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

 

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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

Days full of sunshine & happiness 

Well, what a 6 days it was. It has been two years since Mike and I stayed in Portland and it was that trip that we “discovered” Peaks Island….  
That weekend was really special, not for any reason other than the fact that we got to relax and explore a new place together. The day we spent on Peaks Island, biking around the small village, looking at the beautiful ocean views off the cliffs and watching ferry boats come in and out as we ate and drank beers, is one of my all-time favorite days ever. During difficult and painful procedures throughout the past year, the doctors or nurses would tell me to try to relax and imagine I was in my favorite place in the world. Every time, I found myself on Peaks with my Michael. This unplanned, quick visit of a small island on the outskirts of Maine has brought me so much peace of mind and strength when I’ve needed it most. So to be healthy enough to be back there, with Mike, was magical. What’s more magical is that this trip was made possible because of the kindness and generosity of other people. Because a group of team members at HomeGoods started a pool last year and made me this beautiful booklet (that’s what happens when you have an incredibly talented art director heading up the project) to explain that they wanted me to “go back to peaks” for some rest and relaxation to make up for our cancelled Domincan trip in March 2014. This is from a team, I actually no longer get to work with at TJX, as I had been transferred to our Marmaxx division before getting diagnosed. But they came together to do something out of the kindness of their hearts just to make me smile. How lucky am I? These are the people who will ALWAYS be my TJX work family because they truly care about me as a human and not a number or just another employee. It’s a true blessing to have this type of connection and bond with people at work, so although I do not get to work with them regularly anymore, I will always be grateful of the relationships I was able to cultivate during my time with the most fabulous brand in all the land, HomeGoods.

With all that said, I want to share a few pictures with you all of our much-needed days away in Maine.

It started with a lake house with friends on Friday…

   
 
Then we headed to the beach near Portland where we went for long walks during the day and stayed at the Portland Harbor Hotel at night. I treated myself to a bath for FOUR days in a row. How much more relaxed does it get than that?! We ate at some of the most delicious restaurants, including Holy Donut. Wow, is Portland a winner for foodies! 

   
    
    
    
 
Then we packed it up, and took the ferry over to Peaks Island and stayed in a gorgeous little Inn. We started off by renting golf carts to explore the island where we found an old war cave/gun storage thing that is now completely full of graffiti but there’s such a beauty to it. We also spent time walking on the beach and making rock castles on a cliff with about 100 other “castles.” It’s like a natural version of Jenga, so cool!

   
    
    
    
    
   
We spent the next day riding our bikes, laying in the beach and HORSE BACK RIDING! Something I’ve wanted to do together for so long so it was so amazing to make it a reality. 

   
    
   
    
   
   

Yesterday it was back to reality. It was back to the hospital (but my numbers all look great so there’s nothing else I could ask for). 

   
   
And today I headed back to the office. However, I’m refusing to let my outdoor adventures cease so I headed to a state park across the street from work after I got out and rented myself a paddle board which I took out for almost two hours– paddling and stopping to do yoga on the water. How amazing! Now I’m sitting on the little beach here, watching kids splash around in be water and writing this post. Looks like even work days can be transformed into good days. 

  
I hope you have had a wonderful week and just think, tomorrow is FRIYAY!!!!! F

Lots of love and light,

Jessy 

Vacation Time

I woke up on the right side of bed today, the VACATION side of the bed. Last week was quite the week and I’d be lying to say I did a good job staying positive throughout it. Everyday, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I could go on and on about what was bothering me but I don’t feel like thinking about it right now. Let’s just say I had had ENOUGH and I was ready for my vacation to start and to be away from my desk. 

It’s already been such a great few days. We started off America’s birthday party with a friend’s BBQ in Needham; great food, lawn games and fireworks to end the night…loads of fun. 

   
      
Then we packed up and headed to the Cape for our week away. My parents rented the same house as they did last year so we can spend a few days together lounging in floats, dancing on the beach, doing yoga on the dock, working on puzzles, cracking lobsters, and laughing till our bellies hurt. 

         

I’ll be back in full force next week but the next few days, I’m disconnecting from my phone and computer a bit and just relaxing and enjoying time with the sunshine and my family.

Off to Mary Lou’s for the most heavenly coffee around! 

