by: Jill Ethier
They call her Ninja Jill. This beautiful mother of 4 has taken tragedy, heartbreak, and sickness along with her keen business sense and created a space for others to heal, grow and find purpose.
Everyone at some moment in their life will experience a loss, a job, a relationship, or the death of a loved one. Half memoir, half self-help, “When the Meaning is Lost” by Jill Ethier is a must read for anyone who has experienced grief in any form. Jill shows true and triumphant courage as she explores and dissects the tragic losses she has experienced. She shares her raw truth with a genuine passion to help others move through their grief to a place that blooms with growth, grace, and freedom.
Vintage Gypsy Magazine
VG: So please tell us about Jill.
I am a creator and a strategist. I love to create everything from online programs and life strategies for my clients to birthday parties and events for my girls to create a nourishing space with how I choose to decorate our home (We have moved 5 times in 10 years and each home has had a different vibe and feel. I love enhancing the space with Feng Shui principles and décor that supports the energy in the space).
I am the mother to 4 beautiful girls and a parent to 3. They are 19, 10 and 9 years old. Being a parent is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. I am a Saskatchewan girl born and raised and after an 11-year stint in Calgary, we moved back to an acreage just outside of Saskatoon a couple of years ago. I love being home. I wanted my girls to be raised in the Prairies and infused with the values of this great province and have the experience of a smaller city.
I spend as much time in the summer as I can in Waskesiu with my family. There is nothing better than sitting at the beach watching the girls play, soaking in the sun, getting out waterskiing and cooking a meal over the campfire.
I am an avid reader and there are always a few books on the go in my office and in my bedroom. I even store a couple in my truck now so that I can sneak in reading time when I am waiting for my girls at their extracurricular activities. I am a personal growth junkie and love earning about personal energy, mindset and business so I am always taking some sort of online course to be better. I practice yoga 5 days a week in my bedroom (because it’s easier than going to yoga studio) and I meditate daily (it makes me a better mother and keeps my adrenals in good condition).
I love to cook and am always trying out new and yummy ways to make things gluten, dairy, sugar and dye free (Those of you with crazy dietary stuff know what I mean. It’s doable but it’s a commitment). My latest obsession is the Instant Pot and on any given Sunday you will find me making a ton of meals for the week and dehydrating all sorts of things for those school lunches. Food is fuel and I know that I can produce more each week when I’m fueled well and my daughters are easier to parent and stronger in school when they are fueled properly.
My greatest accomplishment to date has been to choose to put myself out “there”; to do the videos and put the programs online, to record the podcast multiple times a week, to do interviews and to write the book.
No matter how confident you are, it is uncomfortable to do things that put you in front a bunch of people and allow for possible criticism and harsh critiques to happen. But, I knew that if I wasn’t brave enough to do it, my girls wouldn’t be brave enough to do it and my clients wouldn’t be either. If you have a story to tell (and I believe we all have something to share), you must be willing to put it all on the line. Now, that the book is written, the second one won’t be as hard to write and launch out into the world. It will be the same for you. Once you do something once, it gets easier and easier to put yourself out there. We are all here for a reason and we all need to share who we are. That is our service to the world.
VG: Tell us about the Book.. “When the Meaning is Lost” when did you decide to write this book and why?
Just over 12 years ago, my second eldest daughter was born silently. This changed my life forever. I am not the same person that I was before that happened. I began writing and documenting the experience and how I was feeling just a month or so after she passed away. Then, over the course of the next 10 years, I would create a new word document and write more about life and what I had learned whenever I felt inspired too. In May of 2017, after the death of my eldest daughter’s best friend, I just knew that it was time to complete the writings and make it into something more. I took the multiple word documents that I had made notes in over the years and began the process of creating the book. It took months, many versions, some close friends reviews and a total rewrite to have the book that is available today.
I just knew that it was time to share what I learned about life and living fully from my divorce, the loss of my baby, my health issues and what I experienced with my daughter as I supported her through the loss of her friend.
I know that it is very hard to understand how these experiences feel until you have walked through them and it is a very lonely process regardless of how much support you have around you. I wanted to put into words what I went through and what I know many are feeling so that they don’t feel so alone in their journey and to provide some light at the end of that dark tunnel of grief and loss.
