Out of the Box… with Jackie – Part 5

So what happened? How did I make the changes that you all see today? I started by tapping back into the group that has formed around Juna and Sabine. I began to attend Bars exchanges and classes they were holding and I got to know some amazing people. Juna and Sabine and the other people I grew to know supported me in what I was working through and they didn’t allow me to continue lying to myself.

In our society, I feel like one of the most unfortunate things is that we expect ourselves and each other to be so independent. How that translated into my life and into the lives of many other people I know, is that we believe that if we can’t do things without assistance, there’s something wrong with us. We aren’t strong enough or smart enough or… fill in the blank… enough and that means that we’re unworthy, weak, failures… Are you getting the idea that some of the things you’ve been told or have learned from your time on this earth have been anything but helpful to you? Perhaps some of the ideas you carry around with you every day in your life are actually harming you, killing your spirit, even holding you back? What could you be if you could change your ideas and change the way you look at yourself? What change could you create by simply being you?

One night, in one class, Sabine would no longer let me run away. I started into my “poor me” story and she called my bluff. She continued to question and challenge me until the breakthrough I’d been struggling with, finally came. In a single moment, I yelled back at her, “Does this look like the body of a happy and healthy woman?!” and everything changed. I realized that I wasn’t happy not because of what other people had done to me or because of some bad hand I’d been dealt. I wasn’t happy because I wasn’t living my life. I was reacting to everything that happened but I wasn’t ever consciously choosing what I wanted and taking steps to create that life. My entire life had been spent in a place of reaction and my whole being was exhausted with playing that game. So I finally woke up and decided to take action.

That weekend, I found a used Bowflex workout machine and bought it. I started using it regularly and over time began to notice changes in my body. Eventually the reason for working out became because I wanted to and because it felt good. I wish I could give you some magic number of pounds I’ve lost, but the truth is that I’m refusing to look at the scale. I work out because I want to and my body loves to move and I’ve become more conscious of what I’m eating, but I’ve realized that numbers on a scale are just one more thing I use to beat myself up about. You know those gremlins in your head that tell you you’re not… fill in the blanks…? Believe me when I tell you that there is not another person on the face of this planet that can judge me as harshly as I can judge myself. So I am choosing to not give the gremlins any ammunition.

I can tell you that I feel stronger, I have more stamina, and that a couple of weeks ago when getting ready to go and speak for a group, I made a pile of dress pants that I can no longer wear because they’re too big. This time, it’s about my health and how I feel, not about losing a certain number of pounds. My intention is to change my life – not my size – because I now understand that every time I’ve gone on a diet, it was because I believed that by losing 20 (or 30 or 40 or 50…) pounds my life would magically transform. It took me many years to put on the weight and I’m ok with it taking time to take it off. I now understand that my weight was just a symptom of a much larger problem.

Another change is in my relationships. I now have amazing and supportive friends I meet with regularly and find myself laughing and spontaneously singing and dancing through my days. My marriage has never been stronger and my relationships with my family of origin are changing. Possibly most importantly, my relationship with myself has radically changed. I have begun to see myself as a truly unique creation with gifts and talents that only I possess and a thing of beauty. All of us have gifts and talents, but the combination of mine and yours and everyone else’s are completely unique to that individual. No one else can sing the song of your life my friend. It’s your song to sing. When you find your voice and begin to live from that place, magic happens. You can change the world by offering it the truly amazing gift that only you can be. Magic!

The last change I’m going to share with you here is in my business. The truth is that I am NOT a Bookkeeper and Business Woman. I am Jackie Emmons and I have a bookkeeping business. I also have many other talents that are beginning to emerge and what I can create using those talents is completely unique to me and my business. So, about 6 months ago, I sat down and consciously decided which clients I wanted to continue to work with and I let all of the other people go. I gave up trying to find the “right” person to work for me and am creating a program within my business that allows me to do the parts of my business that make me happy and help other bookkeepers grow their businesses in the process. I now work with clients I truly enjoy, and am developing other business ideas, some of which you’ve already probably heard about and some that will be announced in the new year. I am creating the business I desire, offering services in a way that only I can. And the most beautiful thing is happening. I am really beginning to love my work. How does it get any better than that?

So my friends, that is what’s happened that has helped me to create a change in my writing, my speaking, my entire life. I am so deeply grateful for every one of you who may be reading this and have been part of this transformation and I am thankful that I had the courage and fortitude to face what needed to be faced and take the steps to move away from what wasn’t working.

My sincere hope for this newsletter is that it will provide you with inspiration and tools for transformation and growth in your businesses and in your lives. Thanks so much for sharing your time with me. Take care and see you next time!

