Wild and Precious Life

This time, I’ll write in first person

So there’s no doubt or wonder

If the words are my own

I’ll shoot straight

Declare the truth

Show my true colors

Glimpse into my soul

Because I’m so inspired

By the words that I read

Once again

“Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.”

Oh, Mary Oliver

Did you live your wild and precious life to the fullest,as you write?

Or were your dreams contained on paper in books for others to read?

And what about me?

This one wild and precious life

How am I living it?

Dreaming big and living small

Just ain’t the way I want to be at all

I want to take more chances

Believe in destiny and strength

Walk that ragged edge and take the leap

Fly by the seat of my pants

Hanging on for dear life

I want to take full advantage of all I’ve been given

Ride this life with all I’ve got

Take a chance and come out flying

Fill my cup to overflowing

I want to dance in the streets

Down the aisles

On the beach

With little boys, old gentlemen, weathered cowboys and anyone that can

I want to drink sweet wine with no apologies

Meet for coffee and cookies

Wrap my hands around a warm mug and just breathe

I want to give and I want to receive

Bend down and rise up so that I can reach to kiss the lips,the cheeks, the face and leave more that lip stick stains

It’s my one wild and precious life

I haven’t made enough mistakes

Been a little too safe

Waited a bit too long

Let things fall away

Lost track of time

Wasted too much

Learned a whole lot

Thank God for all that

And for Mary Oliver

Daring to write

“Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.”

👣💗Jeanna’ Mead

5 27 a.m. 2-24-19

Www.jeannasoul.com

Grateful Heart – a story of gifts.

Christmas morning we gathered around the living room and exchanged presents.

My pile seemed to get bigger and bigger…and my daughter, Kateley, laughed and said, “Momma,you have the most presents of anyone.”

She was right.

Not just the ones wrapped in shiny paper and tucked into gift sacks.

I had a big pile of those but I also had the sweet, invisible gift of being known and loved by so many and of knowing and loving so many,too.

This year, though, I was especially touched by the gifts I received that showed me how well I was known, not just by my family but also by clients and friends.

One son gave me a big coffee mug etched with the words, “Begin each day with a grateful heart” and I laughed because I often tell him “thank you for being my son” and he’ll shake his head and say, “Yea,sure.” but his green eyes twinkle and he squeezes me so I know he feels that love.

He also gave me the softest blanket throw to cuddle up and read and watch movies with. That son,like me, seeks out the soft fabrics, the texture of things matters to both of us.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

My daughter told me before I opened my gift that Riven had chosen it…I knew then it would be something special.

I busted out laughing when I saw the pink flamingos houseshoes and then winked at my daughter for giving me pajamas to go with them.

I haven’t owned a pair of pajamas in probably 24 years. I prefer sleeping nude, going from a hot bath and barely drying off into cool sheets.

I’ve always kept a tank top and panties handy just in case. My Mema used to fuss at me for sleeping naked, telling me that if the house caught on fire, I’ll be standing outside “naked as a jay bird” and I would tease her back that nobody would be looking at me anyways, they would be watching the fire.

But a few days before Christmas, I had mentioned to my daughter that I probably should get a pair of pajamas soon….because I had been invited to a women’s sleepover and I didn’t have proper attire.

I was heard and I received.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Then 2 packages that clearly looked like canvases were placed in my hands.

One revealed the handprints of my Riven and Luke Everett created during time with their Granny.

The other was a picture of Greg and I dancing at the wedding of our son. Chase and his wife, Lacy, back in May.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Tears sprang to my eyes again as I traced the images of us, gazing at our smiles,the way our eyes were locked on each other and the ease of our bodies.

Back when Greg and I started dating, I told him that loving me came with 3 rules.

1.Never smoke.

2. Never become obese.

3. Always dance.

He kept the first two easily and struggled in the beginning to learn to dance.

Mema took him under her wing and turned that “stiff as a board” guy into a smooth dancer that could take any woman out on the floor with ease.

