We’re All Warriors

During the holiday season, there was a holiday card being sold at Dana-Farber that I helped to create. On the back, they credited me as the “artist” and used my ‘cancer slayer’ term that I often called myself. I had approved it but when I saw it in print, I felt a little weird about it – I had always equated being a cancer slayer to being a warrior, and then the thought popped into my head that I was a warrior but I’m not a warrior anymore. I often look at the two years that I underwent treatment and overcame cancer to be two years of my life that I am proudest of, I feel very confident talking about my experience and am always open and empowered to share it with others. But when it comes to other aspects of my life, particularly my career, I feel very sheepish and unsure of myself- I don’t feel like I have slayed the past two years and I certainly don’t feel like a warrior very often anymore.

I had that thought and then I let it fade. But then it came back to me one afternoon during a meditation sitting during my yoga training and I began contemplating the idea that I don’t have to have cancer to be a warrior. I can be a warrior in my everyday life- with every action I take, every compassionate conversation, every day that I get up and go to work, every night when I try being a chef to make a healthy dinner for our family, every time I go to the gym instead of sitting on the couch, every time I do something to accomplish a dream. In so many aspects of life, big and small, I can be a warrior. What if I’m not a just a cancer slayer or work slayer or yoga slayer or pup mom slayer… what if I’m just a life slayer? What if we’re all life slayers?

One of the greatest learnings that I’ve become more familiar with throughout my yoga readings and trainings is to see each human being as who they are and be okay with it. Essentially, to see the warrior inside of everyone. To remember that you never know what’s going on behind closed doors, or sometimes more powerfully, what’s going on in someone’s mind. To remember that everybody has a family that loves them, everybody has a friend that thinks they’re funny or enjoys their quirkiness. Everybody wants the best for their family and friends, their community. Everybody wants to be healthy and to live a prosperous, happy life. Everybody has the same innate quality to feel connected and be included – to “be a part of.” Everybody looks up and sees the same stars, and the same beautiful sun and moon. We all share the same home – we all have different struggles but it doesn’t matter what the struggle is because to each individual, it’s their struggle, it matters, it’s hard, and it takes work to overcome. Yoga, mindfulness, Buddhism teachings have all taught me to remember those common things about other human beings. When someone is particularly annoying or aggravating me, it’s helpful to take a deep breath and realize that I may not know what’s going on in their life and to remember that they have a mother that thinks they’re wonderful, and they probably love the very attribute that I may find annoying. They’re a human, just like me. They have worries and fears and anxiety, just like me. And in one way or another, they are slaying their life. They are slaying the worries that keep them up at night and are a warrior to the personal demons that plague their body and mind. We all are. We all are trying our best—even if to the outsider it may not look like they’re slaying or doing their best—remember that who they are, in this day, is doing their best – maybe they will do “better” in the future, but at this moment in time, this is their best self. We’re all warriors- slaying whatever life throws our way today.

Being a warrior doesn’t mean doing some remarkable achievement—it certainly can mean completing a marathon, or conquering an illness, or beginning an impactful social movement—but a warrior can also be someone that has so much anxiety that their chest hurts and they go to work anyway, it can be the mother that puts their career on pause because they believe in the importance of being home to raise their children—it can be the son or daughter that sacrifices personal growth and time with their significant other to become a caregiver for their sick parent—it can be a person who sees someone being bullied and says something about it—it can be a person who absolutely loathes their job and simply goes to work with a smile on their face because they know that’s what they have to do to get by – it can be a person who’s overweight and goes to the gym despite feeling uncomfortable. It can be anyone because it is everyone.

Everyone, in some way, is a warrior.

Respect that notion about others but most importantly, respect that about yourself. You are slaying life right this second.

Warrior on. 💪🏼

Love & light,

Jessy

p.s. Speaking of being a warrior….. here’s me slaying the winter walk to work

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Holiday Season Smiles

My heart was so full yesterday as I was able to bring 150 Smile Cards to The Brigham. What’s even more amazing is that I had just brought a ton about two weeks ago and I know I have about 50 more to bring next week! 

Before I left TJX, I sent out an email to the entire marketing department asking for their help in my little task, especially going into the holiday season as I wanted to be able to bring many cards as this is an especially hard time to be “locked” up there. I had thought it’d be nice if I got a few of them, hoping some people would be motivated enough to write up some. And then I got this picture….

  
The entire HomeGoods creative team, crafting and putting together some of the most beautiful smile cards that I’ve ever seen! 

   
    
    
    
    
    
   
These came in a box FULL of cards. Full of different kinds, different sayings, different notes but all the same sentiment– love and compassion. One of the amazing employees there had put a box out in the common area and encouraged people to write a few and simply drop them in the box. I couldn’t believe it. SOOO much more than I expected but what an incredible surprise!

   
 
And THEN I get an email from a co-worker who let his sister (who’s a teacher) know about the initiative and she wanted to get involved. So I’ve since been in contact with this amazing lady who’s gotten her class to do it and has enlisted many of the classes throughout the school! I couldn’t be more ecstatic! 

To all my friends, Michael, my family (and my moms school!) and all the TJXer’s and the family and friends they’ve gotten involved in this little initiative… THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful for you taking the time to bring someone else a smile, to remind them that they’re not alone in what is obviously an incredibly difficult time. You’ve chosen to make a difference in a strangers life and that’s truly a beautiful thing. 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

May My Heart Be Kind

  
I was so grumpy after the Pats game last night. Two losses in a row? How terrible! I was letting it make my mood on a Sunday night be spoiled. And then The President came on and spoke about Isis. And then my pissy mood regarding the game of football quickly switched to a genuine feeling of sadness thinking of the hatred that’s out in this world. I can’t fathom wanting to bring such harm to any living thing, never mind an entire subset of the human race.

I wish there was something I could do to help, to make a difference, to make this craziness stop. But there isn’t. I can’t change the evil in someone’s heart, I can’t rid the world of their monster-like actions. But what I can do is go out in the world that I do live in and bring light and positive energy to it. I can be a kind person who respects others and cares for others. I can bring others happiness. Just like their hatred can spread and infect those around them, let us infect each other with positivity and compassion and love. Your small action of kindness can bring someone else joy and in turn can make them a kinder person and so forth. Remember that as you start this week– your actions spread. So make your actions positive ones!

We may never know a world with only peace and love, but we can hope and pray for one. So that’s what I’ll continue to do and that’s what I hope to motivate you to do. Love always wins. 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy