Author Archives: Jennifer Chandler

What are you doing with your life?

What are you doing with your life?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

I wrote this quote by Mary Oliver on the board for my workshop participants to read and it made us all think a little deeper. I’m not sure any of us felt in that moment that life turned out the way we planned but it sure has been a wild ride!

The fact is, most of the time it feels like life is happening to us rather than that we are the architects of our future. The combination of life happening, mixed with our own designs, is what makes life complex and precious at that same time.

After pondering the quote further it appeared to give us more resolve to look at life as deserving of more attention in order to truly live better. I asked the class, “What do you fear?” and one young woman said, “Not living up to my potential.” We all nodded in agreement and a very powerful discussion followed.

Life gives us opportunity to understand its precious notes through birth and death. Its unpredictable movements keeps us on our toes and can be both exhilarating and exhausting. The randomness of events and people who become apart of our story can be utterly confusing – until we choose to attach meaning.

My hope is, that as we move through this year and into the next we remember that this is our one wild and precious life so let’s be ready for more adventure. Let’s say, “Yes” often to experience more joy and to push beyond our fear of the unknown. Make our “No” non-negotiable when it needs to be. Let’s keep the plans and dreams alive so as to show life we were made for it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Workshop for Women

Workshop for Women

Awesome! Empowering! Inspiring! These are just a few words that participants share after attending our Survivors of Violence Workshop Series.

If you have experienced abuse, bullying, or violence in a personal or professional relationship then I encourage you to come learn how to build up your confidence AND not let the past negatively define you anymore.

Problem Solving, Communication, Managing Triggers, Self-Compassion and so many more topics are explored.

Testimonials will support that this is a fascinating journey towards self and helps to redefine life, work and relationships.

I’m not kidding when I say, women’s voices and their body language are visibly changing as we move through each day.

A decision can be made to emerge from dark places and sit in the light again. I feel so privileged to witness those transformations.

We can’t change what happened but we can certainly understand how to move beyond it.

If you want more information please contact me directly or for the Richmond, BC area call Manjit at 778.732.0290. Manjit is great! She can help you determine whether this workshop fits your needs.

It will be our sincere pleasure to share this amazing workshop with you!


The Beauty of the Fall Season

The Beauty of the Fall Season

One thing that is great about living in British Columbia is the change of seasons. I am so fortunate to live in such an exquisitely diverse province where flora and fauna, oceans and rivers, mountains and farms, city and rural living weave their way across this landscape. The crisp air mixed in with this sunny day tells me Fall really is around the corner.


Should Kids Have A Say In Home Buying?

Should Kids Have A Say In Home Buying?

“You’ve got to be joking!” I exclaimed in utter disbelief. It was the hottest summer day and I had spent it cleaning my house and primping up the garden. Dust bunnies gone, floors mopped and smelling fresh, carpets meticulously vacuumed and every glass surface was clear of any prints. Multiple areas were ready for further inspection.

Outdoor pathways were swept and plants given a lovely drink to perk them up. A welcoming entrance and deck said, “Come on in and stay awhile.” or  “Buy this house.”   Either way it was dressed to impress. We are trying to sell our home and luckily there was a request for a second showing.

Our agent said that the people are an older couple who have toured the house before and they really liked it! They’re returning with their son so that he can look at it. Now, I thought mature couple, mature son. I had visions of their adult son coming and doing a more solid assessment of the house and maybe if he had some trades background his opinion would be quite helpful.

No, that was not the case. Instead it was a boy around 10 or 11 years old! WHAT THE….?

My agent passed along the following: He liked the place but was disappointed it didn’t have a basement. He likes to have more space for his activities, gaming etc. He apparently was brainstorming how to use another room for himself and he really liked the flat of Coke my husband had in the utility room. My agent said, “Well if your parents buy the home I’m sure we can throw that in the deal.”

I was driving in my car when I got the news and well, I will not write what I was screaming in my car. I could not believe I sweated all day for a child to give the final say on buying a home. So, I contacted my husband to share the news and I ranted for a good 20 minutes about the situation and the unbelievable state of parenting today.

There isn’t one person that I have talked to about this who’s jaw didn’t drop in disbelief. In fact, its making the rounds in our social circle for topics such as Signs of Child Entitlement and Parenting Gone Horribly Wrong.

