The Wave Is Here

I am happy to say that my pain and fatigue seem to be check, which makes each day better than the last. Here’s hoping that the “good day” streak continues…it will, because like I wrote in a previous post, my purpose is stronger than my pain, and I must believe that.

I’d like to share something else with you, something pretty extraordinary that I’ve alluded to in previous posts, but now it is most certain…

Imagine that you’ve lost something very special to you. It doesn’t matter if has sentimental or monetary value. When you realize you cannot find it, that it’s truly gone…that sick feeling in the pit of your gut begins to churn. It starts out small but gets worse by the second.  It feeds a frenzy of worry as you search for it, lifting up cushions, throwing clothes all over the place, making a colossal mess. As you retrace your steps, that sick feeling almost becomes unbearable. Part of you wants to vomit, while part of you wants to curl up in a ball and cry. You pray to Saint Anthony, hoping that it is returned to you, or to a higher power as you ask for help. Through the tears, you drop to the floor and admit defeat.

“It’s gone,” you say, crestfallen. “I’ll never have it again.”

If you imagine the above scenario with losing something physical, like a piece of jewelry or a $100 bill, you might consider posting a picture of your lost item on social media. Whether or not you find it again, life will almost certainly return to normal as you go about your days.

If it is a person you lose, it will undoubtedly be a longer grieving period. You might never recover from that absence in your life.

In my case, the thing I lost is very personal to me.

It’s my soul. Or at least, part of it.

There’s been a huge hole there for so long, a missing piece of the puzzle per se. My whole purpose in starting this blog was a way to “sea”k my soul so I could maybe find my focus, find my purpose, to fill that soul hole with what’s been eluding me for so long.

I’m sure you have sensed the longing in my posts over the past year and a half.

The best way I can sum up that feeling is to describe how I feel when I listen to the song “Encore” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Anthony Kiedis sings some very poignant lyrics, each line with a very personal meaning, almost like it was written just for me. The music is an escape, while simultaneously, a trap. It makes me look around curiously at what physically surrounds me on the external, and also go introspective and look at what is internal, what surrounds my soul.

When I listen to “Encore,” I think of times past for a fleeting second. I’m reassured I’m in the right place even though I am adrift and incomplete…”Hey, you’re fine…hold my hand…results are gonna vary now…”

At the end of the song, I feel a longing so large, but no idea what I am longing for. I am empty, yet content. I am safe and secure, while simultaneously uncertain and vulnerable.

One big, giant, bewildered, unfulfilling yet satisfying sigh…the best way to describe that feeling of longing.

Don’t get me wrong…there have been many extraordinary times in my life filled with adventures and laughter, accomplishment and happiness and wonder.

All the while, that hole is there just under the surface, surrounded by pieces from every single experience thus far on my life journey that fit together as one.

I prayed to St. Anthony in a feeble attempt to find what’s missing. He usually helps me when I’ve lost something, even though I’m not Catholic or overly religious, and when he does I am very quick to thank him. But when I asked him to come around so I could find the missing piece that would make my soul complete, his answer was an emphatic NOPE. “You are on your own,” he said.

I stare at a blank page when I have so much to get out, so many words and stories to share, so many lessons to teach, so many laughs to enjoy, all on top of the urgency to live this crazy and wonderful life…

Words.

Stories.

Lessons.

Laughter and Life.

I think I see something here.

I know I’ve improved over the past year on finding the right words, and more importantly, in getting those words out of my head and onto a screen or paper. And I know I have a few stories currently living rent free in my mind that need to be told…it’s time they start earning their keep.

my-soulJust like that, I finally know my purpose.

  • Writing
  • Teaching
  • Living

Instead of feeling bewildered, I am wrapped in a blanket of assurance and certainty.

Why did it take this long to figure it out? It’s so simple and obvious. Again, I am the chump who fought seeing the truth, when all along, it was right here on the surface.

The wave is here, and today, I rise.

Instead of “I think” and “I wish,” it’s now “I know” and “I will.”

I will write a book (or two or three). I will write for my blog. I will write for my assignments from my magazine publisher. I will teach my lessons, both in the classroom and through my writing. I will laugh while living every single moment of every day.

I will use my time more wisely as I pursue my purpose and calling while completing my mission from the universe.

Being OPEN actually brought me clarity. I waited so long for it, and here it is, unwavering and true. As I was determined to be OPEN, now I am resolute to be FOCUSED.

I am already transformed.

And SHE says, “It’s about time.”

Time to write, with a focus on my stories.

