When life gives you lemons, make orange juice! *

 

Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. 29 years ago she took her last breath as ovarian and colon cancer took her life. She was 46 years old. This is a pivotal moment for me. This is a day that has some unique significance. Especially this year because I am now 45 years old and will be 46 this coming year in May. I will soon be the same age my mother was when she passed on. Why is this so significant for me? Because I feel the gravity of it’s internal meaning. My mother struggled with cancer for a few years and ironically I have struggled within myself for the past few years. I am deeply connected to my mom and the life that she lived when she was here on Earth. I have subconsciously been internally berating myself for several years over my mom’s death. It became supremely apparent to me this past year but I never truly understood what I was secretly doing to myself until today. I woke up this morning with an epiphany, a reason to take what my mom taught me consciously and subconsciously and shift them to a new reality. My mom loved me, truly she did… but she had an awful time managing her feelings about herself, which she took out on the world. Through unconscious living she slowly created her own death. How can I say this? Because I am her daughter and I lived through the chaotic home that I was brought up in partially by the fault of my mother and the lineage her life brought to her. I, myself, had learned from my mother how to do the same in my own life and had done this for myself for a long time. I learned as a child through the subconscious actions and the energy I took in from the misguided and misdirected world around me. I learned about fear quickly growing up and I also learned that a life of fear was not worth living at all. My entire life I ran from the truth. My entire life I have spent trying not to reproduce the actions of my family but the truth of the matter is that the apple really does not fall far from the tree. I have so many friends that would tell me that this isn’t so and that I am nothing like my mother in that way. They tell me that I am a wonderful mother to my children and my family. But, what they do not know is that the internal mental chatter that I must face day in and day out from a missing mother (and a missing father) almost does enough to kill your entire being over the years. It has taken alot of self-determination and perseverance to overcome these fears that have lingered within my internal being. I had to work through many ideas and nuances that I believed about myself that I created over and over again until I could master the belief and move on from their bureaucracy. I believe that we do create our own circumstances in life that bring our greatest fears (or greatest truths) to the surface in order to be faced and slayed. Like the dragon tamer in the ever popular movie “How to Train Your Dragon” I had to work through the ever present powers of creativity and believing beyond the box in order to tame and work side by side with my own dragons. You see my mom had many dragons…she had dragons that brought on abuse in her life. She had a husband who beat her and abused alcohol on a daily basis. She had a son who was caught up in an illness that caused him psychosis. Then she had a father who did not truly understand who she was and why she was the way she was. She, herself had a mother who died of cancer when she was 16 and she was left alone to face a world that didn’t need to be conquered but her own inside world that just needed to be loved. My mother’s path was her own and it wasn’t until much later in life that I realized that she had to leave and she had to go for her own internal reasons and much more so that I could become who I am today.

At my age, one would hope to have graduated HS and College with her parents by her side. To have pictures to recall precious times of cherished moments with her mom at such events as graduations, weddings, birthdays, birth of her children, and their birthdays and graduations. I have no such pictures. I have no such memories. But I am also very lucky. Early on I was forced to live as a survivor. Forced to be out on my own at 16 and find out how to live in this world. Over the years I didn’t find out how to truly live until I was able to live with myself. How can I be the best that I can possibly be not just for myself and for the world that we live in? How can we do the balancing dance of give and receive in order to fill each other up only to have it continue to return again like as if we were living a constant flow of the figure 8. How? Well, my mom taught me how and so did my dad through the opposite of what someone could teach. I learned through fear and eventually had to turn to love to be morphed into something other than what I was or I too would have succumbed to a cancer that would take my life as well. I had to learn to face my fears and walk through the fires head on. I had no other choice and no one could do it for me and no one could walk in my shoes and no one could ever understand, not even my own mom. Through facing my own fears, through living a life that was tainted by subconscious programming that came from my mom, bringing awareness in and taking a deep breath I went further. I have gone further than I have ever gone before and now I have finally made it to the other side. I for sure, did not conquer anything. No way. No how. There was nothing to conquer. There were no dragons to slay and there were no dragons to tame. There was just a child that simply wanted to be heard living within me and she only just wanted her mom again. I wanted the representation of my mom of all moms. I wanted to just be love. That’s all. Once I could feel that within myself. Once I could love myself there was nothing left to do but love the rest of the world too. Fear no longer had a hold on my life and the rest of the world was finally ok, no matter what. This is what my mom taught me in a twisted subconscious way and there was no better way for her to teach me then through the unspoken word and actions of just being her when she was here and when she wasn’t as well. My mom is no longer here on Earth but I feel her and know she is here all the time. I can’t explain this and I just know this. I can not tell you what it is like because it is experiential. Nothing that we can learn in a text book. It is nothing that you would ever learn from any class you would take, not even an intuitive class. It really is from the heart. And this is now what I try to teach on a daily basis. Everything is from the heart. Everything. Every word, every action, every instrument we use is used from the heart. That is how magical we are. If it is used in such a way that strikes a chord of magic from the heart it creates magical experiences no matter what. A pencil can become a wand and a dishrag can single handedly clean up the world if we can open our hearts to see.

