Spiritual Exploration

Sometimes I walk around the house with a smudging stick, burning the incense and blessing the house and the people & pup in it- my body, the food we eat, the house we live in, the bed we sleep in… I bless everything.

Five years ago if you would’ve told me I’d be doing such a thing, I would’ve made a snarky remark that that type of routine is for a crazy person.

But then life happened and I was forced into exploring my spirituality.

At first I thought it must be in the four walls of a church… I tried that a few times but always felt like I was forcing something that just didn’t feel right.

Then I started practicing yoga for more than just the physical benefits but for the emotional and mental benefits-the simple act of slowing down and focusing on your breath. That opened the door to mantras – affirmations I choose to say to myself – words which resonate with me that I can bring to the surface at any point when I need it most. I started writing down what I’m thankful for each night, even if it’s small, just to ensure myself that I was inserting gratitude into every day. I started meditating. I started praying- to what or who, I actually can’t say- just to a higher being that I know can hear me.

For a girl who felt uneasy in a church and uncomfortable reciting prayers- I have become extremely comfortable with spirituality and what it means to me.

It brings me strength, it provides me guidance and offers me comfort in times I need it most.

I found “the higher power,” in myself. I found spirituality deep in my own soul.

My hope is that you too explore spirituality in an authentic way- that you don’t force yourself into the predetermined box that can often be considered religion – that you don’t judge yourself for thinking or acting in ways you once may not have. My hope is that you can begin to find what spirituality means to you, not by how others tell you it should look, but based only on how it makes you feel. If you open your mind to alternative ways of accessing your inner self and the greater universe around you, I promise, it’ll be a beautiful thing.

Lots of love & light-

Jessy

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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 


3 Months in the Making

I haven’t written a blog post since my port was removed. That was March 13.  
I thought that by not writing about cancer or talking about cancer, I wouldn’t think about cancer. But there’s still not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. To be honest, there’s hardly an hour that goes by without it popping into my mind. 

Is writing like riding a bike?

Can you not write for years and then start back up again- like you never stopped? 

I hope so, cuz I’m ready to start riding again. Wait, I mean writing. 

Four months of being a stay-at-home pup mom brings up a lot of emotions and they varied everyday. One day I would be jacked up when Mike got home, so excited to talk to someone- to a HUMAN! Omg! And then others I’d be down, unable to keep a conversation because I felt so bad about myself. I felt guilty that I didn’t have a job, I wasn’t making money for our family, and that I didn’t have a better direction of where I wanted to go than I did the day before. I over-compensated by trying to do every single household chore one can think of. I became an award-winning chef. I got to spend time with family members that I know I wouldn’t have been able to if I had been working full time. There was so much good that happened in these months yet some days seemed so very difficult, so lonely and sad. What I learned, is that I need some sort of structure, I need to have a purpose, I need to feel part of a team. More than be part but I need to feel like I’m an equal part to the team. It’s essential to my happiness. Without it, I feel unworthy. Whether or not that’s a healthy realization, that’s yet to be determined. But it certainly is true for me. I’ve begun telling myself “I am worthy” during meditation. That’s because I am. But I don’t always believe it. I don’t always believe that I am worthy of this life I have been given- one with many abundances, many positive relationships, and above all, one that is healthy again. Feeling worthy is essential. It’s a piece of life I definitely haven’t mastered but I’m working on. I hope you read this and remind yourself that you’re worthy too. You’re worthy of all the good things that have happened to you, you’re worthy of all the blessings you’ve been given, you’re worthy of this life… your life. 

With that simple post, I feel accomplished and I feel like I can start writing again. I’ve had my down moments in the past 3-4 months but I also have had amazing moments- I’ve gone tubing with my whole family, I’ve helped throw and had my own bridal shower & bachelorette party! I’ve traveled to Vermont, Florida and Austin. I’ve gone on long walks with phoebs on the beach. I watched my baby brother graduate college. I’ve gone to sporting games and concerts. I picked out my WEDDING ring! I’ve done SO much actually now that I’m looking back. And the best part is that new things are happening and there’s so much more to look forward to! I want to remember every bit of it… so it’s time to start documenting!

Happy weekend! Hoping you get to soak up the rays of sun that have finally decided to come out to play! ☀️

Love & light,

Jessy 

Time Goes On

3 years ago on this morning, I was in a hospital bed being woken by doctors and nurses. I was about to start one of the most physically painful and emotionally draining days of my life. I had just been diagnosed and rushed to the hospital the night before and today was the day I had to undergo multiple tests and procedures to determine just what kind of leukemia I had. January 21, 2014 was a day of absolute unknown and terror of what lie ahead. 
3 years later I’m waking up in my own bed with no beeping machines or nurses poking me for blood. Instead I can hear my wind chime outside, birds chirping and Phoebe is snuggled up next to me demanding for scratchies. I’m wearing an engagement ring and get to marry the love of my life in 5 months. I’m going out to dinner with my best friend of 25 years tonight for her birthday. My life is in such a different place than it was on this day in 2014, it’s almost mind boggling. 


