Tag Archive 'cancer'

Jun 05 2010

Counting Blessings – Issue #53

A good friend of mine recently returned home from a weekend trip with her husband and found that someone had broken into their house and stolen several pieces of expensive jewelry, including her wedding rings. At first she cried, but very quickly she shifted into acceptance and told me that I was the reason why. She said she thought about me and reasoned that she didn’t have cancer, and no one died — that put things into perspective for her. She learned the lesson from the experience and was able to let it go.

That is a great illustration that how we choose to think about things affects our sense of wellbeing. It inspired me to focus on what I’m grateful for on this cancer journey, and I’d like to share some of it with you in this update.

About two weeks ago I had a CT scan which showed that my tumor is responding to treatment. After four weeks, the 2” x 3” tumor shrunk to one fourth its original size. It’s gone from an egg to a grape. That is good news!

I am also grateful that for the last 2 weeks I haven’t had chemo because my blood counts have been low. I needed a break from the relentless nausea and I got it. I’m using this reprieve to eat better, exercise more, and fortify my body.

This treatment could have been far worse. I haven’t lost any hair! I haven’t had to take narcotics as they’d said I might — Ibuprofen is handling the pain and discomfort.

I’m grateful that I’m in the homestretch — there is just three more days of radiation treatment (and possibly one more chemo session, depending on my blood count). During these weeks of treatment, time has crawled like a snail. Now there is an end in sight. Yay!

Occasionally the fear comes up for me, what if this doesn’t work? The doctor said that if the tumor doesn’t completely disappear, it will grow back. When this fear appears, I’ve been doing the only thing I have control over — I’ve been training myself to come into the present. Throughout the day I say to myself, “Present moment, only moment.” It is a blessing to be strengthening my ability to be fully present in the moment. It’s a goal of mine in this lifetime, and feels like a huge accomplishment.

I am grateful for Tom who is taking such good care of me, and also himself and not letting himself become burned out. I am grateful for friends and family and the people who have been on this journey with me, giving me so much love and support. Thank you!

I feel blessed that my cancer experience is of service to some people, like my friend who put her loss into perspective and was able to let it go. People have told me that it has reminded them that life is precious and has inspired them to get more focused on what it is they’re here to do, and what it is they really want. I feel honored and grateful to be of service in this way.

I am counting my many blessings. I am Here and Now. I am happy to be alive. There’s always someone who has it worse off than us. My heart fills with compassion for them, and gratitude that I’m not them! It’s all relative.

How about you? Counted your blessings lately? They really are plentiful when we look for them.

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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May 15 2010

Just Show Up – Issue #52

This morning I was in the waiting room of the Cottage Hospital Lab to get a blood test. In the next room I heard the frantic, pleading screams of a little girl named Emmy, “Noooo, noooo, nooooo!” The nurse was trying to draw her blood but Emmy was having none of it. She protested over and over again, screaming, crying, railing against her present reality, trying to outrun it, resist it, fight it.

Several of us who were in the waiting room witnessing this human drama gave each other knowing smiles. How many of us have had, or still have, a child inside of us screaming the same thing, “Noooooo! I don’t want this! Get me out of here!”

Her mother and the nurse were wrangling with her, telling her, “Emmy, just sit still, don’t be scared, it will be over soon.” I wanted to tell them, “Move toward the fear. Tell her you know how scared she is. Tell her it’s okay to be scared. Meet her where she is.”

I had a wonderful private phone counseling session yesterday with Mary-Margaret Moore, who channeled the Bartholomew books in the 80’s and 90’s, books that bring me more comfort and feelings of expansiveness than any other books I’ve ever read. With heartfelt compassion she counseled me to move toward my fears and pain and not resist them, to simply rest in them for a while, to just show up with whatever is happening, to stop efforting, stop trying to be elsewhere, even in a “higher” place, because, to paraphrase Bartholomew, “You are already there, and once you effort you have lost that place.”

In the session I got in touch with a painful belief that I have done something wrong; I’ve screwed up; I wasn’t relaxed enough to keep the cancer monster away. As much as I have felt empowered by the belief that my thoughts and feelings create my reality, there is a downside to that belief, a blaming and shaming of what I have manifested, what I have created. Mary-Margaret asked me to question that belief, is that true? Did I create it? Can I know that for sure?

