Feel with both hands, Jeanna’
Maybe it will take a funeral
We will make time
From our busy lives
Packed with work
Laundry , groceries
We will hug each other
With teary eyes
And say things like
“It’s good to see you”
“I’m so sorry it’s under these circumstances”
“Let’s get together real soon”
But we won’t
It’s just words
We will walk away
Get in our cars
To our busy lives
And forget who we were
How we were raised
What matters the most
How much we love
Until there’s another
November 14 2016
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’
It’s no secret-not any more-that I’m hearing impaired.
People usually figure it out pretty quickly on their own but I’ve changed my approach to my deafness,and instead of hiding it and hoping no-one discovers,
I’ve finally begin to just tell people before they assume the worst; that I’m either ignoring them,being rude,or just plain dumb.
Over the years I’ve gotten
used to the questions, like “Where are you from? I’m trying to place your accent ” and “How can you love music and dancing so much?” and “Can you hear ANYTHING??”
I’m used to it and I don’t mind explaining to others and enlightening them about my deafness now.
If someone asks me, I’m always willing to answer questions,but there’s a few things that just rub me wrong.
Please don’t look at me with pity and exclaim, “I’m so sorry ” when I tell you that I can’t hear and,please, for goodness sakes, don’t begin to define me by my hearing loss.
My hearing loss isn’t something to be pitied,it’s actually one of my greatest gifts.
You see,my hearing loss brings out the truth in people rather quickly.
There’s so much that one can learn about others and about yourself when you can’t hear as well as most people can.
I notice everything,even subtle mannerisms,and shifts in energy because I rely on using total communication-using the limited hearing I do have,reading lips and body
language, while looking deeply into the eyes of whoever I’m engaged in conversation with. I get to sit close to people, I get to hold eye contact and I really focus on who I’m with.
I’m not just “hearing impaired”, I’m a woman that wants to understand and be understood; it’s that pure and simple,and that complicated and overwhelming.
I’m much more than what I’m not, and when people say “I’m so sorry” upon hearing that I’m deaf, I gently tell them “don’t be sorry for me,be sorry for those that hear but don’t listen.”
A few weeks ago,a new client came in for a massage and read my AVA article that was on the table. After talking a few minutes,he asked me if he could pray for my hearing to be restored.
I took his hands in both of mine and said,”You can pray for me,but please listen to this story first,then pray as you see fit.”
My Aunt Dorothy was a feisty woman who had been blind since she was a toddler.
One night she went to a tent revival and the preacher man,upon realizing there was a blind woman in the crowd,came down and begin to pray loudly over her,laying his hands on her eyes, and asking God to restore her vision.
She let him pray and then,she said something that has stayed in my mind all these years.
“You pray for my eyes to see,when what I need prayer for is my heart. I can be bitter and mean,hurtful and unforgiving, and that’s what really needs prayer. I don’t need to see things,I need to be a better woman,I need to be kind,to be patient,to be more loving. When I die,the first thing I’ll see is the face of my Saviour, Jesus Christ.
I don’t need to see this world, I need to LOVE these people in this world.”
Then with a loud laugh,she added “But if you can make these glass eyes see,that would REALLY be a miracle!”
“Really be a miracle.”
Please, pause and ponder this for a moment. What would really be a miracle?
Sometimes we see a disability and that’s all we see, we don’t look deep enough to realize what else is there. We see a wheelchair,
instead of a person; we notice the crutches,and don’t look at the beautiful blue eyes; we see the elderly man take cautious steps, without realizing that long ago,he fought for our freedom. We see the child with Downs Syndrome, and overlook the child’s pure joy of life. We see deaf people signing,and only think about what they don’t hear instead of marveling at the beautiful language and culture they share. We see the white cane, and act as if the person is invisible.
Like the preacher man,the strangers at Taco Cabana-who approached me and best friend years ago to ask if they could pray for my hearing- and my client, so many people pray for what they perceive needs a miracle. It’s human nature to want to “fix things” and to change things to what we think is “normal” or “better”.
We look,but we don’t see and we hear,but we don’t listen. We assume too much,and know far too little.
The real miracle, I believe, would be for us to really look beyond the surface,behind the disabilities,the disfigurement,
the differences and see the abilities,the beauty,the uniqueness of each person.
We need to pray that our hearts will overflow with compassion, that we can see the goodness in the world,and hear the sound of love.
We need a real miracle and it’s within each of us to make it happen.
My client,after hearing the story of Aunt Dorothy, prayed for a “real miracle” for us both to have the heart to forgive and to love. He understood right away that my deafness wasn’t what a problem to be fixed,but a unique part of who I am.
So, I give this story over to you and urge you to listen with your eyes,to hear with your heart,to touch with kindness,to see with clarity and to create a ripple effect of miracles right now.
It would really,after all,be a REAL miracle.
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’
When I saw this beautiful quote on a Facebook page that I often look at, I had to capture it and save it,knowing full well that I had not always chosen to be love.
