“Appreciations” – A Lesson on Love .

I know I often share on relationships. this past weekend I had a retreat and it was awesome to share with friends. Relationships are just my thing, I guess.

I remember when I was younger, I was particular about defending the one who was in need of justice. And this was either kids who were bullies, or the forgotten ones. Most bullies liked me when I was¬† younger, though so I’d manage to ward off them from the ones who were vulnerable. I can truly say in my lifetime I’ve definitely had a lot of ‘favor’ with people who were either forgotten or¬† hurting inside and wanted others to hurt, too. They¬† just¬† tend to¬† take to my personality.

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photo by Aaron Burden

During a¬† retreat¬† I organized this weekend on spiritual gifts – ¬†an¬† activity we completed, really¬† soothed my soul. I was able to not only see myself through the eyes of others; through a very intentional exercise.¬† I was able to get feedback on why¬†¬† I am a valued friend, and sometimes when your¬†¬† mind’s eye gets¬† a¬† little fuzzy, it’s good to have friends who redeem that sense of pride inside.

I learned this game called “Appreciations”, several years ago – when I was a part of a leadership diversity conference I attended yearly for about five years. Here’s how it unfolds: before we leave our small groups at the end of the conference. ; we’d say goodbye though ‘appreciation’ of one another. The groups were so enlightening. We’re able to see the visceral¬† courage and stamina of others and we’d share our stories with great meaning; so it helped to hear their character, then hear it from the heart of friends.

It left most of us crying, but boosted our esteem immensely.

I loved this exercise so much,¬† I took it home to my family, in Rochester, New York one year and we¬† completed the exercise¬† after¬† spending time together on¬† Christmas. It took about two hours¬† or so – but 20¬† awesome people in my family¬† went around the circle one by one and¬† appreciated each person in that¬† circle – for who they are and told them why they loved them.¬† Of course, ALL OF US by the time we were all finished,¬† had experienced “Appreciations”, and¬† there was not a¬† dry eye in the room.¬† Even my brothers¬† and their sons were crying!! That kind of blew me away… honestly. I mean when can you find a¬† family of 20 in intimacy¬† and love in¬† a span¬† of 2 hours and just living on each other just because…. ? And¬† who¬†¬† does that, anyway?

I really believe our intentionality, love and  commitment to one another , our grace and our belief, in our family strength resonated  immensely.  Healing poured forth, perceptions were  healed and strengthened, and even a wall down,  or through. I am assuming this experience  will be forever imprinted on our minds. We were ALL exhorted that day, and it felt immensely GOOD.

The power of appreciation, don’t underestimate the¬† gravity of it.

 

Sacred Places.

I have a thing for sacred spaces.
Sacred spaces shine light on what’s really important.¬† They take us back in our mindset.¬† And we¬† can re-experience as if its that moment, once again.img_4684
One of the best sacred spaces¬† I¬† have experienced – was in Atlanta Georgia at the Martin Luther King museum. I swear I could close my eyes and feel as if I was transported back in time,¬† experiencing some of the same atrocities. I didn’t tell anyone though. I just seized that moment and thought very deeply as I did. I breathed in, and I breathed out.. and I could feel as if I was very close to the experience.
I give thanks in sacred spaces. I call them breath prayers. I breathe in...” I thank you God for the memories…”¬† and I breathe out…I love… ”¬† and whatever that experience was, I say it. )
I believe there is a time in our lives where we have the chance to re-experience. If only we would embrace that moment…at least once, we might be really, really¬† grateful.
Here are ten reasons and ways  I love  to experience sacred spaces:
They make you feel all warm and cuddly, inside.  They affect all the senses: sight, smell , touch,  hearing and  even tasting.
Wow, the smell in a sacred place make you feel as if you can conquer the world. Sacred spaces have depth and great meaning.There’s always a story to be found in a sacred space. Sacred spaces have a way of helping you find what’s meaningful too, once you have heard the story, behind the¬† story – or even experienced it. I didn’t experience true¬† joy, for instance until I learned how to practice¬† love¬† and¬† acceptance with myself.¬† I had to learn how to¬† appreciate my mind, my body, my¬† way of being and¬† accept that introverting is not a bad thing,¬† and just feel comfortable with myself.
 