The only thing I can know for sure is that cancer is here. Chemo and radiation are here. Nausea is here. I am here. When I stop questioning, resisting, and wanting it to be different, then I land on it — I show up, I come into harmony with this reality. Breathing and resting in what’s happening, no matter what it is, is the portal to the spacious NOW. Kicking and screaming and resisting, like little Emmy, is what creates most of the suffering, just as arguing with and resisting Emmy’s fear only compounded it.

When I come to that place of accepting my worst fears, when I stop resisting them and, instead, rest in them, I experience that it is not as bad as my mind had imagined. I used to think I would rather die than have persistent nausea. But when I rest in it and breathe with it, it’s not so bad. I am showing up with the throwing up. It’s not fun, but it’s not horrendous either. It just is. I feel a stillness as I surrender to it.

I am actually doing this cancer, chemo, radiation, nausea thing. I am doing it (and if I can do it, anyone can, though I hope you never have to). There is a beautiful song by Joan Jacobs that repeats two words melodically over and over again throughout the song, “I surrender, I surrender, I surrender.” I am singing that song.

When tear-streaked little Emmy finally came out of her torture chamber and walked by all of us compassionate witnesses in the waiting room, I wanted to reach out and hug her. Instead, I am hugging my own inner child who wants to resist reality, and I’m telling her, “I know this is scary. It’s okay to feel scared. I’m sorry this is happening. I love you.” She feels heard, she breathes, she starts to relax a bit, and to surrender. She shows up. And, to her surprise, she finds that it’s not as bad as her fear had made it up to be.

Is there a part of you that is in pain, a part of you that is kicking and screaming and resisting reality? I invite you to move towards what you’re feeling, meet yourself right where you are, and then give yourself a big hug. How brave we all are to be on this journey!

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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Apr 24 2010

“You Are So Loved” – Issue #50

I’ve heard that some people sail through chemotherapy. I was hoping I would be one of those fortunate sailors. Alas, I am a seasick sailor. I started chemo last Monday and it has shivered me timbers and left me a bit woozy and bluesy.

I have felt myself shlumping like an old gray mare this week, suffering with a queasy stomach and no appetite. I’m trying to remember my chemo sabe attitude of last week, but instead I’m feeling chemo sobby — as in boo hoo, this sucks. I don’t want to get stuck in the energy of that old gray (night)mare. But I also don’t want to be “false positive”.

I went to a doctor appointment yesterday, and while in the waiting room I eavesdropped on a concerned father who was talking on his cell phone to his obviously distraught daughter:

“I want you to know I love you very much,” he said to her. “I love all of you, just the way you are, the good and the not so good, every single thing about you I love. It’s okay to cry. Tears are good. Things grow in a wet environment. Let yourself cry all that you want. It’s helping you grow. I am so proud of you. I know this is hard for you, and you’re doing wonderful. Just put one foot in front of the other, one step at time, that’s all you have to do. I love you so very much.”

Tears came to my eyes. He was like an angel father from heaven, talking to her so tenderly, showing how supremely precious she was to him, saying all the things a suffering daughter craves to hear, allowing her to be right where she was. I imagined that he was my angel father speaking to me so lovingly and tenderly. Angels are all around us.

Several years ago, during a ‘dark night of my soul’, feeling down about myself, I prayed for help. At that moment a card, that was displayed on the shelf beside me, floated to the floor. I picked it up and on it was a big rainbow heart, and the words “You are so loved.” That was such a powerful reminder to me that I am not alone, I am being watched over, I am loved. A few weeks ago I taped that card to my mirror so I can see it everyday and be reminded of that.

I am now being an angel to myself, talking to myself in a loving way, like that father talked to his precious daughter. “I love you very much. You are being so brave. You are facing your worst fears. Just take one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. It’s okay to cry. Let it out. You are doing great. I am so proud of you. Know how very loved you are.”