3 years from today is still unknown. However, this time, fear has been replaced with excitement. Where will Mike & I be living? What will I be doing for work? Will I be a mom? There’s so much more living to do. There’s so much more I’m looking forward to and I feel beyond blessed that I get to feel these feelings of excitement and joy. 
The beauty, and tragedy, in life is the same. You never know what life has in store for you. You never know if the hopes and dreams you have for yourself will be realized. But you do know that you have today, and this moment and this breath. So make the most of it. Enjoy it, savor it and soak up the sunshine that is your life. 
Sending each and everyone of you – those who have my followed my blog from the beginning and those who have just found it- so much love and gratitude. I am thankful everyday for the prayers and positive energy that you have sent my way to get me to this day. 
Love & light,

Jessy 

Giving Tuesday

When I was diagnosed with leukemia on February 20, 2014, I had a doctor that held my hand and looked me in the eyes and told me that she was going to fix me. From that very first moment, I was terrified but I had a sense of hope. That sense of hope has been the crux of my strength for the past 2 years. Hope that I will survive this…hope that I will get my life back…hope that I will live to have my own children. When someone is diagnosed with ALS, there’s no such hope. They are told they have most likely 2-5 years to live in which they will gradually lose their abilities to do almost everything except for think. They are told that they will no longer have the physical capability to breathe on their own, but they will have the mental capacity to know exactly what’s happening. They are then told that there’s currently only one treatment for this disease and that it will likely extend their life 2-3 months. 2-3 months, that’s it.

I want these people to be given the same hope that I was given. They deserve it. That is why I am so humbled and honored to be working for ALS TDI, an organization that is entirely focused on research to help #endALS. An organization that is working tirelessly to help give these incredible individuals the hope they so deserve.

Today is #GivingTuesday. It’s a day to remind ourselves of what this time of year is truly about– not deals on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but giving to those we love and to those in need. I ask that today, even if just $5, you donate to ALS.NET and help us towards our goal of finding a cure for this terrible terrible disease.

https://www.als.net/donategivingtuesday

 

Lots of love, light & gratitude,

Jessy winston churchill

Thankful For So Much

When I was growing up, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Thanksgiving. I was a picky eater. I focused on the fact that I didn’t like the food. If you don’t really like vegetables and you’re not into turkey, good old T-giving can be a tough day. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized what an incredible day it really is. I’m happy to say that now that I consider myself quite the foodie, I absolutely love all the delicious food I get to stuff my face with BUT I love even more to have a day that’s specifically dedicated to giving thanks. It’s a day focused on being grateful for all you have and to be with those you love and reflect on all that you have together.

Since being diagnosed, I have found true strength when I count my blessings. When I consciously think about all the things that I do have in life, no matter how hard the day, my mindset is always helped. It helps ground me and helps put things into a necessary perspective. So today in honor of this amazing day that is completely dedicated to being thankful, I am going to list out everything I feel so lucky to have in my life.

I am thankful for…

  1. My Michael
  2. My family
  3. My Phoebe
  4. My friends
  5. My incredible doctors (especially Dr. Mandy & Dr. D)
  6. The most amazing and caring nurses (especially Andrea, Rachel, Margo, Deb, Kristen!)
  7. To be a patient at the most amazing cancer institute in the world— Dana Farer
  8. To have a job
  9. Having a roof over my head
  10. Having food to eat everyday
  11. Being an American
  12. Living in New England
  13. Being a Patriots Fan
  14. Being able to practice yoga
  15. Sharing a home I love with a person I love
  16. Music!!!
  17. My under desk bicycle
  18. Having a safe car
  19. Dancing
  20. Technology
  21. Fresh flowers
  22. Queen B
  23. T-Swift, in particular, “Shake It Off”
  24. One Direction
  25. Buddhism
  26. The ability to opening my mind to alternative ways of thinking
  27. Clothes & Shoes that I love
  28. A working pancreas
  29. Good food and being able to eat it!
  30. Buffalo chicken
  31. Strawberry strudels
  32. Being in remission
  33. Having hair again
  34. Soft, fuzzy pajamas
  35. Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for this blog and most importantly thankful for all the supportive and wonderful people that have followed my journey. I’m thankful that you’re part of my life and thankful for everything your support has provided me throughout a challenging portion of my life.

I hope you all have a beautiful day, and remember to truly give thanks to all that you have in your life. Even if you’re going through a tough time, try to think of at least one thing that you can feel true gratitude for — whether that is as important as another human being in your life or as simple as being able to have a glass of wine. Whatever it is you’re thankful for, be truly thankful, down to your core.

Happy Thanksgiving, loves!

thankful

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.