Uncategorized

Freedom

She carried herself well

with the confidence of a woman

that knew she was

beautiful and brave

desirable and sensual

She laughed when asked

what she loved most

about being here

deep in the heart of Texas

in America

so far from her home

“Freedom! Freedom!”

This is why she carries herself so well

walking with confidence

of a woman that knows full well

how beautiful and desirable

strong and courageous

Freedom is.

Jeanna Mead    6-9-18   8 49 p.m

 

Friday afternoon, my client returned for a massage session and, as she walked towards me, i thought to myself, “She is such a beautful woman.”  As we stood there talking, she mentioned that she was leaving soon for Spain, to visit her family for two months.  I asked her how she liked living in the USA, especially in Texas and she smiled with absolute pure delight and said. “I love it here!”

Of course, I had to ask the very next thing that popped into my head, “Why, Sonia, why do you love living in Texas so much?”  

 Her answer, her simple, profound, honest-to-goodness answer was summed up in one powerful word – “Freedom!”

“Freedom?”

She laughed, tossing her head back and then looking me straight in the eyes, said,
“Freedom to be myself!”

“In Spain, I can not find anything to wear, I can not go into a shop and find a dress, a blouse, or pants.. nothing at all… because, there I am just FAT… and they do NOT like fat women in Spain.”

This woman is gorgeous, with a voluptuous body, and long, strong legs, graceful arms and hands of a pianist.

She has a charming accent, a vibrant smile and carries herself with such confidence.

That type of confidence comes from having the freedom to be your own kind of beautiful.

She explained that in Spain there’s a standard of beauty that is so limited,yet so accepted that it’s literally impossible for any woman that doesn’t fit the cookie cutter mold to feel beautiful or to find anything to wear that makes them feel beautiful.

“But here, in Texas,”she said, “I can go into any shop and find so many things- cute, sexy,beautiful things that fit me.”

Here I am,thinking that freedom was about having political and religious choices. about having the right to vote, to select healthcare,schools, jobs and all that but then, this woman reminds me what freedom really is.

Freedom is being yourself. Freedom is owning your body and your soul.It’s making peace with who you are and finding out who and what you want.

Freedom is seeing your own beauty…looking past others “standards” and your own scars and celebrating the body you have right now.

This woman breathed words into my own starving body and soul.  I’ve wrestled mightily and lost a few battles against the standards of beauty that I’ve imposed on myself.

I’ve said., “No” to invitations when I really wanted to say “YES!” I’ve second guessed my choices over and over,standing in front of the closet and the mirrors, questioning my size,my shape,my strength and my worth.

I’ve been a captive of the “Beauty standard” for as long as I can remember.  I’ve been pressured to dress a certain way or not to wear other things. I’ve been praised for my “exotic” looks then reminded that I should look “more”- more my age, more “professional”, more “Christian” or more trendy. 

I’ve worn too much makeup and then too little, grew my hair long and let the curls go wild then cut it all off. 

I’ve tried to look at the reflection in the mirror and see myself as others do. My own daughter looks exactly like me and I find her breathtakingly beautiful but I struggle to see the same things I admire in her in myself. I am taking away my daughter’s freedom because I am holding us both hostage as long as I allow myself to feel the need to conform, to fit in to a certain size. to be just so. 

I realize that I’m the one that holds the ball and chain, the prison key and the on-way ticket to freedom.

I’ve always felt that clients come into my studio because they are meant to be there and Sonia just reaffirmed this in so many ways.

In her petal pink pants and sheer black floral blouse, she was a stand out picture of beauty and confidence and she reminded me of how I feel when I choose to wear the clothes and the colors that I love.

She had told me that in Spain.if she did find anything to fit,  it made her feel so frumpy, and OLD ..and that’s certainly not how she sees herself or how others see her.

Here she has FREEDOM…the same exact thing I have long taken for granted but.because of her willingness to share her story with me, I’m seeing just how much freedom I really do have.

Freedom to wear what feels good to me and the freedom to put back anything that doesn’t. Freedom to dance to my own song. Freedom to love my body with the scars,curves,and muscles and to do the things my body loves.  Freedom to decide to buy only what I fall in love with and freedom to say, “No way, Jose” when someone suggests anything that doesn’t feel right.

I get it, Sonia, I get it.

Freedom is about being free in your body,mind and spirit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AVA, Daily Prompt, deaf girl, Heart to heart, Jeanna' Soul, kindred spirits, Uncategorized

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,empathic woman. I appreciate kindness so much+ the extraordinary gifts of patience and understanding. I marvel at the wonders of technology like the AVA -Audio Visual Accessibility-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














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

Uncategorized

 My Own Gifts

I celebrated my birthday on May 10 and it began another year of resolutions,of dreams and promises to myself, of written lists to check off and prayers waiting to be answered….books to read and words to write, places to go and people to see.

A few years ago I had decided that instead of a traditional New Year’s Eve start. I would begin my own New Year by starting on my birthday.

So this year I’ve vowed to give gifts…to myself and to others. 

I’m giving myself the gift of acceptance..of the woman I am now and the girl that I once was.  That means accepting my deafness and the way it’s shaped me and my relationships with others.  It means accepting my scars- those that can be seen and those that are invisible to the eye but felt with the heart. It also means accepting age and my body and the changes in my appearance. It means accepting a different standard of beauty and strength. It means that I’ll embrace self…my struggles, my sensuality, my deep spirit and bright light, my chaos, and the things that set me apart and I’ll find others that accept those without making me feel like something is wrong with me.

