Riding Life’s Waves: The Dream Scream, Thunder, and Beantown Edition

The past week has been a thrilling adventure tenfold. I’ve been catapulted up the tallest indoor drop tower in the world, gone completely around in a 360-degree pendulum ride while harnessed to a spinning seat, quenched my thirst for new Marvel adventures, and walked 23 miles in four days while exploring one wickedly awesome city.

Not today, fear!

I took my 8-year-old nephew to Nickelodeon Universe in the American Dream mall, and his fearlessness inspires me. He wanted to ride every thrill ride that was open as many times as possible. I set aside my own fear, and together, we achieved his goal while simultaneously screaming and laughing intensely. And you know what? I survived, and we had the BEST DAY EVER! Our stats:

  • Slime Streak: rode three times; steel family indoor roller coaster with a height of 70 feet and travels 37 mph over 1,263 feet of track
  • Skyline Scream: rode twice; spinning rotating drop tower, currently the tallest indoor drop tower in the world. You can see the New York City skyline from the top!
  • Shredder: rode four times; steel spinning indoor roller coaster that goes 36 mph over 2,247 feet of track.
  • Kraang Prime Pandemonium: rode twice; a pendulum ride that takes riders in 360° loops going both directions, similar to a pendolo ride but with full loops
  • Spongebob’s Jellyfish Jam: rode twice, quite possibly the fastest swings ride I’ve ever experienced
  • Aang’s Air Gliders: rode twice; several inversions on this flight-style ride
  • Jimmy Neutron’s Atom Smasher: I rode it once; nephew rode it twice. 
  • Legends of the Hidden Temple Challenge: nephew enjoyed this ropes course 

Much to our dismay, TMNT Shellraiser, Sandy’s Bronco Buster, and Timmy’s Half-Pipe Havoc were all closed. We had lunch at Popeye’s in Coca Cola Eats (his first time having Popeye’s) and we explored Toys R’ Us…yes, you read that right! It opened in December! The retro “Toys R’ Us” jingle and music playing brought me back to my childhood and made wandering the store with my nephew even more special. 

Love and Thunder’s Thunder

No spoilers here, I assure you. The intricately linked elements and quirks of the MCU are what I love the most. I took a lot away from Thor: Love and Thunder, including the importance of living a well-lived life, be the person I am supposed to be, and to love wholeheartedly. I literally laughed out loud many times while shedding many tears. My MCU tradition is to see the movie with my brother and nephews, and this go-around, we added dinner at Five Guys to round out our evening. Valkyrie is still my favorite character, by the way. Love that king! And negative reviewers, be gone! I loved this movie!

Womanchild in Beantown

I traveled to Boston with family and drove almost the entire way there and back, including over the George Washington Bridge twice and successfully navigating Boston’s labyrinth of confusing roads. Rewind a few weeks, and spending three days in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with my fantastic niece inaugurated my summer edition of adding new places to my “visited” log. My list grew again with each of the 57,984 steps I took along our Boston adventure. My pin collection grew by 12 and my vat of memories grew exponentially.

  • Experiences: Fenway Park tour, Yankees vs. Red Sox game at Fenway Park, Duck Boat Tour, college tours. My favorite out of all of these was the tour of and the game at Fenway Park. What an amazing place in the history of baseball! Fun fact: I genuinely get excited for “The Wave” to come around stadiums. I raised my arms and yelled four times as it came by four times and relished being one of those idiots each time. The Duck Boat tour was very unique and gave us an opportunity to see Boston from both the road and the water.
  • Landmarks Visited and/or Seen: Fenway Park, Quincy Market, Prudential Center, Paul Revere’s House, Boston Harbor, Boston Tea Party Museum, site of Boston Massacre, Little Italy, Modern Bakery, Boston Fire Department Engine 33 Ladder 15, Boston Marathon Start/Finish Line, Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, Harvard Square/The Coop, the Last Tenement House, Christian Science Plaza Reflecting Pool; saw from Duck Boat Tour: Bunker Hill Monument, various statues and parks, state capitol, Cheers. I didn’t have the opportunity to actually go into Cheers but next time, it’s on the top of my list. Another Fun Fact: When nothing is on TV, I watch Cheers on DVD, so I’m pretty adept at quoting the show. “Womanchild in Beantown” is, in fact, a reference to a Cheers episode when Diane Chambers makes a movie about Woody Boyd to convince his parents to let him stay in Boston.
  • Places we ate: Eataly (inside Prudential Center), Forty Dalton, Lansdowne Pub, Bread O’Life in Quincy Market, Pressed, Grendel’s Den, Fenway Park, Shake Shack (I love their fries)

