Archive for January, 2011

Jan 16 2011

The Blessing of Borrowed Time – Issue #65

Good news – what I thought was a possible tumor (and spreading cancer) turned out to be just a large pimple after all! It served as a reminder that I am living on borrowed time, and also reminded me that my situation is not grave…it’s gravy! Faced with possible imminent death, I am fully appreciating and tasting each moment and experiencing that time has magically slowed and expanded. As I’m immersed in the present, savoring it, I’m finding that this present is the gift that keeps on giving.

After the chemo and radiation treatment failed to completely eliminate my tumor nearly 6 months ago, I thought I was a goner, I thought my days were numbered and not a big number at that. I had a dental cleaning around that time and didn’t know if I’d be around for the next cleaning in 6 months. I wasn’t sure if I should even make an appointment. But next month it’s time for the cleaning and I am still here, feeling healthy and enjoying this groovy gravy grateful time.

My husband Tom told me that his father lived with that grateful attitude each and every day, ever since an incident that happened when he was a young man serving in World War II. One day during the war, he generously gave up his foxhole to another man and sought shelter elsewhere. The man in the foxhole was killed by an artillery shell. After that Tom’s father believed that there was nothing to worry about because from then on life was a gift, it was all gravy.

I’m feeling that too. Even though it is so strange not knowing what is happening in my body with the cancer, (Is it stable? On the move? Completely gone?!) I feel alert, awake, happy to be alive, wanting to learn all that I can while I’m still here on schoolhouse Earth, and feeling inspired to share what I’m learning. I also feel a great lessening of the fear that had gripped me before. I have accepted death and the possible pain involved, and have come to a place of peace with it all, a ‘bring it!” place. I know that I can do this. I can face whatever happens. I can feel whatever feelings come up. I don’t want to die, but I’ve accepted that I’m doing everything I can and if my number is up then it’s up. When the time comes, I can see myself going peacefully, knowing that it is my time to go, and believing that where I go from here is the next great adventure. In the meantime, I am making the most of this borrowed time.

The late great John Lennon wrote a song called “Borrowed Time” (included  on his last album) which was inspired by a sailing adventure he was on in the spring of 1980. He had been in a creative dry spell for five years and was feeling depressed and decided to shake up his life by sailing with a crew on a 42-foot sailboat from Newport, Rhode Island to Bermuda. Not long into the journey a severe, life-threatening storm with 20-foot waves and 65 mile an hour winds rendered everyone on board seasick, except John. He was an inexperienced sailor and felt terrified, but he was the only one who was well enough to sail the boat.

He recounted in a Playboy interview a few months after the incident: “So, I was there driving the boat for six hours, keeping it on course. I was buried under water. I was smashed in the face by waves for six solid hours. A couple of the waves had me on my knees. I was just hanging on with my hands on the wheel – it’s very powerful weather – and I was having the time of my life.”

He went on to say, “Once I accepted the reality of the situation, something greater than me took over and all of a sudden I lost my fear. I actually began to enjoy the experience and I started to shout out old sea shanties in the face of the storm, screaming at the thundering sky.”

When he got to Bermuda he said, “I was so centered after the experience at sea that I was tuned in, or whatever, to the cosmos. And all these songs came!” He had stepped up to the challenge, faced his fear, faced death, and came through it invigorated, enlivened and inspired to write the beautiful songs for his Double Fantasy album, which eventually won the Grammy for album of the year.

After that incident John realized that he was living on borrowed time and said, “come to think of it, that’s what we all are doing, even though most of us don’t like to face it.” He was killed just 6 months after that great awakening and brilliant outpouring of creativity, but I imagine that those 6 months were richly imbued with vivid aliveness and appreciation for the fragility and preciousness of life. I know that’s what I’m feeling about my life.

I believe that when someone as world renowned as John Lennon dies at such an early age, it is a great waker-upper for people, it’s a lovely parting gift, reminding us that this earth life is finite and let’s go for it, let’s prioritize, let’s live fully while we are alive.

As John said, we are ALL living on borrowed time. It’s all gravy. Are you fully tasting and savoring the gravy? Are you creating seeming catastrophes that are actually blessings in disguise, enhancing the flavor of your life, making it more delicious, exciting and purposeful? Here’s to a life fully lived and savored!

