Archive for January, 2010

Jan 23 2010

Life Themes – What is Yours? – Issue #40

   Every week at my Toastmasters club we choose a theme for the meeting. This week the theme was “Mistakes”. With that as our focus, people inadvertently made blunders and one glitch followed another. Fortunately, our overall theme is to always have fun, so the meeting became a comedy of errors with lots of laughter and the enlightening awareness that our focus on mistakes was creating mistakes. One man said, “Imagine if the theme for today had been “Accomplishments.”

   We all have themes in our lives, either consciously, unconsciously or both. Fear of making a mistake was an unconscious theme of mine from an early age. In grade school one of my teachers wrote on my report card: “Janet will one day find that it’s a waste of time to worry so much about making a mistake.” It’s not only a waste of time but it causes a whole lot of suffering. That suffering motivated me to consciously cultivate and grow over the years a new theme: “This moment is perfect just as it is.”

   Byron Katie writes that when people would say “Namaste” to her, she always thought they were saying “No mistake.” She loved that, because that is the theme of her life — there are no mistakes — there simply is what IS. She says, “Arguing with reality is like trying to teach a cat to bark – hopeless.” And it just creates more suffering. During my anxious time last year with my ruptured appendix and uterine cancer, I read and reread Byron Katie’s book, “A Thousand Names for Joy” — I wanted to saturate myself in that attitude, in the peaceful state of surrender to what is. As a result, that expansive state of acceptance aligned me to the flow where everything unfolded easefully and things worked out better than I could have imagined.

   Once we become aware of our unconscious themes, we can then choose a conscious theme — when the unconscious theme recurs, as it will, we can use it as a reminder to reinforce our new, desired theme. When cancer came a calling it at first evoked my old theme, the fear that I’d somehow made a terrible mistake that caused my cancer. But then I focused on my desired theme, “This moment is perfect just as it is.” That being my focus, that became my experience. Having had cancer made my life better, richer, and more on purpose, because that’s the way I choose to think of it. Shakespeare said, “It’s neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so.” Our focus and how we interpret what is happening is like magnetic paint that colors our experience and draws to us more of that experience. Like energy attracts like energy and our themes perpetuate themselves.

   I believe countries have themes. I was feeling disheartened by the terrible tragedy in Haiti, feeling the heaviness of that country’s theme of ongoing poverty and despair. But I am heartened by what I see as their underlying theme of resilience, faith and courage. As slaves they fought for their freedom and won it. A young girl named Bea was trapped under the rubble for days, buried alive. When they finally got her out, she said, “I believed I would live. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t scared at all.” Their spirit and faith prevails as many of them sing, chant and pray in the midst of this devastating tragedy. Here is a line from one of the songs sung by Haitian native, Wyclef Jean: “Earthquake we see the earth shake but the soul of the Haitian people it will never break.” Now that’s an uplifting theme!

   The Earth opened up like Pandora’s box and out came death, destruction and despair – but also faith, hope and charity in an outpouring of compassion and support from all over the world. In the movie Avatar, the natives of Pandora greet each other by saying, “I see you.” The world is now seeing the Haitian people and many are waking up to the theme that Avatar puts forth, that we are connected to the Earth and to each other, we are all one, and we must care for one another and help each other. In that sense, this moment is perfect just as it is.

   What are some of the unconscious themes in your life? What are conscious themes you are cultivating? What you focus on grows — may you use life’s manure to fertilize and grow a theme that uplifts and inspires you and others.

   In Love,

Jan Jacobsen


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Jan 09 2010

This Bright Entelechy of Mine – Issue #39

    This is the beginning of a new year, a perfect time to turn up our light and let it shine more brightly in the world. It is an ideal time to commit to our dreams, our highest potential, our most actualized self, otherwise known as our entelechy.

    I first heard the word entelechy (en.tell.a.key) in a workshop with Jean Houston who told us that our “entelechy is all about the possibilities encoded in each of us.” She said that the entelechy of an acorn is to be an oak tree, a caterpillar to be a butterfly, and a popcorn kernel to be fully popped. We are all loaded and encoded with a dynamic purpose, a special gift and ability that comes naturally to us – so naturally that we may even take it for granted and not recognize it as our innate, great purpose.

   Sometimes, if we are not fulfilling our purpose, our entelechy lights a fire under us in order to help our potential fully pop. Adversity can rattle our cage, shaking and waking us up to the big, bright, luminous light of our soul, our strength, and our special abilities, illuminating the dynamic purpose inherent in us. That’s when it all starts to make sense and we say, “Oh yeah, now I remember who I am and why I’m here!”

   This new year, this new decade is a prime time to shift into a higher gear, committing to full aliveness and being our highest self. To SHIFT is to Simply Hold the Intention For Transformation – holding the intention is turning on the hot, bright spotlight of our entelechy until we are powerfully popping into our full potential and purpose!

   Some people have the special ability to see and hold us in our highest potential, shining their light on our magnificence, helping to bring that out in us. Masters of that in my life are Katie Hendricks, Diana Chapman, Tom Biesanz (my husband), and Zeena, my cat, who inspires this prayer: “May I be half the person that my cat thinks I am.” I am encouraged to know that if this is in my life — people who see themselves and others in their full magnificence — then that same potential ability is in me.

