Life is not a linear path—it’s a mesmerizing dance of zigzags. Embrace the unpredictable twists and turns of life’s zigzag path, for it is within those moments that the true magic and extraordinary possibilities unfold. Welcome to The Zigzag of Life with Tess, where we embark on a journey of inspiration and rediscover the magic of existence. In this episode, join us as we delve into the zigzag path of life and embrace its inherent unpredictability. Today, we are honored to have Jamie Collins, a renowned family, wedding, and bar and bat mitzvah photographer from Fairfield County, Connecticut. Jamie’s story goes beyond her professional achievements. From her childhood, she’s been affectionately called “Giggles”. Nowadays, she’s fully committed to brightening up the day of everyone who pays a visit to her animal sanctuary, Blue Iris. However, Jamie is currently navigating profound loss, experiencing heartache and grief in a deeply transformative way. Jamie shares how showing up for ourselves is the most crucial aspect of our journey. She fearlessly delves into discussions on loss, heartache, and grief, shedding light on her personal experiences. Discover the inner workings of her soul-saving techniques and witness how she continues to empower herself by utilizing healthy tools to navigate the darkness and radiate a guiding light for others. Tune in now!
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Finding Beauty In The Zigzag: Jamie Collins’ Story Of Healing And Inspiration
I am so grateful to be speaking to Jamie Collins in this episode. She is one of Fairfield County Connecticut’s most sought-out family wedding and bar and bat mitzvah photographers for the past many years. She’s a witness of authentic moments and captures the pureness for families to relive the moment of sweetness for a lifetime.
As a young girl, she was nicknamed Giggles, and she’s now bringing smiles to everyone that shows up at her animal rescue farm in Lebanon, Connecticut called Blue Iris. She’s a woman who is in the thick of loss at this very moment and, in a very profound way, she’s here to say it’s how we show up for ourselves that matters most over anything else. She’s here to discuss loss, heartache, grief, and give her own words about what saves her own soul and how to continue to use healthy tools to empower her and pull her out of darkness and shine a light for others. Enjoy the show.
Jamie, how are you?
I’m good. How are you?
I’m good. I’m so happy that it’s so beautiful out. I see you’re outside now.
I love it. It’s such a gorgeous day. I’m so grateful to be on with you.
Me too. I want to make sure that we get so much in now. I know we have a lot to do. Right now, I wanted you to share with everybody where you are. Tell us where you are exactly. Are you sitting at the farm?
I’m at the farm. It’s 114 acres. It’s so serene and it’s so home to me. It’s so beautiful. I’m in my car. I call my car my office sometimes so I can shut out the world and make phone calls or do whatever I need to do. I lived on a boat for eight years prior to this property. That is the place I would go if I had to have quiet and be in a space where I wasn’t interrupted. I came to my office, in my car, but I’m out in a field of 15 acres with a tipi on top of the hill with the hayfield and the horses are grazing.
I know you relate to the zig-zag of life and I want to hear how your story relates to that. Anything you want to share in this episode would be wonderful.
I loved learning about your show, The Zig-Zag of Life, because life is not linear. There are flows and chapters. There are ups and downs. The one good thing I say all the time when you’re in a difficult time is nothing lasts forever. That pain that you’re in won’t last forever, but when you’re in the good, remember nothing lasts forever. There is a zig-zag of life of you wouldn’t appreciate the flowers if it didn’t rain and have those days where you woke up and maybe said, “If it’s raining now, the flowers are dazed as well,” that you can learn and grow from.
Nothing lasts forever. The pain that you’re in won’t last forever, but when you’re in the good, remember, nothing lasts forever. There is a zigzag of life.
I know right now it’s an important time for you and we could discuss it now. We could also hear a little bit about your story. It’s nice to have everyone understand what’s happening in your life at this very moment.
Right this moment, my sister four years older than I am, is dying from ovarian cancer. We’re doing hospice with her. I’ve been hit with a lot of grief around death because a few years ago, my husband passed away on the ventilator from COVID. Also, prior to that my mom and before that, my dad had a stroke at a young age, were paralyzed, and were in a bed for a long time.
