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A Blessing and A Curse

Friday afternoon a friend of mine stopped by my massage studio and we sat outside on the patio,drinking beer and catching up. He had been doing yard work all day and I had just finished several massage sessions. It was a rare chance just to sit down together for a little while.

We started talking about our days and I mentioned that I had done a Thai massage on the patio early Wednesday morning and that it had been so peaceful. He grinned and said,”It’s a little loud out here right now.”

I looked at him with enough surprise in my eyes that he pointed out that he could hear someone hammering 100 yards away, cars driving by and car doors shutting and people talking in the parking lot across the street.

100 yards! I couldn’t even imagine because,since I’m hard of hearing, I think-although I KNOW better- that only what I am seeing and feeling is making noise.

For me, sound is visual and tactical. I can feel the wind blowing so I realise that it’s making a rustling sound, and I can see the wind chimes moving,so I know they are making a sound…but I’m not sure how loud it is or if it’s as soothing as i assume it is.

I had no idea that my clients would be hearing a lawn mower yards away or the chatter of people walking up the sidewalks during the Thai massage sessions that I do outside on the covered patio deck at Rockwall Body and Soul Massage.

This space is surrounded by trees and a high privacy fence so I’ve always considered it a peaceful, sacred oasis..far removed from the sounds of everything but when Jim told me what he heard, I was, quite frankly, a little shocked and then, I was filled with gratitude..

You see, hardly anyone ever tells me what I’m missing and I’m so used to missing out that it’s an incredible act of kindness when I’m made aware of something that I didn’t know.
I told Jim that I didn’t realize how loud it was outside.

As we sat facing each other, only inches apart, I explained that, as far as I was concerned, he was the only person in the world at this time. My eyes were watching his lips so I could read his words. I paid close attention to his eyes and his body language and I listened with every ounce of my being, concentrating so hard to avoid missing anything important and to have to ask for it to be repeated.

He nodded his head in understanding and said, “It’s a blessing and a curse.”

A blessing and a curse.

That’s exactly what it feels like. A blessing that I’m unaware of noises that I don’t see. A curse because it could affect the way others feel about the sessions they receive.

A curse because I’m so used to being left out that I just accept it. When people are talking right in front of me but don’t bother to slow down just a little so I can understand, I just pretend it doesn’t sting and walk away.

A curse because I feel invisible- unnoticed,unnecessary, uninvited.

I’ve sat at tables,sharing meals and not sharing conversations. People glance up, catch my eye and pause, as if they just now realized I was there, and then give me the “Readers Digest” version which usually begins like this, “Oh,we were just talking about……”

But it’s a blessing,too, because I’ve learned to be alone. I’ve learned to find the beauty in solitude, to fill the voids in my heart with other things. it’s made me a very compassionate woman. I appreciate kindness so much, the extraordinary gifts of patience and understanding. I marvel at the wonders of technology like AVA -Audio Visual Accessibility- an app I use every day and captions for lyrics through Sound Hound and MusicMatch which gives me the gift of understanding the songs I’m listening to.

It’s a blessing because I don’t take anything for granted. When someone takes the time to include me or tells me something that makes me feel connected, then I am overwhelmed with gratitude, especially when I haven’t asked.

My Mema used to listen intentionally and purposefully wherever we were at and then, when we were alone, she would pat the seat beside her, beckon me over and give me a play-by-play of everything she had heard.

I would look so forward to these times because I knew she would tell the stories in such a way that we would both be roaring with laughter.or bought to tears, or shaking with indignation. She made me feel as if it was the greatest adventure to be able to share the stories with me. She had a knack of making everything come alive.

It was a blessing and a curse to hear the stories second-hand, filtered through her Southern sass and sensibilities.

It’s a blessing and a curse because I can’t choose what I hear but I can choose how I listen to others. I choose to sit closely, and to seek out places that make lip reading as easy as possible. I choose small.intimate gatherings over large,rambunctious events. I choose to be mindful and grateful, instead of bitter and spiteful. I choose to walk away and find my own peace rather than stay and feel alienated.

That’s why it was such a rare thing when my friend came by, sat outside and talked with me. He knows full well that it is a blessing and a curse to be friends with a deaf woman. It takes longer to visit and sometimes people get the wrong idea because I sit closely and lean forward to understand. I touch often, which is my way of feeling the vibrations. of making connection, of being centered with whoever I’m listening to.

It’s a blessing because he knows that I’m giving him my utmost attention,but it’s also a curse because I look so much deeper into the heart of a person and that can make some people feel a little vulnerable or uncomfortable.

It’s just the way things are with me and all I can hope is that I’m more of a blessing than a curse.

Jeanna’ Mead

9 18 p.m. 6-6-18

http://www.jeannasoul.com

#deaftherapist #writingmyheartout #myownwords #jeannasoil

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Choose to be love Daily Prompt deaf girl Deaf Massage Therapist Heart to heart Jeanna' Soul kindred spirits Make Love writers with soul Writing

People,Paulo, Perspective

Paulo Coelho wrote- “No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone.

That is the true experience of freedom and loyalty.”

These words stuck a chord with me and I  pondered the depth and scope of what it means to lose, to own, to love, to understand and to have freedom. It wasn’t enough for me to be content with my own rambling thoughts so I asked a few people to read Paulo’s quote and share their own perspective.

 As always,when I ask…I receive back so much more and, once again, my eyes were opened to see the incredible insight and wisdom that others have.

“It makes me think of passing trees in a forest during a walk- I may stop and rest in the shade, or seek shelter from a sudden storm, admire its leaves or climb it’s branches, but it is not mine. The experience of kinship and admiration of it’s beauty is all I can claim to own.”

Her response came as I was walking around a farm that belonged to my family. I stood underneath a huge tree with a trunk so wide and thick that 3 people could wrap their arms around it and still just touch fingertips. The branches reached high towards the heavens and offered  such a breathtaking  shade canopy…and as I read my friends words again and again, I couldn’t help but think that is such a profound way of looking at  Paulo’s words.

Every tree,like every person, is unique and some grow deep,strong roots and have a wide reach while others just never seem to grow and bloom.  The trees in the forest and the farm were left alone- battered by the storms, warmed by the sun, soaked by the rain and they grew…much like people that let the experiences of life make them strong, gracious and beautiful.


However, I’ve always noticed that trees planted to look perfectly coordinated with the landscape, constantly pruned and clipped never seem quite as beautiful, strong , graceful or “real” as the trees that grow wild and free. Those ornamental trees take so much time and effort to keep in their “proper” place and their growth is stunted because they are owned by people that want the trees to appear a certain way, be a certain size and shape and do a certain thing.


Isn’t that like relationships? When someone tries to “own” another person- to control their growth,to prune their branches, to make them be “just so” then the relationship never really reaches high or grows deep, it doesn’t weather the storms well and it becomes so much less than it could be.

Yet when a person and a tree has freedom, the strength and beauty that grows is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.

Another wise friend wrote this;
“No one owns anyone;the attempt is controlling and abusive. We should all feel like we are freely there in therelationship. And yes, that is the true experience of freedom and loyalty, but what Paulo says belies the pain of a lost relationship if it ends. That is some of the most intense pain.”

Which again made me think of trees and of birds.The huge variety of birds has always amazed me and I’ve read that every bird sounds different, too, with distinct songs and calls. I love seeing birds outside but whenever I see one in a cage, my heart just aches and yet I know that these types of birds are bred- pruned- for the purpose of looking pretty in their gilded cages, singing the only song they can, mimicking the words spoken to them. They have never experienced freedom and couldn’t survive if they were free to fly. They can only live if they are owned.

Some people want and need relationships like this. Maybe their past has cast such a long shadow that it covers their present and future with the flickers of pain and the only way they can give and accept love is with certain conditions- cages that lock others out and them inside.

They are so afraid of losing love, that they limit love and sometimes, they wind up losing the very thing they’ve tried so hard to hold tight.

It’s a type of control that makes sure the person, like an ornamental tree, stays right where it’s supposed to and looks as good as possible to everyone that comes around.

Yet, a long time friend shared this, “Rather than focusing upon the thought of possibly losing someone, perhaps I should focus upon gratitude for each moment that they choose to share their wonderful life with me.”

What if we took that perspective of his to heart? What if we loved deeply with gratitude that we have this moment, this opportunity, this person that chooses to love us back? What if we recognized love in all different forms..just as we see the beauty and purpose of all the trees in the woods and marvel at the numerous species of birds?

What if we were grateful for the time we had instead of regretting the time we’ve lost or worrying about how much time we might have left?