Dancing was the one thing we did almost every weekend, meeting up with friends at local honky tonks for country music and dancing till the places closed down then getting breakfast at some 24 hour diner.

It was our thing and it was good.

But a few years ago, we stopped dancing…we started drifting apart and we just couldn’t connect- not on any other level, and certainly not the dance floor.

It was noticeable.

We danced well together still from habit and practice but there was no passion, no spontaneously, no laughter. Instead of making eye contact, we looked over each other’s shoulders, scanning the crowd, looking for other dance partners, smiling at strangers, sending off signals that we were clearly not quite connected with each other.

We made mistakes on the dance floor. Stumbled over each other’s feet.

Missed steps. Dropped hands. Fell out of sync.

We got angry and walked away leaving the other standing on the floor. Sometimes we would just grab another partner and show off, spinning around and doing elaborate moves with new partners. It was almost like we were trying to outdo the other.

This picture showed that the connection we had lost was back. It showed that sometimes the right song makes all the difference and if you keep on dancing, maybe, just maybe, it’ll turn into another dance….another chance.

Then, I opened the gift from my oldest son- the one that is deeply rooted in the old West and cowboy life- and found a beautiful fringed purse with a secret- a concealed handgun pocket.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

You see, I love leather fringed coats and I have two that were gifts from my Mema, both are over 20 years old and when I wear them, I feel her embrace around me….but I also feel the eyes of people looking at me.

“That coat gets too much attention…it’s so gaudy!”

Maybe it is..but it reminds me of shopping at Shepler’s and Lone Star Ranch Wear with my family, of saddles and horses, of my Aunt Jane and the Johnson way of life.

My gift from Greg was the last one I opened. He had taken Kateley shopping and together they had chosen my gift.

Black leggings, a soft pink sweater, black booties, a black jacket, and a boho leather bag.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

You see, that’s another history story. My Mom and Mema spoiled me rotten, not just at Christmas but all the time and one of the things they always did shaped me into the woman I am.

You should always receive a whole new outfit to wear on Christmas day.

When my parents were living, we opened gifts on Christmas eve and I would receive so many outfits that both Mema and Momma would wait with anticipation to see which one I would show up wearing the next day.

I see gifts of clothing as gifts of knowing. It is a special intimacy to know the size and style of someone, to look at something and instinctively know.

“This is so perfect, absolutely perfect for them.”

Every year, I’ve received gifts from my clients that show how deeply our relationships have grown…from therapeutic sessions to a mutual kinship.

For the last three years, my clients have made sure I got new cowboy boots. I teased them that one bought the right boot, and the other bought the left, but it’s more than that.

I realize that, as I touch the bodies of these people, I’ve given them glimpses into my soul and they begin to understand me in ways that make me feel known and loved.

Books and calendars, journals, teas, chocolates, blankets, carved wooden bowls for oils, wine openers, paintings and gift cards have been placed in my hands and filled my heart.

Sometimes the gifts have made me feel as if I was the naked one. How could they know me so well when I’m the one touching them and not the other way around?

I have always accepted the gifts with gratitude but one time, I had to give a gift back. I’ve regretted that since then…but at the time, that turquoise,fringed jacket showed that I was known well by one and not by another.

It was absolutely perfect at the perfectly wrong time.

Like my Mema and Momma, I’m a giver of gifts. I love finding things as I’m out and about and knowing instinctively just who it would be perfect for.

I don’t wait for special occasions, for birthdays or holidays, although those do get honored.

Instead, like the women that raised me, I like to give unexpected little presents, ways of making those that share my life feel known and loved.

Sometimes, though, I have to catch myself and hold my horses. It’s one thing to know someone well enough to see something for them and want to get it…and it’s another thing to actually give it.

It could be absolutely perfect at the perfectly wrong time.

I’ve had to learn to give and receive with clarity and intention, to make sure my heart is in the right place, to give and receive with love, with respect and with understanding….the invisible gifts that matter just as much as those that are wrapped in shiny paper and tied with bows.

