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

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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 

Breathe Easy

take a deep breath

I don’t know if it’s the steriods I’m on that’s making me feel like this, but I can’t stop thinking about all I have to do. Life, in general right now, is busy. Work’s picking up, I have personal obligations that I need to complete, I’m trying to take my first online class on Coursera, there are trips I need to research and schedule (which is fun but takes a lot of time!), I want to read this, write that, schedule this, plan that, prepare for this or that. All of a sudden there seems like a pile of tasks to check off the list. So today, this motivational Monday is just as much as it is for me as it is for all of you. I need to remember to breathe. The tasks will slowly come off the list– and if some have to get postponed, that’s okay. Today, I need to remember to BREATHE. To inhale all the good that’s in my life, take a big beautiful breath of positive energy, close my eyes and see the light and exhale any negative thoughts or feelings that don’t serve me well.

There are so many benefits to deep breathing — beyond just helping to calm your mind, but physical benefits that can truly make a difference in your daily health.

Make sure you’re doing it correctly, however, to gain the best benefits. First inhale through your nose, expanding your belly and filling your chest. Count to 5. Hold and count to 3– feel all your cells filled with golden, healing, balancing Sun light & energy. Exhale fully from a slightly parted mouth and feel all your cells releasing waste and emptying old energy.

So trust in the fact that you’re where you need to be today, everything that is meant to happen is happening. Breath the certainty in and any worry out that you may have. Today is a good day.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

For more information on the benefits of taking time to do some deep breathing, here’s a list of 18 physical benefits from the One Powerful Blog:

1. Breathing Detoxifies and Releases Toxins
Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not properly ridding your body of its toxins i.e. other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness. When you exhale air from your body you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism.

2. Breathing Releases Tension
Think how your body feels when you are tense, angry, scared or stressed. It constricts. Your muscles get tight and your breathing becomes shallow. When your breathing is shallow you are not getting the amount of oxygen that your body needs.

3. Breathing Relaxes the Mind/Body and Brings Clarity
Oxygenation of the brain reducing excessive anxiety levels. Paying attention to your breathing. Breathe slowly, deeply and purposefully into your body. Notice any places that are tight and breathe into them. As you relax your body, you may find that the breathing brings clarity and insights to you as well.

4. Breathing Relieves Emotional Problems
Breathing will help clear uneasy feelings out of your body.

5. Breathing Relieves Pain.
You may not realize its connection to how you think, feel and experience life. For example, what happens to your breathing when you anticipate pain? You probably hold your breath. Yet studies show that breathing into your pain helps to ease it.

6. Breathing Massages Your Organs
The movements of the diaphragm during the deep breathing exercise massages the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. When you inhale air your diaphragm descends and your abdomen will expand. By this action you, massage vital organs and improves circulation in them. Controlled breathing also strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles.

7. Breathing Increases Muscle
Breathing is the oxygenation process to all of the cells in your body. With the supply of oxygen to the brain this increases the muscles in your body.

8. Breathing Strengthens the Immune System
Oxygen travels through your bloodstream by attaching to haemoglobin in your red blood cells. This in turn then enriches your body to metabolise nutrients and vitamins.

9. Breathing Improves Posture
Good breathing techniques over a sustained period of time will encourage good posture. Bad body posture will result of incorrect breathing so this is such an important process by getting your posture right from early on you will see great benefits.

10. Breathing Improves Quality of the Blood
Deep breathing removes all the carbon-dioxide and increases oxygen in the blood and thus increases blood quality.

11. Breathing Increases Digestion and Assimilation of food
The digestive organs such as the stomach receive more oxygen, and hence operates more efficiently. The digestion is further enhanced by the fact that the food is oxygenated more.

12. Breathing Improves the Nervous System
The brain, spinal cord and nerves receive increased oxygenation and are more nourished. This improves the health of the whole body, since the nervous system communicates to all parts of the body.

13. Breathing Strengthen the Lungs
As you breathe deeply the lung become healthy and powerful, a good insurance against respiratory problems.

14. Proper Breathing makes the Heart Stronger.
Breathing exercises reduce the workload on the heart in two ways. Firstly, deep breathing leads to more efficient lungs, which means more oxygen, is brought into contact with blood sent to the lungs by the heart. So, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver oxygen to the tissues. Secondly, deep breathing leads to a greater pressure differential in the lungs, which leads to an increase in the circulation, thus resting the heart a little.