And here are a few of my sacred spaces:
1. Meeting the morning sun in my window, and sometimes my patio, in the summer. (A nice way to  simply  greet the world!)
2. Taking  photos on a quiet walk can often  transport me into  another mood and relieve stress.
3. Spending time with my thoughts and recording them – in a journal or¬† audio- is sacred because it’s an intuitive action that helps me see myself in a new light.
4. Spending time with friends in prayer.  Helping someone  win a spiritual victory is  very sacred to me, it  helps me see  differently, as well.
5. Sacred places speak, if you listen hard enough and observe.  A prayer to be in remembrance or in the moment can take you back to the museum , like it did me.
6. Sacred places have a song. Sometimes it’s¬† a quiet song, and other times, a song you can hear in your soul. Sort of¬† like a¬† whisper, or¬† humming.
7. Sacred spaces can be interpreted. They have meaning and  can speak  to us about the future, or the past.
8. In sacred spaces you find things you love. It can be people, artifacts, ¬† or just¬† a ‘calm presence’.
9. You can walk around a sacred space and hear God’s voice. I love to experience labyrinths¬† this¬† way.
10 Another place was my grandmother’s porch, or her backyard. I used to love the smell of grandma’s backyard. I am not sure, why. I just did. At my grandmother’s backyard in LaGrange, GA.
(I was in my¬† grandmother’s¬† home¬† when¬† we went there last for a funeral. My grandmother has been gone since¬† 1975.¬† She¬† was no longer present.¬† Yet I felt her presence in the smells of the home, the¬† cake I used to taste in her kitchen, and homemade ice cream she used to make;¬† the sight of old rooms and furniture brought back memories and the touch of her blankets and¬† piano in the home made me really think about how my mother used to play the¬† piano in those sacred spaces. )
Originally  written by JennRene | January 28, 2016 at 6:31 am |

Intuition & Love… How Did I Get Here?

How did I  get here?

Ever ask yourself that  question?

I once  thought  about writing on  Intuition and Love a while  ago.  But I  wasn’t ready.  I had to decide how transparent I wanted to be.

Then I realized that I needed to see how the two overlap. I didn’t have enough knowledge.  Or so I thought…  but I DID have the experience.  I mean, this is hard  writing, I thought…  where is my capacity to   speak on this? 

How  can  I speak on this without  true experience?

Then I thought  about it. I guess true experience is the BEST  teacher, sometimes.  I  had to go deep within myself to find answers,  but  I think mostly  I had to  ask myself, first – how  did I get here?  When we ask ourselves  honest  questions,  sometimes we  get  honest answers.

I was in a relationship  that went  south. I mean  all the way south.  Like worse than cheating.  It was humiliating.  And I had to pick myself up with all   of the dignity I had left and determine within myself  and ask myself:

Did I ever want to be in relationship with this person  again?

Did I trust   ever again  being able to trust this person with my  well-being, my life, my friendship?

And the answer was a resounding “No.”

Not to  say that person  couldn’t change one day,  but I had been in hell with them, and they basically let me sink to the bottom of the pit.  People like  that  don’t deserve my trust.  That’s what I determined in side.  Even my dreams  spoke to it.  I mean, I asked God:

“Show me his heart.”

So  check this out –  Spirit showed me this – once I was still enough:

This was the answer to my request:

I had a very vivid dream I was in a car ,  and my  significant  other was driving the car…. (this was before all of the  stuff went down –  and you  know I didn’t want to say stuff,  right ? I’m  just being polite.) –   and so in the dream he drove both of  over a cliff, he got out of the car and saved himself, and I kept  drowning.  In the back  seat though, was the most kindest and  most  beautiful person I had ever known – my brother- and he represented for me: GOODNESS in my life. 

I  found out through this dream, God was speaking to me.  Because Goodness  saved me.  And  Goodness was  what I had been neglecting in my life, all along.

jen

So now here’s what’s true: Without introspective  questions, I would have never  kept my life so sacred. This sacred act of self-inspiration SAVED me.