Giving gifts is an absolutely perfect way of showing a grateful heart..it’s also an absolutely perfect way to find out how well you are known and loved.

I will give.

I will receive.

And I will be grateful for both.

👣💗Jeanna’ Mead

6 33 a.m. 12-30-18

Www.jeannasoul.com

Simple and Extraordinary

Paulo Coelho: “Be blessed.
The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them”

There were flowers

In a coffee cup

That she would use

Again and again

While remembering

Her friend

There was wine

And desserts

Long talks

Belly laughs

A special stone

Bought from a long ways

That made her feel

Like she was known

It was a lipstick and eye shadow

A hug and a kiss

Sweet text that made her

Feel she had done her best

It was such a simple thing

So extraordinary

And she was wise enough to know

That she was blessed.

👣❤Jeanna’ Mead

7 46 a.m 8-28-18

Www.jeannasoul.com

Summer Falls

She just couldn’t believe

It was almost over

Summer became fall

And all the things she had hoped to do

She never had the chance

It seemed like everytime

She thought she might

The opportunity passed

So summer became fall

And she hadn’t swam at all

Or took the day

To treasure hunt

In flea markets and vintage shops

She didn’t get to pitch a tent

Or sleep beneath the stars

Margaritas on the beach

Weren’t on the list of things she did

As summer became fall

Instead she travelled

Down a familiar road

Into the depths of her own soul

She dreamed and she wrote

Gave the touch she longed to receive

She stood naked and alone

And made her peace

With the reflection she called her own

She discovered truth and strength

A courage she hadn’t always known

As summer became fall

She stopped expecting to be known

To be understood or seen

And realized that was going to be just fine anyway

It took too much time

Too much effort

And way too much insight

As summer became fall

So she looked wistfully

At her journal

With all the things she had planned

Marked “Summer of 18”

And crossed it out with red

She vowed to be ready

Her body and her soul

So that when spring became summer 2019

She’ll be more than ready

And all the pit-up chaos

The desires and plans

The moonlight strolls

Dark brown skin and turquoise bikinis

Margaritas on the beach

Camping by the streams

Card games and cook outs

On a patio

Will finally come true

The next time

Summer became fall

Talking

There’s some people

that can talk

a blue streak

say all the right things

lay on the charm

butter on hot bread

good like that

But that’s about

as far as it goes

when there’s work

to be done.

and push comes to shove

or there’s a time

when you’re stuck 

between a rock and a hard place

it seems like

talking is all

they know to do

tell you what

tell you a hundred reasons why

you should do things

their way

but that’s as far as it goes 

it’s easy to do the talking

hard to do the walking

and that’s when you 

separate the boys from the men

find out the truth

about who’s who

goes the extra mile

sticks around

makes the best

out of what’s happening

finds a way

digs deep

shows up

pulls the weight

and doesn’t waste time

standing around talking

when there’s work

to be done.

👣❤  Jeanna’ Mead

12 37 p.m.  7-21-18

http://www.jeannasoul.com

Travel Bug

Oh, how she wished

for the time to come

that she could go

instead of dream

pack her bags

and fly off

to see and be

part of an adventure

taste and touch

treasure hunt

dive headfirst

into the blue-green surf

find a cabin in the neck of the woods

spend the morning hiking

and the evening writing

stories and poems

She would sit

talk to strangers

dance with whoever asked

eat all kinds of fruit

and desserts,too

She would leave kindness

sprinkled like confetti

along the way

Drop in and give 

tight embraces

exchange massages

with people she’s been

wanting to meet for so long

She would ride horses

climb rocks

paddle a canoe up a stream

ride the biggest zip line

from tree to tree

she would kick back

lay low

cool down

chill out

Look for love

in all the places

and too many faces

and find it too

oh, she was bitten

bitten good and hard

by the travel bug

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!