She read the lyrics
Heard the music
Felt the vibrations
And something else
It was more than just a song
It was a desire and a longing
A promise broken
Another one kept
The yearning of her heart
An answered prayer
The story she lived but didn’t write
The little things
Secrets and understandings
In a chorus
Or one single word
Chaos and peace
Bitter and sweet
Everything she ever imagined
In more than a song
I had gone on this trip for one real reason-to get time to write and this tree was the first thing I saw as we parked and I knew with absolute certainly that it was speaking to me.
I had been wrestling with my changing appearance. and sometimes felt like the woman I saw in the mirror, wasn’t the same woman I felt I inside.
I had never been the type that fit the “standard” or tried to be the same as everyone else but the last couple of years had shook my roots and filled me with some doubts and longings, and I struggled to find my own sense of beauty and confidence once again.
This tree was not a “typical” tree. It waa clear that no one had ever trimmed the branches, shaped it or tried to make it conform or become anything it wasn’t meant to be.
And you know what? It is beautiful and inspiring, graceful and purposeful, strong and unwavering…just as it was meant to be.
The tree simply grew, right where the Almighty Creator planted it, shaped by the wind and rain, by the Texas sun and bathed. by moonlight.
It spread wide and low, reached to the heavens and offered shelter and rest as needed.
Storms came and beat hard, knocking the branches and leaving scars-tell tale marks of battles survived, of years gone by, of experiences.
I realized that my body had also bent low…to lift babies, plant flowers,clean and stretch…..I’ve stood on tip toes, reached for the heavens, planted kisses on tall men, hung stars on Christmas trees, danced around to every kind of music.
I’ve made love and made mistakes, made cakes and made my point. I’ve used my body to shelter others and to offer comfort.
I’ve carried my babies inside my body, stretching to provide space, nutrition and love.
My body has scars, healed wounds, lines and marks from days in the Texas sun and nights bathed by moonlight
And you know what?
I am finally beginning to see that I’m created by the Almighty and, in my own way, I’m beautiful and inspiring,graceful and purposeful, strong and unwavering ….just as I was meant to be.
For quite some time, I’ve thought about the conspiracy of love, the relationships we form with people that sometimes,often times,make sense only to us.
I have,over the years,gotten to know and to care deeply for people that have scars on their bodies, which can be seen and felt,just like my own scars but, the real wounds,the real scars are the ones carved on the soul,hidden from all but the most trusted few.
Sometimes, though,those scars become chains,snares,gilded circles of barbed wire wrapped tightly because of a decision to hold on to the pain, to yield the rope of unforgiveness, to create such a web that tangles everyone that even comes close.
There’s something tragic about seeing people afraid to step outside the confines,to dance with someone,to enjoy company;a cup of coffee, an long conversation because they have been unforgiven, and sometimes, it’s that they haven’t forgiven themselves but far,far more often,it’s because love hasn’t.
And it is a crying shame.
❤I wrote this on February 17 of 2015 and on February 17 of 2016, I added this.
“Little did I know that in one year these words would mean even more and the reality of my words would demand my response,”
Now, on February 17 of 2017, I realize just how much I’ve learned about love,about forgiveness,about relationships and just how beautiful choosing to live with an open,giving scarred and healed heart is.
God has created in me a capacity to love and forgive-myself and others-far beyond what imagined and I am fulfilled with wonder.
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’
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’
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-
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’
She drew an imaginary line
Dividing who she was
And who she’s becoming
She used to be satisfied
Crumbs instead of feasts
A peck on the cheek
Pat on the back
A few kind words
Once in awhile
A little bit of loving
Was just enough
Then bit by bit
And day by day
She began to see
It wasn’t too much
It was just more
Than she had ever expected before
Though it seemed like
It was perfectly clear
Maybe you should have
Read between the lines
Listened to her heart
She wants something
To hold on to
When you’re not there
A hand written letter
A token from
Where ever you were
To show she came to mind
A glass of wine on the patio
A cup of coffee
For no reason at all
A slow dance
A little romance
She wants to be known
She wants to pull on
Layer on love
Wrap herself in the warmth
Of a lasting relationship
She wants to look
That there is love
In more than
Just her heart
She wants more
She wants pieces of you
To have and to hold
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’