Loving Learning

learning

Tomorrow I start my third weekend of the yoga training. The past three months I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone on multiple occasions. Teaching is way harder and more intimidating than I would’ve anticipated. At the same, it’s exciting to have butterflies in my stomach about something again. Because, honestly, it’s been a while since I really cared about something so much that it made me nervous. Yes, there’s the nerves involved with getting up in front of a group of peers but what I’ve found more stressful is proving to myself that I not only can do this but I can be good at it. I’ve made a choice, one which feels big to me, to explore this path so there’s self-induced pressure to put everything I have into this—to excel at this. Although in the past I’ve always felt confident public speaking, this feels much different than those experiences for a few different reasons. One, I can’t have notes meaning I have to be comfortable with ‘winging it’ (and I am NOT a ‘winger’ lady). And secondly, when I think about the amount this practice has emotionally and spiritually given me, I want to be able to give that those I teach one day.

The other thing that has been surprising in this process is how much I have to learn—it is almost endless. There’s so much more than the postures that have to do with yoga. Every month I have a new book to finish, articles to read, theories to comprehend, — topics like the energetic chakra systems, the history of yoga, the sutras, even the human anatomy! Many times, I’ve thought to myself how funny it is because I feel like I’m back at school- I’m coming home from work at night and needing to take the time to read and take notes rather than relax, I have homework, I’m practicing speaking out loud, I’m physically doing yoga. But the reality is, this time, the work feels different. Growing up and in college, I always did my work, I always studied for tests, I always prepped for presentations—but most of the times, I was trying to memorize it so I could regurgitate the information on a test or in a presentation. But I wasn’t placing the focus on truly comprehending the information. I, like almost every student, felt forced to learn the information but most of the time really didn’t feel like I was going to have to “use it in my life” or remember it in the future. So I would go about learning it, take the test and then be quickly onto the next assignment and topic. I took for granted the beauty of learning. I didn’t realize that actually comprehending material and letting your brain absorb new things and concepts is something that’s actually really amazing. Having graduated college 7 years ago and being in marketing ever since, my mindset in my new “class” is so different this time around. I’ve chosen to learn about yoga, I am hoping to integrate what I learn through this training into a future career, and in general, I’m fascinated by so much of what I’m learning. So yes, is it a lot when I get home from working all day and then take care of phoebe and then make dinner and then have to go upstairs to do some ‘yoga studying?’ Absolutely. But it’s also exhilarating to feel like I’m growing as a person, that I’m learning a new skill, that I’m broadening my view of life. I’m so thankful for this experience, even if it just results in me learning a lot and opening my mind to different ways of thinking. Even if all I get from it is the revival of butterflies in my stomach, then this journey will be a success

What we learn becomes a part of who we are. So I’m excited about learning about a healthy way of life throughout this journey. I hope that each of you get to experience learning “as an adult” or simply as a human that wants to grow rather than memorize. I hope you have the opportunity to learn about things that inspire you and make you passionate and create a fire inside you to continue to learn!

Time to go to bed- full day of classes starts in 9 hours.

Love & light,

Jessycl

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Admitting Your Dreams

In February, I wrote about how I’d taken a leap of faith and left my full-time marketing job at an amazing nonprofit, not knowing exactly what my next move was.

It’s nearly November and I still am not sure what my future career life will entail but this past weekend, I took my first step towards a path that I’ve tossed around in my head for the last couple years, I took the first step towards a dream of mine- getting my yoga teacher certification.

