Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentines Day 2019

This is a Valentine love letter for everyone who has lost a loved one.

Dearest You

Your love for your partner who has moved into the next realm is everlasting, eternal.
What you shared in your time together remains and exists now in a new form.
We hear the expression, moving on - it would turn my stomach when I heard that.
You have to get on with your life I was told. That never inspired me, in fact it made me angry.

That’s like saying when a favorite movie or book ends, we just forget about it and find a new one. No, we revisit it, learning from it, finding comfort and joy in it. We talk about it, share the story and how it makes us feel. It continues to inspire us, to bring a smile. 

Love needs to be appreciated for all its intricate threads.
There is no getting over, or moving on from the privilege and expression of love. 

There is however, a change within loss. A slow move into a knowing. It is the knowing that there is far more to this world then our skin and bones. That our souls continue to connect, even when the physical has altered.

The longing for the heart of your loved one will lead you, into a connection that will support and guide you. I cannot explain it, I just feel it.

It is how I was able to continue when I had very little interest and energy in trying to live my life. I was 46 when my dearest David died, he was 57. I was exhausted, empty and alone.
The more I faced the lack of David, the further I felt from him and from myself.
The more I tried to avoid thinking about him, the more I thought about the difficulty of him dying.

So I changed it. What if I thought about what we had created together?
I focused on what I had gained from our love. The lessons I had experienced in the challenges of his illness and what I learnt from saying goodbye to his physical being and hello to his soul.

I allowed myself to experience the sadness, the anger and the sheer confusion that grief brought into my heart. I accepted it and then I allowed the love.
I welcomed in the energy of his love, mine and ours together. I asked for his help, for guidance.

This took awhile as my head was full of missing. My brain kept me stuck at times in that place. It was only with patience and care for myself that I could begin to move it back toward love.

You do the same. Those that have departed know far more than we do now, so let’s communicate and use that wisdom. Ask for guidance while keeping yourself open to truly listen and watch for that strength. Listen for answers. Pay attention, because I promise you, it will happen.

Slowly I began to open, to look upward and out instead of down. I found bravery and courage, and then I found hope.

The extraordinary thing happened next for me, I discovered the desire of wanting to share my heart and have now fallen in love. I fell in love with myself for the first time ever in my life, which in itself feels like a miracle. Then completely by amazement, fell in love with another open and searching heart who was also ready to be bold, brave and happy. Hello Gary. A man who too had felt love and lost it. A man honest to say - here is what is good, here is what isn't and here is where I want to grow and live.

The only way I could have begun to create a joyous life and to have the privilege of falling in love with Gary is through the love I experience with David.

Only a person who has not lost would think – that’s good you found a replacement.
Only a person who has lost would understand that you never replace, you love in addition to and because of. There is a huge, wondrous difference and through truly understanding this, I have been able to experience the power and to receive more and more in my life.

Life and death has no ending, it is a continual flow. You are too full of love not to continue to shine and be a light for others.

For everyone who is feeling the loss and for everyone who is feeling the love on Valentine’s Day – 
I ask you to honor it all and to have respect and care for everything we are.
I love you too.
Happy Valentines Day


Monday, February 4, 2019

Gold Star for The Everyday Stuff

Today I did something I have not done in seven years.

I haven't done it for various reasons.
Doing it brought me such simple joy. I took my time. Enjoyed every moment and welcomed in the freedom and new feelings.
It made me appreciate how doing this "living life business" is extremely complicated, and how we deserve gold stars for the every day stuff.
Yes, it is amazing when we achieve the big things. I love that. It is the small daily things that need to be celebrated too. I see those as the smaller, important steps to taking the bigger leaps. The things that build our enthusiasm and confidence. Our power.
As January 1st is way behind and it seems all my thoughts on walking, writing and eating salad are hidden in the depths of my mind, I have been judging myself and not being my best friend, and I find it harder to then continue.
For example - 'writing' and I have broken up. We are on a break. Apparently it's me, not 'writing'. They are clearly seeing other people. I'm doing all the write  right things, pretending it doesn't matter, I look fantastic when I use my laptop and I have stopped re reading and re reading my rejection letters.
Perhaps though, I have given too much credit to 'writing' to prove that I am successful, when today was a very big achievement for me. It was a public and private indication that I am a beautiful, brave heart, willing and wanting to share. Wanting to love and showing up for everything that it means. AND I tell you people, sometimes, it's not easy. We can hold onto the past wishing for things to be different, or back there again, when we need to let go and look toward the very moment that is surrounding us. The only way I feel we can get to that point is by facing everything with only one person in mind: yourself. Heal yourself - not the past situation. Heal yourself first and be gentle every step of the way. That's what I did in order to arrive at this new wonderful stage of my life and I am being rewarded for that.
I am able to love again because I started with me. Time and luck has nothing to do with it. AND because I am loving me, I keep checking in with myself as guidance to create a life that pleases us both.

