Dec 17 2015

Recognizing These 2 Elephants in the Room Can Transform Your Life – #113

There are two hefty yet hidden forces in our lives, two elephants in the room that many people don’t see or talk about, yet they affect us in a mammoth way. The discovery of these elephants has hugely transformed my life.

The first elephant is the jumbo awareness that misery is addictive and craves more of itself. When we’re embroiled in drama it stimulates the powerfully addictive body drugs adrenaline and dopamine. I was once one of those people who always had some kind of drama happening in my life, I had ongoing ‘poor me’ stories of victimhood and how someone had done me wrong. Drama becomes not only a habit but a fix, like heroin to a junkie. I was often in a funk and finally realized that it was time to face the elephant in the room: I was a Funk Junkie! Once I faced that massive truth I was ready to face the other elephant in the room, what I call The Magical Elephant.

The Magical Elephant is the elephantine awareness that things don’t happen TO me, they happen BY me. It’s recognizing that like attracts like and we create what we’re focused on (also known as The Law of Attraction). When I was focused on being a victim that’s what I attracted – I was a shit magnet. When I started focusing on positive possibilities, that’s what I attracted – I became a blessings magnet. Life is magical like that!

Here’s one of my favorite examples of these two elephants from a prior newsletter of mine:

I spent a good part of my life stuck in the mire of misery about feeling alone in the world…until I had a life-changing epiphany during my first week of dating Tom fifteen years ago. We were massaging each other’s feet, (my very favorite thing!) and I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this man in my life on a permanent basis.” Just then a Bonnie Rait song began playing on the radio and I was singing along with it, “I can’t make you love me if you don’t.” That song activated the neural pathways of my old familiar story that said, “I will always be alone. He won’t want me. I can’t have this.” I began slipping into the sweet melancholy of that story, pulled by the addictive lure of deep sorrow. But then, in a sudden splash of invigorating awareness, I stopped myself and thought, “Wait a minute – why can’t I have this? It’s just habit programming. I’m just as lovable as the next person. I can have this! I want this!”

I recognized the addictive lure of my sad story and spotting that elephant helped me turn towards the Magical Elephant, the realization that I can create what I want – I can believe in my lovability and therefore attract love. And that’s exactly what happened. I consciously focused on all the ways I was lovable, I cultivated the feeling of being loved, I vibrated love AND I created it in my life! By recognizing those two elephants I was able to free myself from the addiction to my sad story and manifest the man of my dreams  (and receive regular amazing foot massages from him)!

How about you? Are you aware of these elephants in the room? If so it can transform your life – like Dumbo the flying elephant, you can soar!

In love,

Janet Jacobsen

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May 04 2015

The Big Show, 6 Years After the Big C – Issue #112

I’m back in show business!…the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show that is (a Sunday show at Chase Palm Park along the oceanfront). It’s where I made my living selling my crafts for 27 years, until I was diagnosed with cancer 6 years ago. I left the show to focus on saving my life and regaining my health. Now, gratefully, my health seems stable; however, my finances aren’t, and it’s time to generate some income.

This is my second Sunday back, and every day since last weeks show I’ve felt tense and depleted. I know the show didn’t make me tense – I made me tense, I tensed my body. My Trouper Soul (AKA my Big Soul Self) says: “Today, let’s tune into our body and notice when and where tension begins. That will be a great challenge to stay present, tuned in, and make micro shifts when we notice tension.” As I’m driving to the show and start getting closer I feel anxious and notice tightness in my throat and shoulders. I breathe deep and slow and remind myself, “I’m all right right now,” and I relax.

Okay, now find a parking space – there’s one! Wish it was closer. It’s several blocks away from the show. I have the ingenious plan to fit my entire seashore store together like a puzzle on my little 2’x3’ pushcart and make one trip. Great idea, except it’s heavy! like pushing a baby elephant! I’m huffing and puffing after a few steps. Trouper Soul says, “Okay sweetie, let’s just stop every thirty seconds and take a rest, and then push again.” Like giving birth: push, pause, breathe, push again, get this baby rolling.

I notice passersby looking at me askance, and I realize I must look like one of the homeless people in the area with their little carts loaded with all their worldly goods. I smile at the passersby, trying to let them know I’m one of them. I notice I’m slumped over as I slog along, and Trouper Soul says, “How would a queen walk? Remember your queen self.” I pause, summon my queen, straighten my spine, and proceed pushing the royal pachyderm. And on it goes, push, slump, pause, breathe, remember my queen, straighten, push with dignity.

I’m getting closer to the show, and since I’m new and don’t have an assigned space, my Worrywart begins nervously rushing to find a spot. I take a slow breath and remind her, “There’s plenty of space, plenty of time,” and sure enough I find a space. I plop down on my chair, panting. It’s only been a half hour and I’m exhausted already! I realize now that my exhaustion isn’t just from being here all day, it’s from the physical labor of getting here!

