Archive for August, 2009

Aug 27 2009

My Ego, My Funny Amigo – Issue #25

In the past I have been appalled by the embarrassing antics of my ego. I’ve felt like a mortified mother in a supermarket with a little monster who was acting out. To that little monster, the mortified mother was “the Momster”, trying to control and subdue it with criticism and shaming. I used to wonder, “How is anyone ever going to love me when I have all THAT going on inside me?” I tried to hide and get rid of these parts of myself, but that was futile – it was like pushing down a Jack-in-the-box; when tension built, POP goes the weasel, and all hell would break lose, again! I wondered what to do about this motley, menacing menagerie within me.

Fortunately, along the way, I discovered the miracle of mindfulness. In 1990 I participated in a two-year Hakomi training where we were taught to develop a compassionate witness – an inner Jane Goodall who sits in the expansive field of awareness, observing the monkeys in our mind, and all their shenanigans, with non-judgmental curiosity.  Through the magic of mindfulness these manic monkeys calm down. Instead of seeing them as malevolent beasts, I learned to see them with compassion, to befriend them, and understand that they came into being to help us cope, be safe and survive in this jungle called life.

Several years later I discovered Gay and Katie Hendricks’ Conscious Loving Foundation workshop. There we were encouraged to not only befriend our ego defenses and life strategies (Personas), but to play with them and give them names. I met my husband Tom in an advanced Hendricks training. We danced together during the breaks, playfully moving like wild chimps, making monkey faces and noises at each other. We were having fun letting the other see our most contorted, ugly faces. Instead of being uninvited guests, we welcomed our defenses to the party. When defenses aren’t invited to the party, they crash it.  So we might as well welcome them, play with them, and put the fun into fundamentally flawed!

Gay and Katie created an ingenious tool for getting to know these parts of ourselves, called the Persona Interview.  You tell an interviewer the name of the persona you want interviewed. (Some of Tom’s persona names are Professor Reason A Bull, Mona Lott, and Mr. Oh Oh – some of mine are Goody Two Shoes, Chopped Liver, and The Incredible Sulk). The interviewer invites you to get into the posture and character of that persona, and then ask the persona the following questions: (I’ll use The Incredible Sulk as an example):

(Picture my Incredible Sulk persona standing with arms folded, head down, lower lip protruding).

 

Welcome, Incredible Sulk. What’s the most important thing to you?

I want people to pay attention to me.

 

Incredible Sulk, what are you most proud of?

I Do get peoples attention.

 

Incredible Sulk, when did you make your first appearance?

When I was a little girl, maybe 3 or 4.

 

Incredible Sulk, who did you learn your style from?

My mother.

 

Incredible Sulk, what are you most afraid of?

I’m afraid that no one cares about me and how I feel.

 

Incredible Sulk, what do you most want?

I want to matter and be important to someone.


Thank you, Incredible Sulk.


This is a great way to gain insight into our personas, to feel compassion and understanding for them and discover the essence qualities at the heart of them. 

After the workshop Tom and I spent the week together, mostly at my house on the Santa Barbara Riviera. During that week, every day, all day, there was a slow, steady, metronomic sound in the distance, a pound, pound, pounding of pilings being installed for the foundation of a new building downtown. That was the perfect background sound for the beginning of our relationship – we were building a strong foundation by being fully present and authentic with each other, revealing all our personas, defenses and life strategies, creating a space of acceptance, a vast playground where everything could show up. I would ask myself, “Can I reveal THAT to him?” Yes, I could. I’ve always felt a deep desire to be All of myself, to be real, to take the girdle off and let it all hang out. I longed to find someone who would hang out with me in that space of ungirded openness, curiosity and exploration.

Ten years later Tom and I still live and play on that playground. We are allies in mindfully witnessing and sharing our ego defenses, revealing our inner tribe of chimps. From the perspective of the big open field of awareness, our egos are very funny – our egos are our funny amigos. Tom and I are partners in wholeness, welcoming and learning from all of our ego amigos. We are actually much more than partners…we are wholeners…becoming whole together by loving and accepting the whole menagerie of inner selves! One day I asked Tom, “Do you love all of me’s?” He smiled and said, “One of me’s does.”

Do you love all of you’s? Or are there some who mortify you and make you cringe? Invite them to the party and give them a party hat! When we welcome all parts of us, the party transforms into a wholely experience.

 In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Aug 19 2009

Precious Cargo – Issue #24

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re not alone – the feeling that you’re being watched over and guided? I love that feeling! I just read a book about Spirit Guides, which said that we all have guides who connect with us throughout the day, whispering to us, making suggestions, nudging us. After I read the book, I felt compelled to connect with my guide. I got out my Osho Zen Tarot deck, shuffled it thoroughly, closed my eyes, asked, “Please speak to me,” and randomly picked the card titled “Guidance”!  It read, “The angelic figure with rainbow-colored wings on this card represents the guide that each of us carries within…In following the inner guide you will feel more whole, more integrated, as if you are moving outwards from the very center of your being. If you go with it, this beam of light will carry you exactly where you need to go.”