And Speaking of Beantown…

I am incredibly excited for my treasured friend Mandi Bean because her second novel titled Moody Blue was released this week! Click here to buy it from Amazon…mine arrived today and I’m tearing its cover open as soon as I post this! Congratulations, Mandi! You inspire me to my very core!

I’m Still Standing

These experiences and related lessons wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t keep my health at the forefront. I’m still dealing with a nuisance Lupus flare, but a slow and steady mindset while drinking plenty of water and resting when my body tells me to has made all the difference in allowing me to keep up with the flow and create countless memories. There’s still a lot of summer left and places under the sky to see, and my passion for life is stronger than both my pain and fatigue.

Fields of Fireflies

Two nights ago, I dreamt of seeing thousands of fireflies flying and lighting up against a darkish background. The only thing I remember from the dream is the magic of the fireflies. I interpret my dream as a message to light up others by shining my own light, and to be the light in the darkness. I hope that by sharing insight from my recent experiences has sparked a light in you to find meaning along your day’s encounters.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With love and gratitude,

Jill

“Riding Life’s Waves: The Dream Scream, Thunder, and Beantown Edition” was posted on jillocone.com on July 14, 2022. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any of my employers. Copyright 2022, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Angling With My Query

I experienced its first visions eight years ago, and my life has never been the same since. 

My eight-year voyage on Chapter One-A Novel’s waters has been full of ups and downs and I’ve been sailing by writing through calm currents and tempest-fueled tides. Along its course, I’ve had to search for meaning in unexpected places and destined coincidences, make tough decisions about what path to follow, and wade through seas teeming with ghoulies and doubt. 

But now I stand firm on the shore with the finished manuscript of Chapter One-A Novel gleaming in my hands.

I know you’ve heard such proclamations in the past, but I assure you I am not crying “wolf” this time. 

This version is the real deal, and I am announcing it out loud and proud to the universe: CHAPTER ONE IS DONE.

To borrow one of the novel’s themes and visions, I have written Chapter One, so everything will fall into place as it stands steadfast as an intriguing work of fiction in its own right.

The novel, MY novel, is done, but my journey is just beginning.

I have reentered the tidepool of the publishing world by seeking representation and/or publication by dangling my authentic and heartfelt query letter addressed to agents and publishing houses as bait. No nibbles yet, but I know the universe will lure the right opportunity to bite my hook, which reads as follows:

Kelly Lynch navigates the ebb and flow of life’s tides on her fortuitous journey of self-discovery in my approximately 64,000-word novel titled Chapter One-A Novel.

As Waterville High School’s newest English teacher, Kelly Lynch befriends fellow educator and James Joyce enthusiast Shannon Moran. While Kelly grapples with deep scars from her past, she struggles to balance her active life as a teacher and her stagnant marriage to shiftless alcoholic Wayne Coopersmith. Shannon’s encouragement resurrects Kelly’s innate fervor for writing, while Kelly inspires Shannon to pursue her lifelong dream of studying in Dublin, Ireland.

A double-dose of tragedy fractures Kelly’s life, and in the aftermath, she throws caution to the wind and follows the mysterious path of breadcrumbs scattered by the universe from coastal New Jersey to the grandeur of Dublin.

Chance unites Kelly with Jame Flaherty, a Dubliner who guides her along the footprints left by Joyce and his characters while sparking a raging inferno inside her heart. Her experiences on the Emerald Isle hearten a keen awareness of the present moment’s tremendous value and fortify Kelly’s awakening. Upon returning to the Jersey Shore, she begins her next Chapter One anew by pursuing her calling as a writer.

Kelly’s profoundly moving story of enduring the waves spurred by the tribulations and the triumphs of the past, the present, and the future while searching for a sense of purpose in the face of grief will resonate with readers long after they turn the last page.

