Super-Heroes 

As many of you know, my mom works for a small Catholic elementary school in New Hampshire. My brother went to school there, my aunt is on their board and my mother was a kindergarten teacher for 10 years before becoming Vice Principal. It’s a very close-knit community and one that my family has a long-standing relationship with. So, when I was diagnosed in 2014, the entire school, from teachers to parents to students rallied around my mom, myself and my family to show their support and love. Being a Catholic school, the students began praying for me weekly, asking God to “heal Mrs. Kathy’s” daughter. Every single child at Mount St. Mary’s Academy did this for me… for over two years. If that’s not good karma, I don’t know what is. So when the kindergartners found out that I had completed treatment this March, that God had “cured” me, they made me cards and a beautiful handmade Super Woman Cape. I was blown away by this gesture. I’m definitely not a super-hero, I did what I had to do and was the only option I had. But the fact that these little girls and boys thought I was some sort of super hero warmed my heart more than I can ever describe.
So about 3 weeks ago, I got the chance to go meet every single one of those students, wearing not just my cape but the biggest smile on my face. I was lucky enough to spend the entire day with these incredible little humans who are so full of life, so innocent but so smart, and so funny and so loving! They didn’t have any filter and didn’t think twice when they asked me questions like “Why did I get cancer?” “Do people look at you different when you don’t have hair?” “Does chemo hurt?” “How did it feel to find out you have cancer?” Some of these questions I’ve literally never been asked before because I think adults would be shy or feel rude to ask such direct questions but the reality is, is that those questions are real, they’re honest and above all, they’re human. I learned so much from these incredible kids and they instantaneously became my super heroes.
It’s a true blessing to get to be surrounded by children, and we should all open our minds to really learning from them more often Because as Shakespeare once said…


Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Help One, Help Many

Today I was at a “Future of Marketing” conference being held in Boston. As you could guess, there was lots of discussion going on in regards to marketing, branding, content creation, digital influencers, etc. But this is called the Inspiration Initiative, not the marketing initiative so why am I telling you about it? Because during lunch a speaker came out by the name of Mick Ebeling and he absolutely blew me away. Not because he was giving us innovative ways to better market to consumers but because he told us about some amazing things he’s done, things that make you go WOW, now THIS guy is inspirational– like inventing a device which enables individuals with paralysis to communicate and create art using only the movement of their eyes OR like creating a way to PRINT prosthetic arms, using a 3D printer, in order to have prosthetic limbs become available (a typical limb costs about $15K, where this way costs about $100!!!) and bringing this technology over to parts of Africa where citizens had lost limbs due to war.

There are moments in days like this, when you’re putting off “real work” to take time “just to learn” that you ask yourself if it was a mistake to not be in the office. I was feeling guilty this morning about being at this conference since I have had so much going on at work lately. But then I heard this man speak and I thought, this is why I’m here. No matter how far being here today put me behind at work, it was worth it because this is the type of individual I can learn from. This is the type of person I want to surround myself with. A smart, dedicated, driven individual who is passionate about making a difference, who’s passionate about helping people, who’s passionate about changing the world for the better. Sometimes I doubt my abilities to truly make a difference since I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist or engineer or educator– so many times I’ve thought to myself that it’ll be impossible to make a difference in this world in my field of work. But then I hear from this man, who’s not a scientist, not a doctor but instead just an extremely passionate person that doesn’t believe in impossible, doesn’t believe that there’s anything that can’t be solved. He may not be the one who’s crunching the numbers and figuring out the logistics but he’s the one bringing the necessary parties together, he’s the one motivating people and inspiring them to make amazing things happen. During his speech, he said, “Don’t ask how you’re going to do it but instead ask WHY you’re doing it. As if the why is important enough, you’ll figure out how you’re going to get it done, no matter how challenging it may seem.”

Lastly, he spoke about how helping one person can help many. It’s a ripple effect– help one person or one community and let that story be told and heard. By telling that story, it can inspire others to do the same or even better, do something even greater! It reminded me that although you may only be able to help one person, it’s important to simply do what you can. Make a difference where you can, it may encourage that person to help others or influence another to do something similar. Truly, we’re all capable of making a difference.
I urge you all to take a few minutes and read about some of the amazing things this man has done and the good that is coming out of his company, the Not Impossible Foundation. To say he is an inspiration is a large understatement. http://notimpossible.com

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

The Definition of Brave

People have often said to me in the past year, “You’re so brave.” And although I am always flattered, I also always think, “not really.” Because the reality is, I didn’t choose this, I didn’t have a choice of whether or not to get cancer and I certainly have no other option but to get treatment. It just happened. The only thing I can do is to keep my head held high and march on. But the amazing men and women of our armed forces cannot say that. They choose to put themselves in harms way to help others. They make a conscious effort to put their lives on the line in order to protect our country and our freedom. They make the ultimate sacrifice in honor of our country, when they give up their lives so that others’ lives can be better. It’s awe-inspiring. Almost unfathomable when you really sit and think about it. I truly can’t imagine. I can respect it to the greatest degree but I will never fully understand what that’s like. The men and women of our armed forces are truly the bravest people in the world. Modern-day heroes.

So as I enjoyed a beautiful few days, away from work and surrounded by friends, family, food and sunshine, I feel eternally grateful to these incredible men and women that have given everything so that I can enjoy things like doing yoga in the park, or reading a book about Buddhism, or writing about whatever pops into my little head on this blog.

Today I feel lucky to be alive, lucky to be given the life I’ve been given and even luckier to be an American.

Thank you to those men and women, a million times over.

Jessy

flags

a picture my mom took today at the Boston Commons. 37,000 American flags—one for each of the Massachusetts men and women who have died in the armed services, dating back to the Revolutionary War.