My parents would have never had us kids decide about a home to buy, it’s not our investment.  After they buy it, we would have say in decorating our room but outside of that, home buying fell under adult decision making. Across the board nobody could recall their parents taking them to a house and asking for their opinion.

As a kid I was focused on other real world decisions and problems to solve. Should I play with Sara or Rebecca? Do I enter into the long distance run or short track run?  Was there a way to get out of piano lessons. How much scalloped potatoes can my dog eat so I don’t have to. Plus, one crucial decision: To take the long way to school instead of taking the shortcut path – thus avoiding stupid bullies.

If this kid has that kind of power at 10 years old I can’t imagine what he’ll be like a few years from now or maybe I can. He might expect other people to be equally indulgent. He’ll be the kind of kid who spends the next 20 years in his basement gaming while his parents keep supporting him. He’ll scoff at having a job because he’s entitled to everything anyway so why work. AND He won’t like it when others fail to embrace his opinion or suggestions.

And don’t think the above commentary isn’t a reality because I have seen it with my own eyes at our Employment Service Centres. Twenty-something’s finally forced to get a job or Thirty year old men who have been in and out of work because they feel under-appreciated. They know it all and people just don’t get it! And If they aren’t able to get days off for Comic-Con then, See Ya! (That’s for another blog)

If I sound still miffed about this, I am. I’m sure you’ve guessed the outcome by now…No House Sale.


We can’t look away from bad news

We can’t look away from bad news

She watched one news story after another, disgusted by each one but didn’t turn the channel. Stories about animal abuse, fires destroying homes, a man killing his wife, a woman’s tirade in a store, gang wars, suicides, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions, AND the political poop show that dominates everything!

Her analysis of the world, “It’s all terrible!” Later today she’ll watch the news again for more of the same coverage.

The truth is humans have difficulty turning away from tragedy. People can be drawn towards drama, excited by debauchery and even envious of the person who stepped over the line and publicly lost their cool. We can be mesmerized by stories of misconduct and horrified but curious about mayhem.

Maybe we are hard-wired to watch what happens to others in order to protect ourselves from falling victim. It could be that we learn lessons from people’s behaviour and mistakes or, more realistically, the spectacle that surrounds us everyday has become entertainment.

Knowing our unwavering need to explore the darkest of human behaviour more news and TV programs cater to that taste. One local news story about a fire leads to a cluster of fire stories across the world. The gratuitous depictions of anger, sex, and a million ways to kill or die becomes normalized. We pay to watch these things.

Dressed up, news and other programs want us to believe we are informed. Instead, we remain largely ignorant but we do establish our place in a like-minded tribe.

Dressed down, or exposed for all it’s worth, the constant viewing of negative programs can erode our health, deep thinking and personal discernment.

Still we keep looking.

Are You Listening?

Are You Listening?

Over the course of a few months I began to assess my immediate and extended family, my spouse and my own abilities to listen. A social experiment of sorts, which focused on self-awareness and active listening skills. I would venture to guess that most people would label themselves as good listeners. Myself included.

First question:

How strong are my listening skills?

I noticed my own tendency to drift in thought or to interject in conversations. That happened mostly in my personal life but professionally I tended to stay on point with active listening. A distinction that needs work so as not to discriminate between who gets attention and where.

For the most part I enjoy different perspectives on life, relationships and world issues. I’m genuinely interested in knowing people better. However, certain family members are particularly good at hitting sensitive nerves so then ears can close and defensive shields go up. Still working on those trigger responses.

Overall, I would describe myself as a good listener with room for improvement.

Second question:

 Was my assumption that I was not being heard realistic?

I came to realize others were not offering the same degree of listening time, presence and genuine interest as I gave them. So, I began to conduct random post analysis of natural conversations.

When opportunities arose for my family and spouse to talk freely about a topic I would listen carefully. I’m pretty sure that my verbal and non-verbal cues demonstrated interest. (Absent of any triggering episodes)

Curiously, when I began to share my thoughts I noticed a distinct difference in most people’s capabilities to listen. It was as if a switch went off and all the energy that propelled them forward to talk about their topics had been expended and there was nothing left for listening.