I opened the Pema Chodron book I’ve been reading, “The Places that Scare You”, to this angel-sent quote: “The ‘secret’ of life that we are all looking for is just this: to develop the power and the courage to return to that which we have spent a lifetime hiding from, to rest in the bodily experience of the present moment – even if it is a feeling of being humiliated, of failing, of abandonment, of unfairness.” (Charlotte Joko Beck)

And then laughing angels flipped the book open to this quote, “In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.” (Chogyan Trungpa Rinpoche). I love that! I am being bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness! “Wake up and love yourself right where you are. Breathe into this moment, allowing, accepting, embracing all that is happening, crying when you need to, and laughing too.”

The funny thing is, as I do this, I begin to breathe and relax, and the queasy feeling becomes a more easy feeling. My resistance to what is happening has created more discomfort and queasiness than the chemo itself. Resistance is a powerful force – and so is acceptance.

Is there something in your life that you’ve been resisting? Is there something that’s been rocking your boat? Be an angel, and love love love yourself just as you are, right where you are.

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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Apr 04 2010

Getting to the Miracle-Prone Zone – Issue #48

Because of my health crisis I am experiencing accelerated growth, emotionally, spiritually, in my relationship with Tom – and, unfortunately, in my tumor. My little bundle of growth (opportunity) is literally a pressing issue, and despite my onslaught of alternative healing modalities, the tumor is aggressive and requiring immediate and much stronger action.

I saw a radiologist last week and he wants to begin treatment right away. Tom and I pressed him to give us a ballpark percentage of the cure rate and he reluctantly said it was about 20%. That’s not good. He said chemo would probably add another 20% chance. Ouch. (Surgery is not an option because of its difficult location).

My mind took those figures in and deduced, “I’m toast. This is a crapshoot. It’s a long shot. Why go through all that misery and have it not even work?” My breath was sucked out of me and I became engulfed in a crushing anxiety of such magnitude that I hoped to be zapped by lightening or a heart attack right then and there. Panic screamed, “Get me out of here! Put me out of my misery!”

This was my mind run amuck, which can be a very dangerous thing. The mind, seeing dire possibilities, concentrates on that outcome to the exclusion of any other outcome, and through the power of that focus brings about that outcome. A voice within urgently said, “You are in danger girl! Get yo butt to the miracle-prone zone!”

That is the place beyond mind, it is meta-mind -– it is beyond physical, it is metaphysical. It is a magical place where anything is possible, where miracles happen. It is that faith-fueled state of grace where everything we need flows to us easefully, where a flourish of ‘coincidences’ occur and things turn out better than our limited minds could ever imagine.

How do I get to that magical realm? How do I become miracle prone? The old song comes to mind, “It’s so high, we can’t get over it, it’s so low, we can’t get under it, it’s so wide, we can’t go around it, we gotta go through the door.” Going through the door means opening to facing and feeling my feelings fully, letting the river of tears flow and flow and flow. Once spent, I take a big breath of acceptance, “Here I am, this is what’s happening. Now…here…this.”

Feeling and breathing is ventilating the situation, bringing oxygen and light to it, which eventually allows a stillness where healing love and energy can fill and surround me. Being porous to that energy carries me to the spacious field of the miracle prone zone. Being in the energy of “poor us” keeps me closed off from that powerful healing energy field –- therefore, moment to moment, I have a choice to become expanded and porous or stay contracted and stuck in “poor us.”

In my research I’ve found there is compelling evidence that cancer growth is triggered by lack of oxygen to the cells. Fear and anxiety exist in shallow breath and create a fertile environment for cancer to grow. The energy of faith and trust stimulate slow, deep, easy breaths, creating an atmosphere for healing and miracles.

A friend of mine recently showed me her impression of the Arabian stallions she saw recently. They are very spirited, with their heads held high, tossing their manes grandly and strutting their magnificent stuff with great panache. When I am aware of myself moving in a way that is trudging along, in an energy of “poor, poor pitiful me,” like an old grey mare, I remember my friend’s impression and I change my stance and I start to prance and dance like an Arabian stallion, tossing my mane, feeling my supreme value. By doing that I change my biology, I stimulate life-enhancing energies within me, and I project that out to others and they reflect that back to me. I prance my way right out of the “poor me, moan and groan zone” and into the miracle-prone zone.

