Unconditional Love

 

I pay attention to the lyrics in the music I listen to. “What if all the love you gave was starin’ at you from the grave, would it make your heart explode?” To me, these lyrics speak of the amount of love we’re giving out into the world. Are you giving out so much love in your life that having it come back to you would make your heart so full that it would figuratively explode?! So many people I follow and books I have read speak to the same truth: only unconditional love is real, all else is an illusion. Loving ourselves and others as much as we can is the KEY to a better life and a better world! 

I find myself so in love with myself and with life these days that I attract the absolute BEST people whom I love instantly! I’ve slowly let go of the notion that love needs to only be reserved for my family and romantic relationships. In the last year as I have followed my joy and intuition into alignment with my own spirit, I have found my heart open so much to the love that we all are. It’s a really beautiful feeling to have love in my heart for everyone, even people I’ve just met! I strive more to show my love for people in my life than to speak it, but speaking it has also been so freeing. Why do we keep our love under lock and key? I think it’s a result of a combination of our past hurts, traumas, and  programming among other things. We’re more used to feeling hate and fear than we are to feeling love and togetherness. We’re more used to imagining worst case scenarios than best case scenarios. The more I love myself, the more incredible the people I attract are, the more love I feel, because PEOPLE ARE SO BEAUTIFUL! We are all energetic, spiritual beings first and foremost, so when I feel good energy emanating from someone, I feel it and our spirits are magnetized to one another. And even in times when I feel it and don’t say it, I often think to myself, “I love you!” which sends a powerful love vibration out to the person and into the world. 

I have been so lucky to look into the face of someone I love with tears in our eyes as we consciously chose to have our relationship transform into a friendship. It was for the best, and we both knew it. I have loved only this one person unconditionally in a romantic context. I thought that I had loved unconditionally before him, but I hadn’t, because in those past relationships, I was unconsciously seeking to receive love in return for the love I was giving. It has to do with the conscious awareness I have cultivated in my life over the last several years. I have never been so conscious in relationship before. Real unconditional love exists when we aren’t needing or wanting, consciously or not, anything in return for the love that we give someone. It comes when we release expectations of how we want someone to be or how we want them to show up in our lives, and fully allow them to be who they are. We love them for who they are, not for who we want them to be. 

Much of my conscious awareness with relationships came from this relationship. It didn’t always feel good. In fact, at times my wounds were triggered and it was set up so that I was pushed to go within to find the answers to why I was feeling this way vs blaming my feelings on the other person. Because of the way it was set up, we did not see each other often, which meant that I had the distance I needed to really connect with myself and see my codependent tendencies and therefore heal and release them vs act from them. I even told him that I was catching things before I felt the need to bring an issue up to him. It’s what our spirits set out to do, to make us aware of our issues, to give us space to see and heal them, and to hold loving space for each other as we healed, grew, and expanded. Friends, there is nothing like dropping expectations and seeing the bigger picture of a connection with a person. 

And it’s not about dropping expectations for how we want to be treated, or allowing ourselves to settle for less than what we want in a relationship. It’s about going with the flow, knowing that people don’t show up in our lives by chance, and embracing the lessons and moments with a person in the NOW. We have the choice of who we spend time with, so at any moment if a connection isn’t bringing us joy, we have the ability to walk away. I would always ask myself if the connection was bringing me joy. While the answer was yes, I made space for the connection in my life, When we felt like we needed to move on, we did, with no ill will or feelings towards each other. I never felt anger. I never felt the need to cling, because I was also learning during this time that there is no lack in this life. Therefore, I didn’t feel the need to cling to him. I knew that when I was guided to move on that I could trust it and I got curious about what/who would come in to fill that energetic space in my life. When we really love someone, we want the best for them and us. We respectfully express gratitude for them and their time as we walk away. We acknowledge the beauty of the connection, because an end is never really an end to the love we feel. There are no real lines, so there is no switch to change our feelings just because the nature of the relationship has changed. If we really love someone, we let them go with grace and love. 

In the last year especially, I have seen how divine the timing of everything is, including the timing of when people come into and go out of my life. There are no coincidences. I have always had the idea that this person and I had a deeper connection with each other. I felt like we knew each other from past lives. We recently got closure that I didn’t even know I needed. Our connection came full circle as we completed the pact our spirits had with each other to meet up and help remind each other of who we were before the world told us who we should be. Much of our relationship was about experiencing child-like joy together. We met just before I realized that my health was back and that I was physically capable of all that I had been before my dis-ease. I found myself, in part, in our moments spent together. Sometimes, even when we think that we’ve let go of a person completely, we can spend time together and get beautiful closure beyond a time of physical separateness. We had an amazing time express our feelings and gratitude, to share what we had learned in our relationship and during our time apart, and to experience more joy together!

Stay open. When you follow your intuition and joy, you’ll find that you get guided to what you need rather than what you think you want. Our spirits know what we need. Our spirits know when we need more experiences with a person in order to close out the old agreement we had with them in order to make way for the new friendship that we’re welcoming into the new, now moment. Giving love is always the answer. When we’re giving from our overflowing cup, giving love to someone doesn’t deplete us. When we love unconditionally, we see how beautiful people are even in their own perceived ‘flaws’. Loving this person unconditionally opened me to love myself unconditionally. I saw him in all of his authenticity and vulnerability and I saw myself reflected back to me. Loving his light AND dark led me to love my own light and dark in a deeper way. Isn’t it beautiful how relationships are to grow us and not make us happy? Our sweet closure left me in awe of our shared experience and excited for what is to come for both of us as we’ve both transformed our lives in the time since we first met. We shift our connection and allow ourselves to go as a river into the wild, expansive unknown of the next, now moment. 

If all the love I gave was starin’ at me from the grave it would most definitely make my heart explode! The love I experience every day for myself, life, nature, and the connections I continue to make with other people already makes my heart explode on the daily! Life is an adventure. Play more! Love more! Follow your joy every day! It’s in your power to create and give more love in this life! Start with loving yourself and then allow that love to overflow out into the people and world around you! The world needs more love! 