I’m also giving the gifts of forgiveness to myself and to others.  It may not be neatly packaged, tied with pretty ribbons and it may very well be a bit rumbled and worn, stained with tears but I’m handing it over with all the love I can. 

There’s another gift I’m going to give away graciously. I’m giving the precious irreplaceable gift of time.  My Mema used to say “Come sit down and spend some time with me.” and that’s exactly what I’m going to spend generously. Time  can not be replaced and that can never be repeated so I will choose to spend time with people, choose to make priorities, choose to live spontaneously, choose to “go and be”, instead of “wait and see”.

I have been writing on this chalkboard by my studio for weeks for everyone to see and reflect upon as they walk by.  It’s this simple sentence -“What do you want to be known for?”- but it carries so much weight and for this New Year of my life, I’ve pondered what I want to be known for.

 Love.

That’s it…..I want to be known for love…I want to give love so generously that people walk away feeling touched and known. I want to do what I love and love what I do.  I want to feel love- in the dirt between my toes, in the smiles on the faces, in the embraces received and given. 

I want to make love more this year of my life…more spur-of-the-moment dances, more time with my kindred spirits, more time with my family. More memories made with Love.

This means I’ll have to make sure I love myself enough to listen to my intuition, to use my voice, honor my body and soul, give myself the gift of love and live this New Year of my life beautifully.






Uncategorized

Anticipation and Gratitude

I come out here

surrounded by my favorite things

and I open my heart

anticipation

come what may

bring my life 

what it needs

surprise me with generosity

butterflies and blooms

kindred spirits 

words that come

tumbling

I will begin

each day

filled this way

with anticipation

and I will come again

in the evening

as day gives an embrace to night

I’ll thank the stars above

generously

for fireflies and breezes

kindred spirits that came in

cups of coffee shared

and the chance to dance

on that ragged edge

surrounded by my favorite things.

👣💗 Jeanna’ Mead

9 32 a.m.  5-8-18

http://www.jeannasoul.com

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

Missing Pieces

I placed a 550 piece puzzle on the coffee table at my massage studio and encouraged the clients that were waiting to put it together, to find the pieces and fit them into place, to search and seek and to use their mind and hands in a productive, creative way.

After a week, I came out of session to see the puzzle completed….as best as it could be.  Four pieces of the puzzle were missing, so I got on my hands and knees and searched for the wayward pieces.

I found two pieces which I quickly put where they belonged and then I swept under the furniture and looked underneath the cushions of the chairs and couch but the missing pieces were not to be found.

My original plan had been to glue and frame the puzzle and use it for art on the walls of the studio, but the missing pieces made me change my plan.  but then….it hit me right in my heart of hearts.
Things don’t have to be complete to be beautiful. Life isn’t perfect and all the pieces don’t always fit in all nice and neat.

 Everything doesn’t always fall into place and yet….there is beauty in the brokenness, in the vintage treasures,in the imperfections and in the space.
I don’t have to hear everything in order to understand the intention of what is said. I lip read and even at my best, there are still times I miss words and just fill in the blanks with my imagination…and sometimes that’s even better….or worse.

 I also use AVA, the Audio Visual Accessibility app,  to help me catch what people say.
Often my hearing friends stare at AVA and find flaws…they see the things AVA misunderstands,the parts that are muddled, the missing phases, the words that weren’t spoken…and they shake their heads and question the reliability and purpose of AVA.

However, I see AVA with different eyes than they do and my perspective changes theirs.

AVA gives me more than I have ever had, it gives me glimpses of conversations that I would have never caught, pieces of lyrics, words from people as they pass by, random bits and pieces that hearing people take for granted.

AVA lets “overhear”..eavesdrop,if you will call it that…all the things I’ve never been able to understand. I hold AVA while at soccer games and finally have a clue to what the other parents are laughing about. 

I sit AVA on the counter as I check out at Kroger and read the flirtatious batter between the teenage cashier and the sacker.

Of course I don’t get every single word but I get more than I’ve ever had before in my life.

Another thing that came to mind as I looked at the puzzle with the missing pieces is relationships.

So often we expect another person to completely fill every need and want we have.We expect our loved ones to read our minds and fulfill all our desires. 

Then if that doesn’t happen,we get disappointed, angry and hurt and throw up our hands and knock the puzzle to the floor, so to speak.

If all the “pieces” of our relationship don’t fit, match up perfectly, or look as good as we think it should, then we tend to overlook all the other pieces that do.

Isn’t that tragic? Instead of seeing the parts that are good. the focus centers on what isn’t. Instead of exclaiming over the beauty, the attention falls on the imperfections.

It’s as if it’s an incomplete puzzle that must be broken apart and put back in the box, stuck in the shelf of a closet until maybe,just maybe the other pieces show up.

I wonder,though, what it would be like if we overlooked the missing  pieces and choose to see the big picture….to use our imagination to fill in the empty spaces with love and grace and a sense of humor….

Like this puzzle I had at the studio…look closely and you’ll see the bird in flight, the cat, the intricate designs and brilliant colors….and if you focus on those, you’ll find that the missing pieces just seem to fade into the background and not make much difference at all.

That’s how I choose to see life..as a gigantic puzzle with several pieces that just don’t fit and it’s all the more beautiful because of it and that’s how I see AVA…it’s another puzzle that is absolutely beautiful in my eyes.

We are puzzles ourselves..incomplete,complicated,and beautifully designed….and we all have missing pieces….and that’s perfectly okay.