I applied to the program this summer and was accepted after returning home from the honeymoon so I’ve known about it for a while but haven’t told many people outside my close friends and family. I started thinking about why I’ve avoided sharing this new venture since it is something I feel passionate about and it’s something that, quite honestly, I’ve committed to spending a significant amount of time and money on. I think I’ve been shy about it because this would be such a different path than my marketing career. I don’t know if people will understand or if I’ll be able to articulate what I want to do—some sort of mix between therapeutic yoga teacher, writer, motivational speaker, wellness coach. Yah, that’s easy to explain! A career in marketing was always direct- I went to school for it, I got a job in it, I switched companies, I moved up in a company, I switched to another company. It was a solid staircase that was easy to envision myself climbing and easy to explain to others. I was proud to say “I’m in marketing” when someone asked what I do. Yoga teacher/blogger seems kind of flighty. I’m worried people will instantly think that I’m leeching off Mike so that I can work two hours a day and stay in yoga pants permanently. I’m worried that people will judge me for switching gears and trying something that’s ‘trendy’ right now. That said, I know in my heart that it would be a career that would actually take a lot of work; it’d be starting a small business, finding and retaining clients, marketing myself, speaking in front of groups of people. It’d be hard. I know that, but I also know that many others don’t know that. Many others narrowly view the practice as something hippies do to workout– you’re basically stretching and breathing right?– it’s viewed as one-dimensional… just another exercise class. But it’s not. The yoga practice dates back hundreds of years and it’s connected to various other studies such as Ayurvedic medicine, Buddhism, reiki, meditation and mindfulness. Personally, I find all of the above to be fascinating and topics that I want to learn more about and be able to share with others. What I find most interesting is how you can take your yoga practice off the mat and integrate it into your daily life to profoundly affect it. I’ve experienced it personally– the amount that yoga truly helped me heal both physically and mentally when I was going through my cancer diagnosis was incredible. And then last weekend I met all these unique and amazing women women in my course and was so inspired by their accounts of how yoga has helped them or their family members. Listening to their stories of various difficulties– spanning from drug addiction to children with disabilities to coping with life tragedies– was truly amazing.

I have a deck of affirmation cards that I’ll randomly grab one and read. Recently, I picked one out and it said “My joy doesn’t depend upon the approval of others. No effective guidance will ever be achieved by seeking the approval of others, for all they desire is different things of you. Constant, pure guidance comes forth from within you. It is always there.” I read it a few times and let it sink in.  It comes from within you. How many times have I heard people say “I literally don’t care at all what people think of me.” And I always wish I could know how true their statement is. How many of those people fully act on exactly what they want to do, without any influence of others? I’d guess very few. I’m clearly an extreme example—I always care what people think. I care if they respect me. I care if they think I’m nice. I care enough to wear make-up most days. I care enough to suck in when I’m wearing a bikini on the beach. I care enough that when I went to teach a mere 7-minute yoga sequence last weekend, I was on the verge of having a panic attack. I don’t think the majority of us will ever get to a complete state of ‘not depending on the approval of others.’ But I think it’s something to work towards.

I have 9 months of training left to go and so much to learn and absorb but I thought that a healthy way to start this journey was to first admit that I’m on it. It’s a different path than I expected to be on, it’s not a clear-cut career and so I know that there’s the risk that I could get my certification and try to start a little business and fail. That’s a reality. But the other reality is that I create a career for myself that I’m passionate about, that I feel fulfilled in, that I inspire others through, that can provide financially for my family, and that I simply enjoy.

That’s the dream.

My hope is that you read this and feel inspired to share your dream, whatever it may be. Be proud of your dream—it’s your dream and nobody else’s.

Love & light,

Jessy

It’s Jimmy Fund Walk Time

In three weeks, on September 24th, I’ll be walking a 10K to participate in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk to raise funds for Dana-Farber. Since this isn’t a Facebook message where I’m talking to a bunch of people I’m not really friends with, I don’t think I need to explain how much that organization means to me. You know my story because so many of you have been here from the beginning, reading each post and sending your kind thoughts and well-wishes. So instead of telling you again why it means so much to me that you donate to Dana-Farber, I thought I’d share with you someone else’s story… someone else’s story that showcases the importance of the work this Institute is doing.