Thank you so much for reading! If you like this post, please like and share it! Sending you so much love today and every day! Follow me on IG for more inspiration to live your best life! 

Watch the video for “Let It Go” HERE. (Yes I know I have posted this song on this blog before. It has so many good messages for all of us!)

 

My Memory of Health

My memory of health returned to me in the summer of 2015. It was a slow build that began when I listened to my heart and ended my marriage. It wasn’t about my marriage though, it’s just that at that time, it marked a huge turning point for me, because instead of ignoring my intuition, I began following it about everything in my life.

My work with an amazing Homeopath that began in January of 2015, put me on a collision course with my well-being, body, mind, and spirit. I had initially not believed that my Homeopath could in fact get me off of many of my medications as she claimed she could, several of which were antibiotics that I had been taking for Lyme Disease and co-infections since July 2012. I believed (and my doctors had told me) with everything in me that I needed the antibiotics to rid me of the Lyme bacteria that had invaded my heart and brain. After all, every time I had stopped taking the antibiotics, I would have recurrences of chest pain reminiscent of my initial bout of pericarditis in the Fall of 2009. By the end of July 2015, after over 3 years on oral antibiotics, the yeast was gaining strong footing in my body, and I had to temporarily stop the antibiotics so I could start a stronger anti-fungal medication that was incompatible with the other medications. I knew that I didn’t have a choice, but I was very nervous about stopping the antibiotics. I had become so conditioned to need medication to prevent chest pain.

I had begun meditating in July of 2015 as a coping mechanism during a difficult time in my life. I used it to deal with overwhelming sadness and anxiety. Every time my mind began to spiral into stressful thoughts, I’d set a timer on my phone for varying lengths of time depending on what I had going on, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, and meditate. I’d clear my mind and focus on my breathing. What I noticed after doing this for a week or two was that I began to see the bigger picture of my life situation. I began to be very aware that my soul was working on bigger things than I could be aware of at that time. I gained an amazing sense of peace that all was right in the world and in my life, and that even as the stressful situation continued, it did not shake me out of that bigger sense of knowing. I was blanketed in a peace unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I sometimes forget about that week of peace. Essentially, it gave me the knowing that that level of peace was all I needed to be seeking in life. I became committed to not stopping until I attained it again. I began to live with a conviction to not put up with situations or people in my life that disrupted my inner peace.

As I was off the antibiotics for days, then a week, then 2 weeks, I kept thinking that I would restart them, but I kept NOT starting them. At that point, I was over taking handfuls of pills every day, multiple times a day. There were pills I had to take when I woke up, before breakfast. There were pills, I needed to take with breakfast. There were probiotics I had to take 2 hours after the pills with breakfast. There were pills I then had to take again at lunch, and yet again with dinner. There were pills I had to take before bed. From the beginning, I was taking medications to ward off the side effects of other medications. My medication regimen felt like a full-time job in and of itself. The yeast issues were the last straw. I was done. My body confirmed this and began making me gag every time I took a pill.

More importantly, my symptoms weren’t returning!! I didn’t have any chest pain! I was shocked, and happily surprised! So I then began to pose some questions to myself. What exactly made me “sick”? Was I sick because I had been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and a host of other tick-born infections, or was it based on how I felt? In that moment, I decided that from then on, it was going to be based on how I felt, and I felt great!

I continued my daily homeopathy remedy, but I stopped every other medication and supplement I had been taking. I realize that it was extreme to stop the supplements and my antidepressant, but after starting the pill routine almost 6 years earlier in the winter of 2009 following my emergent heart surgery (pericardial window), I began to gag at the mere thought of taking pills. My body was rejecting that lifestyle, and I finally started to listen to my body.

I started thinking of myself as healthy, and cured. It was a way of thinking that went against what my doctor and specialist were telling me, because they say that Lyme Disease can never be cured. But here I was feeling fine, after years of a dis-ease that had been severely constricting my ability to live my life with freedom to do the things I so loved to do like hike, working full-time 12+ hours as a Registered Nurse, and taking care of my son on my days off. It felt like a miracle. I had never thought that I’d ever be free from my symptoms, let alone my medications. As I changed my thoughts about my dis-ease, the shift in my health was AMAZING!!

By the summer of 2016, I was testing my body and getting back into hiking! I remember my first long, solo hike to Corbett Lake like it was yesterday. It was a 6.3 mile hike that began at 7,400 feet elevation and went mostly uphill to 9,070 feet. I’ve read online that the hike involves a total of 19 switchbacks up on the way in, and down on the way out. I was feeling great and had done smaller hikes leading up to this one, but when I hit that trail, I didn’t really know for sure that I’d be able to do it. It was such a gorgeous hike! Hiking solo meant that I could stop to catch my breath on the switchbacks without feeling bad about it. I stopped to eat when I felt hungry. I hiked my own way, in my own time and it felt so empowering! At one point, I got to a vista that overlooked the a lake below and the surrounding mountains. I stood there beaming, laughing, and then crying with joy at what my body was able to do, and at the beauty of nature all around me. I was back! My health was back! I was completely overwhelmed by the bliss of it all. I stood there with such gratitude for the experience, the strength of my body, and of my resilience. I wondered if others ever cry when they are out hiking and are met with such a beautiful view.

I continued my way up to the lake. I was amazed to have such a amazing spot all to myself. I think I hung out there for 3 or 4 hours that day. I had a dance party on a downed tree and later again on a giant boulder. I swam and snorkeled across the lake. I read a book. I meditated. I took a lakeside nap. I laid in the sun and in the shade. I listened to the wind blow across the water as it caused the clear, alpine lake water to lap at the shore. I marveled at the beauty that was that moment, in its entirety: the lake, my body, my returned/renewed/realized state of wellness.

The last paragraph of Deepak Chopra’s book, “Quantum Healing” could be written about me. “I have no fear for her now, even if she had to begin her battle again. Eleanor is beyond battles — she radiates the peacefulness that she writes about, and spending time with her makes me feel happy and secure, all the more because I understand how rare her peace is. From the despair of disease, she has discovered joy. At the moment when the memory of health returned, it brought her enough peace to last a lifetime.”

