Thursday, May 31, 2018

some things i've learned, part I

To set the stage on this thing I've learned:
  • There is a scripture that reads basically that man is nothing compared to God, our Father. That he has all power and all knowledge and that we do not (being mortal; being children). 
  • When I was a kid I loved the book "A Ring of Endless Light" by Madeline L'Engle. There is a part where Vicki, the young protagonist, is talking to her grandfather (the Yoda of this book) and he mentions the following poem by Robert Browning 
If thou couldst empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the Ocean shelf,
And say — "This is not dead," —
And fill thee with Himself instead. 
But thou art all replete with very thou,
And hast such shrewd activity,
That, when He comes, He says — "This is enow
Unto itself — 'Twere better let it be:
It is so small and full, there is no room for Me."
  • In the bible, Jesus says several times that He is here to do not his own will, but the will of his Father. Jesus is our perfect example in all things.
  • I am independent by nature and by nurture from an independent mom. I have an innate self confidence. I like to climb mountains and set goals and cross things off lists. Because it makes me feel human, it makes me feel capable.
                      If your mind is at all like mine, you can see I grew up with some beliefs that seemed contradictory. On the one hand is the inborn self esteem, this belief in myself and my abilities. On the other hand there is this contradiction - we should turn our lives over to God; that he knows better than us; and that we should not do our own will, but the will of God (to me that says, at the very least, that our wills are anything from uneducated to stupid to outright bad). That we should be 'empty all... of self' so that God can fill us with a higher mentality. Being replete with something that is just us is disappointing to God. 

                      Stage: set.

                      Almost 18 months ago, I was sitting in church and the girl speaking made an analogy--life is like a maze. And praying is like having access to a map. The directions from point A to point B, from the entrance to the map to the exit, are right there. Can you imagine, based on this struggle inside I've explained, my reaction? 
                      Well, what is the point of even being in the maze? Just to follow what's already been laid out clearly in front of me? A robot could do that. A lemming could follow. There's no exploration. There's no learning. There's no achievement. I don't want a map. What's the purpose if I don't make the decisions on my own? Just to get into the maze and check a box for God? Going point A to point B.  Where's the progression? What's the point?
                      (not knocking the girl who was giving the talk, I understand her point.)
                      So I thought about it. I asked people about it. I prayed about it. One person that I asked was my home-teacher, Garret, when he was visiting and asked if we had any questions we'd like him to study for us. Well, yes, as a matter of fact, what is the purpose of life if we're just supposed to be lemmings who don't make our own choices and let God make them for us? So we can be puppets in his hands and move when He says move? Why would it even be necessary for me to have a brain? Just so I can be aware that I suck? I'm not buying it.
                      Garret took that away and studied it. And he brought back a bunch of things: these great insights, some things I'd heard or though before, some brand new. They didn't solve my problem though. UNTIL. Until he read the following from Lao Tzu: 

                      Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;
                      It is the center hole that makes it useful.
                      Shape clay into a vessel;
                      It is the space within that makes it useful.

                      Cut doors and windows for a room;
                      It is the holes which make it useful.
                      Therefore profit comes from what is there;
                      Usefulness from what is not there.

                      Boom. It is not my worth, my capacity, my ability that's improved upon by communicating with God. He created me as he created me. He gave me life and a brain and ability. He gave me worth. It truly is innate, no matter what I do with my life. It is my usefulness that improves when I communicate with God.

                      Back to the maze. Rather than prayer being a map, it's like I'm talking to someone who's in a helicopter hovering above the maze (here in Utah we have these massive corn mazes every fall. The year after Larry Miller died, the entire maze was like, an acre that from above looked like Larry's face). So God's up above this massive maze. And he's got a walkie-talkie. And he gave me one. And I can turn it on if I want; I was taught how. Since God can see the whole maze, he can tell me where to go yes. How to quickly get out of the maze; point A to point B. But He can also tell me "Hey, Jillian, over to your left a few corn rows, there is a little kid who fell and scraped his knee. And you have a band-aid with you. He needs it. Go give the little kid a band-aid."
                      God equipped me. He sent me here, he gave me this stage, this maze (that may or may not look like Larry Miller). Sent me in and I have on me what I have on me. What I brought with me. I'm not alone here either; there's plenty of people who are walking the maze too. Who I can help. God wants me to make it out of the maze--not like a lemming, but as someone who was here. Who participated in the lives of the other people in the maze. Since he's above it all, he can see it all. He can see who has the band-aid (in this case it was me), and who has the water bottle when mine runs out, and who needs a lift cause they twisted they're ankle, and who we will make us laugh while we're walking, and when we need to part ways because the band-aids are needed over here and the water's needed over here. 

                      If I want to be useful to God, I pray. He made me capable. He made me intelligent. He gave me a body that can interact with the world. I'm already capable. That's not a question and God knows it. The question is if I'm going to be useful to Him. 

