Thank you so much for giving me space and sending all your love and support these past few weeks. I have felt your love, warmth and generosity and I am truly grateful.
I still can’t actually believe I am writing this, but I feel called to share this in the hopes it may inspire you in times of adversity.
These past few weeks have absolutely brought me to my knees. My best friend, soul sister, hero and biggest inspiration found her wings and decided it was time to fly. This, however, wasn’t the plan. We were meant to go on a holiday to Hawaii this year and I was meant to be a bridesmaid at her wedding in September. But the Universe had a different plan for this angel. And although there's pain, I am so truly grateful for the time we got to share and I feel ok knowing she is now with her mama, dancing in the clouds.
This experience has allowed me to feel feelings I never knew possible. I have been cracked wide open and had my heart ripped out of my chest and put back in. It’s tested me and pushed me to really step up and practice everything I preach. I have allowed myself to grieve fully and completely and with the support of my darling husband — who would hold me for hours as I wept my heart out — I have been able to express myself truthfully in every moment.
Throughout it all, I have observed the waves of different emotions washing over me, knowing that I am not that emotion. And I have allowed my body to fully feel everything that needs to be felt. It’s been challenging, but it has already made me a better person and more resilient. Exactly what Jess would have wanted.
You see, Jess was and still is my biggest teacher. She taught me so many things — how to follow your dreams, how to tread more lightly with myself, how to live a life of passion and purpose, and — of course — how to do a coffee enema (!). Now, every day, she reminds me that I am love, that love is all around me, that my truth is love and that you can close your eyes and in an instant you can return back to love.
She was only here for a short time, but I think we can all agree: she made one hell of an impact.
Even though her physical body is no longer here, I feel more connected to Jess than ever before. I feel her all around me.
(Actually the other night my husband and I were getting out of the shower and he said, ‘Do you think Jess can see us right now?’ as he quickly covered his privates. We both burst out laughing and I truly felt her laughing along with us.)
I feel her warmth and her essence constantly guiding me. This doesn’t stop the waves of sadness, pain, anger and frustration, but when you realize we are not this body, it’s liberating to know deep down that she is everywhere and everything. And the truth is, all our loved ones who have passed are everywhere and everything. Feeling their presence is as simple as connecting with your heart. Opening up to stillness. Holding space inside you for their love to live always.
I’ve also felt so much comfort from Mother Nature during this time. The sunrise, the ocean, the trees, a random gust of eddying wind — I see Jess in all of it.
When the waves of sadness do come, I like to take a moment to really feel Jess — to sense her warm smile, see her sparkly bright blue eyes, and let her love wash over me. I feel her presence all around me in every moment, inspiring me to be more, to step out of my comfort zone, to reach further and to push that little bit extra... even when I feel like I have nothing left to give.
No matter how utterly sad I’ve felt, I’ve also been keenly aware of something else too: A rainbow is made up of all different colors. For a rainbow to be a rainbow, you can’t simply skip over certain colors, or leave one out altogether. To be complete, they all need to be there. As I witnessed the entire spectrum of emotions wash over me, again and again (sometimes seemingly all at once) I tried to visualize them as the bands of a rainbow. I knew they all had to be there, and I tried not to judge them or get stuck in the story of the emotion.
It’s also been really powerful to sense where the emotion is in my body — my gut, my heart, my sternum, the base of my spine… When you allow your body to do its thing, you’re allowing yourself a true experience. Instead of suppressing your emotions or distracting yourself, you’re fully allowing nature to run its course. It really is a beautiful thing.
Still, at the moment, no matter how well I ‘deal’, my thoughts haven’t strayed far from my beautiful girl. She inspired millions around the world. She lived and breathed her message.
She lived and breathed love.
It’s been so moving to see the outpouring of grief and tributes over the past week — far and wide, from people who had the privilege of calling her friend, to people who’d never even met this angel but who’d still been so touched and inspired by her.
If you’ve been feeling this pain too, I see you. I hear you. And next time you find yourself faced with any challenge, you now have the shiniest of stars to guide you back home.
So take what this goddess has taught you and live it every single day. Think about what you truly admired in Jess, than fully and completely embody that quality.
Let’s make her proud. Let’s go out and live as our best selves and champion what she so elegantly embodied.
The best thing is you don’t have to do this alone. One of the other biggest lessons Jess taught me was the power of sisterhood, the power of belonging to a tribe and sharing the journey. (In fact, that very lesson is what sparked the dream to create this space; this epic MA Tribe right here, and I’m so endlessly grateful that you’re a part of it.) It’s a powerful lesson — reaching out to others, even when we want nothing more than to curl up in a ball and block out the world — and it can change everything…
So reach out to your people: smile at a stranger, be present for your family, call a friend and ask how they are going (and really mean it). Take a moment to just sit and be still, get off your phone, close your laptop, turn off the TV and really connect with your loved ones. Say ‘I love you’ every single day, laugh hysterically, dance your buns off and be a nice human (life is so much better that way). Don’t fill those juicy moments of white space with mindless crap or endless scrolling through Instagram. Life’s too short, so please make sure you live it.
We are all in this together, never forget that. And remember: you simply being here is a pure miracle.
Be Kind. Be Brave. Be Free.