Maybe being “owned” is really what another wise man wrote in reply to my request. “It’s an undeniable truth when it comes to people. No one is truly owned by another, although it can feel like it. We give much to those we love, it might feel like a mutual agreement of ownership. But the ones we truly love and\or yearn for are the ones who have ‘ownership’ of us.”

Just as I love this place where I’ve built my massage business and consider it “mine” in so many ways, the truth of the matter is that I didn’t plant a single tree that brings me such joy..I can only be grateful that someone else did many years ago.  I have planted flowers that will return year after year- growing more abundantly each time. I’ve loved this place deeply but I do not own it and when I leave, it’ll still be a part of me; carved into my heart and I’ll  yearn for the patio and the peacefulness it gives me each day.

That’s also how I think of these people that shared their deepest thoughts with me. We don’t own each other but, in our special ways, we love and share and, in doing so, claim a mutual ownership of freedom and loyalty and as my friend said,

“There are definitely people I really miss,but that doesn’t diminish the joy of those I am with.”


If we can just ponder Paulo and put things into perspective maybe we’ll experience love the way it’s intended to be and we’ll offer shade, shelter, protection, and purpose to all those that we come to know and to love. 

👣💗Jeanna’  Mead

6 54 p.m. 5-30-18

http://www.jeannasoul.com

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Flowers and Faith

Yesterday,my client was running just a few minutes late which gave me time to walk outside and look at the flowerbeds and the empty pots. I stood there in the front yard, and adjusted the single pot of pansies, and picked up the picture that had the saying, “Life is a journey..enjoy it.” engraved on it then I walked to the back patio and gazed at the yard and the bare trees and felt the familiar tinge in my heart- the call of nature, the urge to plant and be filled with the peace that comes to me every time I am doing what I love.

Since I had found out that I would need to find another place for my business, Rockwall Body and Soul Massage, soon, I had made a conscious decision to step away from my beloved patio and not to purchase the patio sectional that I had wanted or plant new flowers.  “It’s not going to be yours much longer,” I reminded myself, “Let it go, let it all go.”

When my client arrived, we chatted just a few minutes and then I started his session. moving my hards, gazing out the window, letting my mind focus on what I love to do and as I was working on him, I felt as if God was speaking to me, a whisper of assurance,
“Plant flowers, Jeanna’, plant flowers here.”  and then again, “Go ahead, buy that patio furniture you want.  Have faith.  Believe that there will be a place for you. ”

Believe. Faith. Plant.  Go  Ahead.

Tears sprung in my eyes. This is what I needed to hear, to feel– that deep, down assurance, that powerful boost of courage and conviction that didn’t always fit logic but that had always been my guide- God speaking to me.. and my intution kicking in.

I decided right then and there that I would go to Lowe’s after my last session and buy a few flowers and check out the sectionals. During my gap between clients, I jumped in my car and drive over to Greg’s office to share what I had experienced with him and he just smiled at me and told me to go ahead and do what I felt I was told to do.

My next stop was to Tuesday Morning where I went in with the intention to get a birthday gift, gift boxes and tissue paper but, like  always, I rambled over to the garden section and then to the wall decor and there was another sign, waiting for me .

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”  Simple black letters on a glass pane spoke further truth to my soul.   I held those words in my hands for just a few seconds but they made their mark on my heart.

I found some small garden stones inscribed with e words that I was searching for – a blue one with “love” and two white ones, one with “faith” and one with “believe”  and I felt as if this was all coming together in ways that I had not expected.

Saturday morning of March 3, I planted lantana and placed the stone with  “BELIEVE” in the middle of the blooms and then I placed “FAITH” in a pot  filled with red dianthus  and I laid the stone of  “LOVE”  right by the front door where everyone that walks up will see it and maybe, just maybe they will feel it.

This is one of those times that I just lmow that I am doing the right thing and another thought keeps running through my head, “It is mine, until it is not.”

It is mine… until it is not.  It is until it is not.

Let this sink in for a moment. Ponder these words.  “It is mine, until it is not.”

This house where I operate my massage studio is still mine, until it is not, and I am going to leave it better than I found it, but most importantly, until the day comes that I no longer have a key, I will fill the place with my presence, with love, with faith, with attention to detail and yes, with red, yellow, pink and purple flowers.  I will choose to decorate, to create and to make memories.  It is still mine, after all and it is a reflection of who I am and what I want to be known for.but

Maybe this is something that we all need to give some real consideration to. what we have is only ours until it is not…and during that time- no matter how brief or how long- we need to make the most of it.  We aren’t guaranteed anything but yet we have enough faith to develop friendships, we have enough courage to start a business, enough love to pursue somone and we believe enough to plant flowers and create gardens.