Today I am so happy that I was reminded of these small achievements, that were not even feasible for me a few years ago. It's a bit like when we were awarded gold stars for school tasks, they all mount up and make you feel deserving of being able to achieve more.
Sometimes it's good to award yourself a gold star for just showing up for the day, because there are days when just showing up takes everything you can muster. It's not a competition, it's your life.
Stop thinking of the everything and look at the one thing.

So, what can you celebrate that you did today?

PS: The thing I did today - was to buy a valentines card.

PPS: The card is not for 'writing.' (Though if they get jealous, that's great!)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The 12 Days of Christmas

I heard today on the radio a question - what do people do on vacation that they rarely do at home?
The answer was - order dessert in a restaurant.
What? Are you kidding me? Dessert is the best bit, just like a gift shop is in a museum. 
These must be the same people who go to Panera bread and when offered the bread, chips or apple, they brightly say apple. Really? An apple? In the place that has bread in its name and dough that boasts miracles, you order the apple.
If you know me, you know that I have an incredible relationship with food. We either love and glorify in one another, fear and ignore one another, insult and delight one another, all on the same day - or I should say all just after breakfast. We have broken up many times. My friends have held me as I've cried, declaring that we are never, ever getting back together. Then gradually the special offers begin and the flattery coupons are shared and I hear myself say - This time McDonalds will treat me differently. I will have the salad instead of cheese burger with large, large fries and has anyone tried their cookies - ooohhhhhh and I'm off!
Which in truth is my fix. Sugar. Like Mary Poppins says, a spoonful of sugar helps everything go down, apart from my weight. I do not have a sweet tooth - I have a mouth of them. I emigrated because America created the word cookie. I have considered changing my name to cookie, just to enjoy people telling me that it suits me.
Christmas is fantastic. It is my favorite season for buying sweet treats with the public declaration that these will be a gift. Most of the time, I'm not making that up. My intention is to wrap that box of chocolates, and some times I do and sometimes I get as far as December 20th and then the wrapping is ripped off and the devouring begins.
This year I decided not to buy boxes of chocolates as gifts, then I found mini boxes which would work well as stocking fillers. Yep, they were gone within a week. A very dear friend, who remains in the chocolate witness protective program, told me that she just ate two of the five small boxes she had bought, I admitted with pride, followed by shame, that I had enjoyed all eight of mine. She was also the same dear friend who talked me out of eating a box of fudge that I had in my car, while I sat in a traffic jam. I and the fudge survived and was successfully given as a gift. I'm glad you enjoyed it Kay as that was a tough one and I swear road lack of fudge rage occurred on I 95 North that day.
Tis' the season and I am lucky enough to be able to indulge and enjoy. It's just for Christmas, not like salad, that's for life right?
And to conclude here is my favorite Christmas song.
All together now..................
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Twelve Caramel Nut Clusters
Eleven Cookies with Piping 
Ten Sea Salt Caramels
Nine Jellied Candies
Eight Truffels - milk chocolate 
Seven Fudge Dipped Pretzels 
Six Chocolate Brazil Nuts
Five Tobelorones
Four Chocolate Santas
Three French Eclairs
Two Pecan Turtles
And a gift card to Dunkin Donuts

Have a lovely Christmas everyone & enjoy the season.
Much love,
Jayne x
Please note this was written tongue in cheek (of course) and no candy was harmed in the process.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Magic of Christmas Decorating

For anyone who truly knows me, you are aware that swearing does occur. I am, after all a Londoner, where swear words are taught phonetically and included in the National Anthem.
In fact, when I emigrated, I quickly cleaned up my act as I realized that this is one of the differences in US versus British culture, that and driving on different sides, oh and we never saw Gilligens Island, oh yes and we don't understand American football at all, oh and I still say British people do not look good in shorts and American gravy is not as good as British gravy. Apart from that, we are very similar.

Anyway, I digress as this blog is about Christmas. I love Christmas. The lights, the stories and the cake. It's all a great joy to me and suits that very large part of me that believes in magic.
I am always the one on the street to put up the tree early, sorry, but yes, it's me.
Putting up my decorations has become one of my greatest passions. I actually have themes and this year it is a winter wonderland.