Time to teach, with a focus on my lessons.

Time to laugh.

And time to LIVE.

It’s finally time for my “Encore.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Back: Day 8 in Photos – Goodbye, Ireland, and Thank You!

Monday, August 22, 2016: The time has come to say goodbye to Dublin. I didn’t take many photos, but here are a few to sum up our final day. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

What did Ireland give to me? A whole hell of a lot…

I returned with over 2,000 images and even more memories.

I returned with an overwhelming sense of calm and a joyful soul.

I returned with a deeper understanding of human behavior, of James Joyce and his literature, and of what it would be like to live in Dublin.

I returned with a sense of accomplishment and awe. I still can’t believe I actually did this.

I returned filled with gratitude for every single moment I enjoyed. I am immensely thankful for not only this experience, but also for my traveling companion who joined me (by choice!) on this awesome journey.

I returned with my spirit guide still at my side. SHE has given me clarity and assurance, and continues to guide me towards my focus, which is finally clearer than ever.

Part 1 of my mission from the universe has now ended, but part 2 has already begun: writing a novel.

OC1_16IRE_0820_1758

I believed I could, so I did.

How about that?

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 22, 2016 and are copyrighted. However, since there’s nothing all that Earth shattering here, you have my permission to steal these images and claim them as your own!

Looking Back: Dublin Day 3 (Part 1) In Pictures

For the Joycean fan, Day 3 was perhaps one of the two most important days of my mission. Despite the rain, it was a memorable day. Today’s post will feature photographs from the first half of Day 3 (August 17, 2016) along the Talbot Street area to the James Joyce Centre. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

If you are interested in learning more about today’s locations, please visit these links:

Talbot Street Memorial

Connolly Station

The Celt Traditional Pub

The Spire of Dublin

The James Joyce Centre 

Coming tomorrow: Day 3, Part 2

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 17, 2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance.

Day 12 of 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016: Relax

Nothing much on the docket this week, except time to relax and be with people I care about. SUMMER and RELAX are synonyms for me, but even during the summer, I find it difficult sometimes to get the hamster off the wheel that’s in my brain. Since I have difficulty with relaxing, several friends recommended that I try meditating, so I did. And it worked!

If you are interested in trying meditation but don’t know where to start, you are in luck. Every couple of months the Chopra Center puts out a free 21-day Meditation Experience featuring Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey, and guess what? One started yesterday! Even though you missed the first day, you can still participate. It’s free and everything is available both online and through their app for 5 days after the set date. The theme for this challenge is “Getting Unstuck: Creating a Limitless Life.”

I completed Day One yesterday and found it to be a wonderful way to end my day.

You can access all of the links for the experience on the Chopra Center Homepage here, including Facebook page, Twitter, app stores, and more.

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 6/25/2016

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Whew! I am looking back on my first full week of summer vacation and I can honestly say I think I did more this week for myself than I have in all of the other 2016 weeks combined. When I do things for myself, I don’t mind the pain and exhaustion: that means I lived! I’ve gone to Six Flags, seen The Cure (see my last post), walked the Brooklyn Bridge, paid my respects at the 9-11 Reflection Pool and for a friend at a local park, perused the wonderful selection of books and merchandise at The Strand Book Store, mowed the lawn, and plotted out most of my August trip to Dublin. My husband always says he likes Summer Jill, and know what? So do I. Summer Jill is definitely who I am. However, today’s Summer Jill is planning on taking it easy for the next few days to rest my legs and body, but not my mind. My mind, my typing fingers, and my pencil will keep on moving.

As I have written before, there’s a lot going on cosmically right now for me. I’m reading “The Art of Work” by Jeff Goins, which reinforces everything I’m going through. As ideas and signs present themselves, I’m keeping track of each of them. The hard part is deciding which one(s) should be my main focus….there’s so many different ideas with their own unique path. Right now I am unsure which path I will take, partly because I know there’s more signs to come. When the time is right, I know that I will be guided to the right one.

By the way, I’m listening to the single “Dark Necessities” by Red Hot Chili Peppers almost nonstop…I just love it! In fact, RHCP’s new album, The Getaway, is all-around great. RHCP are one of my other favorite bands, along with 311.

Wow, a long introduction for my weekly roundup of sites I found interesting! Anyway, I hope there’s something below that you will find useful or entertaining. Thanks for being a follower!

Great article from Salon: How the Cure Endures. For fellow misfits like me. 🙂

Tools for Capturing Your Ideas in Writing – by Melissa Donovan on Writingforward.com. I personally use more sticky notes than anything, followed closely by a notebook and the AwesomeNote app for my Iphone. I use a wireless keyboard which was the best $15 I ever spent.