Another powerful way to become miracle prone is to come purely, wholly, completely into this…eternal…now…moment. Time magically expands in the eternal now and we are freed from the confines of time. Tom and I have been meeting eyes, drinking in each other and the moment, breathing in, breathing out. Now. Now. Now. All time is Now. In this spacious present there is plenty of time. Abundant time. Right now I am here. Right now I am alive. Right now I am breathing fully. Right now life is beautiful.

I have been anchoring my awareness in the realm of miracles by making note of the ‘coincidences’ that have come from being in the flow. Like the woman administering my PET CT Scan who was named Janet Lee, just like me. She had a healing, loving presence that helped de-traumatize my experience of medical care. I also consulted with an elderly colonics healer named Alice, my mother’s name. My mother installed in me the ISH issue (shaming my elimination functions, which might be contributing to my blockage). This Alice, who even looked a little like my mother, was someone who celebrated and encouraged elimination, helping me to heal my ISHsues.

I am focusing on the miracles that have happened in the last year and a half, reminding my skeptical mind of the unlimited possibilities that have come my way. My appendix burst and was necrotic and gangrenous, the worst my doctor had even seen, and I survived! That is a miracle! Houdini died of a burst appendix – that great escape artist could not escape that fate. But the great Jandini did! And miraculously, most of my medical bills were handled by a financial assistance program (I have no insurance). The same thing happened for my hysterectomy a few months after that. I call that ‘mira-cal’ health insurance, and feel very blessed.

I have been immersing myself in the Seth books, which remind me that right NOW is the point of power, anything we have set in motion with our thoughts and beliefs can be changed in this NOW point of power. I have discovered to my surprise that there are Seth books I wasn’t previously aware of called “The Magical Approach” and also “The Way Toward Health” — both are about how to enter the metaphysical field of unlimited healing possibilities. I’m reading those books now, and in them Seth is advising Jane Roberts (who channeled Seth) on how to deal with her life threatening health problems. I have my handwritten letter from Jane Roberts on my bed stand, reminding me of our vast powers and possibilities.

I also look at my cat Zeena and am reminded of the death sentence she received from the vet — yet Zeena lives! A miracle! I loved her back to life.

Then of course, there is the wondrous Tom – the greatest miracle of my life. I was hardwired to live my life alone, but through the power of intention and getting myself into the miracle-prone zone, Tom came into my life and we continue to thrive in a beautiful, loving, learning, fun, playful, spiritual partnership that just keeps getting better and better.

I believe in miracles. Miracles do happen. That is the energy field I want to continue cultivating and living in. I know that I am healing the emotional blockage this tumor represents. Whether my body goes along with this emotional healing, I don’t know. That’s out of my hands. I will do all that I can do and rest in the spacious field of the miracle-prone zone. I would consider the healing of my emotional blockages in this lifetime a major miracle. I believe that chemo and radiation may be the next adventure, the next growth opportunity to heal my fears and beliefs, and hopefully, it will yield the next miracle.

Are you ready for a miracle in your life? Then get yo butt to the miracle- prone zone and be ready for surprises!

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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Apr 01 2010

Shimmying and Shaking the Genie out of the Bottle – Issue #47

I’ve heard that the experience of death feels like a genie being released from the bottle. Life can feel like that too when we free ourselves from the tight confines of our fears and programming. I am opting for the life version of releasing my genie, uncorking the big energy of my bottled-up life force.

I have put myself on a healing program that includes dancing, bouncing, shimmying and shaking every morning to move lymph through my body, reduce stress, oxygenate myself and free up my expanded energy field…and I am doing it outside! I am boldly going where I dared not go before.

In the past my fears have kept me from dancing outside, fears that the neighbors might judge me, embarrassed to reveal my white dimpled arms and legs, afraid that being barefoot outside might cut my feet on something, scared that sunlight causes cancer. But now, barefoot, bare arms and legs, I am shaking and shimmying my pelvis like Elvis for all the neighbors to see. All my fears are coming to light, coming to dance in the light.

As I was dancing I noticed that at times my shaking, bouncing and shimmying had a frantic element in it. I wasn’t moving in harmony with my fear, I was moving in disharmony, trying to get away from it. That shook loose a big learning for me — I see that so much of what I’ve done to protect myself from the big bad scary world, doing ‘all the right things’ has been fear-based.

