Category Archives: BOOK joy

Down the Rabbit Hole

Down the rabbit hole book review + joy in jacksons journey


I recently read “Down the Rabbit Hole” by Holly Madison.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it at first because I didn’t watch the show, “The Girls Next Door” but I did know who she was.

I heard a lot of buzz about the book and once I got my hands on it, I understood why.

It was a book that was hard to put down (aren’t those always the BEST kind?!)

Once she began talking about her story and what she had endured being Hugh Hefner’s “girlfriend”, I was hooked.

Below I have attached some of my favorite quotes from the book!



Hopefully, once you read my story, you will be able to understand why I made some of the choices I made…

and why I also felt trapped by those choices.

I hope that sharing my mistakes can prevent someone else from making similar ones, or give someone the courage to leave a bad situation.

I was born a girl with an insatiable appetite for the extraordinary: the strange, the unusual, the glamorous, and the morbid. And I experienced all of it.

If you looked close enough, each one of Hugh Hefner’s “girlfriends” appeared to be just a little it vacant and merely going through the motions of what life OUGHT to be.

Life inside the mansion wasn’t at all what I expected it to be- not even close.

Depending on the month, week, and sometimes hour, I would waffle back and forth between precisely why I was living a life as nothing more than “Girlfriend Number One” to a man who was old enough to be my grandfather.

I didn’t want to admit that I had sold a bit of my soul for the chance at fame.

I knew that if I took my own life, that my death would be in vain; and that convinced me to not go through with it.

In truth, I didn’t really WANT to do, but i saw no other way out. Thankfully the only thing greater than my need to escape was my desire to share my experience. If I sunk my head below the water and went to sleep, no one would ever know the truth.

This really is a great book, a quick read that is really shocking and heartwarming.

You can get it HERE AT AMAZON:

Down the rabbit hole book review + joy in jacksons journey




I am Malala

i am malala- joy in jacksons journey





i am malala- joy in jacksons journey

I recently read this book after hearing much buzz about it.

The day that I got it into my hands, was the day that I was immersed in it.

I am fascinated by Malala and her story.

What an absolutely amazing girl.

and when I say that i was IMMERSED in it, i mean i took it EVERYWHERE i went.

Like EVERYWHERE…..and that includes working out! haha


Here’s a brief summary of what it is about:

“When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out.

Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price.

She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey

from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York.

At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.”

Malala’s story is one that is so fascinating, beautiful, and powerful. Upon reading her book, I just HAD to save some of the beautiful things she said.

Below is my review of the book and my favorites quotes from it.


The Taliban shot me to try to silence me. Instead, the whole world is listening to my message now.

Yes, the Taliban shot me, BUT they can only shoot a body.

They cannot shoot my dreams, they cannot kill my beliefs, and they cannot stop my campaign to see every girl in school.

I don’t want to be known as “the girl shot by the Taliban, but instead as “the girl who fought for education”.

When a boy is born in Pakistan, it’s cause for celebration.

Guns are fired in the air.

Gifts are placed in the baby’s cot.

And the boy’s name is inscribed on the family tree.

But when a girl is born, no one visits the parents,

and women have only sympathy for the mother.

I’m named for the great young Pashtun heroine Malalai, who inspired her countrymen with her courage.

My father’s words of praise have always been the most precious thing in the world to me.

The women of the village also had to hide their faces whenever they left their homes.

And they could not meet or speak to men who were not their close relatives.

None of them could read. Even my own mother, who’d grown up in the village, couldn’t read.

Some went so far as to wear black gloves and socks so that not a bit of skin was showing.

I’d seen the wives be required to walk a few paces behind their husbands.

I’d seen the women be forced to lower their gaze when they encountered a man.

And I’d seen the older girls who’d been our playmates disappear behind veils as soon as they became teenagers.

Many of the girls in the village- including most of my own cousins- didn’t go to school.

Some father’s don’t even think of their daughters as valued members of their families.

“Why send a daughter to school?” the men often say. “She doesn’t need an education to run a house”.

When I saw how hard these women’s lives were, I was confused and sad.

Why were women treated so poorly in our country?

I asked my father this, and he told me that life was even worse for women in Afghanistan,

where a group called the Taliban had taken over the country.

Schools for girls had been burned to the ground,

and all women were forced to wear a severe form of a burqua, 

a head-to-toe veil that had only a tiny fabric grille for their eyes.

Women were banned from laughing out loud or wearing nail polish,

and they were beaten or jailed for walking without a male family member.

I asked God for the strength and courage to make the world a better place.

We didn’t know where our education would take us. All we wanted was a chance to learn in peace.

Banners that read WOMEN NOT ALLOWED were strung up at the entrance to the market.

All music and electronics shops were shut down.

Fazlullah kept up his attacks, saying that girls who went to school were not good Muslims- that we would go to hell.

My father said he was going to a meeting that night to speak out against the Taliban.

And after that he would travel to Islamabad to take the government to task for not protecting it’s citizens. 

My father, a simple principal, was taking on the two most powerful and dangerous forces in the country.

What have I done wrong that I should be afraid?

