July 3, 2018
(Journal entry) I am excited that the moment is near! Sam is in Santa Monica, and Jeannie is packing and ready to leave Philly. Ron, took me shopping to find a perfect outfit. I am so grateful for him because I’m all over the place. I settled on a lace tunic, black cropped pants, gladiator sandals. He also recommended that I wear my hair in a chignon so that Sam and Jeannie could see my face.
My next-door neighbor’s mother, Joy, is in town and offered to create a gorgeous flower arrangement. Deanna and I made final adjustments to the brunch menu, and I ensured that there would be plenty of mimosae.
I screamed many times internally. I am an emotional wreck.
“Aaaaaaaa! Aaaaaaaa!! Aaaaaaaa!!!”
Days leading up to our meetup, I went for long walks runs…runs walks…walks runs…. I was feeling like Forrest Gump. I took many aromatherapy baths, listened to relaxing sounds and ocean waves, tried to breathe a lot, and followed Deepak Chopra’s relaxation “S.T.O.P.” techniques.
What is S.T.O.P.?
According to the Univ. of Utah Health Accelerate’s Mindfulness instructors Trinh Mai and Rob Davies, S.T.O.P. is an informal mindfulness practice that allows us to take a breath and check in to see how we’re doing. It can assist us in shifting from states of distraction and automatic pilot to being present and intentional.
S.T.O.P. is an acronym that stands for:
S — Stop or pause
T — Take a breath
O — Observe the body, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and physical sensations.
P — Proceed with more awareness
Where to begin
- Stop and notice what it feels like to stop moving, to stop doing.
- Take a breath or two and feel what it’s like to be alive and breathing. How does it feel to inhale and exhale? Notice the quality of your breath. Is it slow and rhythmic or shallow?
- Observe thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, with as much openness and curiosity as possible. There’s no need to judge, analyze, or fix what you find in this moment.
- What is bubbling to the surface for you? Is there tension in your shoulders? Are you hungry or thirsty? Where are the areas of your body that feel good or at ease? Are there any emotions like impatience, irritation, joy, or calm present? Where do you feel these feelings, and how are they making themselves known to you?
- Are there thoughts floating in the mind? Are you caught in a story about something that happened earlier today or perhaps planning for what’s next? Whatever’s present for you right now, simply acknowledge it or nod to it, as if you’re expressing, “I see you, and it’s OK.”
- Now proceed, stepping into the next moment with greater awareness and intention, perhaps asking yourself, “What is most important right now? What deserves my attention right now?” Notice what is bubbling to the surface. Then use that as a guide to proceed with awareness and intention into the next moment.
Later that day, I received an email from Sam. He sent me a video thoughts before flying to L.A. from Burnsville, NC.
July 4, 2018
I thought it would be a great surprise to deliver flowers to Jeannie’s Airbnb. So, I texted a message to the owner of the cottage.
July 5, 2018
(Email to Sam & Jeannie)
Hi Sam and Jeannie! Tomorrow is the big day. Please meet me at 18th Street Arts Center at 10 am in the main gallery which is located in the purple building. If you can arrive at the same time that would be ideal. Little reminder; there will be a photographer and filmmaker during our time, so don’t be caught off guard.
Most importantly, my hope for tomorrow’s meet up with you is for me to feel safe. I also want to remind you that you’ve known about me my whole life and I’ve only known about you and my “real” self for only 3 months. I’m emotionally overwhelmed and ask that you allow me to lead tomorrow physically and conversationally. I have many questions, some I may have already asked along with new ones.
Thank you again for being open and vulnerable throughout this process. I know I’ve asked so much from the both of you. I love you both for this as I know your strength is a part of me.
If you have any questions about tomorrow please call or text me. I’m excited to meet you tomorrow and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of our amazing journey together.
July 6, 2018
Today I delivered a small arrangement of sunflowers and white roses to Jeannie’s AirBnB. I did this myself because I wanted to take in the space my birth mother would be in later that evening. I sat on a chair for a quick moment and imagined her face when she opened my note to her.
Dear Jeannie – Welcome to Southern California. I’m looking forward to meeting you tomorrow. We’ve got this.
After thanking Jo and sharing my adoption story with her and her partner, I decided to go dark on emails and text messages for the rest of the day. I needed to be present with my husband and children. My sons had no idea how their mommy’s life has changed in the past 3 months and that I’m meeting their grandparents for the first time tomorrow.
Walk with me, Lord! Walk with me. Tomorrow is the big day.
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