It’s a breezy day and the day before had been gusty. This oceanfront park is lined with long tall skinny palm trees, and I notice something shocking, something I’ve never seen in all my years in California: about 40 feet away one of those tall skinny palm trees is lying prone, stretched out flat on the ground! That gentle giant had swayed in these Santa Barbara winds for years, but in yesterday’s super gusts it snapped and bit the dust!

As the persistent breeze batters me, I realize, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be winded all day and wind up feeling like that flattened palm tree. I’m leaving! I’d promised myself in coming back to the show I’d only do nice weather days. Keeping my promise, I push my pachyderm slowly, alternately slumping and queenly, on the long trek back to my car. I heave and heft my weighty load back into the car and drive my weary self to the beautiful, peaceful, less windy Botanic Garden to soulfully contemplate WTF I’m doing!

When I was diagnosed with cancer six years ago and it recurred a year later with a poor prognosis, it was a dramatic wake up call. If I only had a limited time left, what would I do with that time? I’d been in the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show for 27 years and had become bored and stagnant, and I’ve wondered if that might have contributed to my cancer. I realized back then that it was time to do the writing my soul had longed to do, and I’ve been happily writing for the last six years.

So then why am I back at the Show? Am I making a mistake? Eliminating stress as much as possible was one of my healing strategies (you can read about more of them at my website EnlightenInk.com).  One of my fears is that the stress of the show will awaken the sleeping cancer (since stress suppresses the immune system). At the Botanic Garden I walk past the field of bright orange poppies and purple lupines, down the winding path into the redwood forest to my favorite wooden bench where I lie flat on my back and look up at the branch laced sky, and surrender to the silence and stillness, awaiting insights.

This comes to me: I don’t want my life to be stressful, but I DO want it to be stretchful. My soul loves to be challenged, to learn and grow and stretch and strengthen. To stay strong, muscles need something to push against. My body and soul muscles have gotten a bit flabby, in need of a good workout. The muscle I’m most passionate about strengthening is a belief in a friendly and enjoyable universe. I think that’s one of the important things I’ve come here to do and I’ve come a long way since a childhood of feeling the universe was anything but friendly. And I’ve a ways to go. Being back in the show is a great probe for those beliefs, which is exciting for my soul (though my ego can be like that elephant I’m pushing along).

Also, I’m enjoying revising and revitalizing my crafts and my display and seeing the smiles on people’s faces. I love being creative! It’s fun, it generates income, and gets me out into the world, facing my fears and transforming them. “We can do this sweetie. It’s okay for it to be easy and fun and stretchful,” says my Trouper Soul, my One who’s come here to learn and grow and heal and transform.

Okay. Let’s do it. I will find ways to make it easier, more body friendly, and more enjoyable. I can do this! I will do this! Yes! It’s on with the show!

How about you? Are you being challenged right now? What muscles of yours are being strengthened?

In Love,

Janet Jacobsen

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May 04 2015

How I Learned to Love Myself – Issue #111

One night about 20 years ago I went to bed wondering what I was here to do in this life. Was I doing what I was supposed to be doing? Was I doing enough? The next morning I awoke with these words resounding in my mind, “All you have to do in your whole life is to love yourself. That is all you have to do.”

I was in my early forties and I decided it was time to take a break from relationships with men and devote my time to learning to love myself. Other people take their cue from how we regard ourselves and men were reflecting back to me my own ‘not-good-enough’ self-image. I finally realized that I was the one I had been waiting for–I was the source of love for me. It was time to heal my belief that I was unlovable.

I had a friend who was petite and beautiful with a charming personality. Yet, like me, she had the “unlovable” wound and chose men who didn’t love her. She asked me, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I find a man who’ll love me? Maybe it’s because I’m too short?” I had another friend who was tall and gorgeous but also had the “unlovable” wound and she asked me the same question. “What’s wrong with me? Maybe it’s because I’m too tall.” I had to laugh. The Universe was reflecting back to me so clearly that nothing was wrong with them or me. We just had a belief that we were unlovable and we MANifested that belief. I kept reminding myself that it was only a belief, a habit thought, it’s not written in stone throughout all eternity. Any habit can be broken.

To help me to deprogram my unlovability brainlock, I started using something called Yes Sets, an Ericksonian hypnosis technique. You say a series of ‘yeses’ about things you know are true and then piggyback onto them the new desired, related belief. One set of ‘yeses’ I used was, “Yes, there’s plenty of blue sky for everyone. Yes, there’s plenty of air for everyone. Yes, there’s plenty of love for everyone. Yes, there’s plenty of love for me.”

Another set of ‘yeses’ was, “Yes, I have friends who love me just the way I am. Yes, I am a wonderful friend and spiritual learning partner. Yes, I know there are men who would love to have a fabulous spiritual partner. Yes, I know there are men who would love to have me as a partner.” Everyday I would take walks affirming these yeses; I’d heard that when you’re walking or moving while doing affirmations, the new beliefs would imprint and stick more effectively.

