feeling alive – feeling in our body – feeling free. And in that moment of freedom while I was dancing just now, I remembered that this whole joy thing definitely isn’t overrated. It is actually essential.

If you’re ready to invite more joy into your life as well, here are a few reminders to get you started: 

  1. Remember that you are worthy of feeling joy. This is a big one, and it really starts with believing this at your core. Know that having fun and feeling completely alive is your birthright. And then allow yourself to experience it.
  2. Remember that inviting joy into your life doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can mean that you take five minutes out of your day to sing and dance (like I just did). It doesn’t require rearranging your already busy schedule. It just means that you’re consciously inviting it in and creating mini pockets in your day to experience it.
  3. Remember that you feel joy differently than someone else feels it. What this means is that you may feel joy in a boisterous, laughing-out-out kind of way or you may feel it in a quiet, inner peace kind of way. And they are both okay – neither is better than the other. You will know joy when you feel it – loud or quiet, it will bring you peace and freedom and a sense of aliveness. And that’s pretty wonderful.


I’m coming to realize that joy is one of the first emotions and expressions and feelings that I let go of when I feel busy and stressed and overwhelmed. And I’m also coming to realize that it’s the first emotion that I would like to invite back into my life. Because what is the point of all of the busyness and all of the success if we aren’t able to enjoy it? What’s the point of our life if we are too stressed to stop and really take in all of the good?

I’m starting to really get it: joy is essential. Really essential. Not just something I talk about and write about, but something that I actually experience fully – at the gut level. It’s truly a non-negotiable experience.

I invite each of us to consciously invite joy in. I promise there’s plenty of space for it. And I also promise that you’ll feel pretty amazing once you do.




about jodi
Jodi Chapman is a bestselling author, an award-winning blogger, and a soulful community builder. She lives her life with love and faith in the driver’s seat, and she hopes to leave a trail of inspiration wherever she goes. She believes that we each have the ability to hear our soul’s whisper and create our best lives. She would love to connect with you!

Website   ♥   Facebook   ♥   Joy Ecourse    ♥   Free Ebook

Up to Me - Jodi ChapmanI sometimes hear people say that they can’t change their thinking or their mindset or their beliefs or the way they view the world.

They say that it’s just too late. They feel that they’re just stuck with this way of living and way of being, and they’ll just live with it.

When I hear this, I have to disagree. I don’t ever think it’s too late.

I believe that if we created one mindset, we can shift into another. I believe that if we have one view of how things are, than we can also have another. I believe that it’s never too late to create the life that we would rather be living.

If you’re feeling beaten down right now or are in despair and feel like it’s too late for you to change the trajectory of your life, please know that the following words are going straight from my heart to yours:


I know it’s not too late for you because you’re still breathing. 

If you’re breathing, there is hope. If you’re breathing, there is life. If you’re breathing, there is the chance to change, to move, to grow, to experience, to embrace.


I know it’s not too late for you because you’re still seeking. 

If you’re seeking, your soul is still in charge. If you’re seeking, your heart is leading the way. If you’re seeking, your faith is pushing you toward a new life that’s filled with love and joy.


I know that it’s not too late for you because you’re open. 

If you’re open, you will allow the possibility of what might be into your heart. You’ll allow it to run through your veins and flow through your entire body. You’ll allow hope to soak up your fear, and you’ll allow yourself to step into the light once again. I know it.


I know that it’s not too late for you because you’re here. 

If you’re here, reading this post and filling your soul with inspiration, it’s definitely not too late. A part of you wants to soar, live differently, feel happy. I know it. And I know it’s not too late because you are choosing to be here, and you’re staying.


I know that it’s not too late.

There’s always light at the end of a tunnel. There’s always love on the other side of fear. There’s always a way through the darkness. There’s always a path that leads to hope and joy and happiness and connection and faith. Always.


It all starts with believing that it’s not too late. 

You’re not too worn down or too old or too overwhelmed or too sad or too afraid or too angry or too anything. You’re not.


You’re here. You’re open. You’re seeking. And you’re breathing. 

