Secret Garden

I’ve become acutely aware that the 10 year anniversary of my accident is approaching. My mom hates that I remember it, but I do. Every single day. And as February 17th creeps closer, so does this sense of panic.

I specifically recall tell God I had to be okay because I had work to do here, still. Right now I impatiently wait for that feeling of any sort of accomplishment, of validation that I remained here and okay for a reason. I keep struggling with this idea of be patient. I wish I had the ability to trust more. To feel certainty in surrendering control to a power more knowledgeable than myself. Its always the same issue.

Usually I’m waiting on money. Right now, financially I am set. And then when I think money is the answer…I’m faced with needing my car to be shipped and having to wait and rely on someone other than myself to get it done. I wish I could explain what it does to me to have to need other people. It enrages me. I feel useless, helpless, powerless, defeated, weak, and most of all vulnerable.

As if it weren’t enough, last week I started fighting against this “Ick” my body felt. And this morning, no car and feverish I ask the universe: in how many ways do you need me to feel like shit?

And I get it. My word for the year is surrender. Yet, I never meant surrendering control or surrendering to someone else’s timing. God doesn’t seem to care about my interpretation of the word, God just cares that I do it. Why is it so hard? 


I think about what it means to me that I am not vulnerable. It means that I am capable, strong, intelligent, and put together. There is an element of disheveled that I associate with vulnerable. Not being put together is among my tip 5 pet peeves. I guess my big work is to understand these things are not opposites and that vulnerable does not mean weak, or incapable, or powerless.

The things that I keep in the garden…that’s the stuff, I suppose, that is at the crux of this. I’ve built walls around my heart because I know where I’ve been after it broke and I never want to go back there. But what I never realized was that in trying to stay so strong, I’ve made anything that threatens vulnerability a weapon against me. Whereas, if I were open to it then it would not be so threatening.

But the truth is, I don’t want my heart broken again. It nearly killed me the first time. And I suppose it wasn’t just the devastatingly swift blow of rejecting, but also unhappiness, and the grief of my own expectations. I was a widow of many husbands. But one thing is certain–I can’t keep up this fight. Did it take me 10 years after begging to live to begin doing so?

After the fact: delayed gratification

I was sifting through my twitter account looking at how much junk ends up on my feed. So, I started to delete some people and follow others.  I started with Wayne Dyer, poaching his followers then Marianne Williamson, then Louise Hay…and as I read the bios of the handful of people they follow it started to get repetitive. New York Times Bestselling Author! Spiritual Healer! Psychic! Etc. I found it a bit obnoxious then asked myself, why shouldn’t they be proud of their accomplishments? It was then that I realized I’d gotten past the “You’re not ____________ enough” part of shame and was now in the “who do you think you are?!” loop. Yuck!

So I thought back to a desire I have sometimes, to be one of these great spiritual leaders. I was literally considering that perhaps there is a new generation of healers, gurus, mystics, that are blossoming right now, and maybe I am one of them. Then I thought, but I want to know the now generation! Then it dawned on me that (omg) I met the Dalai Lama!


His Holiness the Dalai Lama shaking my hand

I shook hands, was blessed by, have a picture with THE Dalai Lama! Of course, if any of you recall that actual day I met him, I felt so numb to it because I was worried about all the wrong things. Now, however, I look back and am like wait…this happened for a reason. This picture was captured for a reason. The only photo that was taken of him with the 6 students in the entire university and I was the sole graduate student…it has a purpose. I allowed myself to consider it as foreshadowing and total joy washed over me.

Taking also into account my meeting with Jack Canfield (the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Chicken soup series) I laughed as I wrote that. But I met him at age 8 or 9 and he said to me, See you famous! I have to believe that its no coincidence I’ve met these great influences in positivity and well-being. Oprah is coming.

I feel, sometimes, that my Self is the most patient being on earth as she often has to wait for me to “get it”. I worked for 3 years diligently on knowing that I am enough. I plan to get the “who do you think you are” much more quickly. I’ll borrow the words from Marianne as I often do,” We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Now that is something.

On my lips

Losing weight is not nor has it ever been about losing weight. After I finished that last post, I got dressed and went on a run/walk around my neighborhood. I listened to the Belle Brigades and went to explore. Down unexplored streets and finding new views; I was looking for the sting in my lungs.

It was an hour later when I was laying on my floor dripping sweat and meditating when the thought came to me, losing weight is not about losing weight. Then I decided it was time to take some financial advice from Suze Orman and get really honest.

