Happy New Year Everyone!


I was just downstairs eating some wonderful french toast with blueberries and bananas, drenched in maple syrup and suddenly, Snatam Kaur” started singing on my ipod random play,” and before I knew it, I was out of my seat, jamming like there was no tomorrow! Right there in the kitchen, swiveling my hips, carving through space with my arms, in big, celebratory flourishes, shaking every part of my body in this beautiful, driving, harmonious, rhythmic flow– letting the music ignite my every cell, coming alive and being the music, every nuance, every subtle sound. GOD! It was AMAZING! Her voice is so pure, and so powerful because of that– so true … and the music, the mesmerizing, pulsating beat behind the purity of her clear voice that floats above the bass, but somehow lives inside it at the same time was the very thing that called me– and literally lifted me out of my chair, onto the “dance floor …”

Contemporary Dance Theatre New York

Contemporary Dance Theatre New York

This incredible ALIVENESS that comes from letting yourself GO … from allowing whatever lives inside to come to the surface, what lies dormant, sometimes– the 3/4 of the iceberg of who we really are that lies beneath the surface of what others see, is the very thing that we need to bring up and out more often so that we can feel this essential aliveness that makes meaning of our lives.

Kelly Clarke of CDTNY: Bhangra Celebration

Kelly Clarke of CDTNY: Bhangra Celebration

And so, while I was dancing, feeling this incredible surge of energy blaze through my body, from the deepest core of my being outward, through my arms and legs, through my flesh, vibrating, shaking, flying, my mind started to travel as well to some recent events in my life … to some interactions I have had with people.

Each of us wants to be able to have peace and harmony in our relationships, in the same way that I described this kind of effortless, natural flow that was happening for me in my body while I was dancing this morning.  We each hope for a connection that makes us feel “seen” and “heard” and understood. It doesn’t happen every day. But when it does, it can be the most powerful agent of change in our lives, the very way that we come to understand ourselves better. Even if we don’t connect with someone else in this more profound way,  relationships of any kind are what shine the light on that part of the iceberg that usually remains hidden beneath, out of sight– out of our own “sight.” Often, it is when we encounter someone who at first seems to be “just like us,” with whom we share great compatibility, one who turns out to have fundamental differences in relating, that we are offered the greatest opportunity for self-discovery. And going a step beyond, it is when we encounter these differences that conflict arises, and we are challenged to face what lies inside ourselves. We are challenged to ask why it is that conflict arises between ourself and another.  Why is it in our society that we are taught from an early age to resist conflict, to run from it, to conceal it, even bury it and disguise it? Why when it is such a rich opportunity for self-growth and understanding, the expanding of our inner horizons, one that then affects our lives in the “outside world” with others, fostering greater patience and compassion in our dealings with people at large.

When we encounter people who possess the most important qualities we seek in another, and then, inevitably discover an aspect of their personality that rubs us the wrong way, or frustrates us, (whether they are acquaintances, friends or lovers,) they are offering us a gift in disguise:  this frustrating aspect of their personality is often that same part of ourselves that we have not yet brought to consciousness, understood and healed … these people are in fact, just by being themselves, offering us the very lesson we need to learn and integrate ourselves.  When a quality they possess initially repels us, it is usually because we subconsciously condemn in within ourselves and then if we’re lucky, come recognize it as something that is unresolved, or something that we need to heal and find the higher expression of within ourselves.
Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
The very behavior we cannot tolerate in other people is what we may find ourselves “doing” in our interactions with others … and when we can cultivate consciousness around that behavior, we can bring it into the light and start to recognize these same aspects that we see in others, in ourselves. We can accept them and then do the work to let them go.
Then the healing can begin.  Then we can see, heal and release. We can release ourselves from the “inherited” habits that we unquestioningly adopted from our parents and they, from their parents before them.  When you don’t seek to “change” the behavior in the other person that challenges you, that which brings up feelings of frustration, or disappointment, or anger, but instead acknowledge why you feel compelled to do so, you get introduced to these ‘iceberg” aspects of yourself — what was previously hidden from view and has been exposed by this very unique interaction with this person.
We all crave love. We see it, we pursue it. Each in our unique way. Once we “get it,” once we have the love “audience” in another person, what we do then with this “love,”  is always different and unique to the chemistry between those two people. What we do is informed by a multiplicity of factors, but most powerfully and fundamentally by how we learned to love as children in our first family. When we were not loved with healthy boundaries, made to feel safe to express our feelings, to give and receive love, and express our discontent, our sadness, confusion, anger, all of the emotions of what it is to be human, once we “get” the “love,” or to use an animal metaphor: we are the tiger and after the “chase,” and we have the rabbit in our jaws, some of us don’t eat the meal, because on some deeper level, we don’t feel that we deserve to eat, to be fed, to nurture ourselves with “the prize.” And this isn’t fly-fishing what I’m talking about– no “catch and release” fishing going on here– I mean, racing down the plains in the Serengeti and being lucky enough to nail that evening meal, that may have taken not only hours or days to get, but weeks! And in the animal world, it’s about survival … and since we are animals, it is the same. We all need love to survive and to thrive.
But once we get it, some of us don’t know what to do with it! We would rather let the game go– let the rabbit drop from our mouths and wander around wondering why we’re not having “lapin” for dinner.
Love and relationship mean taking a risk … taking a risk to be seen exactly for who we are, ALL of who we are, the iceberg that lives beneath the surface and the tip that peeks out above. It’s scary. And it can also be the most exhilarating, most liberating, transformative force on the planet. It is what makes us feel the most alive. When we first see ourselves and love ourselves and start to cultivate that tender, fragile ability to give to ourselves, we are stepping onto the path of transformation. We are developing that talent, so that when we join forces with another, we have a better chance of not only learning what it means to love and recognize ourselves in one another,  but in so doing, learning how to be kinder to ourselves and more accepting of all parts, the light and the dark, the pretty and the not-so-pretty– all of what it means to be human.
So, the next time you feel yourself growing impatient with a loved one, stop. Take a moment to breathe and notice what you are feeling inside your OWN being, and ask yourself why are these feelings coming up? Before you act, think and FEEL first, and then speak to your beloved, your friend, your partner, your colleague —from your heart, not your head.
Your mind can tell you all sorts of stories, but your heart and your body will never lie, and they deserve to be heard.
It’s time to tune in …
We each deserve to be happy and free, but getting there requires quite a bit of work– and one of the first steps towards liberation is recognizing your own humanity and in one another … the reward is this greater understanding of the self, which inspires self-love, which then yields greater peace and the possibility for love and joy within yourself and with another.
Some thoughts for a NEW happy New Year~
If you catch the rabbit, for God’s sake: EAT IT!!!!!!


2 Responses to “Let Us Recognize Ourselves in One Another …”

After reading this, why does the voice of Elmer Fudd come forward singing, “Kill the rabbit,…kill the rabbit”…? He must have read Jenn’s column and repeating her mantra for his personal growth fulfillment. Way to go Elmer!

And big thanks to Ms. Kries too!

John Tyler
January 2nd, 2010

Greetings and salutaions! I wanted to let you know you have inspired yet another person with your work out DVD’s. I may well have the better part of your “collection”. Fasinating how you have transformed my life and I do not reall “know you” and yet I do. As I ready myself for retirement, diet, work out, and stronger sense of self in the midst of losing a partner. MILA and Kangen water were also a huge contributor. Hard to say whant had the bigest impact, I just know that you were pivitol. THANK YOU for sharing!

February 6th, 2010