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Clarity

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Yesterday I was inspired to write this poem after two encounters reminded me of how I should love my body more.
As I flipped through the yoga pants at Ross, I noticed a woman in a wheelchair being pushed by her daughter. 
The woman only had her right leg and her daughter tucked a blanket around the amputated stump. 
I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened….diabetics, cancer,or some kind of accident,,but I saw the resignation in her eyes and I knew that she longed to have the ability to walk.

Ten minutes later, as I was driving down the highway, I saw a man on crutches with one leg stopping just above the knee.  I was too far to read the sign but I am certain it was asking for help,perhaps explaining a little about what happened to his leg.
I know one thing for sure,being without both legs makes life so much harder for him.

It was a reminder that I have a responsibility,a privilege,and a honor to take care of my body,to keep it strong and flexible so that it can be capable of doing everything I want to do and need to do.

I looked at my left knee,with a brace around it and made a solemn vow to return back to weight training,to dance,and to living my life ready and anticipating the next adventure,the next step,the,next leap of faith,the next chance to run,skip,waltz and hop. 

I saw with such clarity all the things I’ve taken for granted that my legs do.

I stand for hours at a time giving massages to others. I climb up on my table and use my feet and legs to massage,too.
Every day,I bend,twist,shake and boogie with my 3 year old granddaughter and my 17 month old grandson. I lift them up and run after them,I squat down to draw on the concrete,to tie shoes,to apply band-aids to imaginary boo-boo’s and I’ve always taken it for granted that I could.

But seeing these are two people gave me a much needed glimpse into the harsh reality that not everyone is has lucky as I am.
I’ve neglected my body far too often- putting off workouts and training,making excuses, and forgetting that it’s my responsibility to take care of it all of my days.

While my body does belong to me, as I write this, I think about how my body-my legs and feet- give love to others and,in a very real sense,my body belongs to others,too.

I’m able to stand and embrace with both hands, and I can walk over to open the door for someone.
I’ve jumped out of my car to help push a stalled vehicle out of the road.
I’ve taught children to ride bikes,to roller skate,to hop scotch, and to dance.
I’ve spent hours kneeling  on a Thai mat,offering healing for others.
These legs have held sleeping babies, puppies and kittens.
I’ve spent countless times stroking the heads that have laid on my lap.
I’ve danced on stage,on gravel,in honky tonks and ballrooms.   I’ve wrapped my legs around horses, around beach toys, and around the waist of whoever had to carry me!
These legs have climbed trees, kicked balls, swam in oceans,rivers,lakes and pools with friends and family.

While dancing in the kitchen, I’ve baked cookies and cakes,made meals and culinary mistakes  and taught the importance of adding “just a little sugar to make everything taste better.”

I’ve given love and received love through my body,with my heart and my mind focused on what I’m doing.
With every touch, every step, every breath I have the opportunity to honor this incredible gift from my Creator and use it well.

So I’m looking at my legs again…seeing the scars through teary eyes….because it’s almost as if I can read the words on my body,barely visible,reminding me with such clarity of all the absolutely wonderful, fascinating, incredible things that I do with my body every single day.

And I make a solemn vow to each of you,to myself and to my Creator that I will never again take it for granted.

I truly hope you’ll see your body through my eyes and make your own vow to love your body well,too. It’s the most beautiful vessel that holds your soul…..be filled with gratitude for the gift you have.

Experience massage with clarity-
http://Rockwallbodyandsoulmassage.com

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Woman

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Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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AVA C.A.R.E Choose to be love Create A Ripple Effect deaf girl Deaf Massage Therapist Heart to heart kindred spirits writers with soul Writing