XOXO,

Jessy
p.s. Hi Andrea… You are the best, (and sassiest) nurse I could ever ask for. See you NEXT week! 🙂 

Resort 7D

Yesterday was one of the most nerve-racking days of my life. And then, it was one of the happiest.
 
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Living with the possibility that the leukemia had come back was terrifying and a thought i had trouble really wrapping my head around. I could barely sleep Monday night and literally felt nauseous all morning Tuesday until I met with my doctors. But then I met with them and the many, many prayers from myself, my family and friends were answered. “There are no signs of cancer cells in your bones or blood.” I was overcome with such elation and relief– like a 1,000 pound weight had just been lifted off my shoulders. It was incredible. It is incredible. You know when people say, “I felt like I had won the lottery”? Well, yesterday I won the best lottery you can win. So I am ecstatic and energetic to get this next round of chemo started. It seems funny to celebrate “no cancer cells being found” with more chemotherapy but that’s the way it goes (and will go) so I’m all about this chemo cocktail for the next few days in order to continue to rid my little body of this terrible disease. Officially in BEAST MODE. 
 
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(scratch that, I began beast mode last week during my bone marrow biopsy) 
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When I was checking into the Brigham yesterday, I literally couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I was practically hopping down the hospital halls, I was in just SUCH a good mood. As we bounced on over to the admitting offices, carrying a suitcase, two bags, my pillow/blanket and of course, Uncle Fred, there was a family in front of us, also carrying such items and for a second, it reminded me of when you’re checking into a hotel for a vacation. It somehow seemed “normal” and exciting. So I decided then that for the next five days, I’m not locked up in a hospital but instead I’m staying at an all-inclusive resort with luxury of on-call staff. How wonderful! After pleading my case, I was able to get back on my old floor, 7D. Thank you Jesus!! Two miracles in one day? Lucky girl! I absolutely fell in love with those nurses, (aka my resort personal assistants), and I’ve missed seeing them so I’m thrilled to be back and chat with them all! 
 
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(pic from yesterday waiting for my bed to open up. Both feeling so happy and so relieved) 
 
So around 5pm, after my room was pristinely cleaned and prepped, I checked into Resort 7D, room 76. Overall, super swaggy. The view is magnificent and should make for a great therapeutic writing area.
 
 
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Plus, the bench in front of the window is roomy enough to be my make-shift yoga mat and allows me to feel the sun and soak up some Vitamin D— what every dream vacation is made of. 
 
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The TV is flat screen, SCORE. And it’s ingeniously connected to a remote hooked up to my bed which is how we get sound. Super tech savvy. Extra points! 
 
The shower could have been constructed a bit more logically, rather than directly next to the toilet with no floor lip, causing massive chaos and flooding every time one goes to clean themselves. However, it gains additional points as the water pressure is legit and that’s obviously super important. Lastly, the flooding, although shocking, creates a sense of adventure so I score the bathroom a B. 
 
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The bed scores a B as well. The sheets are a bit paper-like but my own personal blanket, Fluffy and Uncle Fred add some softness and overall coziness. The score gets upgraded due to it’s super cool ability to move up and down the back and foot rest. Perfect for elevating my feet after a grueling day on the Brigham island. 
 
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The overall design of the room is quite unique and intriguing. Some of my personal favorite pieces are the goal chart white board, varying sizes of examination glove boxes, and by far the best piece…a biohazardous “sharps” depository. Art deco scores high at an A.
 
The staff here is top-notch, and basically my BFF’s. They are attentive, caring and most importantly, chatty! (or is it just me always chatting to them?? who knows. ) Plus, they rock bright colored, fashionable scrubs like you’ve never seen. They score an A++.
 
Most importantly, Fluffy and Uncle Fred are sincerely enjoying themselves. 
 
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This morning I enjoyed a glorious breakfast in bed: a delish bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, fruit salad and a coffee. Relaxed in front of my bay window and enjoyed the view. In addition, went for a long walk all around the resort in my gray sweatpants and keds; riding the escalators up and down, using the revolving doors, and aggressively marching around to burn some cals. All-in-all coming close to being one of those power walkers at the mall. It was a proud moment.
 
Overall, day number one of vacation is going great. My own bed will feel great on Monday for sure, but the Slomerville view’s got nothin’ on Resort 7D’s. 
 
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XOXO,

Jessy