That’s enough. That’s more than enough. 


You have everything you need to embrace your life, to love your life, to find the excitement in your life, and to fill your life with life.

You do.


It’s definitely not too late.

You have so much time. So many seconds. So many moments. So many laughs. So many joys. So many connections. So many heart-opening, soul-stirring experiences to enjoy.

It’s never too late to live the life you were meant to live. You can start embracing it right now in this very moment. I think that’s pretty amazing.





about jodi
Jodi Chapman is a bestselling author, an award-winning blogger, and a soulful community builder. She lives her life with love and faith in the driver’s seat, and she hopes to leave a trail of inspiration wherever she goes. She believes that we each have the ability to hear our soul’s whisper and create our best lives. She would love to connect with you!

Website   ♥   Facebook   ♥   Angel Fund    ♥   Free Ebook

buncomAs I write this post from my home office, there’s something very sweet about the view that I am looking at: two cats sleeping away in their blanket forts.

Just five minutes ago, both cats were irritable and unsettled, not sure what they wanted or what would make them happy. They were grumpy, tired, and just needed to take a nap. So I draped a fuzzy blanket over the overstuffed chair, which created a cozy cove for one cat to crawl into. And I draped another soft blanket over the coffee table for the other – making it like a dark den. Within seconds, they were each sound asleep and softly snoring – making it much easier and more peaceful for me to write.

Creating these cozy forts got me thinking – not just about my sweet cats, but also about our own lives. I wondered if feeling better and feeling comforted and relaxed were always such a simple fix for all of us. If we could create some sort of fort for ourselves – a place of comfort and warmth we could retreat to when life felt overwhelming and chaotic. 

While I hadn’t seen it as a fort until now, I’m realizing that I have created this special relaxing spot in my own life, too. I’m a pretty sensitive soul, and it doesn’t take much to send me into a frenzied state. Thankfully, I know this about myself and have created a cozy fort to climb into whenever could use some downtime – time to go within, breathe, and bring my energy back into my body. My fort is my bed. At least once in the middle of the day, I’ll climb underneath the covers, pull them up almost over my head, and just rest. Sometimes my husband climbs in. And sometimes my cats climb in. It’s a place of complete comfort that I go to. Sometimes I stay for just a few minutes and sometimes I stay for hours. But I always leave feeling more grounded and comforted than when I arrived.

I also have a backup fort, which is my fluffy pink robe. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, I’ll grab this robe and put it on, which instantly soothes me and helps me feel more grounded and calm.

I love having these soothing standbys – always at the ready whenever I crave a little extra TLC.

Our lives are so hurried and filled with never-ending tasks. Giving ourselves these mini retreats – these cozy forts – helps bring us back to the ground, helps center us, and helps us feel calm again. 

You may already have created a cozy fort for yourself – a place to go or something to wrap yourself in that immediate helps you relax and recharge. It could be a blanket that you curl up on the couch with. Or a friend who gives you a big bear hug when you’re feeling frenzied. Or a fluffy dog or cat that you can hold. Or a sweet baby who loves to be rocked. It could be a song that brings you comfort when you hear it. Or a written passage that helps you find your place in the world when you read it.

There are so many ways to find comfort. There are so many ways to create our own cozy forts.

I would love for each of us to give ourselves permission to not only create our forts, but to go to them often. To allow ourselves to use them and to enjoy them and to relax in them. To give ourselves time and space to slow down and recharge. Because that’s exactly what these forts are created for.

The next time I go crawl into mine, it will bring me such joy to imagine you crawling into yours (whatever that may be) as well. We’ll be cozy together. Isn’t that comforting?




about jodi
Jodi Chapman is a bestselling author, an award-winning blogger, and a soulful community builder. She lives her life with love and faith in the driver’s seat, and she hopes to leave a trail of inspiration wherever she goes. She believes that we each have the ability to hear our soul’s whisper and create our best lives. She would love to connect with you!

Website   ♥   Facebook   ♥   Angel Fund    ♥   Free Ebook