How did I get here?

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I have a confession to make. The truth is, I have spent far too much of my life trying to be something I’m not. Nothing reminds me of this more than watching my march-to-the-beat-of-a-different-drummer 5-year-old son enter the socialized world of school. He loves it, he’s totally happy there, he likes everybody. But kids can do things that can be hurtful sometimes, whether it’s on purpose or not, and it pains me every time he says somebody doesn’t like him for whatever reason. Yes, this is in large part because I want him to be happy, and because I love him and want everybody to be able to see just how special he is, but I know it also has a lot to do with my own childhood desire to have everybody like me, and all of the decisions I’ve made in my life because I wanted people to like me that have lead me down paths that didn’t make me happy. One of the clearest (and most relevant) examples of this is with my spirituality. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to balance out the intellectual practical side of me with a strongly intuitive and spiritual self. I’ve been attracted to many things that were (and probably still are) just plain weird to many of my friends and family members. When I was in college I would go down into Chicago to go to a Religious Science church on the occasional Sunday mornings, torn between my love of the philosophy and the inspiration I received, and my discomfort with doing something that others perceived as strange. I didn’t end up talking about it very often because when I did try to talk about spirituality or philosophy people would be like, oh, you mean religion. They could relate it back to the churches of their childhood, but they just weren’t at spiritually “seeking” parts of their lives. I felt myself fragment into the Jenn who meditated and was learning to be a healer and the Jenn who went out partying and loved Nine Inch Nails and the Jenn who managed the Subject Pool in the Psychology Department and the Jenn who religiously went to football games even during a seasons-long losing streak and the Jenn who, oh yeah, went to class from time to time and loved to program and learn how the mind works and studied the meaning behind the meaning of language. It was a rare few who knew that all of those Jenns were one and the same.

So fast forward 20 some-odd years later and as much as I have worked to reintegrate myself, I know that I still startle people from time to time, even myself. If you had told me back in the day that I would be doing tarot readings for people I most definitely would have scoffed (and that’s far from the weirdest thing that I work with these days). There were a lot of things that happened along the way to bring me to this place–I’ve been truly blessed to have encountered some incredibly powerful processes like shamanic soul retrieval and the Hoffman Process, and some phenomenal teachers that helped me reconnect to my intuition, providing tools to help quiet that always-on analytical mind and to allow my natural intuitive abilities to flourish. Probably the most influential part of that process was getting to know Caroline Reynolds. She had a special gift with chakra readings where she would read your chakras, letting you know how open (or closed off) each of your chakras was, but she would also relate the messages that came up along the way. She quickly became my mentor, and I spent a lot of time talking to her about what I wanted from life and my struggles with how to get there. At the time I thought I wanted to be a life coach, and believed that having these two aspects of myself be so strong meant that I should be a bridge between the practical and the intuitive, but it only flowed in fits and starts. I kept feeling like I was missing something, so she started to teach me to do chakra readings and to be a Spiritual Fitness advisor, but at the same time her message to me was: “You know, Jenn, you don’t need me. You are your own person with your own gifts and skills. What I see in you is that your intuitive side is actually worlds larger than your intellectual side, but it’s like a muscle that has atrophied and the more you hold on to that intellect the harder it’s going to be for you to find what’s going to make you happy. You’re a natural healer, and it doesn’t matter what work you do for a living, that healing will come through. But if you want to fully realize your potential, you’ve got to let go and really embrace that intuition. You will find your own way to do things–you don’t need to ride on someone else’s coattails, and preaching someone else’s truth just isn’t gonna cut it. You want to teach others to learn to fly? Lead by example and make your own path.” Whoa Nellie, did I ever need that!

How I have interpreted Caroline’s message over the years has shifted a bit, but my current version goes something like this: There are many things I could be doing, and many of them would leave me feeling fairly equally fulfilled since at the end of the day what I love more than anything else is helping people to grow–it’s the growth that is fulfilling, not the “how” of the help. But continuing to seek isn’t furthering me at this point. What I need to be doing is to take my own advice and share my gifts, in whatever form works for me today. Today, the intuitive tarot readings just plain work. Every now and then the question of “why” floats into my brain, but I’ve learned to just let it go and roll with it because at the end of the day, the messages just flow. Sometimes it feels like I’m in the active position, actually reading the cards, which are simply beautiful and have much to offer in and of themselves, but more often it feels like I’m in a receptive position, listening to and sharing the messages that are being offered up. I’ve done readings for a wide variety of people, from those who never would have thought to ask for a tarot reading in a million years to those who love receiving readings in all forms, and the thing I’ve found to be consistently true no matter the client is that if I can just get out of my own way long enough for my intuition to take over, the result will be powerful.

I am looking forward to seeing how the work I do evolves from here–I wouldn’t be me if I weren’t always growing and changing and pushing myself to the next level. But at the same time, I’m really enjoying getting to do the work that’s right in front of me–the insight from the readings brings a fresh perspective to my coaching toolbox and breathes new life into my work helping people to realize their vision. Every email I open from a client thanking me for the insight their work with me is giving them makes my heart sing–I literally do a happy dance each and every time! Caroline made her transition in 2010. She was incredibly dear to me, and I still miss her terribly. In some small way, I feel like doing this work honors her and the role she played in my life. I am blessed to have known her, to have called her my teacher and my friend, and to have had her push me out of my comfortable nest so I could stretch my wings and fly. Namaste.

Photo: Journey by Kasia

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