VG: The process of moving through grief is so different for everyone yet I feel that your book provides insight for moving forward in a positive way, for anyone that would choose to read it. Was this your intention or just the way it played out?
I would say that it was intuitively and intentionally guided. I really just let the words flow while I focused on what I would have liked to have known as I was going through it. I wrote about what would have served me, helped me and gave me some hope that the pain would eventually ease.
Grief is consuming and everyone’s experience with it is different. I am very intentional and practical person. I approached all of these losses in my life from that stand point so it allowed me not to get consumed and overwhelmed by the emotion of it all but to really feel it and then purposely face each day.
This is really one of the main messages in this book. You need to choose to face each day. This will look and feel different for everyone in his or her journey. Some days will be easier than others. I think that when you choose to face the day, you are choosing to move forward understanding that you cannot have back what once was and this acceptance and movement is key to creating meaning once again.
I hoped for this result, that anyone who reads it will be able to apply it to their personal experience, and that seems to be the case as more and more people read the book and send me messages and write testimonials of how the book has served them. So, it seems to have played out in the best way possible.
VG: Please tell us about your other work. Who is Ninja Jill?
Ninja Jill was actually a nickname that one of my clients gave me and it just stuck and seems to taken on an energy of its own. I have always liked to be behind the scenes helping clients figure out how to move their life and business forward and once they have that strategy in place and begin to implement it, my work is done. We move swiftly when we work together and quickly implement new strategies to create more of what they went. So, the nickname definitely came from working style and the fact that 99% of my wardrobe is black.
When my baby died, I promised her soul on that day that I would live fully and focus on fulfilling my purpose (not that I totally knew what that was yet). Prior to that day, I was defined by my role as a Marketing Strategist and while I really enjoyed my work in the corporate arena, I decided to never go back. Just prior to my daughter dying, I was taking a Feng Shui program and was just completing my practitioner certificate. As the days and months after her death went on, I dove into energy work and its impact on your life and began to realize that I could mix my love of strategy and energy together to help people create the lives that they desire.
Clients would regularly ask me “what is my purpose?” and it seemed to be this question that was always the hardest for people to answer. I began to develop programs to help people define what that is so that you are consciously choosing to live each day to fulfill that purpose and the call of their soul.
My work really has been a calling. The book was written because I felt called to do it (it was one of the hardest things I have ever done). The online courses and programs and the podcast were all things that popped into my mind and I just learned to listen to the “call” and create them.
I know that my purpose is to shift the trajectory of people’s lives on a daily basis through what I create so that they know and realize that they can live the life that they truly want, that they are capable of anything they set their mind to and take action on and that they are worthy of it.
It is the most fulfilling work for me to do. I have taken what I have learned throughout my life and changed peoples lives because of it. It’s an honor to do the work that I do.
VG. How did you find your purpose? and what inspires you keep moving forward?
I think we over complicate figuring out what our purpose is. We make it so important that it almost becomes unanswerable. Here’s how I break it down with my clients. I believe that our purpose is the combination of the answers to these three questions: Who are you?
What do you truly want?
What is your reason why?
When you combine the answers to these three questions, your purpose will reveal itself.
I think we make the idea of what it needs to be too big and complicated. Your purpose should be simple and you should be able to act on it and fulfill it daily. For me, I just want to know that each night when I lay my head down onto my pillow that I have shifted the trajectory of someone’s life today with the programs I offer, the videos I do, the podcast, the conversations I’ve had or the book that someone has read.
I believe that your purpose also lies in what you are brilliant at and what you enjoy doing the most. I am a communicator and I love to create so I just chose a way to do that on a daily basis. Identify your strengths and use them when you take action to fulfill your purpose.
I’m inspired to keep moving forward in my life because I know my reason why (which is showing my girls how to live life fully on a daily basis), because I know this life is meant for us to grow (not for us to stay down and out) and because I don’t want to lay on my death bed wondering if I have done enough and fulfilled what I was here to do. I don’t want to have any regrets so that desire outweighs the discomfort of stepping outside my comfort zone on a daily basis.
I will be honest and say that the death of a baby and a debilitating health issue has made me appreciate my life more and to choose to live it in a much bigger way. It has given me a greater perspective as to the amazing opportunities in live our lives that we are given daily if we are willing to see them and accept them and take action on them.
