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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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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

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She Wrote

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Really,She Did

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Making Sense

Long ago, she had been told

Southern rules

That “good” girls follow

Never mix silver and gold

Don’t wear black with brown

Heaven forbid if you get caught wearing white before Easter or after Labour Day

It just isn’t done that way

Make sure you get as good as you give

Love only the “right” one

at the “right” time

Build your walls high

 Keep your hems low

Don’t forget if you forgive

And ladies don’t drink beer from a can



Yet this morning

She laughed, once again, at the reflection in the mirror


Slid her feet into brown leather sandals

Buttoned the short black dress

Just in case the wind lifted the hem, she worn her salsa drawers

Layered her bracelets

One by one

And the stone necklace that she never went without

She had decided

Long ago

To make her own 

Set of rules

Live her life

Whether anyone understood or not

She forgot when she forgave

Drank margaritas, sweet wine and Blood Honey beer

Every chance she got

She fell in love

One by one

Over and over

Day in and day out

Built a wall of mystery

Lined it with peace

Gathered kindred spirits

Planted roots

So that good things could bloom

Found God in every place

Gave all she could

Received what she was given

After all…it was the only way

That made sense to her

Long ago



7 08 a.m.  3/28/17

Www.jeannasoul.com








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Not Another Word

She got all dressed
Lined her lips in red
Glanced at her reflection
Hoped she looked good enough
She didn’t say another word
She left the house early
So many things to do
Worked hard to make a living
Good thing it was what  she loved
Came home late
There was more to do
She didn’t say another word
She climbed between the sheets
Shut her eyes
Held on tight to hope
That sleep would ease all her aches and pains
She didn’t say another word
Every chance she could get
She could be found
writing her heart out
Baring her soul
Giving glimpses to anyone
Who took the time to look
But she never said another word
She bought the things
She wanted
Found everything she needed
All by herself
Somehow
that’s just how it was
So she didn’t say another word

Jeanna’ Mead
7 13 p.m.  3.13.17

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Desire

It seems to me

That my desires change

From day to day

Moment by moment

Sometimes I desire

Peace and quiet

Solitude….a chance to write

Outside on the patio

Surrounded by nature

Other times I can’t wait

To feel the music

Beneath my feet

And dance all night

The pleasure of company

Loved ones with me
On cold days,I so desire

 A crackling fire

Cup filled with cocoa

Fresh baked cookies

Books to read

But as soon as it warms up

The things  change

And I desire 

Juicy peaches and mangos

Fresh squeezed lemonade

Coconut oil rubbed on my skin

Feet plopped in the sand

There are times when i desire

Nothing but an embrace

And other times I can never get enough

Of my love language of touch

I might desire to slip away 

Unnoticed 

A wisp in the air

Another times I make sure

My desires were made clear

The only thing 

That’s never changed

Is my desire

To be me. 

Jeanna’ Mead

5 39a.m. 3.4 17

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Collections of Connections

While at the store, I stopped to look closely at  a beautiful table display with collections of vases,picture frames and knick knacks and as I touched the items, the reality struck me that I really didn’t want any of things on the table.

You see, a family friend had told me just last week that she was teaching her son to build connections instead of collections and that simple comment has been stuck on my mind every since.

“Connections instead of collections.”

Let these words roll over in your mind,speak them out loud,and write them down.
Whisper them to yourself and see how it causes you to reflect and ponder,and to take a deeper look at the things you have collected.

Do you really want a collection of blue vases and bottles or do you want a good friend that you can count on to chase away the blues?

There’s something incredible about having a kindred spirit that just gets you, someone who will catch your eye and without a word,understands what you’re feeling. 

It’s not just in family members or life-long friends,sometimes a simple connection is made while exchanging smiles as we pass by each other in the grocery aisles.
It is in the knowing look between  two moms carrying toddlers, as one elderly couple passes another, as we make eye contact and acknowledge another’s  presence.

That’s what life is really about -seeing the invisible red thread that connects each of us,seeing the divine in the dust,the possibilities in the seed, the beauty in the chaos.

It’s being open and willing to take the first step in building friendships. I think about all the people that I’ve wanted to get to know better but just didn’t.  Instead of offering  the first invitation, I hesitated and let the opportunities pass by.
I found excuses,instead of reasons to connect with others and, in doing so, I put up walls against the chances for wonderful things to happen.

I know that all deep connections go through hardships and difficulty and that’s exactly why I believe it’s important to reach  deep within and find forgiveness and mercy, acceptance and hope, faith and trust,again, to rebuild the relationship.

Sometimes, we realize that, although relationships change, it doesn’t have to be the end. There’s still goodness,still worthiness,and yes, still reason to continue but in different ways. 

There’s other connections,too, that have been formed by social media. I became part of Massage Therapy groups to learn more about my craft, not expecting to gain such insight and help for my day-to day life. 
One online friend found AVA, the Audio Visual Accessibility app that has changed my life. I haven’t met JT yet, but every time I use  AVA, I think of the Florida graphic artist that not only designed my first logo but also took the time to research accessibility apps after reading my post about not being able to understand group conversations.
Then there’s Joshua, the ocean lovin’, guitar playin’, skateboard ridin’, husband,papa and serious massage therapist who finds time to put together music selections on Spotify so that I- the deaf therapist- have clients exclaim that they absolutely loved the music played during their sessions.

Over time, understanding and intimacy  grows as stories are shared and bonds are formed and these people become the ones that know each other well. Distance may stand in the way of gathering  and sharing meals, but there’s still the “connection” that brings people together and lets them be there for each other.

Another thought that occurred to me, that actually has always been part of my “love language”, is that the “collections” that really matter to me have all came from my “connections.”

I spend hours in my massage studio room,  giving others my touch and attention,
surrounded by things that I’ve chosen to display because they bring me a feeling of contentment,of love,of security, of the connections I have made.

I look around and see a painting that reminds me of blue crab dip and beer with my friend, Keri. There’s a book from Jan, a quilt from Judy, a wooden bowl, framed quotes and painted words from other friends.
The dresser and desk were my mom’s that my husband repainted a bright turquoise ,my favorite color.

So when I look around, I don’t see “things,” I see the faces of the givers, I hear their words, I feel their touch and I know they are with me, in spirit and in truth.

Truthfully I do feel something special-a sense of empowerment and confidence, of love and strength when I wear certain things. It’s almost as if I’m being wrapped in an embrace, given an encouraging pat on the back, having my hand held as I go through my day just because I’m wearing something that came from someone else.

When I feel like I need an extra boost, I reach for my mom’s amethyst ring, layer on bracelets that have been given to me, and slip my feet into a pair of cowboy boots from my collection.
I have cowboy boots from back when I was 20, to the  pair my Mema bought me just weeks before she went to glory.  There’s the flowered pair that I tease my clients about…one bought the right,the other bought the left when they surprised me with a Christmas bonus two years ago.
My newest black stitched boots came from a long time client who tucked a Cavendars gift card in my hand to make sure I kept on waltzing around the table.

These things I wear are more than just accessories, they are wearable memories. It’s tangible collections showing me and others what’s already carved into my heart.

I’m building collections from my connections….and I’m going to begin giving bits and pieces to others so that when they look around their space, or at their wrist,or touch their neck, they will feel  my presence, my warmth,my love and gain a little extra confidence,a shot of sassiness,and waltz out to make their own connections in life!

Connections AND collections….this just might be the beginning of something wonderful!

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’