I had gotten this idea to tell someone else’s story yesterday and thought I’d go searching for a ‘compelling story’ tonight. But then I opened my inbox a few minutes ago and I see an email from the Jimmy Fund team with this little guy’s face in it. His name is Asher, he’s from Salem, NH and he too was diagnosed with the same form of cancer I had… acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I couldn’t find out how old he was when he was diagnosed, or how long he went through treatment for. All I know is that this little boy had to endure pain, mental and physical, far beyond his years; that he had to deal with something that no child should ever ever have to deal with.
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And that’s all I think any of us should have to know about Asher or any of the nearly 16,000 children that will get diagnosed with cancer this year in the U.S. They deserve to have a normal childhood that’s filled with super-heroes and birthday parties and bike rides and dance parties — not that’s filled with chemotherapy, and nausea, and headaches and spinal taps.
This year, I ask that you give, whatever you can give, to kids like Asher who have been dealt this horrific hand. Your gift directly fuels the research that will one day find a cure for a cancer, so that one day there won’t be a child in the world that knows their doctors and nurses better than their teachers and coaches. Thank you for giving and thank you for supporting the fight against cancer.
Love, light & gratitude,
Jessy

Our Magical Day

Wedding fever has officially subsided. It’s been exactly one month since Mike & I tied the knot and became husband and wife. So, before the lovely details of the day begin to fade away, I want to write about just how incredible July 22, 2017 was in my life.

Well, I should first start by saying it wasn’t just July 22- it was the whole long weekend and the entire honeymoon. It began as soon as Mike & I crossed the Sagamore Bridge into the Cape on that Thursday. After we unloaded odds & ends for the wedding at our venue, The Dennis Inn, we checked into the house he rented for the four days (the place he would have his groomsmen and friends before the wedding!), dropped our bags and walked to the beach. Jumping in the cold Atlantic Ocean together seemed like the perfect way to begin what would be some of the best days of our lives. That night, we had our first ever “dual-family party” and some of our immediate family members who have never met finally got to. The flower girls practiced throwing petals, my mom made a teary-eyed speech, and my thoughts kept going to how “right” this newly merged family felt.

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Before we knew it, rehearsal day was here and we were welcoming our family and wedding party to the Dennis Inn to lounge by the pool before the official festivities began. Us ladies started making ourselves at home in the bridal suite, getting mani and pedis by Cape Cod Mobile Nail Company. All fun and games until I was walking down the aisle with my parents and saw Mike at the end of the aisle when it really hit me that this moment was finally happening– that our special day was about to become a reality. After the practice-run had been completed, it was time to get the celebrations started. And celebrations to Mike and I typically mean some sort of fantastic food so it was time to chow down on lobster and clam chowder. As the rehearsal dinner ended, so came the rest of our guests that were here for the entire weekend! All of our closest friends and family here to celebrate our love– I remember feeling overwhelmed as I looked around that night and saw the mix of family, friends from home, friends from college, colleagues, even one of my doctors had made it for the “night-before” festivities. I think that’s one of the most special things about a wedding– having every corner of your life represented, melding into one life together- it’s a kind of love and gratefulness I’ve never experienced before and am so thankful that I had the opportunity to feel it.

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And then the day we’ve dreamt of for so long came.

Speaking for the ladies, we woke up and were lucky enough to be led thru a beautiful “wedding morning yoga flow” by Mike and I’s weekly yoga instructor from Somerville. It was so meaningful to me to start my day with the women in my life that I love so much doing something that means so much to me. Some of them had never done yoga before, some of them may have been a bit hungover from the welcome party the night before, but they all showed up and participated because they knew it meant a lot to me. I felt about a million times more relaxed and calm when we finished and in the right mindset to take on such a big day in my life. Plus, I needed my “yoga glow” in order to look my best. And then it was onto becoming a beautiful bride!

When I was growing up, my mom used to remind me how important getting butterflies in your stomach was. She would leave me notes that had butterflies on them after high school heartbreaks and tell me that one day the butterflies would return. So when I heard the music begin and I looked out the bathroom window to watch Michael walk down the aisle, I was delighted to feel my stomach flip and hundreds of butterflies flutter around my belly. In truth, however, those butterflies are nothing new- he’s been giving me butterflies since the moment I met him. As I walked outside to walk down that aisle, my parents on each side, I felt like I was floating. I wasn’t nervous- I was excited. Beyond excited. I was thrilled- elated- grateful- so so so very happy. I was finally marrying the man I’ve wanted to marry for what feels like a lifetime. I was being given the opportunity, that on some days throughout these five years, I wasn’t sure I’d get to have. In fact, the month leading up to the wedding I had been having trouble sleeping and getting really anxious about “making it” to the wedding. Some bad thoughts were going thru my head that I believe were arising because of just how much I wanted this day to happen- how much I wanted to marry my Michael. So in that moment, as I walked towards him on that sunny afternoon, surrounded by all those we love, as birds were chirping and Halo was being played in the background, I truly felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

But then something amazing happened… that feeling of “luckiest girl in the world” came over and over and over the rest of the day.