When I moved home from Nashville back in 2008, I was at my heaviest and I weighed 324lbs. May I just pause and in this moment reflect on what it is like for me to admit that out loud and to the entire world? I was 324lbs and so incredibly fragile. I was at the edge and incidentally, the furthest I have ever been to feeling powerful. To write that, to know that people many people will read this and know the dirty ugly truth of my life…feels good. Nothing grows in darkness except mushrooms. So I was 324 and once I moved out on my own, started to eat better, feel better and live better…find my stride in life and in my profession…a profession, might I add, that saved my life I got down to 260. When I look at the photos I don’t see it. I don’t see 60lbs gone, it didn’t feel miraculous or monumental or anything even close to that. It felt like I was 260lbs and needed to be half that. I was still not in a place where I could celebrate or even recognize my victories. I was still numb to my self.

All of that came to me in my shower after the run and after the meditation. You know how to physically do this, you have done this before. You know it and there was still a disconnect and I had the thought again, LOSING WEIGHT IS NOT, NOR HAS IT EVER BEEN ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT. I remembered old episodes of Oprah and old thoughts and reflections about how if I kept making losing weight this huge monumental mountain, and if I approached it with the mindset that it was damn near impossible that I was setting myself up for failure. And yet, I didn’t have an alternative. I didn’t know how else to think about it. I could not, having lived the life I have lived with the experiences I have experienced, reframe my view on losing weight.

Until today.

When I made the parallel between what power felt like and the sensation of running, something click for me. This is not about losing weight, or getting fit, or any of those pseudonyms we use for looking attractive to the general public. This was about being intimately connected to my power. I need to feel that connection, I need to step into my power and when I saw how to do it, I had to try. I pushed myself to keep going because the longer I went the more I felt it. And the more I wanted to cry. I was walking up hill and sweat was seeping from the bend in my arm, such an uncomfortable place to sweat, and I saw a license plate that said “Just4Jes” and I started to cry. I started to cry because it was an external manifestation of my exact internal feeling…this was about finding myself, and if I see it in that way then it’s not impossible or even daunting, it’s invigorating and inviting and inspiring and freeing and overwhelming in the best way.

It clicked for me today. And in my moment of honesty with myself and with the world, I felt so beautifully connected. It means very little to reveal numbers or even thoughts because I am not those things. I am. And nothing comes after that, nothing that follows that very compete sentence can hold me captive in shame in judgement in persecution in solitude in bondage in loneliness in silence.

I feel nothing but grace and gratitude right now, for daring to chase it, to try. I am emotional and happy and at peace.

…and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. –Anaïs Nin

What does it take to LISTEN?

I have said on numerous occasions that God speaks in the way that we listen. Not only that, but the universe will start at a whisper, then speak, the yell, then its a deafening echo ringing in our ears without yield. And even though I say these things, and I know these things, sometimes it still takes me getting life lessons in surround sound before I take action. I have been working at listening at 2, and for lots of things I’ve done well, but with others…

People have been suggesting I write a book or publish my posts as a book for as long as I have shared my blog and to some extent even before that. At first, I said that I didn’t have a books worth of anything to say about any “one” thing. Well…I have over 1,200 posts and if I used my tags like I should, I’d be willing to bet I’m wrong and already proved it. Then I said I didn’t have time.  Then I didn’t have help. Then I said okay! I’ll do it, but then…I didn’t. Twice.

I thought about this curious cycle as I lay in bed itching to write just as I wake, like most mornings, and I sent words of gratitude to a friend who had written to me suggesting I publish. I thought, what is it going to take for you to listen? I asked myself, “are you playing small?”

Naia text me yesterday and spoke of our lives and how they often run parallel even across great distances. She spoke, also, of how she had recently been warned about playing small and laughed when she read it had come up for me on Friday. I thought back to Brene and I wondered what it would feel like to step into my power.  I should say, step fully. Not that having one foot in is celebratory; it has you completely off balance and when you’re halfway in two spaces, you’re not really in either. 

The feeling that comes to mind is that high you get after you just ran on a crisp day. Clear mind, open lungs, a heart racing with excitement…and it occurred to me just this moment that I have never experienced that. Yet, that is what I imagine power to be…isn’t that interesting and telling? I want to be a runner, I want to be a published author…I want to experience the runners high but in order to do that–i have to run. If the high is power then I have to step into it. That was one of those moments where things make sense on a whole new level.

The Colonel always asks, “if not now, when?” And that just felt very deafening. This is me listening.