I learned a lot about going through grief, what it means to be in that space, and how to get through it. There’s no right answer, but I wanted to share some of my journey. If it could help or encourage anyone, I would be honored to help anyone that is going through some loss. Grief is not even about a loss of a loved one. It could be missing out on things from COVID. It could be a loss of a job, a dream, or a life that you wished for.
Sadly here my sister, the last few weeks of her conversations with me was pretty real. She had suffered from addiction for years and she had cleaned her life up. I was so proud of her. Sadly, her life got cut short. When you lay there and talk to someone when they’re about to pass about their regrets and things, it’s eye-opening.
Thank you for coming on in this episode, especially since you’re in the moment of this and sharing your vulnerability. The emotions must be so much. Standing here and thinking of others is so beautiful. I want you to know how we appreciate you coming and speaking. All of these little sacred moments in time come up and we appreciate life more. I feel these experiences and it helps us see what’s important. I love how you want to have an impact and help people. That’s so beautiful. I know you were talking to me about holding space for others. Is that something you feel you’re doing now for your sister?
I love talking about holding space because it’s very abstract to some people. When I first heard it, I was like, “What does that even mean? What is holding space for someone?” For me, the definition of holding space for someone is truly hearing them without trying to fix and change whatever their thought process is. It’s giving them warmth, love, and happy thoughts of comfort. It’s not that it’s okay.
I remember being at HomeGoods one day. The lady wanted me to sign up for a credit card. She’s like, “I just want to get to the hospital. My sister’s dying.” The girl immediately wanted to fix it. She goes, “She’ll be okay.” I’m like, “I get it. People want to fix it. There are things that you can’t fix.” For instance, my sister, I listened to her.
I listened to her fears without saying it was going to be okay because her fears are real. They’re fears of her own and what one might fear or someone might be afraid of something that someone is like, “That’s not even a big deal,” but to that person, it’s a big deal. Holding space for me is knowing that you can be there for that person and not try to fix it. Give them caring energy.
It’s true because, a lot of times, things are cliché. The lines are heard so often and we assume everyone knows what it means. However, the way you are interpreting it and explaining it is so true. I also think it’s real listening. How often are we in a conversation where somebody can’t wait for you to finish talking to tell you something? People are not listening.
The one thing I think is we are inundated with stuff. There is stuff everywhere. Even for myself, one of the mindful things I choose to do, all the things going on in my life now, it’s a lot for someone to hear. Sometimes I choose not even to talk about it because sometimes it’s nice to be mindful and be in the moment without inundating someone with all of the stuff because then they might have to think, “Should I be helping Jamie? My problems aren’t that big,” or all those things.
Sometimes it’s really nice to be mindful and be at the moment without annotating someone with all the stuff.
We learned so much in school. We learned math and every little thing like science and everything, but one of the things I said is grief is like a secret. It’s the secret that no one knows until it’s almost like a Mack Truck coming down on the highway and it hits you. It throws you to a place that you’ve never been before. For me, I wanted people to show up. I wanted people to share minds and not want to fix the fact that I was raw and inside out, but just be there. Also, I wanted to hear their own problems like, “My kid was being a jerk.” I wanted to hear the mundane things.
You’re such a giving person. I do feel that there are a lot of people and that things aren’t going so well and they seem to want to complain about themselves. To me, that’s an energy sucker. You’re very aware of it and you want to have normal relationships in the process of your grieving. You want it to be a balanced relationship. Many people are not thinking of the other when they’re going through their own stuff. They feel like their issues are so much more important. It is to be aware of how generous you are because it is unique, and a lot of people can’t see past themselves when they’re going through something.
One of the things I learned years ago was when I had a lot of negative people around me saying that every little thing was like a big problem. My conversation would be like, “I’m working on me right now. I’m working on trying to be positive so I can’t talk about negative things because I want to retrain the muscle of my brain of talking about positivity.”