From the despair of dis-ease, I discovered my joy, and as my memory of health returned it gave me a power that has been with me ever since and will last my entire lifetime. Before I knew anything about Quantum healing and Ayurveda, I was utilizing some of the techniques without realizing it. I continue to use the power of my mind to change my life, and to help the clients I work with to use the same techniques to heal themselves and change their own lives. It is my passion, my joy, and my soul’s purpose to use my past experiences to empower and inspire others on their own journeys. The time has come for us all to realize the power of our own minds, and the potential that we all hold to live our best, most healthy lives!

If you are currently in a place where you find yourself challenged by dis-ease, then I highly encourage you to sign up for my email newsletter and gain access to a video I made that outlines 5 simple, yet POWERFUL techniques I’ve used on my own healing journey HERE.

Please follow me on FB and IG for more inspirational content and impromptu FB Live videos in which I share the perspective that I’ve gained on my own journey. I also have a Peaceful Jellyfish YouTube channel that can be found HERE.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! As always, if my words resonate with you and you feel so inclined, reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com. I would love to connect with you! Sending you so much love!

Here’s a link to one of my favorite songs to dance to these days, Matisyahu “Thunder” HERE. Enjoy!

Art for Sale!

Five of my drawings are now available as high-quality prints on 5 x 7 folded blank greeting cards with envelopes. The locally owned, family operated business I had print them did a great job. These cards really capture the details of my artwork! I always infuse my original artwork with healing Reiki energy that people have said they could feel. I also infuse these cards with healing Reiki.

They’re printed with the picture on the front and my website: http://www.peacefuljellyfish.com on the back. You can message me or email me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com if you’re interested in purchasing them. They’re $5 each.

Original 8 x 10 canvases and canvas panels (excluding the desert tortoise I drew for my son) are also available for purchase.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! Follow me on FB (peacefuljellyfish) and Instagram (peaceful.jellyfish) for more content and Live Videos. Much love!

Go Within

“In onself lies the whole world and if you don’t know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand, nobody on Earth can give you either the key or the door to open except yourself.” – Juddu Krishnamurti

After being pulled to go to the coast and lie on my back in the sand, listening to the music of the ocean for a few months now, I finally got to go this weekend. It was spectacular and just what I needed. Water is my greatest healer. I crave being around flowing water all the time. My dream place in somewhere in between a cottage next to a wild, roaring river, or next to the breaking waves of the expansive ocean. In all actuality, I have realized that we actually have the ability to cultivate the feelings that being in our favorite places creates within us whenever we want. Home and life are entirely what we make them.

I’ve seen a beautiful pattern unfold in my life this year. As I began to connect more deeply with myself, I began to see my tribe start to form around me. In a place where I used to feel out of place, I now feel at home. In a place where I felt like I’d never find my people, I find more of my tribe every day. While many people have moved back to this area as of late, overall, it is not the people or place that have changed. I am the one who has changed. Instead of believing that I would never find people to connect with deeply here, I began to put myself out there more, out of my comfort zone, and into public places more often. Instead of looking around and seeing only the heat waves and poor air quality, I began to seek rivers and lakes to cool me. I began to be grateful that I am a day trip’s drive away from the ocean AND the mountains! How many people have never gotten to see a fraction of the scenery that is readily available to me at any time? I basically started to see and be grateful for what was here vs what I had decided wasn’t here. Life got really beautiful when I shifted my way of viewing this place. It is our perception that shapes our view of the world, so when we adjust how we choose to see things, we change what we see.

The peace and happiness we say we seek is within our grasp, because these are things that are cultivated from within, never from without. It comes when we find deeper ways to connect with ourselves and those around us. Authenticity and vulnerability are keys to unlocking these deeper kinds of connections. Throw out the small talk, delete the filters, and shed the insecurities (or at least don’t allow them to hold you back). We are all human and we are all working to overcome the things we have been through. We are looking for ways to lessen the pain and increase the joy in our lives. Sometimes we are viscerally aware of what we’re seeking, and sometimes we get so caught up on what is being sold to us that we lose sight of the things that matter most. In order to get to the peace and happiness, we have to get real with ourselves. We have to be true to ourselves at all times. If there is something we’re feeling called to do, we need to do it. For me, that meant taking a life-long dream trip to Australia this year (I still need to put that experience into words). Some days it means saying no to spending time with someone when I’m just not feeling it. Sometimes it means going to the river and lying on a boulder while I meditate, journal, and/or read a book. Sometimes it means following my joy and going on dates with someone who loves to dance as much as I do and dancing our faces off. Sometimes it means going to the coast, lying on my back in the sand while I listen to the waves crash, and wading in the cold Pacific Ocean while I lovingly take in my surroundings and express my gratitude out loud for everything I have to be grateful for. Sometimes it means crying and allowing myself to feel whatever emotions are showing up for me, which is still a constant practice for me since I had nearly a lifetime of stuffing my feelings down as far as they would go. Sometimes it means staying home and hanging out with my cat, or taking a nap. Sometimes it means speaking my truth even if the people around me don’t really know what I am talking about, because it makes me feel more real and heck, anymore, I find more people to add to my tribe this way. After all, how can we find our tribe if we hold back and don’t speak our minds (our real, true minds)? I have seen deep connections come from speaking my truth, and I have also seen someone get curious about what I have to say, even if I’m saying things that are completely new to them. Gone are the days of me trying to conform to fit in. Gone are the days of trying to please other people or make them more comfortable at my expense. If there is anything I have learned from the challenges that I have faced so far in this life, it’s that it’s time for this life, this story, this movie, to star me as the main character! Life is short. It’s time to become the main character in your own story. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? How much longer are you going to let others dictate your life? Begin to see your life as a work of art. What kind of art do you want to create in 2019?

