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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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Bites and Pieces

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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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Roses and Thorns

A person that plants thorns, must never expect to gather roses.           -Paulo Coelho

I read this and sat outside on my patio, pondering the wisdom of these words as I looked at the garden filled with flowers and green plants,and tall trees that are losing their leaves.

There’s a chapter in Paulo’s book,The Spy, where the mother gives her daughter a package of flower seeds and tells her to carry these seeds so they will remind her of who she is and where she’s from. 

The mother says to her daughter, “These are seeds of tulips, they will only bloom into tulips. The seeds you plant will not change into another type of flowers.”

There it is. Simple as that.

What you plant, is what will bloom. 

Or at least, that’s the way it works in the garden and the yard.

 I dig up wayward trees that are growing in cracks and even in the gutters of my studio, and I replant them where I believe they will grow deep roots and become tall, beautiful trees that offer shade and shelter.

I buy clearance plants from Lowe’s- bedraggled, pitiful, little things and I plant them and I nurture them fully expecting them to thrive and bloom…and they do. 

That’s another lesson from my Mema, who would tell me over and over, “Don’t give up…the tiniest little root is all it takes. You just gotta pour love on it.”

This is how people are,too, but sometimes you can plant roses and tend to the roses as they grow and bloom, only to find out that others look at the beautiful roses and only see the thorns.

They may breathe in the scent of the roses, understand the time and work put into establishing the roots, nurturing the soil, making sure it receives plenty of sun and water and is encouraged to grow, but instead of focusing on the beauty, they point out the thorns.

“These thorns can cut. They might leave a mark or even a scar. You could get caught in those thorns and they will rip through you. There’s just too many thorns here.”

Never mind the intoxicating scent. Never mind the way the roses add beauty and color to the garden. Never mind how the roses climb along the bricks, offering shelter and privacy.

All they can see is the thorns.

I think that’s one reason I don’t really like roses. I always think of roses as high maintenance flowers. They are beautiful but they require pulling on gloves that reach to my elbows, using special tools, wearing shoes and tip toeing around as I work.

I’m the kind of woman that likes to reach into the garden with my bare hands, picking off dead leaves, pulling up weeds, digging holes and laying in plants without giving any thought to thorns that might cut me. 

I prefer to stand with my feet in the soil, turning stones over with my toes, wiggling down and using my body as a tool instead of looking for something that might make it easier, but won’t feel as good.

I may be “good and sore” as my Mema would say at the end of the day, but there’s just something special about the feeling of good, simple, hard work that you can feel and see.

That’s so much like the relationships we have. Sometimes we plant roses, and get distracted by the thorns. Sometimes it’s because others point those out to us.

Sometimes we plant yellow tulips and to our delight, find that a single red one somehow got mixed in the package and bloomed- making the garden even more beautiful.

Sometimes we plant flowers in pots and find that a tree has taken root in the fertile soil   and we know that, in order for it to really reach it”s full potential, we must transplant it out of the confined pot and into a place where it won’t be limited.

Sometimes we have to sit back in a rocking chair and wait and watch for the seasons to change, the roots to get established and the time to be right for the beauty to grow, show up and ssurprise us.

Just remember…anything can grow if you pour on the love and attention….and you can grow beauty or only thorns….it’s all in your hands and in the way you choose to look at the garden of life.

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Held

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Trick And Treat

👣💗 Inspired by Paulo Coelho: “It is easy to be a hater. Go for the difficult task: be a lover.”

There’s a trick

she’s still learning 

the hard way

But years ago, she wrote

a simple prayer in a poem

” Let my heart be broken

torn into pieces

bring me to my knees

Let my heart be open”

And now she sees 

quite clearly

that she wouldn’t do it

any other way

she’ll still choose to love

when it’ll be easier to turn away

she’ll still treat others

as if she’ll be treated the same

she’ll still hold open

the doors and the invitation

although it’s been closed on her

many times before

She’ll still choose

to let her heart be broken

than to regret the chance

She’ll still go forward

though others hold back

It’s a trick

she’s learning

 the hard way

But she can’t be any different

since she had asked.after all.

to let her heart be broken

torn into pieces

and filled up

patched well

etched and engraved

with love.

..
Jeanna’ Mead

11 01. 10/31/17

http://www.jeannasoul.com

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Common Ground

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Me,Too

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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.
<
You can leave a review, too…Goo.gl/D1UUhQ
and let others know what it’s like getting a massage with lyrics and tears.

