Category Archives: JD journey

Living the mystery

Change will happen when the time is right.
Jenna Dee (1960 – )

I enjoy reading quotations written by people from all walks of life throughout the ages. These brief lines of text convey meaningful messages and have the potential to change the course of people’s lives if their mind is receptive to new ideas.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw (1814–1885)

No one is more surprised than I to finally understand and actually believe that change can and will happen to anyone prepared to open their mind to new ideas and possibilities.

 The past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased; it can only be accepted.
 Wiz Kahlifa (1987- )

For too long my mind was unwilling to move on from past transgressions and hurts. I was burdened with unrealistic self-imposed responsibilities and fears that impeded my personal growth and freedom.

Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.
Napoleon Hill (1883-1970)

Futile fears invaded my mind for a good part of my life. It is only recently I’ve realised the extent of these unproductive thoughts. I’d hate to tally up the total time I’ve spent worrying about things beyond my control.

I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see.
John Newton (1725-1807)

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
Dalai Lama (1935 – )

I thought I understood the concept of the power of the mind but reality is I never truly believed it could be possible,  especially not for me.

For years I was a non-believer (and I’m not talking about religion). I dismissed the validity of stories about people maintaining a positive attitude while facing appalling life circumstances. If it were me I imagined I’d feel angry, defeated or wonder why me.
Now I see.

I’ve learned to be kinder to myself by encouraging all of my efforts and by not beating myself up about mistakes.  Kindness matters, kindness to other people and kindness to ourselves.
Now I see.

Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.
Lao Tzu (570-490 BC)

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Lao Tzu

Eastern philosophies intrigue me. The Asian winds of the east softly blow through my mind providing an infinite source of fascination and empowerment to think and feel differently.

People who follow my blog know I’ve previously mentioned Lao Tzu, Taoism and the Tao Te Ching (The Great Way). This ancient Chinese school of thought has encouraged the elimination of my negative energy and created the harvest of unlimited possibilities. It has literally changed my life.

Tao Te Ching applies timeless wisdoms. The 81 poems convey that life is a beautiful mystery that cannot be explained nor understood.   To be Tao is to be unlimited, undefined or unformed.

The Tao suggests we let the world unfold without attempting to figure it all out, and that letting go of trying to see the mystery allows us to see it. This is a major revelation to someone who has always sought black and white answers.

The variety of interpretation of the Tao is limitless, not only for different people but for the same person over time. It provides personal freedom to grow without rules or structure.

Being able to release my self-imposed boundaries has provided phenomenal relief. Slowly it dawned on me to give myself a break, relax, let go and allow.
I feel like I can breathe again.

Tao Te Ching is spirit not matter. It is inexhaustible energy that flows stronger the more it is drawn upon.

der jen2Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
Lao Tzu

Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
Lennon/McCartney (1940 –   )

Seasons of life

seasons of life
I’m neither old nor am I young,
just floating in between
feeling like a misfit.

My heart holds half a lifetime of treasured memories
with room for so many more,
but today I’m listless.

Should I stay or go,
leave behind all I have and
embrace a new season of my life.

Listen to your heart

My heart kept telling me everything would be okay as I struggled to stay strong throughout many years of personal adversity.

My extended family remained silent but I felt their judgment and heard their cruel whispers about my troubled relationship with my son.

I withstood this implied criticism for ten years until they lost interest and pretended we no longer existed.

Over the years I had sporadic contact with my son but it was usually strained and traumatic for both of us.

Only my husband knew the extent of my anguish, only he was supportive.  We both believed one day my son would find his inner strength and conquer his problems that steered him away.

We always hoped he would want us back in his life one day, but knew he had to figure out how to do this in his own way and in his own time. He had to learn to navigate his way back over a very rocky road.

My heart was right.

It started with a couple of upbeat phone calls.

Then one day it was a warm heartfelt hug.

A genuine smile.

Real laughter.

Illustration by Aaron Pocock
Illustration by Aaron Pocock

And the latest puzzle piece, a picture of his childhood teddy bear with a message saying that Teddy reminds him of so many happy memories.

That old teddy bear and my son Chris have been through a lot together.

I am so happy they have found the path that is leading them back home.

You did your best Jenna

I’ve buried the truth of this story deep down for almost three decades and now know that in order to finally let it go I have to tell the world what happened to me.

To people embroiled in personal tragedy or family breakdown I urge you to stay strong and believe that things can get better. No matter what happens I want you to know that you are a good person who is trying your best to overcome adversity.

My story is sad and it hurts to write about but it has to be told to set me free and because it may help others going through similar circumstances. Everybody hurts sometime.

My unhappy marriage unraveled in 1984 which filled my life with misery and insecurity. My husband was cruel and manipulative and blamed me for everything.

Maybe he felt trapped by my pregnancy even though we chose to have a baby after six years of marriage. He was spiteful and ignored me by staying out late most nights. My self-confidence was so low I felt powerless.

I was scared of being pregnant and alone so I put up with his bully behaviour hoping that when the baby was born he would change and our life together would flourish.

I was timid and naïve and didn’t share my pain with anyone because I felt like I had failed in my marriage. Even my mother or best friend didn’t know what I was going through because I was ashamed to admit it.

Being pregnant with my first child should have been one of the happiest times of my life but it was intolerable and for this I felt cheated.

When our baby boy was born I was overjoyed even though my husband continued his disinterest. I was terrified of being able to care for the baby while coping with my husband’s unpredictable moods.

My husband walked out of our life when our baby was seven months old. We had built a new house and he lived in it for three months before leaving. Even though I felt relief I also felt cheated out of the delight of sharing a baby and a new house together. There was no joy only pain.

