The Unheard Story: The HeartStory

Good Morning, Fellow Travellers,

You know that saying about being kinder than necessary because everybody is fighting some kind of battle? It sets me to remembering too that everybody has a STORY, the story of his or her Life that contains experiences I don’t have a clue about. Everybody has a HeartStory.

To have the privilege of hearing a bit of another person’s story is holy to me. It’s a trust. Yes, it’s part of my profession, but it’s more: it’s something we can offer each other anytime. “Tell me about when___? What was it like when____?  Who was there when____?”

I’ve been married thirty-eight years to the same man. You can probably imagine how well I think I know this fellow. Thirty-eight years and just the other day he shared an event from his childhood that, for whatever reasons, I didn’t know about.

It was such a stunning, intense event that I had to question myself: How could I have not known that? Had it been mentioned, maybe as a matter-of-fact, and I was so caught up in my own drama that I completely missed it? If he hadn’t mentioned it, was there something about our relationship that he didn’t entrust the story to me til now? Was it something he assumed I knew because he did?

Or maybe it just came up exactly when it needed to come up…..nothing more complex that perfect timing!

However it came to be part of not just his story but now part of our family story, I am grateful that I now hold it with him.

And I realized one more time how little I know and how ignorant I am to think I know….

Today I will listen to someone I think I know well.

And I’ll hear an unheard bit of the story.

And we’ll be changed by it.

 

Travel lightly,

Jaylene

 

A MESS with purpose

Doing what I can where I am this morning, whilst in the midst of repairing and reworking both home and office/studio. It’s a MESS. Yes, Fellow Travellers, a capital letter MESS! Both spaces….so what can I do to lessen the MESS?

The shelves in my office I can clean up and straighten. Tidy desk, cull papers. That’s about it for the moment. Everything else I either need help to do or it’s in process and tidying up would only slow the process. I cannot herd this mess into a neat and tidy corral and pen it up. This is the “Oh #*%#! I have to live with this MESS a while” phase of change. 😉

The workmen would kindly invite me to exit my own house if I go in there and start sweeping under their ladders…lol…and well they should because they know what they are doing (yes, they actually do!) and I’d only stick a broomstick in the process and, in trying to help, I would do a lovely job of “not helping.”

Before it can be anything else, it has to be exactly what it is. A MESS.

There is no clean sweep.

That’s pretty much how all change is. Whether it’s repairing and re-working a physical house or a Heart-house, it’s messy. Start a house project and there’s no telling what we”ll run into. Step into Heartwork and questions show up that cannot be corralled. Often we need help to move deeper into the re-working. Try to detour or speed up the work and it really won’t save time. We’ll have to circle around and still eventually address the problems. No clean sweep.

It takes as much time as it takes.

So I am doing what I can in this moment. And reminding myself to breathe, breathe, breathe.

There is such a thing as A MESS with purpose.

It’s your JOB to be on your own side

Good Morning, Fellow Travellers,

If you aren’t on your own side, tell me who’s going to be? It’s not simply okay to be on your own side; it’s your JOB to be on your own side.

It’s a responsibility to shape our Lives, each of us, into Lives that are meaningful to us. That’s not one-size-fits-all. It may be trial and error. It’s probably going to change from one phase of Life to another. And, it’s going to be messy! That’s all natural. It’s how we know more about ourselves.

When we do the job of living our own Lives, others may not understand, but it seems to be human nature to want the important ones in our world to understand — to GET us, please.  For years, I wore myself out trying to explain where I was in my journey, why I was there, where I wanted to be, until I finally realized “they” were still looking at me with puzzled faces and nothing had changed. Absolutely nothing. All of my well-thought-out chatter was futile and took energy I could use actually Living, thank you very much. Finally I stopped. Insert big sigh of relief here!

When we begin living our Lives, others may not like it. They may call us wasteful, frivolous, and oooooh, worst of all, SELFISH! The dirtiest word of all! That one word has the power to shut many of us down and keep us in line.  There was no thought that what they called selfish was more about self-knowing, self-actualizing, self-moving beyond the visible to what could be.

We get this Life and then, because of these shaming messages, we deny ourselves the very living of it.

Some (many, actually) of us were given jobs as children to be sure everybody else was okay.  When we pay attention to our own lives and let them be in their own lives, they no longer know what to expect of us.

The powers around us taught us to always to attend to others, and that would make us happy and keep us safe. They never asked us what made us happy, so how could we learn to ask ourselves? If we did ask, we were shamed for it.

