Creating Serenity for Yourself

taking time for you

During a relaxing hot bath, I began reading the first passage of “The Radiance Sutras” and it ended with:

“…exhaling, breath is released and flows out.

There is a pulse as it turns to flow in.

In that turn, you are empty.

Enter that emptiness as the source of all life.

Inhaling, breath flows in, filling, nourishing.

Just as it turns to flow out,

There is a flash of pure joy —

Life is renewed.”

 

What better time for me to symbolically renew my life than now? So I breathed in deeply and exhaled, underwater. I was completely submerged and it felt so exhilarating. I love being in the water– even if it’s just a bath, I find it so cleanings. It makes my heart warm, the water gives me a flushing feeling like I’m really alive. Right now, you’re one of the one of hte most important elements– water. I dunked myself 3 times, for no specific reason other than it felt good. I got water up my nose and that was clearly an issue. So I sat up, swayed my head side to side to get out any left over cricks and sucked down the cold water that sat beside me.

What started as a relaxing nighttime bath, turned into something that left me renewed and refreshsed to start this new week and also start on the new beginning that began last week.

Same journey, different path.

Enjoy the little things in life– make simple gestures to honor yourself and your life.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

p.s. wanted to show my beautiful oil burner– it’s one of my favorite purchases in the past year!

oil burner

 

The Hike

Last weekend I was lucky enough to spend two days doing one thing and one thing only– taking time for me. I spent my 27th birthday weekend at a yoga/health & wellness facility in Lenox, MA where I did a lot of different activities but one that I did over and over again was write in my journal. I took it just about everywhere and wrote down whatever popped into my head. A lot of good stuff came out– stuff that means something to me and stuff that I want to share here on my blog. So tonight I’m starting where I ended. This is my story of my hike in the Berkshires. 

mountains

The Ascent 

After a gentle yoga/Qi Quong class followed by an aromatherapy massage, I packed my car and got ready for my last little adventure — a guided hike. As I waited for the group to arrive and assemble, I began to feel like this wasn’t right for me. This is my trip— a time to be with my own thoughts and feelings and memories. I didn’t want to make small chat or slow down or speed up for anyone. I wanted this to be my last adventure at my own pace, with my music, my ability to stop and rest, take pictures, write and simply enjoy mother nature and all her goodness. So I grabbed a map of the trails surrounding Kripalu and chose to go to Monks Pond. I’ve been meditating like a modern day Monk all weekend and any option that puts me near water is a good one. So on my way I went. The trail has been really muddy as it’s 45 degrees in February. I feel so grateful as I only have yoga pants on, a long sleeve fleece and sunnies. I can breathe in crisp air but it’s not a stabbing that can come with deep winter colds. As I approach the pond, there looks to be an abandoned little shed and broken dock. But the water has frozen to a shimmery, star-dust blue— it’s breath taking. The sun is shining off and illuminating this frozen but alive body of water.

I look to my left and there’s a stunning stream that I can now see that runs all the way down the path I just marched up. Lucky for me, I’m all alone and no one is around so I’ve sat on a ledge next to the flowing water and am angled directly in the sunlight through the trees. The moving water is so calming and reinforces the fact that life goes on. It hits rocks, splashes up and down, freezes into sculptures at some places and runs wildly down others, crashes upon rocks and creates wade pools in others. But the water, this stream, it all continues to run together in a form that’s one. Each droplet of water essentially going to the same place— a bigger, greater, calmer body of water that is all one. I sit here on this rock and think about the stream I have gone down, all the water droplets that have given me the current I needed to keep flowing on. I feel as if I’m rounding the bend with this vast beautiful body of water that will await for me now in my current life but acts as just a foreshadow of the beautiful, completely blissful, full of love body of water that waits me, and all of us, one day.

For February 28, 2016, I can smell the new body of water coming… I can sense the sunshine beaming and I can feel the love all around me.

The Descent

Just as I sat there taking deep breaths and thinking calm and loving thoughts as the stream bubbled beside me, I slowly stood and decided it was time to head back. Almost instantaneously, I got excited— I got borderline panicky— like I needed to get back NOW. I knew that I had made it to where I wanted to go and now I was ready to come home. So I started picking up my pace— jogging, skipping, jumping over mud puddles but realized shortly that I wasn’t 100% sure where I was going. I was on a path— that was for sure— but I was alone, and I didn’t know which direction I was headed. All I knew was that I was walking and I was simply looking for the blue marks on the trees to tell me “it’s this way” “stay on the path.” Immediately, Dr. D and Dr. Mandy came into my head — the whole journey, I’ve been on a path, somewhat blindly putting my full trust into their guidance— sometimes no questions asked, simply looking toward the blue marker to say “go this way” or “turn down here.” Amidst this excitement, I began to skip again. More than anything I wanted to see the clearing. But I couldn’t. Not paying attention, I slipped and fell on ice and I could briefly hear my Dad say “slow it down Jess.” Then my favorite Florence & the Machine song came on — The Dog Days Are Over. That’s it! I thought. This is it— so I literally started dancing my way down the path with my gut knowing that I was coming to a clearing. I was right. But it was the same frozen Monks Pond I had started my “descent” on. 

Keep going— I could hear my mom say, “it’s just a little bit father.”

So I did just that and marched and marched, continuing on the path looking for all signs that pointed me “home” With two very muddy pink sneakers and a damp bum from falling, I made it to the Kripalu camp. Rested right above the hill overlooking the beautiful Berkshire mountains, the sun was just beginning to set. There were cars and people and buildings. Life is just like it was when I went into those woods, but I have a completely different perspective on the same view. 