I did this for about six months with people. To this day, I’m so proud that I would catch myself when they would call to complain. Unless someone’s dying or something big, I would stop them and say, “I’m working on me. I’m so sorry that this employee was a jerk to you, but can we not talk about that because I’m trying to retrain myself.” As it turned, it retrained them and now those people are so positive around me.
Did any of them get offended? Did you have any people that you lost along the way by doing that? It’s an interesting shift.
I was rewriting the contract of our friendship without me saying to them, “This is what our relationship’s about, and it’s driving me crazy. I can’t handle it anymore.” I would say, “I’m working on me.” The first couple of weeks were hard for them. They then would say, “My gosh.” I then would stop taking certain calls but then I would call them and cheer them on. We would talk about positive things. Six months is a long time if you think about it. In the relationships I have now, positive comes in, and the ones that want to stay in negative behavior, guess who they call. They don’t call me.
This is such a wonderful exercise for everyone to do because it’s very common that when someone is negative or we call them vampire energy suckers, we seem to get rid of those friendships. It’s easier to release the person altogether than try and rewrite it because we have the assumption, “This is the nature of this friendship. It’s not a balanced friendship. They’re not good for us.” You put them in that category and the friendships can end at that time. You weren’t looking at ending friendships. You were looking at shifting a scenario.
There were the ones that we’re going to continue.
The ones that were worth saving.
That’s the ones I was like, “It would just be like this.”
They were willing to work with you. That’s wonderful, the balance. I’m happy to see that through all of this that you’ve gone through because a lot of people do turn to their family and only trust a couple of people in their life when anything happens. Some people are very public with everything and some people are very private. When you went through these experiences, do you always have close-knit people around you or there were there times when you did feel alone?
I felt alone. I know that in times of darkness, after my husband had passed away and things were unfolding, there was an interesting thing. One of the things that made me angry was I started getting angry that life was going on and I was screaming inside. The pain was so unbearable. It was interesting finding myself in the loneliness. Since I was eighteen years old, I’ve been with him. I’ve never been alone. Being alone has been scary at first and fearful, but what’s come out of this is the inner strength that I never knew I had because I always leaned on other people.
It’s so interesting realizing stuff about us and realizing how independent and strong we are. Also, you can make it through anything now, you feel.
When we realize what we see in others and what we admire in other people, I would say, “That person’s so strong,” or, “I can’t do this,” or, “I’m not good enough for this,” but when I’m forced to be all of those things I needed to be, I had to like, “I did it.” I took one foot in front of the other and I gave myself grace for making mistakes and moved forward.
You have so many things that you’re doing now. When you started out in your early years, did you always know what you wanted? I know we haven’t discussed your photography, but your creative side, your photography, is that always your calling at first?
Yes. I’ve always been creative. I’ve always been spontaneous. I went to school and, in my freshman year, I decided to study abroad. I went to Europe and decided to stay there and travel. From there, I went to art school. From art school, I was like, “I’m going to leap into photography.” I signed a lease, opened a studio in South Norwalk, and never looked back.
I took those steps forward and I lived what I wanted to do. I grew up on a farm as a child. It’s full circle now having this farm. My dad always said this to me. He was a working guy, 100 hours a week, but he always had a smile on his face. Even when the shit hit the fan, things broke, people quit or he was on his own, he would chuckle. He would pick up. I go, “Dad, you’re always happy.” He’s like, “I’m not always happy, but if you’re happy, then you’re enjoying your day.”
What a legacy. I feel him in you. When you said that, I’m like, “What a wonderful father to have,” but that is part of you now. You bring that to others.
You can figure anything out. When you don’t know someone, you call people, you ask people.
We’re not alone. That’s what happens when people get frozen. It’s the fear of, “How am I going to do this? Who do I have to support me?” The unknown is so scary. I do feel with all the clients that I work with and the groups of women and privately, it’s like, “Everyone figures it out.” We all seem to make it and get through this life even when it’s debilitating at times when you can’t see five seconds ahead of you. You don’t see where the path is going to go. That is why I wanted to create this show to begin with because it was in those pauses that we get scared. With the movement, at least, we feel we’re going somewhere and, hopefully, in an upward direction. I do see it as an upward evolution regardless.