  • I felt it when Mike said his beautiful vows
  • I felt it when I heard Dr.Mandy pronounce us husband and wife
  • I felt it when Mike spun me around and my dress twirled like I’ve always dreamt of
  • I felt it when Phoebe appeared in a beautiful flower collar so we could take pictures with her
  • I felt it when I listened to my dad give the most incredible speech
  • I felt it when he thanked the entire table of nurses and doctors from Dana Farber and every single guest rose to their feet to cheer and give them the praise that they all deserve
  • I felt it when I looked around at dinner and saw everyone I love in one room
  • I felt it when I, as well as everyone else, was sweating profusely from dancing so hard
  • I felt it when the last song, Young Forever, came on and everyone made a circle around us as we danced and took the moment in
  • I felt it when we went upstairs after everyone had left and we popped a bottle of champagne and looked thru the pictures and notes from the photobooth
  • I felt it when I laid my head on the pillow and couldn’t sleep because I was still smiling as I replayed every detail of the day
  • I felt like the luckiest girl in the world and one month in, I still do. I married my best friend and you can’t ask for much better than that!

 

So as we crossed over the Sagamore Bridge back to Boston, it was easy to be okay with “our day” being done. We had 10 days of honeymoon Hawaiian living to look forward to and the rest of our life together to be excited about!

Thank you to everyone that celebrated with us that day, and to everyone that sent us blessings and well-wishes. We are two very lucky individuals to have you all in our lives.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

More wedding pics and a video I made of footage from our honeymoon!

Wedding Weekend Is Here

In a few days, I get to marry Michael. It feels like this day has been on my mind for years. Not just the day I get to wear a pretty white dress, but the day I get to marry my best friend. The day I get to commit myself to another human being- my person- in front of everyone that we love.

If I’m being honest, there have been so many moments in the past year- but especially in the past month, that I’ve let the stress of planning–essentially the biggest party of my PlansMorans career— get in the way of how joyous this period is supposed to be. I’ve become consumed in the details and the stress of making everything perfect. My temper has been short and my feelings have been easily hurt and the ironic part is that that man that I’m marrying is the one who has received the brunt of it. (Also my mom….my mom has seen some tears.) So, if you’re reading this Mike– I’m sorry, I love you, I promise my fuse is not typically this short! Thank you for dealing with my rollercoaster of emotions.

But as of tomorrow, the planning will be over and the celebrating will begin. And by Friday, nearly everyone that means the most to us will be on the Cape to help us celebrate. I can’t get over how amazing that’s going to be. When else in your life are you surrounded by, truly, all those you love? Hometown friends, college friends, mentors, in our case- our incredible team of doctors and nurses and of course, both of our families? It’s an occasion that we’re lucky to experience and I so want to relish in every second… I want to soak up every ounce of love and bottle it up!

But since I can’t physically bottle up this weekend, my goal is to take mental snapshots. Remember Mike’s face, remember our officiants words, remember the feel of hugs from friends and family. Remember the butterflies in my stomach when we kiss for the first time as husband and wife. Remember the euphoric feeling when looking around and seeing faces from near and far. Remember how bad my feet hurt after a night of epic dancing. But most of all, I hope I remember the feel of Mike’s hands holding mine, the look in his eye when he promises to be my husband, the wind whipping past my cheek as he spins me around the dance floor. I want to remember every detail from the day I become the wife of the man I love so much, my partner in life, my best friend, my soulmate. 

I am so excited for this day, this weekend, our honeymoon but I am most excited for another chapter in our life to begin together. In the six years we’ve known each other, we have experienced a lot of ups and downs- career struggles and stress, a cancer diagnosis, a mother lost, but babies (and a puppy!) have also been born, we’ve traveled, we’ve laughed, we’ve danced, we’ve had so many firsts, we’ve had so many happy moments together. With each hurdle, we’ve stuck together and lifted each other up. And with each positive experience, it’s felt more intense, more beautiful, more incredible because we’ve had each other to share it with.