I’m glad I didn’t go with the hiking guide and group. I needed to do this on my own. I needed to walk the path, stumble, get excited, get let down, and come to the beautiful clearing that I had hoped for, knowing that every ray of sunshine that beat down on my face was a family member reminding me they were here for me— every trail marker, a nurse or doctor letting me know I was doing okay — every breeze that tickled my face and made me laugh, a friend showing their support —  and the horizon at the end, my Michael, my love, I look at those mountains and see so many adventures to be had and memories to be made.

Today is February 28, 2016.

I am here.

I am now.

I am grateful.

I am proud.

I am hopeful.”

selfie with mountains

Lots of love and light,

Jessy 

New Year, Same Me

  
You hear a lot of “new year, new you” chatter around this time. And although I like the sentiment of making resolutions to improve your life and update something in your world that could use extra time and energy, I like to think that it’s not a new me doing these things, it’s the same me with an improved mindset. 

This year, my resolution is to take at least 5 minutes to myself every day. To lay down on my yoga mat, stress relief oil burner on, feet up in the air, left hand on my heart, right hand on my stomach and really feel grateful for the moment and the day that I just had. Even when I don’t have time to do an entire yoga practice, I’ve found that taking a few minutes to do some deep breathing, stretching out the kinks, and thinking about of the things I’m thankful for can significantly help my mindset and can make me feel better even during a hard day. But often times I don’t make “time” for it, when the reality is I always have 5 minutes. Always. 

And as the quote says, I firmly believe that a positive mind moves to positive vibes and makes a positive life.

So whatever your resolution is for 2016, I hope you stick with it and make it a positive change in your life. But do you, you’re beautiful just the way you are! 
Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Grateful for the Now

So much of our lives are spent wishing for the next thing. When you don’t have a boyfriend, you wish you were in a relationship. When you have a boyfriend, you wish you were engaged. When you’re engaged you can’t wait to get married and have all that stressful planning done and over with! It’s always on-to-the-next and I’m fully guilty of this. Certainly, I am guilty of this lately — I think almost daily about how much I can’t wait for this time period of my life to be over. How I can’t wait until I’m “normal” again. I can’t wait until I can have drinks again. I can’t wait until I don’t have chemo treatments every week. I can’t wait until this damn port is out of my chest. I can’t wait to have a dog. I can’t wait to get rid of my commute.
I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.
I’m literally wishing away my life because it’s “hard” right now. Then I sit and think about it and I realize that it’s always going to be hard. Life is always going to have bumps in the road and obstacles to get over… you don’t go over one big wave and then have smooth sailing the rest of the ride. Navigating those rocky waves is part of being human. So although my hope is that this time in my life is particularly difficult, I need to stop pretending like this is the only difficult thing that I will experience in my life. What I really need to do is start living in the now and appreciating the day in front of me. I feel like this expression, “life in the moment,” is so overused and rarely ever acted upon but it’s the only way to say it. You truly have to embrace each day and feel grateful to be in it. Because as wonderful as tomorrow looks today, who knows if you’ll ever get there? That sounds bleak but it’s the truth. Tomorrow isn’t promised so if you spend all of today looking forward to tomorrow, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine that’s beating down on you RIGHT NOW.
Saying this and living this are two different things. It takes practice and a lot of actual effort to truly feel happy, to whole-heartedly embrace the day. I’ve realized that being happy isn’t something that just happens, you have to make a conscious effort to attain it. I believe that having gratitude for the things in your life and being grateful for the many blessings that you have, really helps in feeling that true joy we’re all looking for. I’ve been putting a conscious effort to act on this lately and have found that a few easy practices, have helped me take on each day with a better mindset.
that I have found helpful is meditating for a few minutes in the morning before I get out of bed. My type of meditating doesn’t consist of any “om-ing” or special rituals that take a considerable amount of time. Rather for just a few minutes before getting out of bed in the morning, I sit up straight with my legs crossed, close my eyes and think about how grateful I am for this day, how grateful I am for my life and the people in my life. Doing this starts the day off on a positive note– it is a reminder to feel thankful for simply being alive and getting to live this day.
Another thing I’ve been trying to do more often is to take deep breaths. I know this sounds so simple but it can be so impactful. It physically calms your body down when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. Breathing deeply in through your nose and slowly out through your nose, can help reduce anxiety, which I think we all so desperately can use. While I’m doing this, I often say to myself, “I am strong. I am loved and I will get through this.” These three sentences have sort of become my mantra that I’ve been saying in my head since about February 21, 2014 but yours can be whatever you want. Whatever makes you feel more at ease, gives you confidence and makes you feel like you can get through whatever life is handing you. And the beauty about pairing deep breathing with a personal affirmation is that it can be done anytime, anywhere.
The last thing that I’ve found helps to ground you and bring your mind to the present moment is to look up at the sky. Really look. Throw your head back and look up at its beautiful openness. See how big it is. Think about how small you are in the world compared to it. It’s a humbling feeling and I find that it helps to give you a sense of much-needed perspective.
That being said, I don’t want to act like I don’t see the importance of planning ahead or being excited for the future. Being excited for what’s to come is what motivates us and gets us to push ourselves to be the best we can be so our tomorrow can be even better than today! It’s just important to remember to be grateful for the now, TOO. Be grateful for THIS moment. Even if it’s a hard moment, be grateful for it. It might be tough but it’s making you stronger. Be grateful for that. Simply said, be grateful for your life — it’s a beautiful one.
So, just like my gorgeous little Leni bear, I hope that every day you stop and take time to smell the flowers blooming right outside your window.
IMG_5941
Lots of love and light,
Jessy
p.s. I’ll probably have to reread this tomorrow when I’m sitting at work, wishing for the weekend. But hey! It’s all about making the effort.