Please keep in mind I am the author and not the main character of Chapter One – A Novel, which is a work of fiction. All of the characters and events portrayed in this novel are either products of my imagination or used fictitiously. 

In between querying and making progress on my assignments for Jersey Shore Magazine’s Fall/Holiday 2022 issue, I am already working on my next writing project. Stay tuned for updates, because I intend to be more active with sharing my ideas and my writing life right here on the blog.

Spoiler: I’ve hidden a few Easter eggs about my future project(s) within this post’s words.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With love and gratitude,

Jill

“Angling With My Query” was posted on jillocone.com on July 4, 2022. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any of my employers. Copyright 2022, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Smashing the Boulder

I’ve been battling an unnecessary existential crisis, one of the many free gifts bestowed upon humans like me who are authentically human.

What began as nuisance funks the size of small pebbles rapidly combined to create one giant, overwhelming boulder. 

Innumerable legs, each with a different origin, protrude from this particular boulder, and they have been kicking me nonstop from every direction while the boulder’s crushing weight has squashed my sense of purpose. My futile attempts to defend myself or fight back provoke a harder and faster pummeling, and I end up reduced to a steaming pile of doubt and defeat.

The debilitating boulder, however, has now rolled into sacred soul territory by triggering a case of the summertime blues. 

I’ve waited all year for these two glorious months, dammit, and today, I wallow no more.

The only way around it is through it. 

As I crawl forward on my elbows, the megalith’s tentacles slightly loosen their grip around my ankles.  

Inch by inch, I will escape the squidmonster of stone’s grasp, then smash it to pieces. 

I will rise and stand victorious within its ruins, and my light will shine brighter than ever.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With love and gratitude,

Jill

“Smashing the Boulder” was posted on jillocone.com on July 1, 2022. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any of my employers. Copyright 2022, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Harbingers, Legacies, and Chapters

Image Made with Canva

I’m one of the first to arrive at my building, usually by 6:05 AM, because I write for at least 30 minutes in my classroom before I prepare for my school day. My writing mind is at its peak of fluency and creativity in the morning, and I’ve successfully used that time for its purpose on most days this year. Arriving so early provides me with a different vantage and experience than my fellow colleagues who roll into the parking lot later than me.

On Monday, I knew a yearly milestone I look forward to every year would happen this week, so I kept my sunglasses next to me on my ride into school instead of packing them away in my school bag.

With about five minutes left in my drive yesterday morning, it happened! I left the dark in my rearview mirror by sliding my sunglasses out of their protective case and onto the bridge of my nose! From this point forward, I’ll walk into school in the light.

It’s a simple turning point, but that harbinger delights me to no end. I can now breathe a bit easier knowing that summer dangles right in front of me.

But let’s back up a bit…

On the way from my house to my car yesterday morning, I listened to the sweetest singing coming from somewhere above me, a sound I haven’t heard since mid-September. I looked up to see a silhouette from high on my roof against the morning’s first light. 

The catbirds have returned, and their melodies are simply my favorites.

Spring is here, and it’s incredibly sweeter this year because it feels and looks more like how it is supposed to, like it did back before….. well, you know, the Thanos of our existence for the last two years.

I absolutely love spring after it’s done teasing us, as well as every single inch of summer. Having two events that usher in the spring actually occur on the same day was exceptional, especially since I haven’t been feeling all that great lately. Nothing to fret, just a nuisance lupus flare with associated fatigue and pain. I know it could be a hell of a lot worse, but it’s still frustrating to feel so depleted in the middle of the afternoon. I’m hopeful the flare is nearing its end and that things soon balance out for me.

On a positive note, this time of year also brings another celebration: the day when my students complete the yearbook. The legacy they build fills my heart with joy, especially when students from years past recognize the accomplishments of current students that I post in my social media because they remember the feeling of coming together to accomplish a common goal.

My students recently finished designing “The Chain” legacy board in our classroom, which includes photographs and staff yearbook spreads from years past along with a chain link for every student who has been a part of the program since the 2007-2008 school year. The chain drapes halfway around the classroom from the ceiling and is a visual symbol of that legacy. Each student is unique, each year is a different experience with a different book, but together, that chain is strengthened and lengthened by an experience like no other.