                      That's something I've learned. Our capacity isn't in question. Our usefulness is. I truly, deeply believe and resonate with that. It is true.

                      And P.S., I reserve the right to change my mind later if I want. 

                      Wednesday, January 10, 2018

                      some revised bucket list items

                      • be photographed by Brandon Stanton aka the Humans of New York guy aka my inspiration in life
                      • see the northern lights
                      • catch a home run ball
                      • learn to surf
                      • bunjee jump over a river (because I honestly don't think I could do it over hard ground)
                      • kayak with dolphins
                      • be interviewed by Rebecca Jarvis on No Limits
                      • write and publish a book I am proud of

                      Wednesday, August 2, 2017


                      Talking with myself and my mother recently, I discovered what I want the most out of life. When I feel fulfilled vs when I feel empty and dissatisfied come from the same thing; the same word:
                      I love community. I love having a community and feeling secure in the community.
                      I want to start creating communities. In the past I waited to be invited in a community; I waited to enter a community that I didn't have responsibility to create. 
                      I'll feel most fulfilled when I'm creating a community and participating in a community.

                      This brings me to what I want. What I want to start working on so it doesn't go away, because I had a dream that felt this good before and I let it go away. I don't want it anymore.

                      I want to be a journalist. I want to be a journalist without necessarily going back to journalism school. I want to interview inspiring women, podcast release, and write on a blog. This blog? I don't know. Probably not. I'll want to buy a website, purchase a domain. I'll do an Instagram like humans of NY. 

                      I think my issue before was I listed a bunch of topics I wanted to write about. When really, it's women and people that I want to write about. I love people. I think they're fascinating. I think they're the reason we exist - to help and be helped by other people. Life is beautiful. I want to live it AND interview other people about it. 

                      The first things I want to be doing to work toward this goal :
                      • develop listening skills
                        • reflective listening
                        • focus on the person's words, not my response 
                      • network with a few people
                      I feel like I'd also like to work toward writing my own experience. Interviewing myself. How funny, that's an idea! Maybe I'll interview myself on my podcast now and then.
                      Brand. Branding. Personal and space branding.

                      The other thing- I don't want to speak negatively about others. What Susie Says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally. One of my favorite quotes. And truth.

                      Work on self love, confidence, and compassion. All of this feels good. 

                      Thursday, July 6, 2017

                      two babies later

                      18 months... that's long enough for someone to have 2 babies. (I haven't done that, by the way, no cigar).
                      I want to start something; a business? A podcast? Both? I think I want to be a journalist. I don't want to go back to school, but I want to write and I want to get stories and I want to connect with people.
                      List of Podcasts I'm listening to:

                      • No Limits With Rebecca Jarvis: My favorite one. She is a broadcast journalist interviewing women "at the top of their game". She interviews so well, she asks amazing questions, and the stories are digestible and easy to relate to.
                      • Munchin with Moguls: a local pocasts interviewing "moguls" which turns out to be women with large instagram followings. It's very interesting and compelling because it is dripping in the culture I am immersed in. I've contacted her to ask if I can help her work on the podcast
                      • 30 for 30 by ESPN: I love sports, I love sports stories. There is emotion and struggle and victory and defeat and there's always a winner and a loser in a world that doesn't always give me that in clear terms. 

                      Those 3 are my tops right now (and to be honest, haven't listened to 30 for 30, but it trust it enough to recommend it anyway). 

                      Watching Utah Jazz Summer League, gotta jet.

                      Monday, January 4, 2016

                      its 12:32

                      I do this sometimes...

                      I stay up too late because I'm feeling motivated and creative. It all started, if I remember correctly, years ago when I realized that writing was my passion. I knew it was my passion because I would sacrifice sleep - sleep the most important thing to me - to write. It was like my creative juices just started flowing at 10:00 pm and didn't stop until 2 or 3 in the morning. I would write and write and write and then go back and read in a matter of minutes what had just taken me an hour to get out on paper. The middle knuckle of my right hand smeared with blue or black ink.

                      I talked to some wonderful, supportive, kind girls tonight about passion. And my what our jobs do for us and what a difference they make, and why I absolutely can't get up in the morning. My mother told me I was depressed, and that if I didn't feel better by this week, she was making me go back to he doctor and tell him I was feeling so crummy. But, the thing is I've been depressed before - within the last year actually - and this feels very different. Anyway, Tessa, one of those kind supportive girls, said in response to my tired question "It sounds like you just have nothing to look forward to. Nothing getting you out of bed in the morning." A mallet struck a gong in my head at those words. And I turned to JaNae and said " I really need to start working on my project."

                      I'm here to report for duty on this project. It's the first week of the new year, 2016, and if I start off right it will be easier to stay right. (Oh the train just whistled. I hope with all my heart that I always live close enough to a train to hear that sound. Heavenly) My project is very similar to (and obviously inspired by) Humans of New York. Gosh this is fascinating: Humans of New York Story. Check that out stat. Anyway, the short version is that Brandon Stanton moved to NYC in 2010 because he wanted to take photographs of 10,000 people and plot those pictures on a map of the city. His blog became wildly popular because he managed to capture exactly what people want to see in other people: commonality, humanity, relationship. And it's truly fascinating.