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Jan 03 2011

Christmas Mirror-cle – Issue #64

“Mirrors, mirrors all around, reflections of myself abound.

What most needs to be loved is found in what I judge in you.”

That is from a poem I wrote about projection a few years ago. Along the same lines, there’s a saying that goes, “If you spot it, you got it.” It means that what we see and judge in others is in us in some way. I would amend that to say, “If you spot it and you have a charge on it, then you got it.” We can spot things in others, but if it doesn’t have a sticking place in us and we’re at peace with it, then we don’t ‘got it’. But if we spot it and fought it (judge and resist it), to be sure, we got it!

Having cancer and not knowing how much longer I have (do any of us really?), I am compelled to do what I came here to do – face my shadows, free myself of judgments, heal and become whole. There’s no time to waste. Though I’m still feeling good and free of symptoms from my original tumor, I recently discovered a hard, pea-sized bump under my skin that could be a giant pimple OR a life-threatening tumor (which would mean the cancer is spreading). I don’t know if I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, a tumor out of a pimple, but either way, it is a burr under my saddle (yes, it is located in THAT region once again) reminding me that it’s clean-up time, it’s time to make peace with the many me’s that life is reflecting back to me.

Adding to this auspicious time, a friend sent me a reminder that something pretty potent is happening soon – the 21st of December is Winter Solstice AND a lunar eclipse, the first time these two events have coincided in hundreds of years. She wrote that this is “A powerful time to be introspective, thinking, meditating, imagining, giving ourselves full permission to dream, to fantasize about what we would want for ourselves if we could have anything at all, anything we’ve ever hoped for, before our time on this earth is complete.”

What I dream about is being free of judgments and having love and compassion in my heart for all the people in my life…but alas, saint I ain’t (as Tom’s father used to say). Just when I think I got all my wacky, quacky ducks in a row and feel like I’m doing pretty darn good spiritually, the universe sends me people who push my buttons and I am confronted with my judgments. Some of you might be currently experiencing this if you’re visiting family during this holiday season because, as Ram Dass once said, “If you think you are enlightened, go visit your family.”

Throughout the years I have drawn into my life charming, angry, defensive men. I’ve had judgments about these men and felt victimized by them. It was quite a surprise when I finally realized that little ol’ innocent me was also charming, angry and defensive. That was a shocker! These men were the perfect mirror for my disowned anger. Over the years I have been learning to love and integrate those parts of myself, finding that once anger is owned it transmutes into empowerment – the highest octave of anger is strength and power and setting healthy boundaries, without judgment. (This shift in me allowed the wondrous Tom to come into my life – he is the least angry man I have ever known).

I believe that empowerment begins with ownership. I recently saw actress Jenny McCarthy being interviewed on The View and she talked about her relationship with actor Jim Carrey (they recently separated after five years together). She talked about how she made a list of all the things that bothered her about him, and said when she read it she substituted ‘he’ with ‘I’. It helped her to see all the ways that SHE did what she was accusing him of doing. (She explained that this was based on Byron Katie’s work, the part where you take your thoughts and judgments and turn them around).

At this holy time of the year, I know that it’s all about wholeness – the words holy, whole, and health share the same root. My challenge and great desire is to be inclusive, all embracing and at one with everything in my life. The universe is currently obligingly gifting me with an opportunity to do this – lately I have been ‘spotting’ angry, defensive men and the women who love them. I witness myself clucking my tongue, judging them, wondering what THEY are doing in my life…and then I am reminded, “Mirrors mirrors all around, reflections of myself abound, what most wants to be loved is found in what I judge in you.” This is coming round again to be loved and healed and wholed.

Big breath of acceptance…yes, it is time to ‘reflect’, to face and embrace what life is mirroring back to me, and to imagine, to dream and envision what it would be like to be free of these judgments, to be whole, to be filled with love and compassion for myself and others. This is the Christmas mirror-cle I am hoping for this year. I’m singing, “Wholly wholly wholly, merciful and mighty, God in three persons, blessed many me’s (and you’s).”

I hope you are having a ‘wholly’ holiday season, loving the many hues of the many you’s that life is reflecting back to you. I’m wishing for you and for me a Christmas mirror-cle of peace, love and oneness.


Jan Jacobsen

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