We get bored in life when we hide behind our masks of conformity, keep our truths hidden, our dreams abandoned, and our joy unfollowed, or worse, uncovered. It’s time to cut through the bs (belief systems) that we’ve been fed. It doesn’t have to mean that you change absolutely everything you’re doing, but it does mean releasing what you’ve always done if what you want to experience is something different from what you’ve always known. If you’re wanting more happiness or if you’re tired of living the status quo, make a list of things that bring you joy, and start doing them! Seriously, contrary to popular belief, creating more happiness and peace in our lives can be EASY. A lot of the time, it involves changing things up and getting out of our comfort zones. As I have stated many times before, the juicy parts of life live outside of our comfort zones. What is one thing you can do today that will empower you in your new role as the starring character in your own story? No step taken towards living a life true to yourself is too small. Everything you think matters. Everything you do matters.

Thank you for reading along! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Happy Holidays to all of my readers! Much love to you.

My Inner Child

Friends, this is a picture of me when I was about 4 years old.  I have had it hanging up in my room for the last several years as a reminder of who I am at the core.  I can feel the joy emanating from this picture, my smile.  I’m wearing my swimsuit.  I have always loved water.  I have always loved to swim.  To this day, being in and near water brings me the most joy!  Funny thing too is that turquoise and purple continue to be two of my favorite colors.  In fact, my current room is predominantly decorated in purple and turquoise/teal.  If I was searching for a one-piece swimsuit now, I could totally see myself getting this one.  It reminds me of a mermaid.  Who doesn’t love mermaids?!

Have you thought about yourself as a child lately?  Who were you before the world told you who you ‘should’ be?  What did you love before you were told what you ‘should’ love?  It’s interesting to me that we know so much about ourselves to the core when we are children, but then we grow up and get brainwashed into thinking that how we are isn’t good enough.

When I was a child, I loved being outside.  I loved camping and riding my bike.  I loved to listen to music, dance, and sing.  I loved having big gatherings with my extended family in the summer and during holidays.  I have always really LOVED spending time with my friends.  All of these things continue to bring me so much joy.  I practically lived at my best friend Jimmy’s house when we were kids.  The story goes that I met him while trick or treating.  I knocked on his door, and when I saw him inside, I marched right in and we sat there looking through our candy together.  When we were kids, we knew what felt good to us and we followed it.  We allowed ourselves to be impulsive with starting new friendships simply because we felt drawn to be around the person.  We didn’t over think things by questioning how people would respond to us.  We didn’t fear rejection.  We just lived.

I feel like I have lived in different sections.  I have the section when I was a kid still living at home, feeling the tension of a family on the brink of divorce, wishing for my parents’ divorce.  I have the section after high school where I left for college and went far from home.  I was opinionated and strong and fearless.  I didn’t care what people thought of me.  I wore tie-dyed shirts on a campus in Florida where there were less than a handful of us who did, OK so maybe just my boyfriend and I.  I liked what I liked and I didn’t make concessions for other people.  I have the section where I traveled the country as a wildlife/fisheries field biologist which led me, in part, to living in 10 states so far.  I was free and adventurous.  I excitedly researched projects and places to travel to next.  I traveled with everything I owned, leaving half the back seat for my dog, Gus, in my turquoise Geo Prizm.  I was a nomad of sorts seeking the “best” place to eventually settle.  There’s the section after meeting my ex-husband where I gave my power away.  I look back now and just see that my upbringing had led me to be very strong and independent, and I think I was a bit tired of it.  I wanted someone else to take care of me and the things in my life for a change.  As you can imagine, giving my power away led to a slew of challenges, notwithstanding eventually losing my health and almost dying.  It was a wake up call.  It was time to take my power back and start taking real care of myself.  I was finally forced into giving myself the love that I had always sought from other people.  There’s the section throughout the divorce where I felt constantly tested and tried and I came into my own and began to build a new life for myself from the ground up.  I struggled further as I lost nearly every local friend I had known, and set out to actively make new friends that would provide a better support system for me.  Then there’s the section where I fully dusted myself off, began to dig deeper into the suffering I had experienced and I made the decision that I was done suffering.  I decided that I was no longer a powerless victim, but an unstoppable creator of my life!  That’s when the real changes began to happen.

I went back to my roots.  I went back and reconnected with the strong woman who had been so independent and adventurous and I worked to learn what had made her tick.  I went back to my childhood and the memories I held of what had brought me the most joy as I was growing up.  I found a lot of answers when I thought about my childhood.  I found out that my triggers surrounding fear of rejection and abandonment came from that time.  I found that at some point, I had internalized the fact that I was not enough just as I was.  I had come to believe on a subconscious level that I was not worthy of love.  Since then, I have had to basically go back and unlearn all of these beliefs.  I have had to brainwash myself using positive affirmations.  You see, in our culture, we are brainwashed from the time that we are very young.  A lot of it has to do with advertising.  We’re trained to think that there’s something wrong with us or missing from us or not good enough about us, and then the commercials come in to offer solutions to solve these problems and fill our voids by way of the new latest and greatest gadgets, plastic surgeries, shopping, junk foods, a house, new car, or the perfect relationship with another person with a sprinkle of diamonds on top.  We get bombarded with offers of shiny objects that promise to fill our void, make us worthy, and enough.  The problem is that we have been taught wrong.  There is never going to be an external solution for our internal problems.  Ever.  The sooner you stop looking for one, the better.  Trust me.

I thought of this analogy recently that explains how I have felt about unlearning and unbrainwashing (I don’t care if it’s not a word). It goes like this:  when we are born, we do not want to go pee in our diapers.  Babies do not want to wet themselves.  Notice that when you change a baby, as soon as you remove the diaper, they pee.  But what do we do?  Because diapers are more convenient for us, we force them on the babies.  We essentially have to train them to go pee in their diapers.  Then, when they’re older, we decide that diapers aren’t convenient anymore, and so we begin the process of training them to pee in the toilet.  And sometimes it’s a real fight, because this child was trained to go in their diaper for their whole life, and now we are changing what we want from them, and so there can be some push back.  We are trained that we are not OK as who we came into this world as being.  We learn how to act.  We learn what we’re supposed to like.  We learn how to be a ‘functioning member of society’.  We lose ourselves.  Then we hit 30 (though it’s a different age for everyone), and everything comes to a screeching halt.  Maybe we’re faced with some big-life changes that leave us unable to deny who we are at the core any longer.  We begin the process of unlearning everything we have learned so far that has left us feeling small, that has turned us into people-pleasers, and that has told us that we must seek some holy grail outside of ourselves to attain happiness.  We experience push back.  The things we have learned are so engrained in our subconscious by this point, that it takes a real effort to not just follow the status quo.  It takes a real effort to recognize the thoughts and beliefs about ourselves that are holding us back.

