Navigate My Messy Reality

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Jeni {Scabs} has a magnetic aura that set me at ease the minute I met her in her garage sale summer dress almost five years ago.  She was non-judgmental, kind, and a paradoxical combination of appropriately passionate and yet deeply serene.  She listened, she encouraged me, she opened my eyes. After spending a weekend together with some other great ladies, we kept in touch and she has been an amazing friend. 

But when my marriage was floundering, my sense of self was suffocating and my hope that my life could resolve into something pleasant was quickly waning, I needed someone who could offer me more than friendship. I had friends, even really good friends, who were compassionate and loving but unqualified to help me navigate my messy reality.  

Jeni's personal life experiences, including but not limited to marriage betrayal, gave her profound empathy and practical experience for helping me.  Her naturally thoughtful and reflective personality and gift for discernment made her capable of seeing beyond my drama.  She always exhibits a perfect balance of expressing anger she felt on my behalf while also being rational. 

One of her greatest gifts is that her own deep security and sense of self has liberated her in a way that what is about me is always about me.  She is so secure in her own worth and identity that she can be objective and invested in my problems without being invested in any outcome. She doesn't need me to take her advice to feel good about herself.  She doesn't need me to be like her or do what she would do.  This strong individuality is contagious and legitimizes my own individuality.   

After a phone call or visit with Jeni, I just knew what I needed to do and I felt stronger and more confident to do it.  Above all else, she always guided me back to my own sense of self, my own conscience, my own intuition which although it was weak and unsteady, it always held the answers I needed.  She didn't make my decisions for me (even when I wanted her to), but rather empowered me in my own decisions.  There was a time when I had set a boundary and it had been violated but the response I had prescribed ahead of time didn't feel right under the circumstances.  A conversation with Jeni helped me sort out the purpose of the boundary, the purpose of my response and the best way to move forward without causing myself more suffering. 

For the last five years, the time I spend with Jeni at retreats, on the phone or just on my living room sofa or at my dining room table always restores me.  Her reassuring perspective on life, her ability to be present in pain, her tension crushing sense of humor and her brave commitment to becoming whole all work a healing power on my soul.  She has taught me to not take myself too seriously.  She has taught me to recognize and trust my intuition. She has taught me that I'm strong enough to do what I need to do.  And she has made me laugh until I nearly peed my pants.     

It really doesn't take long to discover these gifts about her. I've seen her interact with dozens of women, who before they came to a camp were strangers, and without fail, every single time, they are disarmed by her vulnerability and gentle openness.  Her presence is a safe place for the ugliest parts of any story.  She is a believer in women, an advocate for the broken, and a friend to any eager soul, looking for a better way.