I’ve been trying to control my world by carefully avoiding toxins and dangers — I’ve been anal retentively trying to maneuver my ducks in a row and keep them there. But all my efforts to get my ducks in a row just quacks them up! And the fears underneath those efforts to protect myself have proven to be more toxic that what I’ve been trying to protect myself from.

Fear has become a cork in my bottle, and, literally, in my bottom in the form of cancer. It is time to unclench! To pop my cork! To face and release the energy of my fear and anger and full aliveness.

A friend told me of someone she knows who loves to swim in the ocean but is afraid of sharks. He decided to imagine himself swimming into the jaws of the shark, right into the belly of the beast. He met his fear head on and the fear subsided. I am meeting my worst fear head on, I am facing the beast in my belly, cancer, and seeing that it’s just a frightened, pissed off little girl, curled up in a ball, in a fist, in a fetal position. Come sweetheart, let’s blow this popstand! Let’s explode into our full aliveness! You have a right to be here, to be fully here, with all your piss and vinegar, all the colors of your being. Let yourself be big and bold and alive! The universe awaits us with open arms!

Clearing this blockage, healing this little girl, and uncorking my aliveness has become my passion and my mission. I have kept my two cats Bo and Zeena captive inside, afraid to release them into the big bad world of coyotes and fleas and cars and other cats, afraid that I might lose them. They look out the window longing to explore the rich, scary, exciting world outside. In the spirit of liberation, I am freeing my kitties! I am opening the door and releasing them to this great adventure of life! I’m excited for them. I’m excited for me.

This is the great challenge of my soul, to face my worst fear, to face death, to face life. My brother has just set out to sail around the world, stirring his juices, rousing his soul, facing his fears. His adventure sounds more fun. But nothing is as important and exciting to me as meeting this big soul challenge. Sure, I have waves of deep sadness, fear and anger, but I ride those waves to solid ground where I remember who I really am – I am a soul on a great adventure, here to face and free my blockages, to uncork my full aliveness.

Are there places in you where your aliveness has been corked? I invite you to unclench, uncork, free that energy, and let your magnificent, big, bold genie self out of the bottle!

In love,
Jan Jacobsen

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Mar 20 2010

Hand in Hand with my Big Soul Self – Issue #46

On Thursday I consulted with alternative Dr. Issel in Santa Barbara about my recurring uterine cancer. I told him that 3 months ago my gynecologist didn’t feel any mass inside me, and now I have a tumor bigger than a golf ball. He was alarmed that it had grown so large in such a short time and said I needed to do something immediately. Even though he favors an alternative approach, he said this is like a train and it needs to be stopped. He suggested that chemo and radiation might stop the train, at least temporarily. And then do the alternative. PANIC!

I’d been straddling the fence between alternative and conventional, but this pushed me over. Toxic poisoning be damned, I’ve got a train roaring up my butt! Tom got me an appointment the next day to get a PET CT scan (he found a relatively low-priced one in Ventura). That is the first step that needs to happen before we can proceed.

This week I also saw Pam Oslie, a trusted Santa Barbara psychic, and she told me she saw the little girl in me who was scared and unhappy with life and didn’t want to be here and wanted to go Home. I’m well aware of her, I have always had one foot out the door. As a child the world seemed an unfriendly place with a cold, critical mother and a distant father. Even though I am so happy now in my life with Tom, and despite all the work I’ve done on this, that part of me still exists.

Pam said I needed to convince little Janny that life is good now and we want to be here…or else little Janny is going to go Home and take me with her. She’s a powerful little thing! On my wall I put a picture of myself when I was two years old with my round baby face and wispy blonde hair. Next to it I put a picture of Tom when he was two. Little Tommy is looking over at little Janny with a twinkle in his eyes and a sweet smile on his face. Janny looks like she’s been crying, she looks mad, sad, and scared. I look at her and say, “Look who’s next to you. He’s really nice and fun. He really loves you a lot. He’s taking good care of you. He wants you to stay and be with him.”