I set my watch to beep once an hour to remind me to take a breath and say, “I am loved” and to generate that feeling of being loved. I had a friend who said his watch beeped every hour, but it just reminded him that he’s an idiot because he didn’t know how to turn it off. We choose what belief we want to program and reinforce.

I started listening to Sanaya Roman’s Self-Love tapes and her Attracting Your Soul Mate tape. I used visualization and fantasy everyday to embody the felt sense of being loved and valued. I went on “Yes” walks and affirmed my new image; I affirmed that I was appreciated, and thought of ways that was already true; I thought of the people in my life who treasured me and I focused on all the things I valued about myself.

One of the most important ways I was learning to cultivate self-love was in the way I talked to myself during the day. Ultimately, our primary relationship is with ourselves, and the quality of our life is determined by how we talk to ourselves all day. Our own inner voice is the only thing that is with us all the time. Our habitual thoughts go round and round like hamsters on a wheel. It was important to notice my pre-programmed negative thoughts and replace them with loving thoughts.

I started talking to myself the way I wanted to be talked to. I was being my own dear lover; I was being the relationship that I wanted to have in my life. I began calling myself “honey” and “sweetheart”. “What would you like for lunch today, honey? You can have anything you want, sweetheart.” I would also say affirmations such as, “I know who I am.” “I am a beautiful soul.” “I love myself just the way I am.”

I listened to love songs on the radio and imagined it was my Higher Self singing to me.  I also put a picture of myself as a child on my wall to remind me how lovable I was. Seeing the sweet face of my child reminded me to talk lovingly to her, to myself, since she was still in me. I began talking to my emotions in the same way. A lot of us, when we were children, didn’t have anyone there to listen to our feelings, so they became stuck in us. I was learning to put these feelings on my lap like beloved children, give them a hug and let them express themselves. They just wanted to be held and heard. As I did this I was re-parenting myself.

I started to fall in love with myself, and eventually a man who matched that vibration showed up in my life, proving…if you build the energy of love, love will come.

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Jul 07 2014

Radical Ownership – Issue #110

What is radical ownership? It’s seeing and owning that life is a mirror reflecting me back to me. All the things that happen in my life have one thing in common…ME. I am the common denominator in all that keeps showing up. Mike Dooley describes it beautifully in his Notes from The Universe: “It’s one kind of victory to slay a beast, move a mountain, and cross a chasm, but it’s another kind altogether to realize that the beast, the mountain, and the chasm were of your own design.”

I have a treasured handwritten letter from Jane Roberts (author of the Seth books) in which she reminds me of this: “You are the boss of your reality.” Sometimes I feel like life is bossing me around, but when I land in radical ownership, I see that I AM the boss, hiring characters who fit my persona requirements: my wounded one requires someone to wound me, my not good enough one requires someone to regard me as not good enough, my unimportant one requires being treated as unimportant.

For years I longed for a loving relationship, but my expectation for being wronged magnetized being wronged. I would pick people who would fulfill that belief, and if they didn’t, I would project or provoke it. I see this in some of my friends who are longing for a partner. Sadly, I know that even if they found someone, their unowned, unexplored, unhealed wound (what Eckhart Tolle calls the ‘pain body’) would mastermind, orchestrate, and fulfill its requirement for pain.

Our pain body, once triggered, is extremely compelling! We become engulfed in a powerful trance that can only see from that limited perspective. That’s why radical ownership is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and determination to break free of the hardwired, addictive hold of our pain body – like a heroin addict kicking heroin.

The good news is, once we claim radical ownership by seeing that we are sourcing our misery, it brings about radical transformation and a radically fabulous new life! That’s what happened to me. And if it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. (I was heavily addicted to my victimhood for a good part of my life.)

I have not mastered radical ownership by any means – I’m still challenged to resist the seductive lure of my pain body. Very recently I was put to the test when someone close to me stunned me by revealing a long-held hurtful secret. My hurt feelings were a natural response, and I expressed them. Yet I could feel the powerful pull of my pain body wanting to set up camp in the hurt. It had tasted the pain of being wronged, and like a shark smelling blood, it wanted to feast on it!

But fortunately I’ve developed a strong witness who watched this happening and said to myself, “No, nuh-uh, not gonna happen, not going there, not feeding that one.” Instead I made the healthy choice to go for a ‘clear my head’ walk to Whole Foods, choosing salad instead of the sweets my pain body wanted (okay, I own that I did add a little comfort food, mac and cheese). Then I sat outside at a table overlooking the eucalyptus trees, where I ate my salad and ‘realed’ myself in by journaling this healthy word feast: Resentment wants to resent. Bitterness wants to be bitter. Pain bodies want their pain. I refuse to give in to my pain body. I refuse to take it personally. Other people’s ego strategies are not personal against me. I’m responsible for how I choose to perceive and react to them.