My mom had a very hard and difficult life and the ironic thing about all of this is that as I approach the same age that my mom was when she left this Earth plane I can honestly say that I have at least 50 more years to do something completely different. I don’t need to make lemons into lemonade…I’ve already done that… now I get to write another story with the second half of my life and I am going to name it…. And claim it… I am going to make lemons into orange juice! I am that unique!

Thanks mom for being there for me Allways in All ways. I love you.

Your Daughter Forever, Jennifer

 

*Quote from: “365 Days of Wonder” a quote for every day of the year by R.J. Palacio

Advertisement

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies” -Aristotle

This past Sunday, I set out to accomplish the last phase of marathon training.  I was to complete 20 miles.  In the spirit of “Building Bridges”, which I wrote about a couple articles ago, I decided that making new connections and potentially ‘building bridges’ would be a great idea for this run.  After all, I had someone rather close to me burn a bridge which inspired me to keep building bridges.  It’s the ones closest to us that point out our faults with which we can use our own discernment to know when we need to shift our perceptions of reality.  I heard mine loud and clear and decided to make several shifts over the last several weeks.  And it is working.  I had recently reached out to several friends that I felt I needed to do some bridge repair work.  Several that had been on my heart and needing to be a mend.  I reached out with the intention of opening my heart to theirs with no intention as to how they would receive me.  Except that I wanted to extend a hand, remove the tattered part of the wood that had splintered, and replace it with a solid board that was smooth and lacquered with love.  It was difficult for me to reach out as if the boards that were there had rusted by the nails when I had to remove the nails within my heart that kept me from connecting.  Once I did, and worked with my own inner construction and remodeling that I much needed to do I was able to begin with a phone call to many of these ‘friends’.  Welcomingly, I was received with open arms and all of these friends accepted me back much to my own dismay.  I was careful, with each board that I was replacing, to make sure that I was measuring and fitting the wood individually to that particular bridges’ needs.  Each one was unique and each one had a different feel.  And each one was reconstructed in a different and more loving way.  These friends were happy to reconstruct and rebuild in ways of a new understanding of the expectations within each other.  We had all learned about our different shapes and sizes and where we needed a little more moulding and sanding in certain areas and a loving nail or more lacquer in others.  But now we were especially more accepting that this was a part of life, the ups and downs, the new and the old, and the inner renovations that we all go through.  I am happy to say that these new connections that come from a new understanding aren’t perfect and they are perfectly flawed.  We accept our own imperfections which makes each of us perfect in our own ways.  It is lovely.

On to Sunday… In this same spirit of building bridges I took a chance.  I reached out to a crowd over email asking who was going to be making a trip downtown to do a scheduled 20 mile run and if anyone would like to car pool the trip together.  Not long after a response came in from a friend that I had no idea was even dedicated to running the marathon.  He offered to car pool and extended to join his group of buddies that were running as well.  This was wonderful for me.  I had now reached out and received a wonderful response plus several others that I would get to meet.  My previously anxious plans of running 20 miles by myself in downtown Chicago having to plan logistics on  my own just turned into ease and peace.  They had done this run before, knew where to park, and already had a plan in place.  I could just join in.  Few!