I’m sure because you work with so many people, you see what people do and go through. A lot of times, it’s in their head.
It’s all in our minds. Our thoughts are things, I always tell people. I love to use the analogy of a dome. Our thoughts are going up the dome and then it comes back down in our reality. If we shift our thoughts, then we have a different reality. It is and it happens so quickly. The minute you shift your belief, then the fears go away, and those limiting ideas. I pretty much feel it’s magical. A lot of times, people may think it’s a long process to discuss it. I don’t think it takes so long.
In the scheme of things, my analogy is a gym membership to create a better mind and positive attitude. In the beginning stage of it, I remember I put little sticky notes of sayings of my fear-based things. I put them wherever. One was in my wallet and one was in the mirror. It was everywhere, but it was reminders. I get in my car and there was one that would sit there. The messages were like, “I am capable.”
I used to be like, “I’m afraid of this or that.” I would talk myself off of doing something. This is one of the things I see in myself and others. If you look at the realm of kindergartners, they’re playing. There’s no judgment. They’re having a good time. They’re free. They’re whimsical. You could say the craziest thing and it doesn’t even matter.
All of a sudden, we grow up and, in our mind, it’s like, “That’s stupid. That’s this.” We shut ourselves down. One of the personal assignments I did for myself years ago was to become my five-year-old self. I’m going to dance and not judge that I don’t have any rhythm or I’m going to do whatever. I’m a photographer. I do a lot of bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings. I bring the non-judgment self to my clients.
A client said to me. She goes, “Someone said that you have a way about you when you are with us.” She said, “I get it. I feel it. You have a calmness but you have a way that you make it fun and whimsical.” I’m like, “I want this to be an enjoyable time for everyone. I also want it to be meaningful and captured that way. However, I don’t want to take away from the day. I want to add a butterfly in the room.”
Right before this, I saw a little butterfly. That is funny because I did feel that way with you. It’s so funny that you’re saying this because I did a couple of shoots with some different photographers. I’m very happy with who I used last time, but I was using one woman because I liked that she posted a picture of somebody sitting on this big rock and I wanted to sit on that rock.
It looked like a blown-up rock. I didn’t even consider how the person got on the rock. I reached out to her and I was not comfortable with her. I could tell there was something about it. I didn’t feel the connection. In the pictures, it came through. I felt a little stiff. I didn’t see a real smile because she’s a stranger and I wasn’t feeling comfortable, I guess. It’s so important.
I tell people all the time. “I may not be the best photographer.” I’m a great photographer. After many years of being a photographer, I better be good. I might not be the best photographer, but the one thing I will tell you is my best thing is I get in my car down 95 driving to my work. It’s when I have my meetings with my clients and I’m on speakerphone with them. We have natural conversations.
When I know that I’m the right person for this client and they should hire me is when it’s an easy conversation. I hear them, they hear me, and we just flow. 9 times out of 10 that happens, but when it doesn’t happen, I politely help them find the right photographer because, at the end of the day when it doesn’t start well, it usually doesn’t end well. That’s one of the things. I want it to be enjoyable for everyone.
I can’t imagine someone not hitting it off with you because you’re so easy. You have such a welcoming way, but that’s so interesting. Certain people don’t click or you don’t feel each other. You are not vibing. I wrote a little blog about energy signatures and human connections because we are all vibrations and frequencies. If we can get our egos out of it and not get offended, we’re just not vibing. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the other. We’re on different wavelengths. That’s why that turn came out. You’re on different wavelengths, and it could be in sync at another time in the world.
You do, and you have to send that person off with love. Here’s the thing. When I was grieving, when I was in my angry stage, I found out I said some things to some people, maybe not in the kindest way. I wasn’t horrible to them, but I was not my sweet girl self. I was not feeling it. You have to understand not everyone’s going to be in that moment at that time, and that’s okay.
It’s a moment in time and not get personally offended by certain comments or expressions because somebody may not even be able to be present at that moment.