And then something wonderful happened…I was filled with self-respect! I had triumphed over my pain body! My Big Soul Self had prevailed! I thought to myself, “I LOVE the soul that I am!” The rest of my walk was a celebration of that. Being free of the powerful lure of my pain body was my Independence Day celebration. (It’s very cool that the next day was July 4th!). Once I had shifted into this perspective, the trance was broken and the situation looked totally different to me, it wasn’t such a big deal, and I was free of pain.

I know I will be challenged again and slip into unconscious patterns, but I trust that I am committed to radical ownership and will always regain consciousness. Our lives are malleable like clay, shaped by our worst fears and our greatest expectations. I choose to live in a world formed by my greatest expectations.

How about you? Is there something in your life that’s ready to be owned? Here’s a good reminder to you (and me): the more you own it, the more you become free of it. Wishing for you and for me the freedom and fabulosity that comes with radical ownership!

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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May 27 2014

An Odyssey from Resentment to Forgiveness – #109

Resentment is like quicksand…it really sucks! It pulls us in and holds us down, and we become stuck in our own self-imposed suffering. Forgiveness offers freedom from that suffering, but getting to forgiveness can sometimes feel like an arduous odyssey. Our defensive egos hang onto wrongs with the ferocity of a dragon guarding a great treasure! What is the treasure? The righteous victim position that proclaims, “I am right and I am wronged!”

It’s a challenge to relinquish that bitter prize for the better prize of freedom from suffering, happiness, and peace. We can be right, or we can let it go and be free. That’s a toughie because our ego really wants to be right (I know mine does)! Our mind keeps rehashing its case over and over again in an endless tape loop until we feel kinda loopy!

I recently had a conflict with a friend and was stewing in resentment for a while. Fortunately, I was highly motivated to restore peace, not only because it feels better, but also for health reasons. I know that holding onto resentment is toxic; it stresses the body, suppresses the immune system, and creates acidity, which is a breeding ground for cancer and other illnesses. As someone on a precarious cancer journey, I need to forgive as if my life depended on it, because maybe it does.

I’d like to share with you the following powerful practices that helped me on my odyssey from resentment to forgiveness:

INTENTION – Intention is a powerful tool for transformation. My ego hangs on to being right and feeling wronged with the tenacity of a pit bull, but my Big Soul Self is intent on harnessing that dogged determination and redirecting it toward letting go, choosing peace, and being happy. Whenever I’m aware of my mind chewing on a bone of contention, that’s my cue to take deep slow breaths and affirm, “I choose being happy over being right.”

PROJECTION – When we judge others it’s usually because they’re reflecting something about ourselves that we haven’t owned and loved. In other words, if you spot it in someone else and judge it, then you got it. Here’s what I wrote about projection in a poem: “Mirrors, mirrors all around, reflections of myself abound, what most needs to be loved is found in what I judge in you.” A good question to ask when I find myself judging someone: “How am I like that? How do I do what I’m accusing them of doing?”

IT ISN’T PERSONAL – It’s a great waker upper to remind ourselves: “It isn’t personal. It’s just my preprogrammed ego defenses butting up against their preprogrammed ego defenses, doing what ego defenses do.” I like what Terry Cole Whitaker wrote about that, “What you think of me is none of my business.”

EMPATHY – The fine art of empathy is when we put ourselves in the other persons place and imagine how they might be feeling and what might be motivating their position. When I see that they’re reacting from an old wound, as am I, we can connect on that common ground and empathize with each other

HO’OPONOPONO – “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” That’s the ancient Hawaiian forgiveness prayer called Ho’oponopono. Whenever negative, blaming mind chatter takes over, I keep repeating this prayer until peace prevails. I’ve added some of my own words that have been helpful for me: “I’m sorry. It isn’t personal. It’s just my ego defenses. Please forgive me. Thank you. You know I love you and I know you love me.” I imagine myself saying it to the other person. Then I imagine them saying it to me.

SURRENDER TO A HIGHER POWER – In my conflict with my friend I was feeling exasperated with my minds entanglement in its relentless tape loop of righteously wronged reasoning. Then, as divine synchronicity would have it, I saw a Youtube video of a dolphin entangled in fishing line. An deep sea diver beckoned the dolphin over and the dolphin came to him, trusting him. The diver compassionately worked on him for a few minutes and finally freed him from the fishing line. I imagined myself like the dolphin, surrendering, trusting, being open to comfort and help, feeling a loving presence helping me free my mind from its entanglement. This helped shift me into a peaceful place.

Revenge is sweet and I have a sweet tooth…but forgiveness is sweeter and leaves no bitter aftertaste. Ultimately, I know that one of the most important healings for me in this lifetime is healing resentment and learning to let go and forgive. I am pleased to say I am making progress!

How about you? Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? I highly recommend it – it’s much more peaceful living in an open heart than a closed mind.

