My Traveling Shoes

Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality.
I've traveled so many miles in shoes that someone else bought for me, plain, poorly fitted, worn, second hand, hand me downs. Ohh, they hurt my feet and took me places that I didn't need to go, places that I didn't want to go. For many years I put them on. I was told it was my duty, but my heart was heavy and my cares so many.
Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality. I bought these shoes. I own these shoes. They are mine.
by Jeanne leigh...copyrighted...2007


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nourishing Our Lives

The last few weeks of my life have been very full, busy and at times hectic. Between work, family birthdays and playing with Wise Old River there has been little free time. As a result of my rushing around, I couldn't help but notice that the plants on my little front porch were beginning to look more like dried flowers then the lovely flowers I had recently purchased at the store. Thursday night before rushing off to an evening of performing with our band, I made myself stop and really look at those plants. I knew I could quickly water them, as I had been doing, but then I also knew it just wasn't doing the trick. These plants needed some special attention.They were dying.  I took each one into my bathroom where it is cool and humid. I placed each one in the tub.  I gave each plant a nice big drink and then turned on the shower and then talked to them a bit. Yes, I do that from time to time:) Then I closed the curtain where they could rest, out of the sun and into the cool moist air. I left them until I returned late that night where already I could see a difference in them. Yet, I have to say the damage already done from my neglect is still apparent.

During the time that I took care of these plants, I was immediately reminded of the importance of caring for my own soul, spirit, mind and physical being and how especially during these busy times I can neglect caring for myself on a daily basis. By now, I was beginning to feel very tired and exhausted. As a result I had made less time for meditation and quiet times. I was not sleeping well and because I felt so tired found myself reluctant to seek out physical exercise. I was feeling the results of all of these things, so once again I was reminded of the importance throughout each day to include moments where I can care for my "self". My heart needs rest and quiet. I am nurtured by taking time for some emotional connection with family and friends. My body needs to move and eat good nutritious food and sleep. My spirit needs refreshing by sitting even for ten minutes quietly before God, taking a few moments to read from some spiritual writing. I can take that devotional reading and think on it through out the day. For myself, I need to allow some time throughout the week to write and reflect on my life. My mind needs challenges too. I need a good book to continue to plug away at a page at a time. Being open to good conversation and listening to other folks ideas is important too. There is only so much time in the day, but if I make it a priority, I know it will make a difference in my day. Daily caring for my whole being in little ways and then making those specific times like today where I  make a concentrated effort to focus on  these things in the same way I gave those plants the attention they needed can make all the difference for how I approach my life.  Then as a person, I won't be like those dried up flowers, but alive and rested and capable of being the best me that I can be. What do you need each day to nourish you? Are you taking time regularly to care for your whole being? Are you making a choice to specifically set aside time and space for dedicated care of your own soul? Peace, Jeanne

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Brings YOU Life?

We all have responsibilities. Most of us work hard and try to make the world a better place. Some of us are fortunate in that we have careers or jobs that suit us perfectly and this can make life a lot more pleasant. As for me,  being the wife of a United Methodist pastor, well we usually are relocated every 3 to 5 years which means I begin searching for a new job with each move. I love variety, so this has not been a problem for me at all. As a result, I have worked in mental health as a case manager for severely emotionally disturbed children, I have been a court liason for a mental health center taking referrals and having groups with those children teaching anger management and self-esteem improvement. I have worked in two different libraries and I have also been a local pastor. I have enjoyed all of these vocations, but working in the arts always brings the most life to me. When I am creating something or being part of the creation whether it is in theatre, photography, art, writing or music. I feel most alive. I am in a musical group called Wise Old River. We work full-time and then in our free time we rehearse every opportunity we get. My son, Jamen is the songwriter and guitarist and lead vocalist. My husband Jim is the multi-instrumentalist.  He plays lapsteel, bouzouki, guitar and is always looking for a new and interesting stringed instrument he can learn to play. We also have a friend, Stephen who plays bass. I sing harmony. I love singing harmony.

Rumi says, "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." That makes perfect sense to me. Maybe you are not in a situation where you can do it for a living, but you can still do it. I tell you it never ceases to amaze me. I can be totally exhausted, feel sick, have a headache, be upset and if we begin to sing either for rehearsal or go out and perform somewhere, I am immediately energized. I feel better. This is an elixer for me. Yes, we should do what we love whenever we are able. This is medicine for our soul.

This past Monday our band was on a local tv WCYB news at noon to promote a wonderful festival that takes place this time of year every year. It is called Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion Wise Old River is performing there on Saturday and Sunday. I am so looking forward to this time of doing what I love. Check out this song we played on WCYB

So, I ask you, "What brings you life or what makes you happiest?" Make time to do it. Be healed, be whole, enjoy what you love. Peace, Jeanne