None of us are alone in this process, not really.  In the US, we are made to live such separate lives and it can make us feel lonely even when our house sits in a town of over 136,000 people.  That void you feel inside is a common one.  Yep, that’s right, you’re not special or alone in that pain you’re feeling.  You may not realize it because you have been too embarrassed to bring it up to your friends or family thinking that you might be ostracized if you mentioned that you feel an immense emptiness in this life that has been fed to you.  Maybe you’ve done what the commercials told you to do.  You’ve gotten the advanced degrees, you live in a house with a white-picket fence, you have the diamonds on your fingers, you have the nice car, and the well-paying job, and yet you don’t feel happy.  Why?  Because your happiness was never meant to come from a box, bag, person, or job.  Your happiness is an inside job entirely.

I grew up extra sensitive.  I am sensitive to the energy all around me.  I am sensitive to tension and negativity coming from other people.  I used to feel like my empathy was a curse, but I have come to find that it is actually a superpower that I can use to make my life and the lives of those around me better.  I am meant to feel everything.  I am meant to be a barometer for what’s not working in our society.  It’s an important job that I have had to learn how to do without losing myself in the process.

Glennon Doyle spoke of addiction the other night during her talk on a stage in my town.  I’m paraphrasing here.  She said that generally, addicts are the most sensitive people in our society.  That they act as sort of canaries in the mine, and that we should pay attention to the health of our canaries so that we can gauge the health of the ‘air’ we’re all breathing in.  What is causing the sensitive ones in our society to hurt so badly that they feel the need to numb themselves with things like drugs, alcohol, food, sex, and screen time?  What is it that we’re being exposed to that is causing us to hurt so much?  As one of the canaries, I’ll tell you a few things.  The pain we see in the world.  The hate.  The murders.  The lack of compassion. The fighting.  The wars.  The internal void.  The emptiness we feel in this pop-a-pill, instant gratification, consumerist culture.  The disconnect we feel from others. Ultimately, the disconnect we feel with ourselves.

People have lost themselves and they’re finding out slowly, but surely that the things that promised to make them feel better aren’t working.  They have all of the things, yet they have more depression than ever.  People continue to kill themselves at an alarmingly high rate.  The rich people who look shiny and happy kill themselves too.  What does this say about our culture?

As Glennon said the other night, we aren’t meant to skirt around, avoid, or numb our pain.  We are meant to feel our pain.  It is through experiencing our pain that we find our strength and our superpowers needed to do what we each came into this life to do.  We do ourselves a great disservice when we tell ourselves that life is supposed to be easy, and that if it’s not, then we’re doing something wrong.  Life is meant to challenge and grow us.  It’s up to us how we handle the challenges.  I would not be the person I am today had it not been for my illness and brush with death, and so I am endlessly grateful for those experiences.

It’s time to get back to our roots, people, like ASAP, as in yesterday.  I have worked with thousands of people in the hospital as a nurse.  I have gotten to know people intimately in my work and personal life, and I am screaming it from the rooftops…YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR STRUGGLES!!  Please, read that sentence as many times as you need to so that you really internalize that point.  Our story lines may vary, but everything else is the same:  the void that we feel, the insecurities, and the baggage we carry that tells us that we’re not worthy of love from ourselves or others, to name a few.  If you don’t believe me, start putting your screen away and start connecting with the people around you in deeper, more meaningful ways.  When you move past the surface topics, I think what you’ll find is another real human being who has experienced (or is currently experiencing) pain, heart-break, loss, abandonment, grief, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.  The truth is that we all individually walk around as if we’re the only ones who don’t feel like we’re enough, yet in this society, that feeling is one of the common threads that connect us all.

So, it’s time to disarm ourselves.  It’s time to remove our masks.  It’s time to connect with each other and get vulnerable, so that we can finally heal the wounds we have been merely putting band aids over up to this point.  Connect with your inner child.  Give that child the love you were lacking.  Give that child the acceptance you’ve been seeking.  Give that child the experiences of joy that you most crave.  It’s time to stop surviving and start thriving!  Isn’t enough enough already?!  The only way to fill that void is with the love that only we can give to ourselves.

If this resonates with you, I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment below or reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com.  It is one of my passions in life to help guide others through this process of unbecoming who they were told to be to become the person that they came here to be.

Thank you for reading along!  If you liked this post, please like and share it.  Sending you so much love!

Spread Your Wings and Fly!

 

On Friday, I finally listened to my soul’s urging, and went on a nice, long hike. There are two things that light me up most in this life: connecting with people and being out in nature, the further into the wilderness, the better! The other day, I got to do both and it made me so happy!  Life is all about perspective as I have stated many times before in my posts. The other day, I would have liked to leave much earlier for my hike so that I’d have more time to hike to the farthest lake and to stop and enjoy the other beautiful spots along the way. But, I ended up being up late the night before doing some work and deciding where I wanted to hike, so I when my alarm went off at 4:30 am, I snoozed it and shut it off and got a few more hours of sleep. It worked out perfectly, because this meant that businesses were open as I drove into the park and I stopped and got a delicious green smoothie and hung posters in three businesses for Glennon Doyle’s appearance here on October 27th. I also hung my business card in the coffee shop, so it was a win-win kind of “late”. Since taking my leap of faith in May, I am really able to see how even the most simple of things happen just as they are supposed to and it’s awesome! We’re never really “late”, because we are always right where we’re supposed to be. All the time.

