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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Wedding Weekend Is Here

In a few days, I get to marry Michael. It feels like this day has been on my mind for years. Not just the day I get to wear a pretty white dress, but the day I get to marry my best friend. The day I get to commit myself to another human being- my person- in front of everyone that we love.

If I’m being honest, there have been so many moments in the past year- but especially in the past month, that I’ve let the stress of planning–essentially the biggest party of my PlansMorans career— get in the way of how joyous this period is supposed to be. I’ve become consumed in the details and the stress of making everything perfect. My temper has been short and my feelings have been easily hurt and the ironic part is that that man that I’m marrying is the one who has received the brunt of it. (Also my mom….my mom has seen some tears.) So, if you’re reading this Mike– I’m sorry, I love you, I promise my fuse is not typically this short! Thank you for dealing with my rollercoaster of emotions.

But as of tomorrow, the planning will be over and the celebrating will begin. And by Friday, nearly everyone that means the most to us will be on the Cape to help us celebrate. I can’t get over how amazing that’s going to be. When else in your life are you surrounded by, truly, all those you love? Hometown friends, college friends, mentors, in our case- our incredible team of doctors and nurses and of course, both of our families? It’s an occasion that we’re lucky to experience and I so want to relish in every second… I want to soak up every ounce of love and bottle it up!

But since I can’t physically bottle up this weekend, my goal is to take mental snapshots. Remember Mike’s face, remember our officiants words, remember the feel of hugs from friends and family. Remember the butterflies in my stomach when we kiss for the first time as husband and wife. Remember the euphoric feeling when looking around and seeing faces from near and far. Remember how bad my feet hurt after a night of epic dancing. But most of all, I hope I remember the feel of Mike’s hands holding mine, the look in his eye when he promises to be my husband, the wind whipping past my cheek as he spins me around the dance floor. I want to remember every detail from the day I become the wife of the man I love so much, my partner in life, my best friend, my soulmate. 

I am so excited for this day, this weekend, our honeymoon but I am most excited for another chapter in our life to begin together. In the six years we’ve known each other, we have experienced a lot of ups and downs- career struggles and stress, a cancer diagnosis, a mother lost, but babies (and a puppy!) have also been born, we’ve traveled, we’ve laughed, we’ve danced, we’ve had so many firsts, we’ve had so many happy moments together. With each hurdle, we’ve stuck together and lifted each other up. And with each positive experience, it’s felt more intense, more beautiful, more incredible because we’ve had each other to share it with.

Meeting Michael was the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. Making it to the day that I get to marry him was a far-away dream. For a brief moment, that dream flickered, but on Saturday it’s a dream that gets to come true. And that makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. My life is better with him in it- our lives are better with each other in it- and for that, I am overwhelmingly thankful. 

To everyone who has been a part of supporting, nourishing and bringing happiness to our relationship- thank you! 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

The Fabric of Life

Did people talk to each other on public transportation before mobile devices? 
I’m working downtown for my new job and it’s easiest to take the train. Everyday I become more fascinated by how so many individuals can be in one location and nobody talks to each other. Nobody even makes eye contact. Most people are on their phones, texting, listening to music, checking emails, reading. Clearly, many are connecting with other people- just none of the other humans near them. It’s such a weird concept- kind of like being on an elevator – to be sharing, many times, super personal space with another individual but make no connection. Why is that? I’m totally guilty as I listen to my music and people watch. I probably would text or email or go on social media if I could but I’d crush my data in a day so I don’t. As I people watch, it’s interesting to see everyone’s moods, expressions, attitudes. Hundreds of people packing into a single object like a can of sardines most likely to do the same thing- go to work or to go home from work- but rarely is an acknowledgement made.

Even though the vast majority of us are riding the train for the same reason, it’s different than when we go on the train to go to a Celtics game- those rides, there’s a clear sense of comeroddery- we act nice towards others because we know we’re rooting for the same team, we’re doing the same thing- we must be “like each other.” But aren’t we all like each other when we’re going to work too? Just trying to make a few bucks to help put food on the table, a roof over our heads, pay for cable, save up for that vacation, to spoil our pets. 

Since I’m taking the train twice a day now, every time I get on, I think about this concept and it’s been kind of bumming me out. But then I was walking to Sullivan Station one morning and I notice some new graffiti below the underpass. 