It’s important. I did Gabby Bernstein’s wedding. I didn’t know who she was. I don’t like to know what’s what beforehand. One of my gifts is being a calming energy to people. I didn’t know that what she does is help people be calm, but that didn’t matter to me because here’s the thing. At the end of the day, she is a bride and she is going to be in a nervous situation that she’s never been in before.
I have to look at it as I need to be a guiding light of showing people that regardless of what’s going on around them, I’ve got their back. If they’re having a moment of stress or something, I can feel that their energy is not quite right and we pause. Pausing in those moments and recalibrating and recentering is way more important than worrying about the next pose picture.
It’s because she goes into the next part of her day, which was her ceremony and she was totally present and there. Of course, she was because that’s what she does, but at the moment where she got hijacked, we all get hijacked from energy and things. We are not our best selves, but that’s normal. The people that are around us, we want them to give us grace.
That is so beautiful. I can feel that. As you said, sometimes we just have to be present when someone’s going through a hard time and it’s okay to understand that it could be what they’re going through, but also if it’s not meant to be you, let them find another way. That’s how it is for your work and how it is in life, in general.
It’s okay if people are not supposed to match up at this time. It’s okay to move on. I love the way you were talking about the contract. I was speaking to a psychic who said we don’t have contracts. There’s a spiritual term before you come you have these contracts with people and I always love using it. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with her that we do not. She doesn’t feel we sign anything.
I’m like, “We’re not signing anything,” but it’s an agreement that we’re all taking on different roles so we could learn from one another. You can change it along the way because that’s what happens when we’re in roles with people in our lives. We each take on a role. One is the caretaker and one is the receiver. We get stuck in those roles. If we are doing it too long and it’s not balanced, one end could get more resentful. It’s so interesting to constantly recalibrate. As you said, when you’re in the middle of a shoot, “Let’s take a pause.” You’re recalibrating. If it’s not working, we do need to take a moment.
That is a zig-zag of life. It’s part of what we all go through. We all go up and down, sideways and in which direction, but that’s cool in life if you look at it as the journey of our lives. I want to give you another profound example of what the beginning of a life together and an end of a life together on earth meant for me. I didn’t know my husband was going to pass away. Five weeks before, I’m sitting in my car, in my office. I’m on my farm, and this girl calls me up. She said, “I’m getting married on Thanksgiving evening and I can’t afford you. I’m going to be upfront. I don’t have a budget, but I want you. I don’t know why.”
She starts telling me about her anxiety and we are talking. I said, “I struggle with anxiety.” I go, “For some reason, there was a reason you called me now. I’m going to do your wedding.” I didn’t charge her very much. The reason was way higher than the fact of the money. Let’s fast forward to her wedding day. He’s at Yale. He’s on full life support. He is going to die.
A few days before that, I whispered over the phone to him saying, “I cannot take you off life support. I need you to give up and to be done because this is so hard.” I believe he heard me because here I’m photographing that wedding. I’m there. The bride is about to get out of the car and walked. It’s an outside wedding down the aisle in Norwalk where my whole life began with him, which is interesting.
Yale calls me, and mind you, I’m the photographer. It’s only 30 people. All the guests are staring at me like, “What is the photographer doing?” I put my hand up to stop the music for one second. The bride knew that this is going on. I said, “Whatever happens, I promise you I will photograph your wedding and I will do an amazing job for you.”
He did me a favor that day. He chose that moment. The Yale doctor said, “You need to come here. He’s failing. The dialysis machine is jamming and we cannot continue.” I can’t be there because he knew that my happy place is behind my camera. It’s because he knows. I used to shoot 60 weddings a year. When I could photograph, I am on a high. It’s my natural high. That is where I thrive.
He knew at that moment Jamie needs to be behind the camera and so intently focused on someone else’s starting of their ceremony as he was passing. As that was happening, I said to the doctors, “I’m going to hang up now. He needs to pass. He and I know and we’re going to have our own ceremony together. Just know that.” I waved the musicians to continue and I smiled at the bride. I started taking pictures as if I were there for her. That’s it.