Too many times, I’ve seen families torn apart and friendships ruined because of choices that were anything but love. People have chosen to build walls,to hold life-long grudges, to constantly hold on to the past as if it were a treasured heirloom.
I’ve done it,too,although I’ve tried to sweep it under the rug and to make it seem like it was something different,the hard truth is that I’ve let friendships fall apart and I’ve built up walls that held out people that wanted to love me.
Maybe the intention was to protect ourselves from further hurt,but the truth is those choices actually cause more pain.
The anguish of loneliness,
the bitterness of unforgiveness,the stench of regrets wreck havoc on the soul and breaks down the body.
“Choose to be love.”
I let those words soak into me. I sat outside on my patio,pondering those words over and over, and I wrote poetry.
My own words started to mock me,to call me out,to push me from my comfort zone of keeping my words to myself and just a few close friends.
I knew the power of words-I claimed words of courage,of inspiration,of hope,and love. I printed and framed quotes and sent cards with favorite quotes tucked in but I was also cautious-selecting those that I shared my poetry with,giving only glimpses to others,relying heavily on a few kindred spirits that I felt “got me”.
So,I started to do some real soul searching-digging deep into what it means to “choose to be love.”
It hit me clearly,upside the head,the other day, that to chose love means taking action with my words.
It means that I can’t just write beautiful words,I must also LIVE those words. It’s not enough to speak them,to read and frame them, to write them and keep them tucked away in my journals.
If I really consider my words to be a God-given gift then I absolutely must do more
with my words and my life.
“Choose to be love.”
For me, I choose to make a decision to step forward and to forgive,to let go of the past and to start over,to open my arms wide,even while tears ran down my face,and my heart was broken.
I choose to look for the glimpses of light in the darkness,to see the significance in a lightening bug on rainy night, to wait out the storm until the dawn broke through with clarity,and to take chances.
“Choose to be love.”
As I write this,tucked in my covers,leaning against the pillows on my bed, my heart speaks quietly,reassuring me that the timing is good and that it’s time to begin living the words that I claim to be beautiful, to be true,to be inspirational,and to be love.
I will make the choice each day,each moment to respond with love. I will take my words and create things with them, and I will be first-to forgive,to embrace,to nurture,to come around, to give gifts, to open the door,and to tear down the walls.
I will choose to be love and maybe, just maybe,my choices will come back to me a hundred fold, and others will live the words that they receive and they,too,will choose to be love.
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’
Once upon a time, I believed in fairy tales and boogie bears. .
I was a rambunctious.free spirited child and.at the end of the day, I would climb into bed and talk about everything I could possibly come up with so I wouldn’t have to go to sleep.
My Mema had to come up with something to settle me down and so she would lay beside me, sneak her hand beneath the pillow and tap my headboard.
“You better be quiet and still,Jeanna’,…you better go to sleep..the boogie bear is coming….hush,hush,hush”
I would giggle and squirm because I knew it was her,but there was a part of me that believed if I was very,very quiet and still,the boogie bear would never find me.
“Quiet and still” was almost impossible for me back then,and,to this day.it’s hard for me to sit still and be quiet when I want to get up and dance,or walk away,to speak my mind or write my words.
But, I’ve grown up-just enough-to realize that being “quiet and still” is sometimes the very best thing we can do.
You see, the boogie bear is real. He comes sneaking in to steal our joy,to fill us with doubts and fear, and he plays on our insecurities,making us feel inferior. He wears many different disguises,and sometimes we don’t even realize it’s a boogie bear until we feel the tight grip crushing our spirit.
The boogie bear uses words like powerful weapons; “You’re too much!”
“You’re not enough!”
“You can’t do this!”
“You don’t matter!”
“You don’t belong!”
Those words are uttered by classmates, by so-called friends,by family members and co-workers …..but the real sting is when we say those words to ourselves,becoming our own worst enemy,our personal boogie bear.
That’s when we need to become quiet and still, to take the time to reflect on who we really are and what matters to us.
I discovered Paulo Coelho’s book “The Alchemist” during a critical time in my life when my heart was breaking and my body didn’t feel like it belonged to me anymore.
His well written words were a balm for my spirit,giving me courage and strength to begin banishing the boogie bears in my life.
I began making changes-cutting off my long hair,hiring a personal trainer and taking care of my body.
Then,as I read and reflected,I realized that I needed to use my hearing loss to my best advantage, becoming very selective about who I listened to and who I shared my words with.
I had to step away from some relationships and cultivate others that really “got me”.
The last year that I stayed in the place that wasn’t meant for me, I would guard my heart closely, staying only when needed, staring out the windows while working,knowing that I wouldn’t feel free until I was on my own.
I shared my dream with just a few people and those people became my fairy tale heroes.
“You can do this!”
“You have what it takes!”
“You are the best!”
“I believe in you!”