My baby was beautiful and continued to thrive each day. In the early days I put all my energy into loving and caring for him during the day and then lay in bed at night sobbing because I felt like a failure.

Slowly my life began to recover and I discovered I was a much stronger person when I was away from my husband’s cruel comments. My self-confidence improved, my baby was thriving, I found a part-time job and I was re-acquainted with an old friend.

I was happy planning for a special family party for my son’s second birthday when my world fell apart again

After showing no interest in our baby boy for the first two years of his life my husband sent me a letter via his lawyer demanding weekend access rights to our son.

This was followed by several stressful family court hearings and eventuated in having to send my two-year-old boy to stay with his father every fortnight. Nothing can erase the sadness I felt when I handed my baby to his father, who he didn’t know, for the first time.

This was the start of 16 years of disruption and turmoil in my son’s life.

As a teenager my son started playing up as most teenagers do but because he lived in two houses with two different sets of rules he began telling lies about his whereabouts.  He disregarded his private school education and left soon after high school.

The years that followed were dark and scary; I lost my son to drugs. I bailed him out so many times by paying money to people he owed. Each time he promised it wouldn’t happen again and said he would learn from it and turn his life around, but he never did.

I loved my son but I couldn’t live with him anymore and watch him destroy his life as well as that of my family. He was angry, deceitful, uncommunicative and unreasonable. As much as it broke my heart I had to let him go when he was 18 to fend for himself.

It took almost ten years before seeing any signs of improvement. There were times of intermittent contact and periods of no contact mixed in with lots of tearful situations. I managed to carry on living my life but always thought about my son and continued to believe that he would one day find his way to a better life.

Every time he contacted me I told him how much I loved him, how I knew he could rise above his problems and create a better life for himself. He listened but counteracted everything I said with a negative response and my message never seemed to penetrate. This went on for many years.

On Mother’s Day 2013 my son came to visit and he seemed truly happy and he looked healthy. It gave me hope when he genuinely smiled. I hugged him and he hugged me back for the first time in years and it felt like I was holding my son again. I felt his warmth and thought we may be coming out at the end of a long, dark scary tunnel.

The next day I sent him this message

Thank you for visiting me yesterday, it made my mother’s day complete. I am so glad that you seem to be much happier these days in your personal life and in your work life. I knew things would turn around for you. You deserve every success and happiness. I love you forever from Mum

He responded

Thanks mum, couldn’t have done it without you
love you too

This was the first time he had said or written, “love you” in 16 years. His words and the warmth of his hug gave me hope that time can heal human suffering.

I’m not saying everything will be perfect now but it was so nice to feel a brief moment of genuine hope with my son.

That’s it; I am done with reliving the pain of my first marriage and past troubles with my son. I am ready to leave these hurts behind and from today I’ll only focus on the journey ahead in life.

After writing this blog I am metaphorically putting my words on a water-lily and floating it in the ocean to be consumed by the universe to set me free.

It’s time to forgive myself and say “Jenna you coped with adversity the best way you could and I am proud of you.”

It’s a brand new day

Today I wipe the slate clean and start treating myself with the respect and love I deserve.IMG_2008

Today I relinquish all unrealistic expectations and criticism I have imposed on myself for the past 50 years.

I have been my harshest critic and bullied myself on a daily basis about not living up to be the person I thought I should be.

For the past year I have spent numerous hours reading and absorbing the opinions of thousands of people who have written about creating and maintaining a happy life. The overwhelming response to this conundrum is gratitude.

For too long I have taken for granted all the obvious good that is present in my life. I have good health, a loving husband, three healthy independent adult children, a gorgeous faithful doggy companion and I live in a safe comfortable home.

My greatest form of relaxation is to immerse myself in the beauty of nature. All my senses are aroused by nature, I am empowered to see, hear, touch, taste and smell. There is nothing more invigorating to me than feeling the power and magic of nature.

Today I look forward to the simple joys of living the rest of my life.

IMG_2118

I’m starting with the girl in the mirror

Every New Year most of us look for a fresh start, the chance to change for the better and dump bad habits. We make New Year’s resolutions that are usually well forgotten by February.

It was in June 2012 that I made a resolution to change my outlook on the way I lived my life. I knew that I wanted to let go of my insecurities, peel back the layers of who I was and find the courage to be me.

There had been previous times when I had attempted this change but had failed at every attempt. However this time for some miraculous reason I managed  to follow through on my promise and make some progress.

I’ve spent the past six months rediscovering myself as the person I always knew I was, because I had somehow lost her along the journey of life.

In my second blog Free to be I shared five simple statements that I wanted to follow and in doing so these 29 words have made my life so much better

  1. Free your heart from hatred – Forgive
  2. Free your mind from worries – Most never happen
  3. Live simply and appreciate what you have
  4. Give more
  5. Expect less from people but more from yourself

In 2012 I lost the fear to be me and found freedom.

This is my chance to show you my heart

A couple of months ago I set out on a journey of self-discovery to uncover the real me.

In the past I haven’t shared my feelings or been entirely open with people. I blamed myself for feeling inadequate and judged myself on what I believed others thought about me. The constant “trying to be someone” caused me to keep up multiple appearances and maintain many public versions of myself.

Eventually I grew tired of pretending and willed myself to find the courage to be true to myself. I craved serenity and wanted to strip back the layers of uncertainty to return to being a more simple and honest person.

As a somewhat pessimistic person I was doubtful I could change my attitude to life but thankfully I’m making progress. It takes concentration and awareness to create change to my psyche and sometimes I regress to my old way of thinking.

I’m learning to love myself for who I know I am.

I’m learning to feel more and think less.

Freedom is knowing who you are and letting it embrace you.