We connected with the beautiful and talented Jenna Robino during leader training for IntenSati in the spring. When conceiving the Thrivival Questionnaire, Jenna immediately came to mind as a contributor. Everyday, Jenna arrived at training with a new print-out: a poem, or an inspirational paragraph tucked neatly into her folder. If that, in and of itself, isn’t a conscious effort to thrive, we’re not sure what is. We knew we had to get her perspective. Jenna struggled most of her life with severe depression, an eating disorder, and major self-worth issues. She found Patricia Moreno’s “Great Body, Great Life” DVD at a bookstore and intuitively felt drawn to the practice of IntenSati. She has a ten-year background in performing arts, but she says the most important life endeavor or leap of faith she’s ever taken was becoming an IntenSati leader. Jenna is devoted to being a warrior, developing greatness with grace. For more information about Jenna and her classes visit her blog.
What does “thriving” mean to you?
Thriving is a state of flourishing in all areas of my life. It’s when doors open, literally and spiritually, relationships are strong, I’m meeting challenges head on, work and creativity are flowing, I’m honoring my body and soul, and feel fearless and free.
What do you do on a regular basis in an effort to thrive?
I always take a moment each day, preferably in the morning, to connect to what brings me joy: a walk in nature, an enlightening passage in a book, singing, creating art, connecting with a friend, discovering something new, learning a new skill, and of course practicing IntenSati (at least 5 times a week). After I love myself by doing one of these joyful acts, it preps me for the day’s events. Also, I absolutely must have at least 8 hours of sleep! I notice a HUGE difference when I do not get enough sleep the night before. It’s the cultivating of self-love and care on a regular basis that keeps me conscious and thriving.
In what ways have you gone from survival mode to thrivival mode?
While in college I sabotaged myself with an extreme dose of self-hatred which made me binge, purge, lie, steal, push people away, lock myself away all to maintain my cycle of destruction. It was a dark time of disguises. I was known as the talented actress in my department saying “Yes” to everyone, and meanwhile I am stuffing myself literally to numb all the pain. It took a couple early releases out of school, some time off, a lot of deep reflection, and finding Patricia Moreno’s IntenSati DVDs to really get me out of auto-pilot surviving, and into living and engaging in life. When the disguises started to come off, the light within me started to shine through. My relationship to food and my body has transformed drastically since those dark days. It has changed because I have worked hard to create new habits, and a more gentle and forgiving language with myself. Gone are the days of counting calories, and not leaving the house because I can’t find anything to wear. Now, I am truly open to life, listening to it’s lessons, and taking whatever challenges I had, and using them as my greatest source of strength and humility. This past June, I became an IntenSati leader in celebration of this new found attitude and zest to share and give the gifts of me! I have been loving the fire it’s igniting within me ever since!
What are some things that get in the way of your efforts to thrive?
Internalizing what others say and do as personal attacks on me, when in actuality it has nothing to do with me at all! I have one of the laws from the book by Don Miquel Ruiz, “The Four Agreements” on my refrigerator which says, “Don’t take anything personally,” and I have to remind myself of this almost every day. Also, when I put way too much on my to-do list, and do not set realistic goals and timelines for things, and end up getting all kinds of neurotic stressed out and I shut down… stop moving, and this leads to unconscious eating, actions, re-scheduling plans, and calling a boy at some random hour of the night. Laughable I know, but I’ve done it. Thinking that my fix is outside of me, when really it’s the most urgent time to activate those healthy habits and access what gives me joy!
If you feel low, how do you boost your level of thriving?
When I am low I know the first prescription is to get moving, so I’ll practice IntenSati, or I’ll go outside whether or not the sun is shining. And then if the emotions are still running like a raging river, I’ll call a friend and preface the conversation with, “I gotta vent, do you have 5 minutes?” It’s never as bad as I think it is, and hearing the emotional ball start to unravel is proof of this…it just needs to be broken down sometimes with a little attitudinal and physical adjustment! Once I get clear, then I set my intention and take one foot in front of the other to get there.
Who, in your life, or “in life,” do you admire for their efforts to thrive?
Without a doubt, my mother. I’ve watched her overcome tremendous pain and challenges with grace: the loss of her parents within the same year, the diagnosis of her MS (Multiple Sclerosis) in 1999, and spending over a year without reading and driving due to optic neuritis along with blinding cataracts in both her eyes. Her MS doctors have never seen a woman so strong in spirit to transform her pain without help from medication. She even completed the 6K this year at the MS Walk in Santa Barbara, and won the best team t-shirt award. Recently, a miraculous event happened as her eyes were operated on to remove the cataracts. My mom is seeing for what feels like the first time!! It is incredible to watch her discovering colors, reading out loud, and setting intentions of all she wants to accomplish now that the veil has lifted and life is shining through. She is a warrior, and I am so proud to have her as my mother. (She’d like me to mention, she’ll be taking interviews from 8a to 5pm Monday- Friday Pacific time.) She also has a great sense of humor.