15. Proper Breathing assists in Weight Control.

If you are overweight, the extra oxygen burns up the excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen feeds the starving tissues and glands.
16. Breathing Boosts Energy levels and Improves Stamina

17. Breathing Improves Cellular Regeneration

18. Breathing Elevates Moods
Breathing increase pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain – See more at: http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html#sthash.yKZxzcMv.dpuf

Tip for a Tuesday

Stupid

I’m stealing this line from the founder of the Not Impossible Labs (the speaker I wrote about a few days ago that was at the conference I attended last week). He said this line so passionately and at first I hated it. Why would I surround myself with people that make me feel stupid? That’s horrible advice, I thought. But then I quickly realized that surrounding yourself with people that make you feel stupid doesn’t mean surrounding yourself with people that make you feel inadequate or that belittle you– but rather the opposite. It means to surround yourself with people that know more than you, that you can gain insight from, perspective from, people that you can GROW from. Once you realize you may be the “stupid-est” person in the room, don’t be ashamed, be grateful– take it as a blessing– there is SO MUCH to LEARN!!! In the past year and a half, I’ve been surrounded by some of the most brilliant men and women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, and although sometimes it can be intimidating, more often than not, it’s empowering… it makes me want to open my eyes to what else is out there and the ways my mind can continue to expand.

Life is all about growing and by taking the time to surround yourself with those that you can grow from– you’re hedging your bet right.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

I’m taking this line from the founder of Not Impossible labs

Cast Your Stone

  
Sometimes I get caught up in the fact that my daily work doesn’t help anyone other than myself. I get upset thinking that my actual work leaves little to make a difference in the world. But this is a good reminder that making a difference in the world doesn’t always have to be made with a big splash. Sometimes it can be little things that you do, smiling at a stranger, donating $10 to your friends fundraiser, really listening to someone when they’re upset, babysitting for a family member, volunteering at a soup kitchen. Whatever it is, spending time doing something for someone else makes a difference. If we all made small ripples, it would create a large ocean current, with rolling beautiful waves.

Something to think about as we start the week. Even if it’s teensy tiny, make a difference today. 

Lots of love & light, 

Jessy

Finding the Happiness 

Yesterday, I was in a funk. My body was sore and I had a headache under my eyes that wouldn’t go away. I grumpily stumbled my way downstairs to sit down with my coffee, open my laptop and almost instantaneously get bombarded with instant messages and “high priority” emails. Too many things unexpectedly popping up and I started to slip into a mental abys of stress and negativity. As much as I like to tell myself, “I’ve got this” and that this whole working and getting chemo thing is easy-peasy, sometimes, to be honest, it’s not easy. Sometimes, it’s hard. Really really hard. Sometimes trying to balance working full time and having the effects of treatment weigh me down is, a lot. Yesterday, as I sat at the table ferociously pounding on my keyboard, I began to panic thinking about everything that I needed to get done before heading to the hospital. How much time was I going to lose while I was driving over? Would there be too many distractions at the Dana to get what I needed complete? I just didn’t have time for “this,” today, I thought. “This” being my time at the hospital. “This” being my treatment. “This” being what’s saving my life.
Shit.

Maybe I do have time for “this.” Maybe everything else is just going to have to take a back seat. 

I say that, as I sit here and think about it, but in the heat of the day, somehow my priorities had left me. That was, until my mom called to tell me that it had been exactly one year since we were together and I was rushed to the ER for pancreatitis. At that moment, after instantaneously beginning to cry, I was slapped in the face with the reminder that, today, as hard as it felt in the moments before, was NOTHING compared to what I went through that day. That day was hard. That day was scary. That day was stressful. That day stuff that really mattered happened. 
The thought of last year and the reality of the day at hand seemed too much to bear all of a sudden. I was sad. I was sad, and there didn’t feel like anything I could do about it.
Days like yesterday remind me that, as much as I try, not everyday gets to be sunshine and rainbows. Not everyday even gets to be a good one. But it’s important to try to find a little piece of happiness, even in the smallest of ways, every single day. So as I pondered on my way home about what would make me happy, I landed on cinnabun rolls and coffee ice cream and boy, was that a great decision. I giggled to myself as I sat on the couch and licked my fingers full of frosting. So was yesterday a fun-filled day? That answer would be no. But it still had a moment that made me smile so I will be grateful.
Here’s to hoping that you all find a little piece of happiness in each of your days. Even if it’s the teeeeeeensy teeeeeensy tiny, find the happiness. 
Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

I Get By with a Little Help From My Friends

Yesterday we were so lucky to spend some time with very close friends. They had rented a house on a lake in Maine with their family so we decided to visit and stay over before we start our mini vacation in Portland (writing this from the beach now! 😍) Anyways, while we were there, I was able to try paddle boarding which I’ve always wanted to do. So, at the before going in for dinner, I decided I wanted to take one out once more and went by myself. I started rowing and thought to myself, “wow I’m really good at this, I’m cruising.” So I continued rowing and found myself floating along the lake, completely in the moment. I kept looking up at the sky and then down at the water flowing around me and couldn’t help but feel so blessed and so thankful that I had been given this moment. I kept thinking to myself that it was about a year ago at this time that I was hit with pancreatitis and it was then that my most difficult physical troubles began. So I felt so lucky that I was strong enough now to be doing something active like this by myself. 