 

So, I continued to make my way up into the mountains, but got stopped by some road work. Likely, I sat there for a half hour or more. Many of us shut off our cars and got out to take in the view. I ended up talking with a woman visiting from London for most of the time. We talked about so many things including travel, how the mountains here were reminding her of some mountains in Italy, how friendly people in Australia are, how fearful people in the US tend to be and the fact that I see that it’s by design to keep us living small, prevent us from traveling, and to keep an “us-them” mentality, we talked about hiking solo and why I am so comfortable with it, my wildlife/fisheries career, guns in the US, people in the US thinking they need to take guns hiking with them to be “safe”, the video game Fortnite and the ridiculousness of having instances of kids going to school and shooting other kids while we have one of the most popular games teaching them about every gun in existence and that their goal should be to be the last man standing, but with no blood. Desensitized much?! We touched on a few other things too, but you get it. We connected about real things. I cherish times when I get to connect with people in a real way on so many levels.

 

When I hike, I get so thrilled to be out on the trail that I experience an overwhelming sense of mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. Do you know what I’m talking about? When you’re out doing something that makes you feel so alive that you gain a new level of clarity and perspective on life? So, as I was hiking, I was also thinking about life. As I walked and thought about how free hiking makes me feel, I kept seeing little things on the trail that looked like wings to me. A blot painting class the night before had my mind focused on the messages that can reach us through a multitude of ways. I connected the freedom I was feeling with these wings. Then I started digging deeper. The wings weren’t wings of course, but instead were the little scales from pine cones. As I dug deeper, I started thinking about the journey a pine cone takes to complete the life cycle of the trees, and how it relates to the journey we’ve all been asked to take this year.

 

Pine cones started their lives high up in the trees, safe and secure and nourished. But in order to disperse their seeds, they have to fall to ground, break open, and be uncomfortable on the ground so that they can achieve freedom from the tree. Animals like squirrels break them apart into what looks like little wings dotting the trail. Some of the seeds inside are eaten, but many are spread so that they can take root to create new life in the form of a tree.  I started thinking about this year and how similar our lives have been to that of the pine cone. We’ve been asked to leap or forced to leap into the unknown as we’ve set intentions that we want more from this life than the daily grind that we had grown accustomed to. We’ve asked for more peace and joy. We’ve asked for deeper connections and situations that leave us feeling most alive. Getting to those things requires that the things no longer serving us be removed to make room for the new life we’re dreaming of to enter. We can’t keep all of the old furniture and expect more to come in when there’s no room for it. So we’ve been asked to clear our lives of the toxic relationships, the job that was bringing us down and/or making us sick, things that we’ve developed an addiction to, and the living environment that’s not conducive to our growth and expansion. 2018 has been a difficult one for many, yet exciting at the same time. We are being asked to live more in the present moment and stop trying to predict the future or control the outcome of every area of our lives. We have been asked to dig deep and find what it is that makes us tick, what makes us feel most alive, and we’re being asked to do that more!

 

Sequoia trees need fire for their seed dispersal.  This year has been like a fire to come and burn away everything that has been holding us back, making us feel separate and making us live small lives.  The fire is taking away all that doesn’t serve us and it is giving us wings with which we can fly through the rest of this year and into next year with more power, more courage, and a bigger footprint than we have ever allowed ourselves to have before.  It’s quite beautiful really.  Realize that the fire is not meant to destroy YOU it’s meant to break you out of your shell, to get you to put down your mask so that you can do all that you came to this world to do.  It’s been an uncomfortable process and it’s going to continue to be uncomfortable until we realize that we are the light that we see in others.  We are meant to break down all of our limiting beliefs and barriers so that we can live our best, limitless lives like we were always intended to.  We’ve broken open, we’ve planted our seeds, and now it’s time to grow into the person we are being asked to be so that we can fulfill our life’s purpose and impact this world like only each of us can. We’ve got to become the people needed for the next level of our lives. It’s a requirement for all of us, so the less you fight the process and go with the flow and do what is being asked of you, the easier time you will have with it.

 

It’s time to spread our wings and fly while we trust that the seeds we have planted with our intentions and our inspired actions are going to sprout into the life that we’ve been dreaming about! Trust, my friends. Trust. The seeds are growing in my life and I am blown away at what the work I have done to align with my higher self has created in my life! We’ve all planted our seeds at different times, so we’re all going to see them start to grow at different times. It does NOT mean that some people’s seeds will grow while other people’s won’t. Seeds don’t work that way and neither do our lives. Rather than getting caught up in comparisons with your journey and other people’s journeys, choose to get inspired by the sprouts appearing in their lives. See that as proof that it’s just a matter of time before your own seeds sprout! As you are grateful for the beauty appearing in the lives of those you love, you will raise your frequency to help speed up the manifestations in your own life. If you want something, rather than getting caught up on your intense desire for it, be extra grateful to all that you have now, in this moment, and all that others have that match what you want and before you know it, all that you desire will be yours. Life is not a competition like we’ve been made to believe, and the more love and happiness we show others, the faster we will all proceed to living our best lives.

 

The energy from this fire is going to give us all that we need to propel us through the rest of this year and into the start of next year.

 

I made a video about this when I was out hiking that I’ve posted to my YouTube Channel.

 

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Sending you all so much love!

 

Seize the Day!