The only thing left was the weather.  In hopes to make our run even easier a nice cool day would be helpful and welcomed.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.  It did turn out to be one of the hottest Sundays of the year in September!  90 degrees running 20 miles along Chicago’s lakefront.  It sounds gorgeous, and it was but after about 3 1/2 hours of the sun and humidity we were all toast.  But I have to say I would not had made this run as well as I did in the conditions that we had if it were not for my new friends.  The conversations made the run seem shorter, the miles past by significantly faster, and the people were all there to enjoy each other and the causes for which they were running.  It was delightful in that respect and strenuous in others but overall the connections far outweighed the perceived struggles.  Like good guys do after most long runs they each cracked open a beer hung out and celebrated there running victory.  I had a La Croix (peach pear) I think it was.  I don’t do gluten.  I was then with them as they had to stop for milk shakes and burgers at none the less but a “Meat Heads” restaurant.   I am vegetarian…so I had some french fries that felt pretty damn good after a long run like that.  There loving harassment of each other over fries, shakes, and burgers was rather hilarious and I think my face still hurts from the smiling and laughter.  The joke was also on me after a while as they became more comfortable with my presence and as I with them.  Really, and truly this new connection based out of just pure enjoyment of nothing but friendship was a great experience this past Sunday.  I didn’t even really care about the run it was the before and after the run that was the game changer for me.  Don’t get me wrong, the conversations during the run were definitely important and necessary for my continued shifting in life and for the stripping away of old beliefs and patterns that have held me back for a long time but it was how these 3 guys bonded and just accepted each other in the ways that humans can just do that really shifted my reality.  It was awesome.  We all had families, we all had obligations, and we all had funny stories.

Thanks guys for sharing your souls that day, the pleasure was all mine.

They definitely helped me see how a friend can truly be a single soul dwelling in two bodies… in this case 3.

Peace out,  Jennifer

Donate to the Chicago Marathon Fundraising for GLASA here:

https://glasa.z2systems.com/np/clients/glasa/campaign.jsp?campaign=62&fundraiser=1608

“Every hour of the light and dark is a miracle.” -Walt Whitman

It’s true.  Every hour that we spend in the light is a miracle and as such every hour we spend in the dark is just as miraculous.  How do we spread this into every situation in our lives?  Right now, so many of us are going through so many difficulties, so many dark times.  It is all there.  We can see it everywhere.  All we have to do is go to social media and one can see the environmental disasters as well as political corruption.  Of course, this is viewed as the dark.  Then we are blessed with something miraculous in our lives, and this is seen as the light.  A new born child, a new home, a miraculous gift or precious gesture that comes our way.  And here we are.  We are in the light.

It is far easier to accept the light in all of us than the darkness.  Why?  There seems to be an idea out there in our world that someone may have a better idea than someone else. Maybe? Maybe not.  There also seems to be an idea out there that if I do not get someone to think the way I do or see the way I see than this something is not ‘right’ so it must be fixed in a way that makes us right.  This makes us feel better.

…Hmmm… I am not so sure about this.  Does this really make us feel better?  What are we truly doing when we have to fix or change someone else and what is going on within ourselves when we can not truly love them unconditionally for who they are?  And what does this sense like?  Sense like?  What does that mean?

To connect unconditionally.  How does someone carry upon their life without the need to change anyone or anything and just love?  What is love and do we truly have the capacity to sense what this is?  Have we truly come across this?  Do we know what this is?  What is it to love?  How to love?  To be love?

I don’t know.  I do not have the answers.  I really do not even believe there are words to describe what it is that I am getting at.  I believe that there is a belief that we ‘know’ what love is but do we really?  Do we really know what it feels like?  What is the sensation?  I don’t believe we do.  I do not believe we have actually begun to understand to the depths of our being what that really and truly is.