All these words, all these thoughts, all these choices and one thing I know for sure is that whatever happens, wherever I go, whatever I do, it is my chance,  my choice,and only mine until it is not and I want to be known for love, for faith, for believing and for having the courage to listen to the whisper of God and go ahead, to chase my dreams and follow my intuition and to love who I am with and where I am, as long as I can.

It is mine,after all, until it is not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Red

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Right On The Edge

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Margaritas And Music

Here I am, sitting in a chair

A woman is putting color in my hair

just like Mema always did

I’m carrying on the tradition

ain’t no gray gonna give me away

I already had my coffee

dipped a cookie in the cup
 listened this morning

to all the greats

those deep. rugged voices of the men she loved so much

Got me a little Conway, Tom T and Marty

“Elvira” by those Oak Ridge Boys

I’m going to do a little shopping

buy something bright and sparkly

I won’t know until I see it

and it calls me by my name

Then when I’m good and ready

all dolled up and looking pretty

I’m going to sit at a table

with others that knew and loved

 her just as much as me

drink a frozen cmargarita

eat a bunch of sopapillas

covered in honey

tell a few good stories

flirt up a storm with the waiter

sweet talk to everyone

just exactly like my Mema

would want me to do

celebrating her birthday

just like she would do

carrying on traditions

like I was raised to do

.
Jeanna’ Mead

12 04 p.m. 1-25-17

http://www.jeannasoul.com

Happy Birthday, Mema

I love your bones!❤❤

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Body and Soul

Our body is our soul’s best friend.”-Paulo Coelho.

When I read these words, I immediately drew a heart in the margins next to the words and jotted down my thoughts. 

There is such profound truth held in these simple words and just yesterday, a friend and I shared some thoughts about this.

I had been invited to an event and instinctively, as I read about the event and what to do and bring, my stomach began to tighten and my stance changed.  I felt my body instinctively go into a protective mode- ready to “flee or fight.”

I tried to talk myself into accepting the invitation, but then realized that my body was truly my best friend and the reaction I was feeling was my body whispering to me.

My body knows when and how to protect my soul and I have learned to pay attention, to listen and to honor my body and my soul.

While I knew the opportunity to network and mingle would boost my business, I also know that I’m much better at small, intimate gatherings than at large social functions. 

 My deafness is actually a gift in many ways because I tend to place myself only in situations and with people in which I know I’ll be able to have some measure of control and to understand, to connect, to feel my best and be the best version of myself.

Now that I have the AVA -Audio Visual Accessibility-app I don’t worry about not hearing things like I used to. AVA doesn’t just give me the words that people say. it also gives me insight into others and to the relationships I have.

Many of my friends keep AVA installed and ready to use…but I’ve also ran into people that have told me that AVA is “too much trouble” and those that have made it perfectly clear that they would rather I didn’t use AVA.

When I go someplace, i consider the lightening.the ambiance, and the acoustics…I think about how I’ll stand,where I’ll sit, and who I’ll seek out and I also make sure AVA will work wherever I’m at.

In many ways, being hearing impaired  makes me more aware of my body and others. Since I can’t depend on what I hear, I depend on what I feel.

That’s the way I use my body to benefit my soul, to make sure I get the best chance and give the best I can to every situation.

That means listening to that small whisper from my body way before it becomes a moan of despair or scream of frustration and anger.

So I put aside this invitation and instead accepted better ones..an invitation to go out for a walk, to sit at a table for two with a bottle of wine,  to listen to music and dance and go out on a treasure hunt.

Those are the invitations that my body craves and my soul responses to with an excited “YES!”

I also believe that when we touch someone’s body, we reach their soul and that’s why,as a massage therapist, my touch is so mindful, compassionate and intuitive.

I want to always touch the body with knowledge of how far I am reaching…into a person’s soul..through muscles that hold memories, through skin that covers wounds and shows scars. I know that it’s never “just” a massage, but it’s a gift of trust,a step of faith when someone gets on my table.

 At least that’s how I see it and how I treat it. 