The Photographer in Everyone – by Laura Schmalstieg, posted at Artifact Uprising. Read this!

Fight For Your Calling (Because No One Else Will) – by Jeff Goins. Again, read this!

Less Hate, More Love Pin – from Dani DiPirro at Positively Present

21 Day Free Meditation Experience – Getting Unstuck: Creating a Limitless Life. A new, free 21 day experience from the Chopra Center! Check it out!

50 free Online Sources for Printables – from Adorama

The Four D’s of Completion – by Sean Hogue

One Year Later – by Chris Guillebeau

Unbroken_Warriors_PTSD: Instagram account of Michael Dowens, who is raising awareness of PTSD and raising money for PTSD programs for veterans. To see the Go Fund Me page, click here.

And finally,

There’s only 6 days left until the 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016 Challenge begins! Mark your calendars for Friday, July 1, and play along. Click here for the details.

Have a splendid week my friend!

Until next time,

Jill

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 6/18/2016

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What an emotional roller coaster of a week, and a paradoxical one at that.  It is quite a week of new beginnings, both intentional and unexpected, for so many. There’s the happiness of graduations and the sadness of immense loss. There are those spouting judgment and those calling for compassion. There are the helpers and the hinderers. I am trying to wrap my head around the state of so-called society and civilization we all live in, and I have not liked most of what I have seen this week. I believe it’s time to put the human back in humanity, and instead of just saying that as an empty phrase, I’m working out an idea that might help. Somebody’s got to do something, and while my idea might be small, perhaps it will be the push many of us need to overcome the negativity and just be there with each other and for each other, sans judgment and shaming. More to come…

This weekend’s roundup of links has a beach/shore/summer feel to it, as it’s finally my favorite time of year and we all need a bit of a mental escape right about now. Enjoy and please check back often as I will be posting more now that summer is here…

Ten Beach Commandments: 2016 Edition – by Kevin Williams of Townsquare Media.

NJ Dad: Here’s Why I Hope My Kids Summer Vacation Is Boring – great read by Brian Donohue

The Ultimate NJ Summer Bucket List – from NJ.com. Great ideas but the site is a little wonky.

Sea Scallop Fishing Off the NJ Coast Thriving – short video from NJTV on one of the Viking Village vessels showing how scallops get from the ocean onto your dinner plate.

Stingrays in Tampa Bay – what a wonderful sight!

The Surfer Alone at Sea: A Tale of Love and Perseverance – by Joao Salgado, posted by The Inertia

The Ultimate Jersey Shore Beach Guide – by NJ Monthly

and don’t forget…

Join my 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016 challenge! It begins on July 1. 

Until next time,

Jill

SquareSm

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 6/10/2016

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Happy Saturday, friends! It’s a kick back, read a book outside or take a walk on the beach until the thunderstorms come kind of day. The highlight of my week was going on the Tilt-a-Whirl ride at our local boardwalk with my 5-year-old nephew, who graduated from one of his two preschools yesterday. The two minutes or so spent on that ride, laughing with H, holding his hand and just enjoying the moment erased the week’s stress and pain, even if only for a short time. I’m finding that I need to go back and look at everything I’ve written, and at all of the quote photos I’ve created, and listen to my own advice. Still “sea”king my soul, but I feel like I’m in limbo with my path being obscured by thick fog and uncertainty. A beach walk is needed, and that’s where I’m headed, even if it’s only to clear my head for a short while.

I hope you’ll find something to inspire you in one of the clicks below.

Turn your Face To The Light – my favorite post from the week, from Elizabeth Gilbert

What Lens Do You See Life With? by my friend Heather O’Neill

Creativity As A Daily Practice – posted on Holstee by Helen Williams

Life First, Write Second – by Adam Jeske, guest post on Jeff Goins’ site

Mandatory Lazy Days – I love this!

Full Circle Rainbow in Ireland – shot by a drone, posted by The Weather Channel. One of my top “Ireland” signs of the week.

The Work of David Gilkey, NPR Journalist Killed in Afghanistan – Thank You, David

This is a Surfer Who Has Life Figured Out – reposted by The Inertia, great piece about Jacques Beriau on Terasu

and finally,

Make Your Life Spectacular – video posted on Goalcast’s Facebook page.

Don’t Forget…please join me for my 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ challenge this July! It’s going to be fun!