Yesterday while driving with Tom to get the PET CT scan, Janny was nervous, terrified of clinics and hospitals, she would rather die than go to those scary, pain inflicting places. My big soul self takes little Janny by the hand — we are going through this together. In the waiting room I held her in my lap and kept talking to her. “I’m here with you, I’m taking good care of you. I won’t let anyone hurt you. You can trust me. It’s okay to let yourself feel scared, or mad, or sad. I’m not afraid of your feelings. You can feel anything you want.”

The nurse who was performing the scan was nice, her name was Janet like mine, and her middle name was Lee also like mine. (Turns out that our fathers had a thing for actress Janet Leigh). As she was about to inject the material into a vein in my hand, Janny clenched in fear. I talked to her, “This is a nice lady, she’s here to help us.” Feeling a slight prick, “There, that wasn’t too bad, was it? We can do this.”

I imagine that the solution that is coursing through my body is friendly, is here to help me. I know that how I think and feel about something affects me more than the thing itself. If I imagine it as toxic and fear it, then that thought will make it more toxic. If I imagine it as healing and helpful, it will be received by my body in that way.

I was then led into a warm, small, dimly lit room and laid down on a comfortable cushy chair and told to relax for 45 minutes not moving as the potion moved through my body. I held little Janny in my lap, imagining that healing light was filling us and surrounding us. “This is nice, isn’t it? Peaceful.” This was a time to really talk to her. Thinking of sweet Tom in the waiting room I said, “Look who we’re with, a wonderful man. And we’re having so much fun with him and he loves us just the way we are. We’re learning so much together. We have fabulous friends, and live in a beautiful place. Life is really good now. We’ve found our way to a safe and happy place.”

As I’m lying there a fart escapes me, and little Janny clenches in a fear and shame reflex. What if the nurse comes in and smells it!? Hearing my mother say “Ish.” I learned to feel embarrassed and ashamed about this part of my body and have always been downtight (maybe the lack of chi and life force in that area has contributed to the problems I am now having). I say to Janny, “That was so good that you let that out! Good girl.” I smiled, imagining angels applauding. Little Janny started to relax on my lap, breathing softly, then farted again. The angels cheered and applauded wildly.

Janet Lee comes in and leads me to the CT scan where I lay down and with arms over my head I surrender and am slowly rolled into this box. I close my eyes, afraid of tight spaces, I’m in a bit of panic. I open my eyes and see the top is just inches away. It feels like a coffin. (Note to self: Cremation). Breathing slowly, I become my big soul self, holding this scared child, loving her, talking to her gently and sprinkling us with healing, shimmering white light. We actually relax and almost nod off in this enveloping box.

After a half hour, Janet Lee rolls me out and sends me on my way, telling me, “Don’t go near little children for the rest of the day, since you’re radioactive.” I smile to myself, walking out hand in hand with my little girl, glowing as I reconnect with my beloved Tom in the waiting room. This was a healing experience for me.

I meet with my oncologist on Wednesday and he will tell me the results of the scan. Has this spread to other parts of my body? I am scared. I don’t know if I’m going to do chemo or radiation or alternative treatment. I do know that I will be immersed in my big soul self, embracing and loving little Janny, loving my fear, loving this life, and letting in all the love that is coming my way. Thank you all for your love and support.

Is there a part of you that could use a hug right now? Breathe into your big soul self and embrace all your wounded little ones, as we love, hug, and heal ourselves into wholeness.

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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Feb 27 2010

Facing the Unfaceable – Ear Aches, Rear Aches & Fear Aches – Issue#44

I just came face to face with a massive issue I’ve been avoiding, and I have my butt to thank for it.

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time messing around on the computer, watching TV, and eating. I recently did something I haven’t done since my diagnosis and removal of cancer a year ago. I have been faithfully avoiding sugar (it feeds cancer) and dairy, but the other day I walked to the Fresco bakery (voted best desserts in Santa Barbara) and I got a big slice of berry pie with homemade whipped cream. I was proud of myself for bringing it home and sharing half of it with my husband Tom. Two days later I went back and got another yummy dessert (a caramelized banana marzipan flakey pastry), but this time I didn’t share it with Tom. I didn’t even tell him about it. It was a sweet, secret treat that I hoarded and hid and ate all by myself.