VG: Do you ever feel uninspired or overwhelmed? How do you get yourself back on track? Of course! That’s part of the journey.
I believe that being overwhelmed or stressed is because the demand on you is greater than your capacity. So, you have two options: increase your capacity (so your mental and physical energy) or decrease the demand. If I hit overwhelm, which isn’t really that often anymore because I’ve streamlined how I operate on daily basis and because I am very good at saying no know (severe adrenal fatigue will teach you that), I begin to start cutting things out of my day or delegating things to a family member for them to head up or complete.
The first step though in not experiencing a lot of overwhelm is to be clear on what you truly want in all areas of your life (your work, your health, your relationships and your growth). When you are clear on this and have written it down (which creates more of a commitment), then you begin to choose what you will allow into your life and into your days and what you will say no too. Doing this means that you will not get overwhelmed as much anymore.
The other tip I have to not get overwhelmed is to create a structure and framework from which you operate your days. This means that I am focused on taking the top 3 actions towards what I truly want each day, I have a system and a process for the house in place and all that it requires and when stuff gets done like laundry and cleaning, I don’t overschedule my girls and I have my meal plan locked down. Prep and planning is key to a fulfilled life free of overwhelm and unnecessary stressors.
When I feel uninspired there are usually two reasons (can you tell that I am super analytical):
1. I don’t really want the result or outcome of whatever it is I should be working on but I’m not.
2. I am fearful of the outcome (either the possible success or failure).
So, I identify which it is (number 1 or 2) and then make a plan. I will refocus and get clarity on what I do want or if it’s #2, I will just take action. I find that when you are feeling uninspired, taking action is one of the most important things you need to do. When you begin working on something that will move your life forward, taking that action will quickly shift how you are feeling and create more momentum.
If you wait to be inspired before you take action, it will take you a long time to achieve your goals and desires. Be clear on what you want and take action on it daily regardless of what you are thinking or feeling in the moment. Don’t rely on inspiration to always move your forward, you must do the work.
VG: What is it you love most about the work you do?
I love seeing my clients achieve their goals, realize how powerful they are and get excited again about their life and what they can actually make happen when they choose too.
For the book, it is the messages that I get about how they feel hopeful for the future and that they will be able to walk through this grief and the void. And while their life is forever changed, they can still choose to live fully again.
I love that I get to create on a daily basis with the podcast, Ninja Jill KNOWS, with the online programs and the conversations I get to have using my strategic, energetic and analytical abilities to help clients move their lives and businesses forward.
VG: What’s Next?
This is an interesting question because I wouldn’t have thought that what I am about to answer would ever be my answer but I am letting my life unfold as the opportunities are presented to me. I have a new book and online affiliate program (so that others can use it with their clients) that is all about discovering your Soulset© (your purpose and your plan to pursue it) that is almost ready. I am putting the finishing touches on a Feng Shui book because I believe that your home is the foundation from which you live your life and when your home is in order, you are more prepared to achieve the things that you want. And, I am working on a series of books that share the stories of others who have experienced loss in their life and how they moved through it and the gifts that it has provided them with. I want to help others share their stories.
VG: Where can we purchase your book?
The book is available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle form.
VG: If you could share some words of advice/wisdom to other women who wish to find their purpose and passion, what would you say?
Just begin. Start taking small steps towards it. Look at what you feel called to do, be aware of what fills you up and makes you feel good and do more of it. We can get bogged down and burdened by the daily experience of life and so it can take peeling back all of those layers to find out what it is you want to do next because a lot of us, especially women, will lose ourselves in motherhood and all that it takes to make it through the day. We kind of forget who we are. So, go back to what you loved to do before, go out with your girlfriends, read some books, move your body to get your physical energy flowing again, listen to podcasts and begin to meditate. When you begin to shift and change how you are living on a daily basis, you will see things differently and you will begin to remember who you are.
Knowing what your purpose is helps but it doesn’t mean that everyone is willing to take action on it. So, if you don’t know what your purpose is just yet, don’t let that stop you. Begin by doing the things that feed your soul and fill your heart up. Your purpose is woven in there somewhere and it will be revealed to you as you continue to take action.
I would have never thought that my purpose would have led me to writing a book, being in this magazine and sharing my story. Be open to the journey and be willing to take the risk to follow your intuition and the call of your soul. It will always be worth it.