I hold another quote close to my heart. This one is also simple and profound.

“Only those that love your naked soul,should touch your naked body.”

In a time where people dive in and out of physical relationships without giving a second thought to how the soul feels about it, there is a sacred intimacy in the relationship that honors the soul first and the body knows it.

That’s why I’m taking care of my body- by listening to the way it lets me know who can touch me and who can’t. 

But I also listened to another clear message..the one telling me who I shouldn’t touch. 

 Recently I’ve came to understand that I can say “no” to touching some people, that if a person makes me feel uncomfortable, I do not have to allow them into my space, or on my table. I don’t have to accept everyone as a client just because they book a session with me.

This has not been easy, though. I had wrestled with the rationalization but the way I felt about approaching sessions was too strong to push aside.

I chose to do what my friend told me to do. I trusted my guts; embraced my strengths and worked around my weakness and felt my soul dance inside my body…you know, like best friends do when they are finally together, again. 

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Red Rover

“Red Rover, Red Rover”

She lays there

half awake and half asleep

long ago memories

pushing thru the haze

“Red Rover, Red Rover”

She stared at the row

of hands held tight

looking for the weakest link

to run to and break free

much to the surprise 

of those that doubted

 her might and strength

They only saw her size

bites and pieces 

of who she was

the label that they used
to try to describe

the girl they called

to break the line

“Red Rover, Red Rover”

She heard them call 

“Come over, Come over”

Spurred on by the doubts and the taunts

She ran as if her life depended on it

Broke the chains and the expectations

and suddenly she was in

standing in a row

lined up with the very same ones

that moments ago

spurred her on with doubts and taunts

“Red Rover, Red Rover”

Here she was

needed now 

She clasped the outstretched hands

and braced herself

dug her heels in

willed herself to have

more might and strength

Don’t let anyone think

she’s the weakest link

never let them break through

even if they knock her down

with doubts and taunts

she’ll surprise them all

that thought they knew

bites and pieces

of the girl they used a label

to describe

“Red Rover, Red Rover”

She sits up 

wide awake now

seeing clearly 

all the times 

she clasped hands

broke through the chains

the expectations

the labels

surprising herself and others

with her might and strength

and finding out

exactly what are the weakest links

and who is strong enough

to hold her hand

break free and be there

“Come over, Come Over”

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Common Ground

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Lyrics and Tears

I always ask my clients what music they would like to listen to during their sessions.

Often they don’t have any preference, so I’ll play a Spotify soundtrack based on my previous week’s choices.

Since I can’t hear the music unless it’s really loud- much too loud for the relaxation of my clients- I rely on the lyrics app to show me that the music is indeed playing and filling the space with beautiful rhythm and words.

Sometimes I find myself dancing, my  bare feet picking up the vibrations from the wood floor and the speaker and sometimes I’ll catch the words and almost gasp as the beauty and relevance hits home.

I’ll memorize the name of the song, holding it in my heart until the session is finished and then, I’ll send the link to those that I just know would love to hear that song..or perhaps they need to hear it.

One such song was “Known and Loved” https://open.spotify.com/track/1NLCMB3DAPXos7OYvNzrTf

I needed to hear this song…actually needed to read the lyrics over and over.

“Feels like you have lost yourself again

Sit in silence with a friend

when you are fully known and loved”

That is why my patio is so important to me. It’s where I go to sit in silence and to write and to read but it’s also where those that know me best, come to find me.

It’s where I get to fully know and be known and to give and receive love in deeper ways than I ever imagined from so many  fabulously flawed, perfectly imperfect people but it’s also where I come to know myself to see myself as fully loved and known by the Creator, just the way I am-also perfectly imperfect and fabulously flawed just like my friends and clients are.

A client wrote a review on Google a couple of days ago that captured the essence of what I hope people feel. 

“An amazing environment …warm and sincere welcome…leave your stresses..healing touch…looking forward to coming back”

i read this with tears in my eyes,a smile on my face and an ache in my heart that comes from feeling fully known and loved.

My intention is always to create such a space where people can sit in silence and be heard, where they can talk and listen, where they feel touch not only physically but spiritually,as well and where they feel as if I’m more than just their massage therapist but I’m also someone that truly cares and hopes that each person lives s life in which they are fully known and loved.

I’ll keep playing the music,reading the lyrics through blurry, teary eyes and welcoming the chances to  know and love.
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