Power and Purpose

Yall…God was speaking to me in too many ways for me not to share this message.  When the Spirit moves you, you gotta get right or get left!  So here goes!

First of all, I have had it up to HERE with people not taking personal accountability for the state of the nation, both economically and socially. Children are in High school and can’t read but have 2 kids, your house is being foreclosed on and you’re in 10k in credit card debt and everybody wants to point the finger at former President Bush. Stop it. Its not his fault. I don’t believe it was Bush, nor Fannie Mac telling you to buy a house outside of your price range, or live beyond your means to the point where you have no savings or everything you “own” was bought on credit.  Yes I understand that the President was in charge, in a sense, of the social programs that govern our society but where does the personal accountablity come in?  When do you sit down and say-I, ME, JESSICA (or whatever your name is) MESSED UP?  I bought a house I couldn’t afford. I shopped when I should have saved. I assumed the money would be there next week. When did we become so quick to blame? That happens when we’re not right…you’re getting left.  People wanna get mad when someone calls their daughter fast, or tell them their outfit is inappropriate but parents are so busy with their own problems they aren’t seeing that their children are lacking self worth and are making poor decisions headed down a path of self destruction.  Mothers want to be BFF with their children. Fathers don’t want to discipline (if their even present) and would rather throw money or material goods at the problem than solve it.  It is my sincere belief that the break down of the American Family-the CORE- that has lead to the current state of the Nation.  People searching outside of themselves for things to make them happy or fulfill them. They are lacking the Spirit. HAS to be. When you are truly filled with God’s love then you don’t find a need for worldly things. You don’t need a 7 series BMW to make you feel accomplished. You don’t need a man who doesn’t contribute just to keep your bed warm at night. You don’t need promiscuity to fill a void of love and acceptance.  Yall don’t FEEL me right now…

What is in our power…we can.not.change.other.people. There is nothing, that you can do to make someone do what its not in their hearts to do.  Nothing.  Exacting revenge, use of force or aggression, or even pacivity, man was not made to move mountains.  Rev. Wakefield (old pastor from college) said “My friends don’t call me like they used to since I laid my burdens down.” People love to see you down. LOVE IT. It is not the mark of a friend, or a loved one when they are there to see you sad, and filled with gloom, sorrow, and mourning.  How many will be there to celebrate your joyous occassions? How many will be truly happy for you when you receive your blessings? How many will show up to share with you the desires of your heart coming to fruition??  THAT is friendship.  That is love. God is love, he is not malice, hate, jealousy, and sadness. So if your friend, or loved one, cannot be there for the things that are most like God, they aren’t for you. Let them go.  Pray for them, and love them anyway, but let them go.  Maybe I should be a preacher? LOL. When you lay your burdens down you say, “This battle is not mine, it is the Lord’s…it is not about my enemies war with me, or this job, or this man, or this friend etc, it is about Satan attacking my spirit with sin and weariness in attempt to get at God.”  When you say that, and you give in to His will, you will know peace like no other.

Philippians 4:6-7
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Each of us has a purpose.  God does not make any mistakes and there is no conincidence. Our stories have been written many moons ago.  Do not run from your purpose. Do what God is calling you to do, and you cannot fail. Nothing that anyone says or does can deter you from that which God has destined you for if you don’t let it.  Do not give man power of that which God has made, which is you.  We were made in His image, carved from His hands, and given life with His breath and His blood. We are so blessed and favored and yet we are but man, and let things of mammon affect us.  Don’t. You know when you are doing what you have been called to do. Because when you do its like everything you touch is blessed.  Faith is the eternal Felix Felicis (Harry Potter allusion lol).  When you strengthen your faith in God rather than in other people who posses the same limits as yourself, you will succeed. Everytime.  We have talents, passion, things that feel so natural its like second nature to us, things that awaken our spirit, and appeal to our senses. Do those things. Those are the things, those intuitive, natural things that make us the person we were born to be. Rev. Rick Warren, in his MLK sermon, said “There may be accident parents, but there are no accidental children” Do yall get that?  Mama and Daddy are no more than people themselves and they can, and will fall short. But you, me, we, were made created for a specific purpose. A reason that may be, as of right now, beyond our understanding.  Of course we do have to overcome adversities but there is nothing man made that can stop the Divinely driven.

I hope this wasn’t too long winded, and that this touches someone today, because He is really moving today yall!  And for those who don’t believe, I can’t censor myself nor will I.  Be blessed! xoxjess