One of the chain’s names from the 2013 graduating class surprised me with a visit yesterday, and talking with him was medicine for my soul. Off the record, in my mind he just graduated despite being out of high school for almost 10 years already! Time is truly a thief and never fails to deceive me.

This young man’s story inspires and encourages me, as the foundation he built while within our school walls for four years served as stable blocks to build an extraordinary life of purpose while living each moment to its fullest. Another instance of the student inspiring the teacher, and I admire the hell out of him.

In fact, his incredible influence is like gasoline fueling my already fantastically flaming fire as I am actively revising my novel, which I’ve worked on every day since deciding to dust the manuscript off. In between work and home responsibilities, meeting deadlines for my magazine publisher, submitting smaller works for possible publication, and managing my health issues, I am taking my time by dissecting each word to improve every sentence while refining my voice and making the plot more engaging for readers. 

This go-around has already been rewarding and enlightening because I can finally distance myself from the circumstances surrounding the manuscript’s birth. It’s no longer a means to cope with grief, but rather, my undeniable purpose: to write the story I am meant to write with passion and with love. To quote a line from my original vision from the universe, once I write chapter one, everything will fall into place. For those who don’t know the back story, I titled my novel Chapter One-A Novel, and I know without the shadow of a doubt that everything will fall into place when I am finally finished crafting its narrative. The wave is here, and I’m riding it full-out to create the very best novel I can. 

I’ve got several other ideas in the hopper, but finishing my manuscript needs to happen before I can wholeheartedly devote myself to other pursuits.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, and Smashing Pumpkins, along with Sirius’ Lithium channel, provide the soundtrack to my life right now. And check out RHCP’s new album Unlimited Love if you haven’t already done so. It’s deliciously captivating, a lyrical masterpiece, and the return of John Frusciante’s signature guitar riffs brings us full-circle back to the band’s early iconic sound.

Sublime spring, you’ll never know how joyful I am to see you arrive in all your glory. I’ve waited so long for you, and my heart beats with fervent anticipation about what your chapter will bring and what celebrations await me.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With love and gratitude,

Jill

“Harbingers, Legacies, and Chapters” was posted on jillocone.com on April 30, 2022. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any of my employers. Copyright 2022, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Heavy

The pressure,

It cripples 

My shoulders.

The anguish,

It crushes

My heart.

The long dormant

Scars that are

Too deep to

Scratch

Fire and 

Itch something

Fierce.

.

I’m fourteen

Again, 

With the 

Formidable

Red dread 

In my head

Reawakened…

The Day After.

Summertime boycotts.

Shall

We

Play

A

Game.

Creed’s loss.

Drago’s victory.

Wolverines become 

Targets of

Helicopter ambushes 

While we

Devour the

Juiciest 

Red apples and

Pray for 

Happily ever

After and

Peace.

.

Same as it ever was.

.

But this time,

Though,

It’s heavier,

With iron-clad threads 

Of clamoring dissonance

And pandemic fatigue

And the injustice of justice

Interwoven with

Humanity’s

Frayed strings

And compassion’s

Colorless fibers.

.

But this time,

Though,

It’s for real. 

The bombs

And the tanks

Purposely target

The beings 

Whose only crime

Is an address

On a certain street

In a certain country. 

The missiles

Pierce the heavens

As the bullets

Pierce the skin

And the screams

Pierce the silence,

The lives of

The innocents

No consequence to

Him

Who values

Authority 

And 

Avarice

Above 

All and

Lives his

Happily ever

After no

Peace.

The Ukrainian/Galician/Balkan heritage in my lineage and in my soul called me to write “Heavy.” I stand with my ancestral brothers and sisters wherever their feet may touch the Earth but especially those in Ukraine.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With love and gratitude,

Jill

“Heavy” was posted on jillocone.com on February 26, 2022. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any employer. Copyright 2022, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Day of Birth

The sun rises on the first day of my 51st orbit around the sun. I ponder the footsteps that led me to standing alongside the massive ocean in this moment, but my path in the sand behind me has disappeared. I pause here, joy-fully scarred and strong with her waves rushing over my feet, and bask in the light that shines from within me. It unifies with the sun’s rays and radiates in all directions a message too massive to fully comprehend.