Until next time,

Jill

Very Small

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 6/4/2016

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Hello and Happy June to you! In case you missed it earlier this week, my June newsletter was posted, and the best part of the newsletter was announcing my 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016 challenge that will be held this July. Click here to learn all about the challenge and how you can participate.

I’ve been thinking all week about those who are dealing with flooding, whether in Texas or in France, and hope that my friends and followers are all safe. There was no shortage of news either this week: late yesterday came word that we lost Muhammad Ali, there were over 250 dogs rescued from a local home, people became very heated and took sides in a gorilla versus human versus zoo incident, and the truth came out about Prince’s death (which was what I did NOT want to hear). It’s clear that we need to take care of one another in this world full of self-righteous yet meaningless dialogue.  Instead of bitching about issues or things that happen, let’s reach out to each other in empathy, compassion, and sometimes, disagreement. It’s okay to disagree with the person who might be holding your hand. What matters most is that you have a hand to hold.

A longer intro than normal, so thanks for sticking it through!  Here are some interesting links I found over the past week.

Create! By my friend and fellow blogger Masha – just what I needed to read!

5 reasons Travel Feeds Your Soul – I’m always “sea”king and nourishing my soul…travel must happen, and it will in August!

Improve Your Life With Simple Rituals – by Melissa Marshall at TowerLife. Good advice here…Melissa put into words what I’ve wanted to write for a while.

And on another ritual front… The Importance of Morning Rituals – by Bo Johnson. I saved this link to share with you this week, and ironically enough, Dani from over at Positively Present also included it on her weekly roundup.

5 Non-Apps To Boost Your Productivity – again, good tips I hope to try in 8 days (summer break is coming)…

My Weight is None of Your Business – by Tanya Eby. Excellently stated, Tanya. I’ve gained a significant amount of weight from my medications, weight that cannot be lost through physical activity or dieting. Like Tanya, I’ve struggled with negative comments from others about being heavier.  I also am in my mid-40s and I currently weigh 181 pounds, which is a size 12-14 (sometimes a 16). I’m thankful she wrote this and urge everyone to give it a read.

How to Life Your Dream Life – Maybe it’s not impossible after all?

Free Printable Bookmarks – recommended by Dani at Positively Present

and finally,

Just Say NO to People Pleasing! (again recommended by Dani) – Glad to say that this week I said NO several times, and the world didn’t end, I didn’t turn to stone, and I didn’t lose any friends. 🙂

Once again, think about joining me for 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ this July! It’s going to be fun!

Until next time,

Jill

Very Small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to SEA: Memorial Day Clicks for 5/28/2016

sQUARE Collage

It’s Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer. Many years ago, I was like so many others and looked at Memorial Day weekend as a celebration and a reason to party. I could probably have a down payment on a new car if I had all of the money I spent at that time on bars and drinks on Memorial Day weekends alone. I didn’t give it a second thought, but looking back, it’s not something I am proud of.

As I matured and as the world changed, I experienced first-hand loss from the Afghanistan conflicts as two of my former students heroically died while protecting others. A few years ago, my town used to have a Memorial Day parade, but because of low turnout, they switched to a ceremony at a town park. When I found out the reason for the parade cancellation, I was quite upset:  the street is filled with parents and children for the annual Halloween parade. Apparently costumes and candy are more important than honoring those who gave us the freedom to wear costumes and eat candy in the first place, and to me, that is…

Wait a minute. As I type this I realize that my comments might be misinterpreted as shame. That is not my goal.

My goal is to educate and inform so that more people will take the time to honor and remember while they are celebrating and having fun.

Not everyone has a connection to someone to honor on Memorial Day. If you don’t, please visit my links below so you can learn more about Sgt. Ronald A. Kubik and Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott.

Take a moment this weekend to honor what the day means and stands for. Educate the young people in your life about the true meaning of Memorial Day and about real heroes like Nick and Ron who gave their lives for the USA. Attend a local ceremony or service for an hour. Join in the National Moment of Silence at 3 PM on Monday, May 30.

Thank you to all the men and women who gave their lives while serving our country. I am grateful for your sacrifice and I honor your memory.

Read my letter to Ron and Nick from November 2015

Remembering Sgt. Ronald Kubik from Micromedia Publications

A Field of Flags, and Ocean County memorials including Nick and Ron from Micromedia Publications

Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott Memorial Fund

Hawks Hall of Honor

Free Memorial Day Printable from me

I’d also like to remember and thank Matthew Zegan for his service (1973-1994). Matthew is another graduate from the school where I work who was killed in a tragic accident at Fort Bragg.