Out of the Box… with Jackie – Part 4

Where were we? Oh yes, my life had gone completely to hell in a hand basket. Hmmm, wonder where that expression came from… Ok, so back to our story.

Completely throwing myself back into my business and into my work was probably the very last thing that I needed to do at that time in my life, but it was something familiar and there I was again, needing to make a living and keep a roof over our heads… And so I started to work relentlessly, often 7 days a week. I was working with a coach who was going to “help me” change my business. She continued to assign homework that I needed to complete if I really wanted my business to change (and that on top of a 60-80 hour work week). It was necessary to revamp my website which involved hours and hours of writing and designing and going back and forth with the person who was creating it. It was necessary to write articles and content and find places to speak. It was necessary to become someone different again in order to fit into someone else’s idea of what I needed to be and needed to do to be “successful” in our society.

I must clarify that this coach was not a villain. She was, in fact, doing what she believed was needed to change my business. She is a wonderful woman who helped me see things in myself and take chances I would not have taken without her involvement and support. So please understand that what was happening was because I was choosing to go back into a familiar dynamic in an attempt to hide from and dull myself against what was really happening in my life. If I’d been a wiser woman, I would have taken the time to take care of myself and maybe even would have been kind to myself and treated myself the way I would treat any other person who was working through the kind of chaos that was happening in my life.

Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on your perspective) I wasn’t wiser and I wasn’t kind to myself and I continued to slip down into that old familiar hole. I made excuses and alienated people I deeply care about, and I worked, and I worked, and I worked. Have you ever done that? What I’ve come to understand is that I was keeping myself so very busy that I had neither the time nor the energy to face what was staring me right in the eye. I was desperately unhappy and needed to make some changes and if I didn’t want to do it voluntarily, well, it was just going to happen anyway.

Do you know when really true and lasting change occurs in a person’s life? It’s when staying the same becomes more painful than changing. And that’s exactly what happened for me. Unfortunately, in my confusion, I blamed others for my unhappiness, mainly my husband. I am very thankful today that he did not allow me to push him away and that he is still my biggest cheerleader. He saw how confused I was and how deeply I was hurting and he refused to leave me in the middle of that all by myself. What a gift!

When I began to understand that things needed to change was after a surgery that was expected, but because of a cancellation in their schedule, I was given the option to bump it up to 10 days after the Dr. announced that surgery would be necessary or wait 7 months. I jumped all over that and worked ridiculous hours for the week leading up to my operation in order to do everything that needed to be done so I could relax and recuperate. Can you believe that 2 days after my surgery clients were calling? I had been told I needed to be off for a minimum of 2 weeks although of course they prefer you take 6 to really have a chance to rest and recuperate. Less than a week post op, I was back at my desk. I wasn’t working full days, but I was back at my desk. One day, I was so exhausted and in so much pain that I finally realized that this was completely ridiculous! You are supposed to rest after surgery for some VERY good reasons. Your body needs to heal and when you don’t rest and take care of yourself, guess what doesn’t happen?

The end result was my becoming angry and resentful. I began to realize that I had created a dynamic with my clients that was unhealthy, for me and for them. There is really no reason on earth why any person should not be able to be unreachable for 14 days and why anything that came up during that time could not be put aside until I was able to recover and, having recovered, return to work healthy again.

Once I began to understand that I had created that, I also understood that only I could change it. How did I do that? My next article is the last in this series and I’ll share all of the answers with you. See you next time!

Out of the Box… with Jackie – Part 3

We now join your program already in progress… I have to admit when I started writing this, I really didn’t think it was going to turn into a message that would take so many words. One of the things I’ve learned though, is that everything we create is an entity unto itself and by simply allowing things to be what they are rather than trying to force them, we can truly create something magical. So I’m going to continue to tell this story the way it wants to be told and I sincerely hope I’m not boring you. This issue starts when I left the Harmonics of Healing retreat.

How many of you realize that change can be difficult, even painful? I think most people who have gone through any kind of real transformation will tell you that although it wasn’t easy, it was absolutely worth it. If you’ve ever given birth to a healthy child, you’ll know exactly what I mean. The moment you see the face that you’ve been imagining and dreaming about, all of the pain and work required to bring them into the world becomes unimportant. Perhaps real transformation is like a birthing process.

When I left the retreat, I attempted to go directly back into my old life. The only problem was that I was not the same person I had been walking into Windermere Manor that Friday night. So trying to fit myself back into that life was kind of like trying to fit into a pair of jeans that’s two sizes too small. It doesn’t really work.