“Even though I don’t know you, I need you….. #FabricOfOurLife”

And there it is. I’m not the only one feeling the disconnect with one another. Whoever this person is, they feel it too. 

I’m not sure how long Somerville authorities will keep this one up, but I hope they do for a little while- it made me think. I think it’ll make others think.

We may not know each other but we all need one another. I’m going to remember this before I make eye contact with someone on the train and quickly look away… maybe tomorrow, I take the time to smile. Who knows, that person could use a smile. 

Home Sweet Hospital

This Monday, I woke up and went to the Brigham with my mom and Mike. I checked in and got into a johnnie and hopped up into the bed. In a weird way, it felt normal. Being in a hospital bed, although I haven’t been for nearly a year, felt comfortable. Instantly, I was brought back into a world that I should feel very scared of and anxious around but instead, I feel a sense of security. I know to an outsider, and maybe even my family members, that must sound really strange and kind of unhealthy but for me, it’s true. Of course, I was nervous about the procedure and any complications that could’ve arisen but as I sat there in the underground’s of the Brigham by myself waiting for the doctor or nurse to come see me, I was at ease. I wasn’t supposed to be “figuring out my life” or thinking about what I want to do next or applying for jobs, all of which I feel completely lost and unsure of myself doing. Somehow, sitting in a hospital bed, I felt confident, I felt peace knowing I was exactly where I should be at that moment. I was there to put a final close on my leukemia chapter.

I was there to get my port removed.

(For those of you unfamiliar, a port is a permanent IV line that stays in your chest and allows you to give blood and receive medications through. Below is a pic of what it looks like).

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It was a day I have dreamed of for so long, incredibly surreal to believe the day had finally come. This thing, this piece of plastic and tubing that’s been a part of me for the nearly three years. Originally, it felt so foreign and I hated how much it stuck out from my chest. However, I slowly began to have a deep respect for it as I started to realize how it was the gateway to my health. Sometimes when I was at yoga, for example, and the instructor would say to put our hands over our hearts, I’d put one hand over my heart and one over my port. I started thinking of my port as a part of me, and started imagining it as my second heart. One that allowed my original heart to keep beating; it was the catalyst that kept me alive and I am so grateful for it.

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However, this Monday it was time to part ways, and to my moms delight, when I asked the doctor if I could keep it, she graciously said, “no, unfortunately we have to put it in our hazardous waste disposal.” I get it, it sounds strange to try to keep it but I wanted to because of the fact it was such an enormous and important aspect of my journey. I wanted to keep it with my other mementos from my “cancer chapter.” So I was kind of disappointed, strangely enough. But I realize, I guess I don’t need to physically hold onto something because I’ll always hold onto as a part of who I am. I will look at the scar on my chest for the rest of my life and remember exactly what was there, and exactly how blessed I am that all I have left is that minor battle wound. It’s one that I’m immensely proud of.

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So today, after two days of being sleepy and one day being kind of grumpy (I’m sorry Mike 😢 I do love you), I got myself out of the house and met with Dr. Mandy at Dana Farber, not because I had an appointment but because we wanted to catch up and chat as two friends. Dana Farber isn’t home, nor should it ever be, but I’d be lying if I didn’t feel at home there. Who would’ve thought?

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

p.s. final pic is me today… a flat chested lady once again 🙂

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Never Hurts to Try

On Tuesday night at around 9pm, my mom called. I was worried at first– why is she calling so late on a work night? So I picked up a little panicky. And then she sounded panicked.

She had a teacher workshop at her school on Friday that she was running and the health and wellness speaker that they had scheduled had just backed out.

And then she said, would you be able to do it?

At first, I felt like was she calling the wrong daughter. I’m not a motivational speaker and I have a lot of experiences but I don’t have any certifications in any sort of health and wellness fields. So I told her I’d think about it and let her know the next day.

And then I thought. I thought about the oratorical contest I had signed up for in middle school and won. I thought about a business presentation I had done in college to a start-up company and won. I thought about the speech I made at my alma mater two years ago in front of hundreds of students and the speech I made last year to a bunch of golfers that work for corporate Applebees discussing the importance of raising money for Dana-Farber. Then I thought about the interview I had done on NESN before the Red Sox game. And as I thought about each of those experiences, I remembered, I actually like public speaking and just maybe, I’m not that bad at it.