Why do I speak of all of this?  Because, in order to love and be love we must be vulnerable.  We must be willing to be covered up by the clouds and know that we will always shine again.  That we are truly as bright and everlasting as the sun and the moon and that our light is just as important as our darkness.  We shall embrace our own darkness and have the wisdom to know it in the depths of our dimness.  Through knowing this dimness and recognizing its lack of luster we are then able to allow the sun within ourselves to shine again.  Notice when there is a cloudy or rainy day we do not do anything to make the sun shine again.  Notice how eventually it does it on his own.  That there is an intuitive structure within the nature of the mother that comes and goes with darkness and light and it is within this miraculous nature that we get to see the light and the darkness evolve on its own.  It does not judge itself it just is.

Can we not all be this way as well?  Can we not accept our darkness, not blame it on anyone?  Can we not accept our defeats and our depths of our own sorrows without blaming, including ourselves?  Can we not just be?  We can.  Maybe, just maybe if we looked at the nature of the mother and allowed her to teach us the vibrant lessons that she is showing us everyday then we may let go of our own eternal damnation and truly allow ourselves to shine in whatever capacity we can in the moment.  And then just maybe we will give everyone permission to shine in their own ways and understand there really was never the contrast of dark and light just different hues and interpretations that never really mattered at all.  They were just there to remind us of the beauty that resides within us all and the idea that one must accept the internal natural and glorious beauty of the self in order to accept that in others.  The sun accepts itself and the moon accepts herself and they just do their jobs the way they are supposed to because they just are.   They don’t judge each other or try to change the way one does their job.  Could you imagine the sun trying to convince the moon to dim it’s light so that she can shine brighter and earlier in the morning or later in the evening?  They just allow and let it all be. And they work intuitively and synchronistically together shining their light and dark.

The darkness is the dark and the ligthtness is the light we can eternally love it all.  So now, as we enter ages and stages of our lives where we are faced with the dark and the light maybe we can look to the nature of the mother to guide and direct our sensations of life and maybe we will begin to truly sense what Walt Whitman meant when he said, “Every hour of the light and the dark is a miracle”.

 

Building Bridges

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

-George Bernard Shaw

A friend of mine came for a visit one weekend. A weekend, I shall not forget. There was a time when we could share stories, hang out together, and just enjoy company. Over the years, things began to shift for this friend. She changed and so did I. We thought nothing of it at first and it all seemed like something that just happened. It was life. Families, jobs, relationships, moves…all kinds of things happened that remained in the way, so to speak, of our relationship blossoming in a way that one would hope when you have had such a friend over the years. She took the time to point out things that I did ‘wrong’ and I always let her know that it was not her place to do so. It was a give and take type of relationship. One that was meant for learning and growing. A relationship that was meant to help each other in ways not perceived by the physical senses.

This friend, who may not sound so friendly…ended our friendship one day. Burned the bridge…is what she said in a conversation that we had just recently. This was shocking to me. Shocking in a way that helped to ‘wake me up’! Wow, as I thought to myself. If she could burn a bridge ‘just like that’ how many bridges had I burned and what was the universe trying to say to me? If she felt like it was worth it to just throw in the towel then what and where and when did I do the same? You see, I approached this ‘friend’, the weekend she came to visit, attempting to explain to her why I would not accept the judgment that came from her over the years. Why, it was important that she stop telling me what to do or say and how I should live my life. It was as if she needed to control me so that she could feel better. I called her out on several things, not to burn bridges, but to clear the air so that we could build new bridges. Unfortunately, the message was not received very well. She did not want to hear me nor did she want to continue the conversation. So it ended, just like that. The friendship, that wasn’t so friendly at all, ended. Some of you may be thinking…well, she never sounded like a true friend so ‘screw her’ you don’t need that in your life anyway. True, in fact, I don’t. No one does. And yes, she wasn’t very friendly. On the other hand, there were lessons to be learned and karma to be worked out. This friend and I have had lifetimes of this type of discourse and it was in our current relationship that ‘life’ needed to be discussed and worked through so that we could grow and learn together. But she does not want that…not now…and who knows when and if she will ever come to terms with our differences and accept me for who I am…different. Again, I must accept that this is her way and love it for her anyway. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t? I can not burn bridges and never look back. I must build bridges. I do not need to force my beliefs on anyone but I do need to take from this experience what I can and give back the power of true friendship. One that is always there, no matter what. One that can love beyond measure and understand when vision is not present in those around us we can always truly see through the clouds that there is a sun still burning bright. They do not know what they do. They do not understand. We do not forsake them or burn bridges. We wait and know that someday they will truly see with true eyes. We can not do unto them what they have done to us. We can only do unto them what we would want done to us.

