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 


Give Me Summer

On my way to work the past two mornings, I’ve taken my sunglasses off and almost stumbled into the road as I keep putting my face up and towards the sun. I need the warmth. I want the Vitamin D. It’s time to get outside, I’m ready for it.

Happy FRIYAY everyone. Hope you had a wonderful week and an amazing weekend.

Lots of love &a light,

Jessy 

 

IMG_2709

Transitions

  

I watched a swan land on the water tonight. It was beautiful, so graceful; her wings outstretched feeling the wind beneath them, letting the air guide the way to her destination with ease, precision and power. She knew just how much force was needed to land so she could stay above water; gracefully going from flying to swimming. The transition was remarkable… it was perfect. Unlike the swan, my landing into this new phase of my life hasn’t been so graceful. My wings have flapped around wildly, I hovered above the water before my final descent and when I landed I skipped like a rock off choppy waters. Now, I’m swimming forward but there’s a tough undertow that I can feel pulling beneath me. 
Sometimes during my journey I don’t think I was processing exactly what was happening. I was in flight, sights set on my destination and nothing else. Now that I’ve landed, I’m recounting the journey and it makes me realize just how hard I hit the bumps. It was like flying through a lightening storm. When I was able, I avoided the strikes but I couldn’t avoid them all…there was too much wind and noise and chaos going on around me to dodge everything that came my way. The bolts hurt both physically and emotionally but in their own way, they were beautiful and brought light to my life. 
Finally, it’s time to slow down and tread water for a little bit. Time to just be a 27 year old. Time to let the current peacefully pull me along. Time to be one with my surroundings and the blessings that I have experienced in this life.  
I’ll never be as graceful as the swan but I can try to emulate her and some of her beautiful qualities: like stretching her wings to show her power, like her ability to swim forward gently, like how she seems to be satisfied staying in one place, like how she lets her presence been seen and felt and like her ability to be bring others joy just by doing what she was meant to do. 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

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 

Fall Fiesta

When it’s cold outside, and we’ve been cooped up inside for days, remind me of days like this…

When I woke up and headed to a corn maze with three of my favorite people in the world.  And sipped on delicious hot apple cider.  

And then picked pumpkins that we’ll carve into jack-o-lanterns and continued to use my selfie stick to capture the moments (best purchase ever, no shame here). 

    
 And then came home and thought, what better day to go for a run!? So I strapped on my yoga pants and sneakers and headed down to the good old Mystic River in Somerville. I decided to take a new route and found a great, long path right along the water. I feel so happy when I’m near the water, doesn’t matter what kind, even if I have the highway to my left, as long as I have the river to my right, I feel a little more at peace than typical. And then as I continued to run I came along a three story lookout tower that I marched right up, did some sun salutations, looked out onto the Boston skyline that I love so much, felt the sunshine on my face and felt so grateful for the moment that was upon me. Healthy enough to be running again, strong enough to climb flights of stairs and in a good enough place mentally to be able to feel the sunshine on my face, totally alone and realize how lucky I truly am. And okay enough with myself to laugh at how crazy my hair has become. 

   
   
Then I picked up some fall essentials to decorate our front steps, because honestly a decorated house is a happy house. And a happy house is a happy me. 

   
 
Now I’m sitting in my Brady jersey & sweat pants, with pulled pork on the oven (thanks to the best boyfriend in America), and a good old O’Doules in hand with my snuggley guy. 

  
Fall is a special time of the year in New England. 

Life is good today. 

Remind me of this day in January. 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Saturday = Make Yourself Happy Day 

This summer, I have so enjoyed every day I’ve been blessed enough to spend outside, soaking up the beautiful sunshine and being near or on the rejuvenating water. I feel so connected to our world, the earth and my inner self when I’m on the water, listening to the waves crash, watching the sun set on top of the ripples, and hearing the animals live naturally in their homes. I feel instantly grateful for the moment and for the day and life I’ve been given.

   
 Since these warm summer days on the water are limited in New England and we are closing in on our final days of sun rays and waves, I’ve tried to get out and active as much as possible. Theres a lovely state park near work that I’m able to rent paddle boards and go out on the lake so I’ve been doing that frequently after work. I’ll tell you, it makes such a difference. No matter how stressful the day was or how hectic it felt, standing on top of the water and rowing myself further and further away from land pushes away the worries of the day and brings my mind back to what’s really important and where my focus should truly be. I love the alone time, getting to be with just me, my thoughts and the sweet sounds of birds chirping, fish swimming and water moving. It’s peaceful and it’s always makes me feel a true sense of peace and happiness. 

  
Today, however, I had my favorite partner next to me. My Michael. We spent our morning at outdoor yoga in front of the Mystic River here in Somerville, drank our coffees and read our books in the park, and then put on our bathing suits and rented some boards to paddle down the Charles River. The wind was strong but we were together and enjoying the beauty that Saturday’s in New England in August have to offer.

  

  

  
Saturday’s should be called, “make yourself happy day” because we work hard all week, maybe doing things that we really aren’t passionate about but the majority of us are lucky enough to get two days a week to focus on ourself. It’s the time to make ourselves happy, make our inner beings smile. Whatever that means for you, I hope that’s what this day brings to you. 

Lots of love & light, 

Jessy 

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 

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