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

ENLIGHTEN-INKLINGS

I’ve created brief sayings called Enlighten-Inklings, which are verbal nuggets of love, laughter, and learning gathered from my previous and current writings, placed on my watercolor backgrounds. I’m sending out one a day, Monday through Friday via e-mail (free). If you’d like to be put on the list to receive them, email me at enlightenink@gmail.com. To view archived sayings go here EnlightenInk.com and click on Enlighten-Inklings at the top.

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Mar 17 2014

The Healing Power of Play – Issue #108

I’m excited to announce that I’m quoted in a new book by Dr. Kelly Turner! She traveled the world researching the common denominators in people who healed their cancer naturally and she reveals the top nine healing factors in her wonderful book, Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds. I’m especially excited that my quote is about one of my favorite things – loosening the grip of negative emotions through play!

One of the nine healing factors she writes about is the importance of having positive emotions like joy, love, and happiness, which turn on healing genes and enhance the immune system. But it’s a tall order to feel positive feelings when cancer (and death!) is rattling your cage. When I was diagnosed with cancer despite all my years of living a health-conscious life, I tried to be positive, but a biting bitterness was chomping at the bit, grousing, “Geesh, I ate salads and drank wheat grass juice every frickin’ day and still got cancer! And my 80-year-old neighbor is puffing on cigarettes and hacking away all day and she’s probably going to outlive me! I might as well eat junk food and take up smoking!”

So I named this cynical one Cynny and invited her to fully express herself. Here’s my quote from the Radical Remission book: Play is a powerful shift tool when I’m stuck in negative patterns. When I notice my cynical attitude is taking over, I play with it! I give it a name, Cynny, and I exaggerate her grousing. I let her rip! This brings her out of the shadows, into the light, into wholeness, and I expand into the playful, prayerful state of grace. Plus, it’s just plain fun!

It’s true. When I exaggerate and play with whichever one of the miffed me’s I’m stuck in, it helps release the stuckness. Whether it’s feeling cynical about cancer or feeling like ‘chopped liver’ in a relationship – playing with it helps it play through. When every one of our shadows (disowned parts) is welcomed, then there’s nothing lurking in the shadows, and the shadows become integrated – the result is wholeness (the words ‘whole’ and ‘heal’ share the same root).

Recently I felt hurt by something a friend did, and the hurt festered into resentment. I was so stuck in vitriolic victimhood that I was ashamed to tell my husband Tom about it. I could see it clearly and knew it was my stuff, but I was stuck and couldn’t release it. Fortunately my need for transparency won out and I told him and he offered to do a Persona Interview (created by Gay and Katie Hendricks who also introduced me to persona play.) The interviewer asks the persona these six questions: What’s the most important thing to you? What are you most proud of? When did you make your first appearance? Who did you learn your style from? What are you most afraid of? What do you most want?

What I discovered is that this resentful persona is a darker cousin of Cynny – I call this one the Creeping Crud of Resentment. It takes over when hurt feelings fester into resentment. In the persona interview I let myself BE the Creeping Crud of Resentment, full-blown, sneering, snarling, loud and unleashed, letting it all hang out. I had to laugh at her vehement victim vengeance – she’s so wicked! I understood her and liked her better when I learned that what she deeply wants is to know that people care about how she feels (and what she most fears is that they don’t care). When the persona interview was completed, I looked at Tom sheepishly and asked, “Do you still like me?” He smiled and said, “I like you even more.” (He loves when I get emotionally naked!)

Another key healing factor that Kelly Turner discovered among cancer thrivers was the value of clearing emotional blockages by releasing suppressed emotions. In other words, bringing our shadows into the light where they can be healed.  (It’s interesting that when cancer is seen on an x ray it’s seen as a shadow.) The Creeping Crud of Resentment is one of my most embarrassing shadows. You know it’s a shadow when it’s something you’re ashamed of and try to hide. The more I bring this shadow into light and befriend and play with it, the more it lightens up and heals (and I believe it continues to heal whatever cancer may still remain in my body).

It’s true — love, joy, and happiness can heal what ails us, and so can facing, revealing and releasing whatever dark feelings are repressing our aliveness (and our immune system). There are many ways to do that, but for me the most fun way is to play with it, welcome it, make it bigger and more outrageous! When you crack yourself up, you crack yourself open and are more available for deep learning and healing. And, if you can laugh at something, you can be free of it.

What shadows of yours are you most ashamed to reveal? Invite them to the party, give them a party hat, exaggerate them, let it rip, and celebrate the healing power of play!

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Feb 11 2014

Put On Your Big Soul Panties – Issue #107

When I’m upset about something and feel challenged, a higher voice within lovingly says, “Put on your Big Soul panties and deal with it.” Putting on my Big Soul panties means shifting out of the limited view of my little ego self into the expansive perspective of my Big Soul Self, seeing the higher purpose in whatever’s happening, trusting that I’m right where I’m supposed to be and everything is happening for my learning and growth. It means choosing love over hate, faith over fear, and forgiveness over resentment.