Big fat red flag! There have been other red flags that something was up, or held down, something I didn’t want to face. A few weeks ago I had a severe ear infection and blockage in my left ear with pain radiating into my neck and face. I couldn’t hear out of that ear and I felt unbalanced. In addition, for several weeks my butt has been unrelentingly aching with painful hemorrhoids (the grapes of wrath!) So I asked myself, “Your ear aches and your rear aches, what’s up with that?”

I’m taking antibiotics for my ear and it’s better. But the pain in my butt is not going away. My rear aches everyday, like a tiger’s got ME by the tail. The persistent pain scares me, with the thought that cancer is always a possibility. I tried to reassure myself that everyone gets hemorrhoids (it’s said that’s why Napoleon rode side saddle!) But then a lady from the community garden told me she had hemorrhoids and it turned out to be anal cancer. Oh My God, my worst fear! I googled anal cancer and hemorrhoids and my fear mushroomed.

Fear has taken over. I am out of balance — I’ve lost touch with my spirit. In trying to avoid this fear by distracting myself with TV, food, and the computer, I have also separated myself from my spirit. I have been spirited away by the addictive distractions that fill my day.

My ear aches and rear aches are fear aches. I’ve been tightly clenched, trying to push fear away, avoid it, sit on it. But once again I am reminded that when I try to sit on my feelings, they bite me in the butt! And it’s very painful! I am now willing to come face to face with my ear, rear, and fear aches.

Laying in the spaciousness of Tom’s arms, I let go and I let myself go into the depths of my fear and sadness about cancer. Even though it was removed, I have a creeping fear that it will return. I face into the surprising awareness that a part of me would rather die than to go through more cancer, pain, hospitals, expense, needles, knives, blood, and fear!

I cried and released and unwound my pain, and then…I became aware of Tom holding me, and I felt the sweet space he was providing me, and I suddenly remembered how I used to cry and feel this deep despair years ago when I felt so alone in the world. Now here I was with Tom. My eyes opened wide, taking in this present moment where I was held and loved. I awakened to this wonderful moment and I smiled, happy to be alive, feeling my feelings fully, in the spaciousness of the here and now with this beautiful man.

I can see that my butt has been aching to communicate with me, trying to tell me, “Get off your butt. Take walks in nature. Reconnect with your spirit.” My hemorrhoids feel better when I’m moving, walking and breathing fully, and they hurt when I’m sitting around distracting myself with mindless, breathless activities.

I am hereby committing to reconnect with my spirit, to meditate, to walk in nature, to call my doctor, to face my fear, to breathe fully and recommit to life.

Later today Tom and I are going for a walk in nature. We’re going back to the Botanic Garden where I haven’t been since the Jesusita Fire ravaged it several months ago. I haven’t wanted to see it’s marred beauty — I didn’t want to face it. Today I am willing to face everything.

How about you — is there something you haven’t wanted to face? Have you been distracting yourself? Is the universe probing you with aches and pains and discomforts to wake you up? Nestle into the spacious embrace of the present moment and let it all hang out. You will feel so much better afterward.

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Feb 22 2010

The Olympian Challenges of Life – Issue #43

   How do you deal with disappointment? While watching the Olympics I have been fascinated with the various reactions to winning and losing. Some lucky ones say, “I’m just happy to have been here and had the Olympic experience.” Others, who expected to win gold and won silver instead, experience a bitter disappointment that will forever affect them. Yet other athletes who won the same medal are overjoyed and will carry that joy the rest of their lives. It is our thoughts about what happens that affects us more than anything else.

   We don’t have much control over mistakes, slip ups, going off track — life happens; but we do have control over how we choose to perceive it. How we look at things has a huge impact on the quality of our lives. Scientists have found that our perceptions affect us on a cellular level. Our brain cells, our bodies, and our lives literally rearrange themselves according to our beliefs. If we think we’re a failure, our brain cells and body will reshape themselves around that belief, and our lives will draw in experiences that confirm it. It is the beliefs we hold, the stories we tell ourselves that shape our lives.

   That is the true Olympian challenge we all face.  Life’s disappointments offer us the opportunity to go for the real gold – the ability to direct our thoughts to positive, life-enhancing perceptions.