I had this weekend off, and my son was with his Dad.  On Friday, I had a busy and stressful day at work, and I was exhausted that night.  I had wanted to figure out something fun to do for the weekend, but when I went to bed Friday night, I was thinking that I would maybe stay home, take a yoga and massage class, and clean my house.  I had mentioned to a few people that I was trying to plan a hike or something fun for my weekend, so when I woke up, I had a text from my sister saying “I hope you get to do something fun today!”  And that was all it took.  I snapped myself out of the tired haze, and was reminded of my choice to use my days off to the fullest.  So, I started looking at weather in various places in California. At home, where I was possibly going to hike, there was a chance of rain.  But on the coast, the weather was expected to be sunny with high temps ranging from 70-75 degrees F, depending on location.  I held the thought of going to the coast in my head, and began to get excited.  Then, I started to think of the various places.  Then it dawned on me that I had seen that there was going to be a band playing at a place I’ve been to and liked in Santa Cruz, so I looked it up.  A funk band!  Perfect!  I decided I might as well go to Santa Cruz, my favorite, if I was going to the coast!  I got even more excited!  So, I looked up an airbnb in the area and booked it.  Then I thought about how I have been saying that I wanted to take a surfing lesson for at least a few years, but that I hadn’t done it.  I had even researched places that offer lessons in Santa Cruz before, so I looked them up and called a place.  When I asked if this was a good time of year for a lesson, the guy said “we give lessons all year-long here, after all, the water is always wet,” which made sense.  With Saturday and Sunday off and my son having a game Sunday (today), I ended up deciding that it might be better to take an afternoon surf lesson on Saturday once I arrived in Santa Cruz, so that I didn’t have to feel rushed today.  I gave the guy a call again when I was getting close to see if they’d have a lesson at the time soon after I arrived, and he said they were!  So it was set.  Just like that, I went from having NO plans, to having a super amazing plan!

I got to Santa Cruz around 2:30 pm, and had my lesson from 3:30 to 5:30 pm.  I showed up and paid at the little covered table on the beach, got sized for a wet suit and then waited for our instructor to come out of the water from the previous class.  There were three of us in the lesson, me and a father-teenage son pair.  We were given surf boards that were HUGE (10 feet long, so almost double my height!), because the instructor said that big boards were easier for beginners.  The instructor was really great with Club Ed Surf School (website HERE)!  In true Jammie fashion, I was led to the instructor whose wife has spent a lot of time as a patient in various hospitals.  We connected through it, and held a really great conversation about our experience with hospitals and various medications that his wife and I both had in common at one time.  I should mention that when I go on one of these solo trips, I always set my intentions for the trip out loud on my way to wherever I am going.  For this trip, I asked to be guided to live in joy and to have so much fun.  I also asked to have connections with people along the way.  I see this conversation with the instructor as that connection.  It was about 70 degrees and sunny.  The instruction for how to get to a standing position on the surf board while we were still on the beach reminded me a lot of various yoga poses!  Then we headed into the water, and we started paddling.  And paddling.  And paddling.  And I wished that I had been doing more yoga in recent times to strengthen my arms and shoulders!  Paddling at first felt easy of course, but towards the end of the two hours, my arms were toast, and my instructor so kindly towed me behind him to give me a rest, but help get me a few more waves.  I was able to stand up and ride multiple waves!  Being out in the water was so awesome on its own, but riding the waves in felt so exhilarating!  Other than when my arms entered noodle status in the water, I don’t think I stopped smiling for most of the two-hour lesson!  I didn’t mind falling off my board or bailing so I didn’t run into other surfers in the slightest!  I had zero fear in the water.  Even with tired arms, I kept paddling, still intent on catching the last waves of the lesson.  As we exited the water at the end of the lesson, I was laughing and just feeling so alive!  Surfing was one of the most fun things that I have EVER done!  It’s up there with white water rafting!  I am so happy that I finally made it happen!  It makes me want to build my upper body strength, so that I can surf more easily and more often.  I think it’s good when the things we love push us to want to better ourselves in some way.  Do you have something that you’ve been wanting to try that you keep putting off?  Could you make a plan to do it soon?  What is stopping you?  For me, I kept waiting for the right time.  A day to myself at the beach when I had the spare money to spend on a lesson.  One or both of those things seemed to always be missing, so I just kept putting it off.  But I am so happy that I finally did it!  And I now have another thing to add to my list of fun things to do that make me feel most alive!

Speaking of yoga, I was just saying that I want to start making three things in my life priorities because of how good they make me feel, and of how good they are for me.  I know that I should be treating the three things as NEEDS vs. wants.  For me, when I call something a “need”, it places that thing ahead of other things that require my money or my time and effort.  It puts them up there with food and water.  One of them is yoga.  Yoga makes me stronger and more flexible, and it also calms and relaxes me and leaves me with an overall sense of peace.  I was going every week for a while, but my practice dropped off when the studio I go to changed hands and my favorite instructor stopped teaching there.  I have yet to go consistently since then.  I thought I’d practice at home, but you know how that goes.  For me, it doesn’t happen.  I know that a more consistent yoga practice would give me the upper body strength that I need for surfing.  My surfing would also benefit from becoming stronger in the yoga poses that are similar to the way I need to move and balance my body to be able to stand on the surf board.

Another need I listed is drumming.  I’ve been taking an African drumming class in the town where I live off and on since early 2016.  In class, we learn to play the djembe, and also the sangban, dundun, and kinkinee drums.  The latter three drums require you to play two different rhythms at the same time, which felt impossible when I was first learning.  I likened it to the exercise where you pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time.  But with time, I learned, and now it feels like riding a bike, even if I don’t play the drums for a few months, I can go back and am still able to play.  You can see a video of my instructor, Wadaba, HERE.  In this video, he’s playing two djembes at the same time.  More commonly, one djembe is played at a time.  He is from Guinea in West Africa.  He grew up playing drums, and is a world-renowned master drummer.  I am very lucky to have him teaching in my town.  If you’re local and interested in playing the drums, reach out to me, and I can give you the details for our weekly class.  First class is free and you can rent a drum from Wadaba if you plan in advance.  I especially like playing the larger of the latter three drums, the dundun.  It has such a big, deep, powerful sound.  There is an annual workshop held in the mountains here in California every August called Camp Fareta.  I have been so happy to get to go for part of it the last two summers.  The best African drummers and dancers from all over the world come here to teach!  And students also travel from all over the world to learn! It’s really incredible to gather with such a welcoming community of people for the common goal of experiencing the singing, dancing, and drumming of Africa.  One of my favorite classes that I took this past August was a sangban dance class.  I found this fun video HERE of a flash mob group in Australia doing a dundun dance with moves similar to those I learned in class with the sangban.  I recognize the lead woman on this video from Camp Fareta.  As a kid, I was always tapping and drumming on things, which annoyed my parents.  In college, I was always fascinated by the African drum group on campus that would perform locally.  We also had several drummers from various places visit campus to perform.  I always loved seeing the performances, but never got involved.  When I learned of the drumming class here, I immediately wanted to try it, but at first, I tried to get friends to go with me.  That wasn’t happening, so eventually my urge to go got stronger, and my need to have someone go with me got weaker, so I went.  I figured that with the level of urging that I was feeling, I was either going to go and meet someone significant to my life in the class, or I was going to already know how to play drums.  In part, both were true.  The group of people in that class has added so much value to my life, and has ultimately connected me to the much larger community of drummers throughout the world.  I also picked up drumming rather easily.  In my first class, I remember Wadaba and his wife, Keio, being surprised that I had never played a musical instrument before.  Wadaba noticed that mine and his hands are very similar in size and shape.  I think that I must have played the drum in a past life.  At any rate, drumming feels good.  And when you have a group of 10 or 12 people drumming together, it creates a  powerful energy unlike anything else.