Let It Go

A little girl
So much like me
Grabs my hands
Pulls me away
An invitation
Shining in her eyes
“Play with me!”
She says
“Let’s sing and dance”
And nothing else matters
Even one bit
I put the music on
The video,too
We stand and sign
“Let it go,Let it go!”
We twirl around
Run up and down
Our eyes twinkle
With shared delight
And all I can think
Is that the song is true
“The past is the past!”
Leave it there
Start anew
Take the chances
You’ve been waiting your whole life for
“Let it go,Let it go!”
Don’t let anyone else define
Who you are
Dim your sparkle
Crush your hopes
Imprison your spirit
Doubt your beauty
“Let it go,Let it go!”
Open your own door
Give yourself permission
Issue that invitation
Grab on tight
Hold hands
Sing and dance
Wear whatever you want
“It doesn’t matter what anyone else says!”
The little girl
That’s so much like me
Is watching
every move I make
“Let it go,Let it go!”
One might think
I’m teaching her
But,truth be told,
She’s the one
Teaching me the most
“Let it go,Let it go!”
And so I’ll follow the lead
Of the little girl
That’s so much like me.

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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AVA C.A.R.E Cast Your Stone Choose to be love Create A Ripple Effect deaf girl Deaf Massage Therapist Heart to heart kindred spirits Make Love massage Massage with Soul writers with soul Writing

A Real Miracle

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’

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Don’t SQUANDER!

Every so often I’m reminded of what this life is all about….and I just feel the need to whisper “Please,don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life you’ve been given.”

Please, take this life and use it until every single drop overflows and splashes out, drenching others with your love, your passion, and your unique spirit.

Please don’t diminish who you are, or settle, or doubt the extraordinary purpose of your life.

You see, I’ve learned something during this last year, when I’ve had to come to terms with the way I had lived my own life.  There were some dark days that I really had to struggle to make sense of, and I had to figure things out almost entirely by myself.

Those “dark days”, as I call them now, are the days that lead me back to my Creator and forward to the life of intention, passion, and love that I had always wanted to live.
I took the words that had been spoken to me and held them up against the words I read in scripture and, slowly but surely, I began to see myself through the eyes of love – God’s love – and that changed my outlook and my life.

I claimed a verse about being “Set Apart” and held that one close to my heart, along with another one about “Promises Kept”.
And then I just decided to let go and let God.  That’s been something that I always thought was a bit of “cop out”. Ooh, yeah, “let go and let God”?
It really is easier said than done…..but that is exactly what I did.

I stopped trying to fit in some preconceived mold of what a “good, Christian woman” was and started finding out who I really was and what I believed.
I discovered that I wasn’t “too much” after all and that all those things that others said was “too much” was actually “just right” to God. I’ve always had “too much” passion, “too much” energy, and I felt “too strongly”. I was told that I “loved too much”, that I “gave too generously”, “acted too sensual ” and the list went on. I had never felt quite good enough but just couldn’t put my finger on why I felt that way.
I had started to diminish my light, to pull on a mask and to hide behind a wall in an attempt to try not to feel so strongly about anything but, as I read and reflected, the words began to fill my very being with grace, strength and courage – more than enough of everything to make me realize just exactly what the real truth is.

“Fearfully and wonderfully made”, written plain as day. That meant everything about me – from my hearing impairment, my strong will and passionate soul, my brown eyes and everything that was “too much” was actually all intentionally planned.

This taught me that God created me and loved me enough – just me – and I didn’t and shouldn’t have to depend on anyone else for validation or love or acceptance.
He who created me also wanted me and loved me just the way I am, and that was it.

The more I studied and understood, the more free I felt; the weight and the burden of everything lifted off my shoulders and went squarely onto the shoulders of my Creator.

Then I came upon this verse in 2 Corinthians 6, where it said ” Please, don’t squander one bit of the marvelous life that has been given to you” and I just whispered quietly,”Never again, God, never again”

Never again will I withhold forgiveness when I can give it. Never again will I decline an invitation because I doubt my beauty. Never again will I build up a wall to imprison myself. Never again will I pass up a chance to be kind and considerate. Never again will I squash myself down to fit into someone else’ comfort zone. Never again will I settle for less than what I really want. Never again will I regret anything I’ve done.
Never again will I waste any of my marvelous life.

http://www.bodyandsoulinspiration.com

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Choose To Be Love

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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’