The beautiful part is, every time I’ve been challenged and chose to put on my Big Soul panties, there have been amazing outcomes! I believe that when we’re aligned with our highest self, we enter a state of grace where everything we need comes to us and things work out better than we could ever imagine.

A dear friend of mine shared her recent inspiring Big Soul triumph. She and her husband are separating after many years of marriage and they were having a rough time with hurt feelings on both sides. But they chose to shift into their Big Soul Selves and created a healing ritual in which they sat facing each other, with a thin rope tied around them, and for several minutes they looked into each other’s eyes saying the Ho’oponopono forgiveness prayer: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” They kept repeating those words for eight minutes as waves of tears filled their eyes. At the end of that time they both had scissors and cut the rope that bound them and they hugged lightly. Peace and harmony ensued.

We’re all faced with life challenges and we have the choice to dwell in the hell of the Heartbreak Hotel or to dwell in love and healing. Here are the three most significant Big Soul triumphs from my life:

1. THE CHALLENGE: I was a depressed, suicidal teenager, immersed in the belief that I was unloved and unlovable and doomed to a wretched lonely life. I fantasized about suicide the way other girls my age fantasized about boys.

PUTTING ON MY BIG SOUL PANTIES: During that time I prayed for help, and found a book called Your Thoughts Can Change Your Life, which said that our thoughts and beliefs create our reality – we can literally hypnotize ourselves into or out of anything. That electrified me! I could see how my negative thoughts were creating a negative reality and I knew that if I changed my thoughts I could change my life! I was inspired to take on the challenge of transforming my unfriendly world into a friendly one.

THE OUTCOME: My life was ignited with a purpose and passion to learn and grow and heal. My brother reached out to me, inviting me to come to California. I’d once thought my life was over, but now this caterpillar turned into a butterfly and flew across the country from Mystic, Connecticut to beautiful Santa Barbara, California, my new home and a whole new exciting life filled with infinite possibilities!

2. THE CHALLENGE: During my dating days I found myself in relationships with men who were afraid of intimacy and couldn’t commit. I would put on my pity party panties and call my gal pals and we’d commiserate in ‘ain’t it awful’ stories about unavailable men.

PUTTING ON MY BIG SOUL PANTIES: It finally dawned on me that I was the one who picked these unavailable men – I was the common denominator in all my failed relationships. And then it struck me…I was afraid of intimacy! I was afraid of commitment! I picked guys who were unavailable because I was unavailable and protecting my heart at any cost. I’ve heard that the result will always show you your strongest intention – obviously mine was to be alone, because that was the result. I was comfortable being alone. I was safe. I could see now that though these men were not my soul mates, they could be my heal-my-soul mates, mirroring what was unhealed in me so that I could see it and heal it. With my Big Soul panties firmly in place, I was determined to heal my fear of intimacy.

THE OUTCOME: I healed my fear of intimacy! And I found true love! My husband and I have been enjoying a deeply intimate and happy relationship for nearly 15 years! Sometimes we get our panties in a bunch, but then we put on our Big Soul panties (or pants in the case of my hubby) and deal with it, and soon we are once again loving, laughing, and learning in our Big Soul playground.

3. THE CHALLENGE: Four years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. My first reaction was, “Oh crap!” I indulged in a fine whine, “Why me? I’m a vegetarian!”

PUTTING ON MY BIG SOUL PANTIES: I eventually realized it was a major wake-up call, prompting me to examine how I was out of balance, blocked, stagnant, and not fulfilling my higher purpose. I recommitted to living the best life possible, and made holistic lifestyle changes in body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

THE OUTCOME: Cancer was the kick in the panties I needed to raise my game. I’m now catapulted into the present moment, savoring life and loved ones, making healthy choices, and living a purposeful life. These four years since my diagnosis have been the richest years of my life. I am vividly, passionately alive! That is a great outcome!

From the Big Soul perspective, what’s coming up in our lives is coming up to be healed. While my little self moans, “Oh no, not another growth opportunity!”, my big Self exclaims, “Oh yeah, another chance to learn and  grow and heal!” It takes a concerted effort and commitment to shift out of the sticky addictive lower energies of victimhood, resentment, and fear, into the higher energies of love, faith, and forgiveness. But when I do, miracles and magic happens, and I celebrate by doing the happy dance in my resplendent Big Soul panties!

How about you? Are you being challenged right now? Are your panties in a bunch about something? If so, it may be a good time to put on your Big Soul panties and deal with it, and be open to everything working out better than your wildest dreams!

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Dec 30 2013

How Are You A Super Star? – Issue #106

Every year I’m fortunate to go to an annual holiday party peopled by some of the most illustrious movers and shakers in the conscious evolution movement. These highly accomplished people include renowned spiritual teachers, rock stars, and best selling authors. They are the golden ones, the beautiful people, and at the party they share with each other their latest exciting projects.