Time continued to go by and I continued to not have a care in the world. When I got to a certain point, I decided it was probably time to turn around. I started to switch directions. Difficultly #1. After multiple tries, I got the board turned around started rowing towards the house, which at this point was far, farrrrr out of sight. So I start paddling, as hard as I could but wasn’t moving too fast anymore. Oh well, I thought, no big deal. Then all of a sudden I see Michael paddling along in a kayak. “Rescuer #1” has arrived. He gets to me and instantly asks if I’m okay followed with “what the hell are you doing?” I’m baffled. Doesn’t he mean, what the hell is he doing? I’m fine. I’m having a great time. After telling him he can leave because I’m good on my own, he decides to stay and kayak next to me as I try to adventure back. So I go a few minutes passing a house with a family sitting on their deck. Tired, I decide to pause to take a break. As I stop, I realize I am FLYING backward; right pass the family I just passed a few minutes ago. Uh oh. Difficultly #2. So Mike says, you need help? Nope, I say. I’ve still got this. So I start paddling again and as the wind picks up, I begin to realize that I’m going at a rate of  about 1 inch a minute. Gotta change my strategy. So I sit on my board and decide that’ll help the situation. No such luck. Now Mike starts insisting that I let him help. So, begrudgingly, I say okay and we tie my paddle board to his kayak and it’s decided that he’s going to try to tow me back. Difficultly #3. I’m determined to pull my own weight so I try paddling while he is as well. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Next I decide I’m going to get in the water behind the paddle board and start kicking as I hold onto the board so he doesn’t have my weight to pull along. Difficulty #4. As that’s failing miserably, I let go of the paddle board and decide I’m just going to swim back. It takes a few minutes for him to notice that I’m swimming alongside but once he does, that doesn’t go over well. Difficultly #5. We then start arguing as he’s convinced that it’s going to either take hours for me to get back to the house, I’m going to drowned trying or at the very least “puke blood.” So as the words “my parents paid for 13 years of swimming lessons for a reason, I AM FINEEEEE” 🏊🏽 are being screamed out of my mouth, “Rescuer #2” comes up in his kayak. We’ve now both been gone for so long, everyone at the house is beginning to seriously worry. I then tell our friend Nate that I’m just swimming back and he gives me a definitive “that’s not going to work.” It’s now decided that I’m going to get in his kayak and he’s going to be able to paddle board back. So we pull over, I eat shit as I attempt to get in the kayak and then am finally successful the second try. Then, finally, all three of us find ourselves rowing back into our dock. Mission complete. 

After a while of explaining myself and apologizing, I went to an upstairs deck and laid on a hammock overlooking the lake and laughed to myself at the debauchery that had just ensued. But as I was chuckling to myself about what a disaster my original peaceful paddle boarding adventure had turned into, I also thought about how I did end up truly needing help. When Mike first arrived, I was annoyed to be honest. I felt like he was overreacting and not trusting me enough to understand that I am able to take care of myself. I was so determined to prove him wrong, and to show that I could do this on my own, we wasted a lot of time, attempting different ways that we could make it back, ways that ultimately didn’t work and made me more tired than I already was becoming. I tend to do this, in an effort to prove that I’m not weak, I over exert myself and don’t take the help when I actually need it. I’ve learned in the past year, that it’s so important to take help. Everyone needs help, we’re individuals but we can only survive by being dependent on first ourselves but then others too. I forget this often, as I did yesterday, but it was a good lesson to learn (once again) that sometimes you have to put aside your pride and just say yes when those that love you are trying to help you. That sometimes, taking the help can be the strongest thing you can do, not the weakest.

Moral of the story: be conscious of the currents. If you’re cruising down a lake the first time you’ve ever paddle boarded, instead of thinking “I’m Queen👑 of the paddle board🏄🏻,” you might wanna think, “the wind could be helping me and I may be screwed when I turn around.” Note to self: be more humble. 🙏🏼

Happy weekend friends.

Lots of love & light, 

Jessy