It has to be expressed however that for the last forty minutes, bad language has been louder than the  carols blasting from the Hallmark channel. Once my glittering, starlit and snowflake garland fell, again, I decided to calm down by setting up my musical trio of mini Christmas trees. When I push the button to let loose lights and angels singing, it sounds like a submarine is disappearing with just one green light as its guide, so my guess is that the batteries are running low. I am, of course, prepared and already have batteries.
So, why oh why, do they lock down that plastic battery case with that stupid, tiny, effing screw? Who on Christmas Lane, but the bleedin' elves, has a screwdriver that tiny? And why? When as far as I can see, its only bloody Christmas lights that need them. Who sat there and truly thought, I know what we need to do for extra safety at Christmas, tis the season and let's put in something that nobody will ever be able to get out?
It's just a trio of mini Christmas trees, it's not the next rocket to Mars.

AND why, oh, why are some push pins easy to get into the wall or window frame, yet just one inch to the left, or right, or down in any direction and it's suddenly like cement? Oh don't get me started on push pins. They love to pretend to hold things, until you walk away and four of them shoot out from the wall at the same time and you can only find three of them, and of course it makes sense to decorate while wearing pajamas with bare feet.

Oh and don't get me started on step ladders, which to me may as well be as high as the empire state building covered in ice on a windy day. I'm scared of standing up, so you have to understand that me balancing on one of those has me reciting a hundred mantras, through gritted teeth of I am safe, I am safe, while picturing toppling off.
So I have to think every year, is it worth it?

On the Hallmark channel, putting up the decorations is one of joy, mugs of cocoa and great lipstick.
They also wear sweaters, clearly they've never decorated during the hot flush season.
Maybe I should go ice skating - yes well don't get me started on ice skating - another scary adventure that I would long to attempt and am embarrassed to say may never happen. (Don't tell Gary, who plays ice hockey with great precision and confidence.)

So my dear friends, once you visit the Winter Wonderland of Jayne, please disregard how low everything is, or that certain light bulbs are not lit and certainly do not question why the trio of musical trees is hanging, strangulation style, from the kitchen fan ceiling.

It is the magic of Christmas.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

When Harmony Shatters

Life is both fragile and dramatic, holding extreme examples within twenty four hours and indeed less. Here is something I can not get out of my head right now & please read to see the two extremes of life.

I knew nothing of the world of Barbershop Quartets until this Summer with the meeting of my new love. His family are all creative, they sing, act, make, care, are healers. Beautiful people.
I just spent a weekend in Portland Maine at a competition of quartets and choruses, listening and cheering on people who sing for the purpose of entertaining and feeling joy. It was a fun, relaxed, inspiring weekend where generations easily mix and songs and tradition combine.
At the conclusion the entire audience are arm in arm singing, the harmonized sounds filling the auditorium.

It was surreal and heart breaking to then learn of the deaths at Pittsburgh. Pointless murder at a place of worship, at a place of comfort, love and peace. A synagogue where people learn, trust, cry, celebrate, breathe and lean into life - and then within minutes a violent act shatters that harmony.

I wrote a blog once before, perhaps two years ago, with my thoughts that gun laws need and must be revised in this day and age of examples. I do not understand why an immigration ban was so easily put in place when terrorism was threatened, but we cannot place a ban on guns right now when we have abundant evidence that the system is not working. This too is surely an act of terrorism and how are more guns truly the right protection? Shame on me for not understanding the situation fully.

My hearts race to the families of the victims who now must find acceptance and trust for something that we should not have to comprehend. All I can do in my little life is send love and peace. All I can do is to give, to hold and to love. Is it enough? I take my responsibility to care for those around me seriously. Perhaps if we all did that, there would be powerful movement toward the better?

I am not politically knowledgeable but I am a human being and when I see and feel the possibility of such community in life, I am downright scared to imagine that could be destroyed in five minutes because of a weapon being in the wrong hands. Can we see the power of things being in the right hands please. How do we get that?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Why I wrote the play I wrote

I was honored to be a finalist this month in The Modern Works Festival at Urbanite Theatre in Florida. It was an incredible experience.
In the feedback sessions I was asked why I wrote my play "Stalking."

The point of me creating and writing a theatrical piece of this nature was to highlight the deep roots that are set when abuse, physical and or emotional, take place.
Without a doubt - anything you have said in spite to another person was felt.
How much do we remember of childhood taunts? All of us can easily recall the words that stung.
No matter how small, and of course how large, some of them will remain.