                      Take that. Add to it my enchantment with people of my grandparents generation and before. With their wisdom, their stories, their unique lives- how they are so different from my life and so identical in the same breath. And finally, splash in the utter heartbreak I feel when I see older people alone and struggling, and voila! My project is born.

                      I'm going to visit retirement communities and talk with the people there. Interview them about their lives. And post a picture with a small snippet of the story on my instagram. Then link it to my blog here - hellooooo! - with a larger more developed story. Either in interview style or in a narrative.

                      And that I am passionate about. It's been difficult for me, since my mission, to marry my love of writing (which is an incredibly solitary task of necessity) with my love and adoration of interacting with people (which I had in spades in my youth and then lost with the loudest and ugliest bang you've ever heard somewhere in my early teens. Another story for another time... )

                      Gosh it feels good to write. It does. And to read. Why do I love it so much? A question, again, for another time. Tonight I am watching the clock tick and thinking about work tomorrow and how I have vowed to be there earlier even though that work - work I am grateful for and work that pays the bills- does decidedly not get me out of bed. I am thinking about the inspiring people there are and feeling grateful for them. I am happy.

                      Thursday, September 24, 2015


                      Once upon a time, five years ago now, I was living with 3 of my best friends in a little apartment. One of my friends has the most crazy sense of discipline I've ever seen in anyone. She succeeds at whatever she does because of it; at least partly because of it. This friend of mine would go swimming a few times a week in the a.m. I love the water. I love the feeling of being in the water, being by the water, touching water, drinking water, you name it. But I hadn't actually tried to swim a lap in years. Probably not since my mom had put me in swim lessons as a kid. I didn't know if I was doing it right, and (classic me) since I wasn't sure if I'd look stupid, I chose not to try.
                      But for some reason, I decided to start going with my friend to the pool. We'd crawl out of bed in the pitch blackness that was winter mornings in Utah and be at the pool at 6 am. This was pre-LASIK surgery so I wouldn't wear my contacts and just focus on the blurry blue line on the bottom of the pool. We'd swim for the free-swim hour and then go home, I'd shower and be at work by 8:00 am. I'd drink a shake on my walk to work. And then we'd do it all again the next day, or two days later.
                      I remember one day, walking to or from school, at a spot I could take you to right now, and feeling this incredible feeling that I had never felt before. A feeling I've been chasing ever since. I felt completely connected to my body. My body felt like the home and house for my spirit and they felt so in sync and in harmony. I felt so good.
                      So I've been thinking about how my body is my home. And how you can feel at home in your body, "no more a stranger nor a guest but like a child at home" where ever you go. Whatever situation you're in, you can have total home field advantage if your mind and body are connected. If you're one with yourself.
                      So that's my goal. That's my goal, one of my million trillion goals right now. But that's an important one because it fuels several of my other goals. I want to feel connected to my body I want all of me to be working together, not competing like separate beings. My body clashing with my mind, my physical limitations clashing with my goals. I want to be grounded. I read an article about the root chakra. And that seems to be what is imbalanced for me. 
                      Maybe I've been looking for error in the wrong places. I've always tried and tried to be more confident. But maybe there's a deeper cause to what I'm lacking. Maybe it's deeper. 
                      I wish that I could just ask and get the answer here. But that's not life, that's not at all how we learn. We learn little by little by little. And I'm willing to learn.

                      Tuesday, September 15, 2015

                      being put together

                      Seriously cannot tell you how many times in the past few months (orrrr the past 24 hours) that I've said to someone "Seriously, my life is out of control." It's true. I have been outta whack and I'm still working on getting "in whack". But I think I've had a breakthrough this week. I need to give all credit to God for this one, because He has been the difference. It's been a blessing, plain and simple. And I'm incredibly grateful for that. I'm grateful for the people that are in my life - all of them are such incredible individuals. That's my #1 that I'm grateful for - people. I need people so much, I am realizing more and more. People and relationships are what it's all about. I'm growing this year learning about that.
                      BUT as the title of this post says, I want to focus on making a list tonight: a list of what I believe makes people "put together".
                      Seriously brainstorming this as we go:

                      1. Cooking meals - especially breakfast. 
                      2. Having a bedtime
                      3. Taking good care of yourself - looking dece when you go outside.
                      4. Exercising regularly
                      5. Being able to roll with the punches of life, and relationships, and everything.
                      6. Looking outward daily
                      7. Improving relationships daily
                      So that's a few. I don't know why I wanted to make this list really. Other than my life has been out of control lately and that is something I'd like to stop.
                      I'm doing good. I'm doing better. I cooked for the past 2 days! (hallelujah hands!) My mind is getting healthier I think. Things are cooling down and looking better