Meeting Michael was the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. Making it to the day that I get to marry him was a far-away dream. For a brief moment, that dream flickered, but on Saturday it’s a dream that gets to come true. And that makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. My life is better with him in it- our lives are better with each other in it- and for that, I am overwhelmingly thankful. 

To everyone who has been a part of supporting, nourishing and bringing happiness to our relationship- thank you! 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Go To Your Happy Place

Mike & I were both on vacation for the week of the Fourth so we went to our favorite beach, Jeness in NH one day. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Not a cloud in the blue sky, a slight breeze to keep comfortable and the sun shining in every essence. It shined on my body, my soul and my mind.

I needed a day of peace and sunshine. A day to listen to the waves and chatter of families and friends. I needed a day to rejuvenate my mind as lately I’ve been feeling like I’m running on empty. Small things have upset me, my feelings are easily hurt and I send myself into a state of sadness too often. Life is good. But I’ve been having a hard time remembering that lately. Too much time spent checking off “tasks” that seem important during the day but when I take a second to think about it, aren’t actually that significant. I haven’t given enough time to keeping my mind in a positive, healthy space and it shows thru my rollercoaster of emotions. It’s easy to forget, but keeping our minds healthy takes some time and effort.

The beach always helps me press the reset button, however. It helps me slow down and appreciate the beauty of the day and the life I’ve been given. It helps remind me of the respect I have for our great Mother Earth. It helps remind me of how grateful I am for having Mike in my life and how excited I am to marry him in 13 days (ahhh!!). And it also reminds me of little things in life that I’m grateful for too, like the fact that it’s a blessing that I live in a country where I have the right to go to the beach and swim in the waves in a bikini!! The beach is my place to help disconnect me from the “world” and in turn, it connects me so deeply to what’s important in my life and the real world that surrounds me. 

I hope that you take the time to go your happy place more often- to go wherever it is in the world that helps you reconnect to the important things in life. Because, taking the time is important.

Love & light,

Jessy 


The Fabric of Life

Did people talk to each other on public transportation before mobile devices? 
I’m working downtown for my new job and it’s easiest to take the train. Everyday I become more fascinated by how so many individuals can be in one location and nobody talks to each other. Nobody even makes eye contact. Most people are on their phones, texting, listening to music, checking emails, reading. Clearly, many are connecting with other people- just none of the other humans near them. It’s such a weird concept- kind of like being on an elevator – to be sharing, many times, super personal space with another individual but make no connection. Why is that? I’m totally guilty as I listen to my music and people watch. I probably would text or email or go on social media if I could but I’d crush my data in a day so I don’t. As I people watch, it’s interesting to see everyone’s moods, expressions, attitudes. Hundreds of people packing into a single object like a can of sardines most likely to do the same thing- go to work or to go home from work- but rarely is an acknowledgement made.

Even though the vast majority of us are riding the train for the same reason, it’s different than when we go on the train to go to a Celtics game- those rides, there’s a clear sense of comeroddery- we act nice towards others because we know we’re rooting for the same team, we’re doing the same thing- we must be “like each other.” But aren’t we all like each other when we’re going to work too? Just trying to make a few bucks to help put food on the table, a roof over our heads, pay for cable, save up for that vacation, to spoil our pets. 

Since I’m taking the train twice a day now, every time I get on, I think about this concept and it’s been kind of bumming me out. But then I was walking to Sullivan Station one morning and I notice some new graffiti below the underpass. 


“Even though I don’t know you, I need you….. #FabricOfOurLife”

And there it is. I’m not the only one feeling the disconnect with one another. Whoever this person is, they feel it too. 

I’m not sure how long Somerville authorities will keep this one up, but I hope they do for a little while- it made me think. I think it’ll make others think.

We may not know each other but we all need one another. I’m going to remember this before I make eye contact with someone on the train and quickly look away… maybe tomorrow, I take the time to smile. Who knows, that person could use a smile.