So imagine the disrespect, fear, pain and bewilderment of a violation to your body. To your mind.
To the intimate part of yourself. To how the brain deciphers that situation. How the body physically holds the memory. How our brain will capture that as a lifetime warning enclosed in primal fear.

I wrote this play for those who do not care to remember their loss of virginity. For those who cannot remember. I wrote it for every generation effected. I wrote it for every victim. For those that have nightmares, some not really knowing why and those who absolutely know why.

And this damage is created by our fellow human beings. It is created by the same being us as that has arms, legs, brains and hearts. When will we stop? When will we recognize the thin lines between good and bad?

I am not alone in thanking the people who are now standing and telling their truth.
I thank the parents who are now bringing up their children in education for what is wrong and what is right. What is beautiful. What is hopeful and the fragility that is us.
I am grateful for those audience members who told me that this story must be shared. To the young man who told me that it made him think.

I am thankful for those who have the courage and desire to make a change.
For every tiny shift toward a new positive reaction we have a movement for the better.
For as many ripples of negativity from one bad action, I believe there are positive waves from the good.

For those who experience trauma and question where the hope can be found.
You are experiencing it, because it is within the discomfort, the sadness and the realization that we need better options. That we do have better choices and we can find that difference.

It is not necessarily forgiveness that we need.
It is courage. It is energy. It is strength. There is where you find the hope.

As the character, Magda, states in my play: "I will not be the victim. I will be the hurricane that destroyed her."
We must realize that we can use this energy for good. Unlike Magda who is sadly trapped.

To have this opportunity to use my passion of writing for theater was a dream for me. For all those who cheered me on, I will not let you down and will continue to share. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Losing the Yes, but..............

This is a difficult post to write because it's a tender one. And a happy one.
Anyone who has suffered a significant loss, will understand the complication of saying you are happy.

I have had six birthdays now as a widow. All of them were made special by dearest friends. Extremely special. Plans that were simple or extravagant, always very personal, all involving cake and all arranged with love.

This year was a first. A very, big, slightly overwhelming, tender, fragile, amazing first for me.

This year was the first year that I could say, I felt happy without there being a part inside of me that screamed Yes But.............
Because as someone who has lost someone close, you appreciate everything so much more and find yourself saying that you are happy, while there is part of you yearning and holding such a deep rooted sadness. I had accepted that part of me would always be sad. I never expected it to go.
I would read messages saying "Have an Amazing day" and think yes, but truthfully, there is only one thing now that would amaze me and that's David coming back.

I was wrong.

This was my amazing day - that this year, I did not have the "Yes, but ............."
And I was shocked. Slightly nervous.
In fact I waited for something to happen to shake me into a realization.
Then the guilt arrived and the questions of did this mean I was forgetting? How could I ever forget such an incredible part of my life, of my heart?

It hit me - no - it isn't forgetting. It doesn't require guilt. Quite the opposite.
It is a powerful turning point in my life, where I can say I loved tremendously and life happened to change the physicality of what I had and now life has also presented me with the choice to live fully, with all the knowledge and experience I have and even more.

It is a step allowing myself the gift of laughter, of joy and love, yes love again in my life. To trust again.
The gift where I have said to myself that I love and respect myself and I'm ready to share that part of me with the world. Because of everything I have been through, absolutely everything, I deserve to be genuinely happy.

This may seem like a simple step for anyone who has not lost a partner.
For me though, it felt like stepping off a cliff with a bungee rope tied to my thumb, no, a bungee rope held with my little finger.
To admit to everyone and mostly myself that I am a loving woman living right now who is excited to be alive. To be busy. To have a voice. To share my words. To be growing and to be finding new opportunities.
To have found another hand to take and turn to and make plans with. Thank you Gary.
To say I love you and to welcome it in return.

I never thought this moment would arrive and here it is. I'm in it, fully present and fully functioning.
Nobody is judging me or punishing me for being happy, far from it and, most importantly, I haven't lost anything, I have gained even more.

I always said there is no getting over or moving on - and I'm right.
It's bigger than that, it's a deeper acceptance that occurs. A stronger bond and connection that is so powerful that it embraces everything you desire, want and need.

So please, please, with all my heart - those dear tender people out there who are feeling their loss and the pain, keep turning that love back to you and keep the energy flowing, for it does grow into something else that you cannot understand or imagine yet. That you dare not believe yet.

I promise the "yes but,......." can blossom into a YES THANK YOU.

Always with love xxxx