I want to build bridges and temples, and places of complete acceptance of all races, religions, values, and belief systems. I want to look into your eyes and tell you how amazing you are just the way you are. Why? Because no one did this for me growing up. I was never told how beautiful and valuable I am and how truly honored my parents were for having me as their child. Is that wrong? No. It just inspires me to pass this kind of living onto not only my family but everyone in my community. It inspires me to be the opposite of what was taught to me in all ways, always. How could I be anything less than the light when I was always meant to shine? I believe this.

For now, I thank this friend for pointing this out to me in the dearest way that she could, by not accepting me. Through her non-acceptance I feel even more accepted by life that I can extend this to so many others out there that may feel the same. You see, it is only through her non-acceptance that I could see the mirror that was being held up to me of my own non-acceptance of myself. No, it doesn’t matter if she loves and accepts me and truly loves me through real love…non-judgment. It matters that I can do this for myself and spread it across the world to others. But, before this experience I never really understood what that felt like. What true and unconditional love really and truly felt like! Wow! It is amazing…we can compare it to the sun always shining even in the midst of cloudy and rainy days there is still a burning sun out there behind it all. We can compare it to the love and compassion that all the sages speak of that shifts one’s feelings inside just by being in their mere presence and sensing thier amazing empathy for others. And that is truly it folks, I can now have compassion and empathy for her for the sadness she must be feeling that has burned bridges all her life. So, now I get to take her lesson that she gave me and build bridges over and over again in mine. Thank you dear friend, for being my teacher, you are a great one. A holy one… that you are.

Peace and love to you my friend.

Amen.

 

“It always seems impossible until it is done.”