   Recently I was talking with Tom about some people we were meeting for dinner later in the day, and I was hearing myself be critical, imagining that it would be a superficial encounter with them. Tom wasn’t thinking that way, he doesn’t have that filter, he sees the best in people. I, however, am sometimes stuck in a filter where the ego in me sees and judges the ego in others – I call that my “Me Nasty” filter, as opposed to my “Namaste” filter. This year I am holding the intention to develop my Namaste filter. I’m imagining myself a year from now having fully integrated a focus that says, “I am a beautiful soul, and I see and honor the beautiful soul in others.” I’m imagining myself feeling the joy and peace that comes with that perception, feeling it as if it were already so…because it IS already so in my entelechy.

    I’d like to share with you a powerful exercise that Jean Houston did with us (I’ve paraphrased and abbreviated it): Stand with your eyes closed and imagine facing your entelechy, your highest self, your deep essence. Imagine your entelechy looking at you with profound love and appreciation for your journey, cherishing you, and imparting to you wisdom, encouragement and inspiration. Breathe it in. Then imagine switching places with your entelechy and BEING that higher self, feeling what that would feel like to embody your highest potential. From that place feel great love and respect for your journeying self, sending that self empowerment, courage, and strength. When you are ready, step back into your journeying self and fully receive those messages of love and encouragement, let it in, feel it, become filled with the love and vitality of your highest self, knowing that is who you truly are.

    Just as the acorn holds within it the mighty oak tree, we hold within us our mighty, magnificent, actualized self. The most majestic oak tree is just a little nut that held it’s ground! Our challenge is to hold our ground, committing to remember who we really are, and holding ourselves in the dynamic light of that knowing.

   This is a new year, a perfect time to turn up the spotlight on our entelechy. Mike Dooley in Notes from the Universe wrote, “I’ve got a feeling that 2010 is going to be your kind of year. That you’ll be happier than you’ve ever been, laughing harder, smiling wider, standing taller, walking lighter, dancing crazier, hugging longer, living grander, loving louder.” I imagine that is true, and so it is.

    How about you? Do you know what your entelechy is, your special purpose, your most actualized self? Is this the year to turn up the heat and pop into your full potential? I’m imagining us all jubilantly singing, “This bright entelechy of mine, I’m gonna let it shine! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

   In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Jan 01 2010

Now…Here…This…THIS Is It! – Issue #38

This is it — the end of a decade! This is it – the beginning of a new year! Most importantly, This is it – the eternal now! In the book “Wherever You Go There You Are” Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests that we say the words “This is it” throughout the day, reminding ourselves that right now is IT!

“This Is It” is also the name of Michael Jackson’s farewell tour (and movie), a name which proved to be prophetic for him. I sometimes think that when world-famous figures such as Michael die at a young age, it is a parting gift to us all on a soul level, a wake up call that reminds us that This Is It! Be fully here and alive while you are here and alive! Because you are not going to be here and alive forever!

My experience with cancer this year was a dynamic This Is It reminder — it catapulted me into the here and now, helping me to appreciate and value this moment, cherish this life, and transform my “someday” dreams into “today is the day, now is the time.” I always said that someday I would write — cancer kicked my “someday” into the “now” and I am doing the writing I’ve always wanted to do. Santa Barbara acupuncturist Bernard Unterman told me about a woman with stage 4 lung cancer whose doctors had told her there was no treatment that would help her and that she should check into hospice. She went to him instead. He asked her what brought her joy and she said “Nothing.” Until she remembered that she once enjoyed doing art, but then her life got too busy. In addition to acupuncture, he prescribed that she begin doing art again, which she did. Within 5 weeks she burgeoned into a vibrant, vital woman and her cancer was gone! Growth happens one way or another.

When adversities happen it can seem like life has turned on us, yet they have the potential to turn us ON!  They are invitations to us to make a decision to take a stand, commit to life and live it fully. Kenny Loggins sings passionately about this in his song This Is It. In an interview in American Songwriter magazine November/December 1987 he talks about his inspiration for the song: “I had a fight with my dad when he was going into the hospital because he gave me the feeling that he was ready to check out.” That inspired the lyrics: “You make the choice of how it goes…For once in your life, here’s your miracle. Stand up and fight. This is it!” We make the choice of how it goes – we can choose to be here fully and to live our dream, or not.

When fear dogs are nipping at my heels, worried about dire possibilities, I take a deep breath and say, “This is it. This moment right now is all there is.” I am taking a stand, making the choice to be here, fully embracing this glorious life one moment at a time. Mike Dooley in his Notes from the Universe wrote recently: “When driving down the road of life, rarely do you know how good you have it, until you see it in the rear-view mirror. Which is not to suggest that you should look back now, but to remind you that where you are today is more awesome and amazing than you probably realize.”

This past year I have learned to treasure my life, recognizing the miracle that it is, realizing that our time here is limited, and recommitting to fully live while I am alive. This is not a dress rehearsal — This is it! I’m wishing for all of you a passionate love affair with this eternal now moment and may you all do what brings you the most joyful growth in life.

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen


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