The last thing that I want to promote to a need in my life is meditation.  I started meditating back in the summer of 2015.  It was the thing that I committed to during a Simple Shift course that I took which was based on the premise that making small, simple changes to our lives could lead to big results.  During a rough patch in the summer of 2015, I used meditation as my main coping mechanism.  When I felt anxious or overwhelmed, I would meditate.  During one week, I was meditating for various lengths of time several times a day.  The effects of meditation are easier experienced than explained, but I will try.  Now mind you, for me, meditation did not offer me an immediate change, but over time, I noticed a few things shift in my life.  First, my anxiety and stress decreased.  And when I did get stressed, I found that meditating, even if only for 5 minutes, would be enough to quiet the hamsters in my head and bring me back to a place of peace.  It gave me a sense of inner peace.  After consistently meditating for a few months, I noticed that I was able to see how things were connected and the lessons that could be gleaned from my trials.  I could see the benefit to the challenges in my life, and could sense that they were leading me to something bigger and better.  I also come out of meditation sometimes clearly knowing what my next step should be, or what I should do that day.  I notice that doing a long solo hike gives way to a kind of meditative state for me.  When I am hiking for 10 or 12 miles, at first, I may be thinking about things in my life and singing songs to myself, but then there comes a point when I am just in the moment, focused on my steps, and feeling my breath.  I get in a groove and just flow.  The cares of other areas of my life vanish, and I am left alone, with my own body, and my own breath.  But, like drumming and yoga, I haven’t always made meditation a priority.  If you feel so inclined, meditation can be a great way to tune into your own intuition and calm your mind’s chatter.  It can be as simple as getting comfortable and closing your eyes for a few minutes, even 5 minutes helps, and focusing on your breath.  If thoughts move in, acknowledge them and then let them go and return to focusing on your breath.  Meditation can be that simple.  Don’t get discouraged if you try it and then don’t notice anything different.  Keep it up.  It takes time and changes may be small at first.  We have gotten to be so accustomed to instant gratification that we sometimes lose sight that most things worthwhile in this world cannot be gained in an instant.  What are some things that fill you with a lot of joy or make you feel really good that you could move to your “needs” list?

As far as doing the things that have been on your to-do list or bucket list for a while now, in general, I think we usually put our dreams on the back-burner while we work to pay our bills, or while we do what other people tell us we should be doing instead.  But do we really want other people, or society to dictate the course of our one, short life?  For me, it took almost dying to realize the preciousness of today, of each moment.  We all get to decide when we will take the step to live our life the way that we want to.  You can wait until your life is almost taken from you to realize how amazing it is that you woke up and got to live another day today, or you can realize it right now.  It’s up to you.  I, too, still put things off, like surfing.  I, too, get sucked into a daily routine that doesn’t always feel satisfying.  Change takes time, especially if you’re used to going along with status quo and ignoring your inner urges and passions in lieu of those that the world around you tells you are important.  When I get overwhelmed with anything new, I like to remind myself that I don’t need to have everything figured out, I just need to take a step in the direction that I want to go.  You don’t need to be able to see the whole staircase in order to take the next step.  Join me in working to trust that the next steps, after that first one, will appear in due time.

It is also helpful when I remind myself that I will never get different results in life by doing the things that I have always done.  If I do the things I have always done, I can expect more of the same.  That’s fine as long as I am happy with where I am.  But, it’s  when I go out on a limb and try new things that I can discover new passions that can then lead me to new people, places, and things.  I have heard insanity defined as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.  This weekend, by finally getting out and trying surfing, and by lining up a night with live music that I could dance to, I created one of the best days I have EVER had!!  I actually screamed in excitement as I was driving from my surf lesson to the airbnb so that I could get ready to go out and see the band!  Yes, I loved surfing THAT much!!  After 2 hours in the water paddling and surfing, and another almost 4 hours of dancing to the music of an awesome funk band called Katdelic, I went to bed last night with a happily tired body, a very grateful heart, and a soul that was beaming with pure, absolute joy!  (check out Katdelic if you ever have the chance!  They put on one of the best shows I have ever seen!)  What are you waiting for?  What activities could you plan for your next day off that would leave you feeling like you just had the best day of your life?  What is it that you enjoy so much that you smile the whole time you’re doing it?  What makes you feel like a kid again?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

If you’re waiting for a time when you’ll have an extended amount of days off to do things, you may never get anything done.  Let me assure you that you can do a lot in one or two days.  With two days off, I drove to the coast (just over 3 hours) for the night, surfed, and saw live music all in one day.  With three days off, I drove 8 hours to Zion National Park and did a hike on each of the three days before driving back on the third day.  I have friends who consistently go on epic hikes on their two weekend days off.  Sometimes living life to the fullest will require that you treat your day off and your fun activities like a job.  Get up before the sun rises and get moving!  Get out there and seize the day!

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Listen to Brett Dennen’s song “Blessed” HERE