All I want to do is go to school.

And that is not a crime.

That is my RIGHT.

I told myself, “I will continue this journey of fighting for peace and democracy in my country”. I was only ten, but I would find a way.

Before I went to bed, I asked God for one more thing.

Can I die a little bit and come back, so I can tell people about it?

He Googled my name.

Malala Yousafzai, the Taliban said, “should be killed”.

 It was an invitation from one terrorist to another saying, ” Go ahead, shoot her”.

My father was near tears and I responded, “Aba, everybody knows they will die someday.

No one can stop death.

It doesn’t matter if it comes from a Talib or from cancer”.

This was my calling.

Some powerful force had come to dwell inside me,

something bigger and stronger than me,

and it had made me fearless.

Rising Strong

Rising Strong+joyinjacksonsjourney

Rising Strong+joyinjacksonsjourney




THIS book, Rising Strong, by Brene Brown…..I do not even know if there are words.

I have been COUTING DOWN THE DAYS until it was released.

I read her other book, Daring Greatly, and from that moment I was obsessed with this author.

She is a powerhouse, she has a phenomenal Ted X talk about The Power of Vulnerability HERE

I couldn’t put this book down, I mean I took it EVERYWHERE with me, and when I say EVERYWHERE I mean everywhere 🙂

I needed these messages so desperately and I wrote down all my favorites and wanted to share them, because I believe this is a way to live and more people need to apply them to their daily lives.


Rising Strong+joyinjacksonsjourney




Vulnerability is the willingness to show up and been seen with no guarantee of outcome. It is the only path to more love, belonging, and joy.

Doing this work is not only worth it, it is THE WORK of living a wholehearted life.

Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives; it’s the process that teaches us the most about who we are.

Wholehearted living as engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “ No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.”

We want to be brave, and deep inside we know that being brave requires us to be vulnerable.

If we’re going to put ourselves out there and love with our whole hearts, we’re going to experience heartbreak. If we’re going to try new, innovative things, we’re going to fail. If we’re going to risk caring and engaging, we’re going to experience disappointment.

Theodore Roosevelt’s powerful quote from his 1910 “Man in the Arena” speech:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; …who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both.

Not at the same time.


There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt are ACTING OUT THEIR HURT ; instead of ACKNOWLEDGING PAIN, they’re INFLICTING pain on others. Rather than risking FEELING DISAPPOINTED, they’re choosing to LIVE DISAPPOINTED.

Emotional stoicism is not basassery.

Blustery posturing is not basassery.

Swagger is not bassaery.

Perfection is about the furthest thing in the world from Badassery.

People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.

Perspective is critical.

But I’m a firm believer that complaining is okay as long as we piss and moan with a little perspective.

HURT is HURT. Everytime that we honor our own struggle and the struggles of others by responding with empathy and compassion, the healing that results affects all of us.

Whatever the middle space is for your own process, is when you’re “in the dark”- the door has closed behind you. You’re too far in to turn around and not close enough to the end to see the light.

Rumbling with our story and owning our truth in order to write a new, more courageous ending transforms who we are and how we engage with the world.

One of the outcomes of attempting to ignore emotional pain is chandeliering. We think we’ve packed the hurt so far down that it can’t possibly resurface, yet all of sudden, a seemingly innocuous comment sends us into a rage or sparks a crying fit.

It is happens often enough- chandeliering leads to eggshell environments- fear based settings where everyone is on edge.

Livng, growing up, working, or worshipping on eggshells creates huge cracks in our sense of safety and self-worth. Over time, it can be experienced as trauma.

Tactical Breathing

  1. Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your stomach, for a count of four- one,two, three, four.
  2. Hold in that breath for a count of four- one, two, three, four.
  3. Slowly exhale all the air through your mouth, contracting your stomach, for a count of four- one, two, three, four.
  4. Hold the empty breath for a count of four- one, two, three, four.

The Power of Expressive Writing in the healing process:

“Emotional upheavels touch every part of our lives. You don’t just lose a job, you don’t just get divorced. These things affect all aspects of who we are- our financial situation, our relationships with others, our views of ourselves, our issues of life and death. Writing helps us focus and organize the experience.

In the research, he advocates limited writing or short spurts. He’s found that writing about emotional upheavals for just 15-20 minutes a day on four consecutive days can decrease anxiety, rumination, and depressive symptoms and boost our immune systems.

We can’t get to our brave new ending if we start from an inauthentic place.

This should feel vulnerable and personal. Your intention should be to embrace curiosity, awareness, and growth.

Having the courage to reckon with our emotions and to rumble with our stories is the path to writing our brave new ending and the path that leads to wholeheartedness. It’s also the beginning. Understanding our fall and rise, owning our story, taking responsibility for our emotions- his is where the revolution starts.

Two of the most common messages that trigger shame in all of us are “never good enough” and “who do you think you are?”

Great mothers know that they are worthy of love and belonging, and as a result they raise children who know they are worthy of the same things. Shaming other mothers is not one of the million ways to be a great mom.