They read their vows to each other, and it was so beautiful. They were talking about one another. At that moment, I looked up and I was like, “Thank you for loving me. Thank you for doing this at this moment because you’re saving my soul by doing this so I cannot fall apart in this moment when you need me to be strong.”
Thank you for sharing this.
It was a profound moment for me. I had texted my best friend to come to the farm and be with my kids so that when I would get in the car after that ceremony, my next mission was to make sure my children were okay. He was sixteen at the time and she was fourteen. We got on the phone call and they put the phone to his ear. We talked to him and told him all the most. I said, “Let’s talk about all the most amazing memories and how we love him.”
He heard it. Didn’t he pass yet?
He was at the end.
He was at the end, but I do feel like it takes the consciousness a long time but they’re still there. Whether or not the body is alive anyway, they’re still there.
For our thought process, he was there hearing everything we had to say to him before he left.
It’s interesting because when I do past life regression and I hear all the stories, you do hear even when you pass on. You do. They say that you hear in a coma, but you do. Your soul is present, witnessing, and feeling the love. There was so much that you had to deal with at such a young age for your husband.
The one thing I tell people when they do start complaining to me or they do say something is that they are not loving what they’re doing. My first thing to them is they need to do a life for themselves. Live a life that you love. Not with the stuff of this big fancy house. Live a life with the things that are important to you because you don’t know. My dad was 57.
Things happen in life, but if you can live a life that you feel good about, whenever the day comes when you are going to pass and you can feel the goodness around those things that you have done or you’ve been for yourself and other people that you love, it’s a powerful thing. It’s a powerful passage for you to feel fulfilled. I see it with my sister, the regrets, and the sadness around what she wished being sober and all those things were longer.
Thank you for this because you are looking at it such firsthand experiences for so many close relatives in such a short amount of time. I want to ask you. As you’re continuing with your photography, how did you come across the farm and do what you’re doing now? I would love to hear how this happened.
We homeschooled the kids. My daughter and I and a friend were driving down the road and we would play games like, “If you were to live in a house, where would you live?” and pointing to different houses. She kept saying no to everything until one day, we came upon a farm. She goes, “I want to live there.” We happened to bid on that farm. We lost the bid. When something doesn’t happen, we all feel, “It’s never going to happen,” but it’s because something better is going to open up for us. You believe that. When one door isn’t open for you, there’s a reason for it.
We came across this other property and the owners became family. My kids don’t have any grandparents. Frank is 87 and Mary’s 73. They became our family. Frank still is able to fly planes. He’s so with it. It’s amazing. They wanted someone to buy this property and keep it as a farm. When Bob was alive, he was alive for ten months of owning the farm, we had the best time out in the fields haying with the horses that we rescued and the goats.
It was nice, but then he passes. We did a video a month before he passed. In the video, I said this and who knew what I was going to be stepping into? I said, “As much as I think we’re healing the animals, they are truly healing us.” Fast forward four weeks later, I’m sitting out there holding a bunny, sitting by a goat and they’re hugging me. A goat wrapped his neck around me and I’m thinking to myself, “Who rescued who here?”
I have the chills. I have two dogs and we know. If any of us aren’t feeling well or emotionally sad, the dogs spend extra care with that person. It is so wild. They have a sixth sense because they’re pure energy. It’s like an antenna. We are cluttered with unnecessary thoughts. I also think our emotions get in the way. Emotions are wonderful and I think we have to feel, but in terms of the static, it blocks people whether or not they feel angry or resentful. It gets in the way of clarity.
It’s because all of this is nature. You’re in the midst of nature. You’re living in it. You’re seeing the flow of life. The fact that you have had so many endings and beginnings, you’re part of nature. As much as an ending is so sad, in our culture, we don’t quite understand death. We look at it as an extremely sad and debilitating thing when it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
It doesn’t have to be. We can celebrate the life that we shared with them and we can take those sacred amazing things and celebrate those. I know that part of all of my losses brought me to this place. I originally said, “We’re going to rescue animals. People will come and have farm experiences,” but what it evolved to is people are coming to hear themselves, to do our work, to work with people that are able to help show them the tools that they can take home with them and they can create their sacred routine and space of their daily ways of elevating their vibration.