I smiled, feeling reassured…I am not alone. Whatever you choose to call it – higher self, angels, guides, God – I know that there is some higher energy that travels with us through life; we are carrying a precious cargo. When I’m aware of this precious cargo, I hold myself differently – my posture is more uplifted, reaching upward, yet grounded at the same time, like a flower. When I’m not aware of this higher energy, my posture has a tendency to bend forward, as if folding myself up.

I first became aware of my bent posture in the 1966 movie, The Group. I was sixteen at the time it was being filmed, and I was an extra playing a student on the campus of Vassar College in the opening scenes of the movie. Director Sidney Lumet instructed me and another girl to walk past opposite sides of the camera from behind, coming together in front of the camera and walking off into the distance, merging with other students on campus. When I saw the movie I was surprised to see that this shot was the very first scene in the movie. I was also surprised to see myself, blonde braid down my back and wearing a long green skirt appropriate for the 1933 setting, shlumping along like a vertical turtle. It appeared as if I was tucking my head slightly forward and down. If posture could speak, mine would have said, “I’m not sure I want to be here in this body, in this movie, on this planet.”

Over the years, I have committed to being in my body, and to following the directions of my higher self. I have been directed to do yoga, be Rolfed, and get numerous chiropractic adjustments. Yet my body, like memory foam, still tends to fall back into its’ comfortable, familiar shlumping posture, and the beliefs and attitudes that accompany that posture. It is an ongoing learning process, revealing to me that when I change my posture my attitude changes, and when I change my attitude my posture changes. My body and my guides are my learning buddies, letting me know when I have slipped into old unconscious attitudes and holding patterns.

I have witnessed that in addition to turtling inward, my body sometimes has a tendency of hurtling forward, in an urgent hurry to get somewhere other than Here. One day a few years ago I was walking in a parking lot, with lots on my mind, when BAM!, I tripped and slammed down to the ground with great velocity, the fall somewhat broken by my head smashing into a bumper of a parked car on the way down. I sat on the ground stunned, with little birdies and stars circling my battered head. I wondered, “How did that happen?!” I realized that I hadn’t been present in my body, I wasn’t over my feet, I was in my head and my head was ahead of myself – I was ungrounded and the universe obligingly grounded me! I was asleep and the fall woke me up!

I have a deep desire to Wake Up, to be present, to remember who I really am and why I’m really here. When I forget, I am reminded, at first by whispers; but when I don’t listen to the whispers, they become shouts. That fall was a shout, just as cancer has been a shout, saying, “COME INTO YOUR BODY! COMMIT TO BEING HERE! SAVOR THIS MOMENT! TREASURE WHO YOU ARE! HONOR YOUR DEEPEST DREAMS! WAKE UP!”

I am now wide awake! My feet are kissing the ground with each step. Whenever I notice myself turtling or hurtling, I recommit to being fully Here in my body, and make micro movements, lifting my head and ribcage, dropping my shoulders down, creating a posture and attitude that says, “I am carrying precious cargo,” affirming, “I choose to be Here, in this body, in this life, in my movie called Waking Up.”

I went for a walk the other day, and on the walk I imagined that my guide was appreciating me, showering me with love and acknowledgement for my commitment to being in my body, for staying in touch with higher energy, for honoring my body and soul by exercising and eating healthy foods that help me be clear and able to hear the voice of my higher self. As I tune into that voice I realize what it most wants me to know is that not only am I carrying precious cargo, I AM precious cargo, as are we all.

If your posture could talk, what would it say? What are the things your guide loves and appreciates about you? What is your guide directing you to do? Listen to the whispers. We are not alone; we are being watched and guided and loved unconditionally. What a feeling!

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

 

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Aug 12 2009

Beautiful Bountiful Basketful of Blessings – #23

My aunt Jinny had a magnet on her refrigerator that said, “God grant me the strength to accept my blessings.” I was never sure if it was referring to “blessings” as hardships, or, was it actually referring to it as the wonderful things that happen in our lives? Those blessings can often be the most difficult to accept.

Tom has been away on a trip to Minnesota visiting his family and friends. As the days go by I am starting to feel like the single woman that I was for so many years, spending long hours alone, just me and the kitties. I begin to marvel, “Is this wonderful, sweet-souled, warm-hearted, big Love of a man really in my life?” How blessed am I!? A better question is, how blessed can I allow myself to be? Along that line, I’d like to share with you an excerpt from my book in progress, “Miracle Marriage”:

   “A few years ago Tom and I were enjoying our honeymoon in Cambria, California. About sixteen years earlier I had been there with a boyfriend named Dan. As Tom and I walked the streets hand in hand I flashed back to that painful time. I was ensconced in my “not good enough” mindset back then. Dan wanted me for a weekend, but I wasn’t a keeper. Physically, I looked as good as I’d ever looked, but that was not enough; I was not enough. Here in Cambria, with Tom, I could feel a flicker of sadness for the woman I was back then with Dan who thought so little of herself; but mostly I felt amazed and thrilled at how far I’d come and the wonderful turn my life had taken.