Here I am, teeming with light and life, a magnificent creature of Water and Earth and Air and Fire, a child of the Universe. Blissful delight overwhelms me, and I allow the sea’s breeze to dry the tears in the corners of my eyes.

The tide recedes with each of her salt water molecules swelled full of gratitude for my beautifully flawed body, for my lungs and my heart, for my soul and my mind, and for my journey to this moment.

After the sun sets on the day, I lie my head on my pillow with a slight smile and close my eyes, content and full of hope.

The sea, her tide rises in rhythm with the sun on the next glorious morning, a morning when I awake once again reborn. In my morning prayer, I ask my body to continue sustaining me, my soul to continue sparking my light, my mind to continue enlightening me, and the universe to continue illuminating the path I’m meant to follow.

I inhale peace and purpose, exhale gratitude for another day of life, and embrace the possibilities of the unknown. I stretch my arms and my legs, then rise to my feet and take my first steps along today’s extraordinary adventure.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With love and gratitude,

Jill

“Day of Birth” was posted on jillocone.com on February 13, 2022. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any employer. Copyright 2022, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

‘22-03 Fortnightly Focus: Receptive

2022 is truly a brand new year, and I have been very receptive to all the positive changes I’ve been experiencing since the calendar turned its page. I’ve returned to both yoga and meditation, and I am making a regular practice of writing and connecting with my soul. I’m learning more about reiki and am developing a 30-minute “Semester Reset” Mindful Session for my fellow educators. By being receptive to change, especially change in the right direction, my attitude and mindset have vastly improved. Another example is being receptive to things I know I cannot change, case in point is yesterday’s blizzard. I am most definitely not a winter person, but instead of complaining about the snow, I was receptive to accepting the forecast and enjoyed a rather peaceful and cozy day writing and watching Marvel and Star Wars movies. I couldn’t change the fact we got slammed with drifts higher than two feet in some spots, so why waste my energy barking about it? I made do by being receptive, and today, we move on.

I invite you to join me in embracing the word “receptive” over the next two weeks. The word “receptive” has many definitions, but for the purpose of our focus, I suggest using the definitions below, courtesy of Merriam Webster:

receptive: adjective. Willing to consider or accept new ideas

Being receptive to what is has allowed me to become excited about what can be. I’m no longer at war with my past. I have more energy at the end of the day, and while I still battle the occasional Lupus issue such as one hell of a butterfly rash across my face yesterday, overall I feel less fatigued. My soul tells me the positive improvements in my health are a result of being receptive to changing up my routines and going with the flow. 

The ocean is the perfect metaphor for going with the flow. She doesn’t care about the “to-do” list of others, such as the woman who booked a surf lesson or a wedding on her sands. She rages when she feels like raging, and calms when it’s the right time for her to be calm. She’s receptive to the influences of the moon, to weather systems, and to her changing tides, but to hell with us humans. She can cradle us or destroy us, coddle us or drown us, and we’re the ones that need to be receptive to her. 

I invite you to embrace the word “receptive” over the next two weeks and allow it to guide you. Consider new ideas and accept what comes your way. 

As always, if the time is not right for you to be receptive, it’s okay. No shame and no beating yourself up for having a bad day or for not making progress towards your goals, whatever those may be. All vibes matter in this space, as the human experience is made up of ALL vibes, not just good vibes. Embrace your reality and feel what you feel without guilt.

Wise Words About RECEPTIVE 

“You always have something to learn from people who have been through more than you. Be open and receptive to what they know.” – Zac Efron

“You can keep the body as well-oiled and receptive as possible, but whether you’re actually going to be able to go for the long haul is really not your own choice.” – Leonard Cohen

Thank you for joining me on my journey. I’m so glad you’re here.

With love, light, and gratitude,

Jill

‘22-03 Fortnightly Focus: Receptive” was posted on jillocone.com on January 30, 2022. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any employer. Copyright 2022, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

‘22-02 Fortnightly Focus: Inquisitive

I’ve been extraordinarily inquisitive lately, so much so I’d probably be able to retire if I had a quarter for everything I’ve looked up using searches and the wealth of online resources provided by my local library. I bet I have amassed a year’s worth of knowledge and wisdom in these first sixteen days of 2022. The word “inquisitive” has many definitions, but for the purposes of this two-week focus, I suggest using the definitions below, courtesy of Merriam Webster:

inquisitive: adjective. tending to ask questions; having a desire to know or learn more; curious or inquiring.