We don’t compare when we’re feeling good about ourselves; we look for what’s good in others. When we practice self-compassion, we are compassionate toward others. Self-righteousness is just the armor of self-loathing.

The brokenhearted are the bravest among us- they dared to love.

To love with any level of intensity and honesty is to become vulnerable.

Heartbreak is unavoidable unless we choose not to love at all. A lot of people do just that.

This process led to some of the toughest but most important “deaths” of my life. I had to bury my idealized version of my parents and see them instead as people with struggles and limitations.

We can’t be vulnerable and open with people who are hurting us.

The most compassionate people I’ve met and interviewed are people who not only have spent time facedown in the arena, but also were brave enough to open their eyes to the suffering of others lying there with them.

Compassion: reconizing the light and dark in our shared humanity, we commit to practicing loving-kindness with ourselves and others in the face of suffering.

Empathy: The most powerful tool of compassion, empathy is an emotional skill that allows us to respond to others in a meaningful, caring way. Empathy is the ability to understand what someone is experiencing and to reflect back that understanding. It’s important to note here that empathy is understanding what someone is feeling, not feeling it for them.

Sympathy: Rather than being a tool for connection, sympathy emerged in the data as a form of disconnection. Sympathy is removed: when someone says, “I feel sorry for you” or “That must be terrible”, they are standing at a safe distance. Rather than conveying the powerful “me too” of empathy, it communicates “not me”, and then adds, “But I do feel for you”. Sympathy is more likely to be a shame trigger than something that heals shame.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.


Rising Strong+joyinjacksonsjourney

Both ways of functioning are forms of armor- learned behaviors for getting out from under fear and uncertainty.

Over-functioning: I won’t feel, I will do. I don’t need help, I help.

Under-functioning: I won’t function, I will fall apart. I don’t help, I need help.

Trust’s definition is “choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions, “and he describes distrust as deciding that “what is important to me is not safe with this person in this situation (or any situation).

Trusting myself or other people is vulnerable and courageous process:

Boundaries- You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no.

Reliability- You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.

Accountability- You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.

Vault- You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential.

Integrity-  You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.

Nonjudgement-  I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgement.

Generosity- You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

Rising Strong+joyinjacksonsjourney

We are most dangerous to ourselves and to the people around us when we feel powerless. Powerlessness leads to fear and desperation.

To embrace and love who we are, we have to reclaim and reconnect with the parts of ourselves we’ve orphaned over the years. We have to call back home all of those parts of ourselves that we have abandoned. Carl Jung called this individuation.

The lifelong project of becoming more nearly the whole person we were meant to be- what the gods intended, not the parents, or the tribe, or especially the easily intimidated or the inflated ego.

A fear of being perceived as weak forces men into pretending they are never afraid, lonely, confused, vulnerable, or wrong; and an extreme fear of being perceived as cold-hearted, imperfect, high maintenance, or hostile forces women to pretend they’re never exhausted, ambitious, pissed off, or even hungry.

Of all the things trauma takes away from us, the worst is our willingness, or even our ability, to be vulnerable. There’s a reclaiming that has to happen.

The really cruel things people say about us are painful. Cheap-seat folks are season-ticket holders in the arena. For women, they’ll go after appearance, body image, mothering, and anything else that could dent be-perfect-and-make-everyone-happy expectations. For men, they’ll go straight for the jugular- any appearance of weakness of failure.

When we stop caring what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. But when we are defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. The solution is getting totally clear on the people whose opinions actually matter.

A small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, “My story matters because I matter”. A movement where we can take to the streets with our messy, imperfect, wild, stretch-marked, wonderful, heartbreaking, grace-filled, and joyful lives. A movement fueled by the freedom that comes when we stop pretending that everything is okay when it isn’t. A call that rises up from our bellies when we find the courage to celebrate those intensely joyful moments even though we’ve convinced ourselves that savoring happiness is inviting disaster.

Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act or resistance. Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You’re going to confuse, piss off, and terrify lots of people- including yourself. One minute you’ll pray that the transformation stops, and the next minute you’ll pray that it never does. You’ll also wonder how you can feel so brave and so afraid at the same time. At least that’s how I feel most of the time….brave, afraid, and very, very alive.

Our vision is that we can rise from our experiences of hurt and struggle in a way that allows us to live more wholehearted lives.

Manifesto of the brave + brokenhearted

There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics

And fearmongers

Than those of us who are willing to fall

Because we have learned how to rise

With skinned kneeds and bruised hearts;

We choose owning our stories of struggle,

Over hiding, over husting, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.

When we run from struggle, we are never free.

So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.

Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

 We are the author of our lives.

We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,

Compassion from shame,

Grace from disappointment,

Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.

Story is our way home.

Truth is our song.

We are the brave and brokenhearted.

We are rising strong.

Rising Strong+joyinjacksonsjourney



Rising Strong+joyinjacksonsjourney


Some of Brene’s Other Books are below.

Rising Strong+joyinjacksonsjourney

You can find Rising Strong on Amazon

and you can view her website here.

Brene also spoke ALL ABOUT this book with Oprah and it is a phenomenal discussion, you can view it HERE.









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