Here’s what I experienced:

No eye contact

Quick to acknowledge  other people, things and/or pets,  without apology, while I was speaking

Interrupted to passionately impose their own opinion and raised voice to be heard

Completely ignored topic(s) and deflected to what they wanted to talk about (“That’s like me….”)

Picked up phones in the middle of a conversation to scan Twitter, or check incoming email

Got up to leave or go do something else ( Their excuse: ” Oh, I thought you were finished talking” or “I just needed to….)

Silent: Asked no questions to better understand points, nor used words like, “Really?” or “Uh, huh.”

Body language showed disinterest and they lacked empathy

To counteract their apparent disinterest I stopped mid-sentence just to see what would happen. Some people were oblivious to the odd stop and other’s were jarred out of their mind fog enough to offer a faint bit of interest….and then it was gone again.

I also experimented with what I’ll call, “Goldfish Attention Span” talking. I kept speech short with simple words. Still no signs of life or interest. I tried being more animated in tone and body to command the stage, as it were. That worked a bit but I still wasn’t getting active listening beyond that point.

After observing their inability to be attentive I would transition back to something I know they like to talk about and miraculously they were engaged again.

Maybe I’m too boring. Maybe I talk too much. Maybe what I’m talking about is over their heads. Maybe listening is easier when it’s catchy comments or profanity laced dialogue. Maybe they are self-centered or rude. Maybe WE struggle with being present.


Maybe listening skills need to be developed and consistently improved upon in order to be effectively applied to our personal and business relationships.

Check out these Tips on Active Listening:

MindTools Article and Video

Active Listening Hear What People Are Really Saying


Dr John Gottman’s Top 10 Skills for Active Listening

  1. Focus on being interested, not interesting
  2. Start by asking questions
  3. Look for commonalities
  4. Tune in with all your attention
  5. Communicate that you are listening with a nod/sound
  6. Paraphrase what the speaker says
  7. Validate the speakers emotions
  8. Maintain eye contact
  9. Let go of your agenda
  10. Turn off the TV or anything else that is distracting


Car Pool Karaoke with Paul McCartney – Thanks James

Car Pool Karaoke with Paul McCartney – Thanks James






Have you experienced relationship or workplace violence?

Have you experienced relationship or workplace violence?

Have you experienced relationship or workplace violence, abuse or harassment?

I have to tell you about an amazing workshop series that I facilitate for Survivors of Violence. The personal transformations occurring through this workshop series is truly inspiring and I want to welcome you to join us!

The magnificent women who have attended consistently speak about how each workshop helped build compassion for themselves – especially given their circumstances – and increased self-esteem. Through self-reflection activities, and diverse conversation topics, participants have many “aha!” moments which positively shape what happens next both personally and professionally.

Many of our former participants refer other friends and family to the workshop series and I consistently hear,

“I wish I had learned this before – it’s life changing.”

Women of all ages, ethnicities and economic backgrounds attend our classes and this makes for very rich discussions in a highly supportive environment AND we have fun too!

You may be eligible to attend these special workshops and/or receive individual services.

If you live in the Richmond or Abbotsford, British Columbia areas, and want more information about upcoming Survivors of Violence workshops, contact me directly at 604.535.8761 or email        


Back in Motion, Richmond, BC                                                                                778.732.0290

AGORA Employment Essentials, Abbotsford, BC                                                  604.859.6790

Would you like tools and strategies to help manage and overcome the effects of abuse?

Here’s what we cover:

  • Establishing Healthy Boundaries
  • Building Self-Esteem, Self-Awareness and Observation Skills
  • Managing Emotional Triggers, Anger, Anxiety and Depression
  • Recognizing, Understanding and Overcoming the Impacts of Abuse
  • Qualities of Healthy Relationships
  • Substance Abuse Relapse Prevention Strategies
  • Effective Problem Solving and Communication in the Workplace
  • Overcoming Barriers to Change and Reframing Negative Self-Talk
  • Post workshop: 1 individual touchback session with workshop facilitator
  • Eligible clients receive FREE counselling sessions with a qualified counsellor

Note: If you live outside the areas listed please feel free to contact me for referrals to an agency near you.

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