Then there’s little ol’ me in my SAS loafers, feeling small in comparison. But the bigger part of me, my Big Soul Self, enjoys being challenged to face into these probing questions: What are MY accomplishments and exciting projects? What’s important and valuable about MY life?

We all have something about us, maybe not readily apparent to others (or even ourselves), that is nonetheless golden, some long hoped for achievement, some rich intrinsic value that makes us super stars in our own life. So as I stand among the beautiful people, here’s what I will keep in mind:

Though I’m not a big mover and shaker on the world stage, I am moving and shaking my body every morning in my living room as I dance, prance, and bounce around the house, oxygenating my body, stimulating lymph, intent on good health, fun, and vibrant aliveness. At 64 I’m committed to keeping these reluctant old bones mobile and I consider that quite an accomplishment!

I hang out regularly with some major luminaries: my higher self, my angels, my muse, my guides. I commune with them daily and we simply adore each other. They are such close and loving companions they come the moment I call them, any time of day or night. I once felt abysmally alone in the world, but now I know I ‘m not alone.

One of those luminaries is my creative muse – I’m not a best selling author, but I am happily writing. It is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to be a writer who is being read and being of service in my small way. I once lived near Pot Shots epigrammist Ashleigh Brilliant and would watch him walking about the neighborhood deep in thought dreaming up new sayings, and I’d think, “Oh what fun to play with words and inspiration and humor and send it out into the world!” And now I’m doing it!

Here’s another biggie – I MANifested the man of my dreams! That was no small feat! I was about to turn 50 and was very much in ‘no man land’ with no prospects in sight when some brave and determined part of me decided that I was ready and willing to do whatever it took to finally have a loving, fun, juicy, conscious relationship with a fabulous man. I knew I needed some tools and voila! right smack on my 50th birthday a Hendricks Conscious Loving training was taking place in my town providing guess what?…relationship tools! And guess who I met at their next training a few months later?…Tom, my husband to be! That was 14 years ago and our relationship just keeps getting better and better!

A MAJOR achievement that helped make finding my soul mate possible was the self-love work I was deliberately and diligently focused on. I fearlessly faced and befriended my many me’s, especially those troublesome angry, pissy personas (like Chopped Liver and The Incredible Sulk) that made me believe no one could ever love me. When I befriended them, I could see they were like scared, sad, hurt children. I learned to put them on my Big Soul lap and give them a hug and they began to calm down and were no longer in charge of the show.

That leads me to another monumental accomplishment – my Big Soul Self is now in charge much of the time! She holds the perspective that my universe is friendly, and that, as Byron Katie says, “Things don’t happen to me, they happen for me.” When I was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, I put on my Big Soul Panties and dealt with it – I saw that cancer was the kick in the can I needed to ignite my soul service work (writing), to wake me up to the present moment, and to remind me to savor this precious life, like chocolate slowly melting in my mouth – I love chocolate! And I love life!

Speaking of which…I’m alive! That’s a huge accomplishment! Three and half years ago I was given a dire prognosis, but I’m still here! I’m holistically attending to the health of my body, mind, emotions, and spirit, clearing blockages like the fear that dogged my life and clogged my aliveness. I have faced my worst fear, cancer, and have learned to dwell in this comforting reminder – Right now I’m all right and right now is all there is.

I think one of biggest super star moves we can make in life is to wake up to our super star-ness. John Lennon sang, “Well, who in the hell d’you think you are? A super star? Well, right you are!” We may not be world famous movers and shakers, but we are intrepid beings moving and shaking things up in our lives, facing challenges, learning and growing, and helping others learn and grow. It is a gold star achievement to wake up to who we REALLY are, seeing our, and others, magnificence! As Rumi said, “By god, when you see your beauty you will be the idol of yourself.”

How about you? What are your biggest personal accomplishments? What do you value most about yourself? How are YOU a Super Star?

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Nov 02 2013

Rewiring an Unfriendly Universe into a Friendly One – #105

We become what we immerse ourselves in. This awareness hit home for me recently when I found myself becoming increasingly stressed and emotional and realized that I was immersing myself in the Breaking Bad marathon. I was spending hours each day engrossed in its harrowing 62 television episodes, marinating in suspense and danger. As a result, I found myself smack dab in an unfriendly universe, bracing for something to break bad in my own life.

I remember that unfriendly universe well – the first third of my life was spent immersed in it. Early childhood experiences wired me for danger and drama, with emotional suppression always threatening a sudden and frightening Jack-in-the-Box explosion of feelings from those around me, and, mortifyingly, from myself. By the time I was 21 I was clinically depressed and hospitalized twice for suicide attempts – I wanted out of my unfriendly universe!