I’ve always been an inquisitive creature. For instance, every time our town’s emergency siren would sound to summon either the first aid or fire department starting when I was very young, I’d be concerned and want to know more. My empathy and curiosity combined to spark such questions as, “I wonder what happened. Who do you think is hurt? I hope everyone is okay.” I clearly remember such instances from very early in my life. Anyone reading this who grew up with me in my hometown may remember a certain siren that would blare three times every day at noon: long, short, long. I can still hear it in my mind. That siren was a time indicator, not an emergency indicator, and I was relieved when it was just those three blasts because nobody was in danger. Anyway, ever since I can remember, I’ve always desired to know more, then write about what I’ve learned and the connections I experience along my journey. My curiosity is one aspect I most appreciate about myself; instead of abandoning my childlike wonder as I matured, I nurtured it and allowed it to shine. I still do, and I always will.

At first glance, it might seem impossible that the ocean can be inquisitive, but if I look closer, I see the ocean is, like me, a living creature. She is alive with life. Each of her waves she reaches and spreads across the sandy land is an extension of her curiosity, and her waves are full of new knowledge when they retract back into her mass. She then imparts her learned wisdom upon us through our connection with her. We are both inquisitive, forever curious and always learning.

I invite you to embrace the word “inquisitive” over the next two weeks and allow it to guide you. Take some quiet time to connect with and ponder the questions lurking in your mind and in your soul, then vow to seek answers. Cultivate your curiosity and learn something, no matter how small it may be.

As always, if the time is not right for you to be inquisitive, it’s okay. No shame and no beating yourself up for having a bad day or for not making progress towards your goals, whatever those may be. All vibes matter in this space, as the human experience comprises ALL vibes, not just good vibes. Embrace your reality and feel what you feel without guilt.

Wise Words About INQUISITIVE

“When you are inquisitive, Jane, you always make me smile. You open your eyes like an eager bird, and make every now and then a restless movement, as if answers in speech did not flow fast enough for you, and you wanted to read the tablet of one’s heart.”

― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Be inquisitive. Open your eyes, open your minds to things you don’t necessarily know even exist. I think that’s an important part of learning and growing. The more [you]’re willing to ask, the more [you]’re going to get out of it.”

― Jay Rinaldi

Thank you for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With love and gratitude,

Jill

‘22-02 Fortnightly Focus: Inquisitive” was posted on jillocone.com on January 16, 2022. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any employer. Copyright 2022, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

‘22-01 Fortnightly Focus: Initiative

Today I’m sharing a sneak peek into a new “initiative” that my soul has ignited. There’s much more to come, believe me, but for now, allow my soul to invite you to embrace the word “initiative” over the next two weeks and let it guide you. The word “initiative” has many definitions, but for this focus, I suggest using either of these definitions, courtesy of Merriam Webster:

initiative: noun. the power or opportunity to do something before others do; the energy and desire that is needed to do something

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/initiative

I’m looking at 2022 with intense initiative: I’m calling upon my soul’s energy and desire to shine my light, and the opportunity to do something for others while shining said light from within. In fact, this post is a living embodiment of that initiative.

The ocean’s initiative is her power and energy, which she uses to fulfill her intricate role: to rise and fall, to destroy and cleanse, to excite and calm, to cycle through highs and lows while teaching us all how to tread its waters. The ocean’s initiative is innate and natural. Her energy propels her massive presence yet her desire to allow its salt water to purify and teach us keeps her in check. Her waves are full of wisdom which she imparts upon us through even her lightest caress of our toes along her break line. 

For this challenge, look inward and contemplate an opportunity to do something meaningful or helpful for yourself or for others. What energy do you need to make it happen? If you don’t know the answer to either/both questions, take some quiet time over the next two weeks to connect with your soul and ask what it most desires. Perhaps it’s something as small as lowering the number of carbs you eat or increasing the number of steps you walk each day. Perhaps it’s something larger, an unfulfilled dream or wish that has been subtly tugging at your heartstring for a day, or a month, or a year, or a lifetime. Take the initiative to make progress, no matter how small the steps may be.