Those words begin to sink in,to fill me up and to give me back my power,my faith,and my resolve to be exactly the woman that I’ve always knew God intended me to be.
I’m not meant to fit in, or be like anyone else. I am blessed with a hearing impairment which means I can only understand those that come close enough so that I can read their lips.
That means they are also close enough for me to reach out and touch,which is what I’ve always been called to do.
I’m the “touchy feely” person-I hug too tight, plant kisses on cheeks,and curl up next to people and,you know what?
I’ve finally realized that’s okay, and if anyone isn’t comfortable with my touch,they can always step away.
I’m “too much”. I really am…I love too much,forgive too much,wear too much red lipstick, and too high heels.
I say exactly what I feel and I dance whenever the mood strikes my fancy and sometimes that’s “too much” for others, but that’s okay,too.
I’m “not enough”,too . I’m not weak enough to be pushed aside and I don’t get scared enough,I don’t over analyze enough,or figure out every single detail before I make decisions. I don’t always have enough money to cushion my falls, but I always have “just enough”to get through.
I don’t care enough about social media,or peer pressure,or what others think about me anymore.
I know that some people will disagree but I think God gives us exactly who and what we need when we need it. That’s why I’ve learned that sometimes what we think is a boogie bear can turn out to be a blessing,what we might first see as a trap,may actually be a springboard, and the words that may have been meant to destroy you,actually restored you instead.
I guess,truth be told, I still believe in boogie bears and fairy tales because I’m living proof that both exist right now- filled with “too much”and “not enough” and “just right” -it’s absolutely imperfectly perfect and it’s just the way I love things to be- unexpected,blissful-messy,chaotic,colorful,beautiful,fulfilling….maybe for someone else,it’s not enough,but for me-
Too much is just right!
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’
Two weeks ago, I sat on my Thai mat,face to face,hand in hand,with a beautiful,young woman after her session.
As always, I ended the session by thanking her for trusting me with her body and explaining the emotional and physical connection of Thai Massage.
As she begin sharing her story with me, I heard myself say some words that just resonate with my own soul,my own feelings,and my own life.
“Make more love. Make love because you love this man.Make love because it feels good.Make love because it’s an physical expression of your heart.Make love because you desire each other.and because it fulfills your needs and wants. Make love simply because you want to.”
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she leaned forward and hugged me.
Sometimes, when trying to conceive, couples feel such pressure,and making love-having sex- becomes a scheduled science project-driven by temperature,timing,and numerous other factors instead of the spontaneous,joyous expression of love that it is intended to be.
“Make more love.”
After she left, I folded up my Thai mat, while wiping my own tears,and I realize just what I said doesn’t apply to only sexual intimacy between couples.
No,make more love also applies to all of us. It’s a conscious decision that we can each make every hour,every day to respond with love,with kindness,with joy to others.
Life isn’t an exact science. We can’t guarantee that we will conceive if we do this and that on such and such time. We can’t be absolute certain of the weather,the traffic,the outcome of almost anything but we can choose to make love,intentionally,passionately,randomly,and without expectations.
Too often we hoard our love and affection,holding back,waiting for someone else to give love first.
It’s that mindset of “what’s in it for me?” that often pulls the brakes on our actions. We keep records of gifts given and received,of time spent with others,of hugs and kisses, and we jump at conclusions if we think it’s unfair or uneven.
Isn’t that a shame? To have and not to give? In the end of the day,don’t we realize that the more we give out,the more we get back? It’s the greatest investment,and the return rate is phenomenal.
We can choose to smile at a stranger,to allow another car to merge ahead,to open the door for someone else.
We can touch a child with kindness, give a bag full of bulbs,buy a drink for the guy in the car behind us, and take cookies to a friend.
We can make more love when we look for opportunities to show up,when we sit down and listen-really-listen to what’s being said.
We make more love every time we send an encouraging text,when we acknowledge another’s presence, when we are attentive and mindful.
There’s this thing called “The Five Love Languages” and it’s based on the belief that we each have a primary love language that we are fluent in and respond to best.
The languages are defined by Acts of Service, Quality of Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, and Receiving Gifts.
I was raised in such a loving home,by people that each had a different love language and has a result, I’m multi-lingual, fluent in every language of love, and able to give and receive in the language of others.
Yet.I’ve been guilty of withholding love.too.I’ve hesitated instead of leaping at opportunities to love, and I’ve denied myself and others the pleasure of love just because I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate or would be misunderstood.
I’ve held back when I should have given,said “no”when my heart said “yes” and made excuses when I knew love was calling me to act.
That’s just not right,it’s simply unacceptable and so, I’m going to declare that this is enough of that foolishness.
I’m going to make more love today,and tomorrow and the day after that and maybe,just maybe,it’ll be like a little spark, and others will start making love more.
Like confetti,like sprinkles,like glitter-let your love making scatter wherever you go,and touch whoever you meet.
Make more love because it feels wonderful! Make more love every day!