   As a child I adopted an attitude of thinking negatively; I figured that way I wouldn’t be disappointed. It didn’t work. I was often disappointed. My negative attitude arranged my cells and myself into one big disappointment magnet! I finally wised up to how my thoughts were creating my reality. 

   It has been my Olympian challenge in life to transform my attitude from negative to positive. My recent experience with cancer has been a test for me – do I get caught up in the draining, complaining energy of  “poor me” down the drain? That’s no fun! Though I did dip my toe in that energy a bit, wondering what I did wrong. But then I chose to shift to a higher perspective, to look for the gold in my experience, focusing on positive perceptions, which generate healing and good feeling.

   I’d like to share with you some of the ways that help me shift to a higher perspective. When you find yourself dwelling in disappointment you can do the following:

1.    Remind yourself that it is your thoughts that are making you feel bad. It is not another person or event that is causing you to suffer, it is how you are perceiving it. I recite to myself Shakespeare’s quote: “It is neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so.” 

2.    Choose encouraging thoughts instead of blaming thoughts. For instance, tell yourself that you did the best you could at the time, and when you knew better, you did better. Appreciate yourself for trying.

3.    Question your negative thoughts. Byron Katie has devised four questions that help jog our thoughts loose from their rigid position. Ask yourself: “Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true? How do you react when you think that thought? Who would you be without this thought?” These questions open us to a whole new way of seeing the situation.

4.    Become thoughtless — shift to your right brain. Negative thinking happens in our habitual left-brain chatter. Singing and other acts of creativity, like dancing and play, shift us to our right brain where we are in the present moment and see the bigger picture. When you find yourself sinking in stinking thinking, come into your ‘right mind’, into the Now — sing a song of self-love and encouragement. I like the song, “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.”

5.    Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” Search for the learning in your experience the way you would search for a treasure. The real gold medal in life is the learning we acquire. Focusing on what we have learned makes us a better person, instead of a bitter person.

6.    Cultivate an attitude of loving kindness towards yourself. How would you talk to a child who is suffering in disappointment? Address your own self the same friendly, loving way. A much better goal than being perfect is to learn to truly love ourselves AS IS. That is a major life accomplishment worthy of a gold medal!

7.    Go for the gold! Find the gold in the experience — how has it made you a better person, a stronger person, a more empowered person? For instance, many people who have had challenges such as cancer, including myself, have been awakened to the preciousness of life, and galvanized to live our highest purpose. What a gift! You can multiply the gold by sharing it with others, so that they too can benefit from your experience.

   Life, like the Olympics, tests our metal. I remember a past Olympics when Russian Bela Karoli, the American gymnastics coach, was encouraging Keri Strug, who had sprained her ankle, to do her last vault to help the team win the gold. “You can do eet Keri! You can do eet!” And that diminutive, determined dynamo did it!

   We can do it! We can be winners in the Olympics of our life! All it takes is to choose how we think about things. With Olympian determination we can keep coming back to choosing self-loving thoughts over self-castigating thoughts, focusing on what we have learned rather than what we have lost, creatively shifting into new perspectives instead of staying stuck in old thought patterns, dwelling in the present moment rather than wallowing in disappointment, and finding the gold in every situation and sharing it with others.

   Are you facing a challenge right now? Flex your muscles, activate your determination, call on your Olympian courage, and with all the power that is within you commit to focusing on life-enhancing thoughts and perceptions – you can do eet!

   In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Feb 09 2010

Miracle Marriage by Janet Jacobsen, her first eBook

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Here is my new e-book, Miracle Marriage — A Transformational Journey to Love, Joy & Intimacy.

Miracle Marriage ebookIt is a not so minor miracle that I am married! My husband Tom and I have been thriving in our relationship for over ten years. I still pinch myself and wonder, “Is this really my life?” It is so different now from what it once was. For years I was trapped in a hard-wired cage of beliefs that I was unloved and unlovable. It has been quite a journey out of that hard-wired, lonely cage into a big, open, joyous playing field with the man of my dreams. This book shows how I purposefully set out to free myself from that cage and open myself to love. It also reveals how Tom and I maintain a joyful relationship that just keeps getting better and more fun all the time. Yes, relationships really can be fun!

Get Jan’s Miracle Marriage Ebook  right now for only $5.95        Funny and Inspirational!

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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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