A few days later I called Juna and talked with her about what was happening and asked about something they had talked about called “the Bars”. Juna explained that I could come and pay for a session with her, or I could come to a class they were giving and learn to do them myself. She said that if I took the class, I could participate in free sessions with groups that got together to exchange bars. Now, the frugal bookkeeper in me took notice. Why pay for something I could learn to do myself and never have to pay for again? So I signed up for the class.

What I learned was a process that helps people release things that are blocking their energy from flowing smoothly and that keep them running on autopilot. In this class, I learned the hand positions and I listened intently to the teachings. I took notes and asked lots of questions and experienced “energy” for the first time. Did that first class change my life? Not really. I found it interesting, I felt something, then I went home. I later learned that while some people experience immediate changes, it can take others several sessions to begin to notice a difference. Let’s be frank here. Throughout my 40 years on this earth, there were piles and piles of crap dumped into me. It took a bit of time to start to see that shifting and feeling any changes.

Unfortunately, before I had much of an opportunity to explore and experience this new thing I was learning about, tragedy struck. My sister was hit by a transport truck while driving on highway 401 and killed instantly. This unleashed a hurricane into my life and threw me into a complete tailspin. All of the walls I’d built to protect myself came crashing down and I was thrown into harsh realities and began to experience a deep sense of grief. It was as though all of the places inside me that had started to let go were thrown open by a gale force wind and there was no place to hide. And so began my breakdown.

I felt like I imagine it would feel to be a plastic bag caught in a strong wind. Blowing all over the place, completely out of control and unable to stop. I won’t go into the gory details, suffice it to say that I started down an incredibly steep spiral and spent time in places inside myself that are neither pretty, nor pleasant.

In the middle of all of this, and possibly to regain some sense of sanity, I began to feel an unrelenting need to move forward. I threw myself back into my work because let’s face it, that was a comfortable place to go. And I started to shut the doors on the places that were so painful to look at. In September, my husband came home and announced that he had lost his job. As you can probably imagine, that was not exactly welcome news. But it did provide the perfect excuse to throw myself even further into my work.

Oh no, it doesn’t end here… see you next time and I’ll tell you more.

Out of the Box… with Jackie – Part 2

Hello again and welcome back to my story. When we left off, I was at Harmonics of Healing and a lovely woman had taken me by the hand and brought me into a circle of women who were dancing to the drumming.

I must tell you, I was incredibly uncomfortable. I now understand that I had completely separated from myself and had stopped communicating with my body. I can’t tell you the last time I had engaged in any kind of planned physical activity and my life was spent almost exclusively sitting at my computer working. I was very serious about my bookkeeping practice and was spending all of my time and energy (and a lot of money) on showing the world just how serious a Business Woman I could be. I had an office on the top floor of a building with a beautiful view of downtown London. I had a revolving door of staff because I could never find the “right” person but I was absolutely determined to grow my business so I kept on trying. I was expanding and growing my client base at an alarming rate and often found myself sitting in my office late into the evening working. As you can imagine, this left almost no time for me to have a life of any kind. My relationships were suffering, my health was suffering, and I was headed for a complete breakdown at break-neck speed. There was no joy or fun in my life, but I was a really great Bookkeeper and Business Woman…

As I danced around the room, all of these things were beginning to play through my mind. Not quite consciously, but I can say with certainty that this was the night things began to move for me. My body enjoyed moving so I started to try to let myself go and simply move to the music. As you can imagine, that went really well. I probably looked like I was having violent spasms, but I was trying to move and let myself go…

Then came the meditation and oh, what an experience. The drummers had several different instruments that created soft and soothing sounds. They turned off the lights, we laid down on the floor on yoga mats, and everyone shut up. Can you imagine a room full of dozens of women and no one saying a word? It was awesome. As we lay there silently, the drummers slowly moved through the group with instruments that mimicked sounds like birds and wind moving through leaves and I began to actually relax. This was my very first meditation and the first time I can consciously remember noticing a shift in the energy in a room. As I lay there, I could feel a stillness and a peacefulness wash over me and for the first time in a very long time, I wasn’t thinking about next steps with my business, work that was waiting on my desk, or anything else that connected me to the outside world. I was simply “being”.

That night, I shared a room with another good friend and a bottle of wine or two. We talked into the wee hours about our hopes and dreams for the future. We laughed and shared, and eventually fell asleep.