August 19th – Out for another run.  12 miles today.  This is a huge break from last week when I had to do at least 16 miles and ended up completing 17.  My knees, hand and elbow are healing up nicely.  They sting every once in awhile but overall I can run and do the things that I need to do daily in order to carry on in life.  The decreased mileage is a gift this week and allowing me to give my body a break before the mileage significantly increases again next week.  I have been feeling much this week.  Feeling alot of issues coming to the forefront in my life needing to be addressed and moved out of my physical existence.  I chose to take a run into the woods this morning and loop a 2 miles field 4 times in order to get my mileage done.  I love this area.  It combines fields of wild flowers and tree lined dirt roads.  One can feel the vibration of the communion of nature coming up from the trails.  It always puts me back into perspective into the communion of life.  I spent 2 hours running today and releasing what I needed in order to get on with my life, so to speak.  This day I chose a tree to commune with at every 2 mile lap that I took.  I embraced her again and she gave me back the serenity of lifting off the pain that I was carrying.  I feel things deeply which often can get me down and depressed.  I was feeling the difficulties that my son was going through this week.  I was feeling the hardship and stress of his return back to school and the insecurities he faced as a first year freshman who ‘looked’ like he belonged in 6th grade.  My son, has struggled for years now with being small as his friends have grown and moved on.  He, like me, has trouble connecting socially with people and instead ‘feels’ what is going on.  This can be a daunting way to live at times.  Knowing what people are thinking before having conversations with them.  Feeling what is going on with them even as you  are speaking with them and feeling the misalignment of their words and actions.  Living this way, can be confusing.  You know what someone is thinking and yet they are expressing themselves ever so differently.  But, we carry on.  We know.  And we just accept that this is how it is.  There is not much to do unless you meet these people and they are ready to shift the awareness from within to living an authentic life.  And thus, many times one ends up doing many things alone because it is too hard to pretend.  Authenticity brings the spirit of connection to nature, to guides, to the unseen worlds.  It also keeps us connected to all that is and many times separate from human connections.  We see the spirit within the human.  The soul in the eyes and when they are ready to awaken is when we can connect.  That is why we are here.  He does not fully understand this yet.  But he feels it.  And when entering such a large school with so many that may be unawakened and are kept this way through social norms it can often feel debilitating and lonely.  On this run, I felt all of this.  I felt his insecurities, his pain, his misconnections, and his feelings of loneliness at times from those that just don’t understand him yet.  I asked, I commanded, and I thanked the ALL THAT IS for releasing this from us, from our lineage, and from our past.  Each lap that I took was a part of this prayer.  Each lap I took and hugged the perfect wisdom of the forest trees before me, I hugged and wept tears of pain of all the people that have ever felt this way.  All the pain of lives that have lived in pain and suffering over this.  The weight that they carried for all those who feel the pain of the world and are just waiting for the rest of the world to wake up.  Each time I hugged the tree, each mile I ran, I felt the weights that I carried for my family, my son, and my lineage begin to lift and enlighten.  I was being transformed and my family and lineage were being lifted with every thought and prayer I sent out to the universe to take care of what has been done in the past and all the self blame, self sabotage, and shame that had been pressed upon our souls.  Image after image, lifetimes, after lifetimes, and connection after connection was shown to me over and over again.  With every mile and every moment that I spent with the tree that took on my pain I knew that we were being cleansed, cleared, and transformed.  My role, my responsibility was to be the force of change that transports this pain back to nature so that she can do her work to reclaim and heal this earth.  The energy was to go through me.  Never was I supposed to carry it but just to be a transporter, so to speak, that helps to shift the weight of this world by naming and claiming our faults and selfish ego desires that many of us do not even realize we carry or are doing over and over again.  By the time I reached my 9th mile and my final lap and thus final hug of the mother tree I saw an amazing seen before me that confirmed what I was doing.  I had hugged this tree and prayed with her at least 3 times during my run and on my final hug, as I was feeling better, and like I had cleared what I was meant to transform for the world I gazed upon the bark and saw locust skin after locust skin stuck to the barks.  The locusts shed the skin as they grow and become more of themselves.  They were everywhere.  I had not seen them before.  Nor had I managed to touch them in my previous embraces, nor had I managed to feel them in any way as I hugged time and time again.  But now, I finally saw.  I finally saw the connection.  Like the locusts, I shed the fears of my lineage, my family, and our ancestors.  I did my part in enlightening.  It was done.  I was filled with gratitude for the sign for the reminder and for the confirmation.  It was complete.  I left this site with great reverence for what had been done.  My meditational run of release and renewal was complete.  I ran back home knowing that things would be lightened up and a return we would all feel to our essence as spirits in human coverings.

When I walked in my home, my son was different that morning.  He felt lighter than the day before and his demeanor was positive and free.  I gazed upon the quote book that sits in our hallway and read the quote for the day…

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” -Nelson Mandala

It made perfect sense to me now.  A difficult run for me to begin this morning, as it was. It was only 12 miles but felt like 12 pressing miles that I carried so much of so many others that needed to be freed.  At the end of it all, after the releasing of much it no longer felt daunting.  Like the week before… we must go through our fires and release our obstacles that keep us from feeling our true essence.  We are all connected and just as eternal as the eternal itself.  We must find our own ways back to The Source and know that we are One and The Same.  We all have our journeys and this is mine.

Thank you for sharing and listening and being a light in your own way that burns away the darkness.

Amen

Thought Connection:  We are all connected and as we lift each other up in this world we are all healed in our own ways that are separate & connected at the same time.  As we connect we are lifted.  This is the HEART of GLASA.

PLEASE DONATE TO GLASA HERE