Fortunately, I was able to see at that young age that my thoughts and beliefs were responsible for which universe I inhabited. For over 40 years I’ve been in the monumental process of rewiring that unfriendly universe into a friendly one. I recently reconnected with childhood friends I hadn’t seen or heard from in nearly 50 years. As I reviewed my life and summed it up for them I was delighted by the realization that I have accomplished some major rewiring in this lifetime!

I have come a long way from the tortured soul I once was. I now live in a beautiful place, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Life is good! I’ve even come to perceive my experience with cancer as the perfect plan of a benevolent universe conspiring for my highest good, my richest life, my deepest learning and healing, prompting me to return to the safety of knowing I am loved, watched over, and right where I’m supposed to be, no matter what.

To be sure, I am an ongoing work in progress, and still hardwired for danger: I cautiously lock my doors, I startle easily, I’m a nervous and annoying car passenger, (“Watch out for that pedestrian!”). But the scale has significantly tipped more into the friendly zone. A big difference now is that I have developed a compassionate witness, so instead of constant hyper-vigilance, I have a higher vigilance where I see life from the perspective of my soul.

Rewiring my brain for happiness has required steadfast commitment and focus because, as it turns out, negative experiences imprint more deeply and quickly than positive ones. In the book Hardwiring Happiness, neurophychologist Rick Hanson states that the brain has a negativity bias: it’s like “Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.” We are wired for survival and that’s why the negatives are more compelling and more easily imprinted in the brain. He says that in order to build neural pathways for positive experiences we need to soak in them and absorb them for at least 10 to 20 seconds – the longer and more intensely it’s felt, the deeper the imprint.

As soon as I realized I had gone off track recently, that I was breaking bad, I began re-immersing myself in a sense of safety, joy, and connection, what  Rick Hanson calls “Taking in the good.” I’m allowing myself to deeply savor and sink into the peace and pleasure of daily practices like meditating, walking in nature, time with loved ones, even laying on the couch at the end of the day playing online scrabble with my sister. Since I’ve been savoring and taking in the good, I have come back Home to my beautiful world – as Tom often says (whenever we pull into the driveway), “Home again, home again, jiggity jig.”

How about you? Where have you been immersing yourself? Are you taking in the good? Or are you breaking bad? Remember, we become what we immerse ourselves in.

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Oct 08 2013

Cosmic Re-Parenting – Issue #104

Several years ago I went to the late great Marty Weiner, Feldenkrais practitioner and healer extraordinaire, to help me deal with my chronic tension. After mindfully observing me, he said slowly in his distinct Boston accent, “Feel your ass on the chair.” He could see that I was scrunched up, trying to rise above my body. I’ve always remembered those words and say them to myself often, reminding myself to come back down to earth, back into my body.

I’ve become aware that my lifelong tension, with its physical tightness and shallow breath, distances me from my body, my spirit, and this earth experience. It makes reality seem less real, and that’s the whole purpose – I think at an early age I figured out if I breathe shallowly and tense my body it would somehow protect me. The tension helped me hold myself together and helped separate me from a scary and uncertain world.

My husband Tom shared with me a powerful visualization exercise he learned from his mentor, Dick Olney, which helps dislodge the ‘hold myself together’ life strategy. It goes like this:

Imagine that a giant hand comes down from the sky and grabs you by the waist, picks you up, and starts vigorously shaking you up and down and all around. This is done with such force that your arm flies off, then the other arm, then a leg, and the other leg. As the shaking continues, your head flies off. The giant hand finally tosses you to the ground where your body parts are strewn around you. There lies your torso with your heart still beating. Now, imagine that your heart is like a powerful magnet drawing all your body parts toward you and one by one they rejoin you. You have come back together, centered around your heart.

When I did this visualization it felt good to be shaken free, to let go, to let it all go. And it felt even better to come back together reorganized around my heart. This has been my experience with cancer – cancer was that giant hand grabbing me and shaking me loose from chronic resistance and fears, and refocusing me on what speaks to my heart.

One of the things I do daily to help maintain that heart focus and tension release is what I call Cosmic Re-parenting walks. As I walk I give my weight to the earth, feeling my feet connecting with the ground, letting myself feel held, nourished, and nurtured by Mother Earth, and imagining the top of my head open to receive guidance and inspiration from Father Sky. Trusting. United. Safe. One breath at a time. One step at a time.

There’s a saying, “She’s so heavenly minded, she’s no earthly good.” Or conversely, “She’s so earthly minded she’s no heavenly good.” This walk is a melding of earth and spirit. It’s recommitting to being here, deeply connected with my body, heart, and soul.

Thich Nhat Khan wrote: “The miracle isn’t walking on water, it’s walking on earth, fully present, our feet kissing the ground with every step.”

I’m happy to be here, fully present, feeling my ass on the chair, my feet on the ground, and my heart full of gratitude for this life.

How about you? Are you fully in your body? Do you feel your ass on the chair, and your feet on the ground? If not, be on the lookout for that giant hand in the sky.

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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