   Tom and I were browsing in one of the cute Cambria stores and we got separated. I looked through the store but couldn’t find him. I went into nearby stores looking for him, thinking that maybe he’d left the store without telling me. He was nowhere in sight. I began to feel a little scared. I stood on the street corner and for a brief instant I had a twilight zone moment where I wondered if it had all been just a dream. Was I here with Dan all those years ago, unwanted? Had I just hallucinated being loved and cherished and on my honeymoon with this wonderful man named Tom?

   I looked down at my body and was relieved to see it was the twenty-pounds-heavier body of present time. Phew! But where was Tom? I went back to the store where I’d lost him and there he was. He’d never left the store. He hugged me and took my hand and I happily nestled back into this present reality where I was treasured. It’s funny, in the past I’d always thought I was five pounds away from being lovable. Now here I was twenty pounds heavier and I was loved and valued by someone who had discovered my intrinsic value, but only after I had discovered it and fully owned and embodied it.”

I am finding that owning my intrinsic value is an ongoing process. Tom told me yesterday that he was listening to a Marianne Williamson tape on his trip and one quote she cited stood out to him, “God gives us dreams one size too big so we can grow into them.” I continue to grow into my dream of being loved and valued; I am still getting comfortable with accepting my inherent worthiness. My favorite quote from Marianne Williamson says:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

When we hide our light under a basket, we become a basket case. It takes courage to remove the basket and let our light shine in all its’ brilliance – and it takes strength to turn that basket over and happily receive our blessings.

 Are you letting your light fully shine? Are you willing to accept a beautiful bountiful basketful of blessings? We deserve all the riches that life is offering us, awaiting our acceptance. I affirm: Yes, thank you, I accept.

 In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

 

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Aug 05 2009

Be Aware (not Beware) of Unexpected Visitors – Issue #22

I’ve been waking up in the morning for the last few days with some nasty bug bites on my body. Not many, four so far, but they are big, red and painful. Last night I was afraid to fall asleep, thinking that IT, whatever it is, would come out in the dark of night when I’m sleeping and vulnerable and bite me again! I’m thinking it may be one of those big, thick, gnarly-looking black spiders. I imagine it cunningly waiting for me to fall asleep so it can crawl onto my body and sink its’ fangs into me like a mini vampire. Is it any wonder that I was wide awake until 3 in the morning!?

I believe that life is a mirror, and that whatever shows up in my life is reflecting some part of me. I asked myself what this is trying to tell me. The thought came to me…something is ‘eating’ at me. What is it? I sat with that question for a few seconds and then I realized what it is – I am afraid that cancer may still be lurking in my life, waiting to take a bite out of me, or it may already be gnawing away in the dark unknown of my internal body. Cancer is something that literally eats at us – it ate my uterus!

I had decided to try and stop dwelling on it, like my brother who stopped thinking about his brain aneurysm and it eventually calcified. But there is a very fine line between not dwelling on something and repressing it. How do you know when you have let something go or are just whistling in the dark? For me, that’s easy – sitting on my feelings is very much like accidentally sitting on my felines – they very quickly bite me in the butt and I am forced to face them.

As I am now facing my fears, I realize once again that the worst part of cancer for me is the anxiety about it. That is what I am resisting, that is what was eating at me like a spider in the black night. What I resist persists, in one form or another.

Now that I’ve brought my creepy crawly thoughts into the light of awareness, it ‘s time to do some Mental Aikido with them, coming into alignment with them, telling myself, “I know that you’re scared. It’s okay to feel scared. Let yourself feel it. It is natural to feel scared about cancer. It’s something we don’t have much control over. That is scary.” Deeper breaths come as I allow the fear and I am ready for the uptwist. “It’s true that cancer might reoccur, AND, right now you are fine, right now you are healthy and strong and right now is all there is.” I take a big breath into open space.

I am accepting that fear is a recurring visitor to my life, a teacher that is helping me strengthen my faith muscles, build my ‘trust’ fund, and create a belief in a friendly universe. It is also teaching me to feel compassion for myself and for others who suffer with fear and anxiety. I want to hug us all in love and strength and say, “Yes, I know what that feels like. I understand. Just know that we are so much bigger than our fear. We are so much vaster than a body. We are so loved and watched over.” Fully feeling my fear always leads to feeling the loving presence of my Big Soul Self.

Is there something in your life that is trying to get your attention, something that is ‘bugging’ you, some disowned part of you that is eating at you? Shine the light of awareness on it, and invite it to the party – there’s plenty of space for all of God’s critters that show up.

THE GUEST HOUSE by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,?

Some momentary awareness comes?

As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!?

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,?

Who violently sweep your house?

Empty of its furniture,?

Still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out?

For some new delight.

 

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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