My butt, January 2009

My butt,  January 2009
(who could miss it)

My butt, January 2010

My butt, January 2010
photos by Tom Peal

Welcome to You and All your Brilliant Parts!

In 2009 I lost 40 lbs and I got a new butt. How? Diet and exercise, that's the short answer. But all of the things I learned that made it emotionally possible, that allowed me to succeed when I had failed before - that will take longer. This blog celebrates the intelligence of the body. Please leave me a note to let me know what you think of this writing, if it's been helpful. I welcome your input and experience.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gaining and losing

Journaling is a big part of Pamela Serure's 3 Days to Vitality program; in fact, she calls it "essential journaling.  So, now on Day 2, I have picked up my journal.

One of her topics for journaling is, "What do you want to gain?  What do you want to lose?"  These questions, of course, go beyond such answers as "health" and "weight" and even "high cholesterol."
They have to do with the way we approach our lives, the way we want to live our lives every day.

Having overcome my resistance to writing something somebody asked me to write, and having warmed up on the previous topic "what increases your faith?",  I was able to make a couple of lists.  Reviewing them, I found them sound.

Then I called my adult son and left a message on his cell phone saying I wasn't planning lunch for us this week, that I was on a juice fast and my days are regimented, plus I'm doing a lot of music work ... would make a date next week ... invited him to my show on Sunday ... didn't really call for any reason except to say "I love you ..."

And then I was sad.

History:  Andy's dad and I divorced when he was two after ten years of marriage.  We planned our divorce for a year - we were never angry with each other and were never ugly in front of Andy.  We decided it would be best for Andy to live with his dad, who had the close-by support of his own parents, had a better paying job than I would ever have, and, to my mind, was more likely to be present if he was custodial.  Plus I figured my ex could and would accommodate me as an absent parent better than I could accommodate him, considering I was venturing off into an uncertain future as a musician.

Our son is now 21, and our time together has been consistent and regular through the years.  We love each other and Andy shows me respect and affection.  His life is largely dark to me, and I've had to trust my ex over the years for Andy's primary parenting.  My ex has been a good parent.  For a few years when Andy was a teenager that trust was violated, as I was left out of some important events in Andy's life and stood by impotent as he went through troubles.  But he's an adult now, and bears more responsibility for our relationship.  He doesn't lead a troubled life, as far as I can see, has a good take on his present and future, has friends, gets the help he needs, and is getting an education.  He's smart and good-natured, though somewhat obsessive, serious and mind-driven, as I have tended to be.

So here's the deal.  I've always been sad about losing out on Andy's primary care as a child, about not getting to share his daily life as a teenager and young adult, about not knowing his friends.  I'm sorry he didn't have an in-home mom to fix him meals and teach him housekeeping and hygiene.  I've felt guilty and  worried that Andy's problems with anxiety and some other issues stem from my breaking up our home.  I've felt secondary in his life, like a grandparent or aunt, behind his own grandparents in supporting his emotional needs; my own parents are even farther off in relevance.

And so, every time I think about Andy I get sad.  Even when we're together, our time is tinged with sadness inside me, though I try not to let it show.  I want to grasp him and hold him, keep him and know him.  Andy doesn't like to be touched, and I try to touch him little.

I now realize I have something else to put on my list of things to lose.  It has been given a name by Eckhart Tolle, in his book The Power of Now.  It's called the pain body.

The pain body is part of how the ego identifies itself.  My pain body identifies me as "a guilty run-away mom with a sad little boy."  Among other things.  Pain, pain, pain.

But here's the truth.  My boy is not sad or little - I am.  And being sad now doesn't justify my behavior then, or make me more responsible, or do anything positive.  It's just how the ego recognizes itself.  The ego builds and perpetuates these stories so that it doesn't cease to exist - the ego is very fearful of ceasing to exist.

Thanks, ego, for trying to keep me alive, a "person" with a "story."  You don't have to do that - I am what I always have been - God's own child, a being "no less than the trees and the stars ..."

I will work to dissolve my pain body.

Later, Jenni


  1. Jenni, that is the sweetest (and most truthful) thing I have ever seen you write. Keep it up, beautiful woman.

  2. Thanks for this window into your treasured relationship. I love to hear dear personal stories- and all the whacky ones too!!