As you say, holding space. This space is sacred. Where you are helps with authenticity and the being. We can be anywhere and do this work, but there’s something special about certain places on this planet. You feel the difference. You feel the richness of the moment. I see it all in your face and looking at the videos of the farm and the animals.
It’s on our Instagram. It’s happy.
It’s very gentle. I love that.
It brings magic to people. I had a grown man that had experienced a lot of loss and heartache in his life. He drove up from New York and he was up by the tipi with the horses grazing. I said, “I’ll be back in a little bit,” and I did it on purpose. I left him alone because it’s not like someone wants to sign up that’s not used to this and say, “I want to do some mindful work.”
He started doing it and I forced him to be alone and hear himself. Later he goes, “Could you believe? I was able to be at peace with myself and hear myself,” and all of these amazing things that we do in our workshops and our rituals here at the farm. People that don’t even sign up but they come and do and be here in the space, there’s something that they get. I love when people come to me and they get out of their cars. A little boy said to me, “The air feels lighter.” It’s the energy.
It’s so interesting. Do you know when you’re meeting somebody, whether or not you meet a client or I’m speaking to somebody on a show, information comes? I want to ask you. Are you familiar with Elisabeth Ross? She passed away in 2004. She was a Swiss-born psychologist and a pioneer in near-death studies. She wrote the book on death and dying.
She coined the five stages of death. She helped the United States and our thinking look at death differently. She was helping the entire field of hospice. I was listening to her a little bit. There was an article written. She was incredible because she grew up in Switzerland and her father wanted her to be a secretary.
She said, “No, I’m going to be a doctor.” She finished up and then became a psychiatrist when she moved to the States in Chicago. She would study death. She would listen to people. She would be there. She learned so much and people pretty much put these dying people in the corner. She was incredible. You were meant to read her book. I was listening to her. I was driving and I was going from New York to Connecticut and the radio station was getting all static-y. I’m like, “No, I need to hear more about her.”
I looked her up. It’s very interesting in the timing that I heard this. Also, at the end of her life, because she was speaking to people so often at the end of their life, she did feel there was more. She began seeing spirits and messaging and all of this. People then didn’t want to listen to that. As you know in our society, we are so doubtful of anything that we don’t know.
People should realize without judgment and just listen. Sometimes there’s so much powerful messaging if they don’t even believe it, but hear it.
As you’re saying, the judging. That’s why you’re such a wonderful photographer. Only if everyone could feel safe with others and not feel that judgment. Look in ourselves. Where are we judging a little bit? We’re judging ourselves. I see my teenage daughter looking at herself in the mirror. I was like, “Enough of that.” It’s an interesting conversation with you about the exterior because I feel it’s all the interior that comes out. The glow is from within.
We have to pause. One of the things I hope that readers learn is we have to go within because if we aren’t loving and good for ourselves, we’re no good for other people and all of that. If we lean into ourselves and we truly listen to ourselves and listen to our own hearts without any judgment above all of their voices, I feel that the things that light us up and energize us are going to come out.
If we aren’t loving and good for ourselves, we’re no good for other people.
If we hear those things and do them in a playful way, magic happens. It unfolds, and it will. It does it naturally, the zig-zag of life. The rivers flow, but when they get clogged up, they don’t. It stops the flow. We have to allow and allow ourselves to be. Even on our darkest days, one of the things I would do was pause. I would look out the window as the cars are driving by and every life is happening.
I would pause and be like, “Do I need to hear what is my heart yearning for right this minute?” Whatever that was, I started slowly but surely. I would create this muscle of helping and listening to myself through my own grief. I create rituals that helped me go within my journal and all of these things worked for me. However, I want the readers to think about what helps them when they’re in hard times and also, what lights them up. What gets them excited? Do more of those things and set boundaries for the things that are not working. Also, put a little distance between the things that they need a little bit more space from.