The following day was filled with speakers and breakout sessions. One of our first speakers was another beautiful lady who has played a significant role in my transformation, Sabine Hildebrandt. She talked about how we “divorce” ourselves from ourselves in order to get by in this world. She also talked about rocks and dolphins and about trying to be something you’re not in order to “fit in”, and I began to feel something shift. I didn’t realize that other people felt like I felt. Like a hamster on a wheel, always trying, trying, trying… Trying to be a “good” daughter, a “good” mother, a “good” wife, a “good” friend… Trying to follow the rules and do the “right” things… Trying to be respectable, worthy, serious, insert your own words here… Trying to make myself into a successful person in a society that measures success with a very specific ruler. And no matter how hard I tried, I never quite got it right. I wasn’t the only one who felt that way? I wasn’t alone? And I wasn’t secretly going crazy? What revelations! Imagine that a single talk could have such an impact.

There were several other amazing speakers that day, but my mind was really engaged in processing this whole idea that I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I’d always felt. Until I found myself in a breakout session led by Juna Guetter, the lady who had brought me into the dancing the night before. It turned out that Juna and Sabine are partners in life and in business, so it isn’t really a surprise that Juna’s talk had the same sort of energy as Sabine’s. Juna spoke about trusting yourself to know everything you need to know and that was it. It was all over for the person I had been up to that point in my life.

I found myself waiting after the session until everyone had gone so I could speak with her. Something about their combined messages was speaking to a place so deep inside me I didn’t even know it existed and I was compelled to hear more of what they had to say. I have no recollection of what Juna said to me, but I can tell you that it was as though a dam burst. I had been holding so much back for so long and this new message was like an artist knowing exactly the right place to tap a rock to make it crack and come apart in just the right way. We spoke for only a few minutes and with her help, I finally allowed tears to flow that had probably been trapped inside me for years. There was no going back, the transformation had begun.

What happened when I left the retreat? We’ll have to save that for next time…

Out of the Box… with Jackie – Part 1

Jackie EmmonsI’ve heard from many of you commenting that there’s a difference in my writing, appearance, and in the way I’m presenting myself and you’re asking what that’s all about. So in honour of our first “Out of the Box” newsletter and over the next several weeks, let me begin to share.

The last couple of years have held some really big opportunities for learning and those of you who know me know that I’m always up for a challenge and an opportunity to change for the better. I’d have to say it all started when I went to an event called Harmonics of Healing that’s organized by my dear friend Dr. Laura Gravelle…

To set the stage and for those who didn’t know me, I Am a Bookkeeper. I started a bookkeeping business out of my home in 2000 when it became impossible to juggle everything. I needed something that would help me make a living and would offer me the flexibility to meet the needs of my family. So I waved my magic wand and ‘Voila!’ I started a business – and began a six year cycle of falling flat on my face, getting back up and dusting myself off, and trying again. Eventually, I learned what it meant to be a business person, and I began transforming into a Bookkeeper. Translation – I began changing in ways that were not honouring to me because it was necessary to keep a roof over our heads and some food in the pantry. Can you relate? Over time, the transformation became SO complete that eventually, I had cut myself off completely from who I am and I had no joy left in my life.

So one day, my dear friend asked me to attend an event that would involve a drumming circle, meditation, and listening to a bunch of “holistic healers” and I have to be honest, I ran the other way. Remember, I was a Bookkeeper and a Business Woman and I functioned every day from a place of logic and reason and joylessness. I honestly thought these people must be at least a little coo-coo to be getting excited about sitting in a circle pounding on drums and I probably envisioned something like women dancing naked under a full moon… So I turned her down politely every time the subject came up.

Finally, we were sitting at a wonderful little restaurant called Angelo’s having coffee, and Laura told me that she had no idea how she knew, but she simply knew that I needed to be at her event and she implored me to come. Well, she hit the right button that day and I decided that I could take a few hours out of my life and go to this event, but just to support my friend. I was absolutely NOT going to enjoy any of this weird stuff. I would go and I would suffer through it (like a good martyr) for my friend.

Fast forward to a Friday evening in February of 2012. I found myself sitting in the Grand Ballroom at Windermere Manor (a lovely old family manor that has been converted into an inn, restaurant and one of the most beautiful venues in London to hold a business meeting or workshop) feeling very nervous and uncomfortable. I’m sure there were announcements and introductions… but the first moment I can clearly remember was when a tall, beautiful woman approached, took me by the hand, and brought me into a group of ladies who were dancing to the drumming. I was mortified! Didn’t she know that I was a Bookkeeper and a Business Woman?! Didn’t she know that I was too serious and intelligent to be dancing around in a circle?! Didn’t she know… No, she didn’t know. Juna Guetter, who has also become a good friend, didn’t have a clue who I was. I’m sure she saw me sitting uncomfortably in my chair and simply wanted to include me in the fun. I’m so thankful she did.

And that, my friends, is where it all began…

Watch for my next message to see what happened next!