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October Dances

As September collapses into October each and every year, I find myself at that familiar ragged edge once again.

This is the month I began saying “goodbye” to the woman that raised me, loved me,claimed me and shaped me.  It’s a month full of “last” and of too many “first” and I dance along the edges between the need for solitude,the desire for company. It’s a time when I long to be asked to dance and when I want to dance all by myself. 

My Mema, Lord, have mercy, was the most charming, creative, headstrong, fearless, loving woman that ever danced this earth. 

And I say “dance” instead of “walked” because that’s exactly hl what she did.

Our garage door was left wide open and Marty Robbins, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Dolly Parton would keep us company while we worked in the garden, planting onions, beans,tomatoes and peppers or just sitting out in the driveway talking.

At any moment, she might catch my eye, wipe the dirt off her hands and grab my hand while saying , “Come on, let’s dance.”  We would do a little two stepping in the grass and she would be singing the words so I could read her lips.

Her blue eyes would twinkle and she would say, ” Oh, I just love this man’s voice….he could put his boots under my bed anyday”

That was just a figure of speech for her. Truth be told, the only man who ever left his boots under her bed was the man she loved till the day she died. 

Daddy and Mema could cut a rug better than Fred and Ginger. I remember being star struck watching them on the dance floor when I was 5 years old. Mema in a long, flowing chiffon gown and Daddy in his trademark black suit were the only couple on the floor and they swirled and turned and moved as if they were one and the ballroom was a stage. 

As the song ended, people burst into applause and Daddy took Mema back to her seat, and smiled at me.  I felt as if I was the luckiest little girl in the world- I was the daughter of people that could dance like that! 

Mema used to tell me stories about how her momma- a stricter God-fearing woman- didn’t approve of dancing so Mema and her sister would sneak off into town and watch the couples dancing then come home and practice in front of the mirror with each other until they got the moves down pat. 

That disapproval didn’t make much difference to her and maybe that’s what fueled her passion so much. There was this strong streak inside her that just didn’t “give a hoot” what anyone else thought.

Even me. 

There were times when I was a teenager trying to fit in and be “normal” when Mema grabbing my hand and dancing in the aisle of Minyards just embarrassed me to pieces.  I would pull back and whisper, “Mema, people are WATCHING!” and, those eyes would twinkle again and she would laugh and say, “Well, then come on, Jeanna’, let’s give them something to watch!”

“Something to watch” was exactly what she was. She could shake and shimmy, turn and twirl, keeping perfect rhythm to the beat all the while carrying on the exact emotional gestures that best suited the song.

This was true no matter what she was wearing or where she was,  and our home was her favorite dance hall.

There were 3 switches on the light plate by the front door of the house we lived in. The first switch was the porch light,the second turned on the foyer light but the third switch was magic.

When that third switch was lifted up. down would come one of the many LP’s stacked high on the stereo and, by the time, you’ve taken a few steps. the rich voice of Freddy Fender,Nat King Cole, Kenny Rogers, Ray Price or Barbara Mandrell would fill the house, loud and clear.

  Sometime it would be gospel, or Big Band or holiday music but most of the time, it was country-western.

And there she would be, barefoot and in a gown, standing in the kitchen, putting a pot of stew on for dinner while frying bacon for breakfast as the biscuits baked and she’ll be singing along -because she knew all the words by heart-tapping her spatula and dancing as she went as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Maybe that’s why it’s only natural for me to find myself dancing up to meet a client, or twirling around during a session unbeknownst to the person laying facedown on my table. 

.Maybe that’s one reason that I don’t feel like I truly know someone until I’ve danced with them. 

Maybe that’s why I dance in the aisles with my little Riven and watch her shake and shimmy as her eyes twinkle with that same mischievous delight. 

Maybe that’s why October is the most bittersweet months of all and why I find myself hiding away, seeking some peace and quiet so that I can hear my Mema’s words again.

“Don’t give a hoot.”

“Let them watch.”

“I just love this.”

“Come on and dance.”

Maybe that’s what life is all about….not giving a hoot about what anyone else thinks, letting others watch as you do whatever you love to do and. saying ‘I love this’ every chance you get.
After all, someday you will be way up yonder in glory and Mema just might grab you by the hand,with a twinkle in her eyes and say, “I just love this song..come on….let’s dance!”

For you, my beloved Mema..

i love you with both hands and I’ll dance…..every single chance I get.

4 37 p.m. 10-9-17

Jeanna’ Mead