And then, I got excited. I thrive off these sort of things… pressure filled objectives. But I was still weighing it in my head because the reality is, I’m not a professional speaker. I’m not a therapist, or yoga teacher or medical professional by any means so would the teachers of this school think me preaching to them about life be a little ridiculous?

But as I was going back and forth, a little birdy flew into my head and said, “what does it hurt? what do you have to lose?”

So I called my mom and said I’d do it. I might be only 28 years old but I have gone through a lot and I am confident that I could teach someone in that room something. Even if it was just one person and one thing, I was sure I could teach something.

I then spent Wednesday and Thursday writing and editing a presentation that would touch upon my cancer diagnosis and the insights that I garnered from that two year life event. I talked about different tactics that have helped me in coping with stress and healing the pain and anxiety a diagnosis brings — or any sort of emotional uprising brings. So I wrote and then I edited and then I practiced to Phoebe. I give her a C+ for her audience abilities. She doesn’t do much listening, rather more playing but she’s so darn cute, if I could win her over, I could win anybody over.

So this morning, I did it. I went to that school and I spoke about my experiences and how I think what I’ve learned can be brought into the classroom and into those teachers lives on a daily basis — like yoga, meditation, mantras, deep breathing, taking care of yourself. And it was SO fun. My hope is that the small audience I spoke in front of enjoyed the hour presentation and were able to take a way at least one thing to brighten their own lives. But even if they don’t, I know I took a lot away from this experience.

I took a chance. I said yes to something that I didn’t think I was qualified for. And by doing that, I opened a new door of possibilities to myself and met a lot of kind, loving people while doing it.

So as you go into this weekend, remember to keep your heart open. Remember to keep your MIND open to new opportunities. Sometimes, the things that scare you the most are the best things that ever happen to you.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

A Little Flailing Never Killed Anyone

That penguin 🐧 falling in this pic…that’s me. Or at least that’s how I feel. Except I feel like I’m not falling as gracefully as this little guy, I’m doing a little more flailing. 

Almost two weeks into diving off the career cliff, I’m still trying to grow those wings. I’m now past the feeling of just excitement not to be in an office everyday; I’ve organized the closets, done a lot of cleaning, laundry and cooking. I’ve even created a makeshift laundry room and office in our basement. I’m good at keeping myself physically busy but I’ve got some work to do in order to keep my thoughts and anxiety in check. I have finally begun to do more than browse  for jobs and I find myself wrinkling my nose to all of them. I read these descriptions and literally say “ughhh” to them. And then I get stressed when I’ve been looking for an hour and haven’t applied to one because they all seem dreadful. I don’t want to be snobby or unrealistic in my search but I also feel like I took this risk to find a job that I really enjoy and feel passionate about so I don’t want to just apply to anything. 

Someone recently told me, “you can’t rush the Universe” and she’s right, I can’t. But MANNNN do I want to rush it. I’m so uncomfortable in this awkward stage of life, I feel icky saying I’m unemployed, I get frustrated when I try hard to think about what “I want to do” and can’t figure it out. But then I feel happy when I’m walking along the Mystic  with Phoebe and grateful when I get to spend time cooking a nice meal for Mike & I. Someone, save me from my own wishy-washy-ness!!! 

I do know, however, that I’m the only one who can save me from me and can free me of negative thoughts or insecurities I have about myself. In order to move myself forward, I need to make a conscious effort to correct myself when I put myself down about not having a job and being a “low-life” because of it. Making this effort will help my wings grow, even if it’s just by centimeters,  I believe they’ll grow if I believe in myself.

And the reality is, we all can apply this thinking to our everyday life. It could be making a conscious effort to stop telling yourself you’re fat because you havent been to the gym recently or you’re not good enough because you don’t own a big house or you’re stupid because you didn’t get into the college of your choice. Whatever it is that you’re putting yourself down about, try to stop. Simply notice when you say these things to yourself or to others. Pause, take a breath and realize that you are good enough. You are exactly where you’re meant to be, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Grow those wings!

Lots of love & light,

Jessy