And sacredness was what I was all about, in that season of my life.  I had to find myself again.  And in the true essence of who I was, I had to determine where had I lost my soul.  My mind – where was it? My will  –  why did I  give it away?  And my  emotions  – why did they numb out ?

That’s  what  I did when I lost my soul, My ability to decide… I lost my thought life. I gave away  what was most sacred – my own personal opinion and thoughts  – to  someone else.  And THAT  was NOT OK.

My whole life had been  turned upside down because I put all my trust in one person.  And I thought: ” How had he become my God?

I had not been intuitive. I had not  thought about  the love I was   NOT  experiencing.  I  just wanted to  be with him.  Not  in love, not loved,  settling for less, and   not living up to my own expectations.  Not , I wasn’t perfect,  but I sure was using my best wisdom, sure wasn’t’  seeking advice from my smart sisters,  and I sure was isolating myself from every one I lived.  How did I get here?

I know. I ignored myself, my needs, and I didn’t listen to  not determine what I wanted, and  GO after it.  Yet this perceived ‘failure’ was  teaching me to respect myself in the future. To ask myself what was important first, then LOVE that, And only that, because it was God’s life first,  and then my own, to decide.

Selah.

This is  a writing on the  “12 Gems” stories .. this one is on Intuition, and I am taking all year to focus on what it means to “”Receive” and  basically,  take a look within.  To think about how I got to the other side of life’s circumstance, and really began living. 

And so here am I. 

Gratefulness Is…

Remember when you were kids and the summer was boring , and you wondered why in the world the summer never seemed to end, and life just seemed so repetitive, you couldn’t wait for school to begin again?

I remember.

I think my mom used to get excited as well about school beginning again, as well. I’m so glad those days don’t exist anymore.

There were some summers so long that I felt like I was bored out of my mind. And then the cycle of school began again, and I didn’t want school to be a pattern anymore after November got here, because I needed a few days off, and I was just ready for Christmas break!

Why am I talking about patterns and breaks? Perhaps because I believe sometimes we can get into a ‘funk’ – where we just take the natural rhythms of life for granted. There something very comforting to me, about the sun rising every morning.

When the sun doesn’t rise I’m in a mood- and sometimes it’s not a very good one. That happened yesterday, and I had to step into gratefulness mode in order to get out of it. I just began to give thanks for what I had and what I felt, and how I lived and …the rain. Yeah , the smell of rain, the way it washed and replenished the earth, the way it washed even my dirty car, and made me be still enough to think.

And that funky mood?

It disappeared. Hmmm…

So perhaps most ‘funky moods’ would disappear if we focused on the goodness in life; instead of wet shoes, puddles, and getting wet. Or, in other words: (what we don’t have, our disgruntlements, what’s inconvenient for US… or makes us upset.)

So let James 3:16,17 be your medicine today, if this is you attitude more than it should be:

“So wherever jealousy and selfishness are uncovered, you will also find many troubles and every kind of meanness. But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form and it always bears the beautiful harvest of righteousness! Good seeds of wisdom‚Äôs fruit will be planted with peaceful acts by those who cherish making peace.”

Selah.

This is my series on Gratefulness this month of June, join me as O attempt to write about the beauty of wearing it as a charm.

Looking Into The Windows of my Soul…

Sometimes I look deeper..

Deeper within.

‘Cause I hope you know that Vulnerability is an eye to the window of your soul.

I remember a time when I knew I had skills; yet I didn’t use them.

I took no risks.

It wasn’t until I began to “call myself a photographer, that I truly became one.”

It wasn’t until I began to “call myself a writer that I became an author.”

And it wasn’t until I began to find my voice and project vision, that I ‘knocked the socks off’ my listeners with my speaking.

I am somebody.

How do I know? I sow seed and it produces some thirty, sixty, one hundred-fold.

I am Enough.

I Trust enough.

I Lead enough.

I Pledge to BE excellent enough…

I Thrive enough.

I excel enough.

I am God perfect plan to bless the earth with His Goodness , His Mercy, His Light.

The sky is the limit,

The earth is my classroom,

And God people are my prospects.

Let’s Go!