And if you cannot accomplish this task, it’s okay. No shame and no beating yourself up for having a bad day or for not taking those baby steps. All vibes matter in this space, as the human experience is made up of ALL vibes, not just good vibes. Embrace your reality and feel what you feel without guilt.

Wise Words About INITIATIVE: “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” ― Barack Obama

I’m looking forward to connecting with you a lot more this year. I hope you have a wonderful first week of 2022! Shine on!

Thank you for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With love and gratitude,

Jill

“‘22-01 This Week’s Focus: Initiative” was posted on jillocone.com on January 3, 2022. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any employer. Copyright 2022, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Shine On…

We’ve once again arrived at the end of one year with the onset of another just lurking in the shadows, unbeknownst to us whether it may be the hero or the villain.

I’m wishing for the hero, because the last two years have been…. well, you know…

This time of year, for me, is more than just a time to lie around full of cheese and unsure about what day it is. 

For me, it is a time of reflection about what went right and what went wrong amid the sprinkles of real life mixed in with the gasps, the smiles, the frowns, and the tears that pepper each yearly calendar. It’s also a time of rejuvenation and illumination as I look ahead to what I hope to accomplish and experience within the blank boxes of the twelve months that lie in front of me.

I set specific goals for 2021 a year ago, like I do on the cusp of each new year. Not resolutions, because those rarely work for me, but attainable goals that I hoped to bring to fruition within the next 365 days. Two of said goals centered upon creative endeavors (one of which I’ve spent seven years honing and crafting) and were of utmost importance to my heart.

But neither venture reached the measure of success I had envisioned despite my best efforts.

Thus, I failed.

I thought I was close a number of times, and I followed the universe’s breadcrumbs as I always do. I believed in each, believed in myself, but that combined with my hard work wasn’t enough.  I sit here facing the fact that I am not where I thought I would be a year ago.

Thus, I failed.

It is true that both provided me with lessons and growth. I know what I did wrong and what I must do with each moving forward if either will be deemed a so-called “success,” but my mind ghoulies have had a field day during the latter part of this year in making me feel immensely vanquished. I still carried the weight of defeat and futility and disappointment upon my shoulders as we entered the last month of 2021.

During a poignant meditation session a few days ago, however, a bright light illuminated something brilliantly new, yet something that has always been there deep inside my soul. 

Yes, I may have failed by not attaining my desired outcome for those two goals, but I succeeded in finding the dawn of a new path now bathed in radiant light.

The light that beams from within me has melted away the overbearing weight I’ve burdened for far too long and shines upon a new route where I will no longer be focused on the outcome but on the journey. Exhilaration overpowers my trepidation and purpose outshines my pain as I forge ahead with curiosity and resolve.

2022 will be a resounding new beginning for me, a year when I will connect with my soul every single day and with the ocean. I will bask in authenticity while I act according to my soul’s desires and let my words become my light. My word for 2022 is SHINE, and that’s my intention, to shine as bright as I can while hopefully sparking the light in others.

And regarding those two “biggest” goals from the past year? I’m not sure I’ll encounter either of them along the coming year’s path. Maybe my journey will circle me around to revisit them, maybe not, but each of them assisted me with arriving at the here-and-now and brightened my core being. I am grateful, not regretful, for each as I step over 2021’s final boundary and forward into 2022.

The only reference to COVID I’ll make is that I am grateful it showed me what truly matters most: relishing the time I am able to both experience life and make memories with the people I treasure. 

My soul, it called me to write this for you…

Take 2021’s lessons and let them craft a new vision for the coming year. Listen to your soul’s deepest wishes and make them a priority. Focus on the internal rather than the external. Shine your light in all that you do, but don’t apologize for being human when your light may go dark for whatever reason…simply endure and emerge stronger once the light shines again. 

I wish for 2022 to provide you with whatever you most need and most desire. Shine on, dear one, and live bright.

Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With love and gratitude,

Jill

“Shine On” was posted on jillocone.com on December 30, 2021. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any employer. Copyright 2021, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.