Result: many of us have no clue what makes us not only okay, but we have no clue that we are truly wonderful and can risk failure and success and thrive emotionally in the midst of questions.

And that is not shameful. It’s called going after one’s own Life!

What wonderful, wasteful, frivolous, “self-moving beyond” gift will you give yourself today?

Travel lightly,

Jaylene

Mothers on My Heart

Mothers are much on my heart this weekend: young mothers holding their babies for the first time; mothers of children with chronic care issues; mothers of children who feel different, who feel lost; mothers who are watching their children struggle; mothers who are rejoicing in their children’s successes; elder mothers who are less active and still a presence to their family; mothers who nurture the differing natures of each of their children.

I have been privileged to work with mothers who look deeply into the Big Picture of family, saints and skeletons; mothers who are letting their children be exactly where they are, though it breaks their hearts.

I know mothers who are dying; mothers in the sandwich years, pressed between care of older parents and the desire to be there for their children and grandchildren; mothers who are burying children; mothers who are caring for grandchildren; mothers who mother whatever is available, plants, animals, abandoned whatevers, because nurture is their nature.

Opening to all the ways that mothering can look, I am touched to the heart. I am in awe.

Blessing on all who mother.

And travel lightly,

Jaylene

Stay with me/Set me free

Fellow Travellers,

My dad’s been dead three years ago today. I recall clearly thinking as I knew he was dying, that I could be there with him for as long as it took, but I could not ask him to try to hang on.

The thought that kept repeating in my heart was “we live our own Life, we die our own Death.” Over and over, those words echoed. I hear them still.

Part of me is still in that hospital room where the most intense experience of Life took place. It’s imprinted in my memory, the way the room was arranged, the silenced tv, the monitors, his profile that I knew so well, the knowing that his Spirit was separating from his body with each exhalation….and everything in his Life and our family’s was soon going to change in ways I couldn’t forsee.

It’s a sacred thing to see a beloved, anyone really, to the last breath, the last heartbeat. There is nothing more intimate.  Nothing more holy.

It’s enough to hope for the paradox that someone dear will stay with me and at the same time set me free in peace….

Travel lightly,

Jaylene

“NO” with no angst…

Many of us grew up with little or no modeling for what a lively and healthy relationship looks like. As a result, because we didn’t have that model in our younger lives, we’ve been unconsciously drawn to what was familiar as we got older.  Yucky, but yet familiar!  Automatically, we still found ourselves around people whose ways of relating to others replicated what we experienced in our youth. That’s natural.

Even when it’s uncomfortable, we find ourselves in repeating patterns in relationships until our awareness of the bigger picture supports our developing new roles to play in relationships.

I’ve found, in my own life and in working with clients, that it helps to develop a few key indicators, a baseline founded on personal experience, to signal our boundaries to ourselves.  This can be particularly helpful when we’re working our way out of the old patterns and new ways of relating aren’t yet comfortable.  I call the itchy-scratchy phase!

One of my key indicators, in any kind of personal relationship, is the freedom to say NO to the other person without experiencing fear. If we have pangs about the consequences if we say NO to a person we are in any kind of intimate relationship with, it bears exploring.

It could be there’s nothing about the other person that’s threatening and it’s our own hard-wired fear that goes back to something that happened in the past that creates a knot in the throat when NO needs to come out. The past has come into the present moment with us and cuts us off from being there with the other person.

It could be something about the relationship itself that makes NO an unsafe word.  The past may have come into the present moment with us and need to be unlocked so we can allow ourselves to have new kinds of experiences. The past (where we saw parents and other influential people interact in limiting ways) may need to be cleared up, so we can let go of the automatic draw we feel toward domineering, or perhaps passive aggressive partners, or those who simply cannot see (and honor!) us as human beings with our own desires and priorities.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the complexity of relationship …that’s all for us to each look at for ourselves, our own explorations. A competent therapist can help with this.

Here’s what is true for me now: When we co-create relationships where NO is a word we can say without angst, relationships where what we want/need is honored by the other person, then we’re developing mindful boundaries and have the potential for a lively, invigorating, respectful relationship.

Travel lightly,

Jaylene

P.S. I must add, and this goes for all I post here, these comments are no substitute for therapy. They do not constitute professional services. They simply are my observations and experiences, which I offer in the hope they might jog a bit of personal questioning and awareness on the part of the reader and enrich my own Life experience too.