I was thinking of this. With people, I feel like a lot of times we go through the motions. People are doing their job. They’re with the same people because they have. They’re loyal people. You don’t want to sever ties. It’s nice to have old friendships. It’s safe and it’s nice when people know you for a long time. It’s comfortable and it feels familiar, but if you’re not jiving or if someone says something to you that doesn’t make you feel so good, the pause is important.
Take a moment to make sure that whatever you’re doing in life, whether or not it’s your job or your relationships it does light you up. That is very important. People may feel, “What is going to light me up?” They may not realize that everyone has something that gives them peace. Joy comes, but peace and balance, we all can get there.
Also, listening to the things we complain about and saying, “What are we complaining about? How would we fix those things,” and putting that out there, or doing a vision board or writing in our journals with our non-dominant hand. Subconsciously, things that we’re not thinking about will start coming out. If we start doing these things over and over, all of a sudden we’re going to wake up and we’re going to be like, “That’s it. That’s what I need to be doing,” whatever that is.
There’s another person that I interviewed. She was talking about how we’re all programmed. She’s like, “You can go to all the self-help stuff.” She doesn’t buy all of this because she feels like once your program is over or once you’ve pretty much been through it, all of a sudden, you can get out of any situation. It’s an interesting thing how we get locked in and, all of a sudden, there’s an a-ha moment, “Now, this is over.” It’s a lot of things because of the progression of life. The way people die, the earth goes through.
However, we need to make the decision for ourselves.
I do think the exercises are wonderful to help us get to that moment where you then realize. It is like programming. It’s over. Whatever I’m doing now, this is not working anymore. All of a sudden, it’s an a-ha and then something else comes just like you on the farm. When you were telling me that you first went to another farm or your daughter like that one, to me it’s always like, “You’re on the right track. You’re almost there.” If you are close to something that you thought you wanted, the next thing or the thing after that will then be the thing. That’s why I never get upset if my goal isn’t necessarily working out. I know I’m almost right there.
That’s something that takes time understanding that it might not work out but something else will. Once you understand and that happens or the disappointment but then something greater happens down the road, it’s like the zig-zag. You get into the motion and the enjoyment of it.
It’s like that serendipitous moment. The synchronicity is happening. That’s what I think the whole synchronicity is. You’re meeting the right person at the right time. The coincidences are happening. You know that you’re on the right path, and it feels good. We’re going to finish up soon, but what I would love to see is where everything’s going. I’m excited to come to see you. I want to be on the farm. I would love to be with you.
I would love for you to do a retreat.
It will be awesome. Is there anything you want to say about the farm? Are people able to visit? Do they have to make an appointment?
The farm is at BlueIrisFarm.com. You can make an appointment because we are by appointment so we don’t get bombarded with people that just show up. I like when people come and they’re mindful and enjoying their time. I don’t allow the public to just show up so it interrupts their time with the animals or whatever they’re doing. We do farm dates where people come and have an experience with their families or their significant other. They’re magical.
One of the things that we’re doing now is Under the Stars. It’s a healing and spiritual retreat for a few hours. It’s a time of reconnecting with yourself. We have guides that help you do it through different rituals that we offer. Also, sound healing, reiki, and lots of really beautiful ways of getting back to yourself. It’s a special place, and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.
However, if you asked me this a few years ago, I didn’t know at the time because I had to go through my difficult days so that way I could open up my heart to all of these new things. Within that, because I’ve experienced a lot of grief, down the road, we are going to be doing healing and grief work and ways so people can go through it. One of my hardest days and times of grief was I felt like I was allergic to my own skin. When someone feels like things are spiraling, I can be there and get it and hold the space but I want to offer this place even now for people to come and hear themselves, be grounded, and walk away with a sense of peace.
Thank you. I appreciate that you’re here. We need more places like this. You’re such a gift. Thank you for this. I’m sending my love to your sister. Lots and lots of love.
I appreciate this. I needed this and I’m grateful for the time we spent together and for the readers. I appreciate the work that everyone is doing in the world to make